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  1. #1
    Member sleepless's Avatar
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    Default Questioning the Enneagram

    I don't get the Enneagram. What is is based on? As it seems: nothing. I mean, there are nine types, which are not at all human constructs (??) but supposedly "natural", in the sense that everyone *is* a certain type, even if you score equal among four different types, only one of them is your REAL type, the others are...? A friend of mine took it yesterday and scored as 4, but also close to 2, 6 and 9. The 2 could be explained as being the stress point of 4, but then? How much does it actually tell you about yourself? Would it be impossible to come up with a similar system consisting of 8, 10 or 12 types?

    And then there are the wings, the stress-/security points, the triads and whatever more. How do they motivate all that?? What if a person has a wing somewhere far away from itself, or if one's stress point isn't where it "should" be, or if you're 7 but strongly Feeling, or... again, seemingly, they don't motivate it. And if someone doesn't fit into it, then it's something they've misunderstood, and everything will be clear in time.

    Compare this to MBTI, and everything is quite logical: E vs I, S vs, N, F vs T and P vs J, divided into eight functions divided into sixteen function pairs/personalities, and well... you know all this. The Enneagram just seems soo arbitrary.

    Not to mention how the Enneagram, in the way it's structured, seems so "cosmically ordered", like something you would have come up with in Ancient Greece or in Medieval Europe... one wonders whether the purpose really is to understand human beings, or to create a sophisticated system to be amazed at?

    The worst part of all this, though, is that I fit into it as hell
    I'm a self-preservational, feeling, shameful 4 with a strong 5-wing, my security point is 1, stress point 2 and I have yet to develop my 3-wing... *sigh*



    Edit: Whew. That's what I call an INFJ Ti-outburst.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Delphyne's Avatar
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    It´s an INFJ Te-outburst. Ti would prompt you to look at the inner structure of the enneagram and unterstand it from the inside and not waste your time with the outer structure or your test scores.

  3. #3
    Member sleepless's Avatar
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    But that's just what I'm trying to do, looking at it's inner structure, to understand it, but it doesn't have any! It's arbitrary, completely made up, based on nothing!

    Aaargh! :steam: *second outburst*

  4. #4
    Senior Member Delphyne's Avatar
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    An INFJ friend of mine also thinks he´s using Ti when he´s actually in the grip of his tertiary Te and looks for outer guiding structures. If he´s in that state he won´t accept any holistic perspectives, only precise categories. He thinks he has an open mind, but he is using Te in a defensive way.

    At first it´s best to look at the basis types. If you try to see what´s your wing, your security points and so on, it´s likely that you get lost in the complexity of the enneagram.

  5. #5
    Senior Member miked277's Avatar
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    for me, enneagram is very useful. it's both accurate in describing my current behavior and in mapping out where i'm headed. that's one of the differences from mbti that i find appealing, enneagram is much more specific on the development of one's type.
    I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw, I'm in the prime of my life.

  6. #6
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    The Enneagram doesn't derive its nine archetypes from some Ti process, it simply assumes the archetypes are true.

    Now, there is a Ti-discernable structure built on TOP of those nine archetypes, especially when we start discussing directions of (dis)integration as well as the impact of the wings and variants.

    But the initial complaint, that the nine types can't be derived exclusively from reality, is correct. You either accept it or you do not. We can see some people who conform to the archetypes; others do not; and we have no real idea if the nine types are exclusively true and encompass all of human nature.

    Ni can find it useful because it sees it merely as one system/viewpoint and doesn't need it to be directly derived from reality nor exclusive.

    Function typology, meanwhile proposes it does cover all of human beings, if it focuses on the binaries. You are either T or F, S or N, E or I, or some gray inside each grouping... but you can't be Z (for example) on the T/F spectrum, Z doesn't exist except for Z = some combination of T/F.

    MBTI then builds sixteen archetypes off the binary pairings.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  7. #7
    Member sleepless's Avatar
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    Delphyne,

    The INFJ tertiary is Ti, not Te, and I dare say I recognize when I use it. But whatever, you can have your opinion. Case closed.


    Jennifer,

    thank you for making things clear. "Take it or leave it" is probably a good approach, that is, if we find it useful as a means of understanding ourselves then we use it, and otherwise we don't, as simple as that...

    Ni can find it useful because it sees it merely as one system/viewpoint and doesn't need it to be directly derived from reality nor exclusive.
    I suppose what irritates me is that you get the feeling that it actually claims to be exclusive; I haven't read it anywhere as an outright statement, but that's sometimes my impression, as they only care to explain how, not why (I have mostly read here: Enneagram Institute: Enneagram Testing & Training). I have been going with it for some time, but suddenly I just felt I was fooling myself, not being skeptical enough about it. We'll see, maybe I can give it a second chance..

    Oh, and actually, I found a new way of looking at my own type. The truth is that my stress point can sometimes be 7 instead of 2, and I think it's becoming increasingly so. Suppose that 2 goes away altogether, then I could think of myself as some 4/5 crossbreed, like this:

    7 (stress) ------ 5-4 ------ 1 (growth)

    Now how's that for a change? 1 is supposed to go to 7, but here it's ultimately the opposite!
    God, I'm so smart (and special)

  8. #8
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delphyne View Post
    It´s an INFJ Te-outburst. Ti would prompt you to look at the inner structure of the enneagram and unterstand it from the inside and not waste your time with the outer structure or your test scores.
    uh, no. that's blatantly a Ti outburst. the internal consistency of the system is being questioned, not the application.

    i have these same thoughts all the time about both enneagram and MBTI. a Te user would be comfortable just using the system and considering the effects. (whoa, i just explained my questioning of the validity of MBTI by using MBTI terms, lol)

  9. #9
    Senior Member mlittrell's Avatar
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    The enneagram is wonderful for understanding human motives. For example, it seems to me that there are 3 different types of ENTJ's. I have a best friend, a girlfriend, and a father that are all ENTJ's, but they are all different enneagram types. MBTI is wonderful for understanding a person, but not for understanding their actions or motive neccessarily. Is it based on anything...nope lol not really at all. At least not that I know of, if it is, I would like to know.

    Another thing with the enneagram...there can be something like 6 different types of ENFP's whereas, most of the time you don't see more then two INTJ's.
    "Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress. "

    "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."

    "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

    Mahatma Gandhi

    Enneagram: 9w1

  10. #10
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dissonance View Post
    i have these same thoughts all the time about both enneagram and MBTI. a Te user would be comfortable just using the system and considering the effects.
    And often the system gets justified or abandoned based on the effects and usefulness of the system, rather than any internal (in)consistencies.

    (whoa, i just explained my questioning of the validity of MBTI by using MBTI terms, lol)
    We're gonna have to smack your hands if you keep that up!

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepless View Post
    I suppose what irritates me is that you get the feeling that it actually claims to be exclusive; I haven't read it anywhere as an outright statement, but that's sometimes my impression, as they only care to explain how, not why...
    True, they assume it to be true and then preach how it works. But that tends to be typical of any system where you're just discussing application and not validation.

    I've noticed more New Age and religious influences in the promoters of Enneagram as well, whereas MBTI tends to be approached more from the psychology angle or with psychological (rather than religious) language.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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