As we said earlier, this developmental model is not only a useful map to tell us where we have come from, and where we are now, but it also has predictive qualities. One area where the predictive nature of the model is interesting has to do with our perception of time.
First of all, let me provide a key to the tables that will follow:
|Ø||this is unconscious awareness.|
|::||and this is conscious awareness. The ability to see and understand.|
|-o-||and this is conscious awareness, the ability to see and understand, combined with the ability to use what you see. You see it, understand it, and use it.|
|<>||and this is something else. Like incorporated or congruent use. It’s not new or novel. It’s become part of the structural makeup. It’ not even use any more as much as it is a part of the person’s structure. It’s more like breathing. We do it naturally more than it being something we use deliberately.|
At L1, there is only awareness – conscious or otherwise – of the present moment. Like this:
But for every level after that, the present is a given. We all presuppose the present in everything we do.
And you could make a case for L1 not really being consciously using anything. L1 may be purely reactive. But that’s somebody else’s research and doesn’t really have any effect on time. Now. At L2, we pick up the ability to see the past. Tribes may worship ancestors. Families may revere elders for their wisdom. Wisdom itself is accumulated past. So to be consciously aware of the past at L2, leads to L3, where we can not only see the past, but we can use it, too. All those conquerors don’t conquer without learning from past mistakes and inventing strategy based on that past. They use the past to get the present they’re wanting. After the new wears off at L3, then at L4 it becomes a given. Like this:
The L4’s get to see the future. The conscious awareness of the future is what makes law work. Anticipated punishment and reward. It’s what makes the concept of heaven work. Delayed gratification only works if you’re conscious of the future, but incapable of actually altering it.
But something else happens at L3. L3’s conquer the known world and build monuments to themselves. Pyramids. Statues. Coliseums. They want to proclaim their own greatness. Cast everything in the gold they’ve plundered. Use the slaves they’ve amassed to build these Ozymandius tributes. ‘Behold ye mighty and dispair,’ they say. But why do they expend all this energy and wealth to build monuments to be seen by the future, if they can’t see the future until L4?
Unconscious awareness. Even if not consciously aware of the future, there is an unconscious “sense” of something more. Both L2 and L3 have a perception of the future as a repeating seasonal cycle, and as the birth of the new accompanied by the death of the old. This unconscious awareness is all that is required of L3 to leave its markers on the landscape.
At L5, the future stops being something that we just see, and begins to be something we use. All of capitalism is based on the ability to use the future to build a better now. We have financial forecasts. We use poles and demographics to predict trends. We map the future and use the map to decide who to hire and who to fire, how to invest our money, and where to buy a house. By the time we hit L6, the future is the given. ‘Of course there’s a future,’ L6 says. ‘Of course there’s a future.’
The unlabeled line represents other people’s time lines.
There’s Past—-Present—-Future. We draw it like this:
-o-– •–• – • – •–• – •– •– • –-o-– •–• – • – •–• – •– •– • –-o-
And at some point in L5, we start to get the feeling that everything we do and experience isn’t just points on our timeline. Every point is actually an intersection. And at every intersection there are other people’s timelines intersecting ours so that our actions and decisions effect not only our future, but other futures. If a supervisor pulls out his back and stays at work even though he is in pain, at L4 that would be a selfless act of loyalty to the company. He would be doing the right L4 thing. But at L5, if he stays at work even though he is in pain, and then snaps at one of his people and they feel like their job is in danger because they did so badly that they got yelled at – and they go home and snap at their children and kick the dog or get in a car wreck because they are so upset about their employment – the L5 won’t do the L6 thing and take care of his people. He may not feel sympathetically for their plight, or consciously recognize the part he plays in it. But there will be an unconscious awareness of the interconnectedness. He’ll probably feel guilt, and then go to a therapist who will let him justify it or ignore it.
But wouldn’t the same thing happen at L4? If he stayed at work in L4, wouldn’t it have the same effect? The people under him still suffer the same consequences whether he knows it or not.
Probably, but he wouldn’t be able to know that at L4 because there’s not even an unconscious awareness at L4 of other people’s timelines. Especially not of intersections. Even at L5 it’s not awareness. At L4, he’d never feel any guilt, and if the people under him are L4, then they’d never think to blame him. The problem for L5, as if L5 needed any more problems, is that there’s a sort of gnawing suspicion that things are not as rosy and simple as just using the future map to make decisions. By L6, multiple timelines is a full blown conscious awareness. All those predictive L5 models of the future become worthless because they don’t take into account all the myriad timelines of everyone involved. Where an L4 wouldn’t think to blame his boss, an L5 to some extent, and an L6 to the fullest extent, sees very clearly that everyone in his life has contributed to his problems and thus begins assigning blame and fault like numbers in a bakery. It’s only after the initial shock of recognition that a mature L6 steps back and takes responsibility for their own life again.
Then, by extension, the L7 must be able to use those multiple timelines . That’s the very definition of collaboration in the scientific community. And so we get people who make it their business to step into other timelines and use that information. That’s what this profession of profiling criminals is all about. And for that matter, that’s all those people who help lawyers select juries are doing. They’re looking into another timelines to see what that individual is likely to do in a given circumstance. And in a way, that may be what distinguishes L5 actors from L7 actors. The L5’s draw a map of what a character would do and they just follow the map. L7 actors actually step into an alternative timeline and become the part they’re playing. They don’t predict what a character would do, they just do it. That is the very definition of “method acting.”
We’re drawing a pattern that implies a continuing developmental structure. There should be another unconscious awareness here at L7 because it is a very consistent pattern.
L7’s are the first ones to have even an inkling that there’s some other way to do time than in a linear stream. Maybe it’s that the particles of time – the millions and billions of intersections out there between all the millions of timelines and events – aren’t the deep and wide grid of static events that we think they are. Here’s one drawing of multi-linear time:
The space between each of the intersections is so small that it’s really no space at all except for the ease of drawing. There is no distance between one moment and the next. In reality, this model should be a solid mass of particles pressed up against each other and with infinite intersecting points – which wouldn’t then be intersecting points at all, but just links of close proximity. And if you make the leap that it isn’t, therefore, linear at all – it isn’t static – it can be seen as linear if it needs to be, but it isn’t by nature linear – then movement across to a different timeline as the L6 and L7 temporal model allows is only one step away from movement across in a non-linear way. If all the particles of time are in some great soup-pot full of this liquid, a constantly bubbling broth of time and events, then what I step across to may just as well be Henry V’s England or Lao Tse’s palace as the office of a physicist in Geneva. If time is fluid, as matter is fluid, then linear is just a structure we impose upon it. It can be linear. Or it can not.
In the same way that light can be seen as particle or wave, – And depending on what you need to know about it, you can study it and how it behaves in either construct. You can use it and see it clearly in both constructs. You can understand it in both ways at once – and it still works.”
And what does this mean?
It means there is a logical deduction to be made when you see a pattern this solidly repetitive. It means there is predictive value to the pattern. It means we can be sure that there are no L9’s because there is no inkling, no hint and no clue what the next temporal construct would be.
But how do we know?
Because it starts to show up in similar places every time. In art. In literature and music. In the behavior of crowds. Think about the Renaissance. We’d just come out of the long, dark ages. The extreme unhealthyness of L3 and L4 gone sour. People were chattel. Slaves. Disposable and expendable. Then suddenly, there was the printing press.
Individuals began to read and learn. Universities came back into existence. People began to acquire property – not purely by conquest. Sometimes by purchase. Or barter. And they became the subjects of painting. Prior to that time, most of the paintings and sculpture were either L2 totems, L3 political tributes, or L4 organized religious tributes. But for the Renaissance when the first blossom of L5 kicked in, individuals suddenly became worth recognizing. Even in the first decks of playing cards in Italy, the face cards were small portraits of members of the household who paid the artist to paint the cards. We were, in our rush to enjoy our L5 wealth and success, already – albeit unconsciously – recognizing each other. We recognized what we were each experiencing. And it had never happened in that way before. At least never acknowledged.
And even though L5 didn’t really take hold in the world as a dominant force until centuries later, we had the history of having recognized each other’s value hiding in our collective memory. L6 made it’s appearance in the 19th century with the first true multi-linear jazz and with movies that could be shot from any point of view; with Charles Dickens literary protests of forced child labor and his Scrooge transitioning from L5 to L6; and with the most savage war in history being fought in the states to end slavery. The next great ‘inkling’ didn’t come until the early years of the 20th century when we saw the first glimmers of L7 and quantum physics. It is impossible to theorize quantum mechanics or Special Relativity without the ability to use multi-linear time. And at the same time we began to use multi-linear time, we began to recognize the possibility of something else. The possibility of non-linear time crept into literature in the form of science fiction. There had never been science fiction before L7’s emergence. In music it appeared as American experimental jazz, and in poetry it transformed into concrete and free form poems. Movies are shot as a non-linear collection of bits and then assembled like puzzle pieces.
Then Marshal McCluhan comes along and proclaims that the medium is the message in the global village. In one stroke he takes a handful of L8 fragments and forms them into a cohesive developmental step. He gives us all the L8 insight to bypass form and structure. He understands and explains that the L6 – L7 pattern – the medium – is both means and end. That if you can see and understand the pattern – then you can model it. Duplicate it. Borrow it and use it. Even manipulate it. But beyond that, he invents the popular concept of the global village. It’s a village full of presupposed and useable L7 patterns, but with the ability to see the village as temporally non-linear, all the L2 through L7 skills and abilities become a greater responsibility, because their impact is no longer a matter of effecting this time line or that time line. An action at L8 seasons the whole pot of temporal soup. It is a global village, but it’s even more than a global village. It’s a – something. A body. A single living organism and we are the cells. A cut on the hand can cause enough bloodshed to kill the whole. Pollution in the lungs can deny the brain of its necessary oxygen. A build-up of cholesterol in the arteries can put so much stress on the heart that it bursts – or decrease circulation to the point that a limb could die. And pleasure. And joy. And contentment. They spread through the body like tonic. We all feel victories together. We all feel sympathy together.
And look at the patterns L7 works with. The global village where an L8 action seasons the whole pot. Where a cut on the finger endangers the whole body. Where a butterfly flapping its wings in China changes weather systems all over the world. All of chaos theory is nothing but another L7 pattern where every action effects every other action and every idea effects every other idea. Where every observation effects every outcome. Where everything effects everything else.
And it is that realization at L7 which either paralyzes you or sends you straight into L8.
In the bigger Gravesean picture, the odd numbers, which have more to do with acquiring something new for the individual, gain a new set of personal skills. Then as they move to their next even number, they use those new skills for whatever group is next. L7’s acquire data, knowledge, technology, the ability to see patterns – and then those who go on to L8 somehow use that gain for the group. In this case, the global village. But temporal shifts are just the opposite. Acquisition of the new temporal knowledge happens at the even numbers, while the ability to use the new construct comes at the next odd level. L7’s are using multi-linear time as they are acquiring the ability to see patterns. L8’s are getting the ability to see and understand non-linear time as they begin to use patterning and modeling to help the global village. L9’s will be acquiring the next set of individual skills as they are learning to use non-linear time, and begin to sense the next temporal construct.
So by L8, past, present, and future linear time, as well as multi-linear time, are as natural as breathing. They’re all presuppositions of everyday life. Plus, there’s the added conscious awareness of non-linear time.
And would we know the new temporal construct if we saw it? Probably only from the L7 and L8.
It’s important to notice how rapidly the new systems are emerging. It is now possible, for the first time in history, for one individual to have been alive for the emergence of two new systems. If we count L7 from the first glimmers of existentialism, and L8 from the words of Marshal McCluhan, an individual could have been alive and able to observe both. The lesson here is that while it took thousands of years to get from L1 to L2, and then hundreds more to get to L3 and then to L4; a few hundred more to reach L5, and even fewer to get to L6 – the total time span from the emergence of L6 to the emergence of L8 is less than two hundred years. It is safe to assume that barring some natural catastrophe, if there is an L9, we will see it emerge within our lifetime.
Where X is the unknown.