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Don Beck is a Texan former university professor who has spent the past decade searching for innovative strategies in facilitating large scale systems change. He is co-author of "Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change" (Blackwell, 1996). Recently he has developed Spiral Dynamics Integral, in which SD has been expanded with concepts from integral philosophy. This article was found on the Macromemetics Israel Palestine blog. Note: this article was written in 1991. Recently Don Beck has visited Israel at the invitation of the Israeli Integral Salon. Integral World will report on the proceedings of this initiative. Read personal reports about this visit here:

From: Integral Thoughts on the Middle East Conflict


Hard Truths & Fresh Start


A Bold, Comprehensive, and Integral Strategy
for the Middle East

Don Edward Beck, Ph D

The safest place in any crisis is always the hard truth. Distorted recriminations about the past and naďve idealism about the future can be just as blinding as the tear gas. Personal or political agendas, whether obvious or hidden, protect no one from simplistic suicide bombs or sophisticated air-borne rockets. The smell of cordite has a way of cleansing one’s filters, or at least focusing on what is real. Alas, we often refuse to deal with the hard truths until all sides lie bloody, exhausted, vanquished — having jointly destroyed the relationships and physical resources necessary to invent a better future. The mythical phoenix that rises from the ashes is too often a vengeful vulture.

But what are the ‘hard truths’ about the Israeli/Palestine crisis? What if we had the visionary minds and courageous hearts to address these core realities? Would a fresh start, one that transcends the current stalemate and repetitive cycles of violence, become a possibility? If so, what are its principles and contours? Who can introduce it? How might it self-organize into the mainstream?


(1) Israeli and Palestinian leaders will be unable to resolve the crisis. It makes no difference how often they are brought to the negotiation table. The chasms are too wide; revengeful rage is too intense; blood lust saturates even holy grounds; the issues go too deep into history; and both sides abstract their causes to a Higher Power. These two societies differ profoundly in available options, in military power, in economic capacity, and in collective worldviews. One has imbedded and ghastly memories of historic persecution and a holocaust; the other suffers from feelings of being trapped in a life of misery while the rest of the world moves ahead. The oppressive power of the adversary’s military occupation is bad enough but equally deadly has been the failure in its own leadership cadres to break the bonds of poverty and open the doors to a wider experience of civilization.

One cannot build a bridge across these very unequal and shaky social and political platforms. It has become popular to speak of the asymmetrics in warfare capacities. The Israelis have the technological sophistication of high-tech weaponry; the Palestinians must rely on low-tech efforts such as car bombs, human martyrs, and other forms of disruption. This identical imbalance extends to the composite cultures on both sides of the so-called Green Line. Neither the Oslo Accord nor the Camp David accommodations had a prayer of being successful because of these developmental gaps. Other agendas were working, fueled by motives that were not apparent in the actual negotiation sessions. This would also suggest that the problem resolution procedures being used, by highly competent and responsible negotiators, lacked the complexity to deal with the myriad of forces that were shaping decision-making in the two societies. Too often negotiators are seen as backing one side over the other or placing total blame in one camp. As is most often the case, there is guilt enough to go around.

Yet, if one develops a side view of the developmental levels and layers that create the two cultures, it should be clear to any objective viewpoint that the Israelis (including the powerful and influential Diaspora) represents a First World, coherent, and growth-generated cell of complex thinking and sophisticated technology. How do I know this? The Palestinians work for the Israelis…the economic muscle and well-paying jobs are in Israel. In fact, I personally believe that the Israeli culture, when in a healthy and unthreatened condition, represents the highest First World peak in the Middle East. Legitimate democracy flourishes in the society, as well as a full compendium of human rights, especially with regard to the role of women. I don’t see how anybody can deny this reality.

(2) Paralyzing and polarizing dynamics exist both between and within each society. A single violent act on one side will cause the other to respond in like kind. This produces the mutual ratchet of self-destruction as downshifts into violence from one begets a counter response from the other. Yet, these natural regressions to the “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth” ethic also cause dramatic shifts within the political structures within each grouping. Leadership passes from open and progressive, to hard-nosed ideologies, before turning red in tooth and claw. The enlightened ones, those capable of moderation and rationality, are targets for assassination or threats of having their throats cut. It happens in both societies. Not only do the Sons of Abraham fight between themselves, but each of the respective clans also suffer internally from massive intrigue, fragmentation, and recriminations. Moderate Palestinian/Islamic voices are intimidated by extreme elements of a virulent jihad. Moderate Israeli voices, seeking peaceful options, are often subjected to isolation if not physical threats on their lives.

(3) The Israeli/Palestinian skirmish is only the symptom; it is not the main act. While the volcanic-like social eruptions and lava flow are apparent around the West Bank, Jerusalem, and even the Israeli-Lebanon border, one must look much deeper into the bubbling and boiling currents of global transformation. One powerful and relentless current, triggered by the end of the Cold War, is driving billions of people to escape the predator-prey existence from forms of social and psychological feudalism. The search is for meaning in a transcendent purpose, often captured in puritanical religious forms or patriotic displays of unquestioned loyalty. Yet, another current strains to break free from the imposed shackles of any “isms,” striving to capture the perks and pleasures from the individualism of a secular good life. A third current, plagued by guilt and feeling poisoned by consuming materialism, is hell-bent to attack any form of human injustice or institution that rewards one “class” of humans over another. The “first world” is the real target, whether flying the Star of David of the Israeli State or the Red, White, and Blue of the American Nation. In the minds of many, both in European countries and in Arab societies, the two are stereotyped into one enemy of humanity.

(4) Demagogic leaders and rogue-driven states exploit these explosive conditions for self-gain. This hard truth needs no explanation. We often see the effects of the brutish hand, or the tainted pay-off or the clandestine arms shipment or the insidious “deal” as individuals protect public persona through pious displays of religious fervor, ethnic pride, or cultural identity. The Hall of Shame has many contemporary candidates. These elements exist on both sides of the so-called Green Line and neither society has exclusive claim to the high moral ground.

(5) Forms of media and the nature of the coverage could make things worse, not better. Most certainly a responsible and informed media is critical in any major transformational period. A free press is, indeed, a trademark of any successful democracy. Unless we shine the light on human actions, we are destined to live within the shadows of deceit and exploitation.

Yet, I have been dismayed at the manner in which this explosive issue is being covered by US media. It is virtually impossible for moderate voices to be heard since the interview format for both network and cable news programs artificially structures “us” vs. “them” formats, or “from the left and from the right,” or from the Israeli side and from the Palestinian side, as if everything falls into the convenient bipolar format. It does make for exciting television; but it also contributes to the closing of minds and the narrowing of options. TV ratings that determine revenue count more than social responsibility. Every staged “us vs. them” confrontation should also include “Third Side” viewpoints that can transform the “either/or” into the “both/and.” William Ury at Harvard is well known for his “Third Side” perspective on conflict resolution. He played a major role in the South African transformation. Yet, I have not seen him or others like him on any of the talk shows or in extended media interviews. Why not? Responsible media executives should seek out these human beings and use them to offer different pathways. Further, I have seen a number of quite effective relief maps of the battlefield in Afghanistan, but I have yet to see any cultural maps of the underlying belief structures that shape entire societies. For the most part our media is plagued by the Flatlander disease, unable to “see” beneath the surface. We hear all kinds of partisan voices, most often wrapped in invective and blame. Where are the visionaries?

Fresh Start

Until we are able to recognize these basic realities, and find ways to deal with them up-front, then many of our well-intentioned efforts will fail – once again. People from everywhere are now sensing that we can wait no longer for a different approach. Responsible people with statesmen-like qualities are now speaking out. The stakes are higher than ever before. Less complex systems can now access the weaponry of the more complex systems, but without the level of responsibility or the wider social consciousness that should govern their usage. And, because of global migration patterns over the planet, elements from both societies now exist in many different countries. Violence that has been limited to the geographic Middle East will spill over into many other habitats. Shouting matches in New York City, Paris, London, and Toronto can quickly escalate into violent, armed clashes, followed in turn by 9/ll-type acts of mass destruction and loss of human life. All of this can either be carefully orchestrated by devious elements or explode naturally through self-organizing and chaotic principles until it has a life of its own. Instant, world-wide television converge, the Internet and email, cell phone technologies using GPS access, well as ease of travel makes everything both local and global. Nobody can run. Nobody can hide.

A Fresh Start must create a critical mass support for a comprehensive “solution” that has a wider arc of support and deeper levels of sophistication than what the Israeli/Palestinian peace table can produce. The representatives are all trapped in highly emotive and historic cul-de-sacs; all are vulnerable to life and death pressures within their own social groupings; and none possess the portfolios to deal with the deeper currents that constantly fuel the atmosphere and destabilize their very best efforts to find a local solution. These deeper currents transcend across all natural and nationalistic boundaries literally dividing and cascading across the entire planet.

Under these conditions of extremely high ego-involvement, even third party and seemingly ‘neutral’ voices lose both credibility and objectivity in the minds of the ideologues and extremists. In short, the more traditional forms of conflict conclusion, from professional win:win negotiations to informal “horse trading” session may have run their course. The world’s finest conflict managers and peacemakers have been engaged in this Israeli/Palestinian matter for a number of decades. The world is full of think tanks, institutes, academic specialization, and governmental structures, all in desperate search for common ground, the healing waters of forgiveness, or progressive scenarios for a better future. The crisis remains and continues to get worse.


We propose a new frame of reference, new viewing lenses, a composite/ comprehensive “full court press” strategy and a global mobilization initiative, all designed to deal with this dangerous and explosive problem. We intend to show how to transform the Battle of Armageddon into A Declaration of Global Interdependency. We will concentrate more on the design of the natural habitats that comprise the two societies – the economic, technological, geographic, and environmental lay of the land. What if Jerusalem were designed as the “First Global City” with guarantees for the sanctity of the holy places, and as a transcendent purpose that could instill pride in the hearts of the youth? What if Israel were to become the legitimate Hong Kong of the Middle East, a powerful growth engine for the entire region? What if the outcast Palestinian populations that have been thrown out from Arab states, were to experience a transformation of the soul, thus becoming a model for others in the region? Too often the collective anger reinforces the self-fulfilled prophecies of doom and gloom.

We wish to refocus the emotions of anger, wrath, revenge, and resentment into the passions of progress, mutual support, and spiritual enhancement. We hope to shift the focus from the blame and be blamed game, through the live and let live isolation, and into a thrive and help thrive synergy to demonstrate the human spirit at its zenith. And, we wish to expose the demagogues, shed light on the insidious and corruptive agendas of selfish domination and blackmail, and shame those who sell out to the Machiavellian forces of manipulation and greed. And, children who have been enticed by their elders to walk into the Valley of Death with explosives around their waist should be primed to climb up to the City on the Hill, with hope in their hearts.

We support the George Tenet initiative, designed to stop the violence and secure a level of safety and security. We embrace the efforts of Senator George Mitchell in his deliberate and positive approach to political negotiation. We wish to add what we consider to be the missing element – the understanding of the cultural dynamics and ways to integrate, align, and synergize these powerful resources into a healthy society. We wish to move beyond debate, dialogue, and negotiation into the domain of the eloquent design of the natural habitat. This might well include an imaginative initiative to develop a TVA-type project for the Tigris and Euphrates river basin, or similar large-scale projects.

We call for a Fresh Start. Twenty-first century humans deserve no less.

A Fresh Start Part II

Part I described the “hard truths” that can be reduced to two essential propositions:

  • Left to their own accords, the parties involved in the Israeli/Palestine conflict are on a slippery slope destined to spiral down into an all out war in the nature of a Battle of Armageddon – a massive global tragedy.
  • The traditional forms of conflict mediation, reduction, and conclusion not only lack the complexity to deal with this horrible situation, but, in fact, may make things worse. There comes a time when debate and dialogue are both faulted. What is left for humans is to use the powerful weapon of the eloquent design of natural habitats — A challenge that confronts a global “sapient circle.”

Part II is based on the assumption that this global death-dance is not inevitable but that any positive alternative will require thinking into a different dimension, one that will be new to most people. Many recall the quotation from Albert Einstein: “The problems that we have created by the way that we have lived cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that produced them in the first place.” In simple terms, we have been presented with new “wine” but only have “old wineskins” at our disposal.

A Personal Note and Request

I must ask you at this stage to afford me an opportunity to describe a different “level of thinking,” a new perspective, a fresh set assumptions about human nature, the nature of change and transformation, and the forces that make life for better or for worse. What follows are the conclusions from academic research that I first launched in l965 while mapping out my doctoral dissertation at the University of Oklahoma. I sought to track the polarizing forces that resulted in the brutal American Civil War with the loss of more than 700,000 American lives. I used a new conceptual system called “The Social Judgment/Involvement Approach” to explain how mindsets ebb and flow on a traditional left/right political continuum, and even pull apart into two armed camps. I now refer to this as the Assimilation/Contrast Effect or ACE. I allowed my mind to cascade back to the critical l850-l860 decade as a time traveler. I’ve always admired Bing Crosby’s role in the movie version of Mark Twain’s charming “A Connecticut Yankee in King Author’s Court.” I carefully plotted, with more hubris than I would like to admit, what I would have done to head off the bloody war, one that is still fought in this country over the issue of race. No doubt I would have been more like Forrest Gump than Bing Crosby.

I then applied these identical theoretical formulations along with major additions, in an exhaustive and in-depth field test during 63 trips to South Africa from l981 to 2001. If I was unable to go back in history to the year l860 to offer different alternatives to bloodshed, I truly believed I could play a significant role in preventing a civil war in South Africa. This new “level of thinking” as a total package has been amplified, extended, expanded, and enriched by exposure to many other intellectual tributaries, schools of thought, and ‘real world’ applications, literally around the world. This is my way of reassuring you that I write from a rich background of both theory and application. There is no assurance, however, that any of this will make any sense to you or anybody else. I only ask you to give me a hearing. There is a great deal at stake. I’ve now been through two major rehearsals in preparation for main act. I now understand the adage “be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.”

It would most likely take an entire week to spell out this entire Fresh Start package because of its complexity and subtle nuances. It would fill several flip charts with diagrams, maps, flow patterns, and time sequences. No doubt it could be enriched using IBM’s scenario-building “Think Tools” that John Petersen at the Arlington Institute is helping develop. Rather than being unique and free-standing, it would incorporate many of the positive outcomes from the Camp David sessions, the George Mitchell Plan, the current Arab proposals, and other such initiatives. It will encase them all into a broader package, one that deals with the somewhat hidden cultural and psychological elements that lie beneath the sand. These invisible belief structures, complex adaptive intelligences, and priority sets are often frozen in time. They erupt to sabotage the most delicate plans laid down by mice and men. And, they may lie dormant for month or years until activated by a careless phrase, an act of violence whether intentional or accidental, or a personal insult. Sometimes chaos does happen.

A final word: You must not be afraid of complexity. Life is simply this way. Consider the wisdom of famous American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity. I would, rather, give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.”

Fresh Start Basic Assumptions

These Questions. . .

What is the nature of a Fresh Start? What will it have to offer? What will it do that is not presently being done? How can it be implemented or enforced? By whom? How does it compare to other approaches? Can it be accomplished in our life time?

The intent will be to give voice to the collective world community by searching for the core human intelligences that have sustained our kind through the thousands of years that we have been emerging on this planet.

On several occasions in President Bush’s “enough is enough” speech, he used the term: “The world will not accept…” indicating there is a sense of “the world,” even in the White House that was thought to be provincial, unilateral by nature, and isolated by intent. If there is such an interested “world,” who represents it? The White House? Number 10 Downing Street? The UN? The combined religious communities? The global business enterprise? Who? If, indeed, we now exist in a networked world that cuts across boundaries, how do we mobilize the core intelligence of such a world to bring it to bear on what is, in essence, a species-threatening situation?

These Characteristics. . .

The Fresh Start, new “Level of thinking” package has these capacities:

  • The capacity to think in a systemic fashion by focusing on the human “dance” itself rather than any specific agent, party or group. Such a dance involves a context, music, time-line, cadence, dancers as individuals, partners, or in groupings, and other unique features. Simply changing partners won’t help. The entire “dance” will have to change. This will be a systemic or sea change. This will also suggest that oppressor/oppressed, victim/rescuer, have/have not and top-down/bottom-up are connected couplets.
  • The capacity to “see” beneath Flatlander stereotypes of people such as Americans, Jews or Israelis, Arabs, Palestinians, Europeans, to detect the “beneath-the-surface” value systems, life priorities, and invisible, interior motives. This allows for an essential segmentation of differences to avoid the irrational grouping into distorted categories. All Jews are not the same. Not all Palestinians think the same way. There are some Texans who don’t own guns, or buy into the frontier mentality.
  • The capacity to detoxify or objectify history in order to detach current actors from the heavy responsibility of decisions made by previous generations. It will become necessary to deal with the resulting asymmetrics, but without the charges and counter-charges around guilt, blame, rage, and revenge. This process whereby we assign a time frame to an entity enables us to recognize that different people thought and acted in different ways, in different times, against the demands from different sets of Life Conditions. So, Israel/l948 is not the same as Israel/l988, etc.
  • The capacity to detect human ecology in the form of flow-states, cul-de-sacs, under-tows, tidal waves, sea changes, white waters, cross-currents, backwaters and other metaphors to enable us to identify similar movements in human affairs. This ability to sense the flow is essential. Human ecology weaves together the economic, religious, cultural, ethnic, technological, historic, and biological strands into different fabrics.
  • The capacity to locate “The Third Win” – the ethical touchstone, judgmental rubric, and “bottom-line” as an essential anchor for making difficult decisions regarding major issues. This will provide a rationale for the hard choices, both of a temporary and long-term nature. There are natural forces at work and if we can recognize the patterns and understand the codes, then we can craft natural systems that flow with these overall currents. This is a difficult concept to explain so I will need to use practical examples to illustrate the point.
  • The capacity to construct and implement “full court press” initiatives that work up- and down-streams, on symptoms as well as causes, in both preventative measures as well as therapeutic interventions. Recognizing the inevitable cycle-like interface of chaos and order; dissipation and renewal; and diversity generation and conformity regulation. The purpose is to focus on the total natural habitat and ways to work in a holistic, integral, and comprehensive fashion. This is not the same thing as engineering people. It does, however, make possible the rough design and preservation of the topography through which human evolutionary rivers flow. If we get the economic, technological, geographical, and environmental systems set right, many of the human dynamics problems will sort themselves out.

The capacity to search for the “DNA” cultural code of the MassMind itself as well as the various subcodes, the patterns of interaction, the mechanisms that contribute toward polarizations, and the characteristics of Towers-of-Babel. This is a daunting task, but just as the ambitious Human Genome Project has identified our genetic, biological scripts, we believe we are now beginning to sketch in the early profiles of the memetic, cultural scripts in the human odyssey. This is best explained as Spiral Dynamics, a new conceptual system that looks at the evolutionary emergence of valueMemes in forming our cultural DNA scripts. At the core, the Israeli and Palestine “cultures” have different vMeme stacks in their organizing codes. These deep level instructional systems must be understood in any Fresh Start initiative.

Fresh Start — Broad Focus for the Long Term

First, Margaret Mead-inspired “ global sapient circles” (GSC) will be formed of individuals who will be able to provide a relatively impartial profile of the total “lay of the land.” Mead believed that whenever our species found itself with immense and seemingly intractable problems, we have formed these “wisdom circles” that enable us to get through the danger zones. They would often disband after the emergency was over. These gatherings of the wise ones emerged naturally out of the crisis; they were neither imposed on humans nor did they posses the usual stagnating bureaucracies with political agendas. The Royal Society in the UK was such a “sapient circle.” The GSC will be responsible for laying out the entire political, economic, psychological, and cultural landscape of that region, with a focus on (a) the nature of the habitat (water, soil, weather, etc.) and (b) a description of the modes of thinking that characterize the primary groupings. This will include the political strata within each society, the way in which the internal value systems and perspectives interact with each other, and other sources of information. All of this will be translated into a Vital Signs Monitor that will provide decision-makers with a more in-depth portrait of people, positions, cultures, and issues. While the immediate focus will be on the Middle East, it is suggested that this exercise will also create a dynamic model that could be used elsewhere on the planet.

This detecting of human Values Systems (memetics) in the MassMind is much like the use of biological scanning machines to detect abnormalities in the body’s organs, tissue, and functional networks. In the same way, we can, within the context of a Peace and Conflict Monitor, detect various malignancies-in-the-making, or blockages in the natural flows, or growing deterioration or aging in any specific domain.

During both Desert Storm and the current “war’ in Afghanistan, several of the TV networks were able to construct table top maps and three dimensional relief of the physical territory involved. Yet, we saw only the surface level or Flatlander display of information relative to the battlefield dynamics. We propose that similar “maps” could be constructed that will display the various value systems differences, the social asymmetrics, that characterize the primary entities engaged in both physical and psychological warfare.

Second, Sapient Circles concentrate on shaping the natural habitats – geographic, economic, political, social, and environmental – that would make possible a high quality of life for all in the region. This will include, of course, the protection of sacred, holy places, a respect for rituals and traditions, and the preservation of those historic memories that are critical to the health and well being of any culture. Since a two-state policy appears to be the desired outcome, it would be sheer folly to simply draw a boundary, raise the flags, and invite the two “neighbors” to compete with each other. This will invite, once again, various forms of asymmetric warfare. Likewise, any intervention that is based on ignoring the established value systems that have generated prosperity on the Israeli side, would be rejected out of hand for the sake of the whole. But neither should deplorable conditions on the Palestinian side be tolerated, for they breed discontent and violence. SCs design for the sake of the whole.

Sapient Circles could then suggest ways to invest capital so that it goes directly to the people, rather than pass through corrupt hands of any governmental body or set of negotiators. In fact, this process will not empower the negotiators to enrich themselves, nor will it allow them to carve up any specific privilege source for their family or political party. Yet, there should be a considerable emphasis on leadership development to build in sustainability into the equations. And, of course, everybody will need to learn what zealotry can do to the total system, and where the boundaries are between the expression of one’s religious fervor and the needs for stability in any social system.

Consider, then, three different applications of the Sapient Circles technology:

Fresh Start — Narrow Focus for the Current Crisis

Three distinctive Sapient Circles should be formed immediately around these critical functions.

  • The Global Sapient Circle whose tasks it will be to facilitate the long-term awakening, emergence and integration of the Arab Tidal Wave into the planetary system. This is the main act, since such a massive movement can be both healthy and essential… or malignant and destructive.
  • The Design Sapient Circle which will be responsible for the initial lay-out of the total physical, economic, and environmental habitat on which the two-state concept will be constructed. This will not be a plan to be enforced by edict but a set of principles and guidelines to be considered.
  • The Integral Sapient Circle will be calibrated to serve as a “psychological conflict resolution room” to soften the tones, interpret across great divides, and block the trend toward polarization. Further, the ISC will mobilize, integrate, align and synergize all of the positive elements and stakeholders from government, NGOs, private sector, religious efforts, financial institutions and foundations, and other contributors to focus these resources like laser beams on the key issues. The intent, here, will be to find those change levers and projects that, when properly funded and supported, create a critical mass for the good for all. Both societies are overwhelmed by fragmentation, ad hoc and piecemeal efforts, and even ideas that are contradictory. The intent, here, will be to focus the energy and good will, raise confidence and hope, and provide some direction and division of labor so that more can be accomplished by fewer people and less money.

All of these efforts can be generated without a large organization, or rigid rules, or political intrigue. These will self-organize in a natural manner. What if all of the foundations were able to create their own Foundations Sapient Circle, the “mother of all foundations,” to enable them to work in common cause by avoiding duplication.

The Global Sapient Circle

First, a Global Sapient Circle should be selected to deal with the implications of the formation of an Arab/Muslim/Islam Tidal Wave. Clearly, this ‘coming of age’ of an assortment of interests, causes, entities, ethnic cores, religious codes, economic priorities and world views contains both positive and negative currents. We are witnessing the movement of these tribal- and feudal-age organizing principles and structures out of the desert mentality and into a global presence. While wary of many of the objectionable features of modernity, there is no question but that the entire movement is destined to break through the rigidity of ideology and puritanical beliefs and constraints. This is threatening to both Western structures (stereotyped as American and Israeli), and to the established order of Mullahs and family kingdoms. While it appears that the external conflict with the West is the actual story line, the reality is entirely a different matter. The privileged and controlling elites in these oil-rich environments are the real targets. The whole Palestine issue represents an attempt to focus the anger of the left-behind youth onto a convenient scapegoat. Dropping bombs is one way to try to contain this tidal wave. There must be another alternative. (This tidal wave is similar to the one in Europe that resulted in both the reformation movement away from Papal control, as well as the shift from the agricultural to the industrial age.)

The impulse to “drive Israeli interests” into the sea will be countered and ameliorated by collective efforts from “the world,” since these actions could well trigger the Battle of Armageddon. The nerve center within Israeli/Jewish cores reacts quickly and impulsively to threats to its existence. It will strike out when so threatened. These two ‘hot cells” of belief and action must be accommodated, defused, and insulated. And, the global media must also rise to the occasion to participate in this type of initiative.

The Design Sapient Circle

Second, a Design Sapient Circle should be empowered to work specifically on the creation of the two-state option regarding Israeli and Palestine populations. This will not be a negotiation session, nor will partisan interests be represented. The DSC will be formed by the experts, the “sapiens” that come from several sources (a) the technicians who have been close to the extended negotiation processes and know the details regarding many of the issues; (b) experts in economic development, nation building, and infrastructure development; (c) individuals with an understanding of how cultures form and interact; the nature of both internal and external dialogue; and the sensitivity to deal with anger, rage, and revenge. These ‘back room’ engineers will work with large Vital Signs/GIS maps, models of developing societies, and will lay out a series of transitional stages, from initial separation for a cooling down period to the sequences in entrepreneurial emergence and step-by-step wealth creation.

This group will actually create a “to be” model of the two states, based on what they could be five years from now if these plans were implemented. This could well include the depiction of The New Jerusalem as the first global city. Israel could well become the Hong Kong of the Middle East. Forms of economic and entrepreneurial development will be modeled in the Palestine sectors, with available capital, enriched education, and close relationships with business interests in Israeli. New forms of job creation and high tech development could be featured, using resources from the Diaspora as well as contributions from the gulf States. This composite picture that contains win:win:win elements will be seen in stark contrast to the current levels of pain and misery. A series of superordinate goals will be created to provide essential unifying principles. High Quality elements will be built into the total design. Appropriate governance models could be suggested for each society based on the unique life conditions, historical images and norms, as well as available leadership capacities. Finally, since Acceptance is a key ingredient of any Effective Decision, it will be necessary to encourage local ownership of these dynamics. It should also be noted and stressed that the complexity of thinking necessary in the West Bank and elsewhere will have to be nurtured over time. Appropriate technology and sequential development will dominate the entire enterprise. Many of the confounding issues will constructed as paradoxes with a search for both/and rather than either/or alternatives. Conflicting interests could well become synergistic wins for all. Thrive and help thrive attitudes will prevail. The stage play “Oklahoma” has been revived on Broadway. The concepts of “a brand new state” and “territory folks should stick together, territory folks should all be friends” is just as relevant in building the two states as in constructing the western frontier in America. In fact, imagine the power in the symbolism of the Sons of Abraham finally making family peace. Isn’t it time?

The Integral Sapient Circle

Third, an emergency Integral Sapient Circle should be created to deal immediately with the dangerous forces of polarization, to interpret between and among various interests, and to search for “common strategy” among the strident voices. This group could empower moderates to assist them to reject radicals on their respective wings, while igniting and focusing realistic peace movements across the midrange. Spokespersons from this group would appear on talk shows as “The Third Voice.” Many of William Ury’s “Third Side” technologies would be introduced. These sensitive, human relations-oriented individuals would teach group processes, conflict management techniques, and serve to organize efforts that already exist in both societies but are now lost behind the clouds and fog of war. They would work in the schools, community centers, churches, synagogues and Mosques to reach people (and children) where they live. This would be a major attempt, well supported by outside interests with high visibility, to act as “visitors from the future.” This new ISC Peace, Reconciliation and Future Thinking “Corp” could be developed and dispatched into various neighborhoods. Some of the same motives that drive young minds to accept suicide and martyrdom could be mobilized for positive contributions. Alas, they appear not to have other options. And, they have been enticed into self-sacrifice by “adults” who lack any sense of guilt and responsibility themselves. This has been a horrible chapter in human history. Those same children who walk into the Valley of Death could just as well be primed to flourish in the City on a Hill.

This entire effort will focus on the characteristics of healthy societies, and what is necessary for upliftment to occur across many different domains. The Israeli culture would be preserved, for example, from mass migration or the right of return because that would destroy the critical First World, wealth-generating component necessary for both societies. Here is the key concept: the Israeli system is not being protected because of its beliefs and history, but because of the profound contribution it could make to the entire habitat as a growth engine. Herein lies a powerful First World cell that virtually stands alone on the desert. This identical process would be used all over the region and include elements of the Palestine subcultures as well. In short, entirely different criteria would be used to make critical decisions other than the ones being currently employed. This is the Power of the Third Win.


Finally, this entire effort, stimulated by the present crisis, could well develop the technology to address similar kinds of situations that exist around the world. No group of people has ever done this before. We can do these things, and do them well. It will mean that all of us will need to think differently, and it will prepare us to bring major contributions to a world that is just now in the making. The Battle of Armageddon need not happen.

(I recommend that you read my piece titled The Great Global Divide since I designate this type of role for what I called The Visionaries, in contrast to the Dogs of War and Doves of Peace. Further, you can see how all of this can come together in my position paper on The Stages of Social Development as I explain the 12 Postulates. Both of these documents can be found at

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