Stages of Social Development
The Cultural Dynamics that Spark Violence,
Spread Prosperity, and Shape Globalization
Don Edward Beck, Ph. D.
Debates over globalization are but the
surface-level collisions of the deeper tectonic plate-like cultural
fault lines that remain hidden from view. The failure to both understand
and deal with these evolutionary core value systems result in needless
clashes over worldviews, constant threats of "us" vs. "them"
or class-based violence, and expensive, politicized solutions that
are both inappropriate and ineffectual. The WTO debates and conflicts
in Seattle exposed these fault-lines. But where are the integral,
cohesive principles and processes that can bridge over the great,
global divides? Who can untie the global knot? How can the positive
elements within both capitalistic thinking and socialistic goals be
meshed for the common good? Consider the Twelve Postulates, an integral
initiative based on an understanding of the complex dynamics that
forge and transform human cultures, communities, and countries.
Quo Vadis, Humanity?
In this post Cold War and postmodern
age, we are asking serious questions regarding the preeminence of rigid
ideologies, national boundaries, proprietary interests, technological
utopias and naive, egalitarian demands in crafting the next global mesh.
We hear all of these voices. We register all of the claims. We record
all of the "truths." We see all of the demonstrations and
displays of street theatre. But, we have a sense they all stream from
the Tower of Babel. No wonder the realities are so diverse; the thoughts
so confusing, the solutions so divisive. It is as if all six billion
people have climbed on top of the Tower and are now shouting slogans
at us. All seem to want a place in the sun, a position in the niche,
and free tickets to Disney World.
If one were to do a content analysis
of all the books and articles written on the global gaps, or arguments
presented in academic or think tank settings, or even the political
dialogue in national parliaments or international summits, we would
see several clear and distinct patterns. Capitalism is great or greedy.
Socialism is humane or harmful. Technology is a blessing or a curse.
The rich are that way because they worked hard or simply won life's
lottery. The poor are that way because they are undisciplined or oppressed
by the rich. Economic redistribution will level the playing field or
dumb down global intelligences. Which is it?
Most of the discussions center around
competing economic models, open political access, mandated equality
of opportunity and results, and a host of other external, top-down solutions.
Arguments grow in emotional intensity around the size and distribution
of budgets. Money becomes the magic elixir that will cure all ills.
If we build attractive places for all to live the "losers"
will be transformed into "winners" by simply changing street
addresses. New rules and regulations will transform hearts and minds.
Everybody will benefit from the rising tides of prosperity as the free
market makes global waves. Everybody will benefit from the largess of
big government, using taxes to fund social work schemes. And, of course,
brilliant technological innovations will bring the Internet into each
and every home, with or without electricity. Right.
But, why haven't these policies worked
in the past? Look at Africa. Look at Haiti. Look at the Balkans. Look
at Russia. Look at the Mississippi Delta. Look at Yorkshire's coal mining
villages. Look at American Indian reservations. Look at the huddled
masses everywhere yearning for a loaf of bread. Look at India's Calcutta
kids. Look at border sweat shops and urban cesspools. Look at the number
of "minority" teenagers in American prisons. In spite of all
of the money spent, expectations raised, programs imposed, "good
deeds" celebrated and "good works" performed, our problems
The central thesis of this document
is that external approaches designed to improve the human condition
are faulted unless they also include, as parallel and simultaneous tracks,
the essential steps and stages in interior social development. In short,
economic, political, and technological efforts must correlate with the
levels of complexity of thinking within individuals and entire cultures.
Unless the external efforts match, in their respective operating codes,
the existing capacities within leadership cadres and the general population
in specific countries, they will make things worse, not better. Like
the deep sea diver who gets the bends by coming up too rapidly, or runs
out of air if the ascent is delayed too long, entire societies are vulnerable
to this too much: too little dynamic. This discussion will describe
- the eight stages of social development;
- the economic and political models appropriate
to each stage; and
- twelve postulates to employ in the search for
global cohesion in this age of societal fragmentation.
EIGHT STAGES OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT:
How Cultures Emerge
A social stage is more like an emerging
wave than a rigid step. Each stage is simply a temporary, transitional
plateau that forms in individual and collective minds. Some call them
"paradigms" or "levels of psychological existence."
In other writings I refer to them as valueMEMES or bio/psycho/social/spiritual
DNA-type scripts that inculcate their codes throughout a culture, and
even migrate around the planet on CNN and in 747s. These are fluid,
living systems rather than rigid hierarchical steps. They form into
spirals of complexity and exist within people, organizations, and entire
societies. The terms "social stage," "cultural wave,"
"value system," and "vMEME code" are synonymous.
Cultures, as well as countries, are
formed by the emergence of value systems (social stages) in the response
to life conditions. Such complex adaptive intelligences form the glue
that bonds a group together, defines who they are as a people, and reflects
the place on the planet they inhabit. These cultural waves, much like
the Russian dolls (a doll embedded within a doll embedded within a doll)
have formed, over time, into unique mixtures and blends of instructional
and survival codes, myths of origin, artistic forms, life styles, and
senses of community. While they are all legitimate expressions of the
human experience, they are not "equal" in their capacities
to deal with complex problems in society.
Yet, the detectable social stages within
cultures are not Calvinistic scripts that lock us into choices against
our will. Nor are they inevitable steps on a predetermined staircase,
or magically appearing like crop circle structures in our collective
psyche. And, cultures should not be seen as rigid types, having permanent
traits. Instead, they are core adaptive intelligences that ebb and flow,
progress and regress, with the capacity to lay on new levels of complexity
(value systems) when conditions warrant. Much like an onion, they form
layers on layers on layers. There is no final state, no ultimate destination,
no utopian paradise. Each stage is but a prelude to the next, then the
next, then the next.
Each emerging social stage or cultural
wave contains a more expansive horizon, a more complex organizing principle,
with newly calibrated priorities, mindsets, and specific bottom-lines.
All of the previously acquired social stages remain in the composite
value system to determine the unique texture of a given culture, country,
or society. In Ken Wilber's language, each new social stage "transcends
but includes" all of those which have come before. Societies with
the capacity to change, swing between I:Me:Mine and We:Us:Our poles.
Tilts in one direction create the need to self-correct, thus causing
a shift toward the opposite pole. Me decades become us epochs as we
constantly spiral up, or spiral down in response to life conditions.
Some social stages stress diversity generators that reward individual
initiatives and value human rights. Other social stages impose conformity
regulators and reward cooperative, collective actions. Societies will
zigzag between these two poles, thus embracing different models at each
Once a new social stage appears in
a culture, it will spread its instructional codes and life priority
messages throughout that culture's surface-level expressions: religion,
economic and political arrangements, psychological and anthropological
theories, and views of human nature, our future destiny, globalization,
and even architectural patterns and sports preferences. We all live
in flow states; there is always new wine, always old wine skins. We,
indeed, find ourselves pursuing a never-ending quest.
| THE LIVING STRATA IN OUR PSYCHO-CULTURAL
and personal displays
| collective individualism; cosmic spirituality;
| natural systems; self-principle; multiple realities;
| egalitarian; feelings; authentic; sharing;
| materialistic; consumerism; success; image;
| meaning; discipline; traditions; morality;
rules; lives for later
| gratification; glitz; conquest; action; impulsive;
lives for now
| rites; rituals; taboos; super- stitions; tribes;
folk ways & lore
| food; water; procreation; warmth; protection;
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
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.
STRATIFIED DEMOCRACY: Managing the
SYSTEMS AND POWER DISTRIBUTION RATIOS
| survival clans
| tribal orders
| feudal empires
| authoritarian democracry
| multiparty democracy
UK & US
| social democracy
| stratified democracy
|| holonic democracy
| ECONOMIC SYSTEMS
AND RESOURCE DISTRIBUTION FORMULAS
| eat when hungry
|| mutual reciprocity
|| to victors belong
|| the just earn the
|| each acts on own
behalf to prosper
|| all should benefit
|| all formulas contribute
to spiral health
|| resources focus on
As you can see, the projected bulge
of global thinking is in the purple/red zones, with a somewhat smaller
peak in the orange enclaves. Many are locked in the blue authoritarian
flatland and are just now waking up to orange, "good life"
possibilities. At the same time, the postmodern mindset is attacking
orange materialism, living more lightly on the land, and searching for
meaning in Navaho sweat lodges or excursions into variations on the
spiritual theme. In his new book entitled The Cultural Creatives
(Three Rivers Press; ISBN: 0609808451; October 2001), Paul Ray describes
Heartland-Blue, Modernity-Orange, and
Cultural Creatives-Green. We add Integral-Yellow
as the next developmental stage. There are different futures for different
folks. The future of the Third World will be Second World "authority"
before either First World autonomy or postmodern sensitivity become
options. There are different futures for different folks along the evolutionary
"Democracy," then, comes
in many different variations, hues, and levels of complexity. Beware
of imposing the form that fits a specific stage or zone on the Spiral
onto other strata. This is an invitation to cultural disaster. There
are good reasons why humans have created survival clans, ethnic tribes,
feudal empires, ancient nations, corporate states, and
value communities in our long bio-psycho-social-spiritual ascent.
Robert D. Kaplan makes this point clearly in a lengthy essay "Was
Democracy Just A Moment?" (The Atlantic Monthly, December
1997). He notes that authoritarian China (blue) is doing more for its
citizens than democratic (orange) Russia, and that enlightened one-party-states
and even dictatorial empires (red), can build a middle class more quickly
than multiparty models (orange) in Africa.
The evolutionary spirals are dancing
all over the planet, in a figurative sense. While some hear tribal drum
beats, others are doing the tango, the waltz, the Texas two-step, the
jitterbug, the Charleston, or even the line dance. In some dances
each expresses self, oblivious to others. In others, we dance in concert,
in a multitude of interlocking arrangements and movements. This is the
global diversity. New political and economic models are beginning to
appear, based on the assumptions and codes within integral commons and
holistic meshworks. Welcome to the global dance.
THE TWELVE POSTULATES : AN INTEGRAL
PERSPECTIVE ON GLOBALIZATION: The Prime Directive
A "postulate" is defined
as "an essential presupposition, condition, or premise of a train
of reasoning." Postulates must all hang together and be seen as
both simultaneous and sequential in creating a critical mass shift.
These shifts are part and parcel of The Prime Directive, a universal
ratchet through layers of complexity that appear to impact human choice-making,
as well as that of other life forms. Bacteria, viruses, genes and memes
all appear to be shaped by nonlinear, adaptive intelligences as life
as we know it continues to evolve on the planet.
Rather than existing as stand-alone,
independent fragments, the postulates materialize "a train of reasoning"
as they work in synergistic concert with each other. It makes no sense
to argue as to which one is the most important. They are all interwoven
into an evolving Global Meshworks. Note how horizons are broadening
from families to clans, to tribes, to empires, to ancient nations, to
corporate nation states, and now to global views. Yet, all of these
viewing portals continue to exist on the planet earth. We are witnessing
new versions of the historic continental drift as our economic, political,
technological, and social worlds are, indeed, being pulled closer together.
Further, global problems will require
global solutions which, of necessity, will require global thinking.
The historic past:present: future time lines will need to be understood.
Up stream and down stream viewing points must be maintained. Final state
paralysis must be replaced by flow state perspectives. Simplistic car-wash
solutions must be replaced by a rich understanding and respect for diversities
in people, uniqueness in situations, and inevitable steps and stages
in human emergence. Rigid rules, a product of fixed state ideologies,
must be supplanted by fluctuating algorithms that engage a world full
of variables, life cycles, wild cards and other complex dynamics that
lie at the core of life itself. There are no guarantees; no eternal
road maps; no inevitable destinations; no blue print etched in permanent
ink. Yet, there are equations, formulas, fractals, consequences, flows,
and processes. Each new solution will, over time, create new problems.
Human motivations will change as our life conditions get better, or
get worse. There are systems within us rather than types of us
stratified decision-making stacks that constantly rearrange themselves
in terms of priorities and senses of urgency. Different cultures and
subcultures, then, are organic entities that lay on new levels of complexity
as changes in life conditions warrant.
Finally, the real intent of these postulates,
when taken as a group, is to shape both interior and exterior dynamics
to expedite the natural principles that appear to drive societal transformation.
Such dynamics rely heavily on self organizing principles and processes
rather than mechanistic, artificial mandates or commandments. They are
messy, chaotic, often violence-prone, and uncertain with false starts,
regressions, quantum leaps, advances and retreats, within a whole wilderness
of snarling beasts, wild cards, sink-holes, and life-sustaining oasis.
Such a systemic and integral initiative is designed to dredge out channels,
drain stagnant back waters, unblock tributaries, navigate white water
rapids, and maintain the ongoing movement of ideas, energy, and the
human spirit through time and space. In this sense we become co-creators
with the The Prime Directive in crafting the human story.
But first, some personal questions
for you to consider:
- Why do you see globalization issues the way that
you do? Who are the "bad guys; the good girls?"
- What personal priorities shape your perceptual
filters? Why do you have them? Have you changed?
- What will you personally gain or lose under different
- What mindsets, viewing-points, or value systems
influence your own thinking?
- Which groups do you represent, causes do you support,
and personal or professional commitments do you have which could
alter your views?
- Are you open to new and different perspectives,
fresh and expansive horizons?
THE TWELVE POSTULATES
- Reframe globalization issues around value system
codes rather than behavioral stereotypes.
In place of the racial, ethnic, nationalistic, culture-bound, moralistic,
economic, and oppressed/oppressor filters, consider viewing globalization
matters through this integral/holistic (yellow & turquoise) frame.
By understanding these deeper value system currents or complexity
strata, it becomes possible to develop more realistic big picture
views and craft practical, appropriate solutions to real problems.
Further, by recognizing the core cultural codes, as reflected in
individuals and social groupings, one can quickly identify the generating,
internal forces that will ultimately shape external behaviors and
actions. For example, why is it the HIV infection rate so high in
parts of Africa? If you identify the causative category as "African,"
or "black," or "poor" or "Third World,"
you will miss the point entirely. Not all Africans, blacks, poor,
or Third Worlders exhibit the identical sexual behaviors associated
with AIDS. When women are influenced by the purple/animistic/safety
& security vMEME, it is in their interest to breed large families
because their children will provide a work force (gather wood and
water) and future security. When men are dominated by the red/exploitative/predatory
value system, they will impregnate as many women as they can just
to keep score. And, when they believe (purple) that having sex with
a virgin will cure their AIDS infection, you can see why the plague
spreads so rapidly. So, the pandemic is a purple and red problem;
not a "black" problem. Blacks in the blue, orange, and
green zones are less vulnerable to the destructive behaviors. "It's
the vMEMES, stupid!"
Create vital signs monitors
to track deeper currents and critical indicators.
In order to track these underlying currents that flow over all of
the continents, it is essential that we develop the capacity to
monitor the concentrations and shifts, and be able to make sense
out of the more traditional social/economic/health/quality of life
indicators that are now available. This use of GIS (geographic information
survey) type information displays can be enhanced by overlaying
the patterns over the vMEMETIC codes to find deeper meaning in the
data. Further, it should be possible to identify the early signs
of an emerging "hot spot" that may explode in social eruptions.
Such a scan would have warned the world community of bloody encounters-in-the-making
in Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, and Indonesia. We have
Dow Jones indicators of the economic health and well being of various
countries. Where are the value scans that can inform us of major
changes, or sound the alarm when danger is on the horizon?
For example, when the Balkans political leaders were brought to
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio to iron out some
kind of peaceful settlement to the lingering conflict in the former
Yugoslavia, they were exposed to cyber maps showing the actual land
forms, mountain ranges, and border lines. What if, in addition to
these surface-level profiles, they were shown the vMEMETIC contours
of the various population groups, or the stages of social development
that were apparent? And, if the UN could have monitor these cultural
codes in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, or even East Timor, wouldn't the
responses have been significantly different? It is dangerous to
be trapped in a paradigm.
Focus on the future as more
significant than the past in shaping the present.
The past can never be replayed or replayed. Time is not a straight
arrow that flows on a unbroken line from the past to the future
Rather, we go through a number of nonlinear jumps that totally alter
the conditions, world views, and operating systems. In one sense
author Thomas Wolfe had it right: "We can't go home again."
This, of course, means crafting a compelling vision of a realistic
future state, and then aligning the various efforts and projects
to accomplish those objectives. This often happens through the creative
use of scenario building processes, a technology well developed
by John Petersen at the Arlington Institute in Virginia. (See www.arlingtoninstitute.org).
Yet, how do we "let go" of the past without jettisoning
or eroding the essential codes that are required in crafting new
and more complex social systems? Both raw capitalism and materialist
Marxism pore acid on the indigenous cultures, both designed to create
the New Man or Homo economicus. The second will foist a high
consumer culture on more traditional environments. The first has
used the Cambodian "killing fields" to wipe out every
vestige of the older orders. Both do quite serious damage to the
cultural strata. Both promote "final state" paralysis.
And, there remains a serious question as to how we move beyond the
anger and guilt from past deeds that often keep a society from moving
ahead. Both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa
and the "Sign the Sorry Book" campaign in Australia with
regard to the mistreatment of the aborigines are options. There
is a growing movement within African American subcultures in the
United States to demand reparation payments for the inhumane institution
of slavery and pervasive influence of centuries of segregation and
discrimination. Yet there are far better ways to address the resulting
asymmetrics that are the product of many different forces. A shift
from blame and be blamed, or even live and let live, in the direction
of thrive and help thrive, may hold the key. Ultimately, even subcultures
must pass through stages of development.
Search for the new intelligences
that appear around chaos and within crucibles.
One of the basic assumptions within Spiral Dynamics is that complex,
adaptive intelligences form in response to the stress and strain
forged by life conditions. In contrast to IQ (Intelligent Quotient),
EQ (Emotional Quotient), AQ (Adversity Quotient) SQ ( Spiritual
Quotient) or other expressions of intelligence that have appeared,
we are describing a VQ (Values Quotient) capacity. VQ codes emerge
whenever the older thinking patterns can no longer handle the new
complexity that they have helped create. In short, "cometh
the time, cometh the value codes."
The intent, here, will be to construct scaffoldings of solutions,
arrange them according to the stages of social development, and
be willing to scan for new insights and codes that will naturally
appear, like diamonds on the veldt. These, like George Bush's "Thousand
Points of Light" and Clinton's "Faces of Hope," could
be quickly disseminated through the Internet and other avenues for
communicating practical solutions to common problems. Why continue
to "invent the wheels" when well-designed vehicles are
already up and running elsewhere.
Identify the superordinate
goals that transcend other priorities and agendas.
A superordinate goal is a goal or value that everybody wants and
needs to realize, but no individual or group can achieve it in an
unilateral fashion. These overarching umbrellas can take a number
of forms. Some spring from a "woe is us" syndrome in that
we are all in this horrible situation together. In other cases,
a "common enemy" will appear on the scene, one that threatens
the well-being of each and all. The best superordinate goal umbrella
is a genuine and constructive outcome that everybody values, but
one that requires the longer term integration of the conflicting
There are plenty of candidates for healthy superordinate goals:
the threat of HIV-type viruses, the dangers inherent in global warming
or other forms of environmental poison; the fear of nuclear explosions
triggered by demagogues or militant "true believers" who
have no fear of death; the growing gaps between rich and poor that
sow seeds of class envy, and other wild cards such as water depletion,
population growth, and biomedical monster gone amuck. All problems,
challenges, and threats cut across national boundaries, ethnic enclaves,
and gated communities.
Facilitate and honor the inevitable
steps, stages and waves in human emergence.
This is the critical pathway that lies at the "DNA" core
of The Prime Directive. The focus, here, should be on the
process dynamic itself, not on any specific system, level, stage,
or whorl that have been activated in forming the complex, adaptive
intelligences. Each of the emerging value system waves not only
addresses the unique problems in the milieu that gave it birth,
but also adds texture and quality to the more complex vMEME codes
in the future. (Note the colorful spiral on the wrap around to this
document. See how each of the colors bleeds up into the more complex
By keeping each stage/wave healthy, positive, and congruent, the
avenues are open for movement to occur, if and when it has been
"awakened" by life conditions. Instead of imposing the
one-size-fits-all economic or political package on the entire developmental
spectrum, one should craft the unique form that fits the different
circumstances. Entire societies (and subcultures) move along the
value system trajectory and should be assisted in meeting their
needs and challenges at each of the stages, with the economic and
political structures and models that are both tailored and appropriate
to those conditions. It is both futile and counter productive to
attempt to skip stages, or leap into a more complex world view before
Lawrence E. Harrison provides the clearest rationale for this process
in his work on value systems and prosperity codes. (See Who Prospers?
How Cultural Values Shape Economic and Political Success (1992)
and Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress (2000),
written with Samuel P. Huntington). Harrison has demonstrated, in
both his books and in his developmental work in several different
cultural settings, that "traditional explanations like imperialism,
dependency and racism are no longer adequate" in explaining
why some countries and ethnic groups are better off than others.
He stresses the critical importance of "cultural values that
powerfully shape political, economic and social performance."
In Spiral Dynamics terms these are the 4th Level (blue) and 5th
Level (orange) vMEME the blend of "good authority"
with "practical enterprise."
Mobilize all available resources
(quadrants/levels) and focus them like laser beams.
Ken Wilber has pioneered the concept of "all levels, all quadrants"
as an essential framework for accelerating the development of people
and cultures. Fragmented, isolated, ad hoc, piecemeal, and single
quadrant solutions will fail to make a significant difference. Both
interior (within the hearts and minds of individuals and cultures)
and exterior (the exterior arrangements, economic perks, political
structures, and social rules and regulations) must be meshed, coordinated,
and aligned to the relevant level (stages of social development)
to get maximum impact. See Wilber's new book, A Theory of Everything,
for a thorough analysis.
Further, the efforts of families, schools, religion, law enforcement,
business, professional societies, and political entitiesshould be
integrated, aligned, and synergized to get them all on the same
page. Their resources and efforts should befocused like laser beams
on the essential steps and stages of emergence. These I call MeshWORK
Contain destructive conflicts
while respecting the essential cycles of change.
Life is full of dynamic tension, disruptions, conflicts, discord,
and even violence. The problems may be within a stage (i.e. Lord
of the Flies conflicts and holy wars) or between emerging stages
(i.e. Lexus and the Olive Tree, Jihad vs. McWorld, or human
rights vs. authoritarian values). Symptoms can be seen in societal
blockages, cul-de-sacs, sink holes, minority vs. majority bloodshed,
battles over scarce resources, inept and corrupt leadership, terrorism,
and perpetual wars for national liberation or economic domination.
Major conflicts should be "depressed" much like raging
forest fires, from all angles and as quickly as possible. Minor
scrimmages should be prevented if possible or allowed to play themselves
out if relatively harmless. As the core vMEME flows are understood
and accommodated, there will be fewer such conflicts as the human
energy passes more freely the development dams and locks in an ongoing,
Promote power differentiation
through appropriate, stratified stages and layers.
No single political arrangement fits every situation. Each stratum
within the human/social archeology will possess different operating
philosophies in terms of how power is distributed. These are natural
life forms, indigenous to the unique circumstances within each layer
and level. Each will have its own unique organizing code, and can
only respond to the models and processes which resonate with those
Not every person has the capacity to recognize these vertical stages
of development. Many will attempt to impose the codes from single
operating levels onto the entire strata of emergence. Some require
a Tribal Order that is safety-driven, while others will thrive in
an Exploitative Empire that is power-driven. You can also see why
an Authority Structures (order-driven) is appropriate in some settings,
while the codes within a Strategic Enterprise (success-driven) is
congruent elsewhere. When a strong middle class is constructed,
and a modicum of affluence is shared, then the Social Network (people-driven)
structures make a lot of sense. Today we are moving in the direction
of the Systemic Flow (process-oriented) and Holonic Meshwork (synthesis-oriented)
global models are relevant.
Resolve major paradoxes by
implementing creative win:win:win solutions.
Many political leaders and groupings are now searching for alternatives
to the traditional bipolar models of decision-making whether
expressed in the English Westminster formula, the American checks
and balances procedures, or the historic Left vs. Right orientations
from the French tradition. Even the win:win negotiation model carries
with it the limited codes of the 5th Level (ORANGE) vMEME.
These new models are now forming in complex thinking cells in this
country and elsewhere. They focus first on the ultimate "win,"
i.e. the integrity of the overall system, the well-being of all
people, the long-term ethical principles, or the inherent wisdom
within The Prime Directive. This is the universal touchstone that
can be using in resolving deep conflicts. A vMEMETIC understanding,
tracked by a Global Vital Signs Monitor, could enhance the quest
for peace in the Middle East as well as in Africa. It should be
part and parcel of the insights offered at Camp David, in Geneva,
or at UN headquarters.
Integrate the body, mind, soul
and spirit in enriching the human experience.
Many of our dysfunctional actions and social breakdowns stem from
our own personal fragmentation. While the Age of Enlightenment brought
us many benefits of a material nature, we are now aware that such
"progress" came with a price. We found ourselves separated
from our spiritual sense, from the deeper values that resonate in
our individual and cultural cores. Yet, it does no good to reject
totally any of our senses of self. The key to health and well-being,
within both a short term context and the longer flow, is to search
for ways to mesh all of these attributes in an integral whole.
There are plenty of opportunities to access some of these intangible
but powerful practices. They should be developed in our youth while
they are open to the inner life and welcome experiences designed
to expand conceptual horizons. And adults, who are growing weary
of the fast-track, technology-rich and digitized world around them,
often search for ways to express a spiritual sense, or bond themselves
with a transcendent cause, or renew their souls by reconnecting
with nature's wonder.
Nourish and replenish the natural
habitat so that all life forms may flourish.
Perhaps this postulate should come first because it may well be
the one that should concern us the most. What is at stake here is
preservation of life itself. We are now discovering the genetic
codes that shapes our biological DNA scripts. This knowledge is
both wonderful and frightening at the same time. The issue itself,
and perhaps our permanent residency on the planet, will be determined
by which of the vMEME codes controls the knowledge.
At one time we believed, for example, that the very best way to
protect the elephant species is to focus specifically on the elephant
the mating habits, the food requirements, and ways to keep
individual elephants alive and reproducing. Today, the focus is
on the environment the total milieu that will naturally support
elephant life. The elephant sprang from that milieu and flourished
for centuries within it. As long as it provides what elephants need
to survive and flourish, they will.
No more prizes for forecasting
the rain; only prizes for building the ark.
The late Professor Clare W. Graves,
Union College, New York said it best:
At each stage of human existence the
adult man is off on his quest of his holy grail, the way of life he
seeks by which to live. At his first level he is on a quest for automatic
physiological satisfaction. At the second level he seeks a safe mode
of living, and this is followed in turn, by a search for heroic status,
for power and glory, by a search for ultimate peace; a search for
material pleasure, a search for affectionate relations, a search for
respect of self, and a search for peace in an incomprehensible world.
And, when he finds he will not find that peace, he will be off on
his ninth level quest.
As he sets off on each quest, he belives he will find the answer to
his existence. Yet, much to his surprise and much to his dismay, he
finds at every stage that the solution to existence is not the solution
he has come to find. Every stage he reaches leaves him disconcerted
and perplexed. It is simply that as he solves one set of human problems
he finds a new set in their place. The quest he finds is never ending.
Clare W. Graves