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The Circle of Nine Basic Characters - Excerpts from Naranjo's "Enneagram and Society"

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    The Circle of Nine Basic Characters - Excerpts from Naranjo's "Enneagram and Society"

    The Circle of the Nine Basic Characters

    by Claudio Naranjo
    Excerpts from his book:
    "Enneagram and Society - Healing the Soul to Heal the World"

    To speak of “characters” or human types is somewhat different from speaking about “pathologies” or “personality disorders,” since the abnormal symptoms described by psychologists and psychiatrists correspond only to the most pronounced manifestation of certain human types. While for example, according to a recent book only around three percent of the patients that turn to therapists for help in the United States are diagnosed as schizoid, I am sure that the type of character distinguished by traits that, when extreme, the medical profession calls schizoid is to be found at a considerably higher proportion.

    However, it is highly relevant to talk about pathologies, since in a certain way the distinction between what is sane and what is pathological is more conventional than real. In other words: more apparent than profound and more quantitative than qualitative. Although within each personality type people with different levels of pathology versus integration—from psychosis, passing through neurosis, to the diverse grades of evolution towards sainthood (a condition of ego transcendence)— can be identified, it is also clear that the style of personality of the “sane” or “normal” constitutes the residue of a pathology. Considered in depth, the difference between healthy and ill people is not so much the difference between the presence or absence of neurotic motivations (i.e. sins), but rather the difference in how much more than this there is in the person, or to what degree the person has managed to be the master of his or her own house instead of the slave of his or her conditioning. Thus, even in cases of advanced self-realization, we can see that the person exhibits residues of his or her childhood conditioning—only the character traits have become useful rather than constituting impediments. Nowadays, when the books on the enneagrams of personality are awakening growing interest in the public, there are those who criticize an orientation that insists too much on what is pathological—and it seems to me that this protest generally reflects a resistance to self-questioning and a preference for a pleasant and innocuous, light way of getting information that is so typical of our age, which has rebelled against the traditional insistence of Christian culture on sin. For this reason, I will make no effort to please those who may have wanted a presentation of characters in the habitual style of astrology books, which mention favorable or unfavorable aspects for each planet or constellation. Personality, in so far as it is a residue of our childhood strategies (to obtain a love that did not reach us naturally in a world of lack), is an important form of conditioning. Clearly, the attention to appearances of the vain may be a trait that makes them desirable as interior decorators, and the tolerance of routine of the indolent, trustworthy administrators. However, the value of these behaviors for the individual is much less than the value of recognizing their limiting and conditioned nature and how they are part of a parasitic aspect of the personality, which will have less power over one’s life if it is better known. As Gurdjieff said, when a machine knows itself, it becomes responsible for its acts and can no longer be called a machine.

    In the previous chapter, we started to talk about the enneagram of the passions as a set of inner states that coexist in the mind of each individual, but we ended up employing the enneagram as an organizing map for the set of pathologies recognized by the scientific world. We shall continue in this chapter to employ the enneagram as a way of organizing the territory of human types— which has an obvious advantage over their simple enumeration, because such an organization of characterology indicates relationships between each point and the neighboring points in the circle, as well as the points that are connected to it according to the inner lines. Although it is not my aim to go into this in detail1 here, I shall draw attention to some of these relationships, starting with the fact that the nine characters are organized into three groups of three, in accordance with the areas that surround each of the “corners” on the chart. 1I have developed this theme in my book Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View, Gateways/IDHHB, Inc., 1994.

    Symmetry and Polarity in the Enneagram

    When we think not of the individual, but rather of human types, what is noticeable is the air of family of the types that are to be found in the three corners of the enneagram: we may speak of a hysteroid group of characters, a schizoid group, and another that is rigid or anti-intraceptive. (I do not say anti-introverted because this does not constitute the opposite of social introversion, but rather the opposite of inwardness or interest in the contents of the mind, technically known as intraception.)

    What is characteristic of the three characters that are represented at the top of the enneagram (I, VIII and IX) is their interest in not looking towards the subtle world of life experiences; a non-inwardness that goes hand in hand with active extroversion. In contrast, the dramatic and socially extrovert characters (II, III and IV) are located in the area of the angle on the right, whereas the angle on the left entails an introverted disposition (V, VI and VII)—although in Enneatype VII (EVII), the underlying introversion is compensated by superficial sociability. The symmetry between the left and right side of the enneagram is not only one of social introversion/extroversion: it also constitutes a polarity of rebellion/seduction. The right side is more social or socialized; the left, more antisocial. This is the same polarity that exists between hysterical and psychopathic, both studied by Eysenk.

    There also exists a polarity between the upper and lower parts of the enneagram of characters. We may speak of a polarity of tough-mindedness and tender-mindedness in relation to the degree of intraception or inwardness. Characteristically, the lower region of the enneagram is that of the “poor of spirit”; i.e. of those who are in contact with their sense of lack at the heart of their being. At the opposite (upper) pole are to be found those who have turned a deafer ear to their inner hurting, and who therefore feel immensely more satisfied. In contrast, Enneatypes IV and V (in the lower region of the enneagram) are those who are fashionable in psychoanalysis: borderline and schizoid personalities. These are, one could say, the “borderline,” the most problematic. Or more precisely, the problem-ridden, in contrast to the characters of points VIII, IX and I, whose secret problem is not having problems. The case of these characters that science considers so pathological serves to illustrate the theoretical formulation of equivalence among them. The “poor of spirit” (a term which in the original Aramaic would translate literally as “lepers”) are those who seek more intensely—and those who seek a lot, find. The enneagram of characters is thus organized in terms of a symmetry of social introversion versus extroversion and a polarity of intraception or inwardness and anti-intraception or rejection of inwardness.

    But things are a little more complex by virtue of the different proportion to which the three possible pairs that make up the sides of the central triangle may combine. Thus, for instance, we find that the character we designate as Enneatype VII, though secretly introverted, is apparently hyper-extroverted or manic, and Enneatype I, blind to his or her ignorance, believes him or herself to be introverted.

    I shall now explain in more detail the way in which each of the characters expresses in its behavior its dominant passion and its explicit error of perspective—which entails a cognitive aspect or an overvalued interpersonal strategy, a mistaken position with respect to the world of others and even with respect to themselves. To the description of each of the human types of Protoanalysis (Enneatypes) in terms of its main personality traits, I shall add a consideration of the characteristic way in which the person defends him or herself from becoming aware of the world, and I shall include quotations from the description of characters from the most ancient of the classics: Theophrastus, the successor of Aristotle, who considered the theme of sufficient interest to dedicate his attention to it at the age of one hundred.

    As a complement to the erudition of Theophrastus, however, I shall fall back on popular humoristic observations: the old Italian caricatures that were part of the cultural movement called the Commedia dell’Arte and some contemporary caricatures that circulate in the form of jokes or cartoons and are testimony of an implicit, nonprofessional psychological subtlety.

    Let us start off with pride, to do honor to the Gregorian and Dantean tradition.


    The choice of pride in first place is undoubtedly in keeping with the thirst for attention and distinction of the proud character. Moreover, it seems to me to be a wise strategy of the ancient spiritual guides to underline the importance of this passion, which, like gluttony, expresses itself through an indulgent character that is less given than others to feel at fault. It is difficult for the proud to progress spiritually, however, without being helped to become aware, without having their evasion of displeasure and lack of self-criticism pointed out, since this lack of self-criticism means that the subject feels superior, great, worthy of deference, important. However, deep down they have a great need for love, and their entire life is oriented around this need to be loved through a falsification of reality. That is what the inflation of their self-image demands.

    Although pride is a passion through which we see ourselves as superior to what we are, it is worth clarifying that this feeling of superiority is not commonly expressed as arrogance and may pass unnoticed by others. Those who “truly” have a good opinion of themselves irradiate their self-complacency in such a way that it is instantaneously shared by those surrounding them, without the need to make their quality explicit through performance or virtuous acts. They are so convinced of their merits that they do not feel they have to convince others, not even themselves; rather they revel in the result of this self-inflation: well being. While the majority of people suffer the distance that separates them from the ideal, proud people, mistaking themselves for their ideal, revel in themselves.

    However, this is not a “virtuous” ideal, as in the case of the irascible character. Their virtue is not the virtue of discipline or one that lies in self-control, but is that supreme, though spontaneous, virtue that is the ability to love. Feeling him or herself to be replete with love, the proud person feels like a “grand” person, capable of giving to others and worthy of receiving the best from them. And he or she is “truly” a loving person; it is only when taking the path of self-knowledge that he or she discovers how much this lovingness is basically a role that he or she mistakes for reality. One might say that deep down this person does not love others for themselves, but loves rather to feel capable of love and hence a complete person, worthy of being loved. But no matter how visible the seductive nature of their love is to others, it is difficult for them to see this themselves. Let us not forget that pride is situated in the Enneagram next to lying, simulation, falsification of self. To manage to understand that they have lived life taking the self-created movie of themselves as reality is particularly complicated since their loving, pleasant, and empathic behavior brings them so much positive feedback.

    In contrast to other characters who are driven to question themselves as a result of the hardships of life, the proud character does not receive so many challenges compared to those who face the world from a position of more competitive superiority, like that of the neighboring points in the Enneagram.

    The world knows the game of the proud well, as revealed by the expression femme fatale used to designate certain women who are highly attractive. It is implicitly understood that the attractiveness of the person is good for her, but not at all for those who “succumb” to her. Something similar is meant by “vamp.”

    A classical interpretation of this character is given to us by Emile Zola in Nana—the beautiful prostitute who ruins her noble, lost lover; another is Carmen, irresistible, vital, and provocative.

    Although Theophrastus does not include a character he calls proud in his collection—he does include “braggart”; according to him, this character’s behavior tends towards a unique capacity for compulsive lying, a concept that psychiatry calls “fantastic pseudology,” which has been associated with the histrionic personality disorder. “Bragging seems to be a fictitious invention of nonexistent qualities.” Theophrastus begins by talking about this bragging as the grandiosity of the image that is presented to others and which goes beyond a mere exhibition of dignity. His lying becomes evident when he tells us that the braggart “is he who in the bazaar tells strangers about the great sums of money he has invested at sea, and informs them of what a great business this type of loan is, of his losses and profits. While boasting in this way, he sends his slave to the bank to deposit a ridiculous sum of money.”

    Although adulation in itself is an aspect of characters VII and III of the Enneagram, we find in Theophrastus’s description rather the adulation that corresponds to the strict sense of the word; from which it is possible to identify it as an example of Enneatype II. (It is interesting to observe that in the majority of versions of Theophrastus’s book, it is this image of the flatterer that occupies the first place.) Citing his text:

    The flatterer is an individual capable of saying to the person with whom he is taking a walk: “Have you noticed how people look at you? It happens to no one else in Athens apart from you. Yesterday in the Portico they sang your praises. There were more than thirty people sitting there and when the question of who the man of most worth is came up, everyone present started and finished with your own name.” While he continues to say these pleasantries and the like, he takes a piece of lint from your gown, and if a blade of grass carried by the wind lands on your hair, he removes it while adding with a smile: “You see? As I haven’t seen you for two days, your beard is full of gray hairs and yet for your age your hair is black like no other.” No sooner does this person start to speak, but the flatterer makes everyone else be quiet, he praises him when he hears him and the moment the other person stops speaking, he exclaims: “Magnificent.”

    In this image, we can observe a subtle and implicit form of flattery that distinguishes itself from the simple affirmation of the worth of the other person. The pride of the other is indirectly satisfied via manifestations of esteem, concern, and admiration, and via the stimulation of the flattery of others. Theophrastus’s description also calls one’s attention to a certain generosity in the flatterer’s behavior:

    And it goes without saying that he is also capable, as if he were a slave, of doing the shopping in the women’s market, without even stopping to catch his breath ... He asks his host if he is not cold and before he pronounces a word, wraps him warmly with his cloak.

    In this last comment, it is insinuated that this supposedly generous concern may be invading and lacking in tact with respect to the desires of the other person—a trait that is discussed in greater depth in the case of characters like the “inopportune” character and the “meddler.” 5 With respect to the latter, he affirms:

    Meddling seems to be an excessively good disposition both with respect to words as well as acts. The meddler is an individual capable, after having stood up, of promising what he is not going to fulfill... He insists that the slaves mix more wine than the guests can drink ... He acts as a guide along a short cut and then cannot find the place he wanted to go to ... He likewise appears before a superior officer to ask when he is going to decide to begin the battle and what the password is going to be for the day after tomorrow ... At the tomb of a recently deceased woman, he has the name of her husband, her father, her mother, that of the deceased woman herself, and her date of birth inscribed. As if this were not enough, he also asks for it to be engraved that they were respectable people.

    In this last image, Theophrastus gives us a caricature of the person who bothers others with his exaggerated, unnecessary, and intrusive way of showing esteem. The proud character was caricatured in the Commedia dell’Arte in the “mask” of Colombina. Carla Poesio tells us in her book Conoscere le maschere italiane:

    Is Colombina the one who cleans the house? Or a damsel who has fun playing with dust? It is not so easy to answer. She is a chambermaid, yes, but elegant and refined like a princess. This beautiful girl handles the feather duster like a piece of precious porcelain. She walks with tiny steps as if dancing, and touches up her tiny coffietta and a curl in each mirror and in each windowpane. She thinks about everything except dusting the furniture and the paintings ... She is lively, full of spirit, likeable. She will certainly not be a great housekeeper, but in compensation she is clever and eloquent like other servants—like Arlecchino and Brighella in their own times. She is a girl who is never in the dumps, she not only uses her tongue to speak of the stars, of smiles and looks, and she also knows how to face up sassily to an overly severe master.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	bb869f1c691d2ef3b4603c8985bb14c3.png Views:	0 Size:	547.9 KB ID:	9812

    Illustration by Giorgio Sansoni, © Edizioni Primavera, Florence

    The defense mechanism in the histrionic character is what is called pure and simple “repression,” though its full name is not so simple: “repression of the ideational representative of the instinct” according to Freud. In short, these are people who, despite the apparent freedom with which they feel and express their emotions, do not allow themselves to know what they feel. Of course, we may say that they do not want to assume responsibility for this, but the limits between bad faith and the unconscious are mysterious, as Sartre has so aptly remarked in his critique of Freud.



      In the glutton, the pleasure of eating is surely the least important of his or her manifestations, and may even be masked by an excessive dietary-spiritual concern, born of the fact that these characters feel unconsciously guilty over their gluttony and feel bad about it. (They seek to be excessively pure.) It seems to me that in today’s world, there are more people of this character than of others among those who think that “we are what we eat” and favor the macrobiotic or vegetarian diets and more generally, natural medicine.

      The passion for more and better that is gluttony manifests itself in a generalized form in interpersonal relations as a desire to be liked, to be popular, to receive admiration. Often, the gluttonous man adores his mother, and his life revolves—as in Fellini’s film 8 1/2—around an idealized image of woman, who represents the beginning and end of all pleasures and the good things in life. But intellectual gluttony is also important, making this the most curious type of character, both in the sense of a search for new horizons and experiences in the concrete world and in the abstract search in the world of ideas. This character feels attracted to the final frontiers of knowledge with all that mystery and the exotic entail. Referring to an even more fundamental defect than gluttony, Ichazo characterized this type of personality as the “charlatan.” Certainly these characters are loquacious, and their loquacity serves both to exhibit special knowledge as well as to “entangle” others in their ideas, projects, and desires. Their loquacity mainly serves their gluttony—that is, it entails a way of obtaining the object of their desires through good explanations. And these good explanations are particularly important when the question is to go beyond the limits that the environment imposes.

      These are “cheeky” characters that get what they want due to their likeableness and their ingenious arguments. But talkativeness stems not only from good reasons, but also principally from the capacity to enchant— which entails not only intelligence and astuteness, but also a certain level of well-being and happiness, without which these people could sustain neither their rise nor their capacity to give advice. To achieve this level of wellbeing, they naturally have to fool themselves—since the level of pain and conflicts is not intrinsically greater or lesser in one character than in another—and in this self deception converge the need to maintain a charming façade and gluttony itself, since even more important than the desire to please is the avoidance of pain that this hedonism brings with it.

      The gluttonous character is situated in the Enneagram halfway between cowardice and lust. It could be described as masked cowardice, in which the person finds refuge in pleasure in order to flee anxiety. It could at the same time be understood as a toned down form of lust, in which more intensity is not sought at the cost of pain—as in EVIII—but rather more sweetness. This is not a “motorbike and rock’n’roll” type hedonism, but rather a hedonism of what is agreeable and the avoidance of what is disagreeable. The glutton shares rebelliousness with the lustful character, but this is not an open, direct form of rebelliousness, but indirect and subtle, for which a different word is more appropriate: anti-conventionalism. This character disdains the habitual and always feels attracted to the unusual and innovation.

      Maybe the most marked traits of the “narcissist” of North American psychiatry and of the DSM-III are the good image of oneself and feeling one has rights in virtue of a special talent, which certainly applies to EVII. Although these people project a good image of themselves and to a greater extent than other types feel wellbeing, we can say that this is the fruit of a continuous self-propaganda campaign with respect to the world and themselves that acts as a counterweight to a likewise conscious sense of insecurity. Perhaps this is why the good impression that they try hard to make on others is not motivated by an arrogant, megalomaniac, or extensively superior presentation of self, but rather corresponds to that of a friendly person who insists on an egalitarian approach, while expecting special recognition not only of his or her talent but also as a result of his or her modesty and fraternal disposition.

      Very present in this character is the defense mechanism called “rationalization,” which means attributing to one’s own acts a different, more socially admirable or acceptable motivation than the real one—essentially the negation of the gluttonous, opportunistic part of the person, while making a conspicuous display of being generous and obliging. When describing a character of this type, Elias Canetti observes, “they do not even allow you to offer them a cup of coffee.”

      An important trait of this character, not yet mentioned, is humor. The chatterbox is not only a pleasant talker, but also a person who amuses and is amused: they know how to laugh at themselves (thus distancing themselves from their true emotions), they know how to amuse and to make others laugh too, defending themselves in this way from being taken totally seriously. When we inspect the observations of the classics in matters of character, we see that the portrait of the gluttonous character appears in Theophrastus under the name of “loquacity.” When defining loquaciousness, Theophrastus, quite significantly employs a special word to capture this characterology: incontinence—in the sense of “verbal incontinence.” He describes this type as one that is continuously talking and who does not give you a minute’s peace.

      And when he has left a few (people) speechless, he is the one who then speaks to the groups and dedicates his time to distracting the people who have met to talk about a subject. He goes to the classrooms or to the wrestling school and bothers the students who are having lessons by gossiping with their teachers and trainers.

      Evidently, the image that Theophrastus gives us is that of a person who not only talks too much, but also Elias Canetti, Der Ohrenzeuge. Fünfzig Charaktere, Carl Hanser Verlag, München 1979 (tr.: Ear Witness: Fifty Characters). has a great need for contact, is narcissistic, and is lacking in tact with others:

      “With his verbiage, he impedes the development of a trial or the contemplation of a spectacle at the theater or people from eating their dinner at ease ...” With his loquacity, this man is hardly receptive, but he admits his defect and accepts the criticism of others. It is as if with this show of friendliness, he expects the same condescension on the part of his victims; a similar indulgence to his own.

      We also find the chatterbox in the profile of Theophrastus’s “news dealer.” Nowadays, we see the news dealer in the person who is up to date with respect to the latest gossip or the latest academic publications. He or she therefore has information to offer in exchange for ears that listen. We see here how the gluttony of contact, attention, and appreciation are acquired by means of words.

      It is clear that in the times of the Commedia Dell’Arte, this type of human was well known, and we find him in the likeable figure of Arlecchino. This is how Carla Poesio presents this character in her book on Italian masks.

      I am Arlecchino Batocio, from Bergamo, the humblest of servants of my lords. Who is this little man under the tracagnotto? He seems to be made of rubber, with his jumping and prancing around, with the pirouettes he mixes with his words. He uses a leather mask with two small holes for the eyes. He certainly is not handsome, but rather the opposite. Is he frightening? No! Look at the funny way he moves, his parrot-like voice, the lively expressions that he mixes with the nonsense that comes out of his mouth ... You don’t know whether he is a bit stupid or whether he pretends to be, and the trouble he stirs up is done without malice, and he is the one who ends up the most entangled of all. He does not have much of a desire to work, just a little, he is a servant by trade, who never finds a master who is content with him. His wages are often made up of potatoes and thrashings with a stick. Whether he merits them or not, that is the question. It’s not my fault I’m ignorant, he sustains, and tells whoever wants to hear that when he was going to school a curious accident occurred: a cow ate his books with great relish. How could I interrupt such a substantial meal? I didn’t have the courage. I let the cow eat the spelling book, the Pythagorean table, and all the other sources of science, down to the last page. Since that day on, poor thing, he has not been able to study. This may not be a good excuse, but the story works for Arlecchino, and he himself is the first to believe it ... One thing he is never without: hunger. He is eternally hungry. When he is finally about to fill the huge hole that he feels in his stomach—which seems to last him days, weeks, months—ninety times out of a hundred, something stands between him and his meal. And now he dreams. His name, Arlecchino, is derived from the word lecchare (to lick) in reference to hunger and gluttony. (He was probably first called Lecchino and then Arlecchino.)
      Click image for larger version  Name:	90d48f8041c836e04833435ec5295a5d.png Views:	0 Size:	498.7 KB ID:	9814

      Illustration by Giorgio Sanson, © Edizioni Primavera, Florence
      Last edited by Animal; 06-07-2020, 01:38 PM.



        I have already explained that characters IV and V are to be found at the bottom of the enneagram, opposite character IX. I have characterized them as the most sensitive characters, those in which the sense of lack predominates, in contrast with the excessively satisfied character of those who repress their lacking and disconnect from their needing.

        The fourth enneatype (EIV) is between EIII and EV. It is very like EV with respect to lacking, and its proximity to EIII may be understood if we consider that it resembles a frustrated form of vanity: these types of people tend to blame or belittle themselves. In contrast with EV, which is more intellectual, EIV is more emotional; while EV is retentive of its energy and participation, but unattached to people, EIV is attached to people. This character may express envy in a “decapitating” way, according to the prototype of Cain, who competitively hated anyone else who had what he lacked—the rich, the male, the privileged. But there also exists admiring envy that spurs one on in a self-demanding desire to attain the social values or models which one feels to be deficient.

        I have already explained, in relation to the masochistic character, the idea that attachment to suffering is this character’s fundamental defect. This attachment is explained by a manipulative function of suffering. On the one hand, they use the maneuver of attracting love through the intensification of one’s own need and frustration; they say: “A baby who does not cry, does not get (breast)fed.” On the other hand, they place themselves in the role of the victim to serve the frustrated demand through making the other person guilty; something like: “Look how I suffer because of you and understand what you owe me in the name of humanity and decency.” The pain of the sufferers may also be understood as a transformation of hate—which becomes apparent pardon, while at the same time, from a position of sacrifice, they “destroy” the other person. Psychoanalysis has described this manner when talking about how the other becomes the “bad object.”

        Melanie Klein attributes not only envy to the suckling child, but also the fantasy of responding to frustration by transforming the “good object”—the mother’s breast—into a “bad object” full of excrement. Whether such “projective identification” exists in the breastfed child or whether it is one of the “adultomorphic” interpretations of early childhood that Peterfreund has criticized in his colleagues, it is still a good metaphor of debasement, from frustrated accusation, in the adult masochist.

        Another characteristic defense mechanism of the envious person is “turning against the self” (rediscovered by Perls and called “retroflection” in the vocabulary of Gestalt therapy). It is applied especially to the unconscious aggression that becomes self-aggression. In no other human type is self-reproaching, self-hate, and self-destruction so present.

        A third characteristic defense mechanism is introjection. Characterological masochism is so close to introjection that it may be understood as chronic self-poisoning, the result of having swallowed (in its excessive voracity) a “bad object.” The situation is typically that of a rejecting mother that the person carries inside. In his or her desire for love, he or she seems to have given in to the unconscious fantasy that “swallowing” the other would produce greater satisfaction, but only the opposite occurs.

        Although Theophrastus does not have a portrait that is announced as the envious character, it is not difficult to recognize it in the character of his “whining” man10, who, as we shall see, is also a pessimist. If a friend sends him a ration (of food) from a banquet, he tells the bearer: “I suppose that your master considers me unworthy of his soup and his wine, since he has not invited me to the feast.” When his lover showers him with kisses, he says: “I find it strange that you love me with all your soul.” If he has bought a slave at a good price due to having bargained insistently with the seller, he says to himself: “I’ll be amazed if he is in good shape, being so cheap.” In the Commedia Dell’Arte, EIV is Pedrolino, the sad and lovesick clown better known to us as the French Pierrot. No less appropriate are the caricatures that William Steig has created in his book Rejected Lovers of the desperate musician and of a character who cries “Mommy” with a yearning expression of abandon, while he feels himself fall into the abyss.

        A profound observation of attachment to suffering and of the use of this to attract attention is reflected in the joke about the lady who is periodically heard to complain on a night train: “Oh my, I am so thirsty!” After some time, someone who cannot get to sleep gets up and gets her a glass of water. For a few moments there is silence and the passengers feel relieved, but then they hear: “How thirsty I was!”



          EV individuals seem to have concluded at the beginning of their lives that the world will not give them the love they yearn for, and they decide to fix things themselves, minimizing their desires. They distance themselves from the world, which asks more from them than it gives them and puts more impediments in their path rather than helps them—and to a certain extent “erases” them, forgets them. Like Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, they seem to say to themselves: “I know how to wait, I know how to fast, I know how to think.” Quino has eloquently characterized the resigned self denial that avarice entails in the cartoon (see following page) in which the emptiness of the surrounding space becomes a metaphor for emotional poverty.

          Whereas some passions suppose moving towards the other too intensely, in this case we have a movement away from others. What Karen Horney said is very true: that the remote person can neither move towards the other via an amorous or seductive gesture nor against the other; in the conflict between these two tendencies—of love and aggression—he or she ends up departing the battle field. These types are neither warm nor ardent, but cool; however, their search for isolation and solitude, their desire not to be interfered with, invaded, subjected to demands, becomes a passion. What others search for outside of themselves, they search for inside, or beyond the interpersonal world—in the symbolic, the abstract, or the transcendental.

          Not only is this a character that is close to fear, but also it has a form of this: a fear of ending up empty, of not having, of not being able. It entails a position of impotence and passivity with respect to life.
          Click image for larger version  Name:	10d2fdfc527e7437e1f65570baefa383.png Views:	14 Size:	573.1 KB ID:	9817

          Gente en su sitio (People in their place)
          © Quino, Editorial Lumen, Barcelona, 1986

          It is also adjacent to envy, and one could say that it shares the sense of lacking with this character; but this is an envy paralyzed by fear, which instead of approaching the object of desire, renounces what it feels to be unreachable.

          A great deal has been said in psychoanalysis about how schizoid people disconnect from their need for the other by means of the fantasy that their magnitude would be unacceptable, incompatible with life, that their voracity and dependence would lead them to “devour” the other. The fear of being devoured is likewise present: their own need would place these people in a situation in which the other used them, which is nonetheless true. When they enter into a relationship of dependence, they overadapt to the other to the extent that they forget their needs and need to reconnect with their inner world in solitude. Resignation arises on thinking that desiring is too much. Part of this character’s makeup is to say to oneself: “Is it worth making an effort? Is it worth insisting?” There is a loss of intensity coupled to desperation. Resignation entails apathy. And this “Is it worth it?” is linked to their vision of the world. It seems to them that they are not going to find anything profoundly satisfactory. They anticipate being disappointed, as they were when they were small.

          It may be said that a vicious circle is established by means of which the selfsame prohibition of avarice affords them an intensity that, in turn, redounds in its negation. The taboo of greed breeds greed, which in turn stimulates the prohibition of wanting nothing for oneself. The result is a guilty egoism that neither asks for anything nor accepts that it be given what it secretly desires. Something similar occurs with the desire for privacy: this is complicated with the laying of blame. The result is that in order to hide it from the other, this person ends up having to forget his or her own secret.

          Apart from the resistance to giving, not giving oneself is typical of the “retentiveness” of this character, which is manifested in only being half committed to what one is doing, or in participating in things, while at the same time asking oneself whether it might not be better to save oneself for something else. They are likewise resistant to expressing themselves, particularly with respect to communicating emotions. Commitments are difficult, as a result of a desire to economize for a possible better investment of their energies. As a result, the avaricious person is a simple observer of life, hardly living it and wasting opportunities as well as talents.

          The characteristic defense mechanism of this character is what Freud called “isolation,” meaning the separation of some contents of the mind from others, as well as the compartmentalization or separation of ideas and feelings. The result is a good analytic capacity and a difficulty in seeing the overall aspect of situations and their meaning.

          After defining meanness as “a lack of generosity with respect to spending,” Theophrastus portrays the mean man in the following way:

          When voluntary donations are solicited in the assembly for the State, he silently gets up and disappears from the assembly ... On the feast in honor of the Muses, so as not to have to give any money, he stops his children from going to school on the pretext that they are ill ... He carries home the meat he has bought in the market himself and carries the vegetables in the fold of his gown. He stays at home when it is time to wash his cloak. This image of the strictest economy of spending is a little more complex than the idea that might be considered a priori, since it suggests that this meanness not only indicates the desire not to spend and the sacrifice of personal desires in favor of avarice, but also a negation of the needs and desires of others. In virtue of this association, the word “meanness” not only speaks of economy, but more specifically of a lack of generosity in spending, as defined by Theophrastus.

          As a distinction of meanness, Theophrastus speaks of avarice as “the desire to pursue a sordid profit” and gives a characterological portrait in which, together with these miserly traits, is to be found the covetous aspect of this type (which, in short, appears as disinterest and resignation):

          The person who suffers from this defect is capable, in a banquet he has organized, of not serving an adequate amount of bread and of asking the guest he has received in his house for a loan ... If he sells wine, even to a friend, he mixes it with water. He takes his children to the theater the day when entrance is free ... He makes his servant carry too much weight and to make things worse, he gives him less food than the other masters ... If he considers that one of his friends has bought something cheap, he buys it from him and resells it at a profit.

          Among the characters of the Commedia Dell’Arte, perhaps the one that most evokes this character is one who seems to walk as if his feet did not touch the ground: Stenterello. The girls in the street laugh at his absentmindedness, his clothes, and his appearance. Strange words and symbols cover his jacket as a sign of his interest for magic and mysterious knowledge. His name alludes to the poverty that accompanies his lack of worldliness. A story by Pfeifer illuminates the way in which the hiding of desire in EV feeds passivity. He presents a subject who explains: “I live in a shell, which is inside a wall, which is inside a fortress, which is inside a tunnel, under the sea. I am safe and tranquil here. Safe from you. Tranquil that you are not going to disturb me.” A woman rows past in a boat above all this, and he goes on to say: “If you really loved me, you would find me.”

          Up to now, we have spoken of two cheerful, charming characters, and then of two unsatisfied, problematic characters. We shall now tackle a third group—which includes Enneatypes I (Anger) and VIII (Lust)—made up of two aggressive characters: recognized aggression in one case (EVIII) and negated aggression in the other (EI). Both EI and EVIII are domineering and are driven by a desire to conquer. But whereas EVIII takes an antisocial stance, such that rebellion against social norms acquires a positive value, the aggression in EI is rationalized.
          Last edited by Animal; 06-07-2020, 03:49 PM.



            An intense sexuality subject to the minimum restrictions is not the only thing that gives EVIII an excessive character. The consumption of energy, a liking for intense stimuli, an attraction to violence and risks, and an effusive manifestation of enthusiasm constitute alternative expressions of lust. Apart from being intense, lustful characters are strong people; as if toughness constituted for them a form of intensity: a shield that enables them to receive the strongest blows.

            Intensity and toughness would seem to be opposites. Intensity suggests life; toughness is a form of death. Although they may be opposites, the fact that they coexist reveals an intimate relationship: the intense, “Dionysian” aspect of the character may be understood as overcompensation for a secret insensitivity. The great vitality of EVIII is the expression of a passion; the demonstration of being alive on the part of someone who suffers from a kind of psychic callousness. At the same time, the search for intensity through pleasure and power leads to desensitization—since triumph demands invulnerability and desensitization with respect to the consequences that one’s own gratification has for others.

            Ichazo designated the “fixation” of EVIII as revenge, coinciding in this with Karen Horney’s emphasis in her description of aggressive winners. But the revenge we are dealing with here must not be confused with the visible revenge that we usually associate with the term: it does not refer to taking revenge today because of what happened yesterday, but rather the instantaneous revenge of the person who responds to aggression with aggression, and a continuous, long-term revenge in response to the situation of childhood suffering. Just as the original frustration was linked to the weakness and relative impotence of childhood, the main strategy will subsequently be that of taking over power: having to dominate the situation, being on top, displaying strength. It is a strategy of the bully, of relying on force. While the contraphobic character seeks a power-authority that is based on ongoing blaming, here we are dealing with a power-to-do that is, in turn, based on ongoing threatening. While the tendency in EVI culminates in megalomania, resulting in the individual becoming a powerful giant, the culmination of the anxiety for power of EVIII is criminal abuse.

            In my book Ennea-type Structures, I described this character somewhat picturesquely by the expression “Coming on Strong,” which alludes to an overpowering expansiveness. The idea was inspired by a caricature of a girl who makes her boyfriend fall off his chair without realizing how.

            These are characters that ride roughshod over others and who are not aware most of the time that they are doing so. They simply learned very early on in life that to get things it was necessary to assert themselves and to get down to work. This excessively active character, which is such a far cry (in his or her exaggerated autonomy) from the pathology of dependent characters, is also pathological in so far as dependence is negated. Wilhelm Reich already described a “phallic-narcissistic” character. As this expression suggests, this is not only someone who is hard and lustful, but also someone with a characteristic exhibitionist tendency. However, the exhibition of power or superiority of this character differs profoundly from vanity, since it constitutes more a means at the service of practical triumph rather than practical triumph at the service of applause. No one is bothered as little by what others think of them.

            The defense mechanisms of EVIII are negation—a type of negation of pain—and psychological discomfort, which I have proposed to call simply “desensitization.” The following anecdote may explain this last term. On a trip to Mexico, at dawn Nasruddin comes across a man with a dagger stuck in his chest lying in a pool of blood under the weak light of a street lamp. Somewhat alarmed, he asks him if he is suffering a lot, and the tough guy replies: “Only when I laugh, buddy.”

            As far as what can be appreciated in Theophrastus’s Characters, this type must have been pretty common in the 3rd century B.C., since among the thirty characterizations in this collection, there are six descriptions that fit forms of the lustful type, many more than those that I can find matching other types of the Enneagram. He calls one of these the “bold cynic,” and defines him as a person capable of having the cheek to do or say shameful things:

            The cynic (shameless person) is a type of man who swears an oath lightly, has a bad reputation and insults the powerful. He has a vulgar character and is capable of anything. You can be sure he does not mind dancing the córdace, without being drunk and without wearing a mask in a procession.

            Theophrastus’s definition of cynicism (or shamelessness) falls short in comparison to his description, as he portrays a character that not only attributes little importance to the opinions of others, but also is not upset by any pursuit, no matter how loathsome it may be. He also tells us that “he let his elderly mother die of hunger,” which shows us his lack of human feelings and generalized hostility. He likewise affirms that the cynic (or shameless person) “is arrested for robbery and spends the best part of his life in prison rather than at home,” which reflects a clear indifference to public opinion and the welfare of others. In short, his disposition is antisocial. In this last portrait we find another important trait of the character: exhibitionism, also characteristic of EVIII.

            He could be one of those who gather around themselves and convoke a circle of people and then, with a powerful, cavernous voice, apostrophize and strike up a conversation with them15 ... He finds no better occasion to make a show of his cynicism (shamelessness) than when there is a public feast.

            Theophrastus tells us that the cynic (shameless person) “is a tavern keeper, acts as a pimp or is a tax collector” and that “he usually does the rounds of the taverns, the fishmongers’ and the salting shops, and he guards the profit he obtains from this tax collecting in his mouth.”

            All this reflects a trait that Theophrastus chooses as a name for another of his characters: “the rabble’s friend.” Once more, his definition here is not as complex as the attributes that he suggests literally: a liking for associating with people of low standing and subjects who are looked down on by the refined and those who accept the law.

            He tells us that “‘To be a friend of the rabble’ (a liking for wickedness) simply means an inclination for the perverse.” The character he mentions could just as well describe the cynic (shameless person), since the latter has a view of things that supposes a cynical (shameless) invalidation of the values of daily life. If honest folk speak, he maintains that honesty is unnatural and that all men are unequal, and he recriminates those who are honest. He affirms with total tranquility that the wicked man is one who has freed himself of prejudices.

            In the observation that Theophrastus makes about his defense of the oppressed, we can see something more than rebellion and cynicism (shamelessness). There is also an implicit vindictive spirit in his sense of justice and something of genuine empathy, as we shall have the opportunity to discover (in spite of the fact, from what we have seen previously, that he does not have the least empathy at all for his own mother).

            Theophrastus speaks of the lack of scruples as “indifference with respect to the reputation of interest in obtaining loathsome profit,” and affords us a general image of this type in which his indifference with respect to his reputation stands out, though now in the company of profit, which, in short, is to talk of greed. Close to this character in the portrait gallery, we find that of the “coarse” person:

            Coarseness is not difficult to define; it is annoying, disagreeable mockery ... The coarse person is the type of subject who, when he finds himself among respectable women, lifts up his clothes to exhibit his genitals ... He stops in front of the barber’s or the perfume shop and tells the customers that he is going to get drunk.

            Finally, we can encounter the stamp of Enneatype VIII in the “bad-mannered” type. “The bad-mannered person is one who, if asked the question: Who is this? replies: Don’t start bothering me! It is obvious that the person thus described is not only bad mannered, but also distrustful: “He tells those who show him signs of esteem and send him some kind of present that they are up to something.” He is also hostile. “He is incapable of forgiving someone who accidentally dirties his clothes, pushes him, or treads on his foot.”

            Among the Italian masks we find EVIII embodied in Brighella, a fairground charlatan whose advice is that lies should be like meatballs: big.

            Brighella has bright, malicious eyes under a leather mask, thick lips and a turned up mustache and is dressed in white. If my clothes are white, says Brighella, that means that I have carte blanche to do and undo as I please. And the green adornments? Ah, that’s something else altogether. The desires of my customers will always remain green: that is to say, unsatisfied. I may make promises, but another thing is keeping them. His name, Brighella Cavicchio, derives from briga, deception, trick, something not very clear, and also evokes the first two syllables of brigand. He is a character that comes down to us from the 14th century, from Upper Bergamo, reputed for its astute folk, while in Lower Bergamo are to be found simple, goodnatured types, more like Arlecchino or Pulcinella, who though they cause trouble, do so with good intentions, poor devils, to get themselves out of trouble. The case of Brighella is different. He deceives others for pleasure; he is great at cooking up ruses: he makes them big and decorated like a wedding cake. This is the way he shamelessly proclaims in the market place: I have talismans for everything, perfectly triangular stones, collected from faraway India, that safeguard from all dangers those who possess one, I also prepare magnetic dressings that cure rheumatism or liver sickness in twenty-four hours, I make lotions for the bald and magic filters for young women looking for a husband. Brighella laughs at the people at the fair, at those sitting in the market place, at the credulous servants and their elderly masters.”
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              ENNEATYPE I: ANGER

              The fact that the defense mechanism of the obsessive character is “reactive formation,” which through compensation transforms psychological contents into their opposites, means that the anger of the irate constitutes a less visible passion than the pride of the proud or the lust of the lustful. While the envious may not wish to see their envy, thus negating it, or those who are very afraid of being afraid ignore their fear, the negation of anger in the perfectionist character seems to be an especially accusatory case of unconsciousness, and makes the term “irate” particularly inept for suggesting the apparent personality of its bearer.

              The “irate” person is one who typically acts the part of the “good boy or girl” in life. In today’s world, he or she is often a pacifist. An “irate” mother probably will not like her son to have war toys or lead soldiers. The aggressive potential in her psyche is overcompensating for something much more apparent: the ethical mandate of non-aggression. And the perfectionist character is usually that of a moralist, and if not, that of a person whose enthusiasm for rules, norms, good intentions, and noble resolutions stand out. For no one else is the following refrain so appropriate: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

              I have sometimes described this character as that of “angry virtue,” an expression that reflects both the passionate- emotional aspect of the character and this type’s “fixation” or mistaken perspective on life: the idea that one is worth nothing nor is one worthy of love unless one is perfect. This leads this person, so characteristically devoted, and an advocate of good, to be excessively critical and not at all affectionate. To be able to love only what is perfect is truly a form of not being able to love.

              The self-image of a good person, however, is maintained by a continuous diet of good intentions and good works, and by the rationalization of perfectionist anger as a noble battle in the name of higher ideals.

              There are perfectionists who identify more with their idealized image than with their denigrated image and therefore feel superior due to their excellence, while at the same time undervaluing their fellow men. The expression Holier than Thou is fitting here: it refers to the tendency to exalt one’s own nobility and to see the plebeian or uncultivated aspect of others in an exaggerated manner. The English have been caricatured for their excessive inclination to feel that they are in the right and to perceive others as savages, particularly in the days of their empire and colonies. This variant corresponds to rigid characters that expect the whole world to adapt to them, to listen to them, and to imitate their noble example, in so far as they identify with their idealized self.

              Others, in comparison, criticize themselves more; they have greater contact with their denigrated self. What strikes one most of all about these EI people is their respect for the excellence of others, as well as their diminished tendency to set themselves up as an authority, in contrast with the rigid. These are people whose perfectionism never allows them to become satisfied; they never feel that they have done things well enough to be at peace with themselves. We can characterize them as worried individuals.

              When we move from the religious discourse to the observation of human life made by the writers who have specialized in character analysis, we can observe that the personality syndrome that we are dealing with here has been studied since Antiquity, though not in the sense that we nowadays call “psychodynamics.”

              Among his characters, Theophrastus describes one whom he calls “the oligarch,” and defines oligarchy as “the desire for control that aspires to power and riches.” The oligarch portrayed here goes beyond an aristocratic combination of presumptuousness, refinement, and unrecognized dominance. He tells us that he constantly uses certain phrases, expressions that allude to aristocratic feelings, disdain, and ceremony.

              We ought to get together, just ourselves, and make decisions concerning these matters, avoiding the crowd and the agora. Let us put an end to our participation in magistracy, and thus to the criticisms and honors of this rabble. This city must be governed by them or by us ... The oligarch never goes out before midday; his cloak is carefully draped, his beard neat and tidy and his fingernails properly cut. ... They dislike sitting in the assembly next to a subject who is dressed in rags.

              In the spectrum of Commedia Dell’Arte characters, EI is manifest in Pantalone—the authoritarian old nobleman that seems to have originated in the more ancient senex: the unpleasant critical old man already ridiculed since Roman comedy. The plots of stories involving Pantalone emphasize his repressive control over his astute servant Arlechino and most attractive maid Colombina. His appearance is shown in the dagger-bearing bearded figure in the illustration on page 90.

              Such pedantry and distraction from what is essential is reflected by the anecdote of the Frenchman who, just before dying, states: “Je meure”(“I die”). Or, “Je me meure” (“I die myself”)—which may be said in both forms.
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                Indolence or psychological laziness is also spiritual inertia, and EIX entails not only a not wanting to know, an “ostrich policy,” but also over-stability, a resistance to change. This is, in general, a person who is overadapted to the desires of others, overly complacent, and with scant initiative. His or her inner state resembles going around half asleep, half dead to life. This is a dispassionate, phlegmatic character, though the switching off of his or her personal desires frequently coincides with a jovial, gregarious disposition. In human relations, however, this is an overly self-sacrificing person, overly resigned, passive, conformist; generally a simple person, “without problems”—apart from his or her excessive intolerance of troubles and excessive difficulty when it comes to saying “no,” which often makes these people a target for exploitation.

                It would appear that there is less to say about EIX than the other characters in view of the great simplification of their psychological life. Their tendency to forget their own needs due to excessive complacence apparently coincides with the Christian ideal, and not bothering anyone does not have a clear place in the current diagnostic categories of aberrant personalities. One of the defense mechanisms that characterizes this type (which Freud called “altruistic self-postponement”) has even been considered less pathological than others in virtue of its social function. But the advantage of EIX (just like the disadvantage of Enneatypes IV and V, at the other pole of the Enneagram) is more apparent than real, since these people’s automatic, compulsive altruism does not make them ethically better than others. Actually, it might be said that destructiveness is less visible in this character. In his description of the “dim man,” Theophrastus calls our attention to a cognitive laziness that is characteristic of Enneatype IX, with intellectual, as well as spiritual, befuddlement: “Dimness might be defined as a slowness of the mind with respect to words and actions.” Some of the examples that he includes in his description refer to absent-mindedness; others reflect not only the lack of attention, but also the lack of intellectual interest. “If he goes to the theater, he falls asleep and when the play is over, everyone leaves and he remains alone in the theater.” This behavior of the “dim man” in particular may also be interpreted as a lack of cultural sophistication, which is the consequence of intellectual laziness and concreteness that leads to another character that Theophrastus calls “rusticity.”

                Though he defines “rusticity” as ignorance, lacking in manners, his portrait suggests something very close to a closed mentality. He emphasizes the narrowness of interests, an excess of concreteness, and the limiting of life in favor of functionality. He also alludes implicitly not just to a simple lack of refinement, but to despiritualization:

                He wears shoes that are bigger than his feet and speaks in a loud, booming voice. He distrusts friends and relatives and entrusts his most important secrets to his servants ... He neither stops nor makes inquiries in the street for any other reason; but, however, he stands and stares when he sees an ox, an ass, or a billy goat. Among the Italian masks, Enneatype IX is to be recognized in that of Gianduia. Carla Poesio explains in her book as follows:
                Nowadays there exists a kind of chocolate bar called gianduiotto in honor of Gianduia, an old mask from Piamonte, and they are called so after the Giandujott, the children of Gianduia. It is difficult to find a boy who is gayer, healthier, more pleased with his lot. Maybe because they are peasants. His mother Giacometta and his father Gianduia have given rise to a very large family. It is difficult to know how many Giandujott there are.

                He likes to visit the different inns of the city and his humor and gaiety entertains those present. He is not handsome but is pleasant. Plump and tanned, with a slightly naïve expression, it is always easy to make fun of him.

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                  ENNEATYPE III: VANITY

                  The current use of the word “vanity” corresponds to the image with which Catholic iconography represents pride or superbia: a woman looking at herself in the mirror. But the physical image is not the only possible focus of the desire to present a good image. The desire to shine in the social world or the desire for financial success certainly has more social repercussions. What is more, the desire to shine and to have more success entails the development of an ability, and goes hand in hand with an active, practical, expedient, and efficient disposition that is also characteristic of this style of personality.

                  Excessive vanity implies an excessive orientation according to outside values; what is socially valued becomes more important and the person becomes tremendously imitative, “mimetic.” Besides, conformity to exterior models implies the development of great control over oneself, which leads to superficiality. The North American sociologist David Riesman has described this phenomenon, which he calls other-directedness (extrinsic orientation). Curiously enough, this is a character that does not appear in the North American diagnostic manual DSM-III. This is understandable, since these are happy, extravert, and pleasant characters for those around them.

                  Erich Fromm, however, focuses on this character, as I have previously explained, with his concept of “marketing orientation.” Fromm’s thesis, according to which this is a character that has arisen in the modern world due to the influence of the market, does not seem acceptable to me. Clearly Theophrastus knew this type of vain person. Theophrastus included both the cases of those worried about shining and status as well as other, more specific cases whose preference is to keep their hair short and their teeth clean and white. Citing his text:

                  Vanity is the unhappy desire for distinction. The vain man is one who when invited to dinner wants to sit next to the host. He takes his son to have his hair cut in Delphos. He has a black slave who accompanies him on his walks. When he pays a silver mina, he makes sure he does so with new coins. He has a tame rook at home for which he has bought a ladder and has had a little bronze shield made, so that it can jump up the steps. If he sacrifices an ox, he nails the head to the door to his house, so that the whole world can see that he has sacrificed an ox. ... He gets his fellow members of the assembly of honor to announce to his fellow citizens the result of the sacrifice and he dresses for the occasion in a white tunic with a garland on his head. He climbs up to the tribune and proclaims: ‘Athenians, we the senators have made the due sacrifices in honor of the Mother of the Gods. The omens are favorable.’ And when he has made his proclamation, he goes home to announce to his wife the incredible success he has reaped. He has his hair cut frequently and takes care that his teeth are really white; he changes his clothes, even though they are in good condition and he is well perfumed. In the agora, he frequents the tables of the bankers; he frequents the gymnasiums in which the youth train; in the theater he sits near the people who hold important positions.

                  He buys nothing for his personal use, but rather for his foreign friends: olives for Byzantium, Spartan dogs for Cyzicus, and Hymmetian honey for Rhodes. This way, all the city is informed about his acts.

                  He possesses a small gymnasium with a court for ball games, and he goes around the city inviting sophists, fencing masters, and musicians to perform there; and he makes sure to arrive late at the exhibition so that people can say: He is the owner of the gymnasium.

                  The fundamental defect of the vain is falseness, inauthenticity, their confusion between the image they offer to the world and their actual reality. More than a falsification of facts, this falseness entails a particular viewpoint about themselves. In contrast to the proud, who exaggerate their merits, here we have confusion with respect to value criteria, which are external and excessively concrete. This is the kind of mind referred to by the Little Prince when he speaks of adults who like numbers a lot, who ask how old you are and how much you earn, though it would never occur to them to ask whether you collect butterflies.

                  A prominent defense mechanism in this character is negation, by means of which they affirm something that is not true in order to distract (themselves) from the awareness of what is. Their tendency to identify is also marked, particularly in the sense of modeling themselves in an imitative manner around extrinsic patterns.

                  Among the Italian masks, we find the character of Florindo. Carla Poesio says of him:

                  Is he intelligent or stupid, brave or vain, is he ignorant or wise, this gentleman dressed so elegantly, with a velvet tricorn decorated with small, costly feathers that is so well-positioned by the hand of an expert on his curly wig? It is not so easy to know, it depends on the occasion. Maybe it is not of interest to know. What can be said without doubt is that he is handsome and elegant, that he chooses well his words, his gestures, and how he is dressed. He seems made for the role of the lover. We shall ask no more.

                  His fingers are weighed down with rings, across his belly hangs a chain with many pendants and two watches. Yes, two; because this gentleman wants people to see that he always has the exact time, as he can control this with one more watch than the single one common to others.

                  Before the ladies he is most ceremonious. Notice what a masterpiece his way of inclining is—he places one hand over his heart while with the other he describes a wide semi-circle with his feathered tricorn. His eloquence is made up of complicated discourses, of well-chosen words, that surpass everyday language.

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                  Last edited by Animal; 06-07-2020, 05:30 PM.


                    ENNEATYPE VI: COWARDICE

                    Surely fear has been known in all ages. The description that I know that most approaches a technical description, as a result of the context within which it occurs, is the coward in Theophrastus’s characters. After defining cowardice as “a certain deficiency of spirit caused by fear,” Theophrastus describes the coward to us as the person who when he makes a voyage:

                    ... confuses the coastal cliffs with pirate ships and from the moment the sea gets rough asks the crew if they have experience in sailing ... He tells the person sitting next to him that he had a dream involving bad omens the previous night ... and finally begs to be disembarked. In the course of a military expedition, and when the infantry enters into combat ..., he says to his comrades that with all the haste he has forgotten his sword; he runs back to his tent and hides his sword under the pillow and lets a long time pass as if he were looking for it ... If he sees a friend being brought back wounded, he runs to him, encourages him and puts his friend’s arm over his own shoulder and helps carry him. He then attends him and cleans the blood from his wounds and, seated at his bedside, swats away the flies. In other words, he does everything apart from fighting against the enemy. When the trumpet sounds the call to arms, he protests, seated in the tent, saying: ‘Go take a walk, don’t you see you aren’t letting this poor man sleep due to the racket you are making.’ Covered in the blood of the other man, he leaves the tent to go in search of the soldiers who are returning from the battlefield and tells them he has saved one of their comrades, as if he had put his own life in danger. Though Theophrastus could not make the mistake of omitting the coward in his gallery of aberrant characters, Enneatype VI is related not only to cowardice, but also to superstition (a theme of another of his characters) as an element that is particularly associated with the openly fearful individual, in comparison with the aggressive and rigid variants of this enneatype. Theophrastus is aware of the connection between superstition and fear when he says: “Superstition might simply be cowardice with respect to the supernatural.”

                    Examples of the contraphobic form of the suspicious character are Captain Ahab in Moby Dick and Macbeth, who lives on guard against imaginary attacks due to his secret guilt. These are combative people who generally do not know that there is fear in their combativeness and their pugnacity, and who appear to others to be moved by extraordinary bravery.

                    Another form of distrustful character, which I have called the “Prussian character,” is typical of those who act according to hierarchical terms, with an implicit fear of not doing their duty or what a certain code, ideology, or faith requires. This kind of individual is usually called a true believer, a fanatic. While others doubt, they protect themselves against doubt like Quixotes, who attract the attention of the “Sanchos” in particular since, from the latters’ viewpoint, they are raving lunatics.

                    The fear of making mistakes, which in the timid manifests as excessive submission, evasion of the responsibility of deciding, hesitation and excessive caution, and which in the strong—contraphobic—manifests as aggressivity, here leads to an obsessive devotion to grandiose ideals.

                    The principal defect behind the emotional climate of suspicion is what could be called “self-demonization”: selfaccusation that implies a guilty view of oneself. The actual fear is implicitly a fear of transgression, of guilt, of punishment and condemnation that implies going beyond what is prescribed by a tacit authority in the inner world. It may be said that the merging of authority and accusation in this character constitutes a bad authority, an aggressive authority that is opposed to the good of the subject and points to a defense mechanism described by Anna Freud as “identification with the aggressor”; namely, to defend oneself from external aggression by incorporating it. So as not to be in dissonance with it, these individuals assume the judgment of the accuser in an act that results in complete self-squelching.

                    By way of complementing the dramatic descriptions from literature and psychopathology, here are some humorous vignettes. As an illustration of the hesitating, suspicious type, there is the story that says when you meet a Galician on the stairs, you never know if he is going up or down, and this type replies suspiciously to whoever questions: “And why do you wish to know that?” The caricature of the strong, suspicious (contraphobic) character is Popeye, with his invulnerability, his muscles, and pop-eyes (from which his name obviously proceeds).

                    Among the Italian masks, Captain Spavento is determined to show how handsome, powerful, fearful, and above all, how brave he is. In contrast with others, he does not wear a mask, but does have a ferocious expression, as well as a turned-up mustache that seems to “punch holes in the sky.” He says he is a great soldier, but in fact he is a braggart, who prefers telling imaginary tales of battles to actually fighting. He is known by different names: Iron Spitter, Big Bombardier, Fire Blood, Moor Slayer, Captain Crocodile.
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                    Captain Spavento
                    Illustration by Georio Sansoni © Edizioni Primavera, Florence

                    Whatever the ventures of this character, only he can narrate them, because no one has ever seen him fight against a true enemy. This is the way he threatens an adversary: “If I kick your butt, I’ll send you all the way to Turkey, if not burn your hair in the sphere of the Sun.”

                    He is often represented together with a servant, Fagiolo, who pretends to listen attentively to his sword thrusts. This servant remarks, for instance, that he hears him say: “Tremble, enemies, because your blood shall quench the thirst of my sword!”


                      FACING THE TRUTH

                      Sayed Omar Ah Shah—known as “the Agha”—affirms that we already know that some people are idiots and others are cowards or liars, but it is not necessary to go around saying so. I have no doubt, however, that it better serves the common good to do so. I have always felt enormous gratitude to the “masters of the stick,” without whom we perhaps might not take benefit from what we are offered by the masters of love.

                      One of the most outstanding gifts of Gurdjieff, abundantly known to those who were lucky enough to surround him, was his capacity to confront people with their hard truths. Perhaps the main similarity between the school of Gurdjieff and that of Ichazo (who called himself “master of the sword”) was a day-to-day war against the ego, and the theory of Protoanalysis within the context of his work fed a process of mutual, continuous “ego reduction.”

                      Recently, some people say that it is better not to think about the bad aspects of oneself and to concentrate on what is positive. More concretely, they say that too much emphasis has been placed in the presentation of the enneagram of characters on what is negative without paying equal attention to the “positive traits” of human types. Such an attitude can only come from individuals who do not understand the enormous transforming value of this knowledge, which, leaving aside the care that these people take with respect to their image and their self-importance, is used to examine oneself and not merely to increase one’s culture or congratulate oneself.

                      My book Ennea-type Structures, cited above, has been called a work tool. I would like this chapter, though brief, also to facilitate the self-knowledge of my readers. In the world of professional psychology, we commonly say that one cannot know oneself without outside help, and the tradition through which the Enneagram reaches us affirms that it is impossible to know one’s own fundamental trait. I hope that, faced with a mirror as elaborated as the collage of portraits and comments on the preceding pages, the reader will find this no longer as true.