Scope of Spiritual Perspective


“Let our students survey the history of all mankind all over the face of the planet since the age when man’s pre-human ancestor first became human; but at the same time let them scrutinize the history of some local short-lived tribe or parish.”  Arnold Toynbee (An example of the Micro perspective informing the Macro perspective.)

Unifying Set Image – Triality Symbol – Positive, Negative and Neutral is the basis for this symbol. All flavors of the TAO, each aspect represents the mystical prime number of three, the trinity.

Common Color – Earthly Green –

Background Image – Each has it’s own image matching its perspective. See the unique description about each card’s background.

Micro and Macro

When either of these Cards is selected, consideration of how much impact and upon how many people is going to occur. This subsets specifies an aspects that speak to the issue of breadth of perspective: personal or planetary, individual or group, private vs. public. The contrasting qualities which further permeate each concept, suggest a layer where one should consider the influence of a card as directing our attention more specifically and about oneself. Or, toward a more philosophical or general broad expression of a notion we hold about a wider group.

Scope Micro and Macro – Contrasting Ordinal and Cardinal Perspectives

Ordinal can mean…Micro Exalted can mean…Macro
Personal Impersonal
Private Public
 Inward Outward
Plan Vision
Masculine Feminine
Informal Formal
Exclusive Inclusive
Together Solitary
Labor Management
Details Big Picture
Parts Whole
Mundane Abstract
Parts Whole
Small Scale Large Scale
Plebeians – Proletariat – Populous Patrician – Plutarchs – 1%
Small Scale Large Scale
Immediate gratification and reinforcement Delayed gratification


View Ordinal and Exalted as Micro and Macro frame of reference able to “drill down into the details” or see “the big picture.” In many Social Sciences, particularly Economics and Sociology, this distinctions render highly valuable distinctions about how we view and operate in our world(s), as individuals and as groups.  If you were to pick either of this scope cards, be alerted and instructing to employ either a microscope in your analysis, or use a telescope to reach out beyond the immediate to fix the current situation in a broader context. Another equally explanation contrasts focusing on the short run or current, with taking the long view or looking to the long run suggesting time placed effects or your situation: now or later.

Short Run and Long Run (See related concepts to time)

Economists will tell you that far too many of us are short run oriented. That is to say, that we have tendency to look for immediate effects (or payoffs) rather than persevere into the long run. To be sure, such phrases as these have variable meanings relative to the type of planning or vision one might be looking at, but equally true is the need that short run thinking has to reduce stress and see immediate gain.

Big Picture vs the Snapshot

Holistic perspective is often difficult to capture because of the nature of System Complexity. The larger the system the more factors that are involved with it, and thereby the more variable and unpredictable it might be. However, this does not mean that it is impossible to imagine large scale effects, but merely the timing and the specific areas where problems may arise increase geometrically.

For individuals, the process of living life causes them to focus upon the needs of the short run as noted by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The long run of any life may be directed toward self-actualization, but that aspiration, or for that matter process of building achievements and accumulating stable resources bases, escape many of the worlds: middle classes, working classes, or poverty stricken whose time is completely absorbed and focused upon survival needs.

If one of these cards appears you are being instructed to consider issues related to your current or situational perspective about the long run effects of your short term actions. By contrast, it may also imply

Formal and Informal & Public and Private

Ordinal has the qualities of informal and personal. Whereas Exalted scope inherently is expansive and relates to the system at large, and one’s formal place in it. The contrast here would be the difference of going in front of your father for consequences of an action within a family; and that of appearing before a judge who can dismiss or pronounce sentence as part of a community or state crime.  The consequences of the first, by the way, generally stay private and are dealt with informally within the family structure. But commit a larger, social transgression, then the act is very public and enters into the formal structures of a judiciary. The crime and punishment are open for everyone to see, and vetted as part of a larger formal program of social engineering.

Individual and Group & Rights and Responsibilities

Political arguments often hover around a topic paraphrased by Mr. Spock in Star Trek II[1] “the good of the many outweigh the needs of the few…or the one.” Personal rights and concerns bumping up against public or institutional, more likely a state or organizational entity. The current debate in the United States about the Citizen’s United Case typifies the confusion when individual rights (Ordinal) are presented to a collective entity like a corporation. In itself, to consider a corporation a “person” is on its face absurd because even if such an entity were to be “terminated” or become cease operation – no living being is lost. Instead, the great travesty of such a declaration happens when law allows actual living humans, who are the owners and directors of said enterprises; to exert control and influence without the benefit of public disclosure or legitimate accountability. For we as humans to confuse individual and enterprise, consequences like these arise leaving a concerned public no ability to witness and then collectively regulate an organizations activities or at least make them equal in regards to others. All individuals share rights; whereas entities are granted license, privileges, benefits, and entitlements from society which are market driven, but not inalienable to them as a living being. This is a place where the Exalted power of a large entity encroaches into the domain of the particular.

(According to Wikipedia, this constant cycle of changing words is known as the euphemism treadmill.)

  • Comparing these two stations in life: which one do you relate to? Which one gets more respect and more privilege? Is there a balance between the actual work done, risk taken, and rewards received?
    1. The General – Exalted
    2. The Soldier – Ordinal
  • Here is an example of comparing contexts between an exalted and ordinal perspective…
    1. Exalted is the public self or persona, no matter what the scale or scope. Together, group, self-transcendent, (reference – Ghost in the Machine) dissociated image. Bob Dole speaking of “Bob Dole” or politicians of themselves as we. (Can become grandiose, self deluded, but far more significantly to accountability – they are detached and dissociated from the “IT” they created, the image, the identity, the brand..)
    2. Ordinal, by contrast, is personal and private. It’s point of view is self acquisition, realization, and self preservation. (Can become defensive and selfish)
    3. From the standpoint of the exalted or the General: is concerned about the large scale. Strategy and tactics. Command and control. Pride and pageantry. Looking stately and patriotic. Is concerned about the number of medals on his chest, being decorated, and the over all distancing from the soldiers.
    4. From the standpoint of the ordinal or the soldier: the soldiers perspective is on the battlefield, then potentially in a hospital, or missing a limb, or in a wheelchair; they receive the orders, they are more concerned with individual momentary action and having to stay alive.

[1] Actually found in Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens pg. – Phrased a bit differently in the Utilitarian view of things: “It is the greatest good to the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong.” By Jeremy Bentham

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