This is another in a series of articles describing and exploring what the Enneagram is and how it's used. The Enneagram of Personality originally described ego fixations. It was used to find freedom from our habits of ego.
With some famous people there is some general agreement on their Enneagram type (e.g., Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Michael Jackson). With others, there is often a lot of disagreement (e.g., Marilyn Monroe, Adolph Hitler, some recent U.S. Presidents - Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton).
There is something I noticed with the Enneagram types where people try to fit themselves or others into every possible category or concept of the types. The underlying assumption is that the categories or concepts cover the full range of possibilities and completely describe the underlying experience they're attempting to. In other words, everyone can be fit into a type or related concept. However, I just don't find that to be true.
One problem I have with many descriptions of the Enneagram types is that they don't zero in on the core focus or internal experience of each type. Instead, they often try to describe type in terms of personality characteristics and behavioral traits.
The Enneagram instincts are self-preservation, sexual (also called one-to-one and intimate), and social. Although rarely mentioned, the instincts are used with the Enneagram types in two quite different ways: the subtype approach and the stacking approach.
This post is about the methodology used in Enneagram tests. Let's take a look at the methodologies used by the different authors and teachers in their tests (and then I'll get to my methodology and reasoning).