The two Cycles of the using the TET representation identify two sets of all possible movements in regard to «self-awareness» on the Y-axis, and «benefit for others» on the X-axis.
Movements along the axes explain why maturational transitions are so problematic.
The two transitions from an unsatisfactory form of seem to move back along the X-axis to a lesser degree of benefit. This is possible because the mass of people are being so severely abused (in ) or exploited (in ) such that anything is better than the status quo. The elites view the inevitable worsening of social conditions with dismay and use it as their principal rationale to maintain power.
The demand on society is to trust itself i.e. its own people. The concomitant need is a degree of self-discipline to manage the tumultuous transition and a new form of politics in society.
In these two transitions going to the right on the X-axis, society has to take responsibility for two intrinsic «tragedies» that occur when a community shares a territory; and then people have to become realistic about solutions, however undesirable they may seem.
In the first Cycle, people face the «tragedy of the commons»—the inescapable fact that a resource shared in common will be over-exploited and destroyed without regulation of some sort. In the second Cycle, they face the «tragedy of individuality»—the inescapable fact that inequality is ineradicable because of differences amongst people and the variety of talents relevant to social needs, and that individuals must settle in those communities where they can best thrive.
In these two transitions going upwards on the Y-axis, each individual within the society must take themselves in hand. The requirement is to do so freely, and the challenge is to develop the self by focusing on personal beliefs and altering them as needed.
In the first Cycle, the necessary beliefs are about prospering via self-reliance and in the second Cycle they are about developing integrity through personal convictions and self-acceptance.
These two transitions require movement down the Y-axis to re-enter the . This is easy and spontaneous because it requires no change in attitudes to others, no new personal awareness and no radically new institutions. However it is potentially problematic in that the moves are linked to an increased awareness of inequalities.
On the first Cycle, these inequalities relate to wealth and flow from an exploitative form of . On the second Cycle, the inequalities flow from intrinsic differences, individual and communal, which need to be recognized and actively managed in so far as is possible and desirable.
Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 11-Apr-2014.