Saturday, May 05, 2007

Enneagram of Personality

Color-wheel-triadic.jpgSounds like some wizard or wise man.

The Enneagram of Personality is a theory that our personalities derive from how "nine principal ego-archetypal forms or types of human personality ... are psychologically connected."

Yeah. Well, regardless of the wonky science, it does come up with the foundations for some interesting characters (and some nifty cryptic figures to represent each of the nine.) :-)

Here are brief descriptions of the nine personalities from Wikipedia. (There's also a test you can take. Scroll down below the list of characters.) If you click on the link above to go to the page the descriptions came from, each of the personalities links to a longer article to get even more inspiration for your characters.

1 perfectionist.jpgOnes: Reformers, Critics, Perfectionists - People of this personality type are focused on personal integrity. Ones can be wise, discerning and inspiring in their quest for the truth. They also tend to dissociate themselves from their flaws or what they believe are flaws (such as negative emotions) and can become hypocritical and hyper-critical of others, seeking the illusion of virtue to hide their own vices. The greatest fear of Ones is to be flawed and their ultimate goal is perfection.

The "deadly sin" of Ones is anger in the form of resentment and their "holy idea" or essence is Holy Perfection.

Under stress Ones express qualities of Fours and when relaxed qualities of Sevens.

2 giver.jpgTwos: Helpers, Givers, Caretakers - Twos, at their best, are compassionate, thoughtful and astonishingly generous but they can also be particularly prone to clinginess and manipulation. Twos want, above all, to be loved and needed and fear being unworthy of love.

The "deadly sin" of Twos is pride and their "holy idea" or essence is Holy Will.

Under stress Twos express qualities of Eights and when relaxed qualities of Fours.

3 performer.jpgThrees: Achievers, Performers, Succeeders - Highly adaptable and changeable. Some walk the world with confidence and unstinting authenticity; others wear a series of public masks, acting the way they think will bring them approval and losing track of their true self. Threes are motivated by the need to succeed and to be seen as successful.

The "deadly sin" of Threes is deceit and their "holy idea" or essence is Holy Law.

Under stress Threes express qualities of Nines and when relaxed qualities of Sixes.

4 tragic romantic.jpgFours: Romantics, Individualists, Artists - Driven by a desire to understand themselves and find a place in the world they often fear that they have no identity or personal significance. Fours embrace individualism and are often profoundly creative and intuitive. However, they have a habit of withdrawing to internalize, searching desperately inside themselves for something they never find and creating a spiral of depression.

The "deadly sin" of Fours is envy and their "holy idea" or essence is Holy Origin.

Under stress Fours express qualities of Twos and when relaxed qualities of Ones.

5 observer.jpgFives: Observers, Thinkers, Investigators - Fives are motivated by the desire to understand the world around them, specifically in terms of facts. Believing they are only worth what they contribute, Fives have learned to withdraw, to watch with keen eyes and speak only when they can shake the world with their observations. Sometimes they do just that. However, some Fives are known to withdraw from the world, becoming reclusive hermits and fending off social contact with abrasive cynicism. Fives fear incompetency or uselessness and want to be capable and knowledgeable above all else.

The "deadly sin" of Fives is avarice and their "holy idea" or essence is Holy Omniscience.

Under stress Fives express qualities of Sevens and when relaxed qualities of Eights.

6 devil's advocate.jpgSixes: Loyalists, Devil's Advocates, Defenders - Sixes long for stability above all else. They exhibit unwavering loyalty and responsibility, but once betrayed, they are slow to trust again. They are particularly prone to fearful thinking and emotional anxiety as well as reactionary and paranoid behavior. Sixes tend to to react to their fears either in a phobic manner by avoiding fearful situations or by confronting them in a counterphobic manner.

The "deadly sin" of Sixes is cowardice and their "holy idea" or essence is Holy Faith and Strength.

Under stress Sixes express qualities of Threes and when relaxed qualities of Nines.

7 epicure.jpgSevens: Enthusiasts, Adventurers, Sensationalists - Sevens are adventurous and busy with many activities with all the energy and enthusiasm of the Puer Aeternus. At their best they embrace life for its varied joys and wonders and truly live in the moment but, at their worst, they dash frantically from one new experience to another, too scared of disappointment to actually enjoy themselves. Sevens fear being unable to provide for themselves or to experience life in all of its richness.

The "deadly sin" of Sevens is gluttony and their "holy idea" or essence is Holy Wisdom".

Under stress Sevens express qualities of Ones and when relaxed qualities of Fives.

8 boss.jpgEights: Leaders, Protectors, Challengers - Eights value their own strength and desire to be powerful and in control. They concern themselves with self-preservation. They are natural leaders, who can be either friendly and charitable or dictatorially manipulative, ruthless and willing to destroy anything in their way. Eights seek control over their own lives and destinies and fear being harmed or controlled by others.

The "deadly sin" of the Eight is lust (in terms of being 'excessive') and their "holy idea" or essence is Holy Truth.

Under stress Eights express qualities of Fives and when relaxed qualities of Twos.

9 mediator.jpgNines: Mediators, Peacemakers, Preservationists - Nines are ruled by their empathy. At their best they are perceptive, receptive, gentle, calming and at peace with the world. They also, however, tend to dissociate from conflicts and to indifferently go along with others people's wishes. They may also simply withdraw and act via inaction. They fear the conflict caused by their ability to simultaneously understand opposing points of view and seek peace of mind above all else. Nines are especially prone to dissociation and passive-aggressive behaviour.

The "deadly sin" of Nines is sloth and their "holy idea" or essence is Holy Love.

Under stress Nines express qualities of Sixes and when relaxed qualities of Threes.
The Triadic Enneagram Test

This only takes 5-10 minutes and pretty much nailed one of the characters in the current story I'm working on. This is what it came up with:
Seven
Primary Intelligence: Mental
Coping Style: Positive
Social Style: Assertive
Hierarchical Style: Ideals

Sevens use their mental intelligence to create a positive spin on life by coming up with various utopian possibilities about how things could be. They can be very inspirational as they assert their utopian ideals about how people can live better lives or make the world a better place. Robin Williams is a well-known Seven, and his character in the movie Dead Poets Society is an excellent example of this. By regularly imagining how things can be good or made better, Sevens tend to be very optimistic, and their optimism gives them the confidence to assert themselves in the world, going after whatever it is they want.
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