I have a set of bowl-like items—some plastic, some metal, some actually food bowls from the kitchen—that I’ve taken with me all over the world.

Customs officials have looked at me strangely but have never asked why I carry around the basins or what they are used for. I think they may assume that I’m another oddity collector, one with lamentably poor eyesight or strange tastes.

If they ever want a demonstration, I’d have to line up my basins on the customs counter and then find my marbles, which can be anywhere in the jumbled contents of my materials trunk. I can just picture the snickering as the word spreads in the customs house: “Guy’s lost his marbles, too!”

Not so.

By the time we earthlings reach the thinking level that, more than a quarter century ago, Dr. Paul Kordis and I named the dolphin level (as opposed to various earlier varieties of mind that we called carp and shark thinking levels), we generally know where our marbles are—and those of the people we deal with—to an unprecedented and amazing degree.

Demonstrating this is the purpose behind my basins and marbles. I use them to help people visualize how the mind matures.

The marbles are reds and blues. And the basins come in ascending sizes. The first is quite small, no larger across than a silver dollar. The next one is more the diameter of your average citrus orange. Then comes one that is the width across of, say, a Frisbee. And so forth, each one larger than the one before. Seven in all, all of which I keep under wraps—under a cloth, actually, like a magician does his or her props—until I’m ready to bring each one into view.

It is the final moments of my hour-long demonstration that usually bring a “you can hear a pin drop” quietness to the room. My first six basins are now out in full view. The three on the left contain a red marble. Those on the right, blue marbles. Each of these basins represents a stage, a stopover, for the mind, I’ve explained.

Red-marble stages are strongly individualistic. I put the bowls for those on the left side of the table. Blue ones are strongly oriented to the family, community or other groups. The bowls for those go on the right side of the table. And the bowl pattern is a zig-zag one because, as the creator of this model, the late Dr. Clare W. Graves, the gifted American psychologist, suggested, the dominant geometry of the mind’s development has been a spiral. The larger the basin, the more complexity and mobility, the more realness, the more knowledge, the more cosmic reality . . . the more functionality and flexibility our mind is capable of mobilizing and utilizing.

Until a few decades ago, every human alive and every human of history had assembled a mind for themselves from this grouping. There didn’t seem to be any other choice. Some individuals stayed at early stages and built worlds for themselves where technologies were simple and the emphasis by necessity was on simply surviving. Others moved on, diminishing some of the dangers and expanding others, making more sophisticated tools, adopting more and more sophisticated ideas and systems and ways to interact.

For the longest time, this was it. There were no other options for fashioning a mind.

Then, bro, nitro!

Suddenly, not long ago at all, just a few decades, we humans appear to have experienced our own Big Bang. Of the mind.

At this point in my demonstration, I reach beneath my prop cover-up and bring out another basin. Instantly, it is obvious that we are in another dimension. This basin is huge, dwarfing all the others. I set the new entry down some distance away from the original six.

“Dolphin waters,” I announce.

I do not know who the first dolphin thinker was. But I believe I’ve talked to more than a few. In my books, I’ve sought to augment their insights with personal experiences of my own.

I’m very fortunate in that, as an itinerant philosopher and instructor of thinking skills, I get to commingle regularly with ambitious souls who want to “be the best they can be,” always searching, probing, inquiring . . . always thinking about how most effectively to discard the old and move on to the new.

I have no scientific survey of the world’s seven-plus billions to offer (and know of no way to structure or finance one anytime soon). And I freely acknowledge that my personal universe is a long way from reflecting the whole. But I offer this educated guess: that 5 to 8 percent of the adult population of the world’s economically advanced countries are capable of making the momentous leap to dolphin waters.

Those who succeed don’t regularly make the headlines or the talk shows or otherwise stand out in the media because their serious thoughts about issues and solutions typically find few hospitable receptors in the brains of interviewers or reporters—being too broad, early, radical, difficult, complex or indecipherable, or some mix of all this. But, if nothing else, the explosive rate of change in the new millennium is one indication that a growing number of these kinds of minds is around.

At the end of my demonstration with the bowls and marbles, I give all my participants a marble of their own and invite them to place it in my out-sized bowl.

“Something new is here,” I observe. “And given what’s happening and what’s needed in our world, the arrival of dolphin thinking skills is very timely.”

Bookmark and Share