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Needs of the Conscientious Type


The needs of the Conscientious type are derived from John M. Oldham's description of the Conscientious style. In Stoic philosophical and psychological theory these needs are vices. They are analogous to Karen Horney's neurotic needs, which are better called irrational needs. They are irrational because they require things not in our power and involve false judgment of what is good or evil. (see G. Sterling).

Irrational needs are vices. The vices listed below are based on certain false values. The source of every vice is a false judgment of what is good or evil. But our judgments are in our power. Therefore, our vices are in our power.

The idealized image is chiefly a glorification of the needs which have developed (Horney, pg. 277).

  • needs to achieve (Oldham, 62)
  • needs to work hard to do well (62)
  • needs to work hard (63)
  • needs to engage in intense single-minded effort (63)
  • needs strong moral principles and values (63)
  • needs to hold beliefs and opinions firmly (63)
  • needs to do everything "right" (63)
  • needs all their tasks and projects to be complete to the final detail without even minor flaws (63)
  • needs to stick to their opinions and convictions (63)
  • needs order and organization (63)
  • needs to be thrifty, careful, and cautious in all areas of their lives (63)
  • needs to save and collect things (63)
  • needs to keep busy with projects and activities (64)
  • needs to engage in intense, focused, detailed activity (64)
  • needs to try hard at everything they do (64)
  • needs the challenge of working to perfection (64 )
  • needs to measure up to high standards (65)
  • needs to be very thorough, to check and recheck every detail before coming to any conclusion (65)
  • needs above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty thoroughness, devotion, and accomplishment from others (65)
  • needs to have important work by which to define themselves (66)
  • needs to measure up to high standards of responsibility (66)
  • needs to produce to the best of their abilities in socially or culturally approved ways at all times (66)
  • needs perfection in their own moral behavior and in others (67)
  • needs to be self-disciplined (67)
  • needs their behavior to measure up to high self-expectations (68)
  • needs to avoid unstructured free time (70)
  • needs to avoid intimacy (71)
  • needs to avoid expressing their feelings, or even sometimes, to recognize them (71)
  • needs perfection (71)
  • needs to be "right" and to "win" (71)
  • needs to avoid compromising (71)
  • needs control (77)

Obsessive-Compulsive personality, or character, disorder is comprised of these and other irrational needs, or vices.

Values of the Conscientious Type

Karen Horney (1950). Neurosis and Human Growth. New York: W. W. Norton.

John M. Oldham and Lois B. Morris (1995). The New Personality Self-Portrait: Why You Think, Work, Love, and Act the Way You Do. Rev. ed. New York: Bantam.

Grant Sterling (2005). "Core Stoicism." International Stoic Forum.

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Key to the Stoic Philosophy of Epictetus