By Dr. Lawrence Wilson

© May 2016, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.


All information in this article is for educational purposes only.  It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.




This is one of the 7 System articles, of which there are a number on this website.  This one is about how one thinks.  It is an important article.






“If it nourishes and sustains me, it is good and true.  Otherwise, it is not good and true.”


This is the most basic level of thought.  It is the physical survival level in which the mind basically takes direction from the physical needs of the body.  In this sense, it is definitely a selfish way of thinking, but necessary for survival.  All of the lower levels are selfish.

Thought at this level is one dimensional.  It move only in one direction, toward what will sustain life, such as finding food or water, or staying warm, for example.


Examples. Plants operate at this level, which is sometimes called trophic.  This means nourishing, and little else.  Plants send down roots to find food and water, they grow in different ways to find sunlight, and they will try to grow around or away from toxic substances.

This level of thinking is also found in young babies whose brains are not well-developed.  They just think about food, water, rest and getting rid of a dirty diaper.  In other words, it is an early stage of thinking of a human being.  All of us go through it, hopefully successfully, and then we can move on the higher levels.

Adult human beings who remain first-level thinkers are either mentally retarded, have a serious birth defect, are seriously traumatized, or have damaged their brains with drugs or alcohol.


Aberrations of first-level thinking.  These include people who are oblivious to the rights and integrity of others.  They are often called psychopaths and sociopaths.  They just go for what they want without any regard for others.  This may include stealing or even murdering others who they perceive are in their way.




“If it feels good, it must be good.  If it feels bad, it must be bad.” 


Each level adds to the one before, and observes it.  Level two is the emotional thinking level.  It adds a second layer or dimension to one’s thinking. 

At this level, one thinks based on feelings or emotions.  Emotion, in this context, means a back and forth motion of the mind, or oscillation.  It is heavily influenced by feelings of pleasure and pain.  These are the most basic emotions of a living being.

This level of thinking is characteristic of the “terrible twos” that some children pass through around this age.  They are emotional, throw tantrums, and may be difficult to handle for this reason.

Although it is still a primitive level of thinking, many modern human beings live and think at this level.  For example, other articles on this website discuss what is called liberalism or leftist thinking.  Thinking with the feelings is one of their prime characteristics.

Examples. Liberals and leftists usually support government programs that feel good, even if they don’t work.  Many government welfare programs are of this nature.  Even when the results of the program indicate it does not work, the programs continue because the idea of welfare feels so good.

Gun control is another idea that feels good to some people, but in fact it does not work.  Statistics prove clearly that cities with the strictest gun control laws tend to have the most gun violence.  This is because criminals can easily get guns illegally, and citizens who cannot defend themselves are easy targets.  You would think this would end the gun control efforts, but efforts continue because it feels good.

Some authors call this kind of thinking a mental illness.  This is because human adults should be able to think logically, and second level thinking is not logical, but rather feeling-based.  Drug use, alcohol use and trauma often turn a logically-minded person into a second-level thinker.


Other aberrations of second-level thinking.  These people are so focused on their own feelings that they don’t care if they harm the feelings of others in defense of what feels good and right to them.  This can easily occur if a person is traumatized at the age of about 2.






“A + B = C”


This is a more mental level of thinking.  It is also the beginning of logical, structured, linear thinking.  It is about the ego mind, which is the main mental structure of most human beings.  The ego mind or reactive mind is made up of beliefs and ideas that seem to protect a person.

Level three adds another layer to the brain in which one thinks about Level One and Level Two.  In other words, one thinks about nourishing or tropism, and one thinks about one’s feelings and emotions, but for this reason is less affected by the physical needs and emotional ups and downs of the body.

Logical thinking is a more adult human level.  It often begins around the age of 5 to 10, and develops more with age and experience.

Many people’s thinking remains at this level, although it is not a high level.

Logical thinking is a uniquely human and soul level of thinking.  It involves a number of operations of the mind.  The mind must hold various thoughts at once, and move from one to the next seamlessly, and draw conclusions, and then trust those conclusions.  This is quite a bit more complicated.

Even getting a computer to do all this is quite a task.  Computer experts call it artificial intelligence, and it is a research area that is still not too well developed on earth.


Example.  Examples of basic logical thought are all around us.  Many laws of society, for example, employ simple logic.  Cars cannot just drive in any lane, so the law specifies that one must drive to the right, or to the left in some nations.  This is “only logical”.


Aberrations of third-level thinking.  Simple logic can easily go wrong.  For example, one’s basic premises can be incorrect.  One may begin with a blief that all men are idiots.  This premise then colors all future thinking, leading often to incorrect and dangerous conclusions for some women.

The train of thought may not carry through from A to B to C.  This is another common flaw in simple logic.

Other people have the right premises, and carry through their reasoning.  However, they ignore their own conclusions for some reason.  The conclusions may not feel good, may be unpopular, or may disagree with something else they believe.  These people do not trust their own logic, although they are capable of performing it. 




“A + B + C + D + E … = K


This is a more social level, a less selfish or les self-centered level, and a broader level of thinking.  It is a logical level, but more sophisticated logic than level three.  Also, the basis for the logic is often not just the ego, but also a wider outlook on life that some people call a social conscience.

Some would call this level higher logic.  Here the brain must take into account more variables, more factors or more aspects of life in one’s thinking.

While Level Three represents structure, Level Four adds depth to obtain volume, and this is not included in Level Three.

This level of thinking usually does not develop in a human being until after puberty, and perhaps not at all.

Many people have some difficulty with this level of thinking.  This can be due to impaired nutrition, drug use including medical drugs, trauma, or perhaps other reasons such as impatience.  The latter is a factor because one must reason through a number of steps to reach the right conclusion.


Example.  A good example is gun control, once again.  Here a person must read the arguments on both side, must look at the statistics, and then must draw the conclusion that the simple argument to ban guns is wrong, even if one does not know why.

Then one must search more deeply for the answers, which are perfectly logical, but perhaps not apparent on the surface.


Aberrations of level-four thinking.  One can still have wrong premises and/or illogical steps in their thinking.  These lead to incorrect conclusions.  In other cases, one may have the right conclusions, but may distrust and thus ignore them if they don’t fit with preconceived notions or ideologies.

For example, the environmental movement is often truly motivated by a social conscience.  However, it can and does easily go wrong and turn into a dictatorial suppression of other people’s rights and freedoms, for example in the name of saving desert rats or some other species.

Others want to do away with all of industrial society because it causes pollution, not figuring into their thinking all the benefits of burning coal or oil, for example. 


IV. SYSTEMS LEVELS – 5, 6, and 7




This level is beyond the grasp of many people, although more and more are thinking this way.  It is the primitive systems thinking level.

Thinking in a systems fashion is an expansion of logical thinking.  Logic is linear: A+B+C+D=E.  There can be many steps or few. 

Systems thinking is not simply linear.  It is something else that is not well-defined in English.  It involves a universe or collection of items or ideas, all of which are connected to each other, often in complex ways.  One must begin by realizing this.  This, alone, is daunting for most people.

Then one must examine all the connections between these parts or elements.  This is also a chore for the mind.  Then one must draw conclusions, which are sometimes rather counter-intuitive, as it is called, or unusual.  This is how systems thinking works.

It may be represented as: A+B+C, D+E+F, G+H+I, together leads to J.


Examples of primitive systems thinking.  A good example of a fairly simple system is an automobile engine.  It has an electrical system, fuel system, air system, exhaust system, and pollution control system.  If one wants to figure out what is wrong with an engine that does not work, one must learn about all these elements, and pay attention to all of them.  It can take a while, which is why, at times, repairing an engine is a chore, even for a good mechanic.




This is called the moderate systems level.  It is similar to level 5 above, but more complex in details and in the number of elements.

Example.  This might be the level at which a master mechanic works.  He might know not only the basic electrical and mechanical systems of the engine, but also more details about the onboard computers, or the actual materials of the wires and other parts that could possibly fail.

Another example might be a medical specialist who knows of more tests that can be run, more diseases that can be diagnosed, and more subtle ways to examine the body in others ways.




This is called the whole system or full system level.  It is similar to the two levels before it, but even more comprehensive and complete.

Example.  This might be the man who designed the car engine.  He would know not only all of the systems on it, but he would have designed them in such a way that they would all work in harmony together.  This would give him the title of the whole system person.

In the health field, this would be a doctor who had an even broader knowledge of the body.  Nutritional balancing is of this level because we take into account more factors such as toxic metals, toxic chemicals, and newer tests such as the hair mineral test.

Those who think at this level are usually research scientists.  They must experiment with the ideas or aspects of very complex systems, all of whose inter-relationships are not known.  Research is the only way they can figure out even a few of the most important relationships so that they can understand the system and work with it.

Complex systems demand this level of thinking.  Otherwise, the conclusions drawn are usually incorrect and silly. 

Climate change.  An example of this is climate change.  Some believe this is a huge problem on earth, although the climate has always been changing and follows extremely complex patterns.  Yet some wish to simplify it down to burning fossil fuels, and that somehow stopping that will solve everything.  This is an example of looking at a very complex system with millions of parts, in a very primitive way.  It does not work well.



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