Notes from the Field: The Center for Human Emergence in Mexico

Roberto Bonilla and Karina Eichner


Roberto BonilloKarina Eichner
It was an amazing experience to be able to see Dr. Don Beck during his trip to Mexico. In the beginning we weren’t sure what kind of an event the four precious days that we had with him would be. First, we had the idea to organize two events, one for a select group of people and another larger event for all the people that were interested in SDi. In the end we decided that the best way to deal with it would be to meet in small groups of no more than 10 or 15 people so that Dr. Beck could have a more personal dialogue with them. We decided on that path, because as we thought more about Mexican social and cultural politics, we found that we couldnt mix people from different hierarchies. If an individual found out someone below them was attending, they would not show up.

So we started out in Monterrey with enterprenurs, polititians, and educators. It was like a dance back and forth. We listened a lot as Dr. Beck explained to each group the basics of SDi and the approach that he would take in designing a transformation of Mexico. It is a compelling vision that he called “The Futures of Mexico.” The future is plural because it is of the utmost urgency that we be conscious of what is next for Mexico at every level of existence.

In Mexico the system is a “car wash” system, and clearly it is not very effective, to say the least. In Mexico the system is a “car wash” system, meaning that in several cases the solutions implemented try to serve different needs with the same solution. Clearly that is not very effective for addressing the diversity of needs in Mexico in that way, to say the least.

The highlight of Dr. Beck’s time Monterrey was without a doubt our visit to Technologico de Monterrey. It is one of the best universities in Mexico and it is privately funded. Being there showed us what Mexico could be like, given the chance.

It would be a Mexico that was well fed, well educated and with ambition and social responsability. It would be a Mexico that could function as a whole organism, not just fragmented parts. We met with the Dean of the Monterrey campus and with the Deans of the different faculties. We were very pleased to see that they were very interested in being a part of the change that is needed in our country.

Back in Mexico City we met with NGO’s, government officials, congressmen, businessmen, entertainment executives and scholars. Dr. Beck was amazing in the way he used both his theoretical knowledge of SDi and his practical applications in South Africa, the Netherlands, Israel/Palestine, and Iceland, among others, to make a point that it is possible for Mexico to go through a major transformation. The main blockages in Mexico are that the people have been accustomed to thinking in deficit terms. That is, they think in terms of limited resources and then they fight over who gets to keep them. Dr. Beck tried to get the point across that we have to create more resources in order not to fight for the “existing piece of pie, but to make a bigger pie”.

People in Mexico were shocked to think that there could be a possibility of a system that is not only win-win, but also thrive-thrive. For a moment, the typical cynicism that Mexicans have about the possibility of moving ahead dissappeared and there was hope in people’s eyes.

Also there is a problem with Mexican politics. There are three main political parties and among them they fight over power. When one gets power, it does not build upon the good things that the previous party did, but wipes the table clean and starts from scratch. A lot of resources are lost in this power game. Dr. Beck proposed a trans-partisan approach for Mexico as a supraordinate goal. This is one of the most important points, for Mexico as a country is not cohesive. There are Mexican individuals and individual parties with different interests, but nothing to join them together in a unified effort to be the best that they can be. So with a lack of growth there is no real possibility of moving ahead. This issue has a strong impact on the morale of the Mexican people, for there is no real pride in being Mexican. There is no national goal that all Mexicans can join together and support for the common good. There is “good for me now,” but no “good for us in the future.”

We found in our conversations that in the back of every Mexican’s mind there is a sense of urgency—an alarm ringing that is waking people up to the fact that something must be done about the condition Mexico is in. The clock is ticking, for we probably have no more than six years to make this work, before we have a similar fate as Venezuela. We have a better President than the former one, but he lacks a vision and a map. We saw eye to eye with important people that could allow for us to give President Calderón the map that he needs in order to save us from collapsing.

The goal of the Center for Human Emergente in Mexico and Latin America is an ambitious one. With the leadership of Dr. Don Beck, and the passion that we have as Mexicans wanting a new Mexico to emerge, everything is possible. As part of our “Integral Mexico” project, we are working with people from the Mexican teacher’s union, to bring a restructuring of the education system. We are also working with television producers to start to create programs that help people develop, instead of the current programs that keep people ignorant. Also, we would like to start to map Mexico memetically to have a clearer understanding of what we need to do next in each part of the country. Memetically, we are a very diverse country and it would be wise to check what needs to be done where and by whom.

Dr. Beck said that we can leap frog the US and Europe in many ways. We can learn from the mistakes that they have encountered. It would be unwise to follow in their footsteps. For example, in the US and Europe we are seeing that green is eating away at orange and blue, leaving red free to exploit others. So, in Mexico it would be wise to take this into considertion. There are examples of green filtering into our prison system and doing damage already: the human rights movement made it possible for public phones and cell phones to be available to all the inmates. Now a lot of kidnappings have their “master minds” in jail, where they can operate freely on the phone.

In the US and Europe, this “eating away” of blue and orange is bad, but in Mexico it is much worse, for we don’t have healthy blue and orange in the first place. The energy of the spiral is already making new life conditions emerge, so this change can be possible. We are glad and very honored to be witnessing this change and being a part of it.

Karina Eichner has BA in Psychology and a masters and PHD (thesis in process on the Mexico Project). She has worked as a psychotherapist for 9 years and have been a yoga teacher for 11 years. She is Directora de investigación y desarrollo, Center for Human Emergence, México y Latinoamerica.

Roberto Bonilla is part of the Mexico team that runs the Center for Human Emergence for Mexico and Latin America. Since 2000, he has studied the Spiral Dynamics Integral framework, applying it in his business consulting practice. Shoulder to shoulder with Karina Eichner, he started a transformation project in Mexico (January 2007), led by Dr. Don Beck, called Integral Mexico.

Editor’s Note:

This email (edited) from Neri Barron provides access to Don Beck presenting to an Israeli audience during his recent trip to Israel and Palestine:

I upload some 3 minute clips of Don Beck talking to Israelies in the presentationwe had in 11 May 07. I’ll put some more that I have within the coming week.
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