The Four Types of Men: Part II – The Philosopher

Martin Luther King Jr.

 These days, our philosophers are comedians, writers, religious leaders, professors, and teachers. People today don’t respect classical philosophers like they used to. I think it’s a shame, because there are a lot of admirable traits to The Philosopher.

 

I think, therefore I am.

Note: this is part of a larger series. Please read my introduction here if you would like some background. I am sympathetic to the philosopher…it’s an archetype that I identify with.

For many thousands of years, philosophers were respected across the globe as teachers, fonts of wisdom, and trusted advisors. Philosopher can be roughly translated from Ancient Greek as “lover of wisdom.” Until the 18th Century, Philosophy encompassed science, logic, political thought, aesthetics, moral philosophy, and metaphysics. Overtime, branches of knowledge split off into the sciences and humanities, and philosophy became just another branch of academia (and a highly esoteric one at that).

These days, our philosophers are comedians, writers, religious leaders, professors, and teachers. People today don’t respect classical philosophers like they used to. I have a BA in Philosophy; my degree and a $5 bill might get me a cup of coffee. I think it’s a shame, because there are a lot of admirable traits to The Philosopher. The Philosopher is someone who believes in evidence, logic, and rationality. A Philosopher will avoid a fight because it makes no sense to fight, and can see multiple sides of the same issue. What drives The Philosopher is a deep passion for knowledge and an infinite curiosity. Philosophers can be leaders, but they are just as often quiet academics or writers.

The Philosopher’s strength can also lead to blind spots. The Philosopher at his worst is coldly rational, has no empathy, and has difficulty forming social bonds. Philosophers are intelligent, but they can be argumentative and have difficulty relating to other people. After you’ve seen the truth of the Matrix, how do you relate to anybody else? In Nietzsche’s case, he didn’t. He just lost his mind. For those of us who feel an affiinity with The Philosopher, there is a danger in becoming withdrawn, arrogant, and emotionally-withdrawn. On the positive side, a lot of strength can be drawn from discipline, and a lot of confidence through knowledge.

Positive Attributes: thoughtful, charismatic, even-tempered, intellectual, logical, open-minded, persuasive, humorous, kind, focused.

Negative Attributes: coldly rational, argumentative, prone to depression, anxious, difficulty working in traditional office jobs, anti-social.

Famous Examples: Socrates, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, Lao Tzu, Louis CK, K’Naan.

Energy: cold, calm, peaceful, focused.

Example Professions: religious leader, professor, security guard (a lot of time for thinking in that job, in my experience), physicist.

Animal: dolphin, owl (or at least the owl from Winnie the Pooh), pig.

—Photo Kheel Center/Flickr

 

For Further Reading Check out:

Four Types of Men: An Introduction

The Four Types of Men: Part I – The Warrior

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About Josh Bowman

Josh Bowman is a professional fundraiser, story-teller, comedian, and blogger. He has worked and consulted in Vancouver, New York, and now Toronto for almost a decade. Josh improvises around Toronto, including regular shows with Opening Night Theatre, and also blogs for the Huffington Post. You can email Josh or follow him on Twitter. If you want to submit a guestpost or know more about Josh, check this post and this post out first.

Comments

  1. Thanks Josh, for laying this down—so true… actually this is the type of man I gravitate towards :)

  2. oh shit, what do you call a philospher with a bad temper? Maybe I am a warrior philospher…

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    Socrates was a citizen of Athens. To get the franchise, you had to be able to afford the panoply of the hoplite and show up for the wars. Which he did.
    I am reminded of Mark Twain’s aphorism; “To do good is noble. To teach others to do good is nobler still, and no trouble.”

  4. I’d say another disadvantage of the Philosopher type is the tendency to be a cerebral and philosophical all the time, and avoid or downplay the more practical parts of life. As in, someone asks you what time it is, and you respond that time is an arbitrary human invention and cannot truly be measured.

    Count the Dalai Lama up there with famous and venerable Philosophers. If I had to pick one model for a Good Man, His Holiness would probably be it.

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