A consideration based on the levels of personal and collective development
The colors beige, purple, red, blue. orange, green and more represent distinct levels of development of individuals and societies, following “Spiral Dynamics”, a theory elaborated by Don Beck and Christopher Cowan on the initial findings of Clare Graves.
How the levels express in the present crisis
What have the levels of development to do with the present Corona situation? I don’t want to waste too much time in explaining theoretically the characteristics of each of these levels, referred to by the above colours. I hope you will unterstand it while I am discussing the topic.It appeared to me lately that the levels explain a lot of what is going on right now.
What are the characteristic players in the game?
There are people who use a lot of energy and power to fight for what they believe to be true. Depending on the objects, the intentions, the goals and the ethical majurity of the respective players, this trait can be very helpful or disastrous.
Other people feel alive and safe only in a setting which is highly reliable. They need law and order, rules and guidelines which are not to be questioned. The 10 commandments of the bible are an attempt to provide such a orientation framework. The individual is free from taking personal responsibility, because the rules are authority and to be followed, even when the resulting actions are harmful, unethical whatever. Today these are the rules of the government and the bible is represented by the mainstream media.
Galilei refused to believe in the doctrines of the church and opened up the world to scientific inquiry. Going out into the world with curiosity, question, what you find and look for even better solutions and explanations, never allow beliefs stop you from searching after truth! This gave rise to the materialistic science which observes measurable things, interprets the findings and discusses it with other findings in order to get to best possible answers.
This truth was looked for in the objective world. Our human inside world was not only neglected, but dismissed as irrelevant. We intuitively know that this is not true and new ways of looking at the world arose which not only included our feelings and personal experiences, but put them on the throne of the only way of knowing the truth.
As we know by the work of Ken Wilber: every step into the next level leads us into denying the previous level as an error, but when settled in the new mindset, a successful development would embrace the valid findings and views of the previous levels. When this doesn’t happen, the development is unhealthy and leads to all sorts of complications and absurdities. I will talk about this below as it is a characteristic of our present moment.
How the levels operate in the corona crisis
In the following I won’t talk about where the virus comes from, if it is real or if there is some special agenda behind all that. I am only interested in the question, which sort of mindset leads to which behaviour, where mindsets enhance or hinder each other and how a solution could be found by understanding the limits of each mindset and how the disaster comes about when one or the other is believed to be the absolute truth.
In January 2020 we heard about a strange illness in China. China is far away and we would not have imagined that it could be relevant to us – except some scientists who immediately got curious and started their respective activities around the “new Coronavirus”
In March we were told that the most dangerous virus has entered Europe, especially Italy, where I live. People started to become fearful and they looked for information. In the last decades we had developed a sensitivity towards our health, we had promoted healthy food, exercise, vitamins and more to keep us healthy. We wanted to face the new illness by understanding it and knowing what we could do.
We relied on newspapers and official television channels to give us good information. Soon some of us got aware that our concerns were not satisfied by seemingly good explanations but ever increasing fear was induced throughout the population. Psychologically effective photos were published which heated up the fear because the real context was not given. They were used for propaganda – but what for and for whom? Only a few of us understood that right away, I didn’t at that time.
We hoped for science to give us good insights, explanations and suggestions on how to deal with the situation. Very many scientists in the world started their relentless research. Soon we could see that only a handful of scientists were heard and their message spread in public media. Other specialists with long experience in the relevant fields were not heard or considered at all, they were not invited by our governments to collaborate in finding the best answers. They didn’t get a platform in our official media and soon they were ridiculed and cancelled in social media and elsewhere, one after the other.
Unhealthy memes – when development is incomplete
But how? Isn’t science a way of finding solutions by discussing the findings and improving them on the way? Science once was understood as a practice where you propose a theory and then try to falsify it. As long as you couldn’t do that, the finding was assumed as “true” – until a better argument came forth and was agreed upon. But now a different concept of “science” had gained precedence. It was alive before, but with the Corona situation, it showed its full distortion of understanding. This is a consequence of the “green meme”, prevalent now in western societies, which emphasis the relativity of “truth”. In short: “What I see as truth, is true, nobody has a better truth than mine”. Now you can call yourself a scientist if you went out to collect arguments for something which you have planned to prove. You are not inquiring to find out, you already “know” and fish for good rationalisations to convince others that you are right.
This is exactly the opposite of what real science is. It is open ended und curious what will come out when you apply the method. Now somebody – even our governments – asked scientists to find good enough arguments to “prove” that a lockdown is needed, for instance. (As was revealed in Germany) The official “scientists” avoid discussions with serious scientists who have come to different conclusions. Why is this happening? Despite continuous invitations of alternative media to the “leading scientists” who direct the government decisions, they never show up to discuss their position. And in mainstream media hardly ever anybody is invited who has come to different results than the ruling opinion.
The developmental memes in play
Now coming back to the colors of “Spiral Dynamics”. The scientific method and good investigative journalism are expressions of the “orange meme”, of the modern mindset which is driven by curiosity. Post-modernism (green) has introduced the dogma that subjectivity is of more value than objectivity, and that there is an innumerable way of seeing and interpreting things, and therefore none is more important than any other. “Truth doesn’t exist” is the conclusion, and therefore what I personally think is as important than the interpretation of any other person. Scientist or not, expert or not. There is no difference. There is no hierarchy in the appropriateness and usefulness of ideas and strategies. Therefore I can do whatever I want, it is right, anyway. And to make it seem acceptable to those who still believe in science, I can find somebody who claims to be a scientist and ask him to support my truth.
We live in a disastrous clash between the orange and the green meme, or better between the healthy orange meme and the unhealthy green meme, the “mean green meme”, n expression coined by Ken Wilber in his book “Boomeritis”.
It is impressive how much power the “mean green meme” has gained in our societies despite the fact that not all of them have fully embraced it. But Germany has, as well as other western countries, especially the US and Canada, but also Australia and others. Its terminologies and practices have invaded most countries of the world to a certain degree, despite the fact that they, as societies, are not yet there. If the do it by free will or by pressure through the dominant countries is another question. Italy for instance, is still struggling with reaching the “blue” level (except the northern parts of the country where “orange” is dominant). The Corona measurements enhance this step into the blue level This explains why Italy is a willing player in this unholy game.
How can the nightmare end?
The “blue meme” is the mindset where following rules and obedience is most important. People rely on what they are told and are faithfully doing what they are told, even if it is to their disadvantage. When there is trust in the government, all people are likely to follow the rules and there is no reinforcement needed, as we have seen in Sweden during the past year. In Germany, where the population is in huge parts embracing the “orange” and “green” mindset, trust is only possible when reasonable, reliable explanations without contradictions are provided.
If there is transparency, and when it includes scientific findings of a whole variety of researchers, Every incongruence and censoring is a sign for them that something is going wrong, that they are subject to manipulation and they stand up to express there reasonable concerns. With every contradiction they detect in the official statements, their feeling to be deceived grows and the inner need arises to search for truth and fight for it. Then the state uses reinforcement of its rules by demanding absolute obedience and threatens with punishment. This works well in totalitarian states and generally in societies who have not yet developed beyond “blue”. It doesn’t work in more developed societies – and that is the only hope we have to end the present nightmare!
Again: the levels are the key
A society which has its center of gravity in “blue”, in the conformist stage of development, people have no major problems with following the given rules. That is their modality and the find relief in the fact that they don’t have to think for themselves and that others lead them the way.
Societies on the modern (orange) level of development cannot just follow rules which in their own thinking don’t make sense. Individuals on this level need evidence and very good reasons before they adopt ideas and behaviours and they need permanent research for better reasons and solutions. They cannot accept rules which have no proven foundation in reality, and the more courageous and moral ones have the need to stand up against falsity and manipulation.
People in the green level of development have the sincere intention to care for others. When they are told that their grandma could die because of them not wearing a mask, they enter into emotional arousal, into a sense of guilt and shame, and therefore follow the first best idea they are offered in the sincere hope to be a useful member of society. They are not aware that the scientists they rely on are not working within the rigorous codex of how science needs to be done. They don’t notice the difference between modern and postmodern science, between the research for reliable facts as opposed to finding confirmation for ideas. So they proclaim “follow science”, but actually they ask us to believe those who manipulate or invent results in order to satisfy other agendas.
When people develop through the levels, they have incorporated the mindsets and principles of the previous ones, if they are aware or not. Now it depends on the way they have included their previous stages in order to express their latest stage in a healthy way.
As I said before, scientists of the modern stage won’t easily follow the rules, given by the previous stage, unless they can fully understand their reason and usefulness. In the postmodern stage, people think that they are “better”, because they have compassion with people who suffer etc. And they have their own ideas about how the suffering in the world would be diminished without looking at reality, without even asking the actual people whom they pretend to care for what they want and need. They arrogantly believe to know it better.
Those in the green stage who have not integrated well the “red” stage of development, which explores personal power, are very likely to refer to this unhealthily integrated mindset. “What I feel and think is right”, is the basic position. And if you don’t agree with me, then you are wrong, dangerous, my enemy (the “red” level is that of the warrior which is based on the distinction “right-wrong”).
Understanding better the present situation
From what I said about the stages, we can now look at the present situation in the western world and more easily understand why things are happening as they are. We see a clash of mainly three memes, the traditional, the modern and postmodern, with the insertion of “red” (the egocentric stage) in a decisive number of individuals in all of them.
Governments, or better the people who constitute governments love to use the power which hey have to pursue their tasks. This is ok as long as they use it for the benefit of their people, but when used to manifest their ideas and fantasies, it becomes a huge problem. The “red” drive in the single powerful individual is self serving, it uses the people for their own purposes. They might get suggestions, incentives or even pressure by other more powerful entities who want them to rule in a certain way ( the uncontrolled red drive of super rich individuals in the world). In order to satisfy the demands they are likely to promote rules which they believe to be useful for their goals. Here the conflict arises between climbing up the ladder and accepting immoral ways to do that on one side and on the other side wishing to serve the people of their country. Depending on their personal level of development they will chose to align with the evil or stand up against it which entails huge risks for their personal lives. We have not many heroes of this sort in the world, but fortunately there are some who feel the need for personal integrity and do what is needed to be done by taking the risks. “The heroes are the ones with the arcs in their backs”
The blue and orange stage
In a country like Germany there is a huge number of people located in the “blue” mindset, therefore they have no problems with following the rules and might not even question them. “Wanting to know” is not yet a constituent of their structure.
But there are also many people in a modern mindset (orange) who need to understand, who want to know the truth. People in “blue” cannot understand their eagerness in questioning and trying to find out, in protesting against missing evidence because they sense of what is going on under the surface. Traditionally oriented people (in “blue”) put the truly “orange” – minded people in the corner of “dissidents”. “conspiracy theorists” and even more heavy offences. This is understandable from their point of view, but absolutely unfair towards those who happen to have different, but equally valuable basic values.
The green stage
Many people in a genuine and healthy “green” mindset (Not to be confounded with any “green party or movement!!) are the driving forces in the protests. They intuit the danger of a totalitarian state, they want the best life for everyone, their values are love, understanding, good relationships and cooperation. They are deeply concerned about the direction our societies are going, driven by the unhealthy orange and blue mindsets. They are engaged in personal and spiritual development and they have “better” values than all other stages before.
The green meme in its healthy form is the most advanced mindset in the world where quite a number of people are already in. There are two problems here: In their unhealthy form, green-driven people become fundamentalists and even use power over others to force them into their own ideas. This is definitely a regression into previous stages and very dangerous, as they are already more sophisticated than those who are genuinely expressing those stages.
Why all these levels cannot resolve the problem
But even the healthy expression of green cannot really resolve the problems for which they are a decisive motor. They, as any previous stage, are caught in the conviction to “know it all”, to be better than the others and that they consequently have to oppose and fight the others. With this attitude they contradict their own belief system and cannot succeed, unless…
Unless they do the jump into the next stage of development, where they would be able to see the bigger picture and to discriminate. They could recognise the value and usefulness of certain ideas and practices of other memes and use them in a constructive way. No fighting against others, but collecting every important perspective and trying to find the best practices possible in the given moment, always ready to adjust when better insights arise. With the basis of respect, care and in a loving attitude with no exclusion a better world can be enhanced.
The solution comes with a shift in consciousness
Yes, we still have to stand up against the excesses of power and indoctrination of previous memes, but mainly we have to work on the shift of individuals into more advanced levels of their personal development, into the opening of their mindsets into more complex and reality based understanding of the world, into giving up fundamentalism, power games, impotence and victimhood, and arrogance and hubris. We need to come to the very basic understanding of the interconnection of everyone and everything.
I have faith that this will happen, some day. Until then there might be much upheaval and suffering in the world. I do hope that the birth process will be as smooth as possible, the pain tolerable and the joy over-boarding when we are born into the beauty and the miracle of life, of our planet and of existence itself.