THE INSTINCTUAL DRIVES:
A part of the experience of living in a human body is what might be called the animal experience. Before the arising of obsessive thinking, and conscious decision making—a product of the development of the relatively massive cerebral hemispheres of the neocortex found in primates and humans—instinctual drives directed behaviour to maximise the chance of survival of individual animals, and the survival of species. At their root these three instinctual animal drives—the self-preservation instinct, the sexual drive, and the social drive—are strategies to ensure the survival and perpetuation of the DNA: the origin of intelligent life on Earth.
When considering the Enneagram, how the nine fixations manifest is strongly influenced by the relative predominance of the three instinctual drives present in each individual. While everyone possesses all three drives—obviously we all have a self-preservation drive, we would be dead without it—one drive will predominate. It will have influenced how our lives have unfolded to this point, and how they continue to look in the present.
It is not wrong to have these instinctual drives; they are a natural part of life in an animal body. If they are followed unconsciously, and indulged neurotically, however, the result is a limited, selfish, life: a life of suffering. The instinctual drives cannot be eradicated, but they can be given conscious attention, and thus no longer followed automatically.
For individuals whose primary instinctual drive is the self-preservation drive, the main concerns are around security, and survival of the individual life-form. Their life will principally be focused on their own personal health and well-being, home, work, money, and food.
In Tantra philosophy, the energy fuelling the self-preservation drive is located in the first, or base, chakra.
Self-preservation sub-types are generally nervous and fearful of life. They will usually have a small circle of friends who function to enhance security rather than to promote status or position, and they will choose a mate who increases their chances of survival, rather than for pleasure or reproduction per se.
Individuals for whom the sexual drive is primary live their lives looking for the prefect mate. Once the perfect mate has been found and mated with, there may be movement to find the next perfect mate—especially for those with predominantly masculine sexual energy.
The second chakra, in the pelvic area, is the energetic location of the sexual drive, and the source of one's sexual energy.
Sexual sub-types prefer one-on-one relationships, and tend to have more relationships with the opposite sex (or the same sex if homosexual). More effort is put into physical appearance and sexual plumage: hair, clothing, makeup, etc. Sexual sub-types are often charismatic, with sexuality leaking through the eyes. They will frequently use sex to deal with survival and social issues.
When the social drive is the predominant instinctual drive, individuals put most of their life energy into family and social circles. The concern here is survival of the herd, with hierarchy and position in the herd considered most important. Being rejected from a group, from the herd, is avoided at all costs.
The third chakra, in the belly, is the location of the social drive.
For social sub-types, life revolves around family and/or friends. They are actively involved with their parents, children, and extended families. Sexual partnerships are made to further social status, and survival issues are dealt with through social connections. People who bring other people together for any reason will generally be social sub-types.