Level 7 – Yellow
Any technology sufficiently developed is
Arthur C. Clarke
“Express Self Now, But Not At The Expense Of Others”
THE SECOND TIER OF EXISTENCE
Imagine stadium seating – or seating in a large theatre or concert hall. There’s orchestra, or floor level seating. There’s first balcony seating and second balcony. Within the first tier of seating there will be a Section A, Section B, Section C, etc., then in the second tier, sections may be identified as AA, BB, and CC, etc.
According to Graves, this is also the structure of this model. Systems L1 – L6 represent the first tier, then systems L7 through the still hypothetical L12 represent the second tier. In Graves emerging model, there is no way to know how many levels or tiers to expect since there is little more than speculation about anything beyond L8-Turquoise.
The distinctions between the first tier and the second tier – if Graves was right and there are, in fact, two tiers – are the subject of much speculation as well. The primary differences supposed up to this point are between the physical and the metaphysical, and between what is local and what is global. Levels 1 – 6 concern themselves with the tangible, physical, local existence –
L1 is about survival in the physical world.
L2 is about physical safety.
L3 is about physical power.
L4 is about physical truths (with Heaven, for instance, a physical location as in Dante’s Divine Comedy).
L5 is about material (physical) prosperity.
L6 is about physical health and well being.
Acquisition of these physical securities is sequential, each requiring the previous systems, and each leading to the next.
Similarly, systems L1 – L6 concern themselves with our own relatively small circles of family, tribe, district, neighborhood, culture, state, or community. At L7, however, we cross over into a much larger and more populated neighborhood – the globe, the global village, the global marketplace, and the global society.
Once systems 1 – 6 have been successfully experienced and traveled for their useful life skills (remember our little explorer on the spectrum map…) those lessons are never lost. We carry them forward and therefore need never learn again the lessons of the first tier. With the ability to find our survival, safety, power, truth, prosperity, and well being successfully in hand, we now have the freedom to go on beyond physical survival and physical power struggles.
With or without a truly cyclical and emerging second tier of existence, what is true is that there is a significant change – much more than a mere level change – that takes place at the L6 – L7 shift. Beyond this shift, systems are more metaphysical, more global, and more tolerant of all the systems which came before. Since there is no longer a need to expend all of life’s energy on staying alive, that energy can be directed toward matters of the mind and cognition – and not necessarily limited to the conscious mind.
L7-YELLOW PROBLEMS OF EXISTENCE
At some point, L6 will look around at its world – a world where money, time, and energy have been poured out on the less fortunate or the down trodden, and the positive changes and results are less than satisfying. There may have been some superficial change in system 2 – 5 individuals, but little “deep” change (remember that for L6, “deep” would be defined as changing to be like the L6s and being part of the L6 community.) Failure to turn the outcasts and the downtrodden to the generosity and community of L6 is a great disappointment for those in that system. So great that finally, having freely given to any who needed it has left L6 drained and exhausted, both mentally and physically, and they begin to feel the weight of the even to odd push line: “What’s in this for me?” Furthermore, they begin to understand that being subject to often vindictive emotions based on a mysterious, unconscious intuition of Meaning is undesirable. They need to bring that nebulous Meaning into consciousness–something possible only if they garner tools sufficient to deal with the patterns of systems as complex as the unconscious,
Unlike the push into L3 or L5, however, the push doesn’t result in expressing the self at the expense of the previous level. Part of the step into L7 results is a “first” of sorts: for the first time, the move from one system to the next does not carry with it the distaste and even repulsion away from the previous level. Whereas
L3 turned on the weakness and interdependence of L2;
L4 turned on the violence of L3;
L5 turned on the inflexible and judgmental aspects of L4; and
L6 turned on the self indulgence of L5;
where each of these changes occurred with a cringe and often retribution toward the earlier system’s perceived inadequacies – L7 begins to see the first six systems as a whole, and as necessary (if somewhat frustrating) to its own existence.
The problem of existence, as seen from L7, is not the previous level’s weakness, but that the physical world is no longer the only challenge or explanation. At L7, the challenge to the self also comes from within the self. The undiscovered and unexplored territory is both between the ears and between the horizons–all comprehended as a single, vast system. The challenge is to find the connection between what is whole and incomprehensible about the internal world, and what is whole and incomprehensible about the external world.
L3 is about acquiring power, and
L5 is about acquiring prosperity, then
L7 is about acquiring knowledge and understanding. It is about solving the puzzles of our existence. L7 is about putting it all together. Seeing the big picture and the details simultaneously. Understanding the hows and whats of levels 1 – 6, but only in the shadow of the whys and what-ifs that may have been overlooked.
L7 returns to a world of chaos which has been raped and pillaged by greed, violence and ignorance to that point that the abundance experienced by L5 and L6 is depleting and the world of the future will be a place of scarcity as a result.
Existence to L7 is composed of contradictions and paradoxes. To begin to understand L7 problems of existence, we should look at each of the three pivotal problems as they emerged in the last years of the 19th and the first years of the 20th Centuries which brought L6 into the world.
L6 to L7 in philosophy: from Kierkegaard to Derrida
The two phrases most often associated with Sören Kierkegaard are “teleological suspension of the ethical” – which explains that under certain circumstances (ultimate design, divine interference…) we must suspend our own ethical and moral guides; and the title of one of his books: Fear and Trembling – a book which takes the Old Testament story of Abraham and Isaac and examines the apparent contradiction between Abraham’s absolute faith which would allow him to sacrifice his son to God just because God asks him to, and the ethical prohibition against killing, specifically killing an innocent boy. In other words, he was approaching the L6paradox that the Wise Old Being may arise from the depths of the mind to bring a totally unexpected Meaning to everything. Kierkegaard is famous for the whimsy and multiple pseudonyms with which he presents such ideas, deliberately being unsystematic, letting the Spirit take its own course. Father of existentialism, he stands as patron of a long line of French writers who shared his L6presupposition that one must make an ultimately irrational “leap of faith” to choose a path through the multiple perspectives modernity offers.
Prepared for perhaps by the existentialists (whose paradoxes come from there glimpses of the unconscious), a later French fad is Jacques Derrida’s Deconstruction. Others have watered down his ideas into a support for L6 relativism, but Derrida himself writes excruciatingly complex explorations of the systems of cognitive development underlying the history of philosophy. He is thus at L7 but a very conscious L7 that is trying to deal with the complexities of a vast unconscious with the resources of a relatively smaller, conscious mind that never has enough time or information to untangle the knot,
L6 to L7 in physics: Relativity to Quantum Theory
While we may be foolhardy to try talking about existentialism and deconstruction in two paragraphs, we would not presume to explain General and Special Relativity in such a short space. What is important to know is how Einstein, and then how quantum physics, fits into the emergence of L6, L7 and L8 systems.
Special relativity (1905) predicted that observers moving at constant velocities with respect to each other would find the laws of nature to be operating in their frame of reference. That is, the speed of light would have to appear to be the same to every observer within the same set of conditions. If, however, the conditions are different – one observer holding a clock is stationary, and another with a clock is moving, the moving clock will appear to run slower (this is called time dilation). It also predicts that moving objects will appear shorter and heavier than stationary ones. Consonant with Einstein’s political liberalism, relativity is a sustained metaphor for the L6viewpoint. Like Kierkegaard, the paradoxes inherent in this metaphor help to prepare for L7, but not enough so that Einstein felt comfortable with quantum mechanics, which he considered much too complicated.
It tells us that observation effects outcome (observing the behavior of subatomic particles effects their behavior; what’s happening when you look is never the same as what’s happening when you’re not looking….) What could be more paradoxical than the notion that “reality” changes depending on whether we’re looking or not? “X is not true – unless you’re looking, in which case X may be true.” The best known metaphor for this is Schrödinger’s Cat. In this little yarn, Schrödinger, one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, has placed a kitten in box with a vial of poison gas which has a trip hammer poised above it. The trip hammer is controlled by a counter on the lid of the box which is counting off quantum events (for the sake of our telling of the story, anything counts as a quantum event, from blinking your eyes or dropping your coffee cup, to a neuron firing off in your brain….)
The counter goes from 0 to 100, but at 50 has a randomizer which will either send it up to 51, or down to 49. From 0 to 50, the hammer doesn’t move, but at 51 (through 100), the hammer falls, the gas is released, and the cat dies. At 50, however, there is an equal and random chance that 49 and 51 will occur next. In the language of science fiction, at 50 the cat has an equal chance of being both dead and alive. In fact, both quantum realities exist. The cat is theoretically both dead and alive.
If you open the box at 50 to discover which, opening the box is a quantum event and will send the counter either up to 51 where the cat is dead, or down to 49 where the cat is alive. The act of opening the box causes all but one of the quantum realities to vanish.
Therefore, observation effects outcome.
Whereas relativity reduced existence to separable perspectives, quantum mechanics intertangles observer and observed, particle and energy, etc. What cannot be sorted out and analyzed transcends the conscious mind. This is the world of L7.
L5 to L7 in psychology: From Freud’s Subconscious to Jung’s Collective Unconscious
It is hard, at this point in history, to imagine the world where the concept of an unconscious mind did not exist. What other idea of the modern world has woven its way through the fabric of knowledge as quickly or as completely?
With this concept, we know that our dreams are where our unconscious mind works through and processes the complexities of the day, as well as the long-running problems we deal with. We know that our unconscious pays attention to details that our conscious mind can’t get to – this is why we can often recall details under hypnosis that we never realized we had stored. We know that a conscious mind can juggle a handful of thoughts at once – but the unconscious can manage 300,000 (and more) operations per second. We know that such mundane and complex functions as breathing, blinking, providing the right mix of oxygen in the blood, releasing chemicals like adrenaline and endorphins, and blushing are unconscious processes, carried on throughout our lives by that part of us which we cannot see or speak with directly. When our words get ahead of our conscious thought processes, we often hear the unconscious speak (what has come to be called a Freudian Slip.)
Again, the relationship to L7 is one of complexity and paradox. The unconscious mind, however, may be the most difficult to talk about in the context of this book because the very idea of some invisible part of us which functions without our conscious will, sends the L4 into a panic of anger and fear. From the punitive and legalistic perspective of L4, what could be harder to tolerate than some ambiguous and yet incredibly powerful force within us that can both keep us alive and cause us to speak or act in a way that would otherwise be against our conscious judgment.
L5 (Freud) finds the unconscious terribly fascinating and probably impactful on everyday life; but invents a whole medical discipline (psychiatry) to subordinate it to conscioiusness. L6 trusts it for leaps of faith, but wants it to remain mysterious lest some sinful, insane, etc. L5 manipulate people through it. After breaking from Freud, Jung went through L6 periods when he worried about tampering too much with it. Instead of Freud’s favorite term “subconscious” (which implied its inferiority), Jung preferred unconscious (i.e., simply other), Nonetheless, he also felt driven to chart its elaborate, collective nature, even while aware that it and he were entangled, precluding objectivity. Jung recognized that through it patients could cure themselves and the primary obstacle to such healing was their fear-inspired resistance to it. In much of this he was growing toward L7, which sees the unconscious mind as the greatest uncharted territory short of cosmology, and the greatest ally since the guardian angel. The unconscious is where our intuition is housed, where our motivations are processed, and where our behaviors are born. It is directable, clever, witty, creative, and influences us with or without our conscious knowledge, permission, or gratitude.
And yet, it is without location or tangible physical characteristics. The unconscious mind, gravity, thought, energy, and time are the stuff of the meta- physical universe. Whether searching for the building blocks of matter, the unified field theory, or the nature of existence itself, the problems of existence at L7 are the problems of the mind.
Knowing how the universe works is not enough to tell us why it exists.
– Stephen Hawking
It is in this world of paradox and intellectual puzzles that L7 finds itself. It is a world left polluted and exhausted by the scramble, clamber, and clamor of systems 1 – 6; a world full of people who have become separated from the natural rhythms and expressions of nature; and a world full of contradictions and unsolved puzzles which must be understood for the human race to continue.
L7’s primary means of coping with this world of unseen and seemingly contradictory phenomena is to figure it out. There is no greater complement from L7 than the simple, “That’s interesting.” Being interesting to L7 means that the data is being recorded and filed away because sooner or later it will become an important piece of some bigger puzzle. Details are intriguing and fascinating – but the bigger picture they create is astonishing.
Remember, this is an odd system, so acquiring knowledge is the same kind of conquest that we have felt before at L3 and L5; that is, to know or to understand – or even to be in the process of figuring out – is equivalent to conquering Wall Street or overthrowing a kingdom. As preposterous (criminal and insane, sinful, stupid, useless, and weak) as that might sound to L3and L4, L7 creates its chaos by stirring up all the bits and pieces, rules and ideas, thoughts and hopes and letting the pieces fall in new and different ways. Then it may stir them up again just to watch the process fall out again.
L7 even forms a theory about the chaos itself, which in turn results in one of L7’s most pervasive lessons:
In the same way that the little story of Schrödinger’s Cat delivers up the quantum paradox, the familiar illustration of the butterfly flapping its wings in China delivers chaos theory. In this illustrative example, the butterfly’s wings flap, creating a little puff of a breeze, which in turn causes a leaf to fall, which in turn causes a pile of leaves to tumble into a stream and so on and so on until finally a cloud builds and travels and rains which causes… which causes… which causes… and eventually there’s a tornado in Brazil – which began as the butterfly flapping its little wings in China.
The moral of this paradoxical – and the great L7 lesson, is that everything affects everything else. Nothing truly happens in isolation. Everything is interconnected. Everything is linked to every other thing.
Even the act of opening the box containing Schrödinger’s little cat must be seen in its full chaotic context. If the cat lives, it will breed other cats which may kill the mouse carrying the disease that would kill the child who would grow up to solve the problem of world hunger. If we open the box and the cat dies – what have we actually done? The realization that nothing we do or say can ever be taken as a single event without consequences is a vastly different take on the world than was previously held by systems L1 – L6. It sounds like far-fetched fiction when read or heard from those systems, but from L7 (and L8), it is part of the paradox of living.
Part of coping with the problems of existence at L7 is to take back the responsibility for deciding what to do and what not to do – what is worth the expenditure of resources, and what is not. When L7 looks at the failure of authority figures and bureaucracies to adequately take care of the environment, to appropriately use funds and people, and to accurately access situations and crises – L7’s response is to kick free from the authority and management of others. This doesn’t necessarily mean that L7s will become like hermits and completely withdraw from society (though that is a real possibility); what is more likely is that they will simply reject the idea of being “supervised” by someone who has taken that position of authority by attrition, nepotism, or favor. If they are supervised at all, it must be by someone who has both knowledge and wisdom, competency, vision, and reason.
How is this possible? Remember that L7 has already passed through L5 and L6. They are natural technocrats. They have been thinking with machines and technology through two complete systems on the spectrum map. They have picked up Tools, Resources, and Experiences as they moved through the spectrum; and now they are reveling in (and wallowing in, some would say) the interconnectedness of technology. L7 is so valuable to business, government, and information technology that they often get to create their own environment. One look at Silicon Valley bears this out.
L7 is so completely immersed in its information, and so completely unrestrained by the physical world of systems L1 – L6 that while not necessarily “smarter” (whatever that means) than its L1 – L6 counterparts, it tends to work faster and with more creativity than others.
L5, with its emphasis on the bottom line will see the efficiency of L7 and bend or stretch the bureaucracy in whatever way is necessary to keep them happy and working. L7 will set its own hours – working at those times when it has the most energy and can focus all its attention on the task at hand. L7 will demand comfort. It will expect to be able to work when and where and how it feels it can get the most done.
And then it will get the work done. Quickly, correctly, and with great result.
Finally, L7 copes with the world it encounters with a kind of fearlessness of all the things that once pushed and pulled at the first tier systems. L7 no longer fears failure or defeat, embarrassment or loss of face; isolation; hunger or exposure; poverty or even death. This is not to say that L7 is never afraid. There are always appropriate times and places for the adrenaline release associated with fear – when there is imminent danger to self or others, fear is a healthy response. The fearlessness associated with L7 has to do with the overall approach to life. Without these negative emotions and limiting decisions, L7 is free and unbridled, able to discover, consider, and ponder all the ideas and information it finds – able to solve its puzzles, unrestricted and unrestrained by doubt.
MOTIVATORS AND DRIVERS
L7 is motivated to do better. To understand more. To satisfy its own curiosity. It is motivated to be flexible and fast on its feet. To be able to adapt to any situation smoothly and seemlessly.
For the L7 individual, goals are set internally, and therefore, motivations come from that same center. There is no one with enough influence or authority to tell it what to do or what to learn, and no physical motivation strong enough to cause it go against its own judgment. L7 would rather go without money, food, and shelter than be told it must fit into some pre-defined mold. It is more concerned with the quality of existence, than with any outside approval or reward.
Besides the strongest L7 motivation to solve – to put the pieces of the puzzle together – the other powerful force behind L7 actions is the drive to understand the wrongs and imbalances heaped on to the world by systems L1 – L6. L7 is where such fields as deep ecology, mind-body medicine, and the global economy are first encountered.
TEACHING / LEARNING STYLE
L7 makes all situations a classroom and switches the role of teacher and student back and forth according to whoever has the best insight of the moment.
RESULTS OF SUCCESS / FAILURE AT L7
Success at L7 provides perspective and acceptance of the L1 – L6 systems in a way previously unavailable. L7 is able to communicate up and down the spectrum with ease, using the appropriate vocabulary and reference for any system, and a chameleon-like ability to blend into any system environment. There will be significant flexibility, and a “turn on a dime” ability to adjust quickly to changes and unexpected circumstances. L7 will seek out its own health and intellectual development with the same energy L3 used to establish dominance, and L5 used to establish success. L7 will uncover the speed and efficiency of thought, and will use that speed to identify the patterns it is drawn to. It will also learn to enjoy paradox and paradoxical relationships; will base its self worth on non-physical and metaphysical measures, and will appreciate non-physical reality as equal or more valuable than physical reality. It will value paradox and metaphysics along side reason and evidence, and learn to navigate change, technology and phenomenology with ease. It will use all available resources to “put the pieces of the puzzle together”, including the puzzle of its own inner workings; and it will ultimately reach the conclusion that everything effects everything else – all things are connected.
When L7 is missing or incomplete, there will be an insufficient ability to navigate the first six systems, and an insufficient ability to navigate and use the metaphysics of L7 and above.
Without a healthy completion of L7, systems 1 – 6 will remain incomplete in significant ways, preventing the systemic application of spectrum skills. There may be a diminished ability to collect or connect the vast wealth of data which is the core of L7’s existence, making it impossible to work out the interconnectedness puzzles and patterns. The advantage of being able to “meta view” the first six systems may be lost, making it impossible to shed the criminal, insane, sinful, stupid, useless and weak view of those who inhabit those systems.
There is very little L7 so far at the global level. There are no political structures from this system, because, so far there are no union of states where L7 is the dominant system.
In practical terms, the closest thing we have to an L7 structure is the United Nations: a cooperation of individual states, organized around a single purpose and a single task – preservation.
Each nation is autonomous and retains its self interest. In theory, no one nation is higher or lower than others on a hierarchical scale. The direction and task of the moment is determined by need and necessity rather than some artificial schedule. Systems L2 through L6 are watched over and tended to without being viewed as criminal, insane, sinful, stupid, useless or weak; instead, they are seen a different, able to do what they do with all the skill of their system, and valued for what they bring to the table, rather than criticized for what they do not bring.
Within this structure, it is only the violence of L3 (see tyrants and terrorists) and the overall wastefulness and strip-mining of global resources by L5 (see destruction of rain forests and world-wide pollution of air and water) which are seen as a threat to the whole spectrum are therefore subject to the scrutiny of the L7s. To deal with the violent L3 extremes, L7 will opt back into its bag of resources with a judicious L3–L4 military combination; with L5 economic sanctions, and with L6 humanitarian condemnations. To deal with global environmental threats, it may opt for L4 punishments, rewards and incentives, and L6 cause – campaigns to gather the support and energy of the community.
The phenomena of the extended office where L7’s work at home, connected to their mother company by modem and fax is born from L7, as is the growth of consultants and contract workers who would rather hire out by the hour than work under a stifling bureaucracy.
Organizationally, however, L7 will create a web of interconnectedness between these independent and often distanced counterparts. The virtual office, held together with fibre-optics and satellites, connecting agents around the globe or across the street is the ideal structure for this odd numbered system. A “cooperation of individuals” organized by purpose and by individual task rather than by geography and hierarchy may be the only structure in which L7 functions well. L7 will expect and even demand that it is the most competent individual in a given situation who makes the decisions.
Dr. Roy Schwitters, Director of the now defunct Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory near Dallas once said that trying to direct an organization of more than 700 quantum physicists was a lot like trying to heard cats. At L7, that’s the appropriate metaphor, whether its L7 physicists or L7 dentists, filmmakers, computer programmers, or chefs.
More than anything else, L7 will want to build organizational forms which can deal with complexity, uncertainty, and rapid change. They will be “light weight” – that is, unencumbered by a heavy support system or other employees who will depend on the structure for support. At L7, the support comes from within the individual, and the only certainty for the future is that it will always be changing – and therefore, so will the organization.
As individuals, L7s are in the interesting position of using their hard won independence on the one puzzle closest to their heart: the universe within. Purpose and meaning. How their own head works – and how it works with the body, and with the ultimate intangible – the self.
It’s not surprising that an individual with access to such tools as hypnosis and self hypnosis, the ability to enter an altered state of consciousness through meditation, and the ability separate from the physical world would turn their attention and focus inward. Following fast on the heels of the L6 impetus to develop the self fully through self-help books, seminars, and therapy, L7 then takes that fully developed self and turns toward the deep practices of meditation and other “work” on the spirit and soul. This inner work is aimed at inner peace and peace with the universe / universal principles. Whether allied with the inner work of Buddhism, monastic Christianity, or any other meditative spiritual discipline, the result will be similar. L7 is working to experience the relationship of the mind to a world filled with confusion and chaos.
In our recent past and present world, the outstanding L7’s include such puzzlemasters and peacemakers as (Karol Wojtyla) Pope John Paul II; His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV; Stephen Hawking, Andrew Weil, Edward Witten, and Nelson Mandela.
It is impossible to imagine doing the theoretical work of cosmology or quantum physics without L7, though many physicists work in a synthesis of L7 theory and L4 laws of the physical universe. It may be only those physicists who can let go of or at least temper their L4 who will find the complete freedom of thought to imagine the solutions to their greatest questions.
THE L7-YELLOW MEASURING STICK
1. Is there easy and quick understanding of complex issues and ideas?
2. Is there ability to hold contradictory ideas simultaneously?
3. Is there an appreciation of interacting, complex technological systems?
4. Is there an affinity for change and “turn-on-a-dime” flexibility?
5. Is there fearlessness in approach to the world and its challenges?
6. Is there an ability to see relationships and patterns in otherwise unrelated concepts?
CORE LEARNINGS AT LEVEL 7
Since, according to psychological tests, the conscious mind can only attend to five to nine things at once, the kind of complexity attempted by L7 requires a merger of conscious and unconscious minds. Jung theorized that the two were separated so that the conscious could grow. It does this through L5. At L6, the conscious begins to be more tolerant of subjectivity. At L7, success requires the merger of conscious and unconscious which Jung called the archetype of the Self–an archetype in that the very idea of it is throughout most of our development merely a potential buried in the psychic depths. When it becomes manifest, of course, there is no longer a distinct unconscious or conscious but a unified mind, Consequently, we can only speculate what if anything may take the place of archetypes for higher levels.
CONTINUE TO INTRO TO GRAVES/JUNG MODEL, “WHOLE MODEL PROPERTIES, PT. 2”