Monday, January 14, 2008

Video is the Way to go

When Mary Beth and I started teaching the Enneagram, we had the idea of using video clips from movies and interviews with celebrities to illustrate the different types. This wasn't just because we enjoy celebrity gossip, although obviously, we do. It was because we knew that observing how personality traits manifest in celebrities -- people we all know in common -- was a more effective way of conveying a holistic sense of the types than talking about people only a few of us know, or reading a type description from a book. Alas, we got about half way through Dances with Wolves (looking for examples of type 9 behavior) before falling asleep and giving up.
Luckily, some people, namely David and Katherine Fauvre of the Enneagram Explorations site, don't give up that easily. Their newly updated type descriptions include video clips. The descriptions themselves are "the culmination of over two years of effort and contain [the Fauvre's] very latest research into each Enneagram Type." Frankly, it shows; they're good. Let's take a look at an excerpt from the description of a type we hardly ever talk about on the blog, type 8:

"Your greatest strength is your sense of justice and desire to protect the weak, vulnerable, down-trodden and under-represented. Big hearted and generous by nature, you willingly protect others even at your own expense. A person of your word, you stand up for what you believe in and deliver what have you promised. You have the ability to quickly assess a situation, cut to the chase and ‘call a spade a spade’, simplifying what initially appears to be complex and confusing. This ability to instinctively see the truth in any given situation and act decisively makes you a natural born leader.
Your vice is excess and going to extremes. Whatever you like, you want more of and whatever you do, you overdo at full speed. Quick to respond, you can over react and come on too strong. You can be too much, too intense, and unwilling to self-limit. This can lead to escalating conflict due to an over reliance on your own truth and self-defined justice. Under stress you can become myopic, believing your truth as ‘The Truth’. Seeing life as a battlefield or a contest of wills, you can become confrontational and have difficulty backing down or admitting defeat. You have a tendency to push things to the edge and sometimes may run over others in the process."

In many cases, the Fauvres have chosen the same celebrities we would to illustrate the types. For instance, a video of Hillary Clinton illustrates type 1. Mary Beth called that spade a spade here. They also agree with Mary Beth and say Paula Abdul is a 2 (whereas I still think she has a 3-zoned-out-to-9 vibe.) Follow the discussion in the comments section here. In that same post, Mary Beth typed John Stewart as a 6, and he is used as a video exemplar of that type on the Enneagram Explorations site.
Another interesting exemplar is Kurt Cobain as a 4. Mary Beth and I think he is a 5, albeit with a heavy 4 wing. (See this post from Mary Beth's other blog, The Half-Assed Game.) The Fauvres also type gossip favorite Britney Spears as a 7.
See the type descriptions and video clips yourself at Simply click on the number of the type that interests you.

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