Value development

The following is an extract from a student studying for the Bachelor of Ecological Agricultural Systems at Charles Sturt University. The model the student is referring is one by Brian Hall and his book Value Shift. Hall proposes that there are four stages of value development:

Phase 1
Consciousness: Survival and Growth
Phase 2
Consciousness: Belonging
Phase 3
Consciousness: Self-initiating
Phase 4
Consciousness: Interdependent

According to Hall people evolve to Stage 3 and Stage 4 but only after navigating Stage 1 and then 2. Alternately, they may remain stuck at a given level. Whilst the background provides a thin sketch only of Hall’s model, it is probably sufficient to read meaning into the student’s response. The student is Bonnie Wykman (published with permission):

The current dominant world power structures are based in the first phase and second phase that is primarily concerned with personal security in phase 1 and personal success in phase 2. Phase 1 can be seen in the Australian Government’s popular attitude towards refugees and playing on fears of insecurity; that somehow, we might be less safe, less well off or robbed of what is rightfully ours if we accept these people into our country. Phase 2 consciousness can be seen in the Australian dream; that if we work hard enough, we deserve our success. The omission in this consciousness is that the foundation of our wealth is based upon the oppression of Australian indigenous people and the stealing and domination of a landscape and a people. The values of these two phases have served to provide the needs of some, but based upon the exclusion of others. The values present in the first and second phase are obviously essential for human growth, however, the way they are expressed lacks empathy for both people and the natural environment. For example, belonging is a value on phase two. Belonging is important and something we all desire, however, without empathy for others, belonging can [be] exclusive, racist, classist, xenophobic etc.


Education is associated with phase two consciousness, which is interesting, as I would say that education is essential in changing values and world view. However, more is required if, as a nation or a global community, we are move to a third and fourth phase. Paulo Freire (1970, p 22) writes that “education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” The method used to develop transformative education was known as ‘conscientisation’ and was coined by Friere. It is a process whereby the learner progresses towards critical consciousness. It aims to break through dominant paradigms for the learner to become aware of their place in the world and to become an agent in that world, rather than the object that things happen to (Freire, 1970).


I write all of this by way of framing my attitude toward change and how to move to stages three and four. I have little faith that this will occur in the mainstream institutions, economies, political systems and the industrial food system. They have a vested interest in maintaining the values that maintain their power. The mechanisms that I see are capable of moving to values of empathy is in the conscientisation of the masses. It relies upon creating alternative institutions with values of the third and fourth phase. Conscientisation is a critical step for people to be educated about their reality, where they, as humans, fit in the world. As far as this relates to agriculture, I see these things occurring in agrarian movements, like Via Campesina, The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, permaculture and other food sovereignty organisations and movements. They, to me, reflect the values that are articulated in Hall’s third and fourth phase. It is my belief that there is little hope for the dominant systems that we have in place. That what is required is the creation of alternative institutions, ideologies and movements that are reflective of higher values and incorporate empathy for the human and biotic community. This begins through education that challenges the status quo of our food system (Gadotti, 2009). Then moves to developing the agricultural systems that are reflective of ecority and global harmony that Hall (1994) writes about. To grow these as viable alternatives, whereby they challenge the economic and political base of the dominant institutions that run the world at present, is how we can move as a global community towards the third and fourth phase of consciousness. That shift has already begun and continues to grow as people are becoming more aware of the industrial food culture and looking for alternative food systems that align with the values they want to live by.



Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Herder and Herder.

Gadotti, M. (2009). EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT What we need to learn to save the planet? Sao Paulo. Retrieved from for Sustainable Development.pdf

Hall, B. P. (1994). Phases, stages, and cycles of development. In Value shift: a guide to personal & organisational transformation (pp. 121–131). Rockpart: MA: Twin Light.

Stages & Phases of Human Development (Source: Brian hall)
Stages & Phases of Human Development (Source: Brian Hall)


A final thought from the Editor in keeping with Bonnie’s paper, and it comes from Buckminster Fuller:

You never change things by fighting existing reality.

To change something build a new model that makes the

existing model obsolete.

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