Levels of Man: Numbers 1-2-3

As in all models of what a human being is, this is as useful idea to quickly identify one’s primary orientation to the world: physical, emotional, intellectual. Though useful on one level, such simplification also overlooks the vast neurobiology occurring at any given time in the totality of one’s existence.  No one part can ever be separated from the system of oneself. It is useful to view these three ways of orienting toward life as processes that are weak or strong, at any given moment, or season of life. One can become more balanced by developing or accessing their non-primary process/centers.


“Man is divided into different categories. Quite different kinds of men exist. There is, first of all, the circle of mechanical humanity, as it is called, in which number 1, number 2 and number 3 men exist. They are respectively men in whom mainly one center is used – the instinct-moving center in the case of number 1 man, the emotional center in the case of number 2 man and the intellectual center in the case of number 3 man. These instinct-moving men, emotional men and intellectual men, because they are mainly ‘one-centered,’ see everything differently, each from one side, from one center. They form together the circle of mechanical humanity which is characterized by the fact that people belonging to this circle … do not understand either themselves or one another.”

– Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, “On A, B and C Influences,” June 24, 1941, Vol. 1, pp. 33-34


In the Work, the imbalance of relating to life through only one center (man number 1, 2, or 3) is closely related to the ideas of sleep, mechanicalness or the predominance of unconscious motivations and behaviors.  In David Hawkins’ map of consciousness, these might correlate with the levels of consciousness of 200 and below.


“A passive state in which a person acts, thinks or feels without awareness or intention. A fundamental axiom is that Men numbers 1, 2 and 3 are little else than machines operated by associations, desires, habits and reactions in the formatory apparatus or centers. An advanced stage is to discover and sacrifice the impulse to react mechanically.”

– Beryl Pogson, Brighton Work Talks, p. 358


In the Work, we begin to learn how our centers are lined up in terms of development and emphasis. In other words, one person may learn she is mechanically a 123 person (body first, emotions second, intellect third). Once we have learned this, we can begin to focus our Work accordingly.