Secure, Sexual, Social

by Christopher Lovejoy on August 21, 2022

Basic instincts to be secure, sexual, social each have their own identities, which, when orchestrated by a personality, offer a profile of priorities by which said personality can orient itself in relation to itself, others, and the world at large. The prioritizations of these instinctual variants can be treated as subtypes within a system of personality known as the Enneagram of Personality.

The Enneagram of Personality, or simply the Enneagram, is a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types

source: Wikipedia

Instinctual variants give us the impetus to be secure, sexual, social, providing insight into how we encounter and experience the world, into how we interact and situate ourselves in and with this world. Instinctual variants offer insight into how we prioritize these areas of our lives: in any given interaction or situation, one might ask: am I more inclined to be secure, sexual, or social?

Instinctual variants also dovetail with the primary survival strategies known as basic instincts. In the face of an existential threat, some of us would instinctively prioritize giving attention and energy to minimizing threats to safety, some of us would instinctively prioritize preserving relational bonds, and some of us would instinctively prioritize ensuring cohesion in community.

the instinctual variants

sp : the instinct to be secure
how do I prioritize security, reducing any threats to my person?

sx : the instinct to be sexual
how do I prioritize intimacy, opening up opportunities to bond?

so : the instinct to be social
how do I prioritize belonging, bringing cohesion to community?

Our discussion can now move in one of three directions: (1) instinctively, are humans as aggressive and manipulative as some might think they are? (ref: the human condition); (2) are humans forever doomed to be at odds with one another because of their shifting instinctual priorities?; and (3) as social animals, what can we do to prioritize and optimize our basic instincts?

In my exploration of personal fulfillment over the years, I’ve grappled on and off with all of these questions; in a future post, my focus will be mostly personal, based on the third question that I posed: as a social animal, what can I do to prioritize and optimize my own instincts?

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