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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/


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