I wrote about Dominant Modes of Discourse back in October on this blog (read it here) and not everyone had a positive reaction. A brief discussion took place on the Denver Meetup site and can be found here. One of the comments was that the posting had a "tone of altitudism -- a tendency to use Altitude to rank, or classify the perspectives of others in a limiting way rather than to enhance dialogue and understanding."
Yes, I would agree that there is "altitudism" at work, but we can choose to use "altitudism" in either a negative or positive way. I prefer to think of it in terms of discerning awareness as opposed to elitist judgementalism. Also, the terms "altitudism" and being "judgemental" have a bit of egalitarianism and relativism. Isn't making claims of "Altitudism" and "judgemental" an altitude judgement? We make judgements, no matter, whenever we are thinking, wherever we are.
In that thread Doug, who I don't know, but am sure I would like, asks "Just what is a First Tier (1T) conversation and should I be embarrassed to be having one? Is it unfortunate if we have a 1T conversation?"
As members of integral communities, if we have the means to have, or to steer towards, a second tier conversation, why would we want to have a first tier one? It doesn't mean that we're not including first tier folks in the conversation, or that we're not seeing the value of what they have to say. It just means that, as integral leaders, we want to have the skillful means to allow the conversation to come from the highest (latest, and most mature) place possible. We want to pull people forward, not get pulled back into the food fight. Using skillful means to assess where someone is coming from (translatively or transformatively) before speaking with them is wisdom. That way, we know how to speak, and not to speak, accordingly. It is, quite frankly, one of the hallmarks of second tier: appreciatiating all of the contributions of the earlier levels.
The benefit of trying to keep the conversation at the highest possible altitude should be fairly obvious: Fake it until we make it. We continue to allow ourselves to dip into higher stages so that we eventually begin to embody what we've been faking.
I'm also quoted and then responded to"
Gary quoted: "Now, there are some things you can do about that: be aware of the dominant monads of the individuals attending your meeting, if possible (you'll learn who is what very quickly in these situations, but it may take several meetings), and set up your meeting accordingly. Second tier, or teal/turquoise can skillfully guide the conversation by setting the tone of the meeting response before that participation begins."
the response: "Starting to sound a little heavy handed to me."
I can't imagine what sounds heavy handed about skillfully guiding a conversation through awareness of the 4 quadrants and varying altitudes. In SeattleIntegral, which may be very different from other groups, while we're still learning how to do this, it's been working quite well.
When we continually place ourselves in first tier, make observations from that perspective, even in a joking, self-deprecating manner, is it possible we're really saying, "well, my perspective is better, because I don't have arrogance and altitude problems?"
Wanting to have a conversation in the most mature mode of discourse possible with whomever we can seems reasonable, and necessary, especially in a salon atmosphere. Like many of my teachers, I prefer "earlier" and "later" in terms of transformational development (maturity) as opposed to "higher" and "lower". The relativistic/egalitarian types seem allergic to vertical metaphors--"Earlier" and "later" are an example of more skillful means.
I agree there's nothing wrong with green, or any other level of development, as long as it's manifested in a healthy manner. Perhaps the world could use a lot more green, but I also believe the world needs better translation at every stage. We are consciously trying to hold space for both translation and transformation, and it's a challenge because who's done it before?
(Note: My friend Tom Mull contributed to this article)