SD in Action

What about emotions and temperament factors?

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While there are relationships between emotional and temperament factors at the various levels of psychological existence, the theory does not offer an easy catalog. Moreover, many of these characteristics seem to ebb and flow through the levels. Some track with the inner-outer cyclical nature of the model. Others rise or fall with movement in the hierarchy. Some of the findings are discussed in Clare W. Graves: Levels of Human Existence, available via the Purchase Materials link above.

For example, both rigidity and dogmatism are high at DQ (Blue); both fall off in ER (Orange); and rigidity rises without dogmatism at FS (Green). The model does not reflect a process of emotional “growth” or a mellowing of temperament, though some dimensions undeniably ‘soften’ at higher levels as more factors enter life’s equation. In addition, the personalities of individuals functioning at the various levels can vary markedly with respect to temperament as one person centralized around the CP (Red) level operates in a quiet and passively aggressive way, while another similarly centralized is loud and assertively overbearing. One of these people could be warm and loving (in a CP way of expressing it); the other cold and distant (also in a CP way). Likewise, two people can behave similarly and yet be coping with their realities from quite different levels on the Spiral. The question is always more to why the person behaves thus than what the person is doing.

One important aspect of the theory is that temperament, as an aspect of personality, might not change much as one moves to a different level of psychological existence. That is why temperament measures provide useful complementary data in doing a Spiral analysis.

In terms of emotions, one should ask what the stimulus for the emotion is, what event or memory triggers it, and how the thinking about that thing factors into the sensations being felt since emotions are informational feedback, not stored baggage to be purged. Look for how a person in a level might express an emotion in particular ways.

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