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How to Analyze People on Sight, 1921
October 1, 2010 5:18 PM   Subscribe

How to Analyze People on Sight, The Five Human Types, 1921. And other volumes of interest at Project Gutenberg.
posted by wallstreet1929 (29 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man, the Five Types is an absolutely beautiful example of reversing cause and effect.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:34 PM on October 1, 2010


I meet the physical description of "The Enjoyer".
posted by Jesco at 5:36 PM on October 1, 2010


So the MBTI succeeded and this stuff didn't?
posted by Nomyte at 5:57 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I started getting more and more freaked as I read "The Thoracic." It's completely me, even down to how much I like Vaudeville.
posted by hermitosis at 6:10 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I love stuff like this. It's like background material for the next Jules Verne novel.
posted by Ritchie at 6:15 PM on October 1, 2010


It was no accident that "Ish ka bibble" was invented by the Hebrew. For this race has proportionately more fat people in it than any other and fat people just naturally believe worry is useless.

I... have no words.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 6:19 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


But what category do Juggalos fit into?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:48 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


if you find the html layout of PG unreadable (great as the books are!), this bookmarklet is pretty useful
posted by rollick at 6:49 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't believe Safari's Reader feature doesn't kick in for Project Gutenberg.
posted by floam at 6:58 PM on October 1, 2010


I can tell the many types of "fat personalities" with surprising accuracy.
eg. Don't care that I'm fat fat, can't control my eating impulses fat, lazy fat, genetically [endomorphic] fat, greedy bastard and not to be trusted fat, very low IQ fat.

Of course, the groups aren't independent.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:21 PM on October 1, 2010


uncanny hengeman: "I can tell the many types of "fat personalities""

I can tell the many kinds of "trollish personalities" with surprising accuracy. The inadvertent troll. The bored troll hoping to make others argue. The axe grinder with a chip on his shoulder. The one who wants attention but cannot get a response without making his audience angry.

Of course, the groups aren't independent.
posted by idiopath at 7:32 PM on October 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


There are REASONS people are fat. I'm extremely good at guessing them. My statement is related the the FPP. How is that a troll?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:53 PM on October 1, 2010


I have a funny feeling that the author only knew four people.
posted by Edgewise at 8:16 PM on October 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Unchanny hengeman, I have been overweight for my entire adult life. Four months ago I was, according to my BMI, well into the obese range. Right now I only have four more pounds to lose and for the first time since I was a teenager I will not be overweight.

Beyond the physical circumstances, just looking at the social aspects, being fat sucks. Everyone judges you. Everyone has an opinion about why you are fat, and how you could stop being fat. You are objectified, laughed at, put into a social category that is a bit less than fully human. And I only realize how severe and pervasive it really was now that I am not fat, and people treat me with a respect they never have before.

The idea that you could tell so quickly why someone is in such an unpleasant category is demeaning, and part of that same complex of maltreatment that makes being fat suck so much in the social world. And the degradation of self esteem that comes from that treatment is - funny enough - one more thing that makes it harder to do the work to lose weight and no longer be fat, if one choses to do so.

We have talked about the way people treat fat people on MeFi before, and I doubt there is much of anything new or interesting to be said about this subject in the context of this article, thus my allusion to trollishness. Bottom line, your comment was making light of people who don't really need to be taken down a notch, they are pretty well pushed down by people around them already. And the mockery is often part of the problem, and pretty unlikely to lead to anyone making the lifestyle changes needed to actually lose weight should they chose to do so.
posted by idiopath at 8:23 PM on October 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Y'know, I was going to completely hate on this, until I came across -

Most of us are committing suicide by inches in one form or another—and always in that form which is inherent in our type.

The Alimentive eats his way to the grave and has at least this much to say for it: it is more delightful than the pet weaknesses by which the other types hasten the final curtain.


He's an antiquated crank with no clue at all about psychology, sociology and biology, but for those two lines, I'll forgive him.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:55 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


*sigh* Oprah would be all over this one, had she been born two generations earlier. Some things haven't changed much in the last century or so in the West, including our narcissism and our love for books based on simplistic personality characteristic templates. Our emphasis on our stomachs has morphed into something different, but not noticeably more reality-based.
posted by kozad at 9:44 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well I thought it was fascinating in an old-timey kind of way.
posted by mazola at 10:12 PM on October 1, 2010


Only five? That's not even trying! In Georges Polti's The Art of Inventing Characters (Archive.org page) he describes a combinatorial system with 12 principle types, 36 subdivistions and 154,980 varieties. Polti's aims are only ostensibly literary. Indeed, he supposes that not only real people, but epochs of history and civilization may be roughly generalized into the dozen types (derived from a universal Pantheon!) and cross-currents of his other factors will be found within.

This should probably be a mefi project but, I am working on a web-version of this book. Anyone interested in helping (I'd like to find/make a digital text of it in the original French) please memail-me.
posted by wobh at 10:20 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


This Georges Polti fellow, what did he look like?
posted by mazola at 10:31 PM on October 1, 2010


Somewhat like this.
posted by wobh at 12:59 AM on October 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


people where pretty much obsessed with this kind of thing in the 20s-30s. Coincided with the eugenics movement.

The only bit of useful information is that yes, suspenders are superior to belts in every way.
posted by The Whelk at 2:32 AM on October 2, 2010


Actually, considering the tone of many books of this type and era, this is pretty conspicuously progressive.

"Too many parents have gone on the theory that belonging to the female sex was a sure indication of home-making, mothering, housekeeping abilities.

The commercial world is full of women who have starved, wasted and shriveled their lives away behind counters, desks and typewriters when they were meant for motherhood and wifehood.

The homes of the land are also full of women who, with the brains and effort they have given to scrubbing, washing and cooking, could have become "captains of industry.""
posted by The Whelk at 2:38 AM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are REASONS people are fat. I'm extremely good at guessing them. My statement is related the the FPP. How is that a troll?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:53 AM on October 2


You have to realise, u.h., that there are many different types of people One type is the type of person that can only process an opinion or tone they find disagreeable by refusing to accept that it can have been sincerely meant. They take the sting out of the disagreableness by insisting the writer must have been deliberately seeking to offend or provoke.
posted by Decani at 3:02 AM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love that it thinks fat women are far more desirable by men and are at a distinct advantage when it comes to marriage prospects.
posted by shinybaum at 4:39 AM on October 2, 2010


I don't think this was written by a "he", y'all. The authors appear to be a husband and wife team, Elsie Lincoln Benedict and Ralph Paine Benedict, but there's a section called "What Leading Newspapers Say About Elsie Lincoln Benedict and Her Work". It includes such fun quotes as:
"Elsie Lincoln Benedict has a brilliant record. She is like a fresh breath of Colorado ozone. Her ideas are as stimulating as the health-giving breezes of the Rockies."—New York Evening Mail, April 16, 1914.
"Elsie Lincoln Benedict is a woman who has studied deeply under genuine scientists and is demonstrating to thousands at the Auditorium each evening that she knows the connection between an individual's external characteristics and his inner traits."—Minneapolis News, November 7, 1920.

There's nothing about what newspapers have to say about Ralph and his work. So Elsie was, it appears, at least the public face of the operation.
posted by craichead at 6:31 AM on October 2, 2010


shinybaum, those were gentler times, when a dimple and a pair of rosy cheeks went farther than a prominent collarbone. Wouldn't trade for them, though. The book reviews of Dorothy Parker are a good window on the fluffier bestsellers of the '20s and '30s, the Chicken Soups for the Soul of their day.

I've always been interested in such more-or-less arbitrary categorizations of human nature, and I've toyed with the idea of just making one up. I was once fascinated with astrology even after a firm grounding in the sciences, just because it was a way to sort people. Even flipping through this, I thought, "Hmm, I bet she would call me an Osseous-Alimenti -- oh, COME ON, listen to yourself, will you?"
posted by Countess Elena at 7:03 AM on October 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


¶ SO HERE, THEN, ENDETH "THE FIVE HUMAN TYPES," BEING THE FIRST VOLUME IN THE WORLD TO EXPOUND SCIENCE'S DISCOVERY THAT ALL HUMAN BEINGS FALL INTO FIVE DEFINITE DIVISIONS ACCORDING TO THEIR BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION. BY ELSIE LINCOLN BENEDICT, FIRST WRITER AND PUBLISHER OF THIS CLASSIFICATION, FIRST LECTURER IN THE WORLD TO PRESENT IT TO THE PUBLIC, AND FIRST COMPILER OF THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN ANALYSIS. ALSO BY RALPH PAINE BENEDICT, WHOSE KNOWLEDGE AND CO-OPERATION INSPIRED THE DOING OF ALL THESE, PRINTED AND MADE INTO A BOOK BY THE ROYCROFTERS AT THEIR SHOPS WHICH ARE AT EAST AURORA, ERIE COUNTY AND STATE OF NEW YORK, IN THE YEAR NINETEEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY-ONE.
posted by Casimir at 7:30 AM on October 2, 2010


Wisdom found:

The fact that Dolly has a dimple may make your senses whirl but it is not sufficient basis for marriage. There are things of vastly greater importance, though of course this does not seem possible to you at the time.

Dolly has awesome dimples.
posted by dabitch at 8:02 AM on October 2, 2010


Countess Elena: after one formative year in high school psychology class, I collect these people-sorting things.
posted by wobh at 9:20 AM on October 2, 2010


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