|Hugo on Genius||Ward Churchill is Right|
by Christopher Chantrill
February 15, 2005 at 12:02 pm
IN PART one of this essay we examined the deep philosophical difference between the bared breast and the broken bra strap, and how they symbolized two kinds of creativity: the impulsive creativity that has long been championed by the left and the ruled-based creativity that has been practiced but not particularly championed or even understood by conservatives.
Then we posed the question: how might conservatives champion rule-based creativity over the destructive No More Rules! creativity of our friends on the left. We needed a new psychology to provide context for a conservative creativity-of-the-rules that could meet and beat the lefts vision of creativity as a victory over repression. But where could such a miracle be found?
Fortunately for us, some American psychologists have already developed such a psychology. It is a stage theory that extends Maslows hierarchy of needs, but in a way that powerfully supports the conservative view of humanity and society. Developed by Clare Graves in the 1960s and 1970s it was published and popularized by Don Beck and Christopher Cowan in Spiral Dynamics in 1995. (Link here for more details.)
Spiral Dynamics views human consciousness through the metaphor of an eight-turn colored spiral, an expression of faith that the psychology of the mature human being is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating, spiraling process marked by progressive subordination of older, lower order behavior systems to newer, higher order systems as mans existential problems change. It starts with instinctive beige and then proceeds step by step to tribal purple, power-obsessed impulsive red, rule-following purposeful blue, adventurous creative orange, and caring and sharing communitarian green. Then comes the jump to integral yellow, holistic turquoise, and more.
This all reads like the usual psychobabble, but the question is does it work? Heres how it could tell the story of the American Dream, tracing the journey from helpless immigrant at Ellis Island to wise compassionate conservative.
Americas immigrants, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, arrive in the city barely able to function in the new land. Many of them are impulsive red, knowing only power and powerlessness. Powerless victims, the impulsive reds spiral downwards until they find salvation in the life of rules, learning to live as purposeful blue in the world of the enthusiastic Christian and the respectable middle class. But the children of the middle class want a little adventure. Finding that life in safe suburban Scarsdale a hell they yearn to bend the rules a little and treat life as an adventure. They become creative orange, playing the business game or the arts game to win the glittering prizes. In their turn the children of inventive entrepreneurs reject the heros journey of creativity. They choose instead the inner journey of spirituality and long to cooperate and share rather than create and compete. They become communitarian greens. Beyond green, of course is integral yellow where the compassionate conservative, shall we say, comprehends all the levels below and understands, with writer Ken Wilber, that each stage transcends and includes the ones before it. Above this ridge, of course, new peaks will rise.
We can use the system to analyze our political parties. The Democratic Party is clearly a coalition of caring communitarian greens and helpless red victims organized to hate blue bigots and orange corporate exploiters, while the Republican Party is a coalition of blue believers and orange business entrepreneurs organized to extol rules and enterprise, committed to lifting reds out of victimhood and restrain the self-congratulation of elite green altruists.
In the academy, we have a spiral tangle. We have people who speak lovingly of green cultural diversity, orange creatives competing for the glittering prizes, professors insisting on the sanctity of the blue rules of academic freedom and tenure, and a red power obsession with the idea that rules are a mask for power.
Spiral Dynamics has an important message for people that believe that rules are a mask for power. It insists that each level builds upon the previous levels, so you cannot build creativity unless you build it upon the rules. But if you cut out a level, then you regress to the level just below. If you insist upon No More Rules, or bourgeois rules are a mask for power you will regress to the world of pure power and you will have no rules, no creativity and no community. And that, of course, is exactly what conservatives have insisted all along.
For over a century, conservatives have desperately needed a system that could replace the Lockean, Humean world that Kant demolished but could also ace the Fichtean, Freudian impulsive ego. With the psychology of Clare Graves and his followers we can now address our opponents in the culture war with confidence. If we want it, we can have a psychology of creativity that fits the facts and they dont.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America