Back in the ROK days, I always meant to write an article about the four temperaments, because it seemed like an important thing the Manosphere totally glossed over. But I never got around to it. Then I later learned that Davis Aurini did a video series about it already.
It seems that this concept is almost entirely forgotten today despite a quarter of an eon’s worth of credibility. I minored in philosophy and had to take a class on Greco-Roman philosophy, and this was never covered. My brother never learned it in all of his psychology major classes. Once in a while Christians will rehash it out, but it is usually done in a way that is clumsy and unhelpful. It’s also the basis for Meyers-Briggs, but I feel like that’s too complex.
So I’ll explain the concept in brief. This is one of the most useful filters for interacting with the world.
There are two spectra (plural of “spectrum”, since we’re doing ancient philosophy) for personality. The first one is extroverted or introverted. Extroverts gain energy from being around others, and that enables them to be alone. Introverts gain energy from being alone, and that enables them to be around others. Introvert does not mean shy, though introverts tend to be shy and prefer for others to suggest what to do. Extroverts, on the other hand, tend to be opinionated and combatitive.
The second spectrum is more difficult to explain, but it’s the most important one. It’s sometimes described as task-oriented or relationship-oriented. Aurini described it as stabile personality or labile personality, but I don’t think that’s a good way of putting it. One could view it Freudianly, as being more super ego oriented (not sure how the punctuation works on a hyphenated double word) or more id-oriented. I generally describe it as being Apollonian or Dionysian.
The Apollonian personality is more concerned about accomplishing the task. The Dionysian personality is more concerned about how the result affects others. This is a matter of internal rhythm and not values. It’s not like one is right-wing and the other is left-wing.
So we have two spectra with two categories each, creating four personalities. Each line up with an element.
The first is the choleric, which is the extroverted Apollonian. It is associated with fire. This is what I am (obviously). So is Trump. Cholerics are leadership personalities. A world without cholerics would be a society where nothing gets accomplished, but a world of only cholerics would be a fascist hell. We cholerics thrive on conflict, and we don’t care about your emotions. Give us an actual argument for your position, and we’ll respect you. Tell us that what we are saying is offensive or that no one thinks that way, and we will call you a beta cuck.
Fire? I’m more like napalm. I’m a choleric supremacist. You may think religion is just an opiate, but if I were an atheist, I would probably be in prison for being a total psychopath. Athys claim religion is just artificial morality to keep people in line, but I don’t see that as a bad thing.
The next is the melancholic, which is the introverted Apollonian. It is associated with earth. Nixon is your textbook melancholic. Melancholics aren’t necessarily depressed, but they tend to be kind of gloomy. They are quiet and thoughtful, and they usually aren’t impulsive. These are the kinds of people who can spend ten hours at a time reading or practicing an instrument.
Most of my best friends ever have been melancholics. They like me because I give them a voice and bring out their inner extrovert, and I like them because they let me talk.
The third is the sanguine, which is the extroverted Dionysian. It is associated with air, because they are vapid people who never mature emotionally. These people need everyone to like them and will lash out at you if you don’t. They have boundless energy in no direction.
The sanguine is the sworn enemy of the choleric. Keith Richards constantly derailed Mick Jagger. John Lennon always resented Paul McCartney trying to make him stay on task. Aside from some decent pop music, sanguines never accomplish anything. I’m ready for Trump to bring the final solution.
The final personality is the phlegmatic. This is the introverted Dionysian, and it is usually associated with water. I don’t really understand these people, but I don’t mind them. They just want to get along with everyone and are deathly afraid of conflict. They tend to just agree with you and let you do what you want. After a while they get sick of me though. Brian Wilson is a perfect example of a phlegmatic.
So we have four personalities or temperaments, each with a very different internal rhythm. This is a natural law. You cannot change it anymore than you can change gravity or patriarchy.
And these four quadrants are super necessary for society. A society wouldn’t accomplish anything if everyone was the same or if everyone was radically different. You need four templates and roles for people to play.
Consider the apostles. John was a phlegmatic, Peter was a sanguine, and Paul was probably a melancholic or perhaps a choleric. And they each had a little different take on the same message. A New Testament written by just one apostle would feel narrow and one-sided. You need Paul to hammer out dogma and Peter to talk about its practical effect and John to explain how you should have internalized it. Same message, each with a very different feel.
But we are no longer aware of this in our society. We are constantly told to suppress our internal rhythm and adapt to others’. Meanwhile, we expect other people to adapt to our own rhythm and grow enraged when someone falls in a different place on the Apollonian-Dionysian spectrum.
I think this is where a lot of liberal outrage comes from. And really, it’s not just a liberal thing. You write something on Facebook about how women who can’t cook at a basic feed-yourself-like-an-adult level are failures as women and should be referred to as female humanoids. Instead of providing evidence contrary to your claim or even just an alternative way to view humanity, the sanguines of your friends list unite to tell you that no one thinks like this and you’ll never find a wife and more people would agree with you if you moderated your tone and no they aren’t arguing because you’re just wrong. Because access to sex is totally what your worldview should be based on.
This is why people hate ROK. “It’s mean and cynical and has a low view of women.” Okay, but is it wrong? No, it just gives you bad feelings. “They think women should just be bang-slaves.” That’s not true at all; you just got that idea because the website is blunt and calloused. (There are definitely some writers on ROK who are idiots – but that’s to be expected, because the concept of ROK is to collect together a wide variety of voices, positions and experiences based around a central theme.)
And really, this isn’t just a Dionysian thing. Our society doesn’t value emotional maturity, nor do we have a model for what it looks like. So whichever personality you are, you are likely to take that personality to its fullest extent.
This is also why people are excessively mean in Facebook comments sections. It’s the cholerics with a free range to build the utopia and no real consequences. Are you disagreeing with me and won’t listen to the reasons I so carefully laid out? Off to the chambers with you, cuck! Helicopter rides are an extremely efficient way to reduce the number of communist swine in the world. I’ll gladly destroy your sense of self-worth if it makes you less confident in your opinions.
A lot of these arguments over ideology stem from a difference in internal rhythm. The sanguines and the phlegmatics don’t know how to respond to us uebermenschen who do whatever we like, so they just say that we aren’t keeping good social order and that’s the end of that. And we tell them that their emotions are stupid and worthless and they should be more sociopathic like us because we’re trying to make America great again and that can’t happen if we’re worried about breaking a few eggs.
“Nobody thinks like you do!” Is that supposed to be an insult? How is that possibly relevant? Especially if we are talking about Christianity, which, almost by definition, is supposed to be a minority perspective.
And no, it doesn’t do any good to explain any of the above, because it requires emotional maturity to understand how everyone has a different rhythm, and in our air-conditioned Babylon we can’t be bothered with emotional maturity because we’re too focused on our own feelings and desires. Consider how other people feel and be patient with different opinions, realizing that we all have fallible logic and lack of experience? That doesn’t sound fun at all. Maybe there’s a reason I’m trying to break the spirit of some jackass on your Facebook wall beyond just having fun trolling.
This is one reason why people hate on Trump. “He has no social tact! What an idiot!” No, he is just playing a different game. He’s the lunatic genius. But people don’t want to consider other opinions, even if just to know why you disagree with someone. I can understand why someone may dislike or feel extremely ambivalent towards Trump or ROK or racially aware sentiments – but anyone who truly hates Trump or ROK or white identitarians will stab you in the back. Maybe it won’t be over politics or religion, but they’ll shiv you at the first convenience, because they are intimidated by the idea of objective reality.
And don’t think the cholerics are pure logic. Schools and colleges don’t teach logic anymore. I’m 27, and people just three years younger than me seem to be from an entirely different generation, whether conservative or liberal. They don’t know how to make an argument, much less analyze the one you’re making. Instead they just emote. Or if they try to have an argument, the define words wrong and use all manner of fallacies and then claim you just lack information. And yeah, I get that’s part of being young, but these 20 year olds seem to have a different quality about their self-righteousness than when I was that age. They assume everything you say is a personal attack on them, because that’s what they’re doing to you.
Yeah, like you’re the first teenage atheist I’ve ever met. You’re telling me I am only repeating what my church has taught me because I disagree that the whites slaughtered the Indians in the name of Jesus? How innovative of you. The first person to ever discover that God is dead. I’m just in awe of your brilliance.
And while it is worse among the young, they by no means have a monopoly on it. I left protestantism because I couldn’t win their stupid game. They told me to read the Bible for myself and to come up with my own conclusions. And when my conclusion was somewhat different than the standard Lifeway position, they claimed I was just looking for attention or being provocative. Fuckin’ sanguines, man.
This is the society we live in. We cancel cable and subscribe to Netflix. Instead of a communal punch bowl, we go to a bar and get the exact cocktail we want. We find dates by scrolling through a catalog online and filtering searches by preferences about smoking and hobbies.
The Marxists have accomplished their dream of creating the atomized individual. We blame the corporations or the government or the ever-vaguely defined “elites” for turning mankind into a monetary value, but we do it ourselves.
Who gives the media their moral authority? Who makes Christmas a materialistic holiday of token gestures of goodwill? Who enables McDonald’s to thrive while the local diner that tastes a million times better goes out of business? Why, you do, dear consumer! You are the heartbeat of the American economy.
I try to be aware of others’ temperaments. The sanguines and phlegmatics will always accuse me of being provocative, because they assume it’s inherently wrong. And so I don’t argue with them at length. I’ll state my position and perhaps explain it a few different ways, and if they don’t understand, then I move on. There’s no point in bantering at length with these people. They will either understand what you are saying or they won’t.
Things need to be stated simply to those with a Dionysian personality, because they just don’t have the intellectual depth to care about why or how you believe something. All words should have three syllables at the very most, and they should be words that convey the general idea and not specific shades within the range of synonyms. It’s important to tell them how these ideas affect others and don’t exist in a vacuum. Phlegmatics and sanguines see the forest, not the trees, and that’s why they miss so many details.
The melancholics and cholerics, I’ll go into much more detail with. They’ll appreciate all the small nuances of what I’m trying to defend. They won’t get offended if I point out a fallacy. They like having twenty words with slightly different meanings to convey the same idea. They won’t rush to agree or disagree but will let it marinate. These are my friends.
The phlegmatics seem to know their place and allow their betters to lead. It’s the sanguines who are always trying to usurp the natural order of society. Sanguines think they are cholerics. Whatever emotion they are feeling at the time is their absolute truth and should be acted on to its fullest extent. And there’s nothing you can do to argue against someone with logic whom God has designed to be fully emotional.
And perhaps here is the fabled gender equality of feminist lore. Because plenty of men are sanguines and phlegmatics, and plenty of women are cholerics and melancholics. I’ve written before that men argue the issue and women argue the person, and I still agree with that, but layered over that is another layer in which some men argue the person and some women argue the issue. But in a different way. I’m not sure it’s possible to really describe. Perhaps it’s that choleric women will argue the person in order to get the task accomplished, and sanguine men will argue the issue in order to support the person.
But we have to be balanced and fair. Choleric people can be nightmares if they don’t keep a check on themselves. I want to write a complete treatment on temperaments and emotional immaturity, so I have to criticize my own tribe.
Halfway through my senior year in high school, I joined a Baptist church where I spent the next year and a half. This was one of the seminal events in my life, but I’m not going to go into all the detail. What I want to focus on is the youth pastor Jeff, who embodied the worst of choleric tendencies.
He was one of those youth pastors that seems to genuinely hate teenagers. Or at least, he didn’t have any patience for teenagers to act like punk ass teenagers, and he gave us no benefit of the doubt when we would act glib or arrogant. 40 years old. Former high school band director. No seminary education but claimed that God called him directly into church service (which I am neither believing nor disbelieving). On the whole, an amazing specimen of wasted talent and a great proverb in how hubris will destroy the best of intentions.
Jeff would divy the church up into “good people” and “bad people”, and there’s nothing you could do to switch sides once he decided. Like most evangelicals, this had a lot to do with the charisma and speaking power of the individual. Like many teenagers from broken homes, I had the social skills and emotional maturity of an autistic trying to be a stand up comedian, so you can guess which of the teams Jeff put me into.
In his quest to purify the church, he would turn against people who otherwise were supportive of him. For the first six months, we had a great fatherly relationship, and then I spent the next year trying to put back the failing relationship, only to watch it fall apart faster. He waged a vendetta against me (and others) as best as he was able, and nothing I could do or say could convince him that I was on his side. I finally left the church on the brink of atheism.
So cholerics, learn to chill a bit. You’re not always right. Your mission may be noble, but the ends do not justify the means. After all, this is the same personality trait that led the Soviets to putting minor dissidents into labor camps.
It’s okay for the world to be a little imperfect. I checked the forecast, and as it turns out, the sun will come up tomorrow. Justice is a fairy tale. I know it’s hard, but it’s usually best to maintain good relationships with people if possible, especially in a church setting.