Friday, October 5, 2007

actually, let's start from the very beginning

Wow, posting four times a week (as is required for my Technology of Information class at Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies) is a lot more challenging than I originally anticipated. Clearly, I have not been keeping up, but I'm going to try and force posts out of myself from here on out. We'll see how that goes.

So, back to the Enneagram. I figured I ought to take a few steps back and talk a bit about what I find so appealing about this personality profiling system. I'll make a list, since that'll help me organize my thoughts. This post will tackle Reason Number One (the order is of no consequence, though), and I'll continue the list in the next post.

1) I like reasons for things. I like systems and order. I like when things fall into place and "make sense" (to me). Every time I experience an emotion, my next thought is "where is this coming from? Why am I feeling this way?" The quicker I can find the root/explanation, the better. The longer it takes me -- or, G-d forbid, if I can't find any sort of explanation -- the more disquieted I feel. Despite being opposed to stringent, fixed identity categories, in theory, at some base level I find a lot of comfort in clear and understandable boxes into which I can put things (be they people, politics, feelings, or what have you).

This is why I'm drawn to religion, despite being completely agnostic. This is also why I enjoy reading my horoscope in the Village Voice and finding some truth and meaning in it, despite not actually believing, at the end of the day, that the way in which the planets were aligned on my date of birth actually determines anything about me. And this is definitely why I'm intrigued by and excited about the Enneagram -- it's an intricate, well-thought-out system through which I can make sense of myself, my feelings, my actions, as well as those of the people around me. It's not about the essential nature of a birth date, and it doesn't require me to believe in some higher power that's pulling the strings (though spirituality is a component of the Enneagram, for some). It envisions personality type as something formed by a combination of essential and constructed factors, which I find appealing at this point in my life, and, most importantly (to me), an individual gets to decide which type she/ze/he is based on her/hir/his own interpretation of her-/hir-/himself -- all people born in August are not Eights, all oldest siblings are not Ones, and so forth.

Next up, Reason Number Two for why I'm drawn to the Enneagram. In the meantime, I task anyone who is interested to venture a guess at my Enneagram type based on this post. :) It shouldn't be too difficult...

Friday, September 28, 2007

A visual + diversity of opinion

Hello, again. I've decided to step it up a small notch and include some images -- quite exciting! As you can see, this one is from the Enneagram Institute website.

As is only appropriate, this first image is the Enneagram symbol, complete with more-harmful-than-helpful (in my opinion) one-word descriptors of each of the nine types. I say they're more harmful only because I think reducing each type to "The ______" is often confusing for folks just learning about the Enneagram. For instance, upon seeing that the Two was called "The Helper," my mother immediately decided she must be a Two, since she is all about helping people. Of course, each type is much too complicated to be summed-up in one word, since the reason Twos are so helpful is different from the reason why Ones might also be helpful in certain situations, or Fives, or Eights. It's more about where your thoughts and actions are coming from--what that filter is--and less about how you seem to be acting on a surface level. That said, I understand why it might be appealing to have a quick reference point for each of the types. I just prefer to give more context.

The other thing to note about these type descriptors is that different people have used different words to describe the types. For instance, Helen Palmer, on her website Enneagram dot com, uses these descriptors (and descriptions, if you click on the links), instead:

1 The Perfectionist
2 The Giver
3 The Performer
4 The Tragic Romantic
5 The Observer
6 The Loyal Skeptic
7 The Epicure
8 The Protector
9 The Mediator

One of the main reasons I like the 9 types website so much is that it takes the writings of a whole bunch of Enneagram "experts" and puts them all in once place so you can see how different people view the dynamics of the types, and what things certain people choose to focus on (for instance, Enneagram in the workplace vs. in relationships vs. self-transformation work vs. "how to get along with a One/Two/etc.").

That's all for now. Next up: why I'm taken with the Enneagram.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Some Enneagram 101 links

Hello, again, internet world (or, really, Queens College GSLIS 700 classmates).

I'm still trying to figure out what, exactly, I'm doing with this blog. I keep finding myself wanting to simply quote or paraphrase the Enneagram "experts" in a sort of "Enneagram 101" way, but that's pretty boring and uninspired. Instead, I'll give you a few more links so you can read relevant information at its source, and we'll go from there.

For a general overview of the Enneagram, try the description on Don Richard Riso & Russ Hudson's site: How the Enneagram System Works

For descriptions of all nine personality types, also from Riso & Hudson, try: The Enneagram Types

If you're intrigued, and you want to find out what your Enneagram personality type is, try one of these free tests:
The RHETI sampler
(stands for Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator, and it takes about 10 minutes)

(stands for Quick Enneagram Sorting Test, and it takes about 5 minutes)

If you are interested in figuring out your type, I highly recommend taking one of the tests (I find the RHETI to be more helpful), and then reading in depth about the top two or three types that the test reveals. In the end, only you can type yourself, and you'll just know in your gut when you're reading about the type that fits you best. Personally, I cringed and felt pretty embarrassed when I first read about both the Two and the One (in the end, I realized I was a One with Two-wing), just because so many of the issues/problems/neuroses were so spot-on. Not everything about your type will necessarily fit you perfectly, but in theory, there should be one type that does fit you best.

That's all for now. Cheers!

Friday, September 21, 2007


Hello, hello. This is the first of many posts all about the wonders of the Enneagram. For those who don't know, the Enneagram is a personality profiling system that emphasizes psychological motivations and helps inspire personal growth. It's based around a nine-pointed figure -- the Enneagram -- where each point represents a personality type (the One, the Two, the Three, etc.). It's much more complicated than just dividing the human population into 9 distinct personality types, but I'll go more into that in future posts.

Personally, I find the Enneagram intriguing and helpful, and since being introduced to it by some friends a couple years ago, I've enjoyed learning about the nine types and using that knowledge to work on my own issues and navigate my relationships with other people.

That's all for my introduction, but there's more to come soon! In the meantime, check out these Enneagram-related websites if you're curious:

The Enneagram Institute
9 Types

An easy fast for those observing Yom Kippur, as well as those celebrating Ramadan!