The evolutionary process seems to have fallen into regression (example: the election of Trump). Ken Wilber explains (1) that Green Postmodernity got stuck and didn’t pick up its role as the next ‘Leading Edge’, because of its excessive view of subjectivity, in which all is linked to context and truth doesn’t exist. In the extreme, in Green nothing is more true and more of value than anything else. Because a clear vision and focused choices are lacking, many people fall into confusion and are looking for strong (Red) leaders.
Now what? Postmodernity has fulfilled her role in the development of the social welfare state, the increasing attention for sustainability, communication, personal growth and solidarity with others. According to the theory of evolution (like Spiral Dynamics integral), the next step is the transition to integral thinking, integral acting and integral (personal and collective) leadership.
If this transition from the Green postmodern to the Yellow integral perspective stagnates, the risk of chaos and regression is huge. Available solutions to actual and future problems (e.g. to realize the Sustainable Development Goals) cannot be implemented because we need the integrated benefits of all previous value systems to find requisite solutions for today’s complex problems.
If the transition succeeds, we will see people, organizations and societies take the lead based on human-oriented openness and a clear transcending view with a capacity to integrate differences into innovative solutions. These leaders are integral thinkers and actors.
They are no longer motivated by their own interests or only one perspective, but are able to see what is functional for the survival and even flourishing of humanity as a whole. Beyond polarization.
The transition from Green to Yellow How to really make it happen
In this article I will describe how the transition from First to Second Tier – and more specifically from the Green level to Yellow/Teal – is taking place in individuals, organisations and in society. Clare Graves anticipated this ‘momentous leap’ (2) and various people like Ken Wilber claim that this leap is now actually happening.
My question is: how can we experience and see that we are truly making this leap and that we’re not still struggling in Green, wishing we were already on the other side of this gap. This article is based on literature as well as on interviews with people in the Netherlands who experienced this transition personally and professionally. It is written on behalf of the Integral European Conference 2018 and my assumption is that the reader is familiar with Spiral Dynamics integral (3). I couldn’t have written this article without the integral community around me and I deeply thank you all for your support!
The Netherlands has developed into quite an Orange-Green country in which many inspiring innovative (citizen’s) initiatives are arising like Buurtzorg (a new organisation for home care, initiated by Jos de Blok, one of the main speakers at IEC 2016) and The Ocean Cleanup (founded by Boyan Slat who develops advanced systems to rid the oceans of plastic).
At the same time, Dutch society is becoming more and more fragmented, as is seen in an increasing number of political parties; a growing number of inhabitants from different backgrounds (over 170 nationalities); a clear gap between the more agrarian areas and the majority of the population living in the cities; public opinion becoming more polarized between progressives and conservatives, between people living from a Traditional perspective and people functioning from a (Post)Modern view. Society as a whole seems to get stuck in polarities and to fall back in a regression to Blue-Orange.
This is happening in our rich, developed and privileged European country. On a global scale Red and Orange perspectives and structures are in charge in most parts of the world. The Blue perspective is still missing in many regions and where it is operating it is often threatened by non-democratic forces like in some East-European, African and Asian countries. Green is set aside in the places where it once flowered such as in the UK and the US.
Why didn’t the Green (Postmodern) perspective become a (strong) force in the world, as it inherently includes the seeds for a more productive and human direction?
While the triad of Power, Military and Money (the familiar military–industrial complex) is bringing humanity to the edge of the ravine and the possibilities and solutions for a better and more integral world are available, why aren’t they being used and implemented? Why aren’t we progressing?
Ken Wilber analyzed this question in his essay Trump and the post-truth world (2017). He describes the situation in the US, and much of what he observes seems to be valid for The Netherlands and other parts of the world, too. His conclusion is that Postmodernity didn’t fulfill its role as the ‘Leading Edge’ to bring us into the next (Integral/Yellow/Teal) level.
For his analysis he draws on Spiral Dynamics integral.
In response to the ever-changing and challenging life conditions, humanity constantly develops new perspectives which transcend and include the previous ones. These emerging global changes are in a way ‘prepared’ by the most progressive value system at a given time in history (the ‘Leading Edge’).
This Leading Edge has the privilege and the responsibility to give birth to new solutions for our most pressing issues and in the process shape our next evolutionary step. Its development is mostly initiated by the cultural elite (priests, philosophers, writers, scientists, artists, rebellious public persons).
For humanity to survive our current global complex and interwoven problems and to shape our future, we desperately need transparent, inspiring and vigorous leadership with an orientation towards the greater whole at all levels of society, that propels us into the Integral perspective.
In the following sections, I first will present an analysis of the reasons why Postmodernity (in the Netherlands) didn’t take its leading edge role. Then I will answer the question: how can we progress to the next, Integral level? And finally I will describe how we can actually see and witness this transition from Green to Yellow happening in individuals, organizations and society.