ENK LIFE      Erasmus and Kinkajou What you need to know about LIFE -
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We help you to understand the people you know and work with and how their personalities affect your interactions. The enneagram is a major tool for understanding personality.

Erasmus Erasmus : Many people lament that they cannot understand other human beings. Wives cannot understand husbands. Husbands cannot understand their wives. Parents cannot understand their children.

Dr Xxxxx Dr Xxxxx : There is of course a reason why we do not all think the same. We do not think the same – because we do not think the same way. We think differently because our genes make us think differently.

Erasmus Erasmus : This site is devoted to appreciating the genes that make us who we are. These are the genes that dictate our personality. I believe the enneagram is the most useful and enlightening model of human behaviour.

Human Assembly Human Assembly

As a model of behaviour, we often see examples of the people which it describes. Most people who are familiar with the enneagram “8” or the enneagram “1” will recognise these people around them in their daily lives.

The enneagram “8” can be likened to a bulldozer. My way or the highway. These people are instinctive leaders, form opinions easily and hold them in spite of all pressure, considerations and reasons to the contrary.
Enneagram “1s” are similarly distinctive. Perfectionists. Everything in its place and a place for everything.

You see it in the behaviour of 2-year-olds.
The enneagram “8” will face down an adult and tell them they are wrong.
The enneagram”1” child automatically begins to organise objects or toys, align objects or toys – left to right, tallest to shortest, thinnest to fattest. They are obsessional children, seeking order in their lives. They become obsessional adults – fastidious in the cleanliness, their lives categorised by order, their cupboards filled with categorised and organised foods and other items. The women are often immaculately dressed and coiffed.

Well Dressed Woman Well Dressed Woman

Kinkajou Kinkajou : If you have the same genes, you are likely to understand these people very well, because you share the same genetics – the same way of thinking. Others of us look at this behaviour, and shake our heads. Why would someone do things in this fashion? Why do things have to be done this way?

Goo the Numbat Goo : And the answer is simple. Because our genes make it so.

The enneagram model has 9 personality types and 3 subtypes, giving a total of 27 generally distinctive personalities. The situation is a little bit more complex than this though, because the 9 personality types are broad personality categories that encompass quite a number of genotypes. (The gene model that I’ve developed shows 27 genotypes for the 9 personality number phenotypes). So this would give a total of approximately 81 distinctive personalities.

In the enneagram model the personality types are labelled: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. In the enneagram model the personality sub-types are labelled: social, sexual and self-pres.

Erasmus Erasmus : I think the phenotype model of the enneagram is a very good approximation of the personalities inherent amidst humans. But sometimes, in considering behaviour, you can actually see the distinct imprint of the genotype on the personalities involved. And there are of course people who fit in more than one category. For example, a person who has enneagram “8” genes and enneagram “6” genes. In which category does this person belong? Are they an enneagram “8” or are they an enneagram “6”?

There is an answer, - to me anyway. Enneagram “6” behaviour is distinctive and changes the enneagram”8” genetic expression.  A person with enneagram “8” and “6” genes, presents as a six, with a very bull-dozerish behaviour type.

Another example of distinctive phenotypic behaviour lies in the enneagram “6” family. A complement of double enneagram”6” genes gives a very unusual “6” indeed. The enneagram description is “counter-phobic “. This is a form of aggressive paranoiac behaviour that is as distinctive as the typical sarcasm cynicism of the average enneagram”6”. Unique, Distinctive, and absolutely important in understanding the behaviour.

This is where the genetic model of behaviour becomes in fact a little bit more understandable than the enneagram model itself. The 9 personality types of the enneagram, I believe are made up of 3 main distinct genes – histamine genes, noradrenaline genes and serotonin genes. Next, the 3 subtypes, I believe are based on a single gene for opioid receptors.

Kinkajou Kinkajou : So let’s look at what these genes do to a human brain.
Erasmus Erasmus : The natural or wild variant of histamine gene is a “fast” response gene. A situation can be looked at, assessed and paths to solve critical problems can be considered. It is the “slow” histamine gene that is the “deciding” gene. It allows only a limited number of options to be seen. In the enneagram “8”, if you can only see one way to do things, choosing to do something becomes fairly easy. I think it becomes easy to see how limited options gives limited choices and develops the behaviour pattern of the enneagram “8”. Similarly, the enneagram “1” brain, in giving limited options, creates a perception that there is only one possible way to do things. In the enneagram, enneagram “1s” are often described as little enneagram “8s”. The enneagram “8” has 2 slow histamine genes while the enneagram “1” has a single slow histamine gene, in the gene model of personality.

Slow Histamine Genes : Indus Valley Civilisation

Slow Histamine Genes : Indus Valley Civilisation

Erasmus Erasmus : The 2nd gene to consider is the noradrenaline gene. This gene creates a “do it now” drive. The classical enneagram type with noradrenaline genes is the enneagram “7”. An enneagram “7” will often be reading multiple books at one time. They often have multiple projects on the go. They often do multiple jobs at one time. However the drive to “do” creates a level of energy that makes it difficult to finish any particular task. An enneagram “7” world is a cacophony of revolving activity – tasks being undertaken, then stopped, then taken up again.

The other common enneagram type with a noradrenaline gene is the enneagram “4”. This enneagram type has immense drive and energy. An enneagram “4” launches into activity with energy.

However there is a subtle twist to their thinking.
Enneagram “4s” have at least one slow histamine gene. This throws up limited options in a situation – which then can be immediately actioned. In interpersonal situations, they may only see one assessment of the situation which they then action with energy and intolerance for the opinions of others. This type is often described as being “a princess” or being volatile.

Erasmus Erasmus : The 3rd gene to consider is the fast serotonin gene. This gene is the “thinking” gene. It creates a large number of interpretations and options  for any given situation. It creates questions – How? Why? Where? When? What for? Who with? In creating these interpretations and options, it creates a different sense of humour – sarcasm or cynicism/paranoia.

 I would describe this gene as allowing you to “think in colour”. To have the gene marks you as thinking very differently from many of the other enneagram types. In fact, many of the other enneagram types have difficulty understanding the fine shades of meaning in the conversation of an enneagram “6”. (This being the enneagram subtype most associated with the presence of the serotonin gene.)

Many enneagram “6s” often don’t quite fit into many social groups as their “colour” thinking marks them as having a very different thought pattern to the more black-and-white thinking patterns of enneagram types such as the enneagram “1”, enneagram “8” and the enneagram “7”. They are often thought to be quite “rude” by others – who only understand what they say, by understanding only the obvious and most superficial meaning, missing the alluded to meanings, comparisons and innuendo. Tonal voice variations are critical in understanding what is meant, not just what is said.

The secret of talking with an enneagram “6” is understanding that tones of voice carry shades of meaning. And that in interpreting what is said, one needs to appreciate that there may be multiple interpretations of the statement apart from the one most obvious. So the conversation of an enneagram “6” can have a distinct difference between what is said and what is meant.

Erasmus Erasmus :  The enneagram model also suggests that the function of the brain pathways can be altered in times of stress or relaxation. For example the enneagram “9” in situations of stress or danger, becomes-paranoid and questioning – much like an enneagram “6”. For example, an enneagram “1” in situations of stress with danger, becomes energised to “do” – becoming in effect much like an enneagram “4”.

People can learn all these behaviour patterns and can become quite comfortable with them. For example someone brought up in a household with an enneagram “6” does ”get” sarcasm and does “get” cynicism. People are not stupid. People have intelligence. But some brains have a proclivity to doing things in a certain way, while other brains do things in a different way. The miracle is how we all managed to get along so well with each other, when the genetics behind the structure of the pathways in our brains make our brains almost strangers to each other.

Kinkajou Kinkajou : And What about the Enneagram Subtypes?
Erasmus Erasmus :  Finally, it is important to have a discussion on the enneagram subtypes: social, sexual and self-pres. These enneagram types are based on the function of the opioid genes in the brains of the individual.” High activity opioid genes in double measure give the social subtype. Having two Low activity opioid genes” gives the self pres subtype. Sexuals carry one of each gene.


The Sexual relationship  Dynamic
The Sexual Relationship Dynamic




This creates some very unusually distinctive behaviour patterns. Socials carry a level of optimism in their lives. Everything will be okay. Everything will go well. Every problem will solve itself. You can trust that things will be right. You can always trust others. I often called enneagram socials “smileys” as they often carry a cheerful attitude with them in almost every situation.


The Self-Pres Relationship Dynamic
The Self-Pres Relationship Dynamic


Erasmus Erasmus : Enneagram Self- pres lacks optimism to a substantial extent. An enneagram self- pres person knows that bad things can happen, they know that things may not always go well, and they know that you need to look out for yourself and to ensure your own survival.
Enneagram socials run with the pack. They are in effect - quite “social”. Enneagram self- pres often act as “loners”.

Enneagram “sexuals” lie somewhere between these 2 subtypes. They tend to socialise more so with their family and with significant others in their lives, rather than just people in general. They tend to have a tight social group in which they display trust and optimism. They are often very clingy to the people in their lives who they value and who they consequently wish to spend a lot of time with.

Sexual Enneagram: typically family and friends oriented Sexual Enneagram: typically family and friends oriented

Erasmus Erasmus :  These enneagram types do not limit someone’s social activities. An enneagram “self pres” can act very socially. If the imperative is to network, chat with others and to deal with others – they can be quite outgoing. It is the natural tendency however of enneagram “socials” to be social and of enneagram “self pres” to be loners.
Erasmus Erasmus :   In our other websites on personality: www.enkcharm.com, we talk about how personality has shaped the history of our world and the outcome of wars.

In particular, the civilisation that arose in Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers-was to all intents and purposes an enneagram “7” civilisation. The design of the cities suggests it, the layout of the Sumerian cities being a disordered agglomeration of the intents of its inhabitants.

Sumerian Civilisation
 Sumeria : an enneagram "seven" civilisation

The Civilisation that arose in Egypt along the Nile River was to all intents and purposes an enneagram “8” civilisation. The Egyptians tried to build the biggest and the best – the pyramids and the Sphinx.

Egyptian Civilisation Egyptian Civilisation
 Egypt : an enneagram "eight" civilisation

The Maoris of  New Zealand epitomised the enneagram self pres gene. This lack of confidence in the future impelled the Maoris to dig underground and to plan for ways to protect themselves while under siege. They are the only native peoples of the world to fight the British Army to a standstill – the British Army being the representative of the greatest empire of the world , an empire on which the sun never set, an army arguably  the most formidable in the world as well.

Erasmus Erasmus : In this site, we are going to concentrate on the genetics of the enneagram in terms of giving us our children. Children can be quite strange animals. In particular some enneagram mixes between parents can give personalities, not reflective of the personalities of the parents. We’re going to talk about what happens when one enneagram type marries another enneagram type and has children – and what the likely enneagram types of these children may be.

In speaking of the likely enneagram phenotypes resulting from “marriages” of the different enneagram types, it behoves us to remember that any one enneagram type is likely to include a number of genotypes so the percentage outcomes of matings may be not as instantly apparent.


Erasmus Erasmus : To simplify things, we’re going to consider the likely outcomes from the unions of the enneagram types, but excluding subtypes. The social, sexual, self pres subtypes appear to be the result of a simple 2 gene mix. Two high opiate expression genes creates a social. Two low opiate expression genes creates a self-pres. And one of each gene creates a sexual.
The situation becomes of course relatively more complex factoring in the distinct enneagram types 1-9, with the sociability genes altering the expression of the main type genes. The Social enneagram genes make you look much more happy go lucky and enneagram “sevenish”. The self-pres genetics seems to fade into the background by comparison, all the while seemingly invisibly  but profoundly-  altering  people’s behaviours and choices.

Dr AXxxxxDr Axxxx : This site looks at the link between personality and genetics. Our genes make  the individual that we know as “me” . Our genes make  the personality that we know as “me” as well.
The Paill Spectrum infection has a big role to play as well.


Kinkajou Kinkajou : Explain, What is an Enneagram?
Erasmus Erasmus : The Enneagram is a personality model or theory. If you know the enneagram types, you can make powerful and often astonishingly accurate predictions about a person you have just met and their habits. If you can enneagram “type” someone, you know a substantial amount about their thoughts, motivations and probable actions – because you know how they think. Though a person may only be a new casual acquaintance, their behaviour will follow standard models that relate to their “type” or “number”.

Essentially people with the same Enneagram number and subtype often do the same things, for the same reasons, to achieve the same ends. They think and act alike, because intrinsically they share many common behavioural traits- from the same common genes.

It appears obvious that these behavioural traits are based on genetics. People with the same genes are likely to do the same things for the same reasons because their brain which controls their behaviour, functions according to its own “ genetic” program. In short, the genes program the neurones, which program the brain, which programs  the behaviour.

By observing a person’s behaviour, their dress, their social interactions, you can usually assess a person’s behavioural type. Then by using the Enneagram information, you can often predict a person’s taste in clothes, their behavioural quirks in different situations. You can predict what they are like to live with: both the good and the bad points.

You can understand how the things we say or do that irritate or please our intimates, are not “deliberate” acts on our own part or on the part of our intimates. They are largely innately “programmed” responses or reactions. They often simply reflect our own innate programmed behaviour; (programmed by genetics); attitudes that we seem to have little control over. Attitudes in fact – that are largely determined by our genetics.

Couple FemaleCouple Male Couples are about genetics

This site looks at the link between personality and genetics. Our genes make  the individual that we know as “me” . Our genes make  the personality that we know as “me” as well.

It follows then that different parents will only have children with personalities dictated by the genes that they inherit. Personality is determined at conception. It follows that the genes of the parents determine the genes of the child. So if you know the genetics of the parent personality, you can “predict” the personality of the child.

Although genetics is a very powerful factor in determining personality, human beings also have their personality determined somewhat by their experiences  of interacting with other personalities.  However there is a catch here as well. The most common personalities in our lives are those members of our direct family, with whom we live. These personalities of course, share common genetics. The personalities of our parents and siblings become very “comfortable” to us. They will usually, at least in part, have substantial genetic overlaps with our own personalities.


A couple : male and female A couple : male and female
 The male and female of the species is what it is all about.



It follows that our future partners will often be personalities that we are comfortable with. People often pair up, because they have a matching set of personality traits with which they are comfortable. Personality has a strong genetic basis.

 Personality though is of course influenced by many events we deal with in our lives and by our experience. In human beings, learning and experience is an important factor in influencing our behaviour.  Human beings are capable of learning complex behavioural coping strategies from experience alone. But in every circumstance, genetics colours our thinking and our interpretation of our experiences.

Goo the Numbat Goo : It could be said that genetics sets the direction, whereas experiences fine tune the reactions.

But there is a bigger picture to see as well. If you know the genetics of the country’s people, you can predict how a country or nation will act in specific circumstances. The Culture of an entire country or nation may be the result of shared personality genes as much as shared experiences ,history or learned behaviours.

Teacher Teaching Teacher Teaching

 Teacher in Classroom: teaching and learning

Enneagrams are great at predicting behaviour and the responses to different situations. But the genetics of the enneagram form a simple overview of human behaviour only. There are likely many other genes, outside of the enneagram model which influence behaviour as well. For example it is well-known that people who take medications that may be used for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, experience increased drive and impulsiveness – leading to poor judgement and even activities such as gambling. , So there is an element of colour or flavour in personalities, which can be attributed to genetics outside of the enneagram model and which can be attributed to experience and learning perhaps as well.

There may be other genes involved in determining behaviour. For example the presence of high dopamine levels in the brain can predispose people to impulsive behaviour such as gambling. You would expect that this would translate into people having a lot more impulsivity and volition. Perhaps this is why some people have so much more confident speaking in public. Successful public speakers can belong to any enneagram type. So it makes sense to think that there are other genes that influence this type of behaviour.
This means that people with the same enneagram type (number) and subtype can be very different indeed. Even within such a tightly defined group – there will be people we like and people who we intensely dislike, even though there primary behavioural genes are identical.

Never forget that people are people. The enneagram types and subtypes a highly useful in interpreting and predicting people’s behaviour. But there are other genetic and behavioural learning elements as well.

So how does experience affect our comfort with other people’s behaviour – their flavour?
Let’s use an example. At a basic level someone who has an enneagram “one” mother or father, can’t avoid picking up or learning behavioural responses that reflect their life experience  in dealing with their parents. Ones are tidy. Ones are driven to be perfectionistic and careful. Ones especially like to deliver on their promises and to present a very precisionistic “face” to the world.

By growing up with a Enneagram "one" mother or father, you cannot avoid learning the behavioural responses that make life with such a personality easier. So when we seek another partner, we are intrinsically programed by genetics and experience, to be most comfortable with someone whose personality fits in with the personalities of our parents.

However in dating and meeting other people, it rapidly becomes apparent that there are pleasant “ones” and unpleasant “ones”. Same basic personality and driver is present, but there is a different overlay – in effect creating perhaps a very different experience of living with the same personality. At a most basic level – females are programmed to be a bit more cute and supportive, whereas men are programmed to be a bit more strict and commanding. As females become mothers, and grow in experience, in organising their families, they become more programmed by experience to become stricter and commanding – as a behavioural necessity for coping with “unruly” children.


Erasmus Erasmus : That may be why people judge potential mates so differently. There are 9 basic Enneagram types (labelled “one” to “nine” and 3 subtypes labelled social, sexual and self-pres). This gives 27 basic “programs” for people. Add parental overlay arising from the different personality types that our prospective partner may have grown up with (mum or dad), and there begin to be a lot more flavours again. Add other genes such as dopamine genes controlling drives and impulsiveness, and we begin to see unique aspects in every person’s behaviour.

Some enneagram types are defined by a “single” genetic formula – genotype: notably the enneagram phenotype of ones, fives,  and nines. There is a low amount of genotype variation in the enneagram phenotype of two, four, six, seven, and eight. There is a large amount of genotypic variation in the enneagram three type: which can make this personality shade into many of the other types. The enneagram three is the Chameleon of the behavioural world.

So, the Ennegenes theory proposed here (by Erasmus), says that even within the nine types and three subtypes, there are some different behavioural variants even within the enneagram model because each enneagram type represents a phenotype, not a genotype. Some of the enneagram types can have a number of genetic mixes creating the same overall phenotype.

And never forget there are other genes outside of the enneagram model as well as learned behaviour from unique experiences defining the personality as well.

Goo the Numbat Goo :  What about people's race? Does it define your personality or give you a national character flavour?

Erasmus Erasmus : Absolutely. If a country has a predominance of any of the gene types, it will pick up a national flavour consistent with those gene types. Countries reflect the constituent genetics of the people who live there. Obviously!

Kinkajou Kinkajou : So what are the Enneagram Types?
They are numbered one to nine. I’ll briefly summarize what I believe to be some of their characteristics in the Ennegenes (enneagram gene) model. Now remember, other authors may have a slightly different point of view, because my view is based on what I believe the underlying genetics of the people involved are. If you have a particular gene, you will act in a way that a particular gene will program for you.

One: Careful, neat, tidy, punctual, very well and carefully coiffured, women often small petit, strong on right and wrong: you should do ….. ; They like white

The "One"
  The Perfectionist One

Two: Thinkers with a very strong forceful underlying drive or motivation to do, but tempered by a layer of preconsideration, maybe even describes as cynicism. Twos are supporters, but at a price. They can really twist your arm brutally to get what they want, and their preconsideration and thoughtfulness can tinge into sneakiness and cunning.

A “two” can be the wind under your wings. If things aren’t going their way, they can clip your wings quite well also. They seem so nice. They would do “anything”” for you, but at a price. Never deny a “two”, for vengeance and retribution may swiftly follow. Still lots of men / maybe even women love the “supporter” aspect. I think my most defining moment for discovering someone being an enneagram Two, occurred at a function lunch. A young woman “Representative” with whom I was talking looked at what deserts were being served and to whom and at what rate. She immediately asked, “Would you perhaps like to have one of those deserts rather than the cheese platter which seems to be slow in coming”. She then immediately called the waiter and arranged for a change in what was being served. The assessment, consideration and sense of command – I think could only be considered as uniquely “Two-ish”.

Bedside Support
 Bedside Supporter

Three: Workers, competitors, often image minded, except if self-pres. A three has gene characteristics of all the other enneagram types. So their behaviour can at times mirror that of many of the other types. They can show the cynicism of “sixes” (and “twos”). They can show a love of drama and poignant sweet pain as much as a “four”. They can have as much of a drive to perfection as a “one”. “Threes” are one of the power types of the Enneagram. They have as much strong spirit as an “eight” but they go about it very differently. “Eights” will rush in where angels fear to tread: bulldozers.

 Threes will watch, observe, become comfortable with the dynamics of a situation and then begin to power on. If they have a fault, it is the tendency to develop their views based on the views of people around them. So they may sometimes seem to have no centre, no core.

Chinese Man
 Man Busy at work. The Chinese have a reputation as workers.

An “eight” , one of the other enneagram power personalities, by contrast always seems to have a core direction set within themselves, driven by their own needs wants and desires, seemingly without reference to anyone else around them.

Four: Dramatics. They see life as black or white, not as shades of grey. Things are either great or awful. There is nothing in between. They have a knack for saying or doing, even when they don’t believe what they are doing. (I think this is more akin to rapidly flipping into or out of a state of belief, rather than believing or not believing what they are doing or saying).

Enneagram "Four" Enneagram "Four"
 A unique young lady. Fours are not afraid  to get out and get their hands dirty.

It is nothing for a “four” to show anger and rage, and then laugh when confronted by the foolishness of what they are doing. Fours love being stroked, petted and rewarded. Recognition drives a “four” like no other force. For a teacher to say, wow, you’re really good at that, makes a “four’s” day. They rapidly begin to associate themselves with this perspective. It makes them “special”. The secret to a four is recognition and praise. Also not to lose it when they oscillate between their extremes of behaviour, to recognize that it could just all be an oscillating behavioural state – looking more like an “act” to others due to the apparent lack of long-term belief/conviction in what their behaviour and actions represent.

“Fours” have drive. They are fast deciders and fast doers. "Do it now" may well be the motto of the “four”. Once a decision is made action rapidly follows.

Five: studious thinking. Possessing the same gene to enable rapid thought, but not the gene for the drive for volition. They share many traits of the four, but not the drive to action and movement. They are not necessarily doers. They would probably be “careful but casual doers”
Enneagram "Five" Enneagram "Five"
 Fives are described as gathering knowledge.

Six: You can always recognize a six (or affiliates like “twos” and “threes”), by their sense of humour. They have a sarcastic cynical outlook. Many of the other personality types in the enneagram lack this gene and have difficulty getting this behaviour or mode of speech. To many it comes across as rude, till they get used to it. Then they realise that  it’s just a way of speaking or thinking, that the individual can’t help.

“Sixes” may or may not have drive, depending on their other personality genes.

With an extra dose of the “six” gene, these people can look rather paranoid and suspicious.

Generally, they all like to know or to think about what is really going on behind the scenes. They are more interested in the “real” truth of the situation rather than just the superficial appearances and the headline news. Because of their sarcasm, which is not a common feature of many other Enneagram types, they often take a bit of getting used to. Not everyone’s cup of tea.

Enneagram "Six" Enneagram "Six"
 Cool Kats seeing something no one else can see.


Sarcasm is a language shared almost exclusively by twos, threes and sixes. Unless other enneagram types have been exposed to partners or parents with the “six” gene, the nuances of language routinely practised by sixes, will not be understood and may not even be realised to exist – by the other enneagram types.

The key to much of the language of sarcasm lies in the consideration of multiple meanings – puns in language, and in the matching of possibilities suggested by language with the possibility/realities inherent in a situation. Such a capacity is unique to the “six” gene. The second key to much of the language of the six, lies in the interpretation of tonal accentuation is of language. To a “six” – no, No, NOoo, NO, na- can carry very different meanings in the context of language. Meanings which can often be exactly the opposite of what is being said. A distinction often not appreciated by  many of the other enneagram types.

Seven: "Sevens” have a tendency to do, do it fast and do it now. They can open their mouths and say things before they have even thought of the consequences of what they have said. “Sevens” are into doing and movement. They read several books all at once. They start many jobs, often not quite finishing many. They do things fast. The best way to handle problems is to run and run fast. They can throw up a thousand ideas, but not follow the ideas through to their final conclusion and consequences. The streak of optimism can be strongly reinforced by “sexual” or especially “social” genes.

The motto of the “ seven” is “sometimes fools just rush in and get the job done”. The exact opposite of the enneagram seven is the “one”. The motto of the one is “fools rush in, where angels fear to tread”.

Carefree Beach Acrobats

Carefree and Just Doing It
 Beach Acrobats: just doing it

Carefree Beach Acrobats
  Carefree Beach Acrobat


Eight: “Eights” will rush in where angels fear to tread: bulldozers. It’s my way or the highway. The rest of you are bloody idiots. Still “eights” are capable of caring greatly for people under their wings and will protect their loved ones to the bitter end. Often when you get in trouble and even your own mother doesn’t love you anymore, your only remaining friend may well be an “eight”.

“Eights” are workhorses. They see. They want. They decide and they do. They are drawn to the best and to be the best. They want to do best. There is nothing shy or coquettish about an “eight”. You can’t tell an “eight” anything, they don’t already know. Ideas do eventually seep in, but then the “eight” claims them as their own.
For women: flirty, smiling, forward and assertive.

Biggest and Best: Enneagram "Eight" Biggest and Best: Enneagram "Eight"
  Eights like the Biggest and the Best

Nine: Nines have fast thinking genes, but no volition genes. They consider both sides of a situation but are not driven to perform. They can argue with someone and then begin to support them if someone else wades into an argument, believing the new entrant to the social situation to be too powerful, automatically putting themselves to where the balance needs to be addressed, even though perhaps that is not in their own best self-interest.
Enneagram "Nine" Enneagram "Nine"
  Nine "Anger" : like a layer of ice over everything. Cool and persistent.

The best interpretation of this is that the “Nine” is interpreting many different aspects of a social situation. To many of us, what is obvious is that the social situation is about the argument or conflict. But the nine see the interests of the people as well. The nines see the interaction of the powers of the personalities as well. The nines may see argument but they can see the long-term consequences of conflict and will often consider all these factors to generate a favourable outcome – not directly related to the focus of the social situation or argument.

Never forget however that a “nine” is not driven to compete or to interact. They may hold their opinions within themselves commonly, without inflicting them upon others. This makes them probably one of the most introspective of all the enneagram types. Something which can be very hard for many other enneagram types to deal with – as the true agenda, is not the agenda on the table.

The major point of contention between traditional enneagram personality models and the genetics enneagram theory, is the basis for the formation of personality. In the gene theory, personality is based on genes. You are what you inherit. While your experiences in life can alter how you behave, they do not form the basis of how you behave.

Kinkajou Kinkajou : So Human behaviour is based on the activity of pathways in the brain, in the gene theory. Traditional enneagram theory suggests that we can learn to change our behaviours. Genetic enneagram theory suggests we can never change our tendencies, but we can learn to layer new behaviours over our tendencies to modify our behaviour.

Through experience and learning, you can learn to change your behaviour by altering the inputs to these pathways. In enneagram aware people, there is considerable emphasis on knowing yourself, realising the helpful and damaging facets of your inherent behaviour, and learning that there may be different behavioural responses which are effective in different situations.

There is another interesting aspect arising from the enneagram genetics models. The genes involved in enneagram may be said in one aspect to alter levels of chemicals within the brain. (They can also change factors such as receptor conformation, receptor bonding, receptor affinities and downstream receptor-based amplification). However at a basic level, genes suggest changes in chemicals within the brain. But consider that drugs or medications can change levels of chemicals within the brain as well.

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Alternatively, medications can also substantially alter the activity of these pathways in your brain. The gene theory talks about histamine receptors and pathways, serotonin receptors and pathways, noradrenergic receptors and pathways, and finally opioid receptors and opioid pathways. Drugs which affect all of these pathways are commonplace in our society.

Antidepressants commonly affect serotonin and noradrenergic pathways. It follows that they can affect your behaviour. The taking of opioid medications, legal or illegal, can make you much more optimistic happy and accepting of things happening around you.

Antihistamines are renowned for their effect on wakefulness.

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So, the gene theory of enneagrams, predicts that it is in fact possible to change your behaviour and even make it look like you are altering your enneagram number through the taking of medications, for example such as antidepressants, painkillers and even other medication such as antihistamines.

This makes for a very interesting proposition. Something not much considered by doctors today. Many medications if used on a regular basis can in fact change your personality, your behaviour – and perhaps to some extent at least your enneagram type as well. Nines can become sixes with more of the drive to do of an eight. Self- pres types can become much more social. So perhaps we need not be who we are born to be, but can in fact become who we would like to be.

SSRI antidepressants definitely bring out enneagram "six" behaviour.

Kinkajou Kinkajou : Why does the enneagram model suggest that we can become a different personality when events such as stress or relaxation occur within our lives?
The final major input to the activity of brain pathways are events in the environment.

When stressed, personalities change through a broad level of change in inputs to brain pathways. When relaxed, the activity of inputs into the same brain pathways alters, again resulting in a change in behaviour. The enneagram model is unique as a personality model in that it recognises the effects of environmental stimuli such as rest or relaxation in altering behaviour.

Training such as in relaxation techniques, or even in the opposite direction such as activation or focusing techniques, can allow you to take charge of the activities of the pathways in your brain. This can, at least for a short time, allow you to alter your enneagram number.


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Kinkajou Kinkajou : Tell me more about the genotype/ phenotype model of Enneagrams that you’ve been hinting at?

Erasmus Erasmus : A genotype describes the combination of the individual genes that make up the person or personality. The phenotype is the overall impression of the type of behaviour that people display. In general, many genotypes make up a single phenotype, in the enneagram.

However some enneagram phenotypes are genetic homozygotes. That is, all the individuals who fall within a single enneagram phenotype having the same genotype as well.

Many of the enneagram phenotypes represent genetic heterozygotes, akin to the F1 hybrid state. These enneagram phenotypes  have multiple gene sets causing their particular behavioural patterns.

In general the phenotype summarises the behaviour seen in the individual or in the personality. Such a behaviour is due to the combination of genes present within the individual. The genotype describes the individual genes acting to create the individual personality.

 The genotype / [phenotype model allows further predictions to be made about the behaviours that may be displayed by a particular enneagram person type and about the enneagram type of their parents.

How common each enneagram type is ,of course, depends on the relative frequencies of the relevant genes in each population.

Erasmus Erasmus : A summary of Enneagram features:
Fast personality types (in order):  seven, four, three.
Slow personality types (in order): nine, eight, one.
Sarcastic personality types: Six, three, two
Strong energy  genes: seven, four, three.
Strong “power” /”deciding” genes:  Eight, one, three, two,

Single gene Genotype Enneagram only:
Nine (double fast histamine genes),
eight (double slow histamine genes),
sevens (double fast noradrenaline genes).

If another gene (e.g. serotonin or noradrenaline genes) to the fast histamine gene of the nine or the slow histamine gene of the eight is present, these enneagram phenotypes change to a different enneagram phenotype. If another gene to the fast noradrenaline gene of the seven is present, the seven phenotype changes to a different enneagram  phenotype.

Heterozygote (at single gene site) gene genotype enneagram only:
And the enneagram six phenotype which is homozygous for the serotonin gene, becomes a different flavour of a six called a counter phobic six – the sense of suspicion or needing to know what is happening behind the scenes becoming almost paranoid in intensity. Any personality type with a six gene retains the six character as predominant in the phenotypic personality appearance.

Dual gene genotype enneagrams
The enneagram   “two” has one or two (predominantly to) slow histamine genes in addition to one or two fast serotonin genes.
The enneagram "four" has a single noradrenaline gene in association with one or two slow histamine genes. The presence of two noradrenaline genes confers a seven-ish phenotypic character. The phenotypic enneagram “six” can have the presence of one or two fast serotonin genes in combination with one or two fast histamine genes.

Multiple gene Genotype Enneagram:

The three phenotype encompasses a range of gene combinations and a range of phenotypic personalities. Of interest is the social/sexual/self – pres accentuation which provides the most variance to this personality type almost overriding the effects of the noradrenaline/histamine/serotonin genes and how this personality appears to others.

Erasmus Erasmus : Every personality type can be a disease unto itself. They just fail in different ways.
“Threes” take on too much and try to do too much.
“Nines” take on hardly anything at all. Both behaviours or decisions can be problems in different situations. In an organization aggressively expanding or growing, having a ” three” or an “eight” in charge can get things done. For an organization in stasis, “nines” can blend the whole together in harmony like no other, offending few and motivating many.
An enneagram "seven" will blaze a trail boldly when no one has gone before and a trail that few others could imagine even existing.

 There is no right or wrong with enneagrams. But they do behave differently. People are not all the same. They have different abilities and knowledge and different genes. They have  different personality genes. Their genes define different actions in work, rest and stress. There genes define different types of activity or inactivity. And each type succeeds or fails in different ways.

There are no right genes. But there are many situations in which a particular gene or gene mix can succeed where others are much much more likely to fail. Such a comment should not really come as a surprise in the world today. Scientists can choose which athlete is most likely to succeed in a particular sport based on particular physical characteristics. Failure to have these physical characteristics makes failure in the chosen sport or activity almost certain.
It should be no surprise to consider that having or not having specific mental characteristics, can make success or failure much more likely in many types of human endeavour, especially where thought or action dictated by mental proclivities is paramount.

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Kinkajou Kinkajou : There are lots of Personality Models besides the Enneagram. Aren’t hey just as good
Erasmus Erasmus : No. the enneagram is far superior to any other model of personality out there. It is because of this superiority that  we can use this model to explore he genetics applicable to human behaviour.

Alternate Personality Theories vs. the Enneagram.
Big five personality trait model
Briggs Myer
The medical model
The Paill Spectrum model ( this model focuses more on the effect of disease on human behaviour rather than looking specifically at human behaviour per se).


Erasmus Erasmus : I like the enneagram as a personality model because it works. I don’t think that there is any other personality model that can so describe a person, how they react to stress and how they react to relaxation.

The enneagram model suggests that people of any enneagram type, behave differently in circumstances of stress and differently again in circumstances of relaxation. This sort of makes sense. In stress or relaxation, our levels of brain chemicals change and it would be expected that the behaviour perceived would change also.

How a person reacts in these situations is unique, but quite predictable if the enneagram model is followed.

The medical model of personality by comparison is written by idiots for idiots. One thing it does highlight, is that the different enneagram types can often shade into behaviour that looks like one of the “personality diseases” as defined by the DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association.
Histrionic (drama Queens)


Erasmus Erasmus : The DSM description does “label” people. It tells you something about what “time” has done to the patient’s brain.
Dr Xxxxx Dr Xxxxx : There are different explanations for why people’s behaviour may grow into the DSM personality types, see the Paill Site. The implications of the effect of illness on behaviour are not pretty.

Erasmus Erasmus : Getting back to DSM and the Enneagram. The DSM description does not tell you what the normal behaviour of the person should be. Behaviour that is bizarre for one personality type can be quite normal for another personality type.

Personality : which EnneagramPersonality : which EnneagramPersonality : which Enneagram
Personality : which Enneagram

Dr Xxxxx Dr Xxxxx : Quite true! I remember one mother who asked me whether it was normal for her child to sit in a corner and play happily by himself. I asked how his memory and language skills were. Mum said they were fine.
For a self pres, this type of behaviour is quite normal. For a social this type of behaviour suggests serious pathology affecting brain development. DSM makes no allowance for the effect of personality on behaviour. The DSM descriptors also do not reveal any underlying truth about the motivations of the person with problem behaviour.

In contrast, the enneagram types are distinctive enough and recognizable in every person. The distinctiveness of the behaviour patterns led me to suspect that the enneagram actually describes in some fashion the contribution of DNA genes to a person’s behaviour. I.e. Each behaviour described by the enneagram describes a specific behavioural phenotype.

The descriptions the doctors use are clumsy, not relevant to normal people, do not allow predictions of other aspects of “usual” behaviour and do not recognize that behaviour can change in times of stress and relaxation.

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A friend who has a wife, who is a sexual nine, starts to look like a self-pres six, if stressed . There is not much optimism. Just a massive list of rapidly shot out questions with a thick layer of encrusted paranoia. It happens every time she becomes substantially stressed.
What did you do? Where did you do it?
Why did you do it?
Who knows?
Who did you tell?
Why did you tell them? Etc


I ink you can see the picture.
This site looks at the link between personality and genetics. Our genes make us the biological individual that we know as “me”. Our genes make us the personality that we know as “me” as well.

It follows then that different parents will only have children with personalities dictated by the genes that they inherit. Personality is determined at conception. Personality though is of course influenced by many events we deal with in our lives and by our experience of interacting with other personalities for example our parents. The personalities of our parents and siblings become very “comfortable” to us. It follows that our future partners will often be personalities that we are comfortable with. People often pair up because they have a matching set of personality traits with which they are comfortable. Personality has a strong genetic basis. It follows that the genes of the parents determine the genes of the child. So if you know the genetics of the parent personality, you can predict the personality of the child.

Kinkajou Kinkajou : So if you know the genetics of the country’s people, you can predict how a country or nation will act in specific circumstances. Culture may be the result of shared personality genes as much as shared experiences and history.