Graves Model Time Tables – L7


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:

L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8
PRESENT -o- <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

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:

L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8
PRESENT -o- <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
PAST :: -o- <> <> <> <> <>

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.

L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8
PRESENT -o- <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
PAST :: -o- <> <> <> <> <>
FUTURE Ø :: -o- <> <> <>

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.’

L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8
PRESENT -o- <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
PAST :: -o- <> <> <> <> <>
FUTURE Ø :: -o- <> <> <>
Ø :: -o- <>

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.

L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8
PRESENT -o- <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
PAST (LINEAR) :: -o- <> <> <> <> <>
FUTURE (LINEAR) Ø :: -o- <> <> <>
MULTI-LINEAR Ø :: -o- <>

Non-linear time?

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 L6L7 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.

L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8
PRESENT -o- <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
PAST (LINEAR) :: -o- <> <> <> <> <>
FUTURE (LINEAR) Ø :: -o- <> <> <>
MULTI-LINEAR Ø :: -o- <>

Where X is the unknown.


Taking Stock on my Birthday

Today I am 55 and I still don’t know most of the answers to the things that really matter to me.

I understand the difference between the choice in a person to change, vs the choice not to change.  It has to do with intention. ( see blog post: “What I Know About Change” )  Choosing to change is not just the first step — but the greatest percentage of the distance between what we are now and what we want to be.  Ask anyone who has ever changed their life — and they will describe in elaborate detail the moment that “clicked” — where they went from being what they always were to the person who is actively changing.  What I don’t know is why that “click” occurs in some people and not in others.  How it is that some people go that great percentage step toward what they want to be — only to turn back, or be swept backwards.

I also understand the difference between art and non-art. It may also have to do with intention.  I’m not sure.  It may have to do with energy and meaning and the human spirit.  Or divine intervention.  As the Supreme Court said about pornography — I know art when I see it.  Sometimes.  Some art has to grow on you, while other art leaps into your mind like a panther.  Some art is context dependent, while other art spans centuries and still carries its meaning and emotions. (or the artist’s meaning and emotions?)  Some art depends on context, while other art seems to be permanently imbued with its own context. Some art is beautiful and appeals to everything we know about beauty and perfection; while other art is edgy and confrontational — and seems to challenge us to think differently every time we see/hear it.

When Pompeii was excavated, the archeologists didn’t just find the shells of people who were frozen in negative space and preserved as they were at the moment of the volcano’s eruption — they also found art.  They found ART.

From what I understand, this couple’s portrait was found painted into the plaster (fresco) of one of the rooms in their home. Now, it reaches across time and tells us about them.  So is it information — a decoration in a dining room — or is it great art?  Does rarity — just surviving such a cataclysm, or surviving this long — somehow elevate it to greatness sufficient to be studied in art history classes and catalogued with the most impactful works of all time?

From where I sit, the portrait is somewhat badly done.  They eyes aren’t right.  Her fingers and hand are curved instead of jointed, and not proportioned well.  Or maybe that’s what hands looked like back then, or a convention of the day.

The truth is, this wasn’t the best painting in Pompeii when the end came.  There were probably better paintings and great sculptures there in town that didn’t make it.  But this is the one we have, so this is the one that goes into the history books.  Who these people were, what their lives were like, what they did for a living — those are things we will never know — but we know their faces and their curly hair, and their focused brown eyes.  We assume it was painted by an artist who made his living decorating the walls of homes in Pompeii with tribute-like portraits of the residents.  He was a commissioned/ commercial artist.  Compare it to our popular idea of all the paintings on the walls of castles — portraits of the owners of the residence going back centuries — uncle Posh, his father, his grandfather, his great uncle and maiden aunt — and on and on back as far as there were pennies to pay the painters.  In Pompeii, instead of hanging the portraits on the wall — they just frescoed them into the walls.

The cave paintings found in the Caves at Lascaux are also in the history books — but for different reasons.  The couple from Pompeii were probably well off enough to afford or be gifted with a fine decoration for their home –that may or may not necessarily be the best work by their artist — but the paintings in Lascaux are masterpieces for the time and place in which they were created, and thousands of years later, communicate to us more information about who we were and still are than most of us can bare.

The Pompeii artist probably did not work alone — he may have had a “paintman” who prepared the paints.  The Lascaux artist just had black soot from the fire; blood; red, yellow and brown dirt; a little chalk; the grease dripping of his cooking fresh-kill; and spit.  Man’s first attempt at visually recording the world around him was pretty good considering there were no Art Institutes, or mail-order art schools to teach him about motion and perspective and dimensionality.  Whether created to record the events of the hunt; as an offering or communication to the spirits of the animals or the gods of the earth; or as illustrations to the stories told around the fire — the cave paintings are great art.  If they started out as religious, historical, or even as protection banishing the evil from the cave– they have evolved or magically transformed into information about who and what we are.  –which is what the couple on their wall in Pompeii do for us.  They tell us about ourselves.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man is not a painting, but part of a series of sketches and notes from the artist’s collected notebooks.  Vitruvian Man is basically Leonardo, thinking on paper.  While almost everyone would agree on the “great art” status of Leonardo’s artworks, the “great art” status of his notes, scribbles, idea-journals, and engineering designs is less clear.  If he’d had a good CAD program and a home computer, Vitruvian Man might have been drawn there, rather than being worked out on paper.  It’s status as great art is a questionable bet.  Even less certain is the art by association bestowed on Ceninno Ceninni, Leonardo’s paintman who wrote a book called The Craftman’s Handbook, and whose nearly alchemical recipe for turning the beautiful stone, lapis lazuli, into the rich, clear blue of the artist’s palette has obtained the Holy Grail-culthood of Erich von Stroheim’s 10+ hour-long silent masterpiece, Greed; William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labors Found; and Aristotle’s Comedia.

Leap forward a few centuries and we have Picasso paying bar tabs with scribbles on cocktail napkins.

Somewhere in there, the line between great art and a great tale for the art history books gets blurry.  I have Vitruvian Man hanging on the wall in the office — and truth is, if I had a Picasso signature on a cocktail napkin — I’d probably have that on a wall somewhere, too.  Or in a safe deposit box.  But that has more to do with capitalism than it does with aesthetics.

What I do know about art is that it has to do with communication. Whether poetry, dance, music, painting, sculpture, film, architecture, story, drama, or some subset, combination, or totally new medium — it has to do with getting some kind of thought/idea/emotion/information/energy from the mind of one artist into the minds of other people.  It is made with the intention to create this transfer of energy — and to send it on its way out across time.  Whether in the form of the stolen Elgin Marbles, or the silent footage of Isadora Duncan dancing across an empty stage, or El Greco’s idealized view of Toledo, art manages to touch us, alter our state of mind, and burn itself into the collective unconsciousness of humanity, so that we recognize it as “us.”

If communication is one of the marks of art vs. not-art, then is it safe to say that an object, dance, piece of music ect. that does not touch us, alter our state of mind, or burn itself into the collective unconsciousness of humanity is NOT art?  This is an awfully strict list of requirements.  Is this the difference between the popular song that becomes a “classic” and the 4 million songs that we hear once or twice on the radio and then release into the ether of forgotten rock and roll?

Then there’s also that “if a tree falls in the forest” question: If a painting is painted in an attic, remains in the attic, and never sees the light of day — can it be great art?  If Shakespeare really did write a play called Loves Labours Found, can we say it was great art even though it no longer exists, nobody is alive who remembers seeing it, there are no quotes (that we know of) in the common vernacular from it, and we don’t have any published analyses of it?  If the whole communication thing is central to distinguishing art from not-art, then is the artist loading communication-energy into an object sufficient to make it ART without other people there to receive the energy?

If Vincent van Gogh and his brother, Theo, couldn’t find anyone who “got it” (it being the commuicated-energy of Vincent’s paintings and drawings — then were they really great art? The brothers only managed to sell one.  Ever.  Until after they were both dead.

So did the Vincent canvases suddenly become art at a later date — long after they were completed?  The paintings didn’t manage to communicate what Vincent painted into them to the people of Arles, and all those who ambled through Theo’s gallery.  How is this possible?  Were they bad art for the first few years, then suddenly magic happened and they became GREAT?

Probably not.  Which means we must have changed.

We changed.  Let’s drift back to the first thing I know for sure — people can change.  People do change.  All the time.  Individuals change, and societies change.  Cultures change.   And in the case of van Gogh’s art, we changed into human beings who could “get” the communication Vincent embedded in it.  Either we changed to meet Vincent, or Vincent predicted what we would choose to become.  I’m not saying he consciously laid out the cards and then painted toward that prediction — but I am saying the one other thing I believe to be true about great art in general:

Artists change first (if they choose) and their art is liminal.  That is, their art is the edge — the bridge between what was, what is, and what’s next.

Whatever the magical fairy dust is that makes artists into artists in the first place — it allows them (when they choose) to write, paint, or tell the story of what lies ahead, and to paint or draw in a way that communicates with the new and improved us.

Art is liminal and predictive, and artists change first.  Great art communicates energy.  Change is possible, but only with intention as the engine.

Everything else is up for grabs.

Nomic Melliorism, Nomics Pt. 4

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 4:21am

Because I thought I had a normal childhood, it never occurred to me that there were these big holes in my skill set and knowledge base. I assumed my parents taught me all the things everybody else’s parents taught them.

Now, at this late date, I realize that many people were actually taught either directly or by example how to judge — or at least guess — whether someone is trustworthy or not. Loyal or not. Truthful or not. Friendly. Positive. Empathetic. Afraid. Angry. Dangerous. Generous. Careful. Courageous.

Some people were given hints about finding a purpose in life, or just knowing the difference between something that is worth doing and something that is a waste of time. Some people had help figuring out what they were good at — and what things they should put aside because of a lack of native ability. Some people’s families helped them figure out what is important in life, and what is important to them, as fully functioning people. Those things would have been helpful before I went off to college. Or got married. –just sometime before I was allowed behind the wheel of a car, or allowed to vote would have been nice.

It took me until I was nearly 30 before I began to realize I had to figure out what I believed and why; what Iwanted and why; what kind of a person I wanted to be and why; what I value in other people and why, and what is valuable about me and why. And here Iam, all these years later — just realizing all the basic stuff nobody bothered to tell me about life. And that there is a name for this. And it’s a horrible name.

But however terrible neglect is, discovering for myself that I am both a melliorist, and nomic cancels it all.

Iam a uniquely flexible, self-amending system that believes she can change the world.