What to know about the Four Human Temperaments – It’s good to know your constitutional type and how to eat, live and medicate yourself properly for optimum health maintenance or disease prevention.
What to know about the four human temperaments
These are the basis of all constitutional notions of diagnosis and treatment in Greek Medicine. Each temperament is named after certain humor and it’s characterized by the predominance of that humor including its associated basic qualities.
Your temperament plays an important role in all manifestations of individuality which are of concern to practical life. We always sense something of this basic mood whenever we encounter another human being. Thus we can only hope that spiritual science will tell us what we need to know about human temperaments.
Our first impression of the human temperaments is that they are external, for although they can be said to flow from within they manifest themselves into everything we can observe from without. However, this does not mean that the human riddle can be solved by means of observation or natural science.
Certain characteristics we can attribute to heredity. On the other hand, as a human develops from childhood on, he/she can see unfolding out of the center of his being something that must be the fruit of preceding lives, something she could never have inherited from his ancestors. We have come to know the law of reincarnation, of the succession of earthly lives and this, is but a special case of an all-encompassing cosmic law.
In human beings not only does the species will definitely evolve, but so does the individual herself. What we acquire in a lifetime through education and experiences are preserved, just as surely as are the evolutionary achievements of an animal’s ancestral line. It will someday be commonplace to trace someone’s inner core to a previous existence. The human being will come to be known as the product of an earlier life.
The views that stand in the way of this doctrine and will be overcome, just as was the scholarly opinion of an earlier century that held that living organisms could arise from nonliving substances.
Human and Temperaments
The most important questions
- How can a thing originating in a completely different world, that must seek a mother and father, unite itself with physical corporeality?
- How can it clothe itself in the bodily features that link human beings to a hereditary chain?
- How does the spiritual-psychic stream, of which human forms a part through reincarnation, unite itself with the physical stream of heredity?
There must be a synthesis to be achieved as the answer.
When the 2 (two) streams combine, each simply imparts something of its own quality to the other. In much the same way that yellow and blue combine to produce green, the two streams in the human being combine to yield what is commonly known as the temperament. Our inherited traits and inner self both appear in it.
Temperament stands between whatever that connects a human being to an ancestral line and those the human brings with him out of earlier incarnations.
Temperament strikes a balance between the ephemeral and the eternal. And it does this in such a way that the essential members of the human being, which we have come to know in other contexts, enter into a very specific relationship with another. Human beings as we know them in this life are beings of 4 (four) members.
The first is the physical body; they have in common with the mineral world. The 1st super-sensible member, the etheric body, is integrated into the physical and separates from it only at death.
There follows as the 3rd member; the astral body and the bearer of instincts, passions, desires, drives and of the ever-changing content of sensation and thoughts.
Our highest member, which places us above all other earthly beings, is always the bearer of the human ego, which endows us in such a curious and yet undeniable fashion with the power of self-awareness. These 4 members we have come to know as the essential constituents of a human being.
How many human temperaments do we have?
The way the 4 (four) members combine is determined by the flowing together of the 2 (two) streams upon a human’s entry into the physical world. In every case, one out of the four members achieves predominance over the others and then gives them its own peculiar stamp.
Where the astral body predominates, we always find a sanguine temperament. Where the etheric or life-body predominates, we talk of a phlegmatic temperament. Where the bearer of the ego predominates, that’s choleric temperament results. And where the physical body predominates, we have to deal with a melancholic temperament.
The specific way in which the eternal and the ephemeral combine determines what relationship the 4 (four) members will enter into with one another.
The ways the four members find their expression in the physical body of humans has also frequently been mentioned.
The ego expresses itself in the circulation of blood. For this reason, also in the choleric, the predominant system is that of the blood. The astral body expresses itself physically in the nervous system, and that’s for sanguine, the nervous system holds sway.
The etheric body expresses itself in the glandular system; hence the phlegmatic is dominated physically by his glands.
The physical body as such expresses itself only in itself; thus the outwardly most important feature in the melancholic is always his physical body. We can observe these in all phenomena connected with these temperaments. In the choleric, the ego and the blood system predominate.
The choleric thus comes across as someone who must always have his way. His aggressiveness, everything connected with his forcefulness of will, derives from his blood circulation.
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