Through the Spiral of Development
(Here, Teal = Yellow.)
Here's a riff to continue a conversation I'm having with friends!
On page 34 of his book Civic Engagement and the Restoration of Community:Changing the Nature of the Conversation, outlining the A Small Group process, Peter Block says
“Promises that matter are made to peers, not those made to those who have power over us (parents, bosses, leaders). The future is created through the exchange of promises at the local level with whom we have to live out the intentions of the change.
It is to these people that we give our commitments, and it is they who decide if our offer is enough – for the person and for the institution. Peers have the right to declare that the promise made is not enough to serve the interests of the whole. As in each act of refusal, this is the beginning of a longer conversation.”He also says:
"Commitment is a promise made with no expectation of return. It is the willingness to make a promise independent of either approval or reciprocity from other people. The distinction is between a promise made for its own sake and a barter agreement. Barter is an exchange of agreements that are contingent on the actions of another. I will do this if you will do that. This means that we hold an out for ourselves dependent on whether other people fulfill their part of the bargain. This reciprocity works as an element of commerce. It falls short of the level of commitment that creates a new future.
The declaration of a promise is the form that commitment takes and is the action that initiates change. The word promise brings a sacred element into the conversation and this is what generates power and new energy."
In my view, this is healthy Green-consciousness, coming out from healthy Orange. The value of keeping one's word starts with the Red emphasis on loyalty, sworn oaths of allegiance. It moves in Blue as dedication/loyalty to the authority and the "cause," being an unquestioning part of the "us."
Particularly Orange emphasizes making and keeping agreements with equals, as "contracts between individuals" are the basis for many relationships within Orange. The system of Orange-consciousness in society depends on people keeping their word, doing what they said they would do, being honest, etc. That's basic to healthy Orange; as Block said it, reciprocity works as an element of commerce.
In my view, the wording used by Block takes it into Green by talking about creating the future (the implication is, TOGETHER,) and "peers with whom we have to live out the intentions...."
The phrase "the interests of the whole" probably shades into Yellow/Teal, but IMO just dipping the toe in. In fact, it might even be a Blue "shadow," if the interests of the whole are viewed as opposed to the interests of the individual! Yellow/Teal knows how to harmonize those interests.
What is the social function of promises?
As far as I can see, the reason people value making and keeping promises is that it makes life, and especially other people's behavior, predictable. For a human, predictable means safe: less danger and less stress, greater health and longevity. So I see promises as a matter of wanting to feel safer and a means to be safer, from the dangers in this world.
This seems true at every stage. At every stage, promises/loyalty/agreements/commitments are ways of adding more sense of safety into our social fabric.
(Is there an additional purpose for Second Tier? Beyond predictability/safety? I'm not sure. There almost certainly would be. What is it?)
Promises in Yellow/Teal Worldview:
In Yellow/Teal, it is not so much the promises we make to one another that are important. It is our internal commitment to understanding the whole of the system we are in, and to acting in a way that benefits the whole and the parts. When we do that, actions naturally align, harmonize, synergize. There is no need to make promises to one another, but we seem to do that anyway because we are used to it, from our time in First Tier, and it adds to our comfort level.
So, one possible Yellow/Teal version of a commitment query: What is needed for/by the whole and its parts, as distinguishable with their own needs, but inseparable from the whole? What is my promise to that? What is my part to commit to?
Another possible Yellow/Teal version of the commitment query: What commitment from me that I am now making [or willing to make] (and that I want from others) would enable us to live and work in a way that I understand as "Teal" or "next-stage consciousness in action."
Promises in Turquoise Worldview:
In early Turquoise, there is a shift from "whole" to "Field." The relationship of the parts of the whole shifts into being parts of a subtle-energy field, operating beyond behavior and what can be detected with the five senses. In Yellow/Teal, it's only the 5 senses available and that's "reality."
In early Turquoise, making promises turns into our internal commitment, by each of us, to sense the Field AND to act in accord with what we sense as emergent. Valuing and talking about what is "emergent" reflects IMO Turquoise consciousness, not Yellow/Teal.
Side note: The precursor to "emergent" in Yellow/Teal is a sense of where the "system" is going if nothing changes, and where I and others might want it to go and where we could "make it go.". There is no sense of the future emerging into the present ("but just not evenly distributed," as Otto Scharmer said) and our birthing that, midwifing rather than the Yellow/Teal approach which is captured by "co-creating."
So it is important not to ask Yellow/Teal to function as Turquoise. I strongly believe that all talk of "sensing the Field" is Turquoise. In Yellow/Teal, it is "grokking" the relationship of the whole and the parts in a new way that Green can't see (as a "system,") and then extending one's circle of care and behavior to taking differences into account in a new way that Green can't understand: seeing the partial truth and partial value in EVERY person, even every behavior, and adjusting the system to harvest that value for the good of the whole!!
OK, gang, what have I left out? What other ways of seeing all this might there be? What insights have emerged from you in reading this?
Thanks to Ryan Schoenbeck, Eric Hansen, Vihra Dincheva, and Will Van Inwagen for catalyzing and refining this exploration/these reflections.
by Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
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