Saturday, 28 March 2015

More Perspectives on the Individual - Part 1

I just thought you might want to think about the following 'concepts of self' in the context of our books. Although they are not "Canadian," they might provide some useful background information and/or show interesting parallels or contrasts to some of our texts.

Feel free to add links to other ideas you find interesting and relevant!

Concepts of Self

1. The Four Humours Theory:

Please read the very short intro at:

2. The Medicine Wheel:

Please listen to this interesting introduction:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Image from: 

3. Yin/Yang and the 5 Elements:

Please watch this very short intro
and the highly interesting explanation about Yin and Yang by Alan Watts:

Image from: 

4. The System of Chakras and Nadis:

Please read the following two very short introductions:
1) Chakras:
2) Nadis (and Meridians):

If you have time, please also listen to this clip:


  1. I'm not sure if this is the same thing... But I've always found Myers–Briggs Type Indicator, very interesting!
    Image Link:

    1. Oh and Wiki:


    Keirsey's temperaments are another four factor model of the self. But unlike Galen's four temperaments, Keirsey divides his into four temperaments each having two different roles. First, there are the logistic Guardians who are either Conservators or Administrators. Second, there are tactical Artisans who are either Entertainers or Operators. Third, there are diplomatic Idealists who are either Advocates or Mentors. And fourth, there are strategic Rationals who are either Engineers or Coordinators. This is another interesting view on the self and you can take the sorter test here to see where you fall.

    1. I am glad that you brought this up because about a year ago I took a quiz that was similar here:

      I have always been really fascinated with these types of quizzes because they seem to give me an answer that explains me perfectly just by answering somewhat situational questions. I took both of these quizzes and got NF in yours and INFP in the quiz site I posted above! They say the same (basically) about me and it is so accurate that it makes me feel a bit nervous reading it! I find that we all want to know ourselves a bit better because to many, when asked the question "Tell me about yourself," for some strange reason, it is so difficult to answer. By taking quizzes like these, it is easier to realize your personality type because it is put into words. If anyone has the time to, I really suggest taking these quizzes! I find it becomes more accurate if you take more than one and are given the same answer :)

  3. After reading through these different ideas about human personality, I was reminded of the universal need, regardless of time, place, or culture, to define and explain why we are the way we are. I think it's comforting to think that there are elements or reasons behind our behaviour, which is why it is something that comes up in such a wide variety of ways, from Aboriginal spirituality to the Four Humors.
    I was reminded of it the other day while speaking to a friend who just finished her yoga teacher training. She was trying to explain the chakras to me, and was really passionate and excited about it. I think it's great when people find systems of belief that help them make sense of life. I'm still trying to figure out how I see the 'self' or figuring out why I make some of the decisions or act in the way I do, but this was an interesting reminder that we all have the need to do that.

    1. I think what Mischa is saying here is very valuable to our understanding of all of the tests posted here both by the professor and in the comments, as well as of personality tests in general. I think though perhaps we didn't discuss it explicitly so much, the masks portion of this course has really been about our universal human need to define ourselves: to find a sense of where we're headed and where we should go, to compare ourselves to others, to find our place in the world. I think the same thing we get out of personality tests is to an extent what we get out of reading Shakespeare or listening to the lyrics of an emotional song: a sense of belonging and of consistency regardless of place or time. The incredible thing about these tests and the reason I think they've stood the test of time is because they have the same universality that Shakespeare does. It's neat how once we identify with something, whether its a book, play artist, or belief system, how those are some of the things we become the most passionate about, just as Mischa experienced with her friend. I think this really speaks to our need to sense belonging.

  4. I've taken a lot of personality quizzes based on the concepts described above, and while they're mostly for fun, the affirmation in the quiz result(s) can help to reinforce one's own self-identity for some. Asides from that, they are also a good, easy way to summarize a personality into succinct words or titles, and answering the questions themselves can help you to get to know yourself better in some aspects.

    Links to some other quizzes:

    Enneagram Test

    Big Five, Four Humours, among others!

  5. As a newbie to yoga and meditation practices, I have been introduced to a more spiritual way of thinking about oneself. Often how I would think about the words I would use to describe myself would most likely be something along the lines of “hardworking,” “enthusiastic,” or “cat-person,” perhaps something similar to the Four Humours Theory, but I have never really considered things like Chakras, Nadis, or how balanced I might be in terms of Yin-Yang energies and the 5 elements. However, these topics have definitely caught my interest ever since becoming introduced to them through yoga and meditation practice. In my opinion, I find them to be interesting topics to study, particularly with the ideas of balance and harmony within oneself. I really like the idea of aiming for balance in one’s life, including balance within oneself. As mentioned previously, I often only think about words to describe myself through common adjectives in regards to my personality, but never really thought about my inner spiritual self, which I believe is a topic worth studying. Sometimes I think that whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed by daily life, it means that within myself, the balance/harmony/peace has become unstable. Therefore, I think that it is always good to find such balance within my own self through meditation, yoga, and studying these various theories in order to achieve balance in the “outer world” as well.

  6. I also wanted to post some links for personality tests but it seems like most of them have already been shared! That being said, I think that is really difficult for one to label or place themselves under a category of a specific group. The Four Humours Theory for example, has 4 different categories of personalities, which in my opinion do seem to be understandably categorized. What I don't understand is how one could determine what group they are in. For me, I have strong personality traits from each category, and unless I'm simply a bipolar freak, I'm assuming a lot of other people are like this as well.
    However, what's interesting is that when Korean babies are born, the parents/grandparents often take the newborn to a "fortune teller" of some sort, and they see how much of the 5 elements (yin/yang or something similar of that sort) is inside my body. Interestingly enough, the fortune teller told my parents that I had a very even amount of every element! Although I don't put a lot of thought into these things, the fortune tellers and my parents pointed out that this is extremely rare. Most likely, its just something that the fortune teller told my parents for me to feel better about myself. That way they'll get more customers! However, the ideas of chakras, elements and etc are interesting as well as it being an entertaining test for many!

  7. Personality tests have always been interesting to me. Just like those mood rings I wore as a kid. I think our obsession with placing a label on who we are can limit who we are supposed to become. Reading all the different defined personalities I feel like I fall under numerous categories. I can also note certain stages in my life when I would have fallen under one category or another. Each image is presented in a circle and I suppose this could represent how you can fall under one category but closer to another on the spectrum. Maybe these personalities shown can lie on a continuum, where you can slightly shift back and forth. In many cultures, particularly First Nations culture, circles represent a variety of things. Most importantly, circles represent one’s life. Perhaps these personalities are stages on a circle of life. I know I certainly have experienced different stages. I believe you are born with certain innate traits but personality is also based off an infinite number of external factors. These factors change throughout life, this is how we grow and learn. It would make sense for one’s personality to alter over the course of their life. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to try to define yourself and all of your complexities based off a chart of set characteristics. This may only limit your potential and cause you to judge yourself for not being “normal”.

    Chantel Wright

  8. My mom is a yoga teacher so growing up the system of Chakras is something that I was always somewhat knowledgeable about. In her yoga classes and at home my mom would talk to my family about our seven chakras. I never really took it very seriously until I myself became more interested in yoga around age 16. Through yoga, I learned how to align my chakras to put my body into ‘balance.’ I noticed a difference in my mood and energy levels when my chakras were in balance. Although the idea of the chakra system doesn’t resonate with some people it is something that works for me and helps me make sense of why I may be feeling the way I am at any given time.

    A great website to learn the basics about the chakras for anyone interested: