A while back I was asked by two separate people if I had ever taken an Enneagram test to see what my “Type” was. I’m not someone who takes personality tests and swears by them with religious zealotry, however, I do think there is some value in them. Much like dreams, they can provide a glimpse at our subconscious and we can use that data to make better decisions in the future. It is important to remember that they are descriptive, not prescriptive. Our fates aren’t sealed by our Enneagram type, Myers-Briggs, or Hereos Within Archetypes.
I mention this because I took the Enneagram a while back and the results actually resonated with me a bit. I have long felt there is kind of a weird contridiction inside of me (probably true of everyone). I love learning about nearly anything. I am endlessly fascinated by not only broad patterns and philosophies but also the particulars of individuals, particularly individuals I care about. This leads me to both fascinate at the human body and wonder what my friends look like naked. It is how we relate to the average that is beautiful and fascinating to me.
This love of learning seems to permeate every aspect of my life. It has lead to me leaving jobs that I found boring with little thought to the future. Why stay where I am not learning when there is always something to learn somewhere else?
It has shaped my sexual interests in trying nearly every kink imaginable. I may hate it, but at least I will have the sensation to back it up.
However, the other side of my learning coin is that I hate to be taught. Being instructed beyond the most basic principles bores me, frustrates me, and kills my interest in a subject. Sure, I’ll look up the mechanical basics of any task… how to remove the panel from a car to replace the speakers or how to put dynamic lighting into a Roll20 map. But beyond that, I want to do it on my own. I want to make mistakes. I loathe being told the “proper” way of doing things. It feels like an assault on my person, a psychological mugging where someone more powerful than me takes away my agency because I dare deviate from the norm.
This aversion to instruction has created some, umm, issues at times. I don’t read directions when I probably should, as evidenced by the minor ceiling damage that occurred from a high pressure fountain of water erupting from a filtration system I was installing. I also jump at the first opportunity with little patience for choosing wisely because I want to get started NOW.
This duality has also lead to me using the internet in search of more knowledge, but by means that don’t work for me. For example, I subscribed to Masterclass but have only actually gone through one course. I find it particularly difficult to stick with it when it involves something artistic, like writing. There is an RL Stine course on Masterclass that I am sure I could learn a lot from, but I don’t want to be instructed. I’d rather write a book and then have it flop. Oftentimes, when I am being instructed I kind of feel like I’m doing something but I’m really not. It isn’t really an activity.
Anyway, the Enneagram test provided me with the feeling that I wasn’t alone. That maybe our education system (both official and unofficial) doesn’t work for everybody (or maybe even anybody). I value education and learning, but our system is unnecessarily cumbersome and antiquated. Curiosity, logic, and compassion are infinitely more important than learning calculus. The truth is, you won’t need it. There are essentially one of two futures ahead of us, neither of which require memorizing historical dates or the Pythagorean theorem. Either technology will continue to advance and more and more knowledge will be calculated by computers or at our fingertips (or implanted into our brains), or the world will enter a dystopian future and the real valuable knowledge will be how to grow crops, make bullets, and distill whiskey. In both scenarios, most of the time spent in the classroom or listening instead of doing will be wasted.