[(R) for Rapid – thanks to Elisabeth Sahtouris for this one.]

They don’t mix well.

What is it about the closed Sensitive Self (Spiral Dynamics Green) that makes it such a draining system to engage? (And I emphasise “closed” – “open” and even “arrested” I have had great joy engaging). And why do I find myself feeling increasingly unsympathetic and impatient towards it?

One of Clare Graves’ key conclusions was not that it was our task to get everyone to second tier, but rather that we should aim to meet people where they are at, creating the habitats that allow them to flourish as the people that they are (so in AQAL terms create alignment across quadrants).

However another of his major findings was how “value systems” emerge in interaction with “life conditions” (in AQAL terms, the four quadrants co-arise / co-evolve). Now our current global life conditions are those of the sixth major species extinction on planet earth – according to scientific definitions of numbers and rates of disappearance. In the previous five extinctions, the dominant species has gone down with many others, unable to adapt. So it would be an exception if we survived this one. However, there is a signficant difference with this one – we are the primary cause of it, so we can also turn it around. We are also now aware of this evolutionary process itself, that we are.

Now these life conditions call firstly for seeing ourselves as part of the interconnected and evolving whole that our planet and universe is, and secondly for us to design integral interventions and act rapidly whilst learning continually on the job.

The Sensitive Self has an issue with both of these demands. Seeing ourselves as part of an evolving whole, and therefore as evolving ourselves, has implications – namely that different people are at different levels of development, which means that I am at a different level of development to others around me – more evolved than some and less evolved than others. Particularly that last one is tricky for Green.

It’s my experience that Green is the last major stand of the ego (by which I mean our sense of separate self). It is a confusing system. It calls for inclusion and tolerance, and believes that everyone has their own truth and therefore must be included in everything. The result is that if anyone tries to tell someone centred in closed Green that they have an obligation or responsibility to do something, they are likely to get told in no uncertain terms that they have no right to tell them what they should do, as they are their own individual with freedom to be who they want and do what they like – so bugger off with your authoritarian oppression. However the evolutionary context implies a natural hierarchy where others do exist who can see things more clearly than you, and whose leadership it should therefore be normal for you to follow. This, in my experience, is where Green reaches its limits, and will often freak out projecting all sorts of past hurt about not being honoured, respected, included etc etc. Not very pleasant stuff to have to deal with.

The other demand – natural design and rapid action – is also too much for the Green system. The reasons are obvious really – design and action are not things best done by including anyone who wants to be included (or by people democratically elected), but by people who have the vertical and horizontal competencies to do so. Would you rather have your airplane passengers elect pilots from amongst their own numbers, or have qualified people appointed by the airline? We need functional teams, appointed by those with complex enough value systems to be able to make that fit – and if that selection team does not include you, then the ego and Sensitive Self goes ape.

So basically, the primary reason for us to facilitate as many people as possible (including ourselves) out of Orange/Green into Yellow/Turquoise is not that the latter are better systems, but that the planetary life conditions are demanding it, and if we want to survive this time round then we had better get on with it.

So no more time for pandering to hurt egos, trying to help people feel like they belong, meeting lacks in people by granting them a place, giving in to demands for diversity and inclusion just for the sake of it, or submitting oneself to heart-sharing sessions just to make someone else’s Sensitive Self feel better.

Only time for standing in our own strength, free of the past, connecting with others to have an impact when the need requires, thinking for ourselves and trusting our insights checked with a community of the adequate, and aligning all that we do behind a purpose that serves the good of the whole.

Time to get on with it. If we upset Sensitive Souls on the way, that hurt belongs to them and not to us. Don’t let it distract us and drain our energy. Release the past, feel the pull of the future and joy of the present, and do what needs to be done.

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