Human Types: Essence and the Enneagram. Part 1
Note: I don’t mind reviewing esoteric and controversial manuscripts. The general public is varied. You will realize that this pseudo-science is a combination of associating known psychological characteristics to cosmology terminology in order to make it sound as a scientifically researched field.
It is an interesting fictional reading, unless you end up believing that it is a science, simply because you indeed fit nicely into one of the described categories.
I review on Dec. 6, 2006 the book “Human Types; Essence and the Enneagram” by Suzan Zannos
I got a copy of the book that my nephew William asked me to read because he enjoyed it. Although William is pretty much a down to earth guy and graduating in two majors: graphic design and architecture, he prefers to read metaphysical teachings and doing yoga. I thought that this is an opportunity to get into his mind and what makes him tick.
The book is basically of two parts:
1. The first part expounds on the four functions of the instinctive mind, the moving mind, the intellectual mind, and the emotional mind and differentiating between essence and personality, and between active/passive characteristics, and positive/negative behaviors.
2. The second part discusses the seven typical types and the enneagram as developed by the infamous Russian mystic Gurdjieff. I have already written about Gurdjief in another book review titled “The princes of the crazy years.”
I have already described what I discovered to be my relationship with each typical type and my own behavior in my diary; so this review is strictly informative. These chapters describe the planets related to these types, their main gland hormones, their tendencies along the four dimensions of intelligence processes, emotional, instinctive, and movement centers of behavior, as well as what to expect from the child and how to guide him.
I will bypass the planets description because first, it is not the place and second, I sincerely think it is hogwash to try finding correlations with the features of the planets and mankind characteristics: I believe that since Earth is closest to the Sun than Saturn or Jupiter, and that the all-powerful energies emanating from the Sun should eclipse any effects from the tiny planets such as Mercury or Mars, thus trying to affix some sort of effects of the planets on human behavior is a ridiculously pretty weak endeavor. The effects of our moon are a different subject.
I might describe briefly the gland hormones because they might be relevant at the growth stage, but their effects on human characteristics might be based on conjectures because I doubt that any data were collected by the members of the Fourth Way on individuals in their childhood to draw any conclusions.
Although these chapters provide bodily dimensions and shapes for the typical humans, I strongly ask you to forget categorizing your essence based on the physical characteristics because first, they did not apply to me and second, you might get sidetracked from the essential parts of the typical psychological, emotional, and intellectual behaviors.
Maybe the two extremes in physical characteristics such as the Saturn (the tallest and best built) and the Mercurian (the shortest and skinniest) might suggest ready fit, though all the other types can be in any shape and stature.
In addition to the seven typical types such as Lunar, Venusian, Mercurian, Jovial, Martial, Saturnine, and Solar, we have six other combinations such as: Lunar-Venusian, Venusian-Mercurial, Jovial-Lunar, Martian-Saturnine, Saturnine-Mercurial, and Martial-Jovial. Also, these types are supposed to be based on observations, thus whatever you daydream about and how you wish to behave does not count in the practical categorizations of types.
Since it is extremely difficult to indulge in self-observation because we are prone to observe the atypical tendencies in ourselves, when normal patterns have been somehow disrupted, we however can easily discover the essence in others because the others would behave as children (the child within) when caught behaving according to their essence.
Essence is different from personality, which is related to social and cultural influences, and thus the type discuss the essence of the group. Finally, I described the Lunar, Venusian, and Solar types more extensively than the other four types, simply because they relate more to my characteristics.
The Lunar type is the only passive as well as negative type among the seven typical categories. Passivity is defined here as the tendency not to change or improve the environment or social structures, but to accept or go along with what surround us; thus the outside world acts upon the passive type and is viewed as threatening; the passive type needs to develop a hard shell as defense against the onslaught of impressions and experiences that confront him. Negativity is defined by the tendency to focus on the weaknesses or faults in other people’s ideas, clothing, behavior, or intentions; the stimulus is something to ignore, hide from, deflect, refuse, or escape.
The Lunar body is generally frail, the features incompletely formed, the chin is weak and receding, the shoulders hunched over, and the eyesight weak and preferring dim light. The Lunar does not like crowds or being the focus of attention; he prefers solitude to socializing. He can be found sitting in a corner or standing by the wall, observing but not participating in the activity or conversation. The Lunar is good with details. The Lunar’s main feature is willfulness.
Fear is a typical characteristic of the Lunar type.. Lunars are night people, and can tolerate working the graveyard shift more easily than other types. They can be found as night desk clerks, short order cooks in all-night diners, night auditors, night nurses and orderlies in hospitals. They are more suited for careers in accounting, library science, legal research; they are scholars, inventors, mathematicians, philosophers, painters, musicians, and writers; any job that requires tolerance for solitude and sustained concentration.
Woody Allen, St Theresa, the New Yorker cartoonists Charles Addams, and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke are of this type. There is an apocryphal story that, every once in a while, the editor of Adams would receive some of his cartoons, then pick up the phone and call Charles Addams psychiatrist and tell him: “Go get Charles.” The maximum attraction is toward the Saturnine type who plans and guides and their relationship is more like parent and child. The Saturnine type is at the midpoint of masculinity while the Lunar is at the midpoint of femininity; there is a greater tendency toward homosexuality among male Lunars than among other types.
The Lunar child should not be forced to mingle, be the center of attraction, to participate in sports, or to enjoy parties otherwise you make him biter, vindictive, and vicious by trying. The Lunar child combined tendencies toward pessimism and introspection can produce extremely low self-esteem because intellectually they are the slowest people and need plenty of time to digest the details before reacting; that is why Lunar children need the most supportive and loving environment despite the fact that they seem the least lovable and affectionate; they cannot be hurried, do not like surprises or being hugged.
The dominant endocrine gland is the pancreas which produces insulin, glucagon and somatostatin. The glucagon stimulate the liver to break down stored sugar for use. The somatostatin hormone is a messenger hormone that controls the secretion of intestinal hormones and the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. The pancreas also supplies lymphocytes to the blood to fight infections.
I might be a Lunar because I can be willful when pressured, skeptical and cynical in my conversation, and need advanced notice to mull over an invitation, though I abhor being personally responsible to go over the details in anything. In my dream day projects I do think about every detail but not in real life. I avoid bodily confrontations and conversations that have extreme positions but I turn out to be a merciless person when cornered or pressured.
The Venusian type is passive and positive; an earthly type with broad hips and thighs, commonly found in the South Sea Islanders, North and Central American Indians and the Mediterranean countries. He is a born follower, preferring to live through others, emulating other people’s opinion and ideas, as long as he is not asked to decide for himself or select among alternatives choices.
For example, if asked: “Shall we go to a movie or a concert?” he will say: “Whatever you want to do is fine with me.”; “Would you join me for a sky dive or bungee jumping?” “Sure I join you.” Venusians are warm and nurturing, for example they will be staying with their aging parents, content to enjoy family life through nephews and nieces, taking them to the park and joining them with their activities, rather than having children of their own.
Venusians are fond of creature comforts and familiar surroundings. If they are hungry then the left-overs in the fridge will do fine. They may be slothful and untidy. The chief feature is being frequently nonexistent in the mind of strangers when among a group of people, for example, if the waiter forgot the order of someone in the group, most probably it is the order of the Venusian.
I realized that many of my school mates don’t even recollect my face, even that sometimes we sat for an entire year on the next chair. The concerns of the other types don’t seem to perturb the Venusian, nor do their striving anxieties, or problems. Venusians can be found putting about in the garden, sometime pruning roses or trees, raking a few leaves and discarding the ones that mom rakes, watering a few patches of green vegetables. The Venusian is a warm and sympathetic listener, always willing to hear about problems without either judging or offering advice.
The Venusian child may easily remain unnoticed if there are other children in the family who present problems or clamor for attention; the child will be content to follow his siblings around and passively watch them play, sit for hours in front of the television set lost in the cartoon characters or situation comedies. The Venusian child is well-behaved, easy to please, and quiet; I guess that is how I grew up.
At school the Venusian child is not noticed by the teacher or quite remembers the face, thus the teacher’s remarks on his grade cards are noncommittal like, “Venus is showing progress.” The Venusian child needs to be encouraged to make decisions like selecting his clothing, be given chores to do and be followed through like helping in preparing the food, be asked his opinion about the menu or the story he read. I wish my parents knew better and followed these suggestions.
There probably are some “famous Venusians”, an oxymoron, but most probably they imitated some other type or what they did was atypical of a Venusian.
The dominant gland hormone is the parathyroids which releases calcium into the bloodstream, thus it causes bones to partially dissolve to add the calcium into the blood. The parathyroids hormone also causes the kidney to excrete the phosphorus normally bound to the calcium; is that why I have to piss every 45 minutes on average? Frequently, the Venusian has trouble with his teeth, brittle bones in later years, and symptoms of lethargy, fatigue, and weakness due to high levels of calcium in the blood.
I exhibit the behavior of almost a typical Venusian although my hips are not large at all and my thighs are skinny. I do enjoy my comfort and I am not tidy in my life style. Unlike the Venusians, my memory is faulty and I cannot repeat what I heard or understood. I do not recall faces or names and many, who considered me their role model, were deceived when they realized that I had completely forgotten them, face and name.
The Solar type is active and the most positive of all the typical types. He is a childlike type with delicate bone structure, fine skin, a long neck, level shoulders, tapering waist, and long legs; he is the most attractive of all the human types. Although the other six types can have characteristics of one other type, the Solar does not have a fixed place on the enneagram; he is an anomaly and may acquire the characteristics of all the types. The chief feature of the Solar is naiveté and does not learn from experience.
The Solars frequently die young from either disease or suicide.
The typical famous persons are Judy Garland and Marlene Monroe. In each center of the instinctive, moving, intellectual, and emotional centers the negative parts seems underdeveloped and unbalanced, thus the Solar is not able to accustom himself to the harsher aspects of reality. The Solar can forget about time, meals, or dressing appropriately for the weather. This type drives himself completely in his project, survives on chocolate bars from vending machines until he succumbs to sickness before finding reasons to relax and care for his body.
Solars do not comprehend jokes or have any sense of humor because of their totally positive nature. They experience a sense of loneliness, a feeling of not belonging, not fitting in; they do not have a maximum attraction type, and are comfortable of other Solars.
If you have a Solar child you can resign yourself to seeing your pediatrician very often and spending a lot of sleepless nights because your kid is going to catch the children illnesses and a host of allergies. The parents have to remind the Solar kids when he is hungry and sleepy and, thus he needs a great deal of parental supervision and instruction. Since Solar kids never learn from experience when falling or hurting themselves then they need proper training in forming correct habits or following safe procedures.
The dominant gland is the thymus that governs growth in children and usually is atrophied after puberty. This gland lies behind the breastbone and produces thymine which also controls the lymphocytes; the thymus hormone is believed to either cause disease or to allow diseases to be contracted. The life of the thymus in Solar extends beyond puberty which offers this type strong childlike characteristic of magical possibilities in a fairy tale world.
I think that I have been living a fairy tale in my day dreaming world. I might be a Solar because I am naïve in my relationship and can be swindled easily, though I lack the boundless energy of the Solar and I can never forget about my physical needs and relaxation time. I guess that I have a face that professional swindlers need only a fraction of a second to know that I am their perfect victim; I could be targeted many times and not learn much from my unfortunate experiences.
The Mercurial type is active and negative. He is wiry and the shortest of the human types. He is rapid in movement and well-coordinated; he is the fastest of the human types. He is a natural entertainer and can be deceitful; the Mercurial sparkles with warmth and humor. He uses his quick perceptions to take advantage of the unwary; when a Mercurial enters a room he notices every detail, even the worn spot in the carpet, and he understands more than the people around him. The chief feature of the Mercurial is likely to be his manipulative power.
The dominant endocrine hormone is the thyroid which controls metabolic rate, thus in response to low body temperature the thyroid converts food into energy and the byproduct heat; otherwise the body would store calories in the form of fat. Deficiency in thyroid hormone secretion retards brain development. Over secretion of thyroid hormone produces symptoms of hyperactivity, nervousness, and difficulty of concentration and rapid mood shifts. The Mercurial is prone to insomnia and sleep disturbances; they wake easily and suffer from real or imaginary aches and pains.
If you have a Mercurial child there will be fretfulness, sleepless nights, colic, and demanding squalling. As a toddler, the Mercurial child will be into twice as much mischief as other types because he has an insatiable curiosity, though he is wary and on the lookout for danger. His energy is inexhaustible and you need to allow him plenty of opportunity to run, climb, and exercise.
In school, the Mercurial kid is smart, mischievous, and bored, and should not be drugged into a submissive apathy. This type of kid needs help in being consistent, and following through on commitments. This kid is extremely manipulative and is going to use any devious methods they can think of to avoid detection or punishment.
The Saturn type is active and positive. He is the largest type, tall with heavy bone structure. He tends to occupy positions of leadership and work for the common good. He appears slow to act and mostly serious. They have confidence in their abilities and plan every thing, considering all the factors and taking into account peoples’ inputs and opinions before deciding on a vigorous action.
For example, on finding their ways through the Paris metro maps, while the Mercurial might reach his destination first on the first day, the Saturn will be first all the remaining days and lead the group on its errands. The Saturn women are slender and photogenic as preferred in fashion models. The chief feature of a Saturn is often dominance. A representative cartoon in Beetle Bailey for deciding on an officer says: “We’ll consider all their qualifications and then pick the tallest one,” who is a Saturn in general.
If you have a Saturn child, the most difficult problem is to remember that he is still a child. The Saturn child is so competent that he is often given more responsibilities that he should be shouldering; he can be left alone to care for the house and care for himself. A few of the Saturn type are Abraham Lincoln, Prince Charles and Princes D and the USA mascot Uncle Sam.
The dominant gland for the Saturn is the anterior pituitary which regulates and monitors the amount and ratio of the other endocrine glands in the blood stream. It is termed the master gland for its complex messenger services. The hormone designated as ACTH is associated with the stimulation of the adrenal steroids in response to stress and affects learning and memory.
The other hormone produced by the anterior pituitary is the TSH which inhibits or stimulates the synthesis and secretion of the thyroid hormones affecting metabolism. A third hormone produced is the growth hormone, particularly bone growth. The fourth hormone produced is the sex hormones.
The Martial type is active and negative. He is average in height, powerfully built, developed torso, and broad shoulders. The activity of a Martial is goal-oriented; once embarked upon a project, the Martial will work tirelessly until the task is completed, and then start another one.
He is quick to respond to stimulus and is down to earth and practical, unsophisticated and even coarse behavior. The chief feature may be destructiveness and power seeking; it might also be fear. The famous painter, Vincent Van Gogh, who failed to sell any of his paintings in his lifetime and still persisted in his undertaking everyday against all odds, is a typical Martial.
If you have a Martial child you need to be extremely vigilant; have a special rate with your family doctor for stitches by the yard, broken bones, and bruises. Save your energies for the really important instructions such as “don’t run into the street without looking or crawl out onto the roof. You don’t have to doubt your Martial kid’s word and don’t try to ask him to say a polite untruth; for instance, “Thank you for inviting me” is acceptable since he will not say that he had a good time if he didn’t. Explaining to a Martial kid tact and social grace will be a difficult task
The dominant gland is the adrenals; the abundance of adrenals in the blood stream governs the flight or flight responses. The hormone noradrenaline is associated with aggressive action and adrenaline secretion with apprehension, anxiety and skin pigmentation. Thus, the Martial has an explosive temper and is quick to attack or rapid retreat without stopping to consider the consequences of their actions.
The Jovial type is passive and positive. He is heavily built above the waist, portly or at least chubby with skinny legs in proportion to their structure. Intellectual abilities are natural to him and his learning seems effortless. He is fond for rich foods and good wine; he has the tendency to be overfed, overindulged, and overprotective of children and friends that the solicitous Jovial can become oppressive to be around. He has a sunny nature and good humor. He gets involved with many people and many projects.
The Jovial women enjoy bright colors and rich fabric and are likely to have extensive wardrobes of loose clothing. The chief feature of a Jovial is likely to be vanity, and also nurturing and caring for people. Benjamin Franklin, the famous scientist and statesman, is a typical Jovial, as well as Johann Sebastian Bach.
The dominant gland is the posterior pituitary. The two hormones vasopressin and oxytocin are produced by the hypothalamus and then stored and released by the posterior pituitary. Oxytocin is associated with the smooth muscles of the interior organs and also causes the ejection of milk from the mammary glands. Vasopressin serves as a anti-diuretic by promoting water re-absorption and controls the blood pressure. Both hormones are involved with memory, concentration, and learning.
The Jovial child is calm, obedient, and is surrounded by admirers whom he helps with their homework. Parents indulge these kids with sweets and toys because the Jovial children show so much pleasure from receiving presents and are such a joy in creating harmony.
The Jovial kid does well in school and brings home straight A on his report card and he achieves without much effort. Parents have to help him to learn discipline and perseverance and check his natural vanity.