1 lecture, Berlin on March 4, 1909 (CW 57)
“The two streams in the human being combine to produce what is commonly known as a person’s temperament. Our inner self and our inherited traits comingle in it. Temperament is an intermediary between what connects us to an ancestral line and what we bring with us…. Temperament strikes a balance between the eternal and the ephemeral.” —Rudolf Steiner
From personal spiritual insight, Rudolf Steiner renews and broadens the ancient teaching of the four temperaments. He explains how each person’s mixture of temperaments is shaped, usually with one dominating. Steiner provides lively descriptions of the passive, comfort-seeking phlegmatic; the fickle, flitting sanguine; the pained, gloomy melancholic; and the fiery, assertive choleric. He also offers practical suggestions for teachers and parents in addressing the differing manifestations of the temperaments in children, as well as advice intended for adults’ personal development.
About the Author
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.
Matthew Barton is a translator, editor, teacher, and poet, and taught kindergarten for many years at the Bristol Waldorf School. His first collection of poems was Learning To Row (1999). He has won numerous prizes for his work, including an Arts Council Writer’s Award and a Hawthornden Fellowship.
Peter Bridgmont is involved in voice training at the Globe Theatre in London. He has been a professional actor in theater, films, and on radio and TV. In 1975 he and his wife, Barbara, opened the Chrysalis Theatre Acting School in London.