Enneagram & Music: Some Final Considerations

For this final text of Enneagram & Music, my main purpose will be to share some insights I’ve gained in the process of writing about the (possible) Enneagram types of twelve different musicians.

A secondary purpose is to clarify my criteria behind both the aspects of the Enneagram I chose to focus on and the musicians I chose to profile.

Before all of that, though, I thought it’d be important to acknowledge two people that were decisive for me to write this series.

Taking my hat off for a moment

The first of these is a musician called Gavan Kearney (aka Sand Snowman), who wrote a fascinating text about John Lennon for the Nine Points Magazine in 2012.

In his text, Gavan presents his case for typing Lennon as a Six, basing his analysis mostly on the former Beatle solo career (with a special emphasis on his first album after the break-up of the group).

Although I’m not so sure about Gavan’s analysis as I was when I first read that article, it has certainly expanded my perspective on Lennon’s motivations — which made him an even more compelling character in my eyes.

The second person that I feel indebted to is another musician, called Scott James. He’s the founder of the website iNtuitive Musician, in which he profiled different artists and identified some common patterns between them.

The basic difference of his approach from mine was that his analyses were made according to another system, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). He also made guesses about some musicians’ Enneagram types, but didn’t go much beyond that. Had he done so, I probably wouldn’t have written my own series!

Having said that, I’d to like to mention once again the aspects of the Enneagram which I most wanted to bring attention to, and what were the consequences of that decision for the direction these texts would take.

Going back to the key concepts

In my introductory article, I talked about the four keys to understand this system according to Urânio Paes: the instinct, the passion, the fixation and the key defense mechanism.

Urânio puts those four components on that exact order. Although the passion is what defines a person’s Enneagram type, for him it’s important to know one’s predominant instinct first. Otherwise (as I mentioned in last week’s text), the job of finding one’s passion could get much harder.

Although I agree with the rationale behind that perspective, I’ve also come to believe that, if the instinct makes it harder to find the passion, the reverse might also be true (even if not as often).

Fortunately, our job can be made much easier by the study of the subtypes, which allows us to see the instinct and the passion simultaneously.

Because of that, it’s my hope that, in the following years, every time we come to think about someone’s Enneagram type, we think of it inextricably linked to his/her own main instinct. In time, this will allow us to reach a level of refinement in our discussions that will help to dissolve many misunderstandings.

On the other hand, the fact that there are 27 different subtypes presents some dangers too. Although, in a way, it makes it easier to find one’s type in the Enneagram — as it allows for a higher level of accuracy –, it can also make things more confusing than ever.

I say this because, even if (most of the time) there are remarkable differences between the three subtypes of a particular type (you wouldn’t mistake a Social Eight for a Sexual Eight, for example), a person from a certain subtype can look a lot like someone from a different type!

This is especially true for the countertypes, a key concept that was first presented by Claudio Naranjo, and further developed by Bea Chestnut and others. A Self-Preservation Four, for example, may seem to have more in common with a type One or a type Seven than with a Social Four or a Sexual Four.

So, as we can see, there’s much to be explored about the passion and the instincts. Still, I now look back a little bit disappointed with myself by noticing that I barely talked about the other two concepts mentioned by Urânio: the fixation and the key defense mechanism.

I guess that’s partially because of the stage we’re in right now. Although the study of the subtypes is getting more and more attention, it hasn’t yet reached the point where it’s become an integral part of most conversations about the Enneagram as a typology system.

This helps to explain why I also haven’t talked much about the vertical dimension of its symbol. This is indeed an integral part of this system, but, before anything else, it requires that we have at least a proper level of understanding of the very basics.

The people I chose (or the ones that chose me)

To conclude, I’d like to deliver the promise I made in the beginning of this text to share a few words about the musicians I chose to talk about.

I don’t think it’s necessary to mention anyone in particular. I’d just like to say that I was really intentional about only writing on those people I appreciate as musicians. (Of course, some of them have had a much bigger impact on me than others.)

Another important criteria was to only write about those whom I already considered fascinating people (even the most controversial ones), so that to profile them in accordance to the Enneagram would simply be a way to refine my level of familiarity with their respective worldviews.

I’d like to highlight this second aspect, because I really wish I’d talked about musicians that I’m a big fan of who come from various different countries (whose music is often labeled as world music). Unfortunately, I don’t know that much about most of them — at least not to the point of writing on their deeper motivations.

This also helps to explain why I didn’t talk about any women during this series. Although I enjoy quite a lot listening to a variety of female musicians, my experience with their music has never translated into a strong enough impulse to take that next step of really wanting to know more about them. (It’s a pity, I know.)

All in all, though, I’m really happy about the people I chose to talk about. And if this series has encouraged anyone that has read any of these texts to know more about the Enneagram and these musicians, I’d consider this an amazing feat already.

A more ambitious goal would be that this could serve as an incentive for the ever-radical act of developing our collective self-awareness, and being more mindful of ourselves. Wherever we may be, and whatever may be the circumstances that present themselves to us.