Options Open

Let's begin with the sounds of Seven, The New Christy Minstrels' "Green Green"


Afoot and light hearted,

I take to the open road.

Healthy, free, the world before me

The long brown path leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good fortune; I myself am good fortune.

Henceforth I whimper not, postpone not, need nothing.

Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous questions.

Strong and content I travel the open road.


Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass


In the Enneagram literature, Sevens are described as Epicurean. The reason is simple but tres simpliste he is credited as an important thinker who taught that the purpose of life was to be happy.

Epicurus, however, pictured the search for happiness as involving discipline, self-denial and featured friendship as more important than romance. He practically invented the commune: at one point, 400,000 people lived in communes. Some argue that the Christians took the concept for many monasteries.

"Above all, Epicureans believed that it is necessary to practice the discipline of desire. We must learn to be content with what is easy to obtain and what satisfies the organism's fundamental needs, while renouncing what is superfluous. A simple formula, but one that cannot but imply a radical upheaval of our lives. It means being content with simple foods and simple clothes; while renouncing wealth, honors, and public positions; and living in retreat." Pierre Hadot, What is Ancient Philosophy?

This discipline of desire is a central issue for style Seven, often tagged with the label of gluttony. Gluttony is often thought of as too much appetite for food, but for Sevens it is an excessive desire for more experiences, novelty, change and extravagance. Sevens are more motivated by internal rewards of pleasure and satisfaction than external rewards of money and status. If a Seven is free to choose between a high-paying tedious and confining job (think cubicle, making phone calls) and an exciting job for paltry wages, Sevens will choose excitement. (Threes will be prone to go for the money). Their desire for internal satisfaction (happiness) can lead them to escape from difficulty in any way they can; it leads them to try to turn work into play; it leads them to find difficulty in reaching for long term goals if the short-term attractions are more interesting than the work necessary for the long term.

When Sevens are on their game, they are child-like, optimistic, energetic and visionary; when behaving badly, they are childish; smart-ass, perpetual sophomore and escapist.

Because Sevens want to be open to new experiences, they tend to try to keep a lot of options open. When faced with two choices, they try to do both. If they do, they can get hurried, careless and overwhelmed. If that happens, they try to escape.

So I wrote this: Silver Lining


In popular films, Sevens are pictured as funny, charming and cheerfully anti-authoritarian. Consider Crocodile Dundee, Oceans 11, Sundance Kid, Beverly Hills Cop all with lovable men who are boys. The boyishness is exemplified by the patron saint of Sevens, Peter Pan.

Films can have a genre and the genre that exemplifies style Seven is the musical. All fun and games, silly at times and full of energy. In addition, there is a theme in a lot of movies in which the style Seven is in conflict with his connection point at style One. Style Seven usually wins be because audiences (which tend to be young) prefer cheerful rebellion over moral rectitude, especially if that righteousness is rigid. The classic is One Flew Over the Cuckoos' Nest, with Jack Nicholson (a Seven in real life, too) vs the nurse in charge.

Robin Williams plays both himself as a Seven and Mrs. Doubtfire as a One in the film of that name. George Clooney, himself a Seven, plays a playful Seven off against Michelle Pfeiffer, playing a style One in One Fine Day. In this theme, the Seven destroys or melts the rigidity of the One.


Comedy, of course, is made for Sevens and right now comedy is funny and furious with Trump for two comedians. Stephen Colbert is a Seven with a strong healthy connection to one: his humor is light-hearted, but it bites when he talks about Trump. Conversely, Bill Maher is a style One with a strong connection to Seven. His anger is up front, but he still manages to be frivolous and funny. He is outraged by moral failure, but his cheerful anti-authoritarianism of style Seven comes through when he talks about sex and marijuana.


In Art, the American painter, Normal Rockwell is a lovely example of simple cheerfulness that endeared him to calendars and living room walls all over the country.Rockwell describes his Sevenish intention: I unconsciously decided that, even if it wasn't an ideal world, it should be and so I painted only the ideal aspects of it.


In literature, Tom Sawyer is a naughty lovable Seven. The classic story (pictured on the cover of the book in our library) of Tom conning Ben into whitewashing Aunt Polly's fence is a clear example of how Sevens solve problems by reframing. He saw it as an odious task but reframed it as a privilege to Ben and the subsequent boys eager for privilege.

Sevens can be escapist and chemicals are an attractive option, as is gambling. In Middlemarch, (which I found tedious), Tertius Lydgate, a doctor given to gambling for excitement, is a good example of the lower, less enjoyable side of Sevens.

In Bridget Jones' Diary, we see the gluttony focused on food. She not only eats too much, she obsesses about it. But she does what a lot of unhealthy Sevens do; she plans and the plans becomes a substitute for action.

I may be alone in this opinion, but the Lone Ranger seems to be a heroic Seven. He is not domestic, he is still adolescent (friend instead of wife) and his exploits are set to the William Tell Overture which is fierce and joyful.

Let's close with a representative piece for Sevens in classical music: Offenbach: Gaite Parisienne, Boston Pops.