The Bee Under Bourgeault's Bonnet

I'm essentially blogging my way through this book, The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three.  It was going spectacularly until chapter 4 where Bourgeault goes out of her way, in fact devotes an entire chapter, to make it very clear that the Gurdjieff camp is right and the Enneagram of personality camp just accidentally happens to have a good point, and we're just catching a ride on the back of a more fundamental cosmic truth- the "linear progression of the Law of Seven" intersecting with the "verticalizing dimension of the triadic points" coming together to "invoke and receive the cosmic processes binding life in time to life beyond time".  Can someone with such a breathtaking writing ability be so ... prickly?

This is the Enneagram symbol.  The circle, the inner triangle, and that grasshopper-like shape superimposed over the triangle- the hexad linking points 1, 4, 2, 8, 5, and 7.  Then you have numbers 1 to 9 lined around the outside of the circle which represent the nine archetypal personalities found in nature.  Finally, you have the musical octave corresponding to seven of those points.  The two places where there are no musical notations are points 3 and 6.  Point Three is where the first "shock point" must come in to keep the linear development of any process of change in motion (it corresponds to the first instance in a musical scale where there are no black notes between white notes), and Point Six is where that same first shock point would arise if the beginning of another octave arose out of Point Three.  And as you go around the circle, you have a coiling upwards of three octaves out of the initial one, opening up new dimensions of possibility as you grow and change.  To a Gurdjieffian (and anyone who knows the Law of Seven basically), you see that this is a more accurate representation of a trajectory in nature than Newton's first law of motion- "whatever is in motion stays in motion".  It doesn't.  You need two shock points (interventions) at two different intervals along a seven-pointed cycle to achieve what you first set out to do.  Image from Wikipedia.org. 

This is the Enneagram symbol.  The circle, the inner triangle, and that grasshopper-like shape superimposed over the triangle- the hexad linking points 1, 4, 2, 8, 5, and 7.  Then you have numbers 1 to 9 lined around the outside of the circle which represent the nine archetypal personalities found in nature.  Finally, you have the musical octave corresponding to seven of those points.  The two places where there are no musical notations are points 3 and 6.  Point Three is where the first "shock point" must come in to keep the linear development of any process of change in motion (it corresponds to the first instance in a musical scale where there are no black notes between white notes), and Point Six is where that same first shock point would arise if the beginning of another octave arose out of Point Three.  And as you go around the circle, you have a coiling upwards of three octaves out of the initial one, opening up new dimensions of possibility as you grow and change.  To a Gurdjieffian (and anyone who knows the Law of Seven basically), you see that this is a more accurate representation of a trajectory in nature than Newton's first law of motion- "whatever is in motion stays in motion".  It doesn't.  You need two shock points (interventions) at two different intervals along a seven-pointed cycle to achieve what you first set out to do.  Image from Wikipedia.org. 

She complains that the Enneagram of Personality "movement"  has "collapsed" the outer circle, that we mechanically circulate on the closed 1, 4, 2, 8, 5, 7 and 3, 6, 9 circuits "like a dog chasing its tail", as "felicitous hitchhikers on the back of a powerful cosmic law".  She can't stop herself!  Clearly she doesn't know her own type- I've got to assume it's Type 1 at this point, because this woman has a black marker in her hand and is hankering to draw a very dark line between two things and has chosen the lonstanding Gurdjieff school as "good", and the people who are working with their personality as spiritually and intellectually lazy.  She's going a bit overboard with the shadow-casting.  If I was her publisher, I'd be like, "Read the room, Cynthia.  Who do you think is going to be reading this book?  Guaranteed, you're going to have Enneagram of Personality students reaching for this book to ... wait for it... learn about the Law of Three."

The repeated jabs are self-indulgent and unncessary and I'm sure the Enneagram of Personality probably emerged in the fashion of some cosmic law, like perhaps we're the second do to arise at point three in the octave that the Gurdjieffians thought they were playing all by themselves.  The irony is that while she brilliantly unpacks the Law of Seven in the most effortless and graceful way I've ever seen- as a "coiled spring that inevitably propels its expansion into new octaves, each one representing a more subtle level of realization than the initial thrust", in the very next sentence, she's begging the readers to see the two camps as separate and distinct, having barely anything to do with each other but a cosmic accident. 

She wields the term "Enneagram of Personality" as a pejorative and keeps calling us a "movement" like we're consciously linking arms together to stick it to the Gurdjieffians or something.  Obviously, she has met people who were like, "Oh yeah, I know the Enneagram.  I'm a Type 7, that's why I do all the crazy stuff I do and I'll never change.  Thanks for the permission to remain my deeply unintegrated self and have fun doing it!" and she came away devastated and misunderstood.  I can see why she'd think that was a deeply hurtful aberration to her beloved symbol. 

Make no mistake, this woman is brilliant and her prose is a true gift, but her need to highlight our separateness over and over again just makes me think she's unaware of her personality type at work within her.  And whatever, we all do that.  As I said on Friday, hopefully since she's written this book, she's had a chance to see the incredible redemptive value in knowing her type and experience integration and healing to her deepest hurts along the dynamic vertical dimension of the Enneagram's circle.  Perhaps the reason we haven't made it over to the Gurdjieffian table yet is because there's just so much to work with that Palmer, Riso, Hudson, and others have given us.  But it is possible to have your mind blown twice in one lifetime, and because there's not one, but two shock points after the initial do in the Enneagram, I'm sure it'll happen a third time, and some day I'll be complaining that "the youths of today don't understand how to use the Enneagram of personality correctly!"