3rd TIER (THIRD TIER)
The 3rd Tier is a phrase that came out as a next step of the Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi) conceptual language and refers to a level of personal conscious awareness development. Dr. Don Beck, author and proponent of Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi), vehemently opposes the use of the phrase 3rd Tier and says that it does not exist or does not exist yet. Ken Wilber of the Integral Institute and author of works on Integral Theory, as well as members of the Integral Institute itself use the phrase 3rd Tier as a conceptual model. The 3rd Tier is a natural progression to the 1st Tier/2nd Tier paradigm. Dr. Beck talks about 2nd Tier not even being represented in society yet but many people disagree. Obviously one would need to be at a higher level on the Tier system consciously in order to be able to even recognize such a higher level or above 1st Tier conscious awareness.
There appears that there may be some confusion between "states and stages." The non-dual is a state available to all up and down the Spiral) as a passing thing which will inevitably be interpreted at the level at which it was experienced. As a stage it is, as Don points out, it is way too far along the Spiral to consider relevant in all but the most advanced realizers. However challenging these concepts may seem to be to some people, to say that the 3rd Tier does NOT exist, would appear to be a bit premature.
Ken Wilber says, "If you take Sri Aurobindo's consciousness stages as a point of comparison, he has about ten or eleven, what he calls 'higher mind' would be equivalent to what Spiral Dynamics would call second Tier, or yellow and turquoise. But above higher mind there is illumined mind, then intuitive mind, then overmind, then supermind, and then satchitananda, the ever-present oneness. There are at least four or five stages up there that are higher than second Tier. So second Tier is sometimes referred to as 'integral' only because it's more integral than first Tier. But these higher stages will be even more integral, all the way to satchitananda, which is like superintegral, including everything. We could use the term 'third Tier' for whatever stages are higher than second Tier, i.e. illumined mind, intuitive mind, overmind, and supermind, for example, as actual, permanent developmental stages. But the thing about second Tier is that it's a great base camp for all higher development. If you don't have a really good foundation there then when you get to these higher stages they won't stick very well. The cognitive line of development which is usually necessary but not sufficient for other development can run quite ahead of the individual's center of gravity. So there are a lot of people talking Integral because that's just what's out there. Everybody wants to be Integral. But if somebody is integral cognitively, they can still have a center of gravity that is several stages lower. It happens quite often. And it's a little disorienting because they talk one thing and walk another. The percentage of people stably at second Tier is one half percent of the U.S. population! So it's really going uphill. The center of gravity in this culture is still very much what we would call first Tier. So what we're trying to do is orient people to second Tier and then push them into third Tier. What happens in what we're calling second Tier is that people become self-aware of Integral. Evolution becomes aware of itself and it's a huge leap. That's why so many psychologists refer to the 'leap' or 'jump' from first Tier to second Tier. So we call second Tier Integral because it self-consciously becomes Integral. That's when it begins. So we have two things going on here. You can talk second Tier, but your walk or your center of gravity can still be first Tier. That's extremely common now. But when you get your walk and your talk at second Tier, there's still third Tier waiting. And really, you have to keep going on into third Tier. And then integral will flow out of yourself and into the world; it will start embracing everything, and not just as an altered state but as a permanent trait. You can get excited by remembering that Paul Tillich said that what we call the Renaissance was participated in by only about a thousand people. A snowball can start rolling when somebody pushes through. That's what they were doing in the Renaissance, pushing into the first modern values. They were really pioneering that stage of development and that spearheaded the creation of that Kosmic groove for the rest of us. Every act you make on the leading edge becomes a groove that subsequent human beings will follow. Therefore, you want to do your best with every single breath you take. That's what we could call the evolutionary ethical imperative. Immanuel Kant was famous for his 'categorical imperative.' He said something was autonomous and ethical if the rule that governed your behavior was universal. So he said, 'Act as if everything you do might actually become a universal rule.' If this is true, what you're doing is actually becoming a universal groove. Therefore, please act as if everything you do is creating that groove; please be the most ethical, the most responsible, the most authentic you can be with every breath you take, because you are cutting a path into tomorrow that others will follow. It starts at second Tier, and it becomes a living reality at third Tier. And it really is that realization that your every move, your every breath, your every thought is literally becoming a Kosmic habit or memory that humanity will follow."
When the Integral perspective meets a 3rd Tier or enlightened state of conscious awareness then our understanding of what that state is and what it means actually begins to change. Traditional definitions are being replaced by new ones that are more integrated and are endeavoring to embrace all of manifestation. People's hearts are set on fire when our understanding and expression of enlightenment itself begins to evolve in real time, right before our very eyes. [paraphrased from Andrew Cohen]