INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
Don Edward Beck is a teacher, geopolitical advisor, and theorist focusing on applications of large scale psychology, including social psychology, evolutionary psychology, organizational psychology and their effect on human sociocultural systems. He is the co-author of the Spiral Dynamics theory, an evolutionary human development model. He spent many years adapting the work of his mentor and colleague, developmental psychologist Clare W. Graves, Prof. Emeritus in Psychology at Union College in New York.
|Color Code||Popular Name||Thinking||Cultural manifestations and personal displays|
|8||Turquoise||WholeView||Holistic||collective individualism; cosmic spirituality; earth changes|
|7||yellow||FlexFlow||Ecological||natural systems; self-principle; multiple realities; knowledge|
|6||Green||HumanBond||Consensus||egalitarian; feelings; authentic; sharing; caring; community|
|5||Orange||StriveDrive||Strategic||materialistic; consumerism; success; image; status; growth|
|4||Blue||TruthForce||Authority||meaning; discipline; traditions; morality; rules; lives for later|
|3||Red||PowerGods||Egocentric||gratification; glitz; conquest; action; impulsive; lives for now|
|2||Purple||KinSpirits||Animistic||rites; rituals; taboos; super- stitions; tribes; folk ways & lore|
|1||Beige||SurvivalSense||Instinctive||food; water; procreation; warmth; protection; stays alive|
Here's the key idea. Different societies, cultures and subcultures, as well as entire nations are at different levels of psycho-cultural emergence, as displayed within these evolutionary levels of complexity. Yet, and here is a critical concept, the previously awakened levels do not disappear. Rather, they stay active within the value system stacks, thus impacting the nature of the more complex systems. So, many of the same issues we confront on the West Bank (red to blue) can be found in South Central Los Angeles. One can experience the animistic (purple) worldview on Bourbon Street as well as in Zaire. Matters brought before city council in Minneapolis (orange to green to yellow) are not unlike the debates in front of governing bodies in the Netherlands.
So-called Third World societies are dealing, for the most part, with issues within the beige to purple to red to blue zones, thus higher rates of violence and poverty. Staying alive, finding safety, and dealing with feudal age conditions matter most. Second World societies are characterized by authoritarian (blue) one-party states, whether from the right or the left. Makes no difference. So-called First World nations and groupings have achieved high levels of affluence, with lower birth rates, and more expansive use of technology. While centered in the strategic, free-market driven, and individual liberty focused perspective all traits of the Stage 5 (orange) worldview new value systems (green, yellow, and turquoise) are emerging in the "postmodern" age. Yet, we have no language for anything beyond First World, believing that is the final state, the "end of history." Further, there is a serious question as to whether the billions of people who are now exiting Second and Third World life styles can anticipate the same level of affluence as they see on First World television screens. And, what will happen to the environment if every Chinese family had a two-car garage?
The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the GTO, and most multinational corporations reflect the blue-orange worldview codes of cultural discipline, financial accountability, and individual responsibility. Attacks are launched from three directions:
- Red zone activists, anarchists, and spoilers who love a good fight, and believe the Big Orange Money Machines are easy targets from which to exact tributes in various forms;
- Blue zone ideologies who defend the sacred against the secular and resent the intrusive technology and destruction of the holy orders and extol the purity of the faith, noble cause, and divine calling; and
- Green zone humanists and environmentalists who level charges of exploitation, greed, and selfishness, noting the eradication of indigenous cultures and the poisoning of the "pristine' environment by Big Mac golden arches.
The WTO demonstrations were so confounding to so many because they combined these red, blue and green critiques into single anti-orange crusades. Capitalism and materialism were the twin villains; spirituality, sharing, and social equality, along with sustainability, were the noble virtues. There appeared to be no middle ground; no zone of rapprochement; no win:win alternative. Herein lies the global knot: the seemingly irreconcilable conflict between and among the haves, the have nots, the have a little but want more, and the have a lot but are never content. There must be a better way.
In addition to this Spiral Dynamic-based analysis of the shaping codes and changing priorities, author Howard Bloom describes a five process Pentad that encapsulates the "Prime Directive" in operation.
Finally, based on the All Quadrants/All Levels schematic designed by Ken Wilber, note how these core vMeme codes display their themes in the Individual (invisible/interior and visible/exterior) and Collective (invisible/interior and visible/exterior) Quadrants. Any successful sustainability project should constantly search for ways to inculcate the environmental message onto a much larger psychological footprint, one that spreads throughout the cultural "canals."
Monitor vital signs and tension zones to track sustainability indicators
Whenever one seeks after a complete medical check-up, you expect the doctor to construct a vital signs portrait of yourself – your chemical, electrical, psychological and biological indicators – in a search for abnormalities and early signs of serious trouble. Imagine a time in the near future when leaders in the Netherlands could come to a place such as NIDO and see displayed, on floor-to-ceiling video screens, the "vital signs" of the entire society, especially those that reveal the levels of sustainability.
This GIS (geographic information systems) process that overlays data and patterns onto geographic places could be used to search for the relationships between and among these displays. We often see such maps of economic well-being, crime types and patterns, health-care indicators, living conditions, and other critical data flows that simply gather dust on some administrator's desk. Then add in the rich personal and neighborhood profiles based on mass customization marketing strategies. What if we could place these data streams and mosaics on top of each other to look for the early signs of environmental "trouble?" Moreover, we should be able to track issues and adaptive intelligences on the spiral "levels" and among the "quadrants" just as well.
Since GIS technology is very advanced in the Netherlands, and most of the information that we would want to display is already available, all we need to do is bring it together in such a form that we can "see" it all at once, displayed in a single place. And, since our thinking is impacted by chaos/order ratios and self-organizing principles, our task would be to create natural designs that implement these adaptive intelligences on the part of individuals and social groupings. Rather than create a regimented, social control monolith, the intent would be to inform the general public of these "vital signs" so that they can exercise their informed "self-reliance.'
Then, after the Netherlands has taken the lead to create and field-test this powerful technology, just imagine what would happen if a similar effort were launched at the United Nations to design a Vital Signs Monitor for the entire planet. One can already find EarthPulse-type monitors of the physical universe, but what is lacking is the 4Q/8L perspective, especially since the left-handed invisible quadrants are seldom if ever recognized, much less revealed.
We are currently involved in a fresh attempt to monitor these value systems as a counterpart to the World Economic Survey. You can track this effort at www.globalvaluesnetwork.com.
Implement integral policies to promote cultural sustainability
If we are able to read the deeper codes that shape cultures and trigger shifts in the underlying belief systems, and have made some progress in monitoring the vital signs, then we are in a much better position to design effective Constructive Dialogue processes. There are, of course, many different decision-making and problem resolution methods which are especially suited for different situations. To both design and maintain sustainable cultures, a specific technology will be required. I refer to this as a MeshWorks.
A MeshWorks is a form of Constructive Dialogue that deals specifically with the "Humpty Dumpty Effect," a condition created when a Tower of Babel of spokespeople, solution mongers and stakeholders end up making things worse, not better. Even though they are all doing the very best they know how to do, they are unable to deal with the complex problems that need resolution.
MeshWORKS thinking illustrates how to get all of the entities "on the same page" to focus their resources like laser beams on the inevitable steps and stages of development that form healthy cultures. A key component in this process has been described by Dr. Ichak Adizes (www.adizes.com) in what he calls CAPI – Coalescing Authority, Power, and Influence at the same time on the same problem. Authority refers to those who represent the system; Power indicates those who can support or sabotage; and Influence involves those with expert views or insights. Too often we only have one or two of these represented in the Constructive Dialogue. We have all seen this happen before, in spite of our very best intentions…
- The Authorities decide on policy and then drive it down the organization.
- The Wheeler-Dealers construct a win:win for themselves and leave others out in the cold.
- The Consensus-Feelers spend countless hours in dialogic circles insisting that everybody have a say and be included.
- The Majority-Rule Mandaters who believe that a 50% plus one vote should always rule the roost.
MeshWeavers are able to infuse into the Constructive Dialogue an understanding of the deeper value system codes so that efforts can be tailored for specific situations and different levels of thinking in the people involved. Such an effort can provide the cohesive principle that is missing in the age of fragmentation. This approach can generate transpartisan approaches to policy formulation that is vastly superior to either partisan or bipartisan efforts.
The key technology, here, is to place competing values system codes on the ends of the paradox to demonstrate how both/and thinking is superior to either/or ultimatums. This would be a creative way for pro-growth (usually the orange vMeme), and pro-quality of life (combinations of green and yellow) can often find ways to accomplish both in a synergistic fashion.
Employ skillful means to enhance adaptive intelligences throughout
Since a Sustainable Culture has been able to disseminate, in a holistic fashion, the core intelligences throughout the entity rather than gather them all at the top or in elitist centers of influence, it must search for innovative ways and skillful means to convey information and knowledge far and wide.
Here is a case study in Cooperative Action. The issue will be the environment. The challenge is to find better ways – skillful means – to communicate to both the youth and society-at-large through a neutral, universal, and quite attractive set of characters. These characters, along with well written story lines, will be able to carry the message in both the printed word, through electronic transmission media, and in other forms as well. They will be able not only to deal with environmental content, but to couch their messages within the value system codes in order to penetrate more deeply into mass minds.
We will enlist Misty (purple), Breeze (red), Fauna (blue), Pulsar (orange) Geo (green), Synapse (yellow) and Bloom (turquoise) in this endeavor. In their original version, they are all communicating more or less in the deep ecological (green) band. Note how we can get each to express the importance of environmental sustainability – but in the language of the entire spectrum of vMeme codes. By doing so, our intent will be to retreat from vMeme warfare to get all of the codes embracing the commonly held superordinate goal.
A FINAL NOTE
I want to thank Bruce Galbraith and Paul Gerstenberger, owners and developers of the EcoPALS concept, for allowing us to use these seven wonderful spokespersons for Sustainable Cultures. As you might expect, Synapse is now in charge of the Vital Signs Center worldwide. You will find the parent Web site for the EcoPALS at www.theecoisp.com.