Do you ever feel that inner conflicts can’t be resolved?
Does your desire to belong and be accepted conflict with other desires?
Does your higher self ever feel left out?
Conflicts About Conformity
Conformity and stewardship: sometimes they work in harmony and other times they collide.
All societies create structures and norms that define daily life and the predominant mission of the society. Generally the predominant mission which is another way of saying values, is driven by some type of necessity.
Our earliest ancestors were hunter gatherers. When humans discovered how to grow crops, our ancestors shifted to a more agricultural way of life. It was certainly less life threatening than wrestling with dangerous animals to get food. However, food needed to be stored and then protected from other humans who preferred to steal rather than farm.
So a new way of life came into being that supported that agricultural economic system. This is goodness. Who wants to be wrestling with dinosaurs or other predators every day? However there is a down side.
How Structure Helps And Hurts Us
We create structures to support us, which is an example of stewardship, and then create the mindset and practices that support the structure, which is conformity.
Spiral Dynamics, the book by Chris Cowan and Don Beck, calls the situation that gives rise to a particular economic and social system as “life conditions.” This is the reality or real problems that drive the creation of a societal structure.
Once a particular structure with all of its institutions, rituals, mores and values is in place it become the “reality” for the people of that society. After some generations have passed, no one will remember the prior social structure. Daily life, purpose and problem solving all take place within the framework of the existing cultural dynamics, which will seem like life itself.
Cultures Have Life Cycles
There is a problem, though. Many people do not realize that like each one of us, a societal structure has a lifecycle. It comes into being to solve a problem, succeeds and then creates the conditions for a need for change which ushers in a new system with new values and purpose.
A perfect example is the current systemic change going on in the world. The existing system came into being to create a better life for human being though innovation and human initiative. It was created when people were few and resources were plentiful and has succeeded admirably in its mission. Now its success has sown the seeds of change because of our dwindling natural resources.
When To Conform And When Not To
Most individuals, when a society is in a advanced state like ours, try to solve the problems they are facing by using the tools of the existing system. So if the existing system used growth to solve problems, growth is the assumed solution, when in fact a new solution, new structure and new values are required. This is where conformity and stewardship collide.
When a system is in its prime, the society functions well, and conformity to the system makes sense and feels coherent. When it has passed its prime that is no longer the case. Stewardship at different stages of the system lifecycle has different requirements; sometimes conformity is good stewardship and sometimes not.
Conformity And Sensitive People
Sensitive people notice conflicts around them at any stage of the life cycle of a society. They will pick up a sense of where the society is in its development, and notice when the practices of a particular cultural structure have become more destructive than constructive. Disconnects between the stated reality and the reality on the ground are something sensitive people pick up on easily.
The result is that sensitive people can be the canaries in the coal mine. They are in touch with the present, but often ahead of the prevailing mindset. Some people think sensitive people have strong visionary qualities.
Sensitive people can be very useful to a society that wants to be smart about managing its change. We humans have not managed change well in the past. Valuing our sensitive geniuses could make it much easier to know when to conform or not, when to change or not, and when we are being good stewards. Sensitive people have a lot to offer and are worth embracing for this reason.
For More Information: Dr. Clare Graves Site