Beyond Survival


Terry Findlay

Beyond Survival

Copyright © 2009 Terry Findlay All rights reserved

Findlay, Terry ! ! ! Beyond Survival 1.Developmental Psychology 4. Consciousness 2. Personal Growth 3. Self

5. Awareness 6. Instinct

ISBN: 978-0-9812936-0-8


Beyond Survival

This book is dedicated to my mother, Barbara, who always encouraged my curiosity.


Beyond Survival

Table of Contents

Daughters of the Cave !


Section 1: The Survival Instinct !
A Populace of Demons! Evolutionʼs Blessing and Curse!
The Prime Directive! Underestimated Influences! Irresistible Forces! Overriding Nature! Side Effects of Evolution! Developmental Liberation!

23 25
25 25 27 30 30 32

Section 2: Basic Principles!
Standing On The Shoulders of Giants! The Fundamental Principles!

35 41

Brain ʻAlchemyʼ!
Awareness and The Levels of Awareness! Developmental Stages/Levels! Seeking Solutions!

45 46 48

A Brief History of the Brain!
An Overview of the Evolution of Life on Earth!



Beyond Survival

What Is a Nervous System?! Early Nervous Systems! Reptilian Nervous Systems! Mammalian Nervous Systems! The Triune Brain! The Downside of Human Brains!

51 52 53 54 54 56

Can We Change?!
Neuroplasticity ! Mindsets! Two Thinking Systems! Brain Alchemy: A Fundamental Formula! A Progression of Truth! A Picture of Hope!

59 62 64 64 67 70

The Levels of Awareness: An Introduction!
The Levels of Awareness! Caveats! What Is Awareness?! Levels of Ignorance! Gaining Wisdom! Phronesis: Practical Wisdom! Getting Acquainted! The Levels of Awareness: Some Important Components! A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing! Evolution not Revolution!

71 72 73 74 75 75 79 84 84 86


and Transmutation! Progressive Liberation! Transmutation of Ignorance into Wisdom! From Subjective Experience to Objective Knowledge! Drives and The Emergence of Value! Being a Drive vs Having a Drive! Transitional Realizations! Brain Alchemy: The Formula Revisited! The Catalysts of Transmutation! The Chain of Suffering! The Personal Implications of Suffering! Transition Stages! 89 90 91 92 94 95 97 99 100 101 104 105 107 Section 4: The Levels of Awareness! The Early Years: Separation! The First Transition! From Level 1 to Level 2! From Level 2 to Level 3! No Guarantees! The Separation Mechanism! 119 120 120 121 122 123 124 Membership: Level 3 Awareness ! 127 6 . Transformation.Beyond Survival Cycling Through the Levels of Awareness! Relief In Sight! 86 87 Section 3: Transitions! Transitions.

Level 4 to Level 5! 145 146 146 148 159 167 168 169 169 170 Interdependence: Level 5 Awareness! Level 5 Awareness! A Level of Tolerance! Jumping to Conclusions! 173 174 174 175 7 .Level 3 to Level 4! 128 128 129 131 139 141 141 141 142 143 Independence: Level 4 Awareness! Level 4 Awareness! Status Anxiety and Level 4 Awareness! Components of Level 4 Awareness! Level 4 In The World! More Examples of Level 4 Awareness in the World:! The Transition From Level 4 to Level 5 Awareness! The Wisdom of Level 4! The Ignorance of Level 4! Stages of Transition .Beyond Survival Level 3 Awareness! Transmutation at Level 3 Awareness! Components of Level 3 Awareness! Level 3 Awareness In The World! More Examples of Level 3 Awareness in the World! The Transition From Level 3 to Level 4 Awareness! The Upside of Problems! The Wisdom of Level 3! The Ignorance of Level 3! Stages of Transition .

Beyond Survival A Broader Perspective on Conflict! Components of Level 5 Awareness! Level 5 Awareness in the World! More Examples of Level 5 Awareness in the World! The Transition From Level 5 to Level 6 Awareness! The Wisdom of Level 5! The Ignorance of Level 5! Stages of Transition .Level 5 to Level 6! 178 182 187 190 192 193 194 194 Wholeness: Level 6 Awareness! The Great Work! Level 6 Awareness! Equilibrium! Transcendence! Components of Level 6 Awareness! One With The Universe! Essential Innocence! The Illusion of a Separate Self! The Persistence of Individuality! Beyond Survival?! Is This Enlightenment?! 196 196 197 199 200 200 204 207 208 211 211 212 Section 5: Setting the Stage for Growth! Transitions: Some Key Factors ! Resistance to Transition! Prerequisites to Transition! 8 214 215 216 217 .

Beyond Survival Aids to Transition! 218 Section 6: Moving On! Making Transitions! Brain Training! Overcoming the Immunity to Change! Bridging! The Formula for Change: A Final Revision! Which Is the Best Approach?! 220 221 221 223 227 230 231 Section 7: Conclusions! The Measure of a Theory! The Explanatory Power of Developmental Liberation! Practical Applications of Developmental Liberation! The Fundamental Hypothesis! 235 236 236 240 241 Section 8: Appendices! Appendix I: Glossary of Contentious Terms ! Appendix II: Buddhism and The ʻAlchemyʼ Of The Brain! Appendix III: Needs. Outcomes. and Suffering! The Author! 244 245 247 254 257 Bibliography! 258 9 . Desires.

Beyond Survival 10 .

Beyond Survival Introduction 11 .

it was unusually small. Surely the offspring of such a powerful couple would possess special gifts. shortly after she and Mordran were married. By the time he was a man it was agreed that he was the most powerful wizard in the domain. they had shared a single womb. But fate had other plans. He lived bathed in adulation and the glory of his many wonderful accomplishments. In his twenty-third year Mordran met Alia and the two fell deeply in love. Mordran and Alia were very happy and were looking forward to arrival of their child. It appeared otherwise to be a healthy baby. Alia was a powerful sorceress in her own right and when news spread of her pregnancy. 12 . When the child was born. Following the birth of her child Alia was exhausted but happy. Daughters of the Cave Trained by the wisest and most accomplished wizards of the land he was known in his childhood as a prodigy. This book will examine these forces in detail and will present a framework for understanding them and offer practical ways of alleviating the suffering they can inflict. although Alia had gone to full term.Beyond Survival The following parable is by way of introduction to the unseen forces that can control our lives and cause us great suffering. there was talk of a special child. Then a second child was born and while it too was small it now seemed that an explanation for their diminutive size was obvious. the fruit of their profound love for one another.

Alia gave birth to two more babies that night.Beyond Survival The second birth had taken its toll on Alia. Disconsolate. But the worst was yet to come. High into the mountains Mordran climbed. She could barely speak or raise her head to drink the water he offered her. The people of the town tended to his five daughters. After five days alone with his unrelenting grief his spirit at last could stand no more. survived only a few minutes after the fifth and final child was born. herself. Then again concern mounted when. She. for they were all five girls. It had drawn him into a overpowering love and then had cruelly wrenched his beloved from him at a moment that should have been their greatest joy. he made his way alone into the foothills of the mountains that bounded the town to the north. He could not bring himself to face his children nor even the well intentioned sympathies of those gathered there. There he contemplated his loss and the longer he ruminated the deeper he sank into despair. To his troubled soul it seemed that life had played him for a fool. He would protect them from the curse of innocent love that had broken his innocent heart. Mordranʼs entire being was filled with inconsolable and aching sorrow at the loss of his beloved wife. by Aliaʼs screams. Mordran thought of his daughters and determined that he would not let life trifle with them as it had with him. 13 . His mind twisted into a dark and brooding place and bitterness filled his heart. Mordran was now gravely worried about his wife. it became apparent that a third child was about to enter the world. She was left weak from the effort of birthing the two children in such rapid succession.

Never again would he be ruthlessly reminded of his unspeakable loss by chancing upon others living their mindlessly happy lives. the third had the power to bless others with loyal friendships and loving families. When he reached the town below he sought out his children and he took them off into the wilderness.Beyond Survival As he made his solitary way down the mountain a plan was taking shape in Mordranʼs mind. another could give the gift of safety from harm. There he raised them away from the danger of meeting young men and falling into perilous love. He taught them to fear all others. was living a happy life. Now Mordran saw in his daughtersʼ powers a cunning means of abolishing all happiness from the world. who. Using his occult knowledge Mordran taught 14 . In his misery Mordran found it unbearably painful to look upon anyone. and the fifth could give the gift of a life filled with meaning and purpose. One daughter had the power to bestow good health on others. The cave was chosen for its clear view of the town. Mordran wanted to be able to see the consequences of his plan so as to confirm its success. In order that they never be discovered the family lived there in the depths of the cave in darkness. As his daughters matured each discovered in themselves a unique ability. Upon discovery of his daughtersʼ gifts Mordran was struck with a clever and terrible idea. the fourth had the ability to confer strength of character. in their foolishness. So that no others would ever learn of his plan or the part his daughtersʼ powers were to play in it he secreted his children away in a cave in the mountains.

Tormath had travelled from a far distant land where he had been a student of the science and art of alchemy. None were spared and great was their suffering. month after month. They felt themselves to be driven by unknown forces. Some attributed these mysterious compulsions to possession by demons. Soon the townspeople began to notice in themselves inexplicable urges and compulsions. Where previously the townʼs folk had lived in a harmonious community now they engaged in ruthless competition for resources and positions of power.Beyond Survival his daughters the means to cast their gifts on the unsuspecting people of the town from the safe distance of the hidden cave. He knew that casting the girlsʼ powers in this way would transform his daughtersʼ gifts into terrible and anonymous curses. In pursuit of safety and security walls were erected and the carrying of weapons became commonplace. the torment wore on and it was into such misery that Tormath unknowingly set foot. If briefly a desire for camaraderie was met soon there would come an urge for greater popularity. It seemed the mysterious and inescapable drives were insatiable. Tormath had sought the 15 . And no matter what they did in attempting to satisfy these cravings nothing succeeded. Relentlessly. But while most of his peers had directed their energies toward the discovery of a sorcerous formula for transmuting base metals into gold. Tormath had pursued the more arcane path. Rival factions began to antagonize one another. Inevitably violence erupted and intolerance spread like a disease.

But in Tormathʼs experience forces always had a source.Beyond Survival knowledge to transmute the confused minds of men into minds of clarity and understanding for. Tormath reasoned there must be a source somewhere that was responsible for the irresistible forces driving the obsessive behaviors of the people of the town. Through questioning and observing the people of the town Tormath arrived at a theory concerning the origin of their compulsions. Clearly there were unknown forces involved. It seemed to him likely that he would be looking for a 16 . a liberated mind is worth more than all the riches in the world. To move a heavy cart you needed a source of power such as a horse or a pair of oxen. to this town on this day. quite by accident. as he reasoned. Since there was no obvious source within the town Tormath determined to search the surrounding countryside. He was by no means convinced that his present understanding of the transmutation of minds would be sufficient but he felt he could not abandon the townspeople without at least making an attempt at alleviating their pain. Tormath was not long in the town before he began to realize the depths of despair to which its people had fallen. For many years he had travelled far and wide seeking fragments of knowledge that he hoped would prove to be useful in achieving his goal and it was this wondering quest that had brought him. As he became increasingly aware of the nature of the malady that was afflicting the people of the town he came to understand that this was a situation in which his accumulated knowledge might be put to the test.

As he approached the ledge from below he stopped to let his breathing return to a more normal rhythm. 17 . Slowly he made his way up to one side of the ledge. It also occurred to Tormath that whatever might be acting as the source of the townʼs suffering would probably want to witness the fruits of its endeavors. There were voices coming from inside the cave. His destination was a ledge that he had picked out during the day. How else could it know if it had achieved its desired effects? This reasoning narrowed the scope of Tormathʼs search to those locations affording a good line of sight to the town. It was high enough in the mountains to be safe from casual eyes and yet it offered a good view of the town. Clothed in dark attire with a black cloak to further obscure his presence Tormath let his eyes adjust to the darkness then made his way into the hills. Once there he saw an opening to a large and deep cave. soft but unmistakably human. Fortunately on the night of his foray there was only a sliver of a moon. He stopped where he was and remained still.Beyond Survival concealed location due to the fact that no one. They must be the source of the mysterious forces playing out in the lives of the townʼs people. had come across anything unusual. Tormath had found what he expected to find. not even in their travels to other towns nor on hunting trips into the hills. Tormath knew that stealth would be essential and the best way to proceed would be under the cover of night. Whoever owned those voices must be responsible for what was happening in the town.

It was obvious that they had surmised that these five girls were somehow involved in the cause of their suffering. Following Tormathʼs orders the young women were gently but firmly led down the mountain and into the town square. After a stealthy approach the group followed Tormath cautiously into the depths of the cave. There were questions directed at Tormath about what should be done next. Word of the womenʼs arrival spread quickly and the townspeople gathered hastily in the square. was the time to test his learning.” The townspeople moved quickly to get hold of the cave dwellers.Beyond Survival The following day Tormath recruited a party of town-folk to accompany him to the cave. There was a man and five young women. When his sight returned Tormath saw immediately that the man had vanished but each of the five girls were in the firm grip of one or more townspeople. “Leave us alone!” “Seize them. There were screams ahead and a voice demanding. As the dayʼs sunlight faded behind them Tormath lit a torch. Tormath knew. “but do not harm them. Suddenly a bright flash filled the cave blinding everyone for a few seconds. They appeared bewildered and confused as they blinked into the light of the rising sun. This.” cried Tormath. 18 . A heated debate soon erupted among the people there as to what fate the young women deserved. And judging from the level of rage and vehemence they displayed they were still under the thrall of the dark forces that had possessed them of late.

Hearing. his daughterʼs description of his own state of mind brought him close to weeping.” In shadows behind a stack of barrels Mordran awaited his moment. He is a broken man and we sought only to alleviate his suffering. His pain is so great that the only measure of relief he is able to gain is at the awful expense of the happiness of others. He had followed at a distance in hopes of an opportunity to free them.Beyond Survival “Good people. The more intensely others suffer the less his own misery stands out in relief against their otherwise contented manner. “The man you blame is our father. He had had no idea until this moment how deeply his daughters understood his agony. I believe that it is he who should be the object of your wrath. I believe that he controlled and directed these unfortunate girls. Tormath asked the women. What say you good women?” The daughter closest to Tormath answered. We willingly obeyed his wishes. After he made his escape by means of the sorcerous flash in the cave he had watched as his beloved daughters were taken down the mountain. “as those who were with me today will attest there is one who was in the cave where we found these women. one who escaped our clutches. just now.” he began. “How is that you and your father have been able to inflict such suffering on these poor folk?” 19 .

” 20 . for self reliance. It is only through ignorance of their sources that these gifts were able to cause you pain. do not condemn these five women for they have given you priceless gifts. “I have the power to give others a desire for good health. “Good people of this town. By casting these desires without revealing ourselves as their sources we were able to confound the townspeople and make them belief their desires were being driven by dark and uncontrollable forces. Raising his voice he addressed the gathered crowd. Now that you have knowledge of their sources the gifts you have been given can bestow upon you their wisdom. for friendship and family loyalty. For is it not wise to have a desire for good health and to care of your physical well-being? And is it not wise to have a desire for safety from harm and to take appropriate precautions when necessary? And is it not wise to seek supportive friendships and loving family relationships? And is it not wise to learn self reliance and to develop personal strengths? And is it not wise to pursue a life of purpose and meaning? These five kindly gifts provide you with the priceless gift of the impetus to live well individually and in harmony with one another.” Tormath smiled. my siblings can endow desires for safety from harm.Beyond Survival Another of the daughters explained that they were each born with a special ability and proceeded to enumerate them. It was as his learning had taught him. and for purpose and meaning.

His conjectures concerning the transmutation of minds had been confirmed. From his hiding place Mordran heard and saw all that had just taken place. not the townspeople.Beyond Survival And the people heard and they knew the truth of Tormathʼs words. It took them some time to recognize the transformation that had taken place within them. But Tormath knew and was pleased. not even the great wizard Mordran. His lessons had been well learned and skillfully applied. One by one they approached the five daughters where they stood and began embracing them and thanking them for their gifts. No one there that day realized that Tormath had effected the liberation of their minds. When his daughters saw him they rejoiced for it was plain to see that he had awakened from his anguish and was once again a whole man. not the daughters. Shortly. 21 . Something stirred in his heart that had not stirred in many years and he wept there alone behind the barrels knowing that his long nightmare was finally over. he stood and walked out from the shadows into the morning sunlight of the square.

Section 1: The Survival Instinct .

It seems that we are possessed by demons who usurp our best intentions in favor of their own diabolical designs. We try to live an honest life but we lie and cheat in ways both subtle and crude. The demons of which I speak are not merely metaphorical. A populace of demons cavorts in our brain” Baudelaire We are besieged by “a populace of demons”. that we do not choose. urges.Beyond Survival A Populace of Demons “Tight and teeming. They drive us to do unintended things. and drives. Trivial things and serious things. They exist in a very real way and. We determine to change our ways but find ourselves powerless to follow through. They carry out their hidden agendas without our knowledge leaving us powerless to resist their influences. Moreover. 23 . compulsions. like the demons of medieval times our demons are the minions of an allpowerful overlord who is the source of them all. these demons possess the power to direct our thoughts and behaviors without our permission and in spite of our intentions. like a million parasites. like their medieval counterparts. There are forces at work. We make promises we never keep.

24 .Beyond Survival In modern terms these demons are described as unconscious drives. for most of us they operate primarily at an unconscious level and it is precisely because they are working below the level of conscious awareness that they have the power to propel our lives in ways that confound our best intentions. While we may have heard of these drives.

Success tends to breed more success in the survival sweepstakes. ordinary minds by experience. Underestimated Influences The wise are instructed by reason. it is the only option. Survival is not a choice among other opportunities. Or are we? It is 25 . But since evolution functions to perpetuate the species what happens to individual members within a species is only relevant is so far as it affects the overall continuance of the species. And neither do the instincts shaped by evolution. Survive and you get to reproduce. Nor does it care what suffering an organism may go through in the name of survival. by necessity. and brutes by instinct. Certainly we are anything but brutes instructed by instinct.Beyond Survival Evolutionʼs Blessing and Curse The Prime Directive “Survive!” This is the injunction broadcast by the DNA in every cell of our bodies. Cicero (106 BC to 43 BC) Few would argue with the veracity of Ciceroʼs quip. Herein lies the crux of the primary problem for all human beings. the stupid. The blind mechanism of evolution doesnʼt care whether a particular organism survives or not. Evolution. Most of us will nod our heads and count ourselves among the wise who are “instructed by reason”. being a purely mechanical process. Reproduce over generations and your species may evolve in ways that allow it to survive more effectively or in a wider range of conditions. has no heart.

Beyond Survival the nature of instincts to operate behind the scenes. Principles of Psychology. owes its existence to and can be explained by the operation of natural selection. For this to be the case there needs to be operational vestiges of our evolutionary past embedded in our modern biology. to exert their not insignificant influences obscured by a heavy curtain separating their primal machinations from conscious observance. The question is: how much influence do our instincts wield over our cognitive processes? This book will suggest that our instincts drive our mental lives to a much greater degree than we would like to admit and that we are largely unaware of their influences on our day to day comings and goings. William James in his highly seminal book. maintained that we tend to be blind to the workings of instinct because they process information so effortlessly and automatically. instincts encoded in our DNA and passed from generation to generation are at work instructing our mental functioning as well as our physical existence. In other words. Freud thought this to be the case and he was not the first nor the last to think so. This being so it is easily imagined that our apparently reasoned thoughts and behaviors could be unknowingly driven by deeply hidden instincts. Evolutionary psychology is founded on the belief that every aspect of human life. which is to say. the process by which the survival of our species is preserved. including cognitive functioning. 26 . They influence our thinking so thoroughly that we seldom stop to question what we take for granted as “normal” thinking and behavior.

is not entirely inevitable. while commonplace and seemingly intractable. be unmodifiable g. a pioneer in comparative psychology. Because they operate outside our awareness they are beyond our conscious direction. govern behavior for which the organism needs no training These criteria emphasize the unconscious and uncontrollable nature of instincts. The following year a book appropriately called “Instincts” was published reporting on conclusions reached at the conference.Beyond Survival The thesis of this book is that the primal instinct for survival is at the root of much human suffering precisely because of our natural blindness to its workings. 27 . was held to discuss the topic of instincts. occur at some point in development d. be automatic b. To be considered instinctual a behavior must: a. be triggered by some event in the environment e. occur in every member of the species f. Irresistible Forces In 1960 a conference chaired by Frank Beach. But it will also show how such suffering. The book lists seven criteria whereby instinctual behaviors can be distinguished from other forms of behavior. be irresistible c.

do our innate instincts have more or less of an effect on our development than our experiences? Leda Cosmides and John Tooby of the University of California. The brain must have a certain kind of structure for you to learn anything at all -after all. refer to the nature vs nurture debate as follows: For evolutionary psychologists. Certain learning mechanisms must therefore be aspects of our evolved architecture that reliably develop across the kinds of environmental variations that humans normally 28 . the issue is never "learning" versus "innateness" or "learning" versus "instinct". there must be some mechanism that causes this to occur. If you think like an engineer. Nature vs Nurture For decades psychologists have debated the relative influences of innate traits (nature) and experiential history (nurture) on the development of an individual. This lack of awareness constitutes a kind of ignorance that will be the focus of our inquiry. To learn. Santa Barbara in an article called “Evolutionary Psychology: A Primer”. but three pound brains do.Beyond Survival As a result we are not often aware of their operation or the degree to which their workings influence our thoughts and behaviors. Since learning cannot occur in the absence of a mechanism that causes it. this will be clear. three pound bowls of oatmeal don't learn. the mechanism that causes it must itself be unlearned -must be "innate". As we mature.

In other words. The position taken in this book is that the existence of inherent instincts in no way precludes the idea that developmental outcomes are contingent on environmental conditions or the idea that learning plays an important role in development. School of Medicine. As Dylan Evans. In an ongoing interplay our environment shapes our instincts and then these instincts work with sensory input received from the environment to shape our individuality. Since these learning instincts have evolved over time in response to particular environmental pressures it can be assumed that they have inherent in them certain aspects that influence not only the kind of information that can be learned but also how that learning is organized in the brain. “Developmental outcomes are seen as the results of a complex interplay of innate programs and environmental inputs. as beings shaped by the interplay of our instincts and the environment. And in more recent times we. our instincts (nature) work with our experiences (nurture) to determine the results of the developmental process. in a sense.Beyond Survival encountered during their evolutionary history. We must. have what you can think of as "innate learning mechanisms" or "learning instincts". act on the environment in ways that reshape it. in Cork. All learning requires the presence of “learning instincts” in order to occur. lecturer in Behavioural Science.” 29 . University of Cork. This means that as we mature and learn our instincts are always involved and exerting their influences on our development in very fundamental ways. Ireland says in an article on instinct.

The key here rests on the ability to recognize the workings of instincts as they occur.Beyond Survival Overriding Nature More than any other organism on the planet human beings are capable of mitigating the effects of instincts. all of these varied and wonderful experiences are side-effects of the gradual accumulation over hundreds of millions of years of more and more sophisticated 30 . In humans this has led to the formation of a prodigious nervous system having the capacity to generate an amazing richness of experience. We cannot prevent the actions of instincts since they are automatic and irresistible but if we can gain awareness of their urgings we can make decisions concerning our acceptance or rejection of these compulsions. This book contends that most of us are sorely lacking in this crucial kind of awareness and that this shortcoming results in untold suffering. In spite of the fact that instincts operate at a subconscious level we have the ability to detect their effects and to exercise judgement about whether or not to resist their urgings. Side Effects of Evolution Natural selection selects adaptations according to survival advantage. However.

Natural selection is a prosaic mechanism. All of our hopes and dreams. our creativity. Organisms that evolve effective survival adaptations survive inevitable environmental changes and those that donʼt become extinct. our sense of identity.Beyond Survival mechanisms for survival. our curiosity. It occurs naturally without any direction or design. We resist the truth of our genesis because we feel that it diminishes us. It seems that human capacities like wisdom and love are somehow less significant because they have been born out of the automatic processes of natural selection. our fears and regrets. There are no exceptions to the rule of survival. our brutality. But why should this be so? Is the experience of love or terror any less real to us because of its mechanical provenance? In the end our experiences of life are the same whether they are the consequences of design by a 31 . consciousness. It is hard to come to terms with the idea that all that makes us human could be accomplished in such a pedestrian way. Our physical bodies and the instincts that inhabit and animate them are both made according to the proceedings of natural selection. all are side-effects of the blind sculpting of our nervous system by natural selection acting in the interests of the survival of our species. our capacity to love and hate.

If so then there would be a survival advantage in such a bias. Liberation from a particular form of survival instinctinduced suffering is achieved following each transition from one developmental stage to the next. The fact of human existence in all its limitless breadth and depth is a manifest miracle in itself regardless of how it came to be.Beyond Survival supernatural entity or of natural processes. 32 . And since each successive development stage involves an increase in understanding and a broader general awareness.1 In spite of our reluctance to accept our natural heritage even a brief clearminded consideration of the incredible phenomenon of human existence and the cosmos we inhabit cannot help but inspire a sense of awe and wonder. We will see how making transitions between these developmental stages constitutes a means of progressive liberation from the suffering inherent in five key aspects of the survival instinct. At least they would be if we could put aside our predilection for more mythic origins. It may be that narratives more easily bestow meaning on circumstances or that they enhance the formation of long term memories. Developmental Liberation We will look at how the survival instinct plays itself out over the course of our lives and how the developmental stages we go through as we mature reflect various aspects of this imperative. 1 It seems that natural selection may have instilled in us a preference for narrative over exposition. the developmental stages will be referred to as Levels of Awareness. For this reason we will be referring to the process of moving through the developmental stages as Developmental Liberation.

a different type of self-identity is brought into being by one of five aspects of the survival instinct and we will see how each of these selves is governed by the aspect responsible for its existence. at each level. We will see how.Beyond Survival In the pages that follow we will examine six Levels of Awareness and the transitions between them. 33 . We will refer to the five aspects of the survival instinct as survival drives.

Section 2: Basic Principles .

through their research. they are in general agreement regarding the nature of the levels they have independently identified. This unexpected correspondence suggests that these developmental levels are genuine phenomena and are not simply arbitrary divisions created out of the imaginations of the researchers.Standing On The Shoulders of Giants “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. Several psychologists have identified.” Isaac Newton Throughout the book we will be discussing six Levels of Awareness. Each study approaches the phenomenon of human development in a unique way and each has contributed valuable insights into how we mature. The Levels of Awareness have been derived through a synthesis of existing work in developmental psychology. Surprisingly. Remarkably. there is no significant conflict between the independent studies of these researchers. a number of developmental levels that human beings may pass through as they mature. One of the primary influences on the Developmental Liberation model is Abraham Maslowʼs Hierarchy of Needs. .

Looking at human development from a moral perspective. Failure to satisfy the needs of a particular level preclude the satisfaction of all needs above that level.Beyond Survival According to this hierarchy lower level needs must be satisfied before needs above them can be addressed. Keganʼs work also grew out of his interest in the work of Jean Piaget. the need for safety must be satisfied before an individual can concern herself with the need for love and belonging. For example. Jean Piaget The third important influence on the Developmental Liberation model is the work of Robert Kegan. Kolhberg. 36 . Kegan has identified six stages of self evolution that individuals may move through in their lifetimes. Lawrence Kolhberg identified six stages of moral reasoning. was inspired by the work of an earlier pioneer in developmental psychology.

Evolutionary psychologists seek to understand psychological mechanisms in terms of the survival and reproductive functions they might have served over the course of our evolutionary development. ʻThe Interpersonal Stageʼ and Kolhbergʼs third level of moral reasoning. which is to say. Kegan. Maslowʼs third level need for belonging is seen as the basis. for the formation of Keganʼs third level of self. To its proponents it is the foundation upon which all 37 . This causal relationship whereby the need generates the existence of the stage of self and the stage of moral development is fundamentally a perspective taken by evolutionary psychology. the needs identified by Abraham Maslow are seen to be the driving forces behind the establishment of the stages of self and moral reasoning identified by Robert Kegan and Lawrence Kolhberg. an organismʼs behavior.Beyond Survival Developmental Liberation as described herein combines insights from the work of Maslow. The stage of self and the level of moral reasoning are created by the underlying need. For example. and Kohlberg into a composite model of personal development. the raison dʼetre. While it is a relatively recent branch of psychology evolutionary psychology is more than just another new school of psychological thought. also. Specifically. This cause and effect relationship between needs and developmental stages is the basis for the Levels of Awareness presented in this book. ʻInterpersonal Accord and Conformityʼ. the organismʼs psychological makeup and the behaviors resulting from this mental makeup. Evolutionary psychology attempts to explain not only an organismʼs physical characteristics through evolutionary mechanisms but.

3. The explanation of the stages of 38 . This mechanism is commonly known as natural selection. The theory of evolution proposes that all life on earth has evolved according to how well species have adapted to their environments. From an evolutionary psychologistʼs point of view if you havenʼt explained a human psychological trait or behavior in terms of evolutionary advantage you havenʼt explained it at all.Beyond Survival other schools of psychology stand or fall. 2. Those species that are sufficiently adapted to their environments survive and those that arenʼt donʼt. In evolutionary terms. as repeatedly stated in Star Trek. and 5 (see the chart below) are facets of the the primal instinct for survival as it exists in our species. 4. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” The needs that prevail at Levels of Awareness 1. or the one. It is the primal instinct for survival that is the source of the need or drive at each level of awareness. It must simply survive. How then does the Developmental Liberation model stand up under the harsh light of evolutionary psychology? To answer this question we need to make clear some fundamental aspects of the mechanisms of evolution and to dispel some misconceptions about these mechanisms. We are talking here about the survival of entire species not the survival of any particular member of a species. natural selection does not result in the survival of the fittest but rather the survival of the fit enough. Contrary to a popular belief. In the end there is only one requirement that a species must meet in order to continue to evolve.

Beyond Survival self and moral development in terms of needs is an explanation consistent with the foundations of evolutionary psychology. In other words. These stages and specifically the needs that give rise to them exist because they enhance the survival potential of the human species. By the standards of evolution. when viewed from a human perspective. This is a bold and broad statement and one that deserves considerable supportive evidence. It relates the existence of these stages to the survival of the species. the instinct for survival and the five needs/drives arising from it are the ultimate sources of virtually all mental suffering. the evil lies not in our instincts but in our ignorance of their influences. Such evidence will be given throughout the rest of this book. Suffice it to say at this point that it is not the instinct or needs/drives themselves that are the sources of suffering. It is the failure to hold them in awareness and to comprehend and appreciate their essential and necessary power that results in untold misery. These unconscious level-specific needs/drives serve their master. the survival instinct.! 39 . survival is good and failure to survive is bad. However.

Kohlberg. avoidance of punishment) Maslow Hierarchy of Needs Kohlberg Moral Stages Kegan Stages of Self Levels of Awareness Incorporative Impulsive Embedded Physiological 2 Safety/Security Individualism. Drive for Unity (Meaning/Purpose) ! The chart below summarizes the correspondences between the levels identified by Maslow. Drive for Membership 4. interests) Security 3 Interpersonal Membership 40 . Exchange. wishes. Basic Physical Needs 2. Drive for Safety/Security Survival 3.Beyond Survival Primary Instinct!! ! ! Survival Based Drives 1. Drive for Independence 5. Level or Stage 0 1 Physiological (basic physical needs) Obedience & Punishment (obedience to authority. Self Interest (Whatʼs in it for me?) Love/ Belonging Interpersonal Relationships (Social Norms) Imperial (needs. and Kegan along with the Levels of Awareness identified in this book.

The Fundamental Principles The Developmental Liberation model that is presented herein is built on the following principles: 1. are important implications for dealing with a wide range of personal.There is a survival instinct that is inherent in all living things. 41 . and global issues. local.Beyond Survival Level or Stage 4 Maslow Hierarchy of Needs Esteem Kohlberg Moral Stages Kegan Stages of Self Levels of Awareness Authority & Maintaining Social Order (law and order) Social Contract & Individual Rights Universal Principles Institutional (identity) Independence 5 Self Actualization Peak Experience (not a need) Inter-individual (interdependence) Interdependence 6 Transcendence With the integration of insights from the perspectives of the hierarchy of needs. and the development of moral reasoning several new and important ramifications emerge. 2. the evolution of the self.These drives are insatiable. as explored in this book.In humans the survival instinct operates in a sequentially unfolding hierarchy of drives (Maslowʼs hierarchy of needs) 3. Arising from Developmental Liberation.

In the interest of providing an uninterrupted reading experience the sources of the supporting research will be identified within the text itself rather than in footnotes or an appendix.Each drive manifests as a specific form of the survival instinct that unconsciously compels an individualʼs thoughts and behaviors.Transitions between levels may be initiated when a form of discomfort inherent in a particular levelʼs drive reaches an intolerable level or when a system of personal growth engenders inspiration justified by experience in its efficacy.As each form of survival drive takes precedence a unique form of separate self is established. 7. 4.The drive at each level contains within it the seeds of potential drivespecific problems that can lead to intense discomfort/suffering 6. 8. Over the course of the rest of this book these principles will be discussed and supported. 5. 42 .The higher the level of awareness the greater the potential for the emergence of practical wisdom.Beyond Survival 3.The transition from one level of awareness to another consists of the unconscious survival drive of the lower level becoming an object in awareness at the higher level (the drive becomes ʻrealizedʼ).

These shifts in our world-views typically occur as the consequence of a cumulative and protracted buildup of worldview altering realizations. called ʻparadigm shiftsʼ. A paradigm shift is a wide-ranging reorganization of scientific thought that occurs as a result of new or significantly reinterpreted scientific discoveries. As we learn from our experiences existing neural pathways may be modified or entirely new ones formed. may be our best hope for promoting individual and collective psychological development. These neural makeovers are analogous to what Thomas Kuhn. The ʻalchemyʼ involved in these transitions occurs naturally and involves none of the supernatural trappings historically associated with the term ʻalchemyʼ. because there are a number of parallel concepts that exist between the ancient understanding of the word and the brain changes that 43 . Beyond Survival presents the story of how these sweeping neural realignments. These personal transformations have been confirmed by development psychologists to be a phenomenon found throughout the peoples of the world. Occasionally a significant reordering may occur as a result of a major adjustment in our view of the world.Beyond Survival Brain ʻAlchemyʼ Our brains are continually reconfiguring themselves. occurring during such life-changing transitions. However. Survival! explains how our brains perform a kind of developmental ʻalchemyʼ during these periodic life-changing transitions. Transitions between the Levels of Awareness we will be examining amount to a series of personal paradigm shifts. an American historian and philosopher of science.

Wikipedia describes alchemy thus: "Alchemy (Arabic: al-khimia).  The primary dictum of Alchemy in Latin is: solve et coagula which means "separate and join together (literally dissolve and coagulate)". It is in the spirit of transformation that the term is relevant to the subject of this book.Beyond Survival we will be exploring in this book it is a metaphor that we will employ throughout. In Beyond Survival we will be examining the power of awareness to transform our selves and. a part of the Occult Tradition. the "alchemical 44 . involving the improvement of the alchemist as well as the making of several substances described as possessing unusual properties. This transmutation involves a change in an our individual level of awareness. is both a philosophy and a practice with an aim of achieving ultimate wisdom as well as immortality. much in the manner of the "improvement of the alchemist" mentioned above." The transformation through awareness that we will be tracing in this book is. a transmutation of a type of ignorance found at one level into a practical type of wisdom at the next. our world. as a result. to use the alchemical term. The evolution of wisdom described in this book. The word 'alchemy' derives from the Old French alkemie and from the Arabic al-kimia meaning "the art of transformation".

According to Einsteinʼs observation. Thus. if we knew a level of awareness when we saw one. a move to a broader awareness. involves both a separation and a joining together as we will see. making a transition from one level of awareness to another constitutes. What is a level of awareness and what does it look like? And. to solve a problem requires us to take a step up to a level of awareness beyond the one at which the problem was created. It is in pursuit of answers to these and other questions that the Levels of Awareness presented in this book come into play. how would the movement from one level to another be accomplished? These are just some of the thorny questions we will need to address if we are to establish a strategy for improving our individual and collective levels of awareness. These hierarchic levels each embody a specific scope of awareness. Awareness and The Levels of Awareness “Everyone thinks of changing the world but no one thinks of changing himself. among other things.” Leo Tolstoy Albert Einstein is reported to have observed that we can never solve a problem on the same level of awareness as that at which the problem was created. This seems like good advice but a question immediately arises concerning the nature of the levels of which we speak.Beyond Survival transmutation" of ignorance into wisdom. 45 .

Developmental Stages/Levels Over the years a number of well founded systems have been formulated that identify stages in personal development. If. familiarize ourselves with six ascending Levels of Awareness. The chart below reviews how three of the most widely accepted systems align with one another and with the Levels of Awareness discussed in this book. a grander perspective. Level or Stage 0 Maslow Kohlberg Kegan Stages of Self Levels of Awareness Hierarchy of Moral Stages Needs Incorporative Embedded 46 . affords us an increase in possibilities from which to select an appropriate solution. in our search for a solution to a problem. In the coming pages we will examine what constitutes a level of awareness (including its scope of awareness).Beyond Survival When we attempt to solve any problem we are limited by the extent of our awareness. A widening of our field of awareness. We cannot entertain solutions of which we are unaware. and look at how the brain ʻalchemyʼ that occurs during a transition from one level of awareness to another can result in a broader and wiser perspective. we are somehow able to gain a wider perspective than that which we had when the problem was created we would have options available that were not available to us before.

Kegan is a developmental psychologist and the author of several books on the topic. interests) Security 3 4 5 Love/ Belonging Esteem Self Actualization Peak Experience (not a need) Interpersonal Institutional Inter-individual Membership Independence Interdependence 6 Transcendence Robert Kegan is the William and Miriam Meehan Professor in Adult Learning and Professional Development at Harvard University.Beyond Survival Level or Stage 1 Maslow Kohlberg Kegan Stages of Self Levels of Awareness Hierarchy of Moral Stages Needs Physiological (basic physical needs) Safety/Security Obedience & Punishment (obedience to authority) Individualism & Exchange (scratch each otherʼs backs) Interpersonal Relationships Maintaining Social Order* Social Contract & Individual Rights Universal Principles Impulsive Physiological 2 Imperial (needs. Robert Keganʼs The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development discusses six stages of development through which an individualʼs self may evolve as he matures. This has great bearing on the subject of this book because it is 47 . I say “may evolve through” because it is far from guaranteed that we will all progress to the final stages. wishes.

“. Move the smallest bit upwards [in level of intelligence]. Seeking Solutions If problems are solved at a higher level of awareness than that at which they are created. and some problems will suddenly move from ʻimpossibleʼ to ʻobviousʼ.. and all of them will become obvious.” Eliezer S. in a book called In Over Our Heads. Move a substantial degree upwards. Solutions attempted without a transition to a sufficiently high level of awareness are likely to be short-sighted and ineffective answers. 48 . Yudkowsky 2 In the context of this statement Keganʼs orders of consciousness roughly correspond to the Levels of Awareness presented in this book. there are no hard problems. To have a fighting chance of finding lasting solutions to the issues we face a movement toward higher Levels of Awareness is a necessity. The purpose of this book is to address this dangerous and challenging state of affairs. we need to find ways to gain Levels of Awareness that transcend the levels at which our current issues have been created. Robert Kegan maintains. that many of our personal and global problems are due to the fact that we have not developed to a high enough order of consciousness2 to contend with the complexities of the issues we now face. only problems that are hard to a certain level of intelligence..Beyond Survival asserted herein that the level of practical wisdom needed to really address complex modern issues exceeds that of todayʼs average individual.

As we examine the processes involved in making transitions between the Levels of Awareness we will discover an ʻalchemyʼ performed in the process.Beyond Survival This book will present an overview of six Levels of Awareness. The ʻalchemyʼ of the brain is a transformative process that occurs naturally when individuals go through transitions from lower Levels of Awareness to higher Levels of Awareness. The only catch is that. We will also look at some important factors that can encourage and assist individuals to take on the challenges involved in making a transition. An open mind is the only prerequisite. although we are talking about a natural process. 49 . making the transitions to higher Levels of Awareness is by no means a fait accompli. This ʻalchemyʼ is not magical nor does it require the adoption of any particular belief system. We will point out some common factors that can inhibit movement between levels.

with (very approximately): ! ! ! ! ! ! ▪! ▪! ▪! ▪! ▪! ▪! ▪! ▪! ▪! 4 billion years of simple cells (prokaryotes). Most of what it does happens without our knowing so we may not stop often to think about what it means to have a brain.” John Morley The human brain is a truly wonderful thing. 570 million years of arthropods (ancestors of insects. 3 billion years of photosynthesis. It will be seen from this evolutionary tour that moving through the Levels of Awareness tends to recapitulate. the evolutionary development of our own nervous systems.6 billion year old Earth.Beyond Survival A Brief History of the Brain “Evolution is not a force but a process. 600 million years of simple animals. 2 billion years of complex cells (eukaryotes). Not a cause but a law. To lay the foundation for our journey through the Levels of Awareness it will be helpful to review the evolution of the nervous system. An Overview of the Evolution of Life on Earth This timeline is of a 4. 475 million years of land plants. 1 billion years of multicellular life. . arachnids and crustaceans) ! ! ! 50 550 million years of complex animals 500 million years of fish and proto-amphibians. on a personal level.

It is a system that is capable of conducting electrochemical messages along chains of nerve cells. 130 million years of flowers. But then. what is a nervous system anyway? A nervous system coordinates functions in organisms.000 years since humans started looking like they do today. 360 million years of amphibians. Nervous systems also allow organisms to perceive and respond to their environments. 51 .Beyond Survival ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ▪! ▪! ▪! ▪! ▪! ▪! ▪! ▪! 400 million years of insects and seeds. 150 million years of birds. This is an unimaginably long time. 65 million years since the non-avian dinosaurs died out and 200. 300 million years of reptiles. A nervous system also makes it possible for communication and coordination of functions within and between various systems of an organism to occur. As organisms evolved and increased in complexity rudimentary precursors of nervous systems evolved with them. 200 million years of mammals. given the amazing complexity of our brains. it makes sense that it must have taken eons to fashion. What Is a Nervous System? So. Nervous systems developed as organisms increased in complexity and the need for coordination and communication between the parts of the organism became necessary. Our brains and nervous systems have been approximately 4 billion years in the making.

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Over millions of years simple true nervous systems emerged. In evolutionary terms, one of the primary purposes of a nervous system is to provide an organism with a means to respond to its ever changing environment in ways that enhance its chances of survival. Nervous systems evolved to serve survival. This function appears to be working since a multitude of life forms continue to thrive and evolve on planet Earth.

Early Nervous Systems We will begin our tour of the evolution of nervous systems about 600 million years ago. About this time simple species of worms developed notochords (nerve cords) running along the length of their bodies. In a species called planaria (still in existence today) there is a dual nerve cord. These two cords are connected to each other with other nerve chains forming a structure that resembles a ladder of nerve tissue. This nervous system coordinates the sides of the organism. Planaria also have two clusters of nerve tissue (ganglia) at the head end that function like primitive brains. Photoreceptors on the animalʼs eyespots provide primitive sensory information on light and dark.

Around 570 million years ago the first arthropods appeared on Earth. These organisms were the ancestors of modern insects, spiders, and crustaceans (crabs and lobsters) The nervous systems of modern arthropods are not much changed from their early ancestors. Arthropod nervous systems are composed of a series of ganglia (clumps of nerve tissue) that are connected to one another by a nerve cord. The head


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segment of arthropods contains the brain, a large ganglion which is divided into three areas. The brain controls the animalʼs mouthparts, its salivary glands, and its muscles. Many arthropods have sensory organs such as compound eyes and antennae. The brain processes information received from these sensory organs.

Reptilian Nervous Systems Approximately 270 million years later (300 million years ago) reptiles made their appearance on our planet. Reptiles have considerably more complex brains than arthropods. The brains of reptiles have developed a cerebrum and cerebellum. The former has the capacity to coordinate functions such as movement, smell, and memory. The latter also plays a role in motor coordination as well as the integration of sensory perception. All reptiles have advanced visual depth perception compared to other animals with most other sense organs being well developed as well.

So, it has taken evolution around 300 million years to develop in animals a level of awareness that is approximately comparable to Level 1 awareness where the animal experiences itself as a body within a separate environment. Obviously, evolution has a long way to go to achieve the likes of a human brain capable of multiple Levels of Awareness beyond that of a reptile


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Mammalian Nervous Systems One hundred million years after the advent of reptiles the first mammals appeared (around 200 million years ago). Mammalian brains differ from reptilian brains in one particularly significant way. Mammalian brains have an added area called the neocortex. As it turns out this neocortex makes all the difference in terms of enabling multiple Levels of Awareness above Level 1.

The Triune Brain The mammalian brain is often referred to as a triune brain because it is composed of three main regions. These regions have distinct evolutionary histories.

The R-Complex, or reptilian brain, is made up of the brain stem and the cerebellum. This region of the brain controls instinctive survival behavior and processing. It is primarily reactive to direct stimuli as are the brains of reptiles. This structure makes possible Level 1 Awareness.

The Limbic System is the old mammalian brain. It is the source of emotions and instincts such as feeding, fighting, fleeing, and sexual behavior. The primary processing of the limbic system comes down to the avoidance of


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disagreeable sensations and the pursuit of agreeable sensations. Level 2 Awareness in enabled by this region of the brain.

The Neocortex, also known as the cerebral cortex, is responsible for higher-order thinking and the use of language. In humans, all Levels of Awareness above Level 2 are possible due to this brain region.

In the 400 million years since the early precursors of nervous systems developed to the present time, nervous systems have evolved to include the spectacularly successful brains with which we are now endowed; brains that allow us to experience the world and to reflect on it in ways that no other living things on Earth can, brains that can imagine and build wondrous social structures, fascinating civilizations, beautiful works of art, rich cultures, impressive architectural structures and incredibly complex machines.

And all of this impressive capacity has evolved due to a single imperative: Survive!

Over the course of hundreds of millions of years each incremental enhancement of a nervous systems has persisted only if it afforded some measure of survival advantage to the species in which it evolved. Our brains (and nervous systems) are first and foremost organs sculpted by natural selection to serve the survival of our species. Everything else is incidental. This in no way diminishes the importance of phenomena


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occurring due to incidental aspects of our nervous systemʼs sophistication such as science, politics, religion, and so on. A phenomenonʼs significance is not tied to the means by which it has come into being. Significance is a property assigned by human beings resulting from our heredity, our personal experience, and our shared learning.

As individuals we all go through an evolution (similar to that of our nervous systems) within our lifetimes. We evolve through Levels of Awareness that correspond to stages in the evolution of our nervous systems as we make the journey from birth to old age.

The Downside of Human Brains Autistic savant, Daniel Tammet, is considered one of the brightest minds on the planet. In his book, Embracing the Wide Sky, he describes the wonders of the human brain:

“Our minds are miracles--immensely intricate webs of gossamer light inside our heads that shape our very sense of self and our understanding of the world around us. Moment by moment throughout our lifetime, our brains hum with the work of making meaning: weaving together many thousands of threads of information into all manner of thoughts, feelings, memories, and ideas. It is these processes of thinking, learning, and remembering that make each of us truly human.”


As our exploration progresses we will encounter the possibility of moving beyond the current collective insanity to a level of awareness where the dream of sustainable solutions becomes a very possible reality. to ravage vast tracts of land. to change the very climate of the planet that has supported us faithfully for so very long. The ʻalchemyʼ of the brain is the key to this hope. 57 . In the coming chapters we will examine the relationships between our actions and our Levels of Awareness. to pollute waterways. There is a kind of madness that drives us and we seem helpless to resist its force.Beyond Survival As wonderful as they are. these same brain processes have allowed us to conceive of and create terrible engines of war. Our social policies seem to serve the rich better than the needy and our consumer society is driven to demand ever larger infusions of limited resources.

This implies going trough some sort of personal transformation. these same researchers have observed a tendency in a majority of people to arrive at a personal ceiling of development. the order of consciousness arrived at by most of us is typically not sufficient to cope effectively with the demands of life in our modern world. can they change enough to meet the significant challenges they face? In Robert Keganʼs research he has observed people developing through six stages of self. grow psychologically as they mature. Great changes in him can be wrought by crisis--once that crisis can be recognized and understood. Moreover. as Kegan asserts in In Over Our Heads. But can people really change? If so.” Norman Cousins We have made a number of references to moving from one level of awareness to another. in fact. However. Most of us simply never reach our developmental potential.Beyond Survival Can We Change? “Man is not imprisoned by habit. Other researchers have made similar observations so it would seem that people do. to making transitions between Levels of Awareness. Must we settle for a world created and sustained by 58 .

The old idea of a rigidly wired brain has been completely overthrown by the discovery of neuroplasticity. it was thought that once brain cells died they were never replaced so that a decline in brain function was an inevitable consequence of aging. Oliver Sacks. recent developments in the field of neuroscience have put the lie to these long held assumptions. after an initial period of rapid development. an eminent psychiatrist and researcher. Doidge. therefore. Old neural patterns fade while new ones are formed and strengthened. Moreover. The story of the discovery of neuroplasticity and its implications is told in The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph From the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge. Change in “wiring” was thought to be virtually impossible in the adult brain.Beyond Survival mediocre minds or is there some way beyond our current species-wide inadequacy of awareness? Neuroplasticity For most of this century science held to the tenet that. says. the nervous systems and brains of human beings remained in a fixed state. As the highly regarded neurologist. referring to Doigeʼs book." and considered most forms of brain damage. scientists considered the brain to be fixed or "hardwired. 59 . and patients who have benefited from neuro-rehabilitation. Fortunately. the capacity of the brain to rewire itself in response to new learning. was struck by how his patients' own transformations belied this. Dr. to be incurable. and set out to explore the new science of neuroplasticity by interviewing both scientific pioneers in neuroscience. "Only a few decades ago.

In its place has come the realization that the adult brain retains impressive powers of "neuroplasticity"--the ability to change its structure and function in response to experience. If a stroke knocks out. it can rezone itself like a city in a frenzy of urban renewal. These brain cells are produced in response to 60 . say. Doidge's book is a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain. a new technique called constraint-induced movement therapy can coax next-door regions to take over the function of the damaged area. There is an area in the brain called the hippocampus which is capable of generating generic neurons.. recent discoveries have found this to be just false.Beyond Survival Here he describes in fascinating personal narratives how the brain. “. Again. far from being fixed.” A second myth concerning the aging of brains is that when a brain cell dies we are down a brain cell for the rest of our lives. 2007 Time magazine article. The process is known as neurogenesis. Even when the brain suffers a trauma late in life. has remarkable powers of changing its own structure and compensating for even the most challenging neurological conditions. Sharon Begley. the neighborhood of motor cortex that moves the right arm.. Change Your Brain." In a January. research in the past few years has overthrown the dogma. The brain can be rewired. wrote. Something as basic as the function of the visual or auditory cortex can change as a result of a person's experience of becoming deaf or blind at a young age. These aren't minor tweaks either. author of Train Your Mind.

contradicts the classical view of the adult brain as inflexible and mechanical. In laboratories the brain masses of mice have been seen to increase as a result of the increase in brain cells produced in this way. Daniel Tammet. In its place. “Neuroscienceʼs breakthrough discovery of the brainʼs ability to grow and change throughout our lifetime. These brain properties are fundamental to our capacity to move through the Levels of Awareness and for the transmutation of ignorance into wisdom as we move forward on lifeʼs journey. believes these recent discoveries have tremendous implications for us all.” Neuroplasticity and brain cell generation (neurogenesis) underlie the brainʼs ability to evolve over the course of an entire lifetime.Beyond Survival intense neural activity anywhere in the brain. we find a new model of the adult brain as a supple. 61 . and gradually wearing down with age like a machine. dynamic organ capable of responding successfully to injury and even of thinking itself into new synaptic formations. The implications are staggering. known as neuroplasticity. not only for patients with neurological injury or disease but for everyone. ticking along monotonously. author of Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind. each part having a fixed. specific role. The new cells migrate to the site of neural activity where they become part of the active neural network.

to a large extent. if not carved in stone. which side of centre you fall on can make a very significant difference. In her book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success Carol S. People with this mindset see themselves and their lives as amenable to choices and effort. The other mindset that Dweck identifies is the “growth” mindset. They believe that we live lives mainly determined by heredity and that most of our attributes are. there are those who like to think that nothing is preordained and that anything is possible if we just believe we can make it happen. One she calls the “fixed” mindset. Dweck discusses two fundamental mindsets that people tend to adopt. until recently. On the other hand. the possibilities you are willing to entertain. They are not wishful thinkers like those I described above who 62 . largely resistant to efforts to modify them.Beyond Survival Mindsets Whether you think you can change or not you are probably right. However. Those with a fixed mindset subscribe to what. Most people probably fall somewhere in between these two extreme positions. was the conventional wisdom concerning personal change. Your mindset will determine. Some people believe that we are born with certain talents and capacities (such as intelligence) and that we should concentrate our efforts on making the most of the hands we have been dealt rather than beating our heads against the proverbial wall in the vain hope of outsmarting our destinies.

a failure for a person with a growth mindset is diagnostic. To a fixed mindset person a failure is a reinforcement of their “why bother” mentality. Success for these people means that they have worked hard and earned their just rewards. A typical example of a person with a growth mindset is Wayne Gretzky. Interestingly. Gretzky was the most prolific offensive player in the history of the game. It tells her what needs to be worked on and is not seen as the result of some inherent handicap or innate inability to succeed. 63 . Known by hockey fans as “The Great One”. They have made something happen through their consistent effort and determination. A success is just a natural result of an innate talent. Are his accomplishments the natural consequences of God given talent or a determined effort to develop the skills necessary to succeed in the sport he loved? The truth is probably a combination of the two but if Gretzky had relied solely on his natural talent it is unlikely that he would ever have reached the unusual level of success that he did. Growth mindset individuals are willing to make the effort required to bring about their goals and to realize their dreams. the mindset you have determines the meaning of both success and failure. In contrast. The stories of the countless hours he put in practicing as a youngster on a frozen pond in his back yard corroborate the theory that determination and effort played a significant role in his later success.Beyond Survival think that simply believing something is possible is enough to make it happen.

particularly the deliberate thinking system. Reflexive thinking operates at a largely unconscious level and takes place in old brain systems like the cerebellum . it must be possible to physically change the structure and composition of our brains if psychological growth is to occur. Certainly.Beyond Survival Two Thinking Systems In his book Kluge Gary Marcus identifies two types of thinking that we use. one of the concerns of the ancient alchemist was the discovery of the elixir of life. Brain Alchemy: A Fundamental Formula Historically. A growth mindset provides the setting and conscious thinking provides the tool for personal change but neither provide the means. In other words. If we are to truly be capable of change over the course of our lifetimes there must be some capacity by which our brains can restructure themselves in ways that allow our thinking systems. This means that we humans are endowed with a capacity for deliberate thinking that may be unique among all the species of this planet. One he calls “reflexive” and the other “deliberate”. and amygdala (emotions). we are the most generously endowed with this ability meaning we are uniquely advantaged to pursue the benefits of a growth mindset. Deliberate thinking takes place in the prefrontal cortex. reflexive thinking is mainly done by the reptilian and early mammalian brain areas while deliberate thinking is the province of the more recently evolved third region of the triune brain. to improve with time. The elixir of life was believed to be a remedy for all 64 . basal ganglia (motor control). In other words.

Quite simply. In addition. it was held that if a brain cell died it was not replaced. that brains were wired early in life and thereafter remained largely unchanged and unchangeable. the capacity of the brain to physically evolve during our lifetimes. 65 . they are constantly changing through the mechanism of neuroplasticity.Beyond Survival illnesses and a potion capable of endowing immortality to individuals. These cells migrate to areas of elevated brain activity to strengthen and build neural networks as needed. Brains just slowly decayed over a lifetime. However. New brain cells are produced in response to the flexing of our neural muscles during focused learning. While I make no such grandiose claims for the ʻalchemyʼ of the brain I do believe that achieving higher Levels of Awareness has universal application in the service of alleviating much of the suffering presently endured in our modern world. until quite recently. Not only can our brains change. Following in the tradition of the alchemists of old the following formula describes the foundation of the transmutation of ignorance into wisdom. variable “c” in the above equation was not believed to exist. it was believed. the ideas of fixed wiring and inevitable brain decay are now known to be mistaken. a = Setting For Change (growth mindset) b = Tool For Change (deliberate thinking) c = Capacity For Physical Change In The Brian (neuroplasticity) a + b + c = Psychological Growth As we have seen.

This could happen if we are repeatedly thwarted in achieving our goals or if we lack the energy required to pursue more ambitious plans. If our growth mindset is diminished so too might our willingness to engage in deliberate thinking wane. This would explain why. Research shows that this capacity for change endures into old age. individuals may open up to new experiences 66 . We may slip into reflexive thought habits if we come to perceive them as a simpler mode of being. An article called “Set In Our Ways” that appeared in the January 2009 issue of Scientific Americanʼs Mind magazine states. but openness to new experiences tends to decline gradually until about age 60. Openness is a term used in psychology to refer to a willingness to experience novelty. Research has shown the this quality typically increases until a person reaches 20 but then begins to decline. after 60.Beyond Survival Why is it then that developmental psychologists find that most people reach a personal peak in their mental development? How is the tendency of the brain to change itself defeated at some point in our maturation? We know that the capacity for neuroplasticity does not just die out. Perhaps as we age we lose faith in the growth mindset.” It is possible that the midlife years are just too full of work and family related responsibilities to leave sufficient time or energy for making significant life changes. After that . “Personality can continue to change somewhat in middle and old age. And then there is the issue of openness. According to our formula for psychological growth there are two other major factors influencing the process of growth. some people become more open again.

Each level of awareness requires us to experience its truth in a sequence of increasingly meaningful ways. This book will set out the roadmap and the obstacles that may be encountered along the way. A Progression of Truth However. we must know the truth of the level experientially (experiential truth). We must live it and feel its consequences.Beyond Survival again since this is typically a time of life with fewer responsibilities. a path that can lead us to the promise of practical wisdom as a way to confront our personal and shared challenges. 67 . We need to know a level intellectually as a logical and coherent possibility. But grinding to a developmental halt is not a preordained outcome. First. we must know it as truth because our experience has taught us to trust in its validity (existential truth). This book will lay out a path whereby we may avoid such a destiny. we must be aware of a levelʼs properties conceptually (conceptual truth). A retired 60 year old woman with a comfortable pension and no children living at home has considerably more flexibility in her daily life than when she was a busy career woman with a husband and three energetic children at home all making demands on her time and energy. We need only the determination and commitment to pursue increased awareness in our daily lives. Second. A measure of increased awareness may be achieved through the simple act of becoming familiar with the material present here. we will see that mere intellectual awareness of the Levels of Awareness is not enough. Finally.

What he found was that. 68 . Because of the considerable authority attached to Aristotleʼs explanations of things no one thought to question his assumptions for nearly 2000 years. contrary to Aristotleʼs idea. indeed. attributed to Aristotle. The story goes that he climbed up the Leaning Tower of Pisa and dropped pairs of objects with differing masses to see if. was not the type to accept any truth without testing it. heavier objects would hit the ground before their lighter counterparts. both objects hit the ground simultaneously regardless of the difference in their masses. however. Conceptual Truth: Galileo postulated that it was possible that objects of differing masses might fall at the same rate. Experiential Truth: To test his hypothesis Galileo dropped pairs of objects from the Leaning Tower of Pisa and observed the results. Galileo. held that heavier objects fall more rapidly than objects of lesser masses. The conventional wisdom. In this way Aristotleʼs conceptual (untested) truth was finally overthrown. As a careful scientist it is probable that Galileo repeated his experiments until he was satisfied that his results were reliable.Beyond Survival A classic example of this progression of truth is found in the way Galileo Galilei challenged the conventional wisdom surrounding the behavior of falling objects.

which draws things toward large objects. Some philosophers argue that there can be no such thing as an absolute truth.Beyond Survival Existential Truth: After repeated trials yielding identical results Galileo concluded that all objects fall at the same rate regardless of their masses. In the above example the truth that “all objects fall at the same rate regardless of their mass” holds true in our everyday experiences but. there are differences in the rate at which they “fall” toward each other. We will be relying on existential truths hammered out through persistent and consistent personal experience. Existential truths are relative to particular situations. It should be remembered that even existential truths are not absolute truths. where objects with huge masses are concerned. 69 . They may be strongly held to be true within the parameters of the experiences that confirmed them but they may not hold true in contexts outside those parameters. therefore. After all. Where the truths that are realized at each level of awareness are concerned we will not be simply accepting conceptual truths. is directly related to the mass of an object. if you do not experience these truths as being reliably consistent with your own experience they will have no validity to you and will. such as objects of planetary size. be incapable of contributing to your quest for practical wisdom. This is because the force of gravity. a truth that holds in any and all situations.

Our ignorance would prevent us from ever moving beyond our problems. is possible and that what it requires is available to us.” Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. “Manʼs mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions. But we have seen that change. the transmutation of ignorance into wisdom. and neuroplasticity) necessary to move upward through the Levels of Awareness and to achieve perspectives broad enough to offer us views of possible solutions to the issues we face both as individuals and as members of a global community. We have the capacities (awareness of mindset. Without a capacity to truly change we would be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past over and over again. An ability to grow and change is essential to making such a transition.Beyond Survival A Picture of Hope If we are to find solutions to problems created out of an ignorance that exists at one level of awareness we are required to make a transition to a higher level of awareness. 70 . Herein lies the hope of a better world. deliberate thinking.

The importance of the Developmental Liberation to us. So I think we should live with this constant discovery. Though you look through this lens it is transparent and you are normally unaware of its existence and its all pervasive influence.The Levels of Awareness: An Introduction “The world is only as deep as we can see.” Arthur Schopenhauer . we grow and our beliefs change. your level of awareness determines your experience of life. In short. It is the lens through which you view the world. your concepts of truth.” Scott Bakker “As we live. It determines what constitutes your world. We should be open to this adventure in heightened awareness of living. is that every aspect of our lives is circumscribed by the level of awareness at which we reside. what motivates you.” Martin Buber The Levels of Awareness The Levels of Awareness represent stages through which we may pass during our lives. “Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world. your ideas about morality. as human beings. and even your ideas about the meanings of things all depend on the level of awareness that you inhabit. Important concerns such as your behavior. They must change.

what was subjective becomes objective. and Robert Keganʼs stages of self along with ideas derived from other areas of study. across cultures. In other words. If nothing else. 72 . A key concept coming from Robert Keganʼs work is the idea of the movement that takes place during transitions between developmental levels whereby that which was unconscious at one level is illuminated in the conscious arena of awareness at the next level. Whenever we attempt to describe any aspect of human nature things are bound to get a bit messy. therefore. an encounter with Developmental Liberation should illuminate the incredible depth and breadth of human diversity. We should. Lawrence Kohlbergʼs stages of moral development.Beyond Survival The Levels of Awareness are based on ideas found in Abraham Maslowʼs hierarchy of needs. Individuals develop at different rates and. different stages may occur at different times depending on social traditions and cultural beliefs. Caveats In spite of the fact that the Levels of Awareness are chronologically arranged there is no reason for being overly concerned with the exact ages corresponding to each level. The descriptions of the Levels of Awareness given in this and later chapters are necessarily stereotypical in that they present the most prominent and distinctive characteristics of the levels. not attempt to create precise pigeon holes into which we might then force the wonderfully complex subjects of our investigation: ourselves.

As Anat Baniel says in her book. we would be missing our brainsʼ incredible capacity not only for 73 . that is. However the type of awareness we will be discussing in this book is what might be termed “conscious awareness”. We would be slaves to our instincts and habits. Thus a bacterium can be said to possess rudimentary awareness in that it can detect differences in nutrient gradients in its environment. Primitive organisms such as reptiles react to this kind of sensory awareness without the need for conscious deliberation. The importance of awareness can hardly be overstated. Move Into Life: The Nine Essentials of Lifelong Vitality. Without awareness we would not be able to learn. Awareness makes it possible to transcend our current state of mental functioning. “Following the limiting routines of a life without awareness. The detection of properties gives an organism the potential to respond to those properties. An example of more sophisticated property detection is the sensation of warmth on a hot summer day.Beyond Survival What Is Awareness? At its most fundamental level awareness is the capacity of an organism to detect properties in its environment. of making a deliberation about the object or property being sensed. This kind of awareness requires not only that an object or property be sensed by an organism but that the organism perceiving the object or property be capable of considering it in thought.

“I was driven to violence. any need of which we are unaware has the power to “drive” our thoughts. it cannot operate on or consider its desires and needs for security as objects of thought because. but also for upgrading itself to a higher level of functioning.Beyond Survival forming new connections. at that level.. When we say things like “He was a driven man. For example. However. to be able to think about an object or property. This new self has its own unconscious foundation in the form of a survival drive that is hidden from awareness. “She felt compelled to disagree. unconsciously driven by its needs for security. This unconscious foundation of the new self is a form of ignorance. The form of a given levelʼs ignorance is determined by the survival drive that is predominant at the level and it influences.” To be aware of something in conscious awareness.. we need to be able to perceive it as something other.”. along with 74 . As awareness and freedom evolve they are accompanied at each progressive level. Levels of Ignorance A new form of self is created at each level of awareness. something objective. and behavior. As we will see. The level 2 child is its desires for security and safety. The child is. by the birth of a new level-specific form of ignorance.”. it is not aware of these desires as anything other than its self. at least some of the time. a young child (Level 2) can operate on things in the environment and its own body.” we are admitting to the sense that some unconscious part of ourselves seems to be in control. observable. in a very real way. emotions.

Marcel Proust When a higher level of awareness is achieved the unconscious survival drive of the previous level is illuminated in conscious awareness. Gaining Wisdom We do not receive wisdom. With this exposure in awareness the previously unconscious survival drive becomes an object of thought that can be taken into account when the situation warrants it. I want to be very clear about what I mean by the term. which no one can make for us. we must discover it for ourselves. after a journey through the wilderness. into a contribution to the potential emergence of practical wisdom. In this way a progressive liberation from ignorance is preformed during transitions from one level of awareness to the next. for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world. which no one can spare us. As progress is made through the Levels of Awareness the ignorance of each level is converted. The subconscious influence of the ignorance (unconscious survival drive) of the previous level has been effectively neutralized and the newly gained knowledge provides an increase in the potential for practical wisdom. 75 .Beyond Survival virtually everything else. the nature of problems likely to be encountered at that level. during the transition between levels. Phronesis: Practical Wisdom “Wisdom” is a word often thrown around without much attention to any precise definition.

and particulars become known from experience.” 76 . It is this idea of practical wisdom that should be kept in mind whenever you encounter the word “wisdom” in the following pages. This definition allows wisdom to be recognized by its application in the world. since some length of time is needed to produce it (Nichomachean Ethics 1142 a). and wise within these limits. Moreover. Clearly. our definition of wisdom pertains to what Aristotle called “phronesis” which is usually translated as “practical wisdom” and has little in common with the more esoteric uses of the word. prudent young people [young people possessing practical wisdom] do not seem to be found. According to Aristotle. Aristotle maintained that gaining phronesis requires a degree of maturity: “Whereas young people become accomplished in geometry and mathematics. When it is used in the context of religious traditions or the occult the word “wisdom” often carries with it connotations of magic or mysticism. The reason is that prudence [phronesis] is concerned with particulars as well as universals. In contrast.Beyond Survival For the purposes of this book I define wisdom as “knowledge capable of enabling acts of compassionate contribution”. but a young person lacks experience. she made compassionate contributions to the well being of the people she served. we can say that Mother Teresa demonstrated wisdom when she ministered to the poor in Calcutta. phronesis involves a combination of moral will and moral skill. For example.

Elkhonon Goldberg supports Aristotleʼs suspicion with a proposal based on recent findings in the mind sciences. Goldberg asserts that as we mature our brains get better at pattern recognition. This storehouse of generic memories makes it possible to make better decisions and to know what needs to be done. defines practical wisdom as doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. memories of patterns related to what we have experienced.Beyond Survival The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger as Your Brain Grows Older by neuropsychologist. Perhaps the stereotypical wise old man or woman has a basis in fact. American psychologist Barry Schwartz. Phronesis does not require any mystical knowledge. 77 . the Dorwin Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and social action at Swarthmore College and author of The Paradox of Choice: Why Less is More. Thus the potential for an individual to manifest practical wisdom in any given situation tends to increase with age. There is a correspondence between this view and the contentions related to the developmental evolution of practical wisdom in individuals put forth in this book. It is a wisdom that is within the reach of us all. If Aristotle and Goldberg are correct it may turn out that practical wisdom is more commonly found in the mature than in the young. It is not necessarily the result of enlightenment and does not require achieving nirvana or some other exalted mental state. This is due to the fact as we go through life we inevitably build an increasingly massive store of ʻgeneric memoriesʼ.

and what might be done to encourage an increase in its occurrence that is the subject of this book. the examples of blatant disregard for human rights. It is the processes involved in this ʻalchemyʼ that effect a liberation from survival driven ignorance referred to earlier. with 78 . It is my position that such an increase is not only desirable but that it is necessary to the long term resolution of the most pressing issues of our times. the reasons for this rarity. and other instances of intolerance to understand that if ever we were in need of practical wisdom it is now. increases in violent crimes.Beyond Survival However. Despite its rarity and despite the obstacles standing in the way of its realization I believe that it is possible to achieve a level of practical wisdom sufficient to serve as a basis for dealing with our personal and global challenges. In so doing a recognizable path is revealed that we can. It is the rarity of practical wisdom. it is a tragically rare commodity. One has only to look at the acts of terrorism. I believe our best hope in permanently resolving the issues we face in todayʼs world lies in the pursuit of practical wisdom through what we will come to know as the ʻalchemyʼ of the brain. despite this nearly universal accessibility. But while the quest must be a shared initiative it can only be achieved on a person-by-person basis. We must each seek to achieve it as a personal commitment. The quest for practical wisdom is both a personal one and one that we must share if we are to meet the challenges facing us in todayʼs world. Practical wisdom is a individual responsibility.

solution. and recent findings in neuroscience. Drawing on the the disciplines of evolutionary psychology. developmental psychology. Beyond Survival contends that in order to effectively deal with the complex challenges we are now facing perspectives gained at these higher levels are essential.Beyond Survival diligence. Getting Acquainted Becoming familiar with the Levels of Awareness and their sources in ignorance (unconscious survival drives) is a useful pursuit in its own right. The premise of this book is that many of our personal and global problems have been created out of an insufficient level of awareness. As the following chart shows each level of awareness is accompanied by a particular form of self that is created by the survival drive of the level. collective Levels of Awareness are not up to the complexities of modern challenges and what we can do about it. though not guaranteed. follow to arrive at our goal. Developmental psychologists have identified stages of development that individuals go through as they mature. now and in the long term. 79 . As we are exposed to the framework we gain a wider perspective on our lives and the lives of those with whom we interact. Research shows that most of us never reach the upper developmental levels. Beyond Survival looks at the reasons why our personal and. The ʻalchemyʼ of the brain makes practical wisdom an achievable. therefore.

and environment continuity with all existence Membership 4 Independence 5 Unity Independent Self Interdependent Self 6 Transcendence By way of getting acquainted with the Levels of Awareness we will begin with general descriptions of each level and the version of self that exists at each. warmth. Its experience is an oceanic one with no boundaries separating out independent objects. others.Embeddedness (newborn): At this Level there really isnʼt any awareness at all since the newborn is embedded in its environment and does not experience anything as distinct from itself. Level 0 .Beyond Survival Leve l 0 1 Survival Drive Form of Self Awareness No separate self Physical drives (food. security imperatives. The newborn experiences no 80 . body. liquids) Security Impulsive/Body Self no sense of being aware awareness of an external world 2 3 Needy Self Member Self awareness of others. body. and environment awareness of independence imperatives. and environment awareness of security imperatives. body. membership imperatives. body. security imperatives. others. others. and environment awareness of membership imperatives.

Level 1 .Needy Self: At this level a self separate from its body and environment emerges. we will also come to see that if this is indeed a mistake it is a necessary mistake with a wisdom of its own that paves the way for us to proceed to higher Levels of Awareness and increasing liberation from suffering. Although this is a psychological separation the self is soon felt to be physically separated from the rest of the world giving rise to a plethora of psychological issues engendered by this seemingly inconsequential assumption. been embedded.Beyond Survival self and no other.Impulsive Body-Self: Before long the baby begins to make distinctions between its own body and the environment in which it has. However. This is truly the bliss of total ignorance or oblivion.) 81 . Level 2 . The body is now capable of acting on its environment but not in a truly intentional way. to this point. There is an eventual separation of body from environment. The interaction between body and environment is primarily the result of impulsive urges and reflexive activity. (Although we continue to think of ourselves as physically separated from our environment as we progress through the Levels of Awareness we will eventually discuss the possibility that this is a significant and fundamental error.

Acceptance by oneʼs peers becomes a driving force and membership in a group is very attractive. Level 4 . It is no longer enough to belong. a stuffed animal. At this level people are very interested in belonging. its own body. and interests. needs.Member Self: As a child moves up to Level 3 it becomes aware of being a self that has desires. Perhaps the signature characteristic of this level is concern for relative status within various groupings. Level 3 . comfort and security a child at level 2 awareness might use a favorite blanket. Driven by needs for safety. and interests. 82 . This is the emergence of an individual sense of agency. the ability to act with intention. The self defines itself in terms of relationships within a group or groups. and objects in its environment. It is no longer unconsciously driven by its desires. desires. mainly concerned with issues of safety and security. or a cookie to satisfy its current need or desire. At Level 3 individuals may regard others as selves in their own rights but there is still a tendency to use others as things. and is motivated to satisfy its desires.Independent Self: The next level involves recognizing oneself as part of a group in addition to being a self with membership imperatives. In the pursuit of satisfying its desires the self can operate on others as objects. a handy caregiver. needs.Beyond Survival The level 2 self is based on unconscious desires.

its body.Transcendence of Self: This Level Of Awareness is partially speculative in nature. Level 6 . its own desires. The Independent Self is driven by a need for personal power and recognition. An interdependence with others and the environment is recognized. and the environment. The driving force at this stage is achieving comparative advantages over others. 83 . However. This perspective allows an objective look at our conditioning and how it biases everything from the choices we make to the meaning we attribute to our experience.Interdependent Self: Level 5 Awareness is able to operate on the imperatives inherent in the drive for autonomy as well as those involved in the drive for membership. nonetheless. Level 5 . Likewise it is able to consider others as selves. usually in effect. Often the real motive is hidden or disguised.Beyond Survival You are now compared to others and you are measured by your status. even from the self. but it is. it appears to complete certain trajectories established throughout the transitions between the five levels that precede it. At this level the psychological distinction between subject and object would dissolve away. The critical element here is an awareness of the “self as chooser” that characterized level 4 awareness.

However. until a person is cognizant of the 84 . avoiding pain safety acceptance. if their personal assessment places them at a high level of awareness they may feel an inflated sense of pride and superiority. belonging status own body opinions of others opinions and behavior of others. it is important to realize that.Beyond Survival The Levels of Awareness: Some Important Components Level 1 2 3 4 Drive basic physical needs security membership Truth physical personal social Meaning pleasure/ pain attraction/ repulsion relationships status Success pleasure. Typically this leads to one of two predictable problems. A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing When people first encounter Developmental Liberation they have a natural tendency to attempt an estimation of their own level of awareness. On the other hand. self effects of personal conditioning NA Desire to Control independence rules. It colors every aspect of an individualʼs life. laws unity relative to context oneness 5 compassion contribution 6 NA oneness NA An individualʼs Level of Awareness is that individualʼs world lens. If individuals assess themselves as being at a lower level of awareness than that at which they think they should be they may suffer feelings of inadequacy.

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process by which Levels of Awareness may be influenced, her present level of awareness is neither a failure nor an accomplishment. It is simply a natural result of her individual experiential history to date. Without previous knowledge of how transitions between the Levels of Awareness may be encouraged there is no basis for anyone to take any personal sense of failure or accomplishment for their own current level of awareness regardless of what that level might be.

However, knowledge of the Levels of Awareness and the mechanisms involved in moving from one level to another may make a difference in at least two important ways.

1.Individuals experiencing disillusionment at their present level might find it helpful to know what the typical issues are at that level. Such knowledge could afford a measure of comfort along with some degree of understanding regarding their present difficulties. 2.Individuals going through a transition might find it helpful to know what approaches may be appropriate to the level-specific problems with which they are struggling. Having knowledge of potentially effective strategies could significantly increase their chances of successfully dealing with their particular challenges.


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Evolution not Revolution As you encounter the Levels of Awareness and the transitions between them it will be important to maintain an evolutionary rather than revolutionary mindset. The alchemy performed by way of a progression through the Levels of Awareness and the transitions between them can take time. But wisdom is not a casual achievement.

Cycling Through the Levels of Awareness Typically, progress through the levels of awareness follows a fairly predictable pattern. As each new level of awareness is reached, time is required to consolidate and accommodate the wisdom gained in the transition just completed. Over more time a feeling of relative comfort at this new level of awareness may emerge. But, eventually, again after a passage of time, new challenges will likely rear their ugly heads. This, in turn, could herald the need for further progress through the awareness levels. If another period of transition then follows it will progress along its own schedule in playing out the various processes necessary to arrive at the next level of awareness.


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Lifeʼs transformations have typically been hard won over extended periods of time. But this is no longer necessarily the case.

Relief In Sight From what has been said so far it might be concluded that there will be no relief from suffering until the final level of awareness is reached and that this goal is just too high a mountain to climb. While it is true that only with the acquisition of the highest level of awareness will suffering end completely (if this is actually possible) simply embarking on the path to practical wisdom with serious intent can deliver immediate dividends. While the complete cessation of all suffering is, unquestionably, a desirable outcome it is more realistic (and less overwhelming) to focus on the eminently achievable outcome of alleviating suffering gradually and thereby continuously improving oneʼs quality of life at each step along the way.

Section 6: Moving On, presents three personal growth systems that represent alternative paths open to individuals in their pursuit of personal development. The practices described in these alternatives, while aimed at the ultimate goal of liberation from ignorance and suffering, all have the potential to result in immediate gains in terms of increases in personal awareness and the benefits that accrue from such increases. Simply engaging in a method can bring immediate rewards. The effects of these rewards can accumulate over time fostering the potential for the initiation of transitions between the levels of awareness.


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The significance of the systems described in Section 6 is considerable. They represent nothing less than potential alternatives to suffering as the initiating factor in personal growth. In practicing these systems and acquiring the knowledge and skills they offer, personal growth is promoted whether or not an individual is experiencing intense discomfort at the time. The necessity of suffering as a prompt for personal growth may be bypassed in the practicing of any of these systems.

At this point you may want to skip ahead for a first look at the content of Section 6. The personal growth systems presented there should make sense on their own. However, familiarity with the rest of the material in this book will provide valuable context for each of the systems. Having a richer context within which to understand the systems should enhance the potential for an individual to find personal relevance within the concepts and methods of any of the systems and to more fully comprehend the significance of the information and practices presented.


Section 3: Transitions

This alchemy transmutes a form of ignorance found at a given level of awareness into a type of wisdom available upon completion of a transition to the next level of awareness. The following chart shows the drives that predominate at each level of awareness.Beyond Survival Transitions. and Transmutation As we explore the Levels of Awareness and the transitions between them. warmth. This trajectory has significant relevance to our examination of ways in which progress through the Levels of Awareness can reveal a wider array of possibilities in the quest for sustainable solutions to our personal and shared challenges. meaning) NA 90 . Transformation. Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 Prominent Drive Physiological (food. we will follow an important trend that can be traced from each level to the next. liquids) Safety and Security Membership Individuality Unity (purpose. During each transition between the Levels of Awareness a kind of transformative alchemy takes place.

It should be remembered that although certain drives are more prominent at particular levels all five of the survival drives are present at each level and may surface in response to specific circumstances. As an individual progresses through the Levels of Awareness more and more of the unconscious foundations of the 91 . The white triangular areas represent drives that have been brought into awareness as transitions are made from one level to the next. They are. after all. In the Level 2 pentagon the first of the unconscious survival drives has been made conscious (the white triangle). integral aspects of the underlying survival drive whether they are currently unconscious or available in awareness.Beyond Survival Progressive Liberation Level 1 Level 2! Level 3! Level 4 Level 5 Level 6 The diagram above depicts the progression from awareness Level 1 to Level 6. The larger black numerals on the pentagons indicate which of the 5 drives is most prevalent at each level. The pentagon on the far left represents the self at Level 1 where all 5 drives (represented by the numerals 1 to 5) are unconscious. The grey triangular areas within the pentagrams represent the unconscious survival drives of the self at each level of awareness.

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self are brought into awareness until, at Level 6, all unconscious survival drives have been exposed in awareness. For example, in the diagram above we see that the drive for membership is unconscious at Level 3 but is exposed in awareness at Level 4. The drive for membership has gone from being a form of ignorance, when it was an unconscious survival drive at level 3, to a possible component of wisdom once it has been brought into the light of awareness at level 4. “Deep within man dwell those slumbering powers; powers that would astonish him, that he never dreamed of possessing; forces that would revolutionize his life if aroused and put into action.” Orison Swett Marden

Transmutation of Ignorance into Wisdom The conversion of unconscious survival drives (ignorance) at one level of awareness into conscious knowledge (wisdom) at the next constitutes a transmutation of ignorance into an evolving wisdom that is heightened with each subsequent transition. Remembering our definition of wisdom as “knowledge enabling the capacity to make compassionate contributions to the world” it becomes self evident that this capacity is entirely dependent on the level of oneʼs awareness. Both the kinds of contributions we are able to make and the degree of compassion with which we make them are reliant on our level of awareness. We cannot contribute that of which we are unaware. Nor can we act with a particular measure of compassion if it is beyond the scope of our present level of awareness. Hence, the two essential aspects of wisdom increase simultaneously as we move towards higher Levels of Awareness. The potential for the emergence of practical

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wisdom increases in direct proportion to an increase in Levels of Awareness.



Contribution Potential (0 - 6)

Compassion Potential (0 - 6)
0 1

0 1

None Awareness of body as separate from the environment Awareness of the need for and importance of physical well-being Awareness of the need for and importance of security and safety Awareness of the need for and importance of belonging and appreciation Awareness of the need for and importance of independence and self respect Awareness of the need for and importance of purpose and meaning

0 1
















It must be recognized that although achieving a particular Level Of Awareness affords the capacity for a corresponding level of wisdom (compassionate contribution) there is no guarantee that an individual will


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exercise this capacity. There may be forces at work in various areas of his life that discourage the expression of wisdom.

From Subjective Experience to Objective Knowledge The transmutation of ignorance into wisdom constitutes a movement of content from subject to object. This conversion of subjective experience to objective knowledge allows that which once was the felt experience of self to be known as something other than self. For there to be awareness of an object it must be made distinct from the self that has awareness of it.3 For example, a child is unaware of having desires because she is those desires. As the child moves toward the intermediate level of awareness she eventually becomes conscious of having desires. The desires are moving from subjective experience to objective awareness. This occurs because, from the perspective of a higher level of awareness, it is possible to perceive that which was previously the unconscious essence of the self. What was hidden and unknowable is now illuminated from the wider view of a higher level of awareness.

It is important to emphasize that the conversion of an unconscious survival drive into an object available to awareness in no way suppresses or eliminates the drive. Our instinctive drives have evolved to serve the survival of our species. We do not want to compromise the important roles they play in our physical and emotional well-being. We need only to


This phenomenon is presented and convincingly supported in Robert Keganʼs The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development 94

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become aware of their existence and influence. Once in the light of awareness, our instinctive drives become potential sources of personal power, fulfillment, and increased wisdom.

Drives and The Emergence of Value


Survival Value

Positive Experiences

Negative Experiences

1. physiological (basic needs)

physical life requirements (food, warmth, water) safety

appreciation and experience of physical comfort and pleasure appreciation and experience of pleasure with personal safety appreciation and experience of pleasure with inclusion and belonging appreciation and experience of pleasure with personal power, respect from others, and the exercise of personal responsibility appreciation and experience of pleasure with global community and connectedness fear, insecurity, vulnerability

2. safety/security

3. membership

strength/protection in numbers

isolation, loneliness, feeling unlovable

4. independence

pooling strengths/ skills

worthlessness, inferiority, victimization, powerlessness

5. meaning/ interdependence

caring for one another (physically and emotionally) and for our shared environment

disconnection, meaninglessness, purposelessness


Beyond Survival


Survival Value

Positive Experiences

Negative Experiences

6. none

all of the above

communion/ completion

Beyond pragmatic survival advantages, drives are also responsible for lifeʼs positive or negative values in terms of felt human experience. Nature has endowed us, though the process of evolution, with two fundamental forms of motivation, attraction and avoidance. We are attracted to those things that tend to promote our well-being and we tend to avoid those things that threaten our survival. Why we actually behave in these ways is due to the felt experiences associated with these attractive or repulsive things and situations. We act to pursue experiences with positive or pleasant felt elements and to avoid those having negative or unpleasant felt elements. If it wasnʼt for the attendant positive or negative human values and the positive or negative felt experiences they provide the survival drives would have no influence on our behavior and therefore no success in preserving our species. The positive and negative elements of experience have evolved to guide our behavior toward survival enhancing actions and away from harmful choices but at the same time they provide a physical foundation for value judgements. At a primitive level (at level 1 awareness) there is an equivalence between good and pleasure and between bad and pain. To the level 1 child pleasure is good and pain is bad. At higher Levels of Awareness more sophisticated sets of circumstances elicit emotional pleasure or pain reactions.


However. At level 4 one has awareness of the drive for membership but is no longer primarily defined by it and now experiences itself as being independent and self directed. 4 To read an article about the subject-object transformation click here.Beyond Survival Being a Drive vs Having a Drive The movement of content from subject to object that occurs during transitions between Levels of Awareness is essentially a movement from being a component of self to having an awareness of that component. 97 . The consequent increase in awareness provides an increase in the potential for wisdom because it involves both an increase in perspective and an increase in freedom. This transmutation results in an awareness of that which was previously unavailable to awareness.4 As Robert Kegan has described it. The new self is now experienced primarily as an independent self. At Level 3 oneʼs self is primarily experienced as being a member of and belonging to various groups. The movement of unconscious subjective content to content of which one is conscious or aware is what we are calling the transmutation of ignorance (unconscious survival drive) into wisdom (object in awareness). in making what was subject into object we can now “have it” rather than “be had by it” and are thus liberated from that in which we were embedded. at Level 4 one no longer derives oneʼs identity so exclusively through membership but now sees membership as one part of the new self.

Infants at Level 1 have won a level of freedom by virtue of the fact that they no longer consist entirely of being continuous with their environment but 98 . and interests and it has a body in an environment. The first separation is the making of a distinction between the body and its environment. in turn.Beyond Survival Increased Perspective An important aspect of Developmental Liberation is that the movement from each level to the next represents a further degree of separation of the individualʼs self from its original embeddedness in the environment. needs. Increased Freedom As we move up through the Levels of Awareness we acquire everincreasing levels of freedom. an increase in perspective. This distancing of the self from its environment includes a broadening of perspective which. They are completely embedded in and. For them there are only automatic stimulus and response interactions with the environment in which they are embedded. The self is its desires. therefore. Next the body becomes an object of awareness as a separation is made between the self and the body of which this self is now aware. allows the individual a more complete view of her place in the world. Newborns (Level 0) have no such freedom. dependent upon the environment.

our range of choices increases. Transitional Realizations Central to each transition from one level of awareness to another is a specific realization. at each higher level. increases as we travel up the ladder of liberation because.Beyond Survival now have an environment upon which they can operate. Increasing freedom is afforded individuals as they move up to Level 3 Awareness. Remembering that we are defining wisdom as “a capacity that enables acts of compassionate contribution”. in the sense of “making real”. At each transition individuals realize something that 99 . No longer driven by unconscious desires and wants. it seems reasonable to suppose that an increase in the perspective with which one views his situation coupled with a richer range of options from which to make choices (increased freedom) should increase the potential for practical wisdom to emerge. I am using realization in a very literal way here. This makes it possible for them to develop ways of managing these previously unconscious survival drives. At Level 2 children achieve a greater degree of freedom as they are now liberated from their bodies and instead of being their bodies they now have bodies upon which their newly abstracted selves can operate. Freedom. then. individuals are aware of having (rather than being) these desires and wants. We become aware of more options from which to choose appropriate strategies for action. along with retaining the awareness to operate on the environment.

a drive for membership. and its limitations are made real for the individual. For example. Brain Alchemy: The Formula Revisited Earlier we expressed the ʻalchemyʼ of the brain with the following formula: a = Setting For Change (growth mindset) b = Tool For Change (deliberate thinking) c = Capacity For Physical Change In The Brian (neuroplasticity) a + b + c = Psychological Growth Taking the above discussion of wisdom and transmutation into account we can now expand the formula as follows: a + b + c --> w 100 . it becomes a contribution to the potential for practical wisdom. The drive for membership is now a “thing” that the individual can take into account when a situation warrants it. in the transition from level 3 awareness to level 4 awareness individuals realize that they have been driven by a need to belong and to be accepted. This something concerns the unconscious survival drive of the level of awareness being transcended in the transition that is underway. In this way the drive for membership. Being a thing in awareness.Beyond Survival has not occurred to them previously. its necessity.

A levelʼs ignorance contains within it the seeds of potential problems that can arise out of that 101 .” The Catalysts of Transmutation “Man is not imprisoned by habit. As we have seen there is a kind of ignorance at every level of awareness.” Norman Cousins While our formula for the ʻalchemyʼ of the brain elucidates a process it does not indicate how that process is set in motion. Great changes in him can be wrought by crisis--once that crisis can be recognized and understood. What is it that initiates the transmutation of ignorance into wisdom? What is the catalyst for this process? There are two major forces that can act separately or in concert to effect a transition from one level of awareness to another. Put into words. the formula would sound something like this: “If conditions (a + b) are adequately met the brainʼs capacity for physical change (c) may result in the transmutation of ignorance into wisdom (w).Beyond Survival In this formula the “w” stands for wisdom and the “-->” refers to the process of transmutation where transmutation is understood to be the conversion of ignorance (unconscious survival drive) into wisdom (awareness resulting in more freedom and greater perspective).

In this way it may be said that suffering is a catalyst for transmutation.Beyond Survival ignorance. This new object in awareness will be available to contribute to our pursuit of wisdom. from mild discomfort to intense levels of anguish. In our efforts to alleviate this suffering we may eventually be driven to seek solutions that lie beyond our present level of awareness. In addition. It should be kept in mind that suffering occurs in a wide spectrum of intensities. is one of the two major forces that can initiate a transition between Levels of Awareness. When these problems manifest they can be the source of intense suffering. Within the framework of Developmental Liberation unconscious survival drives are seen to be the fundamental sources of suffering. If this occurs a process involving the transmutation of our current levelspecific ignorance into an object of awareness may ensue resulting in a new object in awareness. Suffering. 102 . the duration of suffering can vary from transient to persistent. then.

suffering has an important role to play in our quest for practical wisdom. While it describes the means by which transitions are typically initiated in our lives the dynamic as just discussed does not necessarily describe a fate that we must inevitably endure. As a catalyst to the transmutation of ignorance into wisdom. In terms of inducing a transition from one level of awareness to another the optimum condition is a state of intense suffering that persists over a long time. It may be that the material presented 103 . Conversely. it can be said that the drive of ignorance (unconscious survival drives) force us to seek greater awareness by driving us to the brink.Beyond Survival Potential for Transition persistent The potential for a transition to occur escalates with an increase in the duration and/or intensity of suffering Duration of Suffering transient mild severe Intensity of Suffering ! In some cases a relatively low intensity of suffering that persists over an extended period of time may precipitate a transition from a lower level of awareness to higher one. highly intense suffering may initiate a transition after persisting over a relatively short period of time. Metaphorically. This dynamic serves to give a measure of meaning to suffering.

Unconscious Survival Drives --> Desires --> Clinging --> Suffering The “clinging” link in this chain refers to the clinging attached to the fulfillment of a desire. In addition. imagined any other means of finding success. It may even ultimately result in suffering if I succeed in becoming popular. 104 . as we will soon discover. to this point.Beyond Survival in this book will serve to minimize both the intensity and duration of suffering required to inspire the onset of the transitional process. If popularity is found to be ineffective in bringing me lasting happiness another kind of suffering could result. In the end clinging to any specific outcome is a potential source of suffering. The Chain of Suffering The following causal chain shows how suffering arises out of unconscious survival drives and desires. if I am at the third level of awareness I may have a desire to be popular among my peer group. there is another factor that can initiate a transition that can operate independently of suffering. For example. Clinging occurs due to a belief that satisfying a need will bring happiness. If having achieved a high level of popularity I do not feel the fulfillment I expected or if there are serious negative aspects to popularity that I hadnʼt counted on I am likely to experience intense disappointment coupled with a feeling of hopelessness since I have not. Clinging to the belief that becoming popular will make me happy may result in suffering if I fail to achieve this goal.

Suffering is a natural result of having unconscious survival drives because they inevitably engender clinging to specific outcomes.Fully ʻrealizingʼ all five unconscious survival drives suggests the possibility of transcending the concept of a separate self since the separate self consists of the beliefs. 105 .it serves as an impetus for initiating movement toward increased Levels of Awareness. 3.Beyond Survival Level Of Awareness 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Individuation Unconscious Survival Drives Physiological (Basic Needs) Security and Safety Belonging and Inclusion Independence and Recognition Unity None The Personal Implications of Suffering 1. 2. desires and behaviors spawned by the unconscious survival drive at each level.Fully ʻrealizingʼ each unconscious survival drive (bringing it into conscious awareness) neutralizes its potential to act as a source of suffering.Suffering is not meaningless . 4.

if one has reached a state where there has been suffering and disillusionment with level 3 awareness. At this level one may be “inspired” by a situation that promises to increase oneʼs popularity and be led to cling to achieving whatever the “inspiration” seems to offer. However. But wait. Isnʼt being motivated by inspiration just another form of clinging to an outcome? Might it not be just a thinly veiled source of suffering? The answer is that it depends. Rather than push us away from a lower level it pulls us toward a higher level of awareness. The second catalytic force for transition does the opposite. Recall that the ultimate source of suffering is an unconscious survival drive and that clinging to an outcome arises out a belief that the outcome will satisfy a desire related to the unconscious survival drive. we will use the example of the common level 3 desire for popularity. Inspiration comes in many forms but the common property that binds them is that they all provide a vision of a desirable future. Instead such a person will be inspired by futures that promise benefits consistent with a higher level of 106 . On a physical level we move to avoid pain and to pursue pleasure but on an emotional level we move to avoid suffering (emotional pain) and to pursue inspiration (emotional pleasure). one will not be moved to pursue a popularity-based “bedazzlement”. This is the force of inspiration. Instead of true inspiration this kind of attraction is more in the nature of a bedazzlement. Again.Beyond Survival It can be said that the suffering caused by ignorance supplies us with a kind of push or shove into making a change.

the person might be inspired by a future that involves some form of increased independence. certain typical stages within transitions can be surmised. three such systems of personal growth are presented in Section 6: Moving On. In this example inspiration offers a helping hand once the degree of disillusionment with the current level of awareness has reached sufficient intensity and a transition is imminent or has already begun. As mentioned earlier.Beyond Survival awareness. 107 . This is the inspiration to be gained through following a practice that proves itself through personal experience to be effective in promoting personal growth and thereby affording new ways of meeting oneʼs life challenges. We can now update our our brain alchemy formula: a = Setting For Change (growth mindset) b = Tool For Change (deliberate thinking) c = Capacity For Physical Change In The Brian (neuroplasticity) m = Motivation For Change (Suffering and/or Inspiration) a + b + c + m --> w (wisdom) Transition Stages Although everyone will go through transitions that have been initiated by suffering in a very unique and personal way. But there is also a type of inspiration that can operate completely independently from suffering. In this example. a Level 4 imperative.

Beyond Survival To help us ferret out these stages we will use a fictional account of a problem and go through what might occur as the individual attempts to resolve the issue. 108 .

When. “But I canʼt leave.” After a few welcome moments of silence she continues. “Yes -. “Would you be willing to accept help with your problem?” Surprising herself. The trouble is this time itʼs different. It is all so hopeless. “I know Brad really loves me and he will not do this again when he sees how badly he hurt me this time. something always goes wrong.” Over the years Caroline has tried everything she can think of to improve the situation. Each time she thinks things will be different. But she has said this before.” she thinks to herself. But somewhere in the back of her mind Caroline knows that nothing will ever change. “This has got to stop. Neither woman speaks for a moment and then the nurse asks Caroline. although the woman hasnʼt spoken of it. She is in the hospital and it is not the first time. Caroline answers immediately. at last.” she tells herself. Caroline is at the breaking point.” answers Caroline.” the nurse says.” Caroline says quietly as she wipes tears from her eyes.Beyond Survival As she gradually claws her way up through a fog of pain killers and sedatives Caroline realizes it has happened again. “Thank you. As she lies in her hospital bed and weeps a nurse approaches and offers her a tissue. Until now. no matter how hard she tries. No matter how perfect she is. should he ever find out that Caroline had spoken to anyone. How would I live? And what about the kids? How would I feed my children?” But she has gone through all this before and it has only ever made her feel even more helpless. As consciousness returns so do the aches and pains. With no where to turn and no one else to turn to she breaks down and tells the nurse her sad story. It is only when he is angry that he hits her. If she were a better wife he would not have any reason to lose his temper with her. “You were in here about a year ago. she has always steadfastly refused to talk to anyone about her situation. Fearing Bradʼs terrible retribution. She knows where she is now. She canʼt go back home and she canʼt leave home either. The nurse listens without interrupting as Carolineʼs story comes pouring out as if it had been dammed up just waiting to be released.” Caroline thinks. “Iʼm trapped in this marriage.” 109 .please. Every time she even thinks about going back home she begins to shake uncontrollably. “Is there anything I can do to help?” Caroline realizes that. “I remember you. many times. Caroline finishes her outpouring the nurse responds. the nurse must know something of what she is going through. “Iʼm so sorry.” “Yes. her voice trembling slightly. She has tried especially hard to avoid making Brad angry. “We will work this out. Better to accept her fate and give it one more try.

However. Carolineʼs drive for belonging would never actually go away. Over the course of her marriage Caroline tried with mounting desperation to solve her problem. For Caroline. An analysis of the events of this story reveals stages that Caroline progressed through as she began to make the transition from level 3 awareness to level 4 awareness where a drive for independence would eventually take precedence over the drive for belonging. 110 . Family life is a powerful means of fulfillment to our drive for membership. It would simply become subjugated to the level 4 imperative for independence once Caroline completed her transition to that level of awareness.Beyond Survival Carolineʼs story illustrates a problem that might occur in the life of a person at the third level of awareness. her attempted solutions were restricted to options allowed by her level 3 awareness. This is the level of membership and belonging. The problem for Caroline occurred when her natural desire for acceptance and belonging turned out to involve a toxic relationship. Only when she realized that she had come to the end of her ability to carry on within her existing patterns of behavior did she finally entertain a course of action that would take her outside her level 3 perspective. Marriage is an institution that can satisfy the drive to belong and to be accepted. reaching beyond the limits of her familial relationships constituted a step beyond her level 3 awareness. At the point in the story where Caroline despairs that she is trapped in her marriage she is experiencing the first stage of transition: disillusionment.

recognition that approaches of the current level of awareness are not only not working but are insufficient to deal with the individualʼs problems There is a saying that madness consists of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. perhaps suspecting that Einstein might have been onto something when he said that a problem cannot be solved at the same level at which it was created. Reaching this point takes time. something we have not thus far considered. We often try to solve problems using the same strategies again and again.identification of what is no longer working Identifying our ineffective strategies can be a positive step in moving beyond them. It may take years in some cases but if we are persistent in our desire to resolve a problem once and for all we will arrive here sooner or later. If this is so then many of us must be a bit mad. We may come to feel that no matter what we do our problems will never go away.Beyond Survival Disillusionment . we may come to our senses and realize that what is required may be something new. Eventually. When Caroline reflected on all of the things she had done in attempting to resolve her situation she was going through the second stage of transition: assessment. 111 . Assessment . Persistence with this kind of folly is likely to result in a general disillusionment with life.

If such is the case the first glimpses of the previously hidden drive behind the problem will have occurred. She is about to enter the third stage of transition: experimentation.Beyond Survival At the end of the story Caroline expresses a willingness to try something different. As the experimentation stage continues there will likely be an accumulation of strategies that are found to be effective in dealing with the level-specific problems. This stage involves the rebuilding of the self according to the knowledge gained in the experimentation stage. This stage requires considerable determination if successful approaches to problems are to be uncovered since trial and error is notoriously inefficient. These strategies will likely involve looking at the problem from the perspective of the next higher level of awareness. The final stage of transition is reconstruction. Reconstruction . Experimentation . In this way the 112 .accumulation of successful alternative approaches as they are discovered (usually through trial and error) and the use of knowledge gained to assemble a new sense of self.trying various alternative approaches to solving an individualʼs level-related problems Without a roadmap of the Levels of Awareness we are pretty much left with the vagaries of trial and error as a means to discover strategies that are beyond our present level of awareness.

desires. From our perspective The Twelvefold Chain offers a fine-grained insight into twelve phenomena that occur as we cycle through each level of awareness. 113 . consciousness (awareness at the level). and eventual disillusionment provoked by the unconscious survival drive of the level. While these stages of transition are suppositional they present a plausible sequence through which individuals might move when making a transition from one level of awareness to the next. It is the foundation of all of the Buddhaʼs teachings. The idea is attributed to the Buddha himself. The Twelvefold Chain Fundamental to Buddhist thought is something called The Twelvefold Chain of Dependent Origination. The purpose of presenting them here is to offer a possible line of inquiry for further investigation. It is said that the Buddha attained enlightenment while contemplating this twelvefold chain. Quite a mouthful. When applied to the Developmental Liberation framework this multifaceted model illuminates the arising of the levelspecific self.Beyond Survival unconscious survival drive (ignorance) is eventually brought into the light of awareness (wisdom).

Each level of awareness has its own unique brand of consciousness based on the separate self that exists at that level and that is limited by that selfʼs perspective and degree of freedom. In terms of Developmental Liberation terminology this link corresponds to the awareness at a given level. Objects are identified (named) by the form of their . the process arises out of ignorance. This unconscious survival drive constitutes the levelspecific ignorance for that level of awareness. This is mental activity that is generated by the unconscious survival drive (ignorance) of the level.ignorance aging and death action birth Start Here consciousness coming into existence The Twelvefold Chain of Dependent Origination name and form taking the senses desire feeling contact As shown above. Next is consciousness. This level-specific brand of discriminatory consciousness/awareness in turn determines how we see objects in our world. Moving clockwise the next link in the chain is action (mental formations). Recall that following a transition to a new level of awareness a new unconscious survival drive takes precedence.

As we make sensory contact with the objects of our world our brains are stimulated and feelings occur (according to the interpretation of the sensed objects by the consciousness/awareness of the level). As we have seen each level of awareness bears within it the seeds of particular kinds of challenges. Feelings in turn imbue objects with value. which cannot be resolved at its current level of awareness. We then want to possess these objects and will set about grasping (clinging to the outcome of possessing the objects) and taking them into our possession thus forming a personal attachment to the object. As a level-specific self struggles with these challenges. At this point an object comes into existence in the sense that it has acquired personal significance to its owner and is no longer simply part of the more neutral background environment. Our sensing of objects is influenced by how we have identified them and the relationships we have attributed to them. Even how we interpret our sensory perceptions of our world is affected by the form of consciousness/awareness of the level. a 115 . whether negative or positive. Those objects with high positive value become objects of craving or desire. a self that identifies itself with its possessions and who has desires for other valued objects and goals commensurate with its level of awareness.Beyond Survival relationships to other objects as interpreted through the consciousness/ awareness of the level. In this way objects are represented in the mind. At the same time the owner is born as a new level-specific self.

Eventually. misery) occurs. It is the position of Developmental Liberation that it is the existence and/or degree of influence of unconscious survival instincts that are not understood precisely because they are not available for consideration in conscious awareness. It is important to note that the entire twelvefold chain springs into existence at each level of awareness out of a form of ignorance. See Appendix II: Buddhism and The “Alchemy” of The Brain 116 . pain. it dies. The following illustrates how this might manifest itself at level 3 and level 4 awareness within a particular situation. sadness. if a transition is made to the next level of awareness the previous level-specific self is transcended. and the cycle begins again at the newly gained level of awareness.Beyond Survival process of aging or disillusionment (sorrow. Level 3 Situation: choosing and buying a new car ignorance (unconscious survival drive) action consciousness (survival drive dependent desire) name and form membership decision to buy a new car approval of friends sport coupe (means of peer approval) Level 4 independence decision to buy a new car envy of others luxury sedan (means of displaying status) 5 In Buddhist terms the ignorance in The Twelvefold Chain refers to an ignorance of the Four Noble Truths. Ignorance is the consequence of a lack of understanding or awareness.5 The particular form of ignorance (unconscious survival drive) at each level populates the links in the twelvefold chain according to its inherent blind imperatives.

and personal identity are all determined to a significant extent by the level of awareness inhabited by that person. personal recognition.Beyond Survival Level 3 the senses contact feeling desire taking (attachment) coming into existence birth aging death looks sleek and fast sitting in and/or driving car inclusion. What should be remembered is that all situations are experienced according the the level of awareness of the individual. 117 . ideas about truth. popularity for possession buying of the car car as possession self as car owner gradual disillusionment transition to next level of awareness Level 4 looks expensive sitting in and/or driving car status. In particular.6 Aspects of a personʼs life such as beliefs. motivation. power for possession buying of the car car as possession self as car owner gradual disillusionment transition to next level of awareness The above chart lays out how a particular situation may be experienced by individuals at level 3 and level 4 awareness. acceptance. In a very real sense an individual experiencing life through the lens of level 3 awareness is living in a different world than someone viewing life through the perspective of level 4 awareness. responsibility. morality. success. meaning. opinions. the survival drive operational at a given level of 6 A possible bridge between the Developmental Liberation model and Buddhist teaching is that the idea of reincarnation (a repeating cycle of birth and death) can be viewed as a metaphor for the repeated unfolding of the twelvefold chain of dependent origination as each new form of self is “born” at each level of awareness.

in effect. running the individualʼs life from the unexplored depths of the subconscious mind (so long as that survival drive remains outside of the individualʼs conscious awareness).Beyond Survival awareness is. 118 .

Section 4: The Levels of Awareness .

Finally. locked in our selfish and myopic economies. She waves her arms aimlessly and kicks her legs sporadically. 4. Eventually. The principle of ecology. Her experience is one of embedded continuity with her environment. In the process we will examine some strengths and weaknesses as well as some key components of each level. we will speculate on the possible nature of level 6 awareness. we have been willing to change or destroy far beyond our power to understand. if we will take it to heart. She has no sense of self. Little Melanie is only 5 days old. She begins to separate her body from the environment in which it exists. However. 120 . and 5 found in the world today. a distinction that will change everything. Her behavior is not intentional. And our great dangerousness is that. She acts in response to innate reflexes and intrinsic instincts for survival. over time Melanie begins to make a fundamental distinction. we can neither fully understand nor fully control. We will also look at several common examples of levels 3. should keep us aware that our lives depend on other lives and upon processes and energies in an interlocking system that.” Wendell Berry In this section we will take a closer look at each level of awareness. those tiny. pink. a change in our bearing in the face of mystery.Beyond Survival The Early Years: Separation “The change of mind I am talking about involves not just a change of knowledge. The First Transition Melanie lies on a soft knitted blanket on the floor. chubby sausages that come and go in her visual field will become part of her growing awareness of a body that is somehow separate from the womb of the world that surrounds her. though we can destroy it. but also a change of attitude toward our essential ignorance.

Jordy has made the transition from level 1 awareness to level 2 awareness and he is now driven by personal wants and desires as well as his basic needs. occurs soon after birth. Success for the infant is being comfortable and exercising control of physical reflexes. But those days are gone forever. water). He wants to wear the green one. He is upset because his mother wants him to put on his new blue jacket but Jordy isnʼt having any of it. The infant acts to fulfill desires for the basic needs (warmth.Beyond Survival The first transition. 121 . From Level 1 to Level 2 Jordy is having a full-blown tantrum. His mother reflects longingly that when he was an infant (level 1 awareness) Jordy didnʼt fight her on issues of fashion. from Level 0 to Level 1. Pleasure is good. Pain is bad. He is now acquiring his own individual set of preferences that accompany the unconscious survival drive for security and safety found at the second level of awareness. rest. food. With the attainment of Level 1 awareness the infantʼs primitive behavior is largely motivated according to whether or not it is experiencing pleasure or pain. With the separation of the body from the environment the infant gains a modicum of freedom from and power over the environment and the bodyʼs physical reflexes.

physical impulses and the environment. From Level 2 to Level 3 As recently as a year ago it would have repulsed them both but now Daniel and Jessica are happily holding hands while they wait for the school bus. Clearly. Morality is measured in terms of like and dislike. As control over the bodily reflexes that drive a level 1 infant increases. This self is experienced as separate from its body. a change has recently come over Jessica and Daniel. needs. Its behavior is driven by a need for physical and emotional security experienced as its desires. Feeling only slightly uncomfortable they laugh and joke with the friends that surround them. Intimate and tight knit relationships with members of their peer group have taken on an unprecedented importance in their lives. the child begins to see things in terms of its internal desires and interests.Beyond Survival The transition from Level 1 to Level 2 typically happens within the first few years of a childʼs life. At this level a self made up of desires for safety is established. and wants. It has dominion over the body. It is attracted to what it desires and repulsed by that which interferes with need fulfillment. The body and the environment are available to be used in the fulfillment of the childʼs wants and needs. A possible problem at this level is the development of inordinate selfishness in a child. 122 . some of whom are similarly paired up.

which in turn is heavily influenced by your family. while inevitably uncomfortable. The transitions. From the primarily self absorbed point of view of level 2 the individual discovers the need to cooperate and compromise in order to meet an unconscious survival drive for membership. in 123 . Whether you ever progress beyond this level depends on many factors not the least of which is your individual experiential learning. This transition involves the emergence of a whole new self once again. No Guarantees Most of us reach at least the third Level of Awareness within our lifetimes and most often do so without ever realizing that we have even made the necessary transitions between levels. occurred without being recognized for what they were. New kinds of relationships may be forged and the influence of peer pressure can become a powerful source of motivation. After Level 3 things are not so automatic. your culture. hormones play a significant role in this transition. Of course. your socioeconomic standards. your educational opportunities.Beyond Survival Moving from Level 2 to Level 3 takes longer than the transition from level 1 to level 2 awareness. The drive for membership may partly be born of an unconscious recognition that the self alone cannot adequately satisfy its needs and desires. by a drive for membership. This new self is primarily driven by a need to belong.

our evolution has resulted in the creation of certain strategies of resilience that allow us to avoid constant and gratuitous reconfigurations of ourselves.Beyond Survival short. being prevented from moving beyond level 3 could be a serious drawback when living in a modern complex society. The Separation Mechanism Each transition between a lower level of awareness and the next level up involves an increased degree of separation of the self from the organismʼs initial state of undifferentiated embeddedness in the environment. Life would be chaotic and unlivable without a certain degree of psychological stability. Whether this is a problem or not will often be determined by your circumstances. the world in which you grow up. a purely 124 . If some or all of these environmental factors inhibit the development of your awareness you may not evolve beyond the intermediate point of view found at level 3. On the other hand. Although we typically think of this separation as a physical one it is. In addition to the social and cultural factors that may inhibit an individualʼs passage through the Levels of Awareness is the built-in resistance to change found in all individuals. We all resist change and for very good reasons. Therefore. An unfortunate downside of these very necessary strategies is that they may result in resistance to the generally healthy changes involved in progressing from one level of awareness to the next. in fact. If you live in a simple or primitive culture the level 3 imperative for connections and belonging may be very appropriate and sufficient.

Memory. How is it possible for the undifferentiated newborn to extricate a separate self from the undivided wholeness that is its original state. It is this psychological separation that precipitates the coming into being of the unconscious drives we spoke of earlier. This activity is the process of experience being encoded in memory. The mechanism for this separation is most easily understood if we look at the very first separation.Beyond Survival psychological separation resulting in the very convincing impression that we exist as entities that are completely independent of the rest of the world. the separation from newborn (Level 0) to infant (Level 1). It is also the capacity that 125 . the infant gradually comes to sense that it interacts with an environment that is other than itself. and the accumulation of knowledge it allows. in its brain. As this process continues over time a psychological separation of body and environment eventually occurs. Through the repetition of largely random physical reflexes. is the capacity that makes this separation possible. This transition accomplishes the amazing feat of abstracting the body from its embedded state in the environment. With the separation of the self from other the self acquires certain unconscious survival drives which run the life of the self without the self being aware of their influences. and the storage of sensations associated with these movements. What changes take place that allow this to happen? There is an activity crucial to all psychological development occurring in the newbornʼs nervous system. and in particular.

all subsequent level specific separations and transitions between levels possible. However. importantly. people do often exhibit the traits of one level or another at any given point in their lives. Also. The descriptions of each level should not be construed as profiles of real people. 4. As we move through our discussion of Developmental Liberation it is important to remember that we will be focusing on the aspects of the levels that are most indicative of each level.Beyond Survival makes all learning and. In real life it is highly unlikely that any individuals exist entirely at a single level in all aspects of their lives. the transitions between them do not necessarily proceed automatically. In the chapters that follow we will explore in some detail Levels 3. 5 and 6 (and the transitions between them) as these levels are most pertinent to issues we are facing in the world today. 126 . therefore. As long as people continue to grow psychologically there is the possibility that they will progress upwardly through the Levels of Awareness.

” Fortunately for him and for those he seeks to help.Beyond Survival Membership: Level 3 Awareness “By building relations we create a source of love and personal pride and belonging that makes living in a chaotic world easier. As Katie Mercer says in an article posted on canada. He now spends his time working to persuade others to break with their gang involvements. This resonates with the desire of level 3 individuals to pursue identities defined by group relationships. Law enforcement agencies and political groups are struggling to come to grips with this untenable situation. Amir says he now intends to live a life of contribution to his community. British Columbia. A gang provides a structured and relatively uncomplicated been charged or done time. This intention indicates a measure level 5 awareness is also at work. joining a gang addresses key aspects of the drive for membership found at level 3 awareness. straps on his vest and hits the streets in the Downtown Eastside. 127 . As Amir puts it. This undertaking is not without its own risks. brotherhood.” It is usually very important to level 3 individuals that they be recognized and respected by their peers. among other things. “Every morning Javid wakes up. Until recently Amir was a member of a gang in Vancouver.” Susan Lieberman Amir Javid is turning his life around. While many facets of gang activities are clouded in secrecy the appeal of gang membership is well documented by sociologists and freely admitted to by gang members. According to Amir this society met his needs more immediately and completely than the larger and vastly more complex society in which he had been living. Amir Javid is no longer in a gang. Amir wanted to feel like he belonged somewhere. Put a gun in my hand and I got some attention. “I just wanted to be heard. When asked what attracted him to the gang lifestyle Amir mentioned. Among other considerations such as gaining recognition and the acquisition of wealth. Vancouver has become a hotbed of criminal gang activity. seeking out gang members who are at their most vulnerable — guys who have just joined. In addition to an identity defined by relationships and values within the gang level 3 individuals can also achieve a sense of recognition through gang membership. So far this year (2009) there have been reports in the news of gang violence in Vancouver on a disturbingly regular basis. Amir Javid is making a courageous transition from level 3 to level 4 awareness where the unconscious survival drives of level 3 are becoming objects in his awareness that he can now take into consideration in his efforts to liberate other gang members from their level 3 imperatives.

Transmutation at Level 3 Awareness The unconscious survival drive for security of level 2 becomes an object of awareness at level 3 awareness. in the early stages of this level. At level 3 there is an increase in the individualʼs degree of freedom afforded by the additional objects of awareness available at this level. The self comes to be defined by relationships to others. No more is there an existence for the self that is completely independent of its relationships with other selves. They must be taken into account when making choices and decisions. wants and needs related to safety and security emerged. The self is now removed from embeddedness through awareness of its environment and its drive for security and the desires attendant to this need. wants and desires. If nothing else. these others cannot be denied their existence. others are understood to be resources in the individualʼs ongoing attempts to satisfy her needs. Even though. The drive for security along 128 . At Level 3 no longer is a person simply a separate self but now she is an individual within a social grouping. In closer relationships there is usually an increase in the likelihood that both parties in the relationship will be understood by the other to be actual selves rather than objects.Beyond Survival Watch a video interview with Amir Javid: CTV Interview Level 3 Awareness At level 2 a separate self driven by desires. the tendency is often to see others as objects rather than as selves in their own rights.

Components of Level 3 Awareness Form of Wisdom Awareness now includes knowledge about the drive for security and safety providing the individual with additional information available for consideration when making choices and decisions. Desires With the onset of puberty that is commensurate with level 3 awareness the powerful drive for procreation comes into play. In addition. strong desires for belonging and connection drive the level 3 individual. 129 . Popularity is often an end in itself at this level.Beyond Survival with its related desires are now in awareness and. as such. Truth Truth at Level 3 is determined by consensus within the individualʼs group. With a deep concern for belonging comes a tendency to defer to the group so as not to be ostracized. Peer pressure becomes a powerful force as does concern for popularity and the opinions of others. Unconscious Foundation of Self The self that forms at Level 3 is primarily consumed by a drive for membership. If “everyone” thinks itʼs true then it is. are available for consideration by the individual when making choices.

Relevant situational factors may be ignored in favor of focusing on what individuals believe should be the same. Morality For an individual at level 3 equality based on comparison with others is an overriding concern. Success Success at level 3 awareness is measured in terms of acceptance and popularity. Situations and actions that enhance the formation and strengthening of relationships and group membership are meaningful. The clarion cry of individuals at this level is. Meaning Individuals at level 3 find meaning in relationships and in forming bonds with others.Beyond Survival Choices are often made on the basis of their potential to promote inclusion and popularity or to avoid exclusion. If people at this level cannot find satisfying membership in mainstream groupings 130 . Situations that are perceived to have the potential to threaten relationships also are laden with meaning. “Itʼs not fair!” when what they may really mean is that its not equal or the same. Problems The drive to belong has several possible problem areas.

in their need to form strong bonds with others groups of individuals at this level of awareness may attempt to make their groups exclusive by imposing rigid membership restrictions. When we look at the world for evidence of this we find it everywhere.Beyond Survival they may be drawn to groups with questionable social values such as gangs and cults. They may institute demeaning membership or hazing rituals. Level 3 Awareness In Society In the description of the basis for morality that is typical of level 3 awareness we said “the clarion cry of individuals at this level is. Pathological rivalries may form between groups. Relevant situational factors may be ignored in favor of focusing on what individuals believe should be the same.” 131 . On a global scale level 3 awareness can manifest itself in conflicts that are waged over conflicting nationalist or ideological interests. Also. Excessive people pleasing may lead individuals into dangerous or overly dependent relationships. Level 3 Awareness In The World The research shows that level 3 awareness is the level where a large proportion of the population of the world resides. ʻItʼs not fair!ʼ when what they may really mean is that its not equal or the same.

In the 1970s this philosophy found its way into many educational systems in the western world. In schools standards have been relaxed in order to lower failure rates. the author remarks: 132 . At the same time rewards have been put in place to recognize almost any behavior judged to be in any way positive. Some schools even prohibit any schoolyard games that promote a clear differentiation between winners and losers. The idea of “social promotion” was introduced whereby students who failed to meet the already watered down standards for passing on to the next grade are promoted due to social considerations and to avoid the stigma of being left behind. While it is commendable to want individuals to feel good about themselves we will see that imposing equality in all areas of endeavor is not the way to go about it. In an article titled “Positively Misguided” by Steve Salerno and published in the April. Inherent in the obsession with universal self-esteem is the idea that failure should be avoided at all costs because its potential damage to an individualʼs self regard. 2009 issue of Skeptic magazine. Following from this denigration of failure some questionable decisions have been made.Beyond Survival This theme of wanting unconditional “sameness” is exemplified in the self-esteem movement.

Studies have shown that students educated in schools committed to promoting self-esteem do not produce students of high or even average scholastic standing.Beyond Survival “There ensued a wholesale celebration of mediocrity. Yet another unsettling effect of practices taken in the name of self-esteem is 133 . In fact nations that promote self-esteem in their schools and homes do not compete well with nations that put a greater premium on learning than on self-esteem. They are unprepared for the realities that exist outside the protective cocoon constructed by those who would bolster their self-esteem over all other considerations. Taking into account the measures discussed above this should not surprise us. The prevention of failure has another. Students who have not had to deal with failure. and perhaps more troubling result. Schools abandoned their honor rolls lest they bruise the feelings of students who failed to make the cut. who have been insulated from realistic and natural consequences. grow up without acquiring important coping skills that adult life requires.” The intentions of the self-esteem movement are noble but the consequences can be disturbing.

Beyond Survival narcissism. Psychologist have found that the strongest indicator of anti-social behavior is not low but excessive self-esteem. can result in obsessive defensiveness. This is true of serial killers. It is not something that can be gratuitously bestowed upon an individual. blame others and adopt the role of helpless victims. instead. in turn. Such individuals fail to face lifeʼs challenges and. In fact. This insecurity. And because inflated self esteem is founded on mediocre performance individuals may have nagging feelings of insecurity. achievement earned by a combination of nurtured talent and personal effort. the opposite is true. The high selfesteem they observed was the result of high achievement. With inflated self esteem comes an unrealistic assessment of oneʼs place in the world. They drew the conclusion that high achievement was the result of high self-esteem. Perhaps the most serious consequence of universal self-esteem is the tendency of narcissistic individuals to become aggressive. Genuine self regard must be earned through genuine enterprise and achievement. drug dealers and other sociopaths. 134 . Researchers found that high achievers had high self-esteem. The homogenization of merit underlying the self-esteem movement was based on a serious misapprehension.

Beyond Survival Propelled by the level 3 imperatives for equality. activities. music. Most networks allow users to connect and share ideas around common interests. the effects of which continue to impact us all. they can then connect with other users of the same network based on various criteria. and so on. game consoles. The recent explosive growth of the internet and the formation of social networks is an indication of a widespread presence of level 3 imperatives in our world. books. The ignorance of level 3 awareness and its associated limited perspective are complicit in this unintended crime against humanity. Devices like computers. and cell phones are ubiquitous in todayʼs world and have been wholeheartedly embraced by the young people who make up a large portion of the worldʼs population of level 3 individuals. Level 3 Awareness In Pop Culture The communicative power of modern technology has a strong appeal to the level 3 drive to connect. Users create an account in a network and can then create a profile that includes personal information such as favorite movies. Depending on the particular network. mp3 players. Others focus on such things as photo 135 . sameness. Social networks allow people to connect in ways previously not available. and inclusion a travesty is still being perpetrated throughout the western world.

reconnecting with school acquaintances. business. sharing video clips. etc. created by Marc Zuckerberg while still a student at Harvard University. The appeal of such networking to individuals at level 3 awareness is obvious. One of the features of Facebook that appeals to many people is that you can control who connects with you. Now. religion. another popular social networking system. This contrasts with the more open access to information posted on MySpace. This network. The social opportunities available for connecting with others have become virtually (pun intended) limitless.. Now the world is 136 . Potential contacts must send you a request and you must then grant them the privilege of becoming your “friend” before they can access any information about yourself that you have posted in your personal profile. One of the most popular social networks is Facebook. Wikipedia (itself a specialized kind of social network) lists over 100 social networks with a wide variety of interest areas. sports. anyone can join and it is estimated there are more than 64 million users worldwide.Beyond Survival sharing. appeared on the scene in 2004 and was at first restricted to university students.

Of course. can now hook up with a nearly unlimited variety of groups and individuals.Beyond Survival literally at your fingertips and the possible connections are practically unlimited. has more than 11. Realities and Implications for Prevention. However. Even people previously marginalized. World of Warcraft. In particular. whether due to a lack of popularity.5 million monthly subscribers making it the worlds largest Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) in the world. cases of online stalking or abductions were found to be “extremely rare”. physical impairment. MMORPGs have attracted the attention of sociologists and psychologist because 137 . In spite of the fact that they take place in virtual worlds. geographic isolation. a recent report entitled "Online ʻPredatorsʼ and Their Victims: Myths. or some other limiting factor. Level 3 Awareness In Entertainment The hugely popular online game. the dangers of getting involved with groups or individuals of questionable character are just as much a concern in the virtual world as in the real one." published in the February/March 2008 issue of American Psychologist. concluded that both the frequency and the severity of incidents involving online predators were much less than generally perceived by the public.

Males in particular reported finding it easier to converse online than offline. research into these games provides some interesting insights into the millions of people who participate in MMORP games. Of course. One of the attractions of MMORPGs seems to be the opportunity they provide for players to try out alternative characters that can have personalities and characteristics not possessed by their creators. An activity of this sort is a prime of example of the type of recreational activity in which one would expect individuals of level 3 awareness to engage. Research shows that as many as 57% of gamers have created a character of the opposite gender. Such engagement provides many opportunities for players to make connections with others. Studies have shown that slightly more than one fifth of those who play MMORPGs prefer socializing online to doing so in real life. both directly between the players themselves and indirectly through their game characters. For individuals at level 3 awareness online socializing can provide much desired opportunities to make connections in addition to those found in their offline lives.Beyond Survival the interactions between players of these games are real. there is 138 . Consequently.

Social Networks: A relatively new level 3 phenomenon is the emergence of the very popular social networking websites like the previously discussed Facebook along with others such as Twitter. political parties.Beyond Survival always the danger of becoming too dependent on virtual socializing to the detriment of making a sufficient effort to establish. Where Developmental Liberation is concerned the motivation of individuals for participation in activities is more relevant than the specific activities themselves. sororities.Social Groups: The level 3 drive for connections often leads individuals to join such groups as clubs. The drive for membership of level 3 awareness will not be denied whether it is satisfied through real world relationships or in some alternative form of connection making. volunteer organizations. They are not intended to be taken as exclusive to the level nor should it be assumed that individuals at this level will restrict themselves to these activities exclusively. what may be perceived to be. etc. More Examples of Level 3 Awareness in the World Disclaimer: The following represent activities to which individuals at this level of awareness may be drawn. service groups. . . 139 . somewhat more intimidating relationships in real life. fraternities.

inclusion. This is particularly true of professional sports like baseball. jackets.Sports: Sports. Also. and shared interest that sports fans enjoy there can be no doubt that the level 3 imperative for membership is a powerful force 140 . etc. and YouTube. And then there are the billions spent on sports merchandise such as jerseys. Fans of professional sports teams spend billions of dollars every year attending the games of their favorite teams. several major internet organizations like Google and Yahoo host user groups where people can form ad hoc online groups centered around virtually any interest area. .Beyond Survival MySpace. hockey. banners. For the 2010 FIFA World Cup a record 204 nations will compete for 32 spots in the tournament. 198 nations attempted to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. or as it is known outside of North America. Soccer. basketball and. the sports crowning competition. But while participation in team sports is a strong indicator of how popular level 3 awareness activities are today it is the fans of these sports that really tell the tale. football is the worldʼs most popular sport. It is estimated that there are currently well in excess of 100 different social networking systems available on the internet with more being added all the time. The opportunities for bonding and identifying with large groups of people attract millions of people worldwide. coffee cups. With the sense of identity. pennants. hats. are very attractive to individuals with level 3 awareness needs. both at the participant and spectator levels. particularly team sports. soccer. of course.

The level 3 individual becomes aware of having these needs as opposed to being them. it is these very dangers and problems that make a transition to the next level more likely. 141 . In the case of level 3 awareness the wisdom a new awareness of the level 2 drive for safety and security. The Transition From Level 3 to Level 4 Awareness “We accept the verdict of the past until the need for change cries out loudly enough to force upon us a choice between the comforts of further inertia and the irksomeness of action. Also. The Wisdom of Level 3 Each level of awareness provides a new type of wisdom not previously available. when faced with the enormous numbers of people worldwide who regularly come together in this way we see unmistakable evidence that level 3 awareness is ubiquitous throughout the world. As problems mount for an individual at their current level and the dangers and problems become more and more obvious.Beyond Survival and that being a sports fan is a satisfying way of meeting that need. Ironically.” Judge Learned Hand The Upside of Problems Each level of awareness has its dangers and problems. he will become increasingly likely to reach his limit within that level of awareness and be motivated to move on. With this increase in awareness comes an increase in options available for decision making.

142 . this requires a the creation of a self with the wider perspective afforded by a higher level of awareness. From the perspective of level 3 awareness there is no way out. people operating at Level 3 Awareness will inevitably encounter level 3 related problems. Perhaps they will experience the pain of a failed relationship. The severity and number of problems may eventually reach a point at which the individual feels she can no longer cope with the demands of her life. What is needed is a liberation of the constraints inherent in membership. The unconscious components of the self as member need to be converted to conscious objects of awareness. Maybe they will feel rejected by their peers. Friends might voice disapproval of something they said or did. What has worked in the past is no longer providing solutions. that is. being defined by others and the drive to belong. The self is trapped in a membership mindset. A transformation of self is needed whereby the self can see the components of membership objectively. The question is how is the new self formed and how can the process of its formation be facilitated? The Stages of Transition from Level 3 to Level 4 outline this process. Pleasing others becomes an impossible task. The individual is overwhelmed.Beyond Survival The Ignorance of Level 3 As time goes on. As noted earlier.

trying various alternative approaches to solving the individualʼs level 3 related problems e • ! xamining items uncovered in the Assessment phase r • ! eframing the problem • experimenting with strategies not based on the pursuit of membership Reconstruction .accumulation of successful alternative approaches as they are discovered through trial and error • defining oneʼs own identity (rather than being defined by group relationships) • logic and reason in choice making • personal evaluation as opposed to group consensus 143 . Disillusionment .Beyond Survival Stages of Transition .recognition that current approaches (level 3) are insufficient to deal with the individualʼs problems Assessment .Level 3 to Level 4 In our earlier discussion of transitions we identified four possible stages that a transition might involve. We will not look at these stages with the transition from level 3 to level 4 in mind.identification of what is no longer working such as: • being defined by membership in a group • trying to please everyone • relying on others to meet needs (interpersonal dependency) • seeking universal approval • avoiding rejection • pursuit of popularity Experimentation .

144 .Beyond Survival • responsibility for improved self status rather than reliance on group successes • organization by hierarchies within and between groups • pursuit of personal goals • taking personal responsibility for success Upon complete a transition from level 3 awareness to level 4 awareness individuals find themselves under the influence of a new unconscious survival drive. the drive for independence and personal recognition.

Perhaps the level 4 imperative for status was at work here. To a man in Blackʼs position status would be measured not against those of moderate means but against those of substantial means. It seems reasonable to assume that the dynamic of relative status may have played a part in Blackʼs decision to appropriate the funds from Hollinger Institute that led to his downfall.” George Bernard Shaw For a time he was the third largest newspaper magnate in the world.Beyond Survival Independence: Level 4 Awareness “The four cornerstones of character on which the structure of this nation was built are: Initiative. every soul of us on earth. Given that Conrad Black was a man of monumental wealth the question is “why”. 145 . however.” Edward Rickenbacker “Independence? That's middle-class blasphemy. A report to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission by the Hollinger Institute accused Black of running a “corporate kleptocracy” and there must have been some basis for the accusation because Black was ordered to pay Hollinger 6. In July of 2007 Conrad Black was convicted and sentenced to serve 78 months in a United States federal prison. Imagination. Conrad Black was born into a relatively wealthy family wherein he likely acquired a belief in wealth as the measure of a man. His ostentatious lifestyle later in life is well documented. Individuality and Independence. Due to the elevated level of competition for status in this rarefied atmosphere it is unlikely that any amount of money would ever be enough. Why would a man already rolling in money bother to engage in diverting funds from the company of which he was the CEO for his personal benefit? What compelled Black to break the law in the pursuit of even more wealth? What seems an irrational act may. Status to Black would be relative to his position within the wealthiest people in the world. make some sense if we are dealing with an individual at the fourth level of awareness.1 million dollars. We are all dependent on one another.

are no longer unconsciously driven by it. to experience membership. eat junk and shout abuse. A lot of the runners don't even get decent sneakers or clean drinking water. it is so pervasive that. is status anxiety. to be accepted.” Bansky Perhaps the aspect of level 4 awareness that we can most easily recognize. Once again. status anxiety may be said to define our modern age. In her introduction to a talk by Alain de Botton. By virtue of the transmutation that occurs in the transition from level 3 to level 4 awareness individuals become conscious of the basic human need to belong and. even if we would rather not admit it to ourselves. It's not surprising a lot of people have given up competing altogether and gone to sit in the grandstand. The concern of individuals now becomes their relative status within the groups to which they belong and within society as a whole. Personal ambition is a hallmark of level 4 awareness. freedom has evolved by means of a further removal of the self from the environment. every possible help along the way and still the referees seem to be on their side. Status Anxiety and Level 4 Awareness “The human race is the most stupid and unfair kind of race. In the pursuit of status concerns about power come to the fore. to be included. more than any other common psychological problem. author of Status 146 .Beyond Survival Level 4 Awareness Recall that at Level 3 individuals are driven by powerful drives to connect. consequently. What the human race needs is more streakers. Indeed. Some runners are born with a massive head start.

A level 4 self is to a large extent defined.. “.Beyond Survival Anxiety. A meritocratic society is one in which privilege is earned rather 147 .. by its perception of its level on a continuum that is deemed to be relevant to that particular situation. family." Having moved from level 3 awareness where he was defined by membership in any number of groups the level 4 individual is acutely aware of his position within these various groups and within the larger society as he strives to forge an independent identity. in any given situation. This tends to be the case regardless of whether the situation at hand is oneʼs workplace. that we are in danger of failing to conform to the ideals of success laid down by our society and that we may as a result be stripped of dignity and respect. recreational sports group. what other people think of us. de Botton believes that an important reason why status anxiety is so prevalent in the world today is due to our perception that our societies are meritocratic. or any other situation that involves an opportunity to measure oneʼs mettle against others.” In Status Anxiety de Botton defines the malady as "a worry so pernicious as to be capable of ruining extended stretches of our lives. and whether we can be judged a success or a failure in the eyes of the world. a worry that we are constantly occupying too modest a rung or are about to fall to a lower one. The individual comes to view his self as located at various levels on any number of continuums. Amanda Smith remarks. social club. are widespread anxieties that generally go unacknowledged and unexamined.

But as de Botton observers. At this level those needs become objects of awareness permitting individuals to take them into account when dealing with the situations and circumstance they encounter in their lives. Couple this with the tendency at level 4 awareness to define our now independent selves in terms relative to others and we come up with a potent recipe for extreme levels of status anxiety. If you genuinely believe that those at the top deserve their success. you by definition have to believe that those at the bottom deserve their failure. In the process of experiencing life we form and store in our nervous systems. “The problem with sincerely believing that your society is meritocratic is explaining failure. Watch a video with Alain de Botton: Status Anxiety Components of Level 4 Awareness Degree of Freedom Level 4 Awareness brings with it a degree of freedom from the previously unconscious survival drives to connect and belong.” If this is so it is no wonder that we obsess over our positions on the failuresuccess continuum. In a meritocracy it is assumed that everyone has an equal chance to succeed if they apply themselves with sufficient vigor and perseverance. Unconscious Foundation of the New Self The basis for the new self that forms at level 4 is the experiential history of the individual. conclusions about the way 148 .Beyond Survival than conferred or inherited.

The accumulation of conditioning (learning) is essential to life and survival. beliefs. Thus. In order for the process of pattern recognition to occur virtually instantaneously. 149 . This comes at a price. As necessary as this is. Conditioning is simply what we have learned from our life experiences. These conclusions include assumptions. The downside of speedy pattern recognition is seeing patterns or connections where no real basis for them exists. and opinions that can collectively be referred to as our conditioning.Beyond Survival things are. However. the very nature of the acquisition of knowledge may serve to fill our brains with some rather questionable content. Our brains attempt to “join the dots” or make connections rapidly in order to make sense out of what is continually occurring in the present moment. if we are not vigilant we will draw some very dubious conclusions and hold them to be true. our brains have evolved the ability to make connections with very little information. Because it is so crucial to survival it has evolved to work at an amazing speed. We may not have the luxury of time needed for careful deliberation in the midst of an emergency situation so we are hardwired to jump to conclusions. Quick connections may be inaccurate or unfounded. it is fraught with difficulties. Apophenia Our brains are patterning machines and are constantly seeking to make sense of the world through the discovery of patterns. The scientific term for this is apophenia and it is rampant.

it can prevent other changes from occurring. The hallmark of level 4 is unexamined assumptions and beliefs. Truth At Level 4 relative truth is believed to be absolute.” is a self-evident truth to an individual with Level 4 Awareness. “Neuroplasticity has the power to produce more flexible but also more rigid behaviors--a phenomenon I call "the plastic paradox. now freed of meaning that was dependent on membership. Norman Doidge explains the downside of neuroplasticity as follows.Beyond Survival Even the blessing that we referred to earlier as brain neuroplasticity has a role to play in the impact of unsubstantiated conclusions. form the basis of the selfʼs system of evaluation. “Gold is valuable. some of our most stubborn habits and disorders are products of our plasticity. focuses on the establishment of personal meaning and values within the context of learned values. Social norms and values are absorbed and adopted without question." Ironically. valid or otherwise. Situations are interpreted according to the conditioning of the individual person who. Likewise the importance of status is a given. The 150 . Underlying assumptions and biases are largely unconscious and unavailable for scrutiny. Once a particular plastic change occurs in the brain and becomes well established.” At level 4 these habits and conclusions.

151 .Beyond Survival author of Status Anxiety concluded that. some form of status anxiety is inevitable. although it may be alleviated to a degree. Level 4 truths are institutional (rules and laws) and are felt to be universal rather than relative to particular situations or contexts.

He eventually gave up and swam back to his dock but not before threatening to call the police. Each house had its own dock on the lake and most had a good sized cabin cruiser tied up to the dock. since there were no other people or dogs there at the time. Shelby is a golden retriever and loves the water. It was an extremely hot day and we had taken our dog.Beyond Survival A Close Encounter Of The Level 4 Kind On a recent holiday. 152 . As the man rose out of the water I noticed a heavy gold chain around his neck.” A conversation ensued regarding the spirit of the law versus the letter of law but he was adamant that the “law is the law” regardless of the circumstances. “Dogs must be on a leash.” He asked if we had seen the sign. I acknowledged that we had but that we thought. His answer was a typical level 4 response. The houses on the other side of the stream were mostly large and expensive summer homes of wealthy people. that it really didnʼt matter if Shelby was on a leash. We were situated on a grassy area separated from some upscale houses by a stream that empties into the lake. When we arrived I noticed a man on one of the docks standing beside his boat. to a public area so that she could swim in the lake. He walked up to a nearby tree and pointed to a sign that read. After watching us for awhile he dove into the water and swam over to where we were enjoying the lake with our dog. We stayed and swam for about an hour and then left. Shelby remained off leash the entire time and the police never did arrive. Shelby. While people often walked their dogs in the area we were the only ones there at the time. We later learned that a local police officer regularly took his dog to the same spot and that his dog was usually off leash. my wife and I were at Christina Lake in the interior of British Columbia. Itʼs the law and your dog should be on a leash. “It doesnʼt matter if there arenʼt any other people or dogs here.

in turn. This drive stems from their unconscious conditioning which. celebrity. Level 4 individuals are motivated by the possibility of personal gain relative to others. People at this Level Of Awareness are attracted to situations that hold the potential for personal advancement within a hierarchy.Beyond Survival Desires Status drives individuals with Level 4 Awareness. stems from their personal histories. and admiration is common. Meaning For the Level 4 individual meaning is determined by the possible relative personal advantage or disadvantage regarding his status in a given context. These personal histories inevitably involve some form of social conditioning which. 153 . Behavior Advantages are sought with a view to improving an individualʼs ranking within every area of her life. by definition. includes the inculcation of the prevalent cultureʼs dominant mores and norms. Opportunities are sought for enhancing the individualʼs relative position in the hierarchies within the groups to which she belongs. not the least of which is a definition of success. The pursuit of power through wealth. Competition is a natural behavior for Level 4 individuals.

may become problematic when rivalries become too intense.” The absolute criteria often used are the laws of the land. While any of these criteria may be challenged they are usually challenged on the basis of competing absolute criteria rather than a fundamental questioning of the criteria themselves. Problems The Flip Side of Ambition When the drive to achieve status is taken too far blind ambition enters the picture. This is a morality that is seen to be equivalent to justice. when combined with Level 3 membership imperatives groups may engage in unhealthy practices when the 154 . Behavior may become callus and even ruthless in the obsessive pursuit of advantage over others. and traditional practices. “Killing is bad. the flip side of ambition. the importance and recognition of the individual self. cultural beliefs. Blind ambition can lead people to trample on the rights of others in the interest of personal advancement. Judgements are made using absolute criteria. Success Success at level 4 awareness is measured in terms of relative status. In addition.Beyond Survival Morality Questions of right and wrong are resolved by individuals by applying rules and/or laws to the situation. Also. jealousy.

groups may cultivate a culture of exclusivity by creating demanding membership requirements that insure the collective status of its members. This is a particular danger when an individual feels compelled to choose between her status and a concern for another cultureʼs well being. If there is an opportunity to increase wealth at the cost of damage to the environment level 4 awareness may favor pursuing the status perceived to be commensurate with an increase in wealth. It is also about being better than others. For example. At level 3 individuals want to experience a sense of belonging and they may see popularity as an indication of acceptance by their peers. Celebrity differs from popularity in that it is largely concerned with power and status. Personal status can also be at odds with the health of the environment.Beyond Survival status of the group becomes a vehicle for personal advantage. on the other hand. about 155 . The Cult of Celebrity The level 3 desire for popularity is sometimes transformed at level 4 awareness into an obsession with celebrity. Social and Environmental Concerns Another possible problem stemming from Level 4 Awareness is that the same kind of callus and ruthless behavior that may be directed at other individuals may also be directed towards other cultures resulting in racism. is not just about acceptance. Celebrity.

photos. The Internet as Status Machine There are many things to like about information technology: being able to find information on any topic in seconds.Beyond Survival having superior status. On blogs. He points out how large portions of the population are addicted to these manufactured spectacles involving manufactured celebrities. the way it lets us keep in touch with friends and relatives. opinions. Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. One of the most powerful aspects of the internet is that anyone can be heard. It is now common to have the latest celebrity scandal reported on the evening news thus lending it the same significance as natural disasters and political assassinations. There is a tendency on the part of level 4 individuals to bolster the idea that celebrity is of great importance by according celebrities almost mythical status. public forums. 156 . In his recent book. Those who might otherwise be disenfranchised are able to make themselves heard. and places like Facebook and MySpace anyone with a computer and internet connection can put their thoughts. With continued exposure to these vacuous exhibitions Hedges alleges that fans may well wind up lacking “the intellectual and linguistic tools to separate illusion from truth”. music and more in front of the world. movies. Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges illustrates the emptiness of celebrity culture through an examination of the pro wrestling phenomenon.

there is no guarantee about the level of veracity spoken with their new-found voices. The internet is almost completely anarchistic. When anyone can express their thoughts publicly and with anonymity we will inevitably be inundated with a flood of opinions all vying for our sympathy. The fact that web content is largely unregulated means that there is little or no control over the truth or accuracy of what you might stumble across as you travel around in cyberspace. particularly where opinions are concerned. in many cases. We are afloat on a sea of opinions all being given unqualified and. Also. More often than not.Beyond Survival But this sword of accessibility is double-edged. Attempts to police the web have been largely unsuccessful. undeserved validity. Taste and personal preference are afforded equal status with informed arguments and expert opinions. while the once powerless are now empowered to make themselves heard.  157 . In the minds of those at the fourth level of awareness this may be perceived as license to promote themselves in any way necessary to gain status within a community of like minded people. these opinions will be bolstered with emotion and hyperbole rather than with reasoned arguments and supporting evidence.

It's as if the sheer weight of the number of people who hold a belief is the best way to measure truth. For individuals at the fourth level of awareness the drive for individuality and personal status will often be a dominant motive when taking advantage of the power of the internet. Quantity often wins over quality when it comes to the power of opinions in an unmoderated environment like the internet. freedom devoid of accountability. flat. As with most technologies the internet itself is not good or bad. However. Depression In recent times there has been an huge increase in the incidence of depression in Western societies. In these societies the imperatives found at level 4 awareness of status and individual 158 . It is the way we use it and our motives for doing so that matters. and still be.Beyond Survival Often a large collection of similar snap opinions is given more weight than less numerous but more carefully considered thoughts. This is democracy in its most noxious form. When personal opinion is afforded equal status to informed opinion we are in danger of losing the crucial perspective of intelligent reflection. if you have a desire to gain status the internet and all of the forms of public forums it provides will probably be seen as a powerful tool to achieve your goals. If truth were determined by popular belief then the world would have actually been.

suggests that “an ethos that builds unwarranted selfesteem. level 4 awareness provides its own fertile grounds for narcissism to take seed. Level 4 In The World Together with level 3 awareness. level 4 awareness is the most prevalent level of awareness encountered by researchers in the field of developmental psychology. Keith Campbell explore the rise of narcissism 159 . evidence of level 4 awareness in the world is ubiquitous.” psychologists Jean M. “The Narcissism Epidemic. Twenge and W.Beyond Survival recognition are pervasive and may play a role in this disturbing phenomenon. espouses victimology. As with level 3. When personal importance is paramount there is always a danger that this importance will go beyond healthy confidence and cross the line into excessive self regard and its attendant problems. an eminent American psychologist. Martin Seligman. In their new book. Level 4 Awareness in Society Just as narcissism occurs at level 3 awareness. status. The acquisition of wealth. and celebrity may prove to be hollow victories in the end. and encourages rampant individualism has contributed to the epidemic.” He believes that when individuals have an inflated sense of personal importance and have no attachment to something bigger than themselves they are prone to falling into a state where there is no apparent source of meaning.

“. has tremendous appeal to those with dreams of wealth. phony feelings of being special among children (with parenting and education focused on self-esteem). We have phony rich people (with interest-only mortgages and piles of debt). but. reality always wins. All this fantasy might feel good.. and phony friends (with the social networking explosion). claims. The mortgage meltdown and the resulting financial crisis are just one demonstration of how inflated desires eventually crash to earth. a phony national economy (with $11 trillion of government debt). phony celebrities (via reality TV and YouTube). phony athletes (with performance-enhancing drugs). In the Introduction they explain the pervasive nature of narcissism and its inevitably harmful consequences.The Secret. phony beauty (with plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures). American culture's focus on self-admiration has caused a flight from reality to the land of grandiose fantasy. “Understanding the narcissism epidemic is important because its long-term consequences are destructive to society. phony genius students (with grade inflation). Rhonda Byrne..” Level 4 Awareness in Pop Culture We all want our dreams to come true. Stated simply. creator of The Secret. unfortunately.Beyond Survival in American culture values. The phenomenally successful book and DVD. the Law of Attraction is: whatever you focus on is attracted into your life. celebrity. The “secret” is revealed as something called the Law of Attraction.there is 160 . and status.

it sends you whatever you are thinking about.not a single thing. Believing in 161 . But.Beyond Survival not anything any human cannot be.” There is obvious appeal in this to the level 4 drive for individuality and personal recognition. Be warned: do not think about headaches or a visit from annoying relatives! In lieu of real evidence. It is inferred that the universe somehow knows what you are thinking and. There is no empirical explanation of how the Law of Attraction actually works.. It promises us unimagined control over our personal destinies. positive or negative. The Secret preys on a desire for quick fixes and easy solutions. being a rather naive cosmos. belief in The Secretʼs claims and the Law of Attraction are only slightly more sophisticated than belief in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. If only it was as harmless. Countless good people continue to be duped by this pipe dream and many will likely suffer because of it.. do or have. The Law of Attraction seems like the perfect method for securing superior status no matter what material yardstick might be applied. anecdotal reports are given of the Law of Attraction working in its mysterious ways. under the harsh light of rationality. No limits whatsoever. The Secret and its message of the Law of Attraction are far from harmless.

Many. are being ignored. perhaps most. the the whole idea of sharing a secret implies exclusive membership in a special group of informed initiates. Individuals with level 3 awareness are attracted to the idea of belonging to a community of ʻinʼ people who know the secret. and power to ostensibly be had through the magic of the Law of Attraction. Indeed. From the perspective of Developmental Liberation the success of The Secret is explained in its appeal to the imperatives of the two Levels of Awareness that are most prevalent in the general population. status. It is the nature of ignorance to permit exploitation. Individuals with level 4 awareness are especially susceptible to the alluring promise of wealth. Endeavors like The Secret shamelessly exploit level 3 and 4 ignorance.Beyond Survival the Law of Attraction. the debilitating disappointment of wasted time and effort. But practical wisdom and the awareness it affords are resistant to 162 . The results are predictable. will have wasted their investments. celebrity. and serious emotional distress. large numbers of wishful thinkers are investing in their dreams. They may experience crippling financial loses. Because of the promise of the law of attraction the normal precautions taken before making substantial financial and emotional commitments. such as investigating potential roadblocks and risks.

Letter grades are. School grading systems use a type of hierarchic classification. Student performance is sorted according to a system of letter grades. While many educators feel that there are serious problems with this system of grading it is not likely to change so long as level 4 awareness remains as prevalent as it is today. Our western society is founded on hierarchic systems of merit as favored by those with level 4 awareness. As with any meritocracy the school system operates under the assumption of equality of opportunity. establish clear measurement guidelines for determining comparative status within them. The No Child Left Behind initiative in the 163 . Students from families living in poverty do not come to school with the same advantages as those from wealthier homes. Level 4 Awareness in Education Individuals at level 4 awareness tend to value hierarchies because hierarchies.Beyond Survival exploitation. It assumes that all students are created with equal opportunities for achievement. The typically difficult job faced by teachers in inner city schools of poverty ridden regions put the lie to this assumption. a system of meritocratic status symbols. within the context of student performance. by their very nature. Here is one more reason to engage in the pursuit of practical wisdom.

Level 4 Awareness In Consumerism With the level 4 awareness drive for independence comes a strong desire for individuality.Beyond Survival U. was instituted in recognition of this situation. As long as we continue to define success in terms of status (wealth and celebrity) this gap will continue to widen and the dubious meritocratic practice of assigning letter grades for student performance will favor those who are already advantaged. Since individuals with level 4 awareness constitute a large proportion of our current population it is not surprising that much in our culture reflects the assumptions and beliefs of this level of awareness. In a book called The Ego Boom: Why the World Really Does Revolve Around You authors Steve Maich and Lianne George outline many ways that the drive for individuality has permeated our Western society.S. Reacting to the limitations of an identity defined by memberships in groups found at the third level of awareness. While this initiative has many commendable features it does not address the underlying cause of inequity -. In the bookʼs product description we find: “The unifying theme has been the same: there is nothing more vital than the power to choose—and to express oneself through 164 .the ever widening gap between the rich and poor in western society. level 4 individuals strike out to forge an independent identity.

selfabsorbed pieces” The themes of The Ego Boom serve to illuminate many instances of the individualistic and narcissistic ethos that pervades our culture. “This is the existential and social crisis described by Toronto authors Steve Maich and Lianne George: How a combination of ubiquitous information technology. cell phone plans.” Writing in the Winnepeg Free Press. and so on. Never have there been so many ways to customize our lives. computers. What could be more appealing to fourth level 165 . “You Sell” is a reference to the unspoken marketing message that tells us every product is for and about us. cable and satellite subscriptions. refrigerators. Nearly everything we purchase comes with options for personalization: cars. Maich and George have coined a term to refer to the underlying idea marketers use to sell their wares to those of us concerned with the individual aspect of self.Beyond Survival those choices. In his review of The Ego Boom describes the situation addressed by Maich and George. home plans. insurance coverage. Key Porter. Atomization—the breaking apart of social systems into ever smaller pieces—is emerging as the most powerful force shaping Western society. affirmational advertising and a culture of self-esteem is fragmenting our society into billions of hyper-individualistic.

These level 4 qualities are perfectly suited to the requirements of such reality TV shows such as The Apprentice. and Survivor. Outplay. American Idol. Survivor is a show in which contestants are isolated in wilderness environments and compete for one million dollars.” Level 4 Awareness In Entertainment The much disparaged “rat race” is an apt metaphor for much of the perspective inherent in level 4 imperatives. The tag line for the show speaks volumes about the its fundamental nature: “Outwit. To survive from day to day players need to use a blend of manipulation. however subliminally. Survivor was conceived in 1992 and was first produced in Sweden as “Expedition: Robinson” in 1997. and persuasion with the object of lasting to the end of the game and being crowned Sole Survivor.Beyond Survival awareness than to be told. Its eventual release in the USA in 2000 was a huge success and the reality TV era was born. that as an individual. With a drive for status and a desire for self-reliance individuals with level 4 awareness are often on the lookout for advantages to bolster their ambitions. “You are the center of the universe. Much 166 . Along the way contestants must deal with reward challenges and immunity challenges. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that contestants can vote to eliminate each other. deceit. Outlast”.

is in tune with the sensibilities of level 4 awareness. regardless of the means. The level 4 drive for status is played out in various competitive arenas. Where Developmental Liberation is concerned the motivation of individuals for participation in activities is more relevant than the specific activities themselves. manipulating. The examples of level 4 awareness imperatives are ubiquitous in our world today. Winning. Cheating. becomes the only thing that matters. 167 . More Examples of Level 4 Awareness in the World: Disclaimer: The following represent activities to which individuals at this level of awareness may be drawn. The only sin in this mindset is losing. winning and losing. with its focus on individual success at the expense of the success of others. and even criminal activities are justified in the obsessive pursuit of winning. They are not intended to be taken as exclusive to the level nor should it be assumed that individuals at this level will restrict themselves to these activities exclusively. But as many and as varied as they are there is a common thread that runs through them all. Taking this driveʼs competitive compulsions to an extreme level 4 individuals may inflate the importance of winning to the point where the end is felt to justify the means. lying.Beyond Survival about this game.

. level 4 drives lead them to seek improved status within the party power hierarchy. The Transition From Level 4 to Level 5 Awareness 168 .Law: With a propensity to arrive at independent opinions it is virtually inevitable that there will be disputes between individuals and groups of people at level 4 awareness. they are looking to make upward movement. In addition to serving as arbiter of our differences the legal system also provides another important function in the eyes of individuals at this level. regulations. Consequently the need for an impartial system of conflict resolution is very attractive to individuals at this level. As we have become more and more enamored of personal independence there has been a corresponding propensity to resort to litigation as the preferred method for resolving our inevitable differences. Whatever hierarchy they may find themselves in. We are able to hide behind rules.Politics: While at the level 3 level people may join political parties to connect with others. .Business: “Upwardly Mobile” is a term that applies well to level 4 individuals in the business world.Beyond Survival . and laws rather than face personal liability when our ambitions get us into trouble. When operating from level 4 awareness we may be tempted to prefer litigation over ethical behavior. At this level there is a tendency to over-ride concerns for right and wrong with concerns over personal advantage and status.

G. You may become disillusioned with the so-called absolute standards that have guided your choices once you stop to question their validity. Rivalries may have resulted in feelings of deep hurt and loneliness. a wise use of personal power may arise only after at least a partial transition to level 5 has been made. A wise perspective on personal responsibility may have to wait until level 5 awareness is achieved when it will come to be known as a responsibility to others and the planet.Beyond Survival “All of the past is but the beginning of the beginning. Individuals are enabled to discover their own personal power to make things happen in the world and with this power comes great responsibility. Wells The Wisdom of Level 4 Level 4 Awareness with its drive for independence contains the seeds of personal responsibility. A level 5 person understands their personal power as the means to making a unique contribution to a better world. You may spend years of your life in pursuit of wealth or celebrity only to find that any successes you may have achieved leave you unfulfilled.” H. The full implications of this responsibility may go unrecognized by individuals with level 4 awareness since it may be obscured by their concerns for advantage and status. In an effort to be more self-reliant you may have 169 . all that the human mind has accomplished is but the dream before the awakening. The Ignorance of Level 4 When you are operating from the perspective of level 4 awareness you are prone to the problems inherent in that perspective. Similarly.

In his book Outliers Malcolm Gladwell makes an argument for factors other than merit that he believes play important roles in determining who succeeds and who does not. Your intolerance for the beliefs.are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.. Individuals suffering from this affliction may eventually become disillusioned with the pursuit of status." Examining the lives of outliers from 170 . values.recognition that current approaches (level 4) are insufficient to deal with the individualʼs problems Assessment .identification of what is no longer working such as: • equating success with relative status (wealth. and opinions of others may prove to be a further source of isolation. Stages of Transition . It may turn out to be true that it is lonely at the top and that the closer you get to the top the lonelier it gets..Level 4 to Level 5 Disillusionment .Beyond Survival driven away others and alienated yourself. But there is evidence that this is not how success operates in the real world. Recall that in a meritocracy it is believed individuals should succeed in accordance with their individual merits. You may have sacrificed meaningful relationships in order to pursue your status related goals. According to Gladwellʼs research successful people “. fame) Status anxiety was presented as a common symptom of level 4 awareness.

" So much for meritocracy.10.000 hours of practice Notice that only the fourth of these factors is under the direct control of the individual. politics. he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages. some earned. etc.intelligence/talent/aptitude 4. some just plain lucky.opportunity 2. • over-reliance on self • intolerance for beliefs and opinions of others • others as objects in the competition for status • trust in hierarchies • operating from unexamined conditioning (beliefs) 171 . arts.Beyond Survival Mozart to Bill Gates. If Gladwell is correct it makes sense that some at the fourth level of awareness may find the quest for status through wealth or celebrity. the currently prevailing definitions of success. some not.being born in the right place and time 3. • absolute faith in personal truths • blind ambitions • competitive rivalries in business. According to Malcolm Gladwell success depends on: 1. "some deserved. to be less than satisfying.

Beyond Survival Experimentation .trying various alternative approaches (outside the level 4 strategies already tried) to solving the individualʼs level 4 related problems e • ! xamining items identified in the Assessment phase r • ! eframing the problem • trial and error Reconstruction .accumulation of successful alternative approaches as they are discovered through trial and error • treating others as selves not objects • defining success as benefit to all stakeholders • taking responsibility for improved community • openness to a variety of organizational structures in addition to hierarchies • respecting othersʼ beliefs. 172 . values. The level 5 drive is for unity. and opinions • trusting in the worth of consensus community values • setting community oriented goals • contributing unique gifts to the community • recognition of existence and influences of conditioning in beliefs and as a source of personal biases Once the transition from level 4 awareness to level 5 awareness is complete a new unconscious survival drive takes precedence.

more public.Beyond Survival Interdependence: Level 5 Awareness “It is not enough to be compassionate. Karachi. There are two aspects to action. and other cities.” Daniel C. When something needs to be done in the world to rectify the wrongs. Life is sacred. involved. Free the Children is run by children and seeks to curb the use of child labor around the world. in terms of calming and eventually dispelling anger. if one is really concerned with benefitting others.” Dalai Lama “The secret of happiness is to find something more important than you and dedicate your life to it. Calcutta. a human rights organization. 173 . Free the Children is written as a travelogue. You must act. Craig was deeply moved by this story. In the company of a chaperone he set out on a seven week journey.” Albert Einstein As a twelve year old Toronto schoolboy Craig Kielburger came across a newspaper article that reported the shooting of a 12 year old Pakistani boy. It chronicles Craigʼs awakening to issues of injustice and poverty as well as the incredible diversity and heart rending beauty of the world. it is the supreme value to which all other values are subordinate. Craig soon felt the need to know more. It is an inspiring story of a boyʼs courageous dedication to make his world a better place. The other is more social. that is. one needs to be engaged. This is action out of compassion. One is to overcome the distortions and afflictions of your own mind. He founded Free the Children. Dennett “The life of the individual has meaning only insofar as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful. He visited Bangkok. It was suspected that the boy was shot as a result of his criticism of the Pakistani carpet industryʼs habit of using children as laborers. He determined to make an effort to help those less fortunate than himself. A book called Free the Children: A Young Man Fights Against Child Labor and Proves That Children Can Change the World tells the story of Craigʼs efforts in this area. that is to say.

From the level 5 perspective. This deep-felt respect for others is the foundation for tolerance. behavior. At this level individuals become aware of their personal conditioning. morality. and compassion. drive. They are now able to see the relative nature of beliefs and assumptions that they previously held to be absolute. and perspective) of level 5 awareness support compassionate tolerance and respect. others are understood to be selves in their own right with valid thoughts and feelings. A Level of Tolerance Level 5 Awareness facilitates the emergence of tolerance in individuals. Because of this some of the research conclusions tend to be tentative in nature. All aspects (truth. meaning.Beyond Survival Level 5 Awareness Attainment of Level 5 Awareness is relatively rare. This is the level of a new order of self-observation. They can observe their own conditioning at work as it biases their day-to-day choices and decisions and thereby mitigate any inappropriate influences. empathy. 174 . The issues of Jumping to Conclusions and Conflict presented below serve to underscore the power of level 5 awareness to deal effectively with fundamental problem dynamics.

Shelby has learned that when we pack a suitcase or even turn off the TV there is a very good chance that we will be going somewhere. our brains have evolved the 175 . incomprehensible sensory input. predictions. But there is a trade-off for speed. She is employing pattern recognition and making predictions based on the patterns she perceives. It has evolved because it affords us tremendous survival advantages. We would not be able to learn. dogs learn to recognize signs. always knows when we are going somewhere. Like us. think or act without it. In order for the process of pattern recognition to occur virtually instantaneously. makes meaningful what would otherwise be disconnected. A strong case can be made that pattern recognition is the essence of intelligence. She gets all wiggly and her tail starts wagging furiously. consequently. and comparisons in order to decide what to do in a given situation. Recognized patterns allow us to make connections. The brainʼs capacity to discern patterns is how we are able to make meaningful connections. Pattern recognition is fundamental to our lives.Beyond Survival Jumping to Conclusions My dog. We are constantly engaged in pattern recognition and making decisions based on the patterns we see. She sticks very close to my wife and me lest she be left behind. Because it is so crucial to survival it has evolved to work at an amazing speed. Shelby. By means of this capacity the brain places events in context and.

Now. When we look at some of the patterns discerned by ancient or primitive people the consequences of apophenia are clearly evident. when they are taken literally. When our ancestors gazed into the night sky they inevitably saw patterns there. The most well known of these patterns are the twelve constellations. Astrology asserts connections and influences between heavenly bodies and individual personalities. In most cases there is no harm unless the patterns and connections are taken to be more than just fanciful products of imagination. We may not have the luxury of time needed for careful deliberation in the midst of an emergency situation so we are hardwired to jump to conclusions. Still. Our brains attempt to “join the dots” or make connections as rapidly as possible in order to make sense out of what is going on at the moment. The field of astrology is a case in point. this comes at a price. “So what? This is just a way of having innocent fun. However. this 176 . Whereʼs the harm?”.Beyond Survival ability to make connections with very little information. Apophenia is this downside of pattern recognition. This kind of literalization of imaginary patterns and connections is the essence of superstition and prejudicial beliefs. seeing patterns or connections where no real basis for them exists. As necessary as this is. When imagined connections are taken to have reality in their own right. if we are not vigilant we will draw some very dubious conclusions and hold them to be true. problems can arise. you may be thinking. Quick connections may be inaccurate or unfounded.

When taken seriously enough astrology could be used as a basis for making life and death decisions about our own lives and the lives of others. themselves. We may also unconsciously seek evidence that seems to confirm the validity of the pattern. Apophenia occurs naturally. No doubt this has happened in the past and probably continues to occur today. been elaborated on and so on until the original apophenia has been buried under the mass of elaboration that it has spawned. By the brainʼs standards any pattern is better than no pattern. Even if the pattern would not hold up to careful scrutiny.Beyond Survival is fairly innocuous when left at the level of daily newspaper horoscopes. What has occurred is this. We are anxious when we cannot see a pattern in the events of our lives. we are happy to have it and may even filter our perceptions in order to obscure challenges to the pattern. There is great comfort in finding a pattern in what is going on in our lives. 177 . Where the danger lurks is in elevating a belief system such as astrology to the level of a science. In this way a pattern formed by apophenia may become a distortion field through which we view the world. This is nothing less than apophenia run amok. Once this leap of faith is made all manner of mischief may ensue. A fundamentally flawed pattern has been elaborated on and those elaborations have. Now we have what appears to be a self-consistent body of “knowledge” worthy of our respect with its underlying imaginary pattern almost completely obscured.

“It ainʼt necessarily so”. What may be overlooked is that both sides of the fight will claim this. that they are fighting for what they believe is right. "Persistence furthers". We have the means for liberation from its tyranny through the application of level 5 awareness to the workings and consequences of personal conditioning. So. This can occur even if both parties have been restricted to exactly the same information concerning the issue. It may take some practice since apophenia is the default mode of our brains and it works its speedy mischief quietly below the level of conscious awareness. Why does this happen? Even if the parties involved are well educated and well informed on the issue of contention they can be on complete opposite sides of an argument. But. Level 5 Awareness provides us with the perspective necessary to mitigate the effects of apophenia. If we are aware of our inclination to jump to conclusions we can be on the lookout for the workings of apophenia. We can also use the knowledge of the existence of apophenia to motivate us to look at our assumptions and beliefs to see if they might be built on the shaky foundations of imaginary connections. when they are engaged in some kind of fight.Beyond Survival While this may seem to indicate that we are doomed to fall prey to the ravages of apophenia. When we understand the workings and the dangers of apophenia we need no longer be the unwitting victims of its workings. A Broader Perspective on Conflict I think it is fair to assume that most people would say. both convinced of the rightness of their respective positions. as the I Ching (an excellent example of a system based on apophenia) says. we have two 178 .

and even less the sources of conditioning (biological and psychological) underlying their biases. my country. Nor is it information. Furthermore. conflicts. None of this history is innocent. Suicide bombers donʼt question their assumptions. Whenever two people disagree it may not be the facts. much less the biases underlying them. instead. 179 . assumptions. Every bit of it constitutes some form of bias. Why? The variable is not intelligence. When we engage in a conflict these assumptions are rarely questioned but. but their biases that are in conflict. are often generated by differences in biases. My history is made up of two components: my genetic heritage and my experiential history. and my culture. who is right or wrong? Fights. act as a foundation for argument and action. mostly unconscious. these biases are inevitable consequences of living a human life with its accumulation of learning. My history is both biological and psychological (personal). They are what underlie our.Beyond Survival intelligent people with identical information coming down on opposite sides of an issue. It is personal history. etc. my community. Moreover. my psychological history has been informed by my family. So. arguments.

We must find a different approach. 180 . then. then we cannot logically support confrontational styles of conflict resolution. Simply put. Terry Warner makes a compelling case for an alternate approach to resolving conflict. Confrontations tend to harden and solidify our biases making us even more blind to our conditioning. If this is so. C. In The Bonds That Make Us Free and Leadership and Self-Delusion Warner discusses a philosophy and a psychology that is very reminiscent of Martin Buberʼs I-It and I-Thou modes of being. More likely.Beyond Survival What is the cause of conflict then? The two-way causal chain looks like this: ! ! ! ! conditioning biases assumptions opinions/beliefs---->CONFLICT<----opinions/beliefs                                                        assumptions                                                            biases                                                                conditioning What sense. does it make to engage in this kind of activity? It is extremely unlikely that one side is going to convince the other that they are wrong. We need a way of resolving differences that does not involve antagonistic confrontation. each side will just spend more energy dredging up evidence and arguments to support their positions. one that is capable of overcoming the powerful force of bias-based assumptions.

an enemy.Beyond Survival Warner maintains that when we are in a confrontational conflict we are in the I-It mode of being. Once one party makes this shift an “invitation” is automatically offered (due to the transformation in the 181 . No longer are we seeing the other party as an enemy (an object) but as an another equally human person (who might or might not be wrong) equally deserving of respect and empathy. The conflict has been transformed into an opportunity for the growth of awareness in both parties. biased and that we too hold unexamined assumptions. biases. we may begin to question our own certainty and to wonder if we might not be wrong after all. However. as an individual with level 5 awareness. Both parties stand to uncover a piece of their conditioning and understand its influence on their thinking and behavior. a transformation takes place. A little bit of liberation. When we seriously ask ourselves if we might be wrong. The other party is perceived as an object. This changes the nature of the relationship between the parties involved. It is important to note that this transformation does not require both parties to question their certitude. and assumptions. if we take a moment to reflect on the fundamental nature of conflict (as shown in the two-way causal chain above) we may recognize the futility of confrontational strategies. ourselves. We are able to do this only when we ignore the fact that they too are the product of their conditioning.  The crucial difference is made in just seriously posing this question to ourselves because we ask it out of an level 5 awareness of the undeniable fact that we are. More critically.

and beliefs that. Components of Level 5 Awareness Degree of Freedom At this level individuals achieve a degree of freedom from the tyranny of their own experiential histories. He has much more to say in the books mentioned above.” Nagarjuna 182 . The drive for status and advantage is now understood to be the virtually inevitable product of the individualʼs conditioning. a very brief introduction to Warner's thinking but I hope I have given it a fair synopsis. opinions. A lifetime of learning has led to the accumulation of innumerable biases. of course. “Buddhas say emptiness [liberation] is relinquishing opinions. Biological (or genetic) conditioning is also recognized and can now be taken into account in the choice making process. The existence of questionable conditioning (such as apophenia) is now recognized. up until this point. have operated at a primarily unconscious level. assumptions.Beyond Survival demeanor of the changed party) inviting the other party to engage in a more open relationship. This is.

therefore. This self has the ability to observe and take into account previously unconscious conditioning. Truth is seen to be situational. The observing self still believes in its own independent existence. Truth Rather than the universal truths of Level 4. truths at Level 5 are seen as relative to particular contexts. Level 5 Awareness invokes a drive for meaning and purpose within a context of meaning. 183 .Beyond Survival Unconscious Foundation of the New Self The level 5 self is an observing self. Desires While personal status was the imperative at Level 4. no absolute truths. Individuals recognize their personal experiential history (conditioning) as a resource that provides possibilities for making unique and valuable contributions to the world.” Since criteria for evaluation are always biased by personal conditioning there can be no absolute criteria for truth and. “Gold may be valuable in some situations. What remains unconscious at this level is the drive for unity which expresses itself in desires for meaning and purpose. With the loss of absolutes at this level the search for meaning and purpose may seem to be a difficult if not impossible mission.

The individual is able to observe their own decision making processes with the added information arising from the knowledge of their own conditioning.Beyond Survival Behavior An essential behavior at Level 5 is compassionate observation. meaning is now derived where mutual well-being is served through the unique contributions of individuals to a community. “. the heart of the book is the question of success and what success is and should be. Level 5 individuals have great empathy for others. Meaning In contrast to the Level 4 concern with personal advantage... Morality Because of their understanding of their own biases. Interpersonal actions are engaged in a compassionate atmosphere where the goal is to be a contribution to the well-being of others. This observation takes into account an individualʼs personal conditioning and biases affording a much wider perspective on any situation. Success Wrapping up a talk on his book. Alain de Botton had this to say. Status Anxiety. Actions arising out of level 5 observation and wisdom tend to be acts of compassionate contribution offered to the well-being of others and the environment. Iʼm very interested in success 184 .

maybe involved in business. I very much like to be successful. It does not ignore the well-being of the individual but. But before you decide what I mean by that. If I said. to some kind of critical scrutiny – to decide whether itʼs really the vision that we can actually genuinely concur with. At this level success is measured in terms of contribution made to the well being of the world.” Success at level 5 awareness challenges the assumptions surrounding the meaning of success found at lower Levels of Awareness. on television etc.ʼ you might think itʼs someone whoʼs made a fortune. I think we have to question our own assumptions about what success is. yes. rather. attained some kind of renown in political life or something like that. I think itʼs a great thing to be.Beyond Survival personally. Really the message is – success. ʻBehind the curtain thereʼs a very successful man. understands the well- 185 . ambition. We have an idea of success and these ideas of success come to us in the daily newspaper. weʼre surrounded by suggestions of success and I think that itʼs an important feature of any mature life that we have to submit the idea of success that weʼre often handed on a plate by our society. yes – but letʼs make sure that itʼs an idea of success that actually suits us and that weʼve taken care and trouble to investigate. rather that simply something that weʼve sucked in from the outside.

Itʼs all just relative. not matter what she does. no ultimate personal gain is to be had then why should she bother to do anything? Individuals at this level may yet experience a sense of incompleteness and a vague. This tendency is 186 . Problems Problems can occur when individuals have not fully completed a transition from level 4 to level 5 awareness. At level 5 this tacit agreement is exposed in awareness and what was believed to be absolute standards (status. celebrity. Nothing really matters. celebrity. intangible yearning for something more. relative assumptions. or admiration are ultimately meaningless since these goals depend on the tacit agreement that these things are of absolute value in and of themselves.) are seen to be. It may well be true that the pursuits of wealth. One such problem is apathy. wealth. When applied to Level 4 goals of personal advantage the Level 5 Awareness of relative value may result in apathy.Beyond Survival being of the individual as being inextricably linked to the overall health of the planet and all of its inhabitants. The mistake here is the assumption that relative difference is without meaning or value. etc. If there are no absolute criteria for right or wrong then neither are there any standards for better or worse. From the perspective of a level 4 individual if. This is only true when viewed from the Level 4 perspective of personal advantage. in fact.

The incidence in world population of individuals at level 5 awareness is believed to be quite low. it has been over a decade since he made that statement and in looking around for evidence of level 5 awareness today there are copious real world examples demonstrating a burgeoning movement toward this awareness level. That doesnʼt mean a business canʼt or should not compete. Field lays out the guidelines for putting social responsibility. no business can afford to focus simply on “doing well. In this book. both corporate and individual. but can they also do good? In his book. it means that investing in efforts to build a better society can. on many levels. Level 5 Awareness in the World Level 5 in Business Buddhism and Business All businesses want to do well. they can do good. into practice without 187 . and moreover.” Increasingly.Beyond Survival inherent in their unconscious survival drive for meaning and purpose through unity. Lloyd Field says yes. Business and the Buddha: Doing Well by Doing Good. However. public assessment of a businessʼs worth must take into account its consideration of shared human values. be an asset. Robert Kegan has said he has ever come across a person operating exclusively at the self stage that corresponds closely to this level of awareness. As mentioned earlier.

as more goods are making their way to market. Field explains why the globalization of the traditional capitalist way of doing business is. “. He goes on to discuss the changes that are taking place and must continue to take place in the world of business if we are to move toward sustainable global practices. on the other hand. with attention to ethics. generally speaking. would look at statistics showing an increase in the number of gallons of diesel fuel used to transport goods from manufacturers to consumers as proof of economic progress. while acting as a powerful force for positive global change. and corporate responsibility. at least in part. A traditional economist. A Buddhist economist. for example.7 Field shows how..Beyond Survival sacrificing profits. To live off the capital of non-renewable resources rather than on renewable energy is essentially parasitic. skillful means. responsible for some of the more pressing global problems including as social and environmental issues. modern economic practice in the industrialized world has little regard for whether or not a resource is renewable and for the state of the environment after productive activity has taken place..Buddhism and The ʻAlchemyʼ Of The Brain 188 . entrepreneurs and decision-makers can achieve new levels of happiness and security both inside the company and out. Drawing from traditional Buddhist teachings. would view the same calculations as a highly undesirable escalation in 7 See Appendix I .

Emotional Intelligence. As part of the Google business philosophy great care is taken to see that work is enjoyable.Beyond Survival consumption and its resulting negative impact on the environment. The Google Model Google has been named by Fortune magazine as the best place to work in America two years in a row. Meng felt he had found 189 . After reading Daniel Golemanʼs book. One aspect of this emphasis is an initiative in which employees are given one day a week to work on projects of interest to them regardless of their profit potential. Meng is a student of Buddhism and wants to see Mindfulness Meditation become a part of everyday western life. and creative. For his initiative to succeed Meng believes that meditation must be scientifically validated. Using this “free” time a Google employee by the name of ChadeMeng Tan came up with a unique idea. SIY is his attempt to “beta” test a program within the Google culture with the idea of one day making the program “open source” (free to use by anyone). healthy. This is also a direction in which the Dalai Lama is interested is seeing explored. It is called Search Inside Yourself (SIY).” If a sustainable world is to be achieved businesses will need to take to heart the messages for change found in Business and the Buddha: Doing Well by Doing Good.

Meng now teaches this course as part of the SIY curriculum. Says Norman Fischer.Beyond Survival the key to creating a program that would make sense to intelligent and scientifically sophisticated Google employees. profit-seeking mind. Few companies have Googleʼs vision whereby fostering creativity and altruism is seen as complimentary to making money.” The Google business model can be summed up nicely in their slogan “Donʼt Be Evil”. He created a course called “The Neuroscience of Empathy” which covers the ever increasing body of scientific literature on the effects of training attention and emotion. 190 . The remarkable thing about all of this is that it is happening at all. an instructor with SIY. Where Developmental Liberation is concerned the motivation of individuals for participation in activities is more relevant than the specific activities themselves. “Googleʼs main value is not the hard-edged. They are not intended to be taken as exclusive to the level nor should it be assumed that individuals at this level will restrict themselves to these activities exclusively. More Examples of Level 5 Awareness in the World Disclaimer: The following represent activities to which individuals at this level of awareness may be drawn.

by mistake. Oskar hears of the situation and is able to retrieve Itzhak in time. influenced by Stern. are allowed to work at the factory. Itzhak Stern is put on a train headed for a concentration camp. anti-poverty initiatives.Beyond Survival Groups: At level 5 individuals may organize or support groups having a social awareness agenda such as environmentalism.g. Networks: Networks may be formed with other community-minded individuals to share resources and ideas. Schindler. WorldChange. with a proposition to buy the factory and appoint Itzhak factory manager. comes to feel sympathy and responsibility for his workers and when the Nazis confine all Jews to a forced labor camp Schindler volunteers to keep his workers confined to the factory. When the Jews of the area are rounded up some. etc. a Jew who is no longer allowed to own his pot-making factory. Itzhak accepts. Entertainment: In Shindlerʼs List directed by Stephen Spielberg (based on a book by Thomas Keneally).. who can work. Oskar Shindler. animal rights. Several young Jewish factory workers come to the party to give 191 . At Oskarʼs birthday party many Germans are in attendance. a German businessman approaches Itzhak Stern. e.

and children. I am not a thing — a noun. to rescue “his Jews”. I know that I am not a category." 192 . speaks of a higher morality consistent with level 5 awareness. Schindler comes up with a desperate plan. a new factory farther to the west and bargains with the Germans to buy all the Jewish workers he will need to staff it. he might even have used for his personal advancement. an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe. at his own expense. if he were operating with level 4 awareness.Beyond Survival Schindler a gift. When one of the young girls gives him the gift he kisses her in return. He constructs. In a race against time he is able. through luck and determination. Schindlerʼs empathy for and personal sacrifice on behalf of a group that he might have been expected to despise. or who. women. The Transition From Level 5 to Level 6 Awareness "I live on Earth at present. and I donʼt know what I am. When all Jews are ordered to be moved to a different camp to avoid the advancing Russians. The compassion demonstrated by Oskar Schindler is a level 5 characteristic. This is against the Race and Resettlement Act but Oskar is forgiven later when he apologizes. He draws up a list of over 1100 men. I seem to be a verb. At this level personal concerns may be subjugated to a perceived greater good.

from which we spring. To these alchemists the literal and common understandings of alchemical formulas were but a clever ruse designed to hide their true significance. Personal responsibility may. We speak for Earth. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars. tracing the long journey by which. ancient and vast. we in the west live in more tolerant times.Beyond Survival Buckminster Fuller "We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to selfawareness. likewise. organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos. Connections and relationships take on new meanings with level 5 awareness." Carl Sagan Some early alchemists are said to have viewed alchemy as a spiritual discipline. consciousness arose. A wider view of membership is achieved in which individuals see themselves as members of the global community with all of the implications that entails. Fortunately. be felt to apply on a global scale. here at least. 193 . The Wisdom of Level 5 With level 5 awareness comes the recognition of the value of personal contribution in an effort to make improvements in the world. Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. Because the true meanings of these formulas were at odds with the Medieval Christian Church it was believed necessary to obscure their true significance in order to avoid the disagreeable fate of being put to the stake or rack by the Inquisition.

With every increase in her degree of freedom has come a corresponding increase in the degree of psychological separation from her environment.recognition that current approaches (level 5) are insufficient to deal with the individualʼs longings Assessment . and conditioning.Beyond Survival Connectedness is seen as a fundamental property of existence and relationships now define the significance of all beings. She has gained an awareness of how conditioning has previously colored her every thought and behavior. membership. The Ignorance of Level 5 While level 5 awareness may bring a level of peace not possible at lower levels the journey is still incomplete. It is this separation that is the source of pain now. There is now only one source of pain remaining. At level 6 the problem of the separated self is transcended in that it becomes. The individual now experiences a 194 . the experience of being an observer of reality rather than an integrated participating phenomenon in and of it.identification of what is no longer sufficient: With the elimination of the sources of pain from level 4 an individual at level 5 awareness has achieved liberation from her body. In level 5 the observing self is an independent entity that has awareness. The final transition remains.Level 5 to Level 6 Disillusionment . in its entirety. an object of awareness. Stages of Transition . separation itself. desires. There are no hidden drives/instincts unconsciously determining an individualʼs experience.

195 . a need to be liberated from the perspective of an observer separated from the observed. Experimentation .Beyond Survival longing for an ending to this separation. an indivisible whole • understanding and acknowledgement of the primacy of brain processes in creating the experience of separation With the transmutation of the last form of ignorance into wisdom no further unconscious survival drives remain. a need for unconditional meaning. The transition from level 5 awareness to level 6 awareness is the final transition.entering a different way of being • experiencing existence as continuous.trying various alternative approaches to solving the individualʼs level 5 related problems e • ! xamining items uncovered in the Assessment phase r • ! eframing problems as existing in wholeness Reconstruction . a desire to be whole.

With the metaphor of alchemy running through this book it is appropriate that the ultimate goal of alchemical pursuits is the “unification of the limited with the unlimited”. On a less literal level it is used as a metaphor for spiritual transformation. Who distinguishes himself from the world may be given the world. As we are about to find out. to whom may fortune and disaster occur? Therefore. Lau Tzu The Great Work (Latin: Magnum opus) is a term originating in medieval European alchemy. blackening(-putrefaction): individuation. The object of hope and fear is the self For. unification of the limited with the unlimited. But who regards himself as the world may accept the world. For they bring people hope and fear. this is an apt description of the fate of the separate self at level 6 awareness. whitening: spiritualisation. enlightenment • rubedo. It refers to the successful completion of the transmutation of base matter into gold or the creation of the philosopher's stone. without self. 196 . It has three stages: • nigredo(-putrefactio). reddening: unification of man with god.Beyond Survival Wholeness: Level 6 Awareness Both praise and blame cause concern. purification. burnout of impureness • albedo.

Siddhartha cares for the spoiled child and tries to teach him to live simply but the boy runs away. After Govinda goes his own way. the sonic symbol for the oneness of the universe. He meets a woman with whom he decides to live and eventually becomes a successful businessman and slowly slides into a life of greed and gambling.Beyond Survival Siddhartha by Herman Hesse: Synopsis For three years Siddhartha and his friend. When he awakes he finds Govinda there watching him. along with her son to their hut. But he hears a murmuring sound in the river. that time is an illusion. This is the perspective proposed for level 6 awareness. that all is one. he infers. Each progressive step up the ladder of awareness is precipitated by the experiences of the individual and brings with it a corresponding expansion of perspective and freedom. It is “OM”. can be taught but wisdom comes from experience. As she is dying the woman tells Siddhartha that the boy is his son. realizing that Siddhartha is now enlightened goes off into the woods to die. Soon Govinda comes by. The ferryman. One day the ferryman brings a woman. Level 6 Awareness The concept that wisdom comes from experience fits well with the ideas we have been exploring. Siddhartha meets an enlightened ferryman. It is the woman with whom Siddhartha lived in the city. After a time he grows depressed and leaves the town and the woman behind. Govinda have followed a group of ascetic monks. Siddhartha tells Govinda that searching can inhibit finding. When they hear about the Buddha they decide to seek him out. Govinda joins the Buddhist monks but Siddhartha decides to trust in personal experience instead and re-enters a worldly existence. who is dying from a snakebite. In the story of Siddhartha the understanding that all is one is presented as the key to enlightenment. The two work and live together for years united in the sacred sound of “OM”. Knowledge. 197 . and Siddharthaʼs thoughts of suicide disappear. He is despondent and prepares to drown himself in a river. The ferryman explains to Siddhartha that he must let the boy go to experience his own suffering. and that love for all things is the most important thing in the world. He falls into a peaceful sleep. Still searching for enlightenment he asks Siddhartha about what he has learned.

Security Drive. Membership Drive. purpose) Independence Drive. What sets level 6 awareness apart from all previous levels is that there would no longer be any survival-based drive (ignorance) operating unconsciously. The features of Level 6 presented here are based on the same evolutionary trajectories that we have been following throughout the other Levels of Awareness: separation from the environment. This does not mean that this level of awareness is purely imaginative or that individuals at level 6 awareness have never or can never exist. (Environment) 198 .Beyond Survival Level 6 Awareness is partially speculative in nature and has just recently begun to be researched and studied with proper scientific rigor. At this level there are no hidden drives compelling behavior. All of the unconscious survival drives will have been “transmuted” into the realm of conscious awareness. All of the drives are still operational but they are now recognized and understood in conscious awareness. Independence Drive. (Environment) 6 5 Unity Drive (meaning. Membership Drive. conversion of components of self from subject to object (transmuting ignorance into wisdom). Physical Needs. and an increasing degree of freedom from embeddedness in the environment. Level Unconscious Survival Drive (Ignorance) Available in Awareness (Wisdom) Unity Drive. Physical Needs. Security Drive.

Membership Drives. Membership Drives. warmth. Independence Drive (status. Independence Drives. Physical Needs. the sources of suffering at each previous level of awareness. is achieved. Independence Drives. (Environment) Physical Needs. Physical Needs. water) Impulses 2 1 (Environment) 0 Bold = operational drive of the level (Environment): not experienced as self (not an drive) Equilibrium Earlier we identified a possible outcome of the ʻalchemyʼ of the brain as equilibrium. Security Drive. Membership Drive (belonging. inclusion) Unity Drive. Independence Drives. self-reliance) Unity Drive. the absence of mental suffering. equilibrium. With the advent of level 6 awareness. have been exorcised by the light of awareness and are thereby divested of their powers to induce suffering in our lives. Security Drive (protection) Unity Drive. (Environment) 4 3 Unity Drive.Beyond Survival Level Unconscious Survival Drive (Ignorance) Available in Awareness (Wisdom) Membership Drive. All unconscious survival drives. Physical Needs (food. (Environment) Security Drive. Security Drives. 199 .

However.Beyond Survival This does not imply a state of continual bliss without challenge or hardship. This constitutes the transcendence of the separation of self from other. we are able to see problems in the context of wholeness allowing us to understand their place in the “big picture”. At the sixth level of awareness challenges do not arise in a context in which we are under the thrall of an unconscious survival drive. At this point observer and observed are no longer abstracted from the process of observing. Components of Level 6 Awareness Degree of Freedom 200 . In contrast. at level 6 awareness. has been exposed by virtue of the fact that all of its constituents (previously hidden drives) are now objects in the light of awareness. the transparent self that we have been seeing the world through without awareness of its existence. We have seen how each level of awareness colors and limits the options we find available to us in seeking solutions to our problems. it does imply a totally different context in which challenges and hardships may arise. When we are being driven by unconscious imperatives our responses to challenges and hardships are conditioned by those drives. of the separation of observer from observed. With this perspective what seemed to be problems may turn out to be opportunities for broader awareness. Transcendence Upon completing the transition from level 5 awareness to level 6 awareness the separate self.

” All other “truths” would be relative to this truth. only phenomena consisting of configurations of other phenomena that persist as spatial and temporal patterns over time. It is awareness without the agenda of a survival driven self. This does not mean that these processes would cease to occur. With an awareness of the essential and universal interconnectedness of all phenomena. There would be no independent things. only that they would be recognized and understood. It is. Independent entities would not exist except as psychological concepts. like all other Levels of Awareness. one is all. this level of awareness is unconditioned and unrestricted by such drives. limited by the existence of unconscious forces. no unconscious 201 . Truth To a Level 6 individual truth would be absolute: “All is one. therefore. dependent on a properly functioning brain. Level 6 Awareness is not some kind of non-material form of existence. while all other Levels of Awareness were conditioned and. Desires With the transmutation of level five ignorance (the drive for meaning) into the awareness of this drive (wisdom) at level six the self is no longer a driven entity.Beyond Survival A Level 6 individual would achieve a degree of freedom from the unconscious brain processes that maintain the perspective of the observing self found in Level 5 Awareness. The difference is that.

The chain of suffering. Eliot Behavior Can there be behavior in the usual sense without a driven self? In Level 6 Awareness action should be regarded as naturally occurring intra-actions between phenomena within the dynamic totality. It is a term borrowed from Karen Barad as defined in her book Meeting the Universe Halfway (see “One With the Universe” below). wait without love. Phenomena are not understood to be independently existing or acting entities. but not in our lifetime? Can we cheerfully plant seeds with little concern for the harvest? Margaret Wheatley I said to my soul. there is yet faith But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting. Rather. Phenomena do not act independently but are part of the activity of the whole. T. and wait without hope For hope would be hope for the wrong thing. described earlier. All drives would have been transmuted from unconscious ignorance to conscious wisdom. The term “intra-action” refers to an action involving two or more phenomena within the whole. S. Phenomena do not move themselves but are moved by virtue 202 . Can we do our work without needing to see results? Can we be content that our work might bear fruit.Beyond Survival survival drives would remain hidden. all phenomena owe their existence and behavior to intra-activity within the whole. For love would be love of the wrong thing. would fall away. be still.

solar system.” Meaning Since all meaning is relative to context and the context at this level is the indivisible and infinite whole. and discover what to do. not as some have concluded utterly meaningless. cosmos). do we receive the gifts of clarity and resolve. planet. “. and urgency. 203 . all phenomena exist in the context of the entire cosmos endowing them each with consequence (significance) throughout the whole of existence. Any thing (phenomenon) that exists has meaning within an arbitrarily circumscribed context (e. aggression. community. individuality (the sum of all learning and inherited tendencies) continues to exist as patterns within the nervous system and. Freed also from anger.g. take it all in. Although there is no longer a separate self at level 6 awareness. Ultimately. free from hope and fear. we are able to see the situation clearly. Margaret Wheatley alludes to this way of being in an article entitled “The Place Beyond Hope and Fear”. therefore.. The larger the context the wider the influence of the phenomenon will be. family.. only in the present moment. Agency exists but without an independently existing agent with a personal agenda. country.Beyond Survival of their intra-actions within the whole. existence would be infinitely meaningful. continues to be a factor in the intraactions of the phenomenon of the organism.. Does this situation herald the annihilation of individuality? Is this pure nihilism? Does individuality melt into a homogenized cosmic soup? Not really.

Total integration involves full awareness while embeddedness is a total absence of awareness. Some might be moved to say that all there is at level 6 awareness is love. Problems Because there are no unconscious survival drives (no ignorance) at this level there are no problems inherent in level 6 awareness. Where there is no exclusion there remains only unconditional acceptance/inclusion. This is akin to an eye 204 . with practice. Perspective Perspective at this level would be all-inclusive. This would require brain processes to observe brain processes in the act of processing. at level 5. learn.Beyond Survival Morality With no real boundaries between phenomena there would be no exclusion. it is not so easy to accept the possibility of achieving a similar objective perspective on the very brain processes involved in the act of observation itself. to observe our conditioning in action and thereby take it into account in making choices. Integration with the entire web of the phenomenal universe would be an experienced reality. This total integration would be the exact opposite of the embeddedness of the newborn. One With The Universe While it seem reasonable to assume that we can.

We are left with a situation where it makes no sense to speak of a separation between observer and observed. This chain of connectedness is not hypothetical. the observer and the observed are simply different aspects of the same process. From this perspective. by virtue of the way it is structured and functions. This is what it means when we say that the separation of self from the environment is purely psychological. But everything that we know and are is brain activity and brain activity takes place in the brain which is part of the nervous system. in her book Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics & the 205 . which is part of the universe. independently existing entities. which is part of the solar system. which is part of the environment. which is part of the world. a self that appears to have separation from its environment. At this point it is non-sense to talk about a self having awareness of something other. To speak of oneness is to speak of a situation where there are no separate. the process we call observing. creates. This is precisely the issue that Karen Barad. This distinction is dissolved leaving only the process of observing. it is physical and real. distinct from one another. But connectedness is not oneness.Beyond Survival being able to see itself. which is part of the galaxy. Self and other are seen to be products of brain activity which creates the appearance of a separation between subject and object. In a chain of connected things there are still things. The apparent separation is only possible because the brain. being connected. at each level of awareness. which is part of the body.

There is only an indivisible dynamic whole. Intra-action between phenomena of one class can give rise to other classes of phenomena. As Barad puts it. “Reality is composed not of things-in-themselves or things-behind-phenomena but of things-in-phenomena. In Meeting the Universe Halfway she says.” In the agential realistic view there are no boundaries between phenomena and. Phenomena that we call atoms intra-act with each other producing phenomena that we call molecules. no separately. rather than a property of things. Because phenomena constitute a nondualistic whole. intra-actions. “the agential realist understanding of matter [is] as a dynamic shifting entanglement of relations. phenomena do not have an independent existence but are the result of what Barad calls “intra-actions”. are not between independent things but between phenomena. it makes no sense to talk about independently existing things as somehow behind or as the causes of phenomena. The intra-action of phenomena is responsible for the entire material universe. Phenomena are persistent patterns of intra-actions. Fundamental to agential realism is the tenet that there are no separate things. In contrast to things. only phenomena. In this work Professor Barad presents her “agential realist” physics/philosophy. 206 . much like a whirlpool is a pattern resulting from intra-actions of water currents.” Unlike interactions. confronts.Beyond Survival Entanglement of Matter & Meaning. independently existing entities. therefore.

the ultimate nature of reality is oneness. Phillip Moffit. then. no separate self exists.Beyond Survival If Karen Barad is right. In all previous levels the the self was driven by the agenda of an unconscious survival drive.” To be in a state of innocence simply means to operate without a personal agenda. in Dancing With Life says. In its place is a new state of being characterized by innocence. An agenda precludes innocence. just as the components of the sixth level of awareness discussed above would suggest. hence. The part of you that is innocent rests in emptiness. becomes of this separate self when all unconscious survival drives have been exposed to awareness? At level 6 awareness there is no foundation for the separate self and. Essential Innocence At each level of awareness the foundation of the self was seen to be an unconscious survival drive. This is partially accomplished in level 5 awareness when the personal agenda of level 4 awareness gives way to a community agenda based on compassion and contribution. What. In level 6 awareness even this 207 . In speaking of some of the consequences of operating under the influence of such an agenda. “Each of these reactions removes you from being fully present with what is happening right now by inserting a story or concept between your heart and your direct experience of now. meaning it is empty of any story or concept that limits you to a personal identity.

a priority of the moment arises in the immediacy of the “now” according to the exigencies of the present situation. 2009 entry included this: 208 . He completed a starred PhD at the Institut Pasteur under the supervision of Nobel prizewinner François Jacob. What this means is that there is no longer any preconceived agenda. The Illusion of a Separate Self Up until level 6 awareness there was always a self that was separate from that which it observed. he abandoned his very successful career and moved to Darjeeling where he began his study of Buddhism under Kangyur Rinpoche. At level 6 awareness true spontaneity occurs. there is no unconscious survival drive out of which a separate self might be conjured. But. Earlier in his life Matthieu Ricard was a highly regarded biologist. The concept of a self that exists separately from and independently of the rest of reality can no longer be supported. at level 6 awareness. in 1972. On his blog he posted a series of items dealing with the illusion of the separate self.Beyond Survival agenda is transcended. This self was always created by the unconscious survival drive (ignorance) of the level but now. He has been a monk ever since. There was an observer who observed. at the age of 30. Instead. The March 31. a Tibetan master.

.Beyond Survival “. In a blog post subsequent to the one quoted above Matthieu Ricard discusses a sense of unease that may.” Matthieu is saying that rather than regarding the self as something separate from and independent of the rest of reality it makes sense to conceive of the self as a convenient label for the experience of awareness in relation to other phenomena with which it intra-acts.viewing the self as a mere convention or as a designated label for our dynamic stream of experience . But if it is merely an illusion. in general. the self can be viewed as a phenomenon arising from the intra-action of other phenomena. it would be easy to understand our apprehension about dropping it. as an abstraction from the essentially indivisible whole.consciousness in relation to the body and the world . be felt following a transition to the sixth level of awareness. compassion. as the intra-action of phenomena rather than the interaction of separate things. at first. ridding ourselves of it is not ripping the heart out of our 209 . and leads to a state of wellbeing grounded in in harmony with the interdependent and impermanent nature of reality.. Just as Karen Baradʼs agential realism views reality. and inner freedom. altruism. “If the ego [self] were really our deepest essence.

Lau Tzu. the understanding of the non-existence of an independent “self” leads to a deep rooted sense of inner freedom. . appears to agree about the insubstantial nature of self. I am abstracted from the world. But is there really any basis for such a belief? Or might our beliefs be just beliefs.. author of Hardcore Zen and Sit Down and Shut Up puts it this way: “Take a look at that bunch of stuff that you call your personality or your ʻselfʼ. 210 . beliefs. but simply opening our eyes. without some entity called ʻselfʼ behind them and somehow creating them?” Taoist sage.” Visit Matthieu Ricardʼs website: Matthieu Ricard Zen Master. strength and openness to others that allows the flourishing of altruistic love and compassion.. We call this thing ʻselfʼ. or ʻsoulʼ or ʻpersonalityʼ. ideals. rooted in wisdom.. and whatnot. Rather than weakening the individual. Nature from the Way.. Brad Warner. Is it really anything more than a collection of set reactions to things that excite your brain cells in one way or another? We tend to take for granted that something lies behind all our opinions. memories. some source from which they spring. The world from nature.Beyond Survival being.

Beyond Survival

And the Way from what is beneath abstraction. Lau Tzu - Tao Te Ching The Persistence of Individuality With the disappearance of the separate self at the sixth level of awareness it would seem to follow that individuality would also vanish. But, as noted above, if individuality is defined as the accumulation of experiential learning in the brain it is not eliminated at all. The brain still exists and so do its contents. Individuality, what makes one organism different from another of the same species, is preserved in the brain and the body of the organism as long as that organism lives and it is not compromised by neurological damage or disease. I would argue that this unique individuality is the real you as opposed to the imagined separately existing self that you might think you are.

Individuality, however, should not be thought of as a fixed thing. Rather it should be understood to be a dynamic phenomenon that is constantly evolving. It is, after all, the result of stored experiences and as such is continually being updated moment by moment. As new experiences are encountered in the ever changing present the patterns stored in the brain will be altered or added to. The individuality that existed a year ago, or last week, or yesterday, or even an hour ago will be different from the one that is, at this moment, reading these words.

Beyond Survival?


Beyond Survival

If there are no longer any hidden survival drives in operation at this level it follows that the individual is no longer motivated to survive. With the realization that the self is an illusion there is no separately existing self to be concerned with survival. However, as we have mentioned before, bringing the survival drives into awareness does not eradicate them nor does it inhibit them from carrying out their function. Their function never was to serve the survival of the self but rather to serve the survival of the organism and its species. This they will continue to do but no longer as clandestine agents. They will now operate in and with the ongoing awareness of level 6 awareness.

Is This Enlightenment? Enlightenment in the Buddhist tradition is typically described as: a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self.

A transcendence of desire and suffering is achieved with the attainment of level 6 awareness. Desires have been explained as resulting from the drives present at each level of awareness. As these unconscious survival drives are made transparent at each subsequent transition between the Levels of Awareness, their attendant desires are made ʻvisibleʼ in awareness rendering them harmless in terms of engendering suffering. While there is a sense of individuality that persists at level 6 awareness the sense of a separate self is absent since the unconscious survival drives


Beyond Survival

which perpetuated the apparent separation of self from other are no longer operating unconsciously.

Whether or not Buddhist scholars would see level 6 awareness as being equivalent to the Buddhist experience of enlightenment I have not had the opportunity to explore. However, Developmental Liberation does present an interesting perspective on what it might mean to be enlightened along with a heretofore unexamined route to the realization of this state.


Section 5: Setting the Stage for Growth

Beyond Survival

Transitions: Some Key Factors
Intellectual growth should commence and birth and cease only at death. Albert Einstein

As mentioned early in this book developmental psychologist, Robert Kegan, maintains that most people never reach the higher developmental levels. In his research he has found that the vast majority of us are living at the equivalent of level 3 or 4 awareness. Given the nature of the problems we have discussed that are inherent in the perspectives of these two levels we should not be surprised at the severity of the issues facing us in the world today. In addition to alleviating personal suffering gaining higher levels of awareness on an individual basis has the potential to contribute to an overall rise in our collective levels of awareness thus offering a measure of hope in terms of successfully confronting our shared global challenges. In the interests of supporting this hope we will look in this chapter at some of the factors that can influence passage, or a lack of passage, through the developmental levels of awareness.

In the preceding chapters information was presented concerning transitions between specific levels of awareness. However, there are some general facts about transitions that may be helpful in understanding more about the nature of transitions and factors that may influence movement through the levels of awareness.


often against his will. painful. Each level of awareness has a degree of internal resiliency that allows us to weather minor disruptions to the equilibrium of that level. to re-examine his world view and to look beyond it for a wider perspective in which the conflict that is disturbing the current equilibrium may be resolved. even deep psychological distress. and difficult work necessary to make the transition to the next level. the conflict must be intense enough to motivate an individual to undertake the often protracted. A transition may take years to run its course and high levels of anxiety and/or depression may come and go during these periods. Robert Kegan uses the term “immunity” to refer to our natural tendency to withstand and resist change. For example. The Paradox of Success It should also be noted that if an individual has been particularly successful at achieving the imperatives of a certain level that person may be all the more resistant to moving beyond that level of awareness.Beyond Survival Resistance to Transition Immunity The natural dynamic behind transitions between levels is conflict between an individualʼs challenges and the unconscious survival drives of his present level of awareness. As we have discussed. When the equilibrium established at a level of awareness is sufficiently disturbed an individual is forced. if a 216 . This resistance to change can be a factor when a transition between levels of awareness is being initiated or is in progress. Periods of transition are often periods of intense insecurity.

How extended? This will depend on the specific situation of the individual.. Prerequisites to Transition Disillusionment If an individual is to make a transition from one level to the next there must usually be a high level of disenchantment with the current level of awareness. that 217 . I donʼt know of any rule of thumb or any method of predicting the length of time that a particular transition will require. however. if you want to transform who you are [. In The Three Laws of Performance. In this way success at one level can prove to be an impediment to moving beyond that level.” In addition to a readiness for change there needs to also be a significant level of commitment. We do know.. It must be plainly felt to no longer be working. a willingness to persevere over an extended period. authors Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan put it this way: “.] then you need to create a crisis of identity. It has been said that we donʼt change unless the pain of not changing outweighs than the pain of making a change. one in which the only way out is transformation.Beyond Survival person has achieved a high degree of popularity (a level 3 success) that person would be unlikely to be moved to undertake the work of making a transition to level 4...

“Personality can continue to change somewhat in middle and old age. Research has shown the this quality typically increases until a person reaches 20 but then begins to decline. some people become more open again. there is the issue of openness.” It is possible that the midlife years are too full of work and family related responsibilities to leave sufficient energy for making significant life changes. Openness is a term used in psychology to refer to a willingness to experience novelty. Aids to Transition Knowledge and Understanding It is hoped that this book can serve as a supportive resource for individuals as they proceed on their personal journeys through the Levels of 218 .Beyond Survival naturally occurring transitions are not typically short term undertakings. individuals may open up to new experiences again since this is typically a time of life of fewer responsibilities. After that . Openness Also. According to an article called “Set In Our Ways” that appeared in the January 2009 issue of Scientific Americanʼs Mind magazine. This would explain why. A retired 60 year old with a comfortable pension and no children living at home has considerably more flexibility in her daily life than she had when she was a busy career woman with a husband and three energetic children at home all making demands on her time and energy. but openness to new experiences tends to decline gradually until about age 60. Often years may pass during the course of a transition. after 60.

One way it might do so is by helping to provide individuals with a clear understanding of a current predicament within the context of a particular level of awareness and within the greater perspective of Developmental Liberation in general.Beyond Survival Awareness. In other words. This knowledge could strengthen an individualʼs resolve to undertake the challenging process of transition. In addition. it might provide a kind of transitional roadmap enabling individuals to understand where they are and where they are going in terms of moving through the Levels of Awareness. knowledge of the level of awareness immediately above an individualʼs current level and its power to resolve the current distress may serve to support and inspire an individual in the process of transition. 219 .

Section 6: Moving On .

These “destructive 221 . disrespect. Brain Training A common thread running through many personal and global issues is intolerance in some form. Suffering is the natural trigger for transitions. Intolerance manifests itself emotionally in anger.Beyond Survival Making Transitions If you consider what are called the virtues of mankind. If this proves to be the case then we may be able to support an increase in personal development through learning and applying one or more of these systems. In other words we may be able to reduce suffering by means of specialized education. Perhaps the brainʼs natural neuroplasticity might be leveraged in conjunction with learning a new system to effect personal growth. However. impatience .. When they do occur naturally it is usually as the result of some form of intense discomfort. rage. you will find their growth is assisted by education and cultivation. Xenophon In the normal course of events transitions between Levels of Awareness occur naturally or not at all. anxiety. and more. envy. with the recent discoveries in neuroscience and psychology several systems have emerged that may serve to encourage the kind of personal growth necessary to reach the higher levels of awareness.

Recently some very interesting research has been carried out that indicates such a method may be available. It follows that if there were a method whereby this ratio might be tipped in favor of increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex the destructive emotions might be attenuated and an increase in compassion. as they are referred to by Daniel Goleman. author of Emotional Intelligence. that is just over nine years of practice. are the very hallmarks of intolerance. The question arises. However.Beyond Survival emotions”. At three hours of meditation a day. It has been found that the brains of these meditators have elevated activity levels in their left prefrontal cortices when compared to the brains of nonmeditators. the antidote to intolerance. in a study published by Richard Davidson. Jon KabatZinn and others it was reported that just three months of meditation training 222 . The trained brains they have been looking at are those of experienced meditators. might be achieved. Neuroscientist have found that individuals who regularly experience these troubling emotions show increased activity in the right prefrontal cortex of their brains. seven days a week. The ratio between left and right prefrontal cortical activity appears to be directly related to a persons emotional baseline. Several teams of scientists have been at work comparing trained brains to ordinary brains and have made some remarkable discoveries. how much brain training is required to achieve these results? In the studies just mentioned the meditators all had a minimum of ten thousand hours of meditative practice. Conversely those who more commonly experience positive emotions such as compassion and joy have elevated levels of activity in their left prefrontal cortical region.

Most of us get stuck at some point in our development.” Germane to our discussion. Recently. If such meditative techniques are valid and address the deepest mechanisms of the human mind.Beyond Survival significantly shifted the left-right prefrontal cortical activity ratio toward the left prefrontal cortex. developmental psychologist Robert Kegan discovered in his research that most of us do not reach the upper levels of psychological development. certain practical elements of that meditative training could be valuably incorporated into the education of children and help adults to achieve better quality of life. Robert Kegan and his associates have been working at formulating a program that would 223 . Overcoming the Immunity to Change As mentioned early on in this book. Kegan coined the phrase “immunity to change” to describe the dynamic behind this phenomenon. their value is universal and they donʼt have to be labeled Buddhist even though they are the fruit of more than twenty centuries of Buddhist contemplativesʼ investigations of the mind. “If it is possible for meditators to train their minds to make their destructive emotions vanish. Early results in the study of brain training are encouraging. As Matthieu Richard says. meditative techniques may prove to be a tool of considerable value in fostering growth through the Levels of Awareness.

We called this transition stage “Disillusionment”. In Immunity to Change the authors present a six-step process for making lasting changes in oneʼs life. “Assessment”. Kegan. has recently (2009) published a book called Immunity to Change in which the authors lay out a process designed to help people resume their halted development and to progress to higher levels of awareness. In the next transition stage. This assessment allows people to begin to think about what may need to done differently and what kinds of changes they need to make in order to do those things differently. However. Once disillusionment has instilled an urgency 224 .Beyond Survival allow individuals to get unstuck and to move on developmentally. As we have seen. in partnership with Lisa Laskow Lahey. individuals often start to think about fundamental change when the imperatives of their current level of awareness had lead them to encounter challenges for which their level of awareness is insufficient. individuals identify what they have tried and what has not worked. early on in their exploration of why people get stuck at particular levels of development it became obvious to Kegan and Laskow Lahey that simply knowing what changes are needed is not enough.

The goal should connect deeply with an individualʼs core sense of self. At this point individuals record all of the behaviors that they do or donʼt do that undermine their commitment to their chosen goal. Individuals are asked to compile a list of improvement goals that they think might lead them to a better place in their lives. 225 .Beyond Survival for change in an individual the following steps may prove to be effective in guiding the process of personal transformation: Generating Ideas About Potential Improvement Goals is the first step. Here commitments that are competing with the goal committed to in the first step are identified. In this step individuals sort through the potential improvement goals identified in step one and select a goal that they feel they can make a serious commitment to accomplishing. The next step is called Doing/Not Doing. These competing commitments often surface as worries about problems in achieving the chosen goal. It is critical that they are fearlessly honest and as objective as possible when carrying out this activity. Step four is about Competing Commitments. The second step is Commitment.

The sixth step involves Tests and Experiments. 226 . Transformations. Some steps can take weeks or months to work through. Experimentation. Kegan and Laskow Lahey identify this sixth step as the heart of the change system they are proposing.Beyond Survival The fifth step concerns Big Assumptions. and Existential Truth). Here is where getting unstuck takes place. this system is concerned with deep and lasting change. Experiential Truth. However. The system presented in Immunity to Change is intensive and requires considerable time and energy commitments. and Reconstruction) with elements of the three levels of truth (see Section 2: “Can We Change”: A Progression of Truth: Conceptual Truth. Tests and experiments are designed to test the validity of the big assumptions brought to light in step five. Analysis. Once competing commitments have been exposed it is time to identity the big assumptions that lie behind these commitments. In terms of the language used in this book this six-step system for change integrates elements of the four transition stages (see Section 3: “Transitions. not superficial or transitory “band-aid” solutions. and Transmutation”: Transition Stages: Disillusionment. The results of these tests and experiments are recorded. The big assumptions referred to here are the often unconscious reasons we have for pursuing our goals.

This is because the self at any given level is created and sustained by an unconscious survival drive. Come to Your Senses: Demystifying the Mind/Body Connection. Everything in our lives is colored by the influence of this drive. As has been discussed suffering can make us all too painfully aware of the results of these unconscious survival drives. in turn. Block and his wife. How can we discover that which we do not know even exists? And even if we do know about the drives a recognition of their existence is not enough. if the discomfort is severe enough. In order to break free. We are still left with the question of how to bring their subtle and pervasive workings into awareness. Carolyn Bryant Block 227 . we may be driven to seek solutions beyond our current level of awareness which. Stanley H. But how much better it would be if there was some more expeditious means of exposing the workings of the unconscious drive.Beyond Survival Bridging We have seen that at each level of awareness there is a tendency to get stuck in that levelʼs perspective. Dr. to liberate ourselves from the drive that is compelling our thoughts and behaviors at a given level it is necessary to become aware of that drive. The trick is how to become aware of that which is unconscious. In time. of enticing the drive out of darkness and into the light of awareness. can serve to eventually illuminate the workings of an unconscious drive. In their book.

once triggered. Just as a physical bridge may span a physical obstacle. When a disturbance is experienced the person is asked to focus on sensory input such as a background noise like traffic or 228 . carries on ruminating and spinning scenarios that are almost inevitably disturbing.Beyond Survival present what may be just such a system. It has two basic components: focusing on sensory input and naming the thought. Sound familiar? Just as we have said that a person becomes aware of the results of the activity of an unconscious drive when they experience some form of suffering. according to Come to Your Senses. refers to a means of “stepping over” the obstacle of Identity System activity and then carrying on with your business. Typically. According to the Blocks the Identity System is activated by emotionally charged thoughts. The cure. While we have been discussing a self that evolves through developmental stages. the strategies that the Blocks present are applicable to the self as it exists at any of the levels of awareness. The intervention recommended is called “bridging”. the activity of the Identity System can be recognized in some form of discomfort such as physical tension or negative emotions. the Identity System. this activation occurs automatically and without our realizing it. Normally. is to intervene whenever discomfort signals the involvement of the Identity System. in this context. They use the term “Identity System” to refer to an individualʼs self. bridging.

“Iʼm having the thought ʻJan shouldnʼt have forgotten my birthdayʼ. body tension and impaired mental and physical functioning. As with any new learning. he may say.Beyond Survival the hum of a refrigerator. The concept of “Requirements” and a technique called “Mapping” play central roles in the practices presented in Come To Your Senses. Next the individual in question names the thought that triggered the upset. he is able to do so with a resting Identity 229 . “At each moment the Identity System has Requirements of how I and the world should be. The focus on sensory input interrupts the machinations of the Identity System and brings our attention back to present moment. This.  “Mapping” allows the individual to recognize and Defuse his Requirements so that when the individual faces the same situation again. The final step is to simply go on with whatever one was doing before the upset occurred. practice is required to make bridging a natural part of your life but the rewards of perseverance may be truly life changing.” The idea is that this two-step process helps us see that a thought is just a thought (something cooked up by the Identity System) and not necessarily a true representation of reality.  When these Requirements are unfulfilled. For example. Block explained. In an email to this author Dr. the Identity System is activated and the individual experiences mind clutter. in turn. allows us to take an objective look at the triggering thought and to recognize it as just a thought.

Again. The Formula for Change: A Final Revision Recall our formula for the transmutation of ignorance into wisdom: a = Setting For Change (growth mindset) b = Tool For Change (deliberate thinking) c = Capacity For Physical Change In The Brian (neuroplasticity) 230 . may prove to be simple and helpful tools for facilitating transitions between the levels of awareness. They appear to have the potential to alleviate suffering while. Bridging and mapping may be effective ways of gaining awareness of the workings of our unconscious survival drives and. Mapping is a way of bridging a number of triggering thoughts in a single session.” Mapping is a technique used to illuminate the pervasive nature of Identity System activity. therefore.Beyond Survival System. plenty of practice is recommended in order that mapping may become a natural part of your life. If this is so the progress of individuals toward higher levels of awareness might be significantly expedited. at the same time.  Defusing Requirements not only reduces suffering. but leads to purification of character and higher levels of awareness. promoting personal advancement through the developmental levels of awareness. There are many examples given in Come to Your Senses that illustrate the use of mapping to uncover various aspects of the Identity Systemʼs influences and to bring these heretofore unrecognized influences into awareness.

The third stage was identified as “Experimentation” and it was described as being a trial and error search for problem solving strategies that were more effective than those that had been tried at an individualʼs current level of awareness. 231 .Beyond Survival m = Motivation For Change a + b + c + m --> w (wisdom) With knowledge of the existence of systems such as those discussed above we can now revise the “m” variable as follows: m = Motivation For Change (Suffering and/or Education) Learning and applying a growth system may serve to prevent excessive suffering while at the same time promoting movement through the levels of awareness. Growth systems such as those discussed above may prove to be effective in both the prevention and the cure with regard to excessive suffering. most importantly. Which Is the Best Approach? Earlier in this book four transition stages were discussed. be sufficient to supply individuals with the motivation for personal psychological development without the need for going through disillusionment or intense anguish. Even in cases where suffering is already occurring the application of a growth systemʼs strategies may serve as a first response to suffering and thereby reduce the level of discomfort and smooth the transition itself significantly. the learning and applying of growth systems may. But. of their own.

However. For example. I am concerned that many of us may not be sufficiently self-aware to diagnose ourselves with the degree of objectivity required to progress unerringly through the rigors of the six steps. Its strength is in its blanket effect on psychological unease as well as providing a basis for mindful self enquiry. However.Beyond Survival It was pointed out the trial and error is a time consuming and generally inefficient approach. The course of meditative practice is not amenable to conscious direction because it relies heavily on letting go and trusting in intuition. in several of the rather complex steps an individual is required to make some very astute self-observations (Doing/Not Doing. Mind Training (meditation) has stood the test of time as a technique for bringing overall balance to the mental lives of its practitioners. The above strategies and techniques go a long way to eliminating trial and error from the transitional process. meditating on a particular life problem such as a troubling relationship may provide useful insights but penetrating to the core issue can take considerable time. In contrast to meditation. the six steps laid out in Immunity To Change provide a focused approach to dealing with conscious change. But this generality is also a weakness when a specific result is desired. It seems 232 . coming to terms with why you are stuck at a particular level of awareness could be a long drawn-out process because of the typically meandering path by which meditative insights progress. Competing Commitments. and Big Assumptions). Moreover. I have some reservations which I feel need to be discussed.

In fact. Bridging and Mapping are both focused. Key elements to success in personal transformation are openness and patience. These techniques focus on what is going on in the present and provide ways of dealing with difficulties the moment they arise. represent the most practical approaches to personal growth.Beyond Survival to me that without the guidance of a trained practitioner we might too easily lead ourselves astray somewhere along the way. Bridging and Mapping expose the workings of survival drives (referred to as Requirements in Come To Your Senses) in the very act of generating distress thus bringing their otherwise hidden machinations into conscious awareness. If Mind Training is lacking focus and the steps presented in Immunity To Change are complex and error prone what about Bridging? To my mind Bridging and its companion technique. Mapping. They can be activated anytime and anywhere the need arises and they require no special circumstances or supportive materials. it is important to realize that where personal transformation is concerned nothing less than a 233 . Throughout this book we have consistently pointed out the role that unconscious survival drives play in complicating our lives. We are discussing personal growth here and the rewards are more than worth the time and effort invested. These strategies can be learned and applied regardless of an individualʼs present level of awareness. It may be that those capable of navigating their way through the six steps unaided are already at a relatively high level of awareness. and simple enough to be resistant to errors.

the application of the practical wisdom gained requires attention and effort. Reaching a high level of awareness is not the end of the journey. 234 . The work of compassionate contribution will never be complete. The need for this wisdom in the world will not disappear. Continuing effort is required to remain mindful of the lessons one has learned.Beyond Survival life-long commitment is appropriate. In addition.

Beyond Survival Section 7: Conclusions 235 .

What is the role of instincts in thought and behavior? According to the theory of Developmental Liberation instincts play a foundational role in human thought and behavior. which ramify. John Maynard Keynes The measure of any theory lies in the difference it makes and the difference a theory makes lies in its explanatory power along with its potential for practical applications. The goal of Developmental Liberation is to bring unconscious . for those brought up as most of us have been. The Explanatory Power of Developmental Liberation The explanatory power of a theory is its ability to make comprehensible that which was otherwise difficult or impossible to understand. but in escaping from the old ones. Making the incomprehensible comprehensible matters because understanding enhances the possibility for the emergence of practical wisdom. Most instinctual activity goes on below the level of awareness and as such may cause individuals considerable conflict and confusion.The Measure of a Theory The difficulty lies. into every corner of our minds. Developmental Liberation offers explanatory power through its ability to address difficult questions such as: 1. not in the new ideas.

The survival drives come to prominence sequentially during development and as each drive becomes dominant a new and higher development level is achieved. Why have developmental levels been observed in human beings? Developmental Liberation proposes that developmental levels are the products of five survival drives.Beyond Survival instinctual activity into the area of conscious awareness so that they can be understood and taken into account as appropriate. 3. The following summarizes the required conditions. Such progress is possible when certain conditions are met. 2. How is personal growth possible? Personal growth is seen as the result of a progression through the levels of development. a = Setting For Change (growth mindset) b = Tool For Change (deliberate thinking) c = Capacity For Physical Change In The Brian (neuroplasticity) a + b + c --> w In this formula the “w” stands for wisdom (an outcome of personal growth) and the “-->” refers to the process of transmutation where transmutation is understood to be the conversion of ignorance (unconscious survival drive) into wisdom (awareness of the 237 . These survival drives are components of the foundational instinct to survive.

In addition. inspiration of the kind engendered by effective personal growth systems can promote psychological development. What is the cause of suffering? The underlying causes of suffering are the five survival drives. What causes personal growth to occur? The primary cause of personal growth is suffering. 5. 238 . 6.Beyond Survival previously unconscious drive resulting in more freedom and greater perspective). An individual must become sufficiently distresses and/or disillusioned with his current level coping strategies before he will be able to entertain moving beyond his present developmental level. 4. So long as they remain below the level of our awareness they drive our thoughts and behaviors without our knowing that this is happening. When this is the case these drives generate desires. How can the emergence of practical wisdom be encouraged? Progress through the developmental levels results in an increase in the potential for practical wisdom to occur. Once a transition to the next developmental level has been initiated appropriate inspiration can play an important role. In the hope of satisfying these desires we tend to cling to particular outcomes (attachment).

Even if an outcome is achieved suffering may ensue due to the loss or fear of possible loss. It is a broad theoretical framework and as such 239 . How can suffering be alleviated? If suffering is ultimately the result of unconscious survival drives then the bringing of these drives into awareness can mitigate their capacity to cause suffering. What is the basis for our beliefs about ourselves and the world? The theory of Developmental Liberation posits that our beliefs about ourselves and the world are directly related to the level of development we have achieved. 7. Instead of being an unconscious source of suffering.Beyond Survival Unconscious Survival Drives (ignorance) --> Desires --> Clinging --> Suffering If an outcome is not achieved the failure to do so is experienced as some form of suffering. 8. These are just some of the important issues that Developmental Liberation attempts to address. at any moment. Individuals at different levels of development have different beliefs about their place in the world and the nature of the world they inhabit. a survival drive that is understood and known in awareness becomes a component of an increasing capacity for practical wisdom. of the desired outcome.

Practical Applications of Developmental Liberation Putting theory into practice is the whole point of establishing a theory in the first place. Three of the most sweeping applications of the theory are: 1. When seen in this context suffering may be more easily endured.Finding Solutions to Personal and Global Problems At each level of development an individualʼs perspective widens and an increase in choices (freedom) is gained. The degree of an individualʼs liberation from suffering increases as she moves upward through the development levels. It is seen as a factor with the power to initiate a transition from one level of development to the next. While such explanatory power is helpful in its own right the true value of Developmental Liberation is in the practical applications it allows.Beyond Survival encompasses many aspects of our lives. Progress through the levels of development exposes an unconscious survival drive at each transition thus neutralizing that driveʼs ability to act as an unconscious source of suffering. the power to initiate liberating transformations in our lives. With a wider 240 . Developmental Liberation has a number of important practical applications.Reduction of Suffering In the Developmental Liberation framework suffering is given a measure of meaning. 2.

insights specific to each developmental level are identified and may facilitate a transition between any two levels. Developmental Liberation provides a formula (the brain ʻalchemyʼ formula) for personal development. This holds true for individual challenges and as more and more individuals make their way to higher developmental levels and the average developmental level of the population rises it will hold true for global challenges as well. The Fundamental Hypothesis The theory of Developmental Liberation is a combination of existing science and a new hypotheses. In undertaking the challenge of personal development the individual is making a contribution not only to his own well-being but to the well-being of the planet and all the life that it supports. Work in the areas of developmental psychology. 3.Beyond Survival perspective and range of choices problems that were intractable at a lower level of development are more easily dealt with. Also. and neuroscience has been woven together into an integrated 241 . evolutionary psychology. As such it is grounded in well established research.Personal Development The theory not only describes the levels of development but discusses ways of encouraging movement through these levels. The benefits of personal development to both the individual and society are many and varied. The degree of practical wisdom increases at each successive level of development.

In humans the survival instinct operates in a sequentially unfolding hierarchy of drives (Maslowʼs hierarchy of needs) 3.Beyond Survival theory by the drawing out of relationships between the findings of the different areas of study. 5. The hypothesis is the contention that the developmental stages observed and described by Robert Kegan. Derived from this hypothesis are the eight Basic Principles listed in Section 1: The Survival Instinct. and others are caused by the actions of unconscious survival drives.Each drive manifests as a specific form of the survival instinct that unconsciously compels an individualʼs thoughts and behaviors. The assumption behind this hypothesis is the idea that Maslowʼs hierarchy of needs actually identifies a hierarchy of drives. Lawrence Kolhberg. 3.The drive at each level contains within it the seeds of potential drive-specific problems that can lead to intense discomfort/ suffering 242 .There is a survival instinct that is inherent in all living things. The cross-fertilization of these ideas is the genesis of the theory of Developmental Liberation. 4. Abraham Maslow. 1. At the heart of the theory is a crucial hypothesis upon which the whole framework rests. 2. each of which is an aspect of the primary instinct for survival.These drives are insatiable.As each form of survival drive takes precedence a unique form of separate self is established.

The higher the level of awareness the greater the potential for the emergence of practical wisdom. in so doing. Survival! is an attempt to present the theory of Developmental Liberation in a clear and accessible way in the hope that readers will find in it information. and practices that will prove helpful as they navigate the rich and challenging developmental stages of their personal lives and.The transition from one level of awareness to another consists of the unconscious survival drive of the lower level becoming an object in awareness at the next higher level (the drive becomes ʻrealizedʼ). 8.Beyond Survival 6. 243 . ideas. 7. offering them a means to making a personal and compassionate contribution to the realization of a sustainable global future.Transitions between levels may be initiated when a form of discomfort inherent in a particular levelʼs drive reaches an intolerable level or when a system of personal growth engenders inspiration justified by experience in its efficacy.

Section 8: Appendices .

Agency: capacity to influence in a unique way (dependent on individuality) Awareness: Primitive Awareness: detection of internal or external properties such as temperature. pressure. Sophisticated Awareness: the state of having knowledge about physical or conceptual objects coupled with the ability to mentally represent and perform mental operations on those objects. Knowledge: information placed within a context (through assimilation or accommodation) Liberation: freedom from suffering Self: the conceptual entity that is formed at each level of awareness that gains in its degree of freedom and experiences an increasing degree of separation from embeddedness in the environment in the process 245 . color. Consciousness: see Sophisticated Awareness Degrees of Freedom: removal of level-specific limitations imposed at each Level of Awareness (resulting in an increase in choice at each level of awareness) Ignorance: a state in which an awareness of influence or information is lacking Individuality: what makes an organism unique: the organismʼs accumulated experiential history encoded in its nervous system along with its inherited history as encoded in its genes. what follows are definitions of how these words should be understood in the context of this book.Beyond Survival Appendix I: Glossary of Contentious Terms I am continually frustrated by books that bandy certain words around assuming that everyone agrees on their meaning. Although the following words may have numerous and often debated meanings. etc. sound.

Beyond Survival Transcendence: deep understanding of the purely psychological nature of the separation of self from other (subject from object) Unconsciousness: see ignorance Wisdom: awareness that enables acts of compassionate contribution 246 .

Moreover. sustained training in mindfulness and introspection is conjoined with the cultivation of attentional stability and vividness. This requires cultivating and refining oneʼs ability to introspectively monitor oneʼs own mental activities. Alan Wallace. we find: The initial challenge of Buddhist meditative practice is not merely to suppress. rigorous. Matthieu Ricard. Richard J. but instead to identify how they arise. and B. To begin with both Buddhist teachings and Developmental Liberation emphasize a need to understand how mental states arise. In addition. In an article entitled “Buddhist and Psychological Perspectives on Emotions and Well-Being” co-authored by notable scholars Paul Ekman. enabling one to distinguish disruptive from non-disruptive thoughts and emotions. one learns to transform and finally free oneself from all afflictive states. and how they influence oneself and others over the long run. destructive mental states. In Buddhism.Beyond Survival Appendix II: Buddhism and The ʻAlchemyʼ Of The Brain There are strong parallels between ancient Tibetan Buddhist practices and the fundamental principles described in Beyond Survival. Later in the article quoted above we find: 247 . Davidson. there is a felt imperative in the Buddhist tradition to look beyond personal improvement. let alone repress. how they are experienced.

Beyond Survival The ideal here is not simply to achieve oneʼs own individual happiness in isolation from others.There is a way to end suffering The Four Noble Truths can be interpreted in terms of the principles of Developmental Liberation. In simplified form they state: 1. but to incorporate the recognition of oneʼs deep kinship with all beings. At the heart of Buddhist practices are The Four Noble Truths.Suffering can end 4.Life is inseparable from suffering Living in ignorance results in suffering. who share the same yearning to be free of suffering and to find a lasting state of well-being. 248 . The unconscious survival drives at each level of awareness create desires which require fulfillment. 1.There is a cause to suffering 3.Life is inseparable from suffering 2. As with level 5 awareness there is the realization of a need for compassionate contribution to the world. This pattern repeats itself at each level of awareness. In attempting to fulfill desires we inevitably suffer when our actions prove inadequate.

While Moffitt rightly observes that it is the act of grasping and not the desire itself that directly causes suffering. Phillip Moffit states. Dancing With Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering. He is the author of Dancing With Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering. for it is through clinging that you create your mental suffering. He subsequently was ordained as a lay priest in the Theravada Buddhist tradition throughSpirit Rock Meditation Center in Northern California. a belief that suffering can be relieved by fulfilling a desire. “Grasping after desire and believing that your happiness depends on getting it is what imprisons the mind. not the desire itself. This emphasis on the untrained mind's compulsion to grasp desire is at the very heart of the Buddha's teaching.Beyond Survival 2. There is a circularity here within which we can easily become ensnared.There is a cause to suffering In his excellent exposition of the insights that follow from The Four Noble Truths. 249 . In terms of Developmental Liberation desires are interpreted as resulting from level-specific unconscious survival drives. where he is now a member of the Teachers Council. Clinging to the fulfillment of desires is the source of suffering and clinging arises because of a mistaken belief. These needs are viewed as types of ignorance existing at each level of awareness.” In 1987 Phillip Moffitt walked away from his highly successful post as chief executive and editor-in-chief of Esquire magazine to devote himself to exploring the inner life full time. there would be no grasping or clinging if not for the existence of the desire in the first place.

at level 6. The Eightfold Path consists of: right view. right speech.There is a way to end suffering In Buddhist tradition the way to end suffering is by following The Eightfold Path. right action. right effort.Beyond Survival 3. In the process the lower levelʼs drive is exposed to the light of awareness and thereby loses its power to act as an unconscious source of desires. At level 5 awareness the drive is for meaning which manifests in a desire for wholeness. and right concentration. The Eightfold Path presents a way that leads. finally. all drives have been brought into awareness leaving no remaining unconscious source of desires. Wisdom (panna) Right View: observation of the workings of the mind Right Intention: the priority of seeking truth 250 . right intention. 4. right mindfulness. right livelihood. At each transition another source of desires is exposed until. not to the direct satisfaction of the desire.Suffering can end The primary transformation occurring in each transition between the Levels of Awareness is identified in this book as the transposing of the unconscious survival drive of the lower level into conscious awareness at the higher level. but to the illumination of the underlying need for meaning. From the perspective of Developmental Liberation the Eightfold Path can be thought of as a prescription for effectively navigating the transition between level 5 awareness and level 6 awareness.

the illumination of the final drive for unity (meaning and purpose) in awareness signifies completion of the transmutation of all forms of ignorance into wisdom. in terms of Developmental Liberation. a method of encouraging transitions between levels of awareness to occur. Right Action. With the illumination of all unconscious survival drives in awareness the ʻalchemyʼ of the brain is complete. In both practices exposing and understanding the workings of these sources is seen as the way to liberation from suffering. In both Buddhist practice and the practices discussed in this book there is a focus on becoming aware of the sources of suffering.Beyond Survival Ethical Conduct (sila) Right Speech. Right Concentration: staying focused on what is happening Following the ancient tradition of The Eightfold Path is. 251 . Complete cessation of clinging is the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice. in terms of Developmental Liberation. and Right Livelihood: behaving in ways that are in agreement with the values of compassion and contribution Concentration (samadhi) Right Effort: perseverance in making the transition in spite of the challenges encountered Right Mindfulness: being present with what is happening. Similarly. not clinging to imagined past accomplishments or avoiding imagined future problems.

in fact.Needs. counter-productive. Also.Beyond Survival An obvious difference between the two practices is the explication of the six Levels of Awareness (with their associated drives) in this book.e. Desires. While the two systems may address different aspects of the causal chain of suffering the end result is the same and the ultimate goal of both systems is identical. Both systems seek to enable a state of equilibrium wherein suffering comes to an end. specific strategies for transcending the challenges and problems associated with the levelʼs drive are presented. at each level. This is because the two systems focus on different points in the causal chain of suffering shown here: Unconscious Survival Drives (ignorance) --> Desires --> Clinging --> Suffering8 In Buddhist practice the focus is on the cessation of clinging to the fulfillment of desires (i. The six Levels of Awareness describe a hierarchic path which is not specified as such in the Buddhist tradition. Exposing unconscious survival drives in awareness results in the realization that clinging to a specific outcome is not an absolute imperative and is. and Suffering 252 . attachment to specific outcomes). Outcomes. In the end the result is the same. 8 See Appendix II . In Developmental Liberation it is the bringing of level-specific unconscious survival drives into awareness that is the focus of attention.

253 . 9 Maslow published A Theory of Human Motivation in 1943. it is possible that the practices of Developmental Liberation will be found to be complimentary to Buddhist practices in the pursuit of personal liberation and a compassionate global community. the ultimate goal of practice.Beyond Survival With its 2000 years of history Buddhist practice has demonstrated indisputable effectiveness as a productive path in alleviating the suffering that is inherent in the human condition. and the essential role that focused awareness plays in accomplishing this goal. the practices suggested in this book have very little history. Because the two systems are in such fundamental agreement in terms of what needs to be done to alleviate suffering. By comparison. The life stages that the six Levels of Awareness are based on have been around in one form or another for about 70 years9 but the actual practices discussed in this book have yet to be systematically tested let alone established as universally reliable.

Relationship. Meaning Clinging. and Suffering Unconsciou s Survival Drive Level 2: Security Level 3: Membership Level 4: Independence Level 5: Unity Purpose (survival value) Safety Connection. Outcomes. Unconscious Survival Drives (ignorance) --> Desires --> Clinging --> Suffering At each level of awareness a drive generates desires which. Celebrity Compassionate contribution Personal Well-being Belonging Personal Power Well-being of Community The drives found at each level of awareness are inherent in all of us. in turn. Respect Value. If an outcome is not achieved the failure to do so is experienced as some form of suffering. This is because they have essential survival value to both individuals and the species as a whole (as shown in the Purpose column above).Beyond Survival Appendix III: Needs. Wealth. 254 . Avoidance Self subordination Status. generate attachment (clinging) to particular outcomes. Desires. Cooperation Taking personal responsibility Communion Desires Strategies (form of clinging) Desired Outcome Protection Inclusion. Popularity Recognition.

and 5 are open ended. The strategy (means of perpetuating attachment/ clinging) of self subordination is seen to be a source of suffering. Instead of being obsessed with the desired outcome. The desired outcome of belonging in every possible context is no longer seen as absolutely essential to her overall psychological survival. for example. On the other hand. an individual at level 4 awareness is aware of her level 3 drive for membership. 3. the arising of a desire for inclusion is recognized as a natural consequence of having the basically healthy need to belong. This makes attachment to a particular outcome less of an issue.Beyond Survival Even if an outcome is achieved suffering may ensue due to a fear of the possible loss of the desired outcome at any moment. when. Because of this desires have a tendency to give rise to obsessions which will then result in an intensified level of suffering. It is important to understand that desires donʼt go away once a drive is exposed in awareness. 4. she can now pursue fulfilling the purpose of the drive in healthier ways without the need to subordinate her self in the process. You can never really have enough to satisfy the desire completely and for all time. the understanding of the mechanism that has produced the desires removes the desperate attachment to a any particular 255 . But. the outcomes of levels 2. The bottom line is that so long as there exists any form of unconscious survival drive suffering is inevitable. by their natures. In addition.

Beyond Survival outcome. When the attachment to a particular outcome is recognized as a source of suffering this allows more healthy ways of satisfying the drive to be recognized. 256 .

Canada. Terry lives with his wife. This book is the result of Terryʼs rather protracted explorations of these topics. and epistemology.Beyond Survival The Author Beyond Survival (2009) by Terry Findlay. He is also involved in a number of community organizations in his home town. 4 as well as writing software for Macintosh computers (www. neuroscience. Feel free to contact the author at: tfindlay@me. These days Terry keeps busy designing and building websites for his clients (www. 257 .simtechcomputerservices..ttpsoftware.C. Terry Findlay is a retired teacher with interests in psychology. B. and a dog in Keremeos.

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