Levels of Energy by Frederick Dodson
Sit Down and Read
One Line Summary
The emotional scale revealed!
The concept of the emotional scale has been around for a long time. Even L Ron Hubbard made a basic version back in the day. But maybe my favorite read on this subject so far might be Levels of Energy by Frederick Dodson.
This is the introductory text to a whole series of books on the emotional scale. In it, Dodson goes through each stage on the scale and details what it might look like for people who are there.
The result is incredible. The amount of predictive power here for human behavior is as good as almost anything I’ve ever seen. And it explains so much of why our society works the way it works.
Why it’s Awesome
Each level on the scale has a number and emotion associated with it. Here is the scale I shameless copied from someone else. :
HIGH LEVELS OF ENERGY
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
How Dodson figured this out, I haven’t a clue. He doesn’t really explain in the book except for to say that energy can be measured. But either way, this scale is really good.
It’s also important to note that this scale is not supposed to be a measure of how good or bad someone is as a person. Just think of them as different stages with different effects.
I’m not going to go into detail on each energy level. You can read the book for that or just get the gist from the scale I just provided. But I do want to hit on why I really find this scale practically useful.
The first interesting thing to note is that the bottom of the list deals almost entirely with feelings of unworthiness. That is lowest that the majority of people will ever go. There is essentially nothing worse than being in shame.
This scale also directly correlated with my own experience. When you’re in apathy or depression, to feel almost anything is better than that. So while we might look down at emotions like fear or anger, for some people they’re actually a step up. At least they’re giving a fuck.
Have you ever been afraid to do something? Most people will tell you to just have courage and go do it. And while that might work, looking at this scale we can see that it actually might be easier to get that person to be angry than courageous. To have courage is simply too much to ask for at that moment.
It’s interesting that the scale doesn’t come close to ending at 450, which is probably what most of modern society considers the pinnacle.
Everyone has a range on this scale that we fall into. So the higher you move up, the less likely you are to experience the lower levels of the scale. Theoretically you could permanently beat certain negative emotions, although that seems unlikely.
This scale also radically calls for people to change how they lead and manage others. Move people through the scale, not from 0 to 500 which is what most people try to do.
The final thing I find fascinating about this scale is that it provides an objective measurement for growth. We all think we’re moving in different directions, but the scale says ‘no’. We are moving up or down, and what that change might look like is extremely easy to predict.
Why Does It Suck
Dodson gives a lot of examples of what he says he has measured on each scale. I’m highly skeptical of his interpretations because he claims to be objective, but gives no method for how he measures energy that someone else could reasonably replicate.
So energy measurement is not an exact science. Personal biases still come into play and you’ll find tons in the examples Dodson gives.
The Wrap Up
Amazing book, but don’t get hung up on Dodson’s personal opinions. He has his own agenda like everyone else. Learning the scale and how to apply it practically in your life should be your main concern.