This Sunday, November 9th at 10am Pacific I’ll be joined by Dr. Don Beck, the creator of Spiral Dynamics, for a conversation we’ve titled “Hard Truths and a Fresh Start: Facilitating the Flow after the 2014 Midterms.”
Contemplating the meltdown in the Middle East and the rise of the Islamic State, I recently read two articles by Don Beck, Hard Truths & Fresh Start: A Bold, Comprehensive, & Integral Strategy for the Middle East, and The Global Great Divide: An Integral Initiative. I was struck by the power and prescience in them. They were written about a decade ago, but much of them reads as if penned yesterday. I invite you to read these two papers here.
I soon reached out to Don to suggest a conversation on Beyond Awakening. Initially, we were going to focus primarily on the state of the Middle East, but when we realized we would be talking less than a week after the American mid-term elections, we decided to focus especially on the design of a political and economic pathway forward in the United States following the November 4th election results.
Don is widely known as the co-author of Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership & Change which is seen as an extension of the work of his mentor and colleague, Clare W. Graves. It is less known that he was also a student and colleague of the social psychologist Muzafer Sherif, and his work defining what he calls “assimilation contrast effects.”
While a graduate student, studying under Dr. Sherif in the early 1960s at the University of Oklahoma, Don wrote his PhD dissertation on the l860 presidential campaign and the election of Abraham Lincoln, which led to the Civil War.
The assimilation-contrast effect offers deep insight into how attitudinal intensity is the strong filter that generates the inability to grasp new ideas. It explains why options for resolution close down, and what can be done to prevent that from happening. Timing is crucial, and if we catch polarization patterns early enough, we can avoid the move toward radicalization and demonization that inevitably results in violence.
Don regards this aspect of his work as offering fresh and field-tested processes for reducing polarization and enriching collaboration at local, national, and global levels, with special relevance to our unique moment in history. He quotes the Kenny Rogers song, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em…know when to fold ’em.” Claire Graves used to caution him about the criticality of knowing when it is useful to intervene and when it is not. But Don sees this moment as wide-open to opportunity.
Interestingly, Don is emphatic that now is the time to act.
In addition to this discussion of the midterm elections, Don promised to announce a new initiative he’s working on in Texas around the Second Emancipation Proclamation. The intention of this initiative is to find a way to put America’s deep cultural shadow — racial attitudes and divides — in the rearview mirror.
Don asked me to convey his promise that you will hear fresh and imaginative thinking regarding large-scale solutions to growing complexity within what he calls “zones of functionality.” This is in contrast to thinking that is subtly framed by ideologies, private agendas, or historical beliefs. A new emergence of rising possibilities offers hope for new and powerful solutions to ancient conflicts and cycles of violence.
About Don Beck
Don Edward Beck, Ph.D., is a teacher, geopolitical advisor, and theorist focusing on applications of large-scale psychology, including social psychology, evolutionary psychology, organizational psychology and their effect on human sociocultural systems. He is co-founder of The National Values Center in Denton, Texas; and President and CEO of The Spiral Dynamics Group, Inc., a global enterprise. He is a member of The American Psychological Association; The World Future Society; The International Paleopsychology Project; and the “Cadre-of-Experts on Ethnopolitical Violence,” named by the American and Canadian Psychological Associations.
Dr. Beck is also a Fellow of the George Gallup Institute at Princeton. He co-authored The Crucible: Forging South Africa’s Future (with Graham Linscott, l991) and Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership & Change (with Christopher Cowan, l996). He wrote a Sports Values column for the Dallas Morning News for seven years and appears often in the media regarding issues related to values, sports and racial divides. He has adapted the “assimilation contrast effects” described by social psychologist Muzafer Sherif and applied it internationally, in dozens of countries.
He played a major role in the formation of the Integral Movement and many of his theoretical ideas, language, and real world applications have been widely adopted by Ken Wilber and other Integral leaders and have become an important part of the fabric of Integral theoretical thought. His work with Professor Clare Graves, that created the Spiral Dynamics model, was a very important early effort to popularize the levels of consciousness emergence and was primarily responsible for bringing the Graves Paradigm to a global audience. He has taught at the Adzes Graduate School for fifteen years and his series of courses and initiatives remain at the cutting edge of this technology. He has been active on all five continents and has spoken in at least a dozen countries and cultures. His MeshWorks Solutions was the first process to address issues at the large-scale, including whole countries and complex cultures, and major transformational projects. He remains active in South Africa and, along with Elza Maalouf, he has found fresh approaches to resolving the historic Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE:
Sunday, November 9th at 10:00am Pacific; 11:00am Mountain; 12:00pm Central; 1:00pm Eastern
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Please Note: There will be a limited number of lines available on the live conference call, so we encourage you to listen online if possible. To make sure you can get through by phone, we encourage you to dial in early.
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We look forward to your attendance!
The Beyond Awakening Team