Goodwill and the Emergence of Spiritual Elements in the Taxonomy

Warren Kinston 16. December 2012 14:00

It's the season of goodwill. 

spiritual elements

But where does goodwill come from? It's not in a microprocessor or accessible via a software command. It must emerge from that strange but familiar entity: the human spirit.

It is possible that the discovery of a taxonomy of human elements, THEE, represents some sort of strange convergence between scientific and spiritual traditions. I would like to explore that in this blog and the next.

I claim that my taxonomic inquiry is scientific because I draw on the common features and values that are traditionally associated with the scientific method. For example, I emphasize empirical study (even if the focus is a metaphysical realm). I also appeal to logical analyses and rationality. I actively seek validation and testing. I uphold consistency and coherence as virtues. And I positively welcome debate and criticism of formulations. I do not claim to perfection in these matters, but they are my beacons and primary criteria.

I also find myself having to recognize that the process is spiritual because the infusing assumptions and end result show classic features of the cool structured spiritual tradition (to be explained in my next blog). In case this aspect is alien, here is an advance warning of what this tradition affirms:

•Liberation lies within your power, but you must work at it. •Man is at the centre of the cosmos. •There is a map available to help you progress. •Awareness of the map requires a dispassionate restrained approach and involves self-knowledge. •Spiritual development progresses in a slow orderly fashion in its own time and in accord with your efforts and readiness. •Concentration is essential to gain understanding, but to use it in handling life requires judgement, balance and timing. •Taking on the approach ends up being a public matter.

You may or may not accept that my inquiries are infused either by scientific or by spiritual traditions. But if THEE is what it claims to be, there must be a place or places for science and for spirituality within it, because these are both certainly parts of human endeavour and both demand exercise of the will. It is highly likely that I will have used both aspects—like it or not!

In general, I play up the scientific side and I downplay the spiritual dimension in my presentations. That is unfair or at least unbalanced. It probably flows from a personal bias towards towards practicality and some desire for acceptance. So in this blog and the next, I would like to put that imbalance right. Insofar as I ever did worry about social approval, I'm certainly past that now.

Spirituality turns up in many places during taxonomic inquiry. At present I am studying the ability of a person to carry responsibility in work. I noticed in my investigations that spiritual disciplines can be placed alongside academic disciplines, professional work and other distinctive sorts of work-responsibility. It seems that spiritual work is based in just another sort of human capability created by the use of language (PH'5). Although I think that spiritual work is necessary for society, that could be arguable. It is, however, a certainty that everything would stop if ordinary work ceased. That's practicality for you.

The most immediately obvious spiritual feature in THEE is found in the quality of the highest level in the Root and Primary Hierarchies. We find willingness (in the Root Hierarchy), trust (in PH7), ultimate values (in PH6), openness (in PH5), imagination (in PH4), transformation (in PH3), wonder (in PH2), spontaneity (in PH1).  Descending each of the hierarchies, the levels become progressively more concrete. So the arrangement suggests that there is a process here of bringing the spiritual into the temporal and this process is implicit in everything we do. Now that's quite a finding!

If you do not like this identification of spiritual forces, you will be relieved to find that as you get further and deeper into the Taxonomy, the spiritual quality becomes less noticeable e.g. L7 in the levels of work-responsibility is labeled enterprise management or total field coverage. No one is going to mistake that for anything spiritual—although a trace is visible if you look hard enough.

When it comes to recognizing the purpose of your life (called in THEE a Primal Quest), some people identify theirs as the desire for union with the divine. But it is clear that many of us have other Quests e.g. for meaning, obedience, salvation or pleasure. In THEE, all are valuable. As an analogy: no-one would say the liver is more essential for living than the heart, or the brain is more essential than our skeleton.

It would be hard for me to argue that spirituality deserves a less careful investigation and analysis than management or inquiry or any other element of our creative and ethical life. Directly relevant findings about spirituality are the frameworks in the Root Complex derived from the Primal Quests. These seem to be the basis for humanity's Great Codes, personal philosophies, and maxims of goodness. There is even a framework about Producing Goodness. While the Great Codes say nothing about God or spirit, they are relevant and usable for all, including the religious and those humanists and atheists who pay spirituality little attention. THEE celebrates our humanity and fosters our ability to rise above crude instinctual reactions.

The social relevance of the taxonomy comes from our need to have the intellectual tools that enable better relating and cooperating. Spirituality alone provides limited guidance here, while science has taught us that valid knowledge can make an enormous difference. THEE offers directly relevant understanding and methods which can and should be developed and applied. If you want to see this in practice, look at some of the frameworks in deciding and achieving or how cooperation occurs and how governments should engage with the economy (both within interacting for benefit). These frameworks have minimal spiritual resonance, but they do tap into the grain of human nature, indicate prevalent wrong thinking, and point to remedies.

Join me in my next blog where I enter the heart of light …



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Warren Kinston is the creator of the THEE-Online website as an open forum for the further discovery and development of THEE. He writes this blog as an escape valve for the excitement and frustrations of the work. More info here.

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