Steiner's comment on the bodies of the Temperaments

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Steiner's comment on the bodies of the Temperaments



"Let us, for instance, take the choleric person, who has a strong firm center in his inner being. If the ego predominates, the person will assert himself against all outer oppositions; he wants to be in evidence. This ego is the restrainer. Those pictures are consciousness-pictures. The physical body is formed according to its etheric body, the etheric body according to its astral body... Choleric persons appear as a rule as if growth had been retarded. [short] Thereby he reveals clearly that the other members of his being have been held back by the excess of ego. Not the astral body with its forming capacity is the predominant member, but the ego rules, the restrainer, the limiter of the formative forces. Hence we see as a rule in those who are preeminently men of strong will, where the ego restrains the free formative force of the astral body, a small compact figure. Take another classical example of the choleric: Napoleon, the “little General,” who remained so small because the ego held back the other members of his being. There you have the type of the retarded growth of the choleric. There you can see how this force of the ego works out of the spirit, so that the innermost being is manifest in the outer form. 
Observe the physiognomy of the choleric! Take in comparison the phlegmatic person! How indefinite are his features; how little reason you have to say that such a form of forehead is suited to the choleric. In one organ it is shown especially clearly whether the astral body or the ego works formatively, that is in the eye, in the steady, assured aspect of the eye of the choleric. As a rule we see how this strongly-kindled inner light, which turns everything luminously inward, sometimes is expressed in a black, a coal-black eye... The firm walk proclaims the choleric, so to speak. Even in the step we see the expression of strong ego-force. In the choleric child we already notice the firm tread; when he walks on the ground, he not only sets his foot on it, but he treads as if he wanted to go a little bit farther, into the ground.

The complete human individual is a copy of this innermost being, which declares itself to us in such a way. But naturally, it is not a question of my maintaining that the choleric person is short and the sanguine tall. We may compare the form of a person only with his own growth. It depends upon the relation of the growth to the entire form.

Notice the sanguine person! Observe what a strange glance even the sanguine child has; it quickly lights upon something, but just as quickly turns to something else; it is a merry glance; an inner joy and gaiety shine in it; in it is expressed what comes from the depths of the human nature, from the mobile astral body, which predominates in the sanguine person. In its mobile inner life this astral body will work upon the members; and it will also make the person's external appearance as flexible as possible. Indeed, we are able to recognize the entire outer physiognomy, the permanent form and also the gestures, as the expression of the mobile, volatile, fluidic astral body. The astral body has the tendency to fashion, to form. The inner reveals itself outwardly; hence the sanguine person is slender and supple. Even in the slender form, the bony structure; we see the inner mobility of the astral body in the whole person. It comes to expression for example in the slim muscles. It is also to be seen in his external expression. Even one who is not clairvoyant can recognize from the rear whether a person is of sanguine or choleric temperament; and to be able to do this one need not be a spiritual scientist. In a sanguine person we have an elastic and springing walk. In the hopping, dancing walk of the sanguine child we see the expression of the mobile astral body. The sanguine temperament manifests itself especially strongly in childhood. See how the formative tendency is expressed there; and even more delicate attributes are to be found in the outer form. If in the choleric person we have sharply-cut facial features, in the sanguine they are mobile, expressive, changeable. And likewise there appears in the sanguine child a certain inner possibility to alter his countenance. Even to the color of the eyes we could confirm the expression of the sanguine person. The inwardness of the ego-nature, the self-sufficient inwardness of the choleric, meets us in his black eye. Look at the sanguine person in whom the ego-nature is not so deep-rooted, in whom the astral body pours forth all its mobility — there the blue eye is predominant. These blue eyes are closely connected with the individual's invisible inner light, the light of the astral body...

And now let us go further. Again we see how the phlegmatic temperament also is brought to expression in the outer form. In this temperament there predominates the activity of the etheric body, which has its physical expression in the glandular system and its soul expression in a feeling of ease, in inner balance. If in such a person everything is not only normally in order within, but if, beyond this normality, these inner formative forces of ease are especially active, then their products are added to the human body; it becomes corpulent, it expands. In the largeness of the body, in the development of the fatty parts, we see that which the inner formative forces of the etheric body are especially working on. The inner sense of ease of the phlegmatic person meets us in all that. And who would not recognize in this lack of reciprocal action between the inner and the outer the cause of the ofttimes slovenly, dragging gait of the phlegmatic person, whose step will often not adapt itself to the ground; he does not step properly, so to speak; does not put himself in relation to things. That he has little control over the forms of his inner being you can observe in the whole man. The phlegmatic temperament confronts one in the immobile, indifferent countenance, even in the peculiarly dull, colorless appearance of the eye. While the eye of the choleric is fiery and sparkling, we can recognize in that of the phlegmatic the expression of the etheric body, focused only upon inner ease.

The melancholic is one who cannot completely attain mastery over the physical instrument, one to whom the physical instrument offers resistance, one who cannot cope with the use of this instrument. Look at the melancholic, how he generally has a drooping head, has not the force in himself to stiffen his neck. The bowed head shows that the inner forces which adjust the head perpendicularly are never able to unfold freely. The glance is downward, the eye sad, unlike the black gleam of the choleric eye. We see in the peculiar appearance of the eye that the physical instrument makes difficulties for him. The walk, to be sure, is measured, firm, but not like the walk of the choleric, the firm tread of the choleric; it has a certain kind of dragging firmness."


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