8
The Spirit of Hermes

People with high n Achievement have been around for a long time, at least ever since the cave paintings at Lascaux (the earliest storable imaginative productions) were made, and probably from the beginning of human history. They also obviously behave in ways that are quite distinctive so that others should be able to recognize their personality type. We ought therefore to be able to find the type celebrated in song and story, or at the level of myth. Discovering the mythological type is not only an interesting search in its own right; it also has some possible immediate advantages in suggesting some further characteristics of the entrepreneur which may derive from his high n Achievement, but which may promote less directly, or possibly even hinder, his success as a businessman.

One of the first mythological types that comes to mind is Spengler's "Faustian spirit." For a long time we felt there were many similarities between Spengler's description of the Faustian will and n Achievement. He argues, for example, that the Faustian culture gives priority consistently to "time, direction and destiny over space and causality" ( 1932, 1, p. 308) and exerts its "will to overcome and break all resistances of the visible" ( 1932, I, p. 185). He constantly contrasts this dynamic spirit with the static, timeless, and "will-less" spirit of Classical Greece. Certainly dynamic restlessness and concern with time would appear to go with high n Achievement and static "classicism" with low n Achievement, but on closer examination many flaws in the analogy are evident. For one thing, it is obvious from the study of Classical Greece reported in Chapter 4 that a great deal depends on which period in Greek history Spengler is talking about--in our terms the sixth century B.C. was certainly dynamic in the sense of having high n Achievement--and not static and unconcerned with time. Moreover, Spengler's concern with will and his description of the Faustian spirit contains as much or more power imagery as it does achievement imagery, and in our scoring systems these two motives are quite distinct and uncorrelated with each other. They may be combined in a given country at a given time, as they appear to be in Russia at the present time (Appendix I), but if we want the pure "mythological type" for n Achievement we will have to look for something more analytically "pure" than the Faustian will. While Spengler's ideas stimulated some of the research reported in this chapter, it was ulti-

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The Achieving Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xiii
  • 1 - Explaining Economic Growth 1
  • 2 - The Achievement Motive: How it is Measured and Its Possible Economic Effects 36
  • 3 - Achieving Societies in the Modern World 63
  • 4 - Achieving Societies in the Past 107
  • 5 - Other Psychological Factors in Economic Development 159
  • 6 - Entrepreneurial Behavior 205
  • 7 - Characteristics of Entrepreneurs 259
  • 8 - The Spirit of Hermes 301
  • 9 - Sources of N Achievement 336
  • 10 - Accelerating Economic Growth 391
  • References 439
  • Appendices 451
  • Appendix I 453
  • Appendix II 461
  • Appendix III 464
  • Appendix IV 475
  • Appendix V 488
  • Appendix VI 492
  • Appendix VII 494
  • List of Tables 499
  • Index 503
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