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Implications for Biology

7 Dimensions of Functioning

From an evolutionary perspective, it is our capacity for endeavours that sets us apart from other species and enables human dominance. These endeavours are expressions of 'whole person' functioning.

Each of the primary domains of personal functioning—action, inquiry, change, experience, communication, purpose and willingness—appears to have 7 dimensions that correspond to the Root Levels, and do so in the same order:

  1. an action dimension
  2. an inquiry dimension
  3. a state-change dimension
  4. an experiential dimension
  5. a communication dimension
  6. a purposive dimension
  7. a willingness dimension.

While the Taxonomy enables conscious creative functioning, the intrinsic dimensions would seem to correspond to tendencies that are instinctive and biological. Such a biological underpinning is presumably primarily neurophysiological i.e. brain-based.

Features of Psychosocial Instincts

«Instinct» is a problematic notion in studies of human behaviour: although still a focus of ethologists. So the concept is not well-defined. It was transmuted in the psychology of motivation to «biological drive» e.g. hunger as a drive for food, thirst as a drive for water.

However, the instincts relevant for endeavour are affective (emotional, volitional, social) rather than purely sensory (physiological). Some of our physiological needs (e.g. temperature control) do not call for generation of endeaours. However, other needs, e.g. for food or water, commonly require endeavours.

Psychosocial needs must be met for survival.

Children that are provided with adequate physical care in institutions but do not have proper care and individual attention fail to thrive and may die.

Severe mental illness (e.g. schizophrenia, depression, autism) impedes pursuit of endeavours and psychosocial needs are not met. Without extra care from others, they are liable to ill-health and death, often by accident or suicide.

It is now well-established that biological processes regulate our moods, mental processes and social life. Neuro-mental systems relevant to affect and whole animal behavior, and hence social existence, are known to exist in mammals, birds, and even reptiles and invertebrates. Even consciousness seems present, according to the international group of leading neuroscientists who signed "The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness" (7July, 2012).

Proposition: The elements that constitute personal functioning and are expressed in endeavours are the outcome of neurobiological capacities with the following features:

Pressures (Affective) v Drives (Sensory)

The proposition is that «psychosocial survival» complements «biological survival».

Primitive instincts related to biological survival manifest as drives e.g. hunger drive with food-seeking behaviours, sex drive with efforts for satisfaction from a partner. Their urgency, when activated, is marked. Once satisfied, the drive recedes. The result is a rhythm or cycles.

A different term is required for the manifestation of instincts related to psychosocial survival: psychosocial pressure. Satiation does not occur, so this pressure is more insistent and inexorable than a drive. Its manifestation is constant or episodic rather than rhythmic or cyclic. The affective-neurophysiological origins are explained here.

Pressures arise within oneself and are felt from others in regard to activities that impinge on them. Pressure may be perceived weakly as a mild wish or intensely as a peremptory demand.

The proposed pressures are shown in the Table below in regard to the analyses just completed.

Levels in
the PHs
Root Level Input
L7s Willingness-RL7 Selflessness
L6s Purpose-RL6 Autonomy
L5s Communication-RL5 Understanding
L4s Experience-RL4 Well-being
L3s Change-RL3 Acceptability
L2s Inquiry-RL2 Certainty
L1s Action-RL1 Performance

While the ideas were stimulated by the present investigation, details and confirmations emerged in studying the Root projection to Principal Typology Complexes; and then further confirmed in studying Root projection to the Structural Hierarchies. Each Psychosocial Pressure is examined in more detail in the next topic.

The presence of these pressures (or usually patterns of pressures) throughout the Taxonomy is conjectured to be the basis for the phenomenon of resonance. Resonance refers toClosed the psychosocial similarity between two taxonomic elements that flows from a similarity in their formulae. The more similar the formulae, the greater the resonance to the point at which people may argue that the two entities are actually the "same thing".

Initially posted: 2-Aug-2013. Last amended: 28-Jan-2015.

All material here is in a draft form. There will be errors and omissions. Nothing should be copied or distributed without express permission. Thank you.Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2018. All Rights Reserved.

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