Since stories of Words are my hobby, it constantly amazes me that reasonable definitions for daily used terms—e.g. Characteristics—are not available in hundreds of reference works I review. “Characteristic” (1664) is an off-spring of Character (1333), meaning a symbol marked on the body or an imprint on the Soul to make it distinctive. This came from the Characters Ancient African stone-cutters made on walls—i.e. engraved marks used to distinguish one thing as different from all the others. Very Ancient African priest-astronomers (c20,000 BC) borrowed this concept in applying it to humans. After determining each star in the sky carried the Substance of God, they inferred the human's Eternal Soul did the same. Just as a Star has a Halo, so does the Eternal Soul have a Halo–called the "Heart" or "Astral Soul"–the seat of Feelings, Spirit, and Nature. Apart from the "Heart’s" accessibility to heredity, it undergoes “carvings” of identifying metaphysical marks from the way a human handles life experiences. Such a “Nature/Nurture” interaction aspect is key to Characteristics. Europeans borrowed this African Concept to have never-ending “Heredity/Environment” or “Nativism/Empircism” debates. The issue pertains to the relative contributions of Experience (Nurture, Environment, Learning) vs. Heritable (Nature inherited predispositions, in utero genetic mutations) to the make-up of an Organism (e.g. humans). An example is ones birth Vision which thereafter learns to “see” perceptible relationships through various experiences. Or, by contrast, differences shown on Intelligence tests—which has no basis since no one knows precisely what Intelligence is. In spite of all of this, “Characteristic” has never been reasonably defined. Paraphrasing the best ones I have seen are: (1) “Characteristic” identifies and expresses individuality; stands out as a mark—a personal trade mark; (2) pertains to the person, place, mood, or thing itself without regard to comparative considerations; (3) the most typical aspect of the whole; and (4) Qualitative Peculiarity in properties discerned in order to recognize the Thing for what it is. So, Character stresses the indication or revelation of what is typical which, in turn, distinguishes and serves to identify a Thing as it is in itself.
A peculiarity, like a hump on a camel, is a characteristic of all camel’s individuality. Humps result from “Nature/Nurture” happenings. A camel’s hump is a large deposit of fat—the pattern for which was set up by Nature (i.e. Inheritance). Yet, since a camel was not born with a hump, it required the in-put of Nurture (the sum Effects of environmental influences and conditions acting on an organism). To elaborate, the camel’s body uses its fat as food when plant food is not available during long desert treks. Since camels do not sweat so much as other mammals, water is not stored in the hump but rather it is stored in the body tissues and in stomach pouches for very slow usages. Note in both statements about Characteristics in the same principle: (a) “Rational and Spiritual Beings who form a democracy have as its two great distinguishing characteristics equality and justice”; and (b) Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind. Principle: good people’s Inner World Right Life Living Self-hoods display as attributes in the External World; a human’s Inner World Essence core displays as Essentials (or Attributes) in the External World; and what is outwardly noticed by oneself or others are Characteristics which, in turn, reflect the Inner Source. So, why specifically know about Characteristics?
For me, it is a vital part of contributing to Critical Thinking skills. Conceptions are organized characteristics common to a certain Thing–like what makes "Red". To illustrate, from seeing a red ball and hearing mother say "red," followed by her showing red in a book, and then putting on a red coat leads little children to conclude: "Red looks that way." Such Abstract/Abstraction/Extractions lead to Concept-Formation—i.e. part of the process of Reasoning. Thought is the blending and weaving together of mosaic bits and pieces of mental Things which undergo arranging/rearranging, and/or combining/recombining to arrive at Options. Then a properly arranged, combined, or Integrated order of Option Concepts head toward an end to form a Statement or Judgment. Although Characteristics may imply neutral descriptions, their major purpose is for the “spirit’ within the conclusion to display as a Characteristic Trademark. That enables determinations of a Thing’s Essence Character and the Source of that Essence—both vital to Reasoning. jabaileymd.com; JABLifeSkills; Theievoice.com