Reading, bored at work, feel like sharing:
Originally Posted by Mario SikoraThe Self-Preservation Instinctive Bias (Nesting and Self-Nurturing)
All instincts, in some way, serve the interest of self-preservation, and this category is really a cluster of elliptical instinctive behaviors that resulted in sensitivity regarding matters of nesting and self-nurturing. It is not an instinctive drive to “self-preserve.” If “self-preservation” where the order, people of this instinctive bias would not binge eat, consume junk food, smoke, or do any physical activities that could lead to harm.
Put another way, people in this category are especially sensitive to stimuli relating to safety, nesting, and self-nurturing. This sensitivity comes from the biological structure of their brain and central nervous system. This biological structure is shaped by their physical and mental experience interacting with the expression of their genes. A focus on safety, nesting, and nurturing are elliptical servants in the greater cause of self-preservation. These matters take up more of their mental energy and they are more likely to execute instinctive, automatic behaviors that serve these needs. It is not that they have instincts that others don’t; it is that they are more sensitive in these matters and more likely to demonstrate the instinct.
For example, I have a Social instinctive bias. As I write this I am sitting in a Starbucks and there is an air vent blowing on me. I have been sitting here for over two hours and just noticed that I am cold. My wife, who has a self-preservation bias, would have noticed the draft the moment she satdown, not because she is cognitively focused on it or psychologically compelled to stay warm, but because she has biological sensitivities that push her to pay particular attention to and address temperature regulation.
For those who think that these drives are consciously cognitive, ask yourself this: Do I think about shivering, or does it just happen? Do I will my teeth to chatter? Do I consciously cross my arms and rub my shoulders when chilled, or do I just do it? Natural selection has designed us to address our instinctive needs by mechanisms in our brain, sometimes referred to as “modules,” that function below the level of consciousness. As our initial mechanisms prove unsatisfactory, the need is pushed up the ladder of cognitive awareness. For example, the rub of the shoulders is more conscious than the chattering of our teeth, but not as conscious as getting up to adjust the thermostat. It is the movement up and down this “ladder of cognitive awareness”—mixed with our patterns of applying the strategies we discussed in the last month’s article—that provides us with the opportunity to “work” with our instinctual biases.
Those with a self-preservation bias (SPs) tend to be, like Goldilocks in the children’s story, sensitive to physical comfort and compulsively seeking chairs, beds, clothing, temperatures, etc. that are “just right.”
They are also highly sensitive to potential illness or threats to their health. They constantly monitor their well-being, noticing aches and pains, oncoming colds or stomach aches, and so on. This sensitivity allows them to head off threats to their health.
SPs are generally focused on their “nest.” They want things in their home to be ordered specifically: comfortable, safe, and well-supplied. Those supplies can also include “enough” money in the bank; comforting, home-related hobbies; and memorabilia or knick-knacks with calming, sentimental associations.
Notice, that these sensitivities or focuses of attention don’t directly “cause” self-preservation; they inspire automatic behaviors that, by acting elliptically, ensure our preservation. In a sense, stocking our nest and nurturing our physical well-being are universal behaviors that lead to increased chances of survival.
We see contradictory behavior in each of the instinctive biases. For example, the SPs often exhibit some form of binging, whether it is binging on food, shopping for clothes, buying decorations for the house, etc. These binges occur due to “modular dissonance.” “Modules” are thegroupings of neurons and synapses that link together and govern specific functions and responses to a given stimulus. Modules don’t always coordinate with each other and sometimes create competing needs or desires. Thus our SP might have a drive to be financially conservative competing with a drive to splurge on, say, artwork for the house or enough blankets to survive the next ice age. Both of these superficially conflicting drives are based on instincts that elliptically support “self-preservation”—conserving resources and “feathering the nest.”
We tend to become frustrated with ourselves over such conflicting urges because we see them as a lack of will power or some sort of moral failing. This is the “language of the fall” that I wrote about in Part I of this series. If we understand these conflicts for what they are—very natural modular dissonance rooted in evolutionary drives—we stand a greater chance of resolving them and changing behavior.Originally Posted by Mario SikoraThe Social Instinctive Bias (Orienting to the Group)
In Enneagram circles, this instinct bias is often viewed as a desire to be part of a group, surrounded by people, or even a drive to adapt to the group. That is only a part of the story.
Humans are social animals. Our survival depends on complex interactions with a high number of our fellow species members. This may be due to the fact that humans have few natural defensive tools—we are not very strong or fast compared to our traditional predators, and we do not have sharp teeth or claws with which to defend ourselves. Being part of the pack heightened our chances of survival (it’s the lone antelope that gets eaten by the lion).
So, yes, part of the social instinctive bias is a blind drive to move toward the group. But, our high sociability enabled another survival advantage to our hunter-gatherer ancestors: a focus on reciprocity.
Here is an example of the value of reciprocity: When I have a good hunt and end up with more food than I can eat, I will share it with you in the expectation that when I come home empty-handed you will share a meal with me. But I must have mechanisms to ensure reciprocity, some guarantee that you will hold up your end of the bargain. I do this by keeping track of who acts reciprocally and who doesn’t. If I feed you today but you neglect to share with me later, you get crossed off my list of worthy recipients of my future largesse. Further, I am going to let the rest of the group know that youare a not to be trusted and I will compare notes with them on who else I should avoid.
The larger the group is, the more complex the reciprocity-monitoring mechanisms must be. In a group of 100 to 150 (the size of a typical hunter-gatherer tribe) I must constantly take stock of others’ trustworthiness, build mutually beneficial relationships, and establish my own reputation as a worthy addition to the tribe who will gladly repay you on Tuesday if you share your bounty with me today.
People with a Social instinctive bias have a heightened sensitivity to stimuli associated with social relationship, causing these stimuli to take up more of their mental energy and resulting in increased instinctive behavior in this area.
Socials like to be around people because: they like gossip (the information by which we know who is safe to trust), they like to observe people so they can continue to improve their understanding of human nature, they desire to ensure that the group’s mores and standards are followed, they strive to manage the group’s perception of them (i.e., their reputation and status), etc.
Modular dissonance also leads to seemingly contradictory behavior, who are often alternately sociable and private, introverted in some situations and extroverted in others. This in part relates to the image management element of the category. If one of my goals is to manage my reputation by influencing your perception of me, I will only show you what I want you to see, exposing myself in some ways and holding back in others.Once again, the so-called “social instinct” is not a specific drive to be part of the group or to adapt to the group. It is a plethora of instincts that increase our chances of survival by improving our ability to remain an accepted member of the group and monitor the behavior of others in the group so we will know who to trust and improve our chances of being trusted by others. This trust ultimately ensures safety and, thus, survival.I'm digging the way this guy thinks - read the article for more, as well as his website (http://mariosikora.blogspot.com/p/articles.html).Originally Posted by Mario SikoraThe Sexual Instinctive Bias (Attracting and Mating)
Sometimes referred to as a “one-to-one” instinct, this category is easily misunderstood. To understand it better, we must bear in mind the elliptical nature of evolution. This category is not simply an instinctive drive toward one-to-one relationships, it is a cluster of interrelated instinctive behaviors that serve the purpose of attracting attention to ourselves and improving our chances of mating (in the sense of “pairing” rather than necessarily “reproducing”).
The “attracting-attention” element actually serves two purposes: it not only improves your chances of having sex, it helps you survive. For example, the child who draws attention to itself (by being charming, flamboyant, self-assertive, etc.) gets more attention from parents and others. More attention increase survival rates. (A perfect example of the survival benefits of the sexual instinctive bias is Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind.” She was gifted at getting people to pay attention to her and then charming them so she could bend them to her will when she needed to.)
The “mating” element provides other survival benefits. Pairing with a significant other in adulthood gives us someone to care for us when we are ill, boost our spirits when we are down, share the burdens of daily existence, etc.
The “display” element of the Sexual subtype is often overlooked in the literature, but people with this subtype have a drive to make people notice them. They may accomplish this by dressing for attention, acting seductively, being extraverted, spending more time on their appearance than others, become performers of some sort, etc.
Yes, Sexuals often seek intense relationships, but on an instinctive level the relationship is not for its own sake, it is to improve chances of sexual reproduction or survival by pair bonding.
One of the significant contradictions sometimes seen in Sexuals is promiscuity, serial relationship, or extra-relationship flirtation. One module pushes to bond, while another pushes to seek fresh stimulation. Thus, Sexuals often feel conflicted in relationships—much in love but feeling like there must be something more.
People with this instinctive bias also inadvertently send what appear to be mixed messages to others: certain (often unconscious) behaviors say “come hither” while the rational mind says “I’m not actually interested.”