Don Riso and Russ Hudson

Using the Right Vocabulary for The Id in Types 4, 5, and 9

Every time I give an Enneagram talk, I discard the old one and completely re-write it.  I don't know why because it ends up being very similar to the previous one, although I do get something out of the repetition.  Writing the material over and over again gets me more and more familiar with each psychic structure, reinforcing how our personality types are triggered as we descend down the levels into a contracted state, and what landmarks we meet as we go up into the realm of expansive emotional well-being.  

Type Two: Meditation on Love

I'm reading the high side of each of the Enneagram types.  They're all such beautiful descriptions of us at our best, but I thought the Type Two's high side was such a nice meditation on the nature of love, I would repost it here.  This is from Don Riso and Russ Hudson's Description of the Type Two at Level 1 in their Personality Types book.  It's not their newest book, but I actually turn to this one more often for some reason.

Finding a Counter-Narrative to Terrorism in the Age of ISIS

Fran Townsend .  Image from

Fran Townsend.  Image from

A couple days ago, I watched an interview with Fran Townsend, the former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor to President George W. Bush.  She's incredibly smart and has some good insights on the war on terror.  Well worth watching- it's an hour long. 

The one thing that struck me is that halfway through, she acknowledged that the US had a poor counternarrative to ISIS' recruitment tactics.  She says the first response that the US has to get right is to deny them the battlespace to do their recruiting- the internet, and the second response is to fill that space with the counternarrative.  But, she says,

It's a frustration.  No administration has been particularly good at the counternarrative.  ... I think as a government, we are never going to be good at this.  Not because we don't want to be, but we ought to have mechanisms by which we can fund it and not control the content, for those who will create the counternarrative.... But the state department has been not very effective and not very good.  And that's not a criticism of this administration- none of us are very good at it....

I thought that was a bold admission.  I do see the Enneagram as being a perfect counternarrative for those who seek truth in the weeds of egoic distortion, but it would be a weird, weird partner with the US government.  Does anyone have any idea how that would look? 

I mean, the Enneagram provides a breathtakingly accurate map of the nine different personality types.  Each map provides a lateral topography for how each type looks when they ascend to enlightenment (non-reactivity), to being the most reactive and unhealthy at the bottom of the emotional intelligence scale, where they're a danger to themselves and others.  That's Don Riso's work with the Nine Levels of Health.  So important for understanding radicalization.  Those who have been radicalized have simply walked past the Red Flag fear of the bottom of the sixth level of health (we're descending down into very poor emotional health here) and are dwelling in upside-down land where they are healthy, but inhabiting the danger zone, looking at us as if we're unhealthy.  They're looking at all our warts in Levels 4-6 and saying "we need to fix this with the egoic truth of Levels 7-9".  Although that's the point; unfortunately our ego is this phantasmic mirage that doesn't get real no matter how close we get to it.  The metaphor I heard from Sandra Maitri is that it's just the projection of a movie onto a screen- if you put your hand up, you can see the movie being projected onto your hand, but it's not like it's a real thing that you're holding.  That's what we need to be made aware of at all levels.

But can you do "outreach" with the Enneagram?  Do you have to let the Enneagram find who it needs to find, or do we just live by example?  Do you promote it through google search somehow?  How do people think the Enneagram can play a role in those toying with the idea of descending into levels 7-9?

Is There Enough Internal Conflict in Downton Abbey's Mr. Carson?

Mr. Carson, Downton Abbey's butler.   Image from

Mr. Carson, Downton Abbey's butler.  Image from

He seems pretty easy to type- as a stickler for decorum, serving the Crowleys properly and containing his emotions- Mr. Carson, the butler on Downton Abbey, seems to fit pretty neatly into the Type One constellation of characteristics of the Perfectionist.  We can all be perfectionists from time to time in our lives, but Ones take the compulsion to bring everything into alignment with their inner "north star"-- that which is good, virtuous and true-- to the level where it defines their entire approach to life. 

Let's look in depth at the logic behind the type to see if anything's missing in Carson's portrayal... because seriously, where is his anger? He does get exasperated from time to time, but he's usually walked it off between the kitchen and his office.  Where is the perpetual, roiling frustration with imperfection?

In Personality Types, Riso and Hudson describe the healthy Type One as "conscientious with strong personal convictions, [with a desire] to be rational, reasonable, and self-disciplined, mature, and moderate in all things".   When they're in the average levels (where 99% of the world inhabits), those traits become a bit more rigid, resulting in an inability to appreciate themselves or what arises in their environment as inherently good; thus, they become trapped in an interminable mental habit of trying to alter their behavior or that of others to fit their definition of perfection.  In their minds, they are responsible for maintaining a high standard of practices, and if it weren't for them, the whole order of things would fall apart.

We do see Carson time and time again correcting others, noting a tear in their uniform, demanding that they carry out their duties with more seriousness, or that they serve the food with the proper gloves.  But if he's a Social One, he'd be more complainy and huffy (not to mention more sociable), and if he's a Self-Preservation One, there would be more attempts at self-improvement, and the anger would be almost invisible except in private with Mrs. Hughes or alone in his office.  We can get into distinctions of the subtypes of Ones later, but first let's look at the overall traits of the type called The Perfectionist.

Not only is Carson a product of the One-ish Victorian/Edwardian era where libidinal energy is moralized and kept strictly under wraps throughout the land, but Carson is a personification of the archetype himself.  His personality is largely responsible for casting an air of severity, gravity and seriousness to the downstairs culture of Downton Abbey, but maintaining order and making sure staff are kept in line are actually his job, so as a One, he's perfectly placed as the butler.  Moreover, he's perfectly cast, as I believe the actor who plays him is also a One. 

So with all this drive for perfection in the culture, the script and in the actor himself, I wonder if something is missing in his portrayal of a One.  The whole crux of their internal dilemma hinges on a simultaneous desire for perfection and an unwillingness to admit an ounce of badness or wrongness into consciousness, whether their own or anyone else's, so instead of relaxing into the perfection of life as it arises, they try to change it, correct it, or rigidly suppress it.

This idea that everything is already perfect is the Holy Truth for the Type One.  It's not an easy one to swallow, though, and Sandra Maitri, master of depth psychology in the Enneagram field, helps us understand the truth that Ones are trying desperately- and justifiably- to bring to the world.  "Without the filter of the subjective self", she explains, "we see that all of existence has a quality of completeness, wholeness, and faultlessness just because it is."  She borrows an analogy of Almaas' to expand:

We know from physics that atoms are the building blocks of all matter, and they in turn are made up of subatomic particles like electrons and photons, and smaller still, quarks and gluons.  All atoms are complete, whole, and perfect unless they are altered, which is what happens when we create a nuclear explosion.  At this atomic level, whether the atoms make up an emerald or excrement, the reality of each atom is still perfect.

But when there is so much war, selfishness, and hatred in the world, how does it make sense to say that everything is perfect as it is?  I believe Almaas' response is probably something that one can only see through many years of meditation. 

The way we ordinarily see the world is not the way it really is because we see it from the perspective of our judgments and preferences, our likes and dislikes, our fears and our ideas of how things should be.  So to see things as they really are, which is to see things objectively, we have to put these aside- in other words, we have to let go of our minds.  Seeing things objectively means that it doesn't matter whether we think what we're looking at is good or bad- it means just seeing it as it is.  If a scientist is conducting an experiment, he doesn't say, "I don't like this so I'll ignore it."  He may not personally care for the results because they don't confirm his theory, but pure science means seeing things the way they really are.  If he says he is not going to pay attention to the experiment because he doesn't like it, that is not science.  Yet, this is the way most of us deal with reality, inwardly and outwardly.

The personality, the filter that separates us from Essence, prevents us from seeing everything as inherently good and complete, a particularly painful loss for the One.  We can trace their compulsion to correct herself or her environment back to the pre-verbal stage of infancy when, as Freudian developmental psychologist Margaret Mahler suggests, the infant, having just emerged from the womb, still has a pristine sense of awareness that everything is connected, and they are connected to it all through mother's warmth. 

The perfect circle, otherwise known as the Monad, contains everything and is integrated with everything within it.

The perfect circle, otherwise known as the Monad, contains everything and is integrated with everything within it.

If we were to get metaphysical, we can go back even further than Freud to the Greek philosophers who understood spiritual characteristics to be connected with the numbers one to nine (which curiously correspond to the Enneagram's nine types), and in his book, A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe, Michael Schneider shows how the first numeral, represented by a perfect circle, or the "Monad", demonstrates the unity underlying our perceived separateness. 

The Monad, or oneness, expressed as a point and a circle, is the foundation for our geometric construction of the universe.... We, too, are part of the world's harmonious design and can't help but express the Monad's principles in the things we do and create.  Everything seeks unity.  The goal of many religions and mythic ordeals is to return to a lost state of Divine Oneness.  But we have no need to return to a state of oneness because unity is axiomatic, and we already are integrated in it.... Only a self-imposed illusion of separateness keeps us from recognizing our own centre of awareness and identity with the One.

About six hundred years later, the neo-Platonist Plotinus developped an eloquent system of thought based on this concept of The One, massively influencing Western thought for the next couple of millennia, but we won't go there.  Rather, let's just say that when we're in touch with the fundamental principle of essential wholeness, we see that

... who we are is inherently and implicitly perfect, ...we are just right as we are, ... we do not need anything added to us or subtracted from us.  ... From this angle, we see that we do not need to become better, that we do not need to be different, and that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with us.  All we really need to do is to connect with and realize our inherent perfection.

But obviously the type One baby can't see this and there is nothing that can be done to prevent her inevitable disconnection from this understanding.  Usually before the age of four, she learns to see herself as separate, beginning with the first stage in all babies' cognitive development, learning where their body ends and mother's begins.  Understanding herself as a separate body from the arms that hold her is the foundational principle of object relations, with unique implications for all of the types' identity formation; for the Type One baby, the distinct "I" slowly starts being reinforced as it begins to experience imperfection in herself or the world, leading her to start opposing certain experiences, further "reinforcing the 'I' that is reacting."  Maitri explains how baby might come to develop an aversion for imperfection:

[It] may arise in concert with an early childhood in which the message was communicated directly or interpreted that he just wasn't good enough or wasn't the right thing.  This may have resulted from his biological needs being subtly or overtly judged and rejected, leading to the sense that they were wrong, or from having an overcritical and emotionally withholding parent who imposed very high standards that seemed to the young One impossible to live up to.  One or both parents may have had very One-ish tendencies such as strong moral judgmentalness and fundamental religious beliefs.  Sometimes the whole early situation was a setup, in which he was looked to by the parents to fulfill unfillable needs, such as replacing a lost loved one, resulting in a profound sense of not being good enough or having what it takes for the task.

In an attempt to please her mother and get back to the bliss of connection with Essence, the "I" of the Type One learns to align with the Superego, their conscience.  Trying to paddle backwards to Essence results in frustration for the One, though.

Regardless of the source [of feeling wrong], the One is left with the sense of not being what was needed or wanted in the environment and of being somehow wrong.  In order to return to his prior state of bliss, it becomes critical for him to deduce, form, and create an idea of what perfection is.  He tries to figure out what mom wants, what will restore the sense of harmony and once again allow his soul to relax and reconnect him with the lost perfection.  So his instinctual drive to reestablish homeostasis is turned toward trying to be good, achieve perfection, and make mommy happy.  Eventually his drive energy gets fully coopted into this striving for perfection, and in time this quest turns him against his own instinctual energy.

At this point, it must be reiterated that parents don't necessarily make us into our types.  They may have been quite enlightened, or they may have been abusive, but wherever they lie on the spectrum, the baby will still separate from Essence and develop a personality, so it's less a question of blaming parents for not being able to mirror our True Nature as it a question of taking this information and learning from it to shed our layers of personality so we can re-access the particular quality of Essence associated with our type.  Maitri explains why I think Carson isn't having enough inner conflict.  Unable to completely please mom,

[he] comes to feel that he is imperfect, and it may seem to him as if the very substance of his soul had a fundamental flaw, a basic badness or wrongness about it.  There arises a mental fixation or underlying and all-pervasive belief that he and the reality he perceives are essentially imperfect, not good enough.

The shape representing the Type One and his distortion is the perfect circle divided in half.  By aligning with the Superego, the One is inherently divided against himself.  He's got a good self and a bad self, which is ironic because more than any other type, the One's driving force is to be in integrity with themselves.

The shape representing the Type One and his distortion is the perfect circle divided in half.  By aligning with the Superego, the One is inherently divided against himself.  He's got a good self and a bad self, which is ironic because more than any other type, the One's driving force is to be in integrity with themselves.

Every disavowal of his inner experience, says Maitri, strengthens the perosnality and his identification with it. 

I know we at some point need to talk about the subtypes because Self-Preservation Ones see the badness mainly in themselves, and Social and Sexual Ones perceive the badness mainly in other people, although there is overlap, so let's just go with the underlying issue that the One perceives badness "somewhere" and wants to correct it out of themselves or others. 

This disgust with badness and wrongness is where the One's vicious cycle begins.  Their experience of themselves or their environment as imperfect only makes them even more driven to bring every aberrant urge and drive to order.  As a consequence of not making the mark, which, as it is always extremely high, they rarely do, the instinctual heat of anger arises, but because anger is a "bad" emotion, one of the very uncivilized instincts that needs to be suppressed, the Superego charges the One to block out her anger, but because emotions have to go somewhere, it gets leaked out or it explodes under the immense pressure that their inner catch 22 puts on them.  When a One gets angry at someone who just won't change, or at themselves for indulging in chocolate cake, the Superego judges the One even harsher for their perfectly human reaction, resulting in an incredible amount of pressure that the One must daily endure under the serene composure that they feel is "the right" face to present to the world. 

So the irony for the One is that they want so badly to be in integrity with themselves, but in their bid to be perfect, the Superego forces aside the animal nature instead of facing it head-on, resulting, as Maitri explains, in the most entrenched and hardened split between the Superego and the Id of all the nine types. 

In his righteousness about fighting the good inner fight, he neglects to see that his rejection of the primitive within does not transform it but instead only gives it more power in the unconscious and causes it to leak out behaviorally in one way or another. 

So if the hypothetically "pure" One is a perfect circle, able to abide in deep serenity with all that is, including having a transformative compassion on the parts of them that feel wrong, the average One is a divided circle, harshly rebuking itself for tolerating its own base instincts, causing him to lash out at others to relieve some of the pressure, resulting in an even harsher rebuke from the Superego for not being able to contain the already unrelenting storm of punishment within himself.

Internally, the "bad" parts of himself are pushed away and so they also appear to be outside of the good self he takes himself to be, and his aggression is directed just as mercilessly against these bad parts as it is toward the badness he sees in others.

Only in private or under intense enough pressure, the anger comes out, and depending on the subtype, it manifests as anything from huffiness and annoyance to an intense volcanic eruption.  Sandra Maitri defines the spectrum of severity of their outbursts:

Most Ones repress their anger unless they are convinced that it is objective, and then they feel justified in giving vent to it.  Some Ones simply seem perpetually annoyed, peeved, and irritated by everything and everyone, while others have flashes of righteous indignation which feel fully warranted because of the "obvious" badness, meanness, or unworthiness of another.  Some Ones are like pressure cookers who keep a lid on their rage until it reaches critical mass and they blow a gasket.  They may appear calm and serene most of the time, but in the privacy of their own homes with those they feel comfortable with, they explode in critical tirades or violent rages complete with thrown dishes, slamming doors, if not physical violence.

A person could definitely build a case for Carson being a Social One based on the fact that we've seen him correcting others time and time again, and he does get huffy more than we see any concentrated ourbursts of anger.  A Social One, according to Beatrice Chestnut, sees themselves as the model of perfection for others to learn from, "a paragon of correct conduct".

Non-adaptability or rigidity refers to the tendency of this character to rigidly adhere to particular ways of being and doing things, as a way of expressing exclusive ownership of the "right" way to be, think and behave.... The Social One has a (usually unconscious) need to feel superior or to appear superior (because a conscious desire to be superior would constitute bad behavior).  It is as if they are implicitly saying, "I'm right and you're wrong".  They have an underlying need to make others wrong to have some power over them.  If I'm right and you're wrong, then I have more right than you to control the situation (Chestnut, 2013).

Clearly, Mr. Carson does see himself as a model that the servants should emulate, but I don't see an insecure need to be better than others, let alone the instinct to socialize.  In his defence, he doesn't come into contact with many people on his level that he could socialize with, with whom he can let down his guard- his old friend with whom he used to lead a salacious life is probably the closest thing he has to a friend in the show, and then there's Mrs. Hughes, although I think Mrs. Hughes, being a female means, in his conservative mind, that she is more wont to give into indulgence than him due to the weakness of her sex.  The problem with being a Social One is that because they see themselves as above others, appear to be aloof, and always think they're right, they would inherently have a hard time making true friends, so maybe by his age, he's tried and given up.  Furthermore, I think Social Ones are deliberate about reaching out with a smile and looking friendly and approachable because that's what a good person would do, and I don't see that effort in Carson. 

If he's a Self-Preservation One, on the other hand, he would only be correcting and scolding the servants because it's his job, not because of a savior complex that he has, and he would do it in a quieter, more disarming manner, I feel.  His main concern, the source of his worries, is if he is a good enough person, although again, that doesn't stop a Self-Preservation One from being concerned with how his staff present in front of the Crawleys. 

In conclusion, I might be making too big a deal out of Carson not suffering enough, but I'm deeply suspicious of anyone who has a perfectly polished exterior, and I'd much rather know how and when they get mad than have to walk around on eggshells wondering when they're going to explode.  So this post maybe speaks more to my nervousness around smooth and squeaky clean people than the fact that there's anything wrong with Jim Carter's acting or Julian Fellowes' writing, although I do feel that Fellowes needs to decide if Carson is a Self-preservation One or a Social One (he's not even close to a Sexual One).  It might be that the actor is Social, and he's playing a Self-preservation character, which could explain why Carson is able to shake off his peevishness so easily in the five steps between the kitchen and his office.  Either way, there are depths to which Fellowes could be taking this character for a more realistic portayal of a One if he so chooses.  His complex portrayal of Mr. Bates, another type One on the show with an intense Sexual instinct shows that it's not just ignorance of the type that's preventing him from going deeper with Carson.





Intro to Position Paper

I'm writing Rhode and Company's position paper, and I'm going to start sending out portions of it in my blog day-by-day.  Here's the first section.

"Like any field of scientific study, personality psychology needs a descriptive model or taxonomy of its subject matter.... A taxonomy would permit researchers to study specified domains of personality characteristics.... Moreover, a generally accepted taxonomy would greatly facilitate the accumulation and communication of empirical findings by offering a standard vocabulary or nomenclature.  Most every researcher in the field hopes, at one level of another, to be the one who devises the structure that will transform the present Babel into a community that speaks a common language."

-- John P. Oliver, Insitute of Personality Assessment and Research, University of California




The purpose of this paper is threefold.  It provides a general survey of psychology's attempts to categorize people into personality typing systems, and it tracks how psychotherapy has attempted to respond to the various types' needs.  

The second is to provide a survey of the major 21st century Enneagram thinkers and how they see the Enneagram as corresponding to the major personality theories in the field. 

Finally, this paper makes the case that excellent therapy requires a client's spiritual nature to be taken into account along with their physical, intellectual, and emotional condition. The Enneagram, an elegant fusion of psychology and several ancient wisdom traditions, has the ability to combine quite a few mainstream personality theories, and do so to a degree of accuracy that has heretofore been unattained.  It is the fundamental organizing principle of personalities that philosophers and psychoanalysts have been looking for since Hippocrates.

relevance of the enneagram

For almost as long as humans have wondered, "what does it all mean?", there has been advice on how to triumph over our primitive animal passions and transcend our limitations to achieve something great and meaningful.  The Buddha taught how to awaken from slumber; Plotinus enjoined us to look within to The One, Christianity implored the dark world to see Christ's light, Sufism advocated for a kind of wisdom that only an idiot would understand. 

The message today in our fast-paced society is no different; whereas in ancient times, it was a call to awaken from our trance-like state and develop virtuous qualities, with the advent of psychoanalysis, we had professionals to help us integrate our unconscious with the conscious.  Abraham Maslow came along and replaced the therapist with paved the way for America's homegrown spirituality- the Human Potential Movement, where we work to achieve self-actualization. today, our higher self is called forth in private coaching sessions or in jam-packed arenas.   Though the vocabulary is different, there is a common instinct that psychologists have noted that makes us pine for a worthier pursuit than our day-to-day survival.  Marie-Louise von Franz eloquently noted mankind's thirst for "something more":

Nowadays more and more people, especially those who live in large cities suffer from a terrible emptiness and boredom, as if they are waiting for something that never arrives.  Movies and television, spectator sports and political excitements may divert them for a while, but again and again, exhausted and disenchanted, they have to return to the wasteland of their own lives.  The only adventure that is still worthwhile for modern man lies in the inner realm of the unconscious psyche.

For most of us, the realities of the post-modern western world mean working harder to stay in the same place as our parents were a generation ago.  With such factors affecting us today as the shrinking middle class, the threat of job loss to automation, and consequently longer working days, more pressure on women by our culture to simultaneously break the glass ceiling while also giving their children more one on one time than our mothers did, there is a lot of pressure on us than there was 30 years ago.

The Confederate Flag and Psychological Red Flags: How to Avoid Becoming a Mass Murderer

... although the vast majority of us don’t make it all the way to the bottom of the ladder like Dylann did, if we have his personality type, we’re going to experience similar inner red flag moments, only at a higher level.

Last week, I blogged about Rachel Dolezal, urging her to take a step from her heart to her body, and just notice what physical sensations came up at the thought of her white biological heritage- perhaps rage at her parents, frustration at not feeling understood by society, disdain for her whiteness, any kind of jealousy.  When she thinks about who she is as a white woman as opposed to a black woman, I asked her to notice the sensations in her body without judging them- a tensing up of the muscles, heat in the throat, a change in breathing.  I thought she might be an Enneatype 4 in the Enneagram personality typing system.  This type confounds suffering with authenticity, and therefore value, so I looked at the psychic structure of a Creative/Romantic personality type who had gone too far.

With that, I decided to start a weekly series about people in the news to give readers an insight into the psychology behind whoever's currently being highlighted in social media.

Roof being taken into custody.   Image from NBC news. 

Roof being taken into custody.  Image from NBC news. 

This week, I'm looking at Dylann Roof, the 21-year old gunman who shot nine members of the African Methodist Episcopalian Church on June 17.  It seems pretty clear that he will receive the maximum penalty (either life in prison or the death penalty, depending on if he's tried at the State level for murder or Federal for a hate crime.  According to a New York Times article from June 26, it will probably be a Federal trial.) (Source). 

Red flags for a Type One:

Shockpoint at level 3: That my principles are not having enough effect (others are indifferent/ unresponsive)

Red flag at level 6: That my standards are questionable or actually mistaken.
— The Wisdom of the Enneagram

It's important to understand the psychology of those who have completely made a break from society because, although the vast majority of us don't make it all the way to the bottom of the ladder like Dylann did, if we have his personality type, we're going to experience similar inner red flag moments, only at a higher level. 

Our response to those red flags can determine where we go on the ladder of emotional intelligence.  We can either react to the fear (thus descend further), or notice the fear and bring awareness to it (allowing us to ascend).

Although there is very little information about Dylann's inner life to go on at this point-- he didn't have many friends, nor did he open up much to those few he did call friends-- it appears from various reports that he might be an Enneagram Type One.  I'm going by his online manifesto, witness accounts of what he said while gunning down the victims, and descriptions from his friends and family.*

This episode of High Maintenance is a great character study of an Enneatype One.  Scott gives himself a highly disciplined daily regimen of sleep, nutrition, and exercise to achieve a higher state of being.  His stringency leads him away from relationships and ultimately reality.

Enneagram type Ones are called the Perfectionists or the Reformers of the Enneagram.  Benjamin Franklin embodied the Type One objective to attain moral perfection by devising an experiment where he worked on one virtue a week, slowly incorporating more virtues until he was completely free from selfishness, greed, and laziness at the end of the experiment.  This is not to say that all Type Ones consciously go through a list of virtues like Franklin did, only that self-perfecting or perfecting others and society is utmost in their minds. 

Riso and Hudson call them "crusaders, advocates, critics"; they embrace 'causes' and point out how things 'ought' to be". 

They keenly feel the struggle between good and evil, the flesh and the spirit, the ideal and the real.  For Ones, the battle lines are sharply drawn between the chaotic, irrational side of their natures and the clarity of their convictions, between the dark, libidinous impulses and their self-control, between their metaphysical aspirations and their human needs- between their heads and their hearts. (Riso and Hudson, 1996).

As they descend down the ladder of emotional intelligence, they "become impersonal, rigid, emotionally constricted." 

"...given their fundamental premise, they are locked in conflicts between opposing forces that cannot be reconciled either in themselves or in the universe. 

According to his step-mother who did most of the child-rearing, Dylann was a sweet child as a four-year old, and very attached to her, as opposed to his father who was verbally and emotionally abusive.  Predictably, as he grew up, he became more cold and drawn into his inner world so that by the time he was an adult, she worried because he spent most of his time in his room in front of his computer, while her coaxing him to get a job went ignored.  On February 22, 2015, he registered his website under his name and posted pictures of himself looking directly into the camera, posing with his .45 caliber Glock, holding a Confederate flag in the other hand. 

On the outside, Ones can appear sweet, dutiful, and hard-working; whereas on the inside they are being flogged by an overactive superego that orders them to keep their impulses, emotional responses, and desires in check.  In response to their superego's strident demands, they are continually striving to attain a state of perfection they have in their minds as the universal transcendant standard that only they seem to see.  The intense pressure their superego puts on them to achieve this state of perfection often leaks out into their relationships with others, making their friends, family, and colleagues feel judged, diminished or hassled for not being good enough. 

In Dylann's case, he had an aversion to African-Americans because, he said, they were "stupid", "violent", and "very slick".  He felt white neighborhoods were being taken over by Blacks, and typical of a One's bitterness at "cowards" for leaving them with all the work, he called out those he thought were "running away" to the suburbs instead of standing up and fighting for their neighborhoods.  Ones are frequently exasperated that they are the only ones who see the work that needs to be done and complain bitterly that they're the only ones qualified enough to bring it up to standard. 

Who is fighting for these White people forced by economic circumstances to live among negroes? No one, but someone has to.

White supremacy illustrates an impulse for cleanliness from "impurity". Cleanliness was indeed an issue for Dylann, as family members said he developped OCD in his teenage years.

Although the Enneagram Institute provides two examples of Type One comedians (Jerry Seinfeld and Tina Fey), and the type generally tries to mask these "negative" feelings of disapproval of their surroundings with ones they deem more positive, it's not hard to notice the severity with which they approach life.  There is an intense inner drive to transcend the mortal appetites and emotional weaknesses. A witness to the attack reported on what Roof said during the shooting.

... A survivor of the mass killing had told her Roof said he “had to” keep shooting, as another churchgoer attempted to talk him out of firing his weapon while he reloaded.

“He just said, ‘I have to do it,’” she said. “‘You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country, and you have to go,’” she said.  [Source]

Compelled to bring their inner and outer lives into order, they pride themselves on being able to bring a high level of control to their emotional life.  Emotions, in their mind, cloud judgement and weaken resolve to do what is right in a stressful situation.  We see Dylann say more than a couple times, "I have to do this."  In his manifesto, we see the exasperation frequently exhibited by Ones for having to correct the world's "wrongs" by themselves:

“I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight... We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the Internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”

Dylann later admitted that he almost didn't go through with the killings because the Bible study members were so nice to him- a way out that a low-functioning One would see as a trap.  The irony for a One is that by adhering to rationality as their standard at the cost of their emotional lives, they end up making very irrational decisions that isolate them further and further from society.  

Because anger has a negative association with Ones, they rarely acknowledge their anger- instead they experience it as energy that compels them to action.  Gandhi was also a type One, but by acknowledging and embracing his anger, he was able to do great work:

I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson: to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into a power which can move the world. (Mohandas K. Gandhi, The Words of Gandhi, quoted in Personality Types by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson)

The Type One archetype in Homer's Odyssey is represented by the Phaeacians of Scheria, the second last stop on his way home.  The Phaeacians are described as "disciplined and proper, orderly and conventional" to the point of being judgemental and "bloodless do-gooders".   From  The Complete Enneagram  by Beatrice Chestnut.  Image from 

The Type One archetype in Homer's Odyssey is represented by the Phaeacians of Scheria, the second last stop on his way home.  The Phaeacians are described as "disciplined and proper, orderly and conventional" to the point of being judgemental and "bloodless do-gooders".  From The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut.  Image from 

Social media was also critical last week about how the police handled him, a white man, during his arrest, as opposed to how black people have been brought into custody.  Certainly, if you watch the dashcam video of his arrest in Shelby, NC, it has to be one of the gentlest arrests of a mass murderer out there. 

It is possible that having gone all the way for the sake of "perfection", he was finally able to get some relief from his superego, and therefore was in a very calm state at the time of arrest.  On the other hand, and this is probably equally true, but his terrifyingly cold stare into the camera was probably a look into the smugness in a low-functioning One, based on the belief that they alone can see a standard of perfection that the rest of the world is too cowardly to acknowledge, and only he had what it took to do the deed.  He has made no appology to date, which shows just how out of sync he is with reality.

If you feel that you might be a type One, some things to watch out for are a sense of superiority that you have a higher moral code than your peers, and especially "numbing out" when you feel yourself going into correct a colleague's mistakes.  A mindfulness practice will help you stay in  touch with your body when your ego starts aligning with your superego.  You are not your superego- that's an important distinction to make.  My guess is that when Dylann committed those murders, he was very out of touch with his physical sensations.  Recognizing the whole self as worthy and necessary to being a full human being-- the physical, mental, and emotional-- is one of the first steps to healing for Dylann and all the world's Ones.


*Only you can really type yourself, as you alone know what's going on inside your head, so I'm suggesting a Type 1 for Dylann based on what I'm seeing, but I'm opening to changing my view as more information emerges.

The Ball that the Greeks Dropped

The law of three is an example of one of the lost principles of the Western tradition that the Greeks didn't pass on from the Egyptians. 

The law of three is an example of one of the lost principles of the Western tradition that the Greeks didn't pass on from the Egyptians. 

Because it's almost due at the library, I'm reviewing Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife.  I feel like the book is underrated in its importance.  It got a few remarkably ho-hum reviews from Scientific American and The New York Times when it came out in 2000, but in my view it deserves way more credit.  I don't know if Seife has a mystical bent, but to me, it lends itself to breaking down a big wall between Westerners and their souls.

As you might recall, I learnt about the Enneagram at a monastery in Winnipeg 4.5 years ago from a scholar who is little-known in the Enneagram community, David Walsh.  The context that he gave the Enneagram fascinated me, and that weekend has been emblazoned in my memory for the uniqueness of his approach.  He came at the Enneagram (which is a personality-typing system with a mystical side) from the point of view of the Classics- Pythagoras, Plato, the Enneads and the Divine Forms all led up to the modern-day Enneagram we know today.  (That he and his wife are retiring after teaching the Enneagram for 30+ years without passing on their knowledge to a successor is incredible to me and blows my mind.  I called him earlier this year in January to see if he'd be willing to talk about any of the Classical references further, and he declined politely.) 

Russ Hudson, one of the world's most renowned Enneagram teachers today also comes at it from a Classics point of view, but doesn't get into the Greek contribution as much.  His love affair is with Egypt, who gave the Greeks their ontology.  But we can explain a lot by how today's Western society got its flavor by looking at the Greeks, and that's exactly what Seife does in his book about the number zero, and the Greek philosophers' aversion to the idea it represented.  They limited their numeral system to the numbers 1 to 9 because of scariness of the idea of the void.  If it's possible to have a vaccuum, then the earth may not be the centre of the universe, and what does that mean for the "specialness" of mankind?  Early Greek philosophers worked their way around it, enabling Christianity to subsequently fudge its way around it until the Church was finally forced to deal with it after the dark ages, and it was actually Judaism that showed Christianity a way to work it into its theology. 

Islam and Hinduism were comfortable with zero.  Muslims were using it in their number system via algebra, and Hindus had been grappling with nothingness already way before Algebra came on the scene.

My argument is that the Enneagram's purpose was-- and is-- to show Westerners how to deal with their inner void, if you will.  That's why Enneagram teacher and historian Russ Hudson follows up Gurdjieff's quote, "The earth can only be saved when the energy of the West meets the wisdom of the East", with "But the West isn't ready to meet the East because we don't even know our own mystical traditions, so when we meet, how can we have a coherent conversation?"

When Westerners have been given the tools for approaching -- and integrating-- their inner void, they can start to solve some of the most intractable issues the world faces like terrorism, global warming, and growing divide between the rich and poor.  But until we have the emotional intelligence to approach that void, we'll just keep ramming the same truck into the same brick wall hoping for the same results. 

Seife's book outlines how poorly our post-Egyptian Western heritage handled the idea of the infinity and the void.  I propose that heritage is still having its effects on Westerners' mindset -- and therefore policy -- today. 

Becoming Like Your Top Five Influences

Yesterday, I read a Fast Company article on bassist Nathan East, "the most famous guy you've never heard of."  Basically, he's played bass on every major record you love: The Beatles,

Possessed by The Animus Or The Anima? You Don't Have to Be So Annoying To Your Exes

In Jung's writing, the Animus and Anima are personifications of the shadow self- the parts of us that for whatever reason, we have prevented from entering the conscious realm.

Each manifestation of the shadow self can represent light or darkness.  So when we ignore it and refuse to integrate its qualities, it becomes larger, grotesque, terrifying- both in our dreams and to the people in our every day lives. 

If, on the other hand, we welcome the shadow, "the ego will then find an inner power that contains all the possibilities of renewal."

If a man [or woman?] devotes himself to the instructions of his own unconscious, it can bestow this gift [renewal of life, creative elan vital, a new spiritual orientation], so that suddenly life, which has been stale and dull, turns into a rich, unending inner adventure, full of creative possibilities.

Their purpose is to build a bridge to the Self, and when the Shadow and the Self become integrated, it becomes a friend and guide who tunes the Self into higher principles of a more spiritual timbre.

Gustav Dore's  Bluebeard , who tells his wife not to open a door, and when she disobeys, she finds the corpses of Bluebeard's former wives inside.  Jung cites him as an example of the way a woman becomes cold and destructive "especially when she has failed to realize some obligation of feeling."   Image from Wikipedia.

Gustav Dore's Bluebeard, who tells his wife not to open a door, and when she disobeys, she finds the corpses of Bluebeard's former wives inside.  Jung cites him as an example of the way a woman becomes cold and destructive "especially when she has failed to realize some obligation of feeling."  Image from Wikipedia.

The animus shows up in women when they have an underdevelopped aggression and assertiveness, when they refuse to own their power.  In folk tales and cultural archetypes, he can manifest as a death demon, a robber, murderer, or wild animal, like in Beauty and the Beast (where the love of the girl redeems the monster, a metaphor for her animus becoming transitioning from unconscious to conscious).  When ignored, he shows up in the way she speaks about certain matters. 

One of the favorite themes that the animus repeats endlessly in this kind of woman goes like this, 'The only thing that I want in the world is love -- and he doesn't love me'; or 'In this situation, there are only two possibilities- and both are equally bad.' (The animus never believes in exceptions.)  One can rarely contradict an animus opinion because it is usually right in a general way; yet it seldom seems to fit the individual situation.  It is apt to be an opinion that seems reasonable, but beside the point.

The convictions of the animus echo the woman's father, and don't seem to take into account the current, particulars of the woman's reality.

Jung cites the Slavic myth of Rusalka as a good example of an anima leading a man to his death.  The anima is the long-haired red-headed girls that live in the waterways, singing to men as they pas by, and ultimately drowning them by wrapping their hair around their feet and pulling them under water.  When men are possessed by the anima, they're incapable of retriving facts hidden in the unconscious.   Image from Wikipedia.

Jung cites the Slavic myth of Rusalka as a good example of an anima leading a man to his death.  The anima is the long-haired red-headed girls that live in the waterways, singing to men as they pas by, and ultimately drowning them by wrapping their hair around their feet and pulling them under water.  When men are possessed by the anima, they're incapable of retriving facts hidden in the unconscious.  Image from Wikipedia.

As a counterpart, the anima shows up in men when they haven't gotten in touch with their sensitive, artistic, intuitive side.  Its appearance in dreams comes as a witch or sorcoress, a murderous Geisha, or some kind of femme fatale; in Medieval Europe, she was the damsel in distress.  When men have integrated the anima in a healthy way, he's receptive to qualities typically associated with the female, "vague feelings and moods, prophetic hunches, receptiveness to the irrational, capacity for personal love, feeling for nature-- and last but not least, his relation to the unconscious.  When he ignores her, however, she manifests in moodiness and crankiness, and ultimately poor life decisions.

... His anima will often express itself in irritable, depressed moods, uncertainty, insecurity, and touchiness.... These 'anima moods' cause a sort of dullness, a fear of disease, impotence, or of accidents. 

As with all aspects of the shadow, they can be projected, and there are certain types of women who seem to be recipients of this kind of projection, "women who are of 'fairy-like character especially attract such anima projections, because men can attribute almost anything to a creature who is so fascinatingly vague and thus proceed to weave fantasies around her."

Forward motion through the Enneagram symbol is just "business as usual".  1, 4, 2, 8, 5, 7 on the hexad, and 3, 9, 6 on the triangle.  When we've been hit on the head and realize we need to change something, we start moving backwards: 7, 5, 8, 2, 4, 1 on the hexad, and 3, 6, 9 on the triangle.  And now that I've explained all that, Rios-Hudson don't really teach the directions of integration or disintegration anymore, so chew on that!  Image from

Men afflicted by the anima can "fall in love" with a woman on a dating site without ever meeting her because he recognizes his own anima within her, and becomes helplessly attached to her picture and her profile (obviously women can do this too, by the way.)  Men who cling onto lost or former lovers - sometimes for years- can seem to the woman like a leech sucking the life out of her, draining her energy, living off her femininity (and vice-versa for women clinging to former lovers).  A simple way to solve this problem is to understand the anima as a source of inner power within him, and to cultivate a listening ear for what she has to teach him. In her honored position, she can help navigate him through life into higher spiritual planes, as in her highest manifestation, she is the "incarnation of meaning" itself.

As I write this, I wonder about how this relates to the Enneagram, because there is no gender with the Enneagram, but there is a direction in the flow towards destruction of self and others; versus towards healing and wholeness, depending on which way you're cycling through the triangle or hexad.  This is all very fascinating.  My guess is that a man or woman stuck in the forward motion of the cycle will manifest the unhealthy anima or animus, ie. they're trapped in their particular intelligence centre.  But when a man or woman gets the impetus to make some major life changes, they start moving backward through the symbol and start integrating the shadow for a healthier, lighter, actualized Self.




The German Co-Pilot: Toward a Vertical Mental Health Metric

I was touched the other day when I read that the man who trained the German pilot who recently deliberately crashed a plane with 150 people on board has received death threats.  How could this man have any way of knowing what his future student was capable of?

Andreas Lubitz, the German co-pilot who crashed a plane into the French Alps.   Photo from The New York Times

Andreas Lubitz, the German co-pilot who crashed a plane into the French Alps.  Photo from The New York Times

I think there's a shift that needs to happen- and has been happening- in these discussions about terrorists and mass murderers that have been shocking us month after month for the last decade or so- school shooters, movie-theatre shooters, marathon bombers, ISIS terrorists, Nigerian terrorists, etc.  Not to think of them as essentially evil as in the dualistic black and white polarity, as falling to the far right on some horizontal spectrum, like an antiquated duality of good people versus bad people. 

To me, it would be more helpful if we thought of humanity as being on a vertical scale of emotional health- like on Don Riso's scale of the nine levels of health- even if it means saying the prevailing culture of an entire country is in the unhealthy levels- like those in civil wars- at least it puts the conversation in an emotional intelligence frame of reference instead of a good versus evil framework.  The former gives us something to work with in the secular sphere.  The latter- with a decidedly religious overtones- recalls witchhunts and holy wars. 

Sometimes after talking briefly about the nine types with someone, they'll say, "Which type is the asshole?  Because I've got a brother-in-law who ...".  The point of the Enneagram is that any type can be an asshole- sure we might have different adjectives- bitchy, needy clingy, heartless.  And at their worst, if we continued to descend down the levels, each type is capable of committing horrendous acts.  It's grace (and there are different ways of interpreting that word) that keeps us in the average levels.  (It's surprising when you hear Don and Russ say that 99% of the world's population is in the average levels.  After a while you get it.  There might be .5% in the healthy levels and .5% in the unhealthy levels- and that's probably an overestimation.)

Talking about personality types is healthy because it helps us all see how every, teeny tiny decision we make in every day lives are a response to one core fear- as Don Riso and Russ Hudson calls them- our red flag fears, and what happens when we repeatedly come up to that red flag fear and make the wrong decision?  We descend down the levels of health. 

On a vertical spectrum that we're all capable of scaling in either direction, we might find we have a greater capacity for compassion for those who have unconsciously flailed their way through the decision-making process and found themselves imprisoned at the very bottom.

For the sake of the sanity of our societies and the future of our planet, we need to frame crime in terms of emotional health on a vertical scale of emotional intelligence.  I think it opens up more possibility for discussion, compassion, and more of a vocabulary around healing.