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The Scholar Role

+ Knowledge
– Theory
13% of the 


  • Positive Traits: Adventurous, Curious, Easy-Going, Grounded, Knowledgeable, Logical, Mediating, Methodical, Neutral, Observing, Studied, Understanding
  • Negative Traits: Abstract, Arrogant, Boring, Dusty, Intellectualizing, Overbearing, Passive, Pontificating, Reclusive, Slow, Theoretical

Everything is of interest to the Scholar as an object of study. Scholars are the perpetual students of the world, always seeking to learn more. They are the scientists, the researchers, the archivists, the historians. Metaphorically speaking, Scholars are the head of the body of mankind, the brain that accumulates and stores and recalls the knowledge and information needed for the life of the rest of the body.

Because he is the Neutral Role, the Scholar can fit in fairly well in most any occupation or career. The Scholar is the universal person, the generic person, suitable for a wide range of professions. Scholars tend to prefer the sciences. For instance, if they have ordinal action traits in their overleaves, they might prefer forensic, strategic or military studies, or such things as systems analysis — because these deal with regulating events. If they have Cardinal Action traits in their overleaves, they might prefer such studies as political science, history, or economics — because these deal with what is happening. If they have Ordinal Inspiration traits in their overleaves, they might prefer such studies as biology and medicine -because these deal with the physical body. If they have Cardinal Inspiration traits in their overleaves, they might prefer psychology or religion as a study worthy of their attention -because these deal with the spiritual quality of life. If they have Ordinal Expression traits in their overleaves, they might prefer such studies as engineering, physics, and technology — because these deal with the intellectual aspect of life. If they have Cardinal Expressive traits in their overleaves, they might prefer such studies as art or music history, the making of documentary films, and philosophy — because these deal with the aesthetic aspects of life. If they have Assimilation  Traits in their overleaves, they might prefer such pure sciences as mathematics, statistics, and astronomy — because these deal with the universal and cosmic aspects of life. Whatever occupation they find themselves in, Scholars will always apply a measure of scientific acumen and erudition to it. They view the world as a laboratory, and life as a classroom situation, with themselves at the star pupils. They pursue knowledge for the sake of knowledge, for the pure joy of knowing.

The Natural Overleaves of the Scholar

Like a person with the Goal of Flow, the Scholar typically seeks the middle road in all things, always trying to achieve a balance in life. He does not want to upset the natural order of the universe, and he would like to restore symmetry when things do get out of kilter. Like a person in the Observation Mode, the Scholar is always on the lookout for new information. He beholds the world going by, with himself as student thereof — a non-participant, a neutral observer. Like a person with the Feature of Stubbornness, the Scholar sees no need to deviate from his accustomed path in life. He views himself as a universal constant, a perpetual cosmic factor, an eternal being. Like a Pragmatist, the Scholar has a very practical attitude toward the world — whatever works is the way to go, the thing to do. He experiences life in a functional, utilitarian way. Like a person in the Instinctive Center, the Scholar is attuned to the primitive, natural, and elemental aspects of life.

The Scholar is always assimilating information, especially when he is in the Positive pole of Knowledge. He fills his experiential data-banks with learning, facts, and figures. In an extreme case, he is the archetypal "walking encyclopedia". In the Negative Pole of Theory, he is the archetypal "egghead" — someone who likes to speculate, and has a lot of ivory-tower hypotheses about life, but lacking in actual knowledge to back it up. Many of the "professional students" in colleges and universities are Scholars who can never seem to get enough learning. The academic life suits them very much. Many of the professors of these schools are also Scholars, who are there for the opportunity to do research, more than to teach. The higher-education systems of the world are dominated by Scholars, because it is they who typically seek the higher degrees -masters and doctoral. They then often use these degrees to study and research all the more. There is no end to their assimilation of information. Scholars like books. The person of the Scholar Role, being Neutral, is not strongly attracted to nor repelled by things. Lacking Polarity in his nature, the Scholar tends to go through life as if nonattached and non-affected by the events and feelings and thoughts around him. He always maintains a scientific aloofness, as if merely studying life from afar. Consequently, it is difficult for a Scholar to become truly involved in life, since, to him, the world is just an object of study. People of the other Roles, who are more involved in life with stronger attractions and repulsions, would perhaps consider the Scholar too "clinical" or "antiseptic" to suit their taste. There is a certain colorlessness to the personality of a Scholar. In an extreme case, Scholars can seem rather computer-like in their behavior, since they operate so much on the basis of facts, figures, information, data, mathematics, and statistics, just as computers do. Scholars have no Complementary Role, so there is no "other half of the team" where they are concerned. More than any other Role, Scholars can be loners, in solitary pursuit of scientific knowledge. They tend to treat people in the same detached, depersonalized, calculating way in which they regard the rest of the universe.

They might have any and every appearance or physiognomy, as would the other Roles, but if there is a physical appearance that is typical of Scholars, it would be that they are rather generic or androgynous, since this goes with their Neutral nature.

Some famous Scholars who fulfilled their Role rather obviously are the following: Leonardo DaVinci, Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, Sigmund Freud, and Martin Luther.

-- Phil Wittmeyer

More About The Scholar

Knowledgeable, detail oriented, and innately curious, Scholars are the librarians of the Universe. They methodically collect and transcribe the genetic code of existence so nothing is ever forgotten. Like walking Encyclopedia Britannica's of the human experience, they record life in both its positive and negative faces, teaching us about the triumphs and failures in the world, and how we can best learn from them.

Scholars are sponge-like in the way they record the events around them, and can sometimes be indiscriminate in the experiences they choose to absorb. The rule of thumb with most Scholars then is they are willing to try anything at least once.  This can lead to rather unpleasant circumstances at times, but experience is the modus operandi of the Scholar, and sometimes irregardless of the outcome, just having the experience is considered a mission accomplished for the Scholar. 

A new exploration for the Scholar can be like a quest for the Holy Grail. Scholars are typically unrelenting in obtaining virginal sources of information, either through the process of intellectual inquiry or actual hands-on experience. Either way, the Scholar will not give up until they have completely absorbed a new area of interest, and they will continue in pursuit of these forbidden  fruits of knowledge until they have thoroughly and metaphorically tasted everything they have to offer. 

Some Scholars, for example, might devote an entire lifetime to a particular study: a drug addict might indeed be a Scholar methodically assimilating the experience and adding it to his growing library of past life knowledge. Although on the surface this may not seem like the most productive way to gain information, for the Scholar, there is no substitute for hands on experience.  

On the downside, Scholars can become so bookish in their approach to collecting information that they don't speak from hands on experience, but from theory.  It is of little surprise then to find a Scholar who can write a fifty page dissertation on the harmonic approaches used by jazz soloists, but when asked to demonstrate that knowledge firsthand, it is discovered the Scholar can't even crack a note on a musical instrument. It's also the Scholar who can give a lengthy pontification on the art of hanging drywall, but when asked to assist in the task, he's hard pressed to even hammer a nail straight. 

These are all humiliating episodes for the Scholar, and most soon learn that vicariously collecting their knowledge through the reading of books alone is a poor substitute for first hand experience.  

Scholars are naturally attracted to the information professions, and the growing technology that has made the information highway so widely available lately via the Internet is an enticing form of eye candy for them.  

Normally more reserved in expression than the other roles, Scholars possess a unique sense of detachment that makes them excellent mediators, in addition to providing them with the neutrality necessary to relate well with all kinds of people.  Generally non-confrontational and relaxed, Scholars are grounded and reliable. While their obsession with sometimes useless facts can be an occasionally daunting aspect of their personality, they make huge contributions to the collective by fearlessly trying things others don't want to do. In an ever diligent and methodical manner, Scholars are the very scribes of humanity.  

-- Dave Gregg

"It is the nature of scholars to explore constantly for new knowledge. If existing knowledge sources have been exhausted, in the sense that everything the scholar wishes to study of resources currently available has been studied, the scholar is prone to creating new knowledge. He plays the game of “What would happen if…?"

Knowledge can be gained in many ways other than verbally. Theory, the negative pole of scholar, is more reliant on words. Becoming aware of more expansive avenues of communication can help scholars be in their positive pole."

-- Michael (channeled by Shepherd Hoodwin)


Jane Austen

Abraham Lincoln


Compatibility With Other Roles


SCHOLAR-SCHOLAR: Scholars see other scholars as particularly kindred, in ways that some of the roles cannot see others of their own role. Scholars can endlessly share notes, and therefore support each other in their endeavors; they share the alignment of colleagues. Unless the overleaves abrade or there is karma, it is unusual for two scholars not to get along. This relationship may lack spice. Being neutral to begin with, scholars are more attracted to what is not neutral, which makes for an interesting study; scholars are not so likely to want to study other scholars, although scholars may wish to study something with other scholars. Scholars would certainly not want to live in a world that was all scholars, but they would also not want to live in a world where there were no other scholars with whom to share notes.

SCHOLAR-KING: Scholars and kings generally get along. Scholars tend to respect—not so much love—kings, but may not understand why kings can become impatient with them when they have trouble getting to the point, as they often do. Kings can master information quickly, which scholars like, and kings can match scholars’ intellect. But kings tend to be generalists, whereas scholars might settle down to fifty years of studying one insect genus. Because scholars find this focused study to be so interesting, they may be hurt if kings do not share their fascination. They know that if kings do share their interest, kings can promulgate this interest near and far. But kings generally don’t cooperate, and scholars can be impatient with this just as kings can be impatient with too much detail. Kings, though, are usually smart enough to recognize the necessity of scholars’ contributions. So it tends to be a good solid relationship, if a little more distant than some others.

SCHOLAR-WARRIOR: Warriors and scholars can be very good for each other. Warriors can bring out more of the “down and dirty” and the humor in scholars, so warriors tend to make better playmates for scholars than kings do. Warriors genuinely find scholars to be interesting. If warriors are in a hurry, they, too, can be impatient with scholars’ penchant for detail, but if warriors have some time on their hands, they may be willing to entertain a lot of detail from scholars, asking questions, challenging, occasionally practicing some one-upmanship—and making a pretty good time out of it. Since scholars are the number four position role and warriors are the number three—together they add up to seven—they sense that they can complement or add something to one another. One way in which they complement is that scholars, being the neutral role, can absorb warriors’ focused, earthy energy.

SCHOLAR-SAGE: Sage and scholar is also a good combination. Both love knowledge (positive pole of scholar) and information. Scholars are sometimes envious of sages, because scholars tend to fear that they are not as “spicy,” as interesting, as the other roles, and there is no role more potentially spicy than sages. (Sages feel that they have to be, in order to get everyone’s attention.) The fact of the matter is that scholars are usually genuinely content not being in the limelight—being wallflowers, even—but your society rewards sages with acclaim much more often. If scholars feel a lack of self-esteem, they can be envious of sages. I’ve noticed that scholars can easily find sages irritating because scholars want knowledge (positive pole of scholar) to be just caretaken: neutral and available. Sages, on the other hand, often want to elaborate on it or exaggerate it. Scholars distrust that, feeling that there’s some distortion or ego in it. A spice in your food can taste good in the right quantity, but can irritate if there’s too much of it. Sages often feel the urge to exaggerate when they are fulfilling their role of storyteller. The story has to be made interesting, larger than life. Most people find movies, for example, that present stories faithfully—in life-size projections rather than larger-than-life—to be boring. They have to be magnified somehow. But sages can get carried away with this—just as any role can get carried away with whatever it is doing—and not respect boundaries. This can also be a factor in starting and expanding rumors. There is a certain amount of heightening of reality that reality can tolerate without being distorted. In great art, reality may, in fact, be clarified by being heightened, by being put under a magnifying glass. That is really what sages are trying to do. However, if they lack skill or insight, they may distort it, which puts them in their negative pole, oration (negative pole of sage). Scholars are more concerned about the purity of information, but they are not more dedicated to truth than sages. Scholars tend to see truth as fact; sages tend to see truth as what reveals the moral or insight of the story, since story is a big part of what sages are about. Sages in the negative pole can be irritating to everyone, but we would not overemphasize the conflict between sages and scholars; generally, they are quite complementary. Scholars like how forthcoming sages are in providing information. Sages do not see it as an inconvenience, as a warrior, for example, might, if he’s trying to get on to doing the next thing. Sages know that disseminating information is their job, their role. And sages see scholars as possible sources of “news they can use,” although the way scholars operate is to take a big chunk of raw data and slowly distill it; if scholars give their knowledge (positive pole of scholar) before it has been well distilled, it can be more than is needed or can be used. Scholars are willing to provide data at any stage in the distillation process, because it is all interesting to them, but the other roles generally just want the end result: the fully distilled version, the conclusions, the bottom line. That would also be why scholars like each other so much. Right—there is mutual appreciation of the whole process. Sages, being an expression role, do not hesitate to express to scholars just what information they want or do not want. If they do this without tact, that can be offensive to scholars. Sages are usually pretty tactful, but sages who have a warrior essence twin or warrior casting, for example, may be more blunt. Sages, warriors, and scholars all tend to have particularly well-developed senses of humor; so sages are another role that scholars can play with. However, scholars are prone to the kind of puns and word play sometimes called “groaners,” and sages may tease scholars about this. Underneath, sages usually enjoy the word play or pun anyway. Sages do not really look down their noses at it (even though they may pretend to) because they appreciate all kinds of humor, even those that are not their own kind. If the humor is particularly complex or clever, sages may feel admiration and respect—even if it is not, in fact, all that funny. Wherever there is a demonstration of expressive ability, sages will acknowledge that on some level. Scholars can be particularly humorous in their writing—often in a tongue-in-cheek way. Their humor is not as dramatic as that of sages, but it can be pleasant to read. Sages’ humor tends to be more broad and accessible, and being expressive, it tends to work better in performance than scholars’ humor. Scholars are not very often good at stand-up comedy, for example. They are just not expressive enough—unless they have a sage essence twin, or another expressive influence—to deliver their thoughts with enough spice. On paper it does not matter—the humor is all in the words themselves, and no role is more expert with words per se than scholars. What about sages’ ability with words? Scholars are generally the most facile in vocabulary and the intrinsic use of words—what words go where—whereas sages are more clever in manipulating words and playing with their meanings, as with innuendo. The scholarly puns and word games are more about the structure of words themselves than about playing with their meaning, as sages are more prone to do. Sages, of course, can also be funny on paper with words, but scholars can be endless in their ability to mine the gold in words themselves.

SCHOLAR-ARTISAN: What these roles share in common is a large capability to do many types of things. With artisans, it is intrinsic, a natural affinity for fixing, designing, and making things. For scholars, it more springs out of the knowledge (positive pole of scholar) that has been gleaned through study. They also share in common a high ability for design and structure. However, we do not see this as the best combination for relationships, because both can be isolated or moody at times; there is not enough overlap between them—they are both just off doing their “thing,” and their “things” often do not overlap, whereas with two scholars, their “things” more easily can. Of course, there are many exceptions to this, but, in general, this is not the strongest combination.

SCHOLAR-PRIEST: Scholars and priests work quite well together, because priests carry a great deal of concentrated higher energies, and scholars, being one of the three solid roles, and being neutral, are able to absorb a lot of that higher energy. So scholars feel grounding and also somewhat malleable to priests. Priests have the need to feel that others are receiving their inspiration, that they are acting on it. Sages have no such need; they just need to be heard, so they don’t have to see the results, but priests do. Also, scholars, perhaps more than the other roles, enjoy priests’ inspiration and do not put up a lot of resistance to it, unless it has gotten them into deep trouble on a number of occasions. It would take quite a lot of negative experience with priests to make scholars wary. Warriors are much more prone to be wary of priests and resistant to them than scholars are. Priests also appreciate knowledge, although when scholars and priests are together, the type of knowledge they share is usually higher knowledge, which to scholars is just one more category of interesting topics. Scholars, being neutral, are just as happy to discuss that as to discuss anything else, so it is not a problem. Priests would not be that interested in discussing a number of things of interest to scholars, but scholars can be perfectly happy with all areas of interest to priests. Also, scholars can suffer from a dryness, a lack of emotion, and priests, being generally the deepest feeling of roles, can provide an antidote to this. So it can be quite warming for scholars to be around priests, unless scholars are, for example, trapped in the intellectual part of the intellectual center and do not want to be emotional or inspired, in which case they might have a wall to priests.

SCHOLAR-SERVER: Like scholars and artisans, scholars and servers tend to lack overlap. This combination can also get a little bland—there is not that much spice in servers either, although they often have a great deal of warmth. A scholar-server alliance might be chosen when both want to rest from a lot of stimulation or conflict, to have a safe harbor, to even be able to “zone out.”

-- Shepherd Hoodwin



Famous Scholars: 

Ben Affleck, Jane Austen, J.S. Bach, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Susan Boyle, Kenneth Branagh, Lord Byron, Truman Capote, Orson Scott Card, Leonardo Da Vinci, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Ira Gershwin, George Harrison, Bret Harte, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Joseph Haydn, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Samuel Johnson, Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham, Cormac McCarthy, Paul McCartney, Michelle Obama, Edgar Allen Poe, Mr. Rogers, William Shakespeare, Mary Shelly, Stephen Sondheim, Jon Stewart, Emma Thompson, Eckhart Tolle, Waly Whitman, Woodrow Wilson.


Scholar Photos


Mary Shelley

Walt Whitman


See More Pictures of Scholars at the Role Photo Database


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