Dead Ends in Our Thinking – 5 quotes from Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert’s book – The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective

by Mark Votava

51E4hrZVAiL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Pretending to be free and original

“The FOURS try desperately to create an outer world of self-created ‘symmetry.’ In fact they demand it of life and are often dogmatic and controlling about what is acceptable and what is not. They will not participate in an ugly world because they once knew a perfect and whole world like the ONES try to create. While pretending to be free and original, they are deeply bound by a deeper set of absolute criteria about what is good and what is not good. ‘I will be special’ is the mantra of a person who once knew a PERFECT COSMOLOGY of which they were an essential part. They once knew the eternal WHOLENESS/NOTHINGNESS of God, how it included and incorporated the DARK. They try to make it happen in the world of forms and symbols, but seldom let themselves enjoy it. The serenity of the ONE is unworthy of them, yet they once lived there. They refuse to return to the garden, but keep making ‘movies’ about it.”

2. Achievement, efficiency, and success

“We Americans have an extremely hard time seeing through the lies of our system. America, that ‘kingdom of the good,’ is exalted above every impure motive. This kind of deception is part of our system and lifestyle. It is vital for us as Americans to understand the energy of THREES if we wish to analyze the mentality of our country. The rest of the world has an image of the ‘ugly American,’ superficial and hollow, the image of an artificial world packaged in plastic without substantial content. But we Americans cannot and will not see ourselves this way. Above and beyond that, starting out from America the whole earth has been coated over with the ideals of THREES. The world economy is based on achievement, efficiency, and success. Anyone who can’t keep up gets booted out.”

3. At the expense of the dark side of life

“The gift, or fruit of the spirit, of SEVENS is joy. But that doesn’t mean that on the way to integration they should turn into weepy wet blankets. The life-theme of SEVENS is joy – and it may continue that way. But the joy should not come at the expense of the dark side of life, and banal idealism must not deny reality. Sober joy is joy in the face of and despite all the difficulties of life…”  

4. The dead ends in our thinking

“The Enneagram spells out the pitfalls or dead ends in our thinking. At the same time it gives each type a specific invitation or call to conversion…”

5. Hostile and violent

“False Consolation: EIGHT goes to FIVE. The energy of a neurotically repressive EIGHT is hostile and violent. At point FIVE (‘I am wise’), the EIGHT begins to brood, to doubt, and to ponder. Fear arises, above all the fear of losing power. Very few EIGHTS willingly retreat into silence. Often their silence is the result of sickness or physical weakness; in the case of violent criminals it can be the involuntary solitude of a jail cell. In a state of enforced silence, EIGHTS sometimes experience for the first time a profound powerlessness, which they had never before tolerated. The fear that others could take advantage of their weakness and avenge previous humiliations gets the upper hand. Feelings of guilt arise…”

What fascinates you about the enneagram?

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