© Walter J. Geldart, M. Eng., M. Div. - July, 1998
I am sometimes asked why I've called my model of the relationship between the Enneagram and the MBTI, 'the Enneagram of Consciousness'. In this article I address that question,
tracing the train of thought that I followed as I developed it.
I was motivated to explore connections between Jungian psychology and the enneagram shortly after reading my first book on enneagram personality type over four years ago. At that time I didn't understand how enneagram personality types could possibly be true. Looking for a positive 'language of consciousness', because the prevailing negative 'language of unconsciousness' for enneagram personality types seemed unsatisfactory and inconsistent, I turned to Jungian psychology. It provides a natural language for understanding human consciousness.
I was introduced to Jungian psychology in the work place in the late 1970s through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I trusted Jungian psychology, I trusted the theory of eight Jungian Types, and I trusted the sixteen MBTI Types. I was certified to teach and administer the MBTI in 1992, and found the MBTI to be very useful for prenuptial counseling with couples who planned to be married.
I also had confidence in Jung's model of human consciousness, and the general validity of MBTI theory when it is carefully used and type development is taken into account. I decided not to rely on enneagram personality type theory if I couldn't find a Jungian connection with the enneagram. Why bother with an enneagram theory that was not compatible with modern scientific language, seemed to come from some unknown oral tradition, and was wrapped-up in mystical language? This didn't seem like executive boardroom material.
Comfortable with the language of Jungian psychology, Jungian Type, and MBTI Type, I designed a circular map called the Psychegram, which made it easier to use the MBTI Type Table of 16 Types. The Psychegram focused on the eight primary Jungian types and their superior function and attitude, and it was very easy to see the Jungian function-pairs that defined each MBTI Type.
At this point I also explored the enneagram as if from three corners of a ' triangle that promised to circumscribe an area of common agreement between Jungian psychology, Bennet's work, and the contributions of individuals working with the enneagram of personality type. At the first corner of the triangle was Jungian psychology, the MBTI, and my own understanding of these, as summarized in the 'psychegram' that I had created. At the second corner stood John Bennett's enneagram process model. And in the third corner were authors such as Helen Palmer, Don Riso, and Jerome Wagner, who were working with the enneagram of personality type.
I had made a connection to John Bennett's enneagram process model through Bennett's meditation master, Bhante Dharmawara, whom he had recruited for his Fourth Way School. I went on two week-long meditation retreats with Bhante in the 1980s, and a third meditation retreat in 1995, just before I accompanied him to the Dalai Lama's 60th birthday party in New Delhi. Buddhist meditation practice and Jungian psychology are compatible, from my perspective, because both focused on consciousness, exploring it through direct personal experience.
I treated Jung's four functions of consciousness as the functional means that takes the conscious information gleaned from the objects on which we place attention and connects it to our center of consciousness, which assembles a coherent holistic understanding of these events. Bhante's retreat included the theory of mind/consciousness that had been transmitted to us via oral tradition from the Buddha 2500 years ago. It also involved sitting meditation, which one does in a conscious introspective mode, and walking meditation, which one also does in a conscious fashion, but with attention placed on real objects as moving occurs. I assumed that meditation principles and practice were a necessary foundation for any enneagram theory that presumes to move the individual from psychological 'fixations' typical of normal modes of 'unconsciousness' to freedom and modes of centered consciousness. Meditation principles and practice are the ultimate tools by which one can verify any theory of consciousness through direct personal experience. When we inspect our experience in this way and use language to share our findings with others and compare notes, we are using a method which is the scientific method par excellence for this field of inquiry.
The first move in my attempt to close the information triangle was to consider Bennett. I spoke with Bennett students who found the modern enneagram personality-type teachings very strange compared to Bennett's 'enneagram process' teachings. There was a world of difference between a consciousness that freely moves around the enneagram circle to do work, and an awareness that is habitually 'fixated' at one of the nine enneagram points, comprising a 'personality type'. The language of Jungian psychology and Indian philosophy was my language of choice for speaking about the enneagram process model coming from Bennett, as well as for talking about the enneagram structure model that was the focus of the personality-type teachers.
I decided to re-open Bennett's search for enneagram origins. I assumed that it would be possible to understand the fundamental difference between the free-flowing Bennett process and the unfree-blocked structures of personality types if the origin of the enneagram could be found. To my surprise, I discovered that Bennet and a host of other enneagram teachers had trapped themselves by a language error that convinced them that the decimal system was necessary to explain the Enneagram Law of Seven. This has retarded progress in understanding the enneagram, and given it an unnecessary mysterious flavor. The Law of Seven (7-1-4-2-8-5-7 ..etc. forever) is easily expressed with Sumerian base-60 signs from 3500 BC. These Sumerian numbers point to the fundamental geometry of equilateral triangles and hexagons. Nature uses this geometry for snow flakes, atomic and molecular structure, and tiled floors.
My second move to close the information triangle was to examine the Jungian correlations that had already been made by enneagram personality-type teachers. Fortunately, enneagram personality-type authors such as Helen Palmer, Don Riso, and Jerome Wagner had published research in this area. Without the work of these authors it would have been impossible to make progress on Jungian correlations with the enneagram.
I recognized that the four Jungian functions (with two attitudes for each function) were the primary parameters by viewing them with the Psychegram of Jungian functions of consciousness. The 16 MBTI Types are 16 pairs of Jungian function-attitudes with special rules that require the attitude to be different for the first and second Jungian function.
That means that the 16 MBTI Types are derived or secondary parameters. It is more efficient to study the 8 primary Jungian parameters, than to study the 16 secondary MBTI pairs of Jungian primary parameters. This is demonstrated elsewhere in this Journal by one of the 'Data Lenses' designed by John Fudjack and Pat Dinkelaker to analyze EM Survey data.
Don Riso's assignments of Jungian Type to Enneagram Personality Type was the missing link that made it possible to correlate Jungian superior functions with enneagram personality types. I used the Riso-Hudson-Enneagram-Type Indicator (RHETI - Version 2.0) and the MBTI Type Instrument to measure reported types for the same people. Riso assigned eight Jungian Types for eight enneagram personality types in his 1987 book.
It was easy to confirm that Riso's assignments for Points One, Two, Five, Six, and Seven were consistent with a superior most-conscious Jungian function at these same five points. Jerome Wagner made the same assignments for the four rational judging Points - One, Two, Five, and Six - from his own MBTI and Enneagram Personality Type tests. These assignments are demonstrated once again in this Journal by the analysis of EM survey data done by John Fudjack and Pat Dinkelaker.
My series of RHETI and MBTI test results confirmed the superior Jungian function for enneagram points Eight, Nine, and Four in 1996. They also showed that Riso had assigned either unipolar opposite or bipolar opposite Jungian inferior functions to Points Eight, Nine, and Four. These Jungian assignments correctly accounted for each Point's noticeable passion or inferior function, but did not identify the superior Jungian function that was each Point's conscious gift. I discovered that the Enneagram Law of Seven had an unavoidable Freudian bias. Two of Jung's most important introverted pair of functions (feeling at Point Six, and intuition at Point Nine) were missing in the cyclical Law of Seven because six numbers can only point to six out of eight Jungian processes (comprised of 'functions' and their 'attitudes'). My original goal of using positive language of consciousness with Jungian superior functions of consciousness had been reached.
When I looked at Riso's theory in more detail, I realized that he treated enneagram points in a Jungian sense. It became clear that the superior AND compensatory inferior Jungian function together defined an enneagram personality type. It also became clear why the 8 Jungian Types comprised the infrastructure of the enneagram, and why the 16 MBTI Types were not the real factors. A Jungian function becomes a Jungian type by habitual overuse that leads to excess reliance on a superior function. This in turn cannot escape the automatic compensatory behavior of the human mind and body. The inferior function is enlisted automatically in the war of consciousness, like a soldier. Now, the interesting thing is that this 'soldier', the inferior function, can appear either as a bipolar opposite (IN, for example, is the bipolar opposite of ES) or a unipolar opposite (EN is the unipolar opposite of ES). An MBTI Type is defined by the superior first-function with a supporting second-function that also displays 'good manners', as it were. The inferior function that is intrinsic to Jungian type and enneagram personality type is thus actually masked and understated, and so the differing passion or vice is hidden.
For example, extraverted sensation is the superior Jungian function at Enneagram Point Seven. Seven's unipolar opposite inferior function is extraverted intuition, which is superior at Point Four; and Seven's bipolar opposite inferior function is introverted intuition, at Point Nine. Seven also has a unipolar opposite superior introverted sensation function as a Shadow sensation function. Seven's unipolar Shadow is its wing at Point Eight. Eight's superior function has superior introverted sensation. Seven's two inferior functions (unipolar at Four and bipolar at Nine) both account for noticeable passions for planning and imagination - and not being fully present with the real sensory experiences for objects in the real world in this present moment. Jerome Wagner assigned extraverted intuition to Point Seven. This nicely accounts for Seven's noticeable passion, but not their superior most differentiated sensation function that is their gift.
To complete the Geldart Enneagram of Consciousness, I added a fifth function to the four Jungian functions of consciousness. The fifth function is located at Point Three. It is defined as the Jungian psychological 'persona' that communicates psychological meaning, and the moving function that represent this intentional meaning physically in the world. Gurdjieff found that the moving function was omitted in modern psychology, and Mortimer Adler found that modern philosophy had included 'real' and 'subjective' object types, but neglected the 'intentional' object type responsible for human language. The intentional object type involves information that is moved from one human mind to another mind and understood. It is a synthesis of real and subjective object types. Carl Jung also omitted the psychomotor or moving function from his model because he wanted a pure psychological model.
The moving function at Point Three is the physical means of MOVING AGAINST aggressive behavior by those three types in the Hornevian 3-7-8 triad. When the moving function is added at Point Three, then Point Seven is not required to move, but it can experience the sensations from the object that Point Three moved towards. Point Eight is allowed to sense its visceral instinctive inner body states, but muscles states are experienced at Point Three as Three forces itself upon the world. At the same time, Point Three can use its facial muscles and voice to speak and motivate others while having the perfect Persona or image for its social role.
This article asked the question "Why the Enneagram of Consciousness?", and gave this author's train of thought as he developed it. Traditional enneagram personality type language began in the land of nod, trance, and habit. Some authors have developed language that covers the entire spectrum from conscious top to unconscious bottom. For example, Don Riso's 9 Levels of Development begin at the top and proceed downward. This author's Enneagram of Consciousness is compatible with Riso's model at the Level of Liberation and Psychological Capacity. It is intended to provide insight for the move homeward towards freedom and full consciousness, from a position of being centered, and it can represent the situation of consciousness for Jungian Individuation.
The language of consciousness beats the language of being dead, asleep, in a waking trace, in a fixed habit, or being stuck in one's habitual ways like a fly to metaphorical flypaper. One can use one's God-given functions of consciousness as they were intended - as functions to carry information from their sources at real or subjective objects types to the center of consciousness at Point Zero (in the center of the Enneagram of Consciousness). This is why Jungian psychology is a major language system for understanding the enneagram. Jungian psychology borrowed important concepts from Indian philosophy and psychology. Jungian psychology is like the Fourth Yogic Way called Raja Yoga, and the indivisible Self from Hindu metaphysics is the Jungian Self archetype. The enneagram community can look well past Greece and Pythagoras towards India to find the teachings on consciousness and unconsciousness, and further back to Sumeria to find enneagram geometry and mathematics - around 3500 BC.