Observation ModeBy PHIL WITTMEYER & Others
The Neutral Mode is Observation. It is the combination of all the other Modes, an aspect of the Assimilation Process. People in this Mode are not "colorful" or "flavorful" in their behavior in the way that people in the other Modes are. Rather, they are neutral observers, going through life as if they were watching it happen to others, but not to themselves. The Polarity of the other Modes makes them participatory in events. People in the Observation Mode tend to act as non-participants. It often surprises them when real life intrudes into their insulated space bubble, forcing them to grapple with it hands-on. They prefer to be spectators in the arena of events, witnesses to the game of life. They like to browse in the department store of the world, and if a clerk asks if they need help, they reply "just looking". They want to gain their experience, not by doing it themselves, but vicariously: by reading about it, watching it happen to others, or through entertainment and the media. This is a sort of scientific mode of behavior. They tends to view themselves with the same detached objectivity with which they views the world.
One clue for discerning people in the Observation Mode is the way they sound when they talk: one might think they are television or radio newscasters. There is a "just reporting the facts", objective and neutral way of presenting the information. In their daily life, they often make general comments and remarks on the things they notice — they make "observations" — just as if they were reporters. They generally do so without commitment to any interpretation of the information, whereas a person in a Polar Mode would interpret according to his Mode Process. One of the favorite activities of a person in this Mode is "people-watching." Another way this Mode shows up is in the "couch potato" who likes to watch television as much as possible.
Positive Pole (Clarity)
The Positive Pole is +Clarity, and people in this Pole have an alert manner. They are acutely aware of what is going on around them. Their conduct is attentive. They are wide awake in consciousness and they behave accordingly. They are vigilant to the environment. Visualize this Pole as if it were a picture having fine detail, clearly showing everything in proper proportion. People in this Mode live their lives clearly and cleanly, without distortion. Their attention is sharply focused on the matters at hand. They do the appropriate thing more so than people in the other Modes because their behavior is Neutral — not skewed by one of the Polar Processes. It is easier for people in +Clarity to adapt their behavior to suit the situation than it is for any other Mode.
Negative Pole (Surveillance)
In the Negative Pole of -Surveillance, the people have lost what involvement in the world they may have in +Clarity, and degenerated to just watching life go by. They are aloof, remote, detached, disconnected from the real world. They conduct their life as if they were in a dream or a movie. In an extreme case one might almost say these people are somnambulant: sleep walking. The fear that drives this Pole is a fear of involvement. In a group of people, they will not be doing anything except watching what everyone else is doing. Their secret wish is to be invisible, so that they could see but not be seen. They would like to scan, survey, and spy on the world, but not have it return the viewing. The way to overcome this fear is to consider and apply the Positive Poles of all the other Modes. Behave with +Persistence, +Dynamism, +Restraint, +Enthusiasm, +Deliberation, and +Authority, whichever is most suited to the occasion. Working with this will develop +Clarity.
The Observation Mode and the Goal of Flow are Counterparts. Flow seeks what the Observation Mode has, a relaxed and undistorted approach to life. This may not seem a very interesting Mode to most people, but there are not many objections to it from people in the other Modes. It does have its advantage: people behave in a detached and disinterested manner, which often means they stay cool and out of trouble, not going to any extreme. Many people have this Mode, perhaps second only to the Caution Mode. The disadvantage is of course the tendency to avoid involvement, thus limiting learning experiences.
Channeling About Observation Mode
If you have the neutral mode, you operate in a neutral way that absorbs other people's way of being through observing them. Those in observation mode take in the sights. The positive pole, or quality, is "clarity." A person functioning in a constructive manner relative to this mechanism observes the actions of others without bias, seeing things clearly, not necessarily understanding them but not distorting them, either--there is no agenda. In the negative pole, "surveillance," the person is not minding his own business, and there is an agenda--what is seen is judged, perhaps with suspicion or attributing nefarious motivations.
There is built into each overleaf a way to temporarily slide (move) to at least one other overleaf. As with the other overleaves, there are three pairs of modes that are opposites; for example, passion and reserve are opposites because they are on the same axis (in this case, the inspiration axis), so they are linked to one another directly. It is easy for someone in passion mode to sometimes slide to reserve mode, and vice versa.
Someone in observation mode, which is neutral (not part of a pair), can slide to any of the other six temporarily. Some people have sliding patterns, meaning that they slide to other overleaves in predictable ways. You might say of one individual, for example, that she is in observation mode frequently sliding to perseverance or caution. There are rare individuals who slide to all the other modes at times. Someone who slides frequently to other modes might be hard to read as to what her mode is. The sliding structure gives you a lot of flexibility in how you function.
Even without the sliding mechanism, you can temporarily use the energy of another mode, since you are a conscious being with the ability to choose. If you are in perseverance mode, in addition to sliding to aggression (which shares the action axis), you also might, on rare occasions, bring in the energy of power mode, even though there is no structure for you to use for sliding. If you do this, you most likely remember the feeling of it from other lifetimes in which you were in power mode. However, it is far easier to use the structure of sliding to give you variety and help you meet each situation appropriately. That is especially useful if you have a cardinal mode, aggression, power, or passion. By "cardinal," we mean that they are influential on others; they tend to stand out and be intense since they are expansive. The "ordinal" modes are responsive and contractive, so they tend to be quieter. Sliding to an ordinal mode occasionally could, for example, make someone in a cardinal mode less conspicuous.
There are no modes that are intrinsically positive or negative by themselves; they can all be used to further your life task. However, you can use sliding if your innate mode, the one you had at birth, is no longer ideal for what you are doing. For example, power mode might have allowed you to survive a difficult childhood; if it is no longer as useful, you might it find yourself living more in the opposite mode, caution.
Although almost half the population is in observation mode, that statistic is a little misleading because a lot of people are sliding some of the time. The fact that observation is equipped to slide to any other of the modes is the main reason so many souls choose it. Caution, incidentally, is the second most popular of the modes, after observation. Clearly, it is useful for a lot of human beings to learn through observing or being careful about their choices.
When a person is in observation mode, there is a bit of the quality of the scholar. As we mentioned, the role of scholar is also neutral, and can be seen observing, listening, taking notes, and so forth. A stereotypical scholar may seem dry, detached, or academic; you might think of a literal academic, a professor or researcher, who doesn't have a strong personality, but is more about absorbing knowledge and letting it be center stage rather than self. (Many scholars don't fit this stereotype; for one thing, their neutrality allows them to easily take on the colorings of other traits on their Michael chart.)
Scholars account for only about one-seventh of the world's population, but there are many more people who are in observation mode, doing a sort of imitation of scholar when they are not sliding. People in observation mode, like scholars, are sometimes thought of as aloof, as less involved in life, and that is valid to some degree. However, observing is actually a form of participation, albeit a more low-key form of it--modern physics has shown that you change things by observing them. People in observation mode tend to stare, sometimes without realizing that they are doing it. That is one way to validate this mode.
Q. How can you discern surveillance?
A. In the positive pole of each of the modes, a person reveals herself transparently; in the negative pole, she hides herself. The negative pole of observation may not be easy to discern, depending on how subtle or overt it is, but surveillance is like a spy who tries to observe without being observed, maybe glancing over her shoulder to make sure that she wasn't being followed. The positive pole, clarity, shows up as a person being openly observant. His eyes are neutral, but they are not vacant; there is a sense of presence, of interest in what is going on. In the negative pole, there is furtiveness.
There are many reasons besides the negative pole of observation mode that someone may not mind his own business. Human beings are social animals and are interested in what is going on, both positive and negative, in the community. Partly, this is self-protective. To some degree, the actions of others in the community could affect you, and there can be a strong demand within a culture that everyone conform to certain norms, feeling that that is the best way to make people feel safe, whether or not this is objectively true. Where there is a strong demand for conformity, there are a lot of people surveying others to make sure that they are towing the line. Sometimes there is the attitude that "If I have to follow the (oppressive) rules, then you do, too. I have to give up things that I want to do in order to conform, and I will feel cheated if you get to do those things. I have missed out on so much already." That behavior does not relate directly to the modes, but it might be mistaken for the negative pole of observation. Surveillance shows up more in how a person carries his body, particularly his eyes.
Q. Being unseen seems perfect to me, but nowadays, I feel I must slide into another mode that would allow me to involve myself with people a little more.
A. The desire for invisibility more often relates to what we call the chief feature (or obstacle) of arrogance, which is a fear of being judged and found wanting. It opposes the natural human need to be seen, in the sense of being acknowledged and appreciated. Everyone wants that to some degree, since humans are social animals. The desire to be permanently invisible suggests not feeling safe, whereas the negative pole of observation is more about not letting others see that you are surveying them. There can be guilt associated with not minding your own business, as if you were a peeping Tom. Being too interested in what others are doing often indicates that your own life is not full or interesting enough, in addition to a desire to enforce cultural norms.
If being invisible is now uncomfortable, the first step is to fully see and acknowledge yourself, and then gradually start risking letting others in.
Shepherd Hoodwin -- From Michael On Modes
Souls in observation are the only souls we know of who can speak of their own lives in the third person. They are distinguished by a slightly remote but polite detachment, and a sense of noninvolvement, offering logical but not consoling advice. They are very good in crisis situations, even if the crisis is their own, because they can usually stand outside of it and observe.
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About Phil Wittmeyer
Phil is a long-time Michael student who has written several book-length manuscripts about the Michael teachings, many of them featured on this site. He has been an active member in the community for many years and can be found at most Michael gatherings.
Phil currently lives in Colorado.
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