20 years ago today, in the morning I attended my first Spiral Dynamics workshop in Melbourne, Australia. Dr Don Edward Beck and the late Chris Cowan ran the workshop: one of the last that they would do together. Beck is a PhD student of the social judgment psychologist Muzafer Sherif and is a ‘big picture’ geopolitical thinker; Cowan had a counselling background and was able to situate biopsychosocial systems models in terms of practical life advice. I had just interviewed both Beck and Cowan for my Marketing Magazine cover-story ‘The Advertising Virus‘. I would liaise with Beck until about 2004; I attended several of Cowan’s SD I and II training sessions and corresponded with him until he passed away.
In the afternoon I corresponded with Connell Monette (now Associate Professor at Al Akhawayn University) about our respective research. We discussed the Bektashi and Naqshbandiyya Sufi Orders. At the time, I was reading a secondhand copy of Hasan Shusud’s Masters of Wisdom of Central Asia on the Naqshbandiyya Order. I had also read Idries Shah and received the zikr from Dr Brian and Nina Earl, who were students of Gurdjieff pupil John Godolphin Bennett. I had circled around mystical Islam for several years; unaware of the Deobandi and Salafi jihadist events unfolding in Afghanistan at the time that would later lead to 11th September 2001.