Friday, October 22, 2010

TNS#74: Exploring the Enneagram

TheNextStep show #74 was taped 9/13/10 and featured a discussion of the Enneagram with local authors/workshop leaders David Fauvre and Katherine Chernick Fauvre ( The Enneagram is a psychospiritual typology or model of personality types, a nine-fold system of types where each is seen as expressing a distinctive and habitual pattern of thinking and feeling. Its development can be traced from the Sufis thru G.I. Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, Oscar Ichazo, Claudio Naranjo, and a host of current authors.

David and Katherine seem to have made their own contributions to the field with their incorporation of 'tri-types' wherein the nine types are grouped with respect to one's 'motivational' factors, into the three groups of head/blue, heart/red, and gut/green. As I understood it they seem to be saying one could correlate the qualities of a type with each of these 3 aspects of psyche (head, heart, gut), but I could be wrong about that! Just before the show they had me take their online personality test, which I found surprisingly difficult and left my head spinning someewhat during the show... difficult because I was being asked repeatedly to choose between qualities that I was pretty darn ambivalent about. Perhaps if there was a personality type for ambivalence I'd be there and the whole process would've been easier. But I do definitely see the value in this kind of work, following directly from the Delphic Oracle's invocation to "Know Thyself". Another way they expressed the goal of this work is "to transform self-defeating behaviour into empowerment".

They eventually settled on a determination that I'm a social nine, in company with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, which I found flattering enough. Not that I'm the type to care much about flattery! Try their test yourself, at!

Here from my notes is a summary of the nine types:
1. perfectionist, reformer, judge, crusader, critic
2. giver, helper, nurturer, caretaker, advisor, manipulator
3. performer, motivator, achiever, producer, status-seeker; corp America!
4. tragic romantic,individualist, mystic, artist; authentic, sensitive, moody
5. observer, thinker, investigator, sage; self-suff; can be arrogant
6. devil's advocate, loyalist, skeptic, guardian, rebel; safe, secure
7. epicure, entertainer, optimist, adventurer;
8. leader, solution-master, maverick, protector; can be intimidating
9. peacemaker, mediator, naturalist, accomodater; conflict-avoidant
Types 8,9,1 relate to gut, instinct (green); types 2,3,4 relate to heart (red);
types 5,6,7 relate to head, ideas (in their work that is).

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