Intro to Graves/Jung Model – Intro to Level 4

Level 4 — Blue

“Sacrifice self now in order to obtain later….”

L4-Blue is where we reign in all that unbridled energy and passion we found in L3. In fact, L4 is primarily about reigning in. L4 is where “right and wrong” becomes our test for behavior. We band together again, this time in a bigger community, to defend ourselves against the immorality and violence of L3 gone wild. We establish laws and rules, governing bodies and methods of enforcement, absolute systems of authority, and a boundless set of expectations for ourselves and others. This may be as elaborate as a set of strict rules for behavior based on vice and virtue, or as subtle as the undercurrent of values, norms, morals and conscience.

While there are a very few L2 tribes remaining on the planet, there are many L2 families and organizations. L3 is dominant in many of the “third world” societies, including island nations and post-tribal, but pre-bureaucratic cultures. The majority of the world is in the hands of L4, L5, and most recently, L6. These are the systems of thought and values which will be the most familiar, and which are currently most prevalent in business.

Before getting into the details of L4, let’s look again at a pattern that is beginning to emerge on the linear illustration above.

The ODD NUMBERED SYSTEMS (above the line) will always be developmental systems where I express myself as an individual. I will always be acquiring new skills and looking for what gratifies me and makes me happy.

In the EVEN NUMBERED SYSTEMS, we consciously sacrifice. We sacrifice ourselves, and we sacrifice whatever it was that we acquired in the last odd number. We sacrifice for the group, and with each progressive even number, the group is bigger and more comprehensive.

Above the line is singular, while below the line is plural. In the odd numbers, words like “I, me, and mine” are used heavily, while in the evens, “we, us, our, and ours” are the heavy hitters.

At L1, we acquire the skills to survive in the physical world. At L2, we take those skills and use them for the group — the tribe or family. We sacrifice our individual status to become part of the group. At L3, we acquire the ego skills to conquer others through physical strength or power, and then at L4, we use those ego skills and that strength and power to organize and provide stability to the society. We sacrifice our individual status to become part of the group.

Another characteristic of even and odd systems is that odd systems are toward chaos, while even systems are toward order. Odds are in a frantic quest for more more more, while evens are out to organize all that more that came out in the last odd level.

These patterns will continue as we travel the map, so keep your eyes open.

The biggest problem of existence at L4 is bringing peace — and peace of mind — to lives filled with chaos and violence. If L3 produced marauders, bandits, pirates and dictators, then L4 produces lawmen, judges, bureaucrats, preachers, and politicians. For L4, the greatest challenge is setting the world in order. They need / search for security, organization, and meaning.

As in L2, there’s a lot of attention to God in L4, but here, it is more likely to be a God who dwells in the details and law books, rather than a God who dwells in mystery. For L4, part of the mystery has been solved, because we have access to the causal conditions of existence: The Laws of God. The God of L4 is the god that judges sinners and is seen as wrathful and vengeful. However, the L4 perception of an angry God is incomplete unless God is also seen as totally and completely just.

The L4 world is divinely controlled and guided to the point that all causes are seen as God’s causes. This includes causes linked to the Divine Right of Kings, divinely sanctioned autocracy and oligarchy, or any politic controlled or tied to religion. The L4 world is one in which there can be only one Truth, one Right, and one Good. This makes the rest of life easier because by default, everything else is untruth, wrong, and evil.

Taken to its extreme, religious fervor attached to any belief system can result in an L4 holy war. Any society where L4 adherents are willing to fight, kill, and die for a system of rules is fighting an L4 battle. This is not to say anything about the rightness or wrongness of all L4 battles — certainly no fight was ever more based on L4 problems of existence than the Allied fight in World War II — and that’s just one recent example.

The real problem with the L4 system in action during wartime shows up when both sides believe God — or Truth with a capital T — is on their side.

The salvation for L3 moving into L4 is salvation itself. Prior to L4, relationship with God or the gods is only achieved by appeasing the Spirit or spirits. At L2, we make sacrifices and burn incense. We make offerings and chants. At L3 we conquer lands and dedicate them to our deity. At its best, this relationship is full of tradition. At its worst, it is full of fear, uncertainty, and the presence of erratic, unpredictable and temperamental spiritual beings. At L4, this relationship changes and for the first time we achieve salvation — at least in part — by our own doing. We can choose to follow the Law of God or not. We choose to accept and adhere to the Truth — or not. But it is our choice — and not our luck, our ability to correctly perform a sacrifice, or random fortune which determines our eternal fate.

In a way, you have to look at each level of development as the best answer to the level before. The best response to learning to survive the physical world is to group together for safety. The best response to a safe and secure home base is to go out and explore your own limits. The best response to a life of testing limits is to set boundaries. In this progression, the L4 coping means of ordering the world with laws and rules is actually a way of coping with the world created by L3. Once again, the idea of an emerging model is the best and clearest way to think about this.

The L4 mystery is solved by logic, reason, and the black and white absolutes. If there’s a problem or a difficulty — then there is already a rule or law to govern it, or there should be — and will be. L4s take it upon themselves to create laws where there are none, and to enforce the ones that exist. Loyalty, patriotism, and the “do’s and don’ts” of polite society are born of L4 (Etiquette is an L4 concept….) This complete dependence on structure not only gives L4 its boundaries and limits, it also gives it the most profound demonstration of rigidity and inflexibility.

There is forgiving at L4, but not forgetting. Where transgression of the law is concerned, there may be acknowledgment of the transgressor, but not acceptance — and there may not even be acknowledgment. Banishment and shunning are the L4 mechanism for refusing to acknowledge those who have transgressed.

The last coping mechanism — and one of the most profound — is critical thought. Until we set up standards at L4, there is no way to measure. The direct outgrowth of rules, laws, guidelines, standards, and organized goals is that it sets up the grid of right, wrong, well done, poorly done, average, vice, virtue, continuums, and bell curves that makes measurement possible. With this grid in place, we can judge the value of each other, our ideas, or actions, our progress in school, and even our art and literature. The ability to think critically about the world has given rise to 5-Star restaurants, Siskel and Ebert, and super-premium ice cream. This grid is what makes it possible to breed animals for specific characteristics, and develop heartier, disease resistant, and larger fruited and more flavorful vegetable plants. This grid is what lets us recognize the good guys from the bad guys.

In the previous level, there was no critical thought – only winners and losers. The only way to measure one against the other was to see who won — or who survived. With critical thought, it is possible to judge who’s right and who’s wrong without a duel. Lincoln and Douglass did it with debate. Scientists do it by experiment. You can see this coping means in action by looking at lawyers at work. The legal profession did not come into existence until L4 became a prominent world view — and it is an excellent measuring stick of a society. To the degree that lawyers exist at all, and then to the degree that they exist strictly for the sake of justice — that is the measure of L4 at work in the society.

Hand in hand with critical thought comes the ability to think in abstractions (such as right and wrong, the intangible future, or in theoretical constructions). As a result, the simple arithmetic of system L2 and L3 gives in to the beginnings of higher mathematics. In the same way that experimental science first came into existence with L4, algebra and geometry also find their beginnings here.

At L4, we’re motivated by loyalty, the “Truth with a capital T,” and unwavering belief. This is where slogans begin to appear, like:
“God said it; I believe it; that settles it.”
“America: love it or leave it.”
“God fights on our side.”

This adherence to divine Truth is motivated by time. —By an eternal reward (or perhaps to get away from eternal punishment.) Either way, the motivation is the same: there’s something coming after this, and it must be better (or worse) than what’s here; therefore, we will do whatever it takes to get the reward and avoid the punishment.

It’s at L4 that our individual preference for either going toward what we want or going away from what we don’t want begins to show up in a big way. This “Towards/Away From” meta program is present before L4, but not in such a profoundly visible way.

It is this motivation towards order and security which produces one of the interesting results of an L4 society: the laws of science. What this means in the world of science is that while the individual scientists may move on to other systems in other areas of their life, they tend to always think of scientific questions, problems and challenges through an L4-Blue lens. It has only been since the advent of quantum mechanics that this has begun to change — and that change is only slight. Physicists, biologists, chemists and their kin are in a constant search for the rules which govern our physical universe, and for refinements to the rules they already know.

Guilt is also a motivator for L4. To take a close look at guilt in action, think about the Puritans in early U.S. history, and the witch burnings in New England. Guilt is tied point for point to aversion. People were “good” because being “bad” would result in eternal damnation. They made their choices based on what they wanted to avoid. If they lost their head, like Hester in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, and let what they wanted outweigh what they didn’t want, guilt and public shame stood in as a preview of coming attractions. This sort of aversion gone awry can produce the mass hysteria and mob justice that overtook Salem, Massachusetts, or the House Un-American Activities witch-hunt of the 1950’s.

As a matter of contrast, another clear motivator for L4 is justice. If the only clear-cut way to answer the instability of L3 is to impose an overlay of laws and rules, then enforcing those rules with swift, unwavering, and blind justice is the truest measure of success for the society at L4. Guilt and justice combined can produce a strong set of motivations.

Finally, there is a strong motivation to control impulsiveness. Any choice made quickly without first letting it run the critical thought gauntlet, must be at least suspect, if not evil and harmful. The process of choosing in that way must also be suspect. This means that any impulsive action, or even any action which in an odd numbered system would be described as “quick thinking” or “fast on your feet” — should be seen as potentially dangerous. Every detail must be examined, weighed carefully, and evaluated before acceptance. This is one of the reasons that the wheels of justice turn so slowly.

Follow authority.

When L4 is successful, individuals gain a strong sense of justice and enter the world each day equipped with a moral compass, an appreciation of law and order, and a respect for peace, peace keepers, and peacemakers. L4 provides us with the ability to make and keep rules, as well as the ability to follow procedures and complex instructions. With L4 we get a multi-level structure to society where authority is delegated, and responsibility is accepted as part of the societal agreement. L4 brings critical thinking, analysis, rational thought, science, and widespread education.

If L4 is missing or incomplete, there can be a lack of moral distinction between right and wrong, and good and evil. This includes both extremes of behavior that result from this lack: rigid, merciless conformity at one end of the spectrum, and the inability to follow rules and laws at the other. Unsuccessful or incomplete L4 can produce inappropriate responses to social and legal expectations and norms, and the inability to conform to cultural standards. Without a strong and healthy L4, there may be a lingering and dangerous confusion between justice and mercy.

From a global perspective, we see L4 all over the planet. Before the fall of the former Soviet Union, that society operated in a clearly L4 environment. Not because communism is a strictly L4 political system — because the purest form of communism as initially described by Karl Marx was not L4 at all. It was the way communism was executed by the USSR which made it L4. It is the motivation and the values which distinguish one system from another — not the end result.

The L4 characteristics often associated with Soviet communism are the bureaucratic structure, the strictly enforced and inflexible system of rules which route through this bureaucracy, and the almost martyr-like fidelity to that system of rules.

L4 does not always create co-dependency, but it does seem to generate dependency. It is a society of individuals who have turned over their ability and willingness to set standards for their own behavior — to others — whether the other is a church, a government, or a secret society. Giving up our L3independence by sacrificing self-governance and self-control is the key to the rise of civilization as we know it. We give the control over to others, and in return, receive a safe, law-abiding society.

This almost worked in the former Soviet Union except for two small problems: L3 and L5. When the USSR was formed, it took many small republics, monarchies, and other L3 cultures and regions and incorporated them into a union with a few larger and more powerful L4 peoples. The L4 dominance was strong enough to keep the old L3 holy wars and race/ethnic wars tightly wrapped; however, as soon as the L4 overlay was removed by an elite moving to L5, many of the republics reverted to L3 fights that were centuries old. At the same time, the L4 components which neither wanted to move on to an L5 system or back to an L3, lay in wait for the return of the True and Right Way — Mother Russia.

One of the most widely recognized problems with the turn of the former USSR was the inability of the average workers to produce quality merchandise that would be competitive in the global market. It is the L4 dependence which can be blamed for this problem because the workers were dependent on the communist structure for their earnings, rather than being dependent on their individual skill to produce excellence. Many of them were incredible craftspeople when the L4 regime moved in. Without their own self-propelling L3 sufficiently in place — and combining with that L4 in a healthy form, there was no way for them to require excellence of themselves. The L4 structure had squashed the L3 drive out of them, making quality a needless concern.

The only place where L3 found an acceptable outlet was the military, athletics, and the relentless black market. And the Red Guard in Communist China even managed to eliminate competitive athletics!

Historically, we went from a society led by one dominant and aggressive figure like Alexander the Great, or Atilla the Hun, to a society stratified not merely by power struggles but by value: The King or other leader is at the top of this structure, with advisors, ministers, and counselors below. Each of those ministers is responsible for a specific area of kingdom business and supervises lower bureaucrats, who are in turn responsible for the working class. About the only level below the working class are the children, village idiots, and farm animals, and they are the direct responsibility of the workers. The feudal system takes the pecking order of the previous level and proclaims it to be an entirely logical, divinely ordained heirarchy.

Take almost any corporation that’s been around for more than one hundred years, and you’ll find a business that at least passed through L4-Blue. Mom-and-Pop groceries may have started out as L3 markets, but as soon as they opened their second, third and fourth stores in neighboring towns, they moved into the bureaucracy of L4. They acquired buyers to buy for all the stores and advertisers to advertise for all. The company structure changed from Mom and Pop actually running the store, slicing the cheese, and balancing the books at night, to Mom and Pop hiring managers to manage department heads, cashiers, bag-boys, and stockers, and accountants to keep the books.

The goal of the L4 grocery was to bring the same high quality (notice the critical thought evaluation of what is high quality…) of goods and service to everyone, regardless or where they live, and how far they are from the beaten path (notice the fairness and justice….)

Notice how neat and tidy the L4 Organization Chart looks. —Order from chaos at its finest.

You can plug just about any L4 organization into that pattern and it works. If you substitute the Commander-in-Chief for the CEO, then drop the head of each of the armed forces divisions into the Director level, then the Admiral / General tier below that, and the full military bureaucracy structure below each of those, the chart would still fall in these neat and orderly patterns — just on a larger scale.

Centuries of Roman Catholicism produced the same structure, with Jehovah and the Pope in the CEO/President slot, Cardinals, Bishops, and the bureaucracy of the church below. Any time you see this basic structure, you’re probably looking at an L4 influenced organization.

While there are many examples we could look at, some of the most obvious come from Western Christianity and Eastern Muslim societies. Both these belief systems, when locked in L4, produce individuals who are capable of murdering doctors in the name of God when they openly perform abortions; torturing prisoners in the name of a holy dictator, abandoning children who have transgressed the Law of God, and executing women who are accused of lying and adultery.

There are also a lot of saints at L4. The wonderful thing about an L4 existence is that if you succeed in following all the rules — or in obtaining forgiveness when you transgress — there is a great reward at the end. It may come before death, but more than likely it will come in the afterlife. This provides enough motivation for most L4 individuals to stick to the straight and narrow, up to and including self sacrifice, or the sacrifice of those they love.

In especially precocious children, L4 may show up as an extreme need to know and follow the rules — even at a very young age. Otherwise, the switch-on point for L4 will occur with the chemical changes of puberty which may be linked to the ability to work in abstractions.

Melodrama is an L4 theatrical style where the arch-villain twirls his mustache, and the Mounted Police ride in just in time to rescue the damsel in distress from the oncoming train. Good and evil are as clear cut as black and white — no shades of gray and no Technicolor. In the movies, L4 gave us decades of American Westerns where telling the villains from the heroes was as easy as looking at the color of their hat. John Wayne embodied a great L4 hero in many of his movies — most dramatically in his personal quest to make and star in The Green Beret, during the Viet Nam era. In a similar way, James Stewart’s role in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was an elegant L4, as was Gary Cooper’s Sergeant York. In each of these films, the L4 hero was fighting for Truth, and in some cases, Truth, Justice, and the American Way; willing to risk everything for what was right.

In It’s A Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey was equally L4, but rather than living his L4 as a war hero or politician, he lived the way most of us do — as the hard working, guy next door, fighting every day for what’s right and what’s honest. He runs a “Building and Loan” — not to make a huge banker’s profit, but so everyone in town has a fair chance at owning their own home. In the ultimate Capraesque morality tale, George almost looses everything but learns in the end that he’s the richest man in town because he has so many friends.

In print, former Secretary of Education and Drug Czar, William Bennett, has built a publishing career on the L4 system of thought with collections like The Book of Virtues. His perception of generations cast adrift without the benefit of a good, strong L4 structure is shared by many, and it is that audience which has bought Bennet’s books to bolster values, morals, and conscience in their children and grandchildren.

Historically, the greatest glory, the brightest heaven, the monuments and statuary, and the highest rewards and acclaim are reserved for those who risk everything in the name of Right. In many ways, the cheese at the end of the maze is what makes the L4 mouse run. At the same time, the process of standing up for the truth may be its own reward.

1. Is there a clear right and wrong?
2. Is there respect for law and representatives of the law?
3. Is it easy to identify good and evil?
4. Is there a rule structure in place for all or most daily activities?
5. Is there experimentation, testing, and/or critical evaluation?


And what does this level repress? Everything it deems sinful or heretical—anything that violates or contradicts its Truth. Collectively these repressions constitute the Shadow. This includes forbidden lusts and hungers as well as observations that deviate from orthodoxy. As at each level, repression sends considerable energy to the unconscious to keep it down, thereby depriving consciousness. A common medieval complaint was that monks often lost energy even as they became more and more virtuous (i.e., repressed). Consequently, people at stage four are tempted either to give in to the Shadow (to enjoy the excitement and pleasures of sin directly) or to release it vicariously, e.g., denouncing sins described with near pornographic details (as in some medieval tracts), so that the devout audience can simultaneously feel virtuous and sexually aroused. The emergence of the Shadow does not necessarily mean becoming a villain, but is better exemplified by Luther, who renounced his monastic vows, married a nun, and denounced many of his former beliefs as superstitions. The legend of his thrown an inkwell at the devil might be interpreted as his seeing his Shadow and becoming a more passionate, dynamic individual in the process. His subjecting scripture to a rational critique (going so far as to denounce the book of James) shows how the surfacing of that Shadow was preparing the way for the very conscious, scientific rationalism of the next level.



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