Tone Level

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Tone Level

1. Each level of the Tone Scale (or Tone Scale in Full) is an emotional state. Someone’s tone level refers to the emotional condition they are in.

A person’s tone level can be a Chronic Tone (long term), Acute Tone (when events can cause a temporary shift in emotions), or a Social Tone (social emotions we use in daily activities).

Why use the word ‘tone’? In physics, tone refers to the vibrations of things. Each tone level has its own vibration that corresponds to the physical universe. (Tape Lecture Number 5904C08)

Examples of Tone Levels for Individuals:

Harriet has a chronic tone level of Grief. She lost her parents and brother in a car accident when she was a child and this has permeated her whole life. When her boyfriend surprised her with a trip to London, she had an acute rise in tone level to Enthusiasm. But once the trip was over, she slipped back into her chronic tone of grief.

Paul has a chronic tone level of Conservatism. He’s generally mildly satisfied with his life, as long he can maintain a sort of status quo. When he is in situations that feel risky to him, like going to a party and meeting new people, he develops an acute tone level of Anxiety.

Tone level can also refer to the overall emotional state of a situation or group.


Leslie’s household is at a tone level of Enthusiasm because it’s almost Halloween. Leslie, her husband David, and their three kids are all very excited. Their Enthusiasm is an Acute Tone stemming from Halloween being their favorite holiday. Once the holiday is past, the tone level of the household will fall back into its normal emotional tone, whatever that is.

Howard is a flight attendant. He and his team normally are pretty cheerful at work and do their jobs well. However, one day their plane gets hijacked. It’s a terrifying and traumatic experience for Howard and his co-workers, not to mention the passengers. This incident is permeated with a tone level of Terror.

During a war, an entire country can be in its own tone level. The attacking nation might be in a tone level of Hate. And the country being attacked could fall into Covert Hostility and try underhanded means to get the better of the attacking nation.

Political parties have tone levels toward one another. During productive and peaceful times, parties may feel respectful toward one another despite disagreements (Conservative). But under difficult circumstances, that respect could turn to Anger, or Hate, which could lead to civil war.

To learn more about Tone Levels and how to spot them, read Science of Survival and its Chart of Human Evaluation.

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