Levels of Energy

This is a review of the book Levels of Energy by Frederick Dodson. This book describes a scale of emotional states, generally from better to worse. In this respect, it is much like the Emotional Tone Scale of Scientology, which I consider to be the one good idea in Scientology and have already made a video on. One good thing about this book is that it liberates this idea from cults like Scientology. As the author points out, the idea behind such a scale is older and more widespread than one particular cult of recent origin. Nor is it even limited to cults. It can also be found in Hinduism. Overall, the idea behind such a scale is a good one. It can serve as a map for pulling yourself up to a better state, and knowing about it can make it easier to keep yourself at a higher state. It can also be useful for knowing when it is appropriate to descend to a lower state. It is not exactly the same as the Emotional Tone Scale, but it has its similarities. Here is the scale Dodson uses:

High Levels of Energy
1,000 Infinity / Divinity
700 Oneness, Non-Duality, Vast Awareness
600 Bliss, Peace, Serenity, Lightness
570 Ecstasy, Exaltation
550 Unconditional Love
540 Humor, Happiness
530 Love, Intuition, Appreciation
510 Power, Initiative, Integrity
505 Beauty, Creativity, Imagination
475 Joy, Creativity
Mid Levels of Energy
450 Intelligence, Knowledge, Reason
400 Acceptance, Interest, Attention, Neutrality
320 Willingness, Kindness, Optimism, Activity
275 Courage, Relaxation, Eagerness, Fun
200 Contentment, Routine, Functionality, Boredom
Low Levels of Energy
190 Pride, Superiority, Arrogance
180 Antagonism, Criticism, Discontent, Complaint, Blame
160 Anger, Domination, Aggression, Coldness
120 Craving, Need, Compulsion, Unfulfilled Desire
100 Fear, Worry, Shyness, Inferiority, Paranoia
80 Grief, Sorrow, Self-Pity
50 Apathy, Despair, Depression, Hopelessness
30 Guilt, Shame, Psychosis, Humiliation, Hatred

His scale goes from 0 to 1000. This is an arbitrary figure, as he recognizes. The Emotional Tone Scale normally goes from 0 to 4, though the full scale goes from -40 to +40. But since I don’t have sufficient literature on anything outside the 0 to 4 range, I’ll mainly limit my comparisons to that. Dodson’s scale has the levels divided into high, mid and low levels of energy. The low levels fall below 200. The Emotional Tone Scale makes a similar demarcation, where 2 and below is considered low tone, consisting of variations and mixtures of the negative emotions grief, fear, and anger. Dodson’s scale follows the same rough scheme. For both, grief is lower than fear, which is lower than anger. There are also differences. Dodson puts hate at the lowest level, whereas the Emotional Tone Scale puts it just below anger. Here is a more detailed comparison, with Emotional Tone Scale values put in parentheses:

Low Levels of Energy
190 Pride, Superiority, Arrogance
180 Antagonism (2.0), Criticism(?), Discontent(?), Complaint(?), Blame(-1.0)
160 Anger(1.5), Domination(?), Aggression(Hostility: 1.9), Coldness(No Sympathy: 1.2)
120 Craving, Need, Compulsion, Unfulfilled Desire
100 Fear(1.0), Worry(Anxiety: 1.02), Shyness(?), Inferiority(?), Paranoia(?)
80 Grief(.5), Sorrow(?), Self-Pity(Pity: -0.1)
50 Apathy(.05), Despair(.98), Depression(?), Hopelessness(.07)
30 Guilt(?), Shame(-0.2), Psychosis(?), Humiliation(Self-Abasement: .2), Hatred(1.4)

In general, as the values rise for the Emotional Tone Scale, they also rise for Dodson’s levels of energy. The main exceptions are pity and blame, which the Emotional Tone Scale gives negative values to, and grief and despair, which the Emotional Tone Scale reverses the relative values of. While Dodson places grief above despair, the Emotional Tone Scale places grief below despair. Some of this variation could be due to different subjective impressions of what these words mean.

Another notable difference is that Dodson’s lower levels include two levels that are not included in the Emotional Tone Scale. The lowest one is “Craving, Need, Compulsion, Unfulfilled Desire.” According to Buddhism, craving is the root of suffering. So it makes sense to include this and related ideas in the lower levels. Dodson places it between fear and anger. It is higher than fear. After all, it is more positive to want something than it is to fear something. He places it lower than anger. After all, impotent longing is less productive than anger, which begins to reach after what it wants. The higher level is “Pride, Superiority, Arrogance.” This level is starting to rise above anger and antagonism, and it has greater self-esteem than lower levels, but it still lacks the peace of mind that will characterize even higher levels. According to some Christian accounts, pride is the root of all evil. Notably, this is the level Dodson says Scientology is at.

One thing Dodson leaves out is Covert Hostility (1.1), which Scientology understands to be the most dangerous place for people around you to be on the scale. This is the level at which someone is your enemy but isn’t open about it, putting them into a greater position to do you harm.

What Dodson says the low levels have in common is that they focus on having. This is the Buddhist idea of craving in a broad sense. Grief is focused on loss of what one had, fear is focused on the possibility of losing what one has, craving is focused on longing for what one wants to have, anger is focused on blaming others for not having what one wants, and pride focuses on having more than others.

Getting into the mid levels, “Contentment, Routine, Functionality, Boredom” corresponds to Monotony (2.4), Boredom (2.5), Disinterested (2.6), and Contented (2.8) on the Emotional Tone Scale. Dodson praises television for bringing most people in modern times up to this level. It is not the best level to be at, but it is the first level to escape from the negativity of the low levels.

Moving up, the next highest level is 275, “Courage, Relaxation, Eagerness, Fun.” This may be similar to Mild Interest (2.0), Strong Interest (3.3), and Cheerfulness (3.5). This is the level at which people take an active interest in sex. The Emotional Tone Scale associates a “high interest in the opposite sex” with 3.5.

Above that is 320, “Willingness, Kindness, Optimism, Activity.” After 3.5 on the Emotional Tone Scale comes Enthusiasm at 4.0, but Dodson specifically identifies enthusiasm with 380. So he is probably describing a level that falls between Cheerfulness(3.5) and Enthusiasm(4.0). Accordingly, the levels he describes above 320, which are 400 and above, will be above Enthusiasm in the Emotional Tone Scale.

At 400, Dodson puts “Acceptance, Interest, Attention, Neutrality.” Notably, the Emotional Tone Scale put Mild Interest at 2.0 and Strong Interest at 3.3, both below Enthusiasm at 4.0. At 450, he puts “Intelligence, Knowledge, Reason.” So he considers use of the intellect to be above Enthusiasm.

What he believes unites the mid levels from 200 to 450 is a focus on doing. This ranges from doing routine behaviors at 200 to actively using the mind at 450. Although he has praised television for bringing people up to 200, he praises the internet even more for giving people a more interactive experience, which can help bring them up even higher. Between 200 and 450, people may engage in watching entertainment, relaxing, playing, fighting for a cause, having sex, helping others, taking an interest in things, and examining and trying to understand the world.

Above 450, he believes the higher levels are united by an emphasis on being. It makes sense to think of Joy (level 475) as being about being. But he puts Creativity at the same level. This is about doing something, namely conceiving and making things. But maybe he thinks of it more in terms of being a creator. Anyway, it sort of borders between the doing and being levels. Above this, we have some even higher states, even reaching beyond what he considers possible for someone in a physical body. This becomes controversial, since there is some controversy over whether we are actually anything more than physical bodies. Dodson is firmly in the camp that we are more than our bodies.

Whether or not the highest levels in his scale are possible, it is good to be joyful, creative, loving, happy, and serene, just to name a few of the states of being he puts on his scale. Although these are all good, he also notes that being higher on the scale doesn’t mean you will be more materially successful in life. Because they are more focused on it, the doing levels and the having levels can sometimes be more financially successful than the being levels. Therefore, he considers it appropriate to let yourself go down to lower levels. The goal in using this scale is not necessarily to climb higher and higher but to use it as a guide for moving through the levels. You may have a level you prefer to stay at most of the time and other levels you have reasons to go to every now and then. Knowing about the scale can help you go down it when you need to and come back up when it is time for that.

Overall, I think that a scale like this is a good idea. The book is worth reading to get a sense of what a scale like this can be like and for describing various levels in the scale in much more detail than I have gone into here. But I remain skeptical of the details. As my comparison with the Emotional Tone Scale has shown, there are differences of opinion over the order of levels in the scale. While the numbers are useful for ranking the levels with respect to each other, it would be a mistake to assign the numbers any greater significance. For example, the numbers don’t imply that being at level 400 is twice as good as being at level 200. They are a convention, not mathematical certainties. Throughout the book, Dodson provides the numbers he claims to have measured various things at. I’m skeptical of some of the values he gives, and more broadly, I’m skeptical of his claimed ability to measure levels of energy with precision. The first method he gives is to understand the scale and estimate the general area where people or things fall in the scale. I can agree with this, but I also recognize that it lacks precision. The next method he gives is to use intuition. While intuition may be helpful in estimating where someone falls in the scale, he thinks he can use intuition to find precise values. I do not consider intuition this reliable. Intuition is just a function of the mind, not a psychic power, and its results depend on your knowledge and beliefs about someone or something, which is going to vary. The last method he recommends is muscle testing. This is the ridiculous idea that when you say something false, it is easier to push down your arm. So I don’t think much about his methods for precisely measuring someone’s level of energy. Still, putting that aside, the general idea of a scale of energy levels is worth reading about. Although this book is priced at $35.00, it can be read for free through Amazon Unlimited or the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.

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Former Christian, now a Humanist Freethinker with a Ph.D. in Philosophy.
About Me / Books on LibraryThing / Ph.D. Dissertation

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