top of page



9 Personality Types

There are two kinds of adventures. The usual kind, which most people know, involves exploring the world around us. The other, which fewer people know, is exploring the world inside us – the adventure of discovering ourselves.

Each of us is a unique individual, but there are maps and tools that can help us understand the geography of our inner landscape. The Enneagram is one such system of self-knowledge. 

It identifies nine basic personality types. Each type has its own way of seeing life, its own patterns of thinking and behaviour. These attitudes were developed in our childhood, as we explored different strategies in order to survive, to be loved, and to adjust to our family environment.


How the Enneagram works

When we understand the personality type that we developed, with its built-in tendencies, we also realize the opportunity this offers for more personal freedom. Seeing a pattern of behaviour gives us choice: we can follow the pattern, out of habit, or we can choose something new and perhaps more helpful to our present situation. It can be hard to accept that we are controlled by old patterns of thinking and behaviour. But once we see them, we can immediately understand how the Enneagram functions as a system of liberation. This new freedom allows us to make conscious choices for the first time, both in our personal relationships and in our working environment. For many people, this is a life-changing experience. It is quite common to find a little of oneself in several types, although one of them should stand out as being closest to yourself. This is your basic personality type.

Several more points can be made about this basic type.

  1. People do not change from one basic personality type to another.

  2. The descriptions of the personality types apply equally to men and women. No type is inherently masculine or feminine.

  3. Not everything in the description of your basic type will apply to you. People fluctuate between the healthy, average, and unhealthy traits that make up each personality type.

  4. No type is inherently better or worse than any other. 




This type is idealistic, with strong principles, needs to feel a sense of purpose and morality, believes in self-control, wants to be seen as hard-working, reliable, responsible, clean and tidy.



Threes are success oriented. They are driven, pragmatic, efficient, can be competitive and even ruthless in order to win, or to get the job done. Very concerned about self-image and how he or she looks in the eyes of others.


Called “The Giver” by Helen Palmer.

Called “The Helper” by Don Riso.

Called “The Flatterer” or “Flat” by Oscar Ichazo.

Called “Egocentric Generosity” by Claudio Naranjo


Type Two likes to be seen as caring and understanding. Enjoys a sense of special intimacy and closeness with others, can get over-involved in other people’s problems, and easily gets possessive in relationships.

Called “The Performer” by Helen Palmer.

Called “The Achiever” by Don Riso.

Called “Go” by Oscar Ichazo.

Called “Success Through Appearances” by Claudio Naranjo.

Called “The Perfectionist” by Helen Palmer.

Called “The Reformer” by Don Riso.

Called “Resent” by Oscar Ichazo.

Called “Angry Virtue” by Claudio Naranjo.


Fours are sensitive, artistic, dramatic, and easily feel misunderstood. They suffer from loneliness, enjoy melancholy feelings, envy the happiness others, and want to go deeply into personal issues. 


Called “The Tragic Romantic” by Helen Palmer.

Called “The Individualist” by Don Riso.

Called “Melancholy” or “Melon” by Oscar Ichazo.

Called “Seeking Happiness Through Pain” by Claudio Naranjo.




Fives tend to be intellectual, interested in knowledge. They feel safe when alone, withdraw when feeling stressed, easily feel overwhelmed by too many people, very perceptive, good observers, wicked sense of humour, secretive.

Called “The Observer” by Helen Palmer.

Called “The Investigator” by Don Riso.

Called “Stinge” by Oscar Ichazo.

Called “Seeking Wholeness Through Isolation” by Claudio Naranjo.


Sixes are suspicious of other people’s motives, on the lookout for trouble and problems, loyal when able to trust, pushy at work. They tend to the opposite view in any discussion and feel uncomfortable when things go too easily or well. Can be in denial of fear.


Called “The Devil’s Advocate” by Helen Palmer.

Called “The Loyalist” by Don Riso.

Called “Coward” or “Cow” by Oscar Ichazo.

Called “The Persecuted Persecutor” by Claudio Naranjo.



Sevens are busy, fun-loving, flirtatious, easily bored, easily attracted to new projects, to new people, and new sexual partners. They tend to have a short attention span, and enjoy multi-tasking, taking on several different projects at once. They love travelling.

Called “The Epicure” by Helen Palmer.

Called “The Enthusiast” by Don Riso.

Called “Planner” or “Plan” by Oscar Ichazo.

Called “Opportunistic Charlatan” by Claudio Naranjo.


The No.8 needs to be seen as strong, likes to confront people as a way to make friends or to expose the truth, but is afraid to show weakness. They are protective of others, fight for justice, enjoy intense physical activity, and tend to drink and party to excess. 


Called “The Boss” by Helen Palmer.

Called “The Challenger” by Don Riso.

Called “Venge” by Oscar Ichazo.

Called “Coming On Strong” by Claudio Naranjo.



Nine are easy going, reassuring, agreeable, enjoy harmony and dislike conflict. They are afraid of anger, and feel comfortable in routine types of work, going along with the opinions and decisions of others. But this means they tend to suppress their own opinions and desires.

Called “The Mediator” by Helen Palmer.

Called “The Peacemaker” by Don Riso.

Called “Indolent” or “In” by Oscar Ichazo.

Called “Going with the Stream” by Claudio Naranjo.



Subhuti explains how a method for enlightenment ended up in court. 


From left to right: George Gurdjieff, Oscar Ichazo, Claudio Naranjo, Helen Palmer.

By the time the bullets started flying, I had left the battlefield. I had bid farewell to Oscar Ichazo, creator of the modern Enneagram system. I had written a bitchy letter to his staff at the Arica School in New York, arrogantly informing them I was no longer interested in being an Arica trainer and was off to India to complete my spiritual education. This was 1976. A couple of years earlier, I’d been an enthusiastic, gung-ho ‘Arican’. I was convinced that Arica was going to save the world. Oscar had warned us of a great darkness that was about to fall on humanity and we, as little Arican light bulbs, would be its shining saviours. Nice, spiritually romantic idea. But there were a few problems: First, the darkness didn’t fall. Second, humanity wasn’t interested in being saved. Third, the light bulbs didn’t work. So, when an old girlfriend of mine came back from an ashram in Pune, India, wearing orange clothes and glowing with energy, I was ready to be seduced. Just kissing her was an orgasmic experience. If she hadn’t been leaning out of a train window while I was standing on the platform, and the train hadn’t started moving, I think we’d still be kissing today. Anyway, I received her energy transmission. I got the message, passed from mouth to mouth: something wonderful and slightly scary was going on in Pune. I had to go and check it out. A few weeks later, when I arrived at the ashram, I sat in front of Osho and he asked me how long I was going to stay. I heard myself reply “Forever.” Ooops! I hadn’t meant to say that, I still don’t know why I did, but it turned out to be true. I’d found the door to shunyata, divine emptiness, as well as sexual liberation, ecstatic celebration and chaotic meditation. The combination was irresistible. Fourteen years and many adventures later, I was sitting in the Pune ashram’s cafe, drinking a cup of chai, when someone handed me a book titled Enneagram: Understanding Yourself and the Others in Your Life, by Helen Palmer. “My God, I used to teach this stuff!” I exclaimed, thumbing through Palmer’s detailed description of the Enneagram’s nine personality types. “Why don’t you teach it here?” asked the book’s owner. So, I got together with another ex-Arican, who’d conveniently kept all his notes, and we did. Meanwhile, back in New York, Helen Palmer and Oscar Ichazo were locked in a legal battle that went all the way to the US Supreme Court. It’s ironic that a method for enlightenment should become a cause for combat. But then again, when you look at the world’s religious history, it’s not so surprising. So much blood has been shed in the name of spiritual truth. The Arica Institute, with Ichazo’s blessings, accused Helen Palmer of copying his Enneagram doctrine and infringing his copyright, requesting the American courts to block distribution of thousands of paperback copies of her book. The courts refused, saying that copyright law did not cover most of what Ichazo was teaching. The secrets of the Arica school had escaped into the public arena. Oscar was upset, Helen Palmer was happy and the Enneagram mushroomed into a New Age phenomenon, generating hundreds of ‘experts’, scores of trainings and dozens more books. In a way, it was Oscar’s own fault. He should have published his own book back in the early 1970s, when he had the whole system to himself. But, alas, the Bolivian-born mystic, whose native language was Spanish, had a complex and difficult way of expressing himself and was never able to write a decent book in his whole life. There was another, more profound reason, why Oscar was distressed. Whether his methods were effective, or not, Ichazo was a genuine mystic. He wanted to help people become enlightened. He knew that the ego blocked the path to cosmic consciousness and believed that the Enneagram’s description of the nine ego-fixation points could dissolve this basic obstacle. In other words, as Ichazo explained to us, if we could see the ego clearly enough, in its raw, naked form, it would collapse, opening an inner space for the manifestation of our Divine Essence. Poor Oscar! He obviously had no idea how stubborn and adaptable the human ego can be. The ego is the all-time survival expert – I speak from personal experience. For example, when I was informed by an Arica trainer in New York that I was Ego Plan, Type Seven, my ego took a massive hit. For a while, I was in a kind of daze, shocked to my core at this revelation of how my ego functioned. The implication was a sobering indictment of my ideas about individuality, personal freedom and state of consciousness. If a system of personality typing could so accurately describe my behaviour, then what did that make me? A walking, talking, pre-programmed robot? It was a powerful experience. But pretty soon, like other Aricans whom I knew, my ego had recovered from this knock-out blow, climbed back off the floor, and was again in business. After all, I had a new identity. Now I was an Arican, a Plan, a Seven, feeling spiritually superior to the rest of our sleepy humanity and happily giving Enneagram sessions to everyone around me. But, as I say, Oscar was a mystic and his intentions were good. He’d wanted to keep the Enneagram system secret, because he knew it worked best as a tool for ego-reduction within the intense atmosphere of a closed school. Helen Palmer, on the other hand, was no mystic. She’d made sociological studies of the nine personality types, describing their difficulties and making suggestions how to smooth out the rough edges. It was the exact opposite of what Ichazo had intended. He wanted to destroy the ego. Palmer was telling people how to improve it. But how did Palmer get hold of the Enneagram in the first place? Come to think of it, how did Ichazo get hold of it? Let’s back up and take a look. The Enneagram, as many people know, is an ancient symbol. It was brought to the attention of modern Europeans by George Gurdjieff, the Armenian mystic, who claimed it represented the laws of the universe. He used the symbol mainly in music and dance. He also asserted that every individual possessed a “chief characteristic”, but at no time did he mention nine personality types or try to relate these types to the Enneagram symbol. Gurdjieff had visited many Sufi schools as a young man – documented in his book Meetings with Remarkable Men – so it was assumed he’d learned the symbol from them. Now it seems more likely that it was taught to him, as a boy, by his tutors, who were esoterically inclined monks, belonging to the Greek Orthodox tradition of the Christian faith. At this point, we find ourselves in historical regression, because the next question is: where did these monks get the symbol? They seemed to have inherited it from a group of early Christian mystics, living in Egypt, called the ‘Desert Fathers’, who may, or may not, have linked the Enneagram symbol to the so-called Seven Deadly Sins, adding two more for good measure, making nine in all: anger, pride, deceit, envy, avarice, fear, gluttony, lust and sloth. This, however, is not the beginning of the story. The Desert Fathers, being mostly Greeks, may have picked up the symbol from the teachings of Ancient Greeks like Pythagoras, Plato and Plotinus. However, even if all this is true, Oscar Ichazo denied that he got the Enneagram symbol from Gurdjieff, so there was no clear line of continuity. So, where did he get it? For a while, all kinds of exotic rumours buzzed around the Arica School in New York. My favourite one went like this: Oscar had undertaken a dangerous solo pilgrimage through remote areas of the Hindu Kush Mountains, in Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan, meeting with secret Sufi schools, including the fabled Sarmoun Brotherhood, and had received their sacred knowledge. Actually, the truth was more mundane: he got it from his uncle’s library. In a 1996 magazine interview, Ichazo explained that when he was 12-13 years old, he inherited an esoteric library from his uncle Julio, who was a philosopher. Since he’d been having frightening, out-of-body experiences from the age of six, Ichazo hungrily devoured these books, hoping to find reassuring answers for his paranormal states. He came across the Enneagram symbol while studying an ancient text from the Chaldean civilization, which existed around 600 BC, in what is now known as Iraq, and whose citizens appear to have been fascinated by numbers. For example, the Chaldean system of numerology is considered to be more accurate, with more mystical depth, than the more widely known Pythagorean numerology. So, it makes sense that an intrinsically mathematical symbol like the Enneagram would be embraced as part of their metaphysics. And where, might one ask, did the Chaldeans get the symbol? Nobody knows and we cannot ask them, because in 536 BC, Cyrus the Great crushed their little realm, adding it to his ever-expanding Persian Empire. Meanwhile, returning to the twentieth century, Oscar Ichazo, studying in his library, also found evidence of the symbol in the teachings of certain Sufi schools and in the more recent Theosophical movement. By the age of 18, Ichazo had joined a group of Theosophists in Buenos Aires who discussed all kinds of esoteric issues, including Gurdjieff’s secret sources and the meaning of the Enneagram symbol. Ichazo soaked up all this information like a sponge and by his mid-twenties possessed a vast store of knowledge. As a culmination, the unique idea of placing nine ego types on the Enneagram symbol seemed at first to be shrouded in esoteric mystery, since it was rumoured that Ichazo had received this information in the form of a vision, channelling a couple of disembodied entities: the Archangel Metatron, and a Sufi entity, the Green Qutub. This sounds bizarre, if we envisage these entities to be blond-haired angels flapping their golden wings amid white puffy clouds. But perhaps, to Ichazo, these were states of consciousness. Metatron represented a function of higher mind, which gave Ichazo the blueprint of his whole Arica system, while the Green Qutub personified surrender to divine will and receiving baraka, the energy of divine grace. Just to make it clear, Ichazo himself later dismissed any esoteric interpretation, by stating, “I did not receive this material from any archangel or entity whatsoever, but that it was the fruit of a long, careful, and dedicated study of the human psyche and the main problems of philosophy and theology.” So far, so good. By whatever method of revelation, Ichazo was the creator and founder of the Enneagram system of nine personality types. However, as is often the case with mystics, problems began for Ichazo when he started to teach his knowledge to others. As long as he confined himself to esoteric groups in South America, things went pretty well. But, in 1970, he invited a group of Americans from the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, to participate in a three-month training in the town of Arica, Chile. This, by the way, is how Oscar’s school got its name, because it began with the training in this obscure city. Among those who answered the call was Claudio Naranjo, a Chilean-born psychiatrist who was living and working in the United States. Naranjo was bearded, brainy and hungry. He was no ordinary psychiatrist. He’d trained in Gestalt Therapy with Fritz Perls, dabbled in psychedelic drugs and was obsessed with contacting the elusive Sarmoun Brotherhood, whom Gurdjieff said possessed great secrets of human transformation. Astonished by the range of Ichazo’s knowledge, Naranjo was convinced the Bolivian knew the whereabouts of this mysterious Sufi school. But Naranjo never learned the brotherhood’s postcode from Oscar, which is hardly surprising because it never existed in the first place. Most researchers agree that it was one of Gurdjieff’s artfully created fictions, typical of the way he amused himself by feeding the human mind’s fascination with secret organizations and hidden knowledge. Later in life, Naranjo was asked directly if he had found the Sarmoun Brotherhood. He replied “yes” but I suspect he was just trying to save face, not wishing to confess that he’d been chasing a phantom for so many years. After the training in Chile, Ichazo decided it was time to take his teaching to the United States. He flew to New York and set up his new school in the middle of Manhattan. I still remember the address: 24 West 57th. We called it ‘GHQ’, short for ‘general headquarters’, the hub of a growing network of Arica branches that spread through the US and Europe. Meanwhile, Naranjo had returned to Berkeley, California, where he began to develop psychological profiles of the nine ego fixation points. He also began to give lectures on the subject. Oscar Ichazo was not happy about this. He’d already criticised Naranjo on several occasions for being overly intellectual and was worried that his precious Enneagram would now be distorted. As it turned out, Naranjo’s eagerness to adopt the Enneagram as his own brainchild was nothing compared to the predatory instincts of the people who attended his lectures. Among those present at Naranjo’s discourses were Helen Palmer, a Jesuit priest called Bob Oakes, Hameed Ali (who adopted the pen name A H Almaas) and Faisal Muqaddam. All of them would catch the Enneagram ball thrown to them by Naranjo and run with it, developing their own systems, writing their own books, offering their own trainings. Later, Naranjo would complain to journalists that his precious ideas had been stolen by these people without giving him credit. How ironic! Naranjo, it seems, was incapable of seeing how he’d done exactly the same thing to Ichazo. Indeed, Naranjo even went so far as to claim that it was he, not Ichazo, who’d developed the psychological dimension of the Enneagram. This is simply untrue. Back in 1974, when I was participating in a training at the Arica Institute in New York, we were given psychological profiles of all nine types as part of our instruction, coming directly from Ichazo. Certainly, Naranjo developed these profiles further, fleshing out the psychological aspects of each ego fixation point, but even then, it seems he relied heavily on the input of his students, including talented people like Sandra Maitri, who later wrote her own book, The Spiritual Enneagram. With each fixation, Naranjo gave his students key phrases – gleaned from his studies with Ichazo – inviting them to develop the type description further, expanding and amplifying their significance. Helen Palmer adopted a different strategy, using extensive interviews and sociological studies, providing an even broader view of each type’s behaviour and attitudes. But the source of all this was unquestionably Ichazo himself. For this reason, it seems to me that Oscar could have won the court case, if he’d been a bit more street savvy. But in some ways he was his own worst enemy. When asked by the court to describe his Enneagram theory, he replied, “It is not a theory. It is a fact.” “Well, you can’t copyright a fact,” the court replied. Case dismissed. In reality, of course, it was a theory. But Ichazo was so insistent on asserting the objective reality of his precious system that he ended up shooting himself in the foot. However, he did succeed in persuading Palmer’s publishers to insert a notice at the beginning of her book, saying, in a nutshell, that her book had nothing to do with his original Enneagram system. In 1990, Naranjo published a book about the Enneagram system, titled Ennea Type Structures, consisting of a dense labyrinth of psychological terms, mixed thickly with Christian theology. His book didn’t do well in the marketplace for the simple reason that few people could understand what he was talking about. However, not wishing to slag the guy too harshly, I’m told that his other books on spirituality and psychology are more simple to read. It was Helen Palmer, publishing her easy-to-read book around the same time, who blew the doors to the mainstream wide open and successfully introduced the Enneagram to the general public. Meanwhile, a Jesuit student called Don Riso had beaten everyone in the race to the book stores. He’d read Bob Oakes’ notes from Naranjo and promptly wrote his own book, titled Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery. With these two books, penned by Palmer and Riso, the modern Bibles of the popularized Enneagram faith were born. Each step away from Ichazo had diluted the power of the system, making it tamer and more palatable, and when an amusing book, illustrated with cartoons, titled The Enneagram Made Easy was published by two of Palmer’s students, the social sanitization process was complete. Only a Disney movie about the nine types would now render it more cosily impotent. Which brings me back to that moment in the cafe, in Pune, in 1990, when someone handed me Helen Palmer’s book and suggested I should start teaching the Enneagram in the ashram. I had no problem with it. After all, I’d learned the system from Ichazo, so I had the original teaching in my hands. More importantly, I now had a much wider spiritual context in which to place it. Osho was giving us a vision of spirituality that went beyond anything devised by Ichazo: a vision that began in meditation and ended in No Mind. In other words, one can study everything that Ichazo, Naranjo, Almaas, Faisal and Palmer have to offer in the way of psychological, philosophical and spiritual concepts, and still come up short. Why? Because, as Osho explained many times in his discourses, the ultimate spiritual experience lies beyond anything the mind can conceive. It is beyond the realm of thinking. It is beyond the realm of self. It is an experience of silence, emptiness, infinite space. Try writing a book about nothingness. Even the inventive creativity of those who have plagiarised Oscar Ichazo’s Enneagram system would have a hard time doing that. To me, the Enneagram is a handy tool for self-understanding and that’s why I continue to teach it. It has helped me get to know my personality and is a useful way of watching my mind, as it jumps through its usual hoops. I can recommend it to anyone. But its deepest value lies within the context of meditation. That is the turning point, at which self-understanding becomes spiritual transformation.




Standing in the doorway of the train compartment, the young girl watched scornfully as Ron Weasley tried to turn the colour of his pet rat from brown to yellow with a magic trick. “Are you sure that’s a real spell? Well, it’s not very good, is it?” she commented sceptically, after a small explosion, which did nothing to the rat, but gave Ron a blackened nose. She continued, “Of course, I only try simple spells, but they usually work for me.” Pulling out her magic wand, she entered the compartment, sat down opposite Harry Potter and uttered the spell “Oculus Reparo!” instantly mending Potter's cracked glasses. Only then did she introduce herself. "I'm Hermione Granger," she announced, peering out from under her massive fringe of hair. "You two had better change into robes. I expect will be arriving soon," she added, having already put on her own magician's gown. Getting up to leave, she reached the door, turned around and looked at Ron in a slightly disgusted manner. "You've got dirt on your nose, by the way, did you know?" she told him, then abruptly departed. A short while later, at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hermione confided, “I’ve learned all the course books by heart, of course. I just hope it will be enough." Serious, hard-working and contemptuous of those more frivolous than herself, such is the character of Hermione Granger, the child heroine of the hugely successful Harry Potter books and films. Hermione, as everyone who has followed the seven-part series knows, became best friends with Harry and Ron, and together the three of them defied and defeated the evil magician, Voldemort. From the perspective of the Enneagram system of nine personality types, there isn't much doubt which strategy Hermione has adopted. This young lady is a Perfectionist. She has ‘One’ written all over her. Author J K Rowling might not know anything about the Enneagram, but she certainly knows how a perfectionist thinks and acts. Ones do their homework and rigidly stick to the rules - at least, until higher priorities require them to disobey them. "I hope you're pleased with yourselves," said Hermione, disapprovingly, after Harry and Ron had messed up again. "Now, if you two don't mind, I'm going to bed, before either of you come up with another clever idea to get us killed - or worse, expelled." Her unintentional humour at making expulsion from school seem worse than dying is a well-scripted insight into the minds of perfectionists, who find the prospect of being publicly shamed far worse than suddenly expiring in a magical mishap. Another quality of Ones is a willingness to work hard and, in one of Rowling's books, Hermione uses a time-rewinding device to study three different subjects at the same time at Hogwarts. Type Threes, being high achievers, also have this trait, but their motivation is different: Threes want to be successful and don’t really care how they get there, while Ones worry about making mistakes and want to make sure they know their subject as thoroughly as possible. Not surprisingly, Ron Weasley sometimes called Hermione a 'know-it-all', but her thirst for knowledge did come in handy when the trio were in a tight spot. "Honestly, am I the only person who’s ever bothered to read 'Hogwarts, A History'?” she asked crossly, when providing Ron and Harry with much-needed information. "Probably," muttered Ron, with grudging admiration. For Ones, their strong moral obligation to do things the right way carries with it, like a shadow, a well concealed, slow-burning anger, directed at those whom they judge as imperfect or immoral. This was why Oscar Ichazo, founder of the Enneagram personality system, named this type ‘Resent’, his shorthand term for ‘resentment’. From the beginning, Hermione had this quality, but, like most Ones, she struggled to keep it in check. When she finally exploded, in her third year at Hogwarts, it was bad guy Draco Malfoy who felt the force of it – in the form of a well-delivered punch on the jaw. Looking at the Potter movies through the window of the Enneagram, what makes the portrayal of Hermione doubly enjoyable is the fact that her character is played by Emma Watson, who is also a One. This gives a new twist to the old showbiz expression “type casting”. Watson was just nine years old when she landed the part. The daughter of two English lawyers, she was sent to the prestigious Dragon School in Oxfordshire and at the age of six told her parents she wanted to be an actress. Obligingly, they sent her for part-time lessons to the local branch of Stagecoach Theatre Arts. Her breakthrough came when one of her teachers referred her to casting agents for the role of Hermione and, when J K Rowling saw her, the author supported the choice. From the very first movie, titled “Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone”, Emma Watson was praised for her portrayal of Hermione. As the series progressed, Daniel Radcliffe, as Harry Potter, got mixed reviews, but Watson always did well, won awards, and was complimented for 'carrying' the bland Radcliffe through his role. Ten years later, when the Potter film series was completed, Emma Watson had mutated from child to teenager to young woman. But her onscreen confidence, evident through all eight movies, concealed her self-criticism and the high standard she requires of herself. "I’m not a worrier, but I’m a perfectionist," she reflected, in a press interview. "The thing is, feeling like I didn’t do the best job I could have. I will always be able to find something wrong, something I can do better." This is a classic One view of life: the need to always strive to improve and never quite reaching the impossibly high standard that Perfectionists set for themselves. It's speculation, of course, but looking for the source of Watson's decision as a child to adopt the One strategy, it might well have been the busy and successful lifestyle of her lawyer-parents, combined with the underlying expectation that their daughter needed to work hard if she wanted to be like them. There is also the fascinating possibility that it was through playing the role of perfectionist Hermione that Watson adopted it as her own strategy. It’s unlikely, though, since most children create their ego-fixation well before the age of nine, when she won the role. After the Potter movies, Emma Watson put herself through university, graduating at the age of 24 with a bachelor's degree in English Literature. She also got herself certified as a teacher of yoga and meditation. These days, she is recognised as an accomplished actress and won praise for her portrayal of Belle, the heroine, in a remake of the classic fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast". The movie was a huge success, becoming one of the highest-grossing film of all time. Playing a heroic female character might seem easy, but Watson made it clear she had to work for it. “There were so many new things that I was taking on with the role,” she said on a TV talk show. “I'd never done a musical before, I'd never sung publicly before, I've never ridden a horse before, I'd never danced in a movie before. “So, I kind of went into this boot camp for three months before we started shooting, which was like: singing four times a week, dancing five times a week, riding three times a week. Watson added: “In the prep, the build-up to the shooting, I really felt the pressure from that: not just from me loving those films (previous versions), but knowing how much this character means to so many people.” Here, we see the Perfectionist’s concern, not just to meet their own standard of competence, but also taking on a feeling of responsibility towards others – trying hard not to let people down. When asked about awards for her role, Watson made it clear she has higher priorities. "I couldn't care less if I won an Oscar or not, if the movie didn’t say something that I felt was important for people to hear," she replied. Emma Watson has also pushed her sense of social responsibility in other directions, branching out from acting and modelling into the realm of social activism, campaigning for women’s rights. In a speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York in 2014, Watson said that she began questioning gender-based assumptions at age eight when she was called "bossy" (a trait she has attributed to her perfectionism) while boys were not, and at 14 when she was "sexualized by certain elements of the media.” This reflects the tendency of Ones to dedicate themselves to worthwhile causes. First, they have to be convinced of the correctness of a cause, then they will throw their energy into it, taking satisfaction in a job well done. Meanwhile, in her personal life, Watson has been fiercely protective, trying to avoid the paparazzi and gossip columns as much as possible. “I really draw a super-conscious line between what is public and what is private and that has helped me maintain a certain degree of sanity,” she confided in an interview. “Because having people wade in and giving an opinion on absolutely everything about me would just destroy me as a human being.” Again, this concern for privacy isn’t just for herself, but out of a sense of responsibility towards her boyfriends. "I don't date people who are famous and I don't think it's fair that, all of a sudden, intimate details of their personal life are public as a direct result of me. I wish I could protect them,” she explained." Naturally, Emma Watson has done her share of television interviews and its indicative of her type that she always appears fresh-faced and neatly dressed, looking clean, calm and clear - just how Ones like themselves to be seen. Of course, any female star will want to look her best in front of the TV cameras, but Ones tend to make an extra effort to create a squeaky clean image. This arises out of a deep, unconscious fear of not really being okay inside – that original feeling of ‘wrongness’ that caused Ones to set out on the path to perfection. Perhaps more than any of the nine Enneagram types, perfectionism is understood and accepted in society as a common psychological characteristic. Lots of people experience it from time to time, but they are not all Ones. So, where does perfectionism come from? Like many Western traits, it can be blamed on Ancient Greeks like Aristotle and Plato, whose philosophical musings included the notion that human beings can – and perhaps should - be better-behaved than they actually are. Strains of this attitude can be found in later philosophers like Saint Augustine, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, and John Stuart Mill. Isaac Newton, the father of modern science, was said to be so afraid of criticism, that in 1704 he removed his name from the title page of one of his own works, when he found printing errors in the text. Michelangelo, the greatest sculptor of all time, is said to have despaired of ever reaching the idealized standard he set himself. During the past century, perfectionism has also been recognized as a form of neurosis. According to psychologists, “normal” perfectionists can pursue their ideals without losing self-esteem if they fail. On the other hand, “neurotic” perfectionists are prone to strive for unrealistic goals and feel dissatisfied or depressed when they cannot reach them. For her part, Emma Watson’s self-esteem seems healthy enough. Even though she fears public criticism, she doesn’t let it stand in her way. On the contrary, when criticized, she fights back fiercely to defend herself. Just this year, when she modelled for Vanity Fair magazine, Watson came under fire for posing almost topless. Critics accused her of compromising her campaign for feminism and gender equality. Watson hit back in typical One style, delivering a lecture on feminism, keeping her feet firmly on the moral high ground and making her critics seemed wrong: “It just always reveals to me how many misconceptions and what a misunderstanding there is about what feminism is,” she said. “Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it.” By the way, a little footnote on another famous One: the former UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. At first glance, it seems easy to categorize Thatcher as an Eight, because of her notoriously bossy nature and the nickname given to her by her fearful male colleagues: “Attila the Hen.” But physically, this did not make sense. Thatcher lacked the typically round and robust body type of the Eight, and her strong sense of duty, principle and self-righteousness marked her as a One. Thatcher was a right-wing politician driven by unshakeable social convictions that stemmed from her conservative and “proper” upbringing. The daughter of a shopkeeper, she felt people should work hard and succeed through their own efforts, without over-spending, or relying on government subsidies. On becoming Prime Minister, she slashed government spending, reducing the national debt by half, and sought to liberate the free-market economy from legislative restraint. Morally certain of her policies, she cut Britain’s welfare budgets, then broke the power of the trade unions. At first, her policies were unpopular, and her ratings sank, but when her political allies in Westminster suggested making a U-turn, she scornfully replied: “You turn if you want to. This lady’s not for turning.” Thatcher’s popularity was saved by her militant response to the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentinian troops in 1982. While everyone in the British Government assumed she would use diplomacy to protest, Thatcher’s moral certainty of the need to protect British sovereignty meant she felt fully justified in sending a battle fleet to get the islands back. Her victory, hard won by British troops, assured her popularity for years to come.



collyparton copy.jpg

To enthusiastic applause from the audience, Dolly Parton, the well-known American country singer, walked onto the stage at the Chicago television studios. She was welcomed by her equally famous hostess, Oprah Winfrey. Oprah began the interview by saying that when her plane landed at the city's airport the previous evening, the airport staff were still excitedly talking about Dolly's arrival, which had happened a couple of hours earlier. Jokingly, Oprah implied that Dolly's arrival made far more impact than her own. Immediately, Dolly turned the compliment around, telling Oprah "Well, they were all excited because a lot of people in the airport knew I was here to do your show, and they're real proud of you here in Chicago – as they should be." Naturally, the audience burst into applause. Oprah then handed Dolly another compliment, saying she'd always wanted to do this interview because Dolly Parton's down-to-earth honesty reminded her very much of herself. Dolly smoothly accepted the comparison, then deepened the sense of intimacy between the two women by saying "I've heard a lot of people say that you and me are alike. I have a movie production company and one of the things I've been trying to get somebody to develop, or come up with an idea, is something for me and you to do in a movie together." This was followed by another enthusiastic round of applause from the audience. The interview happened in 2010. Dolly Parton was 64 years old and had been in the entertainment business almost all her life, starting as a song-writer for others, then evolving into a singer herself. Of course, the repartee with Oprah was pure showbiz – a couple of well-known celebrities helping each other to shine in front of the television cameras. But the nature of the dialogue also revealed Dolly Parton's style as an Enneagram Type Two personality. Twos excel at flattery and, when they wish to do so, have a natural ability to make others feel important. They also have a knack for rapidly creating a sense of intimacy with their chosen target, and making people feel heard, seen and understood. And thus, within minutes of appearing on one of America's most popular television talk shows, Dolly Parton had succeeded in bonding closely with Oprah and making it seem like they'd been friends forever. Twos love this feeling of creating a special connection. After all, this is the basic purpose of the strategy that female Twos develop in childhood: to feel safe through knowing they are "daddy's little princess" and that he will always love, cherish and protect them. For male Twos, it’s more about being “mommy’s little prince” but the strategy is the same. It is a form of seduction, rooted in a lack of self-worth, which in turn creates an early understanding that love and affection have to be earned by meeting other people’s needs. This continues into adult behaviour. Twos intuitively mould themselves to fit your idea of the perfect partner and this can create problems, especially for female Twos. Their talent for creating closeness can easily send the wrong signals to the men they attract. Attractive female Twos frequently report that guys start thinking “Oh wow, this woman wants to go to bed with me,” when sex is not even on their radar screen. The bottom line is: Twos want you to appreciate them for being open, caring and friendly, but they don't necessarily want to go to bed with you. They are more interested in personal attention than in sexual intercourse. Dolly Parton certainly validates this point. Her extremely large breasts have always been one of her main features and over the years have attracted lots of attention, including speculation about how much silicon has been added to boost her natural charms. "It takes a lot of money to look this cheap!" she once joked, referring to the cost of repeated cosmetic surgery. Especially in modern times, women’s breasts have been culturally enshrined as symbols of love, sexuality and nourishment. In Dolly’s case, such large breasts attached to such a small body seem to deliver a message and a promise: “I have so much to give you!” she announces to the world. This is very much in tune with the Type Two personality, which some pundits refer to as “The Giver.” But whatever is promised by Dolly Parton’s appearance isn’t delivered in sexual terms to anyone except her husband. Parton married Nashville businessman Carl Dean way back in 1966 and they have remained together ever since. “He knows I’m a flirt and a tease, but it’s harmless,” she told Oprah. “I’ve never met the man that would take his place.” In 1980, Dolly Parton starred in an American comedy movie, called "9 to 5", in which the problems of being a female Two were caricatured onscreen. Parton played a voluptuous blonde secretary who was being sexually harassed by her boss. The paradox of wanting to be sexually attractive and yet not wanting to be sexually molested came across loud and clear, as Parton tried to defend herself against her boss’s crude advances. Then, with two other secretaries, played by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, she plotted revenge. But Parton is no dumb blonde. She wrote and recorded the movie's theme song, "9 to 5", which became a major hit. This unusual song, which complains about the way wealthy businessmen exploit their workers, can claim to be one of the most effective indictments of modern capitalism ever put to music. In fact, had it been recorded a few decades earlier, in the heyday of anti-communist witch hunts in America, led by the notorious Senator Joe McCarthy, Dolly might have gotten into trouble with the Un-American Activities Committee. Parton captured the essence of financial exploitation in a few lines: Nine to five, they’ve got you where they want you, There’s a better life, and you think about it, don’t you? It's a rich man's game, no matter what you call it, And you spend your life putting money in his pocket. Due to her success as a singer, plus her solid performances as an actress, Parton, who started life as a "dirt poor" Tennessee farm girl, is now herself playing a rich man's game. She is currently thought to be worth around US $650 million. And yet, due mainly to the warmth of her personality and intimate style, she successfully portrays herself as a woman of the people. The song “Jolene”, which in 1973 gave Dolly Parton her breakthrough to stardom, was written by Parton herself and is interesting from an Enneagram perspective, because it carries a distinctly Twoish flavour. In it, she is pleading with another woman not to take away her man. The song begins with a flattering description of her rival, in which Parton freely admits she cannot compete with the other woman’s looks: “Your beauty is beyond compare With flaming locks of auburn hair With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green. Your smile is like a breath of spring Your voice is soft like summer rain And I cannot compete with you, Jolene.” Then she describes the pain of knowing that her man is already attracted to Jolene: “He talks about you in his sleep There's nothing I can do to keep From crying when he calls your name, Jolene, And I can easily understand How you could easily take my man But you don't know what he means to me, Jolene.” In the hook line, repeated through the song, Parton makes it clear that she is giving all the power to the other woman, combined with a plea: “Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene I'm begging of you please don't take my man. Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene Please don't take him just because you can.” As an intuitive Two, Parton, in her song, reaches out to the other woman at a level of vulnerability that is unusual, because the normal reaction in such a situation is to either give up, run away, fight, compete, cry and weep, blame the boyfriend…and so on. Instead, Parton flatters her rival and surrenders before her beauty, as way of trying to save her relationship – an approach that has “Two” written all over it. Of course, the situation in the song is fiction. Parton isn’t really in this kind of trouble. But her feeling for the song may well have arisen out of her experience of the Two strategy. Parton’s other massive hit of the Seventies, which she wrote one year later, was titled “I Will Always Love You” and also has a distinctly Twoish flavour. It was her tribute and farewell to Porter Wagoner, a country singer who had been hugely influential in helping Dolly’s early career. By the way, almost two decades later, Whitney Houston recorded Parton’s song for the 1992 movie “The Bodyguard” and it became one of the best-selling singles of all time. Apart from Dolly Parton, Twos are not found so frequently among the ranks of famous people, since their natural tendency is to choose supportive roles, either as love partners or personal assistants. Rather than taking the front seat themselves, they feel more comfortable leaning forward from the row behind and softly whispering words of encouragement in the ear of their chosen partner. The classic stereotype from the past is the powerful male chief executive of the corporation accompanied everywhere by his female secretary, a Two, who knows exactly what he needs at any given moment. These day, however, gender roles are more flexible. Speaking of gender, most Enneagram pundits agree that Twos are more common among women than men, because it is an intuitive, feeling strategy that lends itself to the female psyche. Among men, former President Jimmy Carter is regularly typed as a Two, because of his lifelong humanitarian attitudes, his empathy with disenfranchised minorities, and his efforts to improve poor peoples’ living standards around the world. Elizabeth Taylor, the Hollywood actress, is widely considered to have been a Two, although this assessment seems to be based mainly on Taylor’s track record of having been married eight times to seven men. Certainly, in her stormy relationship with British actor Richard Burton, Taylor was a devotional partner and played a supportive role in his career. But even Twos have limits and eventually Burton’s explosive character and alcohol addiction caused her to break up with him. Taylor and Burton made several films together, including the ground-breaking 1966 movie “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf”, a brutal portrayal of a middle-aged couple locked in a deteriorating relationship. Elizabeth Taylor’s Academy Award winning performance as the bitchy Martha might well be seen as the vindictive revenge of a Two, who failed to get what she wanted through flattery and manipulation, and has now shifted to bossy behaviour as a last resort. Taylor and Burton had met two years earlier, in 1964. They fell in love while making the epic movie “Cleopatra”, documenting the love affair between the legendary Queen of Egypt and Roman general Mark Anthony. Here, Taylor found herself in the interesting position of being a Two playing a Two, since Queen Cleopatra is also considered to have chosen this strategy as a child, using her bonding skills to survive all kinds of dynastic intrigues among Egypt’s ruling Ptolemaic family. First, Cleopatra ruled with her father, then with her two brothers, one of whom she married, and then by herself. As an adult woman, she sought to protect her throne by seducing two Roman conquerors, Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. Pop superstar Madonna is often tagged as a Two, because while building her career, she became lovers with a succession of influential men in the music industry. But you don’t necessarily qualify as a Two just because you share your bed. Madonna’s personality lacks natural empathy with others and she looks much more comfortable in the Three category as the Performer (see separate article). Elvis Presley has also been named a Two, mainly because of his long, symbiotic relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. But when you study their relationship, Presley comes over as a weak-willed Nine, who for years was just going along with whatever “the colonel” decided was good for his career. Parker was a classic Eight and, true to type, a bullying manager. Born in Holland, he was an illegal immigrant to the United States and for this reason never allowed Presley to tour abroad. Parker had no US passport and was afraid that his true nationality would be discovered while crossing America’s borders. Parker even persuaded Presley to turn down a $10 million offer to perform in Saudi Arabia and, after mildly objecting, Presley just caved in. Sad to say, the mighty King of Rock ‘n Roll was a good musician but a spineless wimp. Two more candidates need mentioning here: Mother Teresa has been typed as Two, because of her charitable work for the poor in India, but she exudes no warmth, intuitive empathy, or seductiveness. It is more likely she was a One, rigidly doing her duty while piling up credit in the after-life. Mary Magdalene, the famous Jerusalem prostitute, became a follower of Jesus and bathed his feet in expensive perfume. Her generous and devotional manner fits into the giver category and as such Magdalene may well have been a Two. There is a classic scene, after Jesus’ crucifixion, in which Mary is standing outside the cave, in the Garden of Gethsemane, weeping for her dead Lord. To her delight, Jesus appears before her, revealing that he is not dead, but he cautions her, “Do not cling to me.” It’s something all Twos need to watch: the tendency to cling, believing that over-giving can somehow perpetuate a relationship that in the other partner’s perspective has radically changed. Let’s give Dolly the last word. In her 1992 movie, “Straight Talk”, Parton plays a character called Shirlee Kenyon, who hosts a call-in radio program, giving personal advice on the air to those who seek it. New to the job, one of Shirlee’s first callers is a deep-voiced man who says he is considering having a sex change and wants to know if she thinks it’s a good idea. Remember, this was about twenty years before the so-called ‘transgender tipping point’ in America when it became more socially acceptable to switch between the male and female genders. What would Parton say? How could she bond with the caller without condemning him, rudely dismissing him, or, at the other extreme, risk offending her mainstream listeners by appearing to support him? After a moment’s hesitation, Parton replies: “Well Gary, if you’re sure that’s what you really want, all I can say is don’t try to perm your own hair and don’t wear high heels on a soggy lawn!”




The word "performer", which Enneagram author Helen Palmer calls the Enneagram Type Three, certainly applies to Madonna, commonly referred to as the "Queen of Pop" and the best-selling female singer of all time. In the Enneagram system of nine personality types, however, the term "performer" has a different meaning. It refers to children who learn at an early age that love and attention come their way when they can demonstrate to their parents – and others – what they can accomplish. This becomes their main focus. Achieving becomes the path to a promised land where success, praise and recognition are showered upon them. So it's not surprising that Threes tend to be ambitious, driven and image-oriented. In this sense, the word "performer" does not refer to musical onstage talent, although it certainly includes it. Rather, it indicates a more general ability to perform well and produce results in any field in which Threes have chosen to excel. It could be anything, from fixing a problem in the house to becoming captain of the school swimming team. Most Enneagram buffs type Madonna as a Three and it's easy to see why. In a moment of humorous, self-mockery, the singer once said "I have the same goal I've had ever since I was a girl. I want to rule the world." But such ambition takes hard work and Madonna has never shied away from it. At school in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, she was an exhibitionist, doing cartwheels and headstands in the corridors to show the boys her knickers – a personality trait she certainly emphasized as a star – but she also studied hard and always got good grades. She attended college in Michigan but dropped out in 1978 to head for New York City with the dream of becoming a dancer. She threw herself into the task, waiting tables to earn a buck, taking classes, joining off-Broadway dance troupes, gaining experience as a backup singer and dancer, then mutating to singing and song writing. Maybe this is timely moment to insert a couple of Madonna quotes that reflect her Three character, including this, one of her most memorable: “I’m tough, I’m ambitious and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” Like the American “you can do it” philosophy that surrounded her, Madonna declared, “No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change. You can always become a better version of yourself.” Using sex as a stepping-stone has been a not-so-secret weapon for many women, almost since time began, and Madonna dated a series of musicians, DJs, artists and record label managers, all of whom somehow proved useful to her career. After her breakthrough, with hits like "Holiday" and her massive global chart buster "Like a Virgin", Madonna didn't slow down. Whenever it looked like the public was getting tired of her, she reinvented herself with new singing styles, new clothing fashions, new movies. Her priority was to stay at the top of her profession, not to stay loyal to any particular personal style, and this typifies the Three’s sense of priorities. She could detect changes in the public’s mood, not by knowing what kind of new ideas people wanted, but by sensing what they were growing tired of hearing or seeing. For example, her 1984 “Virgin” dress style of lace tops, fish-net tights and long, dangling crucifix necklaces, created a whole fashion trend, with thousands of young women imitating her. Two years later, it was all thrown out of the window, when Madonna sang “Papa Don’t Preach” in a video featuring herself with brutally cropped hair, plain clothes and a taut, muscular body. Any of the Enneagram types can be aware of fashion changes, but with Madonna there was a cool efficiency, almost a ruthlessness, about the way she mutated and manipulated her image. In March 1994, after releasing a spate of sexually explicit albums, books and films, she appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, who insulted her by introducing her as a woman who had “slept with Hollywood’s finest”. Madonna retaliated by and using four-letter words like "fuck" many times on his show, to Letterman’s obvious discomfort. The horrified critics agreed: this time she'd gone too far. Her career was over. But Madonna mutated once more, presenting a new, softer, more subdued image in her songs, fashion outfits and public appearances. Soon, all was forgiven and she was as successful as she'd ever been. Relationships have been important for this star, but always took second place to her career. In later years, one man hopped out of bed, and out of her life, when he discovered she slept every night in a plastic bag to keep slim by sweating off kilos during her sleep. Such was her dedication to her public image. Where did it all begin for Madonna? She had a rough start to life. Her mother died of cancer when she was five and her father, on whom she was leaning heavily for emotional warmth, shocked and dismayed her by marrying his housekeeper three years later. Not surprisingly, the young Madonna disconnected from her emotions and poured everything into "making it". Striving for success became her lifeline. Public recognition substituted for parental care, and here we can glimpse the underlying fear of all Threes: if they aren't succeeding, then they are convinced they are unlovable and worthless. The former US president, John F. Kennedy, is also generally considered to have been a Three, and it’s not hard to see why. Kennedy did not become a politician out of personal conviction to certain beliefs. He was driven with an ambition to succeed and so navigated his way by shifting his concerns and allegiances to suit the political territory. For example, as Senator for Massachusetts, Kennedy was sympathetic to trade unions and their labour rights. But when he ran for president, he shrewdly picked Senator Lyndon Johnson as his running mate to help him win votes in the American South. This infuriated the union bosses, because Johnson was widely perceived as anti-union. As we saw with Madonna, a successful-looking public image is of critical importance to Threes, which, indeed, is why Claudio Naranjo named the Three type “Success Through Appearances”. Nowhere was this more evident than in the ground-breaking American television debate, the first of its kind, held in September 1960, between two presidential candidates: Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard Nixon. Nixon looked tired from campaigning, was running a fever, wore a suit that faded into the background and looked at the reporters who asked the questions, rather than into the TV cameras. Kennedy, on the other hand, looked very smart, young and fresh, well prepared with his answers and looked directly at the national TV audience via the cameras. It is argued that this debate turned the tide in favour of Kennedy, who, up until this moment, was lagging behind Nixon in the election polls. And, as everyone knows, the election itself, one of the closest ever fought, was narrowly won by Kennedy. One other aspect of JFK’s life is worthy of note: his ability to be in a working relationship with his wife, Jackie Kennedy, who proved to be a huge asset to his public image, while at the same time being involved in a large number of sexual affairs – so much so that he earned the nickname “Jack the Zipper”. One may assume that it was a Three’s ability to disconnect from emotion that enabled Kennedy to manage this remarkably intense situation. Several Washington-based journalists were aware, to some extent, of Kennedy’s extra-marital affairs and one wonders how much longer it could have remained a secret, had he not been assassinated. Now let’s take a look at the life and times of Meghan Markle. As a little girl, she hung around the Hollywood film studios with her father, an award-winning lighting director, and it was always clear to her that she wanted to be an actress. But she did not secure a major role in the movies or television until she was 30 years old. There were many small showbiz jobs, including that of being a decorative assistant in a TV game show, some modelling contracts, minor roles in several movies, but no big breakthrough. Meghan attributed this, in part, to her mixed-race background, which didn't easily fit into showbiz stereotypes: "My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American. I'm half black and half white," she explained. "I wasn't black enough for the black roles and I wasn't white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn't book a job." What Meghan did learn, during these years, was how to shape her personality to match whatever role came her way. Like any actress, or actor, she developed the art of mutating into different characters, according to need. But Meghan Markle wasn't just another dreamy Hollywood hopeful. She had drive and determination. Even at the age of eleven, she was experiencing that personal initiative and social intervention can make a difference. While watching a series of television commercials as part of a class project, she spotted gender discrimination in an advertisement for dishwashing soap, which asserted that "women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans." The sexist implication was, of course, that men didn’t wash dishes. Encouraged by her father, young Meghan wrote to Hillary Clinton, then America’s First Lady, and also to Proctor & Gamble, the soap manufacturer, to get it changed. Her protest worked and the wording in the TV commercial was modified to “people all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.” At 22, Meghan graduated from university with a double major in theatre and international studies, and was ready to present herself to the world - especially the entertainment industry - as a smart, capable, good-looking woman with a talent for acting. Eight years of steady persistence eventually paid off. She won a major role in the American TV series "Suits", playing the part of a beautiful paralegal who falls in love with the boss of the law firm in which she is working. "Suits" wasn't a massive hit, but it was well received, running for seven seasons and bringing Meghan public recognition and a bankable income. Meanwhile, the young actress was venturing into humanitarian projects, speaking at international conferences on the need for gender equality and ways to end modern slavery. So, looking at Meghan and her life story through the window of the Enneagram's nine personality types, what do we have here? Which strategy did she develop, as a child, to help her survive and prosper? Without having a deep, intimate talk with Meghan herself, there's always going to be a margin for error, but there's one strategy that seems to fit snugly enough. Given her sharp looks, carefully groomed image, determination, hard work and effective drive, Meghan looks very much like a Three. As we have already seen, Threes experience little difficulty in shifting their values to suit the task. To others, such moves may look calculating, but Threes tend to see it as a pragmatic approach to life, as if answering the question "How can I make this work?" For example, in terms of religious faith, Meghan's father is an Anglican, while her mother is Protestant, and she was sent to study at an all-girl Catholic school in Los Angeles. Yet, when Meghan married her first husband, a Jewish film producer called Trevor Engelson, in 2011, their celebration included traditional elements of Jewish nuptials. This seemed to pose no problem for the young actress. Another shift was required when she fell in love with Prince Harry. Anyone wishing to marry into the British Royal Family needed to be a member of the Church of England, so Meghan readily agreed to be baptised into the Royals' faith before her marriage to Prince Harry in May 2018. Meeting Harry proved a game changer, an invitation for Meghan to play the glamorous role of a British princess, prompting her to announce that she was giving up her professional career. It may seem cynical to portray Meghan's Royal role as acting, but that is the reality. British Royals are constantly onstage, exhibiting themselves as social role models for others to admire and look up to. Meghan's good looks and charming manner would seem to have made this task an easy one, but very soon she began to experience a major downside to the role: her exposure to brutal examination by the British media, especially the mass circulation tabloid press. When Meghan's relationship with Harry was first discovered, The Daily Mail compared their backgrounds in a racist way, describing the American woman's ancestors as “a tailor, a teacher and a cleaner, in racially divided Jim Crow South, while his were ruling the British Empire.” It noted that she had slave ancestors, while his forebears were kings and queens. Not to be outdone, The Sun featured a vicious smear by her step-sister, Samantha Grant, who warned Harry that Meghan was a social climber and "pushy princess" who habitually fancied ginger-haired men. Wisely, Meghan chose to remain silent and, for a moment, it seemed she could, like Kate Middleton before her, rise above the gossip columns and effectively establish herself as a British Royal. She had the skill, intelligence and adaptability to do it. But husband Harry went ballistic. In an unprecedented condemnation of the British press, the prince’s press secretary accused the media of introducing “racial overtones” into their articles about his relationship with Meghan, claiming she had been subjected to a “wave of abuse and harassment”. The statement also referred to “nightly legal battles” to keep defamatory stories out of the newspapers, plus the prince’s “deep disappointment” that he had not been able to protect Meghan from this kind of negative exposure. Reliving his childhood trauma caused by the media’s obsession with his mother, Princess Diana, which culminated in her tragic death in a car crash, it was Prince Harry who dragged Meghan into an open confrontation with the British press. As everyone knows, this resulted in their dramatic departure, with the pair of them pulling out of the Royal Firm and running off to Hollywood. One more trait to note about this type: when Threes become interested in personal growth and meditation, it is often quite challenging for them in the beginning. Addicted to doing, achieving and creating an external image, they are not accustomed to taking time to look within themselves, and often have trouble accessing authentic feelings. There is a story about a successful Three, in her mid-thirties, who joined a therapy group process that was to continue over a span of two years, using a variety of methods and techniques. She felt she was doing everything perfectly well, but in the group sharing sessions, became frustrated when she was repeatedly told by other participants, “We cannot feel you.” Confused and exasperated by this continual feedback, she eventually broke down, gave up, and said, “I don’t know what to do. I feel totally lost and helpless!” Almost as one, the group warmly applauded her and said, “Now we can feel you!”




"Suzanne takes you down..." There is no voice quite like it. Even before you start listening to the words, the soulful tone catches you, with its melancholic melody, and invites you to stop whatever you’re doing, sit down, close your eyes, relax and gently sink into a kind of enjoyable despair. Leonard Cohen was the master of mournfulness. Through the authenticity of his serious nature, he was able to touch a place in all of us that understands that happiness is fleeting, fulfilment is far away, and sadness is somehow inescapable…and, after all, as the maestro himself observed, even the heavenly hallelujah is broken. Back in the late Nineties, when Leonard was trying to promote a singing career for his son, Adam, he disparaged his own voice, saying “I croaked my way through my songs,” whereas his son, according to Leonard, possessed a really beautiful voice. But that’s exactly the point. That was why Cohen was able to capture people’s hearts while his son Adam, failed to break out into the big time. There are thousands of people in this world who can sing well, but there’s only one genius croaker. As many people know, Leonard Cohen spent the early years of his adult life as a little known Canadian poet. His turning point came after moving to the US to pursue a career as a folk singer. When Judy Collins scored a hit with Cohen’s song “Suzanne” she invited him to perform at a big fundraiser concert. And so, at the age of 33, after years of semi-obscurity, the sad-faced Canadian guitar player stood in front of a massive audience in New York City and began to sing the ballad that would become his trademark. The audience went crazy. They loved it. But then something unexpected happened: Leonard Cohen stopped singing, half-way through the song, and walked offstage. The audience begged him to come back, but he stood in the wings, hesitating, almost paralysed. Some might say it was just nerves. But when one understands that Leonard Cohen is a Type Four on the Enneagram system of nine personality types, a different reason offers itself: According to their inner program, Fours firmly believe they cannot have what they really want. So, if they dream of success and actually get it, then success cannot be what they really desire. Once they have it in their hands, it becomes almost worthless. Fortunately, Judy Collins was on hand to save the situation. "I'll go out with you," she told him, so they went back onstage together and sang "Suzanne". That, of course, was the beginning of Leonard Cohen's long career. The Enneagram, by its very nature as a psychological system, is incapable of being objectively proved. However, if ever a character might be transparently clear and beyond argument, it would be the labelling of Leonard Cohen as the Number Four, the Tragic Romantic. That voice, crooning deeply, like a foghorn in the night. Those doom-and-gloom lyrics, lamenting lost loves and bitter regrets. Those mournful eyes staring at you from the album cover. It all combines to seduce you into a soft, sinking feeling that Fours know so well. Fours remember that in childhood they experienced a deep sense of loss, which in Cohen's case is not hard to identify: his father died when he was nine years old. The strategy may have been adopted earlier, because this young boy was subjected to a very serious religious upbringing, in which there was little in the way of light-hearted, carefree frolicking. "I had a very Messianic childhood," Cohen recalled, in later years, referring to the intense Orthodox Judaism into which he was born. One grandfather was founder of the Canadian Jewish Congress, the other was a Talmudic writer, and he was soon informed that he was a direct descendant of Aaron, brother of Moses and founder of the Israelite priesthood. Quite a solemn burden for a pair of young shoulders to carry. As he grew into adulthood, Leonard Cohen evolved from writing poetry, to writing novels, to composing song lyrics. In these creative expressions, we find his attitude to life: For example, in his best-known song, “Suzanne”, the woman who mesmerizes him is beautiful, but she is also "half crazy", while in the same song Jesus becomes “broken” before the skies can open to redeem him. In Cohen’s equally famous song, “Hallelujah”, the secret chord that pleases the Lord is part of a "cold and broken hallelujah”. In "Bird on the Wire" he tells us: "Like a worm on a hook, like a knight in an old-fashioned book, I have torn everyone who reached out to me..." Cohen suffered periodically from depression, about which he said "I speak of a clinical depression that is the background of your entire life, a background of anguish and anxiety, a sense that nothing goes well, that pleasure is unavailable and all your strategies collapse." But this is not the whole picture. As you may have noticed among your friends, Fours don't necessarily go around with long faces, spreading their misery. "People think Leonard is dark, but actually his sense of humour and his edge on the world is extremely light," Judy Collins once commented about her friend. Here is the paradox that typifies Fours: they rarely think of themselves as miserable. Rather, they see themselves as realistic and authentic, courageous enough to face life as it is, rather than being deceived by sugar-coating and superficial appearances. In the 1990s, Leonard Cohen withdrew from his musical career to become a Zen monk for six years. He also took time to study the world's major religions but abandoned the project because he discovered that his own "cheerfulness kept breaking through." This remark is significant. It shows how, in comparison to conventional religious attitudes, Leonard Cohen saw himself as light-hearted and even optimistic. And in many of his songs there is a promise of redemption and fulfilment, although only after a lengthy period of soul-searching and anguish. Hence Naranjo’s name for this type: “Seeking Happiness Through Pain”. This, again, is typical of the Four approach to life. You can find happiness, it is possible, but you must struggle and grope your way through a long dark tunnel of suffering and pain in order to find it. “The effect of a sad song is not to depress, but to bring you closer to the emotion and make you feel better,” Cohen once explained. “It’s not uplifting in the sense that it’s like ‘keep a stiff upper lip’ or anything like that, but it does have, for me, when I listen to a so-called sad song, it has a healing quality.” Ichazo called the Four type "Melon", which was shorthand for "Melancholy." If you listen to the tone of Cohen's voice, without even understanding the lyrics, that's the word that captures its sound. Naturally, as his fame increased, so did Cohen's attraction as a potential lover. One girlfriend, Marianne Ihlen, who stayed with him during his years on the Greek island of Hydra, reported afterwards that she'd found herself in competition with an ever-increasing number of devotees who wanted to share his bed. But Cohen rejected his image as a ladies man, commenting "I was never very good at enjoying it. I was drawn to those intense experiences, and obsessed with those intense experiences for much of my life. But I can’t say that I really enjoyed them. Afterwards, I generally gave myself a bad review." In other words, he did his share of sleeping around, but didn’t enjoy it. How very typical of Type Four! This bleak self-criticism was mirrored in his song “Death of a Ladies Man”, the title number of an album released in 1977, in which Cohen relates a torrid affair, then concludes: “So the great affair is over but whoever would have guessed It would leave us all so vacant and so deeply unimpressed.” This, again, is a classic Four attitude. Whatever experiences you can have, even in bed with a beautiful woman, it's never quite what you're looking for. This, of course, reflects the pain of the original loss in childhood - the loss that nothing can replace. Marianne Ihlen, by the way, attained near-immortality after her breakup with Cohen, having provided inspiration and cause for his nostalgic lament “So Long Marianne”. Another ‘by the way’ aside: the album “Death of a Ladies Man” stunned Leonard Cohen’s fans, not because of its sexual imagery, such as “Don’t Go Home with Your Hard-On”, but because Cohen collaborated with producer Phil Spector, who completely wrecked the singer’s style. Cohen’s raw, undecorated, minimalist use of voice and solo guitar was replaced with Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound’, adding enough multiple tracks of instrument overdubs to make Cohen seem like he was surrounded by an orchestra. It didn’t work. Dismissing this bizarre marriage of Spector and Cohen, Rolling Stone condemned it as “the world's most flamboyant extrovert producing and arranging the world's most fatalist introvert.” From the Enneagram point of view, if ever Cohen tried to trade his downbeat Type Four for an upbeat Type Seven, this was the moment. But, alas, it didn’t work. He himself called the album “a catastrophe”. Another quality of Fours is their appetite for drama. This certainly suits a poet and song-writer like Cohen, because, after all, ordinary life can’t easily be wrestled into fable. It needs to be artfully blended with dramatic imagination to move from the mundane into the realm of myth. For example, in Cohen’s classic “Suzanne”, the young woman is portrayed as half-crazy, but in reality Suzanne Verdal was the perfectly sane wife of a Montreal artist when she met the Canadian singer. She declined Cohen’s sexual advances, which may be the reason why she made such an impression on him - Fours are typically fascinated by the unavailable - and then went on to travel the world, eventually becoming a choreographer in Los Angeles. Speaking of drama, in one of his final songs, published years later in 2016, Cohen announced “I’m ready Lord”, meaning he was ready to die. But then, soon afterwards, he changed his mind, saying jokingly, “I think I was exaggerating. One is given to self-dramatization from time to time. I intend to live forever!” Ready or not, he died just a few weeks later. People who enjoy speculating on the internet about which songs can be categorized as “the saddest songs ever” frequently include Leonard Cohen’s “Alexandra Leaving” in their top ten. The track was released in 2001, marking Cohen’s return to the public spotlight, as the part of his album, “Ten New Songs”, created in close collaboration with his old friend, singer-producer Sharon Robinson. “Alexandra Leaving” conveys a double tragedy. It is based on Constantin Cavafy’s poem about the last hours of Mark Antony, when the Roman leader is besieged in the City of Alexandria by his all-conquering rival, Octavius Caesar. Antony already thinks his great love, Queen Cleopatra, is dead and then he hears the sound of musical instruments and voices coming from the city streets. He realizes that Bacchus, his patron god, is deserting him. Within hours, he commits suicide. Leonard Cohen cleverly weaves the song into a parallel lament for a woman, Alexandra, with whom he shares one last, unexpected night, before she leaves him forever. It’s worth noting that sadness and happiness are not always opposites. In Fours, we find people who enjoy the intensity of their own feelings of unhappiness, so much so that, to them at least, it almost seems like a form of happiness. Cohen definitely fitted into this bracket. He also loved being on the road and between 2008 and 2013 conducted two huge world tours. The fact that he felt compelled to do so by financial troubles - he claimed a former manager had robbed him of millions - may have been a lucky accident for both him and his fans. In conclusion, let’s leave Leonard with his own self-assessment: "Seriousness, rather than depression is, I think, the characteristic of my work," he once told an interviewer. "I like a good laugh, but I think there's enjoyment that comes through seriousness. We all know when we close the door and come into your room and you're left with your heart and your emotions, it isn't all that funny." (Unless, of course, you’re not a Four. In which case, it might be - funny, that is). Frida Kahlo, the Mexican painter, is another obvious type Four, with a life filled with drama, artistic expression and passionate love affairs. When she was a child, her parents did not get along and so her family atmosphere was fraught with fighting and unhappiness. She caught polio at the age of five, damaging her legs and making it difficult for her to relate to other children, although it brought her closer to her German father, also an artist, who coached her in painting. At the age of 18, she was a promising academic student and was thinking of training at medical school when she was severely injured in a horrific bus crash that caused her lifelong pain and medical problems. Ironically, it was the crash that made her an artist, since it was during her long recovery that she returned to her childhood interest in art. She became known for her autobiographical canvases, portraying her suffering, her chronic pain, and also her anguish that she would never bear children, as well as her surrealistic portrayal of reality. Her intensely dramatic lifelong love affair with another Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, has become the stuff of legend, as well as her many affairs with men and women. Her work remained relatively unknown until the 1990s, when she became an icon of Mexican folk culture and by feminists for her uncompromising portrayal of female experience. No analysis of Famous Fours would be complete without the inclusion of movie maker James Cameron, who, with Titanic and Avatar 1 & 2, has directed three of the most successful movies of all time. However, James Cameron is not a nice guy. Not when he’s directing. For example, during the filming of one of his sci-fi movies, Cameron’s temper got so bad that the studio crew started wearing T-shirts that said: “You can’t scare me, I work for Jim Cameron.” It’s the same with his media interviews. He can blow up at any moment. A journalist once asked him about the famous scene, after the Titanic had sunk, when Jack, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, slowly dies of hypothermia in the freezing water next to his true love, Rose, played by Kate Winslet, who was floating on a wooden board that seemed big enough for the two of them. The journalist queried, “Why couldn’t Rose just share her giant board with Jack instead of leaving him to freeze in the ocean?” Cameron’s face turned red with fury and he exploded, “Wait a minute, I’m going to call up William Shakespeare and ask why Romeo and Juliet had to die!” Cameron has been married five times and it was actress Linda Hamilton, one of his ex-wives, who gave the clue to his type. In 2009, when Cameron’s Avatar was being nominated for nine Academy Awards, Hamilton was interviewed about her former husband. She said the trouble with Cameron was that he always wants what he can't have – at least as far as women are concerned. 'The woman he can't get is always his dream girl,' she said. She was speaking from experience. A decade earlier, while making Titanic and living with Hamilton, Cameron fell for Suzy Amis, who had a small part in the movie. Later, torn between the two, he left Amis, went back to Hamilton and married her. The marriage lasted just eight months before he went back to Amis. This is classic Type Four behaviour. Generally referred to as The Tragic Romantic, Type Four is compulsively attracted to the unavailable. But as soon as the unavailable becomes available, it no longer holds the same attraction. It’s not just with love partners. The ambition to succeed artistically is a powerful drive for Fours. But when success finally arrives it is dismissed as almost worthless. In other words, “If I can have it, then it can’t be worth it.” This attitude has its roots in a childhood sense of loss, in which at least one of the parents became unavailable, either through death, divorce, or being distant and aloof from the child. This, in turn, gives rise to a chronic mood of melancholy, in which nothing is able to replace the missing love. “I knew our marriage was over when he was just as miserable the day after he won his eleven Oscars as he was before,” said Hamilton, after Titanic’s sweep of the Oscars in 1998. Redemption for the Four comes through suffering, motivated by the romantic belief that pain will ultimately bring about the long-desired happiness. This attitude can easily rub off on others and Cameron has been quite effective at spreading his misery, especially on the movie sets. His dictatorial style, controlling behaviour and explosive temper has made him one of the scariest directors in Hollywood. After collaborating with Cameron on the film version of his book, The Abyss, author Orson Scott Card commented: “He made everyone around him miserable, and his unkindness did nothing to improve the film in any way. Nor did it motivate people to work faster or better.” There’s another trait of Type Four that Cameron manifests in a way few people can ever afford to do. Fours are fascinated by depth: in themselves, in others and in life. Hence, Cameron’s obsession with shipwrecks lying deep on the ocean floor, romantically imagining the destroyed lives of those who drowned on the sunken ship. Just think about it: Cameron persuaded the movie companies in Hollywood to spend $200 million so he could symbolically raise the Titanic from its ocean grave and bring its passengers back to life. It was a huge financial gamble, which, to the relief of the movie’s backers, paid off when Titanic grossed over $2 billion worldwide. But Cameron’s preoccupation with depth didn’t stop there. In 2012, spending millions of dollars of his own money, Cameron piloted a special submergence vehicle five miles down to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. It was the first-ever solo dive to the world’s deepest point, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. Scientifically, Cameron’s journey wasn’t needed. As several experts pointed out, unmanned diving vehicles can gather much more data, and in any case the bottom of the Mariana Trench was already known to be a lifeless desert. No, it was a romantic dream, promising some kind of personal fulfilment, that powered Cameron into the deep. I could go on, but the evidence is overwhelming, the verdict never in doubt. James Cameron is a Type Four on the Enneagram. Ironically, he may never know it, because his fascination with depth has been projected outwards, into the world, rather than inward toward himself. Another famous Type Four that few Enneagram experts would argue about is actor Johnny Depp. Brought up by quarrelling parents who shifted home constantly, Depp reflected, “I recall hearing my parents argue and thinking, ‘Come on, this is torture. Just split!’” Intending to be a musician, Depp as a young man switched to acting and was horrified when he found himself becoming a teen idol, thanks to a popular TV series, 21 Jump Street, which portrayed him as a baby-faced cop. This didn’t match with his introverted, melancholic self-image. "If the choice is to be gawked at constantly or to sit in a dark room, I'd choose the dark room,” Depp told an interviewer. “I felt as if I had been turned into a novelty, and it was mortifying. When I was in a social situation, I was nervous and uncomfortable. The only way I could get through it was to drink my guts out!” But Depp’s quirky, gloomy nature served him well in Hollywood and it was no accident that his breakthrough role in 1990 came with the movie Edward Scissorhands, in which he played a forlorn, tragic hero who had scissors for hands. Another anti-hero role was Sweeney Todd, seeking revenge for injustice as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Other quirky characters have included the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, Tonto in The Lone Ranger and, of course, the more upbeat and self-parodying role of Captain Jack Sparrow. “The characters I’ve played, that I’ve responded to, there has been a lost-soul quality to them,” Depp reflected. As many people know, Depp’s personal life seems to have been one long drama, always verging on tragedy, with allegations of abusive relationships, lawsuits against his own managers, several arrests for alleged assaults and an endless struggle with drugs and alcohol. It remains to be seen if this Type Four can pull his life together and continue to be successful as a talented actor.




Really, it was hilariously predictable. It took us right back to the Sixties, reminding us how it all began. When the Swedish Academy announced, in 2016, that they were awarding the Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan, it seemed they were expecting the usual, polite response typical of so many of their previous winners. After all, the well-trodden path of showing humility and expressing gratitude upon receiving public recognition didn’t just apply to Nobel’s chosen few, but to all such ceremonies. Every year, for example, Hollywood’s Academy Awards are littered with these ritualistic “thank you” speeches. So, when Bob Dylan failed to respond to his award in a polite and grateful manner – in fact, failed to respond at all – some of the academy's members started calling him "arrogant" and "impolite." But did any of them realise they were condemning Bob Dylan for behaving like Bob Dylan? Did they see the irony in awarding the Nobel Prize to Dylan for his scathing social critiques and scorn for mainstream attitudes, then condemning him for exhibiting the very same trait to them? On the one hand, they were paying tribute to his genius as a poet. On the other hand they were forgetting what that poetry was all about. For sure, Dylan's best songs were anti-establishment. But more than that, Dylan’s journey as a song writer was testimony to his attempt to escape from people's expectations and from the categorisation that fame brings. Rock musician Keith Richards admitted he'd been defeated in his effort to avoid this kind of public labelling. "It's impossible not to become a caricature of who you thought you were," he commented in a reflective interview about his notorious public image as lead guitarist for the Rolling Stones. Dylan has done rather better than Richards and if you understand his personality type on the Enneagram it's easy to see why. Yet even here, within the Enneagram itself, Dylan has succeeded in evading detection, since many so-called experts categorize him as Type Four. This type is the Tragic Romantic, the melancholy artist who sees pain and suffering all around him and also within himself. When you take note of Dylan’s early songs, those soulful laments and dire warnings about the state of society, they seem to fit with the pessimistic vision of a poetic Four. Like the songs of Leonard Cohen, who really was a Four, many of Dylan's so-called “protest songs” focused on the dark side of life. For example, we had ‘The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carol’, Dylan's ballad about a poor black woman who was killed on a whim by a wealthy white man. We also had the gloomy tale of ‘The Ballad of Hollis Brown’, a destitute miner who killed himself and his family after losing his job. Then we were offered the classic ‘Only A Pawn in the Game’, Dylan’s massively influential tribute to the death of Southern Black activist Megyer Evers. Evidence enough, one might think, to be hailed as a Four and it seems that now, in his old age, even Dylan himself wants to support his public persona as a serious social reformer. He was reportedly very upset when, in 2015, Don McLean, composer of the enigmatic classic, ‘American Pie’, revealed the meaning behind his lyrics: Oh and while the King was looking down The Jester stole his thorny crown… MacLean identified Elvis Presley as the king and Dylan as the jester. Two years later, when asked about it, Dylan protested "A jester? Sure, the jester writes songs like 'Masters of War', 'A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall', 'It's Alright, Ma' – some jester. I have to think he's talking about somebody else. Ask him.” Wow! I never thought I’d hear Dylan complain that people weren’t taking him seriously. In fact, if you watch those old, black-and-white, televised press conferences held by Dylan in the Sixties, you’ll see how he enjoyed giving humorous, enigmatic, arrogant and flippant answers to the questions posed by mainstream journalists. When a reporter asked him: “If you ever sold out to a commercial interest, which one would it be?” Dylan smirked and replied, “Ladies Garments.” Even in the early days, clues to Dylan’s real Enneagram type were scattered everywhere, as he repeatedly cast himself as the ironic, sarcastic, witty observer, with his tongue firmly in his cheek, rolling out songs like ‘Desolation Row,’ which kicked off with the amusingly morose: They’re selling postcards of the hanging, they’re painting the passports brown, The beauty parlour is filled with sailors, the circus is in town… In the early years of his fame, Dylan’s sardonic, “keeping-my-distance” attitude was lost among the songs that seemed more profound. Dylan was so good at describing what young people in the Sixties were thinking, especially in his all-time classics like ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’ and ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’, that he was swiftly elevated from popular musician to a generation’s Messiah. He became the Prophet. Like a modern Moses, he became the man who was going to lead the faithful to the Promised Land. But there was a problem. Dylan didn't want the job. In fact, the very idea of somehow being responsible for other people's hopes and dreams was deeply unsettling to him. And so, he did what every Type Five does under pressure: he escaped. It wasn't enough to become reclusive in his private life, although he did become obsessively careful in concealing where he was living, staying mostly at the home of his manager, Albert Grossman, in upstate New York. But that was just the beginning. In order to unburden himself from the expectations cast upon him, he set about very publicly destroying his own image. The execution was elegant. In July 1965, at the Newport Folk Festival, one of the sacred temples of the acoustic guitar, and the very place where, three years earlier, his career had been launched, Dylan picked up an electric guitar instead. He was booed by a disbelieving and outraged audience. This was just the beginning. A few months later, in 1966, Dylan toured the United Kingdom and Europe, offering a format that gave his audiences half a concert with an acoustic guitar and half with an electric one, supported by The Band. It didn't go down too well. While Dylan was playing a concert in Manchester, England, one member of the audience shouted loudly between songs "Judas!". Dylan retorted "I don't believe you. You're a liar!" Then he turned to the band and said, "Play it fucking loud!" and they launched into the rock version of “Like A Rolling Stone”. As Dylan continued the tour, his concerts became a battle between the booing half of the audience and those who wanted to listen. But with remarkable doggedness and determination, and totally ignoring the damage he was doing to his international fan base, Dylan refused to abandon his new style. When someone in Liverpool shouted "Where is your conscience?" Dylan looked up to the balcony and replied, "There's a fellow up there looking for a Saviour." In Paris, he mocked the audience, saying "Don't worry, I'm just as eager to finish and leave as you are." Even the press joined in, with one journalist in Ireland saying, "It was unbelievable to see a hip-swinging Dylan trying to look and sound like Mick Jagger." At the end of the tour, Dylan returned to his home in Woodstock, New York, where he was apparently involved in a motorcycle accident, which many people subsequently believed was staged, since it provided him with an excellent excuse to cancel any further public engagements and retire into the woods. His song writing continued, but he would not venture out on another tour until 1974. Many years later, Dylan surprised and shocked long-term followers by looking back on the 1960s and commenting dismissively, "I was never into that Protest stuff." When Joan Baez, another icon of the Sixties Protest Movement, was asked for a comment on Dylan's statement, she replied emphatically "I didn't believe him." This shows the difference between a Four, like Baez, who was passionately and emotionally committed to changing society, and a Five, like Dylan, who was an acute observer and brilliant lyricist while remaining emotionally detached from everything he was describing. Baez couldn't imagine being able to sing those kinds of songs and not want to take to the streets. For Dylan, it was the last thing he had in mind. In his preferred role as an aloof commentator, he could pen epic lines like "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows…" But he wasn’t issuing an invitation to blow up banks and start a revolution, which what the so-called ‘Weathermen’ terrorist group – named in his honour – tried to do. Just to underline the point, in a song penned in 1974, Dylan declared it was never his intention to "sound a battle charge" or "remake the world". Yet that is exactly what his lyrics suggested and that is why they were seized on by a generation in revolt. It is amusingly sweet to note that Dylan's manifestation of the Five strategy began early: between the ages of ten and eighteen, he was regularly running away from his parents' home in Hibbing, Minnesota, and had to be repeatedly brought back by the police and other social authorities. There was nothing especially bad about his home life - no parental violence or alcoholism. He just wanted to get out. “I kept running because I wasn’t free,” he explained, looking back on his childhood, in a 1964 interview with the New Yorker magazine. “Somehow, way back then, I already knew that parents do what they do because they’re uptight. They’re concerned with their kids in relation to themselves. I mean, they want their kids to please them, not to embarrass them—so they can be proud of them. They want you to be what they want you to be." This is a typically Five attitude. They cannot stand the burden of other people's expectations and will do anything to slip out from under their grip. It was the same at university. In 1960, he attended the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, for six months, mostly not attending classes and avoiding any kind of commitment to group identity. "I was kept around for kicks at a fraternity house. They let me live there, and I did until they wanted me to join,” he told the New Yorker. This is also a key Five attitude: comfortable to be part of a group until they want to grab hold of you and make it official. It was the same, again, with the Civil Rights Movement. In 1963, he shocked an audience of New York liberals at the Emergency Civil Liberties Union’s (E.C.L.U.) annual Bill of Rights dinner when they awarded him their prestigious Tom Paine Award. Dylan, clearly under the influence of alcohol, made a rambling, anarchist speech, in which he upbraided his audience for being too old and appeared to sympathize with John F. Kennedy's alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. "I can't make it with any kind of organization," he confessed afterwards. Almost half a century later, in May 2012, Dylan did accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama but looked extremely uncomfortable during the whole ceremony. Wearing a tuxedo and black aviator sunglasses, Dylan didn’t smile or speak. His only reaction was to raise his eyebrows when Obama put the medal around his neck. By the way, some Fives do manage to work inside organizations, but usually, if they can, they choose a role that prevents others from understanding what they do, such as computer programming or financial accounting. Then they feel safe. Some Fives are able to work in front-line jobs, for example as a hotel receptionist, dealing constantly with the public, but here they take refuge by hiding behind the role: “You can see the receptionist but you can’t see me.” Bob Dylan is remarkable for his way of escaping while remaining in the public spotlight. He has mutated from folk, to rock, to country music, to Born-Again songs for Jesus, to a bluesy fusion of different styles…He just kept reinventing himself. In 2014, he astonished millions of people by starring in a TV commercial for Chrysler automobiles, screened across America at peak viewing time during the Super Bowl. Sure, it gave Dylan a fat check to bank, but it also disfigured his lingering public image as an anti-establishment renegade. For a few moments, at least, he became as mainstream as a pop singer plugging Coca-Cola. By the way, several years earlier, in 2004, he’d fulfilled the prophecy of his 1965 “ladies’ garments” joke by appearing in a Victoria’s Secret ad, which featured a nubile, scantily clad young woman making eyes at the 63 year-old singer. Old habits die hard, as they say, and when the Swedish Academy fingered Dylan for the Nobel Prize in Literature he welcomed the news with a deafening silence that lasted two whole weeks. Members of the Academy tried repeatedly to contact Dylan through phone calls and emails, then gave up. Finally, in a letter to the Academy, the 75 year-old musician expressed his thanks and accepted the prize, but declined to attend the award ceremony because of previous ‘business commitments’. Well, no surprise there. Dylan may be getting old, but putting on a white tie and sitting through a lengthy banquet, then having to give a speech and receive the award from King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden, didn’t turn him on – in fact, probably gave him nightmares. In any case, as he himself was aware, the award was inappropriate, since Dylan’s art form is poetry, in the form of song lyrics, not literature as such. To conclude: the only public role in which Dylan feels safe is the one where he stands onstage with his guitar and a group of hand-picked musicians. It’s his choice, he’s in control of how people relate to him, as a performer facing an audience. He was, is, and remains, a singer and songwriter. That’s a broad enough definition for him to feel comfortable in. One more anecdote: Chris O’Dell, an American groupie who, in the 1970s, was a friend and lover to some of the most famous rock stars on the planet, had a two-year affair with Dylan in the mid-70s, after he parted with his wife Sara. “He's a very intense, private person. He doesn't share a lot of himself, in many ways he's very guarded,” she says. “I loved working with him. But he can be confusing. He can sit there and have a conversation with you, and look you straight in the eye and be totally engaged, and then an hour later, he'll look through you like he doesn't know you.” This is classic Five behaviour, summarized by the dichotomy sometimes used to describe this type: “Doggy and Wolf.” One moment happy to be social, like a playful puppy, the next, alone by himself in the woods. Oh, and one more thing: if, by any chance, Dylan finds out that he has been nailed as a Five, he’ll probably do his best to disprove it. But that will only confirm the diagnosis. The Indian mystic, Jiddu Krishnamurti, has also been typed as a Five and the moment in his life that best illustrates this occurred in 1929, when the leaders of the international Theosophical Movement, who had been grooming him, were about the declare him as “The Maitreya” or World Teacher, bringing a new religious vision for humanity. The coming of the Maitreya had been heralded several decades earlier by an extraordinary Russian woman called Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, whose clairvoyant prophecies of radical spiritual change had inspired the foundation of the Theosophical Society. As a child, Krishnamurti was virtually kidnapped by Theosophical leaders Charles Leadbeater and Annie Besant, and then rigorously trained for his global spiritual role. He seemed to go along with their plans to enshrine him and gave no hint of rebelliousness. Finally, in 1929, at the age of 34, Krishnamurti was considered ready to assume the mantle of the Maitreya and this is where we see the Five strategy in action. Because if there is one thing that Fives cannot stand it is the burden of other people's expectations. In a statement that shocked the whole Theosophical movement, Krishnamurti declined to be appointed a World Teacher, dissolved the Order of the Star – the organization created to support him – and condemned organized religion and spirituality. "I do not want followers," he exclaimed, at an international Star gathering in the Netherlands. "Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path..." This was a highly public and spectacular destruction of a massive collective expectation that had been thrust upon a single individual. Ironically, Krishnamurti became a world teacher anyway, his admirers created organisations to support his work, and his one cherished aim "to set man free" was really no different than the stated aim of the Theosophical Society itself. In other words, in a practical sense, he could easily have manifested his work in the guise of the World Teacher, with the help of the organisation that Charles Leadbeater and Annie Besant had provided for him. But he had to break out. Before teaching others to be free, he had to feel free himself. This, to me, is the Five strategy in action.




“Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it. That is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear” – Marilyn Monroe. When people talk about conquering fear, that’s an indication they probably belong to Type Six on the Enneagram, because for these people it’s a lifelong issue: the determination not to be afraid, coupled with an underlying uneasiness and distrust that never really goes away. . In Marilyn’s case, she never really conquered her fears, suffering from anxiety and insecurity her whole life, and eventually killing herself with a drug overdose at the age of 36. Her problems began, inevitably, in her childhood. Since her birth was the product of a casual affair, her father was absent from the beginning, while her mother was mentally and financially unprepared to bring up a child. By the time she was 16 years old, Marilyn has been passed around 14 foster homes that included several instances of sexual molestation and abuse. Small wonder then, that Marilyn found the world to be a frightening place, which happens to be the determining factor in the formation of the Six personality type. According to her own recollection, as a teenager, she frequently sought refuge in the local cinemas, losing herself in the onscreen romances and adventures, and dreaming of one day being an actress herself. Ironically, she succeeded beyond her wildest dreams, but the temporary sense of security she had once found sitting in the front row of a local movie house, did not translate into the same feeling of safety as an actress. Marilyn’s story is well known. She first generated a career for herself as a pinup model, then slowly shifted to movies, helping her transition by sleeping with a variety of directors, producers and studio bosses. Fame arrived when Marilyn was in her mid-twenties, fulfilling her ambition while at the same time pushing her into the prison of her iconic image and a lifelong stereotype: the blonde bombshell, somehow innocent and yet also sexually available, and somehow slightly dumb as well – the so-called “dumb blonde” sex symbol. Here is where the anxiety of the Six created problems for Marilyn. But first, let me borrow a quote from Keith Richards, lead guitarist of the Rolling Stones. I’ve used it before, but it’s one of the best insights into fame that I’ve ever read. Reflecting on his public image, Richards commented: “It’s impossible not to become a caricature of who you thought you were.” If Marilyn had been able to accept this truism, she might have been able to relax and enjoy her life, recognizing that the public would never change its opinion of her, and making a clear distinction between the on-screen icon and her personal reality.. But, because of her own self-doubt and insecurity, she fought against her image her whole life, trying to convince the public she was a serious and talented actress. Paradoxically, she sought serious roles, while still agreeing to participate in sexy publicity stunts, including the classic promotion for “The Seven Year Itch” in which her white skirt was blown upwards as she stood on a subway grating. It became one of the most famous PR images of all time. The stress of Marilyn’s inner conflict cost her dearly. She suffered from insomnia, depression and anxiety and increasingly became dependent on prescription drugs such as barbiturates. But Marilyn’s life was not all doom and gloom. Sixes are loyal to those whom they can trust, and there’s an excellent example in Marilyn’s life, after she became friends with the legendary singer, Ella Fitzgerald. In 1955, the Mocambo Night Club, a snobbish hot spot in West Hollywood, refused to book Fitzgerald, not due to her colour, but because the owner, Charlie Morrison, thought she was not glamorous enough, lacked sex appeal, and her talent seemed limited to singing classical jazz. Marilyn, who was a close friend of Ella, pressured the owner to book Fitzgerald for one week, promising to sit in the front row herself every night, and also to fill the club with well-known stars on the opening night. He agreed and Marilyn kept her word, inviting stars like Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra. The engagement was a huge success, boosting Fitzgerald’s career. The Six’s love-hate relationship with authority was writ large in Marilyn, who needed the movie studios in order to survive as an actress, but constantly battled for better pay and more serious roles. In 1954, she quit her contract 20th Century Fox, stating that she was "tired of the same old sex roles" and moreover the studio had not fulfilled its promises to her. After a year-long battle, the studio capitulated and signed Marilyn on her own terms. Self-sabotage is another common trait among Sixes, and this can be seen in Marilyn’s decision, after setting up her own movie company, to choose “The Prince and The Showgirl” as her first venture, collaborating with British actor Laurence Olivier. The story once again cast Monroe as a sex symbol, albeit struggling to show a deeper side of herself, and the vulnerable American actress also had to deal with the snobbery and unsupportive attitudes of the British film industry. The film was not well received, mainly because Olivier and Monroe lacked chemistry onscreen, although it did manage to make a profit. Woody Allen is Six who fared somewhat better than Marilyn in terms of becoming comfortable – at least to some degree – with his anxious outlook on life. In fact, he turned it into an asset. After earning a living as a writer of jokes for other showbiz personalities, he gradually developed a stand up comedy routine that was all his own. The roots of Woody’s nervousness and anxiety are not hard to locate: his parents did not get along, they argued and fought continuously, while Woody himself had an estranged relationship with his authoritarian, ill-tempered mother. Thus, he developed the classic Six attitude that the home environment is not a safe place to be. But Woody turned these experiences to good use. His standup comedy routine was different from those around him. He was low key, casual and intimately conversational with his audiences, and developed a humorous stage image as a neurotic, uneasy, worrying figure. His jokes were created from life experiences, and typically presented with a dead serious expression that made them even funnier: "I don't think my family liked me. They put a live teddy bear in my crib." This comic persona translated successfully into his movies, where he became the archetypal worried intellectual, hesitant and self-mocking. In other words, he used the anxiety of the Six personality type in much the same way as Leonard Cohen used the sadness of the Four. They both made millions out of exploiting their inbuilt enneagram strategies. Lady Gaga, on the other hand, had a very different upbringing. She was born in a closely bonded family, with hard-working, successful Italian parents, who were determined to climb the social ladder – and did so. Her father, Joseph Germanotta, was a strong, charismatic, larger than life figure, and it’s not hard to see that, as a young child, Stefani (Lady Gaga) was easily overwhelmed and fearful of him, although this was later suppressed as she relied on him to guide her into stardom. It is well known that Lady Gaga was bullied and humiliated in middle school by her peers, in her early teens, but it’s unlikely that this was the root cause of her Six personality type. By that time (age 11-13) it was already fixed. Anxiety seems to have accompanied her from the beginning, which can probably be traced to a little girl’s fear of an authoritarian father. Many years later, her experience of being raped at the age of 19 added to her nervousness. "It is a daily effort for regulate my nervous system so that I don’t panic over circumstances that to many would seem like normal life situations," she explained. "Examples are leaving the house or being touched by strangers who simply want to share their enthusiasm for my music". One of her deepest fears, she acknowledged, was to walk out of her Manhattan home and be shot by some madman, in the same way that John Lennon had been killed by Mark Chapman in December 1980, outside his New York apartment building. With Gaga there has always been a sense that she is continuously challenging herself to overcome her fear. It is significant that, in 2006, when she was abruptly dropped from the Def Jam recording label after only three months, a devastated Gaga turned to her family for comfort and reassurance. "I’m married to my dad," she once told reporters, and it was the strong influence of Joe Germanotta who, at a critical moment in her life, pulled her back from an increasingly self-destructive addiction to drugs, getting her back on track for success. Feeling the need for a creative team to support her musical ambitions, she shifted to Los Angeles and created “Haus of Gaga”, her own group of full-time advisors. Fame, when it came, produced even more anxiety, so much so that, when she toured the world in 2009, she needed someone to sleep with her almost every night – not in a sexual way, but simply to feel secure. “I spent more time in bed with Stefani than with my husband,” commented one female member of Gaga’s team who, with her husband, had accompanied the singer on the tour. During that time, she released "The Fame Monster", a collection of eight songs dealing with the darker and more terrifying aspects of becoming a famous person. Sixes swing between a "phobic" state of feeling nervous and anxious, to a "counter-phobic" effort to prove to themselves – and to others – that they are not afraid, by pushing themselves into challenging situations. When Lady Gaga performed the half-time show at the Super Bowl in January 2017, it was no accident that she chose to begin by singing "God Bless America" while standing on the roof of the stadium, and then literally jumping off and flying all the way down to the stage to continue her performance. The wires attached to a harness on her back made this dramatic act safe. But nevertheless it was a typical Six gesture of self-validation, proving her courage not only to herself, but also to the stadium crowd and the recording-breaking 150 million people who were watching on television and other media. Backstage, when working with musicians, technicians and stagehands, Lady Gaga usually takes care to drop her public image and let everyone know she is an ordinary human being…shaking hands with everyone, talking to people, wearing casually low profile T-shirts and jeans. Obviously, when not performing, she feels more secure when she is recognised and accepted as Stefani Germanotta, rather than the global icon of Lady Gaga. Championing the under-dog is another Six characteristic and Lady Gaga has done her share with school anti-bullying campaigns and supporting LBGT rights. Romance? Well, she’s described herself as bisexual and has done several hot sex scenes with men and women in her videos, but she seems to have enjoyed a fairly orthodox relationship with boyfriend Taylor Kinney until they split. She likes to think of herself as a rebel, breaking social boundaries, but this is contradicted by her underlying need for security and dependence on her family. Behind it all - the glamour, the stardom, the fuss and the fury - Gaga knows that if things go really wrong she can always run back to daddy. Joe will be there for her. It’s a loyal, secure relationship that this Six can trust.




If you want to discover the truth about Type Seven on the Enneagram you can consult the usual gallery experts: Oscar Ichazo, Claudio Naranjo, Helen Palmer and the rest. Or you can pick up a copy of the original story of Peter Pan, written over a hundred years ago by a Scottish novelist called J. M. Barrie. Whether Barrie himself was a Seven, we may never know, but his understanding of the strategy was expressed colourfully, even magically, through the immortal hero of his fairy tale. If there’s anyone who doesn’t know this famous story, then here is a brief explanation: Peter Pan is the “puer eternis”, the eternal youth, who never grows up. He is charming, playful, vain, arrogant and easily bored. Since he can fly, he literally wings his way from one adventure to the next and is excited and enthusiastic about any kind of new escapade. As you can see, this description already starts to define the Seven ego-structure, apart from the ability to fly, perhaps, but more of that later. Peter Pan lives in a far away, magical place called Neverland with his companions, the Lost Boys, who have all lost their mothers. They are continuously enjoying adventures with pirates, redskins, fairies and mermaids, but at the same time they all have a deep wish to have a mother. So, Peter persuades a young girl called Wendy to fly with him to Neverland, where she becomes a mother to the Lost Boys. Her two brothers accompany her, but the heart of the story is the magnetic attraction between Peter and Wendy, although they have to deal with the jealousy of Peter’s favourite fairy, Tinker Bell. The climax of Barrie’s story, as everyone knows, is a fight between Peter Pan and the evil Captain Hook, who, quite deservedly, ends up in the stomach of a crocodile. Then, for Wendy and her two brothers, it is time to return home and here, at the end of the story, is where this tale becomes profound. Indeed, for Sevens, it becomes almost tragic, which is odd because it’s not supposed to be an unhappy ending. However, before exploring Barrie’s conclusions, let’s take a look at two classic, real life Sevens: singer Miley Cyrus and actor Jim Carrey. Miley Cyrus rose to fame at the age of eleven when Disney Studios gave her the role of Hannah Montana in a happy, wholesome, feel-good television series for children and teenagers. Between 2006-2009 Miley grew into an all-American teen idol through playing the role of this lovable, funny, decent young woman. With such early success, she could have stayed with Disney for years. But Miley had other ideas. She wanted to make it clear she wasn’t at all like the pure and wholesome Hannah Montana and she did so with shocking and ruthless effectiveness. At 15, she caused public outrage by posing semi-naked on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. Under pressure, she apologized for what the media called “Miley’s Shame” but later she retracted her own apology with a contemptuous “F**k you!” to those who had criticized her. Soon afterwards, she created a wild, sexual video to promote her raunchy hit song, “Can’t Be Tamed.” While still a teenager, she caused another sensation by swinging naked on a wrecking ball, in a video promoting another of her hit songs, titled, appropriately, “Wrecking Ball.” Disney Studios got the message and dropped her. Miley gleefully buried Hannah Montana and moved on. “There are multiple sides to all of us,” she reflected, “Who we are, and who we might be if we follow our dreams.” This is typical of a Seven’s desire not to feel constrained, or hemmed in, not to be narrowed down to a single talent or vocation, but to keep all options wide open. As a singer, Miley has been phenomenally successful, spanning a wide range of music from pop to hip hop to rock, as well as experimental stuff. Her personal life has been just as varied. At an early age, she declared herself to be “pansexual” and has proved it over the years by dating lots of men and women. "I never want to label myself!” she explained, saying that in sex she was "literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn't involve an animal and everyone is of age.” The reckless speed at which Miley invited controversy, openly talking about smoking weed and taking ecstasy, could have landed her in trouble, even in court. Fortunately, her parents were closely involved in her meteoric career, saving her from her own excesses without smothering her creativity. “I think my dad is a lot cooler than other dads, he still acts like he's still 17,” Miley once commented, indicating that her father, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, may also be a Seven, since he exhibits the same tendency as Peter Pan – a refusal to acknowledge the ageing process. Jim Carrey, the American-Canadian actor and comedian, is another public figure who doesn’t like to be labelled. “Maybe other people will try to limit me, but I don’t limit myself,” he has been quoted as saying. After gaining superstar status with his slapstick movie, “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” followed by another commercial success, “The Mask,” Carrey seemed destined to be typecast as a comedian. This was in tune with his fun-loving philosophy of life, which mirrors the Seven attitude: “My focus is to forget the pain of life. Forget the pain, mock the pain, reduce it. And laugh,” he explained. In his love life, Carrey emulated Miley Cyrus in his rapid turnover of partners, hopping, Seven-style, from one attractive woman to the next. But in 2017 Carrey derailed his whole public image by declaring, loudly and publicly, “There is no me!” This time, he wasn’t joking. Carrey had stumbled upon spirituality. “I don’t believe in personalities,” he explained to a puzzled interviewer. “I believe that peace lies beyond personalities. I believe we are a field of energy dancing with itself.” The story of Carrey discovering spirituality, and the bewildered journalists who tried to interview him about it, deserves an article in itself. But the sardonic, semi-humorous way in which he made his declaration reflects his personality structure as a Seven. Another issue characteristic of Sevens is FOMO, or “fear of missing out”. A good example is to be found in a group sharing of this Epicurean type, where a young woman who had been living in India in the Nineties described how she would take a long, overnight bus trip from the beaches of Goa to an ashram in Pune about half-a-dozen times, back and forth, within one winter season. “When I was in Goa, I had the feeling I might be missing something in Pune, so I’d hop on a bus,” she reflected. “It was exciting to arrive at the ashram and say ‘hello’ to everybody. But then, after a few days, I’d find myself wondering what was happening back in Goa.” Sevens think nothing of checking out three different social engagements in one evening, just to cover all the possibilities. But the promise of greater enjoyment “over there” when compared with whatever is already available “right here” can be dangerous for Sevens and even destroy relationships. One young man, in Seven sharing group, described how he’d been enjoying a sweet affair with a woman who loved him very much. But the lure of flirting with a new connection drew him away, only to find – after dropping his former lover – that there was no real chemistry with his new romantic partner. He ended up alone. Coming back to the story of Peter Pan: after Captain Hook has been defeated, Wendy returns home to her delighted parents, bringing with her all six Lost Boys, and Wendy’s mother agrees to adopt them all. Slowly, they grow up, as children do, and slowly, too, they forget how to fly. Indeed, they forget all about Neverland and its fairies. They get jobs, working in offices, or driving trains, and one day they marry and have children of their own. Only one boy refuses to be embraced by Wendy’s mother. Yes, of course, it is Peter Pan. He flies back to Neverland and has many more adventures. And when, after a very long time, he returns to see Wendy, he suddenly bursts into tears, because she is no longer the girl he remembered – she has grown into a 30-year-old woman. This is where J. M. Barrie gets astonishingly real, going beyond the generic “happy ever after” ending of most fairy tales and showing what happens when fantasy meets reality. The eternally fun-loving, youthful, Peter Pan encounters the brutal truth of growing up and going beyond fantasy and imagination. Of course, it’s just a fairy tale, but it’s also a metaphor: Sevens don’t want to grow up. At heart, they remain young, still lured by the promise of new adventures, while secretly hoping for the loving nourishment they missed from their mothers. Barrie intuitively understood this when making Wendy a mother to the Lost Boys. For the truth is, a Seven’s continuous fascination with whatever is new and different is nothing but an effort to believe that they haven’t missed anything in the past, where, in fact, they missed their mother’s love. Life is so exciting! The future is so entertaining! Who bothers to look back? But once in a while, when a Seven gets tired and runs out of new ideas and plans, then life seems like a desert, with no oasis anywhere. Then it’s time to go into therapy and examine the childhood issues that created this strategy. Finally, a word about the late Prince Philip, who was the husband and consort of Queen Elizabeth II for many, many years. When interviewed, Prince Philip routinely denied that he had an unhappy childhood. This is strange, since, by the time he was ten years old, his family had disintegrated. His father, a member of the Greek Royal Family, was exiled from his country, then promptly abandoned his wife and children, becoming a globe-trotting gambler and dying in Monte Carlo. His mother, from German aristocracy, became mentally ill and retreated into a Swiss sanatorium. Once released, she devoted herself to religion. Philip was passed around by aristocratic relatives and during the rise of Adolf Hitler, in the 1930s, he spent time in a Nazi-controlled German boarding school. Later on, he recalled this experience, with typical sarcasm and humour, as "much heel-clicking and heil-Hitlering". Philip was transferred to Gordonstoun, a tough British boarding school, then joined the Royal Navy, in which he served during World War Two. In 1947, he became a member of the British Royal Family, by marrying Princess Elizabeth. As previously mentioned, whenever he was interviewed about his upbringing, the Duke tended to shrug his shoulders and smile, dismissing any mention of hardship as "just part of what was happening" and "you just get on with it". Some pundits have suggested that Philip was an Eight, as this type is rooted in a child’s early recognition of the need to be strong, but the tall, thin Duke was the wrong body type for that category. Physically, Eights are rounded and beefy, like Winston Churchill, whereas Sevens, like Philip himself, tend to be slim. It's when you factor in his other qualities, such as arrogance, humour and sudden outbursts of fierce criticism, that you begin to see the personality type he actually developed. Let's look at some of Prince Philip's most famous gaffes, his best-known "inappropriate comments", as these are indicative of his type: "If you stay here much longer, you will go home with slitty eyes," he said to 21-year-old British student during a visit to China in 1986. "It looks as if it was put in by an Indian," he commented in 1999, pointing at an old electrical fuse box stuffed with wires, in a factory in Scotland. "Do you still throw spears at each other?" he asked in 2002, while talking to a successful aborigine entrepreneur in Australia. This mix of arrogance, superiority and wit gives him away: these are hallmarks of Type Seven. “Who do you sponge off?” the Duke asked a group of ethnically-Asian women, while visiting a London community centre. For someone who had himself been sponging off British taxpayers’ money for more than 60 years, this was sheer hypocrisy, made palatable only by the joking way Prince Philip said it. So, how do Sevens create their witty, nothing-touches-me, personality style? Faced with a frightening childhood, Sevens develop the belief they are capable of taking care of themselves and become skilled at finding reasons to be cheerful. Secretly, they feel inferior, but outwardly they compensate through arrogance. Philip was a penniless, homeless, aristocrat when he married Princess Elizabeth, but one would never have guessed it by his haughty demeanour. Like everyone else, Sevens have a range of feelings, but, as mentioned earlier, they tend to casually dismiss negative ones and focus on the positive. Take, for example, Prince Philip's comment in 1995 on the introduction of stress counselling for servicemen returning to the UK from combat abroad. Recalling his own experiences in the Second World War, he said, "We didn't have counsellors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun, asking 'Are you all right? Are you sure you don't have a ghastly problem?' You just got on with it." Philip was loved and sometimes hated for his arrogant attitudes, which lasted his whole life. I don’t think he ever really allowed himself to feel the pain and sorrow that lay beneath his public mask. There can be no better way to end this chapter on Sevens, than to quote Scarlett O’Hara, at the end of the movie epic “Gone with the Wind”. Scarlett, a typical Seven, has lost her great love, Rhett Butler, and all seems futile, but she still manages to put a positive spin on her life, saying “Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day!”




He certainly behaved like “The Boss” and proved it by executing an estimated 27,000 people during his years on the English throne. Henry VIII had six wives, a ruthless hold on power and extravagant tastes that brought the country close to financial ruin. Some historians consider his reign, from 1509 until 1547, to be the most important in English history. Which is really ironic, because in the first place, he was never meant to be king. A little background will help: Henry’s elder brother, Arthur, was destined to rule England, but he died of a mysterious “sweating sickness” that attacked the lungs, causing breathing difficulties, rather like current problems with the coronavirus. Maybe SARS was already among us, even in the sixteenth century. His father, King Henry VII, was grief stricken by Arthur’s death and when the king himself died of tuberculosis, six years later, this left his 17-year-old second son, Henry, Duke of York, as the only male successor. It didn’t take long for young Henry to flex his royal muscles. One of the first things he did, as the newly crowned King Henry VIII, was to please the public by cutting the heads off two of his father’s ministers, who’d become widely unpopular. This was a little unfair, since the reason they’d become unpopular was through their enthusiasm for imposing taxes in order to create wealth for the Crown. But this set the trend for Henry’s reign: anyone seen to be getting in his way was likely to find his head abruptly removed from his shoulders. Historically, we don’t know much about Henry’s childhood, because he wasn’t first in line for the throne, so the court scribes didn’t write much about him. We don’t know what early events pushed Henry into the “Boss” strategy: the understanding that “I need to be strong” and cannot afford to show “my weaknesses” – indeed, to deny that such weaknesses ever existed in the first place. However, in 1509, when the public spotlight focused on the new king, it revealed a tall, muscular, athletic man who was addicted to sport, quite typical of Eights who need a lot of physical stimulation to generate a sense of vitality and aliveness. Henry loved jousting, a dangerous sport where two armoured knights with long lances charge at each on horseback and try to hit each other on the head. He also loved the feasting and dancing that followed. In addition, the king enjoyed hunting, tennis, archery, double-axe fighting and throwing the javelin. Apparently, the only time Henry felt like attending to affairs of state was when listening to morning mass in church or late at night after a few drinks. Henry spent lavishly on his palaces and on impressing his neighbours. When he met the King of France in 1520, he welcomed him with dazzling tents and clothes, huge feasts, music, jousting and games. The tents displayed so much cloth of gold, an expensive fabric woven with silk and gold thread, that this kingly meeting was thereafter named: The Field of the Cloth of Gold. Here we see the Eight pattern of excess, which Henry certainly displayed. Although one has to add, that what others view as excessive is seen by Eights themselves as simply having a good time. As one can imagine, the wealth of the English Treasury, so patiently built up by the prudent financial policies of Henry’s father, was quickly drained. But a vast new source of wealth was about to be exploited as part of a massive power shift in England and this is where we find the undeniable evidence of Henry’s Enneagram type. It began with Henry’s need for a male heir to succeed him. Alas, his wife, Catherine of Aragon, gave birth to three sons, but they were either stillborn or died within weeks. The rest, as they say, is history: Henry wanted to divorce Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn to create more children, but Pope Clement VII refused to issue the decree. This was due to pressure on the Pope from the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, who was a looming presence and a continuous threat to the Pope’s power. Catherine was Charles’ aunt and the emperor didn’t want his relative to be humiliated by divorce – a shocking social taboo in those days. Henry retaliated by destroying the power of the Pope and the Vatican in England, and proclaiming himself head of the church. But he didn’t stop there. He looted and destroyed virtually all Catholic convents and monasteries in his kingdom, seizing land, silver plate, jewels, gold crosses, and much more. It was badly needed income for the free-spending monarch, who was also required to forcefully crush several local revolts by people protesting against this wholesale destruction of their traditional faith. Of course, the leaders were either hanged or had their heads chopped. Henry succeeded in divorcing Catherine and married Anne, but she, too, produced a daughter, just as Catherine had done before her. So, he promptly executed her and married Jane Seymour, who finally gave him the long-awaited male heir. There is no need to tell the whole story of Henry’s reign, because the point to emphasize is the power struggle between Henry and Rome. It is here we see the Number Eight in action. It was more than a test of strength. It was an ego-driven crusade of epic proportions. Today, living as we do, in modern, secular societies, in which the church has lost much of its former power, it might not seem such a big deal. But in those days, it was almost unthinkable for a king to throw out the Pope and appoint himself as God’s representative on earth. True, Martin Luther had set some kind of precedent in Germany with his Protestant Reformation. But Henry wasn’t interested in Protestantism or reforming Catholicism. He just wanted to get his own way. Or, as they say about Eights: “It’s my way, or the highway!” So, he simply pushed the Pope aside and claimed all spiritual powers for himself. It was with Henry, too, that the so-called doctrine of the “Divine Right of Kings” began, which asserts that a monarch is not accountable to an earthly authority, like parliament, because his right to rule is derived from divine authority. Was Henry an egomaniac? Certainly, but his basic motivation was down-to-earth, practical and political. He was determined to pass on the dynasty created by his father and for this he needed a son. It was the Pope’s misfortune to be seen as an obstacle, standing in the way of this Tudor royal line. As it turned out, all three of Henry’s children ascended to the English throne: First came Edward VI, his only son, who was crowned at the age of nine, ruled for six years, then died when he was only 15 years old. Then came Catherine’s daughter Mary, who lasted just five years as queen before dying. And last but certainly not least, Anne’s daughter Elizabeth, the famous “Virgin Queen” who ruled England for 44 years. But, in terms of creating a lasting dynasty, none of it would have pleased Henry, since they all died without heirs and the House of Tudor came to end, ushering in the Stuarts of Scotland. Naturally, many Eights have enjoyed power over the centuries, including Winston Churchill, whose refusal to make a deal with Adolf Hitler shaped the conflict of World War Two, ultimately delivering victory to Britain and its Allies. Prior to war breaking out, Churchill was not well liked by his fellow Conservative MPs at Westminster, who, during the 1930s, regarded him as a warmonger and an extremist. They supported Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who thought he could negotiate an agreement with Hitler to avoid war. Chamberlain returned from a meeting with the Nazi leader, announcing he had secured “peace in our time”, but was shocked when Hitler broke his promise and invaded Poland. When it became clear that any attempt to appease Hitler was likely to fail, Chamberlain stepped down and Churchill’s moment had arrived. Winston’s bulky, powerful-looking figure and his tough speeches about resisting Nazi Germany’s aggression became a symbol of British defiance. When all of Europe seemed to be crumbling before Hitler’s onslaught, Churchill made three fighting speeches, including a warning that conflict would demand “blood, toil, tears and sweat” from the British people. This was followed by a declaration that “we shall fight on the beaches” and never surrender, and culminating in his eulogy of fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain, that “this was their finest hour”. These speeches have become immortalized in British history and still reflect an underlying attitude of defiant independence in the British psyche. In short, Churchill was an Eight when Britain needed one the most, and thus earned his place in history. More recently, we have seen the former US President, Donald Trump, using his abrasive and confrontational style to give a unique flavour to his office. Trump’s refusal to admit defeat in the 2020 election is typical of an Eight who just won’t allow himself to be seen as a loser. “When somebody challenges you, fight back. Be brutal, tough,” declared The Donald, and he certainly tried to practice what he preached. In addition to being a businessman and politician, Trump was co-producer of a TV reality show called “The Apprentice” in which he naturally assumed the role of chief executive, or “the Boss”, which is Helen Palmer’s name for the Eight type. Trump exhibited his power every week, eliminating contestants with his famous catchphrase "You're fired." Looking back through time, there may be many contestants for the title of “King of the Eights” but the prize surely goes to King Henry VIII, for the sheer audacity and chutzpah of stealing the spiritual powers of Rome and adding them to his earthly crown. In an age when religious superstition and fear of hell and damnation were still very real, that took a lot of balls. Incidentally, not long ago, the online newspaper Huffington Post published a spoof article in which King Henry VIII praised Donald Trump, giving eight reasons why Trump qualified as a megalomaniac like himself. Reason number three put it in a nutshell: “He’s really comfortable being God-like.” But where, you may, ask, are the female Eights? It has been said that this type lends itself to masculine qualities, and so there are more male than female Eights, but this can be misleading. More than one Enneagram teacher has noted that a significant percentage of women do not like to be seen as powerful, due to their personal experience that men are afraid of strong women. So, they tend to hide their strength and also their Enneagram type. “Never argue with a female Eight who says she is a Two!” joked one seminar leader, recalling a bruising struggle with one female participant, who resisted all suggestions that she was the “Boss” type. But history has its share of obvious female Eights: Queen Victoria, for example, was small, round and fierce, ruling her family with a rod of iron, and marrying off her children to other European royalty as she saw fit. Golda Meir, Israel’s first and only female prime minister, was known to be as tough and hawkish as any of her male ministers. Germany’s long-serving prime minister, Angela Merkel, was known as the de facto leader of the European Union and the most powerful woman in the world. Mae West, the legendary American actress, played the strong, sexually liberated, independent, female Eight with gusto. In addition to having big breasts and a big energy, Mae West was also a smart cookie, writing and directing her own stage shows. She has a number of epic quotes, including this court room repartee: Judge (indignantly): Are you showing contempt for this court, young miss?” Mae West (looking bored): “Well, I’m doing my best to hide it.” She certainly did not try and hide her strength, becoming the public’s favourite “bad girl” in the 1920s, and using bawdy, light-hearted, double entendre so often it became her trademark: Mae West (to a gangster): “Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?” For a modern and more complex portrait of a female Eight, it is entertaining to watch the political career of Birgitte Nyborg, featured in the internationally acclaimed Danish series “Borgen” on Netflix. It’s fiction, but realistic enough to make fascinating viewing. Nyborg is a friendly-looking, 44-year-old leader of a small political party, who in a Danish national election suddenly finds herself becoming the head of a coalition that takes power, elevating herself unexpectedly to Prime Minister. She works 16 hours a day as PM, but still finds time to pick up her kids from school and does her best to sustain a meaningful relationship with her husband. Of course, it all comes unglued, because that’s how the intense drama of the series is created, but through it all, Nyborg’s inner strength carries herself, and others, through every crisis. Sidse Babett Knudsen, the Danish actress who plays Birgitte, shows the viewers a body type that is borderline between shapely and plump, between sexy and chubby. So, we believe this character when she says she is struggling to keep her weight down. Physically, she makes a perfect Eight. In temperament, too, Sidse seems close to her role as Birgitte. When, for example, the producers wanted the character to be more politically feminist and aggressive in claiming power, Sidse refused, saying it would be more effective if it looked perfectly natural for an ordinary woman to become prime minister. As a feminine Eight, the character of Birgitte Nyborg can sometimes allow her vulnerability to show. For example, even when she has enough political support to become Denmark’s first female Prime Minister, she hardly dares believe it will happen. Kept waiting for 20 minutes at the Amalienborg Palace for the Danish Queen to authorize her to form a government, Birgitte is nervous. “Something had gone wrong, can’t you feel it?” she worries, “I’ve lost the ball before the game has even started!” Her chief advisor calmly reminds her that this Royal audience is the easy part. The wheeling and dealing over cabinet posts will be much more difficult, he warns, and, at that moment, the Queen invites them into her chambers and the new government is formed. In real life, showing vulnerability can be a huge challenge for Eights. One woman, in her late forties, shared in a group that she had always kept a ring of steel around inner feelings, but realized that, in order to keep the man she loved, she had no choice but to let down her guard. “It was do or die,” she reflected. “Either I was going to lose him, or I had to expose my fears, my insecurities, my helplessness. So, I opened up to him, It was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life.”




Yes, you read it correctly. The word in the headline is “Mediator,” and not “Meditator.” What a difference a single letter can make! Because when we look for the Queen’s Enneagram type we must begin with her ability to mediate: to understand everyone, to listen to everyone, and to consider all points of view. “I think it’s rather nice to feel that one’s a sort of sponge, soaking up confidences.” This was how Queen Elizabeth described her weekly meetings with a long line of Prime Minsters, starting in 1952 with Winston Churchill and passing through seven decades of British politics. Few people in this world would feel comfortable with the idea of being a human sponge, but, if we can believe her own words, Elizabeth enjoyed this unusual role. It was a quality that was greatly appreciated by Tony Blair when he was PM, saying the Queen was the one person to whom he could speak freely, knowing his opinions wouldn’t leak out to the media. Prince Philip, her husband, a man not known for such qualities himself, described his wife as “immensely tolerant.” She was also a creature of habit. According to Palace insiders, the Queen loved her daily routine and took comfort from the way it rarely varied: A cup of Earl Grey tea at the start of her day, walking her corgis in the early afternoon, a gin and tonic in the evening…. By now, surely, you must have guessed Elizabeth’s Enneagram type? I hope so, because every online Enneagram expert agrees, and this in itself is a near miracle. Normally, there is a huge range of disagreement in any internet debate about types. Is Prince Charles a Five or a Four? Is Princess Diana a Four or a Six? Is Prince Philip a Seven or an Eight? Everyone has a different opinion, and nobody can be proved right because the Enneagram is not like Astrology. In Astrology, when you know a person’s time and date of birth, and the location, you can point with certainty to the sun sign, and all planetary positions. But the Enneagram is a very different beast. It is an enormously powerful tool, because it exposes the foundation stone of the personality structure. It lifts a veil of self-ignorance and in a dazzling, sometimes shocking, moment of revelation, shows us why we think and act the way we do. But here’s the catch: you’ve got to get the type right. And while this is usually not a problem in a real-life workshop, working with real-live people, when typing famous people it’s just a guessing game. And yet, Queen Elizabeth II has done it. She has brought all the experts together, which, come to think of it, is exactly the kind of harmonious outcome people of her Enneagram type are good at creating. Her type? By unanimous decision: Nine. True to her type, Elizabeth became queen by accident, drifting into a role she had not chosen – in fact, in a similar way to how Ringo Starr became a world-famous drummer. Ringo, also a Nine, once said that if he hadn’t been picked up by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, “I’d probably have been a labourer, doing some kind of manual work.” Ringo just fell into it. The same with Elizabeth. Well, she would never have been a labourer! But she was never meant to be queen. She was born to be a countrywoman, breeding dogs and horses, and mucking around on farm estates. Her Uncle Edward was king and looked set for life. But then, when Elizabeth was ten years old, Edward fell in love with an American divorcee and socialite called Wallis Simpson – and wanted to make her his queen. Appalled, the British Government said “No!” Edward abdicated and all eyes turned towards his brother, Elizabeth’s father, who promptly became King George VI. Elizabeth, as George’s eldest daughter – he had no sons – was now in line to the throne, but her father was only 41, so it seemed that her time as monarch was still a long way off. But King George, alas, was a very insecure, nervous man, and smoked heavily to cope with the burdens of his office. He fell sick with lung cancer, and died at the relatively young age of 57. And so, through these accidental events, Elizabeth was propelled onto the throne at the tender age of 24 and was crowned a year later. This is typical of the way Nines find their way through life. They tend to go along with what other people want. They try not to make a fuss. They accept what life brings them. When you think about it, Elizabeth’s role suited her personality type perfectly. Only a Nine could carry on, decade after decade, without complaint, doing her duty for 70 years. Of course, there were challenges. For example, Elizabeth was very fond of her ship, the Royal Yacht Britannia, and loved to go touring with it, sailing around the world. But in 1997, Tony Blair’s newly elected Labour Government decided that the ship had to be scrapped. The Queen was devastated. Prince Philip was furious. And here’s the Nine element: years later, Tony Blair revealed that the Queen never raised the issue of Britannia being scrapped with him during their weekly meetings. Not once. She simply accepted the decision. She shed tears at the ship’s decommissioning ceremony, but never protested. No other Enneagram type could have buried her personal feelings so thoroughly. Several might have begged the Prime Minister to spare the ship. Others might have flown into a rage. The Nine just carried on. One wonders what might have happened if the queen had stumbled on a book about the Enneagram. Would she have recognized her type? Would she have realized that, while a Nine can follow a routine forever, it comes at a price of numbing one’s own feelings and practicing self-neglect? Nines learned to stifle their inner voice at an early age, realizing that it was never going to be heard by others. In such a family environment, expressing one’s own personal feelings could only get in the way of peace and harmony. For Elizabeth, as she grew up, personal preferences always gave way to duty. And duty, for the Queen, was paramount. Her interest in self-discovery and spiritual growth seemed to go no further than her Christian faith. As Head of the Church of England, she probably assumed she was guaranteed a place in heaven. Meditation was never on her agenda. Mediation was her very lifestyle. At her funeral, world leaders converged on London and the global television audience ran into billions. A woman perfectly suited to her role and to her Enneagram type, was laid to rest. The probability of Elvis Presley being a Nine has already been mentioned in the description of Type Two. Presley’s inability to stand up and say “No!” to his super-controlling manager, Colonel Tom Parker, is typical of the way Nines want to avoid confrontation. Now, as we continue to explore Type Nine, allow me to introduce one word: “Plastics.” Check any list of all-time great quotes from Hollywood movies and you'll find it. Why? Because this single word, "plastics”, captured a generation gap, delivered as advice to a Nine and exposing the emptiness of mainstream values. Fifty years have passed since the iconic movie "The Graduate" was made and the question remains: do we fit into society, or do we rebel against it? At first glance, the film's main character, Benjamin Braddock, is an unlikely hero – so much so that he came to exemplify a new kind of male role model: the anti-hero. Unintentionally, he also provided us with a wonderful example of the Enneagram's Number Nine personality type and how it functions. Imagine the scene: Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, has just graduated from university and has returned to his home in Pasadena, California. His proud parents throw a party to celebrate the occasion. But it is the parents’ friends, their generation, whom we see at the party, and we can feel their collective expectation that Benjamin will now choose a career and become successful – just like them. This is the moment when one family friend, Mr McGuire, takes Benjamin aside and utters the classic lines that have rightly taken their place in Hollywood's hall of famous quotes: McGuire: “Ben, I want to say one word to you, just one word.” Ben: “Yes sir?” McGuire: “Are you listening?” Ben: “Yes, I am.” McGuire: “Plastics.” Ben: “Exactly how do you mean?” McGuire: “There's a great future in plastics. Think about it.” The film’s director, Mike Nichols, and his screenplay writers, knew what they were doing when they highlighted this exchange, because “plastic” isn’t just a material. It’s also a derogatory term, such as a “plastic society”, meaning superficial and empty. In effect, Mr McGuire is trying to sell Ben a membership card to join the shallowness of the mainstream. Ben thanks Mr McGuire for his advice, but doesn't take it. A quiet rebellion is growing inside Ben's heart and mind. He may not know what he wants, but he knows what he doesn't want. He doesn't want to be like Mr McGuire. “I want to be…different,” he says, in a barely audible whisper. True to his type as a Nine, Ben’s rebellion isn't stated openly as a clear rejection of his parents' values. Rather, it slowly emerges through his passive-aggressive behaviour. For example, his parents expect him to choose a graduate school to continue his studies. Ben doesn't say he won't go, but he continually postpones choosing a school. In another classic scene from the movie, his father gives him a scuba diving outfit for his 21st birthday and cajoles him into swimming in the family pool in front of guests. Instead, Ben sinks slowly to the bottom of the pool and stays there, isolating himself from the rest of the pool party. Remember, "The Graduate" was released in 1967, the so-called "Summer of Love" when a whole generation of young people appeared to be in revolt, turning their backs on the values of mainstream America. They did so openly and colourfully, growing long hair, wearing psychedelic colours, exploring free love, smoking dope and partying to loud music. But Ben is not part of this youthful rebellion. He doesn't drop out. He just drifts, which is precisely why Claudio Naranjo, one of the developers of the Enneagram system, called the Nine type "Going with the Stream." Nines have a hard time knowing what they want, because they can't hear their own inner voice, or, if they can, they don’t think it matters. Their personal desires and opinions weren't heeded in childhood, so this inner sense of valuing oneself was numbed. As a survival strategy, Nines decided to take the easier route of going along with other people’s wishes. And so, true to his type, Ben doesn't take a stand. He just drifts. Soon, he finds himself in a casual love affair with Mrs Robinson, a family friend, who is bored with her husband and wants some excitement. It is she who seduces him, which is again typical of how Nines function in relationships. But even Nines cannot avoid conflict indefinitely and life becomes stressful for Ben when his parents persuade him to begin dating Mrs Robinson's daughter, Elaine. Ironically, Mr Robinson, unaware of his wife's affair with Ben, also encourages the young man to spend time with his daughter. Ben feels conflicted. It feels wrong for him to date Elaine after sleeping with her mother, but rather than refusing to go out with her – Nines find it hard to simply say "No!" – he tries to sabotage the date by taking Elaine to a strip joint. As he expected, she runs out of the club in distress and the date is over. This becomes the turning point for Ben. Shocked by his own behaviour, he discovers a true passion inside himself: he doesn’t want sex with Mrs Robinson; he wants a love relationship with Elaine. This is the moment when a Type Nine can move along the Enneagram's internal lines to point Three, switching from indolence into action. Usually, it takes a long time for Nines to arrive at this point. They are experts at leaving everything to the last minute. Some never make it. For Ben, it’s almost too late. Mrs Robinson has told her husband and her daughter that Ben raped her when she was drunk, turning them both against him. Next, Mr and Mrs Robinson try to marry off their daughter to another man. When Ben hears about the wedding, he jumps in a car and drives like a madman to Santa Barbara, where the marriage ceremony is taking place. Ben, who until now has been passive and lazy, is now all-action, bringing the film to its hilarious climax. He breaks into the church, grabs hold of Elaine – who suddenly realises she loves Ben – and together they escape, using a large white cross to block the church door and prevent the others from following them. They flag down a bus and sit together at the back, elated at their victory. End of movie…end of story? Well, that’s as far as Mike Nichols could take us and it was enough to make the movie an impressive hit with the public, converting a $3 million budget into a $100 million phenomenon. Many people identified with Benjamin Braddock as an anti-hero: an ordinary guy, confused and hesitant, who still manages to surmount the obstacles in his path and get what he wants. The movie had a lot going for it. Mike Nichols took a huge gamble in casting an unknown stage actor called Dustin Hoffman in the lead role and it paid off handsomely, catapulting Hoffman to stardom. Interestingly, Robert Redford, already a major star, was ready to play the part of Benjamin, but Nichols turned him down because he was too handsome and obviously successful with women. He lacked the underdog quality Nichols was seeking. Puzzled, Redford asked what Nichols what he meant by an ‘underdog’. "Well, let's put it this way," said Nichols, "Have you ever struck out with a girl?" What do you mean?" asked Redford. "That's precisely my point," replied Nichols. By the way, not all Nines are underdogs, far from it, but their tendency to go along with others and not make a fuss was, and still is, a massive departure from the Hollywood stereotype male: the bold hero who is decisive, defiant, swift to act. But this is exactly what makes this movie succeed. It is Ben’s inability, or reluctance, to stand up for himself that keeps the audience engaged, wondering if, when and how this guy is going to wake up and get going. The film’s ambience was boosted by the songs of Simon &Garfunkel, especially their tongue-in-cheek tribute to Mrs Robinson and, most notably, their classic hit “The Sound of Silence” which resonated perfectly with Ben’s sense of alienation. As for the validity of the movie’s claim to be a subversive indictment of mainstream values, well, that’s a debatable issue. Certainly, it is a triumph to find personal fulfilment in love, where before there was only emptiness, but getting into a relationship isn’t exactly busting loose from society’s chains. It’s a good start, but one wonders what happened to Ben and Elaine after the excitement was over. Did Ben slip back into the indolence of his Nine strategy? Or did this decisive act of claiming Elaine set him on a new, more positive path of being able to listen to his own inner needs? Alas, there was no movie titled “Graduate 2”, so we will never know. But other Nines can take heart from Ben’s story and its timeless message: Trust your inner voice. Listen to it. Act on it. Believe it or not, this will make a difference, maybe not to others, but to you – and that’s what matters.

bottom of page