The Formation of Personality

[ Awakenings Home Page ] [Enneagram Page] [ Basics 101 ] Back ] Next ]





Lets return to the Enneagram symbol. The basic form of the Enneagram is a circle. A circle is a symbol of wholeness and completion. It indicates that we are all born into this world in a state of wholeness and perfection. This state of wholeness can be seen in the infant who does not differentiate between itself and the rest of the world. To the infant it seems that it and the world are one. It seems to exist as the center of the universe. Things magically happen to provide for the infant. When it is wet and cries someone appears and changes it. When it is hungry and cries someone comes to feed it. If the ball rolls away, some other object of attention takes its place. The infant is conscious but not self-conscious. It does not reflect on its own experience. We all once lived in unconscious wholeness.

Eventually a common human experience enters the picture: frustration. When frustration comes, self awareness becomes possible. One day when the baby is wet no one comes or when it is hungry no one feeds it. The ball rolls away and is missed. The child realizes that there is "me" and there is "not me". There is me and there is the other. With this realization the seed is planted for the birth of the ego. The ego is that part of us that is conscious and that thinks, feels, and experiences. The ego views itself as the center of the personality. With the birth of the ego the world of the infant splits into nine possibilities of personality and the unconscious wholeness is lost. The infant once lived in wholeness and unity but now it is gone and there remains only an unconscious memory of what was lost. The infant goes from essence which was unconscious into the development of personality. Each of the nine possibilities of personality is a lens through which to view and structure reality.

Types and Names

Each Enneagram type is known by a number and a name. If the name is well chosen it captures the energy and essence of the type and can help us identify ourselves. Each Enneagram author tries to create unique names, therefore, there are a variety of names for the same type. Sometimes it is less confusing to use the numbers rather then names. Nonetheless, a well chosen name is helpful. We will use the names given by Don Richard Riso.

Some people only need to know the name of the types to begin recognizing themselves. Let’s look at the Enneagram names. As we do so, try on the names. Do any of them fit you? Which one could be your type?

The Type One
The Reformer or Perfectionist who wants to make the world perfect.

The Type Two
The Helper who focuses on the needs of others.

The Type Three
The Motivator, the achievement, success oriented person.

The Type Four
The Individualist who wants to be special and unique.

The Type Five
The Thinker who tries to figure out life.

The Type Six
The Loyalist who is committed to being faithful and dependable.

The Type Seven
The Enthusiast who is always on the go seeking fun.

The Type Eight
The Leader is strong and in control.

The Type Nine
The Peacemaker who strives to bring harmony into the world.

Each personality type depends upon a life choice which determines later development.

[ Awakenings Home Page ] [Enneagram Page] [ Basics 101 ] Back ] Next ]