Desktop version

Home arrow Philosophy arrow Integral polity, integrating nature, СЃulture, society and economy


Mandala (Sanskrit for "circle", "completion") is a term used to refer to various objects. It is of Hindu origin, but is also used in other Dharmic religions, such as Buddhism. In the Tibetan branch of Vajrayana Buddhism, they have been developed into sand painting, expressing the belief that knowledge cannot be fixed, but needs to be regenerated again and again. In practice, mandala has become a generic term for any plan, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically, a microcosm of the universe from the human perspective.



Interestingly enough, as we have seen, Sri Aurobindo (late 1800s and early 1900s) was a political activist for the first part of his adult life, and then a spiritual leader in the second half, well into midlife and maturity. Seemingly, for this marriage of culture and spirituality with politics and economics, the inner and the outer realms of human activity so to speak, we need to turn from the "East", India in his case, to the "West", America in this instance. However, this is a special kind of West that draws upon the East, as well as, we would argue, the North if not also the South. Aurobindo's major contribution was made in the early 1900s.

Almost a century later Loraine Laubscher (1) repeated this important contribution, now fusing together South, East and also North-west. Laubscher also played an active political role in her adult life. The second part of her life was spent on connecting people from the "South" with people from the "West" and the "North", contributing to awareness and consciousness, also manifest in spirituality (thus integrating the "East"). Although she studied individual and cultural behaviours internationally over an extended period of time, her major contribution is to Africa and specifically to South Africa. She reminds us passionately and continually that our Core (2) can be found in the "South". Revisiting our roots can lead to groundedness and to remembering the old ways. Laubscher graduated at age 83 with a PhD from the Da Vinci Institute of Innovation and Technology, documenting her oral history through auto-ethnography. Loraine's thoughts were heavily informed by Austrian polymath Rudolf Steiner's – see Chapter 9 – anthroposophy (3), as well as American academics Russell Ackoff's systems thinking (4), Clare Graves' psychological map (5) and later Spiral Dynamics described by Don

Lessem and Schieffer, Integral Research and Innovation

Beck (6) the last applied in developing countries. As with Aurobindo, a communion happens in her work between culture, spirituality, politics and economics, providing an integral approach in decoding the complexity of diversity. In the 1990s, Don Beck played an active, overtly political advisory role, with former President De Klerk and the new President Nelson Mandela, in fostering the birth of the new South Africa, drawing on the "cultural MEMES" (7), as they called it, embedded in the country's Crucible. The highlight of Don Beck's work in South Africa arose during the infamous rugby world cup match where White and Black were united as Nelson Mandela wore the famous green rugby jersey. The work of Don Beck is kept alive in almost all the universities in the country, in many corporations and in individual organizational development practices.

Laubscher accompanied Beck on all his 64 visits to South Africa. Together they connected with most politicians in 1989 and 1990. They have also been to almost every mineshaft in South Africa and consulted many a corporate leader on how to deal with different cultural MEMES (referred to as NICHES by Laubscher). Laubscher has the unique ability to truly connect to what Graves and Beck have termed "Purple" (Kin Spirits) and "Red" (Power Gods) and to translate these niches to "Blue" (Truth Force) and "Orange" (Strive Drive) management (see 8.3.1. below). Laubscher's (8) real contribution has been to enable leaders in different settings to optimize the performance of their diverse workforces, to enable political systems to accommodate entrepreneurship and to enable productivity at the bottom of the pyramid to be stimulated. She continues facilitating and lecturing on the topic, together with Rica Viljoen, from Mandala Consulting. Together Laubscher and Viljoen integrated the work on Spiral Dynamic Niches with multi-cultural research on Inclusivity.

Don Beck still relies heavily on the work of Clare Graves (5) who, after decades of doing qualitative and quantitative research on individual and cultural dynamics in multicultural contexts, developed the original framework that we now popularly refer to as spiral dynamics. This chapter will revisit original Gravesian theory and portray how varied authors interpret it differently. This theory has resonated with peers for longer than 40 years and today is still viewed by many as a visionary meta conceptualization describing various biophysical social stages of development of a person or culture or, for us here, polity.

In the new millennium, spiral dynamics made its way into the Middle East, with a view to resolving the perennial conflicts between the Palestinians and Israelis, with Don Beck now supported by his Lebanese-American colleagues Said Dawlabani (9) and his partner Elza Maalouf, through their Centre for Human Emergence in the Middle East. At the same time, in the new millennium, an attempt was made to fuse the work of Beck and Wilber, thereby termed Spiral Dynamic Integral, as we shall see later in this chapter. Although the marriage did not last, practically speaking, conceptually, as we shall see later, depicted in the work of Esbjorn-Hargens and Zimmerman (10) on Integral Ecology, "Spiral Dynamics Integral" lives on.

Finally, in turning from the American North (Graves in New York State) to the West (Wilber in Colorado and Beck in Texas), on to the Middle East (Dawlabani and Maalouf from Lebanon), we come ultimately to South Africa. Therein Loraine Laubscher, together with her colleague Rica Viljoen (11) – see also (8) – as disciples of Graves and Beck, now in an African context, have teamed up with Trans4m, in which one of the authors, Ronnie Lessem, was a co-founder together with Alexander Schieffer. Together, Trans4m and Viljoen from Mandala Consulting have recently established a Mandala Centre

for Integral Development. Laubscher is also heavily involved with the creation of the centre. The purpose of such is to advance the theory and practice of spiral dynamics in conjunction with Trans4m's (12) Integral Worlds. Thereby a new "Spiral Dynamics Integral", as it were, has been born, out of a marriage, in this instance, between East and West, North and South.

We shall now turn, to begin with, to the work of Clare Graves, to start us on our emergent, spiral dynamic integral journey.

Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >

Related topics