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I don't follow "A School."

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    I don't follow "A School."

    This is an email I wrote recently to someone who asked me which school I follow when it comes to enneagram. The letter came out exactly like this, no edits. I'm posting my raw, unabridged thoughts, in all their annoying bluntness.

    I don't follow specific schools. My group digs for truth wherever we can find it. We've read all the enneagram bigshots (Riso Hudson, Maitri, Naranjo, Ichazo, Palmer, Rohr, Chestnut, Grey, Luckovich, Almaas, Condon, Bakhtiar, Fauvres, and others)... in fact, I own about 40 enneagram books in print and several pdfs, most of which I've read more than once. But the idea is not to "follow a school" - it's to find intrinsic meaning and see something that manifests in real life.

    Gurdjieff was the founder of enneagram, and he postulated that enneagram is natural law. He saw the types as resonances; lining up with music notes and colors. To him, enneagram is the key to the cosmos. There are quotes in which he proclaims you don't need anything but enneagram to figure out the way the world works. There's a cosmic song, and enneagram is the music theory that shows you how the notes fit together.

    So I haven't focused on "following a school," even though I've done my reading. I've focused on seeing the resonance in real people, as well as in nature. When we discover someone is a 7, that person teaches us what a 7 is, as much as we teach them. Enneagram is not a static lesson on a page that you can learn in a school; it is the pattern of human beings; the resonance they have with archetypes and natural elements. An enneagram type is a person's spectrum of potential.

    Gurdjieff would agree with everything I'm saying; although I said most of it before I sought out his particular work. I only found out later that the very founder of enneagram had the same views about it that I had developed over time, by seeking resonance in real people and in real patterns in the world.

    So if I must belong to a school, you can place me with Gurdjieff, the founder. He chose his student Ichazo, and I also found much truth in Ichazo. From later writers, the Sufi enneagram comes closest to what we've discovered, but it's still not exact.

    There is absolutely no compatibility with Riso Hudson, however. For example: Ichazo describes four as "Argumentative." Sufi enneagram pins them as the angry, hot-tempered type, fearless and rash. Almaas explains that fours are quite certain of their identity; the question of their life is how to express that identity. And this fits with Sufi enneagram which claims that argument is a way to preserve the individual self.

    Contrarily, Riso Hudson paints a picture of a sadsack who seeks their own identity. This is a picture of depression; but once you set the depression parts aside, their four is much closer to Ichazo's nine, the "Seeker' who is always looking for identity. This is explained very well by Almaas in Facets of Unity. 9 is called "Over-nonconformist" by Ichazo, and "Seeker" - and Almaas lays this out well - but in Riso Hudson, the 9 is simply conflict avoidant, and in Naranjo, the 9 is unintellectual.

    How can you marry these theories to something cohesive? There is only one way: to get beyond the theory and look at reality. Find which trends appear in real people. See how these types resonate. Learn about people. Nature. The founder Gurdjieff saw enneagram in nature, not on a stale page.

    Of course, some books are better than others. And I've demonstrated how RH completely misappropriated two types. If I would write a longer essay, I could discredit everything about their work, according to the earlier writers.

    Also, the idea of instincts goes entirely contrary to Ichazo's work. He postulated that the Sp/Conservation instinct was related to the gut triad; the Relational/Sx instinct was related to the heart triad; and the social/negotiation instinct was related to the head triad. Instincts are intrinsic to the types.

    So although Naranjo had some very worthwhile contributions, he also misappropriated Ichazo's work by veering off into instincts - which makes no sense and contrasts the original and cohesive theory.

    Yet it doesn't matter to me, who said what. I don't care much about the "schools." Naranjo has some good ideas and some bad. What matters to me is that I look at real people, and I don't see any visible, tangible, describable difference that can be attributed to "Sx 6" vs "Soc 6." These are often just different tritypes and different CT's. There's no need to add "instincts" onto it when those are already embedded in the types; and I see no concrete evidence that it's necessary to use instincts. However, there is concrete evidence of tritypes, in behavior and body language. Ichazo did postulate that people had trifixes, and this was well known in the Arica school, before the Fauvres plagiarized the concept and copyrighted the word "Tritype."

    There are so many examples of misuse and misconduct in modern enneagram, I could write books on it. But for now suffice it to say, if you're attached to Riso-Hudson, you are using an entirely different system than we are. And also a different one than the one Riso-Hudson claim to be using. It certainly isn't enneagram.

    There is no point in "following a school" outside of religious dogma.
    Come to your own conclusions.
    Sleep on the Ceiling - Erosian Exile