*This document was used by Dr. Graves in a series of public seminars sponsored by the National Values Center. It was prepared for him by Chris Cowan.

Dr. Graves' 1982 Seminar Handout*

What the Research of Clare W. Graves
Says a Model of Healthy Mature Psychosocial Behavior
Should Represent

1. That the human being, though but one biological organism, has developed to date, seven Exiting, seven Nodal, and eight Entering progressively developing psychosocial systems because it is an almost infinite psychological being which changes systematically as the world changes in the course of living.

2. That these nodal systems are, normally, hierarchically ordered, prepotent and upwardly spiraling.

3. That these systems alternate their mental focus in a cyclic, oscillating, dominant fashion.

4. That the first system is slightly differentiated to favor focus upon the external world and how to gain and expand power over it, then alternating thereafter upon the inner subjective world and how to come to know and come to peace with it in even numbered systems, and focus upon the external world and how to control and expand power over it in subsequent odd-numbered systems.

5. That cerebral dominance, in the odd-numbered systems is by the left hemisphere of the brain and in even-numbered systems is by the right hemisphere of the brain.

6. That these alternating systems show little mean variation for some psychological dimensions, such as intelligence and temperament.

7. That certain psychological dimensions such as ideological dogmatism and objectivity emerge with a particular system in the hierarchy of systems, then decrease or increase systematically in subsequent systems.

8. That certain psychological dimensions such as guilt, as a felt emotion, emerge with a particular system in the hierarchy then, in subsequent systems, vary quantitatively in an increasing or decreasing cyclic, wave-like fashion.

9. That every other psychosocial system is like, but at the same time, not like its alternating partner. Systems 2, 4, and 6 etc., are predominantly obeisance, conservative systems; but each obeys different authority sources and obeys and conserves in different ways. Systems 1, 3, 5, and 7 etc., are predominantly change systems, but how to and what to change is different in each odd-numbered system.

10. That each system has a general theme for existence which typifies it.

11. That each central theme for existence is particularizable into almost an infinite number of ways for peripheral expression. For example, the fourth level absolutistic "sacrifice now to get later" theme is found in the world particularized into many absolutistic, monotheistic, religious theologies and many non-religious absolutistic ideologies.

12. That increasing degrees of behavioral freedom, increasing degrees of choice emerge with each successive level; but the degree of increase is greater in odd-numbered than in even-numbered systems.

13. That every seventh system shows a degree of change in excess of the sum of all six previous changes.

14. That adult psychosocial life is a developing, emergent process which can be likened to a symphony built on six basic themes which repeat, in higher order form, every set of six. The first six tell the story of adult psychosocial development in a world of naturalistic abundance. The second order systems tell the story of how psychosocial development will take place in a world of naturalistic scarcity.

15. That each system develops from the interaction of hierarchically ordered, parallel, and prepotent sets of existential problems and sets of neuropsychological coping equipment.

16. That adult psychosocial development is a flowing process in which the solution of current existential problems creates the next set of existential problems to be solved and in their creation produces complex chemicals which activate the next set of neuropsychological coping equipment consisting of the information processing means for detection and solution of the created set of existential problems.

17. That the process moves in a complex wave-like, progressive, nodal, regressive fashion and may fixate at certain progressive or regressive points. Each wave develops slowly to the point of inflection, then rapidly ascends to its nodal form, then begins a slow descent to the point of deflection where a precipitous fall ensues as the next wave starts slowly to ascend.

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