The Formation of Personality
|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.
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. Lets 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 Type Two
The Type Three
The Type Four
The Type Five
The Type Six
The Type Seven
The Type Eight
The Type Nine
Each personality type depends upon a life choice which determines later development.