After a distinguished career as an internationally published author and journalist, in the 1980s and 1990s, Dudley accelerated his explorations into the changing nature of human thinking and technologies, particularly in ways that relate to the business enterprise.
His first book, Your High-Performance Business Brain—An Operator’s Manual (Prentice-Hall), was followed up by his second work and probably best known work (with Paul Kordis), Strategy of the Dolphin®: Scoring a Win in a Chaotic World.
The Mother of All Minds was published in late 2003 by Brain Technologies and has attracted praise from around the world for its highly actionable insights into how the brain works and what the mind needs to improve the quality and suitability of its decisions and actions in today’s demanding, change-fraught 21st Century world.
Dudley and Clare Graves
Dudley’s work has built on the framework laid by Professor Clare Graves whose insights led to the understanding of how value systems ev9lve in individuals and societies. Dudley’s version of this is by the far the most usable around – he has succeeded in boiling down a complicated structure of thought into something that ordinary practical peopl can apply.
Dudey describes his meeting with Graves. “The first time I met him, he was folded into a restaurant booth in Newton, Mass. It was snowing. His speckled grey overcoat was tossed at his side. I’ve never forgotten the mental “collage” that formed instantly in my mind as I took in the image of this courtly, scholarly looking man in the thick-rimmed glasses. He looked not all that unlike an aging, bespectacled Abe Lincoln fitted onto the body of a Jimmy Stewart. Long, craggy face. Thick, bushy eyebrows. Sprawling, gangly frame of a physique.”
On that very first meeting in the Newton motel coffee shop, I asked him why his ideas had provoked such a strong reaction, particularly from psychologists. He replied, “Probably because I went up against Abe Maslow’s view of the self-actualizing human.”
“The biggest surprise of my life,” he continued, “was the day in 1959 when I realized that some of the people I’d been testing were claiming that they had moved beyond self-actualization. One day they were saying that Abe Maslow’s description fit their idea of maturity perfectly. Now, here they were telling me, ‘No, that’s the way I used to think. But that’s not the way it is any more.'” Abraham Maslow was perhaps post-war America’s dominant figure in psychology. For certain, in academic circles or out, he was the hero of an entire generation of “human potential” advocates. In these formative moments of the “PC” (politically correct) movement, anyone who challenged Abe Maslow’s views was immediately labeled a heretic, a traitor—and was cast out, or kept out. Maslow taught psychology at Brandeis, in Boston; Graves at Union College, in Schenectady. They were close geographically. As Graves emerged as Maslow’s fiercest critic, they grew more estranged, but later, more or less reconciled both their views and their friendship.
How Did Graves’ view of human development differ from Maslow’s?
Graves said there was a vast, open-ended developmental space for us humans out beyond the pinnacle of Maslow’s famed “peak performance,” the end point on his pyramid of human needs, that was as immense as the cosmos in our brains. Graves went further: he said his research data had captured almost the precise moment that some of the first “homo sapiens” managed to “rewire” their brain, to reprogram themselves, and move on into this New Universe of Effective Possibility, this new kind of self. “A momentous leap,” he called it. A jump forward to new capabilities and outlooks highly useful in dealing, for example, with a marketplace exploding with change, complexity and colliding expectations.
Dr. Graves warned us to expect the rate of change to spike a high fever. And to anticipate a widening gap between our expectations and needs and our experiences and game plans that would demand a different way of explanation, a change in how we plan and prepare, an altered perspective in how we see ourselves at work, at play, at succeeding. He said that to be maximally at home and effective in this new domain of the self, we would need to grow cozy with the expectation—the deep, deep down feeling and conviction—that everything is going to turn out well . . . even if, in the short run, we lose!
He said this wall marks the demarcation separating outlooks of scarcity (that there is not enough, and can never be) from outlooks of abundance (that there is often enough, and probably will be, if we make good choices, more, much more). Dr. Graves said his research data showed that beyond this wall, there is not the automatic obliviousness that has often shielded us from new possibilities but rather a relaxation of compulsions that helps open our eyes and our opportunities. And we know now that he was right. The wall is there. And there’s a way through it. This has provided the almost total focus of our work, our creation of metaphors and models and self-learning materials at Brain Technologies.
Graves speaking on some current issues
On his model: “The psychology of the mature human being is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating, spiraling process marked by progressive subordination of older, lower-order behavior systems to newer, higher-order systems as man’s existential problems change.”
On the emergence of new values: “There is … an appearance of breakdown which results from the realization of the new values themselves, because these new values are so often the exact antithesis of the old. In that sense, the new values do represent the ultimate breakdown of the current basis of society, or of the individual’s way of life.”
On the importance of a person’s thinking/perceptual/valuing system: “[When] the human is centralized in one state of existence, he or she has a psychology which is particular to that state. His or her feelings, motivations, ethics and values, biochemistry, degree of neurological activation, learning system, belief system, conception of mental health, ideas as to what mental illness is and how it should be treated, conceptions of and preferences for management, education, economics and political theory and practice are all appropriate [congruent] to that state.”
On the new “self” that at BTC we’ve sometimes called metaphorically “the Choice-Seeker or Dolphin system“: [In this system] the world is seen kaleidoscopically with different views demanding different attention. [Dolphin or PowerWave] thinking is in terms of the systemic whole and thought is about the different wholes in different ways. Thought strives to ascertain which way of thinking or which combination of ways fits the present set of conditions. Thinking is in terms of what is best for the survival of life—my life, their lives, and all life, but not compulsively; and what is best for me or thee does not have to be best for she or them. My way does not have to be yours, nor yours mine, yet I have very strong convictions about what is my way, but never such about yours.”
On Maslow: “You should know that Maslow came around to my point. If you look at some of his later writings, you will see that he accepted both (1) the cyclic idea that there were more than one kind of expressive system and more than one kind of belonging system and (2) that the system is open-ended. We finally, after fighting over this for eight years, came to a fundamental agreement along that line.”
On how we damage our children: “Today we endeavor to teach children to be what they are not. That is, we prevent them from reaching higher into the existential hierarchy by preventing them from acting out the levels of existence on which they are actually living.” ?