Notes from the Field: Treating Terrorism through De-Radicalization, Integral Financial Woes, and a Field of Notes from France

Notes from the Field / October 2011


Brian Van der Horst

Brian van der Horst

Europa, that cash cow of the occident, is bleating conundrums of continuity, at the time of this writing. Will the European Union survive the financial melt-downs of Greece, Portugal, Italy, and a smattering of middle-eastern nation-states? While Britain smirks with pounds of currency, the Greeks are even thinking of optioning out of the Euro and returning to the Drachma.

In France, the Integral University has even been running programs on Finance, Societe et politique integrals (see Michel Nguyen’s report at, and Vers une entreprise Integrale – programs aimed at economic and political revolutions, or at least survival.

I interviewed a few consultants and workshop presenters that have been offering integral leadership approaches this year, and attended a few conferences. Here’s a sample of what I found about the tenor of the times in integral France.

Terrorism and immigration are two perennial concerns here, from the bombings and assassinations by Algerian and Basque separatists to last week’s destruction by Molotov Cocktail of the offices of the humor magazine, Le Canard Enchainé, because they were planning an issue featuring the prophet Mohammed as guest editor.

The integral approach is still a hard sell here in France, largely because the French shy away from anything offering a spiritual conversation. You can’t blame them; for centuries their citizens have expired from one inquisition, pogrom or rafale inflicting death, deportation or destitution on individuals based on their religious beliefs.

France is also one of the few European countries that maintain a “Cult List.” In 1995 the French Parliament published a list 189 spiritual organizations from the benign groups like Marahisi’s Transcendental Meditation, to exploitative tribes like Scientology, or lethal sects like Ordre du Temple Solaire. The French Government makes it punishable to support or belong to some of these groups. Appearing on this list effectively blackballed a group in the business world.

In 1999, the Parliament noted that their previous list was outmoded by name changes of these organizations, and published a list focusing on 30 groups, which included the Hare Krishna’s, Silva Mind Control, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Of course, the increasing emphasis on the spiritual in America isn’t making it easier to import Wilberian integral theory. So it is that Aurobindo’s variety of integral psychology is often more welcome. His group has never made it on the Cult List. Maybe it’s because so many French people vacation in Pondicherry, India, and visit the UNESCO-approved Auroville commune.

I interviewed a few consultants and workshop presenters who have been offering integral leadership approaches this year, and attended a few conferences. Here’s a sample of what I found about the tenor of the times in integral France.

Don Beck gave a presentation of how Spiral Dynamics could be used in healing—instead of combatting terrorism—at a fascinating conference on October 25 called the Global Forum for Counter Radicalization.

Don’s seminar, “The Master Code: Breaking the Cycles of Radicalism and Violence through the Principles and Processes of Natural Design: Research, Theory Building, and Practical Applications” was given in a private session that included international and French counter-terrorism experts discussing new strategies, paradigms, global movements, religious and interfaith groups and media actions that have de-radicalized groups and individuals. Don’s take on the day: “We had 70 people shooting the breeze—it was like a room full of pearls without any string.”

On October 26, the conference held its public day. In the opening round-table, David Scharia, Legal Officer (“Scharia Law”?) of the Counter-Terrorism directorate at the UN Security Council remarked that it was “regretful that instigators of radicalization are not prosecuted.” William (“Data”?) Banks a statistician for national security law since 1987 remarked that there are now 18,000 uncoordinated police organizations in the US fighting terrorism. And Gary (“the truth shall make you.”) LaFree (who puts these people together, anyway?), a former federal investigator for the Senate Judiciary Committee, reminded the assembly that there was no common definition of terrorism, no reliable data on how much, where, and who was doing it, and that there were no known measures of the effectiveness of counter-terrorism efforts. He ended quoting Gandhi who said “The impossibility of absolute cleanliness is no excuse to roll in the manure.”

Directors of Pakistani Projects, the Muslin Jewish Conference, an anti-Nazi Swedish non-governmental organization, and a Palestine founder of the Jerusalem Studies and Research Institute next spoke of their own histories of de-radicalization. The impressive list of those testifying (regrettably giving speeches, rather than interacting in panel discussions) included  than Former members of groups from Al Qaida to pacifist, skin-head to half-way house director, to interfaith community centers, an Imam from Germany, a former warden and VP of the International Correction and Prison Association that copes with the development of terror cells, organized crime and gangs – and various experts on treating the victims of stress, trauma, and loss from terrorism.

Don Beck chaired the day’s final session featuring Elza Maalouf, a “Reformed Arab Nationalist” now the president of of the Center for Human Emergence, and Gambrill Howard Clark, a former Yalie and Marine Corps operative in Iraq, Presidential analyst, author of several books including Revolt Against Al-Qa`ida (2010) and a senior spook for Homeland Security. Summarizing many of the themes of the day, they underscored that counter- and de-radicalization depended on connecting with individuals and encouraging new “narratives” of defection and rehabilitation, putting ideologies on the defense, promoting post traumatic growth and identity transformation.

Don Beck built on his experience of 63 trips to South Africa, from when he was meeting regularity with F. W. De Klerck and Nelson Mandela on how to bring peace and create a new government in that country. “The Problems in South Africa were never about color. And the problems in the Middle East are never about Religion,” he averred. Don went on to analyze the complexity of radicalization and it’s antidotes from a Spiral Dynamics perspective recommending vertical moral development ascending the SD model towards “superordinate goals”  rather than continuing with business-as-usual anti-terrorism legislation which only continues to trigger violent “ assimilation-contrast” responses. Unfortunately Don was using a lot of sophisticated jargon about Value Memes and moral development stages, which may have been a continuation of the previous day’s interactions, but were a bit too technical for the general public.

For those initiated in SD, among his major points were that” terrorism occurs first in the mind before it is displayed in destructive behavior.” Thus finding the value and belief systems of terrorists, and promoting a vertical development of these mindsets are a new SD strategy for dealing with domestic terrorism. For those that know the SD vocabulary, he mentioned the tribal terrorism of the purple level, predatory terrorism of red, dogmatic of the blue, strategic – seeking political and economic advantage – of the orange, and the “eco/Info-terrorism” of green meme value level.

For a marvelous presentation of these approaches, I recommend sending for “The Master Code,” a publication of the National Values Center, Denton, Texas. This booklet includes Beck and Cowan’s article, “A Spiral View of Terrorism “, Elza Maatouf and Said Dawlabani’s “The Arab Spring: A Mythological Journey or a Myth ?” , Don’s “Windmills, Tulips and Fundamentalism – the Netherlands in Crisis,” and a collection of nifty charts and graphics.

The most visible organization teaching SD in France is that founded by Fabien and Patricia Chabreuil, l’institut IDEOdynamic,

For a copy of their book see:

Jack Ferber has written a book using a lot of SD.

And some companies use it, notably Eric Alodi’s:

Many coaching and consulting people use SD in France, and a sprinkling at UNESCO.

The Université Integrale speaks of it now and then at seminars that attract from 50-150 people a day six times a year:

Speaking of the Universite Integrale, on the economic front Integral Leadership Review contributor Michel Nguyen was co-organizer with Carine Dartiguepeyrou, présidente du Club de Budapest – France, and Bénédicte Fumey of a two-day workshop hosted by the Université Integrale on “New Values, New Riches, New Measurements and New Moneys” beginning on September 19 in Paris. What this meant was how to build economies on alternatives to quantitative exchanges of dollars, yen, renminbi, pounds towards qualitative sources of values such as barter, services or exchanges of energies and materials for sustainable development.

The conference featured 28 speakers, such as Jean-Eric Aubert, former director of developmental programs at the World Bank; a pack of consultants like Thierry Gaudin, author of 17 books and former director of futures research at the Ministry of Research and Technology; and several think-tank and banking honchos. Its purpose was to discuss and share approaches in “parallel currencies,” those systems such as the Banjar community –services sharing of Bali – energy transfers in Europe, the WIR monetary unit of exchange between companies in Switzerland, or the units of care for the elderly that have been implemented in Japan.

“Our people shared concrete examples while maintaining critical minds outside of success stories,” Michel Nguyen told me. “We had workshops which allowed people to experience new ways of exchanging services and goods – and accounting systems that take into account human feelings and values.”

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In my next report from France, I will summarize the year’s conferences held on Integral and evolutionary leadership.


About the Author

Brian Van der Horst has been an executive coach since 1977, and an NLP trainer since 1984 when he began to live and work in Europe, based in Paris where he founded Repère, an international NLP training institute, with two French consultants, designing and teaching practitioner and master practitioner certification programs to more than 10,000 people world-wide. In 1994, he founded a coaching school, and has certified around 300 coaches. For the past few years, he has been an Program Development Director for Renaissance 2; and a founding member and Chief Facilitator, Europe, for Ken Wilber’s Integral Institute. Previously he was director of the Neuro-Linguistic Programming Center for Advanced Studies in San Francisco, and a consultant with Stanford Research Institute in the Values and Lifestyles Program of the Strategic Environments Group.

Van der Horst has taught at John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, California; The California State University, Sonoma; the University of Paris XIV, and XIII; and Apple University, France; and has given seminars in NLP and intercultural communication for MBA students at the Sorbonne, the International Management Institute in Paris, and at the Institut d’Administration des Enterprises in Aix-en-Provence. He has also given leadership, team-building, and long-term management training seminars in Moscow, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, and Indonesia; along with 10 countries in the European Community.

He has worked in journalism as an editor for New Realities, Practical Psychology, Playboy, and The Village Voice. The author of the books, Folk Music in America, Rock Music, and The Outcome Strategy; and over 1,000 magazine and newspaper articles, he has also been an acquisitions editor for J.P. Tarcher Books, Houghton-Mifflin, and hosted a television program in San Francisco. He currently writes for Intelligence, a newsletter on neuro-computing.

Before this time, Van der Horst was originally trained in marine biology, but shortly after attending Duke University, worked in the entertainment industry for 10 years, serving as Vice-President of the Cannon Group, and as Director of Advertising and Publicity for Atlantic Records. Van der Horst has been listed in Who’s Who in the World since 1994, and Who’s Who in America since 2007.