enneagram: know yourself

Thursday October 1st 2020 by SocraticDev

The archaeological site of the Temple of Delphi in Greece is perched high on the side of Mount Parnassus, less than 200km from downtown Athens. This sanctuary is recognized for its vocation as an oracle. In exchange for offerings, in ancient Greece, one could address any question to the gods and hope to receive a sensible answer.

At the time, one could find, engraved in stone, famous phrases of local sages. A pilgrim could read the phrase Know yourself and you will know the universe and the gods. It makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

This short sentence with multiple interpretations is fundamental for the philosopher; for those who love wisdom. The idea of ​​placing the human being at the center of the universe returns cyclically in the history of philosophy: in the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment, for example. Philosophers typically return to this unwavering foundation stone following a period of obscurity and intellectual infertility. But it's never too late to get a head start!

enneagram - batteries included, but user manual lost

The expression enneagram of personality types sometimes designates more specifically the methods developed from the 1970s mainly by Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo. It is a typology describing nine types (or enneatypes) and corresponding to nine fundamental motivations, themselves linked to nine fundamental avoidances. The nine types can be represented on a geometric figure by nine points inscribed in a circle.

There are different theories of personality, and most of the time, they are looked at in the context of a healthy professional life or personal growth. The Myers-Briggs-type indicator is surely the best known and respected. Despite its psycho-analytical origin (C.G. Jung), many see it as a scientifically valid psychological theory.

As for the enneagram, it is not so much a scientific theory as a guide that can help us better understand the cause of our behavior. Roughly speaking, the enneagram proposes the existence of nine (9) personality types and characterizes them according to a fundamental fear. For example, the type 8 - the powerful and protective leader acts in a way that avoids feeling weak and powerless. He fears being controlled or being hurt. He therefore acts in a way that demonstrates his strength and dominates his environment. This type is linked to two other points on the circle: the type 5 - the expert observer and the type 2 - the altruist. Each point, or enneatype, is linked to two other points to explain atypical behavior under the effect of negative or positive situations. The type 8 will regress towards the defects of the type 5 in times of stress and pressure: it closes in on itself and isolates itself. In happier times, the type 8 will adopt the strengths of the type 2: he becomes more charitable and cares about the well-being of others.

The enneagram as a theory of the nine types of personality was popularized by the Bolivian writer Oscar Ichazo (1931-2020). It is also recognized that the enneagram was part of the esoteric teaching of the sage Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff (1866 (uncertain) -1949). Mr. Gurdjieff was considered a mystic, philosopher, musician and spiritual master. His thinking started from the premise that the human being was a sleeping being, a hypnotized automaton, who could be awakened in order to enable him to reach full human potential.

Given its unscientific nature and diverse origins, I suggest consulting different sources to enrich your introspective quest. And go with caution and moderation.


This kind of explanation has a visceral charm. It explains almost everything and it speaks to us intimately. Unfortunately, many charlatans take advantage of the ignorance and weakness of others in order to profit from it. For example, instead of scientific and recognized psychological treatment, phony therapists will take advantage of their victims by pretending to help them while holding them in their grip.

Otherwise, some people going through difficult times will avoid seeking professional help when trying to become their own therapist. By gorging on books full of pseudo-science and sterile rantings.

This is the risk inherent in powerful and alluring but fundamentally non-rational, unscientific schools of thought.

Here is an excerpt from a web page produced by the Interministerial mission for vigilance and the fight against sectarian aberrations :

The theses developed by these pseudo-therapists are based on a "psychologizing" approach based on three postulates:

> - the guilt of the patient in the development of his disease or his illness,
> - the anxiety of the disease,
> - the demand for better being in an individualistic and materialistic society.

Today, it is a field of plethora of offers attached to labels in constant renewal where health professionals, doctors and paramedics come together, as well as self-proclaimed individual therapists at the end of unapproved training courses miscellaneous costs.

The different methods classified in this category (the enneagram is one of them), are resolutely excluding traditional medicine. This non-negotiable and non-contestable party subjects to mental control those who adhere to it, and endangers them when they have a serious pathology or develop mental dysfunctions induced by their therapist.

In addition to the direct victim, these situations are the source of painful family breakdowns, especially for children.

Translated from french by Google Translate



Intro to the Enneagram || What are the 9 Personality Types?


Dérives sectaires - Quelles sont les méthodes les plus répandues