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Sp/Sx and Power

By | Sarah | No Comments

I saw this on the enneagram section of a socionics forum:

“Imagine a garden-like place where semi-eroticised psycho-emotional nudity is exchanged … two people in an intimate space, sharing the same apple, transferring saliva and experiencing the cool inside of the fruit together, simultaneously. [This is sexual-second-ness.] …At the same time, in the jungle of neurotic overemphasis, the boundary between you and other ‘animals’ is the imperative need, always on alert. The combined stew of these elements creates a certain style of vigilance and agitation.

The sexual energy, because of its underbelly of polar reactivity, smolders and some portion of it eventually sours in the tightly-sealed container (it’s not given free flow); the bacteria creates a second burgeoning culture that presses at the seams, swelling with a fever. And because social is last, there’s an unintelligence about how it looks from the outside, so ‘the problem’, in contrast to sp/so irritiability, takes on more offbeat forms, which tends to ‘lose people’….without the loss fully registering.”

“Power dynamics is another sp/sx theme, no matter the e-type, and since sex has much to do with power, sexuality is one place where the sp-wall can manifest its ascendancy by blocking various kinds of outside emotional and sexual ‘penetration’. In this case, the sexual awareness brought forth from being sx-second actually leads to avoidance of sx…on one level at least. This latter idea starts to get at the solipsism that’s been associated with sp/sx.”

Source: http://www.the16types.info/…/40499-Instinct-Stackings-Scrap…

I’m assuming these notes were originally made on the now defunct Enneagram Institute board, and I’m going to comment on this specific excerpt. Sex and power have always bee inextricably linked as often there’s a tension between keeping one’s boundaries intact and vulnerably surrendering yourself to the other. In the sp/sx, the sexual (sx) and self-preservation (sp) instincts are in conflict. Sx wants to transmute but the sp wants to keep the self intact. In some notes on sp/sx, I’ve read that sexual instinct of the sp/sx can lead to fetishistic territory. Whether the fetishism is done with an object or it’s towards a person, it creates a barrier between the subject (you) and the object (the fetishistic object). There’s no threat of the subject losing one’s boundaries and power in relation to the object but rather one is acting upon the object, transgressing its boundaries, and infusing one’s sexual imprint onto the object. You’re in control of its image and relation to the object itself. Paradoxically, fetishism denies sexual difference hence why you get feet fetish, fetishizing of pieces of clothing, etc. But the fetishism presented here is not necessarily identifying with and engaging in some socio-sexual silo as we colloquially know it but instead a desire that has the ability and power to connect with, disconnect with, and modify other forms. People with this stacking don’t mind transgressing other people’s boundaries but are more hesitant of others transgressing their own, though they may play with and tease with the idea of having their boundaries crossed. It should also be mentioned that the association with death and sex with sp/sx is deeply interwoven in here. Sp/sx plays with the idea of the obliteration of the self because it DEEPLY fears it but is also is attracted to it. There is a sort of gritty dauntlessness to this stacking where the forces of life and death are front center in high relief.

The Neptunian Energy of the 593 Tritype

By | Sarah | No Comments

If there’s one word I can describe the 593 tritype (in any configuration and from here on, I’ll use 593 as a catch all for the tritype in general) it’s Neptunian. In astrology, Neptune, the ruler of Pisces, is associated with mysticism, spirituality, the occult, collective unconscious, illusions, delusions, fame, glamour, deception, and propaganda. If we are to look at Neptune, we must look at where it is placed in the solar system. The planet is between Uranus and Pluto and the sign that’s ruled by Neptune, Pisces, marks the end point of the astrological cycle, a return to the primordial soup. Uranus, who rules Aquarius, is the planet associated with our collective conscious: our culture, group affiliation, progress, discovery, zeitgeist, and revolutions. As we transition from Uranus to Neptune our collective conscious percolates down to the unconscious where symbols and archetypes formulate and influence how we operate. Our individual boundaries dissipate as we get subsumed by the collective unconscious. As we transition from Neptune to Pluto, the ruler of Scorpio and the planet associated with transformation, death, rebirth, and power, we can see the powerful and transformative power of the collective unconscious once we are willing to take the risk in cleansing ourselves of our ego attachments and delusions.The collective elements of humanity get embedded in our being in ways we can’t consciously process. Being that 5 is the solitary investigator, particularly of more esoteric yet universal systems (this is especially true of the 5w4), and 3 and 9 are attachment types where core, universal human fixations are crystallized, you get a person who’s simultaneously apart from humanity yet is deep within the collective unconscious of humanity (or has the potential to be), hence why this tritype is named “Collecting Unconscious” by Robin Goldsmith.

The other side of the archetypal and spiritual side of Neptune is fame and propaganda, and within those subsets Neptune is associated with glamour, cosmetics, and illusions. One must wonder, how do these two seemingly diametrically opposing sides coexist within one body? Well, what underlies both polarities is the subsuming of the individual ego to a higher power (religion and spirituality) or to the collective (fame). Basically ego dissolution. In regards to fame, the celebrity’s identity is the property of his or hers agent, PR team, and the public. The celebrity has given up privacy for the sake of fame and their craft. With that the public reflexively project their desires and feelings onto these celebrities thus they become a mirror for our culture at large.

Paradoxically, though celebrities have given up a great deal of their privacy and identity to the collective, the public doesn’t necessarily “know” them, at least not their most private fears, secrets, and desires (though those do surface if they’re sensational enough) even though the public might speculate on these things. The 593 is particularly stealthy when it comes to image manipulation especially when 3 is in the lead. A lot of people may have an idea of who the 593 is but in reality the face they show is only a facet of what’s revealed. I don’t think the 593 him-/herself fully understand the depth and multiplicity of the masks they don. The 5’s “information is currency” in conjunction with the 3’s image consciousness creates an awareness of how information can influence how others perceive you. Then when you add the 9ish amorphousness and intuitive feel for how they and other people occupy space, you get someone who can successfully be a chameleon in any situation they’re situated in. They have the ability to detach themselves from their environment while also intuitively knowing what to anticipate from it. Though it could inadvertently create a feeling of amorphousness towards one’s own identity.

The Different Versions of You

By | Sarah | No Comments

This seems common sense to me, though maybe it’s an obvious truth that I took for granted or perhaps actually wasn’t fully aware of its implications until later in my life. And what’s most interesting about this axiom are the implications it holds.

This train of thought entails that the self is a multiplicity with one layer being the “true self” and the projections that others have of us as different aspects or angles of the self. The true self is defined as thoughts and feelings that are automatically and naturally identifiable with “who we are” (tautology much?). What separates the true core self from the projections is that not only does the core feel entirely ours and ours alone, it also doesn’t require additional layering, ordering, and explanation like projections do. The core self posits itself as an a priori truth even though in reality the self is a dynamic entity contingent upon interfacing with the world. Put it simply, the self is constructed through the interactions with others and it’s not just a private affair. This makes the core self and projections not so cleanly delineated and defined. If we think of the self in a more dialectical manner than as one having an isolated core self and then having projecting branches, the “the you that really isn’t someone” makes sense in a way. The more that I delve into enneagram the more that I glaringly notice how blind we are to our ownselves. Even people with a clear self-perception and good self-awareness will have blindspots. Part of it being that we can’t accurately view ourselves panoramically in all contexts in an entirely detached manner. The other part is that we deceive ourselves, often times unconsciously, in order to assuage our egos from the existential assaults that life presents us with.

Image is a powerful thing, one that operates and is metabolized on both conscious and subliminal levels and fully and truly realizing this is both liberating and terrifying for me. Throughout my life I’ve always been image conscious, and the older I get the better I am at presenting and refining a certain image I want to portray but at the same time the more aware I am in recognizing the cracks and gaps between the core self, intention, and presentation, and the ways in which that misalignment haunts me. Compared to other people, my sense of self is a bit more amorphous and in flux. But at the same time, it makes it easier to manipulate other people’s projections, as all they really are their projections of their desires and biases towards you, in the way that I see fit. So much that I can better map out and cannibalize their psyches in ways they could never imagine. So why am I (semi-)revealing my tricks of the trade? There is a desire to be found out, as odd as that sounds. I respect and admire those who can pick up my subtle cues and serve it back to me in however way. It shows their ability to see beyond appearances and that is a scary yet beautiful thing to be confronted with as a lot of people I’ve encountered can’t see past their nose. It’s downright sublime to encounter someone with that sort of clarity, to be stripped of the pretenses I’ve propagated.

Image Header Source: https://www.mariakonnikova.com/2012/03/wearing-masks/


Sx vs. Soc

By | Erica Xenne | No Comments

Common Misconception: Sx = Intimacy. 

Here, I posted an exchange I had today on a forum, addressing this.

Interesting. I’m a bit confused, though, especially about the last paragraph. What’s the difference between So and Sx again? There was a site that said that So is “personal connection” and Sx is “intimacy.” Sounds like the same thing to me. When you say that he enjoys merging with the fascinating qualities about you, that sounds like ‘connecting’ to me. Connecting and merging sounds like the same thing to me. So, if you wouldn’t mind, what’s the difference between So and Sx?

Anyway, you make some interesting points, and maybe this could explain why so many people type themselves as Sx (because they’re perhaps under the impression that Sx is one-on-one relationship, depth, romance, etc. and that So is group interactions and communities and so on). I guess I tend to be under this impression myself as well.

Thanks for the interest and the thoughtful question.

Social is, at root: bonding, warmth, interpersonal intimacy, relationships, love between two people, friendship, having each other’s back. It is also the human need that lies behind the sentiment of loneliness. (Any instinct type can feel lonely.)

If you think about it, not all your close relationships are sexual. You might have a one-on-one intense bond with your brother or sister, or one of your parents, or perhaps your teacher or boss who is elderly when you’re a child; but none of these bonds (under typical healthy conditions) would be sexual. You can bond deeply with your sister without there having to be ‘sexual charge.’ So what would you call your intense, trusting, loving relationship bond with your sister? That would be social. And this extends to your friends.

Sexual is, at root: heat, allure, transformation, sexual intimacy eros. There’s a sense that you want to penetrate and be penetrated by the other person entirely, as though being absorbed into their being; tearing down all walls. (This is often mistaken for intimacy, but it isn’t necessarily, unless the Social instinct is also at play.) It is also the human need that lies behind obsession, limerence. (Any instinct type can experience this.) There’s an addictive quality to it, whether or not you’re actually intimate with the person.. you want them to want you.

In French, orgasm is called “la petite mort” – the little death. This is because when making love, you’re naked, exposed, without walls. You spill your life seed into, or upon, another. Fluids are mixed. Boundaries are lost, and when boundaries are lost, it’s impossible not to transform; to be reborn.

The reason sex has been deemed ‘sinful’ and bad is because it’s too destructive to society – it brings unexpected changes. People who were otherwise loyal to their family, or their job, or “the state” – will suddenly throw it all away for the sake of passion. Or that is what they fear. Sx instinct has a transformative quality.. it is there to strip you down, expose you and entice you, leaving you wide open. In this sense, Sexual Instinct has a danger to it. It can be scary, overwhelming.

Sx dominants are tuned into enticement, allure; they can’t turn it off. There’s a sense they’re always penetrating into you, using some type of luring siren signal, like the way birds show off their bright feathers and sing to impress a mate. All of that is sexual signaling and humans do it very similarly – through dressing up, showing virtuosity to entice (music, art etc).

Now this does not mean that “Sx dominants are sluts.” Quite the contrary, in many cases. The Sx dominant is so deeply attuned to chemistry that they can tell whose chemistry mixes best with theirs. When this instinct is first, it can be very selective, holding out for the hottest person, some kind of Ideal Other who would attract them and allure and entice them for all eternity.

This can, of course, develop into a sense of intimacy very quickly- since there’s an addictive quality, wanting to get deep into every part of the lover’s psyche. But this is a very different type of intimacy than that which you experience with your sister. The type with your sister will outlast most of your sexual relationships. The intimacy with your lover is more penetrating and intense, but it is not in and of itself based on common interests, trust, deep bonding and so forth; until Social instinct comes into play.

And we must remember that people are whole – we are not “just one instinct.” So an Sx/Sp and Sp/Sx couple will become bonded on a social level. Just as an So/Sp and Sp/So couple will enjoy heat and intensity, and want to allure each other. The question is, where does your attention automatically lie? What is the primary call of your instinctual senses? Which instinct is on all the time, in all situations, constantly guiding you, alternately holding you back and propelling you forward?

The Core of Nine

By | Eva | No Comments

Nine can be envisioned as a pendulum with loss of self on one end and loss of other external things on the other end. What many nines strive for is to be right in the middle of this pendulum where they have somehow attained the perfect balance between their inner world and the outer world. The goal is to form a perfect unity between the internal and the external so that no loss of any sort ever has to be experienced. Of course in actuality, this leads to a constant tension from within to keep this balance, which doesn’t usually work. When one force becomes too strong, the nine will start swinging in one direction or the other.

If the external voice feels the strongest, the nine may conform to the world and do what is desired of them, essentially losing their own voice. In order to be fine with this, the nine may dampen their emotions such as anger and sadness and pretend like everything is fine, because they are so scared of the loss they might experience if they stand up for themselves. Many nines truly believe they rarely feel anger or other emotions, because they choose to not invest themselves in scenarios that would cause them pain. However, for many nines this doesn’t last forever, and the pull from their internal voice becomes overwhelming. They feel like they don’t have a person or a will or a voice. In an effort to avoid all loss, they end up losing themselves which causes overwhelming pain. To overcompensate they might swing in the entirely opposite direction.

Many nines then become over assertive of their will over trivial matters. They might seem chronically angry and constantly get into arguments. For nines in this stage it is hard to see themselves as the nines commonly written about in the enneagram community. They know they are angry and they are showing it so that the world will see them and pay attention to them. However, often even when the nine is visibly angry, there is still avoidance of self. Often they are chronically angry, because they are not asserting themselves where there is something they are afraid to lose. They are shouting out their anger over scenarios that they are not actually invested in. This may even seem courageous to others. The nine might assert themselves at work, but if they’re terrified to assert themselves to their family, this will likely still be avoided. They might stand up for someone else against bullies and then refuse to stand up for themselves. Some nines tend to stay at one end more than the other, and other nines swing more continuously through stages. The key is that the pendulum is a continuum. They can be at any point, but there is still a fixation around avoidance of loss.

*note- this description is still being worked on and the nuances ironed out.

Gandalf: A Type Nine Archetype

By | Eva | No Comments

gandalfGandalf, from Lord of the Rings, is an excellent example of the nine archetype. He is essentially shown to be a diplomat who is a go between all the warring races who hate each other. Gandalf acting as a diplomat is shown clearly in The Hobbit when he tries to convince the dwarves, humans, and elves to fight against their common enemy rather than with each other. Despite his wisdom and diplomacy, he avoids taking charge and ever exerting his will. Galadriel at one point asks him to be the head of the council instead of Saruman but he refuses because he wishes to be independent and do as he pleases, without being in charge of anything. Gandalf also ignores all of the glaring red flags that Saruman has gone to the dark side, and he also procrastinates on researching the ring because Saruman convinces him not to worry about it. He knows better but he makes himself oblivious and naive to the darkness, even to the point that he gets captured by Saruman and has to escape. At that point he knows the ring must be destroyed but he’s still avoiding his own darkness. When he’s leading the fellowship towards Mordor, he tries to take every path except the Mines of Moria because that means facing the darkness he fears so much, and he knows the rumors of the balrog who lives there. Instead, he’s forced into the Mines where he symbolically ends up facing his shadow, the balrog, who drags him down into the mines where they both fight to the death. Gandalf the grey is then reborn as Gandalf the white who is at one with his shadow, willing to take on his own power and exert his will. There are also some other areas of note that exemplify his nineness: he prefers Hobbits for their simple, good nature because they don’t have the darkness of the other races that he is always trying to avoid. Gandalf also sees the good in everyone, even Gollum, whom he tells Frodo still has a role to play:

Gandalf: ‘Pity? It’s a pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play in it, for good or evil, before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.’

*note- this description is still being worked on

The Limits of Descriptions

By | Erica Xenne | No Comments

A type is a living breathing pattern that manifests through living breathing people. Once someone has years of experience with typology, the type starts to come to life. There’s more than words on a page; there’s a rhythm, a chemistry. This is what type really is. And once you understand that rhythmic essence of the types, then the descriptions become a ‘guide’ rather than scripture. Jung and Gurdjieff knew this – they were describing archetypes, not full people, and both were careful to explain that their systems (Cognitive Functions and Enneagram, respectively) were about a fundamental underlying gestalt which underlies the psyche of anyone that embodies that archetype.

If you can feel the types, and see them in motion in actual humans, it is clear that no description on its own is adequate. The various descriptions are maps and the people are the trees and the houses. The underlying gestalt of each archetype is clearly the same throughout each system, even if descriptions by different authors contradict each other – at least to my eye. Not everyone sees the world the way I do, but I certainly don’t gain much anymore from arguing about this description vs. that. It is a necessary stepping stone toward understanding what type is, but I don’t see how tit for tat cut-and-paste does anything to bring a type to life and make it breathe, so that a human may embody its essence. Once we get past that second-grade cut and paste, we graduate to the world of archetypes and rhythm of the world. Yacking about this definition vs that, is no longer relevant.

When you hear a piece of music, do you argue that someone else played the notes in a different syncopation? Fur Elise is Fur Elise, no matter who plays it. It can be to a rock beat, a jazz beat.. it’s still the same fundamental melody and chords. This is what makes it Fur Elise. You can argue that someone completely changed it, but if you heard that intro and you said “Fur Elise!” then your gut knew what song it was. This is the same for types.

Crown of the Enneagram

By | Erica Xenne | No Comments

People often mistype at 9, taking it literally. “My biggest fear is losing my loved ones, losing myself, losing my lifestyle.”  Sure.  That’s human.

9 is the crown of the enneagram because it deals with the central theme that enneagram exists in order to confront, which is that life is impermanent, and none of us know our true essence.  We have to build up defenses to survive in this world, as a necessity.  Those defenses form patterns, which can be understood as enneagram types.  Many claim enneagram is inborn and it is clearly observable in babies.  What this means is, the brain is programmed a certain way which lends itself to the emergence of a specific pattern.  The innate need for a survival pattern is essentially human, and that’s why everyone has an enneagram type.

So why do we have to “survive” through defenses?  Because people perceive themselves as separate entities, separated from one another.  People perceive “you against me” and “me vs. death.”  They see life as separate from death; thus, a fear of separation occurs.  You are separate from death, so how do you retain your life?  There’s a fear of impermanence and of the inevitability we all have to face: that one day, we will lose everything.

9s take this fear on at the deepest level: to combat this fear, they metaphorically resist being ‘born’ – leaving the womb creates separation. Unconsciously, they bury awareness of the most painful aspects of their personhood. Some 9s don’t hold tightly to anything, including their own ego. These are the well known “ephemeral 9s” – not quite “owning” their aggression, not owning their own self, going with the flow. This is their attempt to defend against impermanence and it can lend itself to ‘premature enlightenment.’ “I’m not combative, nor am I separate or different from you. I have a permeable ego. There is no ‘I.'” Other 9s may cling to something that makes them feel alive. It could manifest as an attachment to anger or melancholy, an obsession with a person, hyper-rumination or any other pattern – the key is ‘falling asleep to the self.’

This is the crown of the enneagram, as it is the purest manifestation of the defense against death, which reads to our mind as “impermanence and losing everything” since we see it as being separated from our life and our ego, rather than seeing ourselves as simply part of a grand cycle.  We need our ego in order to push ourselves to survive.  Without ego, why take care of our kid instead of every kid equally, regardless of the effects this has on our own offspring?  Life would fall apart without ego but, at the same time, it’s still a delusion. A necessary delusion. Since everyone believes it and lives by it, that, in a way, makes the ego very “real.”

So is it really a delusion? I don’t know. It’s more like a coping strategy that results from the reality of how the human mind works.

The other core types are additional defenses against losing yourself, impermanence, nothingness, dissolution.  Each type is a fixation on a different aspect of the human experience. We all have all these experiences and “sides” to us, which is why many of us can relate to many types, if not all, if we are honest with ourselves.  But each type gets fixated on a specific aspect of the experience of being human, thus forming a different core defense pattern.

Enneagram can’t be conceived of as a mere set of traits.  Motivations do not exist in a vacuum, and behavior should evidence the core motivation; but in order to spot a type, we need to understand what lies at its essence.  To truly grasp the meaning of enneagram, it has to be understood in terms of the egoic battle against impermanence.

“Why Can’t I find my Type?”

By | Erica Xenne | No Comments

The ego resists seeing its own defenses.  We need our defense strategies (enneagram) and biases (functions) for a reason. These strategies give the mind a pattern that it can learn to protect itself from chaos.  The defenses work on automatic, so uncovering the truth about them weakens them and leaves the ego bare, exposed, raw…

Over time, this discovery helps us to see ourselves, so that we may use our defenses but prevent them from using us.  But at first, exposing the truth about our automatic reactions and “inner settings” forces us to change. The ego resists changing because it is scared of exposure and chaos…rightfully so. Whether or not someone types correctly, it is only a strong soul that can digest the true meaning of its own type… and even then, the ego will continue defending itself by creating distortions around that idea, such as taking pride in your type, being ashamed, creating internal drama around it… all of which distracts from looking at the self objectively. Embracing the deep value of typology, on an egoic level, is a lifelong journey.