Posted by Charlie (22.214.171.124) on June 13, 2003 at 16:07:12:
"If you look at people, you see that some are more alike than others.
The ones that are most alike can be effectively grouped together; they have similar motivations and ways of perceiving reality." --Fred
I think you are right that some are more alike than others in the way they perceive reality. However, I don't believe the enneagram's grouping method does justice to your observation.
The enneagram groups personalities based on emotional needs, i.e. the need to control, the need to understand, the need to trust, the need to be liked, and from each need, tries to deduce a personality type. They are saying that a certain need will cause a certain behavior, i.e. a person has a need to control so they go out in the environment and control. It's dubious because it puts our rational ego in an inferior position to our emotions. Lets use a counterexample: a person has a need to kill, but does that mean he will go out into the environment and kill? Or a person has a need to let out a loud yell on the corner of fifth avenue, but does that mean he will actually do so? No it doesn't. Why? Because their rational side is stronger than their emotional side. Likewise, a person's need to control does not mean he will go out in the environment and control, depending on his rational drives, values, concepts and goals. For instance, I may have a need to help others. But through reason, I conceptualize what that means and conclude that it is irrational to help others rather than myself. From there, I apply my concepts to my behaviors even though my emotional impulse is in contradiction to that behavior.
Therefore, the groupings in the enneagram are frivolous, because no human is permanently fixed to them. Ego-drives are always subject to be dismissed when deciding how to act. People who have been leaders have been artists and motivators. People who have been great artists have been reformers and loyalists. The enneagram behaviors given to each type are too general and too often mixed to ever discern a reliable system of grouping, and even then, no evidence is offered to validate it's claims except the implication of faith in nine intersecting lines.
In short, the enneagram does what most personality systems end up doing. That is, they group personalities by emotional needs rather than rational needs, and in doing so, undermine the true complexity of human beings.
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