Below are some excerpts from a 12/18/12 letter written by Mario Sikora, outgoing President of the International Enneagram Association’s Board of Directors. He served in that capacity for two years.
I think his comments about being inclusive of different points of view, as well as challenging accepted theories and beliefs are right on the mark. (Italics mine.)
- The IEA was founded in the excitement following the 1994 international Enneagram conference at Stanford. Its initial mission, appropriate for the time, was to serve as a hub for theory and application of the Enneagram. That mission was eventually supplanted by external forces, including the proliferation of information about the Enneagram in books and on the internet, as new generations of teachers took the system out into the world.
- Our community is open to all and admittance comes with only one caveat—that all who enter must be tolerant of and open to other points of view. We are a rigorously “big tent” organization, and one of the fundamental governance principles of the IEA is that the organization isn’t used to grant favor to nor exercise bias against any individual, group, or school of thought.
- I think the community at large and the IEA in particular has done a wonderful job at becoming more open, sharing, and accepting. I also think that, while we’ve made great progress, we need to continue to grow in the areas of professional and intellectual maturity and rigor.
- I just wrote that it is important to be open to other views, but I also agree with the philosopher David Hume that “truth springs from argument amongst friends.” Too much yin without the yang leaves us out of balance; big-hearted and embracing, but intellectually flaccid and operationally incapable. An unwillingness to challenge received dogma and the points of view of our friends and peers, and even our teachers, is inconsistent with our desire to be “seekers after truth.”
- Understand: I am not urging factionalism or an attempt to standardize dogma in any way. I am urging that we civilly and respectfully question, challenge, and, dare I say it, provoke when appropriate. We owe it to those we care about-our community, our peers, our clients, ourselves-to take their views seriously enough to test them and challenge them. We must do the same to our own assumptions. If the Enneagram teaches us nothing else, it teaches us that what we think isn’t always what is, that waking up is difficult and messy and sometimes uncomfortable work. It is more grappling than bliss and it is not always for the faint of heart.
- It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve in this role for the last two years, and I look forward to continuing on the board for another two years in a different capacity. Mostly, I look forward to continuing to be a part of this worldwide community of fine people who are working together to make themselves better people and, by extension, the world a better place.