Tuesday, November 25, 2008


This chapter summarizes and brings up to date to the book Um mapa, uma bússola - Hipertexto, Complexidade e Eneagrama (A map, a compass - Hypertext, Complexity and Enneagram (GOMES, 2000) and presents the notion of enneagram as a model of complex system capable to measure noise and self-organization, associating the dynamic and synchronous factors to the subjective and objective aspects. And, in the end, in an inedited appendix, the model of the enneagram is applied to the thought of Carlos Castaneda.

Vicious and Virtuous circles

The books are expensive because there are few readers and there are few readers because the books are expensive; I am sick because I do not have quality of life and I do not have self-esteem because I am sick; the cookies do not sell because they are old and they are old because they do not sell. Life is full of Vicious Circles, that is: cycles of recurrence where the factors of cause are mutually conditioned, preventing the development or the regular functioning of the system in question.
On the other hand, there are also Virtuous Circles, or cycles of excellence, where the causal factors are mutually fed determining an increasing optimization of the system: many readers = cheap books = more readers; quality of life = health = self-esteem; hot cookies = good sales = more cookies. Then, this is the central issue I am concern about (in the theoretical point of view as well as in the existential) for some time: how to transform vicious cycles into virtuous cycles? And more: how and why the order of the causal factors modifies the system's result? Which are the common factors of the excellence to an ' optimum system' and to creative life? Is it possible to establish a theory centered in personal development?
The scholars point the old Mesopotamia as the probable cradle of the enneagram symbol. It would have been mysteriously preserved for many civilizations, arriving at our days through the Sufis sages, the Muslim mystic man. The enneagram, in this context, was a combined system of nine virtues and nine passions. It would have been with them that the Armenian mystic G. Gurdjieff (OUSPENSKY, 1980) learned the symbol and the fundaments of its teaching. Gurdjieff used the model of the enneagram as a synthesis of the Universe and Man, seen as a process of three levels in three stages. The application of this model to the human body resulted in the theory of the three octaves (or secondary enneagrams) and in the association of the biological activities of feeding, breathing and perception through audiovisual vibrations as the three main processes of the human machine to be un-automated. These processes, in their turn, would be interdependent inside of a greater octave (or main enneagram).
This bio-machine had three entrances and three exits, producing three intricate cybernetic cycles of mutual feeding in a single process. And to carry through the great octave through the unmechanization of the three minor octaves, for Gurdjieff and his followers, is the main human purpose in the ecosystem, our photosynthetic and spiritual mission: the production of hydrogen number one .
The enneagram, in this context, was a general structure of the universe seen as a process of three levels and three stages - as much in the micro as in macrocosm. In the system of the enneagram, then, happens the overcrossing of three cognitive centers or “intelligences” - mental, sensible, and motor - with three fields or spheres - the biosphere, the atmosphere and the ionosphere. At this time, the nine points of attachment of the enneagram did not constitute a proper typology. The enneagram was a diagram-synthesis of the mathematical idea of the musical octave as model of universal development.
The 'Personality enneagram' and the application of the enneagram symbol specifically to the study of character will only appear in the 70's with Oscar Ichazo and the School of Arica. However is with the work of the psychologist Claude Naranjo (1986) that the enneagram will constitute a rigorously based psychological typology. According to him, in a certain point of life, we fix in one of the nine points of the circumference and, from this point, we construct our personality. To each fixation point (or cognitive recurrence), there is a corresponding passion (or deficiency motivation). Passion and fixation mutually feed each other, then, forming a type of personality of the enneagram and in moving us away from our essence, of our true Being. In this logic, during the human development there would be, at some traumatic moment, a loss, a limitation, a failure in the growth of the full potential, a fixation of the ego in relation to the circulation of psychic energy. The personality functions as a way to perpetuate the unconsciousness from 'a blind point', in which the energy canalization would happen in an unbalanced form, where "perception is blind of its own blindness".
Thus, personality and unconsciousness also form a vicious circle: the conditioned personality leads to the one specific interference in the biological organism (strengthening the fixation point); this interference in the organism cause a loss of the experience (of totality) of Being; e, finally, the loss of the experience of Being feeds the dominant passion and the perpetuation of the conditioned personality.
In this typological system, the first step is to discover which is the predominant cognitive center of someone: whereas it is the mental, the emotional or the motor center. From then on, one may observe the predominance of an introverted, extrovert or ambivalent ego.
And the second step, in this system, is to discover which the neglected centers are, and to define in which of the nine points of the enneagram are we are fixed in.
The Perfectionist (type 1): type with preference for the motor center (introverted) that neglects the mental center. Fixation: Extremely organized and diligent, with very high standards - in the areas of its interest. They are serious and sincere, aiming to be independent from others and avoid having others depending on him. He establishes clear borders in relation to the physical and mental territories, believing that it is possible to control all situations through organization. Passion: He valorizes "moral and good habits”, and judges everything and everyone, many times with destructive critics. When things do not go according to his plans or orders, he blows up in irrational anger, therefore 'Anger' is the deadly sin chosen for its characterization.
The Giver (type 2): type with preference for the emotional center (extrovert) that neglects the mental center. Fixation: He easily identify with other people's desires and problems, having a hard time to say 'no' when it comes to help somebody. Passion: however this affective empathy is never truly disinterested, actually it is part of a manipulation strategy that tries to make others to depend on him. 'Twos' give, give, give… in order to be accepted. In compensation, they take care of in such a way about the others that they forget about themselves and their own necessities, desires and aspirations. They do not need this. Therefore 'Pride' it is its main characteristic.
The Performer (type 3): type with preference for the emotional center (ambivalent) that neglects the very emotional center. Fixation: Thus it for him it is easy to dissemble his true feelings (anger, fear, anxiety, etc.), using many masks (one for each occasion). Therefore, it is also called 'Chameleon'. Wants to be admired by any means and sees everything from the perspective of this dispute for admiration and recognition. Generally are demanding and worried people when it comes to reaching their goals. Passion: 'Vanity' or emotional capacity to counterfeit the truth from relative and subjective realities, transferring the responsibility of its errors to others.
The Individualist (type 4): type with preference for the emotional center (introverted) that neglects the motor center. Fixation: Generally they are very sensitive people and with little contact with the exterior world, identifying and explaining things better through symbols. They like to be special, unique e singular, cultivating different and strange preferences. They appreciate social status and have miss attention; however, at the same time that they feel superior to the others, they suffer due to the isolation. Passion: They have a tendency to depression and melancholy. To desire is more important than to possess, therefore as soon as they obtain the object of their desires, they feel frustrated. Therefore, 'Envy' is their deadly sin.
The Investigator (type 5): type with preference for the mental center (introverted) that neglects the motor center. Fixation: They are objective and extremely rational people, but have certain difficulty relating with others. They can easily ignore people around, bothering them. They like to get isolated to solve the learned knowledge and hate when people usurp their time or freedom with details or small tasks. Passion: the Avarice. However, is not simply about money, but, over all about time and knowledge. The ego of number five refuses to share its experience of world that they believe to be more rationalized than of the majority of people.
The Defender (type 6): type with preference for the mental center (ambivalent) that neglects the proper mental center. Fixation: they are people who look to be mentally busy in order not to think. Then to be so questioning ('Devil´s advocates') as well as intuitive. Passion: fear. 'Sixes' are dependent and insecure people, who always need the support of a reference (a boss, an institution). Among the mental types, they are more loyal and trustworthy in relation to the rules of its group than to their friends individually. They are divided into Phobic (or assumed cowards) and counter-phobic (apparently fearless), and may get to extremes.
The Dreamer (type 7): type with preference for the mental center (extrovert) and neglects the emotional center. Fixation: They are always enthusiastic and happy people, but that they nourish many illusions and fantasies. Actually this 'innocence' of the type number 7 prevents any eventual pain or suffering, only observing the good side of the events and life. They are, generally, loquacious and very manipulating orators. Passion: Gluttony, not only for foods, but for people, information and adventures. 'Sevens' have appetite for anything that pleasures them.
The Challenger (type 8): type with preference for the motor center (extrovert) that neglects the emotional center. Fixation: People who see the world in relation to justice and power, and consider themselves capable to nullify and to revenge its injustices. And many times act absurdly on behalf of the forsaken ones that they intend to defend. Passion: They search confrontation as a form to impose his supremacy, many times simply for pleasure. They like to conquer more and more territories and to be seen as strong people, capable to protect those to help them. They never ask for forgiveness. At first, are always contrary to any innovation.
The Peacemaker (type 9): type with preference for the motor center (ambivalent) that neglects the proper motor center. Fixation: This type is characterized for preventing conflicts at any cost. In contrast to the other motor types (1 and 8) has a democratic relation in the matter of physical and mental territories, as much invading as letting people to invade their domains. They are people who do not establish borders or limits of the space/time. Passion: Laziness. But not simply laziness or leisure in relation to work. It is matter here of mental indolence, 'laziness of being’, many times occulted by the mask of many not essential activities. The sin of the pacifist is to delay important things.
The enneagramatic types are ideal models, abstract generalizations of concrete and singular people, of a gigantic gamma of factors and cultural traces of many times and places.
We can still emphasize three great contributions of Naranjo to the enneagram of the Personality:
A - The therapeutical approach and the role of no interference of the analyst. While Gurdjieff (certainly an eight) interacted instinctively with his disciples through confrontation, presenting tests and exercises according to his fixations; Oscar Ichazo used the technique of authorized diagnosis, indicating the type of each one of his pupils and clients. Naranjo defends the self-diagnosis, that is, each one must discover its own type inside the system of classification, supervised by a simple coordinator. The role of the enneagram of ministrant evolved from spiritual guru for to psychologist and then therapeutical facilitator.
B - A theory of the meta-instinctive neurosis, based upon general strategies of adaptation. Establishing analogies between the Proto-analysis of Oscar Ichazo and other psychological typologies in a single scientific taxonomy, Naranjo constructed a skillful `theory of neurosis and conscience degradation'. Freud constructed his theory of neurosis from the idea of the repression of the instinctive life, mainly of the sexuality: the neurosis was a form of pathological sublimation of our desires. To Naranjo, the neurosis (or the fixation on a recurrent point) also originates from a traumatic experience from which an obsolete reaction (a mechanism of recurrent defense) is fixed, this allied to the loss of the capacity to act creatively.
C - Naranjo, however, recognizes the importance of the instinctive life on the development of the neurotic personalities and adds to the enneagram system the idea that, independently from the enneatype, we are marked by one of the three specific forms of instinctive restrictions that we suffer: sexual (Freud), relationary (Lacan) and the survival (Marx). Instincts developed in relation to the Other (and the nature), to the others (the groups) and to oneself as individuals before society.
Even the Naranjo´s typology and the enneagram seen as a system of compulsions of the ego´s vices and virtues being consistent and interesting, the psychological typology made the symbol to lose its original fluidity and its cognitive set (as an example of what also happened with the astrology, with the orishas and other traditional mythologies that became modern psychological typologies). Thus, we are not a single type. We 'stay' {translation note: in the original ser and estar, both verbs translated by the English to be. While ser means being forever, or since always or up to know, or from a point on, estar is being in the exact present and acquires a meaning of something that may be transformed)one, or three, or seven - depending on the time, place and the people with whom we interact with. It is common the person to have a fixation point at work, another one at home, a third with friends.
To recover the essence of the enneagram it is necessary to return to the original symbolism. Thus, retaking the ideas of Bennett (1999) and replacing them in a contemporary scientific context, we develop the notion of 'Complex Compass’, as a model of complex system, taking in account the dynamic/synchronous aspects as well as the objective/ subjective aspects. Bennett goes back to Gurdjieff´s enneagram model, previous to the typological model, ruled by two laws: the law of three or the law of seven (or law of octaves).
The Law of Three (external cycles). According to the enneagram theory, we shall observe the external movement of a determined event in three successive stages. Following our example of a cognitive enneagram: in case this movement to be centrifugal and aggregates energy to the system, we will have the pattern motor-emotional-mental, producing feelings; in case it is centripetal, we will have a pattern where the mental movement anticipates the emotional movement, generating emotions. The feelings sprout from the body to the affective field or ‘heart' (sadness, joy, for example), while the emotions are always pernicious rationalizations, in which images and thoughts precede the affective field, because they drain the energy and personal power of the warrior. Thus, not only negative emotions (the anger, pride, envy, vanity), but, overall, the idea of an interpretive identity of the ego (the self-importance) must be fought with tenacity.
The Law of Seven (internal cycles). Following the same circular model of opposite rotations, the enneagram also describes the order of the movements internal to the apparently chaotic system through the division of the unit by seven and for the decimates periodic 1428571… and the successive additions of sevenths reproduce this complex standard, but starting with different numbers, corresponding to the internal points of the enneagram. This way, each fraction represents one of the secondary points of the enneagram and also the movement between them, as much clockwise as counter-clockwise.
This complex pattern was called by Gurdjieff ‘Law of the Octaves’, in an explicit comparison with the ascending and descending musical scales. These properties seen together (the circularity of the three external points and the internal movement of its octaves) form the symbol of the enneagram.
In contrast, many times the system´s tendency of energy conservation is reactionary when it comes to changes, while the chaotic factors and the noise demand disorganization necessary to growth. In way that, beyond the Virtuous and Vicious circles of three exterior and objective factors, the model of the enneagram presents yet the possibility of representation of the subjective elements of different agents in each point of the process, as much clockwise as counter-clockwise. It is clear that, practically, reality is constituted simultaneously of centripetal and centrifugal tendencies.
Bennett dealt only with processes where the factor time was counted backwards, as a chronometer, companies of daily product, for example, bakery, banks, periodicals, where the sequential processes are guided by time countdown, in cyclical processes. A classic example of the application of the Model of the enneagram as a system is the 'Active Kitchen'.
'Kitchen ready to work' (point 1), is preliminary activity of organization of all necessary tools for the beginning of the process, we have to anticipate what we will prepare (point 4) and how we are going to serve (point 7). On its turn, ' working Kitchen' (point 2), we keep our attention in what we are preparing (point 4), but dislocate our imagination from the formal aspect of the food presentation to its flavor, its spices, how it will be degusted (point 8).
The Food introduction (point 3) corresponds to the beginning of a new octave, beyond giving follow up to the cycle already initiated. In a similar way 'food Preparation' (point 4) is directly conditioned by the organization (point 1) and the functioning (point 2) of the kitchen; the baking of foods implies in its appearance (point 7) and flavor (point 8); e the introduction of the Commensals also brings us to the beginning of a new cycle and the continuation of the preceding cycles. By the way, it is important to stand out that the Kitchen (point 9), the Foods (point 3) and the Commensals (point 6) is basic external elements. They represent the chronological succession of the events as well as the different teams or agents of the process (cycle of the assistants, cycle of the cooks, cycle of the commensals) each one keeps an internal autonomy of process, symbolized by three secondary octaves).
Thus, beyond the objective cycle of the exterior elements, the enneagram presents the possibility of representation of the subjective elements of different agents in each point of the process. Let us think, for example, that when seeing and eating the meal (points 7 and 8), the Commensals imagines the work of the cooks (point 5) and of the assistants (point 1 and 2) of the kitchen; and, from these subjective elements, reconstitute all objective process.
Besides these chronological external relations and its circumstantial insights, still there is a great octave, representing the mental process of general planning of everything that will be executed. This cycle is represented by decimate: .1758241, that is, to organize the kitchen (1) thinking about serving the meal (7); cooking foods (5) thinking about eating the meal (8); to put the kitchen into functioning (2) thinking on preparing the food (4); and, finally, to clean and to reorganize the kitchen (1). But, the enneagram is a tool, not only to measure the organization (the energy conservation), but, overall, for localization of noise and the entropy. We represent these chaotic factors, which appear in the objective cycle as much as in the subjective ones, by the centripetal circular movement.
In the ternary objective aspect, it would be equivalent to the Commensals (point 6, mental factor) to be introduced in the process before the Cooks (point 3, emotional factor), that had arrived late. This inversion of the mental and emotional factors always characterizes objectively the vicious circle. And in the subjective aspect, the thought of a chronic pessimist would follow model .1428571, that is, an inadequate organization in the kitchen (1) confuses the preparation of the food (4); this certainly also harms the correct functioning of the kitchen (2) and the meal itself (8); a time that delays the 'food baking' (5) and 'serving of the meal' (7). After all this mess it still remains to clean everything up and to arrange the kitchen again (1).
In this example, Bennett all elaborates a game of relations that we can retake now to a model of enneagram as a complex system and not only as a methodology of systematic analysis of circular processes.
When the causal factors result in a concentration of energy of the system we say that they spin to the inside, clockwise; on the other hand, when the causal factors feed each other in a way to provoke expansion and the increasing loss of the system´s energy, we say that they spin to the outside, counter-clockwise. We call Virtuous Circle all the centripetal cycles that are improved, that seeks excellence, inside determined rules and situations given, and Vicious Circle (or Circle of Passions), those centrifugal cycles that do not develop inside determined conditions and remain in a condition of stagnation. The Creative Circles, or self-poetical, are the centrifugal cycles that, instead of simply accepting or denying the preset conditions, modify them, thus instituting a new order from noise.
The difference between Bennett´s Systematics and the approach based on the complexity is that any process is liable of analysis and one goes from a context headed towards mechanic engineering to a paradigm worried about energy waste. Also it is important to understand that not always the restrictive and entropic factors are maleficent and the synergic factors, beneficial. On the contrary, many times the tendency to energy conservation of a system is reactionary in relation to changes, while the chaotic factors and the noise demand disorganization necessary to growth.
But, having made these comments, transposed the scenarios of the times of systematics to the time of complexity y lets go back to the cognitive focus of the enneagram, representing the two contrary cycles of order and noise by the names of:
• The Way of the Feelings - Centripetal Cycle or of energy conservation:
OBJECTIVE (9-3-6) and SUBJECTIVE (1-7-5-8-2-4-1). In the centripetal movement there is an ethical path - where the relation with one self, with the body and with the environment (or `the outside' - 8, 9 and 1), arouse the relation with the Other (or `the inside' - 2, 3 and 4) and with the others (or the `discursive forms' - 5, 6 and 7).
• The Way of the Emotions - centrifugal Cycle or energy waste:
OBJECTIVE (9-6-3) and SUBJECTIVE (1-4-2-8-5-7-1), subdividing this last one in reactive and creative emotions, therefore, beyond its destructive character, the noise and its disorganizations are essential to changes of standards and the development of autonomy. In these two types of centrifugal movement there is moral way, where the relation with the group preceded the relation with the Other individual one. Being that, the reactive behavior is to observe the outside through a cultural filter, while the creative behavior understands its feelings and the world through the discursive forms. Both the attitudes are moral, therefore the subjectivity precedes objectivity. The difference is to be conscientious of the emotions or to live (actually to suffer) them involuntarily.
Well seen these definitions, we can apply the model of the enneagram to other systems and ways of thinking, as for example, Carlos Castaneda.
Enneagram and Castaneda
From the model of the enneagram we mathematically define the Art of Stalking as a 6-3-9 counter-clockwise spin and Art of Dreaming as a 3-6-9 clockwise spin; or even we may adopt an ennea-circle for each movement - being that the Stalking starts in the mind (6,666) and the Dreaming, in the heart (3,333).
The Circle of the Stalking, of centripetal spin, represents the creative fight against the vicious circles and our capacity to fix the point of perception agglutination through the field of ordinary cognition, also called first attention or tonal (6 = little tyrant, 3 = to not do, 9 = recapitulation).
The Dreaming Circle is virtuous, that is, of centrifugal spin (3 = lucid dreams, 6 = the double dreamer, 9 = jump to the infinite) and consists in the capacity to dislocate the point of perception agglutination through the fields of extraordinary cognition, also called second attention.
Armando Torres calls the attention for the Art of Intention (the art of the conscientious manipulation of the desires) as an intermediate domain between the Dream and the Stalking. The “intention domain” or “the point zero of the vertical horizon” is the perception between objects and the energy. To fix perception in this point allows seeing indistinctly emptiness and silence without losing of sight the order of the tonal order, as a world of polarities between the reality of the things and the universe of the relations.
If the nagual or universe of relations corresponds to the transcendent infinite (point 3,333…) e the tonal, its duplication, the immanent infinite (point 6,666), then point 9,999 is the point of controlled madness, that is, the infinite seen as polarity. Point zero is the center of the circle, the total infinite, the not-to be. The difference between the degree zero (the nothing) and point 9,999 (or almost nothing) is the same between madness and controlled madness.
If we take the Stalking and the Dreaming as two polar circular movements (and also in its reduced forms as controlled madness through disguises and lucid dreams) we can place all these practices in the model of the enneagram in two great objective cycles.
In the Cycle of Stalking, one starts making the inventory (1) of the actions and thoughts that spend energy unnecessarily. The second step is simple: to not do (2) these actions and to save this energy. Controlled Madness (3) is art of the disguises and the changes to attitudes contrary to the habitual ones. After deducting the habits and actions that dissipate energy, the practitioner of the stalking must now adopt behaviors contrary to the ones acquired during its life. Stalking is an art where the ego is the prey and the conscience, the hunter. Thus, besides the Mannering changes it is necessary to develop a deep interior silence (4) and several techniques of observation (5) to understand the movements of the prey and to plan the development of a strategy.
The little Tyrant (6), that is, the authority and the power of someone over the practitioner, is the most efficient form to discipline the stalker. To win this relation and to reach its excellent development, the warrior will need the maximum of energy, obtained through the practice of the magical passes (7) and the impeccability in his every action (8). The Recapitulation (9) crowns all process.
Now, in the objective cycle of Dreaming, one starts finding its hands or the point below its navel (8) during the dream (actually, finding the dreaming motricity). After that, naturally, the dreamer will start to fly (7). He will notice then that it possesses a dreaming body (6) and that he can See (5) the universe as moving energy. To consolidate his situation, the dreamer will need Allies (4), beings that may help him to expand his conscience even more in exchange of energy. With the time he also will have Lucid Dreams (3), that is, dreams during vigil and will travel through the Inorganic Kingdoms (2), up the point when it loses definitively the human form (1) and jump to the Infinite (9).
Currently there are many theoretical initiatives interested in integrating the enneagram with other forms of thinking, mainly with the models of the SDI and the Quadrants of Ken Wilber. Here, as it was seen in other chapters, the main focus is the hypothesis of cognitive symmetry and not the construction of meta-theoretical supermodel. However, we will still come back to this subject other times in the future.

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NARANJO, C. Os Nove Tipos de Personalidade - Um estudo do caráter humano através do enneagram. Rio de Janeiro, Editora Objetiva, 1996.
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______Psicologia da Evolução Possível ao Homem. São Paulo: Pensamento, 1986.
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