LIFE, as we experience it, is made up with a little of what we see and are conscious of, and a lot of what we don’t see and have no idea about. We tend to over-simplify things so that we can understand and comprehend an approach to dealing what is immediately in front of us. We unconsciously break things down into what we think are manageable segments so that we can comprehend and make, what we would call, logical decisions. This is not something that we do naturally, it is something we have learned to do culturally. Our upbringing has developed this as a tool, as a coping mechanism to be able to comprehend LIFE itself, and make things manageable, and understandable. We are not taught to think of them collectively. And typically approach them subjectively. They both influence us, and form the way that we influence others. We call these the spheres of influence… And there are seven of them.
As individual boxes, each of the spheres provide a segment in which we can identify, analyse, explain and decide. It is the interactions between the spheres that bring about the complexity of LIFE. Accepting that all these areas of influence impact our lives day in day out provide us with a visual interpretation of LIFE like this:
A seemingly irregular, uncomprehensible array of individual instances that actually interact together influencing us and forming our culture as individuals, collectively as groups in community, holistically as humankind in the world. As we move from looking at an individual, to a group, to the world, the number of boxes gets exponentially larger and more difficult to comprehend. The easier decision is not to try. The more difficult one is to wade into the murky waters and start to try to make sense of it all. Our position on the matter is that dialogue should take place not for the purposes of judgement, but for the purposes of awareness. Not for agreement, but for understanding.
It is interesting that when we look at interactions, we begin to understand that each interaction causes a different reaction creating something totally different. One of the easiest occurrences to be able to see this in nature is in the way colours interact with each other. The phenomenon of colour mixing is quite interesting.
When light colours are mixed together, the results are additive. They get brighter. At the end of the mixing process, the three primary colours of light become white.
When paint or physical colour is combined and mixed, the results are subtractive. They get darker. At the end of the mixing process, the three primary colours become black.
As with colour, influences can be “additive” (positive) or “subtractive” (negative) to culture. Perspective of what is positive or negative in culture is left to individuals and groups. However, our purpose of discussion should be for positive purposes and intentions. We can study and analyse components of culture for enlightenment and collaboration. Or we can study and analyse components of culture for the purposes of seeking justification to persecute and segregate. It all lies in our intentions.
So what does all this mean? When we first began, we took on the concept as seven literal spheres that needed to developed individually forming a new culture altogether. We listened to the theories of others. We took note of the failures of ourselves. As we have continued to discover the seven spheres of influence at work, we began to see that the seven spheres themselves impact themselves and each of the other spheres.
To take for an example the influence sphere of FAMILY. The inward influence from a family’s upbringing impacts a child’s Education. Is learning important? Should I study? Do I need to learn to get a job? Is it important to go to university? The inward influence of the FAMILY sphere extends to impacting a child’s view of Media, Arts & Entertainment – through what they are allowed to be exposed to; Government – lifelong perspectives are often formed on policies and politics from a child listening to adult conversations; Business – where a family’s livelihood often defines access to opportunities; Health & Wellness – where a family environment and often faith background, defines the emotional foundations of a child. All of these spheres continually interact forming the LIFE and culture of the individual.
This therefore has lead us to begin to understand the way in which this looks… The influential impact of the spheres within the spheres.
With this understanding, we now have a framework in which we can approach the analysis of culture and influence. Knowing how to identify the areas that we don’t know starts with knowing the questions that we have to ask. The components that we have to look for. This provides us with a stencil that we need to therefore fill in, continually review, knowing that it will always be changing.