Criticisms of the Enneagram: Evidence & Stereotypes

Fri Feb 10 2023

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Below are the common criticisms of personality, psychology and the ideas behind 9takes.

"Personality stuff is not real."
personality definition
personality definition from google

Do you get along with everyone? Do you not? Why? Are people similar to you or is everyone different from you? The dimensions by which we are similar and different are what make up our personality. There are potentially infinite dimensions because no two people are exactly alike however there are patterns. Those observed patterns are what we know as a person's personality.

"Personality is not a science and the enneagram is not a science."

While it's true that personality and the Enneagram are not sciences in the traditional sense, this doesn't negate their value. The Enneagram, in particular, is not designed to be a scientifically empirical tool, but rather a framework for introspection and understanding human behavior. Its utility stems from its ability to offer insights into our motivations, fears, and desires, which can help facilitate self-discovery, personal growth, and improved relationships. As such, its efficacy is often measured in its pragmatic utility rather than scientific validity.

On top of that, the field of personality study is multifaceted and can't be fully captured by a purely empirical approach. For instance, "The Big 5 personality test," despite being widely studied and referenced in academic settings, has its origins in data analysis rather than theory. This suggests that its scope is limited to aspects of personality that can be measured and quantified, potentially overlooking facets of the human psyche that are less tangible and harder to measure. This is where 9takes, with its emphasis on the Enneagram, makes a significant contribution. The Enneagram stands at the intersection of philosophy and psychology, integrating theoretical understanding with observational data. It provides a more holistic framework that takes into account the philosophical dimensions of personality. So while the Enneagram might not be a 'science' in the conventional sense, its value lies in its potential to enrich our understanding of human personality beyond what empirical data alone can provide.

For example how much is understood about the psychology behind emotions? Test your own understanding with this 2 minute experiment.

"The Enneagram lacks empirical validation and is not widely accepted in the field of psychology."

It's important to clarify that the Enneagram isn't intended to serve as a scientifically validated psychological tool, but as a framework for understanding oneself and others. While it's true that the Enneagram lacks conventional scientific validation, it's worth noting that its value lies in its introspective and empathetic applications.

Furthermore (see point above), the field of personality study is multifaceted and can't be fully captured by a purely empirical approach. For instance, "The Big 5 personality test," despite being widely studied and referenced in academic settings, has its origins in data analysis rather than theory. This suggests that its scope is limited to aspects of personality that can be measured and quantified, potentially overlooking facets of the human psyche that are less tangible and harder to measure. This is where 9takes, with its emphasis on the Enneagram, makes a significant contribution. The Enneagram stands at the intersection of philosophy and psychology, integrating theoretical understanding with observational data. It provides a more holistic framework that takes into account the philosophical dimensions of personality. So while the Enneagram might not be a 'science' in the conventional sense, its value lies in its potential to enrich our understanding of human personality beyond what empirical data alone can provide.

For example how much is understood about the psychology behind emotions? Test your own understanding with this 2 minute experiment.

"Identifying one's own Enneagram type can be quite subjective, which may lead to inaccurate or inconsistent results."

Yes, self-typing is a subjective process. However, this process can also offer an invaluable opportunity for self-reflection, introspection, and personal growth, even if the identified type isn't 100% accurate. Over time your sense of self can become clearer as you uncover your core motivations and fears. Here is a guide for determining your enneagram type.

"By assigning people to specific Enneagram types, there's a risk of oversimplification and stereotyping."

While it might seem like this system oversimplifies human personality, the purpose of the Enneagram types is not to pigeonhole individuals, but to provide a jumping-off point for deeper self-understanding and empathy towards others.

"The 9takes platform is created and managed by a single individual, which may limit the range of perspectives."

It's true that having a single creator could lead to a limited perspective. However, this concern can be mitigated as the platform grows, and more diverse voices join the community.

"While anonymity can encourage honesty, it can also invite trolling or disrespectful behavior."

Anonymity is indeed a double-edged sword. While it can foster open and honest discussions by freeing individuals from fear of personal judgment, it also poses the risk of misuse. However, with the right moderation policies, the potential for trolling or disrespectful behavior can be minimized.

"The value of 9takes depends heavily on active user participation."

All social platforms depend on user participation. This is not a unique risk to 9takes.

"9takes's focus on the Enneagram may limit its appeal to those unfamiliar with or skeptical of the system."

Yes the focus on the Enneagram might while seem limiting. However the Enneagram brings together psychology and philosophy and its ideas continue to be touched in many areas in society. 9takes is betting that the Enneagram will one day be in the common vernacular.

"The 9takes platform criticizes the binary labeling of decisions as rational or irrational, yet it itself categorizes people into nine types."

The categorization of personality types on 9takes is about finding similarities and differences. This attention to personality helps foster conversations around understanding a person's motivations and perspectives.

"Without demographic data, it's difficult to assess if the views expressed represent a diverse range of perspectives."

Diverse perspectives are not limited to demographic data such as race, gender, and age. Paying special attention to demographics can be a false positive indicator of diverse perspectives. Therefore the decision to not collect demographic data is a deliberate one.

"The ability to sort comments by personality type could potentially create echo chambers, where users mainly interact with similar-minded individuals."

While there is some risk of creating echo chambers, the sorting of comments by personality type also allows users to consciously explore perspectives that differ from their own.

"While promoting curiosity and questions can stimulate discussion, there's also a risk of overemphasizing problems rather than solutions."

Questioning is indeed a critical part of stimulating discussion and learning, but it's also important to balance this with solution-oriented dialogue.

"Users might feel uncomfortable sharing personal struggles or insecurities in a public forum."

While some users might indeed feel this way, the anonymity provided by the platform could also make it easier for users to share personal struggles.

"The website does not provide clear information about moderation policies to handle harmful content or behavior."

As a new platform, 9takes may be in the process of developing its moderation policies. Nevertheless, clear policies are indeed crucial to ensuring a safe and respectful environment.

"The website does not provide information about how it intends to sustain itself financially."

As a relatively new platform, 9takes might still be in the process of refining its operational and business model.

"Critics might argue that existing platforms like Reddit already provide a space for diverse discussions, and so the need for a new platform like 9takes might be questioned."

While platforms like Reddit indeed allow for diverse discussions, 9takes is unique in its focus on the Enneagram and the distinct perspective it brings to facilitating discussion.

"Since users cannot see comments until they comment, this might lead to less informed responses and potential biases in discussions."

This design choice is intentional and encourages initial thoughts without being influenced by others' comments. It also helps prevent the suppression of less popular views that might otherwise get lost in the crowd.


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