In order for you
to understand my comments I need to introduce you to my version of the
‘Spectrum of Consciousness’. I developed this model independently in the
mid-eighties and it was whilst researching corroborative material that
I encountered Ken’s work. It was of course, invaluable.
I suspended the development
of this model (I had started compiling the material into a book tentatively
entitled ‘Upon the Wings of Gabriel : Toward a Spiritual Psychology’) for
two reasons. Firstly, I was increasingly drawn toward a concentrated period
of spiritual practice, which culminated in my living in an ashram for five
years. Secondly, I felt my work was, in a sense, redundant in the light
of Ken’s prodigious output.
However, I have since
left the ashram and have been reintroduced to Ken’s work (and more recently
Spiral Dynamics). In that light I have reassessed my own work. I now regard
that my model, whilst it is in substantial agreement with Ken’s, approaches
the ‘Spectrum’ from a different angle and as such has the insights of a
But I am not one
to promote a model just for the sake of adding my own voice. Ultimately
my work must be judged by its usefulness. And a fundamental question must
be asked; does it aid clarity? In this post-modern world we have a literal
‘babble’ of perspectives clamoring for attention and I believe it would
be irresponsible of me to promote my work unless I was confident that it
did indeed aid clarity, that it did indeed have some usefulness.
In order to be as
brief as possible this paper is really a series of informal notes. It is
intended as a ‘first’ look, it does not claim to be a final draft. Each
section could easily be expanded into much longer and more carefully expressed
essays. Perhaps there are really two books here. ‘Upon the Wings’ would
explain the hermeneutics. The other would explore the implications. So
forgive me if my brevity begs explanation. It may raise more questions
than answers ? which is really my intention.
ONE: THE MODEL
The inspiration for
this model arose out of an idle pondering about a problem within the esoteric
fields of astrology and alchemy, particularly in Hindu Tantrism. What is
the relationship between astrological symbology and the chakra system?
In western alchemy this becomes a problem of astrological symbolism and
the alchemical stages of transformation ? which immediately links us into
the work of Jung. Now I say idle pondering because I really didn’t expect
to uncover anything of moment. I was simply pursuing a line of inquiry
for entertainment. But as I played with different models (including the
traditional jyotish model) I conceived a different way to align the signs
of the zodiac with the chakras and as I played with this model I began
to see a whole range of patterns and hermeneutical connections that had
implications well beyond my initial ‘toying’ around.
Now, at this stage
I must assure those of you dubious of the claims of astrology as a predictive
art that I am categorically not talking about predictive astrology. (It
is also important to add that the astrological references could easily
be dropped without detracting a great deal ? although a Jungian understanding
of the signs as archetypes will flesh out some important characteristics.
To understand this Jungian aspect we have to ask why it is these particular
archetypes that we ‘project’ onto the tabula rasa of the night sky ? given
that similar archetypes are projected in entirely different cosmological
systems, for instance, the Chinese circumpolar system).
I am talking about
a set of symbols that have played an important part in the human psyche,
particularly in the West and in India, for well over three thousand years.
And as such they are symbols that point toward a deep structure of consciousness.
In other words they are indicators of archetypes. Naturally these
archetypes are revealed in non-astrological symbology and a good portion
of my work involves cross-referencing a solid body of mythological and
esoteric/exoteric religious symbolism - across many cultures.
Needless to say the
work of Campbell and Jung were invaluable companions. Here I will say that
this model is a symbol of the Self and expands Jung’s structure of the
Self from a quaternity to a duodecanary.
So, what does this
symbolism have to say?
As it is based, in
part, on astrological symbols, my model consists of twelve levels. What
is unique about my system is that the twelve zodiacal archetypes are paired
into their classical opposites, thus making a system of six dyads. It is
the use of these dyads that create the psychology of the levels. I think
this is fairly self-evident once you understand and begin to work with
And before I begin
I wish to point out that each of these levels has sub-levels as well, but
I will explain this in more detail later.
LEVEL 1 - EROS/THANATOS
First Chakra. Taurus/Scorpio.
Fulcrum 0 - 2
Here the dyad expresses
the struggle between the abundance of life and its companion decay. Eros/Thanatos.
Taurus is the most material of the signs and generally speaks of the abundance
and enjoyment of materiality. Scorpio rules death, sex and the occult.
The glyph of Scorpio is based on the open tail of the serpent and whilst
its common animal symbolism is the scorpion its less known animals are
the serpent and the eagle. Hence Kundalini, the Serpent Power.
In the individual
? Sensorimotor (Archaic and Archaic Magic). Here I want to make a particular
note about Stan Grof’s ‘Basic Perinatal Matrices’.
In society ? Uroboros/Typhon.
Early hunter/gatherer bands.
Guiding myth ? The
serpent in the garden/tree of life.
? Images of the bull and of the serpent.
LEVEL 2 - MATER/PATER
Second chakra. Cancer/Capricorn.
Fulcrum 3 - 4
Here the dyad becomes
the struggle between the mother and the father. The mother represents comfort
and security. The father represents discipline and order.
In the individual
? Preoperational (mother), Concrete Operational (father). The family dynamic.
Early sexual identity. Oedipus/Electra.
In society ? Early
agricultural societies, early patriarchal city-states. Magic/Mythic.
Guiding myth - The
Great Mother. The Terrible Father. Here I want to make a note that the
ruling planet of Capricorn is Saturn (Saturnus/Chronus) who ate his children.
In Hebrew Saturn is sabbatai and Yahweh’s day, the Sabbath, is held on
? Early Goddess imagery. The shift from the bull to the ‘Mountain’ Goat/Sheep/Ram.
Abraham sacrifices the Ram instead of his son on a mountain. Moses goes
to Mt Sinai.
LEVEL 3 - THE
The third chakra.
Aries/Libra. Fulcrum 5
Here the dyad becomes
the struggle between the individual and the arts of civilisation ? Praxis/Polis.
The Hero has separated from the Mother and the tyranny of the Father and
undertakes a journey. But such adventurism must be curtailed by the civilised
arts - culture.
In the individual
- The ego. Formal operational. But here I want to distinguish between an
early form of formop which is egocentric and manipulative and a later form
which is relational and philosophic/rational but which is not yet true
vision-logic. Adolescence and early adulthood.
And here I want to
make an important point. In my opinion this is still the level at which
most of society still operates. The majority of adults are still wrestling
with individualism and citizenship, with egocentric desires and a more
In society: warring
states, the shift from monarchies to democracies. And recently the shift
from individual states to world governance. The rule of Law - diplomacy
and treaties. Governance through institution as opposed to absolute rule.
Guiding myth: the
Hero (Ares and Artemis) and the Goddess as Athena, especially Athena Polias.
Martial imagery (Mars rules Aries). The statue of Athena in the Parthenon.
The statue of Justice carrying the scales (The scales are a symbol of Libra).
The picture of Marianne breaking through the barricades. The Statue of
LEVEL 4 - WORLD
The fourth chakra.
Leo/Aquarius. Fulcrum 6 - 7
The Heart. This is
a pivotal level. It is the transition to the transpersonal levels. Leo
is the King of the Jungle and this symbology has been imposed onto the
concept of the Righteous/Dharmic King (which we will return to). Richard
the Lionheart. King David - the Lion of Judea. King Arthur. Emperor Ashoka.
This implies mastery, the Hero has become the Statesman, has become truly
civilised, s/he has mastered the lower domains.
The choice is now
to either rest as King of the World or to turn to the Mystery and become
a humble apprentice. Aquarius holds a jar containing the waters of life
that pour eternally inviting the neophyte to drink.
Failure to reach
for the transpersonal creates either a wasteland or a tragic fall. Failure
to acknowledge the divine leads to the shadow side of Leo, arrogance, indulgence
and vanity. Leo must rule selflessly and for all.
In the individual:
Vision/logic. The Centaur. Opening to the psychic and early subtle.
In society: well
folks, we ain’t there yet. This is the transition to Second Tier structures.
Perhaps the best attempt historically was Emperor Ashoka’s reign. This
stage can only be consolidated when the battle between individualism and
society is largely over. It can only happen under true World Governance
(as opposed to super-power dominance).
Guiding myth: King
Arthur and the Round Table. The Grail Quest.
the heraldic Lion and Unicorn. The Star of David. The symbol of 12 as balance
and harmony. The symbol of the Heart in general. The symbol of the Heart
chakra, the six-pointed star in the twelve petalled lotus. The Divine Marriage:
Mysterium Coniunctionis. Rex/Regina, The Green Lion disgorges the Sun.
LEVEL 5 - THE
The fifth chakra.
Gemini/Sagittarius. Fulcrum 8
This dyad reveals
a lesson about discrimination. This is the Subtle level. The ruling planet
of Gemini is Mercurius (Hermes), the messenger of the Gods. But Mercurius
can also be the Trickster. Campbell associates this level with myths of
otherworld journeys and of tests of spirit. This is the level of
the shamanic journey. The danger here is of delusion and illusion. Failure
to discriminate leads to false understanding and here we can mention the
plethora of New Age channeling of this or that weird deity or phantasm.
The ruling planet
of Sagittarius is Jupiter. In Hindu astrology Jupiter (shani) is often
called Guru. Here is a Sage who has successfully negotiated the trials
of the trickster, who has obtained discrimination and wisdom. But they
can still undergo tests. The tale of Merlin (and the fall of many eastern
teachers) suggests that even the Sage will be tested.
You will note that
I have not included individual or societal delineations. This is because
we are now in the transpersonal and transsocietal levels.
Guiding myth: The
Trickster. Merlin . The many stories of Gurus, guiding deities and otherworld
The magician, the caduceus, the wand, the wise fool. Divinely inspired
visions of the subtle realm.
LEVEL 6 - THE
The sixth (and seventh)
chakra. Virgo/Pisces. Fulcrum 9
The glyph for Virgo
contains the closed tail of the serpent. At the sixth chakra the disciple
awaits the ‘command’ of Shakti (Shekina, Sophia) before final realisation
can occur. This is the Causal level. It is the Grail and it is the Virgin.
The Virgin also represents
the spirit as flesh. Nondual understanding cannot occur until the Sage
accepts ‘all’ of manifestation as spirit. The Sage must fully embrace the
body of Shakti. The Ascenders stop at 5B because they cannot embrace the
blood and shit, the Kali aspect of Shakti.
The symbol of Christ
is the fish, that which swims the endless ocean of the Nondual.
Christ (along with
other divine figures) is born of the Virgin.
It is very important
to make this final note - which returns us to the Heart. Many traditions
carry the image of a God-born returning to teach ordinary mortals. The
image of Christ’s radiant Heart. The belief that the lowest chakra of the
Boddhisattva is the Heart chakra. And here we unlock the symbolism of the
Heart chakra itself.
The six-pointed star
contains two interlocking triangles, one pointing upwards, one pointing
downwards. Here the lower levels are in harmony and balance with the upper
(transpersonal) levels. The Master of the World has become the Master of
The Aquarian part
of the dyad expresses ‘The Return’ as a new philosophy or paradigm. Plato
is a fair example and one must remember his Republic was to consist of
The truly Integral
approach must balance all 12 petals of the Heart, all 12 seats of the Round
Table, all 12 levels. This is leadership with compassion and humility,
leadership for all levels.
The Ascender bias
is one that keeps the individual at Christos and so failing to engage the
One of the patterns
I noticed can be called the ‘harmonics’ of the model. A division of the
12 levels by the factors, 2, 3, 4 and 6. Each ‘harmonic’ has its own characteristic.
Now perhaps some
of you are saying, ‘hang on here, this is getting a bit mathematical’.
I am not arguing here that numbers of themselves have meaning. They merely
help indicate a pattern, an order. This order can, I believe, be fully
The First Harmonic
A division by two
creates two groups of six. This can be represented by a downward pointing
triangle and an upward pointing triangle representing the world of matter
? Levels 1,2 and 3 ? and the world of Spirit ? Levels 4, 5 and 6. Unless
there is a conscious attempt to integrate the two domains through an authentic
transformative practice they will remain separate. This suggests that without
an authentic path the highest level of development will stop at Civilis.
Any further development involves the authentic integration of the Spiritual.
With the proper integration the true nature of the Heart is realised ?
the two triangles intersect and are held in balance.
The Second Harmonic
A division by three
of course creates three groups of four. Levels 1 and 2 - 3 and 4 - 5 and
6. The meaning of this harmonic can best be described by using the sanscrit
terms, tamasic, rajasic and sattvic. Those of you familiar with these terms
will immediately know what I am saying. Another way to describe this is
to say that Levels 1 and 2 are passive - power is seen to exist outside
the individual. Levels 3 and 4 are active - power is seen to come from
the individual. Levels 5 and 6 are detached - power is seen to be of the
nature of Emptiness. There is something also to be said here about trinities
in general, as one example; the threefold goddess - the Hag, the Lover(Maiden)
and the Virgin.
The Third Harmonic
Four groups of three.
The first group ? Eros, Thanatos and the Mater. The second group ? Pater,
Individuus (Hero, the son) and Civilis. The third group ? Mastery, The
Neophyte and The Fool. The fourth group ? The Sage, The Virgin and Christos.
These form a particularly interesting set of matrices. The first group
contains the themes of birth/death and the Great Mother and is Matriarchal
? representing matrifocal and matrilineal societies as well as the myth
of an ancient matriarchy. The second group ? the Terrible Father,
the Hero and civilis is Patriarchal. Each of these four groups can be seen
in mythology and in reality. They are meta-themes. For example; a son leaves
the tyranny of the father, undertakes a heroic journey and finds true love/true
The Fourth Harmonic
These are the dyads
outlined above. This harmonic speaks of an essential dynamic. Each of the
12 levels is activated by the tension of its partner. We are not talking
about polarity but about a tension that must be resolved before progress
can be made. For instance, level 3 is often expressed as the tension between
individualism and relationship. Without relationship individualism becomes
pure narcissism, without individualism relationship returns to level 2
? often as a playing out of mother/father role rigidity. Which is actually
where we find most people ? still trying to find the correct balance between
individualism and relationship. Level 5 is the tension between faith and
discrimination. On the one hand we must have the trust and naivety of ‘The
Fool’ and the wisdom of ‘The Sage’. Without discrimination ‘The Fool’ gets
lost. Without innocence ‘The Sage’ becomes a rigid ‘legalist’.
After a while of
working with this symbolism I began to understand that each level contained
sub-levels that replicated the model in general.
Of course, following
Ken, each level intuits and translates the overall model into its own mode,
even if this is a partial translation. We cannot expect an archaic structure
to fully explicate the model, but it may intuit the next two levels. In
‘Up From Eden’ Ken talks about the progress of the average member and the
progress of the most advanced…
But in understanding
that context the sub-levels are a slightly different matter. This can best
be explained by simply describing the sub-levels.
I should also explain
that the sub-levels are different to Ken’s fulcrum subphases, identification,
differentiation and integration. They are however related, as I will explain
at the end of the description.
SUB-LEVEL 1 -
Any new realisation
involves a birth/death struggle. The old must give way to the new. This
is not easy and can be a period of anxiety and confusion. The new level
is not yet comfortable; we are crawling ? not running. We are very vulnerable.
SUB-LEVEL 2 -
After a period the
new becomes familiar and comfortable. Thus enters a period of consolidation
and conservatism, which broadly replicates the values of the mother and
father. This is a passive stage of conformism. The maternal aspect is about
nurturing; the paternal is about obedience to the structure/rules.
SUB-LEVEL 3 -
This is an active
phase. Here the subject begins to actively pursue their place in the dominant
level. They will become active participants and aspire to some form of
central role or leadership. It is denoted by ambition and an active involvement
in the aims and politics (internal and external) of the group.
SUB-LEVEL 4 -
The active phase
leads to an increase in skill and mastery. Here the subject gains the fruits
of mastery. They become a respected elder/leader. And this may very well
be the sub-level at which they stay until voluntary retirement or challenge
and defeat. This sub-level brings with it the question ‘is this all there
SUB-LEVEL 5 -
Here the subject
begins to intuit a new ‘whole’. They begin to see that there is in fact
‘more’. This is a restless period of inquiry which may be precipitated
by insights and/or the appearance of a mentor. Failure to find the ‘right’
answer may lead to the creation of a false one leading to either rejection
or to a digressive path. A charismatic person may easily lead others astray.
SUB-LEVEL 6 -
This can be an exhilarating
period in which the next level finally breaks through.
And so we return
to the birth/death sub-level of the next level.
Each sub-level is
a version of the main dyads. So in a sense there are potentially 12 sub-levels
within each unit of a dyad, making a potential 144 level system. It is
conceivable to talk about a person going through the ‘mother’ sub-level
of the civilis component of level 3. In which case we could say that this
person is a somewhat passive member of a political organisation. Or we
could talk about a boy undergoing a paternal sub-level initiation in a
matrifocal level 2 tribal society.
In any case handling
a 144 sub-level system is awkward and so for sanity’s sake I want to simplify
it thus: Let’s use the 6 dyads and the 6 sub-levels. Let’s use a numeral
to refer to the appropriate level. Where it is necessary to delineate a
unit within the dyad let’s use A or B - ie 2A, 2B. Where it is necessary
to talk about a sub-level let’s use a Roman numeral. So, if we are talking
about the consolidation phase of level three we use the shorthand 3-ii.
If we are talking about the birth/death phase of level four we use 4-i.
2A-v is therefore the ‘questioning’ sub-level of the matriarchal component
of level 2. Where we need to delineate the specific unit within a sub-level
dyad we let’s use a lower case letter ‘a’ or ‘b’. For example a teenage
fascination with death can be read as a 3A-ib problem, in other words,
the teen is experiencing the development of independent ego but is expressing
it specifically through the death aspect of the birth/death sub-stage.
Although it might seem awkward now I believe you will catch on when I start
applying it in the analysis of individual or social behaviour
Ken’s 1-2-3 structure.
at sub-level i and is completed at sub-level ii. Identification begins
at sub-level iii and is completed at sub-level iv. Differentiation begins
at sub-level iv through to vi. However I should make this observation;
differentiation and integration occur relatively simultaneously. As one
begins to experience the possibilities of a higher level this causes both
a differentiation from the current level and the process of integrating
the new. The birth/death sub-level is where this is most acute. One has
finally differentiated but is still going through the awkward stage of
trying out the ‘new’ self ? integrating the new consciousness.
Here I want to raise
an important point. Each sub-level resonates with the psychic energy of
its parent level. An example of this would be the fascination with death
that many teens experience. The teenage years can be marked by a savage
struggle with suicide and depression. This can be seen as a 3B-i issue.
But it can also look a lot like regression to 1B. Heavy Metal music is
full of death images and some teens revert to a primal rage. (Hopefully
by now, some of you will be beginning to race ahead with other implications
? some of which we will explore).
As I pointed out
above each level intuits the overall model and translates it to its own
level. For example, Mastery is leadership. At level 1 it translates as
a tribal leader. At 2A it translates as a Sacrificial King, at 2B it becomes
the Murdering King . A slight shift at 3A and he becomes the Hero/Sun King.
At 3B the Civilised King, and so on.
But here I must say
that we can’t be too strict about our delineations. A society or person
may be shifting between levels. A society may create a 3B Leader who is
unfortunately defeated by a 2B Leader, thus returning the society to a
previous level. Such reversals are common. It is also common that a society
or individual mixes the symbology of different levels, thus human sacrifice
can be seen as level 1 death angst in a level 2 agricultural matriarchy.
I found Ken’s concept
of the pre/trans fallacy to be very useful. In my system we need to be
aware of ‘resonance’. A pre/trans fallacy can occur when we suggest that
certain behaviour is regression to a previous level when it is in fact
an expression of a sub-level. Or, we assume there has been a progression
to a higher level when it is simply a shift within a level to a higher
Each of my levels
represents a kind of gestalt. I fully accept Ken’s description of different
streams of development. I acknowledge that a person’s cognitive development
can be at level 4 whilst their affective/moral level is at 3 and their
sexual identity is still struggling with level 2 issues.
However, at some
point, there will be enough change in enough levels for there to be a gestalt
shift. But I suggest that such a gestalt will need to include as a bare
minimum a cognitive, affective and moral shift.
It also occurs to
me that we may be talking about an altogether different stream. A kind
of psycho-social or hermeneutic stream. Such a stream has the effect of
orienting other streams. For instance we can have examples of a relatively
high cognitive ability in a level 1 Tribal group. However, the psycho-social
level of the group inhibits or modifies the cognitive ability of the individual
such that s/he is only able to express level 1 values.
This occurs when
a stream learns the language (or mode) of a higher level and mimics the
higher level, without making the actual shift. It is entirely possible
for someone, for example, with a high cognitive level to mimic the language
of say, level 4, whilst still having their core values at level 3. A prime
example of this might be a politician who understands the concepts of the
Integral approach but who nonetheless ‘appropriates’ those values to his
personal ambitions (level 3A). Another example, a level 2B leader who can
mimic talk about liberty and democratic values (just as long as it is his
group that has the final power) ? something seen in ‘Militia’ groups.
TWO: APPLYING THE MODEL TO TOE
This section is based
on Ken Wilber's ‘A Theory of Everything - An Integral Vision’.
It would seem that
my levels are in fact a kind of meme.
However I’ve got
a bit of a problem with the system of coloured memes as outlined by Ken
in ‘A Theory of Everything’. I accept that using colour can be an easy
way of referring to the levels, calling them (in my model) 3B-iii is a
tad awkward. However, I find the delineation of these memes to be insufficient.
This is because I see most of the memes to be reflecting sub-levels and
not the primary levels. So let me draw a comparison and explain it as I
Beige - Level 1.
No real argument here. Except to say that we can further explicate this
meme by understanding the level 1 dyadic dynamic and by understanding the
Purple - Level 2.
Again no real argument except that I wouldn’t include athletic teams and
corporate ‘tribes’. These latter two examples can work at 3A-ii and 3B-ii.
Sub-level ii resonating with the ‘membership’ rituals of level 2 proper.
Red - Level 2B and
Level 3A. Here Red confuses the mythos of the ‘Terrible Father’ with the
adventurism of ‘The Hero’. The Hero is the son who escapes the tyranny
of the father, however that is represented, but certainly Red is the actual
battle, so in a sense it is the dynamic between 2B-iiia, in fact Red can
be the rebellion of sub-level iiia in general and can also be expressed
at 2A-iiia, 3A-iiia, 3B-iiia, etc.
Blue - 2-ii, 3-ii.
You can have paternalistic rigidity in all levels, including level 4, 5
and 6. In Ken’s examples I would define the Puritans as a 3-ii reverting
to a 2-ii group, remembering that historically they were a highly independent
Protestant group which itself broke away from the 2-ii tyranny of the Papacy.
Confucian China I regard as a 2-iii, iv society. Confucianism, despite
its flaws, was an attempt to set up rule by Divine Law and to create harmony.
Singapore I regard as a 3B-iib society. It is an outwardly a civil society
that was ruled by a paternalistic leader. Australia’s current Prime Minister
represents the blue meme as a 3B-iib personality.
Orange - 3A-iii.
This level seems fairly consistent with individualism per se. Except that
I wouldn’t include the Enlightenment or Science. These are a manifestation
of 3B-iii. The Enlightenment was an outpouring culture and debates about
society. Science itself is a general level 3 project, including both individualistic
and civilising energies.
Green - 3B-iii, iv.
But I want to talk about this meme at greater length, so until then.
Yellow - 4A-iii.
Here the meme expresses the need for integration but with a distinct sense
of egoic agency.
Turquoise - 4B. Here
the meme expresses the beginning of psychic and subtle awareness.
THE MEAN GREEN
MEME IN GENERAL
I said earlier that
I regard the World and Industrialised Societies in particular to be still
caught up in the battle between individualism and citizenship (3A and 3B).
Business is still largely run by people at the egoic level pushing their
interests above those of others. The rule is competition and market dominance.
(The recent Microsoft legal proceedings are a clear example of civilis
combating individualism - and there has been a general complaint that Silicon
Valley has not yet learnt 3B philanthropy). National governments still
pursue their individual agendas over the interests of other governments.
All of this is a classic level 3 dynamic.
However, after WWII,
the Boomer generation was born into a period of abundance and security.
They became strongly idealistic seeking to extend 3B values. But they also
experienced the gamut of sub-levels iii, iv, v and vi. Some made it into
the life/death struggle of 4-i. Fewer still broke through into 4-ii, stabilised
and actively entered Second Tier (4A-iii). Fewer still reached full World
Mastery (4A-iv) and beyond.
The arrival of Gen-X
I’m afraid to say, seems to mark a regression to 3A-iii egotistic self-absorption,
more so than the Boomers (remember the young guns of the ‘80’s). Gen-Y
(or Gen .Com) seems to have regained a sense of 3B.
The image that I
have of Narcissus comes from a Neo-classical painting that shows a beautiful
youth leaning over a pool lost in his own reflection, with his spurned
lover Echo, standing to the side. As such this is a classic representation
of 3A-iiia. Total self-absorption. The essential point here is that Narcissus
chose self-love over love for Echo who represents 3B, the Maid. In my opinion
true narcissism indicates a ‘choice’, whether it be between 3A-3B or any
So here I wish to
add this observation. According to the rule of ‘resonance’ self-absorption
will appear as a condition of sub-level iii in every level. So we can have
a level 1A-iii narcissism, a level 1B-iii narcissism and so on. Each level,
as Ken correctly points out in TOE, involves a general decrease in narcissism
and an increase in sociocentric-worldcentric awareness. I would however
add another observation. The narcissism of Levels 1 and 2 is relatively
involuntary. A 5 year-old child (2A-iii?) has no other understanding. A
25 year-old Gen X-er spending their cyber cash on self-indulgence (3A-iii)
There is however,
another form of self-absorption that can be confused with level 3 narcissism.
This is level 4 arrogance. Level 4 and its resonate sub-levels is the level
of mastery. The failure to turn one’s attention to selfless service at
this level can lead to a ‘King of the hill’ mentality. This is very evident
at 3A-iva. Here it is not just a question of pure self-absorption but a
positive showing off. Here one feels as if they are indeed ‘Masters of
the Universe’ and if personal wealth allows it, it becomes a gratuitous
display ? designer clothes, sports cars, and so on. Hollywood thrives on
4A-iiia can be hard
to distinguish from 3A-iva. At the latter level there is an outward display
of worldcentric concern that nevertheless gets turned to selfish ends.
This can be seen in the philanthropist who makes sure he or she gets noticed
giving, who makes sure they are photographed in the designer suit giving
the largest sum at the charity dinner. The former is the ‘master’ or leader
who does act with genuine vision/logic but who nonetheless manages to ‘grandstand’,
albeit subtly. The lesson here is true humility.
Needless to say that
4A ‘arrogance’ is as pernicious as 3A narcissism.
I argue that the
Green meme is a manifestation of 3B-iii, iv, etc. - with some genuine breakthroughs
into postconventional 4A. But why, as Ken correctly points out, does outward
postconventional breakthrough mask preconventional behaviour? I would suggest
two broad reasons.
1. Some people genuinely
break through to 4A-i. And here we need to remember that the sub-level
i is the birth/death struggle. This can be a period of profound confusion.
If there is not an ‘authentic’ path out of this sub-level then people will
turn any which way they can. They will especially want to return to the
relative euphoria of the ‘transpersonal’ sub-levels of the previous Level
(v and vi). But, and it is big but. They will instinctively turn away from
fully regressing to the immediate previous level (once you enter another
level it exerts a magnetic pull ? besides, you’ve just been there and you
know it all to well ? in part the push-pull of agency and communion). To
avoid this they turn to whatever appears to be ‘legitimate’ level 5 and
6 models, which in the absence of an authentic path will be appropriated
from 1-v, vi and 2-v, vi. The tribalism of the Hippie movement is inevitably
surrounded by a romanticised version of tribal religion. Just ask any genuine
Native American what they think of this trend. In Australia this phenomenon
has gone one step further. We now have ‘Ferals’ who have regressed even
further and attempt to transcend by recapturing a 1A-vi return to a Garden
of Eden. The antidote to this madness, and it is a point worth returning
to, is that it is the common knowledge existence of an authentic path that
will give purpose and direction.
As Ken points out there were people who genuinely broke through. But there
were also a lot of hangers-on. These were people who feigned the talk of
the times but who were still firmly fixed in Level 3 issues. When it was
no longer cool and fun to hang out with the hippies and radicals they very
quickly changed their clothes. How many weekend hippies are now solid middle-class
3A and 3B citizens?
The New Age
The New Age seems
to me to be a twisted expression of the meta-theme of the third harmonic.
It seems caught up in the matrix of ‘mastery, apprenticeship and the fool’,
but as a sub-level. In so many ways the New Age is still a Level 3 phenomenon.
Somehow everything gets turned to egoic satisfaction.
The images here are
of Mercurius and the Trickster. At this level the subtle level appears
as a labyrinth of realms and deities. The way through this level is through
discrimination. Lack of discrimination leads to illusory and false paths.
The meta-theme is the story of the shaman. The shaman is an image of one
who has mastered the material world and who then chooses to journey into
the Spirit world. However, the Spirit world of the shaman is a world of
traps, phantasms and shamanic battles.
Is it any wonder
then that shamanism has been revived by many in the New Age? But here we
must note that this is also a result of regression to level 1 and level
2 expressions of this particular meta-theme.
There is also a level
3 expression. This is found in the multitude of pseudo-magical practices
that are designed to realise egoic wants. It is the use of Feng Shui to
create wealth and good relationships. It is the use of affirmations to
get a new car or a new lover. It is the ‘new’ spiritual path that promises
abundance, youthfulness and the perfect partner. It is ‘new’ spiritual
path based on UFO’s, weird channelled deities, various ascended masters
and other phantasms. It is a hopeless mish-mash of quickie weekend workshop
realisation and ego gratification.
And what is lacking
is discrimination. What is lacking is an authentic transformative practice.
But, true to the narcissism of Level 3 is the need for instantaneous gratification.
Unfortunately an authentic path requires patience and persistence. Why
spend 12 years in the Himalayas when you can do a weekend workshop in Sedona
Of course I have
been somewhat harsh. There are some genuine insights coming out of the
mish-mash. In all of this people do make genuine progress. And hopefully
the creation of an ITP will help engender discrimination.
The Integral Culture
Flatland Holism is
a 3B-iv, v phenomenon. Here the individual has a very solid understanding
of the civil arts and starts to intuit a sense of the whole. It is the
‘cultural creatives’ hard at work. Because they are still at Level 3 this
is still an egoic exercise. ‘We’ will save the world. All ‘Individuals’
are equal. And you can bet there are more than a few 3B-iii ‘narcissistic’
individuals appropriating a sub-level iv, v ‘concern’. Are these the people
dressed in black, sipping Chardonnay whilst talking earnestly about deconstructionist
this and that?
And what is the antidote?
What moves these groups into the next level? Here I agree completely with
Ken, an authentic integral transformative practice.
ON AN ITP
transformation is assisted by having an accurate map, both of where you
are and where you are going. The more accurate the map the better.
Here I want to make
a blatant plug for the model presented above. I happen to think it is a
fairly accurate map. We have already seen how it can add more detail to
an analysis of the ‘meme’ system. I think the system of ‘sub-levels’ is
particularly helpful is sorting out just where people are coming from.
This then helps us work out what the next step is.
For example, a 3B-iib
individual will have a high sense of citizenship but express it in a patriarchal
and authoritarian manner. They may, according to the law of resonance,
be attracted to a fundamentalist Church group expressing core 2B values.
This person will however be experiencing some conflict between 3B and 2B
values. On the one hand they will be drawn to the security of the 2B structure
but find they are somehow at odds with the exclusionist rhetoric. Clearly
it is not appropriate to introduce them to a Level 5 system. Their next
step is a move from iib to iiia. And here we are just as likely to find
that this person has unresolved father issues. If these issues are resolved
then the likelihood is that because this individual is already at 3B they
will probably skip iiia and move to iiib rather rapidly.
A 3A-iiia individual. Well, any person at sub-level iiia is going to be
a hard nut to crack. These people are the ones who are always right and
are going to do just as they please. Often the best thing is a relationship
with a 3B, or involvement in a 3B project. There is often little point
in talking to them about level 4 altruism.
The core needs
from one level to the next, or from one sub-level to the next cannot occur
until the core needs of that level are met. These are fairly obvious but
are worth mentioning.
Level 1: Food, shelter,
and protection from disease and death.
Level 2: Emotional
support (maternal) and structure/predictability (paternal).
Level 3: Self-confidence
and participatory belonging.
Level 4: Selflessness
and intuitive understanding.
Level 5: Discrimination
and wise council.
Level 6: Solitude
and ultimate service.
As Ken pointed out,
the most pressing need is to provide Level 1 core needs to those millions
still struggling with level 1 needs. But this can only truly succeed by
a general shift to Second Tier awareness. Level 2 is too emotionally insecure
to care, level 3 is too selfish. But in order for them to move on to level
4 their needs must also be met. A ‘working poor’ family faces daily insecurity
which then causes domestic instability. This produces people searching
to have level 2 core needs met, and so it goes…
The sub-levels also
replicate the core needs but they are modified somewhat.
Sub-level i : Material
security and protection from loss.
Sub-level ii : Emotional
security through nurture and structure.
Sub-level iii :
Confidence and meaningful participation.
Sub-level iv : Mastery,
selfless goals and inner direction.
Sub-level v : Discrimination
and wise council.
Sub-level vi : Time
out and insight.
For example, at level
3 we would expect that the society and the individual have achieved some
level of material and emotional security. At level 3-i this will be translated
to a fear of loss of those things in leaving the security of level 2. At
level 3-ii it becomes the need to feel secure within the norms of that
To put this in a
specific context - within a Level 2B religious group, say a fundamentalist
Church we will find individuals at all sub-levels. The majority are likely
to be found at 2B-ii and 2B-iii. The former will be the passive member
of the community; the latter will be the active members. The pastor is
likely to express level 2B-iv. There will also some individuals, perhaps
newly converted, who are at 2B-i. They will be anxious about what will
happen to their lives by being involved. There will also be others questioning
the Church and developing a higher understanding (2B-v and vi).
Now, before the entire
congregation can make the shift to a higher level each of the needs of
the sub-groups will have to be addressed, otherwise they will resist the
The core means of
level has a tendency to exploit the previous level with perhaps the sole
exclusion of Level 6. Yes, this means that a pathological Level 5 can exploit
level 4 and below. (We find this in an aberrant guru/disciple relationships).
Each exploitation involves the active (whether conscious or sub-conscious)
withholding of the core needs. Thus level 2 societies created slavery by
withholding food and shelter. Level 3 bullies attack the emotional security
of their victims. Level 4 Leaders (in their sub-phase manifestations) with
hold individual freedoms. Level 5 false-gurus with hold self-mastery.
And just as each
level can exploit the previous level, so too can a sub-level exploit another
sub-level. Power in a group is maintained by this mechanism. A manipulative
leader will exploit the sub-groups. A false guru will never allow true
transformation, they will only ever hold out the promise of transformation
? whilst ensuring most of the followers are kept at sub-level ii dependency.
And it is typical of such organisations that the mechanism of oppression
be the creation of a small elite kept at sub-level iii - their function
being to police level ii.
(Needless to say
that the above issue of exploitation involves the use of power by each
level, which has political ramifications ? which I will touch on later).
An ITP will need
to have a full appreciation of the dynamics of the levels. The needs of
a 2B-v type are different to those of a ‘spiritual emergency’ at 3B-vi.
Part 3 (Applications of the Model)
Harris, June, 2000