Here’s how I process information, and I think it’s a pretty good way:
- Step 1: I take in new information, either by reading, hearing or by experiencing something that challenges the way I think
- Step 2: I digest what I read or experienced
- Step 3: I spit it back out in my own words
- Step 4: I try out my new paradigm in the real world
After a while of doing step four, I usually revisit what I read and wrote, to see if the “beta testing” in reality has revealed any bugs.
So consider this series of posts Step 2 for some of my recent experiences and readings. 🙂
Okay, onward and upward.
The first idea I’m going to throw at you is the idea that you are in a trance. Actually, you are probably in lots of trances all at once.
A trance is a way that we limit or filter or sort our perceptions of reality to keep the input down to a manageable size so your head does not explode. There are all kinds of trances: cultural trances, religious trances, family trances, and so on. We use these trances to “weed out” parts of reality we don’t want to deal with.
You see this effect in sufferers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. During their trauma, they focus so tightly on something other than the trauma that they are able to basically unplug themselves from that reality. In hypnosis, the subject focuses their attention to an extremely narrow set of sensory inputs: a flickering light, and the voice of the hypnotist, usually. Once the trance has effectively cut off or blocked out all other input, your mind accepts the remaining input as “reality.”
Which is how you end up with grown men clucking like chickens on a stage. It’s also, taken further, how you end up with grown men who believe that we never landed on the moon. Their personal trance tells them that the world is a certain way, and if their entranced worldview says that men can’t walk on the moon, no amount of evidence from reality will convince them otherwise.
Which brings us rather neatly round to the enneagram. In this context, the enneagram describes nine different trances based on different but equally flawed assumptions about how the world works. Each enneagram trance says “This is the way the world is, so you can delete any input that indicates otherwise.” And because this happens at an unconscious level, most of the time, you’re not really aware that what you’re seeing isn’t an accurate representation of reality.
Okay, I feel like we’ve effectively covered trances. Next up, we’ll discuss what I like to call the primal flaw, the one that leads to all the other distortions. All the other distortions, the other trances, are based on this original distortion. And if you think “original flaw” sounds an awful lot like “original sin” you’re on the right trail…