Anda di halaman 1dari 5

The Nine Domains Approach

A Measure of Completeness for Systems


The Systems Approach Made Easier

sm

As anyone who works with systems knows, they can be a tricky business. To predict anything useful from a holistic, systems point of view, one needs to know, first, which are the fundamental elements that make up the system as a whole. Second, one needs to know as much as possible about the various states of each of those elements. Third, one needs to know how the elements interact with each other, and fourth, one needs to know as much as possible about the various inputs and outputs from the elements and the system as a whole, as well as, fifth, the larger context that the system is embedded within. Gathering data (either quantified or intuitive) can be daunting, and one never knows if one has missed some important factor or distorted the picture by either over-emphasizing or under-emphasizing an element. Such distortions are inevitable due to personal history and unconscious biases. Ideally, the study of systems (especially ones having to do with human beings) has got to be as simple and clear as possible while doing justice to the complexities of what one is studying or attempting to change in some way. Indeed, a main debate in systems theory has to do with whether or not it is even possible to ever obtain all of the data that one would need to be able to predict with a reasonable degree of certitude what a system would do. Since the whole is greater than the sum of its parts (Aristotle), and since even the parts have parts, anything with even a relative degree of complexity is probably impossible to have certitude about. Ironically, to have a full understanding of a system, one would have to know all the possible data about each and every part. To obtain that, one would virtually need to duplicate the system under study, an impossibility. For example, to be able to predict with certainty what an individual will do in a particular circumstance, one would have to know everything there is to know about the person, including all of the influences on him or her at any given moment. In other words, one would have to have more information about the person than the person has about themselves! Prediction with a high degree of certitude about human behavior is, understandably, virtually impossible. Given these problems, those interested in studying systems (especially groups of human beings such as teams and organizations of all sizesas well as their multitudinous activities) are always looking for a way to cut through these thickets of practical and philosophical problems. There must be a way to think comprehensively about systemsthat is, to approach systems from a systems level of analysis rather than from the level of trying to measure the parts that make it up.
Copyright 2010 The Nine Domains Group LLC All Rights Reserved

The Nine Domains Approachsm

www.NineDomains.com

The Nine Domains of the Enneagram


The Nine Domains Approachsm overcomes the many of the practical challenges of a systems theory approach to interpersonal problems because it is based on the Enneagram which provides an archetypal organizing structure. The Nine Domains are a further development of the Enneagram by Don Riso based on the observation that the Enneagram itself presents us with the nine necessary and sufficient universal principles (or archetypes) that must be present and operative for any complete, complex system to survive and thrive. Don Riso has developed this material, although, as with many other elements of the Enneagram, Oscar Ichazo was the first to suggest that the nine points (most often equated with the personality types) could be considered as Domains. However, Ichazo took this idea in a very different direction than has Riso. (For more on this, see the web link and quotation at the end of this paper.1) Instead of interpreting each point as indicating one of nine unique personality types of the Enneagram, the nine points can be thought of as a Domain for the action of one of the universal principles needed for a whole system or entity to be present and operational. Understood this way, the Enneagram can reveal the organizing principles of any complex, interdependent system on any scale. Systems which are weak or lacking in even a few of the Domains are not likely to function well or to survive for long. Those in which all nine Domains are present and functioning well, however, not only have a better chance of surviving, but of growing and becoming better functioning and more robust. Anything (organizations, societies, biological or mechanical systems, groups, individual and social activitiesliterally anything) that is made up of interdependent and interacting parts can be can be studied through the lens of the Nine Domains. The specificity offered by this approach enables us to find out to what degree each principle is embodied effectively, or, if a system is distorting or completely lacking a principle (Domain) in some way. Thus, the Domains can be considered necessary components (or conversely, missing pieces) of an organic, fully functioning system, on whatever scale we wish to consider it. To put this in a slightly different way, the Nine Domains can be interpreted as universal archetypes that can be seen in every successful system. Interestingly, Page 2 of 5
Copyright 2010 The Nine Domains Group LLC All Rights Reserved

The Nine Domains Approachsm

www.NineDomains.com

one could even say that the nine personality types of the Enneagram are specific examples of the more general Domains. In other words, the types are the Domains on an individual and psychological level. It is the Domains that are fundamental, not the nine personality types of the Enneagram. The Domains operate at a very high level of generalization, and are not traits for each type. The Nine Domains themselves are universal principles that can be easily understood and seen in everyday life. Everyday life presents us with dozens of complex, interdependent systems or organisms that embody the Nine Domains. For example, a Nine Domains analysis can be applied to everything from the design of a house, to the elements of a good painting, to the faculties of human nature, to the Nine Domains of loveand many hundreds (doubtless, thousands) more. In practical terms, the Domains thus can be used as a cross-check for completeness for a system, organization, or complex activity of any type or scale. The Domains answer such fundamental questions such as: What factors are necessary for achieving a particular goal? What does each Domain contribute to the whole? What is missing from what already exists? What factor is distorted or over-done in some way? And, from the point of view of the Enneagram personality types, What is each type really about?

The Nine Domains help us to stay focused on discovering the necessary capacities which each Domain brings to the whole. Without each Domain, the whole would not be whole, well-functioning, and thus not sustainable. All of this might well be more easily understood if we see an example, such as The Domains of Fundamental Human Needs, as follows. Note that three of the Domains have to do with the individual (Two, Three, and Four), three with the other (Five, Six, and Seven), and three with relating to the world (Eight, Nine, and One). All are necessary!

Page 3 of 5
Copyright 2010 The Nine Domains Group LLC All Rights Reserved

The Nine Domains Approachsm

www.NineDomains.com

The Domains in Practice


First Domain Need for Principles, Order, and Ethics Second Domain Need for Personal Caring, and Connections with others Third Domain Need for Self-Improvement and Advancement and Recognition Fourth Domain Need for Personal Meaning and the Ability to find Aesthetic Satisfaction Fifth Domain Need for Knowledge and In-Depth Exploration of Reality Sixth Domain Need for Belonging and to Give and Receive Group Support Seventh Domain Need for Variety, Freedom for Experimentation, and Change Eighth Domain Need for Self-Assertion, Independence of Decision-Making and Action Ninth Domain Need for Stability, Harmony, and Effortless Flow

The Domains of Fundamental Human Needs


The need to feel good, blameless, in right relations, and balanced with the universe, the self, and others leads to seeking to act according to objective principles, logic, fairness and justice, and a respect for order and objectivity. The need to feel loved, appreciated, and cared for by others leads to seeking connection with others, having warm and personal relationships with them, and feeling that one is making a significant contribution to their welfare. The need to feel good about oneself, to like and esteem oneself and to feel that others admire and value one leads to seeking to make the most of ones potentials, to develop ones talents and become outstanding in some real and valuable way. The need to understand oneself and ones feelings and motivations and to take in the beautiful and transient nature of reality leads to seeking personal meaning, purpose, and beauty in ones lifeas well as the ability to do something personally meaningful during ones life and work. The need to understand how the world works, its laws and principles, which are expressed in seemingly infinite complex ways in Nature leads to seeking knowledge, understanding, expertise, and the time to study reality in depth without interference or prejudice for the objective truth. The need to be part of a whole larger than oneself (whether a family, clan, team, community, or country) so that one feels both the security and the joy of being supported by others leads to seeking situations that foster a sense of belonging, of home, and of finding and supporting ones like-minded comrades. The need for change, variety, and stimulation in ones environment as well as in ones mental and emotional worlds leads to seeking change, variety, and stimulation in the world of experience and ideas, of having an appetite for life, and a sense of enjoyment and gratitude for the vast multiplicity of reality. The need for strength, grounded power, and the ability to both defend and assert oneself even against others, if the situation demands it, leads to seeking ways of not depending on others, of taking initiatives and of acting on ones own selfinterest for the benefit of oneself and of achieving ones goals. The need for peace of mind, groundedness, and steadiness amid the many changes and losses in life, as well as a sense of connection with the universe as a whole leads to seeking to understand connections and thus resolve conflicts and tensions, and to detoxify the environment in whatever ways one can.

Page 4 of 5
Copyright 2010 The Nine Domains Group LLC All Rights Reserved

The Nine Domains Approachsm


1

www.NineDomains.com

For more about the Ichazo-Arica presentation of what Ichazo calls the Domains of Consciousness, see http://www.ocean-moonshine.net/e142857369/index. php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=32&MMN_ position=69:38 The Nine Domains of Consciousness according to Ichazos Arica Theory are the following: 1. Sentiments 2. Health and Security 3. Creativity 4. Intellectual 5. Social Interaction 6. Work and Activities 7. Position and Authority 8. Laws and Moral 9. Spiritual As the reader can see, the language and interpretation of Ichazos Domains of Consciousness are different from what Don Riso has developed and is presenting here.

Page 5 of 5
Copyright 2010 The Nine Domains Group LLC All Rights Reserved