Integral Profiles: Don Beck with Jeff Salzman
July 22, 2009 00:45

Integral Profiles: Don Beck with Jeff Salzman


Eleanor Roosevelt once said that "poor minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, and great minds discuss ideas." Integral minds, we might add, discuss all three.

In the Integral Profiles series, host Jeff Salzman sits down with some of today's most notable thinkers, teachers, and leaders, discussing the many ways they are catalyzing the Integral vision in their lives, in their hearts, and in their work. These men and women are collectively defining the leading edge of evolution in today's world, their thoughts and actions actively influencing the shape and scope of tomorrow's possibilities.

Don Edward Beck, Ph.D., is Co-founder of The National Values Center in Denton, Texas, and President and CEO of The Spiral Dynamics Group, Inc.  Beck co-authored The Crucible: Forging South Africa's Future (with Graham Linscott, l991) and Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership & Change (with Christopher Cowan, l996). He also writes a "Sports Values" column for the Dallas Morning News and appears often in the media regarding issues related to values, sports, and racial divides.

Jeff Salzman is lead teacher at Boulder Center for Integral Living as well as part of the founding circle. He is co-founder of CareerTrack Training, and has worked in adult education/transformation for twenty years. For three years Jeff worked side by side with Ken Wilber building the Integral Institute, an International center for Integral theory and application. A Divinity School dropout, he expects to graduate from the Religious Studies Department of Naropa University with a Masters Degree in Indo-Tibetan Studies. Jeff is devoted to the Integral worldview and to helping it arise in people's minds, hearts, bodies, and lives.


Spiral Dynamics and the Palestine/Israel Conflict (FREE!)

Here Don offers an intimate glimpse into his own life and career. He discusses the current phase of his work: traveling the world and applying Spiral Dynamics to various geo-political "hotspots" all over the planet. He offers his own ideas about healthy models of society, the crucial distinction between stages of consciousness and the contents of those stages, and the importance of preserving many of the early stages of development that are so often seen as primitive and obsolete. He then goes into considerable depth around the specifics of the Palestine-Israel conflict, describing the needs and problems on both sides of the divide, his hands-on involvement with both nations, and the remarkable receptivity with which his work has been met. At a time when tensions in the Middle East can seem so hopelessly combustible, it is encouraging to see Integral seeds being planted in such surprisingly fertile soil, offering us all a much-needed exhale as we wait to see how evolution will continue playing itself out in this difficult region of the world.

"[Clare W.] Graves used to caution me, he said that "all you can do is help a country become what is next for it to become. The belief that you can create this Utopian vision, and with a sleight of hand you can turn it into heaven on earth, is not in the cards. What's in the cards is what is next for them—if you help them do that, nature will take care of you. But if you try to jam it in as we tried in Iraq—you see, too complex a system—it's going to blow back on you." -Don Beck


Obama, Gen Y, and the Next Revolution

Recorded just six weeks into his presidency, Don shares some of his hopes and concerns about Barack Obama as the new Leader of the Free World. He discusses the need for a true "trans-partisan" move in American politics, as opposed to mere bi-partisan compromise. He then talks about the promise of the younger generations, noting several important differences between Generation Y and any other generation we've ever seen. All of this, Don believes, is culminating into a dramatic shift in human history, as we prepare for a critical mass of people moving from the fragmented and partial value systems of "first-tier" consciousness (comparable with Abraham Maslow's "deficiency needs") to the genuinely integrated values of wholeness and abundance found in "second-tier" consciousness (Maslow's "being needs").

"As many of us have been saying for some time, there's a major transformation happening. Clare Graves' article in The Futurist in 1974 [was titled] 'Human Nature Prepares for a Momentous Leap'—well, here it is!" -Don Beck


Meditation, Life Conditions, and Flow States

Why do people transform? Short answer: we have no idea! We might have a sense of what sorts of factors, pressures, and practices can help facilitate personal growth, but the actual mechanics of change are still mysterious and elusive. Here Don and Jeff discuss just a few elements of personal development that we should keep in mind: the first being meditation, the only practice empirically proven to accelerate our growth through both vertical and horizontal stages of consciousness. The second is called "Life Conditions", which refer to the general problems of existence that people encounter—problems which, to quote Einstein, "cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them." Finally, Don talks about the vital importance for preparation, drawing from his experience in athletics to demonstrate how we can be carefully primed for peak performance and states of effortless flow, and how familiarizing ourselves with these states can go a long way to create a collective atmosphere of transcendence and transformation.

"Graves would say 'Don, you can't change people!' All you can do is relate what you are doing to their natural motivational flow. Over time, certain things happen that indeed will change. But if you think you're in charge at that point, you're really pretty naive." -Don Beck


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