Above all else, this movement of man toward God is not based on coercion, force, or violence, but on a free decision grounded in love. The correlation requires man to take the first step because God will not violate human freedom, but once that first step is taken, God will begin to aid the individual in revealing personality.
Berdyaev's concept of personality extends far beyond psychological and drills down into the spiritual, which makes it simultaneously easy to comprehend but difficult to nail down. For example, Berdyaev dedicates more than thirty pages in Slavery and Freedom to delineating what personality is. He begins by declaring the importance of personality:
The entire world is nothing in comparison with human personality, the unique person of a man, with his unique fate.
And immediately follows this up with:
Personality is like nothing else in the world, there is nothing with which it can be compared, nothing which can be placed on a level with it.
To my understanding, Berdyaev's concept of personality does not address the conscious, superficial, ego "personality self" but the the true self, real self, or divine self -- that true, individual part of us that is divine and active within us.
Later in Slavery and Freedom, Berdyaev states:
Personality is the absolute existential center. Personality determines itself from within, outside the whole object world, and only determination from within and arising out of freedom, is personality.
He then outlines personality as the conduit for divine-human connection and correlation:
The image of the human personality is not only a human image, it is also the image of God. In that fact lie hidden all the enigmas and mysteries of man. It is the mystery of divine-humanity, which is the paradox that cannot be expressed in rational terms.
And what, exactly, is personality meant to do to tackle these enigmas and mysteries?
Personality is bound up with the consciousness of vocation. Every man ought to be conscious of that vocation, which is independent of the extent of his gifts. It is a vocation in an individually unrepeatable form to give an answer to the call of God and put one's gifts to creative use.
Which leads to the matter of how Berdyaev believes an individual can answer the call of God:
Personality is conscious of itself, listens to the inward voice, and obeys that only. It is not submissive to outside voices. The greatest among men have always listened exclusively to the inward voice and have refused to conform so far as the world is concerned.
So what happens after an individual has answered the call the God? According to Berdyaev:
. . . personality is defined above all not by its relation to society and the cosmos, not by its relation to the world which is enslaved by objectivization, but by its relation to God, and from this hidden and cherished inward relation it draws strength for its free relation to the world and to man.
Ironically enough, becoming attuned to Berdyaev's conceptualization of the divine self as "personality" requires overcoming what we consciously perceive as personality -- those surface-level, socialized, rationalized, and civilized aspects of ourselves that we believe comprise our true selves.
Throughout Slavery and Freedom, Berdyaev refers to personality as "activity, opposition, and victory over the dragging burden of the world, the triumph of freedom over the world's slavery . . . personality is effort and conflict, the conquest of the self and of the world, victory over slavery . . . "
And what must personality do to achieve this triumph of freedom over the world's slavery?
Personality must perform its self-existent, original, creative acts, and this alone makes it personality and constitutes its unique value.
But all of the above requires the movement of an individual toward God. The correlation begins in personality, but it requires us to take the first step toward Christ, who is the living, breathing "personification" of personality as Berdyaev defines it.