The End Of The World As We Know It — Keep Swimming


First a quick nod of thanks to R.E.M. for the song that’s been playing in my head for nearly a month.  Where would we be without our daily life soundtrack….

A few days ago, I posted a short piece to FaceBook that I later added here as a blog entry, talking about how I’ve finally managed to get past the election of Donald Trump, and get on with my life.  In that post, I said I’d had 2 “ah-ha” moments and I explained what I’d learned, then ended by saying there really was a 3rd big AH-HA — but it would take too long to explain in a FB status update.  After all the comments, Likes, private messages, phone calls etc from my friends & FBcontacts, I now realize that just about everybody I know — including even those who don’t live in the US or have US citizenship —  has been experiencing the same kind of PTSD reaction to this year’s election, and that maybe I should have taken the time and explained all three Ah-Ha’s.  Here we are, nearly five weeks after the fact, and people are still either in denial — still expecting some deus ex machina intervention or catastrophe to prevent the coming inauguration — or so deep into depression that they are considering a visit to their doctor to talk about SSRIs.  Or Valium.  or Xanax.  or medical marijuana.  or how to self-administer a lethal injection.

Not those who voted for the Don, I suppose.  But I don’t actually know anybody who voted for him.  Or who will admit to it, anyway.

The worst reactions are coming from those who have either been in abusive relationships and escaped — or those who have lived and/or worked closely with a narcissist.  (Not a slightly self-absorbed average person — a real, live, clinically pathological narcissist.)  For those people, the post-election season is a little like waking up in one of their own nightmare memories.  The evening news is like watching old home movies — playing out on a global scale.  People who have survived a marriage to a narcissist or a business relationship with a narcissist  know what’s coming.  It’s the Big Reveal.  Or the Big Run-And-Hide.  Enemies lists, revenge, retribution, long-game-I’ll-show-you, spiteful jabs, reputation destroying, enemies-closer, cyber-stalking, power-plays, victory laps, pep rallies, loyalty rewards cards, military parades, membership in Biggest Winner Fan Club, mass hysteria, dogs and cats living together….

And they’re right, of course.  All of that is more than possible.  It’s probable.  Likely.  Coming to a theater near you.  And a market near you.  And a street near you.  Everybody needs to have their exit strategy laid out.  Keep the tank full at all times.   Have at least 3-4 weeks of food and water on hand.  Keep blankets and water and an emergency care kit by the door.

This is not a test.

But here’s the other thing that’s just as true:

The model still holds.

I am not going to explain the model in this post.  That would be like explaining particle physics in 20 words or less.  (lol)  It would be a 50 page (conservatively) snooze-a-thon for most folks.  There is a full explanation of the Graves Model here in my blog (start here, if you want the full monty) – but the essentials are these:

  • There is a developmental pattern shared by all of us.
  • The same pattern of human development is shared by groups — families, societies, species.  From individuals to villages, companies to governments, to the global village — each of us, and each of the cultural groups we belong to, all follow the same pattern of evolution.
  • The level of the model an individual operates at is demonstrated by their motivations, beliefs, and behaviors.
  • When the “tipping point” of any level is reached, the person or society that has reached that tipping point moves on to the next level. (much like a simple game, where the tiny explorer fights all the creatures and solves all the puzzles on one level, then discovers the doorway into the next level and so moves on.)
  • The levels alternate between inward focus and outward focus.  That is, Level 1 is all about my own personal survival.  Once that survival is secured, we look around and say “Is that it?  Is that all there is to life?”  And of course, the answer is always, NO.  There is more to life that just my own survival — but I can’t see that until I’m good enough at surviving to look around my own little 2-square-feet of real estate.  And Level 2 is born — the family group or tribe is born.  Level 1 is inward — just me.  Level 2 is outward and inclusive — US.  WE.  We survive and we do it better together.  We take care of our own.  We share the load.  We help each other.
  • Each progressive step upward reaches its threshold asking a question.  Odd numbered levels ask, “Is that all there is?” before moving up to an even-numbered level.  Even numbers ask, “but what’s in this for me?” and then move up to the next odd-numbered level to do inward/individual focus again.
  • Each progressive level is broader and/or more complex than the previous level.
  • The group — the US — of each progressive even number is bigger than the last.  Level 2 is about protecting and building family and tribe.  Level 4 is about protecting and building social order — church, state, laws, written morals etc.  Level 6 is about protecting and building for all humans and other diverse groups, acting together and for one-another.
  • The individual — the ME — of each progressive odd number exhibits a wider range of power, control, and participation in self advancement than simple survival.  Level 3 is about competition, conquest, and winning on the battlefields of sport, war, and pre-capitalist economics.  Level 5 is about competition, conquest and winning on the bigger playing fields of capitalist economics, science, and technology.  Level 7 does not exist yet on a global scale —  we have not reached this level in the broader evolution of our species, but in individual terms, it is about the competition and conquest of ideas.  We are playing on the bigger field of human ideas and understanding.  It is a world of figuring out bigger questions.  Bigger patterns.  Patterns over time and distance.   L3 is pre-capitalist.  L5 is capitalist.  L7 is — you guessed it — post-capitalist.
  • The Graves Model itself, exists at Level 7.  And yes, there is an 8, but neither L1 nor L8 is really relevant or helpful for this discussion, so we’re just going to drop those for now and move on.
  • In general, the harshest critics of any level are those who have just moved to the next level.  Like someone who has just managed to kick an addiction to cigarettes is the first to insist that smokers are enemies of the state.
  • In general, odd numbers see both the previous even number and the next even number as enemies of all they stand for.  L5 tends to see L4’s laws, regulations, and morals as strangling and ridiculously rule-bound; and L6’s concern with “all-those-not-like-me” as wasting their time, money and energy on things that don’t matter to the bottom line.  L3 felt the same way about L2 and L4.  L7 will, if we last long enough as a species, feel the same way about L6 and L8.
  • In general, regardless of what level we exist at, we are able to operate at other levels when called for.  For example, anyone who has survived (L1) is able to shift into L1 when their survival is at stake.  Anyone who has lived at L2 will return to L2 for family gatherings.  Anyone can play tennis at L3.  Everyone probably attends church or balances their checkbook in L4-mode.  There are certain activities that pull us from our general operating level into a level that works best for that particular activity.
  • We all tend to believe that everyone is just like us — but that some are doing it very badly.  L2s think the entire world exists for them to use for their group’s benefit — but some individuals or countries  just don’t understand.  L3 thinks the whole world is there for them to fight, defeat, and conquer — the one with the biggest stick or gun wins.  L4 thinks the world just needs to follow their rules.  L5 thinks money will fix everything.  L6 thinks we are our brother’s keepers, and everyone is our brother — but (L5 especially) just doesn’t get it.  L7 believes they can fix it if they can just figure it out — and any other pursuit is a waste of time.
  • And — this is the important take-away — Every individual, regardless of level, and every social or cultural entity, regardless of level — has one belief in common:


And that, boys and girls, is where war and aggression come from.

And that’s the shortest explanation of the Graves Theory of Human Evolution I can give you.  It’s not complete.  I’ve made some outrageous simplifications.  But that’s the crux of it.  It’s a really REALLY complicated big picture cut down to a page or two of generalizations.

I thought I’d live to see the shift from Graves Level 5 to 6 as the dominant world system.  After all, we’ve been here at L5 since the Renaissance.  Sure, there have been many individuals who have existed happily and well at L6 and L7 for years — but not enough of those individuals for any but a few tiny countries or organizations to move up into L6 en mas.  Large collections of L7s work in close proximity in  few really forward thinking companies, research institutions or colonies, but in general they are Lone Wolf thinkers who specialize in pattern recognition, theoretical scientific work, and systems analysis and theory.

But since the Renaissance, L5 has been the dominant and overwhelmingly persuasive bully on the pitch.  In many cases, it has persuaded us that it is the only game in town — that if it isn’t working, it’s because it is being played badly — and with enough effort and elbow grease, we can get it working the way we want it to work.

But here’s the truth — the pattern holds.

The next step will be the de-throning of L5 as the dominant social system.

We were closer than we’ve ever been to that flip into L6 in 2016 with the candidacy of Bernie Sander for President of the United States.  With Hillary Clinton, we had a candidate who had split her time going back and forth between L5 and L6.  After all, her social ambitions were based firmly in L6 ambitions, but she spent her entire career fighting from within the L5 establishment.  With Donald Trump, we had a candidate playing solidly in L5 (albeit in a significantly unhealthy way.)  HERE is a write-up on Health at any Level.

But Bernie Sanders was a horse of a different color in this race.  He makes no bones about being post-capitalist in a capitalist dominated world.  And he made no bones about pointing out the flaws in that system — for his entire career in politics.  This made him the ideal candidate for all those who have individually moved to the Graves Level where protecting and building a world where everyone is on equal footing — has equal advantages and opportunities — equal rights and protections under the law.  And for the first time in human history, one of the most powerful nations on the planet came very close to shifting from Level 5 to Level 6.  In fact, if the L5 US had been a healthy version of L5, rather than a panic-driven L5 running without the constraints of L4 morality, he might have succeeded.  But neither the Democratic nor Republican parties felt bound by right over wrong, legal or illegal, truth over lie, or fair and just over self-interest.

In short, Bernie Sanders felt bound by the rule of law and the fairness he was running to create.  Neither of the other two major candidates or their parties felt the same way.  Hillary and Trump were running in and for an L5 world.  Bernie was running in hope of an L6 emergence.

So again, THE PATTERN HOLDS.  L6 is where we are all heading, both as individuals and as a species.

One of the biggest bluffs L5 has run on humanity is the hyper-quotable: “Nobody ever said life was going to be fair.”


The idea that life isn’t fair  makes it easy for L5 to take what it wants, regardless of who it hurts.  So long as life isn’t fair — bullies reign.  If we start with the presupposition that there are winners and losers — then it’s okay within that presupposition for most of the population to be losers.  And it’s okay for winners to gloat.  And kick the losers in the butt to make sure they remember their place.

But the presupposition is a lie.  If life is sometimes unfair, it’s because its really really hard, not because it’s impossible.  And creating something that is really really hard and complicated and complex and far-reaching requires a higher Graves Level of complexity than L5 could manage.  It will take L6 — fully formed and reveling in the complications and tangles — to created fairness.

Expect justice to be the motive from healthy L4.

But expect fairness to be the motivation from healthy L6.

So if you are waiting for the  deus ex machina to drop down and save you from Donald Drumph, you can stop waiting.  This is all real and it is all going to happen.  His narcissism is going to be dangerous.  His ignorance is going to be a challenge.  But his presence is going to be.  Period.  The trick is going to be to survive it — both individually, and collectively as a country.  If there is homework, it will be waiting to see how far we can get the pendulum to swing.  Never mind “don’t let that pendulum hit you in the butt as you leave the White House, Donald!”  We want it to hit him so hard that L5 leaves with him as the dominant system in the US, and L6 is the only logical and reasonable step forward anybody can see.

So to all my friends that are still having trouble figuring out how to move on with their lives in a Trumpocracy — just know we are all still here, and the pattern holds.  We may not live to see it, but our children and grandchildren may yet discover that the world really can be a fair place.  A just place.  An honorable place.  A complex puzzle of life rather than a jack-bo0ted torture of a life.

The task ahead — the one that really gets us ahead, rather than earning us a spot in the loony-bin — is to do our best to live lives of fairness and hope, rather than lives of fear and victim-hood.  Do your L6 best — volunteer.  March.  Protest.  Give things away to people who need them.  Donate to organizations with a clear L6 focus and structure.  Support random acts of kindness and fairness.  Participate in your community and group and religion and school.  Feed somebody who’s hungry.  Learn constantly.  Reinvent yourself daily.  Save the planet.  Save the animals.  Save yourself.

In evolutionary terms, the only resolution to advancing complexity is to move to a higher level of existence.   Problems cannot be addressed from the level that created them.  It took L2 to create a place for L1 to live out their survival.  And it took L3 to progress beyond the boundary of the village.  It took L4 to stop L3’s conquests.  It took L5 to reign in L4’s structure.  Similarly, L5 can’t fix L5’s hoarding and bullying.  Only L6 can fix L5 problems.  And only L7 can harness the energy of all those minds and ideas held dear by so many people thinking and creating together.

If we can keep the planet alive long enough, we might be able to all live here together.  The pattern holds, and the pattern is bigger than this election.  It’s also bigger than the US.  Certainly bigger than any one mewling politician or disrupted event.  If you’re still stuck in the politics, pull up higher so you can see the bigger picture.  — and hold on to that bigger picture.  It’s the one that matters.

November — A Little PTSD In My Coffee

i-votedSo it’s no secret I’ve been having a hard time processing the 2016 presidential election. What I didn’t know was how many other people were having similar problems. Symptoms (mine, and symptoms gathered from others) include: disrupted sleep patterns, nightmares, problems with general digestion, specific problem with unusually high blood sugar or blood pressure numbers, pessimism, darker cynicism, generalized depression, absence of hope for the future, inability to talk about public policy and politics without panic or anxiety, extended periods of crying… you may recognize some or all of the list.

2 “ah-ha” moments in the last 2 days:
1. greed is predatory. that is, American capitalism has painted a very clear (and yet untrue) picture that for one person to have *more*, another person must have less. Greed says that in order for Person A to get more, it is okay to take from Person B — even if that *taking* means stealing from, lying to, tricking, bluffing, bullying, threatening, conning, tormenting, torturing, or killing Person B. Greed makes us into predators who do not kill-to-eat, or kill-to-survive — but who kill or do harm to others for the pleasure of acquiring more and more and more. For the clearest and most easily understood explanation of how this model is flawed, watch Ron Howard’s Oscar winning film “A Beautiful Mind.” It is specifically the notion that economics must be competitive and predatory that John Nash was arguing against.
It is greed (and not money or economics or capitalism) that is virulent and predatory. Greed is not an economic theory — but an amoral add-on.
2. politics is as addictive as gambling — and in much the same ways. The idea that you can’t win if you don’t play is very much like the idea that you can’t effect change if you aren’t actively involved in politics. Or the idea that the amount you participate in politics is directly related to your commitment to being a good citizen. –which turns out to be untrue. Like addicted gamblers, political junkies find it nearly impossible to resist the call to be angry, argumentative, defensive — and often ruthless — in their attacks on those who do not agree with their own personal ideology. It causes a myopic attention to current events. It demands absolute and obcesive focus. It leads to isolation and loss of outside interests. It requires an attention to narrow detail that obscures the larger (and often, the pleasures of) daily life.

even the dog was having nightmares and a big chunk of buyer's remorse after this election....  she would have voted for Bernie.

even the dog was having nightmares and a big chunk of buyer’s remorse after this election…. she would have voted for Bernie.

I’ve never been vulnerable to addiction before, but I’m pretty sure this is it.
And just realizing this has helped a lot. (that, and deliberately walking away from any more than 10 minutes of political news per day, and choosing to only read headlines and abstracts of in-depth political news)

There was a 3rd “ah-ha!” — but it’s very specific to the Graves Model (a social and cultural evolutionary model) — so I’ll keep that one for myself. It takes a while to explain, and I’m sleepy….

MisteR SF: Grown-Up Lit in the 21st Century

469192821Okay artists, writers, readers, fanboys, tweeter, tweens and creative types…
Here’s the presupposition: (from Arthur C. Clarke)
Any science sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic.
If Science Fiction is about science (magic) that we can’t do YET (or as with Star Wars — can’t do now, but could long ago) — expecting that time will pass and a lot of it will become science documentary….
and Fantasy is about magic which is really just a different science not available to our world (location) —
and they are both just fiction spinning around in a world that’s either not here, or not now (or both)…
then — what’s behind the trend in the fiction/ art/ narrative itself that just adds dashes and dollops of magic (science that is not here and/or not now), but doesn’t make it the center piece of the story? As in an otherwise historical novel, or romance, mystery or movie — where there is a smattering of magic here and there for color, for laughs, or for diversity — but not the main interest of the story?
Magical Realism (literary) is otherwise ordinary mainstream literature — where one (usually very small but essential) aspect of the story features a magical event, or magical item or character — but the rest of the story ticks along and hums a normal everyday song. Sci-Fi/Fantasy literature would be a story about the magic (or magic item, ability, person, race, event) itself, and the whole world of the story spins around that magic.
1. Game of Thrones — an action, adventure, historical-feeling saga with just a few zombies and 3 hatchling dragons and their mother. Everything else in the story could be an alternate British history (or any other geography dropped into that 11th or 12th century time period.) and,
2. Harry Potter 1-7 — which is great story telling, but couldn’t exist if you pulled the magical creatures, spells, wands, potions, and people out of it.
1. Hunger Games — which again is a virtual political drama and adventure / coming of age story with a bit of technology that separates it from here and now, and
2. Star Wars which depends on the technology and science (as well as the tech / tech-enhanced characters) to function in every aspect of the narrative.
Is there a “growing up” of the SF literature everyone in the 20th Century grew up with — bringing Science Fiction and Science Fantasy into a slightly more mature 21st Century Magical Realist mainstream?
That’s really my question.
Is this really a trend? Will it last? Will literature for children be the landing pad for more magic-y SF in the future? And the Magical Realist SF stuff be the grown-geek fiction? And will that Magical Realist SF (MR-SF) move to take over the position of mainstream literature? Are we headed for MRSF as the norm for art and story telling?
–As in “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” (that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001) or “The Man in the High Tower” (HUGO award winner in 1963, where we got one of our earliest tastes of alternative history — true history with one event that has magically changed — and all the ripples that single change creates.) Alternative Reality art/lit features a single magical change that is meta to the literature itself — the author/artist is the magician, rather than one of the characters (as in “It’s a Wonderful Life”.)
So is this the future of SF lit? Of mainstream lit and art? Are we the adults that want even our political thrillers and historical romances sprinkled with a few potions and fire-breathing lions?

SeaWorld: An Aqueous Problem of Conscience

Lynn Whitlark's photo.

So what’s to become of all the creatures currently in the SeaWorld (and similar) parks if the parks close down?ffacfaa0910346898216241e0e38c1fa_penguin460x345

I remember when the first of these “parks” opened — and it was such a new thing — a sealife circus (as opposed to an aquarium which is basically a sealife zoo.) And except for a few marine-loving locals to the coasts,, there was no such thing as a little kid wanting to become a marine biologists or aquatic vet. Now, most kids with the interest have visited these parks and fueled their imaginations to the point that every university with a coast nearby (and some inland schools) now offer it as a distinct major.

sandiego_173db531c6dc9The unexpected part of it all is that we ALL learned so much about the whales and dolphins and porpoises and penguins that when the news that they were unhappy and stressed and even abused started seeping into the press and online reports, it horrified us to the point that the parks themselves are now on the endangered list. Since awareness, understanding and information increases compassion and empathy — we now see these once ground-breaking circus parks as more problem than potential. And that’s in spite of all the better-than-it-used-to-be and better-than-it-might-be positive changes the company has made to its park assets. They raised our culture’s awareness without keeping up with culture’s conscience.

So what happens to the animals — and all those trained park workers, vets, trainers, and marine biologists now that attendance has dropped so low that the parks aren’t going to be able to pay the grocery bill or keep the lights on? manatee-at-seaworld-orlandoWill they be folded into the research and conservation wing of NOAA? Will they be scuttled and auctioned off to small family-run one-ring-tank circuses in the remote areas of the coasts? Will they show up in a black-market of private salt-water fish tanks? Will the US nationalize them to create a Smithsonian Sealife attic or gigantic National Aquarium Complex with branches on the many coasts?

175c1c8b7f014917848c72fd832f8591_turtlereef_2_460x345And what of all the animal rescues and rehabs the SeaWorld people participated in? 64747-bigthumbnailHaving all those marine vets within reach saved a lot of wildlife over the years. What happens when a fisherman or sailor comes upon a dolphin or manatee or sea-turtle in distress if there’s no park full of specialists to ferry help in?

There are no obvious answers to some of these questions. Without the parks as potential employers, how many of the university departments will survive? Which means even fewer professionals on call. Surely Not-For-Profits can’t employ all the people needed to do the work. Or all the professionals that will potentially flood the market if the parks disappear.

SeaWorld_Irina-Silvestrova-e1408116945543This is like a vet problem that has to help fold soldiers back into mainstream society after a war. These animals were part of an undesirable way of life that existed for a short time, and served an important purpose. But now we see that it’s no way to expect them to live for their whole lives.

So what is to become of them when our moral outrage out-distances their park-home? As morally objectionable as the public display of “freak shows” was in the early 20th Century — when public conscience closed them down with non-attendance, a lot of very unusual performers were suddenly out of work and homeless.


And here we are again. Our compassion has the potential to be more cruel than our ambivalence. At least in the short-term.

Which is not a simple problem.

Lynn Whitlark's photo.

The Success of Failed Attempts: Prohibition and US

Remember Prohibition?  Me neither.  It was way before my time.

But I’ve seen the movies.  The History Channel is all over this story.  Everybody knows it was an outrageous failure that flew in the face of American civil liberties…



Except I think we may have been bamboozled.  So to speak.

According to TIME Magazine, there’s a little bit of the history that the photo above doesn’t bother to mention — and maybe we should make notes about this.

The rise of the United States is one of history’s amazing stories, even more remarkable when you realize how many of our forefathers were three sheets to the wind. John Adams drank hard cider with breakfast. James Madison drained a pint of whiskey each day*. By 1830 the average American was guzzling the equivalent of 1.7 bottles of hard liquor per week — three times the amount consumed today.

*For those keeping score, that would come to 3.5 quarts (just shy of a gallon) of whiskey per week.

That’s right.  Per capita, Americans drank an average AVERAGE of 1.7 quarts of hard liquor per week.  That’s 32 drinks per week.  4 1/2 cocktails a day.  Every day.  Per person.  Man, woman and child.  And since we assume the children were not REALLY drinking their fair share, that means Daddy and Mama — who at that time had 7 surviving children per household — were actually drinking more than 15 bottle of booze a week.

Okay — there were a few single folks.  And a few tea-totalers.  So let’s split the difference and say all the drinking adults drank maybe 10 bottles a week.

That’s the equivalent of more than a fifth of scotch whiskey a day.  Imagine living in a world where everybody drank a fifth of scotch a day.  People would be getting in gun fights in the street.  Wife and child abuse would be rampant.  Babies would be still-born, damaged by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome — before anybody knew what it was.  People wouldn’t live long enough to die of cancer or Alzheimer’s or heart disease or — well — of anything age related because they’d die of liver failure in their 40s.

Imagine that world.  A place where there were no (or few) medical anesthetics or analgesics.  Pain killers were narcotic or nothing.  Want to alleviate the symptoms of menopause, or even horrific PMS?  Have a bottle of corn liquor!  Pain from childbirth?  Have a drink.  Migraine?  Give me a break.  Have a drink.  Insomnia?  Muscle cramps?  Stress?  Exhaustion?  Relax.  Get some sleep.  Have a drink or two to unwind and then a couple more to put you to sleep at night.  Is the weather a bit nippy?  Aches and pains from all that rain?  Arthritis warping you hands and the knuckles in your toes?  Bourbon will fix that!  You won’t feel a thing!  Depressed?  Blue?  Burdened by nightmares?  Trauma?  (Think PTSD) — Bottoms up!

You won’t feel a thing.  Ask anybody.

And that’s probably pretty much the truth.  People drank to fix just about everything.  Monks made liquor to pay their bills.  Bitters — digestion aids — were loaded with wood spices, ginger, herbs and other medicinals and sold for their health benefits.

Everybody drank!  An average of 1.7 bottles of hard liquor (not beer or wine or cider or mead….) every single week.  So that 1.7 bottles of hard liquor was actually IN ADDITION TO any beer or wine or cider or mead that was consumed.

And the results were incalculable.  Think of the productivity loss!  Imagine walking the scaffolding to build skyscrapers with that much liquor in your system!  No wonder so many people died building the Brooklyn Bridge!  Or the Empire State Building!  Think about working as a telephone or telegraph lineman — or walking the catwalks in the saloons and Vaudeville theaters!  Or swinging a big knife as a butcher — or a scythe as a farmer!  Every aspect of life gets more dangerous with that much liquor in flow!

My grandmother was almost beaten to death by her father for letting a pig escape from its pen — because her father was constantly altered by alcohol,  and not quite in conscious control of his actions.  He was a “strong silent-type” pioneer who farmed and ranched some of the most difficult land in the dusty Texas Panhandle.  And he was a nightmare.  None of his sons survived — so he worked his daughters like pack-animals — and he beat them just like he beat the mules.

And nobody thought anything about it.
Why not?
Because it was common place.  Everybody drank that much.  Everybody beat their children and wives in fits of anger.  Everybody.

1.7 bottles of hard liquor — the average — probably the minimum for a real drinking adult — is enough to change everything.


And that’s why Prohibition happened.  It happened in concert with the first Women’s Movement that gave women their first voice in the US.  Women finally got fed up.

Women got a voice, and one of the first things they said was; “put down that bottle!”


So — no.  Prohibition didn’t last.  Bootleggers found a way to keep making moonshine and bathtub gin.  NASCAR was born via the car-chases — the result of moonshiners trying to outrun the local police on the backroads and dirt highways of the South.  We wanted our freedom so bad that we were willing to break the law — and laugh while we did it — just to keep drinking.  We made a sport of hiding away in private clubs and dark venues all over America —

And Prohibition was repealed — the Speak Easy died — bootleggers became political royalty — and gangsters moved on to organizing other crimes.

And, at least according to that first picture — Prohibition failed.

But the truth is — it changed the way we think about drinking in this country.  We no longer look the other way when people drink and abuse their family.   We don’t turn a blind eye to manslaughter with a vehicle when the driver was DUI.  We don’t excuse costly errors due to hangovers or absenteeism.  Suicide by alcohol — isn’t an unknown any more. And Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a known, rather than an unknown.

The town drunk isn’t a joke any more.

Public intoxication — to the point of doing harm to oneself or others — just isn’t cool.

And that’s not the way it was before.  We think about how much we drink.  We find designated drivers.  We hold bartenders accountable for letting people get so drunk — for hours at a time — that they are a public threat.

We don’t tolerate those things.   Now.

Prohibition may not be the law of the land any more — but a failure?

I don’t think so.

In the long game, Prohibition was what we needed to get sober enough  — for long enough — to think clearly and re-prioritize our beliefs and values and goals.  It was a sober night that let us grow up and choose better.  And be better.

People still drink.  There are still heavy drinkers.  But now we are pretty clear about addiction and recovery.  Drinking and alcoholism aren’t the same thing.  But we might never have known that without Prohibition.

There are still good reasons to drink.  And there are other choices that accomplish the same ends.  But we might never have known that without Prohibition.

There are behaviors that can be explained by putting them in the context of a few drinks — but explaining is not the same as excusing.  Alcohol is not an excuse for hurting others.  Or breaking laws.  Or failing — at anything.  Alcohol may explain it – but it doesn’t excuse it.  But we might never have known that without Prohibition.

We had to get away from that 1.7/per capita statistic long enough to stop thinking of it as normal.



Let’s talk about guns, our relationship to our guns, and the relationship to violence.

Intro to Graves/Jung Model – Intro to Level 8

Level 8 — Turquoise

“Sacrifices Self and Others As May Be Required For Global/Big Picture Outsome”

The global territory claimed by L7 becomes the residence of the L8 community.

One pattern you might want to notice in Graves’ Model is that whatever is the “ends” value in one system becomes a “means” value thereafter. The ability to survive the physical world is the ends L1 is after, but once attained, it becomes one of the means to the next set of ends. L2’s ability to create a safe and trusting environment; L3’s ability to go for it and invest itself without hesitation; L4’s ability to create and follow an orderly set of rules; L5’s ability to prosper and get the job done; L6’s ability to accept, encourage and develop others; and L7’s ability to understand and figure out the patterns and complexities of world and of daily life are now all means to L8’s ends: To create order and health in the global village.

Each Graves level is actually much more stratified than simple L1, L2, L3, L4, and so on. Each level consists of three stages: Entering, Peak , and Exiting. In this way, the map can be seen as not only the map of the territory from one level to the next, but also as the “local” map within each level. The city map within the national map.

During each level’s entering phase, there will be a general euphoria and idealization of the tools and methods of that system (almost all energy devoted to the conscious mind as it grapples with exciting new ideas). An entering L3 will revel and wallow in its ego, its independence, and its newly found competitive spirit. Likewise, L4 will spend every waking minute devising new and better ways to create order (or mismatch the current order….)

At peak, or nodal phase (if such a thing exists) there is a general contentment and satisfaction with the way the world works according to that system. In many cases, however, it is just about the time that we become overwhelmingly dissatisfied with our present condition (by evolution or revolution) that the euphoria is lost. Very few people actually live on the peak. Most of us are either climbing up, or tumbling down for most of our lives.

At the exiting phase, existence has changed to the point that one by one, each of the new level’s coping mechanisms falls under the necessities of the level’s new problems of existence — and the unconscious floods awareness with affects and ideas contrary to the level. In other words — once you think you’ve figured it all out and you really GET IT, you figure out what you’ve GOT doesn’t really work.

It may also be possible to use a sort of mental shorthand to think about each level as though it were graded in tenths. An L5.1 will have different entering characteristics than an L5.4. An L4.7 and an L4.9 will have more in common than an L4.5 and an L4.6, since those — even though side by side — fall one in entering, and the other in exiting.

This kind of grading is especially useful when talking about L8. Since L8 is the newest system to emerge — and the only system for which the parameters are not completely known — it might be to our advantage to understand from the beginning that no more than L8.2 or possibly L8.3 is documentable at this time.
The transition from L7 to L8 turns on the realization that these puzzles which L7 has so efficiently and cleverly pieced together are not actually being remedied — only understood. This distinction between simply understanding a problem and actually fixing it may even be what propels L7 into asking the all-important push line question: “Is that all there is?”

L7 will open its eyes, blink, and then suddenly be faced with the hard truth that no matter how much fun it had, no matter how many patterns it can spot on the head of a pin, and no matter how exquisite the pleasure of putting all the mysteries of the paradoxical world together in an interesting and understandable form — if it isn’t making the world better, then what’s the point? If it isn’t using that blissful mountain of information to make a difference, then what is it good for?

What’s more, L8 emerges into a world of complex problems of existence — already identified and categorized by L7 — which are so large and far reaching that they cannot be tackled by any one individual. The world is still polluted and becoming more so every day. The population is still growing by leaps, bringing food shortages and distribution issues to a head. Disease is rampant; weather systems are in extreme flux; L3 tyrants are flexing their macho muscles in violent and potentially catastrophic ways; the global economy is struggling to form itself into a viable, living, breathing creature — born full grown.

Additionally, the L8 world is, for the first time, a Global Village. Technology has made time and distance irrelevant. The cultural melting pot has been redefined as a cultural stew pot where diversity is what makes the stew into the savory mix it is. The interconnectedness of the planet’s atmosphere, weather, seas and water supply have made it impossible to ignore pollution, poisoning, and abuse by any group, business, or nation.
The Holographic Paradigm
The L8 existence is further complicated by the notion of the holographic paradigm in which the L7 interconnectedness (where everything effects everything else) extends into the metaphorical. In this construct, the smallest particle of the whole (holon) carries the entire whole. An example would be the notion that all the information for the human being is somehow present within the zygote and that each subsequent cell also contains the same whole of information and could be used to reproduce the whole (as with cloning…) In practical terms, L8 sees the health of the global village in the organism, and the health of the organism in the global village — to effect one is to effect all. To fail one is to fail all. Taken to its L8 conclusions, to effect the individual is to metaphorically and therefore metaphysically have access to the whole. By healing one — we heal all. Bringing peace to one, brings peace to all. Conversely, bringing war to the whole effects all parts, and warring one against another creates a warring world.

What we do for the least of these, we do for all of creation.

At least in its early stages, the holographic metaphor is one of the most important learnings for L8. Because it implies that we can look at the part in order to see the whole; that we can effect a part in order to effect the whole; that we can alter the part in order to alter the whole — it implies that we can open Schrodinger’s box with the intention of finding the cat in the condition we choose. It takes complexity theory, chaos theory, quantum theory, duality theory, existential theory, world systems theory, and mind/body theory to a whole new level of application, because it introduces intentionality into the mix. The very language of this metaphor says that we choose. We do. We build. We select. We effect. Introducing intentionality into chaos theory is a whole new ball game.
The first and most obvious coping mechanism in L8 is its ability to react to immediate needs. Because of the multitude of problems now apparent to L8, it may find itself in near constant “fire fighter” stance. As an even numbered system, the reaction is not by the L8 individual, but rather by the L8 collective (or some portion thereof.)

As an even system, and possibly because of L8’s relationship to L2, spirituality reappears as a way to understand and relate to the global village, the L8 tribe, and the universe at large. Instead of the popular religion and psychology that may have been adopted as part of L6’s self-help regimen, spirituality and deity at L8 may have more in common with its sister L2 mysticism.

Because of the relative newness of L8, many of what will emerge as the coping means of this system have not yet appeared and/or normalized. What has emerged is the beginnings of set of metaphysical and global tools and methods for addressing the problems of existence described above. Unlike the mysterious hit-and-miss second tier phenomena exhibited in L7, the phenomenology of L8 pulls order out of the chaos once more. Patterns of effectiveness begin to reveal themselves.

At L8, for the first time in the second tier, utilitarian means appear and what works is favored over what feels good, what is interesting, and what is most profitable.

The motivator which so far appears to be most pervasive in L8 is the drive to embrace the global village and move toward health. None of the previous systems has been so blatantly devoted to changing the course of history for the whole of mankind and the entirety of the village; changing the future; changing the present; and making the global village a better and more habitable place. What’s behind this motivation toward change, however, is the real L8. Because L8 sees itself as one of the holons in the holographic structure of the universe, it takes self-repair, self-alignment, self-correction, and self re-framing as part of its function — because to correct any part of the holographic structure is to correct the whole. As a result, L8 will be constantly adjusting, aligning, and correcting, up and down the holographic structure.

While L7 was caught up in the expansion of its self and its own mind and abilities, L8 wants to use those abilities to do what others cannot: to effect the whole. Through the holographic paradigm ; through using the predictive aspects of the model to anticipate problems and determine a course of action that will take all effected systems into consideration, and to work creatively within the systems to solve system problems; and through the many other metaphorical constructs L8 will design to effect change. L8 goes beyond the limitations of the individual and experiences the exponential growth in ability that comes from partnering up with others of its kind.

Much of the rest of what has been written about L8 is speculative, but L8 seems to be motivated toward conservation of energy as a way of life, living the “less is more” adage to the fullest. Also, having a healthy L1through L7 may leave L8 cautious and slightly protective of itself, knowing that until the spectrum progresses and there are many more L8s, there may be “criminal, insane, sinful, stupid, useless, and weak” accusations and the potential for witch burnings.

This distance between the earlier systems is nowhere as noticeable as between L8 and L4 — at least from the perspective of L4 which may react to L8 with either fear, or shouts of heresy. From the perspective of L8, L4 may actually be closest in motivation, wanting nothing more than to order a severely chaotic, damaged, and fragile world. Next to the necessity, responsibility, and accountability of L8, the rules and laws of L4 can look fairly liberal.

Opening Boxes — Revisited
(for the first part of this discussion, go to the Graves-Jung L7 link, and page down to “L6 to L7 in physics: Relativity to Quantum Theorty.”)

Let’s go back for just a moment to Schrödinger’s little cat.

Right at the moment the counter rested on fifty, the cat was, for all quantum purposes, a fifty-percent dead cat, and a fifty-percent live cat. The cat was metaphorically and literally both dead and alive.

And right as you opened lid, you effected that cat forever. Whether it’s dead or alive, your act of observing it has forever caused that cat’s present situation — and future — to be certain and immutable. At fifty percent, two “realities” were true and possible at the same time. But opening the box narrowed the possibilities to one.

That’s not quite the way the story goes, but it’s close enough. There’s no determinism in quantum physics — so this is playing fast and loose with the metaphor, so be generous in understanding this use of the story.

The bottom line lesson in physics is that observation effects outcome. What Schrödinger was really talking about had to do with the practicality of observing matter — atoms and particles. By the act of observing it, scientists somehow tint or skew their own research. Heisenberg takes the idea of observation effecting outcome even further to say that when we observe, we cannot possibly record what would have been had we never imposed ourselves into the observation. As we observe, we change what would have otherwise been True. That’s the layman’s version of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principal.

But that’s a very narrow application of the cat story. If we open the box and look inside, then we remove possibilities from the universe. If we intentionally research or participate by looking or describing or intervening — then we also are intentionally affecting outcome. We are affecting reality. The act of opening the box forces the universe to move from many possibilities to a single necessary reality.

If you move across disciplines from physics to psychology, there’s a similar bottom line that says “language effects behavior.” That my language — the words I choose –somehow effects your behavior. If I say “Stop!”, that changes your behavior. If I say, “I love you,” that changes your behavior.

And if I say to myself, “every time the weather gets like this, I get a sinus headache.” This is where we cross over into all that’s being written about mind-body healing. By saying those words, I am affecting my own behavior.

You’ve got a conscious mind — the part that remembers to get milk and change the sheets every so often. And, you’ve got an unconscious mind — the part that remembers to breathe air and change your skin from time to time. In your conscious mind, you keep a constant stream of words running. We decide and debate and sort through information. We evaluate information and make choices. Like deciding that this is the kind of weather that causes bad headaches.

The unconscious is like a little child about four or five years old . It’s loaded with responsibility for operating the machinery, but its motivation and development of strategies runs like a four or five year old. So it’s like the super computer. It can run 385,000 operations per second — at least — and is set to run all kinds of programs when it’s delivered from the factory, but it still requires the operator — the conscious mind or some outside source — to give new instructions and throw the switches.

So when we say, this is the kind of weather that gives bad headaches — this little four or five year old says, “okay. I can do that.” And boom! Sinus headache. And since it remembers so well, it will continue to give us that same “boom” every time the weather makes this shift.

Observation effects outcome. Language effects behavior. My language effects your behavior. My language effects my behavior. Another way to say that my language effects my behavior is
“saying so makes it so.”

By saying what the weather does, I open the box and, boom! I make it so. Or not. But I take it out of the realm of randomness.

Another way of saying my language effects your behavior is
“you don’t have because you don’t ask. ”

If I say, “get out of the street!” — you either will or you won’t. Either way, I’ve effected the outcome. But without asking, I leave possibility at work. If I want to nudge reality in a particular direction, I have to say so. I have to speak up. I have to intentionally participate.

So you’re out in the street. My language has effected your behavior. Maybe you freeze and get hit; maybe you take off running and are saved. Either way — it’s no longer a random event. “You don’t have because you don’t ask” is the back handed way to say it. Frontwards, it’s “ask and it shall be given.” We just crossed over into religion, by the way. Both those lines are from the New Testament. Which makes sense.

What else is prayer but an attempt to effect God’s behavior? We pray in order to effect outcome. We pray so that we are participating and intervening. If you don’t have because you don’t ask is true — if quantum mechanics is true — then opening boxes becomes a very important part of life.

And opening the correct boxes is a very important part of life. There are some things we want to remain in possibility. We want the dice to keep rolling. Maybe pick up even more possibilities before we set reality in place. There are some boxes we leave alone. Maybe even most boxes. Some things we don’t talk about, because the very act of talking — or saying so — could set a process in motion that can’t be undone. There are a lot of areas in my life where I’m not ready to open the box.

There are some things I don’t want to “make so.”

If saying so makes it so, you must speak with care and with thought. Say only what you really want to be true. That may be the most difficult thing. Asking only for what you want and giving voice to only those things you want to be is a tall order for most of us who spend hours bemoaning our sad situation, or dwelling on the “maybe”, the “might” and the “what if.” Refusing to open boxes before their time; refusing to open boxes which are rightfully someone else’s business; refusing to listen as others throw open boxes which are not their own — these are lessons which go counter to the average, everyday life. We want to be nosy and look into other peoples’ boxes. Our curiosity is almost as powerful as hunger and thirst.

However, that is exactly what has to be. Maybe it is this metaphor of opening boxes which explains just what it is about gossip that we all find both compelling and repulsive. What better describes the act of gossiping than to compare it to opening boxes. Based on limited and questionable information, we speculate, draw conclusions, and then share our secret suspicions and deductions with others under the cloak of confidentiality.

In other words, we recklessly open boxes without any consideration for whether the cat lives or dies — and in many cases, we anticipate the announcement that the cat is indeed dead, so we can fold our arms and shake our heads with a mournful “I told you so.”

Take the example of the gossip who spreads the story that Joe and Mary are headed for divorce. Joe and Mary may be having trouble — or they may be having no trouble at all in their marriage — but if Joe or Mary hears from Martha who heard from Mike who heard from John who heard from Betty … that there are problems, they may begin to see trouble at every turn. Fear begets fear and anxiety, which begets anger and hurt, which begets more fear and anxiety and so it goes. Before long, what might have been a non-problem or a simple disagreement suddenly shows up in stress and tension in an otherwise safe partnership. And if you’re going to be executed for a crime, there comes the temptation to go ahead and commit it just to keep the accountant’s ledger honest.

Saying so makes it so. Language effects behavior. Observation effects outcome.

We are responsible for our words and our actions. They are not accidental or without intent. — and if they are with intent, the intention should be to help. “First, do no harm” isn’t good enough. We must intentionally do good. We open only those boxes which are our business to open, and we only open them when it is time to eliminate possibility and choose one course of action.
Box Opening at L8-Turquoise
We take it as true that observation effects outcome.

And that intentionally opening a box equals observation.

If someone at L2 opens a box, the effect will ripple out across the L2-tribe and that’s about it. But if L3 opens a box, it not only effects the L3 world, it drips down and effects any L2’s in the neighborhood — usually the L2’s who are living in the L3’s domain.

If an L4 opens a box, makes a new law or enforces a new policy — it’s going to follow gravity and change things for everybody all the way down. But beyond that, because the L3’s and L4’s have the future in their temporal construct, opening a box in the present will potentially effect the future as well.

But it isn’t just a matter of effecting the present and the future. Every time we move up a level of complexity, the box itself becomes more complex. — As though it had connecting wires attached. When the box lid opens and you observe the contents, other boxes open automatically because they are connected. — So opening an L4 box automatically opens a series of L3 and L2 boxes. And while L2 and L3 boxes only play out in the present, L4 boxes begin to have long term effects on the future. This is what complexity means in this context. By the time you get up to L7, what might otherwise appear to be a simple box is so dramatically linked to other aspects of existence that opening it sets the quantum tumblers in motion altering the entire pattern. And knowing what we now know about the temporal nature of each level, the complexity attached to an L7 box implies that the ripple will not only effect present and future, but it will effect the present and future of multiple timelines.

What we’ve said earlier is, “don’t go about opening boxes that aren’t yours to open.” The whole concept of people taking responsibility for their own lives depends on their willingness and freedom to open their own boxes.

Except that the pattern — the structure of the complexity — is precisely what L7’s do best. They are able to see in advance where many of the tendrils of connectivity are located. They know before the box is opened how pervasive the ripple will be. They may not have the exact results in detail, but the scope and reach are there.

And so, at L8, part of the defining task is to deliberately open boxes. It is absolutely right that L4’s shouldn’t go around opening other people’s L4 boxes because they have no way of knowing how they will ultimately effect the life or death of the little cat. But L8s, by virtue of knowing the outcome of opening or not opening a given box, have the responsibility of opening those boxes that need to be opened, and doing everything in their power to keep the others sealed. It’s like being given the keys to a car.

Once you’ve got the keys and know how to drive, if you see someone lying hurt beside the road and you choose not to pick them up and take them to the hospital, then you carry some of the blame if the person dies. The L8’s get the keys to the car — and they get the responsibility for using them.

The result is that while there is a necessity to not open boxes at some levels, there is an absolute necessity — obligation, to open them at L8.

And that’s a very different approach.

And if someone else — say, someone who knows about L7 and L8 but doesn’t accept the responsibility and authority — or maybe just doesn’t realize the responsibility and authority — I suppose this would be the definition of an unhealthy L8 — takes it upon themselves to throw open an L7 or L8 box and make some grand prediction about the future of the world or the destiny of some society or culture — and they publish that prediction. . . Whether they publish it in print or through some other medium like television or out on the internet, or even if they just throw the idea out into the stratosphere where any fool can get at it — if the idea gets out there and it collects followers and adherents, then the idea begins to materialize. Saying so makes it so—

— Agreement describes it. If you work toward a common goal — if you have agreement with other L8’s — it has a cumulative effect. If you do it from the same physical location, at the same time, it has an even greater effect. “Agreement” between L8’s is a demonstration of the “whole being the greater than the sum of the parts.”

There is necessity, obligation, and responsibility to this. If someone without the responsibility firmly in hand opens an L7 or L8 box — even if they open it alone but it still publishes out into the ether or out into print — and others read it or know it — it infects them like a virus. Once the thought is out there it takes on a virus-like life of its own. It spreads through the whole.

This is what is commonly called memetics . Memes. This popular “science” of memetics is nothing more than another metaphor describing the same phenomenon as the metaphor of opening boxes. Another common way to think of this phenomenon is called “The Law of Attraction.”

The Law of Attraction

Whatever you spend your time / energy thinking about, will be drawn to you and begin to manifest itself in your life.

This is just another way of saying, “Saying so makes it so,” and “you don’t have because you don’t ask.”

Once the box is opened, the meme — the virus — is just lying dormant waiting to infect the next receptive organism that happens by. And once infection has occurred, it forms a kind of agreement. Instead of one copy of the offending meme, there are now two. Or three. Or three hundred.

All that cumulative agreement. No intention involved. No conscious consent to being infected with this randomly activated virus. And like AIDs or Ebola, it can change the world before anyone even recognizes that it exists.

To some extent this can happen without consent. Imagine if I have a dream that someone is trying to kill you, and I tell you about it. Whether you believe that dreams are predictive or not — whether you act on my idea or not — I’ve put that idea in your mind and you will watch for proof that it isn’t true. You’ll notice small, otherwise insignificant events and begin to attach significance to them. My observation — true or not — has effected your outcome. Your world is substantially different — and not because someone is in fact trying to kill you, but because I planted that idea and it has taken hold and grown. Now imagine that I told three other people who are friends to both of us and they all have the same reaction. And they share the idea and their reactions with each other — and you. The power measurement on that one idea is now much greater regardless of the truth or untruth of its original incarnation. Before long, you’re looking over your shoulder, avoiding alleyways, staying home after dark, and refusing to walk to your car alone. Your nervousness draws attention. You’re conspicuous. You walk and talk like someone who has a reason to be afraid. And nothing draws danger like someone running on fear. What’s more, all that fear is likely to damage your immune system and make your health vulnerable. Long enough, and the person trying to kill you might just be your own body. Add into that how differently your friends are now acting toward you, how your family has changed, how it’s effecting your job, and how you’ve changed the way you think about your future, and suddenly that one small observation has had a far reaching and disturbing effect.

It won’t always infect the outcome to such great lengths — and then, sometimes it will — without permission or intent on the part of the infected one. Intention comes when we deliberately intend to counter or agree with the observation. Passivity is like an open wound — where every virus or bacteria that floats through the air is potentially able to change the body forever.

And so the real point is not “nobody open any boxes”, or “only L8’s open boxes,” but “only open a box you understand and are willing to take full responsibility for opening.”

And that’s about the scariest thing I’ve ever said. Actually, the scariest thing I’ve ever said is the next piece.
The Presupposition Behind Opening Boxes at L8
For the sake of argument, let’s say that it’s true that this harmonic scale has six tones. That L1 is in some ways parallel to L7, and that L2 is in some ways parallel to L8. In what way is this true? L1 is figuring out the pieces of the physical world so that you can navigate and survive there, right? And L2 takes that learning and uses it for this tribal group of people. But the defining characteristic of the tribe is not just that they share the same campfire and share in the work. The thing we keep saying about them is their connection to their ancestors, to ritual, ceremony, — this is where God lives. Whatever kind of god they follow or worship with their ceremonies and rites and prayers and offerings — there is no way to do L2 without that. We’ve been going over and over this, and can’t find a tribal society without some kind of assumption of deity. — That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s impossible. We don’t have records of too many L2 societies. But all the evidence I’ve got (and everyone I know who has studied this model in depth) in front of me says that the presupposition of deity is part of the basic structure of L2. Lets just suppose that to be true for a moment.

Now, with that as the basic presupposition — tribal structure and the recognition of deity — look at L8. We’ve already got a conclusion that L8 has responsibility. Well responsibility, as a concept, implies responsibility and therefore accountability. If we are responsible, then we must be accountable or else responsibility is no motivator. And if we are accountable, we must be accountable to someone or something that has intention.

And the someone or something with intention has got to be bigger than me, or else accountability has no consequences. So if there is responsibility, accountability, and consequences to someone or something bigger and more powerful than me which has intent and personality, then L8 demands the presupposition of deity, just like L2.

If you try to do L2 without that presupposition, then what are the rituals, ceremony, magic, and prayers connected to? Even if the deity is nature, the sky-god, the god of fertility or harvest, — pantheism, monotheism, animism — it doesn’t matter. It’s the presupposition that is the glue of it. That presupposition is what gives the tribe its identity and stability. It’s where they exist. And to try and do L8 without that presupposition — regardless of how you have shuddered at the thought of something more powerful than you at L5, or L6 — regardless of the gods you abandoned at any of the previous levels — without that presupposition, there is no tribe, and no survival.

If you delete consequences; if you delete accountability; if you delete responsibility — then opening boxes becomes trivial. A game. An option.. Using what you acquired at L7 becomes optional. And if using what you acquired at L7 for the good of others is optional, then you’re still at L7. Indeed, not even very far into L7, because when the Self begins to emerge you become aware that highly complex systems behave as if they were alive. The Gaia hypothesis is a rather crude attempt to prove this in terms of the earth, but if the whole universe is interconnected, one would expect its system to be vital—not in a primitive way but in one reflective of its complexity.

Can’t the tribe hold you accountable?

Why would they, if they’re not accountable to anyone either?

Think about how we all hold Bill Gates responsible for how he uses his money. He’s already changed the world by leading it into the information age — At least he’s the public figure we attach to that change. As a result, he’s got billions of our dollars of which he has become custodian. He earned it. We gave it to him gladly, but now we hold him responsible to use it well and use it wisely. — And we all get a little defensive and even angry when we realized how little he was giving back. So in a way, we hold him accountable — we, the society, and he seems to have responded to this in the last few years with massive philanthropies, but without much personal involvement—without becoming L6 himself.

The only motivation for opening these big, scary boxes at L8, is either because there’s some kind of a power rush — which is totally uncharacteristic of the even levels — or because there is even greater accountability than Gates finally accepted. It has to be impossible to live any other way, or we’d just opt down and live a more simple, easier, less complicated existence.

And I think that this must be true for every blossoming even level. Look at the great books of law from the times when L4 first kicked in. Every detail. Every question. Every condition. They were so careful and precise. Why? Maybe they presupposed deity, too.

In science, one of the things that makes a new theory gain respect is whether it somehow manages not only to explain its central premise in a clear and understandable way, but if the — side effects — of the theory also explain, or help make clear and understandable other ideas that are known to be true, but not otherwise understood. Gravity doesn’t just explain why things fall from up to down. It also lets us understand tides. The movement of planets and stars. Seasons. Weather. Without gravity, we may have been able to document the pattern, but we didn’t understand it. It’s that same difference we hit when we were talking about time. The difference between being able to recognize it, and being able to understand it. Then using it becomes a whole other step.

So here we have this theory that L8 only really works in a healthy way — actually, that it only exists at its full flower, at its full potential, if it follows its L2 counterpart and presupposes deity.

Of course, the real presupposition is that all the levels, if healthy, have to presuppose deity. If the fullness of L2 demands the presupposition of deity, then every subsequent level is going to inherit that presupposition if there is total health. In this regard, it doesn’t really matter if the emergence of systems is cyclical or not. The only thing that matters is that the healthy manifestation of each system requires that it congruently incorporates each preceding system.

It’s so tempting to say we don’t need our L2 anymore once we get up a level. We want to be self-sufficient. Our ego wants to be in charge. It wants all the credit. It wants to make the rules. To pound its chest when it wins. We want to have earned our prestige and accomplishments at L5. We want the credit for turning the L3, L4 and L5 “man’s inhumanity to man” into L6 “man’s humanity to man”. We want to discover on our own. To figure out on our own. To create with our own two hands. So we shrug and say, “how juvenile to believe such fairy tales and myths. How primitive we once were. How advanced we must be now.”

There are all these opportunities and motivations for leaving that presupposition out in the cold to freeze and die. Not everybody does, but it isn’t for lack of opportunity. Then we arrive at L7 and L8 where reclaiming becomes important, and — there it is again. Another chance. An opportunity to go back and realign everything that came before.

Since there is not yet a fully developed and complete version of L8, there is no way to know what success or failure at L8 will look like. There is no L8 measuring stick. We don’t know the details of what healthy L8 looks like except insofar as it builds on healthy L1 L7 and then builds with L1 L7 as its tools.

Even those who have moved into L8 have a hard time describing what it is that they are doing and what is happening to them. One of the things that is most important to L8, however, is that those living in the previous systems on the spectrum map seek after the balance described by L7 so that the responsibility of opening boxes does not fall on unstable shoulders.

Regardless of the amount of detail — balance is the key to successfully negotiating both relationships and responsibility, whether we are talking about the personal qualities, or these qualities as exhibited by organization, businesses, families, or states.

It is tempting as we move along the spectrum map to latch on to one or two values and claim it as the ultimate answer to all life’s problems. L6 may want to hold on tightly to compassion and flexibility, while giving less attention or weight to integrity. L4 on the other hand may want to favor integrity to the exclusion of compassion. It is likely that the odd systems like L5 and L7 will, at least in the short term, lean towards flexibility above all else because it carries with it such strong implications about personal freedom.

If there is temptation for L8, it will probably be to give less attention to personal compassion, since L8 has within it the ability to sacrifice individuals in order to save the tribe or the village. This tendency harkens back to its reverberation with L2. Likewise, L8 may give little or no attention to personal freedom(s) because the weight of personal responsibility is so clear from their perspective.

Another possible temptation for L8 is to doubt the boxes it has opened. Negative emotions and limiting decisions are the ever-present humbug of being human and we are all subject to them, regardless of our position on the spectrum map. As a result, any box that takes an extended time to open fully or to be realized will, by definition, leave opportunity for doubt, and hesitation.

One of the possible surprises at L8 is that while the L8 task of opening boxes opens up new levels of accountability and responsibility, the range of the responsibility extends far past the actual opening of the box. Until the fate of the cat is secured, the L8(s) responsible for the box remain tied to that phenomenon until resolution. In other words, there is no such thing as opening a box and then casually walking away. If you open it — it’s your baby right through to the final act. The temptation to go on to other projects is not an option. L8 is a system of necessities, and they are not negotiable. Failure to follow-through in this L8 arena will probably signal the emergence of L8’s self-policing nature.

Like the other systems, it is possible to do L8 in an unhealthy and/or destructive way. If L7 has received short shrift and has not had the opportunity or taken the opportunity to go back and illuminate the full spectrum map, the L8 cannot help but be incomplete, incongruent, and/or riddled with deletions and distortions. Even if the L7 quest to illuminate the entire spectrum map has been successful, there will still be shortcomings and hidden trip wires which can throw us off track.
I’M AN L8; I’M AN L9; I’M AN L10, I’M AN L14, L15, L16 — MAYBE NOT
There is a tendency, when people hear or read about this developmental model for the first time, to try to place themselves on the model.

Obviously, we all are capable of talking any of these systems. And since all eight systems are now activated in our culture, it is possible to pick up bits and pieces of all systems — even those from which we are two or three or even four systems removed.

The question is not which systems we can talk , or which we can mimic or even successfully function in for short periods of time. The real question is, when we are under pressure, where do we function? Where do we go when the going gets tough?

There is a significant number of people who want so badly to be seen as L7 or L8 — or even into the uncharted systems of L9 and L10 — that they successfully convince themselves that they do function there. They become characters in their own hopeful fiction. Here are a few tips for spotting those who have mis-interpreted the model, or who just want so much to be on the cutting edge that they have imagined themselves into it. Remember — most of Western Culture is in the process of moving through L5 and L6 right now, with many still in an L4 world or below, and a blossoming L7 waiting in the wings. L8’s are still few and far between by comparison, but have become a clear presence in the last few years.

L6 + L2 # L8
L6 is the current rising system in the West, and with it often comes a renewed interest in the mysticism and mystery of L2 existence, sometimes including a re-awakening of Paganism and other early tribal practices. Many who experience this kind of mystical, personal voyage assume that they have crossed into L8 territory because of the wonder and awe associated with all mysticism.

Some of the tell-tale signs that an L6 + L2 combination is functioning is the lack of L7 passion for complex data; for systemic technology, and for working out the inter-relatedness and interconnectedness of all things. When L8 turns on, it comes on with the full core sample in place, including a fully developed L7. If there is resistance to or denial of any of the first tier systems; if there is significant imbalance in the core sample; if the L7 is not obvious, then chances are, it’s still a first tier combination.

L7 + L6 # L8
Another combination that is commonly mistaken for L8 is a blend of L6 into L7. Because L7 is the first system to not reject the system(s) that came before, and because there are so many possible metaphysical manifestations in L7 that harken back to the “New Age” side of L6, it may turn around and embrace the warm communal feelings and mystery of meditation, self-hypnosis, and other transcendent and altered states and mistake that for what it knows will be an even more mysterious L8.

Remember that part of what happens at the intersection between L6 and L7 is the introduction of the metaphysical existence.

The important thing to remember is that there is a difference in focus between the odd and the even levels. Turning inward into a deep meditative state, is, by its very nature an odd numbered activity / tool unless your meditation is taking you to collaboration — which is not what the average Buddhist is describing, and not what most Buddhism is teaching. If doing deep meditation as a Buddhist, or Christian, or mystical practice is a singular, individual, expressive activity designed to enrich the self, discover the whole self, or reach some mystical plateau of existence — then that activity, while probably very beneficial and healthy for the individual, is still an odd numbered activity.

You probably noticed the one exception in the above description. “Unless it [the deep meditative state] takes you to collaboration.” If that sounds a little like Rod Serling to you, remember that anybody not where you are appears criminal, insane, sinful, stupid, useless, or weak. When it comes to the metaphysical, some experiences can be described with mountains of words and still not adequately convey the experience. Metephysical reality is experiential. Not driven by Cartesian dualism, logic, reason, empirical data, or emotional fluxuations. EXPERIENTIAL. It’s about experiencing it. You’ll know it when you get there. You’ll know it when youu experience it.

The real indicator about the L6 + L7 blend as opposed too L8 is the difference between focus inward on the self, and an external focus that uses that tool of the deep meditative state in a sacrificial manor. If that state is a tool for the benefit of others, and is seen as one of the responsibilities of L8 existence, then it may indicate L8 rather than L6 + L7.
“Let me tell you about my second tier powers . . .”
One of the paradoxes of second tier existence is this: There is characteristic of existence above L6 which gets little attention — because it is a dissolution of ego. And being a dissolution of ego, it naturally doesn’t talk about itself much. While L3, L4, L5, and L6 seem themselves, either as individuals, or as part of the groups as progressively more and more the center of the physical universe, L7 and L8 are progressively seeing themselves and more and more a part — a single holon. And even though the single holon contains the whole of existence — so does every other holon. We become not less significant or less individual, but less self-important. We are part of the whole We are the whole. We are in everything and everything is in us.

The paradox is that those new tools, skills, abilities, bits of knowledge, and habits of mind which are a natural part of L7 and L8 existence seem perfectly normal and even expected among those above the line — they appear to be somewhat remarkable to those who aren’t living there.

Many L6s claim and imitate — and may even manifest some of these characteristics — but they also embellish, exaggerate, and fantasize about them quite a bit. Were those embellishers truly operating from within L7 and L8, their dissolution of ego would prevent them from talking about their 2nd tier skills, abilities, proficiencies, knowings, and habits of mind.

The bottom line? If you’re talking about or bragging about it — you’re probably not doing it. At least not in a “healthy” way as described earlier. — And like Merlin, if you’re calling yourself a wizard and hanging out a shingle that says so, you can pretty much bet the bank that you’re not one.
Best Rule of Thumb:
If Graves was right, and this is a six-tone scale, then you can’t violate the model when predicting what Second Tier systems will be like. If he was wrong, and the model only goes to L8, then quit hallucinating.

Those who proudly puff out their chests and proclaim themselves to be L9 and L10 — or even higher as is sometimes the case — have misunderstood this central manifestation of second tier existence. Whether those levels exist or not is not really the point, and one thing is certain — if it is, there won’t be a lot of self-proclaiming required.

According to Graves, this developmental model is a six tone scale; that is, systems one through six have a set of characteristics which are then repeated a sextive higher. The difference between the first tier (systems L1 – L6) and the second tier (systems L7 – L12) is not simply a difference between the physical and meta physical — it is to some degree a reworking of the lower tier, physical systems, in a higher tier, metaphysical way.

Looking at the model in this way, there will be parallels between L1 and L7, then there will be parallels between L2 and L8, L3 and L9, and so on. What does this mean? It means that in many ways, the experience of L7 will have characteristics in common with the experience of L1. L8 will share common characteristics with L2, and L9 will have characteristics in common with L3.

Because Graves himself never documented examples beyond L7, this was a fairly speculative observation for him to make. Just because he saw commonalties between L7 and L1 did not necessarily mean it was a true emerging pattern (for the purposes of simplicity, we call one set of commonalties a coincidence, and two or more — a pattern….)

But the L1 to L7 parallels were significant enough. If L1 is concerned with the individual surviving in the physical world, and learning to use the tools and skills of L1 for this purpose, then the observation that L7 is learning to survive in the global and metaphysical or intellectual world, and learning to use the tools and skills of L7 for that purpose is a fairly easy link up. If L1 fails, the individual dies and returns to dust or becomes part of the food chain. If L7 fails, the individual returns to the previous state of existence — the first tier — the world of L1 through L6.

When L8 showed up, the possible parallels between L2 and L8 could be observed from close range. If L2 is concerned with building a safe physical environment for the tribe/family where trust is possible and the mysterious is an everyday reality; where the tools and experiences of L2 are used to protect and provide for the security of the tribe; and where deity is presupposed in every action and every belief — then L8 shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

It remains to be seen whether or not Graves’ original thesis that this is a cyclical pattern, and that an L9 and L10 will be emerging in the next few years will be born out. If so, L9 will have characteristics in common with L3 — but with a global perspective, and L10 will share commonalties with L4.





L1-Beige pre-history pre-tribal existence
L2-Purple usually un-recorded history tribal societies
L3-Red great conquerors and warring tribes… Alexander the Great; The first King of Israel—Saul
L4-Blue First societies of law and great legal documents;… The Ten Commandments; The Code of Hammurabi
L5-Orange Renaissance, Early -Mid 12th Century Individual rights; capitalism, personal freedom
L6-Green Early 19th Century Human rights: the Civil War, child labor laws, communism / socialism
L7-Yellow End of the 19th Century, Early 20th Century Kierkegaard: Existentialism; Schrödinger, Heisenberg, and Einstein: Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity; Freud: the Unconscious Mind
L8-Turquoise Mid 20th Century Holographic theory; Ed Witten: Duality theory; Marshal McCluhan: global village





L1-Beige —– —–
L2-Purple Myth and legend The oldest mythologies, folk tales, and fairy tales
L3-Red Epic Saga The Iliad and The Odyssey
L4-Blue Morality Tale, Fable, Parable The Tell-Tale Heart, Pilgrim’s Progress, Aesop’s Fables
L5-Orange Inspirational & Motivational Stories Biographies and autobiographies of great L5’s: Donald Trump, Ted Turner, Bill Gates…
L6-Green Healing Metaphors & Stories of Suffering Innocence; Stream of Consciousness Ulysses, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, Women Who Run With the Wolves, Iron John, and Uses of Enchantment. Also, stories of the human triumph and heroism of the human spirit; and ecology fables
L7-Yellow Paradoxicals The Castle, Schrödinger’s Cat, The Alchemist, The Return of Merlin ,Till We Have Faces
L8-Turquoise New Myth? We’re still waiting….





L1-Beige Your rules for me
The only rule is survival
I don’t know what to eat; you tell me.
No rules Anarchy. So what and who cares. I’ll find what I eat — or I’ll starve
L2-Purple The mystery is not ours to know We eat whatever the gods provide.
L3-Red My rules for you; no rules for me. You eat carrots; I eat whatever I like.
L4-Blue My rules for me; my rules for you. I eat carrots; you eat carrots; we all eat carrots
L5-Orange Rules? Suggestions. There are some food that are better for you than others, and carrots are certainly a good choice. But the truth is, you eat according to the needs of the situation and the moment.
L6-Green My rules for me; your rules for you. I eat carrots; what you eat is your business.
L7-Yellow All rules are subject to careful examination and consideration. Strive for utility, and enjoy. Try the carrots. If they don’t do it for you; try something else. Keep trying more “somethings” until you find what you need and want.
L8-Turquoise There is only one rule, and it’s not negotiable. Do what you were put here to do. Everything else is in service to that one rule. I eat whatever will structure my body chemistry appropriately for what I have to do.





L1-Beige Self Instinct. You’re on your own.
L2-Purple Shaman, Witch doctor, medicine woman herbs/prayer; legend; divine intervention
L3-Red Miracle Worker spells/magic; fighting death face to face
L4-Blue Doctor rules, house calls, prescriptions, scientific method
L5-Orange Professional Physician tests, hospitalization, insurance, research and teaching institutions
L6-Green Care Giver hospice, home care; symptoms treated with naturopathic and cultural treatments
L7-Yellow Self, and
mind-body medicine, botanicals, nutrition, prevention. Self-healing.
L8-Turquoise Integrative Healers? blended use of all previous levels. Balance = prevention and restoration?


This table is looking at two variables. The first is the preference for either right or left brain function , and the second is concerned with two of the four characteristics identified by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator : sensor / intuitor, and thinker / feeler.

Looking down the chart, it is easy to pick out where the analytic, scientific, and mathematic brain takes over at L4, then continues to flourish at L5 before reverting to its former creative and sensitive functions at L6, in preparation for whole brain function — sequential multi-tasking between left and right brain at L7, and then simultaneous multi-tasking at L8.

From detail to general….





L1-Beige Right Brain SF WHAT?
L2-Purple Right Brain SF WHAT?
L3-Red Right Brain SF WHAT?
L4-Blue Left Brain ST WHY?
L5-Orange Left Brain ST WHY?
L6-Green Right Brain NF HOW?
L7-Yellow Whole Brain NT WHAT IF?
L8-Turquoise Whole Brain Seeks Balance WHAT IF? WHAT? WHY? HOW?**

note: this accounts for the big changes that happen around L6. L6 is different from L5 on all three points, then immediately changes again in all respects except brain hemisphere preference, where it adds rather than changes.

*The 4-MAT preference refers to the educational-training tool which draws on the human tendency to listen first and foremost to one of the four questions (cited in this column) and their answers.

By knowing that we all have a primary and secondary “channel” for taking in information, a good trainer/educator will hit each of these questions and its appropriate answer during the course of teaching a new bit of information to a roomful of students.

This tool is often used for more effective training in a corporate environment, but is useful to teachers, coaches, instructors, managers, supervisors, parents, and anyone else who assist others in learning new skills or data; or those responsible for issuing orders (as in the military) and expects them to be followed.

The most advantageous (and easiest to follow) construction is:

1) a little what (the name of the new data piece);
2) WHY? Why is it important to learn this new idea and what will the benefits be?;
3) WHAT? A more detailed description of the idea;
4) HOW? How do you do it; how do you know it; how do you make sense of it? How is it accomplished, how does it work? How is it used?; and
5) WHAT If? What do we get if this new idea or process is used? What if it isn’t? What happens if we do it well as opposed to doing it badly or not at all? What happens if we don’t bother to learn it, or if we do?

When done thoughtfully and with intentionality, what this gets you is automatic communication with every student in a given classroom since everyone falls into one of these four groupings. Failure to cover all four questions means you have no common ground with those who need and use the omitted question as their primary channel. To fail to cover all four quadrants of the 4-Mat once it is known guarantees that you will fail to successfully meet all your students’ needs.

Now. Notice the five preceding paragraphs. The first is a little WHAT. The second is WHY do it, the third is more detailed WHAT it is, the forth is HOW to do it, and the fifth is WHAT IF you do it/or not.

It’s important to know that a trainer or teacher with a preference for HOW — who only bothers to talk about how — will “miss” all the students in the room who need to know WHY, WHAT, or WHAT IF. Likewise, an ardent L3 parent who only needs to deal in WHAT a child should be doing (“because I said so and I’m bigger…”) will completely miss the needs of their pubescent and newly L4 children who must have the WHY in order to feel as though there is communication and understanding.

The important thing to notice about this table is that there is an oscillating pattern between the even and odd systems, and between the acquisition of new time constructs, and the acquisition of new spatial constructs; between the use of new time constructs, and the use of new spatial constructs.




L1-Beige Ability to use the present; awareness of the past Ability to see and acquire individual territory
L2-Purple Ability to see and acquire the past Tribal territory held and used
L3-Red Ability to use the past; awareness of future Ability to see and acquire other tribal territories
L4-Blue Ability to see and acquire the future Cultural territory held and used
L5-Orange Ability to use the future; awareness of multi-linear time Ability to see and acquire other cultural territories
L6-Green Ability to see and acquire multi-linear time Societal territory held and used
L7-Yellow Ability to use multi-linear time; awareness of non-linear time Ability to see and acquire other societal territories
L8-Turquoise Ability to see and acquire non-linear time Human territory held and used
L9-Coral (?) Ability to use non-linear time; awareness of next time construct Ability to see and acquire next greater territories (?)





L1-Beige —– —–
L2-Purple Barter Haggling in the street; simple trade
L3-Red Dictatorial Management Mom and Pop
L4-Blue Structural Hierarchy The Department Store, multi-level management
L5-Orange Entrepreneurial & Networked Innovative Startup; a culture of experts
L6-Green Cooperative Teams All for 1 / 1 for all; cooperation between varrying specializations
L7-Yellow Collaboration; Consultants. Reemergence of the generalists who are experts in many fields; independent & interconnected
L8-Turquoise Influence from outside participants Relational agreement.

L8-Turquoise Jungian Overview

In thinking about the material requirements for the Graves/Jung development, one should keep in mind that energy level affects the behavior of a system (e.g., change of flow rate alters the shape of a river). This basic principle means, for instance, that each defense systems has its energy requirement. In animals, submitting, hiding and playing possum belong to the lowest range; fast flight to the middle range; and fighting to the highest range. Representing a comparable series of energy levels, the psychologist Virginia Satir classified people’s (according to their defensive behavior in group encounters) as Placaters (who submit), Diverters (who keep changing the subject to flee confrontation), and Complainers (who vent their aggressions fairly openly). NLP correlates these with people’s preference for representational systems: Placaters tending to prefer Kinaesthetic (the sense that carries the lowest amount of information/energy); Diverters tending to prefer auditory, with a middle range of information/energy; and Complainers visual, which carries the most information/energy.

People’s energy levels, of course, vacillate according to health, tension, and other variables, as to some extent for their sensory preferences, defense styles, and so on. Nonetheless, certain generalizations are possible. At stages two and three, transmission of culture is largely auditory. At stage four, reading (a visual medium enters), though primarily reading aloud, so that it remains auditory for the majority of the population except in such devices as symbolic church decorations to inculcate dogma. Reading everything from account books to e-mail, stage five is highly visual, needing to transmit vast quanta of data. Similarly in the movement to stage five, defense technology utilizes larger quanta of energy from the club to the atom bomb.

As Freud argued in Civilization and its Discontents, the psyche’s defenses make a less spectacular but comparable increase, repressing ever more. On the one hand, for example, a modern executive does not have to fight sabertooth tigers or draw water from a well and thus has considerable energy available for an increasingly complex culture. On the other hand, s/he would thereby have more than s/he has actually if s/he did not have to spend so much in the process of repression. Stage six, however, adds no more laborsaving devices, yet increase in complexity requires more energy.

Consequently, stage six frees energy by decreasing defenses—a more casual work environment, more frankness about sexuality, less money spent on armaments, and so on. Stage seven eliminates the psyche’s core defensive structure—the ego.

Do the resulting energy levels relate to changes in sensory preference? Perhaps at stage six the range begins again metaphorically: six being by popular phrase “touchy feely” (i.e., an emotional version of the kinaesthetic); stage seven’s new physics (according to Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media) dependent on an auditory imagination; and stage eight (if it exists) dependent on the intuitive.