HJ: Like many wise systems of ancient medicine and healing understood, such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, we all have predominant types that cover both or bodies and our personalities, with interplay between both. Today’s article is about the personality side of the equation. By understanding where you fit in to the triad, you can better understand yourself, your unique strengths and challenges and how best to proceed through your life for maximum happiness, healing, abundance, joy and growth.
Three Basic Personality Types: Reason, Will, Emotion
The Guide via Eva Pierrakos | International Pathwork Foundation
There are three basic types of human personality. The first type governs his or her life and reactions mainly with reason. The second type does so mainly with emotion, and the third does so with the will. In other words, the three personality types are dominated by reason, by emotion, and by will. In your self-search it will be useful for you to find out which type you are. A personality is never completely one-sided; every person is a mixture of types, but one is always predominant. In some cases, the predominance is obvious; in others, the mixture is more complicated, and therefore the predominant type is more difficult to detect.
In the ideal personality, each of the three aspects has a rightful place. The harmonious person functions with each aspect in a perfect way. Since there is no completely purified human being, however, the three trends are often directed into wrong channels, aside from imbalance or predominance. For instance, where reason should prevail, emotions do, or vice versa.
When, in your inner work, you penetrate your soul, your images, your wrong conclusions, the layers of your errors and whatever you may encounter, this approach will give you added understanding about who you are, what you are, how you are in reality.
Let us begin with the reason-type, the personality governed predominantly by reason. Those who conduct their lives mainly by the reasoning process are apt to neglect the emotions. They are afraid of emotions. They thwart and cripple them, and in doing so they cripple one of the most important instruments in life, namely, the intuition. Those who are afraid of emotion cannot trust their intuition, because intuition is blurred by their fear of it, by their distrust of its supposed intangibility. The reason-type often secretly looks down on the emotion-type. He or she is proud to be so steeped in the reasoning process. And the will, which is not necessarily self-will, is, in this type, used mainly to follow deductions made with the reasoning process, seldom paying attention to the emotions or intuitions, which also should be heeded.
Such a person of reason is often an intellectual, perhaps a scientist. He or she is often an agnostic or even an atheist, who tends to be materialistic. However, it would be a gross generalization to state that all, or even most, reason-types are spiritually less developed or aware than, for instance, emotion-types. This is not so. There are many highly developed and spiritually awakened reason-types, just as there are awakened emotion-types. They differ only in the approach.
The reason-type finds it more difficult to experience the divine within. The emotion-type encounters other difficulties. Furthermore, the reason-type has great difficulty with intuitive judgment of others and of the self. The will, which is a necessity in life for all, is used onesidedly by both types. The reason-type uses will premeditatedly, often overcautiously, whereas the emotion-type is carried away by emotions and uses willpower unconsciously and erratically. The harmonious personality finds the healthy middle way and uses the will rationally or emotionally, depending on the situation. The will should be a servant both to reason and emotion.
It will be easy for you to see that the reason-type goes through life missing a great deal of experience, mostly out of fear and pride. This type fears that emotion might lead to an experience he or she will be unable to cope with. Emotional life necessarily carries uncertainty and risk, whereas the rational type tries to keep everything well ordered, “knowing" at all times where one stands, and avoiding the emotions, which leave one at sea.
The emotion-type is equally onesided. Predominantly emotional people often pride themselves that only they are capable of truly feeling. They secretly look down on people they derogatorily label “intellectuals." Yet, the extreme of this type is not one iota less removed from harmony and divine law than is the extreme reason-type. It is true that the emotion-type tends to have a good intuition and is sometimes less afraid of feeling and inner experience than is the reason-type. However, the emotion-type, contrary to the reason-type who holds life’s reins too tightly, often loses his or her grip on life’s reins altogether. The overemotional person completely loses sight of the fact that reason also is God-given. Such people are just as arrogant as the reason-type who looks down on the emotion-type. They are often so carried away by uncontrolled feelings that they not only lose control over themselves but become blind to that which is often most important for their lives and development. Due to their overemphasis on the emotional side, they neglect the equally important reasoning functions of thinking, discriminating, selecting, and weighing. They must learn to use the intellect to curb the wild emotions that, without necessarily being impure, flow without purpose or direction. Only then can they use the will properly.
Uncontrolled emotions bring havoc into the extreme emotion-person’s life, as well as into his or her surroundings. The temptation to give in to the emotions is at first manageable, but the longer one gives in to them, the more difficult it becomes to resist the temptation, until one is simply carried away by the torrent of uncontrolled emotions, which destroy everything in their wake. Such a person cannot help being selfish and destructive, although this kind of selfishness is different from the selfishness of the reason-personality type.
The emotion-type person needs first to realize that what he or she has been so proud of has ceased to be an asset because of its extreme manifestation. This type must cultivate the faculty of selecting, deliberately thinking and planning. This selecting process is the beginning of wisdom.
The emotion-type also uses will, of course, for no one can exist without doing so. But the emotion-type uses will chaotically and impulsively, without planning or deliberation. Submerged in unchanneled instincts rather than constructive intuition, such a person loses balance in life, just as the reason-type does in the opposite way.
Both are subconsciously afraid of their opposite extremes, and therefore they remain in their own extreme. They thus act from a wrong conclusion. Led by the wrong conclusion, they feel or unconsciously think that their own extreme is a better solution to life than the opposite type’s. The reason-type, afraid of losing control, cuts out not only a major part of life’s necessary experience, but beauty and happiness as well. The emotion-type fears that curbing and disciplining his or her nature will eliminate something valuable in life. Both are wrong—for only the harmonious middle path leads to the complete solution.
Although there are obvious representatives of both types, there are many more who are not quite so clear-cut: a person may be overemotional or overintellectual in some aspects of their personality, yet be more balanced, or even tend to the opposite extreme, in other aspects. Or, the person’s true nature may be masked. For example, a basically emotional person chooses, because of fear and immature currents, a mask of intellectuality that is foreign to her or his true nature. Such a person may appear outwardly very calm and controlled, but inside is caught in a storm of emotions, unable to find peace until starting to work toward achieving a proper balance.
In the third category is the will-type who is altogether different. Will is supposed to be a servant, never a master. Ideally the will should serve equally the reasoning process and the emotional and intuitive faculties. The will-type makes a master of the servant. This brings the personality out of focus in a way that can become dangerous.
Like the other two types, such persons may unconsciously look down on both of the others. The will-type thinks or feels something to the effect of, “The reason-type is just an intellectual who talks well and has wonderful theories, but it is all in the abstract. Nothing is accomplished by that. Nothing is achieved. I am the achiever." The emotion-type, who accomplishes even less, is even more despicable to the will-type. The judgment is right in both cases, as the other two types are right in their judgments about the other extremes. But all the types are wrong in believing that their own extreme is better than those extremes they look down upon.
The person of will, for whom the servant is the master, is out for achievement and tangible results. This focus tends to make such a person impatient and apt to forfeit the very result he or she seeks. It cripples the reasoning process, which, joined with the emotional nature, leads to wisdom. Without such wisdom, people either cannot accomplish what they set out to accomplish or, if they succeed, cannot benefit from the accomplishment in the right way and thus will lose it again. The will-type tends to lose sight not only of caution but also of many aspects and considerations of life that are essential in order to gain truth for the self, for others, as well as for any given situation.
The person of will also neglects the emotional side, fearing emotion as much as the reason-type does, but with a different purpose in mind, which is often unconscious. Emotions are acceptable to the will-type only so long as she or he remains master of them; otherwise, emotions might hinder this person’s aim. The will-type, like the reason-type, also misses an integral part of the life experience, of giving one’s self up to a feeling without knowing the outcome and the possible advantage of doing so.
These are three broad types, my friends; as I said, you do not always find a personality with characteristics so predominant that the type is easily recognizable. You all know many human beings, and since it is always easier to know the other than the self, you may form certain conclusions about your fellow creatures from the angle I have described. In most people two of the three faculties are predominant, whereas the third is crippled. In a great many others, all three faculties function, but each functions in a wrong channel, at least in some respects, while the proper functioning is insufficient and does not apply to the whole personality.
You may remember the lecture I gave about the active and the passive forces, in which I said that both currents are necessary for the healthy human soul. It would be just as wrong to be an entirely active person as to be an entirely passive one. Actually, such a person does not exist, although there may be a predominance of one trait in many a person. But what frequently happens is that the active current flows through the channel destined for the passive current, and vice versa. It is similar with reason, emotion, and will. Even when there is no outright predominance, emotion perhaps is used where reason should function, and vice versa; the will does not function where it should, yet often it functions where it should not.
This discussion, my dear ones, should help you, as you get deeper and deeper into your own souls, to find out where and how all these aspects or currents function—where one interferes with the other, instead of helping it along and thereby creating one harmonious whole.
Is there a question on this subject, my friends?
QUESTION: Does not this division correspond to the so-called Kretzschmar types: the cerebrotonics, the somatotonics, and the viscerotonics? In other words, the personality types are combined with the physical habitus of human beings?
ANSWER: Yes, of course. It applies to everything. No soul current is entirely independent of its physical manifestation. The physical body is an outpicturing of the soul currents, and this outpicturing can occur in many ways.
QUESTION: Is it possible to react predominantly with emotion to some people and with willpower toward others? I mean, can the same individual react in one way toward one person and in another way toward others?
ANSWER: Certainly. But there must be a reason for that. People on this path who observe this phenomenon in themselves should ask why they react toward a particular person differently than they usually react. All these things are very important for self-observation.
QUESTION: If one were to achieve purification completely, the three aspects would be pretty much equal, I presume?
QUESTION: Does everyone have the same potential for the development of each of these qualities?
ANSWER: No. There are basic types. Each divine spirit was created perfect in one way, yet each was a distinct being, a personality in his own right with different talents and characteristics. But there was no disharmony in the distribution of currents. The highest angel of the active forces is not disharmonious in his activity, as an unpurified human being would be with an overactive current. He is just perfect in his own way, a specialist in his activity, which excludes the possibility of a disharmonious overemphasis. It is the same with the highest representatives of the three aspects I discussed tonight. The perfection of the reason-personality would be the Angel of Wisdom. The perfection of the emotion-personality would be the Angel of Love. The perfection of the will-personality would be the Angel of Courage.
QUESTION: Wouldn’t it be ideal to have all three in balance?
ANSWER: The ideal form is in balance, but that does not mean that they are distributed in equal measure. Balance and harmony do not always mean an equal measure of each current. Balance depends on the way the currents are distributed; on how the distribution works in cause and effect; on the way one current strengthens another instead of weakening it, as happens in the disharmonious, unpurified being.
If you reread the story of Creation I told you some time ago, you will see that God created each spirit perfect in its unique way. The idea was that these spirits would perfect themselves with the creative power that was given to them. In other words, they would perfect themselves in all ways, instead of remaining perfect in one special way, and thus would become godlike. Instead, many spirits used their power in the wrong way—causing the Fall. Had the Fall not happened, all spirits would have become truly divine in every conceivable respect, instead of being specialists in one particular aspect. This process of perfect creation will continue, after all the fallen spirits again reach their original perfection in one particular way, until the Plan of Salvation is successfully accomplished. Until then all pure spirits—those who did not participate in the Fall, as well as those who have already reached their original state—pool their resources to help in the Plan of Salvation, postponing their own further creation to some extent, although in an indirect way they work toward that end by helping in the great plan.
QUESTION: Aside from this triad—willing, thinking, and feeling—are there any other types?
ANSWER: Yes. Some I discussed already, others I will discuss in the future.
QUESTION: I don’t understand why the angel of courage is the perfection of will. I can’t understand this at all.
ANSWER: If you have courage, you need a great amount of will, in a positive sense. Isn’t that clear? Can you explain why you do not feel that courage and will go together?
QUESTIONER: Well, I know a lot of people who have no willpower but who are very courageous.
ANSWER: That has nothing to do with it. A person can be very emotional but the emotions may be all covered up so that this person appears to be quite cold. A person who has no willpower and yet has courage may summon this courage partly from the recesses of the soul where all perfect attributes slumber—partly in response to outside events, to prove to himself and others that he or she has willpower.
QUESTION: Is there also a certain courage that comes from fear?
ANSWER: Definitely. A positive attribute can originate in either a positive or a negative motive or current. That is the complication of the human soul. In addition to its pure background, any quality may be motivated by negative tendencies. The same applies to faults. But the natural and positive extension of will is courage. Both will and courage are active. In will there must be a strong active current. That will is often used negatively and self-destructively is something else again. And also, the fact that inborn courage, which is based on willpower, cannot function because of other deviations in the personality does not negate the principle. We are not discussing the many possibilities of mixed-up soul currents, where the will may be broken and then appears only in certain aspects of life. Will needs active pressure, either positive or negative. It needs activity. In the purified state, the will would manifest as courage. It may even manifest as courage in the unpurified state, although then the courage is used for wrong purposes. Courage cannot exist without activity; courage appears in a spirit of surging ahead, in a spirit of doing, rather than in a spirit of being, as would apply for instance to love.
QUESTION: In finding and purifying oneself, can a predominantly intellectual individual release more of the other two currents also?
ANSWER: They must, because that is the purification process. Often the person whose willpower is crippled, yet who displays courage in some instances, may be similar to a person who seems to be more the intellectual type but who is not really that at all. One who by nature is more emotional may fear emotion and thus assume a mask that does not correspond to his or her true nature. In the purification process, all these types must begin by finding and being true to their natures; only then can they resolve the disharmony in their souls. In other cases, the apparent reason-personality is really just that. The true reason-type will learn balance, so that reason will function properly in the self-search and purification which ultimately will eliminate the phantoms of fear that have blocked harmonious functioning. This person will remain a reason-type, but in a harmonious and perfect way, without interfering with the personality’s other faculties. The same applies to the other two true types. They will remain just what they truly are, but without crippling their other faculties and thereby shortchanging their lives.
And now, my dear ones, we will turn to your planned questions.
QUESTION: It says in the Greber book that the only means for spiritual growth is through mediumship or spirit communication in some other form. In other teachings it says that one can contact the divine part within oneself that contains all wisdom. Which is right and how would either one work?
ANSWER: Of course, the final aim is to find that which is divine in yourself. There is no doubt about it. But until you can get that far, you need help. Often, communication with the spirit world of God is the best means to get the help. Complicated and perilous as the establishment of such communication is, once it is established, it is best suited to help you remove all that obstructs your own divine spark. However, this is not the only way. Human teachers also can help you remove your inner obstructions. There have always been great teachers who have done just that.
In your time, there is a further means, the medicine of the soul that you call depth analysis. The fact that it is not always handled well no more disproves its value for freeing the soul—and that is its ultimate purpose, whether your doctors know it or not—than badly applied or arrested development in mediumship disproves the value of that. Communication with the spirit world ultimately has only one purpose, no matter in what stage of development the medium is. Learning about the facts of Creation, about God, and what happens in the universe and the various spheres is secondary, my friends. The sole purpose of telling you about such things is to help you understand the reason for life and the necessity of development, and to give you the incentive to overcome your resistance to taking the steps to reach your own divine spark. You should consider all teachings and all religions from that point of view.
The knowledge of universal facts is a help and an incentive and not the final aim. The final aim is self-finding and self-purification, for only through that can you make contact with your own divine spark. Otherwise it is blurred and unreliable and can easily be confused with unconscious desires that have nothing to do with the divine in the human being. Yet contact with the divine world is not the way for all human beings. Other ways may be better suited for some people. It depends on the personality and its stage of development, but the only reason for life on earth is purification and self-finding. There are many ways that can help you in that. If you have the grace and the privilege to communicate with God’s world, this method should be best suited to help you, because it would naturally be a little faster and more direct in showing you how to proceed on your path to find yourself. But it is not the only way.