I just wrote this as part of the preparation for our Global SDi/Human Emergence EuroConfab, and thought it might be good to share. This is a core capacity that we are being recognised for in the Netherlands today.

MeshWorks are one of the core products of SDi and Human Emergence practitioners. A MeshWork is a form of next generation network, where different parties are consciously woven together to serve a higher collective Purpose. What a MeshWork can achieve is way beyond anything that any of the individual parties could achieve on their own.

In a MeshWork, special attention is given to what the specific qualities of the different parties are, how their uniqueness can be enhanced and vitalised through their connection to other unique parties. We release a part by limiting it to its specific place in the whole. The combination of alignment behind one higher Purpose, buy-in to a collective set of Principles, and the uplifting of the identity and capacity of each of the parts, creates a powerful dynamic MeshWork that has a clear identity of its own, is diverse in its make-up, and is rapidly responsive and adaptive to the world around it.

Good MeshWorking requires giving attention to an integral combination of Leadership, Culture and Structure, reinforcing each other and strengthening the fabric of effective collaboration. It is the next emerging form as we explore how to organise ourselves to deal with the complex and urgent challenges we face in the world today.

Dutch Emergence 2 – Healing Collective Trauma to Enable Action

Download the PDF here.

The ego … in its zeal to assert its independence, not only transcended the Great Mother, which was desireable; it repressed the Great Mother, which was disastrous. And there the Western ego demonstrated not just an awakened assertiveness, but a blind arrogance. … The Western ego did not just gain its freedom from the Great Mother; it severed its deep interconnectedness with her. … When the Great Mother [Purple] is repressed, the Great Goddess [Turquoise] is concealed. … And one may – it is a terrible realization – look in vain through Judaeo-Christian-Islamic religion for any authentic trace of the higher touch of the subtle Goddess herself. And that, we will see, would become a perfect and terrifying comment on an entire civilisation.” (Ken Wilber, Up from Eden – my additions in [square brackets] )

We are entering a new phase of our work and evolution as the CHE Netherlands, and it feels like this step we are taking is a fractal of the step the nation is being called to take, and indeed the planet as a whole.

During our retreat at the mid-point of the Fifth Day of the Galactic Underworld (May 22-23) – as the new consciousness really starts to take form in the mainstream and at the same time the shadow energy of the Fifth Night starts to seep in – we were called to a new step. It manifested in patterns such as the need to create clear structure, process, agreements etc, combined with a call to make explicit dissonance that we are feeling as individuals about the way the organisation might be shaping up, and about the way we are choosing to behave as individuals. The general theme was for more earthiness, realness, authenticity, clarity – basically “descending” energy as compared to the “ascending” energy that had been guiding us in recent months. The physical gestures that often accompanied the conversation included a strong slapping of the belly region!

At the beginning of the Fifth Day, we made a conscious choice to push outwards, expand, explore, diverge, ascend – and then to take stock in May. Now we are being called to put the foundations in place so that the many initiatives that are emerging can become rooted and fully manifest (descend).

At the same time as this was going on in the organisation, we have been confronted with a reality in the Netherlands of a very serious issue with the dikes. Marieke de Vrij, a highly respected intuitive, has been getting clear images the last couple of years of weaknesses in some of the key dikes. She had been going through the formal institutions (who had already tested her intuitive capacity and accepted its validity) until a couple of months ago, when she decided that they were not taking it seriously enough, were not moving ahead quickly enough, and did not seem to have the capacity to collaborate cross-institution to do what needs to be done. She decided to sound the alarm-bell in public, firstly amongst the more conscious population.

As she told us her story during the Dutch Confab (on May 29), we probed deeper into what it was in the Dutch psyche and soul that was preventing people from moving into action. She revealed a very significant characteristic, that I feel is not only Dutch-related, but connects to the dynamic that Ken Wilber describes for Western civilisation in the opening quote.

She said that the Dutch have a tendency to stay very much in the head and analytical domain, and that the whole belly and groin area is constricted and cramped. Given that we should move ourselves from that area, it means that there is a sort of action-paralysis, whereby people often find good reasons not to act. Sensing deeper, she explained how the amount of animal suffering in this country is truly unbelievable is you let it in (there was a programme on TV the other day showing young chicks going through a shredder). Somehow, we have managed to cut ourselves off from our sensitivity to the experiences of the animal world, and nature more broadly. That denial has as one consequence the paralysis of action.

In Spiral terms, you can see what she is describing as the transcendence and repression of Purple (the Great Mother Ken talks of above), which is leading to the lack of a solid foundation for the healthy expression of Red warriorship and creativity (to learn about these colour codes from Spiral Dynamics, click here). The way she described the Dutch dynamic was one wherein when people do act it tends to be fairly harsh action that creates turbulence around them, and so rather than act in that way, they hold back and don’t act at all. An emasculated culture. Without the embeddedness of the masculine Red action system in the feminine Purple sensing system, it cannot function healthily for the whole. In the Martial Arts, this is represented in the way you bow to each other, where the action hand is always held in the compassion hand.

One of the things I am initiating to help us engage this dynamic, is some Deep Ecology work, building on initial work by John Seed and Joanna Macy (more recently they refer to it as the Work which Reconnects). In this work, you really connect to the Great Mother, feel who you are as part of that, and listen deeply to what the rest of life is telling you at this time. There has been much critique of Deep Ecology work in the Integral community, mainly because it is not being seen in this evolutionary context. If it is used as a sort of romanticisation of a back-to-nature way of living, then it won’t necessarily serve the evolutionary impulse. If however it is used in a way to deal with the repression of the Great Mother that we have experienced in the Industrialised world (the burning of literally millions of women as witches is but one example of what is creating our collective pathology), then the consciousness that is brought to the process and participants is likely to help release the blocked energy from that repression so that we can move into rapid and effective action in the world.

Building on this insight, I got another one yesterday. I was watching the Trooping of the Colour for the Queen’s birthday in London on TV, and was deeply impressed by the powerful Purple and Blue systems at work. The discipline and commitment of those soldiers to manage to keep it all together was truly remarkable – many having just come back from duty in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. It all made me feel a bit home-sick! When my Dutch wife returned, and we were watching the highlights in the evening with our 4-year old boy Finnlo (who loved it!), I was eulogising about the beauty and power of it, and she just could not resonate with it at all! That set me thinking…

The lack of healthy Purple over here is bound to have repercussions for the Blue system (Blue emerges out of Purple, under influence of Red). Blue is also a system that makes things happen – responsibility, commitment to a cause, discipline in the application – all things which I know Andrew Cohen laments as lacking in this country when he is over here. The reputation the Netherlands has as a liberal country reflects a more individualistic tendency – people can choose what they want to do. That freedom of choice, if not embedded in healthy collective systems, can lead to paralysis – and so we go full circle to the water issue. Healing the individual interior Purple and Blue, will create healthy and rapid action out of Red and Orange. Healing the collective interior Purple and Blue should enable the emergence of new systems in the collective to manage the life conditions threat that is now on the doorstep. Revitalised Purple and Blue will also lead to a functional Green where the capacity to engage the diversity in the nation is activated to enable the country to deal effectively with the complexity of the challenges it is facing.

So that’s it for now! Needed to get that down and out. I’m intrigued to know what the Cloggies reckon, and if there are others out there who see this also as a dynamic in their countries or communities.

Dutch Emergence 1

Time to share what is going on over here, as it is truly amazing… We are living through emergence and it is very cool!

As you may know, the Netherlands has been identified for a while now as a place where the potential for “integral” and “second tier” consciousness (what I call “integral evolutionary consciousness”) is particularly high on our planet. Dr Don Beck has been coming here for 10 years and telling people that, but the Dutch themselves found it hard to believe – and challenging to accept. Others have added their voices more recently, such as Deepak Chopra and Lynne McTaggart. It now seems like this nation is ready to step up to it.

We set up the Center for Human Emergence over here late Spring 2005, as part of the network of CHEs emerging across the planet, under the guidance of Dr Beck. We’ve come a long way since then, via a 900-people event March 2006, and ongoing experimentation to walk our talk in terms of our organisational form. It seems the society is now really ready for what we have to offer.

In February of this year, a new Dutch government was formed under the guidance of Herman Wijffels, called back from his role as the Dutch Director at the World Bank by the Queen to see if  he could create a Government from parties across the political spectrum (Christian Democrats, Labour, and Christian Social Union). He took the party leaders away from the media spotlight and party spindoctors on a journey round the country accompanied by an oval table which they kept at all the various locations (good Purple for those Spiral Wizards out there) – and succeeded in creating a coalition that radiated a fresh new energy and what is more came up with what many are calling the first ever attempt at an integral governance model for the coming years.

Now, Herman Wijffels was the first person to accept a position on the Wisdom Council of the CHE NL. He is a strong advocate of Spiral Dynamics, integral thinking and Evolutionary Leadership. (Other members of the Wisdom Council include Prince Carlos de Bourbon – son of the Dutch Queen’s sister – , Fred Matser, Fons Trompenaars, and Marianne Spangenberg-Carlier).

We have been exploring how we can best support this experiment with integral governance. An exciting project is unfolding, in which we will facilitate an integral innovation lab for each of the six streams in the agreement (economy, public sector, sustainability, security, international role, social cohesion), woven together by a seventh stream. This will involvemeshworking Coalesced Authority Power and Influence (CAPI) to create integral prototypes around the challenges that the government has identified. We will work with a development of the U-Process, with six facilitation teams working in parallel and learning from each other as we go. We have contacts at the highest levels and Herman will help us to get the right people around the table for the different streams.

There are a couple of related developments that are worth sharing for now. The Environment and Spatial Planning ministry has landed the two most complext portfolios – environment and social cohesion (including integration). It “just so happens” that we have recently trained up their interim managers department in SDi and equipped them with the PeopleScan tools . We are also supporting them in their internal organisational change process, and recently gave a talk on the whole perspective to a group of high potential middle managers at which the Minister of Environment was present – and she got very excited about our approach, and what is more already knew of Spiral Dynamics and Don Beck!

On the Social Cohesion front, a few of us were invited to a graduation event at the Police Academy of twelve leaders in the Police who have just completed a Personal Leadership course in which Spiral Dynamics Integral played a major role. They’d all be given a copy of my Evolutionary Leadership book (which is full on SDi, Integral and Evolutionary Enlightenment). Herman Wijffels was invited to speak and said he accepted because he was so excited by the fact that they were working with SDi. It is releasing a huge amount of energy in the Police and enabling them to see the issues around integration much more clearly. Via them we have access to the Minister for Integration, and so are beginning to build CAPI for that stream. Maria Jeukens has played a key role over years in getting the Police to where they are now.

And we’ve just launched a project to map the Spiral codes across the nation, to be linked to postcodes via GIS (see, currently only in Dutch though)…

The field is truly crystallising rapidly at the moment. It’s play time.

Conflict at Higher Levels

This is a mail that I sent to Andrew Cohen and cc’d Ken Wilber following one of their dialogues. I also copied Don Beck in and have included some of his comments below.

Dear Andrew,

I was listening to your conversation with Ken on IntegralNaked where you asked about conflict at higher levels. I think I may have something to add to the thoughts which came out then, based on some of the underlying dynamics which I see in the Spiral.
I am consciously using Spiral Dynamics here as I believe that the concept of tiers that Graves identified (with six systems per tier) is key to understanding your experience, Andrew. That is why I prefer not to use 3rd tier the way you are Ken, as we then end up with one tier of 6 systems, one of 2 and one of 4+… I believe there was deep insight in Graves intuition around three tiers of six systems.

In first tier, as you both agreed, conflict tends to emerge most strongly in Red and Blue. The reason for this is the strong sense of clarity about what one stands for, and the in-group / out-group ethnocentric worldview.

[Don: Red is the raw and impulsive expression of I:Me:Mine and Blue, likewise, is the most intolerant, unforgiving, and even punitive version of a We:Us:Our mindset. Blue is what it is because Red is what it is. The transformation from Red to Blue is often violent, wrenching, purifying, redemptive, conflict-producing, and single-minded.]

It is my belief that in the Gravesian “tiers” of six systems, there is a core dynamic which correlates with this experience. The first two systems of each tier (eg Beige / Purple and Yellow / Turquoise) are “entering” systems, where the tier is fading in. Beige and Yellow are both about just keeping one’s head down and getting on with what needs to be done to facilitate survival (individual at Beige and collective at Yellow). Purple and Turquoise are mystical systems where two major elements of the Great Chain are blending (at Purple body-mind, at Turquoise mind-soul).

The last two systems (eg Orange / Green and their 2nd tier equivalents) are “exiting” systems. They invite in greater diversity and complexify the clarity that existed in the central systems. They relativise and open up our systems for the next tier.
The two central systems (eg Red / Blue and Coral / Teal) are the places where the tiers really crystallise and great clarity is expressed. In 1st tier that is ethnocentric one-truth clarity. However at 2nd tier we experience a different type of clarity. I heard Ken say something recently that I have been suggesting to people for a while, namely that the emergence of Coral is equivalent to the emergence of what you call the Authentic Self. This ties in completely with these deeper Spiral dynamics, as 1st tier 3rd system (Red) was the emergence of the new individuated self (Gravesian code : “express-self without shame or guilt” – for one’s self. 2nd tier 3rd system (Coral) is also the birth of a new level of Self. I would use the same Gravesian code as for Red (“Express Self without shame or guilt”), but instead if it being for the ego, it is for the good of the whole.

I expect that like Blue, which creates higher meaning and purpose in exclusivist one-truth systems, Teal also creates higher meaning and purpose, but in inclusivist universal truth systems. Interestingly, the Gravesian code for Blue is “Sacrifice-Self for reward later”. I can see the same code apply for Teal – the sense of what you might call “top-down” surrender to make oneself available to what the universe is calling one to do / who the universe is calling one to become. There is an innate trust that if I do what I feel called to do now, the future will look after itself. I surrender to higher Universals.

[Don: I believe your description of Coral to Teal is accurate as well, and as long as humans are human, there will be conflict. But, as you also point out, this “conflict” will happen within the tradition of the impact of Green, Yellow, and Turquoise within mass minds and conceptual spaces.Just as the Graves code describes the pendalem swing between the warm and cool colors, it also, from a physics perspective, articulates why the major “quantum leaps” occur at a Seventh system which, also, becomes the First in the next Tier.]

Now by their nature, given their clarity and taking a stand, these third and fourth central systems generate conflict. They do not relativise. They stand for something, and are therefore likely to rub against people who stand for something else. It is clear how that plays out in 1st tier. In 2nd tier (Coral / Teal) I believe the conflict that emerges is that between the ego and Authentic Self.

The reason I think that this really emerges strongly only when Coral begins to come online, is also rooted in Graves’ theory – namely that there are normally three value systems interfering with us. So if the highest system we have access to is Turquoise, then we have both Yellow and Green as well. This could be a very static combination, as Turquoise escapes the material world (Graves’s code was “Sacrifice Self to existential reality”, i.e. accept what is, the core teaching of most traditional spiritual paths, what you call the Ground of Being), Yellow scuttles along doing its own thing (it is a very individualistic system) and Green is still exerting the 1st tier pull based on a fear of standing out. So it is only when Coral begins to light up that we really begin to free ourselves completely from the 1st tier energy, rooted in all the things you identify in Hell.

So that’s my take on why I think you are sensing that a new level of conflict begins to emerge at the higher levels you are working at. It is the nature of the central systems in each tier. Hope that helps! I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Love, Peter

Klaar om te Wenden

900 people show up for an experience in a converted factory with Dr Don Beck, Prof Ervin Laszlo, Herman Wijffels and Peter Merry as contributors. We blow the roof off the place and the Center for Human Emergence Netherlands is on the map. Now we have a responsibility to channel that energy.

Talk in March 2006 at major public event about change in the Netherlands. Peter was speaking alongside Herman Wijffels, Prof Ervin Laszlo and Dr Don Beck.

Klaar om te Wenden from Peter Merry on Vimeo: