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  1. #1
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Default What, exactly, instinctual variant measures/identifies

    At @decrescendo's suggestion.

    MBTI is an identifier of cognitive pattern preferences - ways in which we prefer to process information. Enneatype identifies overly utilized defense strategies - ways in which our minds overcompensate in attempting to protect our egos from harm. We know that there are three instinctual variants, self-preservation, social, and sexual, and that they have evolved out of biological survival strategies. But what, exactly, do they measure?

    Recently in reconsidering my own type from sx/so to so/sx I have realized that I made the mistake of assuming instinctual variant to be a direct prioritization of goals - self-preservation types prioritizing resources; social types prioritizing interaction; sexual types prioritizing intensity. However, with input from others, I began to see instinct more as describing not necessarily what a person values most or acts on most but rather what a person feels compelled to keep conscious track of - self-pres types keeping track of resources; social types keeping track of interactions; sexual types keeping track of intensity. A dominant strategy in determining a person's instinct seems to be in "feeling out" their energy, moreso than a drier method of precise categorization f thoughts, behaviors, or feelings, which suggests to me that instinctual variant is widely recognized but not necessarily well defined.

    Does anyone have any thoughts to add in terms of defining what instinctual variant is "measuring", or identifying?

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't say I consciously keep track of my dominant instinct all the time. I had a hard time identifying with sp-descriptions at first precisely because I'm not actively looking out for them all the time. While my default state is a kind of relaxed, content puttering, I'll happily stay up days and nights on end talking to a crush or reading a cool new book or doing something I love, stuff like that, sleep and food be damned.

    On the other hand, I need to feel safe and secure in order to indulge my passions. I guess I'm always looking out, consciously or unconsciously, to make sure that I'm safe, and I react very quickly to threats to my security (in thought if not in action). It's difficult to commit fully to losing myself in something unless I know I can cut loose without getting hurt.

    No global answers to your question, just personal meanderings.

  3. #3
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senza tema View Post
    I wouldn't say I consciously keep track of my dominant instinct all the time. I had a hard time identifying with sp-descriptions at first precisely because I'm not actively looking out for them all the time. While my default state is a kind of relaxed, content puttering, I'll happily stay up days and nights on end talking to a crush or reading a cool new book or doing something I love, stuff like that, sleep and food be damned.

    On the other hand, I need to feel safe and secure in order to indulge my passions. I guess I'm always looking out, consciously or unconsciously, to make sure that I'm safe, and I react very quickly to threats to my security (in thought if not in action). It's difficult to commit fully to losing myself in something unless I know I can cut loose without getting hurt.

    No global answers to your question, just personal meanderings.
    So maybe more like first-order concerns? Issues that we feel must be secure first before devoting our energy to other realms?

  4. #4
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    I pretty much agree with everything you've said. I think the idea that an individual's dominant instinct can be conflated with their core desires is a huge misconception. The prevailing thought seems to be that variant is determined by early-childhood environment. I'm most likely social-first, and I was more or less raised by not only my parents, but my extended family, my neighborhood, my church family, etc. It was impressed upon me that the social realm was to be dealt with first. The world of social bonds was the first world I ever knew, and because of this, it's instinctual for me to consider the dynamics of the group first. Yet I wouldn't say I value the group above everything; like most people, I primarily value deep connections, and wouldn't believe life was worth living without moments of intensity. It's just that my ability to attain those states of mind and levels of connection are determined by broader dynamics. Until I've fixed or left a negative atmosphere, those qualities bleed into my perception of everything else and make it difficult to go after what I want, much less enjoy it. Like @senza tema said, it's not really conscious unless my dissatisfaction becomes impossible to ignore.

    But maybe I am sx/so, because as was mentioned in another thread, the second instinct supposedly supports the first. What I'm saying here and what senza tema said seems to suggest the opposite. My so concerns need to be fulfilled before my sx concerns can be addressed; therefore, so supports sx?

    I don't have any global answers either.

  5. #5
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    I was thinking about this some more this evening.

    One way to gauge how much I love something is to figure how protective I am of it. I tend to show love through protection, whether that involves protecting people or interests or ideas. A lot of that protection revolves around keeping the wrong people out. One thing I'm very particular about is keeping my close relationships independent of one another. I don't want to share the love I feel for one particular individual with anyone else, even though I might love that someone else just as much. I hate it when relationships bleed into one another. They feel purest and most satisfying when it's just the two of us, and letting more people into that dynamic pollutes it for me even though I might care for them as well.

    Similarly, my relationship with my interests is deeply personal. I don't actually like it very much when people ask me probing questions about them. I don't want to share. I want to gorge in peace and quiet. Mine. Keep out.

    Is that sp/sx stuff? I don't know.

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    ^^ I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Part of me is driven to be inclusive and widely engaged, but a greater part of me feels that opening myself up to the broader social sphere dilutes the relationships I most care about, either with interests or with people.

  7. #7
    mod love baby... Lady_X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    So maybe more like first-order concerns? Issues that we feel must be secure first before devoting our energy to other realms?
    yes i think so. i'm really seeing how this is all playing out in my relationship.
    There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
    -Jim Morrison

  8. #8
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    Welcome to your one-stop inspiration station. Creation comes easily to me when I'm around others within some semblance of structure, allowing me to feign positivity which generates a revolving, illuminating current of delusion through which I'm simply flowing.

    Otherwise, I find most meaningful experiences happen when I arrange heads together for perverse and otherwise misguided escapades that blow up a stagnant frame of mind brought upon by supportive self-preservation. I need to know how others perceive how situations and components function, whether independently or slapped together haphazardly.

    Your supporting function not only provides the primary with form to function or fail, but is the gauge by which we know we've hit our third, coincidentally lowest, gear.

    thinking of you

  9. #9
    Honeyed Water thoughtlost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senza tema View Post
    I was thinking about this some more this evening.

    One way to gauge how much I love something is to figure how protective I am of it. I tend to show love through protection, whether that involves protecting people or interests or ideas. A lot of that protection revolves around keeping the wrong people out. One thing I'm very particular about is keeping my close relationships independent of one another. I don't want to share the love I feel for one particular individual with anyone else, even though I might love that someone else just as much. I hate it when relationships bleed into one another. They feel purest and most satisfying when it's just the two of us, and letting more people into that dynamic pollutes it for me even though I might care for them as well.

    Similarly, my relationship with my interests is deeply personal. I don't actually like it very much when people ask me probing questions about them. I don't want to share. I want to gorge in peace and quiet. Mine. Keep out.

    Is that sp/sx stuff? I don't know.
    I would like to say that I relate to this to. Because I haven't been able to learn more "truthful" things about instincts, I would have never been able to say that I am sp first or second (I still don't know). Anyway, I am noticing the same thing with people I want to be close with. I hate sharing. It is because I know a person is important for my sense of survival (it doesn't necessarily mean money, food, shelter, help on homework ....I am a scaredy cat so, so mostly, a person is important to me because they protect/shelter me although, yeah do think of people are source for things like food and money and especially help on homework). I wouldn't have noticed this strong desire to not share someone who is important to me until it's threatened. And I am only noticing ALL OF WHAT I AM TELLING YOU NOW because I am starting to make a real friend (so this could be COMPLETELY wrong seeing that I haven't had much experience with other humans xD)

    Anyway, yeah... I think I like what the OP is saying. It's a bit hard to understand this stuff because, for me, I tend to see parts of myself that make me think I am a certain variant or enneatype, but ...maybe the truth comes out when a person keeps track of something??? ... I just don't believe it's conscious ALL of the time even though it may be apparent to friends/family/random people ...it might not be apparent to ...say, me lol. ....I could be wrong.

  10. #10
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    So maybe more like first-order concerns? Issues that we feel must be secure first before devoting our energy to other realms?
    I think this is very accurate.

    Perhaps the problem is people tend to (incorrectly) highlight those "other realms" when trying to identify their instinct. The first instinct isn't a choice but a compulsion; a source of stress that must be dealt with in order to get on with things we would prefer to be focussed on. I think we tend to talk about what we would rather devote our energy towards, instead of the stressful stuff we need to attend to and get out of the way beforehand.

    So a Sx-first, for example, is not interested in a one-on-one conversation in order to form a strong connection with someone; they're just trying to limit the distractions and interference that comes from having other people around. Having people in the way is the real source of stress (and not the need to connect), because it undermines their focus. All the Sx-first really wants is to have a satisfactory conversation, but the Sexual instinct disrupts that because it demands optimal conditions to achieve it. So in a sense, what Sx-firsts are determined by is their distractability (for the lack of a better word) while engaging in human interaction; by their inability to connect without eliminating or minimising external factors that so easily disrupt their focus on the person in front of them. This means the Sexual instinct is really defined by the difficulty of connecting easily with others, not the desire for intense connection.
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

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