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An Emergent Subjective/Objective Tale of Humanity ...

   and The Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth

- from Bio-Psycho-Social, and Systems Theory, through MEMEs,

the Metaphysics of QUALITY (MOQ) and VALUE Memes to the very

evolutionary concept of HUMAN NICHES.

"Hang it all, you've made me drunk, roaring drunk as I haven't been on a

book (I mean a book of doctrine; imaginative works are another matter)

since I first read Bergson during World War I. Who or what are you?

How have I lived forty years without my having heard of you before and

my sensation is that you have written a book of the highest genius."

Extract from a letter to D.E. Harding from C.S. Lewis, Easter 1950 -

on reading the draft of … The Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth

Clare Graves created an epistemological theory that he hoped would reconcile the

various approaches to human nature and questions about psychological maturity.

He collected pertinent data from his psychology students and others (in total a diverse

group of around 1,065 men and women aged 18 to 61) in the seven years from 1952

to 1959. He gathered conceptions of the mature personality and conducted batteries

of psychological tests using recognized instruments. His analysis of this data became

the basis for a theory that he called, among other titles ...

"The Emergent Cyclical Levels of Existence Theory" (ECLET).

He believed that tangible, emergent, self-assembling dynamic neuronal systems evolved

in the human brain in response to evolving existential and social problems. He theorized

"man's nature is not a set thing, that it is ever emergent, that it is an open system,

not a closed system."  This open-endedness set his approach apart from many of his

contemporaries who sought a final state, a nirvana, or perfectibility in human nature.

His inclusion of the bio-, psycho-, social, and systems theory as vital co-elements

also described an inclusive point of view that continues developing today. 

Graves' work observes that the emergence within humans of new bio-psycho-social

systems in response to the interplay of external conditions with neurology follows a

hierarchy in several dimensions, though without guarantees as to time lines or even

direction: both progression and regression are possibilities in his model. Furthermore,

each level in the hierarchy alternates as the human is either trying to make the

environment adapt to the self, or the human is adapting the self to the existential

conditions. He called these 'express self' and 'deny self' systems, and the swing

between them is the cyclic aspect of his theory. Graves saw this process of stable

plateaus interspersed with change intervals as never ending, up to the limits of the

brain of Homo sapiens, something he viewed as far greater than we have yet imagined.

Richard Dawkins came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, which

popularised the gene-centred view of evolution and introduced the term meme.

In 1982, he introduced into evolutionary biology the influential concept that the

phenotypic effects of a gene are not necessarily limited to an organism's body, but

can stretch far into the environment, including the bodies of other organisms; this

concept is presented in his book The Extended Phenotype.

Dawkins is an atheist, a vice president of the British Humanist Association, and a

supporter of the Brights movement. He is well known for his criticism of creationism

and intelligent design. In his 1986 book, he argues against the watchmaker analogy,

an argument for the existence of a supernatural creator based upon the complexity of

living organisms. Instead, he describes evolutionary processes as analogous to a blind

watchmaker. He has since written several popular science books, and makes regular

television and radio appearances, predominantly discussing these topics. In his 2006

book The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly

does not exist and that religious faith is a delusion—"a fixed false belief ".

Whatever Dawkins believes, there IS a growing understanding in the scientific community

of the desperate need to provide a scientific explanation of "spirituality" - to bridge the

divide between general relativity and the sub-atomic characteristics of our multiverse of

potential universal manifestations of reality.

The Metaphysics of Quality (MOQ) is a theory of reality introduced in Robert Pirsig's

philosophical novel - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974) and

expanded in the Guggenheim sponsored Lila: An Inquiry into Morals (1991). The MOQ

incorporates facets of East Asian philosophy, Pragmatism, the work of F. S. C. Northrop,

and Indigenous American philosophy. Pirsig argues that the MOQ is a better lens through

which to view reality than the traditional dualistic subjective/objective mindset found

in the West.

Don Beck and Christopher Cowan on the other hand, proposed in their epic - 

Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership & Change - that the same principles

of Spiral Dynamics apply to a single person, an organization, or an entire society.

Since it describes human nature in a universal sense rather than through personality

types or racial, gender, and ethnic traits, the model provides a common language

for grappling with both local and global problems.

It offers a unifying framework

that makes genuinely holistic

thinking and actions possible. 

Don Beck said in his, reality awakening  piece - Windmills, Tulips, and Fundamentalism

in the Spring | Summer 2005 edition of Kosmos -

"There must also be an acceptance of superordinate goals that overarch the entire

society, and the mutual sharing of accountability and responsibility. This common

ground - the new Dutch Synthesis (actually it’s a spiral) can be the basis for resolving

differences, mediating conflicts, enhancing sustainability while facilitating our inevitable

emergence. A MeshWorks will facilitate the vertical inclusion of the Pre Modern, Modern,

Post Modern, and now, Integral stages. In a horizontal sense, it will show how to both

tolerate and enhance multiple expressions of culture, religion, life style, and personal

choice. In all cases the overall needs and interests of the new Dutch 'polder' must have

the highest priority, and provide the touchstone for decision-making.

The intent will be to seek the power of the Third Win (both parties and the world

society win) and embrace those universals that flow through all healthy and responsive

social orders and combines. This will not come easily and it may take decades for it to

be realized. Yet, in this microcosm of human cultures in a small land area in Europe,

we may well see serious and mature attempts to turn potential cultural tidal waves into

synergistic flows that will benefit all. Obviously the Dutch are world famous for their

understanding of how water moves and what happens when dams break, or holes

appear in the dikes."


Loraine Laubscher has eloquently summarised her own position, in respect to ALL

of this in her HUMAN NICHES - SPIRAL DYNAMICS FOR AFRICA thesis as follows ...

“During my intense diverse working career, I met Clare Graves (Existential Staircase,

1974) and worked intensively with Don Beck (Spiral Dynamics, 1995). These

underlying theories significantly influenced the way in which I work. For more than

20 years I have been placing Graves’s theory of the Emergent Cyclical Double Helix

Model of Bio-Pscyho-Social Human Development on the South African cultural

landscape. The result is that to understand the diversity of South Africa and the

way forward to a future with promise, all South Africans have got to be helped to

see their world differently. There is always a different way to see and understand

the world around you, and I became part of translating different thinking systems

in an attempt to create shared understanding. 

I believe that we should position the theory of Spiral Dynamics as a Human Niche

theory, and that we should suspend judgement between the niches – the gifts of

the different niches should rather be appreciated and unleashed.”


TIME to THINK and ponder ... or should that be polder, INDEED - and in the context of

Loraine Laubschers ... ‘Back to the Future’ observation that … “IT appears to me that

things that were never said in “polite company” can now be written on Facebook,

without condemnation” ... 

I shall endeavour to increase “the level” of my own auto-ethnographic reflexions -

and work towards finalising the AlphaINDEX of AlphaINDEXs, in line with Loraine’s

Thesis concept of ethnographic content analysis.






Views: 123

Comment by Michael Grove on February 12, 2014 at 13:43

Perhaps even David Cameron's call for a European Union of Peoples, rather than a union of

governments, chimes perfectly with what he has been saying at home when it was backed up

by a hard pledge that left Labour floundering. The BBC have more recently digitised and archived 

a whole collection of Apartheid Related Material which reports on the political system of apartheid

that governed every aspect of life in South Africa from 1948 to 1991. In practice, apartheid

enforced a racial hierarchy privileging white South Africans and under this system only they had

the vote. The programmes and documents illustrate what life was like for ordinary South Africans

as well as revealing key moments in the struggle against this political system. The language used

to express views on race in these programmes reflects the attitudes inherent in apartheid.

ONE CAN ONLY HOPE that PERHAPS the time has come at last for TRUST to be RE-ESTABLISHED

Comment by Michael Grove on April 26, 2015 at 12:41

Mutual understanding is critical to establishing trust, and trust is critical for developing

sustainable international relations. Artists have a particular ability to use social media and

face-to-face communications at the same time. The dissemination of co-creative practices is

propitious in becoming aware of differences, and at the same time, pointing to our similarities.

Our mutual relationships have a lingering impact on us. We are not billiard balls bouncing off

each other. While billiard balls change direction and speed as they interact, they remain essentially


As humans, we evolve internally with every contact we have with another human being.

Alain Ruche

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