Framework for Life

Framework for Life (F4L) – Evolving Tiers of Self

As discussed in the item “Our Precious Life”, the evolution of our human brain’s capabilities has truly set us apart from all other species of the animal kingdom. The human brain is not only unique and superior to that of all other animals on earth but provides us with one super intelligent mind.  Its this Information Revolution era of mankind seeking to leverage their ever growing hunger for greater intelligence, when we humans have gained access to massive sources of information. Information which empowers humans to a level unheard of in the history of mankind.  Information is power.  The plasticity of the brain enables humans to change the connections within our brain and cause dormant cells to be awakened bases upon sensory images and repetitive usage .  This aids in both our rapid learning process as well as with repair when our brains are damaged; incredibly our human brain has a unique way of healing itself.  Our brain can rationalise our sensing of a single object from all its surrounding range of prospective objects better than ANY sophisticated computer.   For example, when we see an image of a window, any window, our brain can rationalise immediately that it is in fact a window and extrapolate all its obvious characteristics and differentiate it from all the other objects we know.   Neither a computer nor any animal can do this anywhere near as effectively as our unique human brain. The reason is that the human brain seems to thrive on recognising familiar patterns/images and categorising preordained types of objects by identifying them by name (cataloguing them) within our preferred language constructs.   And yes, language is another essential and unique by-product of our intelligence evolution, enabling us humans to communicate with one another far more effectively than any of our animal counter parts. This amazing journey of evolution transformation continues today.  

Existence is ambiguous because its an evolutionary process that has led us to face a multi-dimensional reality.  A reality in which various level of emergence are revealed – from primitive matter to transcendent spirit existing along side of oneanother.   The dominant view of our time is scientific objectivism, attempting to describe the evolution of complex forms of matter and adapted species of life.   Based upon all the success science has had in recent time with its contributions to human society, we have understandably accumulated great faith in scientific endeavours.   Unfortunately this view overlooks more emergent aspects of existence.   The evolutionary story needs to also explore the emergence of the immaterial, non-spatial soul-dimension, which is accepted as aanother reality these days.  Human existence is evolving with a whole host of spiritual dimensions – different culture merging, conflicted values, divergent views, mindsets  that we need to find a way of honouring them all especially as we make key choices that shape our life and who we are. A life were your past becomes the foundation for the possibilities each individual can realise in the future.   

According to scientific objectivism your life is fundamentally meaningless and insignificant, having no real purpose.    But the evolutionary world from time zero to now proclaims the importance of the human journey (from birth to death), affirming that it matters that you are you, because you are a unique expression of your entire past evolution that gives real purpose to your life and becomes the foundation for the possibilities you can realise in the future and contribute to the common good.  

We humans are endowed with such a high degree of intelligence, yet we fail to bother to effectively tap into this powerful resources when attempting to solve the main serious social problems and issues we face us today.   Is it because we are fundamentally lazy or simply prefer to preoccupy our brain’s minds with more leisurely pursuits, burying our heads in the sand in the hope that these problems will simply go away or eventually solve themselves?  

The Framework for Life (F4L), was devised as information infrastructure to the Yourself Helper (YSH) website.  Its design suits the human brain’s natural preference for growth and healing, including its ability to recognise object structures within various object type hierarchies.   These preferences therefore give structure and clues to the way the Yourself Helper website needs to hold and maintain information about “Yourself” so that you are better placed to help yourself.  The information gathered here about yourself (generically & specifically) is designed to help your tap in on this all empowering resource in what is called your journal of  self information.  This journal  contains information about your physical self, your brain’s mental experiences, your emotions, your actions, your choices and decisions made and new information discovered from supplied “self-help” material.   This is a cyclic and repeatable four step “a’ process (awareness, awakening, activation & accountability) you will embark upon in your journey of a lifetime.    On this journey, you are invited to participate in much “self reflection” by using self help tools that you can adapt to your own particular life style, constantly evaluating your past to make better informed life choices both in the present and for the future.

We are often said to be a byproduct of our own experiences and to some extent also its prisoner. So not unexpectedly our 5 senses feature as one of the categories for life’s experiences.   Our 5 senses represents the external means by which our physical body experiences life. But our life’s journey is more than just what our physical body can experience.  Its far more complex than that.  Some framework is needed for storing the totality of life’s experiences.  By meaningfully interpreting what is going on around us in our world and in our mind, the depth of information and knowledge available to us is boundless. Our Framework for Life (F4L) is like a compass, a map or a guide for filtering our view of the world we experience. The depth to which we can extend our 5 senses is facilitated via the four tiers of the F4L.  The F4L provides the highest classification levels to “self”, as a taxonomy:-

  • The Physical Body-centred Self
  • The Physical Mind-centred Self 
  • The Soul-centred Self 
  • The Spirit-centred Self 

A taxonomy is a set of principles governing the way information is classified.   An example of a simple taxonomy is our alphabet; a collection of 26 unique letters used in a variety of ways to form every word within our English language. A telephone directory is another taxonomy for structuring people’s names in alphabetical order to help facilitate the location of a person’s telephone number, home address, etc. Another taxonomy is the 10 numerals (0-9) that go to makeup any number we might devise. As mentioned before, our human brain is most comfortable when dealing object that abide by some identifiable taxonomy.   For they enable our brain to more readily find, access and utilise information for use use in a wide variety of forms. For instance Google Search uses word taxonomies and language patterns to expedite its effective information searches and predictive analysis.

Yet despite all its perfections our brain has a notoriously unreliable memory. It is for this reason that you are encouraged to maintain a personal journal of your experiences using the Yourself Helper F4L to guide you in its completeness and vitality. Why?  Because our human brain is prone to forget information known and it is not always able to be recalled information known when it is most needed. A brain freeze? Modern technology enables you to take notes from anywhere, track each thought , situation and the impact it has had on your life.  Our external experiences bring about a constant state of adjustment.  All these new experiences are like gold nuggets of knowledge needed to be preciously stored away meaningfully for use in times of need.  Such information needs to be incorporated within some stable pattern, like that maintained by the F4L.   As you study your journal entries over time you will observe shifts in how you feel on particular subjects.   This is simply part of the process of maturing and evolving. In some instances you may observe that you have actually changed your mind after reading or hearing something of interest and realise that how you felt years ago is no longer how you feel now.   The real challenge comes when say reading some (authenticated) material within the F4L which makes you question whether your previous view needs to change now, especially if it’s some lesson learnt from your own experience.  We now enter the world of prejudices.   You naturally begin to question the prejudices of an author’s material just experienced or to question whether you have somehow placed a filter of your prejudices upon your own life experiences. Its moments of these internal reflection within your mind which raises the prospect of whether a potential mindset shift may be in order or not.   Possibly some further dialogue with another SME author is warranted. By our very nature, if you tend not to be particularly open to new messages that don’t sit well with our previous experiences, then you go one of two ways:

  1. ignore the message because of the momentary discomfort it gives rise to and the need to return to the comfort of your own view or.  
  2. alternatively, choose to reflect upon the message as a potential source of growth and adjustment    

Like the telephone book, the F4L taxonomy is designed to assist our brain locate relevant pieces of information and objects pertaining to your “self”; which becomes relevant or important as you progress along our life’s journey of “self” transformation;  especially as the volume of information and material collected grows. The F4L “Tiers of Self” knowledge categorises and classifies each specific subject matter pertaining to “Yourself” across recognisable levels of external and internal experiences.   Reflection upon these experiences levels is not sequential.   Initially people tend to typically follow Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, moving from the experiences of our physical sense (Tier 1) inwards. Others, like Diety-believers may choose to reflect upon their life’s experiences from the inside out, starting from their spiritual foundation (Tier 4) outwards. In other words each tier can be reflected upon in any order you feel most comfortable.  Why then would we even want to gather so much information about our authentic “self” and structure this information for regular reflection? Doesn’t Facebook already absorb much of my time reflecting upon myself?

Wind back the clock just over a century and recall a visit to your local grocery store to buy bread, milk, sugar or flour; a time when you were treated as an individual. Over the years your grocer accumulated knowledge of you that he remembered and thereby was able to develop an intimate relationship with his/her customers in supporting their needs. Today big business has swallowed up the local grocer concept. But now this personal data on individuals has become the oil of the 21st century. Today its call “Big Data”. Big business is determining to refine this oil (data on ordinary individuals) and to determine how it will be refined. For instance, Tencent’s Wechat services and Alibaba in China, both probably know more about Chinese consumers than their government does. In the UK, Tesco has better data than the government census. Andrew Weigend, a former Amazon chief scientist and current Standford lecturer suggests “data gives you all the answers so the challenge (of big business) is to ask the right questions”. The problem for many organisations is they do not know which questions to ask. He suggests “companies need to engineer their systems better so they get better with data because ultimately it is all about helping people make better decisions”.   To retain control of your own life and the decisions you make, you also need to know self far better.   Or constantly be at the mercy of big business who you now know are only too eager to help you grow their profits at your expense. Gathering, refining and asking questions of ourselves is equally, if not more, important.   Having access to such self “Big Data” similarly empowers ordinary people to make better informed decision in regard to issues that will go to shape their life, like the choice of a life-long partner to support “self” raise a family.

In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations, ordinary people are rightly worried about the amount of their personal information being sharing without their prior approval and about the use to which it is being put. There needs to be greater balance between the amount of personal data we retain about our authentic “self”, and the enormous volume of data other organisations retain on us, without us even knowing about it or having any rights to ensure its content is accurate and being used appropriately. Does this information on yourself held by big business truly reflect your authentic self or is it simply based upon the financial transactions you have conducted over the years and how you have presented yourself across other social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, U-Tube, emails, etc?

What are the upside and downside risks to organisations and ourselves retaining “self” data?   Information on our own authentic self-identification is likely to be far more useful to yourself than unauthenticated data typically derived from ad hoc transactions and electronic inter-actions you have made in the past.   Self-information held by other organisations may or may not be reflective of who you really are or aspire to be. And do they provide the opportunity for ordinary people to validate all the big data they hold on yourself?   Mostly not! Ordinary people need to be somehow empowered with “big data” of their own; through access to similar technology tools but with your best self-interest at heart.   Rather than constantly being at the mercy of other organisations’ big data on self being used to making critical life shaping decisions for us, you need to have greater control over such decisions impacting upon yourself and others. Like the food we eat, what we drink, the air we breathe, how we spend and earn our money, our career, etc.   Otherwise our apathy will cause us to fall prey to such suggestions from others that place more importance on their own self-interest than your well-being and best interests. What we can be sure of is that businesses make their profits at the expense of ordinary people.   Take the Food & Drink lobby groups for instance and their lack of concern regarding obesity, alcoholism, drugs, ADS, etc. And the Tobacco industry’s interest in the health of smokers. Who has your best interests at heart?   Only you do!

In summary, the F4L is like a large warehouse of your own personal data, structured to appropriately classify and extrapolate important information on self; enabling you to be more mindful of who you are and who you aspire to be as you go about your everyday life. This personal information invested in by yourself is accessible only by yourself for your consumption alone.  Hence why it supports the strengthening of your altruistic side rather than your narcissistic side. This authentic self-identification information is managed across the four tiers of the F4L:-

  1. The Physical Body-centred Self – unique appearances as you see yourself, compared to how others see you or how you have presented yourself
  2. The Physical Mind-centred Self – unique analysis of how you feel/think about your life’s experiences and how you are now
  3. The Soul-centred Self – the heartfelt truth about knowing yourself, the new self; identifying all those things that one’s mind makes possible – matters of concern and righteousness associated with one’s own sub-conscious, conscious, and unconscious self. The recognition of your “Shadow-Self”
  4. The Spirit-centred Self – the dynamic driving force that makes some yearn to transcend their own life experiences

As a consciousness witness, we have both physical (tier 1) and psyche experiences (tiers 2-4); the sum total of our experiences across the F4L taxonomy that defines yourself.   Included are our physical bodily experiences derived through our five senses – seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling.   We are also a consciousness witness to our psyche experiences, which includes a body with a super intelligent brain able to not only take input from our material world through sensations but also from our mind, heart, soul and spirit. The identification of relevant information pertaining to the three psyche tiers of the F4L is also able to be captured, retained, retrieve and analysed through reflection and becoming more mindful of self.

F4L diagramIf you recall, one of the most limiting aspects of the human brain is the difficulty it sometimes has in recalling information known to be already captured but cannot bring it into our conscious mind when needed, like now. In contrast, a properly designed computer system never forgets such information once captured and is always able to recall it when needed, especially if structured according to some enforceable taxonomy like the F4L. That is why YSH and its F4L are said to supplement our brain’s cognitive capabilities in being more mindful of not only information about self but also the sharing of wisdom and information gathered by others regarding the same objects of interest (like social problem domains such as obesity, pollution, addiction, mental illness, etc.).

In developing your own personal version of your F4L to better “know yourself” and your relationship with others, the various facets of what one seeks to know from “Yourself Helper” is readily able to be encapsulated across the four F4L tiers. For example, it has long been known that “obesity” is not just a tier 1 physical eating and weight disorder, it’s also associated with tier 2 mental disorders such as boredom, fear, depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Obesity is also known to be associated with tier 3 issues where your soul is well aware of the strategic implications of being overweight, despite all the pleasure your sub-conscious mind associates with eating in the now moment.   Tier 3 becomes that nagging reminder to be mindful of those matters of strategic important to self during your tactical activities – eating, exercise, purchasing food, etc. It serves as a reminder that you should consider changing some of these activities in your now situations. Because the YSH F4L encourages you (the user) to constantly “know yourself authentically”, you are now in a better position to undertake regular reflection in becoming more mindful of self (strengths, weaknesses, needs, threats, opportunities) as you go about your every day journey of life. Even remembering and reminding yourself when you fail, this is how we grow in being stronger next time and being more accepting that this may be the best you can be now.

After you have begun to “know yourself” better, you become more aware of what your current real needs are towards being the best you can be.   These real needs translate into opportunities for “those in need” to seek help in addressing their needs by utilising the full extent of their F4L   In the same space as your needs exists, opportunities for “self-help” and obtaining help from others and giving help to others also exists within further categories of “specialist-Volunteers” in specific fields of endeavour. The intersection of these offerings opens up a whole new world of opportunity for ordinary people to become the best they can be in helping others in making the world a better place through effective “self-help”, “give-back” and creative “innovation”. This form of unconditional exchange can be as broad as it needs to be in effecting the desired outcomes sought in generally increasing the empowerment of ordinary people.

My years of experience helping others is this way has shown me just how effective a small amount of good will and knowledge delivered as intended advice and personal support can make such an incredible difference in another person’s life.  By truly empathising with another persons problems/issues, your experience and knowledge can be shared with another person as part of their greater empowerment.      Examples of this phenomena exist everywhere – 000, Life-Line, Salvation Army, Red Cross, St. Vincent de Pauls, Fire Emergency, Community Centres, the list is endless.   Interestingly, the more voluntary the service, often the more effective and respected it is.   It is equally important that both the “Needy” and the “Volunteers” get to “Know Yourself” through the same common F4L, to be able to communicate in a consistent manner, using the same terminology or jargon.   All being on the same page.

Like a grain of sand or a snow flake, no two people are the exactly the same, even identical twins.   While identical twins may have a somewhat similar “Physical Body–centred Self”, the other three tiers will be quite different. Even identical twins would identify themselves quite uniquely according to their physical possessions, their different life experiences, etc. More and more differences appear as their life’s journey continues, simply because they are individually still very unique with unique bodies and minds with separate thoughts and aspirations. Just as the hierarchic taxonomy of gene pools are able to accommodate the discovery of a new species, so too “Yourself Helper” is designed to evolve to accommodate new self-discoveries or even aspect known to be theoretically possible but not yet discovered by you about yourself. 

Below is a further example of our Framework taxonomy of identification expands as a table of hierarchical information supporting our Framework for Life:-

Tier        Self                       Identity

1             Body                     Body, Image, Possessions, Role, Sensations, Relationships
2             Mind                    Thoughts, Beliefs, Knowledge, Myself, Community Mindset
3             Soul                      Experiences (Negative & Positive), My shadow
4             Spirit                    I am, my God, at one with everything, transcending experiences

The above high-order taxonomy is designed to be all inclusive. Within these 4 tiers of self, every piece of identity data related to your authentic unique self finds a place to be expressed and held for reflection. Just as the universal material taxonomy starts with a high order taxonomy of Animal, Vegetable and Mineral, so too does the “Yourself Helper” F4L constrains itself to the “Animal” type and within this type only to the “Human” species type of animal life.   From here the generic F4L classifies yourself across the 4 tiers of “Human” experiences; your Body, Mind, Soul & Spirit.   The genealogy taxonomy is able to classify all the type of Animals that exist and remains poised and well-placed to appropriately classify any new species as they are discovered.   So it is with your unique instances of human life and its associated identity. The generic F4L supplied by the Yourself Helper website, supports the meta-data to your own unique F4L instantiations of authentic data on self. The generic F4L in tier 1 might ask for your now “weight”, to which you supply your now authenticated weight.   As more and more instantiations of your weight are recorded over the period of your life you become mindful of your weight increasing, decreasing or remaining constant. Your F4L overtime thereby becomes unique to you and only you.

There are certain things specific to you that do change over time (eg. your weight).   But there are other identifications which you cannot change (eg, your date of birth, your natural parents, where you were born, etc.); unless of course it isn’t true and needs to be changed to make it “authentic”.   Your date of birth and weight are clearly associated with Tier 1 Body identification, along with all your other relevant material-like identifications; such as career role (accountant, architect), possessions (family home, car, tools).   What type of car, model, make, vintage may or may not be relevant to your life’s journey, so for many not worthy of inclusion?   Now you begin to appreciate how the F4L is able to expand according to the natural way our brain prefers to operate. When considering the inclusion of further self-data, the first decision is determining what Tier type (1-4) does it belong to? The other dimension driving the instantiation of your F4L are the social problems domains of interest to you in living a good life lived for others.

There are numerous texts and books written by a wide range of psychologists that decompose “Self” along these lines (4xtiers of Self).   To this effect I have elected to use one of the better explained and accepted texts, written by a respected psychologist David G. Benner in his book “Spirituality and the Awakening Self” as an accepted starting point to the on-going evolution and completeness of the F4L taxonomy managed within the “Yourself Helper” website information warehouse.

external world diagramLooking at these tiers from the inside out, we can observe the F4L taking the shape of a single spoke in a wheel of human life. Each spoke in the wheel representing an individual’s identity of life’s experiences.   At the centre of the wheel is “the Spirit”, being the singular central point of the wheel, potentially common to each spoke. The sum total of the wheel represents everyone’s unique insights into self and their relationships with other humans. Outside the wheel is life’s physical world which everyone alive shares at any “now” point, including inter-actions with other human beings, each being another spoke of the wheel that goes to makeup human life now. Then moving along one’s own spoke from the Spirit tier up & outwards, we journey through the voice of our soul, our mind full of psyche experiences and finally out through our physical senses to the real physical world of living life’s experiences. Moving outward from the most personal and perfect representation of who “I am”, you choose to be (the best you can be) up and outwards to the realities of our living in an imperfect material world.   On this outward journey, we carry the awakenings of how we now choose to live our life along the line of the possibilities being made known to us through our own personal F4L.   Now we are become armed and empowered to be guided and mindful of our F4L; mindful of what it might take to be the best you can possibly be and doing all you can do to make the world a better place to live for you, your family and friends, your community, etc. Even when or if we make an unauthentic entry in our F4L, we can ask yourself “what would it take for me to be more authentic” to changes the entry just made to how my true self reminds me who I seek to be.   For instance, responding un-authentically “No” to a tier 3 question in the F4L “Is there any person alive today I cannot forgive for what they have done to me?”.   Given you know that your “No” response is not true because Mary, your once best friend, did something unforgivable to you, the F4L constantly begs a space to enter – “what would it take for you to forgive Mary for the hurt she caused you and continues to cause you?”.

The sequence which has been chosen to present the four (4) tiers of the F4L enters the spoke-wheel from the physical/material world of life on earth for an individual, moving inwards towards the centre (tier 4).   This is probably the most natural way to initially commence one’s initial journey of self-transformation.   The Physical Body-centred Self is probably more intimately familiar to us than any other tier; looking from the outside in.   According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, our tier 1 needs are required to be attended to first before we are usually able to concentrate sufficiently on the other deeper tiers.   For instance, a homeless person has critical physical needs, which need to be attended to first before they can focus on other matters such as education, employment, mental illness, etc. where further help may be required but later.

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