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Humans are mammals. Just like horses, pigs, and kangaroos, we have instinctual drives. There are three basic “umbrellas” of instinctual drives:
- The Self-Preservation Drive
- The Sexual Drive
- The Social Drive
Like other mammals, we require physiological regulation. Our instinctual drives are what compel us to pursue and attend to the resources that will regulate us.
The Self-Preservation Instinctual Drive makes us pursue and attend to what we need to survive and thrive as a physical organism, e.g. food, shelter, creature comforts such as lighting, sound, physical materials, and that which allows us to secure those things, which in our world means money.
Our Sexual Instinctual Drive makes us pursue and attend to what we need to elicit the choice of a sexual partner. For instance, we enhance aspects about us that “hook” others — our vibe, talents, interests, and behaviors that make us attractive to the people we would like to choose us.
Our Social Instinctual Drive makes us pursue and attend to what we need to bond socially with others. For instance, we dilate our attention to the group or person we are paying attention to, we notice others' inner worlds and what kinds of behavior are appropriate in a given social context, and implicit social signals indicating the state of relationships. We "read the room" and calibrate to the social context.
All instincts operate in each of us, but they tend to drive us in different proportions. That is, we typically over-prioritize one instinct and under-prioritize another, resulting in an "instinctual stack."
For instance, your stack might be...
Self-Preservation Social Sexual
…in which case, you over-prioritize the self-preservation instinct and under-prioritize the sexual instinct. The common parlance for this is "self-pres dominant" and "sexual blind,” and we would abbreviate this to SP/SO. There are 6 different possible “Instinctual Stackings,” which you can think of as a typology unto itself.
- SP/SO (self-pres / social)
- SP/SX (self-pres / sexual)
- SX/SP (sexual / self-pres)
- SX/SO (sexual / social)
- SO/SP (social / self-pres)
- SO/SX (social / sexual)
A Type 6 that is self-preservation dominant and social blind will be very different from a Type 6 that is social dominant and self-preservation blind. Fixated 6s who are self-pres dominant will tend to get most angsty about their self-preservation needs (e.g. “Will we make the train on time?”) and their healthy superpowers will tend to be in the self-preservation realm. But Fixated 6s who are social dominant will tend to get most angsty about their social needs (e.g. “What did my friend really mean by that text?”), and their healthy superpowers will tend to be in the social realm.
The Enneagram is about how we “are” in our Body, Heart, and Mind — the 3 Centers of Intelligence.
The body is the part of us that deals with the sensory impressions of our environments upon us and vice versa. It’s about boundaries, sovereignty, and aliveness.
The heart is the part of us that deals with the gaze of others upon us, and our gaze upon others and ourselves. It is the seat of our self-image, identity, or sense of “who we really are,” and is where we experience love, worth, and depth -- or their absence.
The mind is the part of us that processes symbolic reality and organizes our concepts and beliefs. It interpolates and extrapolates from the data of our experience to help us understand the world, navigate it, and imagine possibilities.
The 3 centers of intelligence are not abstract ideas. They are distinct dimensions of phenomenological reality, and we tend to be anchored in one more heavily than the others. This imbalance gives rise to the 3 body types, 3 heart types, and 3 mental types.
There are 3 Body Types (8, 9, 1), 3 Heart Types (2, 3, 4), and 3 Mind Types (5, 6, 7).
But even if you’re a “body type,” you still have a heart center and a mental center and an orientation in each. For example, you could be a Type 9 (body type), but your Heart type is 3 and your Mental type is 5. So your trifix would be 935, or 953.
The word Trifixation refers to Oscar Ichazo’s idea of having a “fixation” within each center. We like this modular approach to the Enneagram because it helps account for variation within core type. There are many ways to be a 9, for example, and one’s heart fix and mental fix shape how one “does” 9-ness.
© 2022 Myelin Grove LLC & Enneagrammer