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11:48 AM on 05/27/2009
Quality stuff. Well done. I think we all can benefit from knowing more about the Enneagram and out type. Thanks for another excellent post.
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OtayPanky
You're welcome
11:46 AM on 05/27/2009
Anyone who's stumbled around in the realms of psychology and metaphysics for any length of time know that there are countless typology systems that people use to explain themselves to themselves. Invariably they all begin with a reasonably small number of basic categories, and then develop an arcane complexity over time.

This generic event - as true for the Enneagram is it is for Jungian typology and the 4 humours of medieval psychology (picked up in modern times by Christian fundies) is a testament - not to the truth of any one of them - but in our innate human need to make models in order to impose some sort of order upon the chaos of life.

Our various impositions of order inevitably create foreground and background - hilighting some aspect of our existence at the expense of others. When the model ceases to fit the facts, we have to either complexify it, or recognize that it was just a model, after all.
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01:08 PM on 05/27/2009
It's not that simple. While it's perfectly true that imposing order where there is none is neurotic and leads to false conclusions and pseudo-facts, it is equally true that denying order where there is one leads to sub-optimal results. This basic to-and-fro is a lot stronger than most of us would like to admit. But it's out there. It's real.

Yes not all of the classifications produce a lot of useful results. But the Enneagram does. And while Jungian typology may be subject to debate, its basic idea is quite inevitable and it has been present in the work of writers and philosophers basically at all times. Typology is not the same as believing in eternal transcendent ideas. It's just a tool.
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OtayPanky
You're welcome
02:54 PM on 05/27/2009
I didn't say anything about the neurotic imposing of order where there is none. Clearly, there is much value in our model making capacity. We'd have no science without it.

But clearly, personality typology systems are all arbitrary, and all limited in the same sort of ways. Whether you decide there are 4 basic personality types, or 9, or 16, there's no real "truth" there, as there is in (say) the basic Newton equation F=MA.

More than that, I can guarantee you that no matter what typology you choose, you'll find plenty of folks who don't fit into it very well. And that's when the typologists start to get all talmudic, jamming square pegs into round holes.
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situationcritical
SuperMegaUltraUberLiberal
11:40 AM on 05/27/2009
3 or 4...equally.
10:58 AM on 05/27/2009
More pseudo-science.
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xms
12:30 PM on 05/27/2009
since when does divination have to exist in the context of science? I wonder what John Dee would think?
01:41 PM on 05/27/2009
If it doesn't exist in the context of science, it's an illogical, non-fact based system. As such it can't impart much useful information about us or the world we find ourselves in. It doesn't reflect reality. It reflects made-up things and fairy tales.
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neurolux
...flunked micro-biology.
06:01 PM on 05/27/2009
It's not trying to be science. It's just a shorthand way to categorize one's personality.
03:01 AM on 05/28/2009
I think I'll stick to astrology.
10:40 AM on 05/27/2009
Type 10. Everybody in the world has some combination of the qualities of numbers 1-9. No matter which number you assigned to me I could see some truth in it and some fallacies.
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LaurieAnn
Generation Jones INFJ
10:25 AM on 05/27/2009
I've been fascinated by the enneagram for several years. In tests over the years I keep coming up a 4,5 or 6. Never one consistently. Maybe too much therapy for me and I'm overanalyzing myself? Any enneagram experts out there have ideas about this?
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Karen Leland
10:40 AM on 05/27/2009
Dear LaurieAnne;

I'm not an expert by any means, but some schools believe that you can have a core Enneagram # and then what they call a 'wing.' For example, a 3 with a 4 wing. You might want to check it out and see if this accounts for your numerical wanderings!
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LaurieAnn
Generation Jones INFJ
11:26 AM on 05/27/2009
Thank you for the input. I'm aware of wings, perhaps mine are a strong component of my personality and so confuse me from time to time. Thank you for the recommendation of Enneagram of Liberation. I'd like to make your readers aware of another enneagram book which I have found helpful; The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram by Sandra Maitri. She's in the tradition of Ichazo.
spiritualized
may we all know the truth directly and consciously
11:13 AM on 05/27/2009
there is no hard and fast rule about your type. people can span different types and under stressful situations slide in to other types all together. the enneagram is a framework of qualities that tend to go together.

people are a mix of the 9 types to varying degrees. each type is a little exaggerated, a caricature of human nature. in a way, you can look at the 9 types as the ingredients that make us up. and we choose to spice ourselves up in different ways - and for that reason, the world is a much more interesting place.
09:57 AM on 05/27/2009
Wow. Ancient and spiritual.

Is there any evidence that this has any actual value than the online "Which Star Wars Character are You?" test?
spiritualized
may we all know the truth directly and consciously
11:04 AM on 05/27/2009
the enneagram has been studied extensively. i believe that it was the basis for the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory (take a dumbed down version of the test here: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp) which is used by a broad range of folks - high-school/college students, business professionals, counselors, personal effectiveness trainers and many other groups that escape me at the moment.

there is a fair amount of wisdom in the enneagram but, as you have already noticed, it is hard to quantify the utility of wisdom.
01:38 PM on 05/27/2009
How many people or groups use it is irrelevant. Argumentum ad populum.

Myers-Briggs, actually, has many of the same problems as this geometic personality sorter. Which is: Where did they get their "personality types." Who says the types listed are accurate, or grounded in reality at all? Same question on how these types overlap and "interact" with one another. Who placed them in the diagram? Based on what?

Plus, the tests themseleves are flawed. The results can be easily skewed by deliberate deception or even a little bit of wishful thinkig in the answers. It produces nothing verifiable, falsifiable, or otherwise scientifically useful.

It's fine for entertainment puropses, I suppose. But so are the myriad of quizzes I keep getting on Facebook.
09:56 AM on 05/27/2009
"Trouble in Tulum" is a book by Diana Cooper and Judith W. Small about characters who represent all numbers on the enneagram who are on the spiritual quest. It's lighthearted and fun, poking fun at the different attributes that these people bring to the spiritual search. If you've ever been to a spiritual retreat, you will recognize these folks. It is all good fun.
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Karen Leland
10:33 AM on 05/27/2009
Dear Fleaba;

Cool recommendation. Many thanks.
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09:43 AM on 05/27/2009
I also discovered the Enneagram about 18 months ago. I find it amazingly simple and yet profoundly enlightening, helping me to make useful sense out of so many things I already knew about myself and helping me to understand others that I care about in a whole new and deeper way.

I'm also able to apply it in my work as an addictions counselor without any clash between it's logical principles and the other treatment models which I've drawn from in my work over the years. I believe it's compatabilty with other tested models derives from the universal truths of which it's composed.

Riso and Hudson are great thinkers and even better writers. Their book "Personality Types" is the best book I've ever read.

Although I'm not a Christian or at all religious, I also found Richard Rohr's book to be very good.

I thought that the writer Helen Palmer had some interesting insights in her books but her writing is sloppy and far less cohesive or cogent than that of Riso and Hudson who have a much better grasp of the system.

Thanks for your article here.