15 July 2007

Some Comments From A Friend On Eneagrams

A friend of mine posted a previous version of this comment to the entry below this last night.

However, he sent me this one, via e-mail, with some corrections for typos and the like, to be posted here, and requested, in a phone conversation we had last night,
that I post this version here.

So, that's what you're gonna see.

There's a link at the bottom of this message to the Eneagram Institute, so, if you're interested in this topic,

you can go there and check it out for yourselves.

Also, want to thank my therapist, my loving sister Beth, and Mr. Tangredi for their kind comments and insights sent, either via e-mail,
or posted here.

Am glad to be proven wrong, for which I thank you all.

Be seeing you.

Don - as you've known for a long time, I am a big proponent of
something called the
Enneagram. Although I am not autistic and don't have the same
set of psychological
conditions you might be experiencing, I swear by this particular
bit of what some might
(derisively) call "pop psychology". (Others, if they take the
time to investigate it,
will find that the Enneagram has deep historical roots, going
back to the Kabbalah, the
ancient Greeks, the Sufi Muslims, the Jesuits, as well as more
contemporary thinkers like
Oscar Ichazo and G.I. Gurdjieff.)

I have to say that learning the Enneagram (it is not so much a
philosophy as a dynamic
system of understanding the human psyche), has really changed
the way I interrelate with
people, on a deep level. (And also on a superficial,
day-to-day, practical level.)

I was introduced to the Enneagram in 1991, in Senator Harry
Reid's office in Washington,
by his then-Office Manager, an Alabama native named Lena Smith.
I discussed my innermost struggles with having left a budding
medical career (which I had undertaken to please my physician
father, and not out of great personal intellectual interest), to
follow what was really my first love -- politics and public
policy. She instantly intuited what I was trying to explain,
and handed me a book called, simply, "Personality Types" by one
Don Richard Riso.

The rest, for me, was history. And a very positive history, I
might add, in terms of
understanding not just myself, but others. And relating much
more knowledgeably and
confidently to other human beings. The more, and the deeper, I
studied the Enneagram,
the more these profound revelations about human nature
penetrated my mind. And they
remain there still.

"Personality Types" was but the first book written by Riso (a
former Jesuit and perhaps
the world's foremost contemporary Enneagram expert). He's now
written several more books, along with Russ Hudson. Together,
they run the Enneagram Institute in the Bay Area.) Each book has
unlocked more profound revelations and has deepened my
understanding of human nature.

I'm a lawyer now, but in medical school, in the late 80's, I
excelled in BEHAVIORAL
SCIENCE, which was their term for all things psychological. On
the National Board of
Medical Examiners basic sciences exam, I received the highest
possible score in Behavioral Science -- and that was BEFORE I
was introduced to the Enneagram.

But it was only AFTER I was introduced to the Enneagram that
everything about human
psychology REALLY started to make sense. Everything I learned
from the Enneagram meshed perfectly with everything I knew about
Behavioral Science, yet the Enneagram took that several levels

Moreover, all of it meshed perfectly with everything I had
learned in med school about the
structure of the human brain, human neuroanatomy and

I felt like a light of true understanding had descended upon me.

Again, the Enneagram is not a pop philosophy or pop psychology,
but a true, practical, and
revelatory dynamic system for understanding the human mind, and
the differences between
people. It is profoundly, undeniably rooted in the realities
of biology and neurology.
Yet is it as practical as knowing how to drive a car, or
dressing oneself. And the more
you read, and the deeper you understand this DYNAMIC SYSTEM, the
more you should be able to understand yourself (and your own
mind), and other people (and their motivations). You will not
only be able to understand and predict other people's behavior
to an uncanny degree, you'll also be able to truly forgive them
when their behavior deviates from your expectations, or your

I strongly recommend exploration of the Enneagram.


--Joe Tangredi

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