E3 : The Shine

Posted by on August 13, 2013 | Comments Off on E3 : The Shine

Type 3 

A seemingly-wet surface that turns out to be hard when touched

Using simple math for symbolic purposes, if E6 is two opposing 3s – perfect ambivalence – the single cell of 3 (the basic building block of the enneagram), embodied in Type 3, shows up what could be viewed as an advantage of simplicity and self-unity as a characteristic of this Type’s underlying program. A capacity for singularity of thought, purpose and action. As contrasted with Cousin 6’s structural self-division, 3’s structural unilateralism brings a certain holistic resilience to the Type’s characteristic self-hypnosis – all the Types being a hypnosis of sorts. In archetypal space, the number 3 also aligns conceptually with the triumvirate qualities of masculine, feminine and their integrated byproduct – a neutral integrative function.


So there’s a solipsistic and androgynous quality about the construction materials of this Type’s architecture. The metaphoric triune has a capacity for asexual reproduction. The thing complete. This isn’t to say that E3, as a type, actually is self-unified or self-possessed, through and through, or that individual people of this Type are such – in fact, as a member of the Attachment group (3-6-9) this type is picking up outside influences on a regular basis – the idea here, though, is about a relative smoothness of actualization, a cohesive mobilization of the fixation’s interest to produce/perform.  The description here is still about a form of neurosis, but the point is about the contrast in how pared down, in a way, the fixation is in terms of diversions to the will, compared to the multiple warring forces seen in most of the other e-types.

As part of the Heart triad, E3 is assigned the quality of out of touch with Heart; what seems to fill in that space though is the Heart as a muscle, Psyche as an athlete. This recalls the common conception of E3 as something of a performance machine.

[Tangentially, 3, 6 and 9 all have a characteristic tightness to the grip of their fixation, based on being units of 3. This idea becomes clearer, in symbolic space, if we compare the capacity for construction using equilateral triangles as compared to building with units of the hexagrammic cell structure of the Secondary Types (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8). This doesn’t mean that 3s, 6s, and 9s are more fixated than the other types, but they’re caught in a deeper rut, dug by the feedback loop of alliterative 3-based waveforms which continuously ping through the Centers, moving through the connective triangle of the Primary types. The ease with which equilateral triangles align together also speaks to all sides touching all sides, so the perpetual self-redoubling of the fixation receives cozy encouragement all around.]


Starting from the premise that the Enneagram of Personality is a discovered organic reality, if the number 3 is the basic unit of the enneagram – a primary kind of brick used in the construction of the psyche – this is a hint that an understanding of Type 3 will point to universal qualities about the fundamental nature of psyche and Ego. The association of E3 with narcissism, for example: Ego apparently looks at itself as an aesthetic object and is self-conscious about how it appears in others’ eyes, it wants to be recognized for accomplishment, for being special. It has a competitive nature and a particular capacity for self-deceit. Considering the Heart triad also as Image triad, Personality itself is a mask, an image obscuring the real self. A lie, in other words. Nothing new there, but all these things overlap the fundamentals of E3.

This type is often on the receiving end of a particular negative bias from those that know the Enneagram; all the above may be exactly why – considering that this type is often associated with Deceit, we could state it lyrically, that the overview of E3 reveals something hidden about ourselves and our egos – it’s a lie that tells the truth. And Narcissus doesn’t see only himself in the water; if we fully looked through his eyes, we’d see that his reflection sets him in the sky, among the highest peaks of achievement and glory.

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