Pattern echo?



Comfort and discomfort…

We’ve spent the last few weeks with some very helpful and practical insights of Barry Johnson, and his way of identifying and working with polarities. We’ll build on that a bit, but this week may be a buzzkill for some. Sorry about that. However, I’m bringing back current events as a more front-and-center illustrative feature in the mix this time.

Note: I do appreciate that looking to the newspaper for dimensions of the developmental dynamics at work in society can produce a rather pragmatic view that is often dark and difficult in its implicationthis time I’ll likely be well outside the talking points of both sides. Remember, there’s plenty of room for you to agree/disagree in the comments section. Sorry for expanding by two minutes to a five minute reading-time this week. So, while some potential discomfort is no doubt present, ultimately, we don’t want to be like:



Quick Review

Recall, the Gravesian Spiral is a model, a visualization that represents the overall system of values systems [e.g., vMEMEs, or, ‘Worldviews’] that are expressed as animating energies within human individuals and societies. So, for instance, a person is not Blue [DQ] (or any one color), while one might well express a Blue values system [vMEME] as their default.

We do well to think in terms of specific vMEMEs as notes within chords that are expressed in persons (e.g., CPDQER chord, or CPERFS chord), not as individual notes. People’s thought and behavior are expressions of their values systems—e.g., vMEMEs || or Worldviews. These are represented by color/letter designations:


SD Worldview Color Key


Polarities and the Spiral || Dynamics

The Gravesian “Spiral” and values systems [e.g., vMEMEs] integrate the dynamism of polarities within the spiral system in a couple of important ways. First, as they ascend in complexity and inclusion, Gravesian vMEMEs alternate between communal-locused values that sacrifice-self—[Purple [BO], Blue [DQ], Green [FS]); e.g., cool colors]—and individual-locused values that express-self—Beige [AN], Red [CP], Orange [ER]); e.g., warm colors]. The Spiral evolves the Individual-and-Team polarity through iterations of ascending complexity/inclusion. Second, the limitations (“downsides”) of one vMEME to meet the requirements of any particular existing life conditions helps drive (in a pole to pole fashion) transformation to the next level vMEME. For instance, the broken Orange situation indicated in this short video:



So, Orange [ER] buys influence and controls Blue [DQ] to secure its “double-Dutchman Irish sandwich tax maneuver” benefits. Here, Anand Giridharadas illustrates well a proverb attributed to Einstein: “Problems may not be solved by the same level of complexity that created those problems.” The above witnesses to the failure of present capitalistic forms of Orange economics to innovate their way past extreme inequalities that have been, and are increasingly being created in human community. Both the excesses of wild success (e.g., Google; Facebook; etc.), and the serious limitations of ER (e.g., blindness to environmental impacts like the energy industry in terms of fossil fuels, for example), help create an organic drive to evolve new post-Orange ways of thinking about economics, economies, and humans, e.g. fresh inclusive ways of thinking about money, enterprise, humans, and fairness (e.g., Green [FS] values driven innovation).  




Blue [DQ] stress test

I’ve written in several places here regarding the unequivocal necessity of Blue [DQ] mythic-membership (order) values, and the structure/structures they create (e.g., rule of law, for instance) for society to grow and sustain beyond gossip-bond (tribal) community. Important to remember that the Blue values system arises in response to the limitations and overreaches of the Red [CP] (ego/power) vMEME. Also recall, the healthy transcendence from one vMEME to the next is one of transcend and include. 

I’ve also written frequently here concerning the serious limitations of Blue. For example. DQ law and order is often quite slow in reacting and lacks much of any flexibility. These, and other weaknesses, create vulnerabilities to be exploited by Red overreach through Orange and/or Green.


blue and red sized


Credit when/where due…

Please note: I have been categorically opposed to the use of lethal drones since the time of their inception. I strongly criticized President Obama in his administration’s widespread use of drone warfare during the Obama presidency. I feel drone warfare is highly immoral.

That said, setting aside the routinely impetuous and reckless manner of President Trump, and notwithstanding the Orwellian-language the administration has employed regarding its attempts in justifying the impulsive drone-strike action, the president actually did something that probably every nation in the Middle East region would agree very much needed to happen. That is, an attempt to re-frame application of international Blue [DQ] ‘order’ with regard to Iran. But what does that even mean? 

Well, legacy Blue everywhere is vulnerable to the deception and overreach of  Red [CP]. After an Iranian militia group in Iraq recently protested/assaulted the U.S. Embassy in Baghdadand likely with nightmare-ish visions of Benghazi-conspiracies top of mindPresident Trump decided he’d had enough with the Red-deception (gangster-tactics) the Iranians were using. As we know, legacy Blue [DQ] allows a good bit of wiggle room for plausible deniability (and, with that,  room for Red-deception), even in instances where everyone can see and knows the plain truth of reality. Now, Trump is trying to say international Blue [such as it is] will be interpreted and applied differently when it comes to Iran going forward.




Trump’s very risky drone strike was an exclamation point on the new accountability initiative. Trump officials claim they are attempting to reframe the way Blue [DQ] law and order will be applied to hold Iran in check. Now, they say, Iran itself will be held directly accountable for any aggression anywhere coming from any Iranian proxy group. On the downside, I do note that some people “in the know” claim the one Iranian who had the political gravitas and clout to actually stifle the aggression coming from all the disparate proxy militias may have been General Qasem Soleimani. Oops.

Let’s be real though. The Iranian general will be missed by virtually no one. However, he was merely a target of opportunity, a victim of circumstance in this attempt to restructure accountability. Unless the strategy works and the militias stand down permanently, then the world is no safer with Soleimani gone, he was replaced within an hour. Make no mistake, the test of this strategy will come the next time an Iranian proxy group effects violent aggression somewhere. Will President Trump follow through and hold Iran directly accountable for any/all proxy aggression in each and every case? How will he do so? We’ll see. 

Pattern echo?

So, I can’t help but wonder, sensitive as they obviously all are, if President Trump, or any administration personnel, recognizes Trump’s use of proxies to handle his shady business [think Rudy Giuliani, Ukraine, and dirty tricks in general], and Trump’s denial, discounting, and blocking of congressional Blue oversight as an analogous dynamic to our troubled relationship with Iran? Perhaps different in scale, but not in kind?

When Congress informed the White House that the blanket privilege being invoked to dissuade and prevent any/all oversight would, from that point forward, be considered an admission against self-interest and an indication of guilt, as well as grounds for Impeachment, it was an analogous attempt to reframe DQ application regarding rogue Red in our context.

We seem to have misplaced our cognizance of an old-fashioned political concept, that is: ‘Cover up.’ Well, that’s certainly ironic as there seems to be so much of it going on these days.

Your thoughts?

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

Note: I know, trying to introduce a big-picture idea like a complex developmental anthropology like Spiral Dynamics in a blog format is ambitious. So, I’m using a serial-approach. Introduction (June 30, 2018). First in series (July 1, 2018).


SD Worldview Color Key



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