The personality is a set of conditioned behaviours of which we are mostly unaware. If you doubt this wear your watch on your opposing wrist for a week. These behaviours make us utterly predictable to those who know us best. ‘Here we go again,’ they think or say. Which is why we need to live in community—to be reminded now and then that we are robots. We need the personality in the same way a chick needs its shell—as an adolescent protection, only useful for as long as it takes to peck our way out of it.
The personality is a braid of conditioned behaviours and memories. It’s why we think, speak and act the same way every day. We assume this triple-named bit of binding is who we are.
The personality is built on whatever we identify with. One man is a sports fan; another, a Scientologist. A third man watches pornography; a fourth hyper-cleans his car. Whatever we think or do habitually is the personality. Donald Winnicott called it the false self.