27 April 2007Seeing some of the discussions taking place on several websites that deem themselves at the edge of human development and claiming second-tier (if not higher) awareness, I do get amused at times by the thoughtlessness with which people analyse life around them.
I am now particularly referring to the analysis of movies, articles, literature, etc. in terms of the developmental level at which they are. Frequent use is made of e.g. Spiral Dynamics' or Ken Wilber's color schemes to put into perspective from what level something was created.
Say we are talking about the movie called "The Secret". I have read articles stating that this is a typical "green" movie with tendencies to confuse "purple" beliefs with "yellow or turquoise" consciousness. Apart from the utter lack of clarity when using this type of expressions with people who have not read the theories, something worse seems to happen here.
What I am objecting to in the first place is the use of the names of certain distinct levels of development as labels to identify a person or group of people. Using colors from SD or other schemes to actually identify someone and putting them into a certain category does no right to the human being you are referring to. someone "is" not green or yellow - that would equate his or her identity with yellowness or greenness. Identity, according to the model of Gregory Bateson and Robert Dilts (see the following link for more details: http://www.pnlcoach.com/606_644.htm ), is a level that encompasses all our values, beliefs, capacities and activities in any context, and is only encompassed itself by the Transpersonal (whatever that is according to your personal definition). So it is kinda difficult to say that someone "is" green or that someone "is" a sailor. Instead, green is a developmental level someone has and sailor is a job someone has. Identity, as a transcending level beyond all that we have (i.e. the levels below it), goes to the core of who we are. And I believe that our core is not just green or yellow...
Secondly, and more importantly however, is the fact that the types of expressions like, "This guy is typically blue", are a gross generalization of who a person really is. Remember Integral Theory from any of Ken Wilber's books: AQAL stands for All Quadrants, All Levels, All Lines, All States, All Types, etc. Not just Quadrants and Levels. Also many other aspects, such as Lines.
Lines? What are those again? Lines were stuff that you develop along in a certain aspect of your being. Take cognitive development, emotional development, physical development, social development, etc. There you have already four quite distinct features of what someone's being consists of. And there's many more. Each of those lines has a development of its own, which is relatively independent from the other lines. That means, that the developmental level of each line can be different. Cognitively, someone can be turquoise, but morally still very purple. Emotionally almost yellow, but orange in terms of needs. So how can you say that someone is at a certain level? No way that someone is entirely blue, orange or green. Each and every aspect of someone's being can be at a different level.
So how do we deal with these differences? Well, simply be specific. Feel free to analyze anything in terms of development, but be specific. Say that you saw a movie that was cognitively yellow, but purple in terms of needs. Say you read a book that was written from an Integral level of cognitive consciousness, but here and there expressed morally pre-personal views.
Thinking integrally is not the same as thinking in generalizations. Integral thinking is about inclusiveness. So don't forget too include the distinction between different lines, different aspects of one's development. If you don't, you fall into the traps of using a generalized model. If you do, you're on your way to thinking more integrally.