Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Yellow Meme Perspective

Lately I've sort of been feeling like things aren't quite right with my world view. The nice neat little explanations and passions I had for topics just start to seem wrong somehow. As I gain more perspective on things, they just seem too narrow, like something is missing. My world view was really based on my background: a person who grew up with no monetary wealth and a loving family and made it through his halfway decent childhood to get a huge education and an increase in socioeconomic status from where he started.... through his own hard work, seemingly. Coupled with a vaguely strange religious upbringing and an early 20's period of fairly loose morals, I found myself emulating a Fiscally Conservative and Socially Liberal mindset. So what did I do? I spoke out for those topics: gays should be able to marry, the government should not run our lives, people need to make their own livings without help (like I did), hard work and sacrifice will get you anywhere, abortion is a choice (but not one I would make, but who am I to tell you?), religion must absolutely be separate from the State and ideally it should really be invisible to society, guns don't kill people, etc. On the whole, the grand theme of that mish-mosh of positions is individualism. Even now I still have staunch individualistic tendencies. I had a problem with "one for the good of all" concepts. That Green stuff never resonated with me, and never will. But that's when the eerie disconcerting doubts set in. I had some experiences that showed me clearly that although we are in fact individuals, we are DEPENDENT on others. All of us are. When I got back from a trip to India not too long ago, my family was unable to pick me up from the airport, so in my annoyance I said, "Oh well, I will just get home myself." I gathered up my luggage like a pack mule and took the 4-hour train ride home. (Normally the drive is an hour and a half.) During that trip I had a major epiphany: I WASN'T doing it myself. There were literally armies of people that needed to do their jobs that day in order for me to get home: the train engineer, the conductor, the people switching the tracks, the people who trained those people, etc. For a simple train ride home, there were probably thousands of people and things that had to come together for something so simple. I realized honestly that there' really no way in hell I could ever do anything myself. Anything I do requires work from others who came before. Unless I decide to become a hunter-gatherer, this is the truth. That led me firmly to understand that everyone is connected to everyone else. We are all in this Life together and no one gets out alive! This wasn't just lip service that day. It was right in front of my face, clear as day. I knew it and understood it. Some people might take an experience like this and move directly into the Green Meme, i.e. Post-Modernism, but I didn't. I'm speaking of naming designations by a psychologist named Dr. Clare Graves and his colleagues, as well as the modern day philosopher, Ken Wilber. The memes basically go like this: 1st Tier Beige (Archaic) - You only care about bodily functions and food, warmth, sex, comfort, safety. Basically, an animal. Purple (Magic)- You exist in a tribal organization where your world revolves around the band you are with and its leader. Everything is for the good of your small group. Red (Mature Magic)- You exist for power. You better get them before they get you first. It's a dog-eat-dog world. Blue (Mythic)- You adhere to a creed, belief system, religion or other form of TRUTH, because it is the only One way there is, and all other ways are false. Orange (Rational)- You are put here to succeed. He who dies with the most toys wins. Go get 'em, Tiger! The world is full of opportunity, and you can make it if you work hard. Everything is ruled by logic. Green (Post-Modern)- Greed and success are the failings of society. We are here to love each other, enrich our relationships, and care for the environment above all. 2nd Tier Yellow (Pre-Integral)- The world contains people of all colors/Memes, and they are here for a reason: all Memes are the product of life conditions, and they comprise a system. The idea is to run the system, not eliminate parts of it so that all people benefit, at no one's expense. All Memes are parts of the Whole. Turquoise (Inegral)- Not only is it a system, but we are all part of a single super-being/ecology/family/tribe. This is the equivalent of Purple, but this time there are Mega-Tribes, Mega-Groups, Mega-Bands that include the whole world. Countries, groups, systems, are really part of a larger thing. More eloquent explanations than the ones I give here can be found all over the web. Notice that the colors alternate between individualistic and pluralistic. Beige, Red, Orange, and Yellow are individualistic in scope, while Purple, Blue, Green, and Turquoise are pluralistic. I admit I have always had a problem with ALL of the pluralistic colors. What this experience and others like it did for me was make me really resonate with the Yellow. All this stuff about Conservative vs. Liberal, East vs. West, This vs. That, is starting to seem really silly. No one is going to win. You cannot eliminate one side or the other. It's not possible in a global society. You have to live with the fact that there are others who believe differently, but that's not a bad thing! You can use that! Instead, think of it with an analogy: In your body, you have a circulatory system, a skeletal system, a nervous system, a renin-angiotensin system, and lots of other systems. What would happen if one of them decided it was going to dominate by killing off all of the others. That would sort of be like a cancer, wouldn't it? Ultimately it would kill the person. Beliefs and ideologies are just like that. They are parts of the whole. They are systems within a larger host, i.e the world. Like it or not, they are all dependent on each other no matter how annoying one of them may be at a given moment. Example: Green Meme is great for humane thinking. In today's Orange/blue dominated society, if there was no green, poor people would be rotting in the streets with no one to give a damn. It is the Green folks that prevent that from happening by pushing the Orange/blue folks to do the right thing. By contrast, if Green were allowed to take over completely, we'd be in a lot of trouble also. We'd go broke, for one thing, because Green Meme tends to be horrible with money compared to Orange, which is all about it. Plus, we'd also likely get pushed around (maybe physically) by other Blue countries (think extremists of any religion) who mean us harm, because Green is also not so good about realizing that people can in fact be hostile. It is our Orange/blue and Blue/orange contingent that helps prevent that. All of these "culture wars" are happening for a reason. They are leading somewhere, and where they lead will depend on outside conditions as well as inside ones. We may regress to earlier Memes, or we may move forward. Who knows? Every Meme contains all the other previous Memes within it. They are not levels on a ladder. They are concentric circles. A true open-minded Green would understand Orange and Blue because they were once there, just like Yellow understands Green. I wish all this stuff gave me an idea of what the hell to do to make this place better, but I still don't know.