I have, in numerous previous publications (especially Integral Psychology) given the details of many of those researchers. Here I will simply use one of them as an example. The model is called Spiral Dynamics, based on the pioneering work of Clare Graves. Graves proposed a profound and elegant system of human development, which subsequent research has refined and validated, not refuted. “Briefly, what I am proposing is that the psychology of the mature human being is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating spiralling process marked by progressive subordination of older, lower-order behavior systems to newer, higher-order systems as an individual’s existential problems change. Each successive stage, wave, or level of existence is a state through which people pass on their way to other states of being. When the human is centralized in one state of existence” —as I would put it, when the self’s center of gravity hovers around a particular wave of consciousness— “he or she has a psychology which is particular to that state. His or her feelings, motivations, ethics and values, biochemistry, degree of neurological activation, learning system, belief systems, conception of mental health, ideas as to what mental illness is and how it should be treated, conceptions of and preferences for management, education, economics, and political theory and practice are all appropriate to that state.”
As Beck and Cowan have pointed out, second-tier thinking has to emerge in the face of much resistance from first-tier thinking. In fact, a version of the postmodern green meme, with its pluralism and relativism, has actively fought the emergence of more integrative and holarchical thinking. (It has also made developmental studies, which depend on second-tier thinking, virtually anathema at both conventional and alternative universities.) And yet without second-tier thinking, as Graves, Beck, and Cowan point out, humanity is destined to remain victims of a global “auto-immune disease,” where various memes turn on each other in an attempt to establish supremacy.
This is why developmental studies in general indicate that many philosophical debates are not really a matter of the better objective argument, but of the subjective level of those debating. No amount of orange scientific evidence will convince blue mythic believers; no amount of green bonding will impress orange aggressiveness; no amount of turquoise holarchy will dislodge green hostility—unless the individual is ready to develop forward through the dynamic spiral of consciousness unfolding. This is why “cross-level” debates are rarely resolved, and all parties usually feel unheard and unappreciated.
As we were saying, first-tier memes generally resist the emergence of second-tier memes. Scientific materialism (orange) is aggressively reductionistic toward second-tier constructs, attempting to reduce all interior stages to objectivistic neuronal fireworks. Mythic fundamentalism (blue) is often outraged at what it sees as attempts to unseat its given Order. Egocentrism (red) ignores second-tier altogether. Magic (purple) puts a hex on it. Green accuses second-tier consciousness of being authoritarian, rigidly hierarchical, patriarchal, marginalizing, oppressive, racist, and sexist.
Green has been in charge of cultural studies for the past three decades. On the one hand, the pluralistic relativism of green has nobly enlarged the canon of cultural studies to include many previously marginalized peoples, ideas, and narratives. It has acted with sensitivity and care in attempting to redress social imbalances and avoid exclusionary practices. It has been responsible for basic initiatives in civil rights and environmental protection. It has developed strong and often convincing critiques of the philosophies, metaphysics, and social practices of the conventional religious (blue) and scientific (orange) memes, with their often exclusionary, patriarchal, sexist, and colonialistic agendas.
On the other hand, as effective as these critiques of pre-green stages have been, green has attempted to turn its guns on all post-green stages as well, with the most unfortunate results. In honorably fighting many rigid social hierarchies, green has condemned all second-tier holarchies—which has made it very difficult, and often impossible, for green to move forward into more holistic, integral-aperspectival constructions.
– From Ken Wilber’s 2000 article: The Integral Vision at the Millennium
First off, I want to thank everyone for bearing with me during my break. It’s rare that I step away from my incessant reading and writing for such a lengthy period. Emotionally and intellectually, I found it to be deeply invigorating as well as periodically frustrating. Frustrating, in the sense that I am unquestionably addicted to reading about current events, yet I came to understand that removing yourself from the 24/7 outrage news cycle gives you some much needed perspective. By removing myself from the conversation for a moment, I was able to more clearly recognize just how completely idiotic the conversation has become. Ultimately, whether or not I gained some genuine insight during my time away will be revealed by the quality of work I produce in the days, weeks and months ahead. So let’s get started.
One of the first tweets I published over the weekend as I was attempting to get back into the swing of things consisted of the following.
I don't belong anywhere in this political environment.
Everyone is going insane.
This will be the topic of my next post.
— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) February 4, 2017
I was surprisingly pleased with the response it generated, and made me feel a bit more confident in the fact that there are many others out there who feel the same way. Unfortunately, it seems very few people with prominent platforms are consistently vocalizing this sense of isolation at the moment. Every day, millions of people are being pressured to “pick a side” by media, pundits, politicians — even close friends and family. Critical thinking that doesn’t fit into one of the two polarized camps of pro-Trump or anti-Trump are being dismissed or degraded. This is a very unfortunate state of affairs.
I think the U.S. citizenry is being afflicted by a sort of mass insanity at the moment. There are no good outcomes if this continues. As a result, I feel compelled to provide a voice for those of us lost in the political wilderness. We must persevere and not be manipulated into the obvious and nefarious divide and conquer tactics being aggressively unleashed across the societal spectrum. If we lose our grounding and our fortitude, who will be left to speak for those of us who simply don’t fit into any of the currently ascendant political ideologies?
I’ve always prided myself in having and maintaining a very diverse readership. Many of you are Trump supporters, and many of you are Sanders supporters. Very few of you are Hillary Clinton supporters. This is how it ought to be, considering that I advocate that the current paradigm is broken, unethical and needs replacing. I don’t pretend to have the answers of what needs to be done on every policy issue, but I do know for sure that we can’t continue along with the current model any longer. As such, my intent is to have a discussion with all of you who want something new, even though we will invariably disagree on all sort of topics. This is healthy and normal.
What isn’t healthy is cheerleading your preferred political candidate once he is in power. I see this all over the place when it comes to Trump, and I find it pretty sickening. I can begrudgingly accept the cheerleading during an election, after all, the entire point of an election is to win. I cannot accept it after victory has been achieved, however. Trump is now the President and wields a grotesque amount of executive power thanks to the precedents established by all of the horrible individuals who came before him. Trump didn’t create this mess, but he now holds the ring of power and that is something to be feared, not cheered.
This doesn’t mean Trump can’t or won’t do some good things. I’m extremely pleased that he torched the corrupt TPP, for instance. I also enjoyed his refreshing honesty with regard to foreign policy in a recent interview with Bill O’Reilly. That said, I have little patience for irrational cheerleaders on any side. The recent Berkeley protests provided the perfect issue to crystalize just how insane everyone has become, on all sides.
As I was getting back into the swing of things, violence at the University of California at Berkeley really captured my attention. It had all the hallmarks of insanity. Unknown masked thugs wearing all black attacking fellow citizens and destroying property because they were threatened by the words of a professional troll whose entire career is based on instigating violent snowflakes into metal breakdowns. One of the greatest controversies in the aftermath was Donald Trump calling for a end to federal money to the school since they thwarted free speech. From my understanding, the school actually defended free speech by allowing Milo to speak. I went ahead and retweeted the following.
Trump is wrong to threaten Berkeley. The U DID take a pro-free speech position. It was the protesters (many non students) who used violence
— Jonathan Haidt (@JonHaidt) February 3, 2017
This simple retweet was met with a complete mental breakdown by someone I would describe as a Trump cultist. The key attribute of a cultist is someone so blinded by cult of personalty worship, they rush to defend the person of affection in an entirely emotional fashion devoid of logic. Here’s what I’m talking about.
There are several things to note about the above conversation, if you can call it that. First, I engaged with this person in as a polite manner as possible until he lost his mind because I asked for some proof. I didn’t start the conversation by instinctively saying he was wrong, I merely asked for some evidence, particularly since I was admittedly out of the loop. Naturally, he couldn’t send me a simple link to defend his loaded statement. It very much reminded me of Hillary cultists crying about Russian hacking with zero proof. It’s merely hyperbole in order to “win” a political argument, which is just downright deranged.
Following the above meltdown, he sent me a tweet that referenced a website I had never heard of before claiming that a Berkeley staff member was one of the violent protesters. I have no idea whether this is true or not, but let’s assume that it is for the sake of argument. It still doesn’t justify his insane initial claim. He wrote “even faculty worse masks and attacked people.” First, he only offered accusations regarding one staff member. It takes preschool level logic to understand that this doesn’t make the University itself complicit in perpetrating the acts of violence. Berkeley administration clearly decided to allow the speech to go forward despite considerable backlash and threats of violence.
Of course, this isn’t to say that there weren’t some really disturbing aspects regarding campus police response to the violence. The more I dug into the story, the more alarming it became, but not because of what the Trump cultist above claimed, which is why irrational cheerleading is so entirely stupid and counterproductive. It distracts from the very real and very serious issues at hand.
For example, here’s some of what we learned about the response from the LA Times:
They dressed “like ninjas” and marched onto UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza like a paramilitary force armed with bats, steel rods, fireworks and Molotov cocktails, officials say.
The scheduled appearance Wednesday of conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was still two hours away, but it was precisely the time that most local television stations were beginning their live 6 p.m. broadcasts.
Within minutes, the group of 100 to 150 agitators had smashed half a dozen windows with barricades, launched fireworks at police and toppled a diesel-powered klieg light, which caused it to burst into flames.
The self-described anarchists or antifascists have left school and law enforcement agencies struggling to cope with their tactics.
Moving officers into Wednesday night’s melee, would have created “a lethal, horror situation,” said campus Police Chief Margo Bennett.
“We have to do exactly what we did last night: to show tremendous restraint,” she said.
But even though there was only one arrest Wednesday night, Berkeley officials insist the incident was something altogether new.
“We have never seen this on the Berkeley campus,” Mogulof said. “This was an unprecedented invasion.”
Let’s start with some of the commentary of the UC Berkeley Chief of Police, Margo Bennett. She is justifying the fact that her officers essentially allowed a domestic terrorist attack to proceed without police intervention in order to prevent further violence. How does this make any sense? We have been been conditioned to give up many of our civil liberties in order to stop the supposed terrorists under every bed, and then this sort of behavior is just allowed to happen? And yes, just in case you are wondering, the actions of these violent thugs fits exactly into the definition of terrorism.
Now I’m completely against the “war on terror” meme, and I think it’s merely a sophisticated way of conditioning the public to give away its rights in the face of fear-mongering, but don’t you dare take away my right to privacy and then just let the above happen with essentially zero arrests (there was one arrest according the article).
Moreover, don’t you find it interesting to compare what happened at UC Berkeley to the response of a UC Davis police officer (yes I know different schools) to peaceful seated protests in 2011. Recall the following image.
The difference in response is worth noting. Moreover, it appears that the school is drawing the exact wrong lessons from the incident. Rather than trying to figure out how to keep violent masked thugs at bay, the debate seems to now be centering around restricting free speech in order to avoid violence. In other words, giving in to the terrorists. The only thing this sort of thing will do is encourage more violence, because “it works.” It’s the pinnacle of madness.
Also from the LA Times:
Mogulof said Berkeley administrators are dedicated to protecting the 1st Amendment and free speech, but certain events might need to have a closer look, especially if there is potential for major disruption and destruction on campus.
School officials, he said, are reviewing their policing tactics as well as their policies and protocols for future events featuring controversial speakers.
Just in case you aren’t up to speed on how random and uncivilized the violence at Berkeley was, you can hear about it first hand from a school reporter who was there via the New York Times. This person is no fan of Trump by the way.
Until Wednesday, I never felt in danger during a protest. Around 7 p.m. I saw a huddle of people yelling at one another. As more people surrounded them, a burning red trucker’s hat was held up on a stick. There were reports that another student wearing what appeared to be a “Make America Great Again” hat was severely injured.
Then I saw someone wearing all black walk up to a student wearing a suit and say, “You look like a Nazi.” The student was confused, but before he could reply, the black-clad person pepper-sprayed him and hit him on the back with a rod.
I ran after the student who was attacked to get his name and more information. He told me that he is a Syrian Muslim. Before I could find out more, he fled, fearing another attack. Amid the chaos came word the event had been canceled.
In another widely publicized event, a female wearing a “Make Bitcoin Great Again” was pepper sprayed for wearing what looked like a Trump hat. Is this really what we have become?
But it gets worse, a lot worse. Far more disturbing than the violence itself, are those defending it. Here’s a particularly ludicrous example I encountered on Twitter over the weekend.
If this is the mindset of “the resistance” I want absolutely no part of it.
If it’s not obvious by now, I simply feel like I don’t belong anywhere in the current political environment. Fortunately, I have friends who feel the same way. One of them who was also not a Trump or Clinton supporter wrote the following to me expressing his frustrations with fake anti-Trump liberals. He wrote:
I agree that Trump is a dire problem, but what disturbs me far more greatly than that is the fact that so many people do not / did not see H. Clinton and Obama as every single bit the same dire problem (in a different flavor). To me they are/were and in some ways worse because, unlike Trump who is an obvious boor, their sociopathy is wrapped in a façade of reasonableness, intelligence, and articulation that is so acceptable to “our” social segment, that they somehow succeed in making people believe that what they are saying is what they are doing, even though what they are doing has nothing to do with what they are saying, is absolutely vile, and right out there in the open. Obama’s vastly increased surveillance state, war against whistle blowers, vastly diminished access of the press while claiming to have the “most transparent administration in history,” destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands if not millions of foreign civilians by disastrous foreign interventions (think Libya), extra-judicial assassination of American citizens by remote drones, giving Wall Street an absolute pass for destroying the US economy and utterly gutting the middle class, and the total disaster of Obamacare (written by Insurance industry lobbyists) are all totally unacceptable to me. The cherry on top is Obama, Clinton, and the whole Democrat machine parading around talking about the great recovery and how well everything is going while all the above is literally tearing the country to pieces and making America a target for the utterly justified ire of those whose families we are killing with flying robots. As far as I can tell, they are still completely clueless (or duplicitous) and seem content to point fingers at Trump, Putin, and some class of “deplorables” who, for some undecipherable reason, want to destroy America.
To me that means that far too many people who are currently gnashing their teeth about Trump want to replace him with something that is as bad in most ways and perhaps worse in some. And that fact is to me a bigger problem than Trump himself (or Obama himself) – that people by and large do not see that the entire government class is wholly self-serving and parasitic, and that the more urgent conflict at this point is not left/right but people/government. Or people versus concentrated power generally, no matter how it manifests.
More impactful than the above, the same individual sent me a fascinating article on the evolution of consciousness written in 2000 by Ken Wilber. It centers around the concept of Spiral Dynamics, and while I have plenty of issues with how he describes the concept, I think it provides a useful framework for understanding and even accepting the current political environment. Basically, something like 98-99% of the global population is stuck within various stages of what is described as first-tier thinking. First-tier thinkers are absolutists, they cannot even comprehend any other side and are therefore more easily manipulated and divided and conquered, something we are seeing all around us at the moment. As such, it has become more clear than ever to me that we will not advance out of our current debased paradigm as a species until enough of us evolve our consciousness into second-tier thinking. Unfortunately, I am of the belief that you cannot learn your way into a higher consciousness, it simply happens to you for a variety of reasons, many of which are out of your control.
If you want to understand anything I discussed above, and will dive into in far more detail in future posts, you have to read at least Part 1 of the following article: The Integral Vision at the Millennium.
For those of you who consider yourselves to largely reside in the yellow state, I have one key message for you. There’s a very deliberate attempt to manipulate you into devolving back into one of the lower tiers. Likewise, there is a very deliberate attempt to prevent those on the cusp of higher consciousness from ever evolving. The reason is simple. The lower tiers are very tribal and easily divided and conquered. The higher tiers are not.
More to come.