The Three Levels of Consciousness and Humanity



martial arts philosophyThe past is gone and unchangeable. The future has yet to be revealed. The present is a means of developing our future. Great things are rarely accomplished in one explosive moment in our lives. Each deed that we do, whether positive or negative, constructive or destructive will, in the final analysis, represent who we are. Each small deed we do is a link in the chain of our existence on this plain. If our deeds are positive and generous, we will exist in a positive light. If the deeds we do are negative, we will exist as petty creatures. This is an evolutionary process and not something that happens by design or in an instant. By attempting to be great, a person will become infamous rather than famous. If you seek to do positive things and have a generous heart, you will be viewed as being a great person. This is due primarily to the motivation that drives these two very different types of minds. Adolph Hitler sought to be great. Although powerful for a short time on the cosmic clock, he is viewed as infamous. Dr. Salk sought to help humanity. He gave away his polio vaccine as a way of contributing to the benefit of others…Dr. Salk is viewed as a great man. These lives are both products of the chain of deeds that each man created during his lifetime.


In the philosophy of the Kung Fu system that I teach, we believe that there are three levels of human consciousness and behavior. These levels are the spontaneous, the calculated, and the imposed. They each have unique characteristics.

Spontaneous – Represents the highest form of consciousness because it dwells in the here and now. This mind can respond to life as it unfolds. It asks for nothing, harbors no ill for events of the past, and does not record or expect the repayment of debt. Because it expects nothing from others it is not disappointed. It does not seek to posses and is therefore never owned. From this non-possessiveness comes freedom, love and demonstrates a receptive nature.

Calculated – Represents the second level of consciousness. It is lower that the first because it requires manipulation. This mind attempts to steer events relative to it’s perception of right and wrong. It is focused on achieving the end that it thinks should happen. This results in a constant contention between what would be, and what this mind thinks should be. This mind’s creative energy is confined by it’s need to direct others.

Imposed – Represents the third and lowest level of consciousness because it requires force. It insists that all proceed in accordance with it’s plan. This methodology is both calculated and manipulative. As well, it addresses any opposition with punishment. This is rarely successful in the short term and never successful in the long term. A person of this mind becomes both jailer and prisoner. This mind is too focused on the control of events and people to experience life’s wonders in the slightest way. It is a task oriented mentality that sheds no light on what is really occurring.


From where does freedom come? It comes, ironically, from adherence to the natural order. Manipulation and imposed force are a direct contradiction to this principle. Freedom comes from being one with the energy of the universe. It comes from being part of the process of living. This can only be achieved by first knowing ourselves. People will spend 2, 4, 6, 8 or more years in college learning a subject but often spend little or no time getting to know who they are or what, they themselves, truly think and feel. Some can go through their entire life and never have an original thought. A whole life can be spent vicariously living only second hand thoughts and experiencing little. It is said that, knowing others is wisdom and knowing ourselves is enlightenment. It is also said in the philosophy that I follow that, mastering others requires force and that mastering ourselves requires strength.


True strength results in a giving and compassionate spirit. The need to exhibit force is a sure sign of insecurity. When we have truly overcome our own demons, we feel no need to control, condemn or punish others. If others attempt to oppress you, you can chose not to take part. You can chose to lead your life outside of the control of another. In Wing Chun we say…”If I do not resist you can not push”. We all have the ability to chose our own path. No one can take that empowerment away from us. We only give it up by choice. Don’t strive for greatness. Live a chain of positive deeds and you will find peace. If greatness comes from this, it is deserved.

Grandmaster Holder (Philip Holder, Ph.D. Grandmaster: North American Wing Chun Association)