Are You Romantic or Classical? – Free Ebook

We may not be used to think ourselves in these terms, but the labels romantic and classical usefully bring into focus some of the central themes of our personalities, and help us to gain clearer sense of who we and other people are. These are some of the things that divide romantic from classical personalities: Romantics relish things that seem slightly to defy rational explanations. They’re enthusiastic about feelings and wary of the intellect as a guide to life. They believe one shouldn’t always think too much. In their eyes, it may be slightly unfair to probe a decision or a mood too hard; they like instinct. In particular, they think one shouldn’t always attempt to take apart emotions. Classicists, on the other hand, are wary of intuition. They’ve learnt, often through bitter experience, how misguided and deluded their own feelings may be and hence look rather skeptically and caustically upon them. Spontaneity vs Education Romantics are wary of teaching and instruction. They think that things should be spontaneous rather than taught. The idea that people might need to think rationally and exhaustively about what career to choose for themselves, or whom they should marry strikes the Romantic as a misguided intrusion of education into things which should be spontaneous and natural. They like the notion of a “calling” and of “love at first sight”. Part of Romantics’ respect for spontaneity leads them to look with particular interest at children, who seem to them to have more direct access to the kind of truths and sensibilities that adults have lost. To the Romantic, it will always be a child who points out that the emperor is wearing no clothes. Those of a Classical temperament don’t necessarily respect the current education system as we know it, but the abstract idea of education seems to them very important. They believe that training is vital if we are to avoid making too many mistakes in our emotional or professional lives. Honesty vs. Politness The Romantic person is devoted to saying what they think or feel. They are allergic to the idea of being fake or of having secrets. Authenticity is vital. But the Classical person reveres politeness as a very important lid that suppresses what might destroy us. They believe deeply in getting on around other people. They’d much prefer to have civil relations with someone rather than tell them frankly what is on their mind. They accept an important role for secrets and white lies. Idealism vs. Realism The Romantic is excited by how things might ideally be, and judges what currently exists in the world by the standard of a better imagined alternative. Most of the time, the current state of things arouses them to intense disappointment and anger as they consider the injustices, prevarications, compromises, and timidity of the powerful. They are often furious with governments and surprised and outraged by evidence of venal and self-interested conduct in society. For their part, the Classical person pays special attention to what can go wrong. They are very concerned to mitigate the downside. They’re aware that most things could be a lot worse. Before condemning a government, they consider the standard of governments across history and may regard a current arrangement as bearable, under the circumstances. High ideals make them nervous. The Rare vs. The Everyay Romantic rebel against the ordinary. They are keen on the exotic and the rare. They are anxious about higher things being put under pressure to become ‘useful’ or commercial. They want heroism, excitement and an end to boredom. Classical people like daily life. They’re familiar enough with extremes as to welcome things that are a little boring. They can see the charm of staying home and doing the laundry. Both Romantic and Classical orientations have important truths to impart. Neither is wholly right or wrong. They need to be balanced. But because a good life requires a judicious balance of both, at this point in history, when the spirit of the age is pretty Romantic, it might be the Classical attitude, whose distinctive claims and wisdom we need to listen to most intently. It’s a mode of approaching life which is ripe for rediscovery, and it can be repeatedly sampled in the films on this channel.

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