“We continue to shape our personality all our life. If we knew ourselves perfectly, we should die.”
~ Albert Camus
We, human beings, are curious about ourselves. At best, we strive for self-knowledge to better ourselves and at worst, we can fall into the trap of narcissistic delusion.
One way to further self-knowledge is studying personality types, such as Enneagram.
Enneagram traces back to an ancient Sufi mysticism that explored self-understanding and spirituality. Later, based on the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff, two major figures in the development of Enneagram, Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo, further shaped its system that has evolved into what is commonly used today.
In Greek, the word “ennea” means “nine” and “grammos” refers to something drawn. The diagram shows a circle that has nine points with lines connecting certain points to each other. Each point represents one of the nine distinct personality types with its primary mental, emotional, and behavioral fixations. The students and practitioners of Enneagram view this system as a profound key to understanding the organization of the human psyche and the universe.
Personally, the insight about myself and others gained from studying Enneagram has been invaluable. It’s a useful tool to discern one’s mental and emotional outlook on life and to understand the underlying causes or “fixations” that shape it.
Enneagram is a fairly complex typological system. Fortunately, there are many helpful resources available. Here I will share the starting point, namely, the nine personality types. The source is from the online site, Enneagram Institute, created by two leading experts, Don Riso and Russ Hudson.
The nine personality types and their dominant traits are: