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RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE FIELD OF SPIRAL DYNAMICS
We now turn more specifically to spiral dynamics as various authors recently interpreted it.
Rica Viljoen refers to the human niches as archetypes or fractals. Each niche has unique properties that make it different from other niches. Laubscher speaks of low and high manifestations of human niches. Viljoen applies Jungian philosophy – based on the work of Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung (22) – on spiral dynamics and describes integrated manifestations and shadow manifestations of the different thinking systems. She (Viljoen) emphasizes the importance of using the spiral dynamics theory in organizational transformation. She highlights the importance for a multi-cultural organization of understanding national cultural dynamics and of gaining insight into differences in worldviews of people in the organization. The importance of adaptive and contextual intelligence are emphasized. Understanding the context in which an organization operates can be of great assistance in ensuring organizational productivity. She also works closely with Laubscher in understanding the dynamics of developing economies. Human niche theory has been incorporated in organizational research where more than 52,000 employees of 42 countries co-created organizational solutions.
Dr Kincaid Kotze (23) developed the Lens Value Quotient (VQ) that reflects Clare Graves's theory of human development. It is explained through the existential contributions by Sartre (24) and Heidegger (25) and indicates the different ways humanity views the world and interacts with it. Worldviews are the basic drivers or needs that inform our everyday existence and this relates to a description of human consciousness. Consciousness as such is defined through what motivates us, what we view as lacking in our lives and how we create meaning through fulfilling these areas we care about.
Lens VQ results are explained in our ability to facilitate change (Flexibility); where we go back to under pressure (Latent worldview); where we function in general (Manifest worldview) and where we aspire to be (Aspirational worldview).
Said Elias Dawlabani, together with his partner Elza Maalouf, have been working with Don Beck, in recent years, on a peace-building project in Israel-Palestine. To promote such they have established a Centre for Human Emergence in the Middle East, including a Build Palestine initiative. As such they have picked up form where Beck left off in South Africa in the 1990s. Beck, Dawlabani and Maalouf work closely with Viljoen and Laubscher to forge a new solution in South Africa that also can be applied in the Middle East.
The driving force behind the above, for Dawlabani then, is the "double helix" between our internal states and external worlds, described as follows, further to the work of Graves and Beck:
• MEMEs: Humans possess within themselves the capacity to exist at different levels of psychological development that reflect different perspectives on what the world is like, and different complexities that exist.
• Life Conditions awaken MEMEs: Memetic patterns of cultural emergence involve Time, Place, Problems and Circumstances:
- Time: this is the location along the overall line of human development. Economic policies become increasingly misaligned with the times that people live in, which is why they invariably fail. Time orientation is also very different between the different MEMEs. Purple, for example, departs from the present and the past is just as close as the future to them. Red has a very short timeframe. Blue asks the question of how to sacrifice today to build a future.
- Place: where we live has a direct impact on our capacities. Laubscher explained that our brains are formatted in the lingo of our mother tongue resulting in analogue and digital thinking systems.
- Problems: these are the human challenges presented in terms of needs, priorities, concerns, and requirements for a particular individual, group or culture. Beck emphasizes continuously that the stimulus for adaptation is changing life conditions or problems that cannot be solved from the same thinking system.
- Circumstances: one's socio-economic class, level of education, race, gender and family lineage play a crucial role in defining life conditions. Laubscher explains that often a child grows up half a level higher than his or her parents. Later the disconnect between the niches leads to conflict that may result in a reshuffling (sometimes even down the spiral) to a thinking system with which we can make sense to be able to adapt to changing circumstances.
Real systemic models are needed to deal with transformation in society. By examining changes in "life conditions", spiral dynamics and Said's MEMEnomics book penetrate through various layers of thinking systems in order to provide answers that inform a lasting and sustainable change.
CHARACTERISTICS COMMON TO ALL VALUE SYSTEMS
Dawlabani then describes characteristics common to all MEMES, as initially identified in our Prologue:
• MEMEs affect individuals and societies.
• Different value systems can co-exist in a person or a society.
• Each value system can exhibit both healthy and unhealthy expressions. Democracy in the West might appear to be a healthy form of expression of the order-given fourth-level system, while other forms of government like Iran's theocracy might be considered an unhealthy expression of such.
• As a person or culture moves up to a higher-order system, they transcend and include all lower level value systems.
• When a person or culture solves the problems of existence within their value system, they may create the problems which will trigger the emergence of the next value system.
• Cultures cannot skip a developmental stage. This is true still in the age of technology and the knowledge economy. Law and order must precede prosperity and science. The role that money plays, specifically, in the evolution of humanity and in the modern history of our economy, and where we stand as far as the role of money today an how we can design a sustainable economic system for the future, all become simpler to understand, for Dawlabani, once seen through the prism of value systems.
For Laubscher, moreover, we must indeed be very careful not to study other systems from our thinking system and then try to heal, fix or develop them into what we believe are better or more appropriate thinking systems. Together with Viljoen, Laubscher has worked on identifying the unique gifts that every thinking system displays. The unintended implications of each system are also considered. The following section presents a brief description of first- and second-tier niches, once more building upon the prior work of Graves and Beck, as interpreted by Laubscher and Viljoen.
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