6 Lynne McTaggart L
ynne McTaggart, a world expert on the science of
spirituality, is the award- winning author of six books, including the worldwide bestsellers The Field, The Intention Experiment and
The Bond. As editorial director of What Doctors Don’t Tell You (www.wddty.com
), she also publishes one of the world’s most highly praised health publications and runs highly popular health and spirituality teleconferences
and workshops. Lynne is also the architect of the Intention Experiments, a web-based ‘global laboratory’, testing the power of intention to heal the world
Seeing the Whole D
on Beck is convinced that, if he’d been alive in 1860 and had
a conversation with Abraham Lincoln, he might have been able to prevent the Civil War. A former professor of social psychology at University of North Texas, Beck, a florid 75- year-old Texan, is most known for a system he has developed called Spiral Dynamics, which identifies the fine gradations of belief systems and their level of complexity of any given society.
He considers his work a continuation of his doctoral dissertation, which examined the polarisation of Americans just prior to the Civil War. Beck discovered no less than eight positions about slavery — from those in favour of unpaid servitude to those desiring full abolition.
When the moderate position disappeared from both sides, he says, the country polarised and the war began. “If we had done certain things in 1860, we would have ended slavery and we wouldn’t have lost 700,000 people,” says Beck. “And we wouldn’t still be fighting the Civil War.”
As a political consultant on resolving societal conflict, Beck calls himself a human “heat- seeking missile,” drawn to the world’s hot spots: South Africa, Palestine, Afghanistan, Israel. His current work attempts to break up the thinking that fuels us-versus-them prejudice by
showing people on one side that those on the other side are not all the same. In Beck’s experience, what often polarises people or pulls societies apart is a simple lack of appreciation of the spectrum of different beliefs that exist in cultures outside their own.
“We don’t have the language of difference, so we tend to stereotype,” he says.
During his sixty-three trips to South Africa in the 1980s, Beck became known as a bridge builder between the country’s black and white populations; as a consequence, he played a behind-the-scenes role in helping to smooth the country’s transition from apartheid to democracy.
In his dealings with the business community, he began to realise that many of the pro-apartheid Afrikaners, the dominant white group, were unable to differentiate between various black tribes, while members of the African National Congress, the party led by Nelson Mandela, also had difficulty distinguishing between different types of Afrikaners. Beck began delivering presentations all over South Africa to educate whites and blacks in the fine distinctions between the many different Zulu tribes and white groups.
“I was able to break up,” he says, “the definitional systems that fueled prejudice.”
In your own life, you can begin to develop this kind of “aerial vision” by fine-tuning your ability to notice the detail about people and cultures that are different from yours, which eventually helps you to refrain from thinking that traps you into an “us” and “them” mindset. You learn to question your automatic assumptions about the neighbours you don’t know, the people of a different ethnic or religious persuasion, the countries and people beyond your borders.
Aerial vision also enables you to hold opposing ideas in your head without being judgmental because you recognise the whole that ties everything together. You detach from your own vantage point and your own prejudices in order to entertain several viewpoints and stop taking your own side.
When you see and notice the whole, you allow for and respect more than one version of reality.
Aerial vision also allows you to transcend your tendency to always look to your own vantage point for solutions to problems. Recently, Don Beck attended a large investment conference in Bethlehem, where a number of western multinationals were recommending high-tech investment in Palestine.
To their astonishment, Beck insisted that they invest in a
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