Please read The Levels System before reading this article.
The laws of the levels system apply pretty accurately across all creative disciplines (and even some non-creative fields). So does anything escape it?
The answer my friends and I have came up with is yes (in short).
Many hypotheses have been made on what exactly Level 4 is, but nothing is super certain yet. Level 4 is like the fourth dimension. As three-dimensional creatures, we cannot experience the fourth dimension so we can only guess what it would be like based on our understanding of the first three dimensions. The same goes for Level 4. My guess is that based on the patterns we’ve experienced in the first three levels, Level 4 can go one of two ways.
- Since Level 3 is pretty much the same as Level 1 (Double Negative Rule) separated by intention, Level 4 could look like Level 2. Except you would be making art following the traditional rules as a joke, a joke that you and all your level 3 friends understood.
- Another possibility is that Level 4 could be entirely not art at all. Here’s why: Marcel Duchamp could be considered a professional Level 3 artist but a lesser known fact is he was also a professional chess player. On giving up an illustrious career in art to play chess, Marcel Duchamp said that “[chess] has all the beauty of art— and much more. It cannot be commercialized. Chess is much purer than art in its social position.” Basically, Duchamp became bored of being too successful at level 3 art that he decided to do something that was not art at all, which definitely smells like a level 4 move.
Some things simply aren’t any level. When Simon Abranowicz‘s friend, Marc Robbins, came over to visit in March of 2015, we had a late night discussion of the Levels System. Although Marc was a very intelligent young man studying physics at Stanford University, he didn’t fully understand the Levels System and it’s applications. After a while he felt like he had a solid grasp on the system and started making his own hypotheses on aspects of his own life and what level they fell under. He was on a roll for a while and we thought he had it, when suddenly he looked down at the Pop-Tart in his hand and exclaimed, “Putting two Pop-Tarts in a bag is such a Level 4 move right?”
He believed it to be an accidentally clutch maneuver which made it Level 4 (while it was a clutch maneuver, this really had no relevance to the Levels System). So we kind of just told him, “Sorry Marc, those are just Pop-Tarts…”
While the Levels System may appear omnipresent at times, some things simply cannot be contained by the System as we know it today. Perhaps one day, when the System has been further explored and more fully developed, we can classify any item, capture every uncaged beast, but until then we refer to these anomalies as ‘Pop-Tarts.’
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