CODA: Keith E. Rice, Knowing Me, Knowing You:
An Integrated SocioPsychology Guide to Personal Fulfillment & Better Relationships, Trafford Publishing, 2006
Here is a highly professional treatment of an approach to understanding ourselves and other people. The use of the term “SocioPsychology” serves as a clue that the author integrates the work of Clare Graves, Don Beck and Chris Cowan into his approach. So here we have a serious approach to integrating Spiral Dynamics with Neuro-Linguistic Programming, the work of Robert Dilts’ treatment, after Bateson, of levels of mind and neurology, Eysenck’s biological approach to personality, Wilber’s spirituality and many others. In that sense, this is a book after Ken Wilber’s heart and in the intellectual tradition of Ken Wilber whose research based work is so heavily footnoted.
At the same time, this is a self-help book in the sense that the author is often very personal in his writing style and offers steps and techniques that one can use in one’s development. One example is his presentation of Eysenck’s dimensions of personality, which includes these examples:
- Unstable-Introvert: anxious, unhappy, pessimistic, serious, thoughtful, unsociable;
- Stable-Introvert: quiet, careful, peaceful, persistent, contented, calm.
- Unstable-Extravert: restless, egocentric, optimistic, hot-headed active, histrioic; and
- Stable-Extravert: playful, outgoing, sociable, lively, hopeful, and (interestingly) leadership.
The concept of leadership is not elaborated.
He then follows with questions like:
- “which of the characteristics in the Dimensions describe your termperament(s)?” and
- “how far from the central intersection would you put yourself on the Introversion-Extroversion, the Stability-Instability and the Impulse Control-Psychoticism axes?”
And he provides a mini-test to help you develop scores for answering this last question.
Rice’s treatment of Graves/Beck/Cowan and Spiral Dynamics seems rather thorough. It includes an interesting comparison between various developmental models between these and Maslow, Heard, Loevinger, Harvey, Hunt and Schroeder, Kohlberg, Weber and Marson. The comparisons are interesting in that he places elements of others’ theoretical works into the developmental levels of the spiral.
A treatment of the “mechanics of change” compares the “Gestalt Cycle” of Fritz Perls with the Gamma trap-Delta model of Spiral Dynamics. In the case of the latter therapy and NLP are offered as ways of escaping the Gamma trap. He closes the first part, Knowing Me, with 13 tips for psychological health. Here are a couple of examples:
- Accept the way you are temperamentally. That is just you and there isn’t a huge amount you can do the change ‘you’. Don’t try to be something you can’t be; so relax and be who you are.
- Don’t assume that your perceptions are correct; they are simply schematic maps you have formed, based mainly on your vMEMES accepting the memes others have exposed you to.
From here, the author turns toward “Knowing You…” We can build on the work of knowing ourselves to help us understand others. Here NLP makes a stronger appearance through meta-modeling—“the use of language to explore another’s ‘inner world’.” And he adds to that the idea of Meta Programs as developed by Bandler, Bailey and Charvet, all framed in terms of the Spiral. For example, “People Who Move Away From problems avoid things w3hich threaten their success.” He then applies all of this to such topics as strategies for healthy relationships, conflict management, sex in human relationship, love, parents and children/teenagers and the workplace. And there are tips for managing cisharmony in relationships, for example:
- When you are dissatisfied with a relationship, check whether the cuase of the dissatisfaction is due to you, the other person(s) or both of you/more than one of you. When doing so, beware of your own attribution style and the attribution style of the other(s)…
- Be careful of projecting something you dislike about yourself onto the other(s) and then finding fault with them for it…
- Recognise when a relationship is at its end. Don’t keep on trying to save something that can’t be saved…
This book is a significant contribution to SocioPsychology approaches to life and learning. It goes far beyond the typical self-help book in its sophistication and seems to be aimed at individuals with fairly high levels of cognitive development. A brief treatment such as this hardly does it justice. Anyone who is interested in development will find it a challenge worth taking.