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Psychological Environment

LoneBear's picture
Submitted by LoneBear on Fri, 02/28/2014 - 18:04

The Psychological Environment—Values and Judgment

As a public “face” to a spiritual monastery, the Antiquatis Institute will naturally run across people from all walks of life, some of which will be in conflict with each other and the concepts being promoted in classes and lectures. Psychologist Clare Graves developed a unique system named Spiral Dynamics describing how a person “values” their experiences and as a result of those values, makes an internal judgment of others. Though “Judge not that ye be not judged,”[1] would be the eventual lesson of the interaction, people will be people and judgment is a natural valuing process (“I like chocolate chip cookies”, “I don't like white chocolate chip cookies”), critical judgment.

Recent research into the psychology of personal and interpersonal “values” has reaffirmed the importance of an age-old, simple concept—just how important the background environment is, when it comes to the natural workings of the psyche. Just as a garden requires that the soil and the water supply be adequate and healthy, a Sanctuary would require an equally cultivable psychological landscape for the people involved.

In any institution, the original goals and ideals that were promoted are often lost as time passes, or when a large number of people get involved, imposing their own system of values over that of the greater ideal.

To understand why this happens, there are two interrelated concepts which need to be clarified, one with respect to who an individual is, and the other with respect to what the individual values.

As a human being grows from childhood to old age, he generally increases his radius of interaction, starting with his immediate self, extending to his family, friends, peers, and so on. In a similar fashion, the “values” progress from one valuing system to another, in discrete, identifiable steps (called valuing memes or vMemes[2] for short). The progression is basically that of the world-view, starting from ego-centric to world-centric and beyond.

Each person has an active vMeme that dominates their valuing process, and controls the judgments they make. However, when that vMeme fails to provide the answers for the important questions within one’s experience, an expansion occurs and a new vMeme is embraced, in order to answer those questions. The transition can often be difficult, as the loss of what used to be “right” tends towards emotional depression, but then the “light is seen” and a new way of understanding the Universe appears, with answers to those questions that could not be answered, before.

There are two Tiers of vMemes, briefly:

Tier 1 (I’m Right, You’re Wrong)[3]

Beige (Survival): Survival is supreme, all values based on self-sustenance. (Examples: first human societies, starving masses, infants)

Purple (Tribal): Survival of the tribe is important, allegiance to ethnicity and magical spirits. (Examples: Blood oaths, curses and charms, rituals, youth gangs and sport teams, corporate “tribes”)

Red (Power Gods): The rule of power and the way of the warrior is supreme, the strongest and conquerors are admired the most. Enjoy self to the fullest, without remorse. (Examples: Roman Empire, teenage rebellion, wild rock stars, epic heroes)

Blue (Truth Force): The higher Order is supreme, which provides life with a meaning and direction, and lays down the rules for absolute “right” and “wrong”. Impulsivity is controlled, hierarchy is clear. (Examples: religious fundamentalism, patriotism, the army, Puritanism, Governments, Boy Scouts)

Orange (Entrepreneur): Achievement of individuals valued highly, rational, strategic, scientific, with emphasis on material gains and utilizing all available resources. The world and man, working as a machine. (Examples: Wall Street, fashion industry, science and technology, materialism, advertisements)

Green (Human Bond): Human bonding and ecological awareness is paramount, all hierarchies and boundaries to be erased. Enrich life with spirituality, networking and emphasis on relationships. (Examples: Human and animal rights, Greenpeace, Rogerian counseling, activism)

Tier 2 (Let’s See How That Works)

Yellow (Systemic): Life is a kaleidoscope of natural hierarchies [holarchies], systems and forms. Flexibility, spontaneity, and functionality have the highest priority. The interactions among Tier 1 vMemes are understood, far-sighted actions, based on a global view of things.

Turquoise (Holistic): Feeling and knowledge united, the system is perceived as a conscious system. Universal order, but in a living, evolving and conscious fashion, not based on external rules (blue) or group bonds (green). A “grand unification” (Theory Of Everything) is possible, in theory and in actuality.

It can be seen that both individuals and societies grow through the vMemes, from beige onwards.

The difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2 is that Tier 1 can only see the vMeme it is currently in (only one “right” way to do things) while Tier 2 perceives the other systems of values, and is able to integrate them by prioritizing them.

On the surface, Green vMeme appears to satisfy this criterion, but a closer look shows that green also has one right way to do things, and that is the way which necessarily agrees with everyone’s right ways. Along with the idea of a “right way,” there is also the existence of a “wrong way,” and in Tier 1, every other vMeme, other than the one being experienced, is perceived as “wrong,” which is the origin of “blame” and why it is so rampant when it comes to different systems.

Another observation is that when two, Tier 1 vMemes are mixed up, they corrupt each other as when “orange” technology is provided to “purple” tribal leaders, leading to uncontrolled violence… or as the orange, materialistic Science opposes the faith of blue Church and vice versa.

Hence, introduction of a Tier 2 concept into a Tier 1 environment would only result in an inevitable misrepresentation, which is why the Monastic aspects of the Sanctuary Project (Tier 2) are separated from the public face, Antiquatis Institute (Tier 1). New systems of knowledge would be welcomed, as concepts would no longer be restricted to a particular valuing level, but seen as simply a challenge of translation where the concepts expressed are mapped as accurately as possible.

This has been the case with great institutions and individuals over the ages. As time passes, the institution includes those from Tier 1, who are not able comprehend the “bigger picture” as envisioned by the Tier 2 founders. The Sanctuary Project is designed to assist the individual to grow to a Tier 2 consciousness. In other words, as a true individual, one is able to work with an integrated system both within and without, and is able to work towards something without needing to work “against” something “wrong”[4]. By this definition, an individual is able to work and think holistically, exercising their free will, ensuring the understanding of the concepts prior to their application because they have experienced them, themselves, first hand.

This is the psychological atmosphere required for the development of Sanctuary: individuals who are able to apprehend Tier 2 and are willing to share their knowledge and skills with others in order to evolve further. Who an individual is, is hence concomitant with what the individual values, which provides a good conceptual foundation to build on. One may even say that this is the “Conceptual Constitution” which one chooses to promote for Kheb[5].

1 The Gospel according to Saint Matthew, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
2 A Theory of Everything by Ken Wilber, p 9-13.
3 A Brief Introduction to Spiral Dynamics and Gravesian Theory,
4 The Magnum Opus, discussion posted to the Antiquatis Institute website.
5 A Path that Doesn’t Play the Game, discussion thread posted to the Antiquatis Institute website.