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Values & Development

– the Key to the 21st Century by Alan Tonkin 3 January 2008 Alan Tonkin isChairman of the Global Values Network Group whose  web site was one of the most advanced in the world at using Spiral Dynamics to monitor shifts in societies and assess impacts at both national, international and even global levels. Alan generously allowed this piece, written for the GVN site, to be published here. As we enter 2008 with all its challenges and opportunities it is appropriate to consider the global situation and in particular the developed world’s obsession with the spreading of Western style constitutional Democracy on a global scale. In considering the above statement, it is important to note that, in the case of Europe and the USA, this process has been a long journey over centuries, going back to the Middle Ages. What is now being demanded of many developing countries is that they move rapidly in values terms from tribal societies as in the case of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to constitutional democracies overnight in historical terms. The recent situation in Pakistan is particularly interesting as there is much talk by leaders there of Democracy. However, with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, unlike… Read More

Innovation & Values in the 21st Century

by Alan Tonkin 20 October 2007 Alan Tonkin is Chairman of the Global Values Network Group whose web site is one of the most advanced in the world at using Spiral Dynamics to monitor shifts in societies and assess impacts at both national, international and even global levels Alan generously allowed this piece, written for the GVN site, to be published here. We continuously hear the call for more and more innovation in our 21st Century world; but the question is what is innovation, as seen by the larger mix of global citizens? In a developed world view this means better ways of resolving issues by the use of technology, either by the use of existing technology or by considering new approaches to the issue being tackled. However, in other less well developed and resource-deprived societies the question of innovation may appear to be very different to the 21st Century approach above. Values and innovation The level of values present in a society reflects very clearly on the type of problems that it is able to tackle in an innovative way. Some examples taken from the various values levels show that the ‘life conditions’ clearly influence the type of response to a particular issue.… Read More

Different Values: Different Democracy

Differing values systems require differing types of Democracy by Alan Tonkin 29 June 2005 Alan Tonkin is Chairman of the Global Values Network Group whose web site is one of the most advanced in the world at using Spiral Dynamics to monitor shifts in societies and assess impacts at both national, international and even global levels Alan generously allowed this piece, written for the GVN site, to be published here. In looking at the world with its widely varying values systems, it is interesting to see how the word ‘democracy’ means different things to different people. An example of this is, when leaders from the Western developed world speak of Democracy, they generally mean constitutional democracy based on a universal franchise, multi-party system. These countries generally operate in the BLUE/ORANGE/GREEN/YELLOW spectrum of values systems. However, in developing economies constitutional arrangements can vary with the values spread being across the PURPLE/RED/BLUE/ORANGE/GREEN range. In cases such as this, ‘democracy’ means something different to the first example quoted as PURPLE/RED/BLUE requires a modification of the type of system that is likely to be effective. In this case a firmer more directive system is likely to work best. How democratic systems vary across values systems In… Read More

So the Turkeys did vote for Christmas?!?

Well,  obviously it remains to be seen just how much damage Brexit does to the UK – socially, economically and politically. But the initial consequences do not look at all good: Britain’s credit rating downgraded, the pound struggling to get much above the rock bottom it hit on Monday, up and down (but mostly down) stocks and shares (with markets right around the world affected), the banks and many big companies drawing up relocation plans (with consequent loss of jobs), a mooted 25% of companies declaring a freeze on hiring staff, a significant increase in incidents of racial and ethnic abuse, momentum building for a second Scottish independence referendum and Martin McGuinness calling for a referendum on whether the island of Ireland should be reunited. The ‘serious’ newspapers and internet news sites are full of dire predictions of far worse to come. As the so-called ‘Project Fear’ appears to be turning rapidly into reality, it would be foolish indeed to say blandly everything is going to be OK, as Boris Johnson was doing on Monday morning. The pound and the markets were stable he stated an hour or so before the pound hit a 31-year low. Everything is not OK. Not in the slightest. The UK faces an existential… Read More

Psychosocial Development #2

PART 2 In his later stages, Erikson moves away from and beyond Sigmund Freud’s 5 stages. STAGE 5: PEER RELATIONSHIPS/ADOLESCENCE It was adolescence that interested Erikson first and most; and the patterns he saw here were the starting points for his thinking about all the other stages. At this stage, adolescents are in search of an identity that will lead them to adulthood. Adolescents make a strong effort to answer the question “Who am I?” Erikson notes the healthy resolution of earlier conflicts can now serve as a foundation for the search for an identity. If the child overcomes earlier conflicts, they are prepared to search for identity. Did they develop the basic sense of trust? Do they have a strong sense of industry to believe in themselves? Without these things, the adolescent is likely to experience confusion about their social role(s), meaning an uncertainty about your place in society and the world. When an adolescent is confronted by role confusion, Erikson says that is likely to produce an identity crisis. Erikson strongly supported the notion that society should provide clear rites of passage – certain accomplishments and rituals that help to distinguish the adult from the child. In one way… Read More

The Trouble with Tribalism…

7 July 2016 …is that most Western politicians don’t get it. It’s seen as something relevant to Pre-Modern ‘primitive’ communities but not to Modern societies. And, when Western-style one person/one (secret) vote Democracy is offered to tribal communities as part of the Modernisation process, so many Western leaders seem genuinely perplexed at the relative lack of enthusiasm for it. The Americans in particular seemed baffled that attempts to embed Democracy in the wake of their invasions of the Noughties produced the markedly-corrupt government of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan and the corrupt and overtly-sectarian government of Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. A Do-It-Yourself attempt to introduce Democracy in Egypt produced a government (of the Islamic Brotherhood) so unacceptable to the urban middle classes and the army that a ‘sort-of coup’ was instigated, followed by rigged elections, to return the country to neo-military rule as before. Highly-controversial and bitterly-contested ‘democratic’ elections following Libya’s revolutionary civil war resulted in 2 – and arguably 3? – would-be governments claiming the right to rule with their various militia, often organised on sectarian or tribal lines, slugging it out in a patchy, second civil war. Anyone versed in the Gravesian approach could have told the Western planners and the internet-inspired urban ‘democrats’ of Egypt that their campaigns to introduce Western-style Democracy would hit trouble. (See:… Read More

Caregiver Sensitivity vs Temperament Hypothesis

Updated: 17 August 2016 From the time of Sigmund Freud’s first major work in 1900, there has been a stream of thought in Psychology which places responsibility for the development of the child’s personality unequivocally on to the parents – especially the mother. Freud himself (1940) writes: ““The reason why the infant in arms wants to perceive the presence of the mother is only because it already knows by experience that she satisfies all its needs without delay.” He says the mother’s status is “…unique, without parallel, established unalterably for a whole lifetime as the first and strongest love-object…” As mother satisfies “all its needs”, the implication clearly is that, if the child doesn’t turn out ‘right’, then mother hasn’t satisfied all its needs. From an Integrated SocioPsychology perspective, this makes a lot of sense. If the PURPLE vMEME doesn’t get its safety-in-belonging needs met in infancy, then the unavoidable emergence of the RED vMEME is likely to occur more forcefully and with much fewer of the socially-determined constraints PURPLE would impose on its self-expression – Id with little or no Ego, in Freudian terms. Based on the research of Joseph LeDoux (1992; 1996) into the limbic system, Jerry Coursen (2004-2005) has hypothesised that there is… Read More

The 7th Code

by Don Beck October 2006 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. Clearly, the contours of YELLOW (G-T/Systemic/Authentic) have not been etched in tin much less set in concrete. But, with all due respect to other developmental models, this highlights the uniqueness of the Gravesian/SDi perspective in that it does address, with great specificity, how each new vMEMETIC code actually appears; what are the life conditions that spark and drive it; and how life problems ‘G’ will awaken the capacities (T) to deal with new realities, new challenges and new threats as well. What provides the totem pole for development is, in our view, the accumulation of the vMEMETIC codes or schemes (with the multiple expressions of content or themes) that form societal stacks that maintain all of the awakened codes and set the stage for new ones in the future. This is what we call The Double Helix; namely the interaction between life conditions experienced and the… Read More

vMEMES #4

PART 4 How complex is people’s thinking? The issue of just how far the bulk of any population ascend the Spiral/Hierarchy – experience the emergence of vMEMES in an ascending sequence – is a contentious one. In 1996 Beck & Cowan conjectured that the percentages of the world’s population dominated by a nodal vMEME in their thinking was:- BEIGE: 0.1% PURPLE: 10% RED: 20% BLUE: 40% ORANGE: 30% GREEN: 10% YELLOW: 1% TURQUOISE: 0.1% The percentages, of course, don’t add up to 100% and there is no breakdown of percentage to continents, cultures or societies. Cowan (Chris Cowan & Nastasha Todorovic, 2006b) has admitted that the figures were a (very!) rough interpretation/extrapolation of various data sets (including United Nations data) while Beck has never commented (for public consumption) on the estimates. Nonetheless, in general it supported the notion that the bulk of the population – the Western population, at least – were not significantly beyond a BLUE (Kohlberg) or BLUE/orange (Loevinger) way of thinking. Further support for this notion came from research using Kohlberg’s concepts. Using what effectively was a 9-stage model incorporating 3 sub-stages, Lawrence Walker, Brian De Vries & Shelley Trevethan (1987) found general agreement with Kohlberg. They interviewed 40 boys and 40 girls… Read More

vMEMES #2

PART 2 The Ist Tier BEIGE (A-N) (Maslow’s Survival; Loevinger’s Pre-Social) This vMEME is concerned with basic survival needs and is bottom of the Spiral. It is instinctive and does not lend itself to cognitive thought as such. Air, food and water, sleep, shelter from the elements and sex for procreation (rather than pleasure or affection) are the very basic drives which characterise this vMEME. If these requirements are not met (with the partial exception of sex for procreation), the human body simply cannot continue to function. If the BEIGE driver ceases to work, then we will die because we simply will not do what we need to do to survive. BEIGE ceasing to function is almost certainly what is meant when we say that someone has lost the will to live. Much of what Evolutionary Psychology has to say about the essentials of human nature is centred at this pre-cognitive, animalistic level. BEIGE/PURPLE (A-N/B-O) There is not enough reliable data to break this transition down into exiting and entering phases. The organism is beginning to show signs of cognition. Graves (1978/2005, p214) referred to it as the beginning of “viable psychological life”. Basic cause-and-effect assumptions start to be made. Primitive… Read More