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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Federico Nicola Pecchini is 29, Italian, and worked as a skipper on sailing yachts for a few years around the world. Since 2012 he got interested in alternative lifestyles on land such as intentional communities and sustainable agriculture. He's now working in Dharamsala, India at a hackerspace to build a social network for the alternative movement.
‘Humanity Prepares for a Momentous Leap’
An essay on Spiral Dynamics
Federico Nicola Pecchini
“The present moment finds our society attempting to negotiate the most difficult, but at the same time the most exciting, transition the human race has faced to date.
Human society’s core appears indeed on the verge of a momentous leap towards G-T value-memes, with a rapidity that exceeds any expectations.
It was 1974, on the pages of The Futurist magazine Clare W. Graves presented the results of his 20-year research on the evolutionary nature of human psychology.
He saw the human psyche as an “unfolding, emergent, oscillating and spiralling process” developing by quantum leaps through progressive stages of consciousness, moral values and behavioural patterns.
The model became known as Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi), and was successfully applied in the field of HR and geopolitics, notably in the resolution of the South African apartheid in the 80’s, and more recently at the UN Security Council on the issues of Palestine and Global Governance.
Conscious evolution involves the emergence, spread, equilibrium and decay of new sets of cultural values (vMemes), each time arising from the ashes of the old. Every set of vMemes is successful at dealing with the present priorities (existential problems) of humanity. Urgent issues being solved, next level existential problems appear on stage and soon precipitate the given culture in a value crisis, which forces humanity to a regressive search into its subconscious for an insight to solve the crisis. When the problem-solving insight emerges and seeds into the human psyche, it must then survive the threat of the status quo and its fierce opposition, find a way to germinate through the sediments of the past and eventually begin to affirm new values in the open and practice new behaviours able to spread virally in the human population, bringing forth a transition to the next phase.
Dr. Graves realized that our species’ conscience was moving forward at exponentially accelerating speed, and noticed that the most recent emerging sets of vMemes (G-T and H-U) are of a magnitude different from all the previous ones. They consist of a radical reversal of the entire historical progression of cultural values that brought us to this point. Graves called the old values “Subsistence levels” and the new values “Being levels”, and imagined the latter being a “higher grade reversal” of the former. In his view, conscious evolution was about to start again from a new beginning, with the G-T/H-U generation taking over the world, and bringing humanity with them to the next level.
“The future offers us, basically, three possibilities:
If we succeed in the last alternative, we will find ourselves in a very different world from what we know now and we will find ourselves thinking in a very different way. For one thing, we will no longer be living in a world of unbridled self-expression and self-indulgence or in a world of reverence for the individual, but in one whose rule is:
Express self, but only so that all life can continue.
It may well be a world which, in comparison to this one, is rather restrictive and authoritarian, but this will not be the authority of forcibly taken, God-given or self-serving power; rather it will be the authority of knowledge and necessity. The purpose of G-T man will be to bring the earth back to equilibrium so that life upon it can survive, and this involves learning to act within the limits inherent in the balance of life. We may find such vital human concerns as food and procreation falling under strict regulation, while in other respects society will be free not only from any form of compulsion but also from prejudice and bigotry. […] G-T man will have no fear of technology and will understand its consequences.”
G-T man is seen by Graves as a sort of James Bond on the mission of saving the world. He “does not fear death, nor God, nor his fellow man. Magic and superstition hold no sway over him.” G-T man is no mystic, although he is conscious of living in a complex, paradoxical universe. He is a trans-personal, existential being, assertive but cautious, practical and never superfluous.
He is ego-less, functionally sociopathic, utilitaristic and focused on the greater good:
“That which alone commands his unswerving loyalty, and in whose cause he is ruthless, is the continuance of life on this earth.”
With G-T Man, Graves was obviously onto something, but his forecast was at best a few decades late. In the seventies, G-T man had already established the foundations of his international network, the United Nations, and was quietly working behind the scenes, preparing for his coming out in public. In the next decades, the power elites officially announced the transition to a new world order based on global interconnection and governance, focused on dealing with the global issues such as human rights, population control, environment, etc.
Today, we are living in such world.
The problem we see in G-T world is that G-T vMemes are, as in all individualistic phases in the spiral, too exclusive and aristocratic to really appeal to the masses, thus failing to result in a widespread evolution of consciousness.
As in C-P and E-R worlds before, the enlightened elites emerge triumphantly riding the wave of a technological breakthrough and assert themselves in a position of ab-solute(detached) leadership. The community is split apart in two hierarchical classes, “haves” (masters) and “have-nots” (slave labour). As we have seen before, this is the typical social structure of both the upper neolithic (C-T) and later the dark ages (E-R), when semi-nomadic tribes (war-machines in the terminology of Gilles Deleuze) descended from the nordic steppes to raid the declining southern civilizations and eventually settled down as a ruling oligarchy (govern of few). In oligarchies, the circle of power is small, and the vast majority of humanity, left with no social responsibility, regresses to more primitive levels of existence. The elites get increasingly distant from the people they rule, and become accustomed to see and treat humanity as a herd that must be tamed and submitted, while of course referring to themselves as the shepherds chosen by God (or Nature).
Already back in 1928, early G-T Man Edward Bernays wrote in his famous essay Propaganda:
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
In the first half of the 20th century, G-T elite’s innovative technology and integral awareness of psychic and social patterns were used to rule still predominantly D-Q populations in Europe and produced the rise of nazi-fascisms.
After WW2, what Graves calls “T-problems: the ecological crisis, the energy crisis, the population crisis, limits to growth, etc.” became unmistakingly clear, and the globalists at the UN realized it was necessary to take urgent proactive measures to stabilize the dangerously growing population in order to avoid total collapse.
As explained throughfully by Kevin Galalae, the elites, facing what they perceived as a vastly ignorant and indifferent human mass living at primitive existential levels, opted for covert methods of population control and financial warfare, without even trying to consciously involve every human being in the decision-making process, and instead orchestrating a very subtle and omnipresent propaganda machine to sub-consciously manipulate the public opinion. The elite acts with the noblest of intentions, but its methods—lacking the basic faith in common man’s ability to self-govern—inevitably produce a reinforcement of the tyrannical dictatorship, with few informed decision-makers at the top of the pyramid calling the shots for an impersonal, sub-conscious mass at the bottom.
At the turn of the millennium, western society is indeed, as predicted by Graves, largely driven by G-T values as hoped in option 3, but the rest of humanity appears fixated at the D-Q/E-R/F-S societal complex with the NWO acting in 1984-like fashion as a “tyrannic, manipulative government glossed over by a veneer of humanitarian sounding doublethink and moralistic rationalizations”, as feared in option 2.
G-T man’s individualistic nature (even if trans-personally so) was easily corrupted by money, since money represents power as well as freedom. G-T man’s flexibility was able to infiltrate the power establishment and change it from the inside. As many past war-machines, he adapted to the power status-quo, so that he could profit from it. A good example these days is the rise of Google, Facebook and all the other technocratic corporations making huge profits on the massive spread of Internet 2.0 technologies.
Millenials are already, without doubt, the most globally aware and connected generation of humans that has ever lived on this planet, and yet the fervent F-S socialist utopias that had once aroused the youth of our parents, have been substituted by a constellation of technomorphic fantasies of transcending nature with a singularity of artificial intelligence. Human society’s core appears indeed on the verge of a momentous leap towards G-T value-memes, with a rapidity that exceeds any expectations. Technological breakthroughs are mature for a radical redefinition of the work ethics and open distribution of knowledge around p2p networks. But many shadows and clouds loom upon the future. So far, the real, undeniable effect of the current world order on the masses is a widespread nihilistic degeneration to primitive stages of consciousness, generally aided by high doses of psychotic drugs and entertainment.
Even if G-T is without doubts a “new man”, he alone cannot transcend this dialectic. He needs a companion.
The elites know that only a select number of people can afford the western lifestyle of technological freedom and hyper-consumption, and resolved to put all their efforts in keeping the public at some lower existential level than themselves.
And the more helpless the masses become, the more unrealistic becomes the perspective of self-government by the people, and even the most evolved G-Ts come to term with the necessity of imposing and maintaining at all costs a centralized global governance in order to avoid collapse and catastrophe.
We are apparently still trapped in a diabolical loop, the vicious circle of civilization: to achieve social order, people must be rendered helpless. The more helpless they are, the more social order they need. Even if G-T is without doubts a “new man”, he alone cannot transcend this dialectic. He needs a companion.
Every left-brained shift is predominantly extroverted, self-conscious and power affirming, and must inevitably be counterbalanced by an introvert, community-conscious, creative right-brain reaction aiming at peaceful coexistence at the new level. In fact, the two alternating beats—left and right—are inseparably linked together and give form to the universal double-helix spiral of creative evolution through space-time.
If—instead of the 3-d view of a spiral staircase proceeding upwards step by step, as in man climbing a tower—we look at evolution in four dimensions, as in riding a wave, we see it moving forward with a double spin, two orbits that intersect, one in the gravitational field of the other, as quantic twin lovers. If G-T man would drop his money-making job for a minute, and look inside his heart he would find what he’s desperately been looking for, something he can’t buy nor build an artificial substitute to: H-U man unconditional love.
H-U values were only hinted to in the 1974 article, and Graves might be partially excused since apparently back then people operating in H-U fashion were rare, and thus he couldn’t but sketch an approximate description. His best hint at defining the psychological traits of what he calls the “differential”, “experientalistic” and “communion-oriented” second level of being is found in a poem by D.H Lawrence, Terra Incognita:
“There are vast realms of consciousness still undreamed of
A century after Lawrence, here we are!
Tens of millions of youngsters now recognizes itself in the post-dualistic, holistic values of H-U man!
We are all H-U man, and we will change the world, again.
We are the seeds of the coming H-U man values, emerging through the toxic remains of an obsolescent power establishment and set to bring freedom and communion for the entire humanity.
We will teach ourselves and our children “how to live so that the balance of nature is not again upset, so that individual man will not again set off on another self-aggrandizing binge” and learn instead to love and nurture our common Earth.
We must cooperate with G-T man in the mission to save the world. His purpose “to bring the earth back to equilibrium so that life upon it can survive, and this involves learning to act within the limits inherent in the balance of life” is also our purpose. We just want to bring this kind of consciousness out from the creepy coffers of the secret elites, out in the open air, to everyone, and our method is to give every human being in the world an equal chance to start a new life in the World Transition Movement.
The only way we can achieve that is if, for the first time in history, we transcend the old divisions, join our forces and work together towards a common goal: only so the miraculous leap foretold by Graves could be completed by the entire human community, and not only a few plutocrats.
It is not going to be a half-day job.
This Transition could last a century, and yes, we will need a new global authority to start with, as recently advocated by the Pope at the UN summit. But the governing structure and methodology must undergo a complete revision and reset, according to G-T/H-U values:
All of Graves’ predictions on the world ethos are calculated with a simple method:
“Take anything man has strongly valued in the first ladder of existence, reverse it, put it in higher order form and you have the key to what this theory says.”
An updated, comprehensive proposal to reform the United Nations around uncorrupted G-T values was formulated by Galalae in his last book “The Future of Global Governance”.
Now, H-U man understands the existential problem of G-T and completes his effort. Stabilizing the world (population, consumption, distribution) is only phase one of the transition. Phase two is about creating a World H-U man Community from ashes of civilization.
H-U man believes in humanity. We believe in the dormient potential of the new world man, and we already see through the G-T world.
As Indira Gandhi once said
“We must concern ourselves not only with the kind of world we want but also with what kind of man should inhabit it. Surely we do not desire a society divided into those who condition and those who are conditioned. We want thinking people capable of spontaneous self-directed activity, people who are interested and interesting, and who are imbued with compassion and concern for others.”
Instead of fighting the G-T world order we will make a deal with it: we will accept a reformed, temporary global authority for 99 years, period in which we will be granted the necessary autonomy and space to affirm and develop a new parallel system based on H-U values and practices.
While a G-T world government deals with the planetary emergency with full authority and yet with radically new methods and organization (holoptic transparency, informed consent, etc.), H-Us will begin co- creating the culture of the future. That’s why we must be granted the living space and the starting logistical support by the state to effectively plant a number of completely autonomous, decentralized seed-hubs of the future human community, hubs that will require partial isolation from the “main” world order and a new legal and economic framework. This second, grassroots level of the transition must focus on small scale direct democracies, a regional and connective infrastructure developed bottom up (mesh networks, currency, transportation), federated worldwide around a common ethical code and operative protocols.
I believe this is the only chance humanity has left to alter its course and prevent a catastrophic crash. The next few years are decisive and I urge all of you who read so far to devote your best efforts to the cause. We are many, and many more are waking up to the truth every day.
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream we dream together is the beginning of a new reality.”
 Graves' original essay can be read here in full: "Humanity Prepares for a Momentous Leap", www.clarewgraves.com. It appeard originally in: The Futurist, April 1974, pp. 72-87. (FV)
 This specific name "Spiral Dynamics Integral" is the result of a brief cooperation between Don Beck, one of the key players in this field of Spiral Dynamics, and Ken Wilber, the founder of Integral Philosophy, around 2001. See for this period: Don Beck, "SDi: Spiral Dynamics in an Integral Age". Beck and Wilber harshly ended their cooperation only a few years later. For a more objective history of the Spiral Dynamics movement, covering these and other "differing interpretations", see "A Brief History of Spiral Dynamics" by Albion M. Butters on this website. (FV)
 These two-letter combinations refer to neurological (and psychological) states and existential problems. As Graves explains it in his Futurist essay: "("A" stands for the neurological system in the brain upon which the psychological system is based; "N" for the set of existential problems that the "A" neurological system is able to cope with. Thus, in the "A-N" state, one calls on the "A" system to solve the "N" problems of existence.)"
The following brief description of Gravesian terminology come from Butters' essay (FV):