Copyright (c) 2004 by Heidrun Beer - all rights reserved
This article is based on the assumption that each and every situation in life can be found on a scale of conditions. Each step on this scale correlates with a certain set of key actions. These key actions, if applied, will move the situation one step up on the scale, while the law of entropy will bring the situation down another step if the key actions are not applied for any prolonged amount of time.
All aspects of life follow a natural pattern of birth, growth, maturity, decay and death. In nature, this is an instinctive cycle, working without any conscious control. Their genetic programming, the sunlight, the seasons - all these exterior factors interact to form an individual plant's or animal's life cycle.
The human being with his conscious component is the only one who has the potential to influence these natural patterns and make changes to them according to his wishes. If - and only if! - he or she is aware of this possibility and trained in the art of steering!
A majority of people never take the rudder of their lives into their own hands. They start out being steered by parents, then they are steered by priests and teachers, then they spend some decades being steered by bosses, goverment officials, husbands or wives, and finally their children take over and keep steering them until they die.
With a minimum of training, you can be your own captain! Actually the instructions on these pages are all you need as a foundation to build on. If you want to skip the theory (which is not such a good idea), you can find the collection of life management patterns here.
The natural life pattern is a simple curve, starting at the bottom, reaching a peak - where it remains for a shorter or longer while -, then declining and arriving at the bottom again. Our bodies are part of nature, so they have to follow this curve to a greater or lesser degree (although with modern medicine, we do have an influence which can modulate the natural trend).
Our activities, though, are at least partially expressions of the law-making spirit, and therefore don't necessarily follow this automatic pattern. They have their own set of principles. As soon as we know these principles, we can react to everything which happens and make our visualizations come true, even if we meet difficulties, opposition or resistance.
And most important: we can recognize the downtrend of an activity - and with intelligent application of our knowledge of the life management patterns, we can reverse the trend and make it a successful activity again!
In some areas of life this may not seem a very worthwile thing to do - but where our marriage is involved, our children, our professional career or our own business, the knowledge of the life management patterns can make the difference between total failure and screaming success, even the difference between life and death!
To the right, we see the scale of management patterns which we need to follow if we want any activity to be successful. Each level of the scale has its own set of vital steps which, if applied, will bring the activity to the next higher level. If not applied, the activity will follow the law of entropy and either quickly or gradually sink down to the next lower level.
This scale can be seen in an individual human's life as well as in the history of a company, a culture, or even a whole species.
It is not always a straight path. In a single human's life maybe - we go from a poor youngster to a rich old man -, but a simple family model shows us already how such a curve can go in circles.
We have a couple of lovers who get married (new activity). They have studied the life management patterns well and apply each of them as it becomes necessary.
First, they build their nest ("constructing"). Then they have a few years of growing together into a good team ("refining"). They spend some time to re-study of the life management patterns in regular intervals and optimize every little detail of their organization this way.
Now they are functioning really well - a husband who takes care of the income and a wife who takes care of the house. They work hard ("gaining") and save enough money to become wealthy enough to be able to afford a few children ("prosperity").
Here we see a change in things. The same income now supports more people than before. They need a bigger house, maybe with a garden, a bigger car, more food, more clothes, education, medical care, you name it. The family is no longer wealthy. Their income is still good, but at the end of the month it is used up. They have expanded - but funnily enough, on the scale of life management patterns this has brought them down instead of up!
Their scene is bigger than before, but they have stepped down from "prosperity" to mere "functioning". Daddy needs to do something now. He must get a promotion in his company. A few years later, Mummy might be able to get a job too. Now the family can begin to earn more than they spend. They climb up the scale of life management patterns again. They did not go up on a straight line like the rich old bachelor - they went up in a loop which first took them all the way up to "prosperity", then back down to "functioning" (now with more people - they have grown), and finally up to "prosperity" a second time.
The bigger the scene to which we apply a life management scale, the more likely will it go up in multiple loops instead of straight lines. This is simply due to the fact that any bigger scene is composed of smaller scenes, each of which has its own individual position on its own individual life management scale, and will have times where it is low on the scale - so that the overall whole must lower its position too in order give it the resources necessary to move it up the scale.
Let's take the career of a poor farmer who went to America in the early 20th century. He started as a dishwasher, became a manager in the same company and worked himself up to a modest personal wealth.
As an individual, he already reached the top of the life management scale - but now he starts to expand. He founds his first company, which immediately brings him all the way back to the bottom of the scale. He is now at "New" again. He had enough money to make his life comfortable and still save some, but for a young company that's nothing - the money just evaporates. Although he has expanded, he needs to apply the same series of life management patterns again which brought him up the scale when he first stepped down from the ship: he needs to start at "new" and go through the steps of "construction", "refinement" etc. again, until he finally arrives at the top of the scale for the second time.
Now he is not only a wealthy man, he has also a wealthy company. He went full circle through the first loop. He knows now how it is done. He takes another step of expansion and opens a second branch in the next bigger town. Here we go again: through "new", "construction", "refinement" etc., until the second branch is a wealthy business too. At the end of his life, he is the king of a business empire like Microsoft or McDonalds - and all he did was to work the life management scale up and down in multiple loops.
Unfortunately, life is not always nice, and we all are used to seeing not only construction but also destruction. There are several reasons for this, which we will examine later. For now we need to know one thing: There is also a reversed life management scale, which mirrors a scene that is spiraling downward instead of upward.
If it starts to act in a rather small scene, it might go straight to the bottom - as in a man losing first his job and then his family, then becoming homeless, and dying from pneumonia under a bridge a few months later, as he was not used to the rough circumstances of life under a bridge in the middle of winter.
If the scene starts a little bigger, we might see a similar loop or multiple loop as in construction, just a loop going down instead of up. Say, we have a rich young man who inherited money but has poor business skills. He first lives in a villa but cannot support all the staff that are needed to keep it in good shape. So he fires the staff, sells the villa and buys an apartment instead.
He has now completed the first downward loop: realizing that he is losing money, he has done at least one intelligent thing. He has made his scene so much smaller, that with the existing money he is still - or again - wealthy. If he now has also the intelligence to study and apply the correct life management pattern, he has a chance to remain wealthy on the new, smaller level - or at least to go not farther down than to a level of functioning.
A big business - or a country - will go through several loops of making the scene smaller before it goes bankrupt. It can close branches, it can sell houses and other property, it can fire people and so reduce cost. Each of these steps makes its scene smaller, but this contraction can be healthy, if there is enough substance left to keep the production going. Sometimes there is no other way to stabilize a scene - it is certainly better to do a controlled contraction than to remain big until the money is used up and then crash with a big bang.
Parallel scales - trend reversal
What is fascinating about the whole matter, and what most people don't know, is that the two life management scales - the scale of construction and the scale of destruction - are running a parallel course, and that it is possible to jump from a destruction spiral into a construction spiral, if we apply the life management pattern of the parallel step in the construction scale (plus a few extras).
This is the curve showing a trend reversal. It can be done on any of the steps of the life management scale of destruction. If, for instance, the young man with the villa realizes early that he is losing money, he doesn't necessarily have to sell his family villa. He can also jump to the parallel step in the construction scale - which would be "gaining" -, and stay a wealthy man.
More probably, he would have to go down to "functioning". If, as a typical rich man's spoiled son, he didn't do any training earlier in his life, he might need to go all the way down the construction scale to "new" and "constructing" in order to learn what he needs to manage his property and keep it, instead of losing it.
Again we emphasize that the life management patterns can be applied to activities of any size. A culture that finds itself in a critical condition can decide to jump into the "construction" step - plus a few necessary additions -, reverse the trend, go through "refining" and end up at "functioning" again. An individual who was functioning for a while but now finds himself suffering, can jump into the "refining" step of the construction scale, again plus a few necessary additions, reverse the trend and move all the way up to "prosperity".
Without such an effort, the law of entropy will bring the individual or activity all the way down to a breakdown, the equivalent of death. This, too, is a natural thing to happen. It cleans up the scene by removing people and activities which are not healthy enough to manage the steady effort of surviving.
Here are the two scales again, now side by side, to make their parallel steps visible:
Scenes and actors
Life is complicated; in order to get a system into it, we must show its structure in a way which is as simple as possible.
|Let's make a first
distinction between a scene and an actor. A family with its house, garden,
furniture and people would be a
scene; father, mother and baby would be the actors.
Now on the next higher level of nesting, the scene could be a town, and families - as well as individuals - would be actors. On the next higher level of nesting, a culture would be a scene, and towns, families and individuals would be actors. On a global scene, at the moment the biggest we have, the nations would be the actors, together with some VIP individuals.
To make it really, really simple, we divide the actors in two groups: heroes and villains. Heroes are good, villains are bad. Or to fit into our system of construction and destruction, heroes are constructive and villains are destructive. Certainly each of us will be able to think of a hero and a villain in his life, or a hero country and a villain country on a global scene...
A scene: an environment with its actors
Closer to the truth would probably be a group of positive heroes (good people), a group of villains (bad people), and a third group of tragic heroes (good people with problems).
Spiritually, there is of course much more to say about this and there are no really bad people. However, for the purpose of the quick and efficient management of a scene, we use this simplification, always keeping in mind that it is for practical purposes only and we don't really think bad about our "villains".
On the scale of life management patterns, scenes go from "New" up to "Prosperity", or from "Prosperity" down to "Breakdown". Scenes don't have a negative scale (unless they are an actor on the next higher level of nesting). This is not so for actors: if actors are villains , their scale of life management patterns expands below zero to comprise several negative steps.
Construction is caused by heroes (good people). Destruction is caused by villains (bad people) and tragic heroes (good people with problems). Depending on the ratio of heroes to villains and tragic heroes we have a scene of prosperity, a scene of mere functioning, a critical scene, or even the breakdown of a scene.
Villains are probably beyond hope, but tragic heroes (good people with problems) can benefit enormously from the personal scale of life management patterns. Again the rule is that applying one pattern will bring us up to the next level, while not applying it will give us into the hands of the law of entropy, and we will sink or fall to the next lower level.
Doing a therapy will always be an option for people with problems too. Another option is a good program of mental training, combined with the application of life management patterns. The life management patterns work without delay or waiting times. They are an instant solution, while therapy and mental training both can take months, if not years.
Personal life management scales
To the left, we have the life management scale of a hero (good person). The main principle is contribution to his scene or scenes.
If the person has experienced abuse or trauma in the past, or if the current environment is not taking care of his needs (the environment acts as a villain), a hero can turn into a tragic hero (good person with problems).
Most probably he will tend to stay in the middle of the scale, but theoretically a destructive influence can bring him all the way down on a reversed life management scale, which corresponds to the scale to the left like the destruction scale above corresponds to the construction scale.
In other words: a person who finds himself at "overwhelm" can jump into the positive scale and become a "trainee" again in order to learn what brings him down and how to escape this trap. Or if he finds himself goofing up, he can jump into the life management pattern of "apprentice", practice some more, and work himself up the positive scale to a level of perfection again.
The sub-zero scale
Only in rare cases will tragic events destroy a person so much that he goes all the way down the sub-zero scale (see image to the right). This is traditionally the scale of the villains (the bad people). But it can happen, if the circumstances are grim and there is no help in sight. Instead of working himself back up the positive scale, a person can start behaving in an irresponsible way, or fighting his own team, or sabotaging them.
The end of the way is a situation of total confusion. Here the person is no danger anymore. He is too beaten to fight or sabotage anything or anybody. For the same reason, he needs a maximum of support.
The life management patterns on the sub-zero scale do not have parallels in the upgoing scale. They have their own formulas which, applied, will bring them one step higher, but still on the sub-zero scale.
Only at the zero line - where they are idle, or in other words, do neither damage a scene nor contribute to it -, will such people have a chance to jump over into the upgoing scale. They will have to make an entirely new entry into the scene.
Contribution versus exploitation
If we look at the relations between the actor and the scene (the immediate environment), we see that the actor's patterns above zero are contributing patterns, while the actor's patterns below zero are exploiting patterns. In other words, below zero the tragic hero or villain needs more contribution from other people than he can give to them.
A family, group, company, community, culture, nation or biosphere can support a certain percentage of such people, but if the majority of its members are not heroes (contributing people), it will go down on the destruction scale until it no longer exists.
The key to a scene moving upwards on the construction scale is a majority of contributing people ("heroes"). The key to a scene moving downwards on the destruction scale is the influence of exploiting people ("villains" and "tragic heroes"). They don't necessarily have to be a majority - they can produce so much chaos that one or two of them can be enough to wreck a scene.
Not exploiting the system are of course most children and most people of old age. Children can usually be found on the uptrend scale as "trainees". And most people of old age have been contributing in the past, supported children before they were old enough to contribute, and now only take out of the system a percentage of what they have put into it in their active years.
Where only one person is active in a scene, the life management patterns of the scene and the actor are directly related. This can be seen in a company, where one worker (actor) equals one post (scene).
mechanic who is excellent in his job will have his post in a condition of
prosperity. If all his colleagues are excellent too - including the
management staff and even the boss -, they will have a company in a
condition of prosperity. At the moment where there is only one whose work is
flawed, the company will go down into the direction of mere functioning.
If the company is bigger and there are more nested scenes, whole rows of departments and sections - where people are excellent - will be found to be in a state of prosperity, while the one which has a goofing worker will merely function (or maybe less than that)
The scenes of an individual
The principle of nesting is especially important where we look at the scene not of a group but of an individual. Instinctively, we will tend to make the equation of 1 individual = 1 scene.
This is not so! Every individual has a whole collection of scenes, and it depends on his awareness horizon (where he has focussed his attention) whether each of these scenes is in an equally good condition.
The same individual who has his business activity in prosperity, can have a less than optimum scene in other areas of his life. A manager who devotes all of his energy to keeping his company running, may have a family suffering from his absence, and a body in critical condition because he doesn't pay attention to his diet or exercises. Each of these scenes needs to be addressed with the proper life management pattern in order to improve. To apply the pride resulting from one (very well running) scene to another, much more desolate scene can be a dangerous mistake.
Managing a scene
The manager who is responsible for a scene will be successful if he does the following in regular intervals (companies do it once at the end of every week):
establish the condition of the entire scene and work out the tasks which need to be done by each of the actors in order to apply the matching life management pattern
establish the condition of each of the scene's actors with regard to the scene (including himself) and get them all to apply the matching life management pattern
This seems nearly too simple, but in actual life, some of these patterns can require quite some time! If we consider the time it needs to build a house - that would be one step, "constructing", in only one scene. To get a badly neglected body back into shape is also a project which can need a year or longer.
The life management patterns are the answer to Isaac Asimov's "last question". Generations after generations of computer operators asked their computers how to reverse the entropy of the universe. Well, at least for the universe of a human life the answer is: find out where your scene is on the life management scale and apply the matching pattern!
Now let's have a look at the very formulas of the life management patterns themselves.