Solutions || Dissonance


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Creative Commons CC0

Not so fast…

Sometimes it’s actually a monkey wrench that we need to help us create change. We’ll look at the third condition for change in just a minute. First, development in human beings is seen in two forms. In terms of growth, we often discount or overlook the hard work we do to improve and fine-tune existing features of ourselves, and our organizations. The tendency to overlook or downplay growth as improvement of what-is likely comes from the dominant system in the U.S.A., Orange [ER], and its proclivity to seeing in bottom-line terms and growth primarily as an upward increase. We do well to remember that change can be both horizontal [healing, improving, scaling, refining what is] and vertical [developmental movement up Spiralthat is, greater complexity and inclusion]. 


goldfish jumping out of the water
Growth from one vMEME to the next vMEME.

The illustration above depicts growth as movement into a more expansive spacesignifying greater complexity/inclusion. We’ve been talking, of late, about the possibility of change in our values systems. We have seen that first of all change demands the ‘POTENTIAL’ (capacities) for change, e.g., it requires an ‘OPEN State’ of readiness [here].


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The second Change Condition, SOLUTIONS, can be a time-release drag on change. Our present Life Conditions [LCs] reflect precisely this because of a long-term failure of Green [FS] to provide agreeable, viable, sustainable solutions to many Blue [DQ] and Orange [ER] generated problems. Naïve Green [FS] has been excellent at deconstructing unjust social systems/institutions. As to re-constructing just, sustainable social systems, not so much. While examples are plentiful we’ll consider an issue central in today’s current events. We need look no further than the immigration/refugee issue to find a clear example of SOLUTIONS failure by the Green [FS], leading edge values systems’ efforts to effect social justice and change.


Beeraj Patel || CC0

Spiral Dynamics practitioners agree that leading edge growth is possible for those within a step and a half of the changelike, Green [FS] is able to reach Orange/green [ER/fs], half step; Orange [ER], one step; and blue/Orange [dq/ER], a step and a half. Beyond a step and a half above is largely invisible to any particular vMEME system. Here is where Graves’ insight about the relationship between our values systems and Life Conditions [LCs] deserves great credit for its elegant explanatory power and its currency in just discernment. Understanding vMEME dynamics is a distinct advantage in thinking about the problem of migrating populations. Beige [AN] survival values/needs are largely instinctual and mostly uninfluenced by Blue [DQ] lawsBlue is pragmatically invisible from Beige as survival values are not a discretionary matter.

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Those who are privileged to have never experienced life and death circumstances beyond their control bearing down on the lives of their children and families may have difficulty relating to/understanding the dynamics and values driving these perilous pilgrimages we see on our parlor screens. To the privileged American “the law is the law.” In that parochialism one might even be tempted to blame the victims for risking the perilous journey toward asylum, as if it were a discretionary matter. As Saint Paul alluded, the law, while necessary, is a rather blunt instrument. So, Blue [DQ] is a necessary, yet far less than agile, instrument that U.S. society is expecting to manage the intersection of our Southern border and the global movement of populations. Blue is clumsy, Beige is necessarily determined (it’s survival), and this creates great difficulty for the status quo arrangements. President Trump’s strategy to make dealing with our Blue [DQ] more and more miserable so as to more adequately speak in Beige [AN] terms directly to Beige driven people is beyond cynical. It’s totally heartless.


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U.S. constitutional Blue rule of law has failed the asylum/immigration problem for its lack of agility and compassion. Worldwide Green [FS] has failed the asylum/immigration problem for its lack of solutions. Green is quick and fierce to shout outrage at the injustice it sees resulting from present law and policy. Quick with shame and condemnation for Blue‘s efforts to engage it’s responsibility, yet Green is without any real solutions to the problem of how to more compassionately cope with present LCs and global population movements. Green [FS] is quite sure it values compassion and justice from it’s perspective, but may miss how that works from Blue‘s more pragmatic one. So we see Green‘s failure to meet Change Condition 2 and provide adequate SOLUTIONS for healthy changee.g.compassionate border control. 


“He Awakens” by Gaia Orion ||

Institutions are being ghosted by U.S. society…

Last week I raised a situation in which there was a disconnect between troubling facts and people to care about it. Let’s take that another step. In his book, The Fifth Risk, Michael Lewis makes a fascinating observation about government service work. First, Lewis introduces the reader to Max Stier and describes him as something of a genius, talent-developing, organizational turn-around agent for the federal governmenthis organization, “Partnership for Public Service.” After Lewis recounts several of Max’s heart-warming, hopeful, success stories of government workers doing amazing, phenomenal workand lamenting the sad fact that these success stories are seldom if ever told to the nationhe writes:

He’d [Max] detected a pattern: a surprising number of the people responsible for them [the successes] were first-generation Americans who had come from places without well functioning governments. People who had lived without government were more likely to find meaning in it. On the other hand, people who had never experienced a collapsed state were slow to appreciate a state that had not yet collapsed. That was maybe Max’s biggest challenge: explaining the value of this enterprise at the center of a democratic society to people who either took it for granted or imagined it as a pernicious force in their lives over which they had no control. (pages .24-25)



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Beck and Cowan write regarding Change Condition 3: DISSONANCE (pg. 83):

  • “Awareness of the growing gap between Life Conditions and current means for handling those problems.
  • Enough turbulence to create a sense that ‘something is wrong’ without so much chaos that the whole world seems to be coming apart.
  • Abject failure of old solutions to solve the problems of new Life Conditions may stimulate fresh thinking, release energy, and liberate the next vMEME(s) along the Spiral.” 

Good bad news?

On Friday a federal judge in Texas ruled the ACA unconstitutional. Many are very disappointed, and while I share concern, I tend to see this as the monkey wrench [DISSONANCE] that is needed to finally push ‘Medicare for all’ legislation through congress. In the midterms Republicans went all-out on record about being the ones who want to protect pre-existing conditions. Medicare for all is one of the few (and perhaps best) solutions to the pre-existing conditions problem. Everyone is at least close to someone who has pre-existing conditions, so the political will is very widespread. We’ll see.

Some healthy Purple [BO] to go…

I saw this video recently and I enjoyed it so much that I thought I’d end up this post with an example of very healthy expressions of Purple [BO] ‘human bond‘ values, as in family, family singing here; and in community singinge.g., religious hymns, and community anthems (sung at soccer games, etc.) are fine expressions of Purple. Willie and two of his sons play and sing Willie’s “Healing Hands of Time.”



Your thoughts?

I never know what I’ve said till I hear the response. What did you hear me say?

Note: I know it’s ambitious trying to introduce a big picture idea in a blog format, so I’m using a serial approach. Introductory post (here). First in series (here).


SD Worldview Color Key



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