Eights: The Outlaw Mentality

by | Dec 12, 2011 | Enneagram Articles

Essay, 1995

The Eight fixation is wrapped around Two at the core. The Eight often flaunts the pride that the Two can so skillfully mask. The Eight is either proud of being the best or the worst. The flaunting of the pride is the defense against the deep hurt of worthlessness and sensing that, “I am wrong.” The hurt of worthlessness is protected by the pride and used to justify the acting out of lust.

Lust is best summed up by the phrase, “What about me?” The code for the Eight’s expression of lust is, “Let’s have some fun.” If it isn’t fun, the Eight is not interested. What constitutes fun is fixation specific. For the Eight it often means acting out excessiveness in trying to consume all of life in one bite and then taking another and another and another.

Every student of the Enneagram quickly sees that each fixation is a style of selfishness. In some fixations selfishness appears as yielding. Nines, hysterics and certain styles of fear points may appear to be selfless as they appear to serve or yield. In actuality, each is a strategy based on the idea of “me,” getting what “I believe I need,” staying in control and protecting who “I believe I am.”

Of all the fixations, Eights can be the most blatant in their selfishness, often reveling in it in the extreme as hustlers, pimps and con men. For this they earn the approbation and sometimes envy of other fixations which are more masked in their acting-out.

Even when greatly modified, as in certain socially sophisticated females, the Eight trance is a style of domination and control of relationships. The polarity of pride and worthlessness is at the heart of every fixation. Taking bets, as Eights can be great gamblers, Eights will most likely fall off into pride.

In the certainty of being right, Eights are a law onto themselves. They have no respect for civil law because they see its limitation. Having survived the war zones of childhood without society’s laws to intervene the Eight sees law as personally irrelevant and intended for others. Pride can show in flaunting the laws. This can be considered fun.

Every fixation veils a quality of essence. The Eight fixation masks Shakti. The Sufis call this the red latifah of power. But power is too limited a word. Shakti is what gives power its power. It is the moving force of the universe. The Eight fixation is an attempt to capture Shakti as personal power. It may seem to work in the short run, as Eights can appear quite successful in whatever they give themselves to. Yet, by laying claim of doership for Shakti’s work, the Eight’s arrogance continues to ego-inflate until bursting.

Does this mean that no one is selfless? On the contrary, everyone is Selflessness Itself! Does this mean that no one acts out of kindness, purity, joy or love? On the contrary, these are qualities that are unveiled when the fixation drops. And the fixation drops all the time.

There are many moments in a day when everything stops. The sweetness of silence is tasted between each thought. A sunset, a moment of peace or laughter or genuine goodness and no fixation can be found.

It is only when the trance of fixation arises that one imagines oneself to be separate. Without the belief in separateness there is no possibility of selfishness. Acting selfishly is acting as if you are a fixation. The tender, vulnerable, deep sweet kindness that emanates when the Eight fixation disappears is what everyone loves about Eights. Shakti is then in service of awakening the world.

When asked, “Who are you?” a fully realized one answered, “I am That I am! From where you, me, he and she all arise.” The tragedy of the Eight fixation is the mind-set that answers, “I know who I am! Who do you think you are?”


“When you can recognize who you are not, then there is a possibility to wake up and discover who you really are.”