Friday, December 5, 2008

humour humors

well that's just not humorous
was all i could say
as i shook my head with a sigh
in fact it's somewhat tortuous
when all your words deliquesce

if humour
realizes everything happens
later or sooner
why didn't i remember to fly
and i wonder 
if there's ever an answer to why

Since the time of Galen to the dawn of modern medicine, the human personality was regarded as a balance among four humors - blood, phlegm, choler, and melancholy.

Humor, from the Latin word for liquid (still used for the fluids of the human eye:  aqueous and vitreous humors), referred to the four liquids that supposedly formed the chyle, or digested food in the intestine just before it entered the body for nourishment.

The chyle arose from a range of choices in the food we eat and from constitutional differences in how various bodies digest this food, the totality coming from both innate and external factors.  An equivalency can be seen in the modern claim that both genes and environment influence our behavior.

blood:  hot wet - sanguine, ruddy, cheerful, whimsical, arrogant, indulgent; Spring ; air

phlegmatic:  cold wet - stolid, calm, kind, shy, lazy; reliable, compassionate; Winter; water

choleric:  hot dry - angry or irritable; energy, passion; (yellow bile) Summer; fire

melancholic:  cold dry - sad, pensive; creative, perfectionist (black bile) Autumn; earth

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