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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

Chris Cowan’

Schemas & Memes

Updated: 15 May 2017 Love is a meme. The Beatles made great music is a meme. Smart clothes is a meme. Smart is a meme. Clothes is a meme. Depression, as a description of a weather system, is a meme. Weather system is a meme. Weather is a meme. System is a meme. Depression, as a description of a mental state, is a meme. Mental is a meme. State is a meme. Schema is a meme. Meme is a meme. And, if you take this in and believe it, then meme is one of your schemas! (The plural of schema is sometimes referenced as schemata.) Schemas and memes are arguably two reflectors of the same concept – ideas! (from the instinctive and unspoken structural to the metaphysical abstract) – in different contexts. The theories around both terms emphasise the enormous impact of ideas upon the human psyche. A schema can be defined as any cognitive construct or encoded packet of information in the mind-brain. A meme is a unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is contained in a medium of communication – eg: a book – or is transmitted verbally or by repeated action (behaviour) from one… Read More

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Fare Thee Well, Christopher Cowan!

Spiral Dynamics co-developer Chris Cowan passed away on 15 July at the Serenity House hospice in Santa Barbara, California. He was diagnosed with aggressive and incurable pancreatic cancer in June after returning from delivering a training programme in Italy with his personal and business partner Natasha Todorovic. I hadn’t seen Chris since December 1998. We hadn’t had a meaningful discourse since 2009 and hadn’t had any communication at all since the end of 2012 (exchange of Christmas best wishes). So it’s a measure of the man and his influence on my life that I feel compelled to write something about him at his passing. Put quite simply, the Spiral Dynamics (SD-1 certification) workshops that Chris and his then-business partner Don Beck staged with the Business Link in Wakefield in March-April 1998 were a major turning point in my life. I was acutely stressed at the time in both my work and relationship situations, unable to see how to resolve either one or even to understand what was happening to me. In terms of the process of change, I was in the Gamma Trap in both. Through the understanding Spiral Dynamics gave me, I was able to resolve both situations and, apart from… Read More

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Has Vlad played a Blinder?

Was the Russian takeover of Crimea daring RED opportunism that took advantage of ethnic tensions in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea exacerbated by the new Kiev government’s apparent willingness to discriminate against ethnic Russians…? Or was it 2nd Tier-level strategic thinking that had been working towards this potential outcome, while balancing a whole load of other issues, and was ready to move when the time was right…? Last Summer I speculated Putin a 2nd Tier Thinker? and was rebuffed by some complex thinkers who saw Vladimir Putin more as a ‘wily’ RED-driven opportunist who seized his moment. Yet it has stayed with me just how tactical and strategic Putin was. He rescued Barrack Obama from the corner he had painted himself into with his ‘red line’ announcements about Syria and became the hero of the Summer by levering Bashir al-Assad into agreeing to give up his chemical weapons. Yet Putin’s solution allowed Russia’s client, Assad, to continue his brutal and ruthless war with conventional weapons. Syria only makes the headlines occasionally these days but the daily slaughter grinds relentlessly on. The West remains directionless and indecisive about Syria but increasingly less inclined to support the rebels as they become increasingly more dominated… Read More

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Do Arabs need a New Awakening to win True Democracy?

by Gerald Butt annotated by Keith E Rice Gerald Butt wrote ‘Do Arabs need a New Awakening to win True Democracy?’ as the BBC’s Middle East correspondent. It was published on the BBC News web site on 16 August 2012. Reading it, I was mightily impressed that Gerald’s understanding of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ effectively provided a Spiral Dynamics analysis of the phenomenon – though without the jargon and the concepts. Accordingly, I contacted both Gerald and the BBC who gave me permission to republish his piece here, annotated with a Spiral Dynamics/Integrated SocioPsychology commentary. (The text of my commentary is in red.) Gerald’s piece is timeless in its analysis of conflict between different value systems and the sheer lack of other value systems – vMEMES – hindering the progress of peoples – in this case, the Arabs – in achieving Democracy as we in the Modern West understand the term.  I am deeply indebted to Gerald and the BBC for their permissions. ________________________________________________________________________  Arabs in several countries around the Middle East are relishing the prospect of a new era built on political reform and democratic rule. This craving for democracy was motivated by a desire to throw off the shackles of the past and finally… Read More

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The Riots: who’s right – Cameron or Blair?

Today what appears to be the final battle to overthrow Colonel Muammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya is rightly dominating the news – as it probably will for several days, as stories of valour, celebration, desperation and atrocity are told from the streets of Tripoli. There will also be much speculation about what kind of Libya will emerge from the civil war – even whether the rebels can hold off splintering into their own warring factions. And, inevitably, since the West invested so much in the NATO bombs that so potently aided the rebel victory, there will be speculation as to what the West can do to help build a new Libya that is friendly to the West and accepting of its interests in North Africa and the Middle East. In and amidst this focus on Libya, we also need continue the debate about what brought violent rioters and looters onto the streets of London and other cities just a fortnight back and what we should do about these issues. Both David Cameron and Tony Blair had key articles in this weekend’s Sunday newspapers, setting out their positions. Moral decline, moral panic and folk devils As you might expect for a piece in the Sunday… Read More

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‘Liberal Conservatives’: new politics?

The first day of the Tory/Lib Dem coalition we had Nick & Dave: the Love-In in the Rose Garden which more than a few commentators likened to a wedding, such was the bonhomie and adoring gazes between the principals. Yesterday we had Vince Cable, the Lib Dems’ voice of sensible moderation, and William Hague, the conservative of the Conservatives, sharing the walk along Downing Street to David Cameron’s first cabinet meeting. Not to mention the bizarre spectacle of Lib Dem anti-nuclear spokesperson Chris Huhne taking charge of implementing the Tories’ plans to build more nuclear power stations! Today, of course, Cameron’s at war with a number of his own backbenchers over the intention to fix the level at which Parliament can be dissolved prematurely at a vote of 55% of the House of Commons (up from a simple majority of 51% and making it that much more difficult to get rid of them). At least the Lib Dems are only being berated for this ‘stitch up’ by members of another party (Labour)! Undoubtedly the week since the general election results were declared has been one of the most interesting in modern British politics! The 55% no-confidence level stitch-up is, in fact, a key plank… Read More

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Just how many Homosexuals are there really?

This week, in discussing Sigmund Freud’s views (1923a) on homosexuality with a class of A-Level Psychology students at Guiseley School in Leeds, the question was raised as to just how ‘normal’ gay and lesbian relationships are. When I stated that most recent surveys – ie: in the past 10 years or so – have tended to average around 2-4% of the adult population in the Western-ish world clearly identifying as gay men or lesbian – ie: verging on the statistically abnormal – I was quite taken aback by the sheer vociferousness of the class that the true number was at least 10% and, therefore, normal. 2 things struck me about this response:- How accepting the class were that homosexuality was ‘normal’ – quite a contrast with a Psychology class in Goole 3 years previous, in which the class had insisted that Evolutionary Psychology ‘proved’ that homosexuality was abnormal and a perversion Where this mythical number of 10% of the population had come from and how strongly it was entrenched amongst the Guiseley students In and amongst the praise heaped on my book, Knowing Me, Knowing You, by Integral Review in 2007, I was castigated for ignoring homosexual relationships; I had 3 chapters… Read More

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Yesterday I met Zulfi Hussain MBE

Well, no, I didn’t actually get to meet Zulfi Hussain to say ‘Hello’ – but we were in the same room and we made eye contact and he will know who I am because I was the guy going on about the importance of values in understanding diversity. (“Hey, Zulfi, that was me…Keith Rice!”)   If I sound unusually humble and maybe even a little subservient – fawning, even! – not at all my usual pompous and arrogant self…well, I spent some time yesterday with one of those rare people who just make a difference in the world. Almost just by who they are. You just know, being with them, that you are in the presence of someone special – very special indeed!   I can probably number on one hand the people who have made me feel that way previously: Spiral Dynamics co-developers Don Beck & Chris Cowan, Meta-States developer L Michael Hall, ‘Inner Child’ specialist Penny Parks, maybe former Hidden Resources head honcho John Lavan….   The occasion was a get-together yesterday morning of some of the speakers and committed participants in the ruins of the 6th annual Yorkshire Leadership Conference. The Conference, so successful in previous years, had… Read More

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The Critical Link between Failed States and Values

by Alan Tonkin I am honoured once again to publish AlanTonkin’s work as a ‘guest blog’. Alan wrote this piece for the Global Values Network web site he runs but also thought it would be appropriate to publish it here. GVN is one of the most advanced projects in the world at using Spiral Dynamics to monitor shifts in societies and assess impacts at national, international and even global levels. As the world seems to become an ever-more dangerous place, Alan offers this consideration as to why so many ‘Third World’ states fail to develop in positive and healthy ways for the benefit of their own peoples and the international community. The latest edition of Foreign Policy magazine for July/August 2008, in conjunction with The Fund for Peace, has just published their latest rankings of Failed States with Africa occupying 7 of the top 10 positions. These include Somalia (1), Sudan (2), Zimbabwe (3), Chad (4), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (6), the Ivory Coast – no 8 – and the Central African Republic (10). The non–African countries are Iraq (5), Afghanistan (7) and Pakistan (9) which are in the Middle Eastern region (see map below – copyright © 2008 The Fund for… Read More

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First Kosovo, then Northern Ireland?

So Kosovo’s back in the news. 31 people dead. The return of tribal bloodletting and ethnic cleansing. Only this time it appears to be the Serbs that have been getting the worst of it. Seemingly triggered by the stupidity of Serb youths hounding (literally, with a dog!) a couple of young Albanian children to their deaths in a river, what increasingly looks to be a well-coordinated campaign by Albanians to drive Serbs out of their homes suddenly materialised from nowhere. And now the dream of an Albanian Muslim Kosovo, independent of Serbia, is equally suddenly back openly at the top of certain extremist groups’ agendas. The speed with which the situation in Kosovo deteriorated clearly caught the NATO troops and the United Nations mandated administration off guard. As I write, several thousand addtional NATO troops have entered Kosovo and a relative calm seems to be returning to the Serbian province. Yet the sheer ferocity of this sudden outbreak of ethnic violence raises questions about the viability of the UN strategy for it not only exposed the fragility of the NATO-imposed peace but also its shallowness. On the face of it things had been going reasonably well in Kosovo for the UN.… Read More

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