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Introduction | Feelings (δ) | Beliefs (γ) | Facts (β) | Ideas (α) | Conclusion

(double-click any word to see its definition)

The alpha level, the level of ideas, is the primary source of human creativity. It works in concert with the other levels, but it is the key to producing new knowledge. The power of the alpha level cannot be overestimated — it allows people to build different realities, instead of merely accepting whatever reality exists.

Sunset on Mars
Mars Pathfinder Mission, sol 24
To emphasize this again, each individual who struggles through the levels from delta to alpha, from feelings to ideas, is repeating the events in the evolution of the human race itself. We've evolved into creatures who can feel passion, and who can reason at the highest levels, all in the same moment. We can sit under the stars in simple wonder, or we can picture the inner workings of a star. But this is only true if we accept our destiny — if as individuals we learn all the levels of human experience.

George Bernard Shaw said: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” If we change Mr. Shaw's dated language to “people” instead of “men,” this describes the alpha level perfectly — people who are unreasonable, but who know how to reason. Instead of treating diseases, these people find cures. Instead of complaining about the world, they redesign it. Instead of gazing at the stars, they build spacecraft to visit them.

We must heed the central lessons of paleontology and evolution: If we fail to accept the challenge of ideas, if we decide fixed beliefs are good enough, nature will remove us from this planet. Nature changes, therefore we must change. We can struggle against change, in the process maybe destroy ourselves and this planet, or we can learn nature's ways, accept her rules, form an active partnership with her.

The levels of experience are your moral property. No one can take them away from you — except you. Most people wonder what the future will hand them, but people at the alpha level hold the future in their hands.


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