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Discussion Starter #1
The Enneagram types have been popularized as personality types even though they evolved from ego types.

Personality types have to do with personality theory and comparisons to other typologies and people identifying with type to say "I'm this type."

Ego types have to do with ego fixation and finding freedom from that and people realizing "I'm stuck in this type" and realizing that's not really who they are.

Seems a lot of people on this forum are mostly aware of the personality type approach and not so much the ego type approach. The reason I say that is people seem so identified with their type to the point that they defend it or take it as a badge of honor or pride. I'm wondering if that's true and why if it is true.
 

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I think the issue is lack of information available to the public regarding the history of the enneagram and mainstream enneagram authors provide more personality type descriptions in general.

I don't know why people seem so identified with their type. People argue over their tritype and whether they're a wing this or a wing that. Some types are described more favorably and some less so I guess some people don't want to be associated with a less favorable type. There are a lot of negative and inaccurate descriptions for some types and when I read type 6 I do get annoyed.

If you view it as ego types the question is how do you move beyond your fixation. I don't think the enneagram currently provides adequate information to solve this.
 

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If you view it as ego types the question is how do you move beyond your fixation. I don't think the enneagram currently provides adequate information to solve this.
Well, that's what the Holy Idea is about.

Regarding that, maybe it's a matter of emphasis and appealing to the masses. I only remember one book addressing the Holy Ideas (by Almaas) but dozens and dozens talking about personality types.

I think people really love the badges they wear. I wonder exactly what they get out of saying "I am this type." Maybe that's the thread to start.
 

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Agreed. I think people are just following cultural trends. We live in an age of Identity and Identifying-with. "I identify as X and Y and Z." The concept of transcending ego does get some attention with the rise of meditation and so on, but it's easier and far more fun to just think about what you identify with rather than doing any serious inner work.
 

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Well, that's what the Holy Idea is about. I only remember one book addressing the Holy Ideas (by Almaas) but dozens and dozens talking about personality types.
I'm familiar with his work but I'm not a fan of his spiritual bent and still think it's inadequate in that it's presented in a way that's too abstract and vague. The enneagram is useful but for actual tangible and practical results I think you would have to go elsewhere.

Regarding that, maybe it's a matter of emphasis and appealing to the masses.
Yeah, it is a marketing contest. That is why MBTI is so popular compared to Socionics.

I think people really love the badges they wear. I wonder exactly what they get out of saying "I am this type." Maybe that's the thread to start.
Maybe for some it's the justification regarding their patterns and not really viewing it as something for self improvement and personal development.
 

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I think people really love the badges they wear. I wonder exactly what they get out of saying "I am this type." Maybe that's the thread to start.
That would be why it is called an "ego fixation." They are fixated on their ego...

Some Eastern spiritual traditions suggest that such is the nature of the ego--it convinces us of its importance, and that we would die without it. The fixation arises out of perceived necessity. Most people do not know how to function without an ego, so they embrace it, and believe it to be all of who they are.

Riso and Hudson speak of liberation at the highest level of development. While a healthy type acts like the type at its point of integration, more accurately, at the highest development, a person is no longer constrained by the necessity to identify as one particular type, and has access to all the other parts of himself/herself.

What does that look like? It's hard to say. Even enlightened people supposedly have a personality. Even a person that is liberated from their ego will still need the semblance of an ego to function in society. Liberation simply means that one is not beholden to it any longer, that the ego is the servant, rather than the master.

So, on some level, it can address both personality and ego fixation. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So, on some level, it can address both personality and ego fixation. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
I see your point on one level, but I think on another level people may be embracing and identifying with type so closely that it makes the dis-identification with ego fixation not possible. It is who they are from their perspective instead of a part of them they can access in a more non-attached manner.

Anyway, what I'm finding is that the concept of ego is difficult for people to get a good handle on and it needs to be explained in a more direct way, especially when contrasting it with personality. How does this quote from a book description sound?

Personality consists of our habitual patterns of interaction with the world and our patterns of behavior, emotion, and thought in that interaction. We describe our personality and the personality of others in terms of these patterns.

Ego is the sense of self at the center of personality. It’s the experience of this is me and that is not me where I create a self that is separate from the world and others. Ego consists of the underlying assumptions and mechanisms that define and maintain this separate sense of self for me.
 

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I see your point on one level, but I think on another level people may be embracing and identifying with type so closely that it makes the dis-identification with ego fixation not possible. It is who they are from their perspective instead of a part of them they can access in a more non-attached manner.

Anyway, what I'm finding is that the concept of ego is difficult for people to get a good handle on and it needs to be explained in a more direct way, especially when contrasting it with personality. How does this quote from a book description sound?
That isn't out of line with my observation of individuals in the midst of a psychotic episode. Even though they have no clear sense of self, they have a personality, the habitual patters of interaction. We knew the patters of their behavior, but they did not, and some of them were unable to integrate that information, even when we told them. It was an interesting struggle.

It brings up an interesting element of the consistency of typology, a conversation I've had with several people. If personality is a combination of habitual patters of interaction with the world, there isn't necessarily something consistent to bind them together. There is not necessarily a reason for a person to be one Enneagram type or another for any length of time. Except, of course, for the ego, the sense of self, that lies at the core of it. The desire to have a consistent identity, and the desire for the outside world to see us as having a consistent identity, is a way for ego to establish meaning across time, to create a narrative thread to bind us to the events around us.

I've also seen that in individuals experiencing psychosis. They have nothing on to which they can bind their experiences, and so they struggle to make meaning of those experiences, and often have an inconsistent sense of time. In fact, time seems to have no meaning to them.

So arguably, most people's identities are probably somewhat fluid. Most people don't keep such a close watch on themselves, ensuring that every single behavior matches their particular definition of themselves, whether it be Enneagram type, MBTI, or however they define themselves. Most people simply ignore or omit information that is incongruous with the reality they wish to uphold. In fact, the more rigidly one defines their personality, the more unhealthy they most likely are, because it requires them to deny or ignore large aspects of themselves and reality as a whole.

Also in my observation, it seems that rigidity of identity leads to greater struggles in dealing with trauma. It would seem that the negative effects of trauma usually center around being unable to integrate the experience into our sense of self. Here is another place where the ego-fixation becomes unhealthy. When a traumatic experience overwhelms our coping mechanisms, we need to have a more fluid sense of identity, to adapt and use different coping mechanisms to deal with the trauma. If the ego deals with the threat by doubling down on existing coping mechanisms, to protect its own existence, that often exacerbates the trauma, and makes things worse.

Basically, you're hitting on a really important topic, but one that is so profound that most people aren't willing to invest the intellectual and emotional energy into wrestling with it. There aren't really good answers, because it forces us to challenge our own perception of reality, and of ourselves, and the implications are incredibly far reaching. And that's why I think it is so important to pursue...
 

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I think "ego" personality type makes more sense.

What is "ego" is still an ongoing battle in modern psychology. The western interpretation of the Eastern "ego" is also questionable (from a semantic perspective.) I personally have ongoing issues with how this translates in Enneagram, as "ego" has popularly been seen as something negative from a Narajo-ian perspective (his ideas are very much a product of his time, taken from a historical perspective). Naranjo's views are actually very Western-centric, and his understanding of psychopathology should really be understood from the time in which he was writing.
 
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