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Three Levels of Living

What matters is to live soundly on each.

Learn to Make Good Use of Simple, OK Models

Figure of the three levels of culture and contacts
Figure 1. Three levels of cultural gambits, outlets, and contacts.

Detect the platform and level of common enough agreements around, and see whether you want to subscribe to any of them. There are better things to do than merely wishing for luck in life. Good schooling helps a lot. Better understanding too. Figure 1 is to show that life can be steered in three ways - and the number "three" is for the sake of simplicity. We could have used "five ways" or "eight ways" too. In the figure:

  1. The upper level reflects sound conclusions that are arrived at by scientific study. To function on this level, you agree on, or conform to, some modes of scientific study, and many targets are against plots, going against common misunderstandings.

  2. The middle level depends on tact within a conform setting, a community. Most persons function in that field or arena most of their lives. Very much in everyday life is not rooted in scientific findings and expertise. The second level can be much hard-headed in its set ways, but those ways are very seldom as confined as the realms of scientific studies. The ways may change and even degenerate slowly if few adhere to good standards. The "agreements" seem to be to function and look like esteemed others. The targets in a pluralistic society are very many, but some mafia goals hold an attraction: getting easy money, a high life, glitter - Las Vegas and casinos and so on - you name it. There would be no Las Vegas as we know it unless people were even madly attracted -

  3. The lowest, third level is that of hearsay. One is wise if one does not trust inhearsay and unverificable statements, as that sort of information seems able to make people crank. We may turn stupid by cramped hearsay. Those things happen in sects and other narrowing enclaves that build tensions and defences. Ufortunately, not a few religious-looking statements are not likely to hold water, not likely to contain helpful hints for living. Instead, some do abuse and exploits those high-soaring levels in young ones and men in general - those that like good stories and find lessons for living in some of them. It does not have to be that way. And being religious is not the same as being made a jackass: some cramped, biased, enervating monster or fool. The agreements of sectarians include shielding oneself from the family. The targets of waggling sect buddies are dumb. Sect "security" is sought, and the price is too high for lots of boys. The benefit of doubting is for able folks of science and otherwise. The cramped flock hardly does it, and grows fat.

Much in a culture has to rest on unverified, agreed-on standards (see figure 1's middle level). Cultural outlets rest on such standards, and without good culture and its various ways of handling this and that with tact and good spirits, we would soon tire of the way we live. We should expect that.

Ben Matlock's clumsy lawyer performance

Everything hard must be dealt with while it is still easy. The hard has to be dealt with while still very easy. All the great (ones and great problems) of the world are to be dealt with while they are yet small. Everything great must be dealt with while it is still small. [Tao Te Ching, ch. 63, excerpt]

If you look stupid, the reason could be that you are brilliant. Both Albert Einstein and God's wisdom have that propensy, and the New Testament insists it is so, and the other way round (vice versa). We have allowed for that in the figure. And the Tao Te Ching says, "The greatest skills seems clumsy. The greatest cleverness appears like stupidity." [Ch. 45]

Now, there is a rerun TV series called "Matlock". In one episode the old silver-haired lawyer Ben Matlock is eager to play a lawyer on stage. He acts so notoriously clumsily and stiltedly that the play becomes a success - bad becomes so bad that it seems good. The possibility exists for very tactless ones. Maybe Ben Matlock illustrates something of that, namely, that by clumsy performance the genre may get re-defined or understood in a new way, for example as a burlesque.

Oddly enough to some, what is counted on as solid wisdom in very many quarters, is not (yet) verified in experiments - and may still work

Speaking of reciprocal (mutual) reductions of nuclear missiles, the former Soviet prime minister Gorbachov quoted a Russian proverb: "Believe, but make sure." He wanted inspections of how things went on the other side. Mere belief was not good enough.

What is called wisdom may need a solid check. Smart ones strive to check things they hear, just to ensure their own standards are up to snuff and not only updated. There is more than one way to check tenets or hypotheses. You may come across many hints on how to do it on other of our pages.

If we like, we can look on sagaciousness-maintaining proverbs as forerunners of theories, that is, hypotheses (see e.g. Fergusson 2001). It can also be very good to implement (put to work) highly beneficient findings from "level one" (figure above) on top to "bake" them into the ways of living - into everyday life, or into one's culturally given environment. These things matter, for they see to progress for man, a little less superstition in general, hopefully, and less cumbersome and vicious encounters. But there are different cultures and differences between sub-groups within one and the same culture too.

If a searching spirit looks for fit, life-assisting standards in Baron Munchausen tales, such standards may be found, either by way of projections into the tale, or extractions from them, or they may be invented. In some cases it can be hard to tell which is which: whether or how far a standard or moral is read into the tale, gleaned from it, or added to it through inventive activity. These three ways may work fine in unison and together, and separately. That is, the fruits can be good and entertaining too. See for yourself the day you do not risk much by it, and try to stick to relaxed manners. To be relaxed is often good help for deep study.

Living well depends on these fields understood or not. But he who understands the levels of ascertainment involved in the three levels of life, can more easily reach solid wisdom to steer by, hopefully.



A counsel tends to presuppose a subsumed "It seems to me". and "For things to end well, at least . . . "

It is usually not good enough to be merely brash. Counselling requires sets of skills for different phases of that undertaking, and neat, theoretical knowledge of the art and practice is helpful too, in its way. A suitable setting is rather indispensable too.

In Rogerian counselling, or Person Centred counselling by another name, it is assumed that humans have an innate drive to grow in a nurturing and accepting environment. A setting that allows for genuine, empathetic and positive regard may lead to growth towards or into being a happy and successful enough person.

With this in mind, one may consider some other points as well.


A fault confessed is more than half amends. (Partial British saying)

Know where your true interests lie.

One should compete well.

Good second chances may work better if outcomes derive from expert skills and mature work levels attained to first yield a platform somehow.

New love needs some foundation of shared ground for it to mature and thrive on top of. First loves may be too brash and rash anyway.

One should consider carefully what expert love-life, and well rounded family living, really costs.

By uniting forces and lives and handling expertise, soundly balanced individuals in a family and other groupings could outdo great evils that otherwise might ascend.

What is really good and fit tends to bring pleasure, and some pleasures are quite lasting.

Fine, assembled details can be incorporated in a life much as in a work of art; there are many ways.

If your livelihood fails you, don't steal a horse: instead, marry some wealthy woman before you're hurt.

Excellent pinpointing seeks to rise above (transcend) the immediate impact of a work and life in order to suggest or reveal deeper issues. They may include life lessons.

One should be careful to guard against disruptive influences; against taming of the crew; and folly that is good for nothing.

Deceit and corruption may be suspected in the last stages of great folly.

It pays to be in time: When biting through a tough carrot, at least front teeth should be had. And a baby carrot is easier to bite through too than a tough big one.

Tale-telling traditionally served many persons with teeth missing.

Outstripping one's resources is man's common lot on earth these days.

It is importaint to maintain the strength to be uncertain and live with uncertainty - rightly so, perhaps even better than in current quantum physics.

It seems easy to get over-conditioned in one's trade.

Insecurity or maintaining the value of being carefully uncertain is far from being a black art.

There is a difference between gross insecurity and uncertainty on the one hand, and skilled, carefully geared up uncertainty on the other.

To be counted as a clever expert where uncertainties abound, it pays to mingle well, but it depends.

To counsel a foolish woman can be fine, but don't get outsmarted for it.

Corruption sets in when good people are made fools of.

The honest and delicate might profit from learning about psychological and social Games (hanky-pankies) and Life Scripts of TA (Transactional Analysis).

Some common measures and strides disrupt good thinking.

It is much desired to refrain from getting outsmarted and made a fool of. That is a recurrent theme in so many tales people tell.

Marry if your livelihood fails you; to survive is needed.

Finest individuals maintain there is no lasting value in creative overreaches.

To overreach one's authority and limits or overstretch in any other way is silly. Do what you can.


Three levels of living, counsel, Literature  

Evans, Gail. Counselling Skills for Dummies. Chichester: John Wiley, 2007.

Fergusson, Rosalind: The Penguin Dictionary of Proverbs. Penguin. Harmondsworth, 1983. (2nd ed. 2001)

Folsom, Steven R. Dictionary of Proverbs in American Country Music Hits (1986-1996). On-line:

Hough, Margaret. Counselling Skills and Theory. 4th ed. Abingdon, Oxon: Hodder Education, 2014.

Rogers, Carl R. On Becoming a Person: A Therapistís View of Psychotherapy. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1963.

Sanders, Pete. First Steps in Counselling: A Students' Companion for Basic Introductory Courses. 3rd. ed. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books, 2002.

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