Wednesday, January 18, 2006

routing round problems and the question of personality types

Instead of staring into disconnected space at the Ministry, I've decided to work from home most of the time from now on. This is great - connectivity, partner on tap, kitchen nearby etc. As I am now only focusing on one project rather than the 8 or so before Christmas, its possible from now on. Its been interesting to find out how much mass-broadband is changing working habits in the UK. A company such as Shell now has a considerable percentage of its workforce working mainly from home, saving office space and operational costs. It can be hard to appreciate the radical transformations that mass high-bandwidth is beginning to have on society: already the retail sector (especially music and books) are having to rethink (exit Stage left the HMV/Waterstones boss a week ago).

One of the spin-offs of several conversations in the past few weeks is discovering a beautiful page within Wikipedia on the Four Humours. The philosophical question is this: can the human personality be classified into types, or is any such attempt at categorisation inevitably an oversimplistic reduction of the complexities of human reality? On the one hand, one would want to say that it is possible to develop basic rules for interacting with different behavioural patterns (in the interests of an efficient and healthily communicating organisation); on the other, one would want to hold on to the irreducible subtleties and uniquenesses of each person.

Whatever response one takes, the Wiki link above shows that it is an age-old issue that has often been linked to health. So: have you too much yellow bile, black bile, phlegm or blood in your system?


Reluctant Nomad 11:27 pm  

Thank you for that link...yet more proof that there is good reason to love wikipedia

Keguro 1:16 am  

As I delurk . . .

Having admitted I haven't read the wiki page, but have studied some humoral theory.

I've been thinking about its omnipresence in a range of locations and discussions: cities corrupt people; tv corrupts; certain foods corrupt; individuals corrupt. (I was going to use the word infect, but am probably thinking about your own location; not to mention, corrupt does carry aspects of contagion.)

Even in the most quotidian of spaces, humoral theory obtains. I hear my mother's voice worrying that bad friends will "spoil" me. Humans have "leaky bodies," it seems, or porous bodies more like, prone to all kinds of influences, against reason.

One then wonders, to push an abstract thought further, if Descarte's isolation (I sit in a room in a bathrobe) enabled the cogito only insofar as he could escape a humoral environment, ostensibly. But now I'm speculating, and quite irrationally at that.

I do enjoy your blog a lot!

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