Rule of thumb for media

Seeing well


Divining-54x161 Jane Booth
“Divining,” by Jane Booth, a painting on canvas (54″ x 161″) || Jane Booth Studio


Two weeks ago we concluded a three-part mini-series on narcissism (sin, or overreaching Red [CP]). We recalled the widespread presence of nihilism and narcissism in Western society has been the fallout from extreme-postmodernism [Xpomo]. Last week we began an examination of the ‘meta’ designation that’s been emerging in the philosophical and cultural discourse of the 20-teens. Metamodern approaches are attempting to re-animate the significance of many communal pillars deconstructed and left in ruin by Xpomoe.g., “sincerity, hope, romanticism, affect, and the potential for grand narratives and universal truths, whilst not forfeiting all that we’ve learnt from postmodernism,” wrote Luke Turner (here). I might add simple, eyes-open human decency as a characteristic of post-postmodernism. Post-postmoderns are finding ways to connect into new kinds of metamodern community, often echoing Jesus’ small-group praxis model. 


Numerous times now we’ve seen that Green [FS] naivety often overextends its sense of justice into areas in which it doesn’t have viable solutions for the complex problems involvede.g., Seattle’s homelessness problem from last week. It is a performative error due, in part, to naïve Green wanting inclusivity without giving up any of the privileges that have accrued in the ascent to FS—e.g., the blind spots around the “open borders” problem. Naïve Green undervalues much needed Blue [DQ] and Orange [ER] systems and thus sabotages justice by overlooking the sorely needed work of healing Blue and Orange .


Seattle is Dying


The “Seattle is Dying” documentary from KOMO attempts to report problems it perceives as issues of naïve Green [FS] leadership. As we discussed last week (here), conservative media  [like Sinclair Broadcast Group] tend to blindness regarding cultural and systemic societal factors. Predictably, a conservative frame sees problems as essentially caused by individuals. While the KOMO piece did finally allow for some systemic consideration, it vectored those responsibilities into solutions exclusively focused on addressing, you guessed it, individual dimensions of addiction/homelessness. It’s not that the KOMO “Seattle is Dying” piece is untrue, ‘Fake News.’ Rather, it is true, but partial.

While partial truths can be important, it’s crucial for us to have a heuristic with which to discern if a news report is holistic, or partial in some way. If not holistic, then how is it partial? We know that bias is at work whether conscious or not. The steps in our discernment heuristic are designed to expose bias and reveal meaning.  Steps from last week: 

  1. Identify the source. Proprietary interests exercise their agenda through their media products. Vigilance in identifying proprietary interests and controlling influencers is Step 1 of a media heuristic. Consult media-bias and fact-check accountability sites.
  2. Identify the key values systems being expressed. Identifying the values systems at work in any story/context is required to understand the dynamics, such as intra, and inter-values systems conflicts and competitions. The KOMO, “Seattle is Dying” story is being portrayed as a struggle between naive Green [FS] with frustrated Blue [DQ] and Orange [ER]. (here)


SD Worldview Color Key

Step 3: a mnemonic device

Philosopher Ken Wilber was the first one I know to configure some rather peculiar properties of language into a very helpful visualized frame (quadrant model). With this single model one is able to keep a holistic perspective top of mind. We’ll begin with a graphic and then we’ll begin to unpack the upper left quadrant just a bit. 


Quadrant model


Quadrant frame

I invite you to reflect for a moment upon the orange quadrant model above (I chose orange because models are the fruit of Orange [ER] values). It may, at first, seem rather simplistic.

Note: the white lettering indicates its most concise expression—left quadrants represent the interior (subjective); right quadrants reflect the exterior (objective). The upper quadrants represent the singular, one person; and the lower quadrants reflect the plural, many people.

It really is rather simple, and yet also provides a quite practical mnemonic. Wilber very helpfully noticed how pronouns can help break down human perspective into a manageable yet holistic shorthand. 

  • Upper Left [UL] marks the “I” pronoun zone. This UL quadrant denotes the interior, or subjective space of an individual. Images, feelings, thoughts and intention are the currency of the UL and the only access that others have is the report of the subject themself. Reporting is accomplished through some kind of an inter-subjective exchange of symbols, in linguistic and/or nondiscursive forms. The UL falls generally under the purview and focus of psychology, disciplines that look at subjective interiors, e.g., Freud, Jung, et al. Recall last week I wrote that both the conservatives of our times and the pharisees of Jesus’ times reduce reality’s problems to individuals [upper quadrants only].


Quadrant model 3


Looking ahead

So, June 30 will be the one year anniversary edition here on my blog.

Therefore, the first Sunday in July we’ll pick-up with the quadrant model right here where we’ve left off.

Your thoughts?

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

Note: The blog has outlined Spiral Dynamics, a complex developmental anthropologyIntroduction (June 30), first in series (July 1).


SD Worldview Color Key

Quadrant model 4

2 thoughts on “Rule of thumb for media

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