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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

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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

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

‘Lost’ in Purgatory?

Over 2 weeks later it’s still being remarked upon in the internet fan forums about just how similar in theme were the final episodes of 2 of the biggest TV dramas of the past few years, Ashes to Ashes (21 May) and Lost (24 May). The Life On Mars/Ashes to Ashes story arcs ended with ‘rough diamond’/’Neanderthal throwback’ [take your pick!] DCI Gene Hunt revealed to be a Christ-like figure living in purgatory to work with the souls of dead coppers to help them accept their untimely demise and move on to the afterlife proper. Hunt even got to fend off the devil-like Discipline & Complaints investigator Jim Keats’ attempts to steal the dead coppers’ souls. Truth to tell, I wasn’t much impressed with the ‘Ashes to Ashes’ finale, ruminating that the purgatory explanation was something of a cop-out, saving the writers from having to come up with some kind of science fiction story of alternate realities/dimension shifts/etc, etc. But – blow me! – just a few days later a near-identical theme was acted out in ‘Lost’s’ 2.5-hour grand finale. This time around it was Jack Shephard being Christ-like to save the island from the darkness brought on by the devil-like ‘Man in… Read More

Great Ideas from the East…?

I don’t think I’m racist. At least, not consciously so. And I would hate to think I was unconsciously racist. (Althougth the PURPLE vMEME easily makes racists of us all if we’re not careful, with its not-of-our-tribe discriminations!) I guess I sort of knew enough from my studies in Psychology and Sociology to recognise vaguely that I was ethnocentric. Today it was brought home to me just how ethnocentric I am. I was exposed to the ideas of a female Pakistani business consultant – WOAHHHH!!!!!! Hang on! A female business consultant from Pakistan???????? Well, there goes the tabloids’ version of a Pakistan stuffed full of sub-al-Qaeda clerics intent on reducing the world to a feudal fundamentalist state, with the women only allowed out of their homes if chaperoned by their menfolk and dressed in full burkha. Clearly there is more diversity in Pakistan than ‘The Sun’ newspaper would have us believe! Score one on the enthnocentric challenge meter! Then, the ideas of this consultant, Ramla Akhtar, are really rather interesting. Although it is nominally a business model, Ramla’s People Centred Model of Businesa (PC-MoB) is as much a model for growing psychologically-healthy individuals in a sociologically-healthy society. Ramla admits to developing her schematic before discovering Spiral Dynamics;… Read More

Tariq Ali gets Benazir Bhutto wrong!

So that old agent provacateur extraordinare, Tariq Ali, has attacked the naming in Benazir Bhutto’s will of 19-year-old son Bilawal as her successor as leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, describing it as “a digusting medieval charade” (His article was the front page lead story in the New Year’s Eve edition of The Independent – and he appeared on that morning’s editon of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, reiterating his position.) In describing the succession of Bilawal as “medieval”, Tariq was spot on! Moreover, his description of Asif Zardari, Bhutto’s widower (and Bilawal’s father), as a “feudal potentate” – a Lord Chancellor or Grand Vizier? – who will run the party until his son is old enough, is also pretty close to the mark. Where Tariq misses the point is to call it “disgusting” and a “charade”. He goes on to say: “How can Western-backed politicians be taken seriously if they treat their party as a fiefdom and their supporters as serfs, while their courtiers abroad mouth sycophantic niceties concerning the young prince and his future?” The point is: this is very much how the politcians in Pakistan must act if they wish to design an alternative government to the military dictatorship… Read More

Needed: New Ideas for Hull Education

So Hull, the city where I live, is back at the bottom of the UK’s GCSE league tables, Education Director Peter Fletcher is arranging for the headteachers of the city’s 15 secondary schools to appear before the leaders of the City Council and the Hull Daily Mail is once again devoting acres of space to what it terms a “devastating blow” and hinting darkly at retribution. After 4 consecutive years of being the worst-performing local education authority in the country, Hull climbed up one place in 2001 to leave Knowsley in Merseyside languishing at the bottom. This year Knowsley “leapfrogged” (according to the Mail) over Hull, to put the city back at the bottom. The furore, though, masks an important point. Hull schools and their Year 11 students actually improved over 2001’s performance. Only by 1.1% – but an improvement nonetheless! Knowsley simply improved more than Hull and thus managed to lift itself off the bottom. This, however, should not take away from the fact that Hull did improve. An undoubted contribution to this improvement has been the performance of Kingswood High School. Located on the sprawling and troubled Bransholme Estate, 2 years ago Kingswood was Britain’s single worst-performing school. Now the school is out… Read More