Graves’ Values Systems

The idea for Level Seven was sparked while reading the work of Clare Graves and Don Beck. Clare called it “The Emergent, Cyclical, Double-Helix Model of Adult BioPsychoSocial Systems Development”. He said that he had to “call it all that because that’s what it is”. It’s as wonderful as it is a mouth full and explains so much about human behaviour and the evolution of our consciousness. I think of it like a framework you can hang all other models onto at different levels.

Unlike most theories that look to seek evidence to support the theory, The Emergent, Cyclical, Double-Helix Model of Adult BioPsychoSocial Systems Development was discovered by looking at the data first.

Sadly Clare died not long after he made the below statement, but the good work is being carried on by Beck and others. They now refer to it as Spiral Dynamics, which is much easier to say.

I absolutely love the way he says that one level isn’t really better than another, but it sort of is.

I am not saying in this conception of adult behaviour that one style of being, one form of human existence is inevitably and in all circumstances superior to or better than another form of human existence, another style of being.

What I am saying is that when one form of being is more congruent with the realities of existence, then it is the better form of living, for those realities. And what I am saying is that when one form of existence ceases to be functional for the realities of existence then some other form, either higher or lower in the hierarchy, is the better style of living.

I do suggest, however, and this I deeply believe is so, that for the overall welfare of total man’s existence in the world, over the long run of time, higher levels are better than lower levels, and that the prime good of any society’s governing figures should be to promote human movement up the levels of human existence.

Dr Clare W Graves, Professor of Psychology, Union College Schenectady, USA (d1986)