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With the rather recent implementations of Naranjo's "Character And Neurosis" to the Enneagram forum, there has been an increasing debate about the validity and accuracy of each of the different author's interpretation on the Enneagram.

For example: while Naranjo's work has been criticized for indulging way too much on the unhealthy tendencies of the human psyche, Riso and Hudson's work has been criticized for being a commercial and superficial interpretation of Enneagram, often mashing up "synonyms" for a profile description.

There are a lot of other prominent and contemporary Enneagram authors I can think of right now. Including; in no particular order (and I'm sorry if I left out anyone else):

-Palmer
-Baron and Wagele
-Keyes
-Maitri
-Rohr
-Hurley and Dobson

I feel like the debate is worthy of a thread.

And instead of just "debating", I think it'd be interesting for us to evaluate, criticize, praise each of the authors and specific parts of their work. Perhaps also analyzing and comparing their style to one another. All the strength-and-weaknesses stuff.


So let's begin with these questions:
1). Which author(s), in your opinion, has the most accurate interpretation of the Enneagram? Please give a detailed and descriptive answer on why you think it's accurate.

2). Which author(s), in your opinion, is the furthest "off"? Why and which part specifically?

Feel free to add excerpts of your chosen author's work as you see fit to back up your argument.

---

Have fun! :cool:
 

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Most authors seem to be very accurate about their own type and often hit or miss about other types. So instead of getting upset about having to figure out whether one author was more accurate than another, I just started reading certain authors (both books and websites) to understand certain types. Here's a brief list of how that worked out for me (forgive me if I get a typing wrong, it's been awhile since I read some authors).

Type 1 - Rohr
Type 2 - Maitri, Lapid-Bogda
Type 3 - Hurley
Type 4 - Riso, David Fauvre
Type 5 - Naranjo, Wagner, Wagele, Almaas, Hudson
Type 6 - Condon, Palmer, Daniels
Type 7 - Lynette Sheppard
Type 8 - Jaxon-Bear, O'Hanrahan, Webb, Katherine Chernick Fauvre, Sikora
Type 9 - Can't think of one

If someone wants to add to the list then please do. Just remember these are authors that revealed what type they identify with. It's not my typing of them.
 

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With the rather recent implementations of Naranjo's "Character And Neurosis" to the Enneagram forum, there has been an increasing debate about the validity and accuracy of each of the different author's interpretation on the Enneagram.
This is true and this is a great thread topic, @Kelvin.

For example: while Naranjo's work has been criticized for indulging way too much on the unhealthy tendencies of the human psyche, Riso and Hudson's work has been criticized for being a commercial and superficial interpretation of Enneagram, often mashing up "synonyms" for a profile description.
Ha, that pretty much covers the trend.

-Palmer
-Baron and Wagele
-Keyes
-Maitri
-Rohr
-Hurley and Dobson
I know you mentioned Naranjo and R&H already but you left him off this list ; )

I've never read Keyes, Rohr, or Hurley & Dobson to my knowledge. The ones I'm familiar with are Palmer, Maitri, R&H, and Naranjo. Has anyone else heard of these other authors and found them worth reading? If so I wanna read tooo =)

And instead of just "debating", I think it'd be interesting for us to evaluate, criticize, praise each of the authors and specific parts of their work. Perhaps also analyzing and comparing their style to one another. All the strength-and-weaknesses stuff.
I was actually working on a write-up about my reactions to Naranjo's "Character and Neurosis." I ranted about a few points on the 7 forum, though my rant pertained to the type 8 section, here:
http://personalitycafe.com/type-7-f...e-narcissistic-personality-2.html#post3653566
The content is here:
 

I had a hard time recognizing sadism in myself because of the colloquial definition which is that you enjoy other people's pain. Naranjo meant something deeper by it, more of a generalized vengeance on the world which has been cruel to you. It's an outlook, and Naranjo draws the distinction between impassioned heart-based hot-blooded "revenge" and the more selfish, cold "me vs world" outlook of type 8. I think he hit that one on the head.

I know I told you I'd do a write-up about this, and I will for real sometime. But for now I will rant a little..

My main gripe with Naranjo's 8 description is that he talks about all of the sociopathic-like tendencies, which I can't deny are accurate; but he fails to cover exactly what we are running from in ourselves; the "tender child underneath" so to speak. There's a major under-emphasis of what the 8 is denying in himself, such as the love-need which is, simply put, human. Unless you're a real sociopath with underdeveloped frontal lobes, the actions that you do that might be unlawful or "sociopathic" are coming from a more human place. And even a sociopath has a love-need; he is just entirely incapable of feeling remorse, whereas an average 8 is capable, but in denial of remorse. The sociopathic aspects of the behavior pathology are overemphasized without showing the underlying reason for this behavior and really portraying the inner vulnerability that we fear and that we build our defenses against. For a lot of the other types he delves more into the love-need that is being compensated for, while with 8s, he presents a picture of someone inhuman.

He also covers the glorification of autonomy and hard work, but then has a whole section on conning. That's a possible worst-case scenario, I suppose; but most 8s would be less likely to "con someone out of something" (that's more of a 7 dynamic, methinks) and more likely to work hard and earn it so they feel like they deserve it. An 8 would glorify his own hard work because of the passion for 'triumph over adversity' which is, in essence, lust, and what differentiates lust from gluttony. Lust is about the conquest and the chase as much as the carnal indulgence or the prize. So given that general mindset, 8s would have pride in their own hard work and feeling like "I worked my way up and overcame my hardships and disadvantages, so if I have the strength to take away what you have, then you're weak, and that's your problem, not mine." I think this is much more likely than "conning" as a method of acquisition - feeling it is justice and it's earned, and the "notch in your belt" is a triumph over adversity. Hence lust rather than gluttony. (I realize aspects of 7 will be present, just like the "lazy mind" of 9 can be present in the 8, but I think it should be distinguished as an element of 8 that is not purely of the 8 pathology.) To be blunt about it, the 'lusty' type of personality will do things that turn them on. So if triumph over adversity turns you on, and your strength allows you to win something over in a very straight-forward fashion, why sneak around the back door and engage in conning? It's not as satisfying as earning something and triumphing, and if I'm a lust-based character and something doesn't tickle my pickle I'm not going to do it. If Naranjo brings up 'conning' because he's trying to demonstrate the lack of guilt & shame, there are much better ways to demonstrate that. I think he'd do better to say "Willingness to con/ conquer/ etc. without remorse" rather than making "conning" into it's own section about the passions of type 8.

Anyway I will write this up for real sometime. I took a lot of notes.. =,)


I also wrote a post about the effects of reading Maitri, here:
http://personalitycafe.com/type-8-f...m-challenger/131621-8s-3-fix.html#post3652615

The relevant content is here:
 


Here is an interesting quote from Maitri (though this is part of a very long passage about how 8s grow through achieving innocence):
As we increasingly are able to experience this raw and uncivilized part of ourselves fully in the moment, we progressively feel its shape becoming less solid. We see that structure, even this most rudimentary formation of the soul, is a fixedness; and that our inherent innocence is the absence of any shape whatsoever informing our soul. As the structure of the animal soul relaxes, the primeval quality of the pure life force that is inseparable from our soul is revealed. We see that this energy only animates the body but is not of the body- that the nature of our soul does not emanate from our physical form. As we experience this, we see that this life energy is, as the yogis say, cosmic - the life energy of all that is.
First of all, I must explain: I'm not a religious person, nor am I concerned with the particularities of the "afterlife." My view tends to be in line with this Marcus Aurelius quote:
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”


So when I type this, I'm not coming from the perspective of a person who is particularly "spiritually oriented" in the sense of being concerned with something "greater" than our own life. It is sort of irrelevant to me, even though like most people, I have mused over what happens after you die and so forth.

But when I first read this passage in Maitri, I was talking to my 5 friend and I was confused by it. I asked him: how can you separate your LIFE FORCE from your body - it makes no sense! He tried to explain that he lives his whole life this way. A few nights later, I had a nightmare about being lost, with no body whatsoever, in a kind of 'force'.... I had no form and no shape... it was possibly one of the scariest nightmares I ever had. In this nightmare I saw that he was moving freely around this force, and he was also shapeless and without a body; but he was able to navigate it whereas I was not. Then, his 'essence' disappeared and I was there, realizing how helpless I was. It was very strange o.0

To give you an idea of his state of mind, he texted me this:
"Do you ever get a sense that existence exists, with or without human ideas and feeling states and systems?
I wrote: I guess sometimes when in nature, but I'm not sure. Do you?
He wrote: All the time. The seeking and gyrations of humans are just another element of the existent.

Anyway.. it's this sort of reason why from *his* perspective, I over-identify with the body. It isn't really about being too vain or too concerned with my weight or clothes, though he does find it funny (if not inspiring) that I eat healthy and that I like to exercise daily and if I don't, I have way too much energy. He has just as much energy but he is able to expend it mentally.


I was going to do a detailed write-up of my thoughts about Naranjo's coverage of the types, and Maitri's coverage of type 8 by contrast, which I will do soon, but I can probably give my generalized opinion here. If I were to write all my thoughts this post would be 9 billion pages long =p

So let's begin with these questions:
1). Which author(s), in your opinion, has the most accurate interpretation of the Enneagram? Please give a detailed and descriptive answer on why you think it's accurate.
I don't know if I could say one is more accurate than the next. I can comment on my own reactions and experiences though, as I have done above.

When I first encountered enneagram I read two R&H books and one Palmer book. I was in a very bad way, and mistyped at 5, though I also heavily considered 4. I could clearly, clearly see my connection to 8, which is why I picked 5, because of the integration line. However, I was so unhealthy that in my own head I felt like a 5 with a dry, arid emotional landscape and distanced & detached from everything. Forget the fact that on the outside I was behaving like an unhealthy 8, indulging in excesses and "conquering" men, cutting people off left and right, using people, doing unlawful things, having no remorse and chasing adversity over which I could triumph.

If I am going to be completely honest, I probably would have mistyped no matter what book I read. If I read Naranjo I might have mistyped at 4 instead because at the time I was at least conscious of the fact that deep down I felt vulnerable and weak and I had to protect myself, even if I also felt arid & disconnected. But I'm not sure. I think R&H and Palmer gave me a decent enough picture of what each type is about that I was clearly able to see which types contained traits similar to my own traits: 4, 5, 8, and some 3 & 7. However, I did not understand the underlying basis of each type or what really caused it. This might be a product of my own unhealth at the time, or it might be just that the books didn't "get beneath" enneagram in a way that made sense to me, being a more intuitive thinker, more reliant on grand themes and larger views than lists of traits and specifics.

All of that being said, the meaning of enneagram really CLICKED when I read Naranjo. I finally found myself able to properly type the people close to me, like my close friends and family; though I have not committed to any typing of anybody without their input & consent (except two people who I don't talk to anymore, but still I try not to get too attached to those ideas without their input). Nevertheless this book is what really made it click and which helped me the most with my own fiction writing & 'getting underneath' my characters. Unfortunately it got me so into enneagram again that I found myself back on the forum and paying less attention to my writing, which will need to change soon. ; )

Naranjo really clicked with me because of the depth. I am totally aware that he's describing the worst potentials, and I don't even agree with all of his specifics, but I enjoy the fact that he deals with what each person is at their most base, rather than just listing their traits. I made a comment about this on the 5 forum, to be more specific about what I mean, and I think this is the sort of thoughts I couldn't put into words or really communicate until I had Naranjo's vocabulary and way of thinking as a link to enneagram, even if I'm disagreeing with some of his specifics and continuing to have my own ideas.

Here is a post where I explain why this was beneficial to me:
http://personalitycafe.com/type-5-f...-overemphasized-descriptions.html#post3664671

Content:
 

Naranjo describes the most base underlying potentials of each enneatype. If that is the potential that underlies you, then it is likely to lead to certain behaviors.

Let me use another example. I'm an 8, but I don't fit the macho, pugnacious stereotype. I don't go around punching people and wrecking property and seeking fights. But if you look underneath me, and look at my whole life in a bigger picture, I was like this as a kid, always fighting with my father to try to get control and being sadistic to my brother because I resented the attention that he got from my mom and I felt rejected. I had two psychiatrists for parents so they had me in therapy young to deal with my anger and blaming and fighting. I learned methods by the time I was 10 years old to manage my rage, at least externally. I learned that fighting with my father actually gave me LESS power and control, whereas staying cool gave me MORE power and control. So instead of fighting and kicking I learned how to 'shut off' in order to 'win' and I stuck with it. I could not change the fact of my sadism but I could change how I expressed it. Instead of blaming and fighting, I purged a lot of my emotions into my artwork - singing, writing songs, writing books. This was a place for me to express my more tender emotions and recognize them: my fear of rejection, my resentment towards the world for excluding me, my anger at my father for controlling me, my possessiveness over others so that I can gain control and be less vulnerable to rejection. So, as an adult you see me as this really sweet, upbeat artist who is so expressive and seems trusting (seems, being the key word here). You don't see a pugnacious macho jerk who holds everything inside. However if you look underneath or you date me, you would quickly encounter my possessive streak, the rage that often boils, my dog eat dog, eye for an eye outlook, and even the way that I respond to feelings of rejection with sadism. But still, you'll never see me punch anyone.

You have to look deeper than something like "collecting knowledge" and ask, WHY is this person collecting knowledge? I collect knowledge also, but in the case of a 5, this behavior is giving them a feeling of control, and their central dynamic is based around avarice, holding back of the self from others, and detaching emotionally from anything the 5 doesn't consider "himself" - other people, his body in some cases, his own emotions, his family, his property. A 5 might have developed in different specific manner, but the underlying patterns and reasoning will still be there if you know him well and you look deeply enough. Naranjo is touching on what we break down to, what underlies our actions and reactions, where we go when we're under stress because it's the automatic knee-jerk defense that we have relied upon all our lives. In the case of a 5 , that's avarice and detachment. Sure, you could have a 5 who detaches even from knowledge itself; so in that sort of case, the 5 might not "collect knowledge," just as, in my case, I don't go around punching people. But that 5 is still resorting to avarice and detachment, even from knowledge itself, and I'm still resorting to avoiding being controlled by anyone because in my eyes, punching people gives me less control in many cases, and gives the other person more power. I intimidate people in other ways, and show them who is boss, so I would imagine that not every 5 resorts to the exact same methods that are listed in the book, but it's just a likely manifestation. If you're detached from your emotions and your own body then the only thing that counts is your mind. How do you detach from these things? ... by controlling your own reactions, controlling your own mind. So it would be impossible to find a 5 who has not attempted to gain control over his own mind as a central dynamic, in order to aid his detachment. Whether he trusts outside knowledge or not would depend on the 5.


2). Which author(s), in your opinion, is the furthest "off"? Why and which part specifically?
I'm not sure if anything I've read was OFF. It's just that certain types of explanations click with me and others don't as much. I also grew up with two psychiatrists for parents, so I've read the DSM's that he is referring to. That might also give him an edge for me personally, though I won't be silly and claim this should be the case for everyone else.

This post was highly personalized and sort of organized my opinions about Naranjo but I will try to make a more general post a little later, about my overall thoughts on all the authors.
 
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