How the heck did we get here?
Updated: Mar 19
Sometimes things just have to get worse before they get better.
Most of what can be said about last weeks events has already been said by politicians, pundits and journalists, and it's easy to get swept up in the emotions and glued to the screen. I read a paper the weekend prior to the Capitol attack, that really helped put these events into perspective as it provides a meta-perspective on what is happening, why it's happening, and it draws two possible outcomes. I wanted you to have access to that too.
For years, I've had this image in my mind: Trump with a slingshot in this hands trying to pull progress back, back, back. The rubber is about to break, the more he pulls, the more tension until the tension has to release. And when it does - progress will be catapulted faaaaaaar.
Wonder if we are at the point where the rubber is about to break?
Ken Wilber wrote this piece right after the election in 2016 and sent it unedited to his community. It's based on Dr. Clare Graves Spiral Dynamics model, which maps the evolutionary path every individual human being and societies at large go through. Some people and societies have a higher consciousness or awareness, some are at lower levels. To me this was THE explanation why some see lies and deceptions and others see truth teller and freedom fighter.
Before going into the stages or memes of the Spiral Dynamics, two more ideas to round out the picture and help understand the document above based on the Integral Theory:
Ken Wilber created the Integral Theory that suggests the synthesis of all human knowledge and experience. At it's core it states : "Everybody is right about something"
Holons. Everything in the universe is a part in itself and part of the larger whole. (Like atoms are part of cells, are part of tissue, ..... are part of a human, is part of society... you get the idea)
None of us is born 'enlightened' or highly conscious. Achieving higher levels of consciousness is a process we all go through from the day we are born until we die. If we get 'stuck' at lower levels, we literally do not have the perspective and access to knowledge and wisdom. It doesn't mean that we are dumb, or ill intentioned - it means we actually can't see and are caught in believing that we are right and are doing the righteous thing.
Let's look at these levels individually from the bottom up:
The beige meme: 0-18 months With the core idea of Survival. It’s infantile, instinctive, and the ‘Self’ is barely awakened.
The purple meme: 1-3 years
The magical and animistic meme where we integrate into a family or tribal unit for our survival.
The red meme: 3-6 years
The world is a jungle full of threats. Breaking free from constraints to do whatever one desires. Conquers and dominates other aggressive characters.
The amber theme (blue in spiral dynamics): 7-8 years
Laws, regulations, discipline build character. Order enforces a code of conduct. Impulsivity is controlled through guilt.
The orange theme: 9-14 years
Plays the game to win. Manipulates resources to achieve a good life. Wants to get ahead, seeks success and financial gain.
The green theme: 15-21 years
Reaches decisions through reconciliation and consensus processes. Seeks to preserve earths resources and spread opportunities equally among all.
Now this green phase is what Wilber explains is the 'green leading edge' which collapsed on itself in part due to leading through consensus. It's gifts include the civil rights movement, sustainability movement, personal and professional feminism, but where it started to get stuck or collapse was when - well intended - all perspectives were valued equally driven by arcane arguments in academia which started to become self contradictory and collapsed into nihilism and narcissism. That gave way to the post-truth world where 'what I want to be true is true'. And Trump is decidedly most skilled at that. Alternative facts. Remember?
Trump managed to align and unite the purple, red, amber and orange memes against the leading edge green meme. All his decisions were anti-green and embraced by all lower levels. Thus trying to turn back time, turn back progress.
Wilber argues that there are two possible ways forward and we can see that battle play out right now:
The leading green edge self corrects by asserting it's leadership role. This includes for individuals to embrace an understanding that consciousness in lower stages don't have the viewpoint or perspective and instead of vilifying and fighting, ask how can we help the evolutionary process?
Or, alternatively, the Second tier of Transpersonal being into the next higher state has started emerging. Wilber and other luminaries argue that 10% of the population at a higher evolved stage will change the entire culture. Looks like we are on track here.
The integral meme: no specific age
And that, in my opinion, is actually very exciting!
Yes, it is a seismic, radical phase shift. So when I wrote around New Years Eve that when things are breaking down for us and we are able to lean into that, when we are able to shift our thinking from "why is this happening to me?" to
"Why is that happening FOR me?".
It is for our collective evolution!
If we believe in science, we knew that our way of living wasn't sustainable. We were using up and consuming 1.5x the world's resources every year. It needed major disruption in order for us to fundamentally change. But change is hard. When we pull back to a 25000ft view we can see that the events of Trumps election, the pandemic, Me Too, BLM social justice movement, and now the acts of domestic terrorism are lined up like pearls on a necklace. Systems are breaking down, patterns are disrupted. And that, while painful, isn't a bad thing. Whatever worked and served a broader sense will continue to thrive, what didn't will break down, is weeded out and will be gone.
What can we do? Seek peace with the inner self, learn to love yourself. Become more of you. Shine your light, don't dim it. Find joy in what you do. Get a coach, meditate, do yoga, go outside, seek nature. Find out what your values are.
Sign up for the free introductory email list at integral life to learn more about this and yourself.
Do an ELI leadership assessment with me to learn where you currently are with your stage of consciousness based on the 7-levels of energy.
Dream about the society how we would like it to be instead of hating on the one we have. Only a suggestion for now: let's watch Shonda Rhimes "Bridgerton" and marvel in a possible future rich and juicy that that will make our lives more colorful and fun.
Thanks for being here, reading until the end.