The twelve phases facing each other in the circle make up six polarities. Just like the Phases and Levels we speak of ‘plus one’, since there is another polarity on a different level; this is the way in which we observe the circle itself.
* Observing it in time (like the seasons) has a sequential approach; each step is a Phase.
* Observing the circle in space (like the person standing in the middle of the circle) creates a synchronized approach in which everything is present at the same time; each step is a field. These twelve opposing fields can be seen as the twelve different faces of all psychosocial phenomena, like ‘feedback’, or ‘support’, or ‘love’.
This polarity between space and time lies underneath the other six polarities. These are also called Mutual Arising Principles, or Creative Tension Fields, which are reconciled in paradoxes.
Six Mutual Arising Principles as source of stories
We call the Creative Tension Field of oppositions, in which stories unravel the Mutual Arising Principle (MAP) – the principle of the mutual manifestation of opposites.
In other words: in a sense, it is inevitable that we are constantly torn by the tension between free will and being predestined, between our temporary and eternal side, between our smaller interest and our larger duty, between an older part that wants to remain the same and a new part that wants to take its place. Leaders who work with the Mutual Arising Principle are aware that every stance by definition also invokes the opposite. In that sense, accepting and providing leadership often means taking responsibility for things that are already bound to happen. It is the awareness that a sacred chance has placed us at the right time and in the right capacity. It is standing on the wave of history. We do not create the wave, we surf it and sometimes it drags us along. Free will and being predestined are two sides of the same medal. Because, the goddesses of fate provide leadership to the benevolent, and those who resist are dragged along (‘Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt’, Seneca). There is always the challenge to be free and predestined, detached and involved at the same time. The Vedic term for this is ‘walking on razor’s edge’.
The Mutual Arising Principle can be compared to the yin and yang principle of Taoists. It is about the awareness that all force fields (or psychological phenomena) manifest themselves in complementary fields that are invoked simultaneously. They complement each other, need each other. The more European addition is the focus on a third, connecting force. Like the soul can be placed as connecting force between body and mind. These invisible connecting forces may be the secret of leadership, of love, of wisdom. We will not spend many words on it, but we will construct the entire model around these invisible forces that are able to bind entire spirals together.
The Mutual Arising Principle underlies various polarizations. She causes irony, dilemmas and paradoxes. A paradox refers to an apparent contradiction, since the levels of contradiction are not of the same order.
In the Double Healix Model, we consider the Mutual Arising Principles as a tension field of opposing forces in phases that diametrically opposite each other. Just like Sequential and Synchronous are an expression of a summarizing principle ‘Space time’, there are unifying principles at work behind the polarities that we would like to mention here since they help better understand the dilemmas, paradoxes and irony of leadership. Below we’ll list the six tension fields and describe which forces express themselves in each of them.
Chaos and Order – phase 1 and phase 7
This is the force field of ‘Pattern formation’. The distinction between chaos and order arises since our brains are always looking for patterns. As long as we are looking, we call it chaos, and the second we recognize structure, we call it order. A manifestation of this is, for instance, the tension between anarchy and bureaucracy.
As a child, we already experience important contradictions in our needs. On one hand we feel the need to surrender ourselves to our parents, to trust them, to have them carry us and to let them decide what our life is like. On the other hand, we feel the need to form our autonomy, to resist and to take control over our own behaviour. Later on in our life, we will have to find a way in the tension field between trusting others and ourselves, between surrendering to the events and taking our destiny into our own hands, between following our spontaneous intuition and tightly planning our actions. In leadership, it is about providing trust on one hand, and maintaining control on the other.
Cause and Effect – phase 2 and phase 8
This is the force field of ‘Causality’. The distinction between cause and effect is an intervention of our brains to make life more understandable. The force field of causality manifests itself in the tension between moving and be moved, speaking and listening, leading and following. Taking initiative is opposed to following others.
As a child we experience the tension between being active ourselves and indulging ourselves in the stories of others. Related to this, is the tension between speaking and listening, between being active and passive, between moving and be moved. Later in our life, the question of how much we can cause ourselves and how much we are influenced by others, will become important. It is the tension between acting and experiencing, between competition and cooperation, between leading and following. As a leader, we will have to reconcile the interest of competition and the individual responsibility with the collective interest, the interest of cooperation and solidarity.
Construction and Destruction – phase 3 and phase 9
This force field and connecting principal, we call ‘Life’ with a capital since it connects life and death to each other. Other forms of expression are health and sickness, good and evil, synthesis and analysis, will and strong consciousness.
As a child, we enjoy the construction of our body by eating good food and the experience of wellbeing. But soon, we discover the thrill of destroying and causing pain. We discover that we sometimes need to be damaged to be able to gain intense experiences, intense pleasure and deep insights. As we age, it is about the tension between energy and exhaustion, between good and evil, health and sickness and eventually between life and death. Once we start leading ourselves and others, we should find the right tension between a positive life attitude and the ability of (making) others feel urgency, between hiring and firing people. It is the tension between our comfort zone and seeking out danger and pain. We discover that growth should sometimes be converted to shrinking to enable development. Related to this is the tension between harmony and dissonance, synthesis versus analysis, diffuse versus specific, willpower as opposed to consciousness.
Divergence and Convergence – phase 4 and phase 10
This force field and connecting principle, we call ‘Meaning’ because it creates a distinction between the many and the one, between that which deviates and that which connects. Other manifestations are game versus seriousness, diversity versus unity.
As a child we learn to enjoy the world of differences, we discover how we are different from others and at the same time we long for that which connects us, we long for cohesive truth. We want to learn and be surprised, but we also want to proclaim and be certain. The tension in this field is between our need for ‘useless’ playfulness and ‘useful’ signification. It is the tension between free brainstorming and reaching a decision. As a leader we will have to shape diversity within a recognizable identity. With our organization, we will have to learn from events while staying on track. It is the tension between what the differences are in the world and what the similarities are, between light hearted and functional, between unique and universal, between the relative and the absolute.
Materialization and Spiritualization – phase 5 and phase 11
This force field and connecting principle, we call ‘certainty’. It expresses itself, on one hand as the rational materialistic certainty and on the other hand as the spiritual instinctive certainty. Both poles experience their counterpart as not real and illusionary (uncertain). Other manifestations are result orientation as opposed to principle orientation, concretization as opposed to abstraction, the willingness to sacrifice others as opposed to the willingness to sacrifice ourselves, measurable as opposed to immeasurable, body as opposed to mind.
As a young child or as a member of a ‘primitive’ society, we do not really experience the contradiction yet between matter and spirit. At that point, the whole world is still animated. We talk to our teddy bear as if it has a spirit and spiritual being such as angels, elves or gnomes are almost tangible. But as our rational thinking process develops, the tangible, rational world splits from the intangible, mental world. The tension fields that we learn to handle are those between body and mind, between the logical thinking our cortex imposes onto our body top down and the deep instinctive awareness that our body imposes onto our cortex. It is the tension between the experiences of ambitious engineering and the humbling experiences of destiny. This leads to two certainties that are under tension with regard to each other: that of rational thinking and that of the inner certainty (for instance based on principles and religion). The same forces have a daily impact on the exchange between policy decisions taken top-down and the forces that appear bottom-up from the work floor. It is the tension between the preservation of power against the rebel forces. As a leader we need to internally reconcile these forces. We reduce the tension between different kinds of security to the Mutual Arising Principle of Materialization and Spiritualization.
Centre and Periphery – phase 6 and phase 12
We call this force field and connecting principle ‘Localization’ and it expresses itself in the way we experience the centre of the world. Looking from one pole we are the heart of the cosmos, but when viewed from the other pole it is the sun, or God who is around us and in us. Other manifestations of this contradiction are headquarter as opposed to establishments, interior as opposed to exterior, supply as opposed to demand, natives as opposed to immigrants, passion as opposed to compassion.
As a child, we have a need for warmth, appreciation, attention and confirmation, but we also love loving our parents, to admire them and to honour them. We consider it to be pleasant to be in the centre of attention, but we also love applauding others. As we get older, it requires conscious effort to find the right balance between how much attention we request and how much we give, how much passion we develop and how much compassion. As a leader (internal or external) it is about similar tensions between the small self-interest and the interest of the whole. Related polarities are centralization and decentralization, internal versus external orientation, doing something yourself or outsourcing it, taking or giving credit, egocentrism or altruism, serve or being served, being visible or being on the background.