February 05, 2006

The Spiral of Human Values

In a nation of 296 million people who have origins in many different countries and religious traditions, and who experience an enormous variation in life conditions, it should be expected that worldviews will vary greatly. Psychologist Clare Graves spent more than thirty years studying how people in this country, and many others, view their world. He analyzed the ways in which humans create shared values that instill meaning in a world that can seem threatening and chaotic. People seek to create order and stability through a shared understanding of their world, he surmised...
To explain each of the eight known worldviews identified in Graves's research, Beck and Cowan use the idea of the meme ( first introduced by Richard Dawkins in his seminal book, The Selfish Gene. A meme is a unit of cultural information that "contains behavioral information passed from one generation to the next, social artifacts, and value-laden symbols that glue together social systems" (Spiral Dynamics, 31). Memes tend to replicate themselves through cultural norms such as dress codes, language idioms, religious expressions, social movements, and political beliefs. Memes also have built-in virus protection to prevent other memes from corrupting their individual values. For example, the fear of going to hell is very effective virus protection built into the Christian meme (a surefire way to prevent its believers from wandering off into other belief systems.
Spiral Dynamics takes the basic idea of the meme and elevates it to the level of meta-meme, or Meme (the single capital is used here to denote meta-memes, rather than the all-caps MEME used in the book). A Meme is an organizing principle that pulls together a collection of similar memes into one coherent worldview. Graves identified eight major Memes in human cultures around the world, ranging from the basic survival Meme to the integrative global village Meme. Beck and Cowan, in order to not privilege one worldview over another, gave each of the Memes a color designation. The labels assigned to the various Memes alternate between warm colors (Memes focused on individual growth and achievement) and cool colors (Memes focused on group development and values) as human systems progress along the Spiral. posted by WH Wednesday, February 01, 2006 WHO OWNS GOD? @ 2:54 PM 1 comments links to this post William Harryman Location:Tucson, Arizona

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