The pyramid is just a different metaphor for consciousness and the journey of self. It doesn’t matter that Arnold and Ford conceptualized the pyramid a little differently, it just serves to show how our understanding of concepts can change over time or differ from person to person.
Arnold’s pyramid has three levels, which he labels Memory, Improvisation, and the third is unknown. Later he abandons this conceptualization in favor of the maze, a metaphor he finds more fitting.
Shown in Episode 3, Ford’s pyramid has four levels, which he labels Memory, Improvisation, Self Interest, but he does not name the final step. Instead he cryptically says, “We never got there.” Ford never completely abandoned the pyramid, using it and the maze in his narrative.
We’ll find climbing, rising, and ascension as a metaphor for the path to enlightenment in WestWorld.