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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What is the core or essence of your dominant Enneagram type? How do you experience the core or essence of your dominant type? Is there a specific aspect of a particular theory that resonates with you personally?

The purpose of this thread is to promote learning and understanding and hopefully further discussion.

Looking forward to reading the responses.
 

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For me essence or core are terms describing underlying unity of all enneagram types (and, consequently, all people). As we disintegrate, we move away from initial state of naturality and acquire more and more features of dominant type. Which, eventually, hinders our real possibilities and leads us even further down.
Personally, I (5w4 sx/sp) always tended to isolate from people, without even realizing it. It seemed almost natural to me that everybody does the same, unless he is a wordy moron or narcissist. So I learned, widened my horizons and developed sophisticated pseudo-philosophical theories of the world. The more I did, the further I moved away from the real truth, I always have been looking for.
During the study, I had classes in communication, where we had to give some kind of lectures on topics related with my major. I have always been criticized by the professor for excessive intellectualism, no relation to audience and lack of clarity. One day, however, I tried another approach. Instead of speaking to people's minds I decided to take a look on their behaviour. And when I noticed people around me as a real human beings (as strange as it might seem), and orientated "speech" towards them, I was able to communicate in much better way - as if I receded my head and went outside to them. At the end I was surprised how natural it all had been to me.
That's the essence.
 

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Type 3.
Results driven. Want to be a good role-model.
I think looking at how successful someone is in life is still a matter of how healthy they look, how happy they look, are they monetarily doing well? Do they look like they control their life and their destiny? Being the best version of yourself to inspire others to do the same.

Right now I am doing well. Hard work has started to pay off with solid monetary reward. My external world is less chaotic than it's been despite the chaos around the world. Still there is much to accomplish, my goal is to be the big dog in our group and make the most money. Not because I won't be happy if not, but because I just want to do better than the others - it comes from within.

I think the core is simply - improving myself to the best of my ability to achieving life goals and inspire others along the way.
 

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I basically refer to Naranjo to define the "core essence" of the types (Ichazo's stuff is useful and I refer to it too where appropriate but it's also obviously not quite the same system). Enneagram is a man-made personality taxonomy as far as I'm concerned: my "type" is my best-fit match to an archetype within the set, people don't objectively/naturally fall into 9 fully discrete types, we can just sort them that way as best as possible. I like interviews etc, about how people "experience being a type" as much as anyone, but in order for those to mean anything you have to be able to sort people into a type to begin with, and to sort people into boxes you have to have built the boxes. So definitions to set the boundaries of the categories have to precede categorization.

I go with Naranjo's definitions/descriptions because 1. Closer to the primary source than many others while still being recognizable/comparable to the Enneagram types as popularly used and 2. I just find the more psychologically in-depth approach to Enneagram more interesting and useful than the Riso-Hudson approach, which I consider comparatively superficial and which I think results in Enneagram losing some of the features that set it apart from other typology systems while making it a nice complement to them.

I don't mind other descriptions/authors/traditions but I think it's worth noting that all iterations of Enneagram are in fact subtly different systems. I rely on the one I think makes the most sense to use, in the way I use Enneagram.

Anyway, type 5: Fear of overwhelm/engulfment from outside due to some lack inside, which the ego responds to primarily with "avarice" and "isolation." (NB: the word "fear" is approximate here, "core fears" in Enneagram are really more like, the thing a type's ego is most invested in avoiding.) In practice that translates to withholding of the self and one's time and resources, intellectualization/over-observation (this is where the "knowledge" and "competency" stuff comes from though neither of those exactly hits the mark), detachment, compartmentalization, withdrawal.

To bring Ichazo's Enneagrams into the mix in ways I think correlate to Naranjo well, the fixation for 5s is Stinginess, which typically == fixating on collecting/hoarding information, space, time, and energy, and ironically often results in asceticism/minimalism of some sort because 5s are conscious of internal/personal resource usage and minimalism makes management more efficient.

5s develop the fix by being out of touch with a "holy idea", Omnisicience - the concept that simply by existing as part of the universe, you already have access to all the understanding you need to participate in the world as you're meant to.

The trap for 5s, the false remedy to the ego fixation (opposed to the holy idea), is Observation, or standing on the sidelines, separating one's self, to watch and thus gather information, without risking one's own resources, rather than participating in life (by acting/engaging, or even by feeling one's own emotions in the moment).

The more a 5 is able to reintegrate their holy idea, the more they manifest their holy virtue - usually called "Detachment" but moreso a form of Non-attachment in the way Taoists think of non-attachment - in place of Stinginess, which results in 5s detaching from others, the world in general, and sometimes even parts of themselves, in an attempt to fill that internal void - often with comprehension - and cling to the resources within their possession and maintain a form of control over the boundaries of their self. (Non-attachment allows for fluid participation in life, the type of detachment that comes with stinginess/the observer role often does not.)

It's sort of difficult for me to succinctly tell you how I experience being a 5 just because the issues that are central to the definition of the type really permeate my life. Sometimes I don't even realize how much I'm acting them out unless it's brought to my attention, I overestimate how "out of the fix" I am. I mean here I sit, alone, in the tiny pull-behind camper I live in because I like being able to dis-integrate from communities and living situations at will and because taking care of an entire apartment is not a good use of my time and it's easier to maintain a tighter watch on what I have if what I have is less, writing a near dissertation on a conceptual system I've amassed a lot of info on and developed a complex personal understanding of, possibly using the opportunity as a tool to help me pull away from some feels about some personal issues I've been having lately which I know must be there like I know the toilet is still behind the firmly shut bathroom door even though I really can't see it right now. The 5-pattern thread is the one that ties the whole tapestry together in my case.

ETA:

Quoting a poster above because I think this gets at something important about 5s:

So I learned, widened my horizons and developed sophisticated pseudo-philosophical theories of the world. The more I did, the further I moved away from the real truth, I always have been looking for.
At its height, 5ish attempts at not losing one's self to what's outside the self / isolation + intellectualization can result in 5s essentially detaching from reality. Complex, weird, fascinating and beautiful mental constructs that have nothing to do with truth and potentially have no practical use are a hallmark at the extreme end.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I basically refer to Naranjo to define the "core essence" of the types (Ichazo's stuff is useful and I refer to it too where appropriate but it's also obviously not quite the same system). Enneagram is a man-made personality taxonomy as far as I'm concerned: my "type" is my best-fit match to an archetype within the set, people don't objectively/naturally fall into 9 fully discrete types, we can just sort them that way as best as possible. I like interviews etc, about how people "experience being a type" as much as anyone, but in order for those to mean anything you have to be able to sort people into a type to begin with, and to sort people into boxes you have to have built the boxes. So definitions to set the boundaries of the categories have to precede categorization.

I go with Naranjo's definitions/descriptions because 1. Closer to the primary source than many others while still being recognizable/comparable to the Enneagram types as popularly used and 2. I just find the more psychologically in-depth approach to Enneagram more interesting and useful than the Riso-Hudson approach, which I consider comparatively superficial and which I think results in Enneagram losing some of the features that set it apart from other typology systems while making it a nice complement to them.

I don't mind other descriptions/authors/traditions but I think it's worth noting that all iterations of Enneagram are in fact subtly different systems. I rely on the one I think makes the most sense to use, in the way I use Enneagram.

Anyway, type 5: Fear of overwhelm/engulfment from outside due to some lack inside, which the ego responds to primarily with "avarice" and "isolation." (NB: the word "fear" is approximate here, "core fears" in Enneagram are really more like, the thing a type's ego is most invested in avoiding.) In practice that translates to withholding of the self and one's time and resources, intellectualization/over-observation (this is where the "knowledge" and "competency" stuff comes from though neither of those exactly hits the mark), detachment, compartmentalization, withdrawal.

To bring Ichazo's Enneagrams into the mix in ways I think correlate to Naranjo well, the fixation for 5s is Stinginess, which typically == fixating on collecting/hoarding information, space, time, and energy, and ironically often results in asceticism/minimalism of some sort because 5s are conscious of internal/personal resource usage and minimalism makes management more efficient.

5s develop the fix by being out of touch with a "holy idea", Omnisicience - the concept that simply by existing as part of the universe, you already have access to all the understanding you need to participate in the world as you're meant to.

The trap for 5s, the false remedy to the ego fixation (opposed to the holy idea), is Observation, or standing on the sidelines, separating one's self, to watch and thus gather information, without risking one's own resources, rather than participating in life (by acting/engaging, or even by feeling one's own emotions in the moment).

The more a 5 is able to reintegrate their holy idea, the more they manifest their holy virtue - usually called "Detachment" but moreso a form of Non-attachment in the way Taoists think of non-attachment - in place of Stinginess, which results in 5s detaching from others, the world in general, and sometimes even parts of themselves, in an attempt to fill that internal void - often with comprehension - and cling to the resources within their possession and maintain a form of control over the boundaries of their self. (Non-attachment allows for fluid participation in life, the type of detachment that comes with stinginess/the observer role often does not.)

ETA:

Quoting a poster above because I think this gets at something important about 5s:



At its height, 5ish attempts at not losing one's self to what's outside the self / isolation + intellectualization can result in 5s essentially detaching from reality. Complex, weird, fascinating and beautiful mental constructs that have nothing to do with truth and potentially have no practical use are a hallmark at the extreme end.
You're quoting from multiple authors. I'm not interested in a textbook definition of a specific theory within the Enneagram, I'm interested in your own perspective, lived experience, and internal set of definitions or framework.

It's sort of difficult for me to succinctly tell you how I experience being a 5 just because the issues that are central to the definition of the type really permeate my life. Sometimes I don't even realize how much I'm acting them out unless it's brought to my attention, I overestimate how "out of the fix" I am. I mean here I sit, alone, in the tiny pull-behind camper I live in because I like being able to dis-integrate from communities and living situations at will and because taking care of an entire apartment is not a good use of my time and it's easier to maintain a tighter watch on what I have if what I have is less, writing a near dissertation on a conceptual system I've amassed a lot of info on and developed a complex personal understanding of, possibly using the opportunity as a tool to help me pull away from some feels about some personal issues I've been having lately which I know must be there like I know the toilet is still behind the firmly shut bathroom door even though I really can't see it right now. The 5-pattern thread is the one that ties the whole tapestry together in my case.
This answers the OP. Thanks.

I think the core is simply - improving myself to the best of my ability to achieving life goals and inspire others along the way.
Thanks for pointing this out - 3s are incredibly motivational and inspirational and that's also one of the reasons why I've enjoyed them so much as friends, professors and coworkers - their demeanor is infectious and you can get a sense that as much as they want to succeed, they want you to succeed as well. It's quite unfortunate that the books portray them in such a negative light.
 

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You're quoting from multiple authors. I'm not interested in a textbook definition of a specific theory within the Enneagram, I'm interested in your own perspective, lived experience, and internal set of definitions or framework.
What you got is my own perspective on the core essence of my type, my own set of working definitions and framework. In order to make my personal experience "as a 5" relevant I have to be able to place myself within the theory by figuring out what the core/essence of the type even is (does "being a 4" or whatever mean anything if you decide you're a 4 apropos of nothing, without reference to what the system says makes a 4 a 4?). I gave you background info on how I do that, which definitions I use in what combination and why I prefer them/why I find they make sense, and yes, where the components came from. I don't have a purely internal out-of-thin-air set of definitions or framework for Enneagram that borrows 0% from external theorists... no one except maybe Gurdjieff actually does, the minute you call it "Enneagram" you're borrowing. But what I wrote wasn't pure direct quoting with no personal understanding or recombination. It's about as personal as anyone else's take on core essence. Giving you the names of which parts came from where doesn't make it any different from a POV without references really. Not in that regard anyway.

The rest is moreso how I see myself living it out/see it in myself. (How I experience the core or essence vs. what the core or essence actually is.) Maybe that's what you were looking for.
 

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I (9w8) want to keep my peace of mind and just do what I enjoy in life without being forced into anything that I don't want to do and would disrupt my inner harmony. Of course, in everyday life, there are a lot of things that are out of our control and that disrupt that sense of balance I try to keep in myself with much difficulty, so I try my best to act on what I can control, which means I am very resistant to whichever I feel as an intrusion in my life, and my resistance can be either passive or active depending on the situation
Resistance means also that I procrastinate a lot and I often need some push from other people or circumstances to get started on some tasks. For example, it takes me forever to go to the hospital to do medical tests just because I view it as time wasted since I'm not passing it doing something I enjoy and I'll just get done with them when I really really need to, or I'll just postpone doing an exam I didn't enjoy as much as possible and feel terrible when the time to finally do it comes (which doesn't mean I am anxious but rather that I'd prefer to disappear for a while instead of doing it). I know this makes me sound like the type of person that doesn't get anything done, but I can actually get a lot of stuff done, if only I'm passionate about it. I achieved many successes academically in my field of study, and even if I still felt the exams as a responsibility (which I avoid as much as possible but I think you've guessed this by now) it wasn't as terrible as it would have been if I didn't enjoy what I was studying and therefore I was able to just get it over with in a short amount of time. Luckily, I chose a study area that I really enjoy, therefore the exams that were really difficult for me to deal with were very few. In general, I achieve success easily in pretty much anything I enjoy, being it my current master's degree, the arts, physical exercice, cooking, cars, etc. I just want to enjoy what I'm doing because it's very important for me to try and maintain my balance
My resistance also comes in dealing with people. As I said before, I don't like being forced into anything that makes me uncomfortable, and my reaction can go from completely ignoring whoever is asking something of me when I can, to gentle refusal if I can't ignore, to a full-blown anger outburst if the person keeps insisting and doesn't take "no" for an answer. I don't like being so openly angry because it disrupts my balance for a while, but with some people it's the only way and I'll do what it takes to make them shut up when they're being overbearing. Usually it works because no one expects so much anger from someone who usually appears somewhat apathetic like me and they kinda end up freezing
 

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As a 4w5, I NEED to stay true to myself. If I don't I feel kinda sick inside, in a sense. That's what it is in a nutshell.
 

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I found this – describing the core of 4w5 as I live it – to be an exceedingly difficult task.

Maybe I just didn’t feel like seeing in my own words what I am really like.

Perhaps my way of life can best be described by a quote in a spirituality text: Seek and do not find.

I commit my life to reaching for my ideals, but my material results are lacking. I strive toward enviable knowledge, physical beauty in my self and in the space surrounding my self, peerless creativity, irreplaceable/passionate love, even saintliness.

Only superlatives will do. Everything must be just so. It is work. And yet, I see more and more that my effort is almost wholly relegated to my mental realm.

In the off chance that an ideal materializes, I then find that thing lacking and no longer worthy of its ideal designation. But, as he turns to leave, he's once more perfect and I reach out for him. I see how I exhaust him.

I am currently reading philosopher John MacMurray and was struck by this quote: All meaningful knowledge is for the sake of action. I don’t know if I believe that wholeheartedly, but as I get older, I do see the meaninglessness of life as I live it. I am starting to realize that it is important for me to act in the world, rather than just playing out my feelings in this beautifully tragic (or tragically beautiful) little world that I have made for my self.
 

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I found this – describing the core of 4w5 as I live it – to be an exceedingly difficult task.

Maybe I just didn’t feel like seeing in my own words what I am really like.

Perhaps my way of life can best be described by a quote in a spirituality text: Seek and do not find.

I commit my life to reaching for my ideals, but my material results are lacking. I strive toward enviable knowledge, physical beauty in my self and in the space surrounding my self, peerless creativity, irreplaceable/passionate love, even saintliness.

Only superlatives will do. Everything must be just so. It is work. And yet, I see more and more that my effort is almost wholly relegated to my mental realm.

In the off chance that an ideal materializes, I then find that thing lacking and no longer worthy of its ideal designation. But, as he turns to leave, he's once more perfect and I reach out for him. I see how I exhaust him.

I am currently reading philosopher John MacMurray and was struck by this quote: All meaningful knowledge is for the sake of action. I don’t know if I believe that wholeheartedly, but as I get older, I do see the meaninglessness of life as I live it. I am starting to realize that it is important for me to act in the world, rather than just playing out my feelings in this beautifully tragic (or tragically beautiful) little world that I have made for my self.
Idealism
Do you know your tritype? Maybe you are 417/471 like me :) it's triple withdrawn.
Because it sounds to me you are describing something beyond just type 4. I could be wrong.
check this out
 

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Idealism
Do you know your tritype? Maybe you are 417/471 like me :) it's triple withdrawn.
Because it sounds to me you are describing something beyond just type 4. I could be wrong.
check this out
I'm not really into tritype stuff, but I relate to 415. Researcher is apt, as almost my whole days are devoted to such.

More likely, what I give off is the instinctual influence. For the first year or so of my Enneagram studies, I remained type-less. Then, I read Beatrice Chestnut's take on self-preservation 4 and knew beyond doubt that I fit the type (sp/sx).

Thanks for the link. I will check it out :)

Some snippets from BC's The Complete Enneagram:

Envy is less apparent in the Self-Preservation Four because instead of dwelling in and expressing envy, this Four works hard to get what others have that he or she lacks. Instead of hanging out in their longing in a way that prevents them from taking action, they strive to get “those distant things” that give them the feeling of being able to obtain that which was lost. Whatever they get, however, never feels like enough …

Like the other Fours, Self-Preservation Fours feel a need to suffer in the unconscious hope that this will bring them love and acceptance; but unlike the other two, they suffer in silence. Their willingness to suffer without complaint is their way of seeking redemption and earning love. Thus, this Four makes a virtue of toughing out difficulties without talking about them, hoping that others will see this, admire them for it, and help them to meet their needs. Instead of displaying the need to suffer, they have a tendency to deny their envy and bear too much suffering and frustration as a result.

As Naranjo explains, the other two Four subtypes are too sensitive to frustration. They either suffer too much or they make you suffer too much (as a compensation for their suffering). The Self-Preservation subtype is the countertype Four because they go to the other extreme, developing a high capacity to internalize and bear frustration. They make a virtue of resistance to frustration.

These Fours have a passion for effort—they engage in intense activity, and may often appear strained and tense …

These Fours may also masochistically enact a need to prove themselves by working against themselves: they make efforts to get what they need and want, but unconsciously work against themselves at the same time … They wear themselves out seeking and striving in ways and places where they know they’ll fail, which ensures the perpetuation of a cycle of effort and devaluation …

This Four subtype resembles a One or a Three. Self-Preservation Fours’ focus on autonomy, self-sufficiency, and working hard may make them look like a One; however, this Four feels a wider range of emotions—more ups and downs—than Ones, even if they don’t always express their feelings. Self-Preservation Fours can also look like Threes, especially Self-Preservation Threes, in that they work hard to achieve a sense of security and may be anxious; however, in contrast to Threes, these Fours will often work at cross-purposes, unintentionally thwarting their own efforts, whereas Threes tend to achieve what they are working toward. Fours also feel their emotions more than Threes do.

Interestingly, this subtype can also look like a Type Seven, which in some ways is the opposite of Type Four, because some Self-Preservation Fours express a need to be light. With all the enduring and efforting these Fours do, they may at times display the high energy characteristic of Sevens, and they may also have a need for fun and playfulness as an escape from having to tough things out all the time. This may account for the fact that there are some Fours who do not seem as melancholy as others—Fours that appear more “sunny” and lighthearted. However, these Fours can be distinguished from Sevens in their greater access to their emotions.
 

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@Lovely Agony
I see, thanks for pasting the excerpt.
I just read this earlier, and the counterpassion for type 4 really makes me think of Sp 4, more than any other subtype.
 

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In my experience, life is always some kind of war, conflict, or struggle, and unless you want to live a life of misery, desperation, and hopelessness, you'd better ready yourself for battle, you'd better be cunning, you'd better be tenacious, and you'd better fight for all you're worth.

Those who beat their swords into plowshares... will plow for those who didn't.

Enneagram type 8, wing 7.
 
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