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 -
early 1960's

  1. The human organism is a complex of preferential instinctoid-like energy systems.

  2. These instinctoid-like systems act more upon the world then that world acts upon them.

  3. Energizing these systems is a finite amount of energy which can be expended in a lifetime.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. There is a golden period of time for the binding and use of this energy.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 energies.

  9. 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 hierarchial systems.

  10. If we neglect or interfere with natural flow and form or behavioral energies devious ways of expressing these energies will be found.

  11. 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 considerable revision. 

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