Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Political Spectrum From a Spiral Viewpoint

Don Beck developed this template to help us understand how both sides in the political debate can be either peacemakers (conciliators) or totally single-minded aggressors (flamethrowers). This is a useful tool as the premise for an integral politics.

The bottom three levels (4-6) are blocked systems, unable to hear other points of view or alter their positions based on new information. The top three levels (1-3) are open systems, fully able to hear other positions and alter their own positions in light of new information. It feels as though politics is dominated by the bottom three levels on both sides of the political aisle.

For those of you who know a little about Spiral Dynamics, the important vMemes are listed on the right of the chart. Each viewpoint is based in a unique worldview that shapes how it responds to its particular life conditions.

The problem on both sides of the divide is that the "stuck" viewpoints can make enemies of their allies. For example, an R5 zealot (maybe Focus on the Family) can see R3 through R1 as too liberal, making enemies of its own party members. The same thing can happen to liberals, where extremists (perhaps Earth First members) may see moderates who try to work within the system as traitors to the cause.

An integral politics must work to unite the top three levels on both sides to form something equivalent to the "Gang of 14" (7 Democrats and 7 Republicans) who ended the threat of the nuclear option (ending the filibuster option for the minority party in the Senate). Only the highest vMemes are capable of working to create consensus, or of finding ways to compromise that allow both sides to feel as though they get their needs met.

If you have insights or ideas on how to create a more integral politics, please send me a message at Integral Options for Life. I will post the best ideas on the site. I would like this to become a place, a true Ideas Café, where other people can share their ideas and create a multilogue on topics that matter.
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