Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today

Sandeep Gautam
Sandeep Gautam

Your Fundamental Four Journey

Friends or Foes, the Focus is on Flourishing.

English: Trains

Image via Wikipedia

First and Foremost let me thank the editors of Psychology Today for giving me the opportunity to blog alongside some of the most esteemed psychologists' alive, many of whom I revere. It is exciting to be a part of this conglomerate and I hope to add my own perspective to the various raging debates.

Also let me welcome all readers, new and old (those who followed here from The Mouse Trap and are familiar with my quirks, as well as those yet to discover my idiosyncratic style) and let me unveil what lies as a journey ahead for all of us on The Fundamental Four tour.

The Fundamental Four Framework is the basic lens through which I see psychology and the human nature.

In an age of cognition, I may seem an oddball talking about motivations, drives and dynamics; but I have reasons to believe that the Four basic drives, that have evolved over the eons, provide a guidepost for uncovering the true dynamics behind animal and human nature.

These Four basic drives are based on the Four basic problems faced by all evolving creatures, as delineated by Theodore Millon.

These problems are those of Survival, Adaptation, Replication and Abstraction.

The Four Basic drives, derived from the above framework are :

  1. Food/Foe Drive: The first drive seeks to resolve the problem of Survival. The problem of Survival can be framed as Fear of Foes/predators and how to overcome that; pursuit of Food or prey and how to achieve that. There is a tension in the two approaches and this leads to the polarity of Pain/Pleasure associated with this drive.
  2. Flourishing Drive: The second drive seeks to resolve the problem of Adapting to the environment. One can do so passively, by accepting one's fate/niche and languishing; or on can actively create one's own niche and Flourish. These approaches again are in tension and lead to polarity of Passive/Active associated with this drive.
  3. Family/Friends Drive: The third drive seeks to resolve the problem of Replication or reproduction. Whether to focus on growth of one's own self or whether to open up and support the nourishment of others who can be subsumed under family. Whether to play solo or to join hands. These approaches are again in conflict and lead to polarity of Self/Other associated with this drive/ level.
  4. Focus Drive: The fourth drive seeks to resolve the problem of Abstraction; whether to focus for the trees and miss to forest or have a broader span of attention/ awareness/ consciousness. There is again tension between the two approaches leading to the polarity of Broad/Narrow associated with this drive/ level.

These drives become more prominent at one stage of life than the other and unfold in an eight stage developmental order, wherein each stage represents an opposed way of resolving the dilemma or depicts a polarized way to solve the basic adaptive problem of that stage.

I also like to relate these to my ABCD model of Psychology whereby all Psychology is the study of Affect, Behavior, Cognition and Desire/Drive.

If the above sounds a bit dense, don't get disheartened. Along with a focus on the Fundamental Four, the blog will be peppered with tidbits about positive psychology and flourishing and will also touch on various other themes dear to me in an easy to read format.

My interest areas span from affective, motivational and personality research; to developmental and evolutionary unfolding of stages in a pre-determined order; to conceiving autism and psychosis as opposed on a continuum spectrum; to interest in creativity, genius , positive psychology and its application in school/ work settings.

So you can be sure that no matter what your interest in psychology The Fundamental Four will have something or the other to pique your interest and keep you hooked.

Happy Reading!

About the Author
Sandeep Gautam

Sandeep Gautam is a software developer and science writer at The Mouse Trap.

More from Sandeep Gautam
More from Psychology Today
More from Sandeep Gautam
More from Psychology Today