SD in Action

Getting stuck in traits

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Sometimes color-based generalizations go too far and turn into simplistic stereotypes and glib labels for dividing elites from lesser persons. This is one reason why we focus our students’ attention on Graves’s two-part letter-pair designations more than the Spiral colors. Although confusing at first to novices, the terminology is far more powerful than a color code, no matter how stretched its rainbow. The A-with-N, B-with-O, C-with-P, or G-with-T terminology forces the user to recognize the importance of BOTH the world outside – the life conditions – and the world inside – the neurobiological state. Misalignment between the helixes presents all sorts of issues, and it’s just too easy to collapse colors down to types and thereby miss the essence of the theory.

Furthermore, many color-oriented people get stuck as if the residue of the systems is all that matters. The traits and values which attach to these existential problems are relatively easy to identify and stereotype; the ways of thinking about things are more obscure and difficult to perceive and describe. Thus, A becomes survival, B becomes superstition and tribe-like groups, C becomes aggressiveness, D turns into orderliness, E into materialism, F into soft sociability, G (or A’) into systems, and H (or B’) into holonic saintliness. When such believers see one of these things, they attach it to the corresponding color without asking how the thing is being thought about – the underlying neuronal decision-making system – thereby missing the analysis entirely. Then, they blame the model when their initiatives don’t work rather than trying to improve their understanding of the model.

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