All Structural Hierarchies have an unfolding duality: i.e. an intrinsic tension between:
For change. The unfolding duality is expressed at each Level (i.e. Grouping) of the Structural Hierarchy, and the resolution of the dilemma leads to a new ground state at the next higher Level where a new developmental force appears.
The ground state at is political principle. Chosen principles give meaning to any person’s commitment within society, and provide a basis for a person’s approach to its . Principles often remain unchanged throughout a person’s life.
Being principled may be comforting from a personal perspective, but nothing will ever get done with those principles if you cannot adapt to practicalities, personalities, and alternative views. The result is a developmental and clashing force that we can name: pragmatism.
American Proverb: In politics, a man must learn to rise above principle.
The tension between principles and pragmatism at is resolved by compromise, which is the new ground state. Almost all political work requires compromise. Criticisms of political compromise are misplaced if the alternative is a stalemate, or even a danger of violence emerging.
Compromise alone however is insufficient. Pursued indefinitely, it results in a mediocre staleness without any proper direction and no momentum. You must develop matters by identifying and taking on a challenge.
The clash of a safe compromise and a risky challenge within a situation at is resolved by taking up an inherently controversial position, which becomes the new ground state. All mobilization occurs around a defined position that can be sustained over time. Otherwise those being mobilized would not know why it was happening, and nobody else would take any notice.
Opposition gets activated as a countervailing force to the energy and threat posed by effective mobilization. The natural development of a position depends on this emergence of opposition.
The tension between a position and the opposition at has to be eventually released by a viable resolution, which is the new ground state. All recommendations from inquiries into the problematic situation will claim to specify a resolution that is desirable or even necessary.
However, reports rarely turn smoothly into executive action or legislation. It is far more likely that a reaction develops amongst affected groups. Experienced political leaders will not be surprised. They learn to view any reaction as an unavoidable and positive development. They rapidly move on to find a way to synthesize evident reactions with proposed resolutions.
The synthesis of resolutions and reactions leads to a direction for society that is hammered out amongst leaders and can be implemented by government. Governments strive to maintain their direction despite the rough-and-tumble of unexpected events and everyday incompetence. Opponents taunt any shift.
However, re-thinking commences as a developmental force almost instantly upon commencement of any policy choice. The flow of events permits continuous evaluation and re-evaluation and governing and private sector bodies are commonly set up with this responsibility.
The tension between a direction and re-thinking at is resolved as the status quo. This ground state defines inter alia how power and wealth are allocated. The development force, visible within latent and less active imperatives, is discontent. Discontent typically accompanies claimed injustices and current suffering.
The status quo, as a concrete representation of continuity, is so valued that injustice, social ills and poor governance can persist for long periods. However, discontent does not vanish—instead it builds and builds…
Even as the status quo persists, it fuses with persisting discontents and generates noticeable tensions in society. If most people can work and live above the poverty level, tensions may be quiescent; but they never disappear.
Tension is the political ground state managed by working for stability, assuming unity and maintaining harmony. If conditions worsen due to a natural disaster or policy mistakes, latent divisions and tensions may rapidly escalate and threaten social unity. The developmental force that then comes into play is action.
Action can mean either violence or serious political work. The political option entails a commitment to respond constructively and rationally to tensions.
Social tensions and political action can only be synthesized by recognizing certain enduring political principles that explain how society operates, describe the nature of its discontents, and provide a meaningful vision of «a just society».
Without principles, only power and domination matter. Power-plays and political initiatives then lack social purpose and political work loses much of its meaning.
The importance of political principles takes us back to where we started.
Thethat is politically aware is realized if:
Political processes seen in everyday life permit the continuous expression and resolution of the intrinsic dualities.
See some applications of this framework.
Build on this Framework by continuing to the next section on: handling change by participating in politics. This next investigation commences with an observation of the inter-relation of in the Structural Hierarchy just investigated.
If you are interested in THEE technicalities, explore the unexpected finding of relations to Root hierarchy levels.
Originally posted: August-2009; Last updated: 15-Nov-2010