I am working with the hypothesis that humanity as a whole has been in a state of civil war since the emergence of the orange wave of consciousness as a mass meme five hundred years or so ago. (For a survey of this period and how the emergence first of orange and then of green has contributed to today’s intermemetic turbulence, see my essay “Three Blind Memes.”)
The key is Wilber’s insight that first tier waves presume that their perspective is the absolute truth; by definition they are not capable of embracing other perspectives. Therefore these other perspectives, regardless of their actual interrelationship, are at best sources of suspicion and at worst causes of warfare. Evolution is neither smooth nor linear. New waves emerge from earlier stages as discontinuities, doing seeming violence to the established order of those older memes. These disturbances are “built in” to the fabric of evolution, so that what most humans romantically long for as peace—a state of nonviolent equanimity—never seems to materialize.
History records how emergence is never simple, peaceful, or swift. At least in the first tier the novel features characterizing a new wave make it radically different from that which gave birth to it; thus to the older wave it appears foreign and threatening. The two co-exist in the same Kosmic space but remain suspicious of each other. The principle of “transcend and include” means that the newer wave cannot attack the previous wave without doing damage to itself, but the reverse is not true. Thus while orange has struggled to find its Kosmic groove since its emergence as a mass meme 500 years ago, amber has had the stability from which to oppose orange’s trajectory.
Similarly green faces the twin hostility of both amber and orange, although amber barely notices green, for neutralizing orange will automatically neutralize green. Orange is the only of the Big Three first tier waves required to fight a two-front war: defending amber’s resistance while attacking green’s drive to transcendence. Indeed, as the Charlie Hebdo massacre implies, amber and green find common purpose in boxing in orange.
This may be the result in part of the relative newness of green, which has had neither the time nor the density to produce a dependable probability wave. By rejecting reason its majoritarian Boomeritis variant does not include yet orange; until it does it has a very unstable foundation from which to find its Kosmic furrow.
Boomeritis green’s dismissal of reason makes it susceptible of being used by amber in its fight with orange. Think of America’s youth and retirees ganging up on the working age population to extract financial resources for themselves and you have an idea of the dynamic. The oldsters, although they were young themselves once, have little experiential memory of that state, while the youth have no clue about the perspective of their grandparents. But still they see the early and middle-aged adults as a source of means to support them.
Wilber presaged this dynamic with his discovery of the pre/trans fallacy. To the rational (i.e., orange) mind the pre- and transrational both appear non-rational. Orange may be the predominant level in today’s world, but its position is neither settled nor hegemonic. Orange predominates because it has created much greater depth than amber, and thus despite its lesser span (20% of the global population) it represents the center of gravity of human evolution. It pulls amber up to it and interferes with green’s emergence. Green has the potential to supplant orange’s pre-eminence because it creates even greater depth, but its immaturity impedes this dynamic at the moment.
Self-Sabotage on a Global Stage
Thus from a second tier perspective—one that embraces all of the first tier waves because it includes them all—the cauldron of current history can be seen as a series of births of new stages which, because they are first tier, are continuously struggling against one another. The peace we think we long for can only show up once we regard the violence that characterizes emergence in the first tier with equanimity, for peace is not the absence of violence and struggle but the radical acceptance of them.
So the fearsome eruptions of physical violence in our societies, whether at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, in the village of Baga in Nigeria, or on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, are RH quadrant manifestations of the psychospiritual violence in the LH quadrants. The amber stage in both the upper and lower quadrants seeks and defends the stability of the mythic tribal cocoon, while orange promotion of individuation and personal perspectives requires liberation from the tribe. Amber has an ambiguous relationship with orange. On the one hand, it sees it as a threat to its own assumptions; on the other, orange’s novelty and (relative) freedom are enticing and alluring.
We can easily understand this by analyzing our own maturation. From birth through infancy, to childhood and adolescence, into adulthood with all its stages, we notice that each new level of awareness, transcending and including the earlier levels, creates unease as well as excitement. Any unhealed or malformed energies in earlier stages remain to impact the way emergence occurs in the later stages, most often in the form of shadow material/dynamics. Psychospiritual “problems” are generally the results of these dysfunctions. Because they are hidden from our conscious minds, they wreak havoc with our development ranging in degrees from neurosis all the way to psychosis.
Because the Kosmos is tetradimensional, these dysfunctions have analogues in all four quadrants. We experience them in our individuality because that is all our development permits. But they are also present in the lower quadrants, where their impact is vastly underappreciated but the damage they do is considerable.
As green emerges from its immature Boomeritis form, its “sensitive self” innovation will increasingly permit apprehension of the pain and struggle present in the collective shadow, widening the draw into second tier with its identity in the transpersonal. As more of us experience this momentous leap, the contours of the shadow elements of the LH will begin to become accessible and the integration work can thus commence consciously.
Hence as integralists we begin to understand acts of terrorism in the political realm as RH analogs of the subconscious drive to self-sabotage in the LH. All unhealed or, better, non-matured, lines of development rebel against the emergences that they feel leave them behind. Like abandoned children, they suffer the pain of exile which calls forth rage and other forms of violence. And like children, in their limited awareness they usually turn this violence against themselves, incapable of apprehending the larger scope of evolution and the dynamics that promote transcendence. (Alice Miller has done a good job mapping out these dynamics.)
The Boko Haram gangs and the team that led the assault on Charlie Hebdo, of course, were (all but certainly) unaware of these subconscious dynamics in themselves, much less in humanity as a unity. Most of us act out of this hidden and suppressed ache, doing violence to ourselves and others in the futile attempt to find peace and the surcease of psychospiritual pain. Given the huge role of projection—the transference to others of our own unbearable character defects and soul deformities—it is inevitable that RH turbulence is inextricably linked to conforming turmoil in the LH. Tetradimensionality offers us a method by which to trace back to the LH a general idea of these dynamics based on how they appear in the RH.
Of course shadow material shows up differently in amber than in orange. If Kosmic evolution as we view it from our little tiny pebble in the universe has launched this individuation project as a means for the One to create Self-awareness (or for other mysterious purposes), then we are in the middle of the unfolding of this particular phase. Amber is necessary for birthing orange, but the differentiations thereby created affect the structures of orange and succeeding waves.
In amber, individuals are of course aware of ourselves as individuals but our perspective and resulting self-perception are of the tribe. Thus the shadow we experience is that of the tribe. In orange, the shadow is of our individual self, even as that individual self transcends and includes our amber stages.
Yet in the RH, our shadow-driven behavior is still violent and reactionary. We see in the external world the fears and hatreds about ourselves we’ve repressed in our internal world, and act accordingly. Transcendence requires shadow work and projection withdrawal, something barely on the radar screen of all but the most spiritually advanced doing our work on the islands of the integral archipelago.
Healthy Green: Still the Goal
I offer these observations as a suggestion for further exploration. If the Integral Model is valid, then all holons arise and exist with four quadrants. Since at least the beginning of recorded history, we humans have engaged in exploration, description, and measurement of the RH, while being aware of the impulses pushing us from the LH. Religious traditions, mostly amber and mythical, established the traditional paradigms for exploring the LH. As Western science turned its eye toward the mind, the disciplines of psychology offered new means for exploring the LH. Now the Integral Model suggests that a far more disciplined and useful exploration of especially the LL is possible and, I further argue, necessary for paving the way to second tier consciousness.
A major dynamic to explore is whatever guilt may be present in the subconscious of the individual who has abandoned the tribe. The exhilaration of becoming one’s own person is at the expense of this desertion. Is there in all of us at orange a repressed guilt to go along with the sadness? It is left to green to pick up these pieces, using its sensitivity to promote reconnection of the individual to the tribe.
But until it reaches a much more mature stage than it is manifesting presently, it will perforce use its insights to manipulate things its way. The lovely emotion that is “liberal guilt”—now become a tool of oppression via the heinous cudgel of “white privilege”—is put in service of the Left’s agenda of “social justice” and other features of Hegelian statist supremacy. Thus we are to be sensitive to oppressed minorities and create “inclusion” via multiculturalism.
Europe’s increasing social turbulence resulting from imposing the EU’s theory of multicultural inclusion is evidenced in the ghettoization of immigrant Arabs and other Muslim immigrants. The poor Arabs clustered in Paris’ 19th arrondissement, home to the Kouachi brothers, are no longer Algerians, Moroccans, or members of other cultures, but neither are they French. But their rights to be there, to preserve a separate cultural and religious identity, to remain outside the host culture, are all championed by the same worldview that delighted the editors of Charlie Hebdo—proud leftists all—in their slandering the Prophet Muhammad on the covers of its magazine.
The Boomeritis green insistence that all amber and orange expressions are backward and ridiculous lives uneasily with its championing those living from those perspectives as oppressed victims of Western capitalist greed and indifference. This is especially perplexing from an orange perspective, until we recognize that Boomeritis green has swallowed whole the postmodern rejection of reason, and what we are dealing with is an emotional state and not a reasoned set of principles.
From a second tier perspective, these are all elements of the civil war characterizing human evolution. The challenge remains, as it has since the Summer of Love, to restore reason to green’s maturing so that its great gifts will lift us up toward our higher potential and provide even greater depth so that sooner than later a critical mass of us will indeed make the momentous leap into teal. In the meantime let us continue to use our personal development as the school in which to learn about the dynamics of our subconscious, within which the amber are earlier worlds of our own evolution are alive and well. We will have a handle on the human civil war when we start addressing our own.