Suppose you really were able to know yourself. How could you know – that you know yourself? Is it even possible to have such knowledge and could it be verified in some way? Self discovery has been the theme of unlimited stories, sagas, quests, and pilgrimages. However, just living your life is no guarantee you are going to gain insight into your identity. Depending on your luck you may fall into a routine that is compatibile with your identity and your experience of life would be like drifting down a gentle stream on a rubber raft. More often your life is going to be wet and bumpy with some jagged rocks. But even accidental “success” might have the negative consequence of separating you from your core “self”. There needs to be some objective (scientific) way of affirming at least the outlines of our identity. There needs to be something more than multiple choice word tests to reveal our identity. Isn’t that the promise of psychology? Or is that the function of religion? The lines are often blurred.
Some people don’t want things explained simply. They prefer the rigors and surprises of the journey to self-discovery. Still, there must be an advantage to discovering oneself early in life. It would be like having an extra life to live. Instead of spending a lifetime searching a thousand dead-ends, you spend the rest of your life “being your SELF” and giving what you are.
The purpose of this site is to help you discover yourself using body-type as a tool. Body type is also known as somatotype. Somatotype has been used widely to study the capacity of individuals in the area of athletic achievement. But it’s greatest value is not the information it provides about the physical body. When correctly understood it is a treasure chest of information about personality and temperament.
Have you ever looked at your “self” in a mirror? Yes, that physical body is YOU! It’s the “bare” facts about YOU. Your clothes are hiding the most important information you can obtain about your SELF. The somatotype is the most direct answer to the question -WHO ARE YOU? Let me ask that again. WHO ARE YOU? Who are you biologically? Who are you genetically?
Perhaps it would be more accurate to ask the question WHO WERE YOU? Who were you before your parents, teachers (secular and religious), media and peers forced you to make adaptations to fit THEIR mold? Once you know your somatotype, suddenly all sorts of mysteries about yourself become explainable. You will be able to intelligently investigate the various adaptations you’ve made in the course of your life. You will also begin to understand why you’ve been unsuccessful in making certain kinds of changes. You will understand clearly when you can say YES and when you can firmly say NO. This simple knowledge can act as a liberating key to self discovery.
Will knowing your somatotype give you shocking insight about your inner self? Perhaps. However, some people will find out nothing new about themselves. What they WILL certainly find is objective confirmation about themselves. They will find the explanation of WHY they are the way they are.
Here is the challenge. You should not believe things because of claims people make. This is especially true in a field as controversial as psychology. You ought to be generally skeptical because that’s basic insurance for being safe. But don’t be afraid to test things out if the tools are free, simple and available. See for yourself if the effort is worthwhile. Your effort is the only investment you need to make in acquiring the knowledge of yourself offered on this site. This is an invitation to explore.
The next section will help you understand some somatotype basics.
- What is a somatotype?
- Introduction to Sheldon’s scientific method.
- Learn the meaning of the three somatotype dimensions
- Everyone is some measurable mix of somatotype components.
- Get familiar with the somatotype chart.
- Somatotype is objective and can be measured.
- Other methods of classifying physique.
- The missing fourth somatotype dimension.
ABOUT W. H. SHELDON
- “Sheldon considers human beings as they really are -psycho-physical wholes.”
- “the first serious advance of the science of man since Aristotle”
- “For the first time the old insights and intuitions about the different kinds of human beings have been clarified and put on a firmly objective and measurable basis.” ___“Aldous Huxley/ A Biography” Sybille Bedford, 1974
- “To know himself a man must know his type, know the limitations it imposes, the obstacles it places in the way. For every type there is a corresponding set of obstacles, inborn weaknesses of which the student must become aware. Though he cannot change his type, he can KNOW his type, know his limitations both psychologically and physiologically.”
- “He who would know his own essence should evaluate both his somatotype and his temperament and learn to estimate these quantities in others. This is an elegant art, analogous to the ‘feeling for form’ developed by an expert judge of livestock. The practice encourages the development of objectivity and sharpens observation.” ___“The Master Game” Robert S. De Ropp , 1968
- “Ectomorphs and endomorphs are clearly as healthy or ‘normal’ as mesomorphs.” ___ “The Journals of A.H. Maslow Vol II.” , 1979
- “For almost two thousand years our religions have been religions of bodiless souls and our psychologies have been psychologies of bodiless minds.”
- “Dr. William Sheldon, has done most to bring our attention back to the body as an aid in understanding the differences between persons.” ___Charles Morris “The Open Self” , 1948