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Monday, October 15, 2012

"The Master Code:" DNA for a Spectrum of Cultures

The Master Code[1] DNA for a Spectrum of Cultures[2]

Rev. Alia Zara Aurami-Sou, Ph.D.
Head Minister, “Amplifying Divine Light in All” Church

I have entered this blog entry into Blog Action Day 2012 whose theme is "The Power of We."

As usual, the purpose of this blog entry is to stimulate conversation and provoke thought, not to present what I believe to be correct.

Could there be a “DNA” for human culture which can “express” itself from “beast to Buddha” stages of human evolution? If so, can we “map” that DNA and can we encourage its most beneficent expressions? Let's explore this possibility:

“The Master Code”

Take care of yourself.
Take care of each other.
Take care of this place.

Sounds too simple to be profound or widely useful. But like the simple components of DNA, it can express in a surprising complexity of human evolution.

There are roots of this Master Code which go to the most primary and primitive levels of our individual psyche and culture, and there are leaves which reach higher than almost anyone has evolved to yet.


We might say that even on levels we share with many other living creatures “Take care of yourself” expressed itself in humanity’s most primitive beginnings as the simple carrying out of life-sustaining functions: eat, sleep, eliminate, seek adequate warmth or coolness. This is a stage in which the first tenet of the Master Code might be said to take precedence over the others, but there really is are strongly expressed and nearly automatic and universal behaviors in which individuals act for the welfare of others and their group.

“Take care of each other” expresses itself even in bands of our evolutionary neighbors, the great apes, as mutual grooming, mutual protection, care of the young, even playfulness.

“Take care of this place” expresses itself as not fouling one’s nest, and moving around to find food, and to some extent, keeping one’s immediate habitat conducive to life: creating sleeping nests, etc.

The healthy expression of this DNA carried forward into more mature stages of human culture might include healthy families, healthy forms of physical touching and affection, mutual protection, care of the young, playfulness, and being in ecological balance with one’s “place,” keeping it conducive to human life and all life.


As life conditions catalyzed a growth in consciousness, “Take care of yourself” might have expressed itself primarily in terms of “Take care of each other” in tribal life for much of humanity. There isn’t much sense of a “self” as distinct from one’s role in the tribe. “Each other” included family and tribe. 

“This place” is “the land on which our tribe lives,” (at the moment, if nomadic) and that “place” was taken care of as the source of “spirits” who were either conducive or inimical to survival of each other and oneself. This often did include human and animal sacrifices to “the gods” so that some elements of the Master Code were, from our point of view, working against each other.

The healthy expression of this DNA carried forward into more mature stages of human culture might include taking care of self through a sense of belonging, and the beginnings of a life relating to something natural yet immaterial. “Taking care of each other” might express itself through contribution to the life of “one’s people,” as well as awareness of roles and natural division of labor. 

“Taking care of this place” might evolve from honoring and placating the nature spirits via irrelevant and superstitious means such as sacrifices, to a real sensing into the life-energy of the land and its features, a sense of kinship with all of that.


At a more mature stage of humanity’s evolution when life conditions have promoted a more expanded awareness, there is very much of a sense of a ‘self” to focus care on. “Take care of yourself” might take on an additional flavor of “and don’t worry too much about the other person,” so we get feudal societies and “might makes right.” Then, “Take care of each other” included “others” who were either subjugated, or loyal, or one’s rulers. 

“Place” was a sometimes quite territory to be defended or conquered and acquired. “Care” for it was often to work it for supporting the life of oneself and one’s neighbors and circle of loyalty or rule, and if necessary to destroy the ability of enemy land to support enemy life.

This too is a stage in which the first tenet of the Master Code might be said to take precedence over the others.

The healthy expression of this DNA carried forward into later stages of human evolution include a new sense of ‘self’ as more autonomous than merely a cog in a tribal system, and a new sense of self-assertiveness available for ‘taking care of’ that self. 

The “others” to take care of became a circle far larger than one’s immediate tribe or village, and “take care of this place” carried forward in a healthy way might express itself as more knowledge of what it takes for a place to support a people, a more cognitive-based approach to “taking care of place” – even the beginnings of caring about the esthetics of one’s “place.”


In a stage of consciousness available to humanity centered around a guiding touchstone for individual and cultural life as something “beyond” humanity itself, something which sets all the rules and guidelines for us, “take care of oneself” becomes a way of serving that greater Something, and “take care of each other” expands to include a circle of all those who serve that same Something and lived by the same rules and guidelines. 

“Take care of this place” could be expanded to taking care of “holy places,” and even honoring and caring for “this place” as a Creation of that Something, and thus as “representing” It. “This place” was much larger than for previous stages.

The very words “The Master Code” carry the flavor of this stage of consciousness, in which rules and codes of conduct are important.


In a stage of consciousness available to humanity in its evolution, in which production, trade, material well-being, rationality, science, and “human rights” become the most important aspects of individual and cultural life, “take care of oneself” can express itself in a healthy way by discovering one’s pleasures and one’s talents and engaging with others via those in a way which is of mutual benefit. 

“Take care of others” can be expressed by a circle of care which increasingly includes more and more kinds of humans for whom one wants the same benefits and quality of life one enjoys, and caring about opportunities and freedom for others to take care of themselves as they would like to.

“This place” becomes for most people in this scope of consciousness, very large indeed, even larger than a nation. “Take care of this place” can be expressed in extremely unhealthy ways, as we are all too well aware. However, it can also be expressed in healthy ways, retained going forward in evolution, by increasingly understanding scientifically what it takes for “place” and “people” to be in mutually beneficial relationship.

This too is a stage in which the first tenet of the Master Code might be said to take precedence over the others. However, at this point it also can become increasingly clear that the three tenets of the Master Code: Take care of yourself. Take care of others. Take care of this place – are hardly separate, and not necessarily inimical to one another. They can seem to be in conflict, but at root, they can be dimly sensed to amount to the same injunction.


In another stage of the evolution of humanity’s individual and cultural consciousness, that consciousness focuses on inter-relationships and group processes, on a wider circle of empathy, caring, and equality, and on feelings and emotions rather than just cognition, science, and rationality. There can be a taking care of “self” in which that “self” is understood to have many facets, so that “caring” for it is far more complex and requires far more attention and understanding than ever realized before. Part of the complexity is that “self” is relational in a new way , so taking care of self is inseparable from, and sometimes subordinate to, taking care of others -- but not in the undifferentiated way of Stage Two.

There can be a “taking care of others” which is also far more complex, multi-faceted, broad, and deep, than ever dreamed of before. And “taking care of this place” also builds on both understanding and increased empathy for all living things, becoming a strong focus for many people who approach the expression of that caring in diverse ways. “This place” is generally understood to include every “place” from my own home, through my town, and expanding to include the entire planet.


In a human consciousness whose scope of understanding includes a “zoomed-out” view of humanity’s history and place in the scheme of things, and whose scope of concern includes all of that, “take care of yourself” can include a deeper sense of wider “service” to a “system” of ever-developing inter-connections, so that caring for oneself includes providing oneself with the joy of that service.

“Take care of each other” takes on a new depth, as that of a parent who can no longer restrict “other” to only those who are similar, but must foster the well-being of dissimilar others throughout their growth and maturational processes. And “take care of this place” is simply part and parcel of taking care of oneself and others, as they are all parts of an extremely fragile system of inter-dependence. It’s all related and connected both in linear and non-linear ways.

Paradoxes and potential conflicts among the three tenets are apparent, but resolved.

There are some expressions of this DNA of human culture which can evolve even further than those just described, and I will briefly outline them.


For people living with this worldview, their life, others, and the whole planet are a living, dynamic, evolving expression of a Whole which is conscious and we might say ‘alive.’ “Self” and its care, “others” and their care, “place” and its care, are simply facets of that Whole, and caring attention and actions to one or another of those facets is inextricably attention to the Whole – not just long-term and via ordinary-world methods of interaction, but instantaneously throughout the Whole as a dynamic field of energy/information.

“Place” here is much larger than our planet, it is the whole of the Kosmos, all of what exists.

These three are not just seen and regarded as connected and related, but are sensed/felt/perceived as a Whole.


At an even more mature worldview available to humanity, even the distinctions of “Whole” and self, other, and place, are absorbed into the simple living of a human life, so that abiding by the Master Code is automatic, and requires no particular attention.

Thus, beginning at this stage, the Master Code becomes regarded as three re-statements of the same idea, because “me,” “you/them,” and “this place” are the same identity, not just a Whole. It’s the same identity albeit manifested in various physical objects including my own embodiment and groups I belong to, and other embodiments such as land, trees, etc. All “me” and yet distinct, with distinctly different natures and requirements for well-being and thriving.


Perhaps this can evolve further into The Master Code as not an object of awareness or any kind of guide, but a simple aspect of simply universal Being and Becoming as they arise. All the words in all three statements could be reduced to “Be and Become” -- universals and particulars and everything in between. Of course at this stage all statements could be reduced to the same two words. All the universality and particularity one is aware of in Stage Nine, are still in play, but usually in the background of awareness.

Self, other, place, existence, non-existence, are expressions of Being and Becoming as the essence of Everything/Nothing.


Each of these possible expressions in human individual and cultural life of the DNA of the Master Code transcends and includes one another, in the developmental sequence described above.

Even knowing such a sequence is possible, can stimulate our seeking of a healthier expression of anything we recognize as ourselves as this time. And that is the best and only basis for healthy growth. And those are the purposes of this blog.

The Master Code is not just to be admired as sentiments, but to be used to influence how we show up in the world. As Anna Betz says, it “requires as well as gives rise to and helps to grow new practices and institutions.

Among those useful practices might be a daily beginning-of-the-day meditation on the three statements, as articulated by George Por:

Since I first heard it from Marilyn, it kept working on me and inspired me to make it a navigational device of my life. 
Of course, the three principles are something that most of us honor anyway, but naming them, and naming them as the Master Code of our evolutionary intelligence, gives access to a new depth of relating to them.  
To me the Code became a meditation object; I enjoy holding it in my consciousness, at least once a day, as a question: how do I live into it today, what is that each of the three principles asking from me to do and be, today?  
Living into the Code starts with not seeking answers to those questions with my left brain, my planning and scheming mind, but gently yet passionately holding and contemplating them till clear answers emerge from my soul's direction. That is also the beginning of taking care of myself, for the day.  
Then that solo practice begets a new question: with whom can I share it so that the practice can get deeper and stronger by it? That's why I ended my blog, by saying: "It is that simple, the DNA of the next stage of our evolution, based on just three principles, nothing else. I started practicing them. Do you want to join me?" 
Asking that question is part of my contribution to taking care of each other. Then comes my connecting with the nested hierarchy of "these places" of commoning, the instances of the "we" from us to all of us, from my home to the town I live to our beloved planet. What is my desire calling me to do for each instance, today?  
I've just realized that my sharing all this may inspire you and others to share the experience of living into the Master Code, out from which even a new community of practice may emerge, who knows.  

[1] The origins of this Code are uncertain. George Por’s research says he found Meg Wheatley mentioning it in her beautiful essay on The Promise and Paradox of Community, which then on the research trail led to the students of the Olympic Heights School in Calgary. (Maybe it was the New Zealand exchange teacher, Campbell Till, who brought it to Canada, but it's the Canadian students who gave life to it.)

Marilyn Hamilton, a visionary activist of our emerging Planet of Cities, elevated those guidelines to be the Master Code for our “Evolutionary Intelligence” to foster more conscious, healthier cities, in her 2008 book Integral City and explored further in the Integral City 2.0 Conference.

[2] This Spectrum is based on the Spiral Dynamics work of Clare Graves as elaborated by Don Beck and Christopher Cowan. The unnamed stages are: One:Beige, Two:Purple, Three:Red, Four:Blue, Five:Orange, Six:Green, Seven:Yellow, Eight:Turquoise, Nine:Coral, and Ten:Teal. I have used only my own interpretation of the characteristics of these stages, which sometimes differs from or goes far beyond, the “official” descriptions. 

by Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
"Amplifying Divine Light in All" is a completely independent church fostering empowerment of people to co-create loving, thriving God-realized lives, and wellbeing for everyone, on a clean, peaceful Earth.
Our main religious purpose and mission is to amplify the Divine Light in everyone. When you read this article, you will agree or disagree with its various points, and then you will know more about what is true for you. Knowing more of your own Truth amplifies your Divine Light. Thus providing/presenting this article is one way for us to accomplish our purpose and mission. 
This article and our providing/presenting it are therefore a central and essential part of our exercise and practice of our religion. 
None of the contents herein are claimed as absolute truth. They represent one possible perspective which might prove useful for you.

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