[from Mary Powers 2000.12.29]
Stefan: "Ughh, I never heard about the "Witness".
If you really haven't heard about the "Witness", then it will take some
It starts with the concept of a hierarchy of levels. Without specifically
naming the levels, a process was developed years ago in which two people
interact in order for one of them to move up the levels. This is the MOL,
the method of levels. The two people converse, while one of them also
attends to any hint that the other makes a remark that is ABOUT the
conversation, a statement from a higher level. The first person then
encourages the other to continue to comment from that level, and begins
again to watch for a yet higher level comment, and to encourage that.
This process has some interesting consequences. In the case of people with
conflicts, attending to higher levels related to the conflict seems to have
a therapeutic effect -sometimes the conflict simply melts away, or becomes
trivial, or the solution seems obvious. Some people in PCT are exploring
this process. Helping people to resolve conflict in this way may be the
basis for success in many therapies whether or not the therapist or client
realize that this is what is happening.
In the case of people who are exploring the levels (and don't get stuck in
a conflict on the way) the idea is to see how many times the process can be
repeated. After a while, the second person may reach a point where he is
simply uninvolved, detatched. BG calls a person in this state a "Witness".
Bill P. calls it the "Observer". Both communicate the state of mind
Since presumably this is the top level (to which consciousness can go), it
should be able to set reference signals for lower levels. But it doesn't
seem to want to do much of anything, except rather peacefully observe or
So I don't think that choosing goes on there.
To me, choosing is a perfectly straightforward, everyday, ordinary function
of the level where programs and logic reside. We choose this, and not that,
we order sequences: this first, then that. We look at alternatives and
maneuver among them, considering possible outcomes of this or that action,
and so on, thousands of times a day.
If the Observer is part of the hierarchy, then I think it might tweak a
principle level reference level (assuming that principles are the next
level down), to set in motion some cascade of events that leads to a more
satisfactory way of being for the whole person.
If, somehow, getting into the point of view of the Observer involves some
kind of sideways move, so that it is actually not part of the hierarchy,
then it might be considered the source of reorganization. But I have always
thought of reorganization as being very simple, very blind, very random -
not my idea of Observing at all.
So there you are, Stefan, a third view.