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a review of

The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types - by Don Richard Riso, Russ Hudson


Psychobabble triumphant</h1></center>

<h3>Arvan Harvat</h3></center>

<p>What a rational man can say when confronted with such a vast amount of
pop-psychological garbage ? Maybe just a few questions, a glance at history,
and pack up and leave.  ( This is written looking back ( in anger
) on <img src= Almaas's compendium of "holy" ideas.)

1. Considering a few branches of math ( algebraic topology, plus some subvariants like graph theory or knot theory), any 2 dimensional graph/glyph immediately loses its Pythagorean mystique. If one can functionally transform a graph, "distort" it etc, - the supposition of a graph as a container of profound mysteries becomes ludicrous and preposterous. If a circle and an ellipse are topologically identical, there is no need to become pathologically addicted to one or another.

2. Even with the suspension of disbelief re point 1., the Platonic idea of archetypal attributes is heavily obsolete.  Ol' Plato had dealt a coup de grace in "Parmenides"; however, Neoplatonists were kind enough to skip over this. Yet, even they have been cautious with numerics; even they say that Allah's/God's 99 names is a poetic approximation. ( BTW: how come 99 holy names got reduced to 9 holy ideas ? Beats me. )

3. Whirling down from Nous to Psyche and Hyle, one is forced to ask: why exactly this psychological typology? What's the reason behind the building blocks ?  Why "performer" or "the epicure" instead of, say,"the stoic" or "realist" ? Or "Snoopy" or "Lucy van Pelt" ? Why not different traits ? Why these lines, why the circle ?  And, what's the point with these points being so pointlessly and arbitrarily connected ?

4. As for Riso and other pop-psychologizing Jesuits and Salesians, I only wish ol' Tomas de Torquemada were alive.

5. Finally, a word on the glyph: it is an archaic cosmologico-spiritual symbol, originating in Sumero-Chaldean milieu and concisely summarizing their conception of the universe and descent and ascent of the "soul". Essentially, this is a Hermetic, spherical Ptolemaic and geocentric cosmos as preserved in the traditions of Mandeans and Sabeans, later blended and modified by the Neoplatonist influence into a symbol of alchemical "opus". It is the veritable irony of history that a fossil of          palaentological spiritual cognition has become a New Age icon. As Charlie Brown would put it:" My mind is reeling with cynical remarks."

more See also Gurdjieff and Work for a more detailed assesment (in pdf format) of the Gurdjieff system

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content by Arvan Harvat
page uploaded 20 Feb 2000, last modified 22 June 2009