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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Reflections on The Integral Living Room 2013, Part 3 Distinguishing concepts about We-space


Constructively-Critical Reflections on The Integral Living Room 2013

Part 3: 

Theme: Clarifying/distinguishing concepts around and about we-spaces



This is the third in a series of 6 blogposts, which are supplemental to the Notes from the Field report I wrote about the Integral Living Room event for the January 2014 issue of Integral Leadership Review online journal.
(http://integralleadershipreview.com/11117-integral-living-room-boulder-colorado-usa-october-31-november-3-2013/
These blogposts represent my more personal constructively-critical reflections and musings, and are not purposed for reporting, as the Notes report was. They'll make limited sense if you haven't read the Notes report, but, I hope, are of some general usefulness.

Note: This blog contains only a couple of my reflections as a member of the ILR Harvest Team; there is much more to be said, and that is a future blog, around our questions, our process, and our relationship to various elements of the Integral Living Room happening! These are dear to my heart and closer to my Divine Passions than some of the reflections and musings below, and more important to the world, IMO, than some of what is below, but these posts got written in the timeframe I had up until now. Stay tuned!


The blogposts are about various themes I’ve organized my reflections into:






Part 3. Theme: Clarifying/distinguishing concepts around and about we-spaces

That's this post, read below. Find the others via the links to them.








Each theme section is independent, so you can skip around if you like!

Part 3. Theme: Clarifying/distinguishing concepts around and about we-spaces


Maybe it wasn’t necessary or optimal to be making a lot of conceptual distinctions related to we-spaces as part of the gathering, but I am extremely grateful and glad to have been provoked/evoked by my own discomfort at their absence, into a veritable flood of them before, during, and after the event. I am inclined to believe that had the ILR space been more invitational to everyone expressing such insights as they arose at the time, people might have gone home with somewhat clearer conceptual frameworks which would facilitate their growth, individually and as we-space participants and co-creators. (Granted, conceptual clarity about this phenomenon/capacity at this phase of humanity's evolution toward and into it, consists mostly of vague senses and questions!) And that’s not to minimize the growthful effects of the subliminal and experiential aspects of the gathering! It’s just to suggest additions.


Distinctions I have already begun to explore include Yellow, Turquoise, Coral and Teal stages, dominant monad of a we-space, parameters of description of we-spaces, all six First-Tier stages of we-spaces, and other questions.


(Of course there are a thousand questions about we-spaces which are unanswered by humanity yet, and worthy of considering. I will soon publish a whole blogpost just listing the questions I know of! These following below are just the ones highly relevant to ILR 2013 as it unfolded/played out.)



Here I’d like to focus on


a) distinguishing among the concepts of interaction, conversation, group, community, culture, and we-space


b) distinguishing purposes for we-spaces


c) distinguishing among developmental stages of we-spaces


d) distinguishing spiritual and relational lines from 2T we-space characteristics


e) distinguishing Second Tier and Green we-space shadows and limitations


f) distinguishing “Second Tier” from Green



Sub-theme A:  Distinguishing among concepts of interaction, conversation, group, community, culture, and we-space
One of my blogposts made a bare beginning of drawing such distinctions, but if there is "something" we all believe is valuable, even essential, to create, foster, become skilled at and even embody, then we need to know what kind of thing that is, and what it is not, (and for whom and when,) and what the relationships -- supportive or not -- are with other similar kinds of things. For example, the ILR was billed as 2T conversations, but as some noted there, conversation between 2T people isn’t necessarily a 2T conversation nor a 2T we-space! Even before we can address distinctions among developmental stages (and other relevant variables) of we-spaces, we need these prior distinctions to guide our inquiries.


As one example, it was mentioned by one of the Hosts to “shift to join energetic fields and be One.” Well, does that pertain for a conversation, a group, a we-space? And at what developmental stage of individuals would such an injunction be comprehensible and desirable and even achievable? And what kind or stage of we-space or conversation would that result in, if achieved?


Sub-theme B:  Distinguishing purposes for talking about we-spaces
We talked at ILR about “building capacity to identify as a ‘we-field.’” First of all, as I have been saying with respect to conceptual distinctions, for whom does that phrasing even make any sense? But then beyond that, we might need to ask and answer:
Capacity as what for what? Toward what vision, what purpose? Obviously I have given my own desired answer, (dealing with humanity’s challenges) but it would be lovely and useful to explore, after people have some ideas of what the heck all of this is talking about, the WHY of why we might want to be talking about it! (This is different from the intention vs exploration purpose for we-spaces; that’s another topic. I’m talking here about the purpose not of a we-space but the “why” of even thinking or learning about we-spaces as a phenomenon/capacity.)


Sub-theme C:  Distinguishing among developmental stages of we-spaces
This was an “upclose and personal” theme for me at ILR. I was pushed, pulled, shoved, and forced by my own inner tensions around what was (and was not) happening, to draw a distinction between Yellow and Turquoise We-spaces (and extrapolate to Third-Tier Coral and Teal, using SD colors/stages.) That was because so much of my tension arose because I had not differentiated these -- and seemingly neither had anyone else there, including the hosts. Thus my expectations were based, I finally saw, on my own previous definition of “we-space” being unknowingly too limited to the Turquoise version/stage. My definition was constantly being dashed against what was or wasn’t happening. I finally realized the whole event was -- at least in my perception -- experientially careening randomly between those very different stages of we-spaces (one of which has to be mastered before the other could possibly work,) without any differentiation being apprehended or taken into account.


That we-spaces do show up as having developmental stages (as each we-space is a social holon, presumably) appears to me to have been accepted/assumed by the ILR, but I couldn't detect any distinctions among those stages on the radar. I have already extensively blogged about my own descriptions of First Tier, Second Tier, and Third Tier we-space, and the confusions resulting from not distinguishing them (as none can be skipped, which poses a challenge I observed at ILR) so I just offer those links here.


All this is important because there has not been any distinction about First TIER vs Second TIER WS. We treated “2TWS” as some kind of self-evident category unto itself, but without distinguishing Yellow from Turquoise within it, and distinguishing them from Green and Coral respectively. Thus we’re in the Fusion phase, not the Integrated phase which would allow “2TWS” to be a distinguishable concept on its own.


Sub-theme D:  Distinguishing spiritual and relational lines from 2T we-space characteristics
I can’t verify this with examples, but it seemed that only the spiritual and relational lines of 2T were much mentioned, and were often equated to one another and to “being 2T.” However, in individuals, being 2T in the spiritual line does not require being 2T in the relational line, and vice versa. A 2T We-space probably requires at least those two lines both be 2T and maybe other lines also, in a sufficient number of individuals. It would also be helpful not to merge concepts: “Second-Tier” with “Second-Tier We-space” with “We-space.” Those are all questions which remain unanswered by any kind of research, as far as I know. However, we won’t get very far unless we make those line-stage distinctions as soon as we can.


Sub-theme E:  Distinguishing Second Tier and Green we-space shadows and limitations
It seems to me that a distinction between the limitations of Green we-spaces (which we were guided to vividly experience) and the possible shadows of Green we-spaces would have been extremely helpful. (My understanding is that limitations of a stage are not shadows of that stage; they are only shadows if they show up in their un-developed/less-than-healthy form at the next stage. Of course, there are also shadows unique and specific to each stage, possible only within that worldview and its worldspace.) The distinction would have helped because limitations can be transcended, but shadows have to be translated into their healthy versions before transcendence can happen in a truly healthy way. I didn’t see any awareness around these distinctions, and I suspect there was some confusion about which we were dealing with.


We explored the limitations of Green we-space, but not the potential shadows of Green we-space, nor were any questions raised about the shadows or limitations of a 2TWS or of 2T as a Tier (not to mention, breaking all that down usefully into the limitations and shadows of Yellow WS vs Turquoise WS within the general category of 2TWS.)


(As an exploration into notions of healthy and unhealthy Green and “Second Tier” (as individual and we-space stages) I believe it would benefit the purpose of ILR for us to explore more deeply into Ken’s mention that unlike at First Tier, a growth hierarchy into Second Tier loves all previous stages. That could be an interesting basis for an exercise of introspecting perhaps starting with a less vulnerable “3rd-person” examination of what it means to “love all previous stages” and the Yellow individual “shadow” of “allergy to Green.” “What most annoys me about the Green stage is……”)


Distinctions would enable the following growthful situations. It would be a truly amazing bit of group introspection to ask “What are the shadows of ‘our’ Green we-space and how can we best see them, and support ‘our’ development with respect to them? What Green we-space shadows are common, and which in particular are we experiencing?” It would facilitate moving to Integral We-space if we made Green healthier with less Green shadow! So in addition to focus on the limitations of Green (experientially, as life conditions, to foster transformation upward) I believe it would have been useful (but too vulnerable?) to focus explicitly on, and name, some of the shadows within our Green and some of the Green shadows within whatever lines of us are in Second Tier already.)

Individual Green shadow within 2T showed up bigtime in Ken’s talk, implicitly, as he said many things to counteract one unhelpful Green tendency within people generally at 2T: We are the architects of the future, that is simply a scientific reality. [Not pride or egocentrism.] It is not bragging, to see oneself at the leading edge, it is simply a description of the facts. [I know one Green participant who simply did not register this idea at all.] Evolution has to have a leading edge! [And someone has to be on it!]For reasons we don’t know, this has settled on OUR heads. Ken said that early identifiers [of self as Integral] have a positive self-judgment: I am at the leading edge. Or they are lying about where they are, he said!


It would be even more amazingly growthful, if a 2TWS seems actually present, to begin to ask ourselves as a group: What are all the potential shadows of 2TWS, which of those are we experiencing now, how can we grow past them, how can we avoid the potential ones? (Of course, there was only the briefest allusion I recall to any potential limitations or shadows of individual “Second Tier” consciousness.)


Sub-theme F: Distinguishing “Second Tier” from Green
During the days of ILR I felt pulled around among various altitudes and their various expressions without distinctions being made which I could already sense and know; it was dizzying.


First, my Integral Leadership Review Notes report contains many attributions drawn from my notes, of what was Green or what was Second Tier, and I sensed the conversations at ILR mostly referred to negative characteristics/limitations/unhealthy expressions of Green and positive/healthy characteristics attributed to Second Tier, without the opposite balance.


Second, and I cannot make a tight case for this, but it seemed to me that without being named or acknowledged as such (which I believe would have helped both conceptually and experientially) a great deal of healthy Green was highly present in our space, and formed a wonderful foundation for the positive experiences and interactions which were abundant. It would have been lovely to explicitly work with naming the benefits and healthy aspects of Green, which were plentifully obvious in the goodwill, readiness to follow the injunction “We are for each other”, and deep caring which appeared all over the place!


As I reflected on the gathering afterward, I found myself with many questions such as: How much of what we did was Green, how much was healthy Green, how much was dealing with Green shadow, how much was simply typical exit-Green, how much was simply typical entry-Integral/Yellow/Teal, how much was healthy Integral, how much was dealing with Integral shadow?


IMO a lot of what we did, experienced, and talked about was purely within Green, but even within that, would serve the purpose of moving to Integral We-space if it made Green healthier with less Green shadow!

It seemed to me that a great many characteristics being called “Second Tier” were really simply healthy Green; the examples of “playfulness,” “joy,” “creativity,” “kindness,” and “patience” come to mind. Yes, perhaps these reach a higher expression in Yellow and Turquoise, but they are hardly absent in healthy Green! It was said: In 2T we don’t require each other to be the same. We enjoy and use different “textures” of people. We have no need to lay emotional trips. [But IMO it is also unnecessary in Green.] Ken urged us “Give yourself (and others) some slack. It is astonishing what has happened just in the last 10 years. Talk with each other about ways to enact.” [To me that aspect is just healthy Green.]


It would help in the transformation upward, I believe, if this were acknowledged, so that instead of a black-white, absent-present implication, the difference between Green experiences of these great characteristics and Yellow or Turquoise expressions of these same great characteristics, was sharpened for us both conceptually and experientially.


by Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
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