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Hier ein Text mit dem Titel

„Is a bigger consciousness a better consciousness?“ 

von meinem Kollegen Coen Aalders (Danke, Coen!), über die Lebensintegrstionsprozesse (LIP nach Wilfried Nelles) für alle, die noch mehr verstehen wollen. 

Everything grows, so why not consciousness? It grows in steps according to Wilfried Nelles. But is a bigger consciousness better? Or is it equal to other levels of consciousness? For modernity hierarchy is difficult to bear, but according to Nelles there are indeed differences. For example the wider consciousness is able to observe more then the narrower consciousness and this undeniably has consequences.
Isn’t growth our inner nature? Everything grows, and everything grows naturally, so why not consciousness? Consciousness is growing in steps according to Nelles. He describes the seven levels of consciousness for the individual level and for society. Based on this model, he later developed his constellation method the Life Integration Process (LIP).
Nelles was inspired by Herman Hesse, poem "Stufen" to write this book in which he describes the seven levels of consciousness:
"Wie jede Blüte welkt und jede Jugend dem Alter Weicht, blüht jede Lebensstufe, blüht jede Weisheit und auch jede Tugend zu ihrer Zeit und darf nicht ewig dauern“.
Level     Individual level         Society
1               Unborn child                Unity consciousness
2               Child                              Group consciousness
3               Adolescent                   Self-awareness
4               Adult                               Self-consciousness
5                Mature adult                Spirit-consciousness
6                Elder                               Knowing unity consciousness
7                 Death                             Non- or all-consciousness
In this structure every reader will probably recognize the stage where he or she is, or believes to be. Whatever can be said of these positions on the individual level; Nelles postulates that consciousness in which we collectively live in the West is level 3, the level of self-awareness, adolescence. This Modernityappeared after the Middle Ages as Enlightenment to visionaries like Rousseau and Voltaire. It became a widespread part of our reality in the 19th and 20th century, for example by Nietzsche's "Gott ist tot" or Freud's description of the subconscious and then led to the gradual emancipation of the individual; our "liberation" from marriage, family, village, church and political party. The individuation, as an important feature of modernity, that was necessary for us to mature, but, as we can commonly observe, often makes us unhappy.
Consciousness therefore is growing, in stages. This phasing is also an order, as Bert Hellinger taught us, one of the features of systemic work. Wilfried Nelles uses a systemic order in his Life Integration Process (LIP) in which he constellates the different life stages (unborn child, child, adolescent) relative to the (adult) client. But is this order hierarchical?
The modern consciousness in which we now live according to Nelles is not very fond of hierarchy anyway. Hierarchy is after all a typical characteristic of group consciousness, with its ultimate example God, but also the king, the officer or the party leader, more often then not a man. Modern consciousness is based on the fundamental equality of everyone and mistrusts any form of hierarchy. Perhaps the modern mind is afraid of regressing into the old consciousness, sliding back into group consciousness. But that fear of regression will only pass, according to Nelles, if we incorporate group consciousness in ourselves, integrate it. It passes if we can see that without group consciousness, and its practical manifestations, we could not have reached modern consciousness, even if we can now understand its limitations and its destructive side.
Moreover, says Nelles, the anti-hierarchical attitude of modern consciousness is not very consistent. Modern consciousness often feels superior to group consciousness. The sense of manipulability and the care that "the wretched of the earth" are sometimes subjected to can be a bit presumptuous and derogatory. Words like “old-fashioned” are occasionally not neutral but condescending. Manifestations of religious fundamentalism are also often observed in a condescending way. It is striking that this is also one of the criticisms of religious extremists on the modern consciousness. Modernity, of which one of the core values is said to be equality, not only feels more comprehensive than group consciousness, which is the truth, but often superior to it, and that is contrary thereto. At this point we can see the ambivalence, which is an eminently characteristic of the prevailing social adolescence, modernity.
The model Nelles describes is only hierarchical in this way that it includes or encloses the previous level, and expands it to a new dimension. The fourth step of the stairs is not better than the third or the second, but one does have a different perspective and can observe other things. The other steps are necessary in order to get to the next, but one must also leave behind them in order to be able to arrive on the fourth. For example, an adolescent is more advanced in his development than a child. It understands and can do things that a child cannot do or understand. The adolescent perceives the world quite differently than the child. But the child's perspective is no less true, or less appropriate, and his actions are not stupid or bad. The child's perspective is simply childish and that is entirely appropriate for a child. On the contrary, if the child behaves like an adult it lacks a piece of childhood that can lead later in its life to pathology. Each level has its own logic that is appropriate for that step which may not be judged as better or worse.
This does not mean that all levels are equal and that there is no progress or hierarchy at all. The higher levels are higher because they effectively include more. One level includes all previous levels, integrates and transcends them. This view demonstrates something more: from the higher level one can understand the lower level but from the lower one cannot understand the higher levels. An adult knows or can know how a child feels and thinks. Therefore, he or she, for example, can write children's books. However, a child cannot experience as an adult, although it can imitate an adult and fantasize the adult world.
For these reasons, it is no wonder that the modern consciousness, with its focus on the certainty and the concreteness of economic indicators, on the objectification of knowledge in general, cannot imagine a transformation of modernity, of the stage of self-awareness. An exponent of this misunderstanding about the ultimate world, western modernity, was possibly Francis Fukuyama's famous book, The End of History and the Last Man (1992). The world was ready. But although one can only understand the higher consciousness if one has arrived there, from the lower consciousness one cannot objectify that the higher level does not exist, although this may appear so. But actually it just cannot be experienced.
This phenomenon is of paramount importance, for example with regard to the struggle between Muslim extremists and the modern Western society. A farmer from Anatolia who comes to a modern western society can see that men treat their women differently and that modern Western women behave differently, but he can not understand it. This is not because he is stupid, without education or Muslim or macho, but because he lives on another level of consciousness. Who understands this realizes also that he must endure this difference. And this necessity is increasing as the cultures mingle more and more through globalization and emigration. Behold the daily spectacle at the European borders and in Europe itself.
This means that you would expect from a politician or journalist that he understands the Anatolian peasant in our example and his wife. And that he can perceive their behaviour as intrinsic consistent and appropriate (which does not mean that he must approve it) while the reverse cannot be expected. Moreover, it would be appropriate for modern western society to be modest in this respect, since it is not very long ago that we have eradicated a slap at school and the unequal position of women. The transformation of the 2nd level of consciousness to the 3rd deployed, after all, only massively in the second half of 60s. We will have to exercise our patience until other groups will also grow into the next consciousness, and that will not happen without conflicts. This understanding obviously does not alter the fact that a democracy may expect that its laws are respected, whether one understands them or not, but Nelles' perspective may well explain the backgrounds of these culture clashes.
What comes to the fore from all this is that the consciousness levels are hierarchical levels, they are an increase from the simple to the complex, from the narrow to the broad, from the low to the high. However, it is not a better consciousness but an enhanced consciousness.
As much as this broader consciousness clearly has its advantages, as Nelles makes clear, it primarily entails increased responsibilities, the responsibility to tolerate and contain the development of those with the narrower consciousness. But in any case, this ability to wisely and insightfully deal with the other consciousness is far afield from where hierarchy is often associated with it: power and order of rank. This would oblige us to be humble, patient ánd determined.

This is the second in a series of articles by Coen Aalders for the occasion of the expected English translation of Wilfried Nelles’ book "Das Leben hat keinen Rückwertsgang”.

Alle menschlichen Fehler sind Ungeduld, ein vorzeitiges Abbrechen des Methodischen, ein scheinbares Einpfählen der scheinbaren Sache. (F. Kafka)