Feature Article: The Rise and Fall of Development

Mike Jay

Mike Jay

Paper presented under the title, “The Evolution of Human Striving,” at the 2005 Conference of the Society for Research in Adult Development, Atlanta, Georgia, April 6-7, 2005.

Disclaimer from Prince 1999: “I was dreaming when I wrote this, so forgive me if it goes astray…”

This presentation is designed to disquiet current thinking and augment it with some additional opportunities; that is my aim. Please, take this all with a grain of salt. You might even say that I’m full of beans, but perhaps the indigestion that I’ll create will cause you to consider your own development in a different light.

What I’m about to do should not be attempted by the uninitiated as it is likely to be dangerous to your current relationships and possibly your career. To begin with let me state some hypotheses.

Blank Slate is dead; tabula raza was a nice paradigm that made everyone feel good, because we wouldn’t want anyone to think they were second rate would we?
Because there is nothing any better than blank slate, blank slate lives, truly the paradox of our developmental time.
Everyone can’t be anything they want to be and if most of us try, we’re going to be largely unhappy, unfulfilled and part of the nasty environmental problem arising from living unsustainably, which may end most of our developmental trajectory as humans indirectly.
Everyone CAN be anything they CAN be, and those rights should be facilitated as the pursuit of happiness. Is authoring a new constitution the aim? Perhaps.
In large part, the developmental trajectory of most people is going to be more horizontal than it is vertical. However, the ladder climbing busyness is in full swing to capture the fantasy island of those blank slaters in motion.
Verticality is happening all around us, yet it’s just not happening to us! Because we can see it, we are using it in whatever ways possible and the “hits” just keep happening.
Confusing horizontal development with vertical development is the most dangerous meme of all. Spiral doesn’t just mean up, it means out as well.
Because most development is horizontal within a particularly flat trajectory; mobility—movement among, between and across levels, which is nuanced by vertical and horizontal developmental capacity, is low.
Development means a lot of things to a lot of people and that’s an issue in the developmental community, as well as an issue that promotes the illusion of development in the community of hosts at large.
Capacity, Capability and Potential are the Occam’s razor of development and lead us to emergent developmental agents, rules, tensions and conditionals that are actionable.

I could go on, but these 10 are enough to present here before I demonstrate my own limitations in making my points.


Okay, so it’s out of order, but let me begin at the end (in accordance with one of the 7 habits?). Solutions generated by people who confuse their horizontal sophistication with their vertical capacity are more than likely to be incremental at best. Since in large part there is no direct correlation between smart people and vertical developmental capacity, there must be several programs running as a result of DNA (which brings about the nod to evolution for having spent billions of years testing more than 1035 organisms and coming to the conclusion that 10 megabytes is enough to create fitness today). Now, the question answered is what are those programs responsible for development—and how can we tell. Which ones are running and where are they likely to run more efficiently, effectively and sustainably over time.

Clearly, we have to use a cross-paradigm approach to assimilate the question; otherwise we sub-optimize the answer. One thing I believe about the crossing paradigms as an approach is that it preserves the paradigms or fields that are created and allowed to run as modules on top of the DNA program. In other words, it’s part of the evolutionary program to allow modules to develop on top of the operating system or base applications programs so that learning takes place—testing the organism against the situational environment and preserving those programs that remain fit. In some cases, because the programs of programs can be modularized, parallel evolutionary paths develop.

The Beginning

So, let’s begin with the first hypothesis.

  1. Blank Slate is dead, tabula raza was a nice paradigm that made everyone feel good; because we wouldn’t want anyone to think they were second rate would we?

Modern research is beginning to show that we enter into the world with a compressed program that is the result of DNA. Many scholars and scientists have suggested that we have inborn traits, motives and perhaps values. Stephen Reiss at Ohio State has shown that our values have primal roots in animal behavior, which is consistent with the idea that evolution has built these programs over time using iterations of less complex life. What remained fit in the face of circumstances survived and became a part of the program.

I must apologize to those of you who find offensive the notion that we are nothing more than a computation, a program that has evolved itself over billions of years. Actually, I do find the notion of God throughout the program, yet you may infer God to be wherever you like and it would be fine with my argument. In fact, what I’m going to discuss doesn’t remove any of the possible reasons why it’s all happening, even the reason of “I don’t know what I don’t know.” Essentially, in my view, it is not necessary to know. In your view, it may be necessary and that’s okay with me. With that solved for the moment, let’s move forward.

Therefore if there is no blank slate, then what is there?

  1. Because there is nothing any better than blank slate, blank slate lives, truly the paradox of our developmental time.

Until we find a way to replace blank slate, then all the paradigms, including education, business, economics, politics, science, etc. will continue to be based upon tabula raza. I found this to be most interesting in an informal discussion held in 2004 on the discussion No one could cite a developmental study that corrected for innate baselines. In other words, before we assume people can learn or develop to x or y, why not identify if there is an inborn bias to develop to x or y? Most research is based on an assumption that we don’t come to the table dressed, but just show up.

I don’t know what will replace blank slate because it will probably have to occur across generations. It may remain the favorite explanation of the way the world works for some. In my view that’s entirely acceptable. Yet it won’t naturally improve our developmental alignment with exponentially increasing complexity and linear incremental problem solving where non-linear solutions are what one might suggest are required for evolution in more or less, real time. A caveat remains that the answer will be uncovered with time, regardless of our responses.

It is quite fascinating for me, a kid who grew up in a small town in Nebraska, to come to the conclusion that one way or another; things are going to work out. We can either do what we’re doing or do something else. Whatever we do, evolution keeps evolving—often without the conscience it has bestowed on us. What a concept!

  1. Everyone can’t be anything they want to be and if most of us try, we’re going to be largely unhappy, unfulfilled and part of the  nasty environmental problem arising from living unsustainably, which may end most of our developmental trajectory as humans indirectly.

Because of the underlying assumption that we come into life without a predisposition or an inductive bias to learn certain things as opposed to others, researchers have long thought that anybody can be anything they want to be. First I’ll tell you why we can’t. Then I’ll tell you how we can—to sweeten the paradox.

The program that is responsible for identifying how tall we can become, is also responsible for how smart we are, how we learn, what we learn, how we take in and process information, what our filters are set to avoid, or allow through, etc. etc. Yet, underneath all of the conjecture of this new and old knowledge lies the motivational stirrings of possibility that we truly can – if we try hard enough – be anything we want to be. It is kept alive in our entertainment, our parenting, our coaching, our business, education, and economics (where it is often used against us). Throughout our lives we live with the underlying assumption that it’s just under the rainbow, in a falling star, the right training program, the “next” exciting career, a new spouse…or whatever your dreams will have with you.

All the while we fail to realize what is there and work from that soul point. I’d like to invoke the soul here, because I believe the soul is actually an emergent potential of the real slate (if it’s not blank, then it must be something real). My hypothesis is if you want to experience soul, know yourself and act accordingly. Don’t kid yourself or allow others, to get you to walk across fire, navigate ropes courses, or join ashrams. Just discover yourself, disclose that to others who are in a similar journey and reach for the acceptance that you’ll find there…then leap all you wish.

  1. Everyone CAN be anything they CAN be, and those rights should be facilitated as the pursuit of happiness. Is authoring a new constitution the aim? Perhaps.

This particular hypothesis gets into the nitty-gritty of the substitution of the real slate for the blank slate, I’ll call it real slate because I can’t think of anything else in this dream. Real Slate = pre-wired (programmed) + re-wired (programmed).

Now, remember I said I would tell you how the paradox works: you can be what you want to be—as long as you create an emergent system (program) around you that compensates for your limitations (and strengths!). You (collectively) can be anything you want to be. However, you yourself are just what you can be and until you realize that, you can’t be everything you can be.

Essentially, the right to be your self is an important one, as long as that right doesn’t impinge on the rights of others. Yet, the system of blank slate is going to delude you into thinking that it is what you want. The only way to break free—for the masses—is to change the rules of development. In other words, instead of rising, it’s falling for your self, so to speak—and working from there.

  1. In large part, the developmental trajectory of most people is going to be more horizontal than it is vertical. However, the ladder climbing busyness is in full swing to capture the fantasy island of those blank-slaters in (co)motion.

Believe me, this one won’t sell near as well as blank slate. Nobody wants to hear they have limitations and no one wants to barbeque their sacred cow! The ladder busyness is really prospering. As verticality has produced a literally infinite supply of “It’s better to be up here than down there” or “Oh what a wonderful world it could be!” our frequencies are jammed with more snake oil than ever.

Very few people are even tenured enough to start rocking this boat. While research exists to show that we are more likely to develop within a band of capacity than to develop outside of it, we still keep trying, because who are we if we don’t try, right? It is probably the nature of the program—the beast—that keeps most of us on the treadmill. The want more, do more, have more, become more program is largely insatiable and keeps us in busyness—an unsustainable one.

However, I’ll offer a caveat. Change the underlying assumptions of blank slate and then the “do more-have more-become more” train goes down a different track. Same engine, same noisy process, but the focus is different. Instead of looking up, we look in. And I don’t mean all that spiritual stuff. No question, that stuff is important. Let’s just take our simple everyday systems and point them in a direction. Get the masses off the ladders and get people to begin to accept the idea that we all have gifts and what makes us happy is applying them—contributing in some way. It’s not what others want us to be, but what we have within what we can be that drives contentment at the end of the day. Did we resolve the inner tensions, urges or vassanas (Vedic term for desires) in efficient, effective and sustainable manners?

  1. Verticality is happening all around us, yet it is just not happening to us! Because we can see it, we are using it in whatever ways possible and the hits just keep happening.

This is the pivotal point of this diatribe. Because the programming of some beings is on such a steep vertical trajectory, those rare beings are producing and generating very complex memes, or schemas at a very high-level thema, or pattern of organization. They are as attractive to folks, as they are to me as I walk down the food midway at the Louisiana State Fair!

The outputs of these schemas are generated as tools, memes, beliefs about the way the world works, etc. Those quickly assimilate into the memepool through connectivity, which is exponential in adoption nowadays compared to earlier forms of meme generation. Almost anything in the world that happens is quickly spread throughout the world and assimilation is triggered—hence verticality and complexity is unbounded and ever-increasing in scope and scale.

What is the issue? The problem is that what it takes to generate these memes is not what it takes to begin to assimilate and attach them to lesser sophisticated reality systems. The people who invented the atomic bomb were the same group that rose up a few years later to decry the use of the bomb. Huh? Then why did they build it? Their reality, even though it was driven through impending doom and crisis, was that in building it they wouldn’t have to use it—a much higher level reality—although silly when you look at what lesser sophisticated realities do with higher reality tools. We’re plagued by this today as SIMAD: single individual, mass destruction.

Verticality is what is happening to us, NOT in us.

Once a meme, tool, schema or whatchamacallit is created it becomes available for assimilation by those capable of attaching it to their current programs as an application. If you have a lesser sophisticated operating system, but an application that can run on it, you use it, if you need to use it. Just like you may have PowerPoint on your computer, but only use it for whipping up slides, not all the complex functions it can perform—we use what we can of things, even though the complexity to do great things lies hidden in the code.

Therefore, we get developmental distortion, complexity and new emergence of behaviors that are not sophisticated, but can utilize sophisticated tools, memes and schemas. Tell me, we don’t have labs around the world churning out human clones or attempting to. And I’ll tell you that you are deluded.

Every piece of technology, every formula, every nanobyte that arises into the developmental pool becomes accessible to anyone looking and is accessed by anyone who can, with what they can, even if it means using the “code” or algorithms in a morality never intended. Vertical capacity in morality, ego complexity, or reasonableness is not required to assimilate these “outputs” of verticality.

Does this stop verticality from happening? Of course not, the vertical people have their own world to play in. They hardly see the small shapes below—maybe like ants, busily going about their daily bread, every now and then a disturbance or two, a threat causes collective sentience, beyond that, the ants are as predictable as night and day.

  1. Confusing horizontal development with vertical development is the most dangerous meme of all. Spiral doesn’t just mean up, it means out as well.

Now, that we’ve pivoted, here’s the deal from my point of view.

It is difficult for all but a few to discern whether vertical content is being used or generated, although it’s not so difficult for the trained developmentalist in my view. We have to look at the underlying developmental structure and identify whether or not the use of verticality is an extension of the underlying code held by the individual or whether it is being “used” by lower level developmental structure and capacity.

Most people don’t have the mechanisms or training to discern this. Generally, we fail to understand those few who can discern at the higher levels.

So what do the rest of us do?

In some cases, quantifiable systems of identifying the potential at higher levels are beginning to appear. There are hierarchical scoring systems, which identify aspects of capacity and verticality. There are more people using Subject/Object Interviewing—even with its inherent limitations, the system does differentiate structure. There are measures of ego complexity, functional dynamics, Spiral Dynamics®, a new emergence of integral work and so on.

However, I challenge any of those who are trying to understand what I’m saying in this presentation not to confuse espoused theory with theory in use. The majority of these instruments will measure espoused theory: what we say we do, rather than what we actually do. While this may still be useful the measurement is not of the real slate, but an imagined one.

It’s not the content of the meme that’s important, or even the context so much; it’s the meme’s structure of use that is critical to understand. In other words, how it is used and in what manner it is employed to make or solve problems. Here is where we can discover leverage of development.

  1. Because most development is horizontal within a particularly flat trajectory; mobility—movement among, between and across levels, which is nuanced by vertical and horizontal developmental capacity, is low.

Mobility may be the key: the ability to nuance, not just at the content level, but at the level of context, conditions, code, culture and core. This aspect of capability stems directly from capacity in my opinion, which is innate in most cases, and the potential as it is applied or limited during specific windows of opportunity, an example being, language development, which has been shown to be easier at younger ages, possibly not at all, if those windows are closed by some condition.

Figure 1 is recreated from the book Human Capability by Jaques and Cason. It is based on the research Jaques and others have performed using his model of information complexity to identify vertical complexity.

Paths of Human Capability

Figure 1: Paths of Human Capability (Adapted)

I’m not going to pretend this is reality, but am offering it as a visual analogy for vertical scaling and complexity, horizontal scope and complexity and vertical/horizontal mobility. Think about the implications here for disquieting the current paradigm of development as it’s generally formulated with blank slate.

Jaques went on to discuss that, unlike Piaget’s model, people don’t develop along a single trajectory, but multiple trajectories that in most cases were programmed for potential through innateness. The implications of this particular representation of reality are enormous as a developmental disturbance in the force, so to speak.

It becomes obvious when using the lens I’m suggesting that most of us are developing horizontally rather than vertically, and that’s ok! Therefore all those vertical schemas being created by those on steeper trajectories are being morphed to lesser-sophisticated individuals who use them in horizontal development. Once more, there is no problem with that adaptation. Often it is necessary development for the masses. However, we have to know it is happening or become a victim of it in some way – directly or indirectly.

Remember, Figure 1 is not exact. It is a depiction, an analogy. I refer you to Jaques own ideas in his and Cason’s book: Human Capability, 1994. Some of you may notice I even added some colors to it on the side that indicate nodal representations of instrumentation occurring as these trajectories stabilize “far from equilibrium” yet become effective generators (dissipative structures) of entropy and resist change.

  1. Development means a lot of things to a lot of people and that is an issue in the developmental community, as well as an issue that promotes the illusion of development in the community of hosts at large.

This is a confusing hypothesis, but it’s directly reflective of the current standing of the developmental paradigm. You say development and you get an infinite number of meanings, even the confusion of learning with development, which are really two different modalities. While this exists throughout social science, it is confusing our ability to put it all together and formulate practical applications, rather than unlimited theoretical extensions.

I don’t think there will be a concilience, except by those who attempt at least metasystems or cross-paradigm approaches. Even these are likely to fail in many ways as the differentiation of evolution is accelerating. Whom I ask has that kind of cognitive, symbolic, behavioral and affective horsepower, or what’s more inductive bias so robust in scope, scale and mobility? In any case, that doesn’t stop some of us from trying to conceptualize it. It certainly hasn’t stopped me. Perhaps in the illumination of our failure lies learning that can pave the way for those who come behind.

I’m suggesting that there is an approach that we can take and it may be one level above cross-paradigms. Cross-paradigmatic may NOT be quite enough conceptualization to pull it off. This level beyond cross-paradigms might be meta-paradigmatic, which would make it easy to frame as “about” cross-paradigms. The ox has to remain ungored, or the high level illusion is seen through.

Therefore, there has to be a concilience, which “allows” the existence of the paradigms. It allows the crossing over of those paradigms without destroying them, but making them available, one to the other. Then a generalizing of a new paradigm can occur, which in and of itself—the rise and fall—creates the opportunity for assimilation by the lesser sophisticated levels as horizontal expansion of complexity.

  1. Capacity, Capability and Potential are the Occam’s razor of development and lead us to emergent developmental agents, rules, tensions and conditionals that are actionable.

In the beginning, I wrote the rather strange conclusion and in the end, I write the rather strange beginning, a circle is formed, not knowing where the creator intervened.

My own system of outlining Capacity, Capability, and Potential (CCP) for engaging leaders, which is what I’m leading into in this discussion, is to formulate a system which identifies CCP issues around a number of different dynamics as a metapardigm approach. The following are representative of metasystems, paradigms, or fields:

  • Motivational: core trait-motives or motive systems
  • Developmental: hierarchical progression and capacity
  • Functional: innate programs identify the processes guided by induction
  • Instrumental: means structures employed to facilitate ends
  • Reciprocal: correlation between conditions and action
  • Integral: systems processing produces multi-level considerations.
  • Differential: capability to discern and identify constituents of multilogue
  • Experiential: topology or phase space of subjective experience
  • Emergent: agents, rules, tensions and conditionals in non-linear events
  • Energy: energy and information

This is an oversimplified view of the system, but it’s a start. At the levels closest to the program we see measurements appearing to identify the structure. By utilizing a broad-based concilient approach, we get more data and information, which can be used by the discerning leader to create nuanced engagement, not just at the content level, but levels with deeper learning potential and more effective—actionable engagement. See Figure 2, below.

In general the layperson doesn’t have to understand the implications of this work, however benefits will accrue from the use of it. As developmentalists it’s our goal to produce actionable inquiry, discovery, disclosure and acceptance to accelerate the evolutionary programs when appropriate in horizontal vertical and oblique directions.

While in the process, don’t harm anyone and have a little fun.

Mike Jay Developmental Model

Figure 2

© Copyright 2005 Mike R. Jay

Keith BellamyThis column is written partially in response to the article cited: There have been additional comments that have been published on list serves. In addition, there have been other recent exchanges critiquing and defending various perspectives on integral theory, Spiral Dynamics® and their proponents in relation to contemporary politics and other issues. I hope that Keith’s column this month is a step in improving the dialogue.— Russ]

I tend to consider myself as a fairly simple soul, although others who are close to me might think differently.  Since discovering Integral Theory, I have attempted to lead my life in a manner that allows the decisions that I take to be integrally informed.  I have the humility, I hope, to recognise that I still have a long way to go before I can hope to achieve that stage of development where I am permanently integrally conscious and that my insights into life, the universe and everything naturally stem from this higher enlightened state.

I am reasonably comfortable with this state of being.  It provides the inspiration for further personal development.  It lso allows me to seek integral insights that influence and inspire my everyday decisions.   I have to admit, however, that it is not easy; in fact it is darned hard.  Whilst not having a particularly addictive personality, I am finding it very hard kicking the habit of rational thinking and being able to see the world, when appropriate, from a trans-rational perspective.

Flatland thinking served me extremely well in my career in the world of business, and to be honest I would probably be better off in terms of material rewards if I had remained “hooked” on that particular cognitive opiate.  However, it was not to be; circumstances conspired in my world that left me with no choice but to move on.  In more lucid moments, I like to think of the path that I am pursuing as the equivalent of “Integral Cold Turkey!”  It is hard to make the shift and it cannot be done alone.

I need help, and achieve much assistance by actively seeking out the writings of the giants in the field who can provide me with the doses of Integral Thinking that are the equivalent of Methadone to the Flatland heroin that has been such an important part of my life for so long.  In this struggle for personal growth, it saddens me when I see some of these giants battling amongst themselves.  As I look around at all of the issues our planet is facing and how integrally informed decision making could make such a significant difference, I find that some thought leaders seem to be acting more like medieval monks discussing how many angels can dance on a pin-head!

This was all brought to a head for me when I was sent a copy of the March issue of Spiral Dynamics Newsletter edited, I assume, by Chris Cowan and Natasha Todorovic.   I was aware, of course, that there was a rift between Chris and his erstwhile writing partner Don Beck.  I also knew that Chris had made some fairly scathing comments about Wilber in the past.  None of this particularly worried me, as no one person has access to the absolute truth and that discussion, disagreement and debate are essential elements in pushing against the barriers of understanding.

What I didn’t understand, before reading this newsletter, is just how wide and pernicious the gulf between the parties appears to be.  Looking forward to a set of insights that were different from those promulgated by the Integral leaders in Colorado, Texas and Massachusetts (to name but a few), what I found was a bitter, negative publication that was more interested in proving that the others were wrong and that the “Spiral Dynamics people,” as they choose to call themselves, are right.  Now I have no doubt that actions, either real or perceived, may well have left a bitter taste in the mouths of the newsletter editors; but the vein of negativity that ran through the publication detracted from the positive contribution that could and should be made to the Integral debate.

Let me hasten to add, I do not side with one party or another in this affair.  I like to describe myself as a neo-Marxist of the Groucho rather than Karl variety.   Following his immortal line, “I would not be member of any club that would have me as a member,” I shy away from becoming too closely aligned with any particular camp. By “blindly” following the teachings of one prophet to the exclusion of all others has the potential to restrict the way I think about issues, and I perceive this to be very dangerous. The Integral movement does not need bunches of groupies shouting, “Ken said this,” or “Don said that,” or even “Chris & Natasha think the other.” What we need are individuals who know what Ken, Don, Chris & Natasha have said and think and then, through their own lens of personal experience, provide an unique perspective that none of the previous could ever have uttered.

What never ceases to amaze me is the way that the “Cobblers Child” Syndrome tends to emerge in situations like this.  All the parties involved use their insight into evolutionary unfolding to help other individuals, corporations and even nation states to overcome internecine rivalries that are destructive and detract from the value that all the parties have to offer.  Never, has the need for command, “Healers heal thyselves,” been so appropriate and necessary.  As I mentioned earlier, the need for integral perspectives has never been so great in so many different areas than it is today.  Yet, the credibility of practitioners is sorely undermined by the feuding that is taking place.

Don’t get me wrong, I am under no illusion that all of the participants should sit down around a table and come out at the end of the negotiations as bosom-buddies.  I gave up that level of naïveté many years ago.  I am not arguing that the parties necessary have to agree with one and other, in fact disagreement is a good thing.  What I am arguing is that the parties stop attempting to undermine one another and that the undercurrent of personal animosity be removed from a debate that is so vital to all 6 billion plus of us who inhabit this planet today.

I really do not have the time and space in this article to dissect and criticise what has happened in the past, and I’m not sure that it would serve any purpose other than opening old wounds and sores.  Our focus should be on the future and building an Integral movement that recognises the differences of opinions that exist and acknowledge them as jewels not worthless baubles.

In such an environment we would recognise that Wilber’s use of Spiral Dynamics to illustrate his Theory of Everything was a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, Graves’ theory enhanced by Beck and Cowan provided a wonderfully understandable insight into what is a highly complex subject.  However, in doing so, it diluted many of the complexities and intricacies contained in the original work.  Then again, A Theory of Everything gave Spiral Dynamics a far wider audience and opportunity to influence decisions in so many fields than had been the case up until its publication.

The colour-coded levels of the spiral became the de facto lingua franca in Integral circles, yet when it was applied to Holons other than the societal level in which it was originally rooted it started to become misused, abused and sometimes the source of confrontation.  In the blink of an eye we had created our very own tower of Babel.  So when somebody claimed that the CEO was operating from Red it could be both true and false simultaneously!  From the purist societal Holon the statement is obviously nonsensical, however from the Enterprise Holon context this is a perfectly valid statement.

I think it was Peter Drucker, the great business thinker, who pondered the paradox as to why businessmen would march down Wall Street to the tune of “Free Markets” only to arrive at their desks to become dictators of their own “Planned Economies” as they attempted to control everything in their personal empire.  Drucker failed to come up with an answer to this conundrum.  Pure Spiral Dynamics doesn’t answer the challenge either.  Applying SD within the AQAL model of Integral Theory and the contradictions dissolve completely.

If Integral is going to permeate the lives of a broader constituency, we need to recognise that work is required at all levels of the developmental spiral. Just because some focus their attentions on the pathologies emerging lower down whilst others are working at enticing the higher levels to become more established makes neither party wrong. They are just operating from a different perspective and if we are to be true to the Integral Model, we need to be able to accommodate both.

This is not achievable when one group publishes pseudo-scientific papers attempting to demolish the arguments of another party. I am sure that if one were to listen carefully, one could hear the body of Benjamin Disraeli spinning like a top in his grave. If we listen really hard, the hum being generated sounds very much like “lies, damned lies and statistics.” Attempting to blind us with disputable facts and figures is designed to create division rather than reconciliation.

Furthermore, it really helps when the paper is attempting to refute the same thing as the other party is talking about. The Mean Green Meme debate is a case in point. Wilber & Beck are talking about the emergent pathology that can arise from the Green v-meme. Cowan & Todorovic are talking about those people who reject Green values. Both interesting subjects, but different; and when you cut to the chase, there is a very strong case to suggest that they run the risk of violently agreeing.

I could go on but fear that the thrust of my argument will get lost. My belief is that if we are to build a world where leaders are at a minimum integrally informed and over time increasingly integrally conscious, then we have to get our own house in order. If we are perceived to be acting like kids in the playground shouting, “my dad’s bigger than yours!” then we are not going to be listened to by those with most to gain from allowing Integral Theory into their worlds. The biggest victim in all of this is that an opportunity to make a real difference could be lost. I think all of us associated with the nascent Integral movement need to think long and hard on this the next time we decide to side with one party or another in defending what is really indefensible.

Keith Bellamy is an independent consultant to businesses in Great Britain. He formerly was an IT executive and a futurist for Barclay’s Bank. He is active with Integral and Spiral Dynamics groups in London.

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