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Enneatype 1 - The Reformer

Characterological Structure


Passion: Anger

Resentment at failure to meet their perfectionistic standards, vehement "righteous indignation", largely unexpressed hatefulness. Standing against reality.


Fixation: Perfectionism

The compensation for an imperfect reality, endlessly correcting the environment in order to perfect themselves. Everything is imminently broken and imperfect, therefore E1 must perfect it. Pushing the river.


Defense Mechanism: Reaction Formation

Taking the attitude opposite to "unacceptable" ones. A reaction against impulsivity, transforming the impulse for desires into a reformed and perfected character.


Basic Traits: 

Domineering, aristocratic, imposing, critical, hypocritical, disciplined, anhedonic, canonical.

Passion & Fixation

The passion which begins the ego cycle of the E1 character is the passion of Anger and the fixation which supports this passion is Perfectionism. When we first think of anger and a character enveloped by the expression of anger as a fundament of their psyche it is easy to create a mental image of a person with a short fuse, one who is in a state of rage all the time. This image has some accuracy to it, but can also be misleading. Anger in the E1 is not conscious, as all of the passions are unconscious, and instead its existence is more so suggested. These are characters who instead control their anger in order to uphold an image of being well-behaved and benevolent.

As Almaas notes, “In resentment, there is aversion, which is made up of anger and rejection toward your experience.” This belligerent attitude is not simply a rejection of how things are but also a forceful attempt to make things conform to a One’s inner picture of how they ought to be. This manifests in a One’s tendency to point out and attempt to correct the perceived faults of themselves and of others, and may extend to trying to make the world itself conform to his or her idea of how things ought to be, often with the sense that if everything were perfect, then he or she could finally relax.

The Enneagram of Passions and Virtues, - Maitri

Rather than the image of anger simply as an emotional reaction to danger or misfortune, anger is the energy the personality feels when facing the existential void created out of their fall from fullness. Because it is their neurotic way of trying to achieve a state of higher existence, they face everything in reality with a subtle anger like a fiery engine that drives them towards action; we may use the metaphor of "the wrath of God" to paint the picture of a being who believes himself perfect and exacts his righteous judgment on other people. Ichazo notes this passion as "standing against reality" and it entails a dissatisfaction with the way reality fundamentally is. This comes from a projection of their own brokenness, by recognizing that they have fallen they recognize it as a mistake needing to be repaired.

The passion of the E1 is the solution; in a way, we can see that anger is not necessarily something emotional, but more of a burning energy that carries them forward, skipping over connecting with feelings linked to the context and their mental elaborations. The attitude of the E1 of “parting the river” demonstrates the internal need to try to change the situation instead of adapting to it; this can give them a feeling of superiority and criticality to those who “are incorrect.”

27 Personalities in Search of Being, Naranjo

Perfectionism then ensues as the fixation which supports anger. The motivating energy of anger creates a notion of "pushing the river" in the E1, that is, the natural flow of reality is not enough and is fundamentally "incorrect," and through perfectionism they attempt to shape it into an exact image of what they think it should be, not realizing that pushing a river is useless; reality will flow the way it should on its own. 

Brokenness & Pseudo-Virtuousness

With this description in mind it may be easier to imagine E1 as a spiritually deficient character, that is, someone who expresses great melancholy over their "brokenness," confusing it with the E4. The truth is, the E1 does not see the self as broken and deficient, although they unconsciously emphasize that they are; instead they see perfection as a standard to embody impatiently. Perfection is not necessarily a process of development for the E1 character, it is more so established as a fact of the here and now, and they believe that they are in fact perfect while the outside is broken. This sense of brokenness that we have emphasized is actually only an unconscious idea about the self.

In the E2 there is an idea of insignificance which underlies their prideful narcissism, and this insignificance is projected onto others. In the same manner, the E1 has an idea of disorder and brokenness which underlies their angry rigidity. In the pursuit of perfectionism, they only emphasize how imperfect they are, while consciously they pursue perfectionism because everyone else is imperfect. They cannot stand to see that they are the broken people, and that reality is imminently perfect as it is, so they stand against reality and push it according to their canons. 

In relationships, the E1 demonstrates an automatic tendency to impose their own mental and behavioral standards, expecting of others the same perfectionism (their fixation) that they expect of themselves

This is a highly rationalized and justified character, being the most intellectual of the gut types, such that they believe they have achieved a state of virtuousness that enables everything they do. Even if the action is "wrong" or harmful in the eyes of others, the E1 has enough of a sense of superiority, lack of introspection, and anti-ontological disposition that allows them to act in the name of virtue without being plagued by overwhelming guilt. They are similar to the E8 in this regard, who has coarsened themselves to affect in order to freely act according to impulse. But while the E8 is a cynical and anti-intellectual character who believes in the non-existence of moral facts and rebels against societal constructs of conduct, the E1 is refined (as opposed to coarse), hyper-social, intellectual, and believes in the absolution of moral facts. The justification in E8 is through the denial of society, the justification in E1 is through the extreme adherence to society.

Virtue (Te) does not seek to be virtuous; precisely because of this it is virtue.

- Lao Tse

In building this false sense of virtuousness, they are justified in taking what others have from them as if it was a right or privilege including their "brokenness," even if no such brokenness exists in objective reality. It is a common motif in characters of this sort to be hypocrites, who say one thing and do the other because of this "virtuousness," but they themselves are unable to see this hypocrisy because of their superiority. This idea of hypocrisy is more obviously represented in their defense mechanism.

Defense Mechanisms

The defense mechanism of the E1 is reaction-formation, which is a reaction formation that crystallizes a rigid conscious against a spontaneous unconscious (encapsulated by the passion of E7, self-indulgence). As with the black-and-white perception between good and bad, correct and incorrect in the perfectionism of this character, the E1's defense mechanism is deeply intertwined with a polarized expression of opposites. Reaction formation, which may also be used as a term in conjunction with reparation, is a way of repressing unwanted or anxiety-inducing impulses by embodying and expressing its opposite. In doing so, they remove themselves from experiencing the conflict. A popular example of this may be when a boy bullies a girl because he secretly, on a subconscious level, is attracted to her; he is forming his reaction to a natural disposition towards the girl.

The E1 is a highly ascetic character, as a part of its extreme moralism and need to command respect from others by achieving their inhuman ideal. The E7, the unconscious part of E1, is a highly spontaneous, irrational, and unrefined character who allows the free expression of impulse to satisfy self-indulgence. As the E1 secretly has this predisposition towards self-indulgence, but it is pushed down and repressed, the reaction to it is formulated and transformed into a haughty and perfectionistic attitude that puts the E1 "in the right," saying that if he can control these impulses he has the right to love, respect, and privilege.

For example, Ichazo states a criticism of Catholic priests for repressing their sexuality as a taboo and to not engage in it at all, leading to increased homosexuality and sexual crime rates among these priests. What is repressed (sex) is representative of self-indulgence, and what is enforced in place of it (asceticism) is purported to be virtuous. Another example can be found in the ideological battle between the Sophists and Aristotle, who Ichazo had claimed had defeated the Sophistic movement (and, logically, is subsequently a result of it). Sophism is representative of self-indulgence and the relativization of truth in favor of personal gains (often political), while Aristotle's (SP1) establishment of objective forms of logic effectively destroyed this movement.

This all contributes to the crystallization of a pseudo-virtuous character who has the "true desires" of man under control. Cyclically, not only does reaction-formation constitute the expression of the "proper" reaction, but it justifies anger for things not being the way they personally believe it should be.

Childhood - Responsive Child vs Active Parent

In the child of the E1 it is very common for there to be an authoritative figure who imposes their ideas onto the child very vehemently, being excessively fastidious and quick to point out mistakes. This constitutes a highly active parent who is at the same time emotionally distant, representing only a canon of values for the E1 to embody. What this teaches the E1 is that the only way for them to receive love and acceptance is through obedience and perfection, so all the E1 has left to receive the love of the parent is conforming (responding) to the demands of the active parent, ultimately forming a rigid character who is secretly frustrated at the demands of their parents and consequently at transforming their reactions into "proper" ones in order to accommodate the parent, creating an underlying anger at the world.

Theophrastus and Commedia Dell'arte

Theophrastus - "The Oligarch"

We ought to get together, just ourselves, and make decisions concerning these matters, avoiding the crowd and the agora. Let us put an end to our participation in magistracy, and thus to the criticisms and honors of this rabble. This city must be governed by them or by us ... The oligarch never goes out before midday; his cloak is carefully draped, his beard neat and tidy and his fingernails properly cut. [...] They dislike sitting in the assembly next to a subject who is dressed in rags.

Commedia Dell'arte - Pantalone

In the spectrum of Commedia Dell’Arte characters, EI is manifest in Pantalone—the authoritarian old nobleman that seems to have originated in the more ancient senex: the unpleasant critical old man already ridiculed since Roman comedy. The plots of stories involving Pantalone emphasize his repressive control over his astute servant Arlechino and most attractive maid Colombina. His appearance is shown in the dagger-bearing bearded figure in the illustration on page 90.

Such pedantry and distraction from what is essential is reflected by the anecdote of the Frenchman who, just before dying, states: “Je meure”(“I die”). Or, “Je me meure” (“I die myself”)—which may be said in both forms.

- Enneagram of Society, Naranjo

Idealized Aspect - Brilliancy

The state of Brilliancy is one of completeness, wholeness, perfection, and purity. Ones attempt to embody these qualities and to impose them on others and the world around them. Ones have a very clear sense of what they consider right and wrong, and believe that if others behaved correctly in accordance with these standards, all would be well. So the dominant quality of Ones is an eye for imperfection, frequently accompanied by criticality and faultfinding, and trying to make things conform to what they consider to be right and good. Like Nines, their focus is outward, but here it is with resentment that things are not perfect and with the agenda of making them so. Ones are firmly identified with their superegos and have difficulty understanding that whatever is happening is right. Chaos and disorder are difficult for Ones to tolerate, so they often are fastidious and tidy both in their personal appearance and in how they keep their various environments. They try to be what they consider good, and push out of consciousness what isn’t. Energetically they feel sharp and crisp, and often have a pristine and clean quality.

- The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram, Maitri

On the Symbol

Screenshot (13).png

Lines to E7 and E4

Moreover reaction formation may be regarded as the process indicating the transformation of gluttony into anger. For the self-indulgence of gluttony constitutes a most avoided attitude of the perfectionist—whose character is the least self-indulgent of all, the most highly endowed with a “virtuous austerity.”

The connection to E4 and E7 has already been emphasized plenty here so this will mostly be an echo of what has previously been said. The E1's connection to E7 is much like the E2's connection to E4, that of a repression that suggests a hidden unconscious bias towards that type. The E1 represses the self-indulgent nature of man in order to form an ego that is worthy of love and respect, that faces their fallen state with an attitude of "I am fixed and I am the one who fixed myself." The line to E4, on the other hand, is emphasized in the brokenness with which they not only project on to others, but may sometimes come to believe about themselves. In their pursuit of perfection they may come to an attitude that feels as though they are alienated from other people, all the others who are broken and incorrect in their view.

Antipode to E5

If the gesture of anger is to run over, that of avarice is one of holding back and holding in. While anger expresses greed in an assertive (even though unacknowledged) way, greed in avarice manifests only through retentiveness. This is a fearful grasping, implying a fantasy that letting go would result in catastrophic depletion. Behind the hoarding impulse there is, we may say, an experience of impending impoverishment

Character and Neurosis

The axis which is presented in the relationship between E1 and E5 is commonly referred to as "possessive," or in Freudian terms, a fixation on the anal stage of psychosexual development. In the E1 as we have observed there is a possessiveness in getting what they desire through embodying false goodness, having a "right" to these things and expressing anger when what is felt to be deserved is lost. Unlike the E5, however, the E1 is an enforcer of rules. Both are ascetic and seek to minimize their needs, but the E5 is oriented to an internal perfectionism, while the E1 is oriented to an external perfection of the environment (of reality). When the E1 becomes a self-perfectionistic character, such as through the conservation instinct, they perfect the self by perfecting the environment.

E2 and E9 Adjacence

The position of ennea-type I between ennea-types IX and II in the enneagram invites a consideration of how perfectionistic character is not only “anti-intraceptive” but also proud. Indeed the word pride is sometimes used specifically to describe the aristocratic and haughty attitude of the perfectionist rather than the attitude of the type here designated as “proud,” whose priding is not so much to be respectable and admirable but to be needed, loved and exalted as very special.

Character and Neurosis

The E1 is more influenced by its proximity to E9, as it is in the gut triad and borrows from it the fundamental passion of indolence.  Just as the E9 falls asleep to its internal basic conflicts and becomes indifferent to its subjective experience, the E1 does the same, and uses perfectionism and anger in order to keep their attention away from the truth of their unconsciousness. This is thus an anti-ontic character who has a degree of complacency and self-satisfaction which opposes the characters at the bottom of the Enneagram. Their proximity to E2 is observed in their repressive tendencies towards gluttony and spontaneity, and through this refinement of character they achieve a sort of "false-abundance" which feeds their complexes of moral superiority.

While ontic obscuration involves a sort of psychological coarsening in the case of type VIII and type IX psychology as will be seen, in type I it is covered up by an excessive refinement; it could be said that reactive formation also takes place at the ontic level: perceived ontic deficiency becomes stimulus for compensation through activities purporting to sustain false abundance. The main activity that promises abundance to the ennea-type I mind is the enactment of perfection. We might say that precisely in virtue of this obscuration, the search for being can turn into a search for the substitute being of the good life, in which behavior fits an extrinsic criterion of value. 

Character and Neurosis, Naranjo


While EVIIIs are “bad” exploiters who demand indulgence or complicity, EIs face others as givers, generous types, by virtue of which they feel in possession of the corresponding rights.

Enneagram of Society, Naranjo

Moral and Anti-moral

The E8 has a polarity with the E1 of anti-moral and moral. While the E1 is hyper-social and upholds preconceived canons of behavior to an absolute tee in order to exact perfection over their impulses, the E8 is anti-social and generally views morality as a form of intellectualism, which is just another way to perpetuate impulse control. The E8 opts for the anti-moral approach in order to uphold its feelings of invulnerability and the idea that they have a limitless autonomy to do whatever they please. The E1 upholds the moral approach in order to maintain its superiority over others and control its aggression.



Active - Intellectual

The dominant passional triad that the E1 resides in is the gut triad, which means that its fundamental fall from being is reacted against by becoming unconscious of their unconsciousness. At the top of the symbol it tends to fare better mentally than the types at the bottom of the triad, and because of this it is a character who can rarely see themselves in the wrong. Being a gut type, they robotize their experience against the influences of subjectivity, and identifying with the body, they are oriented more so to action than to anything else. The passion of anger acts as a flame fueling a locomotive into motion, providing them the means for enacting perfectionism through real effect on the surrounding environment.

Secondary to active is the influence of the intellectual sphere. This is not only intellectualism taken after the manner of adhering to societal structures especially upheld by symbols of fatherhood, but an intellectualism that the E1 uses in order to justify itself. It exists in the sphere of "right vs wrong" and "perfect vs imperfect," which are in and of themselves intellectual presets with which to judge the surrounding world. Through the intellectual practice they are able to absolve themselves of a guilty conscience and act under the belief that what they do is ultimately just. An example of this intellectualism would be Sherlock Holmes, a SO1, who robotizes his experience by developing the ultimate method of deduction. Another, Aristotle (SP1) and Wittgenstein (SO1).



Moving against in the E1 is clearly seen in the definition of their passion, anger, as "standing against reality," and further their fixation, perfectionism, as "pushing the river." This is an especially authoritative and domineering character who has felt the need to move against reality and other under the guise of fixing it, becoming entitled like the E2 when they believe they have exercised perfection, taking love and possessions as a "right." 

In some modern iterations of Enneagram this character is assigned the moving-towards type because of the idea that E1 adheres to societal constructs of conduct, and in doing so gains respect from others. However, forgotten in this image of the E1 character is their haughty superiority, demandingness, and over-controlling disposition over the environment. The moving-toward characters have far more explicit positivity and warmth, while the E1 - which can have an element of warmth and kindness - is colder, more detached, and responds to loss similarly to E8 in the sense of taking and tyrannizing. Contrasting with E7 and E2 (moving-toward), these types are pseudo-social, the E1 is more honestly pro-social.


Admirative (philia) - Compassionate (agape)

Father love (philia) is the only proper form of love the E1 embodies, as this is a character who not only symbolically represents the father through authoritarianism, but is known in their psychological development to identify with the father. The admirative love is cold and disinterested, much like the E1 who puts themselves over others under the belief that they are more perfect and thus superior to other people. This detached form of loving is better expressed as demanding a sense of "respect" for the E1, giving it an impersonal quality, because respect is only formed on the basis of the E1's ability to adhere to impersonal canons of being. Compassionate love as an auxiliary is represented by their adjacence to E2, as the E1 also enjoys portraying themselves as givers. They believe that by changing reality according to how they envision it, they are ultimately benefitting reality and subsequently the people around them. To them, correcting is another form of giving.



There is no doubt that the superegoic reaches its maximum in the E1, with its perfectionism. [3]

The E1 character is the type with the clearest dominance of the superego. This psychic instance in context to Enneagram is characterized by self-restraint, rigidity, control, and rule-following, and such is the basis of the E1 character. At a young age they had an authoritative voice in their lives' that made them believe that if they embodied the superego, they would be respectable, lovable, and deserving of special privilege. However, not only do they themselves have a large superego, but they enforce what they believe from the superego onto the environment, embodying the figure of a father in being the superegoic voice for everyone around them.


[1] Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View,  Pg 57 - 59 Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View | Claudio Naranjo | download (

[2] Naranjo, C. (2017). Ensayos sobre psicología de los eneatipos.

[3] Ichazo, O. (1972). The human process for enlightenment and freedom: A Series of Five Lectures.



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