Tag Archives: spiral dynamics

The Orange in the White House

This post is in response to the attention  the book The Chickenshit Club is receiving after becoming the #1 Best Seller with its release this week. The book is by Wall Street veteran reporter  and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jessie Eisinger.  In my opinion, (based on the authors interviews, I haven’t read the book yet) this author is among the first writers to articulate our economic system from a long cycle systems perspective, and the importance of a robust regulatory structure, much like what I describe in my work in MEMEnomic Cycles.
For 9 years I have spoken about how the regulatory value system, the  Blue level of development was made impotent by design over the last 40-year. I call this cycle The Only Money Matters Cycle which began with the election of Ronald Reagan.  When I talk about the decline of the regulatory system during these years, the primary subject of this book, people take pictures of the graphics that show those historic changes in the values memestack.  Finally, someone from the mainstream is able to see clearly the necessity of Blue  that people familiar with macromemetics and the value systems framework have known for years.
When the dominant economic meme says only money matters, the battle to proof otherwise becomes extremely difficult. That system knows no consciousness other than it’s own self interest. Its primary obsession has remained the repeal of laws to allow the free market to determine the destiny of humanity. To argue its toxic outcomes like income disparities and extreme poverty only reinforces its tenets about self-reliance and individualism while becoming more and more oblivious to its own toxicity.
When a problem is created by a system, only a systems approach can solve it.  A system’s perspective, provides for a shift in focus from “what an individual can or failed to do”, to  “how the system can be nudged forward in the right direction”.  Sometimes if that system’s values have become toxic to the overall health of the culture, it becomes necessary to know when it should be nudged  over the cliff to hastened its end and allow for a new system to rise from its ashes. 
While the author argues that Obama missed the opportunity to do just that during the financial crisis, I argue that the system  chose Obama precisely to fool people into thinking he’s a change agent. Yes Obama exhibited the highest expression  of progressive values with climate change and a renaissance of civil rights, but any effort to resurrect the Blue system in an environment that has developed a repulsive resistance to regulation, was doomed to fail. 
I agree with Eisinger that we have Trump today because of Obama’s failure to regulate Wall Street and to a greater extend his failure to rein in the excesses  of the Orange system.  Everyone who was effected by the financial crisis wanted Obama to act on this  unprecedented opportunity to cut toxic Orange at its knees.  His failure to do so was not because of his personal lack of will or intelligence, but because of the absence -by design- of intelligence in our government institutions that know how today’s Orange operates. It is this systems failure that extended the life of this declining system of values and gave it new life and gave us the executive leadership we have today.
 
So the Orange in the White House today is not limited to the President’s tan, or hair color. Those are just some of the ironic manifestations of the Orange value system during its decline and entropy  phase. Treachery, contempt for the law and collusion with known enemies to get what you want are just examples-made-visible of how this system in its unhealthy manifestation normally operates. Today, the Orange that sneaked into the White House is  on its death bed confessing the ugliness of all its sins to a world that is divided on how to deal with  its misery. 
Until new leadership rises that can articulate the need for the current system’s early death and what needs to be done to transition us to the next system we will be stuck  with Trump and the next  leader that the system picks.
Sadly,  things point to a noticeable vacuum in new leadership that can transition us without considerable pain.  The obsession we have with admiring Orange values  and dismissing Blue values is pervasive. The blind allegiance to one of the two current political parties is prolonging the life of the Only Money matters system.  We naively continue to believe that a solution to this problem will come from within the confines of the two-party system. As long as this remains the debate there will be  complete dominance of the current system (the Only Money Matters, not Republican v. Democrat). 
This system will eventually collapse as transparency cuts across both political parties, leading either to a revolution or a higher level of consciousness that can contain the arrogance of everything Orange. Once we detach from our current and outdated paradigm and  begin to articulate the characteristics of the  new stage, things like multi-party democracy and  corporations not being granted the same rights as people, all become parts of the vibrant dynamics that define the possible future of our human journey.
 
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God Help the World if Integralists are in Charge

This post is in response to a Ken Wilber interview by Raquel Torrant that took place in October 2016, and the reaction of the integral community after the election of Donald Trump.

The more I read about Wilber’s perspective on so called Second Tier, the more I realize that Integral Theory is mostly philosophical/Intellectual and out of touch with political, economic and social reality. Its elitist views are rarely applied to solve problems in a First Tier world. The only exception, of course is if we believe that individual advancement and shadow work are ways to save the world from impending cataclysms. To me those pursuits are representatives of a very narrow and unhealthy expression of both the Orange and Green systems of the First Tier. Because of their thin, elitist, and personal growth focused nature they can easily become closed systems that only embolden the very shadow they’re trying to come to terms with. Well, it seems that the shadow of most of the integral movement has broken and it’s manifesting in very unflattering ways. The universe couldn’t have picked a more befitting event than the election of Donald Trump to show how un-integral the movement is.

My assessment could be somewhat subjective and I must say that I was shocked by Trump’s election for a few days. While I have since regained my stratified Spiral view of the American electorate and refrained from engaging in polarizing conversations, I have not seen the same coming from the integral community, or my blindly liberal-progressive friends. If they were really centered in Second Tier values, we wouldn’t be experiencing the visceral anger and hate coming from so many online integral groups worldwide. What has helped me regain my perspective is the reminder of what was instilled in me over the last 15 years, that it’s always about Value Systems.

My primary gripe with Wilber’s followers is what they were taught about Second Tier values, and more specifically how vastly different they perceive the Yellow system than the original Spiral Dynamics theory does. Wilber has naively overlooked the important work that the Seventh Level of development has to do in aligning the healthy expressions of all the systems in First Tier. Yes, systemic Second Tier consciousness is not going to appear magically, nor would it appear by us passively waiting for more people to become Second Tier thinkers. We have to role up our sleeves now and fix the damage that the First Tier systems have done to our planet. This is half of the mandate of the Beck-Graves Yellow system that rarely appears in integral consciousness.

The work is not just environmental or psychological. It’s cultural, political, and economic. We have to design healthy habitats for tribal Purple in rural America, for egocentric Red gangs in inner cities, for nationalistic and patriotic Blue in white suburban America, and enterprising and scientific Orange and humanitarian and egalitarian Green in big cities and urban locales.

The problem with integral practitioners is that they have relegated this entire Gravesian conception to a “values line”, which again shows the closed system views of the elite and explains their post-election suffering and dysfunction. To solve problem in the age of Trump, followers of Integral Theory have to acquire a deep understanding of an essential part of the Gravesian model called Life Conditions. To put it in language integralists understand, we call it the functional quadrant.  It implies that you start in the trenches where dynamic change is taking place. You study the challenges facing people at every level of development mentioned above. Then you begin to design solutions commensurate with that particular level of development. This is what was meant by “transcend and include” that is at the heart of both frameworks. Sadly, it seems that the integral crusade has unconsciously moved into a psychology of “transcend and ignore.” That’s where the healing begins, not with the integral community suddenly realizing their shortcomings and begin to hastily consult the Gravesian model to get a quick intellectual fix that will be relegated again to a “line” on an elitist and out of touch model for development.

 

 

 

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THE SECOND INTEGRAL EUROPEAN CONFERENCE

IEC BannerThe Second Integral European Conference will be taking place this year in Budapest Hungary from May 4-8. Dr. Beck, Elza Maalouf and I were honored to be invited as Keynote Speakers. Dr. Beck will speak about the New Global Divide  on Thursday afternoon. While Elza and I are scheduled to speak on Saturday morning.  Elza will use her Large-Scale Design tools to address the refugee crisis in Europe, and I will be speaking about the future of  EU Economic integration from a Gravesian perspective. There’s nothing better than a presentation on Evolutionary Economics at 9:00 AM to energize the whole day. For a detailed list of speakers, conference schedule and registration, please CLICK HERE.

Spiral EU

Elza’s keynote will be followed by a panel discussion on the refugee issue. There will also be 20-minute side sessions immediately following the panel where these conversations will continue. Elza will speak about the importance  Arab Nationalism and the different contents of Arab Purple-RED.   I will address the issues on the decline of Capitalism and the forces shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The conference will be preceded by a 3-day Spiral Dynamics training from April 30-May 2. It will be led by Dr. Beck, Teddy Hebo Larsen, Elza Maalouf, Bence Ganti and me. This will be the first public training offered in Europe in over a decade and will focus on Organizational Design.  For more information and registration for the SD training, please Click Here.

As Europe faces difficult  challenges, it is assuring to know that the organizers of  this conference have recognized the importance of verticality  as an essential ingredient in designing  robust integral  solutions.

 

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