This group consists of four areas that relate to our engagement with life. They are:
- Aliveness: what makes us feel alive is our experience. The better the quality of experience, the more alive we feel – which is why it is the main focus of this area. It should perhaps be pointed out that aliveness differs from pleasure – it can be enhanced with experiences that are not necessarily pleasure inducing, and not all pleasures induce a sense of aliveness. Hence, they are separate. Aliveness is the root area of this group as experience is the baseline for all of them.
- Openness refers to regulating the extent to which we open to an experience. Openness is the divergent aspect of the group as it is about being receptive to experience as such, rather than focusing on something specific.
- Interest is an area that covers our drive for stimulation as well as boredom, subjectively perceived insufficiency in this respect. Unlike openness, interest implies focusing on and connecting with somebody or something specific. So it is the convergent aspect of the group.
- Pleasure is about relating to desirable experiences. It may be important to clarify here the difference between pleasure and some other related phenomena: pleasure is different from satisfaction (fulfilment of positive expectations), contentment (which is a mood), joy (an emotional reaction) or happiness that primarily relates to inner harmony (thus, happiness does not need to have an object, while pleasure always does). This is why pleasure is an area on its own. Making these distinctions (especially the last one) also has a practical value. For example, we often seek pleasures with an assumption that they will bring happiness. But this is not necessarily the case. Some people have a lot of pleasures and are still not happy, while others are happy even if they have few pleasures in life.
As these areas relate in some ways to our engagement with reality and our experience of reality, they all belong to the existence mode and the external domain.