Proposal: Effective Value Memes 2.0

Integrating Two Foundational Models of Human Development

Welf von Hören
4 min readJun 5, 2020


This piece seeks to explore and synthesize some ideas around the notion of Sovereignty (as conceptualized by Daniel Schmachtenberger & Jordan Hall, see my interpretation here) and Effective Value Memes (as introduced by Hanzi Freinacht in The Listening Society). I’ll assume knowledge of both for this document.

Effective value meme seeks to be a holistic model of developmental psychology. It’s suggested to be made up of one’s complexity, code, state, and depth.

I think Hanzi gets a lot of things right with it, and this is the most useful model of developmental psychology I’m aware of.

My major critique, however, is that it isn’t mapped on to Sovereignty, and that it should.

This post is by no means even close to comprehensively integrating the two. I’ll just show how I think they could be conceptually integrated with one another, and why such integration would be useful. The purpose is to suggest some ideas for co-creation. Luckily, my work here doesn’t have to be perfect to achieve this. You’re invited to read between the lines and look for what I mean.

To me, sovereignty seems to be the more fundamental model, describing more fundamental dimensions of human development, behavior, and existence.

Our mental complexity and the cultural code we are running influence both our sentience — our capacity for perceiving the world — and, mainly, our intelligence — our capacity for making sense of the world we perceive.

Our state and existential depth influence our sentience and agency — our capacity to act on and in the world.

Here’s where I think there’s a nuance worth honoring: In between our intelligence and our agency, we find our aspirations, values, and intentions. This space is what I suggest we can think of as our value meme.

And then there is agency. And it’s another potentially limiting factor for the effectiveness of our choices. There is a significant difference between what I aspire to and what I am able to effectively do in the world.

And so our effective value meme is the product of our sovereignty, defined by…