How to Analyze People on Sight Through the Science of Human Analysis: The Five Human Types

- By Elsie Lincoln Benedict and Ralph Paine Benedict
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People in whom the muscular system is proportionately larger and more highly developed than any of their other systems are Musculars. This system consists of the muscles of the organism.
The muscle-system of the human body is simply a co-ordinated, organized arrangement of layers of lean meat, of which every individual has a complete set. An individual's muscles may be small, flabby, deficient in strength or so thin as to be almost imperceptible but they are always there-elementary in the infant, full grown in the adult and remnants in the aged. But they are so smoothly fitted together, so closely knitted and usually so well covered that we seldom realize their complexity or importance.In the pure Muscular type his muscles are firm and large. Such muscles can not be disguised but seem to stand out all over him.
Without them we would be helpless masses of fat and bone; we could not blink an eye nor lift a finger. Yet we are so accustomed to them that we rarely think of them and seldom give them credit for what they do. Without their wonder-work to adjust the eyes we could not see; without their power the heart would cease to beat. We can not smile, sob, speak nor sing without using them. We would have no pianists, violinists, dancers, aviators, inventors or workers of any kind without them. Everything we put together-from hooks and eyes to skyscrapers-is planned by our brains but depends for its materialization upon the muscles of the human body
Look at any individual and you will note one of these three conditions: that his bones seem to be covered just by skin and sinews (which means that he belongs to the fourth type) or thickly padded with fat (in which case he is largely of the first type) or well upholstered with firm meat. In the latter case he is largely Muscular, no matter what other types may be present in his makeup. In a short time you will be able to tell, at a glance, whether the padding on an individual is mostly fat or mostly muscle, because fat is always round and soft while muscle is firm and definite.
A general solidity of structure, as distinguished from the softness of the Alimentive and the resilience of the Thoracic, characterizes the Muscular. (See Chart 5) Poke your finger into a fat man's hand and though it makes a dent that dent puffs back quickly. Do the same to the Muscular and you will find a firmness and toughness of fiber that resists but stays there longer once the dent is made.
This little illustration is typical of the differences between these two natures throughout their entirety. Just as the fat man's face gives to your touch, he will give in to you more easily than any other type; but he will go back to the same place sooner and more smoothly when your pressure is removed.
On the Square" is a figurative expression usually applying to a moral tendency. In this sense it is as often possessed by one type as another. But in a purely literal sense the Muscular is actually built on the square. His whole figure is a combination of squares.The Alimentive is built upon the circle, the Thoracic on the kite-shape but the pure Muscular always tends toward a squareness of outline.We repeat, he is no more "square" morally than any other type, so do not make the mistake of attributing any more of this virtue to him than to others. Each type has its own weaknesses and points of strength as differentiated from other types and these are responsible for most of the moral differences between people.
Since moral weakness comes from type weakness and since each type possesses about as many weaknesses as the others, it follows that no type is superior "morally" to any other and no type is morally inferior to any other.
Morality is mostly a matter of how much temptation you can withstand. Every individual in a civilized community is surrounded by temptations of some kind most of the time. He does not want to yield to any of them. Every man and woman does the best of which his particular type is capable under a given circumstance. Each individual resists many temptations for which we fail to give him credit. He yields only to those which make such a strong appeal to his type that he lacks the power of resistance. In other words, each person yields to the temptations that prey upon his particular weaknesses, and what his weaknesses are will depend upon his type. In the grip of these temptations he may commit anything from discourtesy to crime according to the strength of the temptation plus his own leaning in that direction. On the other hand, certain "immoralities" which appeal strongly to some types have no attraction whatever for others and these latter get credit for a virtuousness that has cost them nothing.
On the other hand, each one of the five human types has certain points of strength and from these gets its natural "moral" qualities. We spend a great deal of energy giving praise and blame but when we realize-as we are doing more and more-that the type of an individual is responsible for most of his acts, we will give less of both to the individual and more of both to the Creator.
The most that training can do is to brace up the weak spots in us; to cultivate the strong ones; to teach us to avoid inimical environments; and to constantly remind us of the penalties we pay whenever we digress.
As this great science of Human Analysis becomes known the world will understand for the first time "how the other half lives," and why it lives that way. We will know why one child just naturally tells fibs while his twin brother, under identical training, just naturally tells the truth. What is more to the point we will know this in their childhood and be prepared to give to each the kind of training which will weed out his worst and bring out his best.
The extreme Muscular type (See Chart 5) is below medium height, though one of any height may be largely muscular. The extreme type, of which we are treating in this chapter, is shorter and heavier than the average. But his heaviness is due to muscle instead of fat. He has the appearance of standing firmly, solidly upon the ground, of being stalwart and strong.
The Muscular's shoulders stand out more nearly at right angles than those of any other type and are much broader in proportion to his height. The Alimentive has sloping shoulders and the Thoracic inclines to high shoulders. But the shoul ders of the pure Muscular are straighter and have a squareness where the Alimentive's have curves. This accounts for the fact that most of the square shouldered men you have known were not tall men, but medium or below medium in height. The wide square shoulders do not accompany any other pure type, though naturally they may be present in an individual who is a combination.
The arms of pure Musculars are longer in proportion to the body than the arms of other types. The arms of the Alimentive are short for his body but the extreme Muscular's arms are always anywhere from slightly longer to very much longer than his height would lead you to expect.
A "square head" is the first thing you think of when you look at a pure Muscular. His head has no such decided digressions from the normal as the round head of the Alimentive or the kite-shaped head of the Thoracic. It is not high for his body like the Thoracic's nor small for his body like the Alimentive's, but is of average proportions.
A distinctive feature of this type is his thick neck. It is not fat like that of the Alimentive nor medium long like that of the Thoracic but has unusual muscularity and strength.
This is one of the chief indications of the Muscular's strength. A sturdy neck is one of the most significant indications of physical prowess and longevity, while the frail neck-of which we shall speak in connection with the fifth type-is always a sign of the physical frailty which endangers life. The thickness of his neck may sometimes give you the impression that the Muscular head is small but if you will look again you will see that it is normal for his bodily size.
Looking at him from directly in front you will see that the Muscular's face gives you an impression of squareness. (See Chart 6) You will also notice that his side-head, cheeks and jaw run up and down in such a way as to give him a right-angled face.
A broad jaw is another characteristic of this type. Not only is it square, looked at from the front, but you are pretty sure to note that the jaw bones, as they proceed downward under the ear, tend to make a right-angled turn at the corners instead of a rounded curve. These dimensions tend to give the whole lower part of the Muscular's face a box-like appearance. It is considered becoming to men but robs its female owners of the delicate, pointed chin so much desired by women.
Notice the hands of the people you meet and you will be surprised to see how different and how interesting they are. Their size, shape and structure as seen from the back of the hand are especially significant and tell us much more about the individual's nature than the palm does. Perhaps you have thought that a hand was just a hand. But there are hands and hands. Each pure type has its own and no other is ever seen on the extreme of that type. The hand of the Muscular, like all the rest of his body, is built in a series of squares. It runs out from the wrist and down in a straighter line and tends to right angles.
Spatulate fingers"-meaning fingers that are square or paddle-shaped at the tips-are sure indications of a decided muscular tendency. He may have other types in combination but if his fingers are really square-"sawed off at the ends" in such a way as to give them large instead of tapering ends-that person has more than average muscularity and the activities of his life will tend in the directions referred to in this chapter.
Musculars are the hand-workers of the world. They are the artisans, craftsmen, the constructors and builders. We all tend to use most those organs or parts of the body which are largest and most highly developed. The Muscular's hand is proportionately larger than the hand of any other type. It has more muscle, that one element without which good hand work is impossible. So it has followed inevitably that the manual work of the world is done largely by Musculars. Their hands are also so much more powerful that they do not tire easily.
The artist's hand" and "the artistic hand" are phrases long used but misused. Delicate tapering fingers were supposed in ancient times to denote artistic ability. The frail curving hand was also supposed to be a sign of artistic talent. From the stage of old down to the movies of today the typical artist is pictured with a slight, slender hand. This tapering-fingered hand denotes a keen sense of artistic values; a love of the esthetic, refined and beautiful; and real artistic appreciation, but not the ability to create.
Before we explain this, kindly understand that we are speaking only of those arts which require hand work-and not of such arts as singing, dancing, or musical composition which could more properly be called artistic activities. We are referring only to those arts which depend for their creation upon the human hand-such as painting, architecture, craftsmanship, cartooning, sculpture, violin, piano, etc. All these are created by square fingered people. We are too much inclined to think of the products of these arts as being created out of sheer artistic sense, artistic taste or artistic insight. But a moment's reflection will show that every tangible artistic creation is the result of unusual hand work combined with gifted head work. Without a sure, strong, well-knit hand the ideas of the greatest artists could never have materialized. The lack of such a hand explains why the esthetic, the artistic-minded and the connoisseur do not create the beautiful things they appreciate.
The hand must execute what the brain plans and it must be so perfect a mechanism for this that it responds to the most elusive inspirations of the artist. It must be a fifty per cent partner, else its owner will never produce real art. No type has this strong, sure, co-ordinated hand-machine to any such degree as the Muscular. The finger ends, which are of the utmost significance in the creation of artistic things, must be fitted with well developed muscles of extreme efficiency or the execution will fall short of the ideal pictured in the artist's mind. The pure Muscular type seldom makes an artist, for, after all, inspired brain work is the other important element in the creation of art, and this is the forte of the fifth type. A combination of the fifth type with the Muscular makes most hand artists. A combination of the Muscular and Thoracic makes most singers. Every hand artist will be found to have spatulate-fingered hands-in short, muscular hands. The hand of the famous craftsman, pianist, sculptor and painter, instead of being more frail and delicate, is always larger and heavier than that of the average person. Such a hand is a certain indication of the muscular element in that individual's makeup.
Forceful, decisive movements also characterize this type. He is inclined to go at even the most trivial things with as much force as if the world depended on it. Recently we were exhibiting a small pencil sharpener to a muscular friend. It was so sharp that it performed its work without pressure. But she took hold of it as if it were a piece of artillery and pushed the pencil into it with all the force she had. When we remonstrated smilingly-for her face and hands are ultra-square-she said, "But I can't do anything lightly. I just naturally put that much force into everything."
Heavy, powerful, forceful strides distinguish the walk of this type. If he has but ten steps to go he will start off as if beginning an around-the-world marathon.
All Musculars notify people, by their walk, of their approach. They are unconscious of this loud incisive tread, and most of them will be surprised to read it here. But their friends will recognize it. The chances are that they have often spoken of it amongst themselves.
The "steam-calliope voice" belongs almost always to a Muscular. He does his talking just as he does everything else-with all his might.It is very difficult for the Muscular to "tone down" this powerful voice. His long-suffering friends will testify to this characteristic.
This loud voice is a serious social handicap to him. His only chance of compensation for it lies in its use before juries, congregations or large audiences.It might be noted here that every great orator has been largely of this type, and also that his fame came not alone from the things he said but from the stentorian tones in which he said them.
Caruso, John McCormack and all other famous male singers had large thoracic systems, but in every instance it was combined with a large muscular development.
When a Muscular sits down he does it as he does everything-with definiteness and force. He does not spill over as does the Alimentive nor drape himself gracefully like the Thoracic, but planks himself as though he meant business.
Because he is especially built for it the Muscular is more active than any other type. Without muscles no organism could move itself from the spot in which it was born.Biology teaches us that the stomach was the first thing evolved. The original one-call organism possessed but one function-digestion. As life progressed it became necessary to send nutriment to those parts of the organism not touched by the stomach.For the purpose of reaching these suburbs there was involved the circulatory or Thoracic system, and this gave rise, as we have seen in the previous chapter, to the Thoracic type.
As time went on movement became necessary, full development not being possible to any static organism. To meet this need muscles were evolved, and organic life began to move. It was only a wiggle at first, but that wiggle has grown till today it includes every kind of labor, globe trotting and immigration. The Muscular is fitted with the best traveling equipment of any type and invariably lives a life whose main reactions express these things.
No matter what his work or play the Muscular will make more moves during the course of a day than other types. He loves action because his muscles, being over-equipped for it, keep urging him from within to do things.As a result this type makes up most of the immigrants of the world. Italians, Poles, Greeks, Russians, Germans and Jews are largely of this type and these are the races furnishing the largest number of foreigners in America.
Shut up a Muscular and you destroy him. His big muscle system cries out for something to do. He becomes restless, nervous and ill when confined or compelled to be idle.The Alimentive loves an easy time but the Muscular dislikes ease except when exhausted. Even then it is almost impossible to stop him.
I can't bear to be doing nothing!" you often hear people say. Such a person always has plenty of muscle. Musculars want to feel that they are not wasting time. They must be "up and doing," accomplishing something. If there is nothing near them that needs doing they are sure to go and find something.
Work is second nature to this type. He really prefers it.Everyone likes some kind of work when in the mood if it serves a purpose or an ideal. But the Muscular likes work for its own sake-or rather for the activity's sake.Work palls on the Alimentive and monotony on the Thoracic, but leisure is what palls on the Muscular. He may have worked ten years without a vacation and he may imagine he wants a long one, but by the morning of the third day you will notice he has found a piece of work for himself. It may be nothing more than hanging the screen door, chopping the wood or dusting the furniture, but it will furnish him with some kind of activity.Because he enjoys action for its own sake and because work is only applied action, this type makes the best worker. He can be trusted to work harder than any other type.
It is no accident that the three-hundred-men gangs of foreign workmen who dig ditches, tunnels and tubes, construct buildings, railroads and cities work with fewer foremen and supervisors than are ordinarily required to keep much smaller forces of other employees at their posts
For this reason the Muscular is seldom out of work. He is in demand at the best current wages because he can be depended upon to "keep at it." While writing this book our windows overlook a public park in one of America's one-million-population cities. Hundreds of unemployed men sleep there day and night. Having occasion to pass through this park daily for several months it has been interesting to note the types predominating. Hardly one per cent belonged to the Muscular type.
Something that will wear well is what this type asks for when he drops in to buy a suit. Musculars are not parsimonious nor stingy. Their buying the most durable in everything is not so much to save money as for the purpose of having something they do not need to be afraid to handle.
This type likes heavy, stable materials. Whereas the Alimentive wants comfortable clothes and the Thoracic distinctive ones the Muscular wants wearable, "everyday" clothes.He wants the materials to be of the best but he cares less for color than the Thoracic. Quality rather than style and plainness rather than prettiness are his standards in dress. "Making over father's pants for Johnnie" is a job Muscular women have excelled in and for which they have become famous. For this type of mother not only sees to it that father's pants are of the kind of stuff that won't wear out easily but she has the square, creative hand that enjoys construction.
Simple dresses-blue serge, for instance-are the ones the Muscular woman likes. This type cares little about clothes as ornamentation. He is intent on getting his desires satisfied by DOING things, not by looking them. He also resents the time and trouble that fashionable dressing demands. No matter how much money this type has he will not be inclined to extremes in dress. Musculars are not really interested in clothes for clothes' sake. It is not that this type is unambitious. He is extremely so, but he is so concentrated on "getting things done" that he is likely to forget how he looks while doing them.When a person of this type does take great pains with his clothes it is always for a purpose, and not because he enjoys preening himself. There is little of the peacock in the Muscular.
Musculars are the most democratic of all the types. The Thoracic is a natural aristocrat, and enjoys the feeling of a little innocent superiority. But Musculars often refuse to take advantage of superior positions gained through wealth or station, and are inclined to treat everybody as an equal. It is almost impossible for this type, even though he may have become or have been born a millionaire, to "lord it over" servants or subordinates. He is given to backing democratic movements of all kinds. This explains why Musculars constitute the large majority in every radical group.
Being "human" is an ideal to which this type adheres with almost religious zeal. He likes the commonplace things and is never a follower after "the thing" though he has no prejudices against it, as the fourth type has.
The Muscular does not care for "show" and, except when essential to the success of his aims, seldom does anything for "appearances."He is not an easy-going companion like the Alimentive nor a scintillating one like the Thoracic, but an everyday sort of person.
This type is not given to sliding out of difficulties like the Alimentive nor to being tempor arily submerged by them like the Thoracic. He "stands up to them" and backs them down. When in trouble he acts, instead of merely thinking.
The Practicalist" is often used to describe this type. He is inclined to look at everything from the standpoint of its practicality and is neither stingy nor extravagant
"Will it work?" is the question this type puts to everything. If it won't, though it be the most fascinating or the most diverting thing in the world, he will take little interest in it.This type depends mostly upon his own hands and head to make his fortune for him, and is seldom lured into risking money on things he has not seen.
The shortest, surest way is the one this type likes. He is not inclined to fussiness. He insists on things being done in the most efficient way and he usually does them that way himself. He is not an easy man to work for, but quick to reward merit.The Muscular does not necessarily demand money nor the things that money buys but he tries to get the workable out of life.
This type likes to have a fair bank account and to give his children a worth while training. He is less inclined to bedeck them with frills but he will plan years ahead for their education.These are not rigid parents like the fourth type, lenient like the Alimentives, nor temperamental with their children like the Thoracics, but practical and very efficient in their parenthood. They are very fond of their children but do not "spoil" them as often as some of the other types do.They bring up their children to work and teach them early in life how to do things. As a result, the children of this type become useful at an early age and usually know how to earn a living if necessary.
The necessities of life are things this type demands and gets. Whereas the Alimentive demands the comforts and the Thoracic the unusual, the Muscular demands the essentials. He is willing to work for them, so he usually succeeds.He is not given to rating frills and fripperies as necessities but demands the things everyday men or women need for everyday existence. Naturally he goes after them with the same force he displays in everything else.
When some one shows great intensity of action directed toward a definite end we often say "he puts his heart and soul into it." This phrase is apropos of almost everything the Muscular does. He makes no half-hearted attempts.
Enthusiasm does all things" said Emerson, and therein explained why this type accomplishes so much. The reason back of the Muscular's enthusiasm is interesting.All emotions powerfully affect muscles. A sad thought flits through your mind and instantly the muscles of your face droop and the corners of your mouth go down. Hundreds of similar illustrations with which you are already familiar serve to prove how close is the connection between emotions and muscles. The heart itself is nothing more nor less than a large, tough, leather-like muscle Possessing the best equipment for expressing emotion, the Muscular is constantly and automatically using it.Therefore he becomes an enthusiast over many things during the course of his lifetime. This enthusiasm literally burns his way to the things he wants.
Remember, this type is inclined to be efficient and democratic and you had better be the same if you wish to succeed with him in business.He is intensely resentful of the man who tries to put anything over on him; and demands efficiency. So when you promise him a thing see to it that you deliver the goods and for the price stated. He does not mind paying a good price if he knows it in the beginning, but beware of raising it afterwards. The Muscular is serious in business, not a jollier like the Alimentive, nor a thriller like the Thoracic, and he wants you to be the same.

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Word Lists:

Muscular : relating to or affecting the muscles

Muscle : a band or bundle of fibrous tissue in a human or animal body that has the ability to contract, producing movement in or maintaining the position of parts of the body

Wiggle : move or cause to move up and down or from side to side with small rapid movements

Stingy : unwilling to give or spend; ungenerous

Frill : a strip of gathered or pleated material sewn by one side onto a garment or larger piece of material as a decorative edging or ornament.

Dent : a slight hollow in a hard, even surface made by a blow or by the exertion of pressure.


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