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Type Seven holy idea?

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    Type Seven holy idea?

    So... with the caveat that it's fully possible I'm just mistyped or misunderstanding... anyone else feel like the way the Type Seven holy idea is described (at least by Almaas, I haven't read other takes on it since around 2014 but I don't remember finding any of them particularly moving either) is really... off?

    I love Almaas's accounts of most of the other holy ideas, they speak to truths that resonate really deeply, and when it's something I can feel myself craving and not feeling secure about especially I'm really moved. This is particularly true for Holy Perfection, which I think you'll understand as you read on. The holy idea for Seven just isn't like that for me though. Maybe I'm mistyped or in denial?

    I feel like the problem I have with these descriptions is that they put too much emphasis on the "planning" aspect of the type. Yes, I do plan things to cope. I plan enthusiastically and compulsively and I usually love planning at least as much, if not more, as actually executing plans. The way Naranjo describes type Seven planning is "imaginary wish fulfillment." To avoid having to sit down with your thoughts about a painful past or an unsatisfying present (quelle horreur!), fixating on the imaginary helps keep us floating, the idea of a future or an imaginary world that is interesting and rewarding and where all past struggles have a clear and obvious meaning.

    The way the Holy Plan is often described (including in my most recent reading, by Almaas) is that Sevens basically do not trust that the future will be okay unless we plan for it; we do not see the future as naturally unfolding in a way that is good unless we intervene with plans. And like, okay, yeah, sure, one big problem I have is that I can be hesitant to leave the planning phase because I wonder if maybe I have too much hubris or actually doing the work will be too hard or boring, but ultimately, one of the main reasons I love planning is because I DO trust the future. Even from a very young age (about 4 or 5) I had a specific understanding of time and destiny: that everything exists in a continuum, that the past is still happening, and that the future "has already happened" as much as the past has, that anything which is meant to happen will happen and is happening, and that this is a reassuring aspect of existence. It means that even if in the present things are a struggle, you can count on the future to reassure you that the struggle has meaning or even to make the struggle go away.

    I think this type of understanding or engagement with the idea of a Holy Plan actually serves to uphold Seven's ego defenses instead of revealing their falseness, enabling one to prioritize an imaginary future over the real present and past. You could argue that this lack of resonance also reveals defenses against the holy idea, that a desperation to believe in a Holy Plan leads to a false faith that there is a holy plan, and that that's why we enjoy thinking about the future but we don't ACTUALLY trust it... and while I do think that that's true in ways I'll get to below, I also feel like that's a lazy retort to why the descriptions feel off. I'd rather just say I'm mistyped and don't get Seven and they actually are people who find the future threatening and feel compelled to intervene with obsessive planning, than to just say no, the reason I don't connect with or feel moved by descriptions of a Holy Plan is because I'm operating on such an advanced level of delusion that even when something deep and pure and true is staring me right in the nose, my reaction of, "wait, I already know that! actually I'm pretty sure focusing on the future's security without paying attention to other truths about the world is causing some of my problems!" is just a further symptom of that delusion.

    Planning is just a fixation. It's not the heart of the problem, it's a symptom of it. I think what Naranjo describes to be type seven "rationalization" is a much bigger issue than planning. Rationalization is what leads to false acceptance of circumstances that are secretly undesirable and scary. We see our pain as disharmonious with acceptance; if we feel bad about something, then that's our problem for not seeing how it fits into the grand scheme of things; it isn't a natural reaction to life's natural events. We see our pain as stemming from ignorance of the Holy Plan, that to indulge our negative feelings would mean that we're not smart enough to get how they fit into the big picture, and we feel guilty about it. This is why so many Sevens insist that we are in touch with our negative feelings when we obviously, clearly aren't - we jump to the "acceptance" phase through rationalization without actually experiencing the grief. "Oh, did that make me sad? Cool! I am totally fine with being sad because that's just part of life, and actually this sadness is teaching me a lesson about the world, and it's going to be okay because I'm so smart and can clearly grasp what the moral of the story is and what it means in the grand scheme of things, and if you think about it this is actually what I wanted all along (because my plans are so harmonious with the Holy Plan), and honestly you could even say that this was a good thing because in the future I'll be better prepared to et cetera et cetera et cetera..."

    Rationalization is the immediate adaptation to a mindset of "all according to plan," because having to sit and deal with the fact that the way things are going hurts and that's all right is not something we can genuinely parse as acceptable. We don't want to deal with grief or guilt or pain, so we tell ourselves we've already accepted it and it's all going to be okay, and this is in fact a necessary part of how we get to the place of feeling okay, and implicitly, that by virtue of accepting it we're already okay... while on the inside we're scared of what the pain is doing or could do to us and afraid of what confronting it might mean. (What if we find out our pain is meaningless, that there is nothing to learn or gain from it and the only truth in this world is despair?)

    We live in a landscape that is full of twists and turns and interesting caverns covered in sparkling stalactites and wonderful things to explore... but there's this deep well of darkness on the edge of our consciousness that we stay away from, because we're scared that if we fall in we'll get stuck there. Or that, even if we aren't stuck there, even if we're only in it for a short time, it's really going to suck. Everything is okay all the time because it has to be, and if it isn't okay now then it WILL be okay soon. Yes, in a roundabout way this is a fear of the future, but more pertinently it's a fear of genuinely experiencing pain in the present or past, and, more specifically, of internalizing that pain. The potential threat to the future that the pain represents is secondary to the main issue, which is our compulsion to rationalize the pain away right now.

    As you can probably gather, I don't think this means Seven's holy idea is wrong, that lack of touch with the idea of a Holy Plan is not something that applies to and deeply affects Sevens. You could read Almaas to mean that by avoiding the well you're relying on yourself to control what happens and to ensure you aren't going to be stuck with a scary future... but with all due respect, I feel like this isn't the best way to frame the idea of the Holy Plan for it to really resonate and make sense to a Seven. This reading of Almaas requires a lot of roundabout wandering with the idea before it hits on something that feels somewhat like the truth. Instead of focusing on the planning fixation, I think descriptions of the type Seven holy idea should respond to the rationalization defense. If the point of the holy idea is to expose and strip that defense away, you aren't going to get anywhere telling a Seven "you don't need to plan compulsively, the future will be okay!" I'm planning excitedly because I trust the future. The thing I don't trust is the present and the past. I'm trying to force them to have meaning and I read meaning into them by imagining a future where that meaning is obvious and rewarding. If I do something and I feel guilty about it, I rationalize the guilt away because what happened happened the way it's meant to happen, and sure, it feels bad, but one day it will make sense and it won't be my fault! One day...! One day.......

    You're going to have a much harder time making Sevens accept that genuinely feeling and exploring the pain and darkness of the present and trauma from the past is part of the Holy Plan, that rationalizing these feelings away because it'll be okay someday does not represent true acceptance of that pain, than you will getting us to accept that the future is what it's supposed to be. We feel like we already understand that, and it doesn't challenge us to hear about it.

    NB: I know Almaas assigned Type Seven three different holy ideas - Holy Wisdom, Holy Work, and Holy Plan. I feel like all three of these titles speak to what I'm talking about above, perhaps Holy Wisdom which Ichazo used describes it best, but I feel like assigning Sevens three different holy ideas is excessive and confusing. My post is a response to how I've generally seen Seven's holy idea(s) discussed and why I feel that these descriptions miss the heart of the issue. I use Holy Plan above for ease of reference but I don't really care what you call it.
    Last edited by inkreservoir; 10-11-2021, 11:41 PM.

    I think more appropriate than the typical phrasing of Seven's problem as a "fear of pain" would be a "fear of meaningless pain." We do avoid feeling any pain whether it's meaningful or not, but I think calling it a fear of meaningless pain is more evocative of how we zoom forward past the pain to a future where the pain has taught us a lesson or become useful in some way (without actually experiencing the pain or learning its lesson). Holy Wisdom.


      Elaborating a little on why I said Holy Perfection resonates - similar to Type Ones, we struggle to conceptualize pain as a valid part of existence. Ones react to this with anger but Sevens react with fear. We feel that our pain is bad and we're scared to dwell on it even for the amount of time it takes to process it for fear of discovering that that it doesn't really matter, that pain is all we are and there's no escape from it. Holy Perfection says that pain is part of life's perfection in the way that Holy Wisdom/Holy Plan says that pain is inherently meaningful, and that that meaning will become evident without us trying to create it without doing the actual work. We don't trust ourselves enough to believe that through processing it we will learn the meaning, or that processing it properly is worth the risk of becoming lost in despair or discovering there is no meaning after all.


        I must start with saying that reading any of Almaas' descriptions at first didn't feel very insightful to me. A lot of it seemed relatable, vague and true in a rather roundabout way. It's not a book you read just once. You pick it up every so often -- allow yourself to glance over various passages and slowly incorporate these lessons into your being.

        I think you are very much correct, regarding 'planning' not being the core of the issue, but a symptom. Planning is an expression of rationalization, a way to shape the worldview in a way that is to be more appealing, sensible, logical, meaningful, but ideals always fall flat in their own ways when they collide head on with reality.

        At the essence of type Seven there as dissatisfaction with the way things are. Like type 1 and type 4 they too are the true idealists of the Enneagram. Not able to trust in the now, the past or the future. They rely upon their own vision and ability to put themselves in motion. They keep going, they keep planning and finding ways to realize that vision. And yeah, anything that points to this fundamental meaninglessness, this deep inner distrust of things being alright, it is discarded and kept at bay as much as possible. This all can give the Seven a certain forwardness, a mental gluttony that is never truly satisfied, because the insecurity at the core is never truly addressed.
        "Distress, whether psychic, physical, or intellectual, need not at all produce nihilism.
        Such distress always permits a variety of interpretations."



        • inkreservoir
          inkreservoir commented
          Editing a comment
          Re: Almaas, that makes sense! A few descriptions did resonate already the first time I read them as a teenager, and in some ways they do even more now returning to them as an adult... I'm sure five years from now I'll be absorbing a whole new set of ideas from it.

          Thank you for saying so. I think that's a very articulate way to contextualize my thoughts on the Holy Idea with Seven's position in the frustration triad.