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From the Historical Collection of the work of Dr. Clare W.

Graves
- presentations, papers, recorded transcripts, notes William R. Lee

Recorded October 16, 1971

2001

A SYSTEMS CONCEPTION OF PERSONALITY


Remarks by Clare W. Graves on his Levels of Existence Theory

as Presented at the Washington School of Psychiatry, 1971


[Originally transcribed by William Lee. Edited with additional comments for use as a seminar handout
by Christopher Cowan with Bill Lee, 1988.
Corrected and updated 2002 in Graves: Levels of Human Existence]
____________________________________________________

Within a systems conception, it becomes possible to integrate everything that has been put
down in the literature about human behavior. Within this perspective there is no argument about
which theory is "correct"-they all are. The task, instead, is to study how they all are correct and
the relationships among them. It is the intent of this theory to take confusing and contradictory
information in the field of behavioral science and make sense of it all.

I. Beginnings-The Reason for the Research


In 1952 Clare W. Graves found he could not go back to the classroom and be a referee in the
conflict over whose theory was correct on any given issue. He'd "had it" with psychology as it
was, and knew that he either had to reframe the problem or abandon the field. His primary area of
concern for research was "the confusion and contradiction, the conflict and controversy" in
psychological information and theory. It was his sense that the behavioral sciences were in a
mess, and that there was a need for rational order to emerge from the chaos.
The first step toward a solution was to find a means through which to study the area of
concern. This meant time, facilities, finding the opportunity, and the constraints imposed by one
man's lifetime. After considering many possibilities, he decided that...
"If I took some area of human behavior about which there is confusion, one in
which there is a great deal of controversy and one in which the different points
of view conflicted with one another, that possibly I could begin to get the kind
of information with which I was concerned."
The area he chose for investigation was "what a group of human beings just like you would
say is the psychologically healthy human being in operation." He knew going in that there would
be conflicts about just what a healthy human being is. It was these very conflicts that were to
serve as Graves's vehicle into the realm of conflict, controversy, and confusion which he was
concerned.

II. The Initial Queries


1. Can one substantiate that conflict and contradiction, confusion and controversy are
represented in conceptions of psychological health?

2. What are the conceptions of psychological health extant in the minds of biologically mature
human beings? [Graves's model is based on male and female adults, aged 18-61 years]
3. Do the concepts which exist suggest that psychological health should be viewed (a) as a state
or condition or (b) as a psychological process?
"Some people thought that there was that thing, that something, that one could call
psychological health and that, in theory, one could think of the time in the future
when we would be able to put down on paper what is the psychologically healthy
human being. At the same time, I thought while it is possible that this is not so, it
may not be a state or condition-it may be a process."
4. What is the essential nature of psychological health if it is a state or condition?
"If psychological health is revealed to be a state or condition, can our state of
confusion and controversy become, in theory, comprehensible and resolvable
by clarifying what is that state which is psychological health?"
5. What is the nature of the process of psychological health if the basic research indicates
that it should be viewed thus?
"If psychological health is revealed to be a process can we, in theory, develop a
comprehension of the process that will clarify the troubling confusion and
contradiction and, in theory, propose means for the resolution of those
befuddlement's in psychological information and theory and the world of
human affairs?"

III. The Research Questions


The general questions above were refined and formulated into a set of research questions.
These were to generate the data upon which the general theory is built.
1. How do biologically mature human beings conceive of what is the healthy
personality?
2. Do biologically mature humans have, basically, one major identifiable conception
of what is the psychologically healthy adult?
3. Do biologically mature humans have more than one conception of what is the
healthy personality?
4. If adults have several conceptions of healthy personality, are the conceptions
classifiable into groups of similar conceptions?
5. If the various conceptions are classifiable, how can they be classified?
a. by content
b. structurally
c. functionally [Do people who possess the same or similar
conceptions operate the same or differently in similar or dissimilar
situations, etc.?]
6. Will there be evidence that some one conception of healthy personality stands out
as superior to other conceptions? To synthesize the issue, Graves's basic research
question was:

What will be the nature and character of conceptions of


psychological health of biologically mature human beings who are
intelligent, but relatively unsophisticated in psychological knowledge
in general, and in personality theory in particular?

IV. Research Methodology - Collecting Primary Data


At this point in his career, Graves was intensely occupied in his teaching, carrying 2? hours
as he began this research. Because of the heavy load, he was virtually compelled to use classroom
subjects for his investigations. Since he was working in three schools-one all-male, one allfemale, and a male-female adult extension division-he had access to a wide range of subjects. He
needed people who knew little of formal psychology, who would not know the names of any
personality theories, but who would have some interest in the kinds of questions he needed to
raise.
"If you pick people in the 2nd class in psychology, they are fairly
unsophisticated, for it's sure as hell they don't learn much in the first one!" "I had
people in the beginning in a class in each of these schools which was entitled the
Theory of Normal Personality. [I planned] to teach the theory of normal personality
in a manner which will provide the information I am seeking, and then I can go on
from there."
Graves was to apply his research methodology to eight sets of these students, eight different
times. This gave him the body of data he would need to begin exploring the nature of
psychological health and the human personality. His approach was unique and impressive. An
initial barrier that had to be overcome was getting the conceptions he needed without allowing the
students to become contaminated by outside reading, while, in the process, teaching them
psychology in what was to prove one of the most successful courses in the schools. His opening
statement to his classes gives a clue to how Graves approached this problem.
"I do not want you to read a thing the first five weeks of this class. I want you to
be no further along that you are at the moment you came in here on any kind of
study of the field of psychology or the field of personality. We will take the first five
weeks to talk in class about what people would put into a conception of a healthy
personality. What are the things you would get in such a conception? And you
people will share this information with one another.
"I will tell you, I will just be in here, seeing to it that you people stay on the subject of
talking about what is a healthy personality, what one ought to include
when one talks about a healthy personality in operation. As we proceed through these
five weeks I want you to think about your own personal conception of what healthy
personality is ...and at the end of these five weeks present to me your paper on your
personal conceptions of what is the healthy human being, [the] psychologically healthy
human being in operation."
He proceeded in that manner and, at the end of the five weeks, collected the materials
unbeknown to the students. (Most would not know to this day that they were ever, at any time, in
this process or subjects in his study.)

"I copied these papers ...then I had set up a kind of grading system that would meet
the requirements of the college [which] worked out quite adequately. I [then] handed
the conceptions back to these people and proceeded into the second five weeks."
In the second five weeks, the students broke into random groups and each person had to
present his or her conception of healthy personality to his/her peers. In the process, each received
criticism and questions from the peer group. This gave Graves the opportunity to observe the
subjects presenting their conceptions of personality. He was able to observe how each behaved
when their peers "go after them;" and what those behaviors might be.
"Now, we had a physical setup where we had a complete communication system by
wire-and we had a physical setup with a lot of rooms with one-way mirrors where it
was possible for me to observe without the student ever knowing that they were
being observed-all doors entered into the observation booths in a way they couldn't
know that I was present (if I was quiet!)."
So, they had an opportunity to receive criticism from peers. At the end of that five weeks,
their instructions were to write a defense of the original conception of healthy personality, or a
modification of it as a result of the five weeks experience in the group. This gave Graves the
opportunity to see if the conceptions had changed, and how they might have been modified under
peer influence.
As a next step, the entire class studied various authorities and what they had to say about the
concept of a healthy personality. The students were again asked to write a modification or defense
of their original conception of the healthy personality. Finally, Graves sat down with randomly
selected subjects just to discuss the process, how the students might have changed their
conceptions, and what factors might have influenced that change. The eight completed cycles of
this process led to the initial data set. The basic data the design had produced thus far included...
1. A phenomenal view of certain beliefs of the subjects as to the nature of psychologically
healthy behavior.
2. Reactions of the subject to peer criticism as shown in defense or modification of conception
produced.
3. Interaction and reaction behavior of subjects when under peer criticism as observed
unbeknown to subjects through one-way mirrors and an inter-communication system.
4. Relation to confrontation with authority as shown in second concept defense or
modification.
5. Some interview data from discussions with randomly selected subjects after the primary
experiences (development of and two re-writes of conceptions.)
Three key sets within the data would be studied...
...very basic data (the original conceptions)
...modification and defense under peer influence
...modification and defense under authority
A group of secondary questions arose concerning the behavior of the subjects during the studies...

1. What will happen to a person's conception of healthy human behavior when he is


confronted with criticism of his point of view by his peers who have developed their
own conceptions of psychologically healthy behavior?
2. What will happen to a person's conception of healthy human behavior when he is confronted
with the task of comparing his conception to those which have been developed by
authorities in the field?
3. How will the subjects behave under peer criticism?

V. Processing and Analysis of the Data


To begin to rationalize the data, Graves had panels of independent judges read and classify
the conceptions. Their instructions. "Classify them, if you can, in any way." He then took the
original classifications and got another, entirely independent group of judges. Their instructions
were the same. He used different judges each year for all the [8] years of the collecting of the
data. Each group of judges classified all data collected to that point so that it was a process of
accumulation. In the first run-through, the first year, the judges came up with two categories with
two sub-types each. This same categorization recurred each year, though each panel did not know
how the previous year's judges had classified the conceptions.

VI. Initial Findings


In all runs, approximately 60% of the conceptions fell into two categories with two
sub-types each...
Deny Self Category [sacrificial]
Deny self for reward later
Deny self to get acceptance now
Express Self Category [expressive]
Express self as self desires in a calculating fashion and at the expense of others
Express self as self desires but not at the expense of others
To further illustrate, Graves provides some examples of these conceptions...
Deny self or sacrifice now in order to get reward later. Work hard to become
something, deny the self now to get into heaven (or something of that
nature).
Deny self to get acceptance now. (Deny yourself going to the movie you want to see
and go to the one your friend wants - you to in order that he will like you right now.)
Express self as self desires in a calculating fashion and at the expense of others. (But be
careful along the way so the guy doesn't turn on you. He sucks as much as he can
out of the other person, but is very careful not to go so jar that the other reacts
strongly) [Graves found a number of conceptions along this line at the time, and
concluded that it had great significance for the American culture as a whole.)

Express self as self desires, but not at the expense of others. [This classification stood
out clearly from the rest and, in its singularity, led Graves to some of his most
outstanding conclusions.]
From these four sub-type themes, he began to investigate the various relationships among
the conceptions and the intervening forces during the three five-week intervals. The first step was
the study and classification of the conceptions, themselves. The second task was the study of the
classifications in relation to peer criticism. This included the extent of peer influence, changing
under peer influence, acting with peers, and defending and/or modification of the conception. A
third step was the study of the classifications in relation to authority criticism. Finally, the peer
interaction observations were analyzed.

VII. What the Data Began to Reveal


Graves was surprised by what he'd found...
"Here I knew I was in trouble. I knew that I was dealing with what I wanted to
deal with, but I didn't think it was as bad as this. Now, just look at what turned
out."
Here are a few of his observations...
a. The sacrifice self now to get later was like the sacrifice self now to get now in seeing
healthy personality as adjustable to external source and as denial of self.
b. The sacrifice self now to get later was like the sacrifice now to get now group in terms of
changing to an expression of self type when change took place centrally.
[Some definitions may be useful here. "Central" change at this point in the research
means going to one of the other three levels defined in the classifications.
"Peripheral" change means keeping within the deny self or express self categories
the subject was in originally, but modifying within the category by...
intensification of the original belief
becoming more defensive
changing in what they thought was the proper way to express or deny
the self. They would not change from believing that it was healthy to
express the self to the belief that denial was healthy, or vice-versa.]
c. The sacrifice self now to get later group was not like the sacrifice self now to get now
group in terms of effective change forces. The former responded to higher authority;
the latter responded to peer authority.
"When a sacrifice self now to get reward later type wrote the second paper [the
paper under the influence of peer criticism], what almost invariably happened was a
defense of the original point of view. When we got to the sacrifice self now for
reward later under the influence of [higher] authority, we found not only that they
changed, but that something else very interesting occurred. Those very people who
would not change under peer influence now often changed under authority
influence. [An] outstanding example was an orthodox Jew. The only thing he
responded to was a Jewish authority; that he accepted. I could bring him a Protestant
authority that was saying the exact same thing and it would not touch him. Catholic
authority-the same response. Lay authority-wouldn't get to first base. He changed
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when authority hit him, not with fear, but only when it was a specific kind of
authority. You got a rigid defense if it was some other kind of authority."
[Graves is further confounded by his results as he digs deeper.]
"Now I started to get this crazy mixed up kind of data..."
d. The sacrifice now to get later was not like the sacrifice self now to get now in terms of
judged freedom to behave.
e. The sacrifice now to get later was not like the sacrifice now to get now in terms of the
source of authority as to healthy behavior.
f. The express self rationally for what self desires without shame or guilt was like the express
self but not at the expense of others in seeing healthy personality as expressive of self.
g. The express self rationally for what self desires without shame or guilt was like the express
self but not at the expense of others in terms of changing to a non-expressive [denial] of
self form when central change took place.
h. The express self rationally for what self desires without shame or guilt was not like the
express self but not at the expense of others in terms of effective change forces. The
express self rationally for what self desires without shame or guilt subjects responded
only to self-procured information or to self-thought. The express self but not at the
expense of others responded to information or thought, regardless of the source. While
the express self rationally responded only to self-procured information, the express self
but not at the expense of others was different. [The latter group] might change under the
influence of a peer or under the influence of authority. Sometimes they mentioned that
something had come up in class and that this was a factor that had caused them to sit back
and reconsider. They changed no matter where the information came from, with none of
the closed-ness [of the former group] present.
i. "The express self rationally for what self desires without shame or guilt group was not like
the express self but not at the expense of others type in terms of judged freedom of
behavior. They [the former group] always expressed themselves like the tethers were on
them, tying them down. [They] had a desperate need to be free, but felt very much that
they were tied down. The express self but not at the expense of others subjects never
argued about the methodology we were using, never felt that they were being bound by
the goals that someone else had set up. On the other hand, they would say that if it looks
like we'd made a mistake somewhere in moving in a direction, they didn't try to break
away from anything."
j. The express self rationally for what self desires without shame or guilt type was not like the
express self but not at the expense of others in terms of taking advantage of others. "This
came out particularly in the peer situation where they were receiving peer criticism. [It
became] most difficult on the subjects when they had one, two, or three of these express
self calculatedly [characters] in the group. [Sometimes] the guy would try and take over
the show and try to tell the other guy what his conception was, and try to run it for him.
[In other cases] he would sit there and watch and actually come out many times and say,
"Well, I'm learning how to handle you; I see what your weaknesses are." And he'd begin
to work on the guy. He'd just sit there waiting for this person to show some kind of
weakness that would enable him to get an advantage."

So, here is a conflicting set of data. This conflicting data, however, started to make some
sense when the change data was combined with the freedom-to-behave-in-a-novel situation data.
Now, if one hypothesized that adult man moved from fewer degrees of behavioral freedom to
more degrees of behavioral freedom, he had dictated to him the hierarchy from...
...sacrifice now to get later (set a)...
...to express self rationally for what the self desires without shame or guilt
(set b)...
...to sacrifice now to get now (set b)...
....to express self but not at the expense of others (Set
a)...
...to adjust self to existential realities (a possible set c)
.
But this was still the germinal stage of an idea. It was necessary to explore further. When this
data took the peculiar character noted, several other studies were carried out in an attempt to see
if further information might possibly clarify the conflict in the data and support the idea of
systems. The change data was then investigated in more detail. Some basic results of peer and
authority criticism led to the appearance of the sequence...
Deny self (a) [now for reward later] changed to...
Express self (a) [and take advantage of others] to...
Deny self (b) [to get acceptance now] to...
Express self (b) [not at other's expense] to...
Deny self (c) to conform of existential realities [a conception not in the original data].

VIII. Perhaps There's No Such Thing as Psychological Health


Graves wrote. "In 1959 I got the shock of my life. When this express self but not at the
expense of others (which is very much like Maslow's Self-Actualizing man, Rogers's Fully
Functioning Person, etc.) person was studied again, [some of them] began to deny that that was a
healthy human being. I had people show up who said that they used to believe that this was a
healthy human being, but that they no longer believed it. In other words, I had a new category, a
new description of healthy human behavior, a new conception, appear in the midst of the work.
If you think ahead a little bit, this really created a tremendous problem because the "fully
functioning person", is this the healthy person? The "self-actualizing person is this the healthy
person? In other words, Rogers and Maslow conceived of the healthy human being as the end, an
ultimately achievable state of being which some could hope to attain.
What are you going to do when your data says that this state (which is the 'healthy' human
being) is a state that some people begin to cast aside. This opens up the idea that psychological
health is a process, and not a state of being or set of behaviors. And that there isn't any such thing
as psychological health, [for] it is an illusion, and we have to begin to think along that line if we
are going to understand human behavior."

IX. A New Category Emerges


"Now, at this time, as things changed in the colleges and human beings who were
previously deprived of the opportunity to enter into college [began to do so], I started to get a
new conception, another one, one that I had not previously gotten. That was: Express self
impulsively at any cost. To illustrate, one of these started off with. "Doc, the world is a
Goddamned jungle and any healthy man knows it. It's the survival of the fittest." This is the way
the conception started out."
Conceptions similar to this started to appear enough for them to be sorted out by the later
judges as a distinct category. Upon checking previous years' data, Graves found other scattered
samples of this type of conception, so it became another category for those conceptions, as well.
He also discovered that when it changed, "low and behold, it was the category that changed
[when central change occurred] into deny self now to get reward later." At this point the idea
arose that psychological health must be part of a process. [The data clearly suggested] that it is a
hierarchical process, and that it is open-ended. The emerging pattern was...
Express self impulsively at any cost

Deny self now for later reward

Express self for self gain, but calculatedly

Deny self now to get acceptance now

Express self, but not at the expense of others

Deny self to existential realities

It next occurred to Graves that perhaps he was not dealing with psychological health, but
that the conceptions actually reflected personality systems in miniature. He was seeing a group
of micro-theories about what the healthy human being is like. The focus of his research was
now sharpened markedly; the search was on.

X. The Research Enters a New Phase


Graves was fortunate in that most of the subjects in his earlier classroom research continued
with their studies. Most went onto take Industrial and Abnormal Psychology courses with him.
Thus, the bulk of his population remained available for more intensive scrutiny. This longitudinal
consistency was to prove vital to his work, for the idea that the classifications represented
personality systems meant that the he had to study the people, rather than just their conceptions of
the healthy personality.
"Now keep in mind that the people did not know what was going on. I had to
collect ... psychometric data without their having any idea what 1 was interested in.
And I had to contrive the collection of this data in such a way that it certainly
seemed a reasonable part of what I was doing in the course I was teaching."
[Recall that this was the middle 1950s.]
I administered a number of different psychological tests to the people in the
Abnormal Psychology class ...under the statement that 'you're going to have the
opportunity to take certain psychological tests, to learn something about yourself,
and to see what diagnosis in like in the field of psychology.

In Organizational Psychology, I contrived a number of behavioral situations


involving the subject matter of organizational [and] industrial [settings] and put
these people into these situations. I would take people with similar conceptions of
healthy personality and put them into particular situations, then with others in the
same situation but in different categories, and then see what happened.'
Graves gathered all the observational data himself. While this reduced the possibility of
contamination, it also meant that he was unable to get complete data on all subjects at all times.
He made wire audio tapes of some sessions, but these were used mostly for recording notes and
observations. In addition, the quality was often poor and the system unreliable. The datagathering was arduous. His notes would indicate... "He did this, so and so did that, and [I'd] try
to put it together later. [There were] no computers at this time, [so it was a] long process of
observing and analyzing data."
Thus was Graves able to gather data from numerous psychological tests, as well as
simulations in which subjects having various conceptions of psychological health were mixed
together. He had eight sets of quantitative data.
1. Group results on standardized tests.
2. How subjects with similar conceptions organized to solve problems.
"For example, when I put a group together I'd say to them. 'Now, 1 want you to solve
these problems; you organize to get it done.' Then I would observe to see how they
organized themselves [to deal with] the problem."
3. How subjects with similar conceptions interacted with each other.
4. How subjects with similar conceptions worked toward solution of the problem.
5. How long, on average, it took each group to find answers.
6. How many solutions each group found. [Express self but not at the expense of others
(GI) found more solutions than all others put together.]
7. Quality of answers found by groups. [All found good answers, but differed as to how and
quantity.]
8. Average time of finding solutions.
"Now, try to gut yourself- in my position. I had given a. number of psychometric tests and
put them in a number of situations where they had been measured on a large number of
dimensions." The quantity of data was almost overwhelming. Yet, Graves took the mean scores
he'd obtained and began to rank-order the results.
On measures of Cognitive Complexity...
...the sacrifice now for reward later had the lowest mean score...
...next highest score was express self calculatedly...
...next highest mean score was sacrifice for approval now...
...and express self with consideration was the next one.

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However, there was no essential difference in intelligence rankings. Graves claims that
"subsequent studies have indicated that those systems that are described in the Journal of
Humanistic Psychology do not arise from intelligence. The highest correlation that I or anyone
else [1971J who has been playing around when I was [late 1950's, early 1960's] or now [is 0.15 or
below]. The collected data displayed a number of interesting trends. Without going into specifics
as to the exact personality dimensions involved, Graves reported a number of trends... a...increase
in amount of dimension from system to system
...decrease in amount of dimension from system to system
...increase quantitatively with time
...decrease quantitatively with time
b...some dimensions have a quantitative trend (There isn't much difference and then,
suddenly, there is a quantitative difference.)
c...some dimensions of personality are system specific (The same in most systems, but
quantitatively different in one specific system.)
d...some dimensions of personality are cyclic in development (Come in, go out, come in,
go out again)
e...some dimensions of personality have a cyclic trend to them
"At this point with the data, I tried to rationalize my data within all of the existing theories of
personality with which I was acquainted. I [always] had amounts of data left over unaccounted
for by any theory of personality with which I tried to rationalize my data. So I said to myself,
'Just let the data talk; let the data tell you what personality should essentially be.' And, basically, it
said." The data directed Graves to conceptualize the systems as derived from two components
[express self and deny self conceptions]. His decision "was not made capriciously. It was made
because my data required the systems to be so represented."
The data said:.
a. Conceptualize adult behavior so as to allow for no variation in certain psychological
dimensions, such as intelligence and temperament.
b. Conceptualize adult behavior so as to allow for quantitative variation in some
dimensions-authoritarianism, dogmatism [for example].
c. Conceptualize adult behavior in an alternating wave-like fashion, allowing for
repetition of theme. [This was derived from the change and organizational data, the
different ways the people in different systems organized.]
d. Conceptualize adult behavior so that every other system is similar to but at the same
time different from its alternative. [Again, derived from the change data.]
e. Conceptualize adult behavior so that each system has its specifics, so that each
system has a quality all its own. [From the interaction data.]
f. Conceptualize adult behavior so that certain systems are more externally oriented
while others are internally oriented. [From the express self, deny self data.]

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g. Conceptualize adult behavior so as to show increased degrees of behavioral freedom in


each successive system, particularly in the express self not at the expense of others
system. [Freedom to behave and problem solving data.]
The problem solving data provided an important insight. His approach was. "Here are some
problems. You organize the problems. There are many answers to the problems (to be solved),
and every answer is not the same." The problems [developed at the University of Michigan were
presented to both-deny self and express -self groups.
Graves structured the results around:
...how many solutions did they come up with?
...what was the average time it took the group to arrive at an answer/solution?
...how did they organize in order to come by the solution?
"The data stopped me cold for a while. I didn't t know what to do with it!" The express self but
not at the expense of others group...
...found more solutions than all the others put together.
...the quality of their solutions was better than the other groups.
...time required to arrive at a solution was much better.
[They were] "very, very different ...incredibly different."
Graves was again forced to review his data. He tried to make a judgment as to whether one
person was wiser than another, but the data held; he couldn't find any difference. Yet, one group
had come up with more answers, better answers, and in less time than the others.
"So I had to conceptualize that a sudden and almost unbelievable change takes place in human
behavior when the individual begins to believe that psychological health should be both
expressive of self and taking care of the other human being at the same time. When a human
being starts to think in that manner, a personality reorganization which is almost unbelievable
takes place. I could not find any significant differences [in intelligence, temperament, etc.], yet
these people were better."

XI. The Broad Implications


"The single most important thing, in my mind, in the field of behavioral sciences at the
present time, and I would say this generally for the welfare of mankind, is .for the government to
wake up and get all of this information together ...You would be amazed at the papers [letters] I
have where a man buried in a university up in Canada reads an article of mine and says, "I hid
this thing away ten years ago because everyone thought I was crazy ...Now there is an incredible
amount of information-tremendous-along. this line. It is ready to be used in approaching human
problems; and there is no effort being put forth to bring this information [together]. If there is
anything we need, it is this sort of thing-bring it together ... There is Jean ___ in Montreal, for
instance. Who is listening to what the man has to say? Good God, one of the most important men
in Canada ...We have arrived at a point in time when an idea can come up in any field-rat
psychologists or human psychologists, physicist or whatever-it all seems to be pointing in the
same direction."

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XII. Graves on a Theoretical Conception of Personality


"We are conceptualizing personality in a form quite different from anything we have
conceived before, and I have, first of all, to choose a beginning point for conceptualization. I
started with this factor of the cyclic dimension that has shown up. [Graves cites one of his
research approaches which led to the cyclic conception.] One of the studies which we
conducted, which I conducted, along the way, was a rough study of the relation of general
socioeconomic data [about a person] to [that person's] conception of a healthy personality.
And, in general, I found the lower the socioeconomic status of the individual, the more his
conception of healthy personality tended to be low in the hierarchy of conceptions that I had
set up from this research.
So it looks as if a person's conception of healthy personality (and then generalizing from
that to a miniature system of personality to [an overall] system of personality) was a function
of his having experienced the solution of certain problems the human being runs into when he
tries to stay alive. The lower the conception of healthy personality in the hierarchy established
[in the research], the closer to being vital were the problems the human being was confronted
with.
Now, with that and the other data, I had to begin to try to conceptualize. I chose as a
beginning of it this- cyclic facet and said that these data say that there-- are two major
components in personality which change with time. They have the character that they spurt and
then plateau for a period of time, and then they spurt and then plateau again."
"I couldn't account for the cyclic facet any other way. I said the data indicate that some people
are attempting to make this world fit them, and some people are trying to fit themselves to the
world. That is, express self and deny self categories. And so I said, man's personality develops
by periods of spurts and plateaus of certain basic components in the brain.
This is a depiction of part of that. It depicts the spurting and the leveling off which
accounts for the cyclic factor in that data. The solid line accounts for the fact that some of the
systems are adjustive systems, and some of them are expressive. When the dotted line is in a
state of ascendancy, that is the man's expressive system. So, 1 - 3 - 5 - 7 are self-expressive
systems."
The 2 - 4 - 6 - 8 and, I hypothesize, the future 10 - 12 - 14 systems are adjustive systems.
The first one is trying to adjust to the world as he finds it, rather than change it-trying to get
along with it, trying to belong to it.' [Graves apparently gave a summation of Abraham
Maslow's point of view here. He goes on to discuss the relationship of his research to
Maslow's.]
You should know that Maslow came around to my point. If you look at some of his later
writings, you will see that he accepted both (1) the cyclic idea that there were more than one kind
of expressive system and more than one kind of belonging system and (2) that the system is open
ended. We finally, after fighting this over for eight years, came to a fundamental agreement along
that line.
So we are representing here, you see, that in my data it said that there are systems that
respond change-wise to outside authority. But, my data said that the deny self to get now
category responds to authority in the fullest sense of the word-higher authority. My data said the
6th system, that is, the deny self to get now, responds to peer authority. So they are alike, all in

13

the same family. They have even numbers because they both change under the influence of
authority.
This we will see subsequently, psychotherapeutically. Consider, for instance, the data I
have in relation to the thousands of drug problems. [These generalizations are] not entirely true,
but many involved in the drug problem appear to be in there [because they are] making the
transition from the 51h system. These data say that if you are going to help them to make the
transition from the 51h to the 6th system, the only authority that will be effective will be peer
authority.
So we picked up that part of the data [indicating] that some systems respoind to one kind of
authority, and another system responds to another kind of authority. But, they always respond to
authority if they are even-numbered systems.
Now my data also said, and this is very important; that the degrees of behavioral freedom
of the human being increase as we move up the levels of human existence, that he has more
choices, that at the lowest levels of human existence the choices he can make are very limited.
Now the reason this is important is that if you believe, as I do, that behavior must
ultimately be [based] in the brain, then I've got to have some way of accounting for the fact that,
in the brain of man, the choices are limited at the lowest level of human existence."

XIII. On the Model, as Depicted Graphically


"Each system is increasing in size as we move up. The seventh system represents by its size
[that] there should be more space within the lines there than would be included in systems 1-2-34-5-6 -- all together. [The graphic appears thus] to account for this tremendous jump, [this]
tremendous change in behavior I ran into when I put them in those problemsolving situations."
[Graves's original drawings, reproduced later, do not actually make his point visually. He
remarked that..."if this were drawn properly, it isn't t quite proper"...the relationships of the areas
enclosed by the various systems' lines would accurately reflect the variations in conceptual
space.]
I'm not going to the details of this. Anyhow, I tried to represent here the basic change in the
data that were dictated to me as some kind of a pictographic story of what personality is like. [He
continues to refer to the diagram of emerging systems.]
And I tried to show that on the base line there, these changes take place as the person has
less and less vital problems to deal with, so N represents the most vital problems of the human
being. O, P, Q, R, S, T, U are less vital, in a sense, but are different kinds of existential
problems.

XIV. Are These Systems Located within the Brain?


"Now, I had to say that this is based in the brain. (Remember that I was working back in
time.) I hypothesized that the brain of man must be structured some way or another-probably
functionally, not physically-into a series of hierarchically ordered, dynamic neurological
systems. [I further suggested that] someone ought to be able to identify the system of the brain
that runs man when N condition prevails.
Then, when he has solved the problems in the N condition, there ought to be identifiable in
the brain of man the B system which man operates under when he is trying to solve the O

14

problems. And there should be in the brain of man the C system which somehow or another
takes over and organizes the behavior of the organism after he has solved the O problems and
when he is dealing with the P problems of existence.
I now define the N problems [as] those problems involving the operation of imperative,
periodic physiological needs of the organism. And I now hypothesize that there is a functional
system in the brain that specifically relates to the task of running the vital processes, periodic in
nature in the organism.
And the O problems I now define as those problems involving the physiology of the
organism which do not have the characteristic of periodicity in them. In other words, the
problems of shelter. These are the problems the human being is striving to solve at that time,
and that gave something distinct, demonstrably distinct, about the A system, that it would be
different not only in its structure or its network in the brain, but it would also be different in
terms of the stimuli which will activate it.
[Further], that only certain stimuli will cause that A system to run. That is, it is alert to
certain information or, as I put it in my current writings, we are equipped by nature with certain
information processing devices and certain decision making equipment to handle in an
hierarchically ordered way a series of problems of human existence.
And so I say the A system can be demonstrated to be distinct, and I say that you can set up
experiments which will show you that if you use one kind of stimulation, you don't activate that
system. We have the methodology for doing this. If you use another kind of stimulation, you
can activate the B system, but you won't activate the A, and you won't activate the C.
Now, I hypothesized that a long time ago. (I now have a 4-page bibliography which
supports my contention.) There is in the literature ...the proof that the systems are there, that
they are different systems. [Part of the support comes from learning theory, part from Graves's
observations of his own subjects' learning behavior. He concluded that...]
He learns one way in system A; he learns another way in system B; he learns another way
in system C. These studies and my own work I believe now show that the learning process in
the brain...
...under the A system is habituation
...under the B system is Pavlovian conditioning
...under the C is operant or instrumental conditioning
...under the D is avoidance conditioning
...under the FS (6th) is the operational learning process (Bandura}
We learn differently in each system. We are equipped by nature to learn this way when
the system is such and such, and not that way.
Now, when you think in terms of therapy, if the C system is running the organism and it is
alert to learn only through operant conditioning, what are we fiddling around with Freudian
therapy for when we have that kind of person? If you have the D system dominant, what are we
fiddling around with Skinner for when we have Freudian techniques?

15

If we can ever get this information tossed out we are going to be on our way to what I
would call constructive and humanistic control of human behavior. I'm not out to get
Skinner, just a very different way to work with and bring about change in human behavior.
[There are studies which] ...show that in the B system, for example, what it responds to
is variation in the same sensory modality. If you want to activate the B system, you increase
light or decrease light. [You] increase or decrease sound. But you would never use a pattern
of lights, or a pattern of sounds, or a pattern of sound and light together, because that will activate the C system, but won't turn the B system on.
So, different stimuli turn on different systems. You can place electrodes in the brain
where the centrality of these systems are, and you can get [responses] out if you put a certain
kind of stimulus in there, but you will not get activity if you put another kind of stimulus in
there. Now, this, you see, is one part of the system. We're trying to see how the brain is like.
In Graves's view, the brain is a structural system, perhaps a bunch of structures or
whatever, that are arranged in a system. He tried to get away from the idea that somewhere
in the brain there lies, in toto, the A system. Instead, "there is a central point, apparently, and
then it ramifies out through the rest of the brain in some way.
But functionally, there is an A system, and a B system, and a C and a D and an E and an F,
etc. "And to handle the data that this new conception of healthy personality that I had never run
into before and no one else had run into before [presented me], I had to open up this brain and
say, 'Look, there are an awful lot of swells in here, and an awful lot of permutations and
combinations that take place.
Therefore, this is very possibly an open-ended system and we are just chasing a will-o'thewisp whenever we're trying to produce a healthy personality because as soon as we
produce a person who functions well in one system, alas, he doesn't want to be that kind of a
human being any longer.
He wants to start behaving [in) a new and different way and we have to learn the
process to know where he is going ...so we can keep up with the guy. Because, you see, I've
got the A B C D E F systems, and I've got the conditions that seem to change; but, I haven't
got any clear relationships between them. I've just got two things.
What's going to bring about the interrelationships? Remember, my data indicated that
no one changed unless he had something that pushed him. But it also indicated that there is a
factor of improved conditions for existence in the element of change. [Because of the
data]...'I had to hypothesize that if I was going to have a conception of personality that dealt
with the facts as we know them in psychology today, that some people don't have systems B
C D E F in them. We have [hydro] cephalic monsters, microcephalics whose cortex is
arrested and doesn't have the same structure.

XV. The Process of Change


"So I hypothesized that, if the person has potential, that is, the higher level systems, that's the
first factor required to change to a higher system of behavior. The second factor is the solution of
the existential problems with which he is faced.
But this was not enough for change. What brought about the change? Additional studies
show that if a person seemed to have what he thought were his problems of existence solved, and

16

then something came along that loused up his solution, that this was absolutely necessary for
change, And this is the old business of dissonance.
Some knowledge must come into the field, something must come in here and stir this thing
up when it is in a state of equilibrium. But my data indicated that this did not produce the change.
What it caused the person to do was to go back and try out his old solutions. He did not go
forward, he went in search of some other way, something that would work. But he didn't find it.
[The person] ...then would get an idea. I had many experiences in which the student, would
report in the course of going over their modification the sort of 'ah-ha!' kind of thing-"Ah-ha! I've
started to see this a little differently. There's something here I didn't see before.' [In other words,
he got an insight.]
But what has all of this to do with the movement from the conditions under which the A
system is dominating the behavior of the person and the B system takes over dominating the
behavior of the person? There's got to be something else in this brain. There has to be some kind
of O - operated switching mechanism, something going on that switches the dominant system in
the brain from A to B, and thus into C.
Well, I tried out a number of different ideas...cells that could be in the way and atrophied and
got out of the way...using the model of the thymus gland ...mechanical ideas ...and other ideas.
But none of them would handle the problem of regression at all. So the only thing I can get a hold
of here is a reversible chemical process. The brain has to be, therefore, a producer of chemicals."

Q&A with DR. CLARE W. GRAVES


[The following remarks are drawn from a question-and-answer session that followed Dr. Graves
formal presentation at NIMH. Among the participants were William Lee and Dick Wakefield, two
good friends of Graves and long-time students of this point of view. Many of the questions are
from these two gentlemen. Some of the conversation has been edited for clarity and
appropriateness to the context of this document. However, we've made every effort to stay true to
the intent of all parties' remarks.].
QUESTION. What factors are part of the process of change?
[There may well be] biochemical brain activities that are correlates of all psychological
activities. [However], I'm not biased in trying to tie the two together. I feel we are not at that
point, and that we have to independently work and hope that, at some later time, the correlates
will shot up. [Furthermore], I would feel that when you come up against a psychological problem
[and you frame that] explanation in terms of brain activity, [such an] explanation is bound to be a
model, a pseudo-explanation in terms of the psychological side of it. That by way of introduction.
What I was going to ask you about on psychological grounds, in terms of this change from
one level of existence to another, and the dissonance, and the solving of problems is. Do you
conceptualize something about activity/passivity? What's the difference in the person whose
dissonance befalls him and he's pushed into something, as compared with the person who, for
whatever reason, can turn toward a new problem somewhat autonomously?
GRAVES'S RESPONSE.
"It depends upon which system he is going from and to. If he is going from expressive to
an adjustive, it is a very different thing than if he is going from an adjustive to an expressive.

17

If he is going from an adjustive to an expressive system, you always get the guy out here
pulling. It looks as if it is coming from within. If he is going from an expressive to an
adjustive system, it appears that your impetus is coming from without. [As evidence of this
effect] I show you what some of the specific things are according to my data as you move
from one system to another.
Suppose we have a person in the P existential state. To affect change in this person, you
must have an outside, benevolent authority who figuratively creates a sheer buffer for the
human being and says to this human being, "These are your degrees of freedom. You cannot
move beyond here; but, if you move in here, you'll stay alive. I'll see to it. I'll take care of you.
You set up this kind of situation with the outside force and the person appears to be [in]
the system where he is psychic {sic} [psychotic?], but the peculiar thing is the what he is
depicting is passivity. He seems to be drawn into a world where 'he has to be different'. This
person is seeking to be different.
Whereas, if, on the other hand, you have a person where the next step up the ladder is
moving out of the DQ system into the ER system, then your change agent has to be one that can
stimulate him to break away from the Skinner Box. [You'll need to] run to stay ahead of him as he
gets there. I'll describe him more as we get on with it. [The way] you have to behave depends
upon where he is going."
QUESTION. What is the sequence of change/development?
[Is it your] thinking that the individual functions on many levels at one time? [Rather than move
sequentially through your developmental stages, might it be that] an aggressive person maybe
goes from one level of aggression to another level of aggression without having to go through
(the intervening steps]?
GRAVES'S RESPONSE.
"Movement is not necessarily movement from one system to the next, but a
subordination. When the BO system takes over, the AN is still there and subordinated in it.
And the problems are plural problems-the N problems are plural problems, and the O
problems are plural problems. So, we can solve some of the problems at the N level, but not
all the problems.
[You may only resolve] % and so you can get this mixture. And, in fact, the basic
evidence I have is that (except when one begins to approach pathology) [neither I nor any]
others who have worked along this line have, as far as I know, [have found] any persons in
whom at least 50% of his thinking could not be centralized in a particular system, and then it
shades off to where is he going and where has he come from?
The temperamental aspect (factor) may very well play a role. I just don't know enough
about it at this date to say what role it is. The data says that temperament stays the same across
systems-consistent across systems. (And here I might say I am sticking with Sheldon as far as
temperament is concerned-cerebrotonic). If this stays constant across systems, then it's got to
fit in there somewhere. I just don't know what it is at this date.
I just want to come back to the chemical side. You said you feel we shouldn't. My feeling
is that we've got to. We must, in that we are already half way across the bridge, moving down
the other side. I have another 3-4 page bibliography in support of my conclusions. In fact, the
data that the chemical side is there is already in the literature.

18

I conceive this. that the dissonance that comes into the field somehow or another induces
the brain to begin to synthesize that kind of organic substance that causes the D system to take
over dominance. [I believe that] we will eventually be able to identify what this is, and [I'm]
even ready to speculate on what it is.
(At birth, the A brain equipment predominates] and seems to produce [certain chemicals],
slowly in the beginning; then, it reaches a certain point [and] a quantum jump is made and the
shifting to the B system's [becoming] the dominant controlling system in the brain. [It] takes
over and the individual becomes a new psychological being, and now begins to run by new
laws.
QUESTION. What stimulates change?
[Is it your point of view that] in response to new stimuli (in the sense of old problems solved
plus some dissonance coming in) [that there is something physically] in the brain responsive to
these stimuli [and it is this] which them amounts to shifting a system?
GRAVES'S RESPONSE. [Physiology & psychology entwined]
Yes, and now he learns in a new way, [is] motivated in a new way. I think I am ready to suggest,
and I have some evidence, that he has a new physiology, that this is a new psychological being [as
well as a] different [physiological] being endocrinologically. One of the major differences
between the CP and DQ systems is the ratio between noradrenaline and adrenaline...
CP systemz: noradrenaline > adrenaline, whereas...
DQ system: adrenaline > noradrenaline. The ratio is switched.
This is just one part of the chemistry of the system, then. I am suggesting that there is a
very definite difference in the chemistry and that, as the movement from the BO to the CP is
made, then the dissonance comes in and stimulates again. The brain [then] produces,
synthesizes, a chemical substance that causes the transition to be made and that one of our tasks
is, ultimately, to find out what those are.
[We must explore] whether the brain-the person-has the ability to produce these. [Graves
cites Krech's research at California] They have been able to produce, at the animal level, a shift
in animal behavior not unlike this shift by rearing rats in very bad conditions (for rat existence)
and comparing them to rats reared in good rat conditions. [Krech and his students] let them
grow to adulthood while assessing their behavioral potentials. (They have found) that the
potential in the rat that is reared in good conditions is far in excess of the rats reared in poor
conditions. [They] then euthanize the rat that has been reared in good conditions, remove the
brain, grind it up, and take an extract out of it. [This they] shoot into the brain of the poor
condition rat and, low and behold, the rat jumps behaviorally and performance is much better -60-70h. "Krech tells me [the rats so treated are] overcoming 60?0% of the difference between
the performing levels of the two rats. So, you see, what is it they are shooting into the brain if
it isn't a chemical?
QUESTION. How do psychology and chemistry interface?
In terms of explanations on psychological grounds, you can be allowed the basic
assumptions that the brain is basic to functioning psychological behavior. In a certain sense, you
don't need the experiment. You know that there has to be the brain biochemical basis for change

19

of behavior, and that when behavior changes, there is some kind of change in the physiological
situation.
Now, it does tend to [appear that] finding the correlates (which I'm in favor of pursuing)
does give some substantiation; but you can't use one to explain the other. The change in the
chemical doesn't explain the psychological change. You can't really say which comes first. [It's]
probably more complicated than this.
GRAVES'S RESPONSE.
"I do agree with you because this is the way, as I understand it; and I think you can check
me on this to bear me out. The greatest advance of modern Physics was when Maxwell reversed
and tried to explain electromagnetism in terms of [physical properties]. You see, what I'm trying
to do is explain the brain in terms of behavior.
I'm reversing this process. I'm saying that I've got behavior. Now I'm going to say what the
brain is like. Because man behaves this way, the brain is constructed [thus); I'm not trying to
explain behavior in terms of the brain."
QUESTION (continues). Maybe my question is not valid. But what I'm trying to get at is
[that] when you're working alone with your psychological experiments, and you're trying to
conceptualize it, and you come to a block where you can't understand it, and you can't explain
it in terms of psychological theory, if, at that point, you jump up and say, "well, it must be
something in the brain that changes," I think that's invalid. I think that's what I mean by
pseudo-explanation. It's not simply using it as a confirming correlate, a mutually-confirming
correlate. I agree that's the important aspect of it. But they're still running kind of on parallel,
and we try to make bridges across, but I don't think we can use one to explain the other.
GRAVES'S RESPONSE (continues).
Well, the studies to which I have been referring are the studies which have to do with moving of
behavior in or out at will by changing the chemistry or change the chemistry and move the
behavior. Now, these studies exist, and so I'm saying if one can take certain chemicals (as I'm sure
many of know is being done at the present time and is being used as a psychiatric treatment) and
move aggression in and out of a patient. [Or], as they are doing up at Harvard by the injection of
chemicals in animals. If you can find, as studies show and I hypothesize, that, as the level of
existence changes, the chemistry changes, then I don't think we can get away from it. These are
neither one cause nor effect-they're a system."
QUESTION. What are appropriate means for change?
[From the] bioengineering standpoint, [if you] cause aggression without organization, [does it]
become frustration?
GRAVES'S RESPONSE. [on chemistry, structure, & behavior]
"Remember, my data is [based on] the phenomenal beliefs of people." Therefore, when
working with a person/patient, those beliefs must be taken fully into account. The mindset of the
person has a profound effect on the success of treatment modalities.
Thus, "if that person believes that change takes place psychologically, and not chemically,
then you jolly well better not be messing around with chemical means of changing him. Use a
psychological means. This is what I'm concerned with."

20

"Under tension, the endocrines produced more than they should of certain substances, and if
you relaxed the tension, these substances would decrease the anxiety would disappear. [When the
subjects] used relaxation techniques, the endocrines changed and the anxiety was gone.
I think Skinner's work brought all this together. [Subsequent research] ...brings that kind of
information together and shows many of the behavioral changes that move in and out as the
chemistry of the individual does change.
Notice what I'm saying here, and this is the thing that is important to me. It doesn't matter
whether you go at this from the structural level and try to explain things in the beginning; it
doesn't matter whether you go at it from the chemical level and try to explain things from the
beginning; or whether you go at it from the behavioral level.
What you are going to find is.
(a)...if you start off structurally, you're going to be left with some gaps over here that
you can't handle until you've handled it both chemically and behaviorally;
(b)...if you start off chemically and try to explain it all, you'll be left with some gaps
over here that you can't handle until you deal with the structural and behavioral
components;
(c)...and if you start off behaviorally, you're going to end up with some gaps you can't
handle until you deal with the structural and chemical aspects.
So, it isn't one or the other, it's a system. They're all there within my point of view, you see.
A system of behavior is roughly akin to the concepts of absolute zero and absolute vacuum in
physics. It's something that is never achieved, but is that from which the human being varies. And
so I'm saying, in theory, there is a very tied relationship among structure, chemistry, and behavior.
If you had pure conditions, with this structure and this chemistry, they you'd get this behavior. If
you-had this behavior, you'd get this chemistry and structure.
[This is true] ...in theory, but, recognizing that in reality we - are [limited by our
instruments], it doesn't exist. Let's use my hypothesized explanation of the difference between the
GT (7th) level and the other levels, and what instrumental evidence I have so far for the HU level
as a means of test.
What I find explains best to me the reason that the people in the GT level behave so much
better quantitatively, qualitatively, time-wise, etc., [is] that they are not afraid...
...not afraid that they're not going to have shelter
...not afraid of predatory man CP
...not afraid of God, which is DQ
...not afraid of not having status, or not having it, or making it on their own ...not afraid of
social rejection
You've got a man who isn't afraid. Now, we wouldn't deny, would we, that the fear
element has a chemical factor in it. Now, move that out of the brain-get it out of there-and
what have you got left? This is what I'm saying. [My research] suggests that these basic
rules hold all the way through.

21

Now, in the HU level, what evidence do I have there? Well, I've got one piece of
evidence I can't run from. The electrical resistance of the skin changes significantly from
any other level. Now, I just cannot deny this. They have incredibly different skin
resistance. It becomes so high you can hardly get in {sic}. I'm talking about something that
is 2, 3, 4 standard deviations; this thing has really jumped. The electrical resistance of the
skin goes up incredibly.
Now, what do I find behaviorally in these people? What many people are attempting
to achieve through psychedelic drugs. I find that you can turn off other levels of
consciousness at will. He can go out of this world and go off into other levels of
consciousness and come back at will.
Instrumentally, you have that and, I'd say well, now. If you have that change in the
electrical resistance, I think there are going to be some other physiological things that are
going to turn up with time, and I think some of them are going to be chemical."
QUESTION. Does conscious will play a part in change?
But, the main thing, the system that causes the individual to go from the other levels, enables
him to change his chemistry. [Might it be] that the actual cause of changing from one level to
the other is not the chemical change, [but conscious will. Perhaps] the person who can control
his chemistry at will can change levels-changing chemistry through conscious will.
GRAVES'S RESPONSE. [GT to HU]
"Concerning the ideas here, you and I can't sit here today and talk the rest of the day and get
anywhere on this one. I'm saying that when the U problems come to be, there'll be something
unique about them that we've never run into before. And, I don't think I have any evidence
through the first seven systems that would say to me that the behavior difference in the eighth
system would be that the system falls apart.
I think something new comes into the system, not something goes out of it. I don't know
what that will be. This is one of the things I've run into. All that one can say [is that] if there is
any such thing to this point of view, [it is] that new systems will appear. And they will follow
this "anywhere" system idea that I've laid down-that there will always be something unique.
Something new will appear in the system that no one thought would be there before.
QUESTION. Does something turn off, as well as on, during change?
You once talked about the concept of instead of turning on, something turning off.
Repressing from level to level. Is that still involved?
GRAVES'S RESPONSE. (switching)
"As I said, I had troubles conceptualizing the switching business all along. And the best
evidence seems to be at the present time that we might use a Christmas tree here as our
vehicle for visualizing it. We have series of strings of lights in a ladder-like form. These lights
have the capacity, or, rather, you have the capacity to control the amount of illumination being
let out of the lights. So, when man is in the AN stage of affairs, the lowest chain of lights is
very bright and the others are all dim. Now, let me move to B. Something comes in that
dampens out A and reduces it to a state of dimness. Let's "stand" C & D & E and B becomes the
brightest. And now, when C comes on, it is the brightest and D, E, F, G are dimmer; but A & B
are still dimmer. That is, something is dampening out so it's a matter of, as a higher system
comes on, the lower level system is subordinated.

22

At one time I did say, and I retract that now since data from studies by other people didn't
support it, that it was a switching off and on process. It is not a switching on-off process. It's an
increasing the intensity of operation and a decreasing of intensity of operation.
So, apparently, if we think of this as a chemical switching mechanism, somehow or another
you either have to have more than one, or you have to have an "epycolor" as the particular
capacity to dampen out the one as the other comes on. Now, at this point, my knowledge of
chemistry begins to run out and I'd better shut up. I can only hypothesize what I think it is.
QUESTION. Do conditions and tasks influence systems?
What you describe suggests to me that you found a lower level system becoming automatic.
You do not mean a "phot" concentration, but as though they were laid out and no one had to keep
putting on the power so you go to the next level. [This] is in line with our theory of knowledge
that we don't think about lower level systems. Do you feel this would vary between tasks and
environment?
GRAVES'S RESPONSE.
"What I'm trying to get at here is that there are certain things about my own perception things that
I feel comfortable with, certain things I don't feel comfortable with. If you are trying to use this
point of view to organize a business or classroom, the first thing you ask is "What is the work you
are going to do?" The task is the important determinate. From there you are going on and derive
your organizational principles and the like."
QUESTION. What's the relationship between problems and actions?
[Your diagram suggests a 1.1 relationship. However, this discussion implies that isn't always the
case.]
GRAVES'S RESPONSE. (referring to the double helix model)
"There are so many things here [that] I have never been able to conceive of any one
particular pictogram that could possibly show the various variables that are present, and that is
why I have this different series to try to show that one system is " " within another system. I have
[a diagram] that...shows the progressive/regressive aspects of it.
[Thus, for example, while] a man [might be] in the process of moving from the AN to the
BO system in respect to problem N, he might be regressing in respect to problem N1, he might be
progressing in respect to problem N2, and he might be holding fast in respect to problem N3. In
any one moment of time, at least three systems are very important in the behavior of a person
a. the one that is dominating
b. the one that is coming up
c. the one that is going down
QUESTION. Does the model reflect Descartes?
[You seem to be laboring to construct a model of human behavior in the way of Descartes,
not so much empirical as rational.]
GRAVES'S RESPONSE.

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"I understand what you hear. As far as I'm concerned, I'm just trying to rationalize that mess
of data. I never even gave a hoot nor holler to the thoughts as to whether it was Descartes who
said this or that. I set out because I was upset about the conflict and I got. more upset; and to get
that monkey off my back, I had to do something. As soon as I got tired of that monkey, he became
hard to carry. When this system came along, it explained the data.
Now, you may go back and relate it to [Freud], and say that this is different from Descartes;
but I had nothing of that sort in mind. [My model is derived from my data].
QUESTION. What is it like not to be constrained by theory?
It should be easier on your part to do that since you are not operating from a theory
dominated point of view. You want to explain something with any means available so the process
could be repeated and evaluated.
GRAVES'S RESPONSE. (Graves on his approach)
"You have to understand one thing about me, and that is when I start anything, I'm an ornery
cuss. I believe that no one else knows anything about it. I don't want to know what anyone else
knows. I won't read anyone else. I almost got kicked out of college for that any number of times.
If I want to know something about something, I'm going to get my own facts and not waste a
lot of time. It took all the fun out of ..an experiment to find out what they've already found out in
the field. I'd rather find out what the guy had done 100 years ago than find it out myself. This
shows what system I operate under."

The POINT of VIEW of CLARE W. GRAVES


[The following is a collection of remarks by Dr. Graves concerning his point of view. They reflect
his thinking on a number of issues.]
ON THE LOWER LEVEL SYSTEMS...
As a result of the work that I did, I had these systems of behavior which I now refer to as the
CP, DQ, ER, FS, and GT, and HU systems. Obviously, there are lower level systems of behavior
than the CP system; and though I've had no subjects in my own research which produced data of
that kind, I proceeded to do a goodly amount of searching through the anthropological literature.
Out of that I constructed the AN and BO systems, and supported the existence of them by
subsequently finding in the literature that these neurological systems did exist.
One of the problems you run into as you try to come across these data that I used to provide
the AN and BO systems is that there seems to be a paucity of information coming out of the
American psychological/psychiatric scene. Unless you get in contact with what is going on in
other parts of the world where people don't think like most American psychologists and
psychiatrists think, you don't come up with these data. And so, you will see (or would see if you
had an opportunity to see the studies I draw from) that they come out of the university of
Montevideo, in Uruguay, from France, Germany, out of Japan; an awful lot of them are not from
this country.
Only very recently had anyone in this country begun to really accept that Hernandez Dian (?)
down in Montevideo in Uruguay is quite a guy, or that that fellow in France has something worthwhile to say.

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ON SYSTEMS THINKING...
So, now we have these eight major systems within the theoretical structure; and if you go
into the literature you will find quite a number of people who have this systems point of view in
one way or another. But this was still the germinal stage of an idea.have a considerable amount of
it in subsequent publications.
I have been extending this point of view into the field of learning, and have edited a paper
(not published) on the learning systems that are operant in each of the major systems. You have
the paper on values. I have published on this in relation to the management of organizations, and
have data on how each of the people within each systems structure work and wow one goes about
managing the behavior of the individual, or how one goes about organizing for groups. That's the
motivational side of it-what motives are the dominate motives in each of the systems.
I have material on the various psychological theories that do exist and where they fall within
the framework. This is why I said it clarifies the confusion. You can see where the operant
conditioning theory is, where classical conditioning theory falls, Adler falls, Jungian theory falls;
where orthodox analytic thinking falls, where modern ego-analytic falls; and you can begin to
take the various theories of human behavior and order them within this framework.
I have data on child rearing. How I could take a child and rear him in such a manner as to
have him emerge in adulthood thinking that the DQ way of life is the right and proper way of life.
It is quite possible to shunt the child into a system of behavior if you know the principles of child
rearing that produce it.
I have information on, for example, a group of 7th grade kids. Let's say you find that you
have kids in there that are operating at the CP, DQ, ER levels. How best can they learn? How do
you actually go about the task of organizing the classroom so that those children can learn and
have, in the course of their learning, an optimizing of their chance of moving up the existential
staircase? {from the Shalmont school system; work of David Hunt, a former student and part of
the Harvey/Hunt/Schroder group; got a truncated systems view on his own}
ON PSYCHOPATHOLOGY...
What kinds of symptoms appear in what kinds of systems? What is the meaning of the kind
of symptom that appears in a particular kind of system? To illustrate, if a person is in a transition
from a DQ to ER system and gets a conversion disorder, what kind of a conversion disorder does
he get? What does this conversion disorder mean within that system?
I find that people who choose the conversion disorder as a means of a resolution of a
conflict they are in (when they are in this transition) are always getting a debilitating kind of
conversion disorder. That is, they don't get a tic, but a debilitating blindness or paralysis. The
thing that is interesting about it is that if they get the debilitating kind of conversion disorder in
their life style, they can always carry on in the misery of it all. They notoriously continue to try
and struggle on and do.
I find, for example, arising out of the CP and ER systems, both what you would call in
other psychology's "acting-out" systems, very different kinds of pathologies than you get arising
out of the others.
The data says, and this is a rather odd one, that suicide is highest in the FS system. The
data also says that homicide, as a behavior of man, disappears as the transition is made into the
FS system. This is an interesting and suggestive finding.If we could possible work on the

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problems of human existence in such a manner as to get the mass -of our people beyond-the. ER
level of -existence, that-this- is a phenomenon which would disappear.
It is -interesting that if that goes, you don't find man without problems because, as I just
said, the minute the transition is made into the FS system, suicides increase. There is severe
frustration and problems in the individual's life, and he'll take his aggression out on himself; he
doesn't take it out on someone else. If a person makes a transition from ER to FS there is a shift
in the thought process. When one begins to make this transition, he really honestly and deeply
inside himself comes to believe that war is no solution to man's problems.
I find people at lower levels who talk about believing that war is not a solution to man's
problems. A person centralized in the ER system will say that; but if you study why, he's simply
saying it because it is to his personal advantage at this particular time not to have a war. He really
doesn't believe that war is not to be done.
You see this in particular today. I run into this myself. 'We must not have war in Vietnam
but, boy, if those Egyptians start anything with Israel, we're gonna' have it.' He really doesn't
believe in not having war. The Vietnam war may be psychologically remote from him; he doesn't
have to go there. Even the absolutistic pacifists in the DQ system really are not pacifistic; it's only
a matter of time before they become war-like hawks.
ON THE PROBLEMS OF ASSESSING SYSTEMS IN PEOPLE...
I have been working in the direction of trying to develop some means of assessment which
would, in theory, enable the individual to assess the degree of operation of all of the systems in
a person at one time so that you could see, in essence, how much of his behavior is CP behavior,
how much DQ, how much ER.
But, I've run into a problem, and I can't get it solved. It's one of the things which is making
me reluctant to hurry out with the book I'm working on, and I don't know whether I'm going to
solve it.
The problem is this. With any methodology I've been attempting to use, the one thing that
stands out, that is diagnostic of a person's being in the CP system, is that he tells me to go to
hell. He won't have anything to do with me; and I can't get any data back. If I can get him before
he's 14 and before he's become a teen-age sophisticate, I can get some data; and I have some
fairly decent data in respect to what the CP is like in his thinking before that age. But once I get
beyond that age of 14 I just can't solve this problem.
Some suggest I need to have him in an authoritarian system, then he'll do it. Well, I've the
most authoritarian system in the world, and that's the prison system, but they tell you to forget
it, bud! I've almost come to the point of saying that this is the diagnostic; but this is no good if
you're gong to carry on a program of research.
You might be interested, as we begin to pursue this, just what some of the data is that I
have along this line. Suppose that I go at it in a simple questionnaire form. What are the kinds
of things that typify a person in the DQ system and what are the kinds of items that will
eventually have to be worked into a questionnaire.
Let's look, for example at DQ. Essentially, that which differentiates the DQ system,
specifically, from all other systems is the belief that we are controlled by a divine being (or
creature or fixture). A person will say, for example, that, in the long run, anything that happens
in this world will be in line with the master plan of God.
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The person in the DQ system apparently has this conception of the universe. An allpowerful being, variously named, all-powerful something-or other, planned the universe, laid
down the laws of the universe, and watches each second as the days and hours go by as to
whether or not the divine plan laid down is being followed. This divine being either rewards or
punishes on the spot, or tacks this up on a score sheet to ultimately decide whether the person
shall be rewarded or punished. To elicit this kind of information, you have to develop items
which state such a thing as:
"I believe that to attain my goals, it is only necessary for me to live the way God would
have me live;" or "The dictates of one's religion should be followed with trusting faith;"
or "There are some things which God will never permit man to know."
These are the kinds of items that will cause the person centralized in the DQ system to say it is
so. Another way to look at it is to ask a person in the DQ system, "What do you think about
religion?"
Alternately, consider using as a referent here the concept of sin as a means of seeing into
how a person thinks religiously. Using these referents, you get the picture that in the DQ
system there is t the idea of His power, breaking the commandments of God, offending God.
Sin is innate in man; man cannot escape it and God forgives us if we are sorry. If you ask them
what they think about marriage, the DQ will tend to talk about marriage in terms of its having
a religious factor in it. You will tend to see an idealization of marriage. {Graves quotes
Harvey, Hunt, and Schroder.}
Remember that when we talked about sin, there was a negation in the ER system of
the idea of sin. We should find this negation also in the ER talking about marriage. You get the
same when FS talks about marriage. The idea that marriage is good, but you don't get the
spiritual/religious basis. In the GT, there is not a negation of marriage, but a simple statement
of fact.
ON REVOLUTIONS, REVOLUTIONARIES, AND SOCIAL CHANGE...
In our society today, you have your BO/CP revolution taking place. In many it is shown
in extreme militancy-the highly selfish, destructive, brutally aggressive militancy-that is being
shown. Then, you have the revolution which is taking place where this kind of highly selfish,
egocentric aggressive behavior is changing into the new and modern form of Puritanism
which is called Black Muslimism. The Black Muslim is just a modern version of the Puritan,
just as puritanical as the Puritans ever were. This revolution is taking place CP through DQ.
We see it very well evidenced in the rather magnificent work that the Black Muslim
group did in the Attica Prison during the uprising. If you knew the history of those cast that
were in the controlling group there, you soon would recognize that they had been behaving in
the CP system prior to that.
Then you have this revolution which is taking place that is shown in so many who are
simply throwing off middle class values. These middle class values I'm talking about are the
values of punctuality hard work, cleanliness, and that sort of thing. You have a great deal of
this. I have a very substantial number of them in the throes of this (DQ to ER) in college at
this very time.

27

And then you have the revolution which is taking place in which they are throwing off
the values of the affluent way of life and going into the FS system. They are casting aside
materialism and trying to escape into love. This is the love revolution, the flower revolution.
Then you have the revolution which is taking place where people are beginning to say the
one thing that really has to go in our society is majority rule, that the evidence has now
accumulated that the majority is always wrong. They claim that you have to begin to get away
from the idea of equality-it's a revolution against equality-from FS to GT. It says there isn't
any evidence in all of science that any two persons were ever born equal, and you'd better start
getting with it and work on problems within that point of view. So we have that one going on.
We get all mixed up when we talk about the Generation Gap. We've got five of them. If
you talk about the revolution of consciousness III, that is only part of the picture. It depends
upon what part of the society you're looking at which revolution you're dealing with.
ON CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE AUTHORITARIANISM OF FS...
Nearly all people, I find, are interested in Consciousness. Many are people who have
lost their way in an ER to an FS transition. Now, this gets a little tough. My students played
hell with me when I brought this up, they got so angry with me.
But, when you go back to the date, you're going to find something interesting-you're
going to find that the F3 system. is authoritarian as hell. If you don't think the FS system is
authoritarian, just attend the American Association for Humanistic Psychology meetings.
I'm just the ornery kind of person this sort of thing happens to. I didnt go this year
because I didn't feel as ornery as last year, when I tested it at Miami. Well, last year, I went
to the meeting, and here's the story.
The so-called free souls come in for this kind of deeper experience and that kind of
deeper experience. They come into a bare room with just a floor. The shoes all went over to
the side. Well, nasty little creature that I am, I come in and take a look at it and go out and
get a chair and bring it back in and sit down.
"You don't want to sit on this chair," they told me.
"I wouldn't have brought it in if I didn't want to," said I. "You don't want to be different?"
they challenged.
"I don't care," I replied.
"Take off your shoes like the rest of us," they demanded. "I don't want to;" and I graciously
declined.
That's the way FS can be; they push you, and push you, and push you. Just a week ago I was
down this way and a gentleman and I walked out of the afternoon meeting. I was loaded down
with heavy suitcases and he was, too. We turned to get the car and drive up here (a relatively short
distance in DC). "We doe t ride this distance; everyone here walks," FS reprimanded.
This person in the FS system appears to be an extreme. It looks like a free system on the
surface but, when it comes to the person who is the nonconformist, when it goes beyond their
beliefs, those things are extremely hard to take. They rise up against deviation from their

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standards and ways. A great deal of the current "social revolution" is of this kind. Freedom for all
who agree with our point of view.
When I told my students who were operating in this system (FS) that they were just about as
authoritarian as their highly authoritarian parents (DQ), they were pretty unhappy.
ON RELIGION and BELIEFS...
In my childhood I had contact with religious people. Even then, and especially later, I saw
so much difference in people who share identical beliefs. There are some people who literally
believe God is watching every sparrow, counting them all. Others can take the child-like
position of being a good boy and getting your reward and going to heaven. There are others in a
quite different orientation which I think of in terms of integrity, communion, or something up
toward the HU level. Yet, they all can share an identical belief.
Many people believe in God. My question is, what's God like? Within ER, many people
believe , in the concept of justice. God was the original cause who laid down the laws of the
universe and now has left it to man to find out what they are. The role of humankind is to learn
about them and use them. God just pushed the. button that started it.
Within the DQ perspective, God laid the universe down and he controls the button and he
pushes the button all day long. Now, that's a tremendous difference between ER and DQ as to
what God is.
In the CP system, God is a comforting angel, an all-powerful being who is able to take this
world in hand and twist it and make it do what he wants it to do. In this system, the person
conceives, at some level, of becoming a god. He wants to be one, to get into the position of
being able to control.
So, a person can have the belief in God. The question is, How does he believe about God?
It's not does he believe or not believe, but how he believes. This is true all down the line. With
regard to any concept, you're asking how does he believe? How does he think about this or that?
For example, a person deeply centralized in the DQ system will understand the concept of
profit. He will believe that a man should work in order to profit. A man in the ER system will
also believe in profit, but in a very different way. This is what we're trying to teach.
As another example, consider differences in the religious points of view within one
denomination. I have some fine Unitarian friends running right from DQ to HU and, man, the
difference in those Unitarians is out of this world. They just aren't alike anymore, yet they're still
Unitarians.
Now, some people just put on a good show. I had a roommate once who I knew quite well. I
knew what he was like, and I knew he didn't like the Catholic church. Yet, he was marrying a gal
who was a Catholic and he was going to convert. I asked him how he could do this, knowing his
views. He said, "Well, man, you know there are bad Catholics as well as good Catholics. If that's
what they want, I'll go through the motions. Why let that stand in the way of what I want?"
Another way of looking at this issue is through the Atheist philosophy, so typified by
absolutistic thinking. Well, within our system of explaining human behavior, a table-pounding
Atheist is exactly the same as a hell-fire and damnation religionist. They both are absolutistic as
all get out. They are the same as psychological beings.

29

The interesting thing here is that every once in a while, and I don't understand this process
yet, the dynamics change and something inside conflicts. Then, the Atheist becomes a hell-fire
and damnation creature, and the hell-fire and damnation person becomes an Atheist. It just flipflops. [John O'Hare, son of Atheist leader Madilyn Murray O'Hare, is a case in point. He rather
suddenly converted from Atheism to fundamentalist Christianity to speak out against his mother
and brother and their views.]
There's nothing like a reformed drunk or a converted True Believer. This is something you've
got to watch very carefully when teaching this point of view. It's probably gotten me in more
trouble than anything else. A lot of people, once they become acquainted with this, become
convinced that their thinking is at the HU level and that it's centralized there.
But, you know, among my students, most of these studied in Bible colleges in the past, and
many are back there now. I've got two this year, and I'll guarantee you that they'll be in Bible
College next year, though they don't know it. Actually, down deep, they are DQ.
Those involved in consciousness-raising and such are trying to find their way from ER to
FS. Others, such as the so-called "Jesus Freaks," are struggling between DQ and ER. Some get
lost along the way and cannot complete the transition. These tend to settle down and close down.
In the transition states, one of the devices is to search past mechanisms. We all search, and many
of us find new ways of being.
However, if, in our searching, we go from this to that to this and that, if we go from drugs to
religion to something else outside of ourselves to help along the way, that this is the road to
closure. These people close down and may never make the transition. They just can't get over the
hump.

O N D R U G S AN D P E R S O N A L C H A N G E . . .
If you study this which we are looking at here as a historical cultural phenomenon over the
long run of time, one of the things which will stand out is that anytime a transition in man has
taken place, there has always been a big upsurge in the use of drugs. One kind of drug at one
time, and another kind at another time. This can be pretty well traced down as to what drugs
were used by what people, and at what time, and in what transition they were in.
In other words, as one moves from or comes to the end of a way of life which he has been
living-the end of DQ, or ER, or the end of FS-stress rises. When the way of life no longer is
solving the problems of existence which he had, he's thrown into a state of crisis. In his attempts
to solve it and more forward, his first step is a regressive step. He goes backwards, then tries to
find his way forward.
If, in the course of this anxiety-producing situation, he comes upon drugs, or alcohol, or
any of the other means we have at our disposal for artificially dealing with such pressures, he
grabs them. You can get a person who turns to drugs in the DQ to ER transition, but most of the
ones we've run into in the 1970's, and this is an alarming trend, have been turning up in the
affluent class. They seem to be- throwing off the materialism of their parents in the ER to FS
transition.
[Subsequently, the up-surge in drug use has been in the less affluent groups--children and
the poor. For those in the BO to CP transition, and those who are candidates for CP to DQ,
chemicals such as crack cocaine provide an answer to the stresses they feel. Dealing in drugs
has become an avenue for those rejecting a DQ history to move toward some ER options.

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Likewise, street-level drugs feed CP drives for immediate stimulation. Clearly, the multinational
supply networks understand the psychology of drugs and the needs of a clientele in transition
states.]
ON HELPING PEOPLE IN TRANSITION...
The key to helping people troubled in the transition process is which transition they're in. If
one is working with an individual in attempting to aid or foster or even instigate a transition from
the CP to the DQ system, then my position is that you'd better know Skinner backwards and
forwards. You'd better stay right with the principles of Skinner.
I gave a test to some of my students to find out how many in the class group operated at the
level of human existence that they could work with a rough, tough, nasty delinquent kid operating
at the CP level. I didn't have a single student qualify. Not a student in that room would I hire for
Virginia to do this job.
I wouldn't trust them because they didn't have the psychology that fits the CP system. They
were not benevolent autocrats; they believed too much in freedom. They believe, for instance,
that if you were honest with other people, they'd be honest with you. There is nothing so stupid if
you're working with someone at the CP level. If you're honest with him, he'll take you for
everything he can get. My poor students just wouldn't believe that autocracy should be used in
working with another human being.
We'll, as I said earlier, if you're working from CP to DQ, you put this person in a box
psychologically and you don't let him out. You've got to know and accept those rules. Now, if
you're going to work with someone from DQ to ER, my data says there is only one man in this
world who ever really knew the business, and that was Freud. However, Freud didn't know much
about the other kinds of transitions.
So, you want to see who you work with depending on your particular theoretical orientation.
If your orientation and background happen to be Freudian and you want to work with CP, then
throw out anything Freud has-to say about therapy. Don't pay any attention to him. Instead, go get
everything August Aichhorn and Kurt Eisler and those people have to say.
Then, you know the basic principles, because the principles that August Aichhorn developed
out of psychoanalytic theory for the treatment of delinquents are the same principles that Skinner
got out of the rats in the Skinner box. It really amazes me that Skinner will argue against
psychoanalysis without knowing that Aichhorn ever existed. You could never argue against
psychoanalysis if you know what Aichhorn's position is.
These, then, are the principles. If you're working with a person moving from the DQ to ER
level, this person has to have a one-to-one therapeutic relationship. Your task is to get the
individual to overcome fear, break down his position or whatever you want to call it, and get to
trusting. Then you lead him gently along the way. You sort say to him that in the protection of this
room we're not going to do anything to you if you say anything about your mother. You lead him
on in little bitty steps to move out and express that which is buried within.
But notice that the data which we referred to earlier says the key thing here is that he accept
the therapist as an authority. Thus, the particular therapist uses the basic Freudian neurotic
therapeutic techniques because he feels them most important in making the transition.

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Now, the ER to FS transition is different. These subjects are under fear of influence. In my
research, if authority was in the picture, they wouldn't let new information in. They refused to
change behavior in they sensed the pressure of higher authority.
In the transition from ER to FS, then, it is particularly important to know the various group
-therapeutic techniques that are carried on by the people, themselves. Sensitivity training, etc., are
all good. However, these techniques must be used with care, with the appropriate people.
It's been my experience that sensitivity training, for example, just tears the guts out of
anybody at the DQ system. They can end up with more psychoses than improvement. My
evidence also is that if sensitivity training is used on someone centralized in the ER system, that
the person simply goes through the experience, figures out every weakness of every person in the
group, and then goes out and uses those weaknesses to his advantage and to manipulate.
You begin to use your Rogerian types of approach for the FS to GT transition. The individual
is beginning to operate in a direction of self-expression and wants to work it out for himself. The
Rogerian approach is a very fine one.
I think that it is of interest if you look back historically at the development of this institution
(NIMH), its emphasis on interpersonal psychology ties in with the time we saw the emergence of
the FS system in a large number of human beings. Now, I think that this direction is what was
meant and that it is crucial for many. Just recognize that your interpersonal psychiatries are
primarily dealing with personality ER, trying to get FS integrated and ready for the GT.
Finally, there is a time factor in the transitions. I define this psychological time based on the
resolution of existential problems. It is the time of getting the insight as to how to operate at a
higher level. It is the time of the removal of the barriers to moving forward.
It's the sort of thing that sometimes there's nothing you can do. You've got a barrier there.
You know you can't overcome this barrier. You aren't going to be able to progress as long as that
barrier is there, and you don't have the power to do anything about it. There are times you can
solve it, times you can't.
The manager in industry may not have the power to get rid of it. You may know how to solve
the problem, but you may not be able to. So, timing is the time of the resolution of the existential
problems.
ON PSYCHOSIS AND CLOSEDNESS...
I think of mental illness in terms of closure, extreme closure. There are two basic kinds of
what I call closedness, the alterably closed personality and the unalterably closed personality.
The unalterably closed does not necessarily go into psychosis. It's rather difficult for the
alterably closed not to go into psychosis.
What do I mean by the unalterably closed? I mean a person who is restricted in his
movements up the levels of human existence, or who has been reduced to closure from a much
higher level. We can identify two routes to unalterable closedness.
a. Because the person never had the higher level structures in the first place.
For example, the severely mentally retarded.
b. Because of mechanical injury.

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I should point out that in research, you only get centralized data of a pure level nature
from a solid closed level. However, most people are not thus closed and may be at different
levels depending upon the situation, etc.
All the work of Goldstein on the brain-injured of World War I provides data on
mechanical injury and its effects. The term self-actualization was the reverse of what it is today.
For Goldstein, self-actualization meant that as the person loses potentiality, he actualizes at a
lower level. He goes down and becomes a whole person at that level. That type of unalterable
closedness is where the brain tissue has been damaged by disease, accident, etc.
By alterably closed, I mean an individual who becomes closed down because of
psychological conditions which restrict the degrees of behavioral freedom. That throws him into a
particular channel of development, and that is the only way which he can survive and develop as
an organism. Psychosis, then, is the behavior of the unalterably closed, or the alterably closed
under stress.
There are different behavioral disorders common to the express and sacrifice systems,
according to the theory. You get your acting-out behavioral disorders in the odd-numbered
systems (3/CP, 5/ER, 7/GT). Your get into your more inhibitory disorders in the even-numbered
systems (2/BO, 4/DQ, 6/FS, 8/HU). You're apt to get some kind of compulsive behavior while in
the even, whereas you're apt to get impulsive behavior in the odd systems.
Many times, the systems are simply mechanisms man has at his disposal and in certain
systems we tend to use certain mechanisms in preference to others. We tend to subordinate, for
example, the anxiety symptoms when we are centralized in odd-numbered systems. We tend to
exaggerate the acting-out symptoms of various kinds-hostility, aggression, and taking things out
on our own bodies. Psychosomatic problems and the like are more typical of the oddnumbered
systems than of the even-numbered systems.
If we look at the FS system, the central psychology is to avoid rejection by society and
others. This is what the whole life of the person revolves around-avoiding rejection by the valued
others. What is the person going to do into if he is rejected? He hasn't got much left but dejection.
Another thing is that he can't fight because if he fights he is probably going to be rejected
more. He can't leave because he's got to have acceptance; and if he leaves, he doesn't have
anything there. So, he's got to do something that tries to get what Freud told us was a secondary
gain out of the symptoms, and that is sympathy. Pull the person toward you by sympathy. In the
process he runs away into a depressive manifestation.
Rider, for example, believes that psychosomatic symptoms make sense with the ER
system. This person hasn't got the sense, so to speak, to admit that anything could be wrong. He
just cannot stand the thought that he could have a weakness. That is to say, the person who is ER
cannot admit this to himself.
If he just cannot stand the thought that he could have a weakness, and if he gets into this
kind of stress, and this stress begins to eat upon him. He only exaggerates the problem by
refusing to accept the signal that the information system is sending him. Under stress, his central
psychology is, "I must master; I must have will power; I must be able to do it myself; I must not
be licked by anything."
He pushes on in this system where he has centralized hisbehavior. His view is to push the
world aside and go down and getwhat you want. When he sense failure he fights it, and this
onlyexacerbates his problem.

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ON THE EVOLUTION OF THINKING...


What I and Jack (Dr. John B.) Calhoun and a number of others are saying is thatevolution
is still going on, but not so much evolution of theorganism as in conception. If you don't accept
this, it's hard toaccount for history.
Forty thousand (40,000) years ago something happened that was to hold out for the next
30,000 years. Then, 10,000 years ago something happened and, low and behold, humans began
to operate at the CP level. And along about 2500 B.C. something happened that moved the
whole operation up to the DQ and began what we know as the great religions. About 600 years
ago something happened to cause the Renaissance and man began to think and behave and
operate at a different level still. Two hundred years ago man started another great change and
called it the Industrial Revolution.
One of the fallacies which exists is that somehow the Greek civilization was a high
civilization within this point of view. Consider that even those people at the top believed in
magic, believed in the geocentric concept of the universe. In many ways they didn't know very
much. They were instead very, very good low level people.
At that time there was no normal distribution curve as we would find today. Man had not
solved the existential problems that had to be solved. They hadn't developed mathematics and
were just developing the clock and linear time. Man had to discover and devise tools of the
mind to solve the higher level existential problems. Aristotle could be B.F. Skinner's father.
ON ORIENTAL PHILOSOPHIES...
I had a number of oriental students from all over the far East. We spent many hours talking
about some of the philosophies. For example, we explored what some of the Hindu thinkers really
meant by reincarnation. Actually, the Buddhist philosophy is extremely close to mine: three
ladders with six steps each. In many respects, this sort of thing is there in far Eastern
philosophies.
Now, don't misunderstand me. In the time of our earlier Homo Sapiens ancestors there's
been a human being here or there operating at a higher level, a much higher level. But, I dont
know of any productions that represent high level thinking out of the so-called great, great minds.
I see a lot of superb lower level thinking, but not higher level thinking.
ON RECOGNIZING DIFFERENCES IN THINKING...
In a more homogeneous group such as this (WSP audience) you don't see this phenomenon
operate nearly as much as you would if we had a nonprofessional group. If we were sitting here
this afternoon discussing this with a non-professional group and you sat in the back, you know
who the higher and lower level thinkers were damned soon. I've seen this operate many, many
times.
When we are looking at an individual human being, we are not asking the question, "What
is this person's level of operation?" The question we are asking is, "At what level is his thinking
in relation to this issue? How does he think in relation to this or that?" Now, if it ends up that he
is a closed personality, what we find is that he tends to think essentially at the same level on all
issues. You'll recall that the closed person is one who maintains his beliefs when the conditions
of existence around him change.

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So, when I want to point out at what level the individual is operating, I try to get a picture
of his thinking in respect to certain vital issues in human existence. This is what others of my
colleagues are doing. Dave Hunt and I are trying to get a picture of the operation of the thinking
of children in reference to certain issues.
Rules are a good example. CP gives black or white answers. "I sock them in the mouth or I
ignore them." Your gamesmanship system is the ER. It's right down the line in the DQ systems
like the hard-shell Baptist or Orthodox Jew. Other illustrations might be parents. "What do you
think about parents?" Or, "What do you do when someone disagrees with you?" Or, "How do
you react when you are told what to do?"
In research, we find that we get a number of different answers. If you can come up with
about six fairly disparate issues, you can get pretty much of the flow of the individual's
thinking. If you get two or three statements from that person as to what he thinks about a
number of things-rules, parents, etc.-you begin to form a useful profile.
This is more difficult with CP. I've got a few healthy personality descriptions from
someone in the CP system. Lots of four-letter words and they call you everything in the book.
That in itself tells you what his conception is. Then he tells you what his conception is, and he'll
tell you in the meantime that if you didn't like it, you shouldn't ask in the first place.
ON HARVEY, HUNT, and SHRODER...
Harvey, Hunt, and Shroder were a triad of people who came out with their publication
about the same time I did. They have systems I, II, III, and IV. In their book, the child-rearing
data is about the same regarding conceptual systems and personality organization. Their four
systems are roughly equivalent, though not quite the same as, DQ, ER, FS, and GT.
The reason they are not totally equivalent is that as the search has proceeded forward,
David Hunt broke away from Harvey and Shroder because he said the data doesn't support just
four systems. So, he introduced system Sub-I which is essentially. the CP system.
I've not gone down the line with Harvey, Hunt, and Shroder on their basic assumption that
the only differences are quantitative. I've taken their own data and shown them that they are
wrong.
ON THERAPY...
Before you begin to plan a therapeutic intervention, ask yourself from what system the
behavior disorder emerges. When you find that, you have a synthesis of possible causes that
emerges.
Then the question is, what kind of therapy is appropriate with it. Now if the therapist in his
or her psychology operates at a higher level than that from which the system is emerging, he can
work with it. But if he is too high above, he doesn't like to do it, and is apt to be ineffective.
I'm not talking here about anything anyone doesn't know or can't find in the literature. Who
were Freud's or Aichhorn's subjects? Aichhorn worked with people Freud couldn't stand. Paul
Federn in Vienna did therapy with those patients that he observed to become psychotic under
Freud's teaching - they got worse. Aichhorn chose his group of humanity, Freud chose his, and
Federn chose his. It is notorious that Jung preferred to work only with affluent upper-class people
who had made it in this world. Adler had his preferences. This is all well documented in the
literature.

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Furthermore, you can't explain all the therapy selection on the basis of inflexibility, at least
not in your good theorists. Any one who knows Freudian theory knows that it went through a
number of revisions. He knows also that Freud appeared quite inflexible in the way he took off on
Adler in Psychopathology in Everyday Life when Adler didn't go along with him. He was
inflexible at that time.
Now, Freud was a tremendous scientist and when the data said so, he was able to switch. All
the good theorists have done this-change when the data changed. For example, if you want to
understand Adler you've got to read Pavlov because early Adlerian theory is not later Adlerian
theory. The people he was studying were different at the early versus later periods of his life.
Freud chose people who were confluent with his level of human existence. And if you know
the ER level, you know that one of the primary characteristics of a person attempting to come
fully into the ER level is to be stubborn as hell about changing his mind and then suddenly to flipflop. (The President says, "There'll be no price controls until I've decided." Then, flip, there they
are.) This is very congruent with the kind of person Freud had to work with. The people
struggling to get out from under the dominant mother - Mama - is magnificently documented by
Maskin(?).
Once we get sufficiently along to really study this, the training for psychotherapists will be
no different from what I have when working with a business or government service organization.
I want to find out what level he is at and how to proceed. If I find that a person is at the DQ level,
I sit down with DQ theory.
It is crucial to mesh the therapy with system, but this is a hard point to get across. Let me
illustrate it to you this way. 1 took a group of my students into the field for two days to study the
psychology of the CP system. They were to discover what another person is like who has become
centralized in this system. I said to the students, "Now, the important thing here for you to learn is
not what you should do to aid a person in the CP system to grow; the important thing is to learn
whether or not he ought even to try."
I led the students to discovery in this way. First, I gave them a series of statements with these
instructions: "I have a series of statements here. Please don't play any games with me. Be as
honest as you can. Respond to these statements and then tell whether or not a person is congruent
with the CP state of mind."
I gave them to them. Then I could show them. "Look, you are not going to be successful as a
human being managing the CP state of affairs. Now we have to go further on if this class is to
find out just where you may be successful." As I said before, I didn't have a single one I could
recommend to be hired by the Virginia Commission on Welfare and Institutions. The problem is
to try to get across to the person to try to find out what kind of therapy he or she can use.
The therapist must be higher or at the same level as the patient, but not too far beyond. If a
person cannot grow beyond a certain level of thinking, it's pretty inane to have a person with who
is trying to get him to think another way. If a person cannot grow beyond the level of magical
thinking (BO), the most cruel thing in the world is putting him in a world where people don't
think that way.
Now, the system I am talking about is an open system in that there is no end to new levels
people may evolve. Yet, if you look at these things as people climbing through levels, some
people level off for various reasons. They become closed for the rest of their lives at a certain

36

level. They become closed within this open system, find a niche, and stay there. You may change
his conditions of existence, but he does not change his behavior.
As we've already noted, this may be due to neurological brain structures. The differentiation
of cells in the brain may be become arrested over a period of time. For various reasons, the more
complex structures may not be activated within the brain. As far as current knowledge is
concerned, we are just beginning to study the neuropsychological aspects of this point of view.
Now, when it comes to psychological closure, being honest with ourselves, things are also a
mess. We're not terribly successful in effecting change. It's a rough, tough problem. I'm
suggesting that one of the reasons we've had difficulties is that, in our attempt to bring about
change that is from closure to openness so the person can grow, we haven't been using the right
therapy. Therefore, we've exacerbated the problem before us.
Therapists often ask what is wrong with the patient because their techniques did not work.
Maybe, they just didn't change the system the right way for the person to change. I believe it is a
very difficult task, taking a psychologically closed person and opening them up. I question many
times whether we should attempt to do it. I'm not so sure that if a person has a certain set of
beliefs there is any other human being in their way of life who can say that the person would be
better off with a different set of beliefs, namely, their own.
Here is a case from the state of Virginia. There is a person who is closed down at the DQ
level. He has no one in this world; he is all alone. He is in a state of dependency upon authority,
as you find people in the DQ system. He is now 27, and has spent 18 years in prison somewhere.
He has the potential of opening up.
In his present institution he has found a father figure who treats him precisely as he wants to
be treated, for the first time in 27 years. If I change him, I'll be throwing him into the outside
world. Will he be able to stand on his own feet? He has no friends.
Right now, I have a guy who is pretty happy. It's my position that the organization better find
a way to keep that guy so his sentence never ends because if you turn him loose outside you're
going to have trouble. It's better to keep him in a closed state. He has the superintendent and the
guy loves him. He has someone that cares about him for the first time in his life, and I'm not
going to take this love away.
If you knew this guy before and now, you'd know he's had 27 years of unhappiness. I'm not
going to mess it all up for him. He's got a good chance of having the superintendent around for a
long time (he's only in his 40's). To move him, I have to open him up. I'm not going to do it.

The primary emphasis in therapy is what is the guy working on, the problems he's
dealing with. It's not necessarily what level is he at. Now, it's conceivable that this young
man may stay in the prison and find something that could bring about change from
within. He might change from DQ to the ER system and come out with all those years
behind him. At ER he'll become aggressive, and the world may not be ready for him.
There's another age-old problem, though it was more so in the past. This guy maybe
a homosexual and not know it. Look at our society [1971] and ask yourself if this guy
should take a look at it. Hell, no. Leave him alone. Don't let him find out.
ON CHILDREN AND-FAMILIES...

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Some people say a new generation began right after World War II, as if a door had
opened and something different had been introduced. l don't find this a problem except in
one position, and that is where the family settles down around DQ and/or ER and isn't
growing at all. This is where the young people show their negativism toward authority.
But this is a very rare phenomenon.
I've been with kids all over this United States and there aren't an awful lot who are
tied up in this failure. You get that particular rebellion out of the parental group that
became affluent after the war. It's the throwing off of the values of that parental group.
This is not what I find most in youth. What I find is that most young people today are
in a highly open state of affairs. Most people in the 16 to 20 year age group coming out of
high school and going out into the world today are not involved in drugs, for example.
They are not involved in any kind of matters that people get so concerned about. They are
just growing up at a higher level of operation than people have ever been before.
The fact is that they are on a higher level starting point. It seems that with the
technological advances we have made (in terms of more level 5 people) that we've solved
so many existential problems for so many of the kids that they are able to move through
the first few levels faster. They are actually starting off, and this gets down to the
question of the speed at which one can move through a level, way ahead of where we
might have started off 15 years ago getting out of high school and hitting college.
What is happening today is that children are being born into a world where N-O-PQ-R problems are solved the day they are born. So they grow up through the FS channels.
There's a problem I find with these people and, believe me, it bothers me because I've got
a couple and I'm terrified. Let me illustrate personally.
There's a young man and a young woman-my son-in-law and my daughter-who
believe that this is a good world. They are operating above the ER, trusting people and
the like. They were both teaching in high school, but didn't recognize the totality of the
school situation in which they were teaching. Instead of playing the game at the ER level
as ER people would, keeping quiet when they got married and coming back the next year
after the contracts were signed, they went and told them that they were going to get
married. They got fired immediately because of a rule that married couples can't work at
the same school.
They went ahead to buy a piece of property, getting a house. They didn't have a
dime. They went right on expecting that it was going to come, that all is well. They had
no ability to think about the possibility that it wouldn't come ...they couldn't conceive of
it. In other words, I get scared to death when they enter the FS system and think that
everyone in this world is nice. If we can get to the point that we solve that problem by
getting up one more level so their eyes are open and they realize there are all kinds of
people in the world, we'll be better off. This is the problem that you are faced with.
The real problem isn't the drug culture and the like. I sat with a group of graduating
men the other day. Unless this economy changes incredibly, they haven't a ghost of a
chance of getting the kind of jobs they expect. Some will take to odd jobs, wandering

38

around, just getting by with food, lodging, etc. They may be happy and OK. But, I think
this is a very serious copout. Now I'm not thinking or being moralistic. Anyone who can
understand this point of view can look at this world and see that this world cannot afford
the waste of human kind. People with diplomas want out of the mainstream of our
society. They don't care about the kind of rat race most of us run each day. They become
world travelers, they dabble at this and that.
Conditions of existence do change, and those conditions may arise some day. But
that's not the conditions of existence in which he is living. He's living in conditions of
existence where the world needs all our skills. Babies in hospitals, homes that need
cleaning up, people at the BO and AN levels that need aid.
I'm not saying anything about having a conventional job to be qualified in this world.
I say that a person who sits and cannot see that other human beings are in a difficult state
of affairs, and he sits over here in his hedonism, he is not the kind of personality we want.
People at the AN and BO levels will take all the help we can give; someone ought to be
helping.
I would say that I am looking at this, at this moment, from the GT level. I'm saying
that if you think within this concept, the serious problem that man has is getting mankind,
the rest of mankind, as much of mankind as he can, above the ER level of existence. Can
we afford to have anyone sitting around strumming his fiddle?
We are looking at a point of view which aims at training. Within its theoretical
framework there are only two levels of behavior where I have found this sort of problem
to arise. I find this kind of hedonism arising in the CP system and in the ER system,
usually when ER is in transition to FS.
You see, the intellectual hedonism of the day is Transcendental Meditation and the
like, playing with pleasure. Do you not see that I have said that my data says that the
human organism is beyond the pleasure principle? Not as Freud said, but beyond the
pleasure principle in man, in that he is a problem-solving organism. He wants to solve
problems more than he wants pleasure. When he settles down to pleasure, he is not being
really satisfied.
I try to explain eastern philosophies within a larger system. General systems theory
says that eastern philosophy is hedonistic thinking. This intellectual hedonism we're
talking about comes in the guise of a new kind of Christianity or religion to which they
are trying to draw converts. Now, there is something in it, this phenomenon, but not what
the Transcendental Meditators are selling. This phenomenon is a terribly interesting one.
But I believe that in the way it is operating today it's just another form of the Puritan
ethic. This is the same old thing, coming around over and over again. Discipline. For
centuries we've been going through this.
Let me illustrate it in this manner. One of the evidences in the theoretical system of
the total personality is insatiability. The person can't get enough of something. The person
deeply involved in Transcendental Meditation can't get enough of two things:
1. of it

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2. activity

This says it is a total state. That's why I say it is intellectual hedonism. Now if you
use my data, invite Jerry Jarvis to help you. Listen to what the man says and put it down
on paper. Then ask yourself afterwards, "What was this I listened to?" I listened to him
once. I couldn't tell what the man was saying. Just playing with words.
What is it? Science and community. The man says that Transcendental Meditation
and science are the answers to the problems of the universe, but it's false science. Just
listen to him and the talks for an hour and says nothing. He tells you to listen to him, that
it's all solved, that you'll see the solution. To my mind, that's an impractical being.
ON SOLVING PROBLEMS...

This is not difficult at all when you get the full feeling for the concepts which are in
the level. You must first understand the concepts of Thema and Schema if you're not to
become diverted from viable solutions, however.
At a particular level of existence, any human being, no matter what circumstances in
which they are living, will develop the same Thema for existence that they are centralized
in. But depending upon the particular characteristics of the world in which they are
living, and the particular characterization of their individual minds, systems can vary in
their particulars, though they are very much alike in general. Thus, you can have the same
Thema of existence with very, very different Schematic forms.
That's the only difference between the theoretical point of view of Orthodox
Christianity and Orthodox Communism. They're the same thing. They are both sacrificenow-to-get-later systems. Yet Schematically, they are very different.
This is the aspect of the thinking I have to have in mind all the time. The refined
Hindu and the Pakistani are at war with one another. General psychology, clinical
psychology, social psychology, and my work have shown that the greatest battles always
exist between people whose thinking is identical. There is no difference between the
Pakistani and the Hindu Schematically; they're the same psychological human beings.
And yet, Thematically, that's where we get a war.
When I speak of health I do not mean that the person has his problems solved. What
man cannot stand is to solve his problems. In the solution of the problems he now has he
creates a new set. That may be the major problem the HU person has, according to my
data so far as it can be extrapolated. How do you live when you have no problems? That's
his problem-how to live without problems. That has to be a problem.

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