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Attitudes and the Spiritual Life-006. How Man Tries to Understand Mankind: The 4 Temperaments. Humoralism - 4 Temperaments. In 400 BC, the doctor and philosopher Hippocrates proposed that there were four fundamental personality types, or temperaments.

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attitudes and the spiritual life 006

Attitudes and the Spiritual Life-006

How Man Tries to Understand Mankind: The 4 Temperaments

humoralism 4 temperaments
Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • In 400 BC, the doctor and philosopher Hippocrates proposed that there were four fundamental personality types, or temperaments.
  • He mistakenly presumed that these four types were the result of different bodily fluids predominating in the human body.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Temperament differs from Personality in that Temperament inborn and Personality grows out of upbringing, culture, family, and other external factors. Personality equals Temperament plus Life Experience.
  • In the study of Temperament there are many approaches with many names. The easiest approach to understand and use divides individuals into one of four basic types – Phlegmatic, Choleric, Sanguine, and Melancholy.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • These names came from the Greeks who thought that behavior was influenced by an abundance of bodily fluid.
  • While the 4 body fluids system of healthcare died out in the 1600’s, the belief that an individual can be classified by Temperament type lives on as evidenced by the use of Temperament tests in the areas of employment, group teambuilding, organizational development and “Christian” Pop Psychology.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The 4 Temperaments is probably the most common system adapted in “Christianity,
  • The four Temperament types have been re-named many times – one of the “Christian” adaptations is the DiSC model.
  • The interest in this and all types of “Typing” Systems is the promise of “Understanding Temperament provides many insights into our own behavior and the behaviors of others – spouses, children, bosses, co-workers, etc.”[1]

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The answers to: “Why do I react the way I do? Why do I have this particular weakness or fear”? Temperament is one means of answering some of these questions.[1]
  • Further study has shown that most people are a blend of two of the four Temperament types.
  • One Temperament type is predominating; the other is secondary.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Sanguine (blood), which means cheerful.
  • Ch'-ler-ic (yellow bile), which means irascible. This temperament applies to the achiever, one who is goal-oriented.
  • Melancholy (black bile), which means excessively gloomy. The melancholy person is often bright, and neat, but tends to focus on the flaws in things, the negative side.
  • Phlegmatic (phlegm), which means sluggish or unexcitable. The phlegmatic person tends to be slow-moving, calm, and even timid.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The Choleric is the strongest of the extroverted Temperaments.
  • The Choleric Temperament is sometimes referred to as a “Type A” personality; a hard driving individual known for accomplishing goals.
  • This is both good and bad; good in that the Choleric is a person of accomplishment; they ‘get things done’.
  • Bad, in that the Choleric does not care how they accomplish those goals.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The most insensitive of the Temperaments, a Choleric cares little for the feelings of others.
  • They simply don’t play into the equation.
  • In the DiSC model, the Choleric is the “D” for Driver or Difficult.
  • Cholerics have the most trouble with anger, intolerance, and impatience.
  • Those of other Temperaments are simply tools to be used or problems to be avoided.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The Choleric doesn’t stand on ceremony, they want facts instead of emotions, and if you get your feelings hurt, it’s your problem, not theirs.
  • He welcomes challenges and even problems to be solved, as he pursues his goal single-mindedly.
  • He is no quitter, and is a natural leader.
  • However, because he is so focused on his goal, he often rubs people the wrong way, since he rarely has time to see how they are responding to his pursuit of his goal.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • He is usually not interested in the arts, but is more utilitarian. He is often domineering and even prideful.
  • The Choleric may make an impressive leader – the most obvious example is General George Patton of World War II fame. Watching the character portrayed by George C. Scott you find a man who is driven and drives everyone around him towards excellence.
  • He makes a good CEO, or leader, or even criminal if his interests lie in that direction

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • “Irascible” is a negative way to describe a person who is basically an activist, an achiever.
  • Granted, such persons may be irascible, but that should not define them. (It seems that Hippocrates was a bit of a melancholy in the way he described the achievers.)
  • The word "achiever" better describes the "choleric." (Florence Littauer speaks of the "powerful choleric.")
  • In any case, the achiever is one who is practical, "active and strong-willed."

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • He gets things done; he is "independent, self-sufficient, decisive and opinionated... he has endless ideas, plans and ambitions."
  • A Choleric in business will often rise rapidly in managerial rank but may leave damaged people in his wake.
  • And in the area of home and family, a Choleric can damage spouses and children by insisting on ‘my way or the highway’.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • They simply have stronger strengths and weaknesses than some of the other types.
  • Because the Choleric is such a driver, they do not work well in groups.
  • A Choleric group member is likely to take a project or task and, in effect, say “I’ll get this done and have it for ‘us’ in the morning” and proceed to do the work himself.
  • A Choleric may not have many friends; having scared or injured most of the people they know.
  • They need friends because a strong Choleric may come to dislike even themselves over time.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Cholerics have the most difficulty with the warm, outgoing Sanguines and would probably do best with easygoing Phlegmatics as friends.
  • In a spouse or partner, a Choleric most needs someone with a great deal of personal strength.
  • Another Choleric would probably be best suited as a spouse with the Phlegmatic coming in a distant second.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Choleric
  • Many of those venerated as the greatest saints were of either choleric or melancholic disposition. Not, of course, because those of any particular temperament are pre-disposed towards sanctity (such is not the human condition!), but because their depth and intensity made them more likely to have the militant (in the best sense) approach that makes for the founders, heroes, and zealots.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Naturally, this proverbial two-edged sword also gives those with these temperaments the potential for a lengthy drop if they should fall!
  • The choleric's strength is zeal, his weakness anger.
  • How he channels his great personal conviction and power will be key to his Religious life.
  • The choleric approach is never in half measure, and what he embraces as most important in his life can make him the greatest of “saints” or the most picturesque of sinners.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The choleric well may be the leader of an army (or Religion), and the ideals he champions will be based on a recognition of higher goals than some others can understand.
  • Indeed, such excesses in religious practice as the Middle Ages had to offer, such as the burning of heretics, often showed Choleric zeal.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Then as now, the choleric are likely to be what we today would term "achievers."
  • The choleric whose focus is religious will focus his actions on organizing altruistic programs for the needy, Legalism, the activities of the Church, or, perhaps, Social Activism.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Those involved in the political or military arenas (and recall that, during the medieval period, these were equally Church concerns) will have concepts of "God and country" that are enduring and profound. Many a choleric has earned glory, but personal acclaim is never his sole concern.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • If a choleric "goes astray", it will be from bitterness and anger, though his principles generally remain unshaken.
  • He is apt to lose patience with those who lack his depth, and to judge as "lukewarm" the adaptable (and often peripheral) possessors of other temperamental inclinations.
  • Whatever he is and believes is totally genuine, however it may be distorted by misplaced zeal at times.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • His bitterness would be towards what he sees as maneuvering and manipulation that answers to no higher authority.
  • Trust in divine providence is critical for the choleric - and, as with the melancholic, difficult to develop.
  • He also can find that he is as likely to intimidate others as he is to inspire them.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The choleric's puzzlement at others' lack of depth can grow to disgust, and, too often, he who sees himself as championing the causes from which others will benefit can find himself quite alone.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The word picture of a Phlegmatic includes: laid back, easy going, needing structure, calm, passive, team oriented.
  • A Phlegmatic is typically an introvert; understanding that introvert doesn’t necessarily mean unsociable.
  • An introvert has an active inner life and can be tired by large amounts of social interaction.
  • They need quiet and solitude to recharge.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Introverts are often seen as arrogant or snobbish due to their quiet, introspective natures – this is rarely, if ever, true.
  • In the DiSC model, the Phlegmatic is the “S” for Steady or Structure.
  • Phlegmatics appear to the world as calm, easygoing people.
  • As friends they are fiercely loyal though they do not usually have a large number of friends.
  • It takes time to get to know a Phlegmatic because they are not naturally outgoing.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Phlegmatics make great team members because they are cooperative and do not insist on their own way. They tend to prefer repetitive, structured work, which also makes them excellent assistants or committee members.
  • The phlegmatic, is the calm, easy-going person. He is often slow-moving, and does not get ruffled easily. Many of the Latins have a strong phlegmatic streak in them.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The phlegmatic is usually easy to get along with, and has many friends, but is sometimes so laid back that he doesn't get around to things he should do.
  • He will often not volunteer for a leadership role, but if he somehow falls into it, he does well.
  • He is able to make peace between feuding parties.
  • He tends to see the humorous side of human nature, and may, with his dry humor, poke fun at others in a hilariously funny way

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The Phlegmatic has two chief weaknesses – first, they have to fight a tendency towards laziness.
  • It is very easy for a Phlegmatic to “drift” when faced with unstructured time.
  • The second weakness shared by Phlegmatics is a naturally fearful streak.
  • While apparently calm most of the time, the Phlegmatic’s inside world is awash with anxiety and fear.
  • These fears may be completely unfounded but still the Phlegmatic will find a way to worry.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • With all this inner ‘stuff’ going on, the Phlegmatic is still ‘hard to read’ and may be thought of as shy, snobbish, or arrogant – when, for the most part, none of these is true.
  • Most extroverts have a great deal of trouble understanding introverts, but have an easier time accepting Phlegmatics than they do the more critical Melancholy Temperament.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The phlegmatic lack the sparkle of the sanguine, but are also quite adaptable - and will not be likely to "rock the boat", neither through the zeal of the choleric and melancholic, nor unwittingly as with the sanguine.
  • Frequently (as in the case of the great theologian Aquinas, who is often thought to have been of this temperament), they can be extraordinary scholars.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The phlegmatic will have a direct and rather scientific approach.
  • The very lack of passion inherent in the phlegmatic, which can appear to be indifference in relationships with others, will keep their intellectual vision from becoming clouded

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The phlegmatic have a degree of detachment that makes for great minds, but does not foster warm relationships.
  • They will be unlikely to offend others, and equally unlikely to fall into the trap of judging, but will leave the others with a sense of indifference.
  • Where the sanguine role is with active involvement with others, the phlegmatic is the translator, writer, or scientist.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Those of phlegmatic temperament are likely to be stabilizing forces in any group situation.
  • They will have a sense of duty and responsibility that will be a strong influence on their actions and decisions.
  • Different though they are from the sanguine, they, too, need positive influences from the authority figures or groups with which they associate themselves.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Where the sanguine is a conformist for the sake of acceptance, the equally obedient phlegmatic will be so from a sense of obligation and respect for tradition and the status quo.
  • This can be a problem if the status quo is false, because they will not question those in authority.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The Sanguine temperament is the most common.
  • Today, they are prized for their extroverted and seemingly "happy go lucky" approach, but their lack of depth can be a weakness in spirituality.
  • Interestingly, these apparent free spirits often are most obedient in practice, because fitting in as part of a group is most important to them.
  • Women are often sanguine, in their nurturing, personal natures, usually very warm in their relationships

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Sanguines need the approval and attention of others (in fact, a spotlight often will suit them just fine), and not only enjoy the company (and security) of a group setting but seem to derive their energy from such interaction.
  • Their general amiability makes theirs perhaps the most attractive of temperaments, but, in serious situation, it can be enigmatic.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The sanguine temperament, obedient and adaptable though they will seem in religious life, do not base their behavior or their conformity to rules) on deep concepts or high ideals.
  • They will go along with the popular ideas, and can appear, to those of a more philosophical bent, as lacking integrity.
  • If what is presented as true or desirable in January is totally changed by March, the sanguine not only will parrot the latter views without regard for the apparent contradiction, but will be unlikely to realize such discrepancies even exist.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The sanguine is not seeking truth - he is looking for acceptance, and that he is likely to find, because, even if he becomes involved with a cause or a controversial matter, he will bend with the group's tendencies.
  • At first glance, the sanguine appear to be the most friendly of people, and, indeed, they are the most at ease in social situations.
  • Nonetheless, they remain blind to the effect their actions or decisions may have on others.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Being peripheral in their relationships, they seldom are the ones who can offer strength and support to others - they are unreliable, not through callousness, but because of their lack of depth.
  • It would be a sanguine sort who would be puzzled by how others could revolt at injustice - and their response well may be something like "but the rest of the village had to do it, too."

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • On the Religious side, those of sanguine temperament can have a simple, childlike faith that will appeal to those they serve.
  • They will have gratitude to God for whatever blessings they feel they have received.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • They are likely to be faithful to any state of life they embrace, and are likely to have a pleasant home atmosphere, and a delight in the simple things of life that can be very positive for others.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Melancholy is the perfectionist, who notices and often dwells on the flaws in things, and is very neat and orderly.
  • He tends to be moody, and introverted.
  • When he experiences a high he may be more outgoing, or even very creative, but if not, he is shy and retiring.
  • He is slow to make friends, but once he makes a friend, he is a faithful one, and will do almost anything for his friends.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Melancholic
  • The melancholic can be described as the temperament that longs for heaven so that life on this earth will always be a disappointment.
  • The depth and dedication of the melancholic will meet or exceed that of the choleric, but his natural caution and slowness to embrace new courses of action can leave him with a sense of having no way to channel his high ideals.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The melancholic will base his action on concepts often so lofty that those of other temperaments will not comprehend the motivation.
  • His relationship with God will appear to have the intensity and devotion of a love affair, but his reactions themselves, not only his ideals, will be of such duration that he will lack resilience when his deep feelings meet with resistance.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The idealism of the melancholic, so centered in an awareness of divine power, makes him the likely target for the devious.
  • However great his intelligence, the melancholic can become prey because if he encounters deceit when he himself is focused on truth and honesty, it will not occur to him that others do not share similar ideals.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • The melancholic who is devout will be inclined to seek a high degree of virtue, because union with God will be an overwhelming focus, and it will indeed be God alone that he seeks to please.
  • Even his frequent devotion to the service of others will be focused on ultimately pleasing the God towards whom his devotion is passionate.
  • He will naturally assume that all human behavior is based on his own consideration of lofty concepts.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • It may take years for a melancholic to develop any sort of closeness with those he meets, but, that done, he will be your most devoted friend or your worst enemy, and either will be "forever.”
  • Once harmed personally, exposed to grave injustice, or even seeing that, for example, those in authority have personal gain rather than the welfare of those they rule as their goals, his disillusionment will be strong and usually unshaken.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • Our profound choleric and melancholic friends, much as their temperaments may be respectively fire and ice, are likely to "leave their mark" to quite an extraordinary extent when presented with the opportunity.
  • But if the choleric can find his downfall in anger, the Melancholic's Achilles heel is despair.

LWBC 05-20-07

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Humoralism - 4 Temperaments
  • In a planning meeting he will often see the pitfalls and dangers of any project, and may be a thorn in the side of the achiever who wants to forge ahead.
  • He is usually willing to sacrifice himself for a program or a friend.
  • A good number of the geniuses of this world-architects, "artists, musicians, inventors, philosophers, educators"- had a melancholy temperament.
  • Perhaps a better description for the melancholy would be "perfectionist."

LWBC 05-20-07