Dr. Clare Graves‘ research and work became Spiral Dynamics [SD], a model that describes a rather complex set of relationships. SD visualizes a vertical system of human values development in relation to changing, external life conditions. The model identifies six distinct levels, or stages, of human values development revealed in Graves’ research.
As we discovered in my last blog piece (Empathy Window Opens), “Green [FS],” designates the highest stage, or level, of values development and represents American society’s leading/growing edge. As I wrote in my initial blog piece in the series (Perennial Leading Edge Failure), progressive media and leadership are often confounded and operating from what we’re about to see is a naïve Green [FS] perspective.
Dr. Don Beck, co-author with Dr. Chris Cowan, of Spiral Dynamics, has suggested the designation, “naïve,” to indicate an unhealthy, immature relationship with a values set. A naïve expression is marked by a fused, uncritical, shadow-laden (partial) relationship with any particular values set. A naïve relationship with a values set quite naturally produces unhealthy expressions of those values. The naïve expression of any particular values set is typically the embodiment of an overreach of Red [CP] instinctual, emotional, egocentric, power values channeled through the unhealthy expression of higher level values.
Conflation issue [can’t walk AND chew gum simultaneously]
Naïve expression of a values set reveals/displays some kind of reductionist shadow, or blind spot. For example, one serious naïve expression of (Orange [ER]) rationalist, individualist, merit values is the reduction that conflates reality with objects (exteriors, surfaces), e.g., scientific materialism. People who regard science as their sole authority regarding truth are expressing a naïve relationship with Orange [ER] values.
Orange [ER] is rationalist and that, ironically, led to a legit critique of Naïve ER’s rationality. Namely, that it was not nearly as “objective” as previously understood. So called, objective reasoning, as it turned out, has subjective aspects and is thus capable (and demonstrably guilty) of vectoring power, privilege, and resources to in-groups. That legitimate criticism is a healthy expression of Green [FS]” pluralist/justice values and one of the enduring pieces of wisdom of the [FS] postmodern critique of [ER] modernist overreach. However, it was a drastic overreach of (Naïve FS) extreme-postmodernism to then discount and dismiss all knowledge, rational thought, and human expertise as only oppressive expressions of injustice. We will plumb this a bit further in just a moment.
Then, too, we need look no further than the story of Nicolaus Copernicus and his Orange [ER] rational, challenge of Naïve Blue [DQ] mythic-membership, sacred text, rule of law values – the sun does not revolve around the earth, etc. [e.g., rational, scientific challenge of Church/State overreach]. Naïve Blue [DQ] is reductionist in conflating reality with it’s dogmatic formulations and narrations of reality.
In my immediately previous post I wrote this about Naïve Green [FS]:
… like a boomerang, the present leading edge risks putting itself out of the community with its shaming of everything below – “Well, it all looks like injustice and bigotry from up here!”
That’s describing some serious reduction. How did that happen? How did Green [FS] ever get the idea to conflate bigoted and unjust expressions with all expressions of pre-Green values sets? Good question.
Being “Naïve” Green [FS]
When a person’s values are geared around human community and justice, then it’s easy to see how one might feel as though Isaiah, John the Baptizer, Jesus, Gandhi, MLK, Dorthy Day, and all of history’s justice activists are with them (e.g., “so great a cloud of witnesses”). Easy to see how one might feel pretty righteous in the cause. I mean, really, the cause is justice, and for Christ’s sake. The puzzling thing is, why do so many people in the U.S.A. feel that progressive values have been presented (and ratified in law) with a tone much more expressive of intolerance and tyranny than empathy, compassion, grace, and love? An emotional ‘we win and you lose’ motif used to expand justice and rights may find some short term utility, yet it is totally antithetical to transformation and real justice. [Cf. Matthew 11.12; Luke 16.16; John 6.15]
How we got here
Here are a couple six-minute video clips of Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault in a discourse that occurred in 1971. It concerned human nature and power. Foucault’s overreach forms a key foundation for naïve Green [FS].
First, Foucault basically dismisses Chomsky’s project as “advanced.” Foucault then conflates unhealthy with healthy expressions of the creative energies [knowledge, healing, law, etc.] that he engages for his genealogies project. In the above clip, Foucault makes the grand, dark, devastating overreach of extreme-postmodernism with just a handful of words. Foucault’s personal shadows [guilt, shame, self-hatred–sadly/ironically, a product of the oppressive institutional residue he critiques, a critique Chomsky rightly allows] obscured his ability to see the healthy expressions of these energies. The result, Foucault projected his blindness (shadow) into his (Naïve Orange [ER]) intellectual model and (Naïve Green [FS]) Utopian (deconstruction) project [cf. shadows hierarchy].
The performative contradiction of extreme-postmodernism had yet to be identified. Still, Chomsky was doing his best in his arguments here to put the reductionist overreach of radical deconstruction in check. [this quote begins first clip above]:
“If it is correct, as I believe it is, that a fundamental element of human nature is the need for creative work, for creation without the arbitrary limiting effects of coercive institutions …”
A theologian might even hear an opening to common ground: prominent Biblical themes, namely the doctrines of a creator God and of the imago dei. Here, Chomsky leaves a way to be in conversation. No way readily visible with Foucault’s pitch – it is a (Red [CP]) power-grab for intellectual ascendancy.
I’m not sure we’ll be ready to set Chomsky’s “anarcho-syndicalism” argument [anarchist unionism] in place anytime soon, either, but, Chomsky could see very clearly the dark pit from which Foucault was speaking.
Oops! Out went the [justice/decency] baby with the [radical deconstruction] bathwater.
It’s a damn shame [satire] that it was Foucault’s overreaching, long-ago-overturned thought that seeped into culture for 40 years and not Chomsky’s (and Jürgen Habermas, Karl Otto-Apel, Charles Taylor, et al.). Ironically, the partial truth in Foucault’s argument is likely a significant reason why things have gone the way they have for us until now. That is, for the same reason it worked that way for Foucault, e.g., the damage of institutional residue done to him (and society) by the social institutions he targeted. Foucault’s partial truth simply overreached.
Sigh. In any event, it’s time to pick up the pieces.
Not finished yet
I wish the news on this highest level, naïve Green [FS] situation were better. Even more, I wish that was all of it. Sadly, we have at least another week or two (and blog post[s]), perhaps several more, before we will have a clear picture of the full failure of society’s leading edge.
So, what is “the performative contradiction of extreme-postmodernism?” We’ll pick up from right there next week. For now, the practical effects of the resulting reductions made by extreme-postmodernism were tremendously destructive to our society and have produced our present life conditions. Healing the damage of that is job one.
Next week, “Flatland,” publishing July 22. Please continue the conversation this week, and stay tuned.
I never know what I’ve said till I hear the response. What did you hear me say?
[Recommendation ~ Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box]
[Recommendation ~ Anatomy of Peace]
Link: Introductory Blog Post #ReturnToDecency for June 30, 2018
Link: Perennial Leading Edge Failure #ReturnToDecency for July 1, 2018
Link: Empathy Window Opens #ReturnToDecency for July 8, 2018