“Stage theory… Is BS?” — pt. 2

a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.


Provocation hits target!

To review: Recently a rather provocative post by Nora Bateson — author, teacher, film maker, daughter of philosopher Gregory Bateson — appeared on TheFacebook. Here’s a snip:

. And Twitter: .

Note 1.2K Comments and that the Twitter post added an action step. 

Are you looking at me?

Um, in case anyone has forgotten, this blog was initiated (in part) to reckon with the public display of indecency we were experiencing in 2018 (and leading up to 2018). I intentionally engaged using Graves/SD as a lens. If you’ve ever noticed at the bottom of each post is an illustration as glossary for the Gravesian (Spiral Dynamics) values-system’s color scheme. It looks like this:



In last week’s post I also included a similar illustration I’d made some time back for a blog post (Visual correction) — to include the cyclic nature of experience/life:



While I’ve never emphasized the stage aspect, I didn’t really criticize it sufficiently either. Now, I’m wondering if I’d have been wiser to lay the barber pole on its side for my visual correction. That way the ‘movement’ might naturally be seen as the energy that propels us forward through life, not upward…. perhaps to indicate outward/advancing/more-inclusive movement, but not upward. The new barber pole simply depicts dynamic energy, movement, not stages of development. —It’s important to note that the new graphic illustrates that while the “being space” and the “becoming space’ represent two distinct fields, they are not-two, and they aren’t in a stadial relationship. 



I wonder: “Can’t we use Gravesian dynamics to describe many useful relationships between the values constellations that we observe without putting them in a stadial relationship?”

Time to rectify?

Just for the heck of it this week I went back to an early a mystical möbius post entitled: “Seeing above and below.” It’s a post about different values systems and how they relate to greed. The post leveraged the stadial aspect of the model. I confess, I could see how that might sound a bit superior/inferior in nature to some. So, I edited the post to remove anything that related to ‘stages’ and so forth. I re-entitled the post: “Seeing each other.” [Disclaimer: I need a grace-filled reading on this old post because it was long before my wonderful editor came on board; and the post doesn’t follow the three-minute time limit, either.]

Funny thing, though, I don’t see how my post lost anything. I still use the color designations to describe values systems in shorthand; I’m just not using them as stages, levels, altitudes, or anything of the like. 

Again, I wonder: “Can we find use for Gravesian dynamics sans a stadial relationship?”

My answer is that I reckon I’ll need a new non-stadial color key:



Potential loss?

Actually, in terms of my own take, the only benefit I really thought I was getting from employing the “steps” is the use of the conventional axiom that “one can’t skip a step.” I’m a bit worried about the Green [FS] values constellation without the no-skip convention to defend its place in the scheme of things. Even with the axiom, as we ostensibly have now, Green still gets no respect from some of the high-flying HIPster *Integralists* [‘jaundiced‘—this argument depends on the steps] whom I run into occasionally. They claim to be ‘tier’ five (Periwinkle [LY]?), or whatever, and yet have no trace of FS anywhere near them. 



Personal anecdote…

Opportunity knocks, spiritually?

There came a time in my spiritual journey when the argument that had always sustained my largely uncritical relationship with Christianity simply lost traction. The argument was that “Christianity is just fine, it’s those Christians who practice it incorrectly that create all the problems.” I could no longer ignore the way misguided people made Christianity toxic.

So, it was a time when the adage ‘don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater‘ took on ultimate gravity in my life journey. Of course, I didn’t toss the Christian narrative whole cloth; however, the way that I related to and worked with it was forever changed. I found a place to stand within Christian tradition but I personally jettisoned many doctrines and dogmas that most Christians consider foundational and mandatory. I think I may know some Gravesians who might be at a similar kind of crossroad about now. 




Presently I am going to continue to embrace many/most of the insights that Clare Graves had about change and the dynamics of values and life conditions. I am, however, moving away from any form of stadial theory in my take on Graves and SD. I don’t think the value added is worth the damage caused by misunderstandings that come very naturally to those raised in the West. So, stages, levels, altitudes, resolutions, and so forth will no longer be any part of the way I relate to Gravesian values systems. 


Next week: “Stage theory… Is BS?” — pt. 3. Come and see. 

[this post approx. 850 words (about a 3 min. read)]

Your thoughts? 

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




4 thoughts on ““Stage theory… Is BS?” — pt. 2

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