In times of unrest it can be helpful to zoom out and look at what is going on through the lens of a holistic system. Not all systems are useful, but there are those that expose and reveal truths at a level we may have intuitively understood but were unable to integrate without the organization of the system itself.
With the impact of this week's government shut down on the minds of many, paired with the multitude of emotions, thoughts, ideologies and opinions that swirl at times when things feel tenuous and uncertain, we sometimes need something to help allay the anxiety of societal disarray.
I'm not here to launch any kind of political diatribe or rant. I do however want to reveal a new way of looking at structures like societies and their governments that can help to understand why they function in a particular way.
We've talked about spiral dynamics before, but here I will outline how the system of spiral dynamics can be applied to societal or cultural organizations. There's usually a bias stemming from our own personal assessment in regards to how a particular culture functions, particularly when we are functioning from a different level of development than the predominant cultural system we are living in or observing.
While these can be viewed as hierarchical, that's not to assume a value based judgement. In the West, there's a tendency to believe that because we live at a particular level of societal or cultural consciousness that it is superior to those that preceded it. There are dignities and atrocities committed at each level, and one could make an argument that until societies reach the integral level the potentiality for corruption increases (albeit in more covert and insidious ways). Furthermore, as I present this list note that if a particular culture is at a particular level (as a whole) it does not presuppose that all members of that culture will be at that level, there is great individual variation within societies and cultures and subsets of different memes within a dominant culture that may be functioning at a higher or lower level. So while the United States may be living in the orange meme (achievement focused society) there are many people who are functioning at the green level of development or conversely the blue level of development within the predominant meme. So you can think of these on a individual level as well. Additionally development evolves in a spiral ebb and flow and is not purely linear. Vestiges of the previous memes/structures are laced throughout a culture and influence its development arc.
Spiral dynamics is an integral system so each progressive structure transcends and includes the knowledge, dignities and insights of the previous.
I will say this: the United States is experiencing the growing pains of beginning a shift from the orange to the green meme, as the old vestiges of the self-centered, individualized focused system (with strong traces of the Blue and Red structures still highly influential). As these begin to fade and evolve the ideologies of the green meme will be both promising and anxiety producing as the new consciousness structure is established, and the culture(s) adjust to the new prevailing consciousness norm.
Spiral Dynamics Levels of Consciousness Development
*In order of increasing consciousness beginning with beige, followed by red, blue, orange, green, yellow and turquoise.
**Click on the image to enlarge it to read the description more carefully.