Some of the distinction between temperaments seem terribly subtle. Are there some that are just difficult or am I just not getting it?
Several personality type distinctions are particularly tricky and worth noting to help in avoiding confusion.
One involves two personality types commonly found in academia. The majority of professors have predominantly Late/Upper/Inner personalities. But we see also a fair number of Early/Upper/Outers. If an Early-Axis person’s energetic is highly ascendant, he or she can be just as comfortable with the intellect and just as fascinated by objective inquiry. Useful clues—the Earlies have a harder time keeping their hair combed, are frequently hard to find beneath the ecological complexity of their offices, and are less naturally comfortable with the structure of academic life. (But again, you must go beyond behavior to the underlying reality to really make the distinction.)
We find a second easily confusing distinction between Early/Outer artistic personalties and those that occupy similar niches in society but from a Late/Lower/Inner energetic. Dancers and visual artists come from both. Most jazz musicians are Early, but much of the jazz audience is Late. A few clues—in dance, the Earlies are going to be more comfortable with improvisation, the Lates with dance that is more choreographed. In painting, the Early artist is more apt to work abstractly, the Late artist more representationally. (But again, more than behaviors are needed for the discrimination.) We see a related juxtaposition in the personalities attracted to “new age” thinking in the 1980’s. We tend to identify new age thinking with Earlies. But, in fact, popularized New Age thinking came primarily out of Late/Lower/Inner initiatives and sensibilities. Earlies got it started with their delvings into meditation and mysticism. But Late/Lowers like Shirley McLaine and Lynn Andrews made it marketable.
The easy confusion in each of these distinctions has a common origin. Each juxtaposition involves Early/Outer (generally quite Outer) and Late/Inner (generally quite Inner) dynamics. Early/Outer and Late/Inner dynamics have, at their core, realities that couldn’t be much further apart. At the same time, within each, the balance between more creatively manifest (more archetypically masculine) and more creatively germinal (archetypically feminine) is very similar. Early/Outer represents the most form-defined energetic within the least form-defined axis. Late/Inner represents the least form-defined energetic within the most form-defined axis. It is not surprising then, that at least at first blush, these styles can appear quite similar.