What is good ? – views of morality or compassion by type or centre
Which type is most compassionate is difficult partly because of definitional questions. We can look, firstly, at empathy as an internal emotional experience, and secondly in terms of actual behaviour. That brings up a range of moral questions: overall you could imagine an axis of four positions here:
*A – No compassionate behaviour, no feeling | *B- Compassionate behaviour, no feeling
*C -No compassionate behaviour, feeling | *D – Compassionate behaviour, with feeling
A) here is, morally speaking, largely without redeeming qualities, while D) is clearly good. Positions of B) Pseudo-good works without genuine good intent and C) Good intentions, not acted upon, are more arguable. Whether B) is better than C) depends on how one judges action vs. intention; people might argue even that D) and B) are equally good from a purely results-driven perspective.
The two ‘axes’ in play here, interestingly, somewhat align with two of the centres – the ‘doing’ 891 and the ’emotional’ 234. I think Ones in particular, working from the enactive centre, are very much taken with judging actions; what you did, being the important thing; Fours perhaps especially the opposite. I think Ones would generally have a childhood which rewards doing whatever is seen as “good” (the chores, church, whatever) and where what the child actually feels about it is largely seen as unimportant – as long as the rules are followed. This can be positive as well since there’s a strong results focus: As a One once said in Enneagram Daily, “the Christian virtue is Charity, not love – because Charity implies actually doing something”.
In terms of overall centre functioning, perhaps, Twos sits close to One and generally, while they are more feeling-oriented, a Two is likewise often engaged in good works, somewhat regardless of what their personal feelings are – instead, with some intention that they be repaid, if only with gratitude.
The grid above doesn’t consider however the mental-centred types: Types 567, and 8 to some extent, probably would consider motivation important because they operate within fear- and survival-based frameworks where intention is critically important to judging whether something is likely to happen again, among other reasons – for 6 or 8, whether being betrayed is likely; and 5s are cynical enough as to probably tend to not value compassionate behaviour unless good intent is particularly apparent. 7s generally do want intent taken into account, this being a conceit that dovetails with their generally positive attitude, as well as having a wing of either 6 or 8 that likewise agrees. 5s, 6s and 7s are also primarily “theoretical” or head-centred types – they are likely to be more comfortable with behaviour that’s conceptually motivated (philosophical morality) whether or not there’s genuine feeling.
Getting back to the original question, then in terms of display of compassion, then, if I’m not completely off track, you could say that different types have different conceptions of what is actually good – which may then lead them to behave differently.