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Essential Personalities
ISBN 9780954483142 Gravity Publishing, UK; First ppublished: 2009; trade paper; 152mm x 228mm; 398 pages; non-fiction; subject: Personality, Evolution, Astrology; general readership. Second Edition 2012, published in ebook format; ISBN 9780594483159

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Essential personalities, and why humans found love, adapted to monogamy and became better parents
Eye-opening revelations about the foundations of human personality and how it may have evolved over the thousands of years of human development.

What started out as a whimsical experiment to ridicule astrology turns into a serious proposition about how humans evolved their personality under the constraints of the seasons.

Instead of the 'selfish gene', our genome has evolved to make us all parents. It has thrown out polygamy or polyandry in favour of monogamy. 'Love' stimulated by secretions within the brain and body don't last, so why, the author asks, does the parental bond survive for any length of time at all?

It is because we form types that can bond over time. And human types arose out of the cycles of development initiated by circadian rhythms. Our best partners can be mapped from best to worst simply from birth date.

The author creates a simple 'map' of the components of personality, using the idea of the Landscape to describe the fundamental social reality we all belong to, and then showing how non-Landscape types are also crucial to the necessary social mix in any society.

The author discussed theories of empathy and reproduction strategies, the survival of groups, artificial intelligence and the reverence for grandparents on the way to devising a method of finding the 64 types he believes are identifiable and presents summaries of all the types as proof of the concept of Essential Personalities.

from the second edition

"...Looking at individual genes doesn't help explain the reality of the depths and complexities of a long term parental relationship. We stay together as parents because it's only when our offspring survive to reproduce do the maths of self-sacrificial behaviour work. The more grandchildren we have the less selfish we will be; the fewer the more. This is indeed what we find. Selfish behaviours emerge when there is no survival interest to modulate  that behaviour. To theorise that females are more interested in faithfulness and men more interested in multiple partners is only betraying the prejudices of the time and of males. Rogue males inseminating whomever they can is a losing strategy for men, just as it is for women to take any old mate or any old provider. Such strategies may work for men and women in the last resort, but there's a dimension to life that is also about self-fulfilment. The quality of the reproductive life also counts in human survival.


The Landscape, as part of the TO8, is the foundation of what we might call our sociability because it fixes the presence of the social fundamentals in human culture. Nowadays we would think of this as describing the social networks that we all seem to want to belong to. Social networks are only part of the story, and theories of human sociability do not explain why there are ever-present types who do not want to belong to social groups, who do not necessarily find their fulfilment in the now of society. These non-Landscape individuals (in the TO8) provide a necessary balance to the social network; the balance that comes from independence and creativity. Social theories have yet to explain the mystery of why individuals do not torture on command or who demonstrate at risk of death against oppression, or who love at any cost, or who are generous against their own best interests; who keep their word in the face of pain and death. We find these types throughout the ages and societies of history. If sociability was a benefit driven by nothing but genes, it would be selected preferentially and any drive for independence would be eradicated very quickly, in a few generations. But not only do humans give themselves up to group behaviours they also very prominently act on their own account even against their own best material or social interests which is not something one would expect to be reinforced by natural selection or explained by conventional theories of altruism. Without a theory that also explains systematically these ever-present types in human society, a theory of social behaviour that only deals with the giving up of individuality to the collective will fail. 'Groupthink' is not the only way we make decisions and solve problems.

Interestingly, a 'resistance' to a collapse into pure sociability can be shown. Research into social media overstates its case for connecting people. People may have huge numbers of contacts in their 'friends' list (I have a friend who happily links to anyone on Facebook who has a connection to her whether or not she knows them) and recent research into the reach of Facebook may put the average steps of linkages to any other member at between 3 and 4, yet the difference between contacts in social media and real life friends is enormous. A Melbourne based analysis of online and real time socialising data shows an average Australian has about 154 online friends, but only 14 friends in real life. Women have an average of 174 contacts online but only 12 genuine friends. Men have fewer contacts but slightly more real friends. World-wide mobile phone analyses show that 80% of all mobile calls are made by people to just 4 others.

I argue that sociability found with Landscape behaviours in the TO8 certainly involves information, and this is why social media is successful, but it also involves relationships of a certain quality, and genuinely cohesive society is formed from a mix of types.

from the TO8 types

"...7 describes a broad unfocussed potential, far from the Landscape, and its Minor shapes its mode of expression even more than it does for Threes. 7 is like a charged circuit that needs its switch to be thrown. On the axis of expression (7-3), they can produce plenty of energy when they have a project to apply it to, though their energy is more liable to get squandered in short-term distractions. Of all the signs, the Major Seven is most qualified by its Minor.  Combined with other fertile signs, Sevens can be delightfully expressive in a wide variety of non-combative ways, and in combination with Landscape signs they can be tireless toilers in the vineyard, appearing to have buoyancy in events that keeps them from being overwhelmed by them. Beneath their casual exterior, Sevens are playing the long game.

Like other fertile signs, Sevens are resilient and have immense reserves of mental energy, often getting away with little sleep. Sevens are willing to accept rather than manipulate, which means that they tend to be less implicated or reliant on one particular thing or person. For Sevens, the more things change the more they stay the same. They often seem callous and insensitive to the individual pains of others, but they see far down the road to where the sweep of history is (hopefully) taking them. Set beside that, the individual and his or her problems is small beer.

Sevens accept people as they are. They enjoy individuality, see people as unchangeable and treat them on that basis. They consider events in the world on a similar basis and take the rough with the smooth, while expecting that the tide of affairs will always turn in their favour. They need a flow of events in which to operate, and so they have little discrimination, taking whatever opportunity they chance upon to act rather than do nothing. Even their own past is something rather vague to them, since events tend to replace or overwrite previous ones in memory rather than lie sequentially beside them. Sevens are more interested in where life is taking them than in where they used to be and thus the present is always a springboard to other things. They take (or readily accept) abrupt changes in direction from time to time without qualms. They strongly identify with history in the making and their individual career paths will always try to align with the larger forces of the moment. They are happy, therefore, to allow precedent rather than calculation to make decisions, and they are at ease with the unavoidable repetitions of social reality and the familiar demands of the human conscience. They can readily see into the 'laws' of action..."

About the author

Andrew Kennedy is an independent researcher into consciousness and the philosophy of science, the founder of the Chronolith Project and originator of the Chronolith experiment (to which the Cosmology of People refers). He studied Chemistry at Edinburgh University and later studied Chinese, Daoism and Daoist medicine, translated two Chinese philosophy classics and wrote an original tract on the evolution of human personality types, published in 2009 (Essential Personalities), and currently writes about the prospects of interplanetary travel.

He also designed games and held a patent in a switching device. He is a Fellow of the BIS and a member of the Society for Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology (SSoCIA).


see more from this author: Shiatsu: What it is What is does Why it matters; The Jade Suit; Briefing Leaders;
The Cosmology of People