Are Enneagrams Scientific? (+ 3 tips)

In this article, we will discuss whether or not enneagrams are scientific and what impact that has on their use. Furthermore, the article will shed light on the scientific method and what enneagrams basically are. Lastly, the article will give some examples of enneagrams so the audience has a deeper understanding of the topic.

Are Enneagrams Scientific? 

No, enneagrams are not scientific simply because they do not meet the standards of the scientific method which involves a number of steps to validate a concept or theory before it can be actually considered a law of nature or society.

However, this does not mean they are not real or valid nor does it mean they can’t be used anymore to understand our inner selves! The scientific method is limited in its use as it mostly involves studying only those things that can be perceived by the five senses which are sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Not everything can be perceived by our senses and also we do not always have access to all things in the universe; a surprising fact that many may not know is that we have seen more on the moon than in the deep seas that fill up planet Earth. 

In some cases, our senses can detect stimuli which cannot be seen, heard, touched, smelt or tasted through indirect means. For example, we can view objects which are invisible like dark matter because of their nature; they sometimes act as hurdles for waves or other particles traveling in space whose course of movement is visibly affected when they hit this strange matter.

Similarly, enneagrams may not be something that can be scientifically studied but that does not mean they are not real.

In this article, we will take a deeper look at the scientific method and what enneagrams basically are!

What Is The Scientific Method?

The main element in the scientific method is the element of observation! Observation refers to the process whereby an external stimulus is perceived by our senses and catches our attention to the extent that we are curious enough to want to learn more about it! Take an example! The first time an apple fell on Newton’s head is an example of observation; he saw this happen and this prompted him to study why something like this would occur – why would things fall down for example and not up!

Making an observation is the first step in the scientific method! We will take a look at the rest of the steps in the next section.

The 6 Steps Of The Scientific Method

Here are the 6 steps of the scientific method:

  • Make an observation.
  • Ask a question.
  • Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
  • Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
  • Test the prediction.
  • Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.

We will understand each of these steps with the help of an example.

Make An Observation

You wanted to ride your bike today but you saw that the tyres are flat and hence they have no air in them!

Ask A Question

You may start wondering immediately why your bike’s tyres are flat!

Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.

Some explanations may pop up in your head or you may force your brain to think about what happened. It is possible some naughty kid’s decided to play a prank or you rode over some bad patches on the road that caused your tyres to burst!

Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.

You can make a prediction based on the hypothesis that if you ride your bike in a more ‘safe’ environment or make sure the gate is locked then your tyres won’t end up in this state.

Test The Prediction

Now you have to test the prediction – this may take a while in the example we are using.

Iterate

Use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions. If your prediction is correct then take this information to guide your behaviour so that your bike remains safe. Also, if it is not correct then explore other avenues.

What Are Enneagrams? 

The enneagram is a typology system which describes human behaviour as a set of interrelated parts with each part having unique characteristics and behaviours or a set of defining traits that distinguish it from other parts in the system. This typology has a total of 9 parts of enneagrams that have different personalities and hence titles. For example, there is the enneagram type 1 which is also known as the Reformer and they have unique traits such as strong moral values, strive for integrity and may at times be judgemental.

At the same time, this personality system assumes and believes that no one person is of a single type – that is they cannot be a type 1 or type 9 purely but will be influenced by other adjacent types that are also known as wings. These wings influence but do not change the overall personality type.

Are Enneagrams Real?

Enneagrams are not backed by any scientific evidence nor has extensive research been done on them. Despite this, they have been gaining widespread popularity and people use them everyday to study their own selves and others too. The popularity this personality system has gained shows that it accurately defines people and their traits and behaviours.

Not much is known about its history and it is rumoured to pull its roots from a number of traditions. A philosopher as well as mystic known by the name of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff has been identified and given recognition for bringing the Enneagram figure to the attention of the world, although he did not use it to categorize personality types. Oscar Ichazo, the founder of a school for human potential and self-development, assigned different personality types to each of the nine positions in the Enneagram diagram.

Later, psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo expanded the theory to expand the nine types in psychological terms.

Despite the clouded mystery of where this personality system came from, it has gained much worldwide popularity to the extent that it is used frequently by people all over the world!

Enneagrams – The Components That Make Them Up

In this section we will take a look at the components that not only make up the enneagram system but also make them unique from other personality systems like that of the MBTI.

Traits

Like other personality typologies, the enneagram one also highlights the traits of the personalities it has in its system. For every enneagram it has, it has highlighted a distinct set of traits that describe the enneagram in a detailed manner so people have an idea of how they behave. For example, one enneagram may be bold and courageous while another may be shy and quiet.

Strengths 

Each enneagram has a set of strengths that differentiate it from other enneagrams and adds to its overall personality. These strengths are also indirectly related to its desires that give it the motivation to move on in life. Some enneagrams may have strengths like being able to remain calm in a stressful situation while others may be great negotiators; each enneagram has their own set of strengths.

Weaknesses

Naturally, strengths are accompanied by weaknesses so each enneagram also has a set of weaknesses that stem from its fears. Nonetheless, these weaknesses make the enneagram vulnerable to the outside world and may include ones like not being able to sustain relationships, becoming afraid of confronting someone about their behaviour or being unable to take a stand for themselves.

Fears

What is quite unique about the enneagram typology is that it highlights the fears of each enneagram. The fears of an enneagram are quite integral to their personality and affect other components such as desires and weaknesses. An enneagram usually has one central theme for a fear such as the fear of being controlled or the fear of not being loved.

Desires

It is natural to have desires and hence enneagrams also have their own desires. Similar to fears, the enneagram type usually has one central theme for a desire such as becoming quite powerful or gaining love and recognition.

Wings

A very unique thing about the enneagram system is the fact that it acknowledges that personalities may overlap and they represent this through the use of wings. Enneagrams may share traits from ‘neighboring’ enneagrams. So, for example, the type 5 enneagram may have a wing from either the type 4 or 6 enneagram.

Enneagram Examples – The Type 1 Enneagram

We will look at the type 1 enneagram in this section!

Who Is An Enneagram Type 1?

The enneagram type 1 is also known as the Reformer because of their desire to change the world for the better – they believe they are on a mission to set things right! They are rational and idealistic and can be described by the terms self disciplined, purposeful, possibly perfectionists and hold values high.

These individuals are always on the move to make things better but they have this fear that they may make a mistake. Nonetheless they strive to produce perfect output and this may make them over critical of not only their own self but that of others too. This also causes them stress and anxiety as they are worried things may not go as planned – which is usually the case when it comes to life!

  • Strong Moral Values
  • Against Corruption
  • Judgemental
  • Integrity
  • Right & Wrong

Conclusion

This article took a look at whether or not the enneagram system is scientific. Furthermore, the article shed light on what the scientific method is and introduced the concept of enneagrams in detail. For the understanding of the audience, the article also provided an example of an enneagram type.

References

https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/
https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/intro-to-biology/science-of-biology/a/the-science-of-biology
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