The Enneagram system consists of nine personality types, each of which is identified by a distinct primary motivation. Despite their differences, however, all of the Enneagram types do share some interests, and one of these is a desire to live in a world that treats people fairly and justly.

No matter how they are categorized by a personality evaluation system, a person of good conscience is going to be outraged and indignant when confronted with injustice. They are likely to react this way regardless of who the victim(s) of the injustice might be, and they may take action to help the victim(s) or address the injustice if they have the power to do so.

Nevertheless, it is reasonable to conclude that some Enneagram types will respond more forcefully or vigorously to injustices than others, because of the variations in their primary motivations. So that makes it perfectly legitimate to ask, which Enneagram type is most concerned with justice?

Naturally, within any Enneagram category there will be those who are more interested in the cause of justice than others. Trying to determine which Enneagram type is most concerned with justice will therefore inevitably lead to overgeneralization, since there will be individuals within that type who don’t really care that much about it at all.

But even when this is acknowledged, a strong case can still be made that Enneagram 8s are more concerned with promoting justice and correcting injustice than any other type. Eights are known as the Challengers, and the depth and nature of the challenges they present to the perpetrators of injustice can be quite formidable indeed.

Why the Enneagram 8 Cares So Much about Justice

Injustice reveals a person’s vulnerability, specifically to those who possess enough power to manipulate outcomes for their benefit or impose their wills on others.

Enneagram 8s (the Challengers) cannot tolerate people who take advantage of those who have less power than they do. This inspires them to speak up loudly when they see the vulnerable being exploited, by individuals or by institutions. They hate feeling vulnerable in their own lives, and when they see someone’s vulnerability used against them it is like their worst nightmare come true.

More than anything, Challengers want to be in control of their own fates, to the maximum extent possible. This makes them fiercely independent, in both their thinking and their actions.

Notably, they believe that independence and the right to self-determination should be enjoyed by everyone. It is out of this ethical principle that the Type 8’s concern with justice emerges, as all injustices automatically involve some violation of a person’s right to choose and control their own fates.

No one can be who they want to be, or accomplish what they’d like to, if their life chances have somehow been hindered by injustice. Enneagram 8s fear being trapped in this kind of situation themselves, and if they see others being treated unfairly or unjustly it evokes a powerful emotional response.

People from other Enneagram types may experience a similar level of outrage. But their feelings might or might not be enough to motivate them to become a fighter for justice.

They might want somebody to do something about racism, sexism, homophobia, class discrimination, environmental exploitation, animal abuse, or unfairness in the legal system. They may even offer some type of support and encouragement to those who seem to be stepping forward. But they may not be inclined to invest their time organizing protests, boycotts, strikes, marches, or other actions designed to challenge the injustice directly.

In contrast, the Challenger isn’t the type to quietly sit back and wait for others to make the first move. When they discover an injustice they want to do something now, before their outrage and anger subside. They feel a sense of urgency to act right away, knowing that the more quickly people act the more rapidly the injustice can be addressed.

Type Eights are more than willing to join an established community group or nonprofit organization, if one that they respect and is doing good work is available and looking for help. But they won’t hesitate to start such an organization on their own or in cooperation with friends or colleagues, if the current nonprofit landscape appears barren.

Unable to respond passively to unacceptable circumstances, Enneagram 8s truly believe it is possible to achieve dramatic change in the not-too-distant future if activists and their supporters stay dedicated and determined and refuse to accept defeat.  They possess the passion and the strength of personality to inspire others to believe the same, and that is why bold and fearless Enneagram 8s frequently emerge as leaders in justice organizations, whether they join them or co-create them.

Justice and the Other Enneagram Types

Because of the depth of their commitment and the energy they bring to justice movements, Enneagram 8s stand out from the crowd. But the margin that separates their efforts from those of justice-seekers from other Enneagram categories is thin.

Challengers are probably at the head of the pack in justice movements more frequently than any other type. But they wouldn’t be able to accomplish much without the dedicated support of associates and comrades from up and down the Enneagram spectrum.

Here's a brief survey of what the other Enneagram types bring to humanity’s collective quest for justice:    

Type 1: The Perfectionist

Enneagram 1s respect idealists, but they themselves are pragmatists who are more focused on what can be done right now to change the world and make it a better place. Type One activists strive to find short-term solutions that can ameliorate injustices today, preferring the immediate over the theoretical.

Type 2: The Giver

People who classify as Enneagram 2s are noted for their caring and generous natures. Because they are compassionate and usually put the interests of others above their own, they can easily become passionate about social justice and justice-related causes. They can be especially motivated to support causes that affect people they know and/or love.

Type 3: The Achiever

Enneagram 3s are goal-oriented and driven to succeed, and they want to be recognized for their accomplishments. When they are motivated by empathy to join or support campaigns to correct injustice, they take the final result personally and are just as determined to win as they are when trying to achieve personal milestones.

Type 4: The Individualist

Individuals in the Enneagram 4 category are self-determined people who strive to carve out their own unique niche in life. They want to live authentically and freely, and they aren’t afraid to choose paths that are quite unusual. As activists they often support causes that are overlooked by others, since they like to chart a distinctive course in everything they do.

Type 5: The Investigator

Enneagram 5s are introverted, analytical, rational, and interested in discovering hidden truths about how the world really works. They are independent thinkers who aren’t afraid to go against conventional wisdom if their studies carry them in that direction. In justice-oriented organizations they do their best work behind the scenes, as researchers and fact checkers.

Type 6: The Skeptic

People identified as Enneagram 6s constantly strive to remain alert and aware in a world they perceive as being filled with danger and risk. As a result they are often concerned with systemic and intergenerational injustices that impact a large number of people. Type Sixes believe that when societies fail to pursue justice or address long-term inequalities it can eventually put everyone at risk.

Type 7: The Enthusiast

Enneagram 7s are joyful, optimistic, curious, and always seeking the best and most exciting that life has to offer. They believe everyone has the right to pursue their dreams and enjoy that pursuit to the fullest, and for them justice demands that we all do our part to see that each person has an equal opportunity to thrive.

Type 9: The Peacemaker

Those identified as Enneagram 9s try to avoid conflict whenever possible. But when conflict arises and important issues are involved, they are more than willing to play the role of diplomat or mediator. This attitude impacts their approach to justice, which is conciliatory and relies on negotiations to produce an optimal result.

Well-Adjusted Enneagram 8s are the Difference Makers

It is important to emphasize that the Type Eights who dedicate themselves to justice, fairness, equality, and other high moral virtues are those who are well-adjusted both psychologically and emotionally.

Unfortunately, poorly adjusted Enneagram 8s express their insecurities by attempting to dominate others. They are motivated by selfish rather than selfless interest, and they tend to see other people as competitors who must be either vanquished or controlled so they cannot present a challenge to the Challenger.

Thankfully, most Enneagram 8s are integrated enough to avoid a descent into insecurity and self-centeredness. They notice what others are experiencing, are interested in hearing their stories, and are ready to stand up and be counted when the fight for justice begins.

Challengers who reach the highest levels of wellness and wholeness are well-represented among the most successful justice activists and advocates in the world, which is a testament to how perfectly suited they are to justice-oriented work.

Nathan Falde
Nathan Falde has been working as a freelance writer for the past six years. His ghostwritten work and bylined articles have appeared in numerous online outlets, and in 2014-2015 he acted as co-creator for a series of eBooks on the personality types. An INFJ and a native of Wisconsin, Nathan currently lives in Bogota, Colombia with his wife Martha and their son Nicholas.