I don’t like numbers.
I don’t like when I have to balance them in my checkbook (not that I have balanced a checkbook since the 6th grade).
I don’t like to see what they have to say when I step on the scale.
I don’t like to talk about them when another birthday rolls around.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere!
I do not like numbers nor do I like ham (not kosher)!
I do not like them, Baruch-I-Am.
OK, I got carried away but you get the point. I don’t like numbers.
But here’s where I really don’t like them – when it comes to tests and assessments which measure a person’s IQ, personality, aptitude, etc.. Beyond telling us next to nothing about the person, other than how good they are at checking boxes and filling in blanks, they are fundamentally wrong, even dangerous.
Look, I’m a Logotherapist, the school of psychotherapy founded by Dr. Viktor Frankl, in which one of the central tenets is that a human being can never, must never be reduced, not to our body, not even to our psyche, and certainly not to a number! From a logotherapeutic perspective, a human being is an original, unquantifiable, irreplaceable, spirit. As he states, “Each of us carries a unique spark of the divine, and each of us is also an inseparable part of the web of life.”
For Dr. Frankl, this wasn’t theoretical, it was personal. He carried a literal reminder of the dangers of reducing human beings to numbers on his forearm, where 119104 was tattooed onto his skin. Dr. Frankl, along with millions of other human beings, was reduced to numbers by the Nazis. Dr. Frankl was one of the lucky ones, as six million of those “numbers” went up in smoke, their lives reduced to ashes in the ovens of Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.
This is why I struggle profoundly as I’m not only committed to Dr. Frankl and Logotherapy, but to the Enneagram as well. I am also an Enneagram teacher and utilize it as a Logotherapist.
How is that possible? Because those who think the Enneagram is just another personality test, and those who believe it is about reducing a person to one of 9, or even 9000, numbers, have gotten it all wrong.
Yes, it’s often lumped in with the countless other personality typing systems, but that is not what it is at all. And yes, it is totally misunderstood as a party trick or dating app headline: “Seeking an Enneagram 7 whose looking for a good time (which is every Enneagram 7 btw)”.
The Enneagram is actually an ancient, psycho-spiritual system and roadmap not to become a number, but defy one’s number.
The fundamental premise of the Enneagram is that, yes, when we are unconscious, living our life on autopilot, we react like our particular type. Indeed, we are reduced to a number, but it isn’t a prison sentence. It’s a description of our reality. My nature, for instance, is to react like an Enneagram 8 – and that’s a whole lot of reaction as we are often referred to as 8-holes when we get hot!
But we’re not here to be natural. We are tasked with rising up above our nature – to literally become supernatural. We do not have to live as our number. We are here to defy our number, and that, as Dr. Frankl would concur, is always our choice.
When we become mindful of what triggers us and how we are reacting – we defy our number.
When we make a conscious choice to express ourselves as the higher side of our number, or better yet, to respond as a number, in a manner, of our choosing – we defy our number.
When we do this, the Enneagram, in the end, isn’t a system that reduces people to numbers. On the contrary, it is a pathway that inspires us to remember, embody and live the words of Dr. Frankl, that within each and every one of us, there is the defiant power of the human spirit.
The Enneagram simply provides us a pathway to understanding what we are here to defy. So, rise up and defy your number by choosing to live the defiant power of your spirit.
This is why we are here.
This is the true work we are meant to do.
This is what the Enneagram is all about!
The Enneagram Experience
Join Baruch for a personalized Enneagram Experience.
This ancient psychological-spiritual roadmap will provide you with a deeper understanding of who you are, why you are here, and what you need to discover deeper meaning, realize greater purpose, and be the true you in this life.
- An online enneagram assessment
- A 22 page, personalized Enneagram report
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