Sunday, December 30, 2007

Don Beck - Observations on Third Tier, with all due respect

Don Beck finally addresses what I have long thought is the nonsense of any talk about "Third Tier." This phrase relies on the work of Clare Graves and the model of Spiral Dynamics, but completely loses any connection to the empirical basis of the Spiral model -- that worldviews develop in response to life conditions (external causes) and the cognitive dissonance created when current worldviews are not matched to the life conditions (internal causes).

The jump from First Tier to Second Tier in the Spiral is monumental, a clear demarcation in worldviews, but there is no such jump from Second Tier to the proposed Third Tier. Beck argues that the creation of Third Tier terminology is an ego project, but that may be a little harsh. The truth is simply that within the Spiral model, we have not seen the creation of life conditions that would warrant a Third Tier. That may come at some point in our evolution, but not now. We still have much work to do in the Second Tier, where life conditions are shifting enough to justify the emergence of a post-Turquoise stage, what was initially labeled as Coral (but this is still very vague).

My main objection to the idea of Third Tier is that it loses any foundation in empiricism, and that it is a rather unnecessary formulation. It seems like an arbitrary creation designed to promote an agenda of "enlightenment" in this lifetime (through integral work). But there is no need for a Third Tier, we simply need to practice in meditation to remove the veil of confusion.

Anyway, here is Beck - Observations on Third Tier, with all due respect (you must be a group member to read this online):

One of our objectives after the first of the year is to begin to flesh in an understanding of Yellow-Turquoise as a package. I attempted to craft the book Spiral Dynamics within the set points of these individualistic/collective systems. (I must tell you in all honesty that there is absolutely nothing within what some are calling "Third Tier" that will not fit within these two systems. I just think some people need to think they are at "the top" whatever that is. If one wants to work within the Gravesian- Spiral Dynamics framework and language, it is essential that one not simply add on ideas because they like them, or they come from India in reincarnation, or come down from the mountain top, but that they be connected to Life Conditions. I don't read where any of those use Third Tier language pay any attention to this necessary dynamic. To simply put those modes on top of the First and Second Tier concepts is, in my view, a major violation of intellectual integrity and authenticity and it appears to me they are attempting to leverage these notions to appeal in a marketing fashion to those interested in our work. They are perfectly free to advance any construction they wish but to splice what is a foreign "virus" onto the natural and unique Spiral Dynamics arrangement and sequence is very unfortunate and inappropriate. You should also know that the First and Second Tier language is under the copyright of the book Spiral Dynamics.)

Actually, this stems from a lack of understanding of the dynamics of the spiral; how, when, why different memetic codes have emerged, and how the master code, more or less in the spine of the spiral, regulates, facilitates, shapes the codes themselves. The 7th Code appeared BECAUSE, as the result of actions and responses in the 5th and 6th codes, and the 8th Code will deal with issues raised in the 7th code, both successes and failures. With all due respect, what I see are a "string of pearls, but without the string." And, since Yellow does not fit within the color spectrum that has been superimposed over our original use of colors (I was told by a person you all know well who is part of the Boulder-Denver scene that the decision was made since some grew tired of hearing the Spiral Dynamics colors splashed about in seminars and conversations. You will also note that the final "color" in that light spectrum is 'pure light." That means a final state, the omega point, the end state of reincarnation with the bliss of nothingness is finally reached. This
prospect from any Budhist monk is totally alien to the work of Professor Clare Graves and Spiral Dynamics and directly attempts to water down and interfere with the eloquence of the more than 55 years of academic research and field testing around the world.) This is one of the reason I refrain from comparing systems because each comes out of the heart and soul of a single mind, reflects the nature of the research technology, and the participants in the study, and I would much rather allow each to stand on its own merits. Nothing fits as the "same" with anything else.

And, while the Spiral Dynamics concept is based on the original Clare W. Graves work, the two are simply not the same. Spiral Dynamics, today, has so many added features and applications that Graves did not design, it is not accurate to equate the two. Spiral Dynamics represents the work of Don Beck and Chris Cowan.

And, with so much absolutism in the pronouncement I've been reading, one has a strong sense we are really seeing "Blue" behind it all. Finally, the version of AQ/AL which was called "the human face" is basically the 4Q/8L model jointly created and copyrighted by Ken Wilber and myself. Wilber actually "gave it" to me since it contained so much of my work. He must have forgotten that commitment. I'm speaking of the 4Q/8L graphic that is laced with Spiral Dynamics colors and words.

He did make several word and color changes but, without question, this is still the 4Q/8L version as everybody can see. I find it disconcerting to see it used in the newest book on Integral thinking, in Kosmos, and in What is Enlightenment? with no reference to my contributions.

Yet, everybody who has followed all of this knows where it came from. My graphic artist designed the color bands, now called holons, because the black-white versions in the book A Theory of Everything were so sterile and fragmented. Clearly, I brought 'color' into the Wilber world, as I did with Ichak Adizes.

We all have too much to do to have to deal with these matters but I have a responsibility to see to it that the work of Graves, and most certainly my own over 35 years, is accurately represented. I certainly respect and honor all of Ken's work and I expect equal professional courtesy and treatment. As all of you know who came to my SDi series over the years I would also give full credit to Ken's original work. I would always point out that while Graves was "uncovering" in basic research with real people the eight patterns he identified, Wilber was scanning through tons of written documents and published theories to find the patterns he believed were important. I made the point that while there were differences, the approaches had a lot in common, and still do. But all of that has now disappeared in I-I edicts and that started over 4 years ago. I've tracked in carefully in e-mails and recordings of presentations, especially in Germany. That is truly sad, and is not how to be truly "integral."

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