In Angel Tech (1985), Antero Alli divides spiritual development into eight grades (as if one is going through grade school) based on an 8-tier model of the brain/mind/spirit developed by Timothy Leary. Here is the Third Grade: Conceptual Intelligence. More to come. NOTE: This is just food for thought, fun food, happy thought.
Third Grade is for Students. As Students, we learn how to study things up close in order to Figure Them Out. (First Grade Babies are too absorbed with Mom and Second Grade Kids are too self-absorbed to study anything that closely.) By Third Grade, we’re expected to know enough to stop crying and fighting long enough to use our heads. Third Grade Homework is all about training our minds to solve problems which are more abstract and distant. This has to do with knowing when something is a problem and when it doesn’t have to be. Students love knowing How Things Work, so they can take things apart just to put them back together again. This is easy when we figure out how to be clear, precise and logical in the way we think about things.
There’s a lot to learn in Third Grade but the most important is knowing that you are smart. Being smart means developing the skills to keep learning new ways to learn. Sometimes being smart makes us clever and even cunning, sneaky and shrewd. This tends to happen when Students become Too Smart For Their Own Good … which may not be very smart at all. It is important, however, to never stop learning. One way to make sure we never stop learning is to understand how our mind(s) works. This’ll help us interpret some of the more intuitive complex experiences of High School [that is, of all eight “grades” of intelligence] so we don’t blow our minds away too much. The process of integrating new experiences through our own interpretations of it is called our “psychology.” The more we understand our own psychology, the more we’ll be able to comprehend other people’s psychology and be prepared for Fourth Grade Social Studies.
Students learn to live in their minds, fantasizing and imagining worlds to inhabit. Sometimes Students live in a World of Their Own. It can be fun to imagine the wildest, most beautiful dream to live in whether we just want to escape from dreary, dismal realities or are involved with a creative project. Either way, we find out that our minds are magnificent dream-makers that’ll create just about anything. Knowing this, going outside and playing is just Kids’ Stuff unless it’s an activity requiring our mental concentration, as well. The most important thing to know about our minds is that they’re real good at making things up, whether they are real or not … and in order to graduate into Fourth Grade, we have to know what is “real” from what is “not.”
In Second Grade, we discovered and claimed our territory; in Third Grade, we learn to make maps describing our experience &/or copy the maps made by other Students. The four main map-making tools are Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Speaking. Of course, we have to know how to think and use our heads in order to make maps in the first place. One good reason to make maps is to communicate ourselves to others without having to be a Baby or a Kid about it. This means learning how to voice our thoughts so that others get the picture we’re sending. One way Students get smarter is by finding the right words to describe experience with. This creates “perspective” by the emotional distance of abstraction … the ability to say a lot with a little. As Students discover, we lose our perspective when we’re too emotional or physical. However, it is important to keep in mind that concepts are not “real,” like things or experiences. Developing a sense of humor also helps us keep perspective.
Another way to get smarter is by learning how to keep our maps, or descriptions, somewhat incomplete … so, when there’s new information, it can be included. New information is like another piece of the puzzle. Even when the puzzle’s finished, it’s still a puzzle. This is because “truth” can only be referred to and never totally explained. Students don’t graduate until they figure this out. For example: If we believe we’ve got all the pieces to the puzzle, then there’s no reason to think there are any other pieces. This happens when we mistake our maps for the territory and create a dogma, or absolute belief. This feels like we know everything. It also closes our minds to learning new ways to learn and so we have to remain in Third Grade until we figure it out for ourselves: Keep Your Mind Open … even when you have all the pieces, it’s still a puzzle.
Third Grade love is for Ideas. The mind loves what is true. Sometimes, however, we fall in love with words and make dogma because words only reflect and suggest truth; they are not identical with it. One way we find this out is by learning to tune our Bullshit Detector … our ability to know if something is true or false. We begin to separate facts from personalities. A fundamental process of discrimination takes place, where we learn the difference between mystery, technology and facts.
Third Grade activities: Take something apart and put it back together again, Read three books during the same period of time, Read a book on statistics even though you might not know what it means, Go to the library and read four doctoral dissertations: one each in the social sciences, the arts, literature and physics; Give a lecture, Write a book or a play, Critique a film, Confess your ignorance without apologizing, Learn a new language, Figure out how to get rich, Read periodicals that you normally wouldn’t.