The Enneagram of Personality is a relatively new model of personality, based on the ancient principles of the Sufi tradition. It proposes nine personality types to describe the human psyche. The Enneagram has undergone various interpretations along history, including clinical, religious, and mystic perspectives. The contemporary Enneagram model is derived from the teachings of Gurdjieff and spread by Ouspensky in the beginnings of the 20th century, and later by Ichazo at the Arica Institute and since the 70s his student, Claudio Naranjo (Pangrazzi, 1997) . They developed the Enneagram system, which then specialized into different schools, depending on the emphasis given to the different components of the theory. Particularly interesting is Naranjoʼs (1994) effort to integrate the Enneagram to the DSM-III.
The main idea behind the Enneagram is that each person evolves into one of the nine proposed types, called enneatypes. Each Enneatype describes the characteristics of each type of personality and its connection to other enneatypes― particularly in cases of the growth (integration) or regression (disintegration) of the person having that type. This model, however, has certain limitations. Enneatype works at the finished gestalt of personality and fails to explain the person’s choice, evaluation of self and others, and appraisal of situations. Each Enneatype is perceived as having certain attitudes and behavior based on a certain vice; and connection between enneatypes originates from the person moving away or towards that vice. Apart from this religious aspect, there are so many other outside layers that contribute to create the personality, such as culture, society, family, self-justifications, etc. With all these factors, understanding the core of the behavior will inevitably escape us in most cases.
In particular, the Enneagram has several models that apply a posteriori schemes that need to be adjusted in order to be applicable to the nine types, and there is always the lingering question of why only nine types. The Enneagram provides numerological and mystical explanations: prominently, there is the numerological one that is used to derive the “natural” evolution for each type. This is given by the division of the unit by seven, which has a period of six digits, plus the pure centers, which yields nine altogether. On the mystical side, there is the association of each type with one of the seven capital sins, to which two more―deceit and fear―were added. Some authors remove the ominous spiritual label of “sins”, and prefer to use “passion” as a more neutral term. However, regardless of how much we agree, the Enneagram is open to various interpretations because of its evocative, and general terminology.
The DAS²-theory is a revised theory of personality―inspired by the Enneagram―that utilizes an objective and neutral language in order to naturally derive the nine types and wings from first principles, thus avoiding falling into post hoc traps. This terminology, borrowed and adapted from well-established disciplines (e.g. cognitive science, sociology, ethology), allows for clear descriptions of the processes, values, fears, etc., while retaining a more grounded view. The DAS²-theory examines the energies that construct personalities and their dynamics. When we focus on the energy behind the actions, we are not distracted by the myriad of colors that paint each scene nor the surface behavior.
DAS stands for the three DAS-stances―Dominant, Aversive, and Submissive1―that can each appear in a position of either superiority or inferiority. To understand how each of the three stances in the DAS-triad appear, the definition of the superior and inferior positions need to be established. This article introduces the Dynamic Social Field Theory (DSoFT) to explain how the mind works by fabricating micro-contests in order to appease our ego in any given situation and decide whether we are in either a superior or an inferior position. Consequently, the three stances in each of the two positions will be examined. With each of the three stances in either of the two positions, the proposed theory, DAS², suggests a catalog of six styles of actions, which when combined produce nine personalities that correspond to those of the Enneagram.
2. Dynamic Social Field Theory (DSoFT)
In order to understand the DAS²-theory, we need to be introduced to the Dynamic Social Field Theory (DSoFT) first. The DSoFT is based on Bourdieu’s idea of social fields (Moncrieffe, 2006) ; it provides a backbone for the DAS²-theory, as it gives a cognitive explanation for the dynamic selection on the fields on which the individual evaluates himself as superior or inferior. This is crucial because how one evaluates one’s relative position to others, the stance he will use to react to the world. This is so because although the three stances (viz. Dominant, Aversive, and Submissive) are available in either position, they form different styles depending on the relative position within the field in question. DSoFT explains the dynamic and almost instantaneous mental shift of available, concurrent social fields for the selection of that which most appeases the ego.
2.1. Social Fields
Social field is a sociological concept used by Pierre Bourdieu (1984) , which represents the collective of people (and even institutions) that participate in a society, with the rules―whether explicit or implicit―and other cultural elements. Gaventa (2003) further expands on the idea of the fields:
Bourdieu introduces the concept of the field to denote the social arena in which power struggles and conflict take place, in which specific kinds of capital (economic, cultural, social, symbolic, etc) are at stake and certain forms of habitus or dispositions are fitted for success. This helps us to understand how certain actors can be powerful in some “fields” but much less so in others, even though capital can sometimes translate between fields (p. 9).
These fields can be represented on a 2-dimensional plane by the plot of total capital vs the percentage of economic capital, as Bourdieu did for the French society in La Distinction (1984). This idea of field allows us to represent very clearly how we evaluate our position relative to the others by comparing our relative positions in the field.
DSoFT employs the notion of “the monkey mind” to explain the fast shifting that occurs in our mind, where we mentally choose (whether consciously or subconsciously) a field―among the many that are currently available―, that will best suit the strategy we want to employ at that instant. What the DSoFT proposes is that the fruit the monkey mind is trying to grasp is the social field that better reframes the current situation to appease the ego, and boost the ego-ideal (Horney, 1950) .
2.2. The Monkey Mind
To understand this, we need to recall the Buddhist concept of “monkey mind”, quoted in several places along the scriptures. For instance, in the Dhammapada XXIV (1997) , Buddha says “When a person lives heedlessly, his craving grows like a creeping vine. He runs now here & now there, as if looking for fruit: a monkey in the forest.” (p. 334). Or in the Visuddhimagga (Buddhaghosa, 2010) he again says, “The mind-consciousness element should be regarded as a forest monkey, because it does not stay still on its object; or as a wild horse, because it is difficult to tame.” (p. 502).
Buddhism uses this term (kapicitta, xinyuan, 心猿) to illustrate the cognitive phenomenon of the elusive, confused, and uncontrollable mental chatter that constantly occupies the mind. Once the monkey mind has taken hold of a particular field, then the rules within are applied to evaluate our position in that field. However, the monkey mind does not necessarily helps us by choosing the most beneficial field, nor the most accurate. For example, the monkey mind may situate us as superior when we are in fact inferior (e.g. when we get involved in a street fight because we were full of adrenaline, but the opponent is stronger and we end up losing); but it also can make us feel inferior when we are in fact superior (e.g. when we are depressed or ashamed, and we lose an argument we should have won, or we do not take on a manageable risk that could provide a big gain). Buddhist psychology, again, has a specific term for this tendency of the mind, to compare the self to others; this is captured by the term māna [慢]
which translates as conceit, pride, or arrogance.2 The DSoFT provides a slightly more nuanced explanation for the errors, because although, for instance, a martial arts student is, in the main field, inferior to her teacher in terms of skills, she may be superior in terms of speed. Therefore different evaluations may be appropriate at the same time.
Therefore according to DSoFT, during a single conversation, there can be a constant shift of field with each utterance. Even the turn-taking in a conversation shows already how a field is at work, regardless of any semantic content in the exchange.
The Dynamic Social Field Theory expands Bourdieu’s idea of social fields by emphasizing on the quick and unobtrusive cognitive processes (thus dynamic) through which the mind chooses the field where one will be ready to maximize the effect of one’s capital (thus social field). Once the field is set, we then evaluate our position relative to whom we are interacting with, and then apply one of the three stances we consider more successful within our reach. This process, “micro-contests”, happens so fast that we can barely notice; and it seems to be the mind’s constant challenge. This new term is akin to Condon & Ogsten’s (1966) microrhythms, Haggard & Isaacs’ (1966) micro-momentary facial expressions, and Paul Ekman and Friesen’s (2003) micro-expressions. They all share the characteristic of instantness to the point that they escape the awareness of the person producing them (as well as to most observers). A micro-contest is a mental construction that takes place within a field that forces us to determine our relative position with the entity to which we are relating. By using the rules of the field to evaluate ourselves, we decide whether we are in a superior or in inferior position, and then act according to our DAS-style.
How do each of the three stances (viz. Dominant, Aversive, and Submissive) actually function in each of the superior and inferior positions? Considering each of the three stances has its own functions in superior and inferior positions, we can construct the six DAS-styles, which will be described in the next section. In the DAS²-theory personality is formed by choosing and identifying with a particular style when we feel superior and another style when we feel inferior; this is the level that directly corresponds to the Enneagram.
The foundational stage for the DAS²-theory is the DAS trilogy. These are Dominance, Aversion, and Submission, understood as basic attitudes towards elements of our world.
A similar set of attitudes is proposed in his Dog Psychology by the famous dog trainer, Cesar Millan (although he adds a fourth, flight). In our words:
・ Dominance, D:
o Attempting to take control of a situation readily
・ Aversion, A:
o Renouncing to attain control over a situation, either directly or as an aide
・ Submission, S:
o Yielding one’s will to some external entity, allowing it to exercise control
These are the attitudes, and dispositions to invest in one’s own energy. In an economic and physical sense, these attitudes represent a relational disposition towards energy rather than just trying to gain control over a situation. Dominance is the request to receive the energy investment of another; submission is the yielding of one’s own energy for the project of another; whereas aversion is the conservation of one’s own energy (or an indisposition to get involved in energy exchange).
3.1. DAS-Styles and DAS-Types
At the core of the DAS²-theory are the six DAS-styles. DAS-styles lay out how Dominant, Aversive, and Submissive stances function when one evaluates oneself as superior, and how they function when one considers oneself inferior. In other words, three different styles might occur when one feels in control of the situation, and another three when one feels the situation is in control.
Each of the Dominant, Aversive, and Submissive stances produce different
strategies in superior vs. inferior positions3, producing six DAS-styles. The natural evolution of most strategies in reaction to life situations can be inferred from animal behavior. For example, predators such as lions and tigers resort to speed and power to subdue other animals for their food, symbolizing feeling superior and taking the Dominant stance ( style); or lambs might just follow to herd and let the shepherd or the dog lead the way, symbolizing feeling inferior and taking the Submissive stance ( style). However, in DAS²-theory styles, there are two which are rather peculiar, and even counter-intuitive. They are dominant as inferior ( ) and submissive as superior ( ), meaning “dominant when feeling inferior” and “submissive when feeling superior”, respectively. Neither of them is sustainable, and they both are dangerous. The first one will send us directly into the arms of danger, while the latter will make us appear unworthy of the privileges we are enjoying. Thus, DAS-styles imply certain strategies which are unlike the rule-based actions in math and computer science, and unlike the rules in Game Theory (Rasmusen, 2005) that dictate what action to take in each instant of the game based on the information set. DAS-strategies are a collection of heuristics that guide action selection.
Each DAS personality type is composed of two DAS styles: First, one of the three stances (D or A or S) that the person chooses in a superior position, and one of the three stances the person chooses in an inferior position. Although there are two sets of strategies a DAS-type can apply, one of the DAS-styles has precedence over the other one. The most followed heuristic style which will be discussed in the next section in detail is called the “aired style”. To demonstrate DAS styles, each of the D, A, S stances are followed by either an “s” (superior position) or an “i” (inferior position). A DAS type is demonstrated by first mentioning the chosen stance in the superior position (on the left), and the chosen stance in the inferior position (on the right). Therefore, a type that is Dominant in a superior position, and Aversive in an inferior position is demonstrated as «D, A». The six DAS-styles (and their implied strategies) are presented in Table 1.
Dominant as superior
The objective of pursuing this strategy is to obtain supremacy, and securing control. Its evolutionary value is evidently to secure access to the best resources. The nature of these resources can vary depending on the situation (e.g. food, sexual partner, housing, access to services). They often resort to a show of strength, imposition, and intimidation.
Dominant as inferior
This strategy is mainly used as a last resort. This strategy is used to defend one’s own life and one’s dignity, and therein lies its evolutionary value. They often are the force that overthrows oppressive regimes and creates changes where injustice prevails.
Aversive as superior
This strategy resorts to flaunting influence on others. They love to be the center of attention, but are not comfortable holding positions of power, they rather resort to soft power.
They tend to use charm as a means to attain soft power.
Aversive as inferior
This strategy tries to avoid and defuse conflict. Its evolutionary value in escaping a difficult situation as unharmed as possible.
These situations can be from a street fight, to an angry spouse, or a court battle. It is clever to avoid danger when the person is in a vulnerable position, and usually requires an astute analysis of the situation.
Table 1. The six DAS-styles.
Submissive as superior
This strategy grants subordinates much freedom to explore. The evolutionary value is that subordinates can go about working for the boss, but the boss spends very little energy in controlling them. When the situation is appropriate, this strategy provides a great place to work under.
Submissive as inferior
This strategy is the most immediately safe, but may bring intermediate to long term losses. It implies submitting one’s control and energy to the service of a superior.
This strategy has the evolutionary value to the submissive individual that it often triggers appeasement in the superior, who will then spare the submissive of any further harm. It also brings benefits to the group because it reduces the amount of internal fighting over resources (Dawkins, 2006) .
The combination of the six DAS styles forms nine DAS types. In the two-component DAS-type notation in Table 2, the right component (style) on the left indicates the superior position in the field (subindex s), and the component on the right indicates the inferior position in the field (subindex i).
3.2. Equivalence between the DAS²-Types and the Enneatypes
There is a direct relationship between the nine DAS²-types and the nine Enneatypes. This is what allows the happy marriage between both theories. As the Enneagram has developed a robust body of work at the descriptive psychology level, it has become a great tool for the DAS²-theory. In turn, the DAS²-theory (Schwarz, 2017) provides a greatly needed scientific grounding to a very valuable theory that is often considered mystical and airy.
Table 3 shows how each Enneatype is formed from the 6 DAS-stances (the subindexes are redundant, but are left for clarity):
The relationship between the Enneatypes and DAS-types can further be illustrated by using the Enneagram symbol that depicts the nine Enneatypes (see Figure 1). The descriptive labels for the nine Enneatypes are left out of the symbol here for conciseness, but as mentioned in Palmer (1991) , they are: 1 = The Performer, 2 = The Helper, 3 = The Achiever, 4 = The Individualist, 5 = The Investigator, 6 = The Loyalist, 7 = The Enthusiast, 8 = The Challenger, 9 = The Peacemaker.
Table 2. The nine DAS-types.
Table 3. The Enneatypes numbers with their corresponding DAS-type equivalents.
Figure 1. The enneagram with the corresponding DAS-types.
4. DAS²-Theory Perspectives over Different Levels of Personality Analysis
Throughout the ages, there have been attempts to identify and explain variations in human behavior. From the early times of the Greek (Hippocrates) all the way to the Middle Ages, there was the theory of the humors, claiming that bodily fluids affect behavior. This idea has found its way to today’s theories as preconceptual biases that are inheritable or inborn. In this respect, the personality types in DAS²-theory can be interpreted as partially inherited, but since that is not the premise of DAS²-theory, it remains agnostic about it.
However the DAS-types interact at the level of Reich’s armor (1972) . Armor is the pattern of chronic muscular contractions that result from the ego trying to repress its impulses. Therefore, at its core, it depends on those impulses dictated by the will of the person. Not only armor but especially one’s bearing or posture is of vital importance when trying to attain and preserve power, or appease and avert conflict (Lorenz, 1998; Dawkins, 2006) .
Just as our posture depends on our muscular patterns, muscle tension and tone, and other body and facial expressions, due to our emotional state, we have evolved mechanisms to quickly identify the emotional states of others. In particular two prominent dimensions are evaluated: warmth and competence (Fiske, Cuddy, & Glick, 2007; Dupree & Fiske, 2017) . Warmth is paraphrased as finding if one is a “friend or foe”; while competence is the evaluation of how effective that person is at carrying out his or her intentions. In the case of a foe, it is of vital importance to accurately predict how harmful or lethal the person may be.
Reacting to others elicits a variety of behaviors from us. Although big patterns are identified by the type itself, it is useful to nuance it further. The Enneagram
uses “wings” to describe these differences, despite it being its most undeveloped aspect. Some very distinguished authors (Palmer, 1991; Riso & Hudson, 1999; Beesing, Nogosek, & Leary, 1984) have written about it, but have failed to provide adequate descriptions, and worse, have provided unsubstantiated underlying explanations. In DAS²-theory, the comparable structure to wings is “airs” that capture the idea of the preferred DAS-style of the individual between the two components of a DAS-type (see Table 4). Such preference could come from the person’s tendency to be and act in an either superior or inferior position, or because the person has a preferred stance (e.g. Submissive). Since for each DAS-type, there are two other types that share the same DAS-style, we can say that they share the same air. For example, «D*,D» type shares the same air with «D*,A» and «D*,S» types because they prefer to be Dominant, and in a superior position (similar to saying that one enneatype is the wing of another). Likewise, «D,D*» shares air with «A,D*» and «S,D*» (“*” indicates the preferred position in the field). Contrary to the Enneagram, though, ―that imposes the concept of vicinity (and thereafter “wings” of the type) according to the concept of centers
and numerological principles of the division4 by 7―the DAS airs correspond to the shared behavioral tendency. The “aired” DAS-style constitutes the primary mode of reaction, and is formed in a child’s DAS personality type before the other DAS-style.
Table 4 contrasts side by side the different concepts of the Enneagram’s wings and DAS²-theory airs. The wings are basically the influence that contiguous neighbors have on their adjacent Enneatypes. However, DAS-types, as Diagram 1 shows, have no clear and consistent relationship between contiguous types and their DAS-type make-up. Enneatype 9 «S,A» shares air with types 5, 6, (in superior position) and types 3, 7 (in inferior position); whereas its wings are 1 «D,S»
Table 4. Comparison of Enneagram wings and (dis) integration to DAS²-theory airs.
and 8 «D,D». Perhaps the Enneagram’s most appealing feature is the symmetry of the system along all the types, which gets broken in the theory of wings.
Another difference between the Enneagram and DAS²-theory regards “growth” and “stress”. As illustrated by the example of type 1 of the Enneagram, the Enneagram’s integration paths (e.g. crossing lines of type 1 to type 4 (disintegration) and towards type 7 (integration)) no longer apply. In the Enneagram the “growth” or “stress” of the personality type is the movement of the type along the crossing lines to another type. In DAS²-theory, growth means the correct evaluation of the position, and the application of the stance appropriate for the situation.
As mentioned before, probably the most telling evidence for the shortcoming of the Enneagram is the underdeveloped state it has in the literature. In contrast, the DAS²-theory uses objective terminology and its concept of airs is simple, systematic and concise.
A fundamental building block of ego-personality is the idea of identification with an ego-ideal (Horney, 1950) . This in fact produces a narrow focus on some good ideas and a broader rejection of other ideas that compete with it. This ego-ideal is occurs later in the development of the child. Thereafter, family and early social dynamics help attune the second mode and the DAS-type is defined. Once the DAS-type is established, everything is neatly cloaked into a socially sanctioned personality that goes beyond the individual, in what Bourdieu called the habitus. This is “structuring and structured” element that explains how the individual’s choices are constrained by what society allows him (by suasion as well as by restricting access).
At the level of ego-personality, the DAS²-theory types match the nine Enneagram types, but unlike the descriptive nature of the Enneatypes, it is based on cognitive and developmental principles. Recent discussions suggest the idea of merging Jung’s (1923) “psychological types”―and all of its homologous descendant typologies: e.g. MBTI (Myers, 1962) , Keirsey’s temperaments (Keirsey & Bates, 1984) ―and the Enneagram types. However, the classification systems are fundamentally distinct and cannot be merged. Similarly, the DAS²-theory refers to the agents of power, while the Jung types tend to be more about information processing distinctions. In this way, they can be applied simultaneously, thus mutually enriching both systems.
The DAS²-theory can be considered a fully functional typology of personality. It improves on the Enneagram and is constructed upon the foundations of auxiliary disciplines, such as Ethology, Cognitive Sciences, Sociology. It innovates in two main ways. The first is by positing the Dynamic Social Fields Theory (DSoFT), which says that our mind is constantly shifting among the possible Bourdieusian Fields existing around and about us, until we find one where we feel we can have an advantage. This shifting is momentary and almost instantaneous, and thus usually escapes our awareness. The second innovation is providing a structured view of personality that takes into account the context in which the individual’s psychological reality occurs. DAS²-theory constructs a bi-dimensional theory of personality, each dimension built on three ethological attitudes and dispositions. It is therefore a simple and compact theory of strong descriptive power.
After the DSoFT, its most prominent result is the reconstruction of the Enneagram system. The DAS²-theory can immensely influence the Enneagram’s terminology and interpretation, with its objective and scientific foundation. This will allow for designing various tests for typing, and to provide even deeper predictions. The DAS²-theory follows the Law of Parsimony (also known as Ockham’s razor) in using the least amount of presuppositions in building a full-fledged and time-tested typology.
Besides the fundamental contribution to the theory of personality it provides, the DAS²-theory offers three important areas of application. First, it can be scaled beyond the individual. Since brands are recognized as being intentional agents (Kervyn, Fiske, & Malone, 2012) , the DAS²-theory can be applied to those entities as well. These naturally include traditional brand holders, such as commercial brands, but also political entities (e.g. political parties and coalitions), nations and states, supranational organizations, and so on. In applying DAS²-theory to entities, the DSoFT would not refer to cognitive states, but to the strategies and objectives that the entity is involved with.
Second, because emotional states produce a positive feedback loop with postural states and other embodied features (Burgoon & Dunbar, 2006) , DAS²-theory can help in the detection of possible intentions via the analysis of body postures, energy, and gestures. This could help improve artificial intelligence and the automation of surveillance of high-value targets against terrorist attacks (e.g. stadiums, airports, train and metro stations), as well as in the analysis of prominent figures in debates, TV interviews, etc.
Third, as the DAS triad is essentially based on the concept of power, it can inform and complement other frameworks that focus on other aspects of power. For example, the POWERCUBE (Gaventa, 2005) ―which is a framework for power analysis in relation to the spaces and dynamics of civil society participation―works with the dimensions of Forms, Levels, and Spaces. Following Bourdieu and Foucault ideas, this system deals with structural aspects of power. But besides the crucial strategizing on these levels of analysis, exchanges occur transactionally and vary with power shifts, therefore agent interactions are important to take into account. Undoubtedly, here the DAS²-theory can aide due in part to its capacity to analyze agents at any level.
In all, the incorporation of ethological concepts into the area of ego-personality will help in the understanding of both areas, and offers a promising horizon.
1A similar terminology is found as early as Gellert (1961) where she calls them “dominance, submission, and resistance” in the context of child behavior.
2Depending on the branch, Buddhist writings catalogue various types of error while comparing self to others:
・ The Pali canon mentions 3 ( http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/g_m/maana.htm)
・ Tibetan traditions mentions 7 (Guenther & Kawamura, 1975: p. 68) .
・ The Soka Gakkai tradition identifies 9 types of arrogance [九慢] (Soka Gakkai, 2002) .
3Identified by the subindex s for superior (e.g. for “dominant as superior”) or the subindex i for inferior (e.g. for “submissive as inferior”).
4The Enneagram holds that the natural progression between the types, other than type 3, 6, and 9 which form a triangle and a cycle within themselves; as for the other types, progress goes along the period obtained by 1/7 = 0.142857. This might be a post hoc explanation, rather than an actual theory.