Emotional Intelligence

Book Review: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

This book is an easy read if you like heart-stopping entrepreneurial tales of survival against almost paralyzing odds.  The first half of the book reads really fast- it's the author's breathtaking account of his leading Loudcloud and Opsware as CEO during the 90's and surviving the 2000's-era dot com bust by going public when all his competitors were filing for bankruptcy.  The second half of the book is a compendium of "what to do in these specific scenarios", and takes a bit longer to get through. 

So Much Anger Under the Surface

I was having a conversation tonight about all the anger that's surfacing around this US election.  It's been so divisive and the anger is so palpable.  People are just a little more on edge than they usually are.  We still have up until November to get through the rhetoric and the speeches, but the anger isn't going to stop at the election. 

One argument that surfaced tonight was that it's healthy for the country "let it all out" and they need to explore these feelings.  My response is, "Okay, but there's an emotionally intelligent, structured, safe way to do generate those discussions".  A guy who has to burp at the dinner table could either just belch everything out in his wife's face and make the kids giggle, and then say "Whaaaaat?  It's better than holding it in!", or he could burp quietly and discretely off to the side.  One is fun, easy and "natural", but disintegrates the relationship, the other takes a bit of body awareness and a bit of work, but maintains the relationship while upholding the dignity of his wife.  Now let's translate that to letting out angry feelings about Muslims and other minorities. 

When people create a false dichotomy between expressing something in all its vulgarily because it's "important to tell the truth", versus repressing it to be politically correct, I wonder if they really need for the obvious to be stated- that there's a third option.  They can still "let things out", but respectfully.  That's why the principles of non-violent communication exist.  

What do I mean by respectfully.  If people are going to give voice to their anger- the libidinal energy that comes from the gut, the Enneagram's third brain, you should only be given a public platform if you are accessing your heart brain and your head brain too.  I love Trump's gut energy.  It truly is refreshing.  But it's also sickening to look at because he can't coordinate his gut with his heart and his head and he's making himself look out of control.  It's embarassing.

I guess the question is, "Is there some kind of public platform for the American people that's safe and moderated in some way for them to talk openly about what's making them so angry?  You don't want to condemn anger itself- clearly it's just roiling under the surface-  and you do want to give voice to those blue collar workers who legitimately haven't been able to keep up with the changing economic landscape, but how can public discourse happen in a way that brings the three brains into the equation?  Who's leading that initiative?

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

  Fran Townsend .  Image from www.fletcher.tufts.edu

Fran Townsend.  Image from www.fletcher.tufts.edu

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?

The Is-ness of Parents

  In the Hindu tradition , there are four stages of life, the final one after being a householder/parent is to become a Wandering Beggar, a different kind of scaling down than we do here in the West.  Basically, it just means you have "the duty to prepare [your] spirit for the stage in which spirit will be all [you have]."

In the Hindu tradition, there are four stages of life, the final one after being a householder/parent is to become a Wandering Beggar, a different kind of scaling down than we do here in the West.  Basically, it just means you have "the duty to prepare [your] spirit for the stage in which spirit will be all [you have]."

I was reminded the other day about this idea of the Holy Perfection of all things, a concept I don't really like that much as it seems a little flaky, spiritually gratuitous, and frankly, unnecessary.  There is good and there is bad in the world.  No need to be trying to squint our eyes a certain way to see the essential "good" underneath someone's evil behavior.  What is the purpose?  Aren't we letting ourselves off the hook of confronting the wrong-doer by trying to see their essential qualities?  Who cares about their essential qualities when they need to be make aware of their wrong-doings?

This topic came up in the context of a conversation about raising a family.  Parents who try to improve their children without doing any inner work on themselves are "bad", I said, in the sense that they're imposing their ego delusions on someone else without stopping to examine them.  So when the kid grows up, they not only have to deal with their own egoic delusions, they have to wade through the ones imposed on them by their parents.  Basically the parent is asking the child to do their own inner work for them.  They're saying, "Here, I don't want to examine my motives or sift through all this psychic material I've inherited.  You do it."  The kid has to separate all the layers in therapy.  I mean, this happens all the time, but for a parent to still hang on to their ego-structure long after the child has left the house?  To never have examined their own lens?  Basically to go through life never having any big existential crisis about your own ego story?  Isn't that bad parenting? 

What I tell parents who want to help their kids is, "The best gift you can give your child is to do your own inner work."  You're definitely going to start out thinking you have all the answers, which is natural, but when you realize your lense on the world is only one of several, and there are other valid points of view out there, you start incorporating them and you get a little humbler and a little humbler until you realize, like the Fool in the tarot card journey, you're back at the beginning of your journey.  What you "knew" throughout your life was your own ego story and when you transcend that a bit, you start doing some digging to see what else you've been missing.  I attend Enneagram workshops, and the median age of the attendees has to be around 45-50, that age when people start seeing a bigger picture beyond their limited worldview that they parented out of. 

The answer given to me in this conversation this past week was no one HAS to do inner work.  It's optional.  There is still an inherent goodness in that parent who constantly feels the need to impose their egoic lens on your worldview.  Goodness, she said, in the sense of the the Type One's holy idea- that of Holy Perfection, not "goodness" in our egoic way of judging one thing against a standard of an ideal.  While we see stubbornness and self-importance and self-delusion, an enlightened person sees someone who is "inherently and implicitly perfect, that [they] are just right as [they] are, that [they] do not need anything added to [them] or subtracted from [them]", says Sandra Maitri.  She goes on.  "From this angle we see that [they] do not need to become better, that [they] do not need to be different, and that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with [them]. 

She quotes A. H. Almaas here,

To see things as they really are, which is to see things objectively, we have to put these [judgements and preferences, likes and dislikes, fears and ideas of how things should be] 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.

It was "good" to be reminded of this, although I'm going to need a bit more enlightenment in this regard.  :)  This gets into the idea of the child parenting the parent, which surely does happen.   When the child develops the leadership skills that the parent won't develop, or can't... or to use this new phrase from Robert A. Johnson that I love... when the child provides the container for their parents' psychic energy and learns to see their parents' Essential qualities.

Losing Jobs to China

I follow two blogs daily- Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist, and Joanne Wilson, an angel investor.  They're both super astute observers of the economy, entrepreneurship, politics and culture.  Fred wrote another great post this morning about the conversation around losing jobs to China, that we (but mostly Americans right now) are bemoaning the loss of manufacturing jobs to China, when automation will mean that they will eventually lose their jobs anyway, so why can't politicians help constituents see the bigger picture instead of stoking their fears?

We are now well into a transition from an industrial economy to an information economy. It seems to me that part of that transition was the move of industrial jobs to lower and lower cost regions in an ongoing march to reduce costs. But that march may end with massive automation and very little labor in the manufacturing process. That means that these low cost regions that “stole our jobs” will also lose these jobs eventually.

The US and a number of other countries around the world are building new information based economies. That is the long term winning strategy.

So while we can critique our leaders (business and political) for giving up on the manufacturing sector a bit too early, I think the US has largely played this game correctly and will be much better off than the parts of the world that have taken the low cost manufacturing jobs from us.

The discussion amongst Fred's readersin the comment section is centered on the future of jobs in America, and given my limited knowledge of stats in this area, I'll just stick to what I know.  Computers and machines can't create a field of presence between two people, and they can't come to presence like we can.  Because they remember the crash of 2008,  Millennials are spending more money on experiences than things; they want to be at live events, creating memories and bonding with their friends rather than accumulating things.  They remember seeing that houses and things can be re-possessed, and they don't want that happening to them.  Their spending patterns will indicate where the jobs will be in the coming years.

Enneagram teacher extraordinaire George Gurdjieff called us machines- and the more we meditate and become self-aware, the more we see how true it is that we operate on automatic.  Non-meditators guffaw when you say something like that, but when you start the self-observation practice, you eventually start to see tiny, short glimpses of our automatic nature.  So if you haven't done a lot of meditation or self-observation, you can't compete very well against a machine.  But... self-observation leads to self-leadership and with leadership skills, you can create a field with others... or without having to go into too much depth about what that means... you can create a meaningful experience for others.  An experience of presence.

That said, what kinds of jobs will be left for us?  I pay some attention to the modelling world and models have experienced a tremendous shift as well- consumers don't just want to see their beautiful bodies and faces- they want to know about their consumer choices, what they do in their time off, where they vacation, how they make hummus... The modelling industry isn't about just showing up for a photo shoot and posing with a brand's clothing.  Increasingly, models' personal lives are more well-known to us, more accessible, and they are sharing more with their followers.  They have youtube channels, they share their recipes and pictures of their pets with their Instagram followers, they're going back to school and the fact that we know about that, care about it, and are following in their footsteps means we care about the lifestyle behind their brand.   So if we take that same angle to business, going into business means creating a branded experience.  Customers don't just want a product thrown at them- they want the look, the attitude, the political statement, the integrated lifestyle of what the brand represents- the meaning behind it is just as important- or more important than its quality.  If you're going to create an integrated lifestyle behind a brand, you're going to need a capacity for self-reflection.  

Those are just some very scattered thoughts this morning.  I do believe that the disembodiment that's been happening since the dawning of computers has led us to find different ways of being around .... more... bodies.  The new sharing economy is a manifestation of that- Uber and Airbnb for example.  Those who have the self-knowledge and presence of mind to "create a field" for others as we say in meditation circles, or "create an experience", as they say in marketing, will win over robots.

Justin Bieber's Weird Ballad

Last December, when Spotify announced that Bieber's newest album Purpose was popular with hipsters in Williamsburg's borough of New York, I didn't feel so bad about appreciating What Do You Mean- at least his musical departure from typical candy pop sound.  The lyrics don't really jive if you're a feminist, unless you're a feminist who knows the personality profiling system called the Enneagram. 

Justin Bieber's an Enneagram Type Three, one of the Image Types who covers the shame of their deficiencies by being successful and competent, or at least with the appearance of being successful and competent.  Threes struggle the most out of all nine types to understand their own emotional landscape, the idea of emotional authenticity being such a foreign concept, as all their energy goes into what they look like while emoting.  "What should I be feeling?  What emotions would [the name of someone I admire] be feeling right now?"  It's said that Type Threes don't feel emotions, they "do" emotions because they can't land in themselves long enough to get a beat on what they're actually feeling.  So they have a well-developped ability to read social cues to understand what they should be copying to look engaged and authentic.

Which explains why Love Yourself makes me feel like throwing up.  The soothing harmonies and trumpet are nice and original, but the song contains the most twisted and barbed lyrics reserved for only the nastiest of fights between couples.  Taken apart from the instrumentation and the video, imagine saying those words to someone out loud.  "If you like the way you look that much, maybe you should go and love yourself."  You can tell he's trying to sound like an enlightened Buddhist here, but, as is typical for a Three, one who doesn't get the spirit behind what he's saying, or have the emotional intelligence to support it.

The disconnect and the projection is really unsettling.  I mean, we've all heard about serial killers who can kill someone in the most emotionally disassociated state, completely aware of all their faculties and actions.  Bieber isn't a killer, but a lover who seems to be singing from an emotionally disassociated state.  To potential Bieber lovers, I'd be making a wide berth around him until he can at least piece together why his childish, sarcastic, snarky, and self-pitying lyrics don't belong wrapped in the buttery fold of a soft and tender ballad.  Like we're supposed to believe Bieber was so busy with his job that he graciously took a day out of his hectic schedule to turn off his phone, push his chair away from his desk, and with a big sigh, write a song about a girl who he's so over, like there is definitely nothing there anymore- PROMISE!!!  And here's some enlightened advice from your ex who's somehow on this other plane of consciousness now. 

This theme of someone being so in love with their image that they forgot to spend some time loving themselves is too obviously a projection to be taken seriously (unless Selena Gomez is also an image type, which could very well be), and it makes me want to put the mirror to his lyrics and say, "Justin, if you like the way you look that much, let's spend some time doing some exercises around feelings, and see what arises when you close your eyes and look to your inner landscape for emotional cues instead of taping articles of Psychology Today together to create a socially acceptable way of screaming "SCREW YOU!"  What he's written makes it look like he looked up from his desk one day, turned off his phone, and asked himself, "What would it look like to heal emotionally from a rocky relationship?"

City Planning, Politics and the Human Body

 In the Enneagram personality typing model, there are several triadic divisions of the types- several ways you can slice the 9 types 3 ways.  The division of head, heart, and gut are is just one of them.  The gut types, types 8, 9, and 1 are the body types, and there's a central issue for them around anger- they over-express their anger (8), they deny it (9), or repress it (1).  Types 2, 3, and 4- the identity types have a central issue around shame- they are the heart types.  Types 5, 6, and 7 are the head types, and their central issue is around fear- fear of invasion (5), fear of underpreparedness (6), and fear of cessation of arising (7). 

In the Enneagram personality typing model, there are several triadic divisions of the types- several ways you can slice the 9 types 3 ways.  The division of head, heart, and gut are is just one of them.  The gut types, types 8, 9, and 1 are the body types, and there's a central issue for them around anger- they over-express their anger (8), they deny it (9), or repress it (1).  Types 2, 3, and 4- the identity types have a central issue around shame- they are the heart types.  Types 5, 6, and 7 are the head types, and their central issue is around fear- fear of invasion (5), fear of underpreparedness (6), and fear of cessation of arising (7). 

There's a distinction to be drawn between North-enders and Sout-east-enders in my city, Regina.  I don't know how it ended up this way- maybe the division started with the Ukranian labor workers' families being excluded from Regina elite life when the city was being laid out, or a certain type of person wanted to move close to the university or the Legislative building, or maybe only certain types of people were welcome around Wascana Lake.  Either way, North-enders and South-East-Enders have turned out to have quite different "personalities".  I think it's the same difference that exists between LA and NY, between Canadian Liberals and Conservatives, and between American Democrats and Republicans.  In Regina, ask a house-shopping East-ender to look at houses in the North end, and they might do it, but they'll probably bristle first.  Ask your North-ender clientele to if they'd consider moving to the East end, and they'd probably only do it in desperation.  I don't know the stats about this, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say there's about as much wealth in the North end as in the South East- construction is booming at both ends- so I'm not attempting to disparage either ends of Regina.

Now I COULD TOTALLY BE WRONG ABOUT THIS; this is just an idea that floated through my brain a couple weeks ago, and i wanted to write it down.  

My dad used to repeat this axiom, that small minds talk about things, mediocre minds talk about people, and great minds talk about ideas.  His belief- which isn't actually his, by the way- is part of the heritage of the West's deification of the head- I'm going to say this started around the turn of the 20th century.  IQ tests determined peoples' entrance to university and if they could get certain jobs. This belief has cost us dearly.  This of the lack of progress that has happened because of stringent partisanship.

Ancient religions, however, acknowledge plural brains- and this is my argument- that Regina's North enders and South-East enders use different "brains", and hence have two different wisdoms.  In the Chakra system, there are 7 "chakras" laid out vertically on the body- centers of energy that relate to different functions of our psyche.   The lower chakras have to do with one's foundation, how one defends against the outside world, and how we move.  Action is the key word here.  The basic human right at the first (the lowest) chakra is "to be here and to have".  There is a lot more I could go into to describe this more, but I have to run, so this is going to be short and sweet.  Evolutionarily, this is the first part of the psyche to develop- the part that defines our boundaries, our separation from mother.  In the elementary school where I work, I notice a lot of KDG, grade 1 and 2 teachers are body-types.  Their wisdom arises around a body intelligence.  (This isn't to say that body-types are less intelligent!  Not at all.  Just at the top of my head, one of my intellectual heros, Carl Jung, was an Enneagram type 1w9, Martin Luther King, an Enneagram type 8w7, and Abraham Lincoln, an Enneagram type 9- great thinkers with their wisdom around the body).

The next set of chakras are around the heart, and we won't go into that so much, but you could probably associate that with down-town Regina.

The next set is the head.  The fact that the university is in the south end probably has something to do with this, but South East enders, known for having the highest ratio of university degrees in one riding (the one with Ralph Gooddale as the MLA) is overall, a head space.  Again, it's an error to put head intelligence above body intelligence- it unfolds later in human development, and it sits on top of the body, but later in life, these head people stumble over themselves if they don't consciously develop a body intelligence, ie. if they don't put their ideas/thoughts/values into action.  Same thing with the body types- when they start to get conscious about their development, often it's their head center that needs opening.  

This is super rough, but as a heart/head centre person, I can acknowledge the brokenness that comes from being undervaluing the body/action/movement.  Enneagram wisdom has a lot to say about the integration of the whole body.  The disdain of one centre of intelligence for the other is at the root of the spiritual poverty of politics- the polarity between two ways of viewing reality.  What they really need is integration with each other.

Managing Stress for Baby so Baby can Eventually Manage Their Own Stress

  Since the 1940's, research has been revealing more and more of the benefits to a baby's physical, emotional, and intellectual development when they're held.  Image from happier.com

Since the 1940's, research has been revealing more and more of the benefits to a baby's physical, emotional, and intellectual development when they're held. Image from happier.com

Touch is an important part, not only of emotional development, but brain development.  Studies on rats [source] found a correlation between being licked or groomed by the mother and learning and memory, as well as willingness to explore their environment.  When it comes to humans, Insitutionalized babies who were held an extra 20 minutes per day for ten weeks scored higher on a developmental assessment rubrick [source] than those who are not.  On the other hand,

... We do know that babies left to "cry it out" are flooded with "stress hormones" (cortisol, adrenaline, ACTH) which destabilize their immune systems, so we know that it is bad for them biologically, at the very least. We also know that when the brain is flooded with stress hormones, we are forming panic memories. Those memories don't vanish just because the child is preverbal; researchers now suspect that such memories are instrumental in later anxiety and mood issues for some people [Source].

A 2013 study conducted at Stanford University showed that children with childhood anxiety showed larger amygdalae in fMRIs, as well as more connections to other parts of the brain, evidently an indication of the amount of time they spend stressed compared to other children [Source]. 

Babies are great imitators and can pick up on their mother's depression by showing more depressed symptoms themselves [Source] and [Source].  Stress also negatively affects language learning; a 2008 study from Rutgers University found that babies with larger amydalae had more problems with language ability [Source]. 

Stress wears down babies' organs as well, for example, when parents expect too much independence of the baby too soon.

Extended stress destroys tissues in mammals, impairing organ function and health (Kumar et al., 2013). Isolation is distressful for rat and mouse babies and has all sorts of ill effects like disorganizing stress response systems and undermining the expression of genes that control anxiety (McEwen, 2003; Meaney, 2001). The effects are much greater for humans. Leaving babies to cry unaided is highly distressful and physically and psychologically toxic [Source].

  "Kagan speculates that there is something learned when a baby has his steady crawl toward what seems to him an intriguing object (but to his mother a dangerous one) interrupted by her warning, 'Get away from that!' The infant is suddenly forced to deal with a mild uncertainty.  The reptition of this challenge hundreds and hundreds of times during the first year of life gives the infant continual rehearsals, in small doses, of meeting the unexpected in life."  -  Emotional Intelligence  by Daniel Goleman  .

"Kagan speculates that there is something learned when a baby has his steady crawl toward what seems to him an intriguing object (but to his mother a dangerous one) interrupted by her warning, 'Get away from that!' The infant is suddenly forced to deal with a mild uncertainty.  The reptition of this challenge hundreds and hundreds of times during the first year of life gives the infant continual rehearsals, in small doses, of meeting the unexpected in life."  - Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman.

On the other hand, as Daniel Goleman points out in a study on protective mothers who picked up their six-month old babies and held them every time they cried, versus loving, yet firmer mothers who helped their six-month olds try to understand what was happening and how to overcome their stress, the babies who were helped to make small steps toward emotional mastery were less fearful and more willing to explore than babies who were simply held and comforted.  Babies who are soothed and reassured when they fuss are more able to soothe themselves later in life because they've learned that their emotional reactions aren't an emergency- they've learned that their internal reactions to stress are not emergencies, and can be brought under control.

These findings don't minimize the overall wisdom that carrying babies (or "wearing" them) has great overall health benefits for the child because it encourages independence earlier than babies who are more frequently left to ther own devices. 

Babies who are carried actually demand less attention than babies who are made to sit by themselves in strollers, seats and playpens, probably because their needs for companionship and stimulation are met at the same time....  We fill our children’s dependency needs so that, filled, they can go on to other things, like exploring the world. We acknowledge that children are children, and need our tending as they grow. Kids who’ve been attachment-parented are age-appropriate in their relationship with their parents, moving from dependency to inter-dependence, and able to form fulfilling intimate relationships as adults. When kids’ attachment needs aren’t filled, those needs eventually get focused on their peer group, often with disastrous results as they get older [Source].

The point of bonding is not that a particular practice is routinely instituted, as if raising healthy children is a matter of going through particular motions.  It's not that mothers have to be constantly imitating their child's actions back to them, or they never should put them down; the point is to be present to what they're experiencing, helping babies work through their fussy moments in little increments, and nurturing the connection no matter if mother needs her hands free to work while baby watches, or if they're playing pattycake.   Being present in the moment to the baby's needs helps build a foundation of trust and courage for the baby's future development.

As we shall see, children who feel that they have a connection with their parents grow up to be healthier all around.  They are less prone to heart disease, alzheimers, and loneliness, and they tend to be more popular than their peers.

Next step: Now that gay marriage is legal, let's go all the way with gender issues

I wrote this manifesto last night.  It started off that I was just going to write "I fucking love immigrants" somewhere on my site- I couldn't figure out where, so I was like, "I'm just going to write a manifesto, and I'll include that in there. (I don't know why but I just love immigrants sooo much.  They've added so much to Regina over the last 30 years.)  So but the rest is good too- that's my call-to-action for the Western world.

  Carl Jung recognized that we all have the male and female principle within us.  Maybe not like this.  Maybe in a more ethereal way.   Image unattributable because it's from one of those leech sites with all those ads.

Carl Jung recognized that we all have the male and female principle within us.  Maybe not like this.  Maybe in a more ethereal way.  Image unattributable because it's from one of those leech sites with all those ads.

1.  We call for equal status for science, math, logic, and capitalism on the one hand; and mysticism, the void, spirituality and myth on the other.  In Jungianism, these two elements are the animus and the anima; the male and female principles; in the Asian tradition, the yin and yang.  They both originate in similar times and cultural contexts, and they should be rejoined together after millenia of separation.  Neither is superior to the other, nor can they operate fully without the other.  Both are needed for balance in all areas of life. 

  Copernicus was a physician who studied astrology.  The two fields have a surprising amount of overlap.   Image from Wikipedia.

Copernicus was a physician who studied astrology.  The two fields have a surprising amount of overlap.  Image from Wikipedia.

2.  We champion A) self-knowledge (inner) education for the corporate and scientific (yang) communities; and B) business and tech (outer) training for communities of a yin inclination.  Both sides need the other to be fully in touch with reality, because in both camps, our egos viciously lead us away in search of false realities, cementing our antimony.  The future of the planet depends on learning about the interior world as much as the exterior world, and vice versa.

3.  We believe that when more people practice mindfulness, and learn to apply the Enneagram, and other self-observation and self-knowledge tools, the world will be a better, healthier, and safer place.  Self-knowledge engenders leadership; emotional intelligence brings about more "presence", as opposed to reactivity and craving, which the Buddha warned against.

4.  We call for political leaders with a mindfulness and self-awareness practice instead of those who are identified with a particular party.  When self-awareness practices become mainstream, bi-partisanship can be achieved, opening us up to more creative solutions to the world's problems. 

5.  We fucking love democracy.  In the end, though, the capacity for self-awareness is going to be more radical and effective than democracy is currently. 

  New immigrants to Regina, 2013 .  Image from cbc.ca. 

New immigrants to Regina, 2013.  Image from cbc.ca. 

6.  We also fucking love: immigrants, female orgasm, the internet, entrepreneurship and venture capital, High Maintenance (although sobriety's great), Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrology, New York, LGBT, history, pictures from your vacation, sarcasm, and this.

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 navigatingtheodyssey.pbworks.com. 

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 navigatingtheodyssey.pbworks.com. 

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.