The following page, written in the
early 1960s, reveals some of Dr. Graves thinking as he conducted
his research and developed the Levels of Existence Theory.
Salient Points for Understanding Human Behavior
per the Existential Psychological Point of View
- Clare W. Graves -
The human organism is a complex of preferential instinctoid-like
These instinctoid-like systems act more upon the world then
that world acts upon them.
Energizing these systems is a finite amount of energy which
can be expended in a lifetime.
Each person has an individual rate of flow of this energy. He
can naturally put out only so much effort, at a certain rate,
over any given period of time.
If there is an increased output of this energy over any
limited period of time this energy will not be available at some
other period of time.
There is a golden period of time for the binding and use of
The instinctoidal character of the energies of the
organism drive him to seek a preferential but not insistential
way of living.These instinctoidal energies are organized in hierarchial
form into different levels of behavioral organization.
The preferential aspect of the instinctoidal energies drives
the person to try to move in a pre-programmed way through the
hierarchy of behaviors and to prefer to behave within a
pre-programmed manner within each hierarchial organization of
Any hierarchial system interfered with or neglected during
its period of dominance can disrupt normal flow of behavior
and can result in a typical form and flow of behavior within a
If we neglect or interfere with natural flow and form or
behavioral energies devious ways of expressing these energies
will be found.
- Present evidence indicates we may be able to identify at
least nine levels of behavioral organization. The first four
levels are quite clearly seen and definable. The fifth and
sixth levels are becoming more clearly into view. The higher
levels are, today, seen only in dim outline form subject to
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