Monday, January 28, 2008

France and Enneagrams

First, a poem about me. Then, you'll see why it's about me.

The Very Rich Hours of the Houses of France
by David Kirby, from I Think I Am Going to Call My Wife Paraguay. © Orchises Press, 2004. Reprinted from The Writer's Almanac

Our plane falls from the sky
into France, where everyone seems
so much happier than we are,
but no, it's not the people
who are happy, it's the buildings,
the high-beamed Norman farmhouses,
the cottages with roofs of trim thatch,
the chateaux set in verdant vineyards.
The people are like you and me:
their clothes don't fit very well,
their children are ungrateful,
and they're always blowing their noses.
But the buildings are warm and well-lit,
and even the ones that aren't,
the ones that have bad lighting
and poor insulation and green things
growing on the tile, even these
seem to be trying like crazy to comfort us,
to say something to us in French,
in House, in words we can understand.

Has anyone ever taken the Enneagram Test?

I'm curious what you are. There's some online versions out there in cyberspace. As best I can tell, I'm a 3 with a 4 wing (3w4). How that pans out with me is complete immobilization. I'll explain momentarily, but first a bit of history and resource recommendation.

There are varying explanations as to the origins of the Enneagram ("ennea" = 9 "gram"=something written or drawn). One asserts that notes and drawings have been found which date back to the Desert Fathers. The personality assessment was then apparently honed by the Franciscans. Today there is lots to be found online, but one of the best resources I've found about this test is a book by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert which gives a wholistic perspective on what these things mean, particularly for those of Christian faith.

As for my quandary, well, in the aforementioned book, there is an extensive table which details all sorts of things about each personality type in concise language. Classifications like "Representative Color", "Chief Temptation", "Biggest Asset". The one that really explains my predicament comes in the column that reads "Representative Country". See for a #3, that is the good ol' U.S. of A. Three types work hard, know how to work a room, goal-oriented, successful... (there's much much more). Anyway, #4 is characterized by none other than France. Fitting that my personhood would be locked b/t the crushing ideals of both of these cultural behemouths. US culture of success, suburbs, consumption, sporty kids, superbowl ads.... and France culture of, well, culture. Fours tend toward idealism, meloncholy, a feeling that the world is not as it should be. (We)/They have a "Beauty will save the world" attitude. Can't you see why I feel completely immobilized? I like the notion of being a 4, but they can't pay their rent! I have an entreprenueurial 3-ish father who I respect greatly and I like getting praise and recognition for accomplishments.

Anyway, that's my (very four-ish) ramble on my conflicted personality. What's your Enneagram #?


Matt said...

You sound like a Bo-Bo to me :)

Nothing wrong with that Katie. I think, many of us are like that. I'll take the test and let you know where I fall, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was similar.

Great poem, BTW.

Andrew said...

Hmmm, interesting.

The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic (like Gandhi & the church lady)

followed closely by

The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptable, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious (like Bill Clinton & Tom Cruise)

Tom said...

I came in as a #3 (gets shit done, leaves trail of bodies behind...) with a strong #7 wing (ADD boy - hey, let's go ride bikes!)


Hilary said...

Hi Katie-this is a late post on this, but my mom has done a ton of work on the enneagram and is thinking of writing a Bible study on it. I am a #4 with a bit of a 3 wing, so I can relate to how you feel. However, I have a lot of 1 in me because everyone I am related to is a 1-James, both parents, and Haley. Funny how that stuff works, eh? Anyway, I'm glad you found it-it can be very helpful in learning to be objective about yourself, i.e., for me "Wow, I'm being super self-centered again-time to think about other people." Pretty much what always happens with fours. Take care! H