7 + 1 Levels

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The Double Healix Model describes cycles of development that keep returning throughout our lives. The cycle can be seen in the phases of one day, sometimes even in an hour. We also go through cycles of many years.

If we are lucky, all these cycles bring us maturation and a wider empathic embrace. We round our cycles time after time, but after each one, something has changed. With every experience we hopefully gain a higher level of consciousness and with that, the circle actually becomes a spiral.

We discern between seven levels of development within the Model, as described below. Underlying these seven levels of development, there is a so-called ‘zero-level’ of timeless, mythological consciousness, symbolized in the twelve steps of the Hero’s Journey. This ‘Universality’ level pervades all other levels and connects humanity on a deep, subconscious level. Therefore we speak of 7 + 1 levels.

The seven levels represent an increasing empathic embrace of our awareness and a constantly growing sovereignty in which we stand (that allows us to become a good friend, partner, parent, leader and an example and inspiration to others). The levels follow the principle of ‘transcend and include’, meaning that previously passed levels are still present, while we are dealing with more complex challenges. The seventh level is like a higher octave of the zero level. We come back to mythical consciousness, but now enriched witch our own experiences and rational capacities. The difference between level zero and level seven is what Ken Wilber calls ‘pre-rational’ versus ‘trans-rational’.

Level Description
7. Perplexity Mystical, unity, astonishment
6. Simplexity Transcendentally, reconciliation, policy
5. Complexity Strategical and system orientation
4. Relationality Team development and leadership
3. Maximality Competences and elementary leadership
2. Sensationality Sensory and personality development
1. Simplicity Basic needs and development psychology
0. Universality Archetypical and mythical ground layer


Level 0. Universality
Development within the mythological substratum. This timeless ‘Travel of the Hero(ine)’ forms the foundation of the model. This layer is universal and not associated with age, since it addresses us on a pre conceptual, instinctive consciousness. In each of the ‘true’ layers of development, this primal layer can be found, also because the myth can be considered to be a condensation of all layers of human experience. According to some beliefs, it might even be the source of it.

Level 1. Simplicity
Fundamental development of the psyche (youth: 0 – 12 years old) that covers our basic needs. As a child, we are largely determined by our manifesting needs. But in the rest of our lives, our needs – as well as the responses invoked by fulfilling these needs – steer our behaviour as well.

Level 2. Sensationality
Sensory, characterological, sensual and sexual development (adolescence: 12 – 24 years old). This layer covers the way we filter the world with our nervous system and how the world can attach itself in our temperament, character or personality type. This layer also covers the way our urges drive us and provide us with energy (and sometimes consume it). These energy sources go through a transformation from urges to drives along the way.

Level 3. Maximality
Development of competences, strength and power (early adulthood: 24 – 36 years old). This period shows the first clear outlines of our needs and urges in the direction of what is functional and clear for survival. This is also the period during which we learn the basic principles of leadership (when raising young children or heading employees).

Level 4. Relationality
Deeper relationship building, raising older children, team building with team roles and development of team leadership (adulthood: 36-48 years old). In this period we see the sublimation of social skills we need to be able to lead other leaders and to shape our intimate relationships over longer periods of time. The consciousness is slowly starting to cover contradictions. After all, we’re learning that a relationship can only be fruitful if we give up a piece of ourselves. Self-interest becomes common interest along the way.

Level 5. Complexity
Development of complex leadership (ripe adulthood: 48 – 60 years old) both inward (shaping our love, sovereignty and our fate) and outward (to a – complex – organization). We integrate contradictions, handle paradoxes in an increasingly conscious manner and combine an increased awareness of what – in essence – is required with an increased value freedom. The ego that has reached its top halfway level 4 is now starting to decrease in favour of a serving attitude towards the bigger picture. We have arrived at the tip of the Maslow pyramid so to speak. We have proven ourselves and are starting to place ourselves on the background. Our ego becomes completely of service to the bigger whole.

Level 6. Simplexity
Transcendent consciousness and high level of policy forming (early old age: 60 – 72 years old). We transcend ourselves and oversee the slow processes in cultural changes. We oversee the story, surrender ourselves to it and take full ownership of it. Moral and spiritual development keeps pace with our intellectual development. The ability to take is equal to the detachment from material things. Our consciousness is becoming so complex, that is becomes simple again, and our policy covers increasingly high forms of reconciliation of opposites. One thing that may happen is that the more power we have, the better we realize how hard it is to implement changes and how slow that process works. In other words, on the level of the highest power, we discover impotence. Similar to this paradox is that we, as we are able to oversee more complexity, start living an increasingly simple life. We rid our lives more and more of unnecessary frills.

Level 7. Perplexity
Development of mystical consciousness (ripe old age: 72 years and older). This level most approaches the secrets of the mythical null layer, in fact, it is a higher octave. It is about the ability with which we can feel the world of contradictions dissolve inside of us, in awe and devotion. While maintaining awareness, we coincide with what we perceive. While maintaining our critical ability, daily life is given a mythical and mystical charge to us. The literal, tangible world coincides with the magical world of metaphors. Death is now near, as a friend.

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