Don Beck: The Road To A Sustainable Planet Goes Through A Value Systems Perspective

By Joe Perez

Speaking in the Netherlands recently, Dr. Don Beck makes the case for a complex, adaptive intelligences approach to sustainability issues. In his presentation, “Sustainable Cultures, Sustainable Planet: A Values System Perspective on Constructive Dialogue and Cooperative Action”, there is a plea to understand the codes and dynamics that shape cultures and drive change.

Although he may not be breaking new ground for listeners with intimate knowledge of the Spiral Dynamics model of human development, he clearly sets forth a key narrative in understanding culture, writing:

Cultures, as well as countries, are formed by the emergence of value systems (social stages) in 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. 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, and no utopian paradise. Each stage is but a prelude to the next, then the next, then the next.

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Key Integral Tenets for Human Nature

stepsI have created a simple list of twelve items to summarize a not-so-simple thing. Incorporating elements of Ken Wilber’s “Twenty Tenets of All Holons” along with some insights from my own work and general AQAL Theory, I hereby present a list of tenets for describing human nature.

1. We realized that nothing in the universe exists on its own. Every being in the universe is incomplete on its own, and requires the redemption of every other being for its completeness.

2. Love is the basic nature of existence and this Love flows in two directions: from the Source of All-That-Is to the Destination of All-That-Is, and from the Destination back to the Source.

3. The flow of Love from the Source to the Destination is the basic drive of evolution. We evolve by aligning ourselves with Love.

4. Fear is the chief opposing force of existence. It manifests in two directions: from the Source of All-That-Is to the Destination of All-That-Is, and from the Destination back to the Source.

5. Our responses to Love and Fear take two primal forms: communion and agency, which are also the evolutionary drives to self-preservation and self-adaptation respectively.

6. Generally all things display a tendency to change according to the two primal directions: Same-Directed Love and Other-Directed Love, which put another way is the drive to self-immanence and self-transcendence.

7. As distinction-making creatures, human beings have perceived the patterns of existence through types of gender and sexuality. In communal forms, the female; in agentic forms, the male; in self-immanent forms, the homophile; in self-transcendent forms, the heterophile. Human beings come in these varieties and more.

8. Human development occurs along a wide spectrum of lines of growth: physical, psychosexual, aesthetic, identity, moral, spiritual, and more.

9. Spiritual growth tetra-arises in four dimensions: the individual’s interior life, the individual’s body, the culture, and the socio-economic foundation. These dimensions are sometimes called the Four Quadrants.

10. Growth may be characterized as enfolding greater and greater degrees of The True, The Good, and The Beautiful.

11. A variety of states of consciousness have been observed such as gross, subtle, and causal states. Practicing different states effects holistic development.

12. Incorporating growth in multiple quadrants and lines, states and types, integral development occurs vertically, producing growth in levels or stages. Put in the service of redeeming all sentient beings, wholeness arises out of partiality.
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What do the colors on this blog mean?

Until uses the color scheme of Kronology to describe coordinates of human experience, nature, and development. The colors of the rainbow (primary, secondary, and tertiary) describe each of the 12 stations (S130 to S13B) of visible light. The result is most comparable to the color scheme of Ken Wilber’s Integral Spirituality, in which each altitude of human development corresponds to a marker such as infrafred, red, magenta, amber, and so on. (But then again, how do you display infrared or ultraviolet light visibly?)

Additionally, many colors correspond to locations on the SDi map of spiral development. Persons familiar with Wilber’s or SDI’s color schemes are welcome to “mentally translate” the colors back into the language they are familiar with, just so long as they recognize that colors as used in Kronology denote Stations, not altitude markers or vMEMES.

Terminology Notes

Kronology. Kronology is my own effort (which is very much a work in progress) to produce an “emulator” which “includes and extends” Ken Wilber’s Integral Operating System; (b) an application of Integral Theory to the magical or astrological worldview (and therefore, in a sense, an updating of natural religion into a post-metaphysical structure of expression); and (c) an ordering system for the major symbols of human development.

Tiers in Kronology. T stands for Tier, a base-12 designation of one of the 30 tiers of the Kronos mandala (i.e., T0 to T25). Tiers are also designated by a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, with early tiers corresponding to invisible radiowaves, microwaves, and infrared light. T13, the 15th tier, is depicted by the range of visible light (thus, the 12 colors of the rainbow). T14 to T25 is depicted in terms of invisible ultraviolet light, x-ray radiation, and gamma radiation. Each tier represents the number of cycles of motion completed by a point moving across the Kronos mandala over time. T13 depicts the visible cosmos and all of its temporal contents from history until the end of time.

Stations in Kronology. S stands for Station, a base-12 designation of one of the 360 stations in Kronology (S0 to S259). The most commonly referenced stations are S130 to S13B, the 12 stations corresponding to visible light (i.e., red to red-violet light). Each station is a Kosmic Koordinate which can be used to trace the motion of a point moving across the Kronos mandala over time, and therefore is useful in tracking development (evolution) and regression (involution).

The current average stage of development in human nature and potential is in transition from S135 to S136 (i.e., a shift from yellow-green into green). The cutting edge of consciousness is thought to be the transition of a significant number of individuals from S136 to S137 and S138 (i.e., a shift from green into blue-green and blue consciousness). Various integral theorists call this latter shift the “emergence of integral intelligence” or the “leap into the second-tier”.

The Major Stations of Kronology and Their Corresponding Colors

The precise Hexadecimal values of the 12 colors used are shown below, so readers desiring to use this sheme in whole or part can easily do so on their weblogs.

Red (#ff0000), S130 (Visible Light)
Concern keywords: infrared (Wilber), beige (SDi), prenatal, infancy, oral sensory, neediness, willfullness, disassociated consciousness, altered states, archaic, Stone Age, root chakra, animal.

Strategy keywords: Uroboris, survival, lifeforce, the courage to be, birth and rebirth, unconsciousness, psychosis, hallucination, electrical shock, awakenings, fundamental trust, Aries.

Red-Orange (#ff6600), S131 (Visible Light)
Concern keywords: magenta (Wilber), purple (SDi), early childhood, adoration, bodily sensations, desire, magical, kinship, wonderment, body shame, safety, sacred spaces and objects, emotions, tribe mentality, team building.

Strategy keywords: self-love, feeling at home in the world, acceptance, getting grounded, enjoying life, dysphoria, flakiness, wishes and curses, divination, Taurus.

Orange (#ff9900), S132 (Visible Light)
Concern keywords: red (Wilber/SDi), childhood play age, validation, power to control, freedom to pursue happiness, hedonistic, accumulating experience, narcissism, addiction, winner-take-all games.

Strategy keywords: self-expression, heroism, messiah complex, freedom to be let alone, mastery of the will, surrender, setting healthy boundaries, fascism, holy war, Gemini.

Yellow-Orange (#ffcc66), S133 (Visible Light)
Concern keywords: amber (Wilber), blue (SDi), middle childhood, mythic-membership, purposefullness, law and order, stability, promise-keeping, fulfilling duties, guilt, hierarchy, ecclesiastical religion.

Strategy keywords: conformity, congruity, integrity, moral principles, honesty, virtues, vices, orthodoxy, dependence on a higher power, Absolute Truth, heaven, hell, Cancer.

Yellow (#ffff00), S134 (Visible Light)
Concern keywords: orange (Wilber/SDi), adolescence, truth as correspondence to facts, cautiousness, unshackling from irrationality, Newtonian physics, rebelliousness, desire to control natural world, achievement.

Strategy keywords: modernism, spirited argument, individual conscience, industriousness, thrift, success, doubt, mental clarity, logical reasoning, demands for proof, Leo

Yellow-Green (#33cc00), S135 (Visible Light)
Concern keywords: yellow (SDi), early 20s through age 30, attempts to synthesize skepticism and faith, devoted to ideals, focus on personal growth, refinement of practical skills, keeping to essentials or fundamentals.

Strategy keywords: Individualistic, Meta-systemic, Western medicine, late modernity, humility, sacrificing for the greater good, service, victim mentality, perpetrator role, critical methodologies, justification by works, Virgo.

Green (#009900), S136 (Visible Light)
Concern keywords: green (Wilber), thirties, settling down, empathetic sensitivity, plurality, spiritual but not necessarily religious, taking delight in beauty, recognition of multiplicity and particularity, romanticism, self-contradiction, compassion, kindness.

Strategy keywords: Pluralistic Mind, HumanBond, self-realized, alternative medicine, postmodernism, camp humor, multiculturalism, achieving life balance, gender and sexual liberation, aesthetic attitude to life, Libra.

Blue-Green (#336666), S137 (Visible Light)
Concern keywords: teal (Wilber), late 30s to mid-40s, mid-life transition, brooding questioning, dissatisfaction, suspicion, dominance and submission, interpersonal intimacy, jealousy, death and resurrection, occult or esoteric knowledge.

Strategy keywords: Low vision-logic, Systemic, FlexFlow, post-postmodernism, complementary medicine, shadow work, aliveness, reclaiming the soul, deep presence, tantric sexuality, looking into the abyss, sincerity and authenticity, existentialism, Scorpio.

Blue (#3366ff), S138 (Visible Light)
Concern keywords: turquoise (Wilber), forties, mature adulthood, integrative, multiperspectival intelligence, holistic and universal healthcare, Third Way politics, multidisciplinary academic studies, concern with evolutionary and developmental dynamics.

Strategy keywords: AQAL Framework™, high vision-logic, GlobalView, Construct-aware, personal style of stewardship, flexible and flowing awareness, parental figure in divisive environment, bridge building, “analysis paralysis”, pilgrimage, Sagittarius.

Blue-Violet (#000066), S139 (Visible Light)
Concern keywords: indigo (Wilber), fifties, prime of life, Humpty Dumpty, passionate efficiency, high creative flow, deep sense of interdependence, expanding need for power, “resistance is futile,” high-order problem solving.

Strategy keywords:Illumined Mind, Transcendent, strategic, genius, nannying or meddling interference, multi-national, global reach, multidimensional spirituality, Capricorn.

Violet (#333399), S13A (Visible Light)
Concern keywords: violet (Wilber), sixties, retirement age, golden years, creativity inspired by intuitive visions, holistic synthesis of old and new, revelation, zeal and impractical idealism, ineffectuality, spontaneity.

Strategy keywords: Intuitive Mind, Meta-Mind, imagining the impossible, creative syntheses in art, stabilizing subtle energies, oracles, wisdom of King Solomon, psychic powers, New Age spirit and rationality, Aquarius.

Red-Violet (#cc33cc), S13B (Visible Light)
Concern keywords: ultraviolet (Wilber), seventies, old age, elders, near death experiences, living with illness and dying processes, radiance and bliss, nondual awareness, altered states, instability, lack of strong personal boundaries, insanity, institutions.

Strategy keywords: mysticism, divinization of the Self, Overmind, deity, eccentricity, lightness of being, simplicity, distinguishing delusion and illusion, addictions and rehabilitation programs, Pisces.