Reply To: Se Realism, Ne Surrealism & Identity

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Animal
Participant
  • Type: SeFi
  • Development: lll-
  • Attitude: Unseelie

@Alerith omg. I absolutely LOVED most of your post and agree with you saying we wanted to find our kin, etc. But then there was this ONE THING haha.  This post got so long I need to divide it into sections.   😀 It all starts with my reaction against sentiments like this:

Her world of Erosia parallels my Unisis in a lot of ways, and we both were motivated to build these alternate realities to escape the pain and unfairness of real life..

1. Human Nature, Enneagram, Psychology

I have never viewed Erosia as an ‘escape from reality.’ There is a lot of pain, unfairness, even ultimately EXILE – in Erosia. My stories are very realistic in how they parallel real life and human nature. Other creatures like aliens and fairies parallel this TOO in my world. So for instance, even the sun and the stars have an enneagram fixation and represent it with their energy. As above, so below.

The modern idea that you can ‘escape your enneagram fixation’ is a product of Russ Hudson and Don Riso. Hudson has been typed as an Alpha. This was never the point of it however. It was to understand your humanity and others, and illuminate paths to redemption through awareness, not to ‘escape it.’ The enneagram originated with  Gurdjieff, followed by Ichazo. I’d bet Gurdjieff is a Beta and will put him up for typing soon.  His idea is that we all are ‘asleep’ and thus a mechanized slave to our own ego, but we must become aware of our inner workings.  Escaping the machine means operating with the awareness of fixation and its control over the psyche.

Gurdjieff quotes:
“There is only one kind of magic and that is doing.”
“Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and will always remain a slave.”
“Sincerity is the key to self-knowledge and to be sincere with oneself brings great suffering.”

Riso & Hudson completely ruined the foundation by taking out the ‘sins’ from their work and making these cartoonish descriptions of different types of people (such as ‘fours are artistic, sevens like to party, twos like taking care of kids’), which now have taken over the field. Various groups across the internet have been working hard to unravel this.  When they got pretty far on Russ’s forum, Russ took down the whole forum, doing away with decades of work that honored his own contributions while still restoring more meaning to the enneagram. His work would have become obsolete if he didn’t get with the program, so instead of getting with it, he took the forum down. He is also blatantly mistyped, a subject of much conversation among the enneagram savvy.  Yet these ‘cartoons’ have spread far and wide, birthing a whole school of teachers teaching cartoons and pretending it’s psychology. Where Riso & Hudson shone was in presenting axioms, such as triads. (Frustration triad, attachment triad, etc.)  However, others have come up with better names and descriptions since then. But the axiomatic principles of these “groupings” originated with RH, and made a positive impact.  Health levels was a great contribution too.  Still, with all of this, the foundation was muddied so badly that it’s all but lost to the general public.

To me, enneagram is not there to ‘escape from’ but, rather, a language through which to reveal natural law.  I have no interest in escaping human nature or laws of nature.   Art allows me to express it more honestly and thus transform cathartically, burning away my lower potentials to make room for me to rise.  Stories and songs write themselves through me and present symbolism that helps me to see myself bare and thus process my suffering. The art is a mirror exposing parts of myself that I otherwise might not have seen, or wouldn’t have wanted to see. But there they are. So I FACE myself. This is why on my website’s first page, it says  “The prefix Xen- means foreigner or stranger, and the suffix -Ne means ‘not.’  We are strangers to ourselves until we face the mirror and meet the eyes of humanity. ”

2. Fiction in General

My work parallels GOT, in that even the most well-intentioned characters like Dany will end up falling victim to the most destructive parts of their nature (fixations) if the right seeds are planted and they ‘fall asleep to themselves.’ There’s no “Hand of God” rescuing you from yourself. The only way to become a person that is acceptable to you, is to face your hardship and challenge yourself. And you still might fail, but at least you didn’t go down without a fight. You forge yourself out of the fire.

When I was a child I was obsessed with Les Misérables, and that was what inspired me to get serious about singing. I went quite far to study Eponine in many versions of the book and musical in other languages; I loved the portrayal of her downfall, which ultimately ended beautifully as she gave up her life to save the man she was in unrequited love with.  The other musicals I loved around that time were Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon (which ended in suicide). Phantom was the most similar character to me that I found. His music was beautiful but his face was unlovable and he was rejected by society so badly that he became a possessive jealous killer, all because of his envy and shame. None of these stories ended well, but there were characters whose spirits and integrity prevailed.

The best book I wrote in my early teens featured a prostitute whose father killed her mother with his bare hands, and it showed her dark psyche unfolding until she became irredeemable. It was set in another galaxy because this gave me more freedom with history that I was not interested in studying.  I find specific incidents in history rather replaceable; the same patters always repeat. It’s more honest for me to just express the general pattern I perceive anecdotally, in a world of my own making.  So people might say “Fantasy! Escape!”  – but the story emerged to deal with my suicidal ideation.  I was ugly and wanted to be beautiful – and the protag was astoundingly beautiful, but her beauty became her downfall. This helped me resolve some of my shame, which was making me suicidal, since I wanted to make it in music and attract my crush, but who would ever want me?

Stories like Alice in Wonderland never caught my interest. I still haven’t seen it in full. I have addressed my issues with Tolkien and Rowling, although I do love their work – but I can sum it up here.  Basically their work was revolutionary, presenting in Rowlings case, a “what if??” and in Tolkein’s case, an intricate world of peoples, languages and maps. Both have major darkness in them, but it comes in the form of ‘absolute evil’ vs ‘absolute good.’  I see this as a Ne/Si thing, not a Fi or Ti thing. Based on my own observations, many Betas absolutely excel at revealing and understanding the inner psyche, but compared to Gammas, summarize the overarching trend more concisely because the Ti helps with archetypal organization. Peterson, for example, knows full well that there’s a shadow inside all of us – a potential for both good and evil. People are not divided into good ones and bad in some ultimate way; rather, certain ways of life, choices and outlooks are may bring us down.

In Tolkien and Rowling’s work, the setting is exciting and the age-old battle between good and evil is covered well. However, that in itself is unrealistic – who is fully good or fully evil? I have yet to meet anyone like this.  When you try to discuss how an enneagram fixation (or any deeper psychology) plays out through a Rowling or Tolkien character, it’s not particularly fruitful. On an archetypal level, Rowling characters do portray more complex psychology  than Tolkien, but still…. by comparison to GOT, she misses the mark.  In GOT, each character has a mixture of social influence, family values vs personal values, potential for rising up or downfall, fluctuating… both reacting to the world and addressing their human struggle…. this is HUMANITY!!!  The siblings have complex relationships with each other which are challenged, fall apart and then heal!! Just like real life! As far as “fantasy” goes, it’s not very revolutionary. But WHO CARES? It’s so visceral, so real…. it inspires complex thought about politics, morality, ethics, family. Though there is some ‘absolute evil’ like the night walkers, the characters show the good and evil in all of us – and show clearly that neither category really exists among people, groups, or cultures. There is always another side to the story. Characters like Sansa, who were good and innocent, were hated by the audience until they became tough to get ahead in this crazy world. Once she got some rawr, she was more interesting.

In HP, you can tell that the author values retaining innocence and childhood naivety forever, and that Harry’s loss of it is tragic.  I do find that tragedy beautiful and relatable, don’t get me wrong – but those are KIDS.  In the new HP movies, the characters are like adult children.  There’s just no love for meeting the challenge of adulthood with an iron fist; it’s more like, Harry had to do this because he was met with evil, and he was heroic, giving up his innocence to fulfill a destiny he didn’t want. By contrast, in GOT, Sansa’s ascent from princess to ‘queen’ was portrayed in the best of lights. While it was sad that she went through so much trauma at first, there was this feeling among the others like “she deserves it, she’s weak.”  When she became strong, her badassery was given the glory that it deserves. She was not longing to go back to the past, where she was weak, naive and dependent. The author valued the act of growing up and meeting reality with a vengeance, while retaining moral integrity.

3. Realism and Surrealism

I’m not suggesting that all Se users are as “dark” as me or that Ne users can’t be “dark.” But when Ne users are dark it’s like…hmm.. sort of like Heretic, whose name says it all.. 😀  there’s a theoretical edge to it, like a reaction against an abstraction (religion, good vs evil, etc), and a need to reconcile this philosophically.  Whereas a Beta NF like Peterson may be very philosophical but he is focused on the darkness within himself and other real people, and how that causes us to fall prey to the discord in society. Thus he offers “rules for life” so you can battle your own shadow through concrete actions, which is not too different from my own emphasis in my work, nor Gurdjieff.

With Se, even with the lightest ones who can appreciate different kinds of art, theres some element – in their own work, no matter how fantastical at surface – of “fight” and “realism” of the human experience rather than a fundamental escape or departure from it.

So, while I agree with @Auburn ‘s diagram about how this works, I find it interesting that it does what Ne often does: “Why not do both? Why not do everything? Ne can do ALL the things, while Se can only do one thing.” Am I supposed to think that makes Se inferior?  Me personally, I find great value in staying in my lane and developing it to the fullest. It’s obvious that Ne people are better at science, new discoveries, and so much more – so why not let them do it and appreciate that from where I sit?  But many Ne users want it both ways.  “Type me, but don’t limit me.”  Russ Hudson wanted it both ways – he wanted enneagram to be real and also be something you escape from. Thus his descriptions of types veered away from reality to uphold this lie – devolving into ‘cool types vs uncool types’ etc. He thought he could expand and stay true, follow it and depart from it, do it all – but he ended up reducing the essential meaning to a state where people are using his cartoonish caricatures to abuse each other and create exclusive “typing clubs,” which is exactly what Gurdjieff and Ichazo warned against.  According to them, this study was not for everyone – and they were right.

And this may, perhaps, serve to explain the argument on natural law.  Yes, both types can see it, because divergence is just as natural as holeism.  Se/Ni might come to see things one way and believe, this has always been and will always be ‘how it is,’ blinding themselves to real alternatives.  Ne/Si users might struggle to believe they are not limitless, while effectively blinding themselves to real limits, including their own.

Spoiler:

Ack, I’ve been editing this post for like 6 hours.  I’ll refrain from long posts for a while. I find Se/Ni and Ne/Si differences so damn fascinating and I’m looking forward to responses or reactions from anyone who has the patience to sift through this. <3

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