> The Observation Mode
- Positive Traits:
Aware, Clarity, Detached, Insightful, Neutral Perspective, Observing, Sees
Things Clearly, Spectator
- Negative Traits:
Inactive, Not Minding Own Business, Removed, Scrutiny, Spying, Surveillance,
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
The disadvantage is of course the tendency to avoid involvement, thus limiting
-- Phil Wittmeyer
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
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
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.
-- Michael Teachings
See a Photo
Comparison of the Seven Modes ]
page | Aggression Mode
The Seven Modes:
Phil Wittmeyer is a longtime Michael student and scholar of the teachings.
He can be reached at:
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