Posted by Cjarlez (126.96.36.199) on June 13, 2003 at 02:50:30:
1. The enneagram classifies personality types by ego-drives, because, according to ennea-theorists, each personality has a particular ego-drive. Two questions arise in anyone. 1) Can a person have more than one ego-drive, and 2) can one ego-drive replace another one? The answer is yes on both counts. A person may desire control, and as a result, he is driven to conquer in his life. After he has risen to his top ranks of an executive board, control is no longer his motivation. He decides he wants to create art. By going from the drive of control to the drive of creation, he has lived life as an 8 and switched over to a 4. This example happens all the time. Be careful not to confuse his behavior as him merely exhibiting traits of each type, but rather, as him alternating between the two ego-drives used to classify each type.
2. What does the ego-drive actually mean? The ego is the subjective "I". A drive is like a desire. It is a feeling that pushes us in a direction. The ego-drive is that which pushes the ego "I" to act in a certain way. A question arises, and I'm sure some will grasp this faster than others. If, as the enneagram states, our personalities are reducible to those feelings that drive are ego's, what is the "I" itself separate from those drives? Is it an empty void? It is what we use in language to claim ourselves. But is it more?
3. The need to ________ is how we come to know that these ego-drives are based in emotions. What the enneagram is saying here is that our personalities are underlined in emotion, since what we do is determined by our drives. However, humans have come further than animals in development, and possession of the rational has brought us away from this purely primitive view of personalities. In fact, the "I" is to be found in the rational-thinking cognizance of all humans. Its not part of our emotions. A person who has amnesia is still aware of his emotions--his need to control, need to create, etc.--but he still cannot understand who he is, because he has lost track of what he associated with his "I", which are his values, beliefs, goals, faith, and memories.
4. Values and beliefs and goals fall under a person's mental structure because they are conceptual entities. They can be presented, evaluated, and interpreted through the use of reason. These are self-initiated drives that occur in thought processes. Once accepted into the "I" makeup, values and beliefs and goals can be actualized through our behavior. Let's say I have the emotional need to control, but through rational contemplation, I have realized that creation is the highest truth. I can choose to counteract the tide of my subconscious emotional drive in favor of acting upon my mental concept, even if it is in complete break with my past habits and behaviors. There are many examples of people who have done this: ghandi, st. paul, mlk, etc...This is what is meant by man's self-determination. It's the ability to act, rather than react.
5. The enneagram would have us only react to our emotional drives. But ennea-theorists have missed an essential characteristic of human beings, that we can act for the sake of our mental concepts and truths rather than be the passive observer of immediate emotion. Let's take hold of our existences and realize what our "I" really is. Once we understand that our actions aren't chained up in the prison of these primitive ego-drives, then we may actualize our conceptual selves.
6. There are a lot of holes in enneagram theory. And there are many unanswered questions, as well as outdated psychological observations stressed by ennea-theorists. One thing that happens all too often is people are drawn to this stuff by it's emotional appeal. Josie is an example of that. Read her stuff. Summary: 1) singular ego-drive is highly dubious, 2) the I is the self separate from emotional drives, 3) concepts are derived in the rational, not emotional, 4) person can act upon self-determined concepts rather than his so-called ego-drive, 5) personalities do exist, but are not set in stone as enneagram would have us believe.
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