Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Why Liberals Can't Get It Together

Oh, those simpler days when everything was black and white, and right and wrong seemed like such absolutes. There was a God who loved us immensely, and would punish all those who didn't believe. I have a friend, and he is a friend, who is very conservative, and has a habit of blaming all of our troubles on liberals. For him, even though he is integrally informed, life is also simple, full of absolutes, and blame.

Absolutism is a first tier quality, particularly an Amber (Blue in Spiral Dynamics terms) quality where order and authority reign supreme. For Amber, life is black and white, and there aren't a lot of choices to be made. Amber accepts authority and whatever "norms" or law they are told to respect. Doesn't really matter what culture it's in, Amber follows the rules of that culture. For my purposes, I'm referring to Amber in the context of the USA. Amber, along with early Orange, makes up most of the conservative population.

Developmental psychologists pretty much agree, across the board, that development, or consciousness, as I'm using it, unfolds in a spiral, or stages, of ever-increasing complexity. To simplify, they may disagree on what those stages are, but agree that there are stages. People who are at Tribal (Purple...we'll continue using Spiral Dynamics) levels of consciousness are more complex than people who are at Survival (beige) levels. People who are at the Power (Red) level are more complex than Purple, Blue more complex than Red, Orange more complex than Blue, and Green, the last bastion on first tier conciousness and home of Liberalism, more complex than the preceding stages.

So, if liberalism is more complex than conservativism, what's the problem? The problem is the complexity itself, still wrapped in first tier absolutism (or rather, an anti-absolutism that is ironically absolute), where every level level of consciousness, or stage, thinks every other stage else is flat wrong. Green sees so many paradoxes it can't decide which way to go, and since Green also refuses to see hierarchically (natural occurences where some truths are more true than others), it can't agree on a course of action. It's really a menu so over-laden with choices that no choices can be made. Green's "Boomeritus" syndrome is so powerful that Green, who says everybody is right, literally can't choose one course of action over the other.

Complexity's a bitch at the top of first-tier thinking. Liberals, or democrats, can't even decide how to respond to conservative absolutism.

On Sunday, during the SeattleIntegral Shadow Workshop, Ken Wilber told us that about 5% of the world's population is now at second-tier consciousness, and that once the population reaches 10% in the next few years, there will be a monumental shift in consciousness.

Until that time, we must keep introducing Integral Thinking to that portion of the population who are Green emergent to teal, or second tier.

It can't happen too soon.

To see the T-Shirt with the SDi graphic, click here.


Tom Mull said...

Hey Gary: I see a lot of this SD orange/green as levels more like Jenny Wade's achievement/affiliative types at level going in a continuum from KW altitude schema from orange to green and culminating in teal and turquoise (Wade's Authentic). IMO much of the "liberal"/"conservative" dichotomy is simply a battle between communal affiliatives and agentic achievers between amber and orange altitudes (remember that Assimulation/Contrast Affect chart from Don Beck). Much of what I see going under the term "Liberal" is not all that liberal--just partisan in a different voice. =)

Gary Stamper said...

Yes, I think there are a lot of reasons to support Jenny Wade's continuum, Tom, and, as I said, there are many ways to decribe these different stages. I have used SD in this example because it's a good starting point, and fairly straight forward. Wade's "authentic" and Ken's teal/turquiose are what I'm coming to call "trans-liberal" in the political ring. Still, liberals can't make up their collective minds

Tom Mull said...

I agree Gary--Transliberal--or better yet: Don Beck's Transpartisan.

Gary Stamper said...

Yeah, but Don made up "transpartisan," and I made up "Trans-Liberal." :)
Actually, Transpartisan is probably a better term in some ways, as it describes a path that is over, or beyond, partisan politics, which can occur at any stage....but what I like about "trans-Liberal," is it means moving past liberalism, the last stage in a continuum.
Gee, I wonder whose term will have the most impact? :)

Tom Mull said...

That's why I have a problem with "transliberal"! It implies that liberal is a stage rather than a type at level (which is how I see it--conservative, moderate, liberal are more related to personality type and can be expressed at any level. perhaps it is related to where one tends to identify with the: Fusion, Differentiating, Differentiated, Integrated continuum between levels). Levels expressed in a different voice as George Lakoff (unintentionally methinks) gets at. Liberals ID with nurturing Mom and Conservatives with disiplining Dad and Moderates get a mix of both.