Author Enneagram Case Study – Sir Terry Pratchett [7w6]

Typing based on: Holy idea (/virtue) references, defense mechanisms, overall.

I felt a need for a cheerier article after the last very-unhealthy one, but this particular article will be a little brief, simply due to its abstractness: it has been a long while since I’ve read any Terry Pratchett books. He shows some fairly clear type seven traits, but because its been awhile its more difficult to do a ‘line by line’ analysis of any of his books.

Terry Pratchett was a fantasy and SF writer primarily, a popular humorist who manages to handle with humour what were often fairly dark themes (Death for example is personified in his Discworld series, starting as a moderately evil character involved in beaurocratically administering predetermined destinies, only to evolve into a fairly loveable and even grandfatherly figure). In itself this is perhaps stereotypically Seven in nature. His wizards are chaste but often found down the pub, while his bad guys reflect anarchic tendencies by typically applying various forms of unwanted order (you could call this 1-arrow, perhaps, or it could imply that he might have e.g. a One mother that has helped form some of his seven tendencies.).
His pre-writing CV is also interesting, showing a complex or varied work history which is also somewhat characteristic of the type, with mentions of various other generalistic interests – “He also keeps carnivorous plants, they are less interesting than most people generally believe”.

A love of travel also appears for the most part as a theme – for example, Twoflower as the “Disc’s First Tourist”.
He himself does not seem to have engaged in excessive amounts of travel which is a very definite Seven indicator – two other authors that show as really over the top in this regard being Alan Dean Foster and Patricia Bernard. Of course, personal means and so on are also a factor in travelling. Idealistic traits and a love of animals for the most part are apparent also.

Though there’s occasional irritation or lust, the general emotional attitude that comes through most strongly is perhaps anxiety – as exemplified by RIncewind the cowardly wizard, but to a lesser extent an anxious or “head” quality is visible through much of his writing, which probably suggests wing 6. Characters are often somewhat incompetent, which could be a 6 thing or largely for comedic effect. Counterphobic traits show up in one ‘joke’ character of note, an alien in “Strata” who is asked what a humble woodcutter of his race would do if they found aliens invading and replies “he would fall upon them and destroy them utterly!”; largely that this is seen as kind of crazy reinforces 6 rather than 8 as primary wing.
Skeptical themes may also come through in works like “Small Gods”. Risk is also a primary theme in “The Dark Side of the Sun”, being centrally connected to the idea of “P-math”, which drives the plot while never being fully explained. (This sort of background concept that’s never quite fully explained is a fairly 7w6 way of doing things – another author who employs this heavily would be A.E.Van Vogt, who also appears to be 7w6).
7w6s in particular seem to be a generally very intellectual type, with Pratchett’s books having a sort of theoretical quality that develops ideas as interesting for their own sake with jokes about e.g. quantum physics. MBTI-wise, this is probably consistent with him having Ne primary/Ti secondary – feeling seems more developed than for a primary thinking type.

Seven-Specific Psychology e.g. Holy Ideas, Defense Mechanisms

The Seven defense mechanism mapped by Naranjo, Rationalization, is briefly mentioned in at least one of his works – in the short story “Final Reward” (published in GM magazine) a character on the verge of waking up comes up with a flimsy excuse not to get up then decides “that’s a good enough rationalization for six in the morning”, piling a rationalization on a rationalization (..getting up in the morning seems like it can be another Seven problem area). Note that some other types, e.g. Threes, sometimes use rationalization as a secondary defense. Note that formally speaking, rationalization is “self-deception through reasoning” – it requires an attempt to convince yourself, as opposed to an attempt to deceive others, to actually be ‘Rationalization’.

Core Seven indicators in Pratchett are interesting, and line up very strongly with the predicted ideas for Sevens about Holy Ideas and Virtues.
There are definite mentions of “sobriety” in that one of his characters in his Guards novels, Vimes, is described as being “two drinks under par”, i.e. needs some drinking to get to the level of imagination people normally have. Another interesting description is of “Klatchian Coffee” – a substance which makes people get “knurd” (= drunk backwards):

“It strips away all the illusion, all the comforting pink fog in which people normally spend their lives, and lets them see and think clearly for the first time ever. Then, after they’ve screamed a bit, they make sure they never get knurd again”

There is also discussion of the ‘holy idea’ of ‘Work’ in a sense. Normal Sevens seem to have a negative relationship to work, particularly pointless and ‘garbage’ work, moreso than other types for the most part. (Ichazo describes Holy Work as this: “to the idealistic planner of the future, the touch of the essence brings them to live and work in the present, fully and happily”). As well as claiming to choose writing as a career as its ‘indoor work with no heavy lifting’, a particularly interesting description in his books is that of the golems e.g. Dorfl, in “Feet of Clay”, who must work ceaselessly at assigned tasks with no holidays ever (the Seven conception of hell?).

I am a golem. I was made of clay. My life is the words. By means of words of purpose in my head I acquire life. My life is to work. I obey all commands. I take no rest…
Golem must work. Golem must have a master.

[When asked what he wants, Dorfl’s answer is “Respite”]

Perhaps connected to this, slavery appears occasionally in other forms as something to be avoided i.e. compulsory work e.g. Krull in The Colour of Magic. Another book jokes about how men captured by amazons must do ‘specifically masculine duties and do not last long because “wiring plugs, putting up shelves, sorting out the funny noises in attics and mowing lawns can eventually reduce even the strongest constitution.”
Note that compared to 7s, 8 fiction is also liable to include slavery themes as relating to their dominance issues, and it tends to be depicted much more brutally [Compare e.g. Farnham’s Freehold by Robert Heinlein, 8w7].
Related Authors
Note that again, Pratchett has presumably little or no known connection to the enneagram and hence likely arrived at his conceptions independently, although there is a subjective bias in that I chose him (out of other authors) for a relatively clear framing of it.

A couple of other authors of interest would be Ian Fleming (7w8, probably) – James Bond is usually on holiday and living up, but shows ‘work’ inasmuch as he is often called on to deal with difficult circumstances, like enduring the torture dungeon in Dr No. Alan Dean Foster is *probably* a 7 (a couple of his works like “The I Inside” and “The Man Who Used the Universe” give off a mostly inexplicable 3-ish feel), and makes weird references to purpose in Spellsinger, where the space horse M’nemaxa is galloping around the edge of the universe for billions of years with “all purpose vanishing from the universe” when it is done, this essentially framed as a good thing or at worst neutral (the protagonist unwittingly helps him do it faster in book 2).

Cordwainer Smith is another probable 7 (unsure of wing); he shows addiction/willpower themes in e.g. “A Planet Named Shayol”, while characters have severe “work sucks” issues in “Scanners Live in Vain” where the protagonist has had all bodily sensations removed to deal with the pain of space travel.


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