[THIS IS A LINK TO AN ESSAY BY DON BECK, THE CO-CREATOR OF SPIRAL DYNAMICS, ABOUT THE QUALITIES OF SUSTAINABLE CULTURE. THE EXCERPT PROVIDED BELOW ARE THE ASSUMPTIONS (REALLY QUALITIES) OF SUSTAINABLE CULTURE. SPIRAL DYNAMICS IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL MODELS OR FRAMEWORKS FOR WORKING ON THE EMERGENCE OF SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES. FROM THESE QUALITIES OR PRINCIPLES, AND OTHERS, WE MAY DEVELOP AND APPLY PRINCIPLES TO GUIDE OUR WORK IN PLACER COUNTY COMMUNITIES.]
First, These Assumptions…
Perhaps we should define terms before we launch even further into this exploration. What is it that makes a culture "sustainable?" What are the essential characteristics that display the full range of "sustainability" levels in various cultures? And, might it be possible to develop something of a S-Culture Index to measure various societies and cultures on these dimensions? Here is an initial list of such characteristics:
- Sustainable Cultures develop, propagate and update a compelling vision, a sense of transcendent purpose, and a series of superordinate goals to create common cause for a complex culture.
- Sustainable Cultures focus on systemic health and well-being rather than on one-time initiatives or any magical "quick-fix."
- Sustainable Cultures embrace the evolutionary dynamic and recognize that the center of gravity for the culture will shift as conditions of existence change in the milieu, either progressive or regressive.
- Sustainable Cultures accept that dynamic tension is part of life itself and have learned how to differentiate between destructive and constructive conflict.
- Sustainable Cultures disseminate self-reliance and responsible decision-making at every level, in every function, and on every issue.
- Sustainable Cultures mesh the four bottom-lines – purpose, profit, people, and planet – and realize that to accomplish any one of the four they must also experience success in the other three.
- Sustainable Cultures develop a sense of collective individuality in that the two are seen as cyclical blends and ratios rather than extremes or poles.
- Sustainable Cultures respect the past-present-future timeline and think of each as an element in the seamless flow of nature.
- Sustainable Cultures deal with causes and symptoms in a simultaneous, interdependent fashion.
- Sustainable Cultures possess the capacity to renew themselves whenever the problems of existence create greater complexity than available solutions.
- Sustainable Cultures integrate economic, political, social, environmental, spiritual and educational domains in an integral fashion.
- Sustainable Cultures transmit their codes to the present generation while, at the same time, prepare the youth for different conditions in the near and far future.
- Sustainable Cultures transcend but include previous ways of being while always anticipating what will be next, thus living in open systems.