Friday, November 15, 2013

Psychic Bisexuality and the Four Humours.

I've recently come across the four humours in two different contexts and I thought I'd share them and contrast them.

The first comes from Hegel's lecture notes included in the Philosophy of Mind. He writes:

"The main difference between these temperaments is based on whether a person gives himself up to the matter in hand or whether he is concerned about his own individuality. The former case occurs with the sanguine and phlegmatic temperaments, the latter with the choleric and melancholic"  (p. 53).

What is interesting here is that "concerned with individuality" can be taken in the introverted sense of imbuing one's work with one's own understanding of it. Jung uses introvert to refer to rationalist in Psychological Types and contrasts it to extrovert empiricism. The former wants to force reality to bend to laws and categories that are based upon human reason, while the latter eschews this but has his own value in finding examples that disprove the potentially Procrustean tendency of the rationalist and in collecting new data that can be systematized by the introvert. However, Hegel's meaning of "concern" can also mean what I have drawn attention to as the competition and desire to be regarded as the most skilled or most beautiful or tasteful. This means that the competition in egoism produces a wider interest in the work because one wants to be admired, as opposed to people who simply do the work and aren't compelled to investigate it more or be comprehensive because they don't get their self-esteem through being regarded as powerful.  

On the TV tropes site they draw attention to this side of ambition and desire to lead under the heading of extroversion.

As a note, Jung's use of Introvert and Extrovert is confused. He oscillates between introvert as anal-schizoid vs. Extrovert as genital-psycho-neurotic and Introvert as Adler's will to power vs. Extrovert as the hysteric wanting to be interesting and being other-focussed. Because he's not clear about it, no wonder it's misused.  

Extroversion at seems to be used in its common language sense of social/high-profile vs. shy/loner/socially awkward.  

Choleric (yellow bile): Extroverted and task-oriented. Mainly seeks success and completion of tasks, and likes to be in charge of successful projects. Exhibits leadership, dominance, ambition, and charisma; also tactical and very passionate. On the flip side, highly prideful, easily angered or upset and may show arrogance, narrow-mindedness, obsession, and a Hair-Trigger Temper — but known for not showing any kinds of emotion otherwise. Rather than forgive, tendency to snap and move on while kicking to the curb; tendency to blame others. Likes to be independent and have control over others; could be The Bully or a Bad Boss if in charge. The most likely to be things such as The Leader, The Neidermeyer, Anti-Hero, or The Lancer. If The Smart Guy, it's by being crafty and cunning. If female, will be a fierce Lady of Waror a Tsundere.

·   Will often correspond with the Realist when in a Four Philosophy Ensemble.

I don't think the distinction of social/high-profile vs. shy/loner/socially awkward is helpful. It's more like Reich's distinction between genital vs. neurotic character and there is no reason why the high ideals and good manners that the tropers define the melancholic by can't translate into them being engaged in being social or having a high profile.

Back to Hegel...

"The sanguine person forgets himself in what he is doing, and more specifically in such wise that by virtue of the superficial versatility of his nature, he involves himself in a variety of affairs; the phlegmatic person, on the contrary, steadfastly applies himself to one object." (p. 53).

I think this is an important point. The tendency of he hysteric as the OA libidinal position, and not a term that seeks to encompass the the anti-sex potential of the OE compulsive along with the OA position, has been recognized for a long time to result in dilettantism. Jung has called it the impulse to be interesting. Hans Sachs has mentioned it under the type of person who creates the impression of knowledge but has only superficial understanding that comes from having identified with another person and imitating him or her. Although I have identified it as the masculine form of altruism and Sachs, in line with the misogyny of early analysts, attributed it to women and showed the tendency of them to have sexual relations with their educators. However, this also shows up with boys and male teachers in ancient Greece and there are many superficially educated men or male dilettantes. Wes Anderson and Rushmore comes to mind as an example. Nietzsche writes of the actor type frequently in his work and doesn't connect it to the feminine.

Looking at the Sanguine as the object altruist, the tv tropes site does connect it to the phlegmatic as people-oriented. If we drop their extroverted and introverted designations then people-oriented could be used as altruism. Task-oriented could also bring up the aspect of competition and power that I mentioned for Hegel's designation of "concerned with individuality". However, to do this I am obviously stretching their meaning. They are commenting on work specifically and not the ego drive relations. They write

Sanguine (blood): Extroverted and people-oriented. Generally likes socialization, fun crowds, and showcases of people's talents; highly opposed to dwelling on the past. Exhibits optimism, compassion, good cheer, a love of fun, enthusiasm. On the flip side, they may be impulsive, self-indulgent, lustful, Drama Queens, or even be a space case. Tendency to anger-burst, followed by "forgive and forget"; tendency to move on rather than blame anyone. Can often be a Keet, The Loonie, Spirited Competitor, Boisterous Bruiser, Blood Knight,The Pollyanna, Gentleman and a Scholar, Gossipy Hen, or Motor Mouth; or if female, a more plucky/outgoing Proper Lady, Kawaiiko, Genki Girl, or The Chick.

·   Will often correspond with the Optimist when in a Four Philosophy Ensemble.

Hegel's comment on the phelgmatic having one object I have related to the same Sachs article in the tendency of the SA to work for the egoism of a specific person or group. In the object drives the SA in proto-phallic defusion will be a relationship in which she will be the mother's missing phallus (ie supply the missing glory or recognition for the mother's phallic image-ego). The SA is the helper or assistant to the person's ambitions or career and rounds out the missing aspects of their character. In the ego drives the person may carry on the legacy of the father (-substitute) in devoting themselves to his work or interests. The SA at this stage still doesn't have aggression for her own self-interest but can be an aggressive defender of another. 

The tropers write:

Phlegmatic (phlegm): Introverted and people-oriented. The dreams and passions of this temperament are mainly the spread of kindness, forgiveness, and restoration of peace and harmony. Generally calm, rational, quiet, and reliable; but also docile and timid, lazy, and frequently hides all emotions (other than sympathy). Tends to be dependent on others, either by choice or because of insecurity. This temperament is a people person but sometimes expresses these traits in an awkward fashion. Tendency to perhaps brood temporarily, but then "forgive and forget"; tendency to blame self. Can often be Weak, but Skilled, The Heart, Wide-Eyed Idealist, or a more relaxed version of The Smart Guy and, if female, may be an Emotionless Girl, Yamato Nadeshiko, or more submissive Proper Lady.

   Will often correspond with the Apathetic when in a Four Philosophy Ensemble.

I think that the tv tropes connections are good for the most part and thus provide illustrations of psychic bisexuality but not all. In particular the designation of apathetic for phlegmatic doesn't sit well with me. It's the subject altruist who cares the most for people who is bound to flip into cynic or misanthrope as a reaction formation. Additionally, Reich's connection of the masochist to complaining is important here. The object altruist and the designation of melancholic will relate to an apathy about being too good for the men and community around her. Although there may be antagonism with men a la penis envy and complaining about sexuality in compulsive hysteria (i.e. men being dogs who only care about sex and untrustworthy) the self-love aspect takes them away from the world and into themselves and having pride means they don't get involved in things. Their sense of being attractive is enough self-esteem and if they aren't then the sense of their superior ability to judge beauty and their 'inner values' are enough. 
Hegel goes on...

"But in choleric and melancholic persons it is, as we have already indicated, the clinging to subjectivity that predominates; however, these two temperaments in turn distinguished from each other by the fact that in the choleric, versatility predominates, and in the melancholic, apathy; so that in this connection the choleric temperament corresponds to the sanguine and the melancholic to the phlegmatic" (p.53).

I think that is interesting in that the versatility of the OA comes from identification with many others which isn't in the SE. However, the general anal drive to omnipotence or omniscience in the SE does push them to become more comprehensive and subject egoism in general, and more so with schizoid features, will push towards self-sufficiency. Additionally, as I mentioned, the self-esteem from beauty compensates the OE and reduces her interests to her specialized "inner values" or whatever interest gives her an edge in regard to being desirable. 

As I said above, I don't think that all of their examples are correct, but in a general way the phenomenology is correct in the tv trope characterization. Also, the language is more accessible than Hegel's and Hegel's account gives no examples for someone new to characterology to sink their teeth into.  

Melancholic (black bile): Introverted and task-oriented. These characters can be extremely passionate and have high ideals. The intentions and longings found in this temperament are mainly the making and following of rules, good manners being among those rules. These characters focus on the world of internal thought and the best way to apply those thoughts. Independent, courteous, organized, highly refined, hard-working, analytical; but also a detached, neurotic,  obsessive perfectionist whose insanely high standards can lead to depression. Rather than forgive, tendency to withdraw and brood; tendency to blame others, self, and "all of the above" (sometimes all at once). Prone to gluttony or coveting. Often The Sneaky Guy or a very serious form of The Smart Guy. Can often hide in a sour shell and, if female, be a more brooding loner-type Ice Queen, Dark Action Girl, The Ophelia, Femme Fatale or Mysterious Woman. Those melancholics who have taken to lives of action can be the Byronic Hero or a Manipulative Bastard. I Work Alone may also come into play.

·   Will often correspond with The Cynic when in a Four Philosophy Ensemble.

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