Monday, July 04, 2005

I am melancholic

Or so this quiz says!

It basically gives you your "Medieval Personality type" as presented in "The Four Temperaments," by Rev. Conrad Hock. There are four types - melancholic, sanguine, choleric, and phlegmatic.

You are a "nervous" Melancholic, with an abundance of black bile. Melancholics are characterized by the element of Earth, the season of Autumn, middle-aged adulthood, the color blue, and the characteristics of "Cold" and "Dry." Famous Melancholics include St. John of the Cross, St. John the Divine, St. Francis, and St. Catherine of Siena.

If you were living in the Age of Faith, perfect career choices for you would be contemplative religious, theologian, artist, or writer.

The rest of the profile, which you can read at this link states that the "Fundamental Disposition" of the Melancholic is:

1. Inclination to reflection. The thinking of the melancholic easily turns into reflection. The thoughts of the melancholic are far reaching. He dwells with pleasure upon the past and is preoccupied by occurrences of the long ago; he is penetrating; is not satisfied with the superficial, searches for the cause and correlation of things; seeks the laws which affect human life, the principles according to which man should act ... The untrained melancholic is easily given to brooding and to day-dreaming.

2. Love of retirement. The melancholic does not feel at home among a crowd for any length of time; he loves silence and solitude. Being inclined to introspection he secludes himself from the crowds, forgets his environment, and makes poor use of his senses — eyes, ears, etc. In company he is often distracted, because he is absorbed by his own thoughts. By reason of his lack of observation and his dreaming the melancholic person has many a mishap in his daily life and at his work.

3. Serious conception of life. The melancholic looks at life always from the serious side. At the core of his heart there is always a certain sadness, 'a weeping of the heart,' not because the melancholic is sick or morbid, as many claim, but because he is permeated with a strong longing for an ultimate good (God) and eternity, and feels continually hampered by earthly and temporal affairs and impeded in his cravings. The melancholic is a stranger here below and feels homesick for God and eternity.

4. Inclination to passivity. The melancholic is a passive temperament. The person possessing such a temperament, therefore, has not the vivacious, quick, progressive, active propensity, of the choleric or sanguine, but is slow, pensive, reflective. It is difficult to move him to quick action, since he has a marked inclination to passivity and inactivity. This pensive propensity of the melancholic accounts for his fear of suffering and difficulties as well as for his dread of interior exertion and self-denial.

The profile goes on to say that on the bright side of this personality type, melancholics easily enjoy prayer and the interior life, and experience deep peace in communion with God as well as often being benefactors to their fellow man. On the dark side, it notes that melancholics are reserved, slow and awkward, despondent and without courage.

I usually don't put much store in these kinds of personality tests, except this one was more extensive than just your usual one-off quiz. I have to say that it mostly rings true. Especially the "dread of self-denial" bit, ouch. I know the "abundance of various bodily fluids" thing is kind of gross but .... Hey, these are medieval personality types! Those people were earthy!

And did you notice that my ideal medieval career would be "contemplative religious"? Lucky me, there are still plenty of cloisters around, so you can still do that nowadays!

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