Bill Moyer has spent more than 40 years as a full-time theorist, writer, organizer, consultant, educator and
participant in social movements focused on a wide-variety of issues on three continents. The originator of the
MAP Model, Moyer has given training courses and workshops to over 20,000 people. This posting is taken from the Spiral Dynamics listserve, and touches on a issue noticed by many in Europe: Wilber has written extensively on the negative aspects of the green meme (which he has termend the Mean Green Meme), but he seldom if ever addresses the "Mean Orange Meme", the negavtive consequences of global capitalism. Read Ken Wilber's Reply
"The Missing Links"
of Spiral Dynamics
and Ken Wilber
The Mean Orange Meme (MOM)
and the Healthy Green Meme (HGM)
Yes, Richard, the "environment" is "all the way down and all the way up",
The environment is in the lower right hand quadrant. It isn't mentioned
much in the emails of the SD list serv, because the lower right hand
quadrant, especially "social systems and institutions" is not much focused
on. And the environment doesn't come into
the discussion until Green; the environmental movement's efforts to
the destruction of the environment and resources by unhealthy modernity,
ie, unhealthy Orange, is discussed below.
I think that the lower right hand quadrant is somewhat ignored in all of
the emails on
the SD listserve, because there is an extreme over-emphasis on the two
quadrants --- individual consciousness and cultural values, beliefs, etc.
and inter-subjectivity. The Green level, is almost entirely referred to
solely as something
that happens in the two left-hand (and sometimes top right hand) quadrants,
such as group dynamics, community, values, egalitarianism,
individualism etc. This, consequently, leads to a critical vacuum in the
particularly of MOM and the HGM of social activism--both of which should be
for their critical importance in the spiral in the discussions and
writings of both Spiral Dynamics and Ken Wilber.
I have spent much of my personal and work life for the past 41 years, at
the Green/yellow level of organizing positive, nonviolent, Gandhian/Kingian
social movements at the HGM level,
i.e., Healthy Green Meme, These social movements, e.g., for civil & human
rights, peace, justice, anti-war, environmental, global justice (including
anti-World Trade Organization), etc. to address what I think has been and
is presently the biggest problem/threat to humanity's existence, MOM, the
Mean Orange Meme. This is the social organization of Powerholder
institutions and systems of latter-day modernity, especially the giant
corporations and governments (ie, government and economic sectors as opposed
to the civil society sector) which have been the chief (but not only)
contributor to so much of the planet's and people's devastation and wars.
But both the HGM (of social movement activism) and MOM (the
destructiveness of modern
economic & governmental institutions and systems) have been largely ignored
by both Ken and SD. Typically, when an example is given regarding Green,
it is unhealthy Green, ala MGM. And I have rarely seen references to MOM.
I believe that one of the key aspects of modern society, beginning with the
founding of the U.S. and especially since 1960, has been the emergence of
citizen-based social movements addressing the Mean Orange Meme, the
overwhelmingly unhealthy aspects of Orange which has grown exponentially
since the takeoff of U.S. Global power and technology, especially since WW
The now worldwide MOM system includes these basic components:
- in the
U.S.(and the industrialized west) an unsustainable political economy &
culture of material growth of production,
consumption, and waste, the throw-away society, pollution, destruction of
the environmental life support systems, using up nonrenewable resources,
global warming, etc. This is not only unsustainable itself, but today's
modern Orange meme requires:
- The importation of massive amounts of cheap natural resources,
agricultural products, labor and capital from 100 Third World nations.
Since so much of their resources flow here, and at dirt cheap prices, it
requires that 50% or more people in those countries be impoverished,
especially indigenous 1st nation peoples who are on these lands, and the
- This, in turn, requires military dictatorships, or their
equivalent, to put down the rebellions of the peoples in all the Third
World nations as they try to defend themselves against the thefts of their
lands, resources and environment and culture. This requires a massive
military, plus paramilitary and death squads, etc.
- This, in turn, requires massive support of these dictators by
the U.S. Government, including money, military material & training, and US.
Intervention as needed to prop up dictators or to create new regional areas
of control (ala Central Asia lately). Hence the U.S. Has bombed 23 nations
since ww II and invaded 220 nations since the founding of the U.S.
- This in turn has required that 50% of the U.S. Federal
government's budget be used for military purposes in one form or another.
In sum, the MOM system requires that the great majority of the people in
the Third World be impoverished and in undemocratic countries. They are
not the "Developing Nations" but the "Never-to-be-Developed" nations for 3
reasons: (1) So much of their resources come to the US/West & are used up
in warfare they can't use them to develop themselves; (2) There is no
"Fourth World" of 1,000 nations for them to steal the resources from needed
to replicate the First World system; and (3) If the Third World developed
ala the First World, it would require 5 1/2 planet earths' resources and
environment, according to the Ecological Footprint Project of the Univ of
While I normally focus on the whole spiral, first & second tiers,
unhealthy and healthy at each level, and the 4 quadrants, in my work with
in this brief email I am just commenting on the lack of MOM
and HGM in the on-going SD listserve discussions. I mention this to
written off as a "typical Greenie who hates Orange and prevents the
development to second tier."
In my training/workshops of activists, I include the four quadrants (I, We
& It & its) and every meme of spiral dynamics, including the healthy and
unhealthy of each level. I train activists to include as part of
their strategy to honor every level and quadrant, and to help each level go
from unhealthy to healthy, move from one meme to the next, and to develop a
personal and political perspective/strategy from the 2nd tier, or to do the
best they can with it. And I especially focus on how damaging the MGM,
mean Green meme, is to the effectiveness of social activism and help
activists to address this critical problem.
As can be seen from the above discussion, I have been helped immensely by
the work of Ken, Don, Chris, and Spiral Dynamics --- they have provided me
with critical frameworks and insights that I and other activists have
plea is that the authors and users of Spiral Dynamics and Ken Wilber's work
the Mean Orange Meme and the Healthy Green Meme to their proper central
places in our
writings and dialogues.
My new book, Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social
Movements, describes how healthy social movements at the HGM level work.
The last chapter briefly mentions DD and Ken's all Quadrants/all levels,
and the problems of
MGM, all the subject for my future next book. You can buy the book from a
bookstore or from me. Information is also on my website:
February 10, 2002 (a revision of a recent email I sent
to the SD listserve)