The Shape Of Change

When I wrote Wanting Less a few years ago it represented a real epiphany for me. In the book I wrote that happiness comes from examining our core beliefs, reducing fear and learning to want only things that meet our needs effectively. At the time I thought I had truly expanded my understanding of human motivation - and I had - but I did not know how much deeper my understanding would grow.

Recently I had another jump in understanding after reading about Spiral Dynamics which outlines the shape of change in every area of existence, from spiritual growth to organizational structure to biological evolution to child development and pretty much everything that we can comprehend. There are a growing body of thinkers using this idea to reach practical applications and I am only just peeling this onion trying to keep up.

It seems to me nearly impossible to explain the entire concept in a few brief paragraphs, but I will try to explain in a few points:

Everything is made up of smaller pieces while also being a part of something greater than itself. Think atoms, molecules, elements, chemicals etc. in greater amounts until you reach the entire Universe - then apply that to anything you can imagine. These structures are called holons.

Everything changes in a similar pattern like ripples in a pond. This applies particularly to the evolution of morality as described by Clare Graves and further examined by Don Beck. To get this imagine the evolution of a caveman to Gandhi and for bonus points find yourself somewhere on that line.

Everything absolutely must change in order to thrive and survive. The development or evolution of things is mandatory and unavoidable. It's pretty much change or die.

In practical application, this concept can helps explain why some cultures have a belief system based on magic and superstition, while others have more legalistic culture and others embrace a more universal worldview.

It also explains why children believe in fairy tales, teens are obsessed with their identity, and seniors do so much volunteer work. Their worldview expands as they grow older, and new understanding leads to newer understanding. It's only natural, and accepting this can lead to a better life.

So my current perspective includes what I wrote in my book, but the words seem so naive as I read them now. I am tempted to write another book to clarify, but I probably won't. It can serve as a historical marker for me and perhaps be a guide for others as they follow the path I have already tread.

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