Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

MeshWORKS – a 2nd Tier Perspective and Process

Don Beck

Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck is occasionally prone to post what effectively amount to teach-ins or mini-lectures on the Spiral Dynamics e-lists. This is an extract from one such posting in 2000. You can e-mail Don or visit the Spiral Dynamics Integral website to find out more about his work.

The term ‘mesh’ in MeshWORKS suggests a different way to connect entities, be they individuals, or structures, or interests, or functions, or people groupings of virtually any size. Some meshes will be of a static and contained nature, designed to hold together elements in some type of relationship. Other meshes are crafted to allow the movement or flow of substances, energy, ideas, stages, and sequences through conduits, cycles and spirals. A Static Mesh will be known for its strength and permanence. A Flow Mesh will be characterized by resilience, flexibility, and a morphing capacity.

Our language is resplendent with such mesh-like components as blend, weave, align, integrate, stitch-together, merge, amalgamate, and embroider. A ‘melting pot’ suggests that the individual entities will lose their identities in the mixture and heat. A ‘meshing pot’ suggests that the entities contribute the best of what they are without becoming an indistinguishing element in a common blob. To create a mesh requires an understanding of the unique dynamics of each entity as well as the synergistic impact when multiple entities are brought into some type of relationship, either static or flow.

The term ‘works’ in MeshWORKS conveys the notion of practicality, coal-face, grass-roots, bottom-line, where the rubber meets the road, and where the talk is translated into the walk. A MeshWORKS, then, denotes a specific application of 2nd Tier thinking within the Spiral Dynamics conceptual system. MeshWEAVERS are those individuals who understand the basic principles of Spiral Dynamics, both in mind and heart. A growing number of intuitive 2nd Tier thinkers are appearing on the planet, and they are drawn to implement Spiral Dynamics principles because of the complexity in our life conditions and the realisation that the solutions we have available can no longer resolve our deepest societal problems. These men and women will construct the next Global Mesh.

Integral, 2nd Tier political structures and processes
This analysis is based on an understanding of Spiral Dynamics and the All Quadrants/All Levels schematic of Ken Wilber (1996). The obvious contrast will be with non-integral approaches and those that fail to mobilise a critical mass from a multiple quadrants perspective. Inherent in this view is the recognition that ‘democracy’ comes in many different versions, vMEMES, and models. The idea of Integral suggests that one must match models to levels, structures to societal strata, and decision-making formula to specific situations.

The term ‘integral’ is obviously different from monolithic, singular, piecemeal, fragmented, ad hoc and segmented. Such a theme is played out on multiple levels and from all 4 quadrants. Rather than pit different theories, layers, levels of complexity, or even world views against each other, the Integral approach seeks to align them along an evolutionary/developmental trajectory. These core adaptive intelligences operate along the spine of the Spiral, explain why different levels of thinking (or whorls) have arisen, and will even justify their existence based on the problems of existence they are designed to address. A non-integral approach fixates on the problem resolution packages at a single level, and then seeks to impose them like a car-wash on the whole human experience.

Note the modes of problem resolution that have appeared to date in our long psychological emergence. I will use the language, symbols, and even colour codes from Spiral Dynamics to provide a workable shorthand to use in discussing these matters. You will be invited to think as a Spiral Wizard who understands the critical importance of each of the modes and recognises the need to identify vMEME Wizards who can naturally lead and function in those respective zones. Spiral Dynamics thinking and MeshWORKS solutions only occur to a person who has been able to jump off of a favorite whorl and onto the Spiral spine itself. This is, especially, the point of embarkation from 1st to 2nd Tier. It happens when it happens.

2nd Tier Integral principles/processes
The 2nd Tier thought structures will combine elements of YELLOW and TURQUOISE in searching for the quality and depth of thinking that can deal with complex problems. Since there are not types of people but forms of adaptive intelligences in people, they will seldom exist in a full measure in any person alive in the year 2000. Different people will possess different fragments, or components, or even versions. This makes the formation of creative brain syndicates with insightful interactions and dialogues even more important.

These are the 4 basic steps or processes that MeshWEAVERs will employ in dealing with any specific problem or situation.

  1. MeshWEAVERS will always examine and monitor life conditions or problems of existence BEFORE focusing on policies, strategies, or tactics. They will first explore ‘the lay of the land’. In fact, the real nature and texture of 2nd Tier political models and dynamics will, of necessity, arise from the unique 21st Century mesh of human, technological, environmental and societal problems of existence.
    Spiral Dynamics with the MeshWORKS practical applications represent an early attempt to identify those unique characteristics. As always, this is a process that is unfolding on a daily basis. It makes no sense to argue among and between political, religious, social, educational, law enforcement or upliftment viewpoints UNTIL there is a thorough understanding of the nature of the problems of existence and the capacities (Upper Left & Lower Left quadrants) within individuals and social groupings. In fact, the entire ‘from the left’ and ‘from the right’ polarity that shouts at us daily from TV talk shows is both 1st Tier primitive and naïve. Further, by adding the position in the so-called middle only adds to the confusion.
  2.  ALL LEVELS (8L) MeshWEAVERS scan all levels before centring on appropriate level(s) for the interventions. Rather than become trapped in surface-level issues, they will attempt to get the vMEMES set right. This requires YELLOW, engineering-like thinking with comprehensive design and repair kits. Rather than impose a single car-wash of solutions from only one level, MeshWORKS thinking mobilises resources up and down the emerging Spiral and engages them where appropriate. To do this, a MeshWEAVER must, in a deeply personal sense, come to grips with each of the vMEMES, and be able to accept and present the respective vMEME codes as being of immense value to the whole. Human emergence is very much like the flow of water up-stream through a series of damns and locks. At each of the junctions something new is added which contributes to the ultimate quality of the flow.
    And, this makes the formation of Vital Signs Monitors to be of the utmost importance. A MeshWEAVER team MUST be able to detect the dynamics at work at each level to make rational decisions regarding the health of the whole.
  3. ALL QUADRANTS (4Q) – MeshWEAVERS monitor all quadrants before mobilizing appropriate quadrant(s). They employ a vast array of decision-making formats designed to get all the quadrants ‘on the same page’. Among these processes are Value Engineering/Value Management disciplines, and the Adizes’ Syndag and CAPI (coalescing Authority, Power, and Influence) methodologies. This will generate ‘full court press’ solutions in that complex problems are addressed from every angle, up and down stream, surface level and depth dynamics and, of course, ‘all levels and all quadrants’. Clearly, some of the early aspects of TURQUOISE thinking with the capacity to think in collective/holistic energy management terms, and impose macro solutions, become critical.
  4. Finally, and most important, 2nd Tier Policies and Practices are shaped by the Prime Directive – an innate recognition of the natural processes that impact every aspect of our lives. The directional plumb bob used by the mason to align brick walls hovers over The Spiral as the ultimate source of values and ethics. The search is always for the Power of the Third Win, a respect for the integrity of natural systems and inherent flows.


Verification Captcha (human, not robot!) * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.