By Chuck Robison
Beginning in 1981, Dr. Don Edward Beck, pioneering user of Spiral Dynamics, which was developed by Dr. Claire Graves, applied this Values Integration Science in his personal work with Nelson Mandela to create the future South Africa.
Recently, Beck was at a conference where many of the attendees were making short presentations about their programs or products that were geared to improving our lives. One presenter made an impassioned plea for people to adopt his ideas presented in book and video form. At the end of that presentation, Don got up and said to the speaker, “If I gave you a check for $120 million dollars to support any one of the programs presented here today, what project would you give the money to?”
Don had just given a specific application from Spiral Dynamics. The presenter was stumped. He couldn’t even figure out what the question meant. Finally Don said to him “The reason you’re having a problem is you’re not asking the right questions. The right question is: “What is needed now? Not, Who wants to buy my product or my book or my thought? Not, Whose idea is the best idea? The real issue is: What do we need now?” This question is valid in almost any situation. It gets rid of a lot of the foolishness that occupies our time. Let’s look at what would happen if we asked that question more frequently.
In the political world, we have seen, just this past week, there is a continuing battle over things that really don’t matter to the average citizen. You may have noticed in the last several weeks that the media have now divided the Republican Party into two groups. The first group is obviously the Tea Party and the second group is The Business Party. They go back and forth with each other trying to beat each other up, or beat each other down, or make some kind of a difference. But you never hear them ask “What do we need now?”, nor do you hear the Democrats ask the same question.
What would happen if all three parties and the Congress and the President just up and said, “What do we need right now? What’s the best path to take, what’s the most important action we can take, what is needed now?”
What we need right now is for somebody to confront the fact that this economy has been going downward for the past 30 years. What was supposed to be a trickle-down process from the rich to the poor has, in fact, become exactly that! The wealthy are allowing only a trickle of their treasure to go to the middle class or the lower class or anybody else. And all of a sudden we have a country with one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. Our schools no longer rank anywhere near the top 25 in the world. We have the largest percentage of citizens in prison, the most mass murders of any country in the world, a staggering percentage of people living below the poverty line. We also have the most money of any country in the world.
Did we really need a Sequester to prove that we wanted to control our expenses in this country? No. Do we really believe that a shrinking economy with less taxation is better than a robust economy that produces more taxes? And what about the question of food stamps? Suddenly, it appears as if people do not want the poor to have food stamps because they’re freeloaders.
How could it be that the supposedly richest nation on earth is willing to have 25% of its population unemployed or under-employed, living in poverty and without food or healthcare? Who could possibly say that what’s needed now is less help for our brothers and sisters?
When you look at what is happening you begin to see that somebody out there simply wants all the money. We do not know who this is, but somebody out there really does want all the money. And they are not going to easily give up their quest.
So, that means that you and I and our friends and total strangers are going to have to help our leaders figure out: “What do we need now?”.
It is important for us to take time to let our President, Governors and Legislators know what we think is needed now!