Trends in Soul AgeBy PHIL WITTMEYER
Unlike the other Aspects, Level and Age can be regarded as a sequence. Obviously the names of the Levels "First" through "Seventh" indicate a sequence, and likewise the names "Infant" through "Infinite" indicate a sequence. Therefore, there is more than just a change in perception from Level to Level and Age to Age. There are also general trends. An analogy will be used to introduce this concept. A child starts out learning to count, and then moves on to adding and subtracting numbers. Next he learns to multiply and divide the numbers. In the next step he learns to do fractions. From there he moves to things like geometry, trigonometry, and algebra. Ultimately he may get into such things as calculus and topology. The child has to learn the simple and basic things before he can go on to understand the complex and profound things of mathematics — or anything else. The level of a person's understanding of mathematics determines his perceptions of mathematics as a whole. Each "grade" in school has its own curriculum or course of study, and it is built on the knowledge of the previous grades. It is the same way with Maturation. Each Level and Age has a study plan, and a person in each Level and Age has the understanding of all earlier steps of Maturation inherent or inborn. In the following paragraphs we will examine a number of the areas of life where this occurs.
First of all, there is a changing perspective regarding relationships with other people. First Level Infant people are often foolish, isolated, crude, gross, irresponsible, and graceless — they do not know how to relate to other people and the world appropriately. They see relationships in terms of "me" and "not me". Much is learned in the Infant Age, just as a child learns much in his first few years of life. In this stage the person is working on the basic rules of socialization. Child Age people know better how to treat others, but tend to be cliquish. They perceive relationships in terms of "me" and "many other me's". They much prefer the company of their own kind, because they feel uncomfortable with those of differing beliefs, values, or backgrounds. Young Age people have better skills in interpersonal relations, but their approach is that they prefer to win others over to their own viewpoint. They view relationships in terms of "me" and "you". Mature Age people are working on the finer points of relationships — they tend to emphasize togetherness — but, like Young people, may find it difficult to let other people just be themselves. They regard relationships in terms of "us" .One of the traits of most Old Age people is that they live by the principle of nonattachment — live and let live. This is not withdrawal or noninvolvement, but it is allowing others to be themselves. They see relationships in terms of "everybody", the wholeness of which all people are parts. (There are so few Transcendental and Infinite Age people that there will be no comment on them in this section and little comment in subsequent sections.)
Another major trend in Maturation is that the sphere of activity and interest widens. Infant Age people tend to have a narrow range: they remain involved primarily in their immediate families, not unlike children in the first decade of life. They are not really a part of the culture in which they live. Child Age people have a wider range, but still limit their associations to their clique, not unlike teenagers. Young Age people are away from home and out in the world like young adults, but limit their involvement to people of their own tribe or nation. They are very much a part of the culture in which they live. Mature Age people regard the entire world as their family, and tend not to make national, cultural, or racial distinctions. They are concerned about the global situation. Old Age people have a cosmic perspective. The entire universe is of interest to them. This tends to set them apart from any culture. Old Age people are individualistic, and go their own way.
Also, ethics becomes more subtle with Maturation. People in the earlier Ages work on the more basic of virtues. This includes such things as learning that murder, stealing, lying, and cheating are unacceptable behavior — universally condemned by all societies. These people are often in need of artificial, externally-imposed incentives of reward and punishment. Older Age people know inherently that these things are to be avoided and they teach their children so. The older the Maturation, the more refined are the ethical issues. Anger, jealousy, envy, possessiveness, bossiness, self-pity, insincerity, glibness, and timidity are of concern here, to name a few.
The perception of the nature of good and evil is different through the Ages. The younger Maturation people are more "absolutistic" — they see things in terms of contrasting white and black, God and Satan, friend and enemy. Older Maturation people are more "relativistic" — they see things in terms of situation ethics, with shades of gray. Issues seem more complex and subtle than perceived by younger Maturation people. Younger Age people often consider the situation ethics of older Age people to be unethical because it does not conform to an absolute standard. Older Age people perceive the younger Age people as rigid in their moralizing, lacking in humanity and humility.
Another trend that comes with increasing Maturation is androgyny — balanced masculine and feminine characteristics. Older Age people do not identify as strongly with the gender of their body as do younger Age people. This does not mean that the older are necessarily effeminate men and masculine women, but it does mean their gender identity is weakened and the opposite gender traits allowed to be expressed.
An interesting thing about Maturation is that it begins and ends in simplicity. That is, Infant Age people are rather simplistic in their perceptions, not deeply involved in the complexity of civilization. Old Age people also often lead simple lives of noninvolvement in their culture. The ones in the middle three Ages often live lives filled with complexity, and involvement in society.
Another trend in Maturation is a greater sense of responsibility for personal actions. Where the younger Age person blames others or the environment for problems, the older Age person accepts responsibility for whatever situation he finds himself in. This is because the older Age person regards every situation, whether seemingly good or bad ("pleasant or unpleasant" is better terminology), as useful and profitable experience. A younger Age person will "throw tantrums" (intellectual or emotional) not unlike many children when their expectations are not met.
The characteristic of self-determination is another thing that shifts with Maturation. That is, the older the Maturation of the person, the more he depends on his own insights, thoughts, and feelings. There is more depth in the subconscious mind of the older Maturation person from which he can draw wisdom and understanding. A younger Maturation person depends more on the older Maturation people around him to give him guidance. Because of this, older Maturation people become the leaders and teachers in whatever culture they live.
Another thing is that the older the Maturation, the more well-rounded is the personality of the person. He is broader and fuller in his understanding and appreciation of all of life. In particular, note that the older the Maturation the greater the appreciation of the arts (theater, dance, music, painting, and so on). Primitive persons are not capable of appreciating it. Older Maturation people inherently have more talent and general competence also.
Another trend that follows Maturation is increasing conscious function. That is, the younger the Maturation of the person, the less introspective awareness the person has of self and the less understanding the person has of other people. The First Level Infant can seem almost animalistic and retarded. The Maturation scale depicts a sort of awakening from a sleep. It is like the emergence of consciousness from the oblivion of infancy, an increasing awareness of self and environment. The greater the Maturation of the person, the more self-awareness that is inherently present in the personality.
The most common measure of Maturation, although most people don't realize it when they say it, is simply that some people have more "common sense" than other people. The older the Maturation, the more of it the person has. Another common but unrecognized measure of Maturation is the shallow/deep scale. The younger the Maturation, the less depth there is to the personality, and the older the Maturation, the more profound his perceptions.
An interesting thing about Maturation is this: the Infant is very gullible. It uncritically accepts everything at face value that comes its way. It is very easy to fool an Infant on this account. This naiveté could be called "childish". A person in the middle of the Maturation scale is more discerning and critical about what is acceptable and what is not. He is more selective in what he allows to come into his experience and what he disallows. But at the end of the scale, an Old Age person is at the point where he also accepts everything uncritically, but in a different sense than the Infant. He realizes that everything has its proper place in the scheme of things, but he is not fooled by things that are not right for him. This type of innocent behavior might be called "childlike". Old Age people are in the "second childhood" of the Maturation scale.
Some people might take offense at the Maturation scale if they believe it implies inferiority and superiority. Few people see themselves as superior to younger people and inferior to older people. This is as it should be in regard to chronological age, and so it is in regard to Maturation. One could use such words as "evolution", "growth", "advancement", or "development" in regard to Maturation, but since Maturation is a Neutral Aspect, it is better to use the neutral word "transformation" to describe the sequence of Level and Age. Each location is different from all the others, and there are general trends apparent when Maturation is viewed as a sequence, but there is no superiority implied in this transformation. Older Maturation people are not better than younger Maturation people in this sense, but they are more mature, just as old people are not necessarily better than young people — they are simply further along the timeline of experience. Evening is not superior to morning, and old age is not superior to childhood. The Infant Age is just as valid, legitimate, and necessary in the scheme of things as the Old Age. Both have their place and function. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, problems and virtues. There is no great desirability of any particular Level or Age over another — each has its own challenges, demands, traumas, rewards, obstacles, advantages, and disadvantages.
The final explanation of the Trends in Maturation is that the younger the Maturation of the person, the less complete is his expression of each of the Processes. The older the Maturation of the person, the more complete it is. It could therefore be said that the more mature personality is more disciplined and rigorous because it has more Termination inherent. It is more vigorous and advanced because it has more Origination inherent. It is more humanitarian and gentle because it has more Involution inherent. It is more sensitive and spiritual because it has more Evolution inherent. It is more refined, sensible, and honest because it has more Analysis inherent. It is more wise, inclusive, and loving because it has more Synthesis inherent. It is more perceptive, knowledgeable, and useful because it has more Assimilation inherent.
One word has been chosen to sum up all the qualities discussed in this section, the single quality which is found in increasing amounts with greater Maturation. That word is "character". It covers wisdom, understanding, skills, self-determination, androgyny, subtlety, ethics, grace, common sense, and depth.
Before we get into a detailed discussion of the nature of each Level and Age, one particular point about the structure of the Chart needs to be made clear. Each Level and Age is a discrete and distinct stage or step in the Maturation scale. That is, the Levels and Ages do not represent a continuous smooth function where one Level or Age grades evenly into its neighbors. Rather, it exists in jumps. The two types of clocks in common use today are a good analogy here. Time does not move through the Levels and Ages like the smooth sweep of the hands on the face of a clock, but like the numbers on a digital chronometer which jump from one number to the next. Each Level and Age has its own definite and distinct flavor and fundamental nature to it which is different from all the others. There is a threshold or boundary which divides each Level and Age from those on either side of it. Each Level and Age is an Aspect of a specific Process, and this has been listed in Part One and is shown on the Chart. Each Level and Age partakes of the nature of the Process of which it is an Aspect. In the following sections regarding the Levels and Ages, explanation is given about this.
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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