Sunday, January 04, 2009

STEEPLeS Horizons


STEEPLeS Horizons

George G Clark, 04 January 2009

There are those who think about development (change for the better). It is a massive and interdisciplinary topic. There is an ever present danger of 'experts' reifying particular bits and thus missing out on the bigger picture. How might we guard against this?

Elsewhere we have noted that it is useful to isolate seven factors of development using the acronym STEEPLeS[1]. It is also possibly useful to think of each factor in terms of eight horizons that expand from self through family, community and tribe and on to nation and humanity and possibly even to biosphere and planet. The following table maps the factors against the horizons so as to create an inclusive matrix.











































































(1) For each horizon there is need to make allowance for variations based on sex, age, class, ethnicity etc and to set these in dynamic historical perspective ie to beware of being too focussed on the bulked up average person.

(2) For each STEEPLeS factor there is the option of detailing a before and after scenario for each horizon[2].

(3) It might be thought that the matrix covers too much and that it either trivialises or gives too much value to particular points of view. The key issue is to know when bias and partiality is in effect and thus to coolly relax about relatively narrow viewpoints and try to see the bigger picture. But this intellectual position has to be bedded in self knowledge - and this is ultimately grounded in values and thus in the spiritual factor.

(4) The horizons can be expanded at both top and bottom. Below the level of self we have organs and tissues; cells; molecules; atoms; sub atomic particles; and quantum entities. Above the level of the planet we have the solar system, the universe and the cosmos (the multi-verse?). How big can (and should) the picture be drawn? Who decides? On what grounds?


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[1] STEEPLeS = Social, Technological, Environmental, Economic, Political, Legal, Spiritual

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