Enneagram & Music: Paulinho Moska

If you’re not from Brazil or some other South American country, there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of Paulinho Moska before, so I thought it would be a good idea to offer a quick introduction to him.

Moska first came to prominence as a member of a group called Inimigos do Rei, which achieved a lot of success in the late eighties with their humorous pop rock songs. He would leave that group not too long after, though, and since the early nineties he’s been a very accomplished singer-songwriter.

Apart from his own music (and his acting, which, in spite of being a more intermittent activity, is the one area in which he’s actually received formal training), he’s also been the host of a TV show called Zoombido, where he invites other songwriters to talk about life and music.

And I think his role in this TV show might have been the biggest reason for me to consider that there’s a very high likelihood that he’s a type Two in the Enneagram.

sometimes I’m your clone, and you are mine

Depending on where you look at, Twos are often called “the Helper” or “the Giver”, although some authors would prefer to use the word “Seducer”. Whatever the case may be, some core characteristics remain, and the most important of those is that they are considered the most other-oriented people in the Enneagram.

Moska photographing of one of his guests through a glass brick

As I said, I believe this becomes very apparent in Moska’s role as a TV host. By now he’s interviewed hundreds of musicians (both renowned and up-and-coming songwriters) from many different genres , and most of the time you hardly hear him speak at all. The spotlight is on the guest as much as possible.

“I love being the other”, he often says, even comparing himself to the title character of the Woody Allen’s movie Zelig (who goes through changes in his own appearance according to whoever is near him). My guess is that many other type Twos would be able to relate to this on some level.

This, of course, can also be a dangerous approach to life, and people of this type are often accused of not knowing what they really want. And that’s equally risky for an artist, who is expected to be truly unique in what he/she does. So, how does this dynamic play out for Moska?

I like the world more when I can look at it with you

I believe he’s been very successful in turning the tendencies of his Enneagram type to his advantage. By his own admission, he’s grown quite a lot as a songwriter from being open to learn so much about other musicians’ perspectives directly.

And this certainly helped him to become an even more versatile musician than he already was, as evidenced by how comfortably he switches between different styles, such as rock, folk, samba and electronic music.

So, what would be the biggest trap in all of this, you might ask? Well, for that, we would have to take a moment to talk about the characteristic passion of Twos: pride.

what kind of swimming pool is there under this trampoline?

In our habitual use of the word, pride very often has a positive connotation. Not so on the Enneagram. Here, it portrays a very dangerous tendency — sometimes disguised as humility — to see oneself as somehow better than others, and often even indispensable.

I don’t want to point fingers here, but I can’t help thinking about that whenever I hear him saying that he’s “a good person”. This might seem like a harmless statement, but such self-identification is precisely what tends to keep Twos very much dependent on other people’s recognition.

Although, truth be told, he’s also aware about that. In an interview given to a Brazilian poet called Fabrício Carpinejar, Moska was confronted with the host’s very keen remark that his fascination with being an adolescent at heart may reflect a certain neediness.

I particularly liked that observation from Carpinejar because it goes straight into type Two’s main fear: being unloved.

And Moska’s answer, in my opinion, was very reflective of someone of his type who’s done some deep inner work (and in the process has developed a much more mature view of life): “I do want to be loved a lot. But I’m absolutely certain that, for this, I have to love too much.”

people need space and peace

As for his subtype, that is a trickier question. In Western civilized societies, the behaviors typically associated with Twos — affection, amiability, and so on — are stereotypically feminine. Consequently, men from this type may not always express their main instinct so distinctly.

Because he puts himself out there quite a lot, one might be lead to think that Moska has a more predominant Social instinct. However, Social Twos are considered more “adult” and “ambitious”, and these are two words that he deliberately distances himself from. (Hence his fascination with adolescence.)

That’s why I’d argue that his predominant instinct is actually Self-Preservation. Bea Chestnut — herself a Self-Preservation Two –, says the following about this subtype in her book The Complete Enneagram:

This Two moves toward others, but also has a “counter-move” away from others out of a need for self-protection. This Two is tender and sweet, but more guarded than the other Twos.

Which reminds me of another interview Moska did, when he talked about how he felt much more liberated by no longer being signed to a record label, as it has allowed him to develop his work in his own rhythm. Which, as he says, is a much slower and more contemplative one, requiring some time to be properly digested.

It’s also worth mentioning that Self-Preservation Twos are considered one of the countertypes of the Enneagram, because they dissociate themselves from some traits that are characteristic of their type. In Moska’s case, this became apparent in that same interview when he said that he finds it easy to say “no”.

Saying “no” can be one of the biggest challenges for type Twos (they frequently say “yes”, even when they know they don’t mean it). But it seems that the Self-Preservation instinct, which is about one’s own safety and necessities, gives a very interesting counterpoint to this tendency.

With all that has been said here, if you know this system, at this point there should be no doubt about his Enneagram type. Still, I’d like to close this text with an anecdote (which he often tells during concerts) that illustrates this quite well.

emptiness is a means of transport

A few years ago, he did a cover of a song called “Enrosca”, which was included in a Brazilian soap opera. This song was written in the late seventies by a singer-songwriter called Guilherme Lamounier, but it became much better known due to a version done by another singer, called Fábio Jr.

Before I continue with this story, once again, here comes a short contextualization for those who are not from Brazil: Fábio Jr.’s been, without a doubt, one of the most successful romantic singers in our country for the last four decades (and probably a type Two as well, although this is beyond the point here).

Such visibility and commercial success, however, have rarely been followed by a healthy dose of respect from music critics and the “serious” music fan.

That’s why it was more than understandable that, when Moska was approached about the possibility of recording that song, the first question he was asked was whether he liked Fábio Jr. or not.

His answer? “I like everybody”.