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  1. #1
    Senior Member Nara's Avatar
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    Default Where's your innate potential located ?

    Curiously, the more I read about enneagram, the less it seems relevant. No please wait.

    Enneagram relate to innate dispositions (unless I missed something). But most of the scientific data* don't seem to support the idea that it doesn't change during lifetime since we're better informed about epigenetics (and how the environment can affect gene expression) and brain plasticity.

    Of course, our "spontaneous" reactions and the way we're dealing with external stimuli are partly rooted in our neural circuits repeatedly stimulated. And the brain still prefers following a path he already knows: then a simple habit (as an acquired tendency) becomes part of your personality.
    Interestingly, the greek word "ethos" which originally meant a simple "habit", had come to mean a "character structure", as if the link between the two had been already understood by some philosophers. But I digress.

    (Of course², some isolated alterations don't change the whole structure.)

    However, the brain's also the theater of numerous genetic mutations - throughout our lives - allowing us to adapt to various environments (and perhaps causing mental disorders like schizophrenia).

    So, if hardware's changing, then what about software ?

    * http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v18....2828_BX4.html
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture10531.html
    http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjourn...576-7/fulltext
    http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v8...l/nrn2132.html

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nara View Post
    Enneagram relate to innate dispositions (unless I missed something).
    "Relate" is a very general term.

    Relate in what way?

    I think you're looking at things the wrong way...

    MBTI is generally considered to be innate (nature), while Enneagram is generally considered to be learned (nurture).

    In other words, MBTI is the hardware, while Enneagram is the software.

  3. #3
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Nara, you might want to reconsider the title of this thread. It begs to be misconstrued.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Nara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    "Relate" is a very general term.

    Relate in what way?

    I think you're looking at things the wrong way...

    MBTI is generally considered to be innate (nature), while Enneagram is generally considered to be learned (nurture).

    In other words, MBTI is the hardware, while Enneagram is the software.
    To me it's completely the opposite
    As I understood it, enneagram is about pre-hardwired qualities you'll explore throughout your life
    MBTI is more about acquired preferences, so it gives more freedom

    (in simple words, here: hardware = brain, software = mind )

  5. #5
    Senior Member Nara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andante View Post
    Nara, you might want to reconsider the title of this thread. It begs to be misconstrued.
    What would you suggest ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nara View Post
    To me it's completely the opposite
    As I understood it, enneagram is about pre-hardwired qualities you'll explore throughout your life
    MBTI is more about acquired preferences, so it gives more freedom

    (in simple words, here: hardware = brain, software = mind )
    Most enneagram theories have to do with how one's enneagram style comes from one's early childhood experiences.

    Hence, its relation to neurosis and psychotherapy.

    One developed this fixation to protect the ego from the environment in one's early life...

    But eventually these defenses became maladaptive.

    MBTI, otoh, well... you don't hear much about receiving therapy over one's MBTI type.

    Not much more I can say here other than that I and most others see MBTI as more innate and Enneagram as more learned.

    Pretty much every person I've talked to about it here takes that position.

  7. #7
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nara View Post
    What would you suggest ?
    Innate potential and Enneagram, perhaps?

    Enneagram isn't strictly about innate potential though. It's that our innate traits combined with formative environment, manifest in adult behaviours that can be roughly compartmentalised into nine personality types. Where variance occurs, is within emotional health levels, instinctual stackings and where on the spectrum of the specific enneatype (wings), we reside.

    There's also tritype theory where people acquire multiple defense and coping strategies.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Nara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    Most enneagram theories have to do with how one's enneagram style comes from one's early childhood experiences.

    Hence, its relation to neurosis and psychotherapy.

    One developed this fixation to protect the ego from the environment in one's early life...

    But eventually these defenses became maladaptive.

    MBTI, otoh, well... you don't hear much about receiving therapy over one's MBTI type.

    Not much more I can say here other than that I and most others see MBTI as more innate and Enneagram as more learned.

    Pretty much every person I've talked to about it here takes that position.
    Every books on enneagram I read support your type is innate.
    The question is if wether or not innate = genetics. Now it's verified, innate = we don't really know what we're talking about.

    So here comes the hypothesis of the environment factors.
    Well. But the problem is: how come twins who grew up in the same environment, with the same cares, and the same genetic basis could be so different with their temperament (and this can be noticed VERY early)?
    And also, why, from the same experience, one is more prone to develop a substance dependence/abuse or depression traits than the other ?

    So perhaps there's a butterfly effect, therefore the predictive power of enneagram is really poor in itself.
    But the belief that there's something definitive in our patterns is really strong.

    And why our psychological foundations would stop developing after childhood ? Because of habits ? Ok, but habits can possibly be changed, as we know more and more about brain plasticity, and that nothing's strongly determined in early childhood.

    Then, enneagram isn't about behaviors but motivation: enneagram has a strong explaining power (like some other theories of personal growth) but:
    - is it worthy to predict yesterday's weather ? :/
    - if motivation depends on our neural circuits (motivational mechanisms are connected to the reward system for instance), and there're some alterations, then your motivation and type'll also change or what ?
    Phineas Gage was a 6 before turning into an unhealthy 7 ? lol

    Let's say ennagram is a mix of protoscience and pseudoscience (I was looking for the right terms). But this idea of an innate potential, even if it's conditioned later in the childhood, doesn't hold true.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andante View Post
    Innate potential and Enneagram, perhaps?

    Enneagram isn't strictly about innate potential though. It's that our innate traits combined with formative environment, manifest in adult behaviours that can be roughly compartmentalised into nine personality types. Where variance occurs, is within emotional health levels, instinctual stackings and where on the spectrum of the specific enneatype (wings), we reside.

    There's also tritype theory where people acquire multiple defense and coping strategies.
    I have no doubt it's very consistent. I was just trying to examine the theoretical basis more scientifically.

  10. #10
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nara View Post
    I have no doubt it's very consistent. I was just trying to examine the theoretical basis more scientifically.
    Understood but one of the initial premises was inaccurate about Enneagram so it had to be clarified. In clarification, it defrays many of your arguments.

    That said, I don't buy into Enneagram in its entirety. But some of the empirical observations are interesting.

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