Dabrowski Levels

If we have MyersBriggs, which is useless crud, then we might as well have something useful like Dabrowski's theory of Positive Disintegration.

The theory of Positive Disintegration attempts to explain personality development and maturity. There are five levels and multiple sublevels.

Most of the population exists at level 1, the lowest level. Psychopaths exist at level 1.1, the lowest sublevel of level 1.

Level 2 is a transitional level for level 1 people whose values have disintegrated. A level 2 person either moves on to level 3, moves back to level 1, kills hirself or goes insane.

Level 3 people have conflicts between primitive values that they were indoctrinated with by parents & society and what they feel they ought to do.

Level 4 people have spontaneous conflicts, driven by an organized and systematic search for contradictions in their values.

Level 5 people have genuine autonomous personalities with harmonious value systems.

In Dabrowski's system, most people are level 1 and they have neither personality nor humanity. They are in fact antihuman.


Most people have an obsession with products at the expense of traits (in the creativity research lit) or with achievement at the expense of personality, or more simply with doing at the expense of being. It seems that very few people respect or value simply being. And yet, how is a person meant to develop to the 5th level, to consciously become a Personality, if they do not value simply being? It seems impossible. It seems impossible that people obsessed with doing this or that, with scurrying around for their own and others' pleasure, would ever be anything but level 1.


There are very interesting similarities between personality development and cultural development. Both seem to be subject to Dabrowski's theory of Positive Disintegration. In particular, highly homogeneous (highly integrated) cultures with primitive values have no hope of evolving to a higher level.

So for example, insular fundamentalist Christian communities that beat and torture their children have no hope of evolving without forcible external intervention.

Or alternatively, children from relatively loving homes can survive intact a period of abuse at one of those boot camps so popular in the USA only because of the radical inconsistency between the values they're presented with. The key determinant is their ability to consciously choose which set of values to follow.

Or alternatively, a homogeneous culture such as Finland's can develop to a still higher level if it's advanced enough to begin with and consciously chooses to identify and exterminate its internal problems.


SeptemberZeroFive (but mostly due to RK)

CategoryPsychology

EditText of this page (last edited November 23, 2010) or FindPage with title or text search