@Sleepyhal0hal0 I can't help but ask....I saw that you thanked the post where mimesis said everyone has no personal/intrinsic significance in the grand scheme of things. Do you agree with this?
This is a discussion on Prideful? Pretentious? within the Type 4 Forum - The Individualist forums, part of the Heart Triad - Types 2,3,4 category; @ Sleepyhal0hal0 I can't help but ask....I saw that you thanked the post where mimesis said everyone has no personal/intrinsic ...
@Sleepyhal0hal0 I can't help but ask....I saw that you thanked the post where mimesis said everyone has no personal/intrinsic significance in the grand scheme of things. Do you agree with this?
I also noticed you made a connection between 'insignificance' and being 'replaceable', and this is how it is linked to fear (trauma) of abandonment. Ultimately it results in whatever feels ordinary, bland or common to trigger a 'warning', or drive a need/desire to be significant, to be different in a meaningful way (rather than being 'better' or 'the best' per se, more like type 3).
When I said that I didn't mean to say you will be left out and abandoned. You made that connection, because you believe so.
(mind you, I believed that too, and it's an observation, not a judgement)
Last edited by mimesis; 10-20-2015 at 10:47 PM.
Shameless Nation not too long ago regarding the notion of, in essence, letting go. Now, I can't tell you what to do or what the correct path is. Truth be told, I jokingly call myself a nihilist, but I say that as a half truth (I'm fond of the jester archetype... reason through madness and madness with reason; in some ways, I think Shakespeare was on to something, but I digress). There is no "correct" path, IMO, except within the microcosm. So as a silly analogy, chess has a set of rules of how those pieces move along the board, but outside the game... outside that chessboard, those rules are utterly meaningless.
To get even more self-reflexive: What are your thoughts on this thread's direction? Is it bothersome to not have answers or certainty (partly why you mentioned me, yes? Because my motivations for thanking mimesis' post were perhaps unclear; I'm not criticizing btw; thanks for mentioning :)... I will admit @mimesis is a good friend and is one of the few people on this forum really, really challenges me to rethink well... how I think, so naturally, I tend to be curious about what he says)? In fact, I think the first conversation I had with mimesis, he kinda intimidated me by cutting down my argument, but I think he just loves to debate.
I see all kinds of debate on this forum and the most common feature I find is the drive for truth and moreover, the desire to affirm that truth. Why else would we be sharing, questioning, discussing and debating. The underlying core, I think, is the drive for certainty in that truth and a drive for some sort of meaning.
So yes, in the grand scheme of things, do I think life is meaningless? I believe so. The quintessential, existential (hehe, rhyming) Swedish picture The Seventh Seal contemplates Death (through iconic images such as the crusader knight playing a game of chess with Death). Ingmar Bergman was always questioning. His fascination lay with "God's Silence" but this can take many forms, and really speaks to not only my sense of uncertainty (i.e., about anything... will I find meaning in my life? Will I find purpose? Will I enjoy the afterlife? Is there even an afterlife?).
^Sidenote, but Bergman rarely was given credit for just how humorous his pictures were. Dark as his subject matter was, there are always those playful jabs at what is existentially referred to as The Void.
I used to obsess over death a lot, suicide ideate, etc., because I felt insignificant, unremarkable, destined to die a silent, meaningless death. I still do, but admittedly, I've developed a morbid sense of humor about it. Probably one of my favorite threads of mine...
But why? Why did I obsess and think about, not just death, but the notion of my image... my self-concept? Why was the meaning of my life so important? To me, it is the pressure of the superego, driving me to think in terms of "should." I should be special, remarkable, worthy of note, in essence. That might make a pretty spiffy epitaph, actually:
Worthy of Note [even if just a footnote]
^I want my epitaph (assuming I ever have one) to be that right mixture of snide sarcasm and gentle heartbreak.
Surrendering oneself to the grandeur of the world, how utterly insignificant we are. I am but a tiny speck in an infinite sea. I'll quote Shameless Nation b/c she put it very nicely:
I will actually say I find solace in meaninglessness or a sense of insignificance. There is so much pressure in this world of ours. So much pressure to not just be successful or good, but unique, wonderful, liked... It becomes a constant battle, a battle within my mind to pressure myself that way, and to what avail? My story will be forgotten, like so many others.
I have come to the conclusion in my nihilistic ways, that nothing matters, except, perhaps, for personal enjoyment. And, of course, this comes along with the baggage of the means of obtaining personal enjoyment or bliss. Which means that I myself have had to let go of my notion of meaninglessness. Thus, I embrace meaning through accepting meaningless.
I don't think about enneagram much anymore, because I tend to view it as a mental trap (that and I tend to get bored of things really quickly and move onto something new; I need stimulation). They are called enneagram fixations for a reason... we fixate upon them, gaze upon them as one would their reflection. To me, I found myself caught up in the same cycle and patterns of self-defeat. I still feel them, but personally, I don't feel the need to dwell upon them.
In other words: I think enneagram fixations are something akin to a "life strategy" that we take too seriously and overuse. Thus, the point of enneagram (and Jung for that matter) are to identify those times in our psyche where we think "I've got a hammer, therefore, everything is a nail.
Now, does this answer the OP's question? Probably not.
@Sleepyhal0hal0 I'm going to report spamming your threads
I think one of the problems with typology, or discussions is how people may attach themselves to type, as part of identification with self-concept, and integration with personal narrative (a narrative that may be confused with 'actual self' or 'real self', e.g. carrying the stereotype notions or beliefs that 'nobody suffers like me', or 'unloveable/broken', etc. whether implicit or subconscious or not, to the extent that a 4 (that is, the ego) may become so identified with suffering, that letting go of suffering may feel like 'losing oneself' or one's identity, and sort of cling to the same thing that is cause for self-rejection), and become part of fixation, and develop defense mechanisms to block anything out that is incongruent with this narrative, or with ideal self. Lack of humility may therefor be the cause for not truly 'knowing-thyself'.
Anyway, since we both like tangents (you may find many elements of what you wrote in these texts).
Tangent 1.1 Semiotics, the science of meaning/ significance
We seem as a species to be driven by a desire to make meanings: above all, we are surely Homo significans - meaning-makers. Distinctively, we make meanings through our creation and interpretation of 'signs'. Indeed, according to Peirce, 'we think only in signs' (Peirce 1931-58, 2.302). Signs take the form of words, images, sounds, odours, flavours, acts or objects, but such things have no intrinsic meaning and become signs only when we invest them with meaning. 'Nothing is a sign unless it is interpreted as a sign', declares Peirce (Peirce 1931-58, 2.172). Anything can be a sign as long as someone interprets it as 'signifying' something - referring to or standing for something other than itself. We interpret things as signs largely unconsciously by relating them to familiar systems of conventions. It is this meaningful use of signs which is at the heart of the concerns of semiotics.(...)
What Saussure refers to as the 'value' of a sign depends on its relations with other signs within the system - a sign has no 'absolute' value independent of this context (Saussure 1983, 80; Saussure 1974, 80). Saussure uses an analogy with the game of chess, noting that the value of each piece depends on its position on the chessboard (Saussure 1983, 88; Saussure 1974, 88). The sign is more than the sum of its parts. Whilst signification - what is signified - clearly depends on the relationship between the two parts of the sign, the value of a sign is determined by the relationships between the sign and other signs within the system as a whole.(...)
(...) Saussure emphasized in particular negative, oppositional differences between signs, and the key relationships in structuralist analysis are binary oppositions (such as nature/culture, life/death). Saussure argued that 'concepts... are defined not positively, in terms of their content, but negatively by contrast with other items in the same system. What characterizes each most exactly is being whatever the others are not'
Semiotics for Beginners: Signs
Tangent 1.2 The enlightened quality associated with Fours
The enlightened quality associated with Fours (sometimes called 'Romantics') is what in Buddhist terminology is called 'insight into emptiness '. In Buddhism, 'emptiness' is a technical term that does not have negative connotations. When it is said that things are fundamentally empty it means that they lack 'inherent independent existence'. The direct experiential appreciation of emptiness is called 'Vipassana' (literally, 'insight') and it is a primary goal of certain forms of 'sitting' practice in meditation. This insight involves a direct appreciation of the mind's capacity for pure awareness, that is - the capacity to experience consciousness without an object.
In Eastern thought, it is out of the holistic objectless form of consciousness that everyday dualistic, object-oriented, consciousness arises. Objectless awareness is the ground state (alaya). To become aware of this level of consciousness it is necessary to drop habitual frameworks and patterns of perception, if only momentarily.
To discover the reality of being is to discover that it is no thing. As no thing it is like a crystal mirror that reflects everything. The narrowness of perception hemmed in on every side by ideas, opinions, and bolstered by fear, rarely allows the experiential realization that it is out of this being that is no-thing that one creates the reality of experience. Intuition provides insight that sees through the filtering screen of thoughts, images, and feelings to the formless context of experience. (...) Sometimes this 'no-thing' is described as 'pure awareness', the 'clear light' experience, or 'intrinsic awareness' (...)
Fours appear to have a natural inclination toward experiences of formlessness and emptiness, and some understanding of intrinsic awareness. But enthrallment with objectless awareness can lead to the undesirable state described by some Zen practitioners as 'quiesence meditation' or 'the deep pit of liberation'. Zen Master Ta Hui implores his disciples, 'Don't cling to stillness'
Even worse is the degenerate form of interest in emptiness called 'nihilism'. This is the D-quality associated with Type Four. The nihilist despairs that reality is devoid of meaningfulness, a mere 'nothingness', in the negative sense of the term . Insofar as the Four is especially susceptible to nihilism, she is also prone to depression. Confusing an interest in the 'presence of an absence' (emptiness) with the 'absence of a presence', the Four might mistake positive feelings associated with a glimpse into emptiness as a feeling of desire or longing for a something that is missing . A fascination with emptiness, when projected outward, can result in romantic cravings for objects not presently available, accounting for the common caricature of the Four as a 'tragic romantic'.
Nine Qualities of the 'Enlightened' Being (Parts 1 through 3): the Enneagram, by John Fudjack
Tangent 1.3 Rene Girard: Intersubjectivity, Mimetic Desire, Rivalry (Envy)
1. MIMETIC DESIRE
Human beings naturally imitate the desires of other human beings. (Have you noticed that? Obvious, yes?) Human desire is, by and large, mediated desire. Girard calls this “mimetic desire” after the Greek word “mimesis.” Someone signals a desire for a particular thing, and now you discover that you want that thing. Most advertising works through this mechanism with demonstrated success. You and I are mimetic creatures.
2. TRIANGULAR DESIRE
Desire as analyzed thus has three participants: a desirer, an object of desire and a model/mediator — *not* just two, a desirer and object. So why does it usually seem as if desire is just between you and the object? Because mimetic desire operates on a pre-rational level. Neurological studies have shown that this reflexive imitation is present even in newborns. The phenomenon is “preconscious,” grasped only after a later act of reflection if at all. We are otherwise blind to the influence of our models in supplying us with desires and thus blind to the “second-hand” character of our desires. Girard calls this blindness to the role of mediators in the origin of desire (i.e. the belief that “I” am the originator of “my” desire) the “romantic” delusion. Mimetic desire seems obvious when self-consciously reflected upon, but such reflection is not at all common and is certainly not automatic.
3. ACQUISITIVE MIMESIS
Among the species of desire is acquisitive desire, which is similarly mimetic: an acquisitive gesture in one person begets a corresponding acquisitive desire in an another for the same object. (Defensive gestures similarly give rise to acquisitive desires in others, the well-known “forbidden fruit” phenomenon.) Acquisitive desires, subject to mimetic mirroring, will inevitably attach themselves to a single object within the same field of play and generate hostility and violence. In such cases, the model/mediator of desire first appears to his/her imitator as an obstacle/rival. (If the mimetic model doesn’t occupy the same “playing field” then there is no common object and thus no conflictual rivalry. Girard calls a model “distant” enough to avoid rivalry an external mediator, as opposed to the potentially rivalrous internal mediator.) The important thing to notice is that my mediator will first appear to the desirer as a rival, an obstacle, an opponent. Again, the mimetic phenomenon is preconscious, whereas the rival as rival stands all too noticeably in our way. Reaction against the rival’s potential (or actual) attempt to grab what I want *always* precedes the reflection that could uncover the truth source of my desire: that I only want it because she wants it. Put two kids together with a surplus of toys and their desire(s) will inevitably latch onto the same toy, beginning a tug-of-war and mutual cries that “I wanted it (or had it) first!”
4. SCANDAL (...)
5. METAPHYSICAL DESIRE
Since mutual interest in the object of desire is generated by human interaction, objects of rivalry can be manufactured out of thin air by mimetic conflict. Examples might include prestige, fame or success. (T.S. Eliot calls such things “shadow fruit”. They may also be called “vanities.”) I like to call these objects, born of mimetic entanglement, “metaphysical objects,” objects whose objectivity is located solely in the resistance provided by rivals. Metaphysical desire, Girard’s term, is the desire to possess the quality of “being” attributed to the possessor of the object in dispute. We attribute to the glamorous, e.g. the successful or famous, a quality of being that we lack, unaware that they also feel inadequately lacking in comparison to their models and so on.
What is Mimetic Theory? | shared ignorance
Tangent 1.4 Intersubjectivity and Mirror Neurons
Tangent 1.5 Kristeva: Void and Melancholy
Proceeding with a psychoanalytical approach, Kristeva certainly describes the absence that seems to be at the heart of depression: ‘Absent from other people’s meaning, alien, accident with respect to naïve happiness, I owe a supreme, metaphysical lucidity to my depression’. As Kristeva makes clear in this comment, there are advantages as well as disadvantages in being depressed. Although it provokes extreme suffering, depression can also offer a specific metaphysical view of the world. For Kristeva this view emerges from a confusion of self and other so that ‘we shall see the shadow cast on the fragile self, hardly dissociated from the other, precisely by the loss of that essential other’ (...) Object loss derives from Freud and Melanie Klein and it describes the oscillation between hate and love in the perception of a lost object of desire and the eventual incorporation of that object within oneself as a means of coping with such a confused state of mind. This often leads to self-loathing fro the shadow self that represents the lost object. Hatred that rails against a lost object becomes self-hatred.
Tangent 1.6 A journey from humiliation to humility
Now, to the extent that we get into this different perspective, we become less identified with our suffering. Being less identified with our suffering means less ego, and less ego means feeling less humiliated and being more humble. This is the way the practice works. But we have to see this, and see it again and again. I do not know of any short cuts. More humility means more freedom, more inner peace.
A Journey from Humiliation to Humility, by Corrado Pensa | Buddhism now
Last edited by mimesis; 10-21-2015 at 06:32 AM.
I know how it is to be controlled by that fear, on a subconscious level or 'preverbal understanding', I've known Envy and denial of all too well, as well as knowing life without fear of abandonment, or envy (or at least not in a way that eats my heart out like it used to, or feeling too big or too proud to admit to, or being pretentious enough to look down on in contempt to protect myself from narcissist injury). I also know how I got from the former state to the latter. Of course people can say (in fact usually do), "you are not me", which is true and I guess there are many ways to Rome, and I can only wish for anyone to succeed in their own way. Again, I'm not trying to sell anything. I do however recognize a lot of my findings and experience in writings of others, like Naranjo, Ichazo, Almaas, and many others, not necessarily enneagram or typology (like Jung) related.
I am still so controlled by that fear. And you described the "ordinary" as being a trigger or a "warning", which is exactly how I experience it. Some say that Fours are more likely to feel inherently alien than to truly want to be "unique", but I think it's both. A feeling or sense of deficit or difference that makes it difficult to feel secure in connection, thus the drive to turn this "inevitable" distinctness (separateness) into something significant. I can't compete with conventionally successful people in conventional ways - I am too lacking, too excessive, too mild, too extreme, too sensitive, too awkward, too reticent, too bold, whatever. In comparison to others, I'm too much or too little - unless I carve my own, separate, meaningful way of being and doing and relating.
But the underlying fear or sense that I am inadequate, replaceable, meaningless, rejected, eats away at me. Controls me. I see it more and more which, in a sense is a good thing. I'm more self-aware but I'm also more terrified. I see the problem but I can't figure out a solution. All it seems to come down to... is that no one is inherently significant, but other people seem to relate to the world in a way that matters. Meanwhile, beneath my symbolism and signifiers, beneath my strength and wit and creativity, I'm really actually weak and dull and without discipline. I'm always on the run from that. But it's like I have these very deep wounds, and I try to run quickly so that no one will see the blood... but the faster I run, the harder my heart beats and the heavier I bleed, making it harder to hide and harder to hide or ignore. I fear eventually I'll bleed so much I'll suddenly collapse, unconscious, and then people will take me for dead and bury me alive.
I hope you never had food poisoning. That is pretty nasty. It's like a hard reset, your body flushes everything out. Zero tolerance policy. Like you're dehydrating but you can't even tolerate water in your stomach. You could say this is our body intelligence of self-preservation, or self-healing. Our self-healing capacity is underestimated, but perhaps you've read this link I posted in another thread some time ago, on the placebo effect, the psychological component of healing. Arguably, feelings of inadequacy or lack of faith may seriously compromise the healing process, like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Placebos Are Getting More Effective. Drugmakers Are Desperate to Know Why. | WIRED
Let's say this food poisoning was probably caused by a shrimp salad. Possibly your Sp intelligence, on a more visceral level may already trigger a 'warning' next time you are served this delicacy. You can't help but feel nauseous by the mere notion of it or serious disgust the more approximate. On a more cognitive level, it is generalization, as if any shrimp would cause harm. Or sea food in general, or more specifically, the restaurant where you had it, even if they would serve your favorite dish.
I think enneagram 'neurosis' is comparable with this response, experienced and rooted in the earliest stages of the ego. That is at least my personal experiential insight. But I describe it in this post, referring to George Kelly's Personal Construct Theory
To be self-conscious is to be conscious of oneself, to grasp oneself, as being alive. (Despite all their struggles to keep from dying, other animals do not dread death, because they are not aware of themselves as alive.) Then death terror is not something the Ego has, it is what the Ego IS. This fits well with the Buddhist claim that the Ego-self is not a thing, not what I really am, but a mental construction. Anxiety is generated by identifying with this fiction for the simple reason that I do not know and cannot know what this thing that I supposedly am is. This is why the "shadow" of the sense-of-self will inevitable be a sense-of-lack.
DEATH OF THE EGO: A Buddhist View
This (the spoiler below) is what Almaas wrote about the healing process, which I happily admit sounds a bit mumbo jumbo and is metaphorical (and conceptual), but I can recognize how I experienced it in Vipassana meditation. If we compare it with food poisoning, it's like when you see a picture of a shrimp salad, when you focus on your abdomen, you may become aware of a resistance to this notion at a certain spot, a contraction in that area. (sometimes referred to as a 'knot', as part of a 'causal network of knots' of elaborated (and not so well elaborated traumatic) experience)
Now, imagine it's not shrimp salad, but something that causes envy, and leaves you with a feeling of emptiness on a visceral level (hard to stomach, eating your heart out). Facing my deepest fear was like going down into that rabbithole (void > the bottom of the enneagram), which to me felt like going into the coldest and most desolate and loneliest place, like falling apart. Which was a translation of that 'glitch' of fear, telling me to s.t.a.y. .t.h.e. .f.u.c.k. .a.w.a.y. .f.r.o.m. .t.h.e.r.e.! Perhaps I would have stayed away, if my life at the time wasn't in such a mess. I wasn't so much looking to heal as I was going back to the root cause of certain behavior, that overruled all reason. The healing capacity was already inside me, as described by Almaas, like I have faith it is inside you as well.
Experiencing Hurtful Wounds Allows Healing of Emptiness
At this point the person might go on to experience himself as empty space, devoid of fullness or quality. If he deals with the associations he has to this emptiness - such as those of dependency and need - and the fears produced by them - probably the fears of disintegration, disappearing and so on - then he will remember the old hurt that cut off the Essence. This is another big dark spot. The person will unearth the painful situation or situations that ultimately led to the loss of this particular aspect of Essence. Besides the memories and affects, the individual will experience the emotional hurt as a wound. It will feel physically like a wound in the chest, but it is a wound in the energy system that corresponds to the emotional hurt and the loss of essence. When one allows oneself quietly to experience the hurtful wound and the memories connected with it, the golden elixir will flow out of it, healing it, and filling the emptiness with the beautiful sweet fullness that will melt the heart, erase the mind, and bring about the contentment that the individual has been thirsting for.
Investigating Deficient Emptiness
The holes we discuss are not only forms of emptiness, but the emptiness feels specifically like a lack, accompanied with pain about something missing. When we investigate such deficient emptiness, what arises is normally not a longing towards something new, but pain, a wound of loss. Sometimes the emptiness will appear with a longing for what is missing, but when we investigate this longing emptiness it will also lead to the same wound. This wound, instead of reflecting a lack of new development, reveals, upon investigation, a childhood history of loss. Both the emptiness and the pain reveal one's personal history of how the particular aspect became disconnected from one's experience. It is usually when such childhood content is fully understood that the essential aspect emerges in consciousness.
Emptiness Reveals the Immateriality of Ego Structures
As you let go of the ego structure, you see that its nature is empty, since it is actually conceptual and not ultimately real. This is when you feel the emptiness; the sense of emptiness is really just the revelation of the structure's immateriality. As you stay with the emptiness, it reveals itself as spaciousness. Then the spaciousness brings out the fullness inherent in it, which is all the holding and lovingness and gentleness. It may seem that you have moved from one place to another, but that is not what happens. If you experience yourself as your real presence, you just see one thing dissolving into another in the middle of your presence. If you are identified with the structure, it will feel as if you are disintegrating, and then there is emptiness, and then presence arises. This impression is only because your attention is focused on a certain part of you, and so you are not experiencing your totality. You do not fall apart or disappear, although it feels that way if your ego is the part of you that you are identified with.
Emptiness - Glossary - A.H. Almaas
Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream
It is not dying, it is not dying
Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void
It is shining, it is shining
That you may see the meaning of within
It is being, it is being
That love is all, that love is everyone
It is knowing, it is knowing
That ignorance and hate may moum the dead
It is believing, it is believing
But listen to the color of your dream
It is not living, it is not living
Or play the game existance to the end
Of the beginning, of the beginning,
Of the beginning, of the beginning,
Of the beginning, of the beginning,
of the beginning...
Like Naranjo I can recommend vipassana meditation which is a technique and skill (by excercise and experience) of the mind and observe notions and feelings without being controlled and directed by egoic concerns, and in that sense practice in ego-detachment or 'bypass', and so increase awareness of unconscious processes or 'shadow' (kept away from 'ego awareness' by self-serving bias, defense mechanisms, core dispositions, etc.).
I can describe how I see it but I am keenly aware that these are things, even if true, you need to 'rediscover' or 're-invent' yourself, like it is your own discovery (which it is). But it's to get a picture. Even if it doesn't all 'click' now, it may some time in the future.
/end derail (scusi)
Last edited by mimesis; 10-29-2015 at 06:53 PM.
I think part of the problem also is that many times the online descriptions of the Enneagram types will accentuate the negatives about each type (aka the unhealthy levels) - and Type 4 I have always felt is definitely one of those. But it's not the only one by any means, for example a lot of websites make Type 8s out to be rage-filled barbarians who routinely and remorselessly trample over others feelings in their efforts to prove that they're better than everyone else.
But with all of that being said, I was wondering about this myself and I think others before me have summarized/debunked it well. The descriptions (at least those I've read) kind of imply that 4s in general can't meet people as equals because to do so would be to admit that they are not unique.