Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘pseudo-science


By fetishising mathematical models, economists turned economics

into a highly paid pseudoscience, The new astrology

by Alan Jay Levinovitz

Since the 2008 financial crisis, colleges and universities have faced increased pressure to identify essential disciplines, and cut the rest.

In 2009, Washington State University announced it would eliminate the department of theatre and dance, the department of community and rural sociology, and the German major – the same year that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette ended its philosophy major.

In 2012, Emory University in Atlanta did away with the visual arts department and its journalism programme.

The cutbacks aren’t restricted to the humanities: in 2011, the state of Texas announced it would eliminate nearly half of its public undergraduate physics programmes.

Even when there’s no downsizing, faculty salaries have been frozen and departmental budgets have shrunk.

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Economic theory is caught up with abstract theories rooted in shaky hypotheticals. By mistaking mathematical models for empirical science, economists have become like astrologers, peddling ideas that a public is hungry to believe. Last week’s most-read:

But despite the funding crunch, it’s a bull market for academic economists.

According to a 2015 sociological study in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, the median salary of economics teachers in 2012 increased to $103,000 – nearly $30,000 more than sociologists.

For the top 10%  of economists, that figure jumps to $160,000, higher than the next most lucrative academic discipline – engineering.

These figures, stress the study’s authors, do not include other sources of income such as consulting fees for banks and hedge funds, which, as many learned from the documentary Inside Job (2010), are often substantial. (Ben Bernanke, a former academic economist and ex-chairman of the Federal Reserve, earns $200,000-$400,000 for a single appearance.)

Unlike engineers and chemists, economists cannot point to concrete objects – cell phones, plastic – to justify the high valuation of their discipline.

Nor, in the case of financial economics and macroeconomics, can they point to the predictive power of their theories.

Hedge funds employ cutting-edge economists who command princely fees, but routinely underperform index funds. Eight years ago, Warren Buffet made a 10-year, $1 million bet that a portfolio of hedge funds would lose to the S&P 500, and it looks like he’s going to collect.

In 1998, a fund that boasted two Nobel Laureates as advisors collapsed, nearly causing a global financial crisis.

The failure of the field to predict the 2008 crisis has also been well-documented. (I think many predicted the coming catastrophe: The timing was political in nature)

In 2003, for example, only five years before the Great Recession, the Nobel Laureate Robert E Lucas Jr told the American Economic Association that ‘macroeconomics […] has succeeded: its central problem of depression prevention has been solved’.

Short-term predictions fair little better – in April 2014, for instance, a survey of 67 economists yielded 100 per cent consensus: interest rates would rise over the next six months. Instead, they fell. A lot.

Nonetheless, surveys indicate that economists see their discipline as ‘the most scientific of the social sciences’.

What is the basis of this collective faith, shared by universities, presidents and billionaires?

Shouldn’t successful and powerful people be the first to spot the exaggerated worth of a discipline, and the least likely to pay for it?

In the hypothetical worlds of rational markets, where much of economic theory is set, perhaps.

But real-world history tells a different story, of mathematical models masquerading as science and a public eager to buy them, mistaking elegant equations for empirical accuracy. (Math models should be generated from actual data, and Not used to generate hypothetical numbers)

As an extreme example, take the extraordinary success of Evangeline Adams, a turn-of-the-20th-century astrologer whose clients included the president of Prudential Insurance, two presidents of the New York Stock Exchange, the steel magnate Charles M Schwab, and the banker J P Morgan.

To understand why titans of finance would consult Adams about the market, it is essential to recall that astrology used to be a technical discipline, requiring reams of astronomical data and mastery of specialised mathematical formulas.

‘An astrologer’ is, in fact, the Oxford English Dictionary’s second definition of ‘mathematician’. For centuries, mapping stars was the job of mathematicians, a job motivated and funded by the widespread belief that star-maps were good guides to earthly affairs.

The best astrology required the best astronomy, and the best astronomy was done by mathematicians – exactly the kind of person whose authority might appeal to bankers and financiers.

In fact, when Adams was arrested in 1914 for violating a New York law against astrology, it was mathematics that eventually exonerated her.

During the trial, her lawyer Clark L Jordan emphasised mathematics in order to distinguish his client’s practice from superstition, calling astrology ‘a mathematical or exact science’. Adams herself demonstrated this ‘scientific’ method by reading the astrological chart of the judge’s son.

The judge was impressed: the plaintiff, he observed, went through a ‘mathematical process to get at her conclusions… I am satisfied that the element of fraud… is absent here.’

Romer compares debates among economists to those between 16th-century advocates of heliocentrism and geocentrism

The enchanting force of mathematics blinded the judge – and Adams’s prestigious clients – to the fact that astrology relies upon a highly unscientific premise, that the position of stars predicts personality traits and human affairs such as the economy. It is this enchanting force that explains the enduring popularity of financial astrology, even today.

The historian Caley Horan at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology described to me how computing technology made financial astrology explode in the 1970s and ’80s.

‘Within the world of finance, there’s always a superstitious, quasi-spiritual trend to find meaning in markets,’ said Horan. ‘Technical analysts at big banks, they’re trying to find patterns in past market behaviour, so it’s not a leap for them to go to astrology.’

In 2000, USA Today quoted Robin Griffiths, the chief technical analyst at HSBC, the world’s third largest bank, saying that ‘most astrology stuff doesn’t check out, but some of it does’.

Ultimately, the problem isn’t with worshipping models of the stars, but rather with uncritical worship of the language used to model them, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in economics.

The economist Paul Romer at New York University has recently begun calling attention to an issue he dubs ‘mathiness’ – first in the paper ‘Mathiness in the Theory of Economic Growth’ (2015) and then in a series of blog posts.

Romer believes that macroeconomics, plagued by mathiness, is failing to progress as a true science should, and compares debates among economists to those between 16th-century advocates of heliocentrism and geocentrism.

Mathematics, he acknowledges, can help economists to clarify their thinking and reasoning. But the ubiquity of mathematical theory in economics also has serious downsides: it creates a high barrier to entry for those who want to participate in the professional dialogue, and makes checking someone’s work excessively laborious. Worst of all, it imbues economic theory with unearned empirical authority.

‘I’ve come to the position that there should be a stronger bias against the use of math,’ Romer explained to me. ‘If somebody came and said: “Look, I have this Earth-changing insight about economics, but the only way I can express it is by making use of the quirks of the Latin language”, we’d say go to hell, unless they could convince us it was really essential. The burden of proof is on them.’

Right now, however, there is widespread bias in favour of using mathematics. The success of math-heavy disciplines such as physics and chemistry has granted mathematical formulas with decisive authoritative force. Lord Kelvin, the 19th-century mathematical physicist, expressed this quantitative obsession:

When you can measure what you are speaking about and express it in numbers you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it… in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.

(The irony is that economics can be measured, and the math models are attempts to fit the massive data of all kinds of measures)

The trouble with Kelvin’s statement is that measurement and mathematics do not guarantee the status of science – they guarantee only the semblance of science. When the presumptions or conclusions of a scientific theory are absurd or simply false, the theory ought to be questioned and, eventually, rejected.

The discipline of economics, however, is presently so blinkered by the talismanic authority of mathematics that theories go overvalued and unchecked. (Should be at least evaluated at each crisis and changed)

Romer is not the first to elaborate the mathiness critique.

In 1886, an article in Science accused economics of misusing the language of the physical sciences to conceal ‘emptiness behind a breastwork of mathematical formulas’.

More recently, Deirdre N McCloskey’s The Rhetoric of Economics (1998) and Robert H Nelson’s Economics as Religion (2001) both argued that mathematics in economic theory serves, in McCloskey’s words, primarily to deliver the message ‘Look at how very scientific I am.’

After the Great Recession, the failure of economic science to protect our economy was once again impossible to ignore.

In 2009, the Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman tried to explain it in The New York Times with a version of the mathiness diagnosis. ‘As I see it,’ he wrote, ‘the economics profession went astray because economists, as a group, mistook beauty, clad in impressive-looking mathematics, for truth.’ Krugman named economists’ ‘desire… to show off their mathematical prowess’ as the ‘central cause of the profession’s failure’. (At least the models should be simple for the financial people understand what they are applying)

The mathiness critique isn’t limited to macroeconomics.

In 2014, the Stanford financial economist Paul Pfleiderer published the paper ‘Chameleons: The Misuse of Theoretical Models in Finance and Economics’, which helped to inspire Romer’s understanding of mathiness.

Pfleiderer called attention to the prevalence of ‘chameleons’ – economic models ‘with dubious connections to the real world’ that substitute ‘mathematical elegance’ for empirical accuracy.

Like Romer, Pfleiderer wants economists to be transparent about this sleight of hand. ‘Modelling,’ he told me, ‘is now elevated to the point where things have validity just because you can come up with a model.’

The notion that an entire culture – not just a few eccentric financiers – could be bewitched by empty, extravagant theories might seem absurd. How could all those people, all that math, be mistaken?

This was my own feeling as I began investigating mathiness and the shaky foundations of modern economic science. Yet, as a scholar of Chinese religion, it struck me that I’d seen this kind of mistake before, in ancient Chinese attitudes towards the astral sciences.

Back then, governments invested incredible amounts of money in mathematical models of the stars. To evaluate those models, government officials had to rely on a small cadre of experts who actually understood the mathematics – experts riven by ideological differences, who couldn’t even agree on how to test their models.

And, of course, despite collective faith that these models would improve the fate of the Chinese people, they did not.

Astral Science in Early Imperial China, a forthcoming book by the historian Daniel P Morgan, shows that in ancient China, as in the Western world, the most valuable type of mathematics was devoted to the realm of divinity – to the sky, in their case (and to the market, in ours).

Just as astrology and mathematics were once synonymous in the West, the Chinese spoke of li, the science of calendrics, which early dictionaries also glossed as ‘calculation’, ‘numbers’ and ‘order’. Li models, like macroeconomic theories, were considered essential to good governance.

In the classic Book of Documents, the legendary sage king Yao transfers the throne to his successor with mention of a single duty: ‘Yao said: “Oh thou, Shun! The li numbers of heaven rest in thy person.”’

China’s oldest mathematical text invokes astronomy and divine kingship in its very title – The Arithmetical Classic of the Gnomon of the Zhou. The title’s inclusion of ‘Zhou’ recalls the mythic Eden of the Western Zhou dynasty (1045–771 BCE), implying that paradise on Earth can be realised through proper calculation.

The book’s introduction to the Pythagorean theorem asserts that ‘the methods used by Yu the Great in governing the world were derived from these numbers’. It was an unquestioned article of faith: the mathematical patterns that govern the stars also govern the world.

Faith in a divine, invisible hand, made visible by mathematics. No wonder that a newly discovered text fragment from 200 BCE extolls the virtues of mathematics over the humanities. In it, a student asks his teacher whether he should spend more time learning speech or numbers. His teacher replies: ‘If my good sir cannot fathom both at once, then abandon speech and fathom numbers, [for] numbers can speak, [but] speech cannot number.’

Modern governments, universities and businesses underwrite the production of economic theory with huge amounts of capital. The same was true for li production in ancient China. The emperor – the ‘Son of Heaven’ – spent astronomical sums refining mathematical models of the stars.

Take the armillary sphere, such as the two-metre cage of graduated bronze rings in Nanjing, made to represent the celestial sphere and used to visualise data in three-dimensions. As Morgan emphasises, the sphere was literally made of money. Bronze being the basis of the currency, governments were smelting cash by the metric ton to pour it into li. A divine, mathematical world-engine, built of cash, sanctifying the powers that be.

The enormous investment in li depended on a huge assumption: that good government, successful rituals and agricultural productivity all depended upon the accuracy of li.

But there were, in fact, no practical advantages to the continued refinement of li models. The calendar rounded off decimal points such that the difference between two models, hotly contested in theory, didn’t matter to the final product.

The work of selecting auspicious days for imperial ceremonies thus benefited only in appearance from mathematical rigour. And of course the comets, plagues and earthquakes that these ceremonies promised to avert kept on coming.

Farmers, for their part, went about business as usual. Occasional governmental efforts to scientifically micromanage farm life in different climes using li ended in famine and mass migration.

Like many economic models today, li models were less important to practical affairs than their creators (and consumers) thought them to be. And, like today, only a few people could understand them.

In 101 BCE, Emperor Wudi tasked high-level bureaucrats – including the Great Director of the Stars – with creating a new li that would glorify the beginning of his path to immortality. The bureaucrats refused the task because ‘they couldn’t do the math’, and recommended the emperor outsource it to experts.

The equivalent in economic theory might be to grant a model high points for success in predicting short-term markets, while failing to deduct for missing the Great Recession

The debates of these ancient li experts bear a striking resemblance to those of present-day economists.

In 223 CE, a petition was submitted to the emperor asking him to approve tests of a new li model developed by the assistant director of the astronomical office, a man named Han Yi.

At the time of the petition, Han Yi’s model, and its competitor, the so-called Supernal Icon, had already been subjected to three years of ‘reference’, ‘comparison’ and ‘exchange’. Still, no one could agree which one was better. Nor, for that matter, was there any agreement on how they should be tested.

In the end, a live trial involving the prediction of eclipses and heliacal risings was used to settle the debate.

With the benefit of hindsight, we can see this trial was seriously flawed. The helical rising (first visibility) of planets depends on non-mathematical factors such as eyesight and atmospheric conditions. That’s not to mention the scoring of the trial, which was modelled on archery competitions (Unrelated measure, Not measuring valid parameter). Archers scored points for proximity to the bullseye, with no consideration for overall accuracy. The equivalent in economic theory might be to grant a model high points for success in predicting short-term markets, while failing to deduct for missing the Great Recession.

None of this is to say that li models were useless or inherently unscientific. For the most part, li experts were genuine mathematical virtuosos who valued the integrity of their discipline. Despite being based on inaccurate assumptions – that the Earth was at the centre of the cosmos – their models really did work to predict celestial motions.

Imperfect though the live trial might have been, it indicates that superior predictive power was a theory’s most important virtue. All of this is consistent with real science, and Chinese astronomy progressed as a science, until it reached the limits imposed by its assumptions.

However, there was no science to the belief that accurate li would improve the outcome of rituals, agriculture or government policy.

No science to the Hall of Light, a temple for the emperor built on the model of a magic square. There, by numeric ritual gesture, the Son of Heaven was thought to channel the invisible order of heaven for the prosperity of man. This was quasi-theology, the belief that heavenly patterns – mathematical patterns – could be used to model every event in the natural world, in politics, even the body.

Macro- and microcosm were scaled reflections of one another, yin and yang in a unifying, salvific mathematical vision. The expensive gadgets, the personnel, the bureaucracy, the debates, the competition – all of this testified to the divinely authoritative power of mathematics.

The result, then as now, was overvaluation of mathematical models based on unscientific exaggerations of their utility.

In ancient China it would have been unfair to blame li experts for the pseudoscientific exploitation of their theories. These men had no way to evaluate the scientific merits of assumptions and theories – ‘science’, in a formalised, post-Enlightenment sense, didn’t really exist.

But today it is possible to distinguish, albeit roughly, science from pseudoscience, astronomy from astrology. Hypothetical theories, whether those of economists or conspiracists, aren’t inherently pseudoscientific. Conspiracy theories can be diverting – even instructive – flights of fancy. They become pseudoscience only when promoted from fiction to fact without sufficient evidence.

(But for no avail. Experimental minds to learn how to design and run experiments are Not formed in schools, even in most universities)

Romer believes that fellow economists know the truth about their discipline, but don’t want to admit it. ‘If you get people to lower their shield, they’ll tell you it’s a big game they’re playing,’ he told me. ‘They’ll say: “Paul, you may be right, but this makes us look really bad, and it’s going to make it hard for us to recruit young people.”’

Demanding more honesty seems reasonable, but it presumes that economists understand the tenuous relationship between mathematical models and scientific legitimacy.

In fact, many assume the connection is obvious – just as in ancient China, the connection between li and the world was taken for granted. When reflecting in 1999 on what makes economics more scientific than the other social sciences, the Harvard economist Richard B Freeman explained that economics ‘attracts stronger students than [political science or sociology], and our courses are more mathematically demanding’.

In Lives of the Laureates (2004), Robert E Lucas Jr writes rhapsodically about the importance of mathematics: ‘Economic theory is mathematical analysis. Everything else is just pictures and talk.’ Lucas’s veneration of mathematics leads him to adopt a method that can only be described as a subversion of empirical science:

The construction of theoretical models is our way to bring order to the way we think about the world, but the process necessarily involves ignoring some evidence or alternative theories – setting them aside. That can be hard to do – facts are facts – and sometimes my unconscious mind carries out the abstraction for me: I simply fail to see some of the data or some alternative theory.

Even for those who agree with Romer, conflict of interest still poses a problem. Why would skeptical astronomers question the emperor’s faith in their models? In a phone conversation, Daniel Hausman, a philosopher of economics at the University of Wisconsin, put it bluntly: ‘If you reject the power of theory, you demote economists from their thrones. They don’t want to become like sociologists.’

George F DeMartino, an economist and an ethicist at the University of Denver, frames the issue in economic terms. ‘The interest of the profession is in pursuing its analysis in a language that’s inaccessible to laypeople and even some economists,’ he explained to me. ‘What we’ve done is monopolise this kind of expertise, and we of all people know how that gives us power.’

Every economist I interviewed agreed that conflicts of interest were highly problematic for the scientific integrity of their field – but only tenured ones were willing to go on the record. ‘In economics and finance, if I’m trying to decide whether I’m going to write something favourable or unfavourable to bankers, well, if it’s favourable that might get me a dinner in Manhattan with movers and shakers,’ Pfleiderer said to me. ‘I’ve written articles that wouldn’t curry favour with bankers but I did that when I had tenure.’

when mathematical theory is the ultimate arbiter of truth, it becomes difficult to see the difference between science and pseudoscience

Then there’s the additional problem of sunk-cost bias.

If you’ve invested in an armillary sphere, it’s painful to admit that it doesn’t perform as advertised. When confronted with their profession’s lack of predictive accuracy, some economists find it difficult to admit the truth.

Easier, instead, to double down, like the economist John H Cochrane at the University of Chicago. The problem isn’t too much mathematics, he writes in response to Krugman’s 2009 post-Great-Recession mea culpa for the field, but rather ‘that we don’t have enough math’. Astrology doesn’t work, sure, but only because the armillary sphere isn’t big enough and the equations aren’t good enough.

If overhauling economics depended solely on economists, then mathiness, conflict of interest and sunk-cost bias could easily prove insurmountable. Fortunately, non-experts also participate in the market for economic theory.

If people remain enchanted by PhDs and Nobel Prizes awarded for the production of complicated mathematical theories, those theories will remain valuable. If they become disenchanted, the value will drop.

Economists who rationalise their discipline’s value can be convincing, especially with prestige and mathiness on their side. But there’s no reason to keep believing them. The pejorative verb ‘rationalise’ itself warns of mathiness, reminding us that we often deceive each other by making prior convictions, biases and ideological positions look ‘rational’, a word that confuses truth with mathematical reasoning.

To be rational is, simply, to think in ratios, like the ratios that govern the geometry of the stars.

Yet when mathematical theory is the ultimate arbiter of truth, it becomes difficult to see the difference between science and pseudoscience. The result is people like the judge in Evangeline Adams’s trial, or the Son of Heaven in ancient China, who trust the mathematical exactitude of theories without considering their performance – that is, who confuse math with science, rationality with reality.

There is no longer any excuse for making the same mistake with economic theory. For more than a century, the public has been warned, and the way forward is clear.

It’s time to stop wasting our money and recognise the high priests for what they really are: gifted social scientists who excel at producing mathematical explanations of economies, but who fail, like astrologers before them, at prophecy.

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.




October 2020

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