“Those who do not move do not notice their chains.”
Russian-German political theorist, economist and revolutionary
We notice out Enneagram style most acutely when we try to step out of our comfort zone and try some changes. As long as we stay in our Enneagram patterns, we’re pretty sure we’re OK.
We live in a world we experience symbolically. The difference between warm and hot may not be measured Fahrenheitically but by my experience: am I threatened or consoled?
Joyce Carol Oates tells this story. She was walking past a laundromat and a young couple was unloading and sorting their laundry. They were talking, smiling and flirting as they folded and piled. Joyce asked herself, “Is what they are doing symbolic or merely real?”
An Enneagram style functions much like a trance. We just don’t “get” information that conflicts with our Enneagram narrative. If you need practice, go watch the arguments (they’re not discussions or conversations) between the people who speak for political parties. You can tell that not only don’t they agree, but on some level, they each are closed, blind, deaf and resistant to information that conflicts with their political ideology. It is probably safe to see that an ideology is a communal ego state or enneagram style. Not all politicians are ideologues, but those that are display the same kind of resistance to information that an enneagram fixation does.
It is about 100 degrees in Kansas today. It has been close or above that for 3 weeks and will be, according to my computer, for the next 10 days. Because as a species, we are closed to information we don’t like, climate change is here to stay. Fox news insists that climate change is disputed, but I can’t get my plans to watch Fox news, so they are dying. Being closed to information, whether as an individual or a culture, can have serious consequences. That’s one reason I devote myself to teaching the enneagram: it can save a lot of pain and frustration.
Expecting Adam not only reveals the low side of Harvard’s Three culture. Mary Bast commented on yesterdays blog with a great addition: I think it also shows the psychological and spiritual potential of a Three, who transcends how things look, redefines success, and learns to love her special child.
The character arc in a movie, or in this case an autobiography of sorts, is a fine way for someone with an Enneagram style to see the path of personal growth. Expecting Adam has a nice character arc. She begins the book with the non-values of a fairly fixated Three. The pregnancy then becomes a catalyst for an evaluation of of herself and her culture. She claims and asserts her personal values of love and life. She grows in just the way a healthy Three does, from narcissism to a developing inner spiritual life. If you are style Three, this is a lovely pattern to study.
Back from vacation. Best book: Expecting Adam, the story of a woman battling Harvard culture when she decides to have a baby, even after she finds out it will have Down’s syndrome. The author, an editor at Cosmopolitan, swears her story is completely true and then records miracles that will shatter your scientific worldview. The Enneagram take-away is the author’s self-revelation that shows her to be a clear Three and the culture of Harvard insisting on the ethic of style Three: cutthroat competition, pathological fear of failure, worship of success and devoted to image. If you think science has killed mysticism and you enjoy fine writing, this is a splendid way to brush up on your knowledge of Enneagram style Three, especially if you’re looking for the pathological elements.