Introduction to Volume 7 of the Collected Works

The Integral Vision at the Millennium

We live in an extraordinary time: all of the world's cultures, past and present, are to some degree available to us, either in historical records or as living entities. In the history of the planet earth, this has never happened before.

      It seems hard to imagine, but for humanity's entire stay on this planet--for some million years up to the present--a person was born into a culture that knew virtually nothing about any other. You were, for example, born a Chinese, raised a Chinese, married a Chinese, and followed a Chinese religion--often living in the same hut for your entire life, on a spot of land that your ancestors settled for centuries. From isolated tribes and bands, to small farming villages, to ancient nations, to conquering feudal empires, to international corporate states, to global village: the extraordinary growth toward an integral village that seems humanity's destiny.

      So it is that the leading edge of consciousness evolution stands today on the brink of an integral millennium--or at least the possibility of an integral millennium, where the sum total of extant human knowledge, wisdom, and technology is available to all. But there are several obstacles to that integral embrace, even in the most developed populations. Moreover, there is the more typical or average mode of consciousness, which is far from integral anything, and is in desperate need of its own tending. Both of those pressing issues (the integral vision as it relates to the most developed and the least developed populations) are related directly to the contents of this volume of the Collected Works .

     In short, what is the status of the integral vision in today's world, both in the cultural elite and in the world at large? Let us start with the leading edge, and the many obstacles to an integral vision in our cultural elite.


     Integral Critical Theory

      As Jack Crittenden points out in his foreword to The Eye of Spirit , contained in this volume, if we succeed in developing a truly holistic or integral view, then we will simultaneously develop a new type of critical theory , because the integral paradigm will inherently be critical of those approaches that are, by comparison, partial, narrow, shallow, less encompassing, less integral. Jack suggests that the approach set forth in several of my books (such as Sex, Ecology, Spirituality and The Eye of Spirit ) is a new type of integral vision which therefore carries a new type of critical theory--that is, a theory that is critical of the present state of affairs in light of a more encompassing and desirable state, both in the individual and the culture at large.

      It is certainly true that I have tried to offer both an integral vision and a critical theory; whether they succeed or not remains to be seen. It is also true that this particular integral vision especially came to fruition with Sex, Ecology, Spirituality and with the two books in this volume, A Brief History of Everything and The Eye of Spirit . This period in my work marked the emergence of "wilber-4," or an approach that is "all-level, all-quadrant" (which I will explain in a moment), and which does indeed attempt to provide a genuinely integral or comprehensive view of the Kosmos. Not a final view or a fixed view or the only view; just a view that attempts to honor and include as much research as possible from the largest number of disciplines in a coherent fashion.

     At the same time, as critics noted, these books were marked, not just by a critical tone, but by an occasionally polemical and angry tone, which was quite uncharacteristic of my work. This "angry period" in my writing, if we can call it that, lasted from Sex, Ecology, Spirituality , through Brief History , and up to the last chapter of The Eye of Spirit . Although the tone of anger and anguish was a small part of those books, it was noticeable. Since I am not a very angry (nor anguished) person by nature, and since of none of my books before or since displayed such tone, theories proliferated as to its cause. Those who knew me well generally ascribed it to the after-effects of Treya's death, which had certainly left me anguished. Those who had not met me ascribed it to my inherently nasty nature, a lack of spirituality, a refusal to engage in caring dialogue, and dozens of other equally unpleasant flaws (as well as the always popular astrology reading having something to do with Mars).

      My own conscious reasons, which I outlined in the Introduction to volume 6, were varied. There was first a genuine anger and dismay at the state of today's cultural studies, including especially "counter-cultural" studies. I believe this is of profound and far-reaching significance, for it bears directly on whether a truly integral vision can exist in today's climate of culture wars, identity politics, a million new and conflicting paradigms, deconstructive postmodernism, nihilism, pluralistic relativism, and the politics of self. Can an integral vision even be recognized, let alone accepted, in such a cultural state? We are talking, in other words, about the leading edge of consciousness evolution itself, and whether even the leading edge is truly ready for an integral vision, assuming there is merit in the latter. In the end we will find, I believe, that there is some very good news in all this; but first, a little bit of what I see as the bad news.

     The baby boomer generation has, like any generation, its strengths and weaknesses. Its strengths include an extraordinary vitality, creativity, and idealism, plus a willingness to experiment with new ideas beyond traditional values. Some social observers have seen in the boomers an "awakening generation," evidenced by an extraordinary creativity in everything from music to computer technology, political action to lifestyles, ecological sensitivity to civil rights. I believe there is much truth and goodness in those endeavors, to the boomers' considerable credit.

     Boomer weaknesses, most critics agree, include an unusual dose of self-absorption and narcissism, so much so that most people, boomers included, simply nod their heads in acknowledgment when the phrase "the Me generation" is mentioned.

      Thus, it seems that my generation is an extraordinary mixture of greatness and narcissism, and that strange amalgam has infected almost everything we do. We don't seem content to simply have a fine new idea; we must have the new paradigm which will herald one of the greatest transformations in the history of the world. We don't really want to just recycle bottles and paper, we need to see ourselves dramatically saving the planet and saving Gaia and resurrecting the Goddess that previous generations had brutally repressed but we will finally liberate. We aren't able to tend our garden, we must be transfiguring the face of the planet in the most astonishing global awakening history has ever seen. We seem to need to see ourselves as the vanguard of something unprecedented in all of history: the extraordinary wonder of being us.

     Well, it can be pretty funny if you think about it, and I truly don't mean any of this in a harsh way. Each generation has its foibles; this appears to be ours, at least to some degree. But I believe few of my generation escape this narcissistic mood. Many social critics have agreed, and not just in such penetrating works as Lasch's The Culture of Narcissism , Restak's Self Seekers , Bellah's Habits of the Heart , and Stern's Me: The Narcissistic American . Surveying the present state of cultural studies even in American universities, Professor Frank Lentricchia, writing in lingua franca: The Review of Academic Life , concluded: "It is impossible, this much is clear, to exaggerate the heroic self-inflation of academic literary and cultural criticism."

     Well, ouch. But it's true that if you read a thousand books on cultural studies, alternative spirituality, the new paradigm, and the great transformation that will occur if the world simply listens to the author and his or her revolutionary ideas, sooner or later it starts to get to you. Any healthy soul, I believe, would get at little bit angry (or anguished) at all of this, and that anger was indeed the tone that occasionally peered out from those three books.

      Toward the end of that period, I sat down and wrote a book about this strange affliction that seems to shadow my generation, this odd mixture of remarkably high cognitive capacity and wonderfully creative intelligence coupled with an unusual dose of emotional narcissism. Of course, as I said, all previous generations had their own imperfections aplenty; I am by no means picking on the boomers. It is just that "awakening generations" often have a particularly intense downside, simply because they are so intense in general, and for boomers, it appears to be a bit of self-inflation, a love affair avec soi (along the lines of Oscar Levant's quip to Gershwin: "Tell me, George, if you had it to do all over again, would you still fall in love with yourself?")

     I called the book Boomeritis: The Pig in the Python and Other Gruesome Tales . It chronicled dozens of areas and disciplines where an important but partial truth was blown all out of proportion by an overestimation of the power and importance of the self. [1] I have not published it yet; at this moment I have less inclination to shake the tree. But in a moment I will briefly outline its general conclusions, only because, as I said, this relates directly to an integral vision and its reception in today's world. The idea is simple enough: The Culture of Narcissism is antithetical to an integral culture (because narcissistic, isolated selves strenuously resist communion). That topic relates directly to the present volume. After all, the subtitle of The Eye of Spirit was "An Integral Vision for a World Gone Slightly Mad." (Many people looked at me and said, "Only slightly?").

     But the point remains: is the world ready for integral anything? If not, what is preventing it?


     The Waves of Existence

      One of the striking things about the present state of developmental studies is how similar, in broad outline, most of its models are. Indeed, in Integral Psychology I assembled the conclusions of over one hundred different researchers, and, as one of them summarized the situation, "The stage sequences [of all of these theorists] can be aligned across a common developmental space . The harmony of alignment shown suggests a possible reconciliation of [these] theories...." [2]

      From Clare Graves to Abraham Maslow; from Deirdre Kramer to Jan Sinnott; from Jurgen Habermas to Cheryl Armon; from Kurt Fischer to Jenny Wade; from Robert Kegan to Susanne Cook-Greuter, there emerges a remarkably consistent story of the evolution of consciousness. Of course there are dozens of disagreements and hundreds of conflicting details. But they all tell a generally similar tale of the growth and development of consciousness from--to use Jean Gebser's particular version--archaic to magic to mythic to rational to integral. Most of the more sophisticated of these cartographies give around six to ten waves of development from birth to what I call the centaur level. (Beyond the centaur, into the more transpersonal waves of consciousness unfolding, agreement tapers off. I will return to this point later.)

      Few of these developmental schemes are the rigid, linear, clunk-and-grind models portrayed by their critics. Development is a not a linear ladder but a fluid and flowing affair, with spirals, swirls, streams, and waves--and what appear to be an almost infinite number of multiple modalities (there appear to be as many different dimensions or modalities of consciousness as there are different situations in life--i.e., endless). Most of today's sophisticated developmental theories take all of that into account, and--more important--back it with substantial research (as we will see).

      I have, in numerous previous publications (especially Integral Psychology ) given the details of many of those researchers. Here I will simply use one of them as an example. The model is called Spiral Dynamics, based on the pioneering work of Clare Graves. Graves proposed a profound and elegant system of human development, which subsequent research has refined and validated, not refuted. "Briefly, what I am proposing is that the psychology of the mature human being is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating spiraling process marked by progressive subordination of older, lower-order behavior systems to newer, higher-order systems as an individual's existential problems change. Each successive stage, wave, or level of existence is a state through which people pass on their way to other states of being. When the human is centralized in one state of existence"--as I would put it, when the self's center of gravity hovers around a particular wave of consciousness--"he or she has a psychology which is particular to that state. His or her feelings, motivations, ethics and values, biochemistry, degree of neurological activation, learning system, belief systems, conception of mental health, ideas as to what mental illness is and how it should be treated, conceptions of and preferences for management, education, economics, and political theory and practice are all appropriate to that state." [3]

      Graves outlined around eight major "levels or waves of human existence," ranging from autistic, magical, and animistic, through sociocentric and conventional, to individualistic and integrated. As is usually the case with Western researchers, he recognized no higher (transpersonal) levels, but the contributions he made to the prepersonal and personal realms were profound.

      It should be remembered that virtually all of these stage conceptions--from Abraham Maslow to Jane Loevinger to Robert Kegan to Clare Graves--are based on extensive amounts of research and data. These are not simply conceptual ideas and pet theories, but are grounded at every point in a considerable amount of carefully checked evidence. Many of the stage theorists have had their models checked in first-, second-, and third-world countries. The same is true with Graves's model; to date, it has been tested in over fifty thousand people from around the world, and there have been no major exceptions found to his general scheme. [4]

      Of course, this does not mean that any of these schemes give the whole story, or even most of it . They are all simply partial snapshots of the great River of Life, and they are all useful when looking at the River from that particular angle. This does not prevent other pictures from being equally useful, nor does it mean that these pictures cannot be refined with further study. What it does mean is that any psychological model that does not include these pictures is not a very integral model.

      Graves's work has been carried forward and refined by Don Beck and Christopher Cowan, in an approach they call Spiral Dynamics. Far from being mere armchair analysts, Beck and Cowan were participants in the discussions that lead to the end of apartheid in South Africa. The principles of Spiral Dynamics have been fruitfully used to reorganize businesses, revitalize townships, overhaul education systems, and defuse inner-city tensions.

     The situation in South Africa is a good example of why the idea of developmental stages (each with its own worldview, values, and needs) can actually reduce and even alleviate social tensions, not exacerbate them (as critics often charge). Spiral Dynamics (following Graves) sees human development as proceeding through eight general "value memes" or deep structures: instinctive (archaic-uroboric), magical/animistic (typhonic-magic), power gods (magic-mythic), absolutist-religious (mythic), individualistic-achiever (rational-egoic), relativistic (early vision-logic), systematic-integrative (middle vision-logic), and global-holistic (late vision-logic), each of which will be outlined in a moment. These are not rigid levels, but fluid and flowing waves, with much overlap and interweaving, resulting in a meshwork or dynamic spiral of consciousness unfolding.

      The typical, well-meaning liberal approach to solving social tensions is to treat every value as equal, and then try to force a leveling or redistribution of resources (money, rights, goods, land) while leaving the values untouched. The typical conservative approach is take its particular values and try to foist them on everybody else. The developmental approach is to realize that there are many different values and worldviews; that some are more complex than others; that many of the problems at one stage of development can only be defused by evolving to a higher level; and that only by recognizing and facilitating this evolution can social justice be finally served. Moreover, by seeing that each and every individual has all of these memes potentially available to them , the lines of social tension are redrawn: not based on skin color, economic class, or political clout, but on the type of worldview from which a person, group of persons, clan, tribe, business, government, educational system, or nation is operating. As Beck puts it, "The focus is not on types of people, but types in people." This removes skin color from the game and focuses on some of the truly underlying factors (developmental values and worldviews) that generate social tensions.

      We return now to Spiral Dynamics for a brief overview of one version of the many waves of consciousness unfolding. Remember that this is simply one series of photos of the great River of Life. In my own system, there are actually numerous different modules or streams proceeding relatively independently through the basic levels or waves; individuals can be at a relatively high level of development in some modules; medium in others; and low in still others--there is nothing linear about overall development! Moreover, an individual can have an altered state or a peak experience at virtually any stage of development, so the notion that spiritual experiences are available only at the higher stages is incorrect (see Integral Psychology for a full discussion of these topics). Spiral Dynamics does not include states of consciousness, nor does it cover the higher, transpersonal waves of consciousness. [5] But for the ground it covers, it gives one very useful and elegant model of the self and its journey through what Clare Graves called the "waves of existence."

     Beck and Cowan (who have remained quite faithful to Graves's system) use various names and colors to refer to these different memes or levels of existence. The use of colors (e.g., purple for magic, blue for mythic, green for ecological sensitivity, etc.) almost always puts people off, at first. [6] But Beck and Cowan often work in racially charged areas, and they have found that it helps to take peoples' minds off of skin color and focus on the "color of the meme" instead of the "color of the skin." Likewise in other situations: a green environmentalist might switch from "all big businesses are bad" to "Orange can be uncaring." Moreover, as much research has continued to confirm, since these are levels or memes that everybody has potentially available to them, the lines of tension are completely redrawn. In a particular situation it is no longer "black versus white," but perhaps blue versus purple, or orange versus green, and so on; and while skin color cannot be changed, consciousness can.

     The important point is that these various waves of existence (or stages of development) are not just passing phases in the self's unfolding; they are permanently available capacities and coping strategies that can, once they have emerged, be activated under the appropriate life conditions (e.g., survival instincts can be activated in emergency situations; bonding capacities are activated in close human relationships, and so on). We can be red in one context, green in another, turquoise in yet another. Moreover, as Beck puts it, "The Spiral is messy, not symmetrical, with multiple admixtures rather than pure types. These are mosaics, meshes, and blends." [7]

     The first six levels are "subsistence levels" marked by "first-tier thinking." Then there occurs a revolutionary shift in consciousness: the emergence of "being levels" and "second-tier thinking," of which there are two major waves. Here is a brief description of all eight waves, the percentage of the world population at each wave, and the percentage of social power held by each. [8] Remember, these are all variations on archaic to magic to mythic to rational to integral, which is the common "developmental space" revealed by most research.


     1. Beige: Archaic-Instinctual . The level of basic survival; food, water, warmth, sex, and safety have priority. Uses habits and instincts just to survive. Distinct self is barely awakened or sustained. Forms into survival bands to perpetuate life.

      Where seen: First human societies, newborn infants, senile elderly, late-stage Alzheimer's victims, mentally ill street people, starving masses, shell shock. 0.1% of the adult population, 0% power.


     2. Purple: Magical-Animistic . Thinking is animistic; magical spirits, good and bad, swarm the earth leaving blessings, curses, and spells which determine events. Forms into ethnic tribes . The spirits exist in ancestors and bond the tribe. Kinship and lineage establish political links. Sounds "holistic" but is actually atomistic: "there is a name for each bend in the river but no name for the river."

      Where seen: Belief in voodoo-like curses, blood oaths, ancient grudges, good luck charms, family rituals, magical ethnic beliefs and superstitions; strong in Third-World settings, gangs, athletic teams, and corporate "tribes." 10% of the population, 1% of the power.


     3. Red: Power Gods . First emergence of a self distinct from the tribe; powerful, impulsive, egocentric, heroic. Mythic spirits, dragons, beasts, and powerful people. Feudal lords protect underlings in exchange for obedience and labor. The basis of feudal empires --power and glory. The world is a jungle full of threats and predators. Conquers, out-foxes, and dominates; enjoys self to the fullest without regret or remorse.

      Where seen: The "terrible twos," rebellious youth, frontier mentalities, feudal kingdoms, epic heroes, James Bond villains, soldiers of fortune, wild rock stars, Atilla the Hun, Lord of the Flies . 20% of the population, 5% of the power.


     4. Blue: Conformist Rule . Life has meaning, direction, and purpose, with outcomes determined by an all-powerful Other or Order. This righteous Order enforces a code of conduct based on absolutist and unvarying principles of "right" and "wrong." Violating the code or rules has severe, perhaps everlasting repercussions. Following the code yields rewards for the faithful. Basis of ancient nations . Rigid social hierarchies; paternalistic; one right way and only one right way to think about everything. Law and order; impulsivity controlled through guilt; concrete-literal and fundamentalist belief; obedience to the rule of Order. Often "religious" [in the mythic-membership sense; Graves and Beck refer to it as the "saintly/absolutistic" level], but can be secular or atheistic Order or Mission.

      Where seen: Puritan America, Confucian China, Dickensian England, Singapore discipline, codes of chivalry and honor, charitable good deeds, religious fundamentalism (e.g., Christian and Islamic), Boy and Girl Scouts, "moral majority," patriotism. 40% of the population, 30% of the power.


     5. Orange: Scientific Achievement . At this wave, the self "escapes" from the "herd mentality" of blue, and seeks truth and meaning in individualistic terms--hypothetico-deductive, experimental, objective, mechanistic, operational--"scientific" in the typical sense. The world is a rational and well-oiled machine with natural laws that can be learned, mastered, and manipulated for one's own purposes. Highly achievement oriented, especially (in America) toward materialistic gains. The laws of science rule politics, the economy, and human events. The world is a chess-board on which games are played as winners gain pre-eminence and perks over losers. Marketplace alliances; manipulate earth's resources for one's strategic gains. Basis of corporate states .

      Where seen: The Enlightenment, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged , Wall Street, emerging middle classes around the world, cosmetics industry, trophy hunting, colonialism, the Cold War, fashion industry, materialism, liberal self-interest. 30% of the population, 50% of the power.


     6. Green: The Sensitive Self . Communitarian, human bonding, ecological sensitivity, networking. The human spirit must be freed from greed, dogma, and divisiveness; feelings and caring supersede cold rationality; cherishing of the earth, Gaia, life. Against hierarchy; establishes lateral bonding and linking. Permeable self, relational self, group intermeshing. Emphasis on dialogue, relationships. Basis of values communes (i.e., freely chosen affiliations based on shared sentiments). Reaches decisions through reconciliation and consensus (downside: interminable "processing" and incapacity to reach decisions). Refresh spirituality, bring harmony, enrich human potential. Strongly egalitarian, anti-hierarchy, pluralistic values, social construction of reality, diversity, multiculturalism, relativistic value systems; this worldview is often called pluralistic relativism . Subjective, nonlinear thinking; shows a greater degree of affective warmth, sensitivity, and caring, for earth and all its inhabitants.

      Where seen: Deep ecology, postmodernism, Netherlands idealism, Rogerian counseling, Canadian health care, humanistic psychology, liberation theology, cooperative inquiry, World Council of Churches, Greenpeace, animal rights, ecofeminism, post-colonialism, Foucault/Derrida, politically correct, diversity movements, human rights issues, ecopsychology. 10% of the population, 15% of the power.


      With the completion of the green meme, human consciousness is poised for a quantum jump into "second-tier thinking." Clare Graves referred to this as a "momentous leap," where "a chasm of unbelievable depth of meaning is crossed." In essence, with second-tier consciousness, one can think both vertically and horizontally, using both hierarchies and heterarchies. One can, for the first time, vividly grasp the entire spectrum of interior development, and thus see that each level, each meme, each wave is crucially important for the health of the overall spiral.

     As I would word it, since each wave is "transcend and include," each wave is a fundamental ingredient of all subsequent waves, and thus each is to be cherished and embraced. Moreover, each wave can itself be activated or reactivated as life circumstances warrant. [9] In emergency situations, we can activate red power drives; in response to chaos, we might need to activate blue order; in looking for a new job, we might need orange achievement drives; in marriage and with friends, close green bonding.

     But what none of those memes can do, on their own, is fully appreciate the existence of the other memes. Each of those first-tier memes thinks that its worldview is the correct or best perspective. It reacts negatively if challenged; it lashes out, using its own tools, whenever it is threatened. Blue order is very uncomfortable with both red impulsiveness and orange individualism. Orange individualism thinks blue order is for suckers and green egalitarianism is weak and woo-woo. Green egalitarianism cannot easily abide excellence and value rankings, big pictures, hierarchies, or anything that appears authoritarian, and thus green reacts strongly to blue, orange, and anything post-green.

     All of that begins to change with second-tier thinking. Because second-tier consciousness is fully aware of the interior stages of development--even if it cannot articulate them in a technical fashion--it steps back and grasps the big picture, and thus second-tier thinking appreciates the necessary role that all of the various memes play. Using what we would recognize as mature vision-logic, second-tier awareness thinks in terms of the overall spiral of existence, and not merely in the terms of any one level.

     Where the green meme uses early or beginning vision-logic in order to grasp the numerous different systems and pluralistic contexts that exist in different cultures (which is why it is indeed the sensitive self, i.e., sensitive to the marginalization of others), second-tier thinking goes one step further. It looks for the rich contexts that link and join these pluralistic systems, and thus it takes these separate systems and begins to embrace, include, and integrate them into holistic spirals and holarchies (Beck and Cowan themselves refer to second-tier thinking as operating with "holons"). These holarchies include both interior (consciousness) and exterior (material) waves of development, in both vertical and horizontal dimensions (i.e., hierarchical and heterarchical), resulting in a multi-leveled, multi-dimensional, multi-modal, richly holarchical view. Second-tier thinking, in other words, is instrumental in moving from pluralistic relativism to universal integralism .

     The extensive research of Graves, Beck, and Cowan indicates that there are two major waves to this second-tier consciousness (corresponding to what we would recognize as middle and late vision-logic):


     7. Yellow: Integrative . Life is a kaleidoscope of natural hierarchies [holarchies], systems, and forms. Flexibility, spontaneity, and functionality have the highest priority. Differences and pluralities can be integrated into interdependent, natural flows. Egalitarianism is complemented with natural degrees of excellence where appropriate. Knowledge and competency should supersede rank, power, status, or group. The prevailing world order is the result of the existence of different levels of reality (memes) and the inevitable patterns of movement up and down the dynamic spiral. Good governance facilitates the emergence of entities through the levels of increasing complexity (nested hierarchy).


     8. Turquoise: Holistic . Universal holistic system, holons/waves of integrative energies; unites feeling with knowledge [centaur]; multiple levels interwoven into one conscious system. Universal order, but in a living, conscious fashion, not based on external rules (blue) or group bonds (green). A "grand unification" is possible, in theory and in actuality. Sometimes involves the emergence of a new spirituality as a meshwork of all existence. Turquoise thinking uses the entire spiral; sees multiple levels of interaction; detects harmonics, the mystical forces, and the pervasive flow-states that permeate any organization.

      Second-tier thinking: 1% of the population, 5% of the power.


      With only 1 percent of the population at second-tier thinking (and only 0.1 percent at turquoise), second-tier consciousness is relatively rare because it is now the "leading-edge" of collective human evolution. As examples, Beck and Cowan mention items ranging from Teilhard de Chardin's noosphere to the growth of transpersonal psychology, with increases in frequency definitely on the way, and even higher memes still in the offing....


     The Jump to Second-Tier Consciousness

     As Beck and Cowan have pointed out, second-tier thinking has to emerge in the face of much resistance from first-tier thinking. In fact, a version of the postmodern green meme, with its pluralism and relativism, has actively fought the emergence of more integrative and holarchical thinking. (It has also made developmental studies, which depend on second-tier thinking, virtually anathema at both conventional and alternative universities.) And yet without second-tier thinking, as Graves, Beck, and Cowan point out, humanity is destined to remain victims of a global "auto-immune disease," where various memes turn on each other in an attempt to establish supremacy.

     This is why developmental studies in general indicate that many philosophical debates are not really a matter of the better objective argument, but of the subjective level of those debating. No amount of orange scientific evidence will convince blue mythic believers; no amount of green bonding will impress orange aggressiveness; no amount of turquoise holarchy will dislodge green hostility--unless the individual is ready to develop forward through the dynamic spiral of consciousness unfolding. This is why "cross-level" debates are rarely resolved, and all parties usually feel unheard and unappreciated.

      As we were saying, first-tier memes generally resist the emergence of second-tier memes. Scientific materialism (orange) is aggressively reductionistic toward second-tier constructs, attempting to reduce all interior stages to objectivistic neuronal fireworks. Mythic fundamentalism (blue) is often outraged at what it sees as attempts to unseat its given Order. Egocentrism (red) ignores second-tier altogether. Magic (purple) puts a hex on it. Green accuses second-tier consciousness of being authoritarian, rigidly hierarchical, patriarchal, marginalizing, oppressive, racist, and sexist.

     Green has been in charge of cultural studies for the past three decades. On the one hand, the pluralistic relativism of green has nobly enlarged the canon of cultural studies to include many previously marginalized peoples, ideas, and narratives. It has acted with sensitivity and care in attempting to redress social imbalances and avoid exclusionary practices. It has been responsible for basic initiatives in civil rights and environmental protection. It has developed strong and often convincing critiques of the philosophies, metaphysics, and social practices of the conventional religious (blue) and scientific (orange) memes, with their often exclusionary, patriarchal, sexist, and colonialistic agendas.

      On the other hand, as effective as these critiques of pre-green stages have been, green has attempted to turn its guns on all post-green stages as well, with the most unfortunate results. In honorably fighting many rigid social hierarchies, green has condemned all second-tier holarchies--which has made it very difficult, and often impossible, for green to move forward into more holistic, integral-aperspectival constructions.

      Most sophisticated developmental studies describe a movement from mythic absolutism (blue) and rational formalism (orange), through stages of pluralism and relativism (green), to stages of integralism and holism (yellow and turquoise). [10] The green meme, effectively challenging the absolutisms of blue and orange, then mistook all universals and all holarchies as being of the same order, and this often locked it into first-tier thinking.

     Nonetheless--and this is especially significant--it from the healthy green ranks that second-tier emerges, as Spiral Dynamics points out, so most of my comments in those three books (SES, BH, ES) were directed specifically toward green, as were the polemical nudges, in an attempt to get green to look at its own premises more expansively. These jabs have not, in general, endeared me to greens, but it has jolted the conversation in ways that politeness consistently failed to do.

      And this is where boomeritis enters the picture.



      Because pluralistic relativism moves beyond the rigid universalisms of formal rationality into richly textured and individualistic contexts, one of its defining characteristics is its strong subjectivism. This means that its sanctions for truth and goodness are established most basically by individual preferences (as long as the individual is not harming others). What is true for you is not necessarily true for me; what is right is simply what individuals or cultures happen to agree on at any given moment; there are no universal claims for knowledge or truth; each person is free to find his or her own values, which are not binding on anybody else. "You do your thing, I do mine," is a popular summary of this stance.

      This is why the self at this stage is indeed the "sensitive self." Precisely because it is aware of the many different contexts and numerous different types of truth (pluralism), it bends over backwards in an attempt to let each truth have its own say, without marginalizing or belittling any. As with the catch words "anti-hierarchy," "pluralistic," and "egalitarian," whenever you hear the word "marginalization" and a criticism of it, you are almost always in the presence of a green meme.

      This noble intent, of course, has its downside. Meetings that are run on green principles tend to follow a similar course: everybody is allowed to express his or her feelings, which often takes hours; there is an almost interminable processing of opinions, often reaching no decision or course of action, since a specific course of action would likely exclude somebody. Thus there are often calls for an inclusionary, nonmarginalizing, compassionate embrace of all views, but exactly how to do this is rarely spelled out, since in reality not all views are of equal merit. The meeting is considered a success, not if a conclusion is reached, but if everybody has a chance to share their feelings. Since no view is supposed to be inherently better than another, no real course of action can be recommended, other than sharing all views. If any statements are made with certainty, it is how oppressive and nasty all the alternative conceptions are. (This is why one of pluralism's main activities is not advancing its own constructive conceptions, but criticizing and deconstructing everybody else's.)

      In academia, this pluralistic relativism is the dominant stance. As Colin McGuinn summarizes it: "According to this conception, human reason is inherently local, culture-relative, rooted in the variable facts of human nature and history, a matter of divergent 'practices' and 'forms of life' and 'frames of reference' and 'conceptual schemes'. There are no norms of reasoning that transcend what is accepted by a society or an epoch, no objective justifications for belief that everyone must respect on pain of cognitive malfunction. To be valid is to be taken to be valid, and different people can have legitimately different patterns of taking. In the end, the only justifications for belief have the form 'justified for me'." [11] As Clare Graves himself put it, "This system sees the world relativistically. Thinking shows an almost radical, almost compulsive emphasis on seeing everything from a relativistic, subjective frame of reference."

      The point is perhaps obvious: because pluralistic relativism has such an intensely subjectivistic stance, it is especially prey to emotional narcissism. And exactly that is the crux of the problem: pluralism becomes a supermagnet for narcissism . Pluralism becomes an unwitting home for the Culture of Narcissism.

     In green's noble attempt to move beyond conventional rules (many of which are indeed unfair and marginalizing), and in its genuine desire to deconstruct a rigid rationality (much of which can be repressive and stultifying)--in short, in green's admirable attempt to go postconventional, it has often inadvertently embraced anything nonconventional, and this includes much that is frankly preconventional, regressive, and narcissistic.

     There a troubling contradiction in all this. It's not just that the claims of the cultural pluralists are said to be universally true (the so-called "performative contradiction," which means they are making claims that they insist cannot be made); the problem is deeper than that.

     Pluralism, multiculturalism, and egalitarianism, in their best forms, all stem from a very high developmental stance, a postconventional stance (early vision-logic, postformal cognition, green meme, etc.), and from that postconventional stance of worldcentric fairness and care, the green meme attempts to treat all previous memes with equal care and compassion, a truly noble intent. But because it embraces an intense egalitarianism, it fails to see that its own stance --which is the first stance that is even capable of egalitarianism--is itself a fairly rare, elite stance (somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of the population). Worse, the green meme then actively denies the hierarchical stages that produced the green meme in the first place. Pluralistic egalitarianism is the product, we have seen, of at least six major stages of hierarchical development, a hierarchy that it then turns around and aggressively denies in the name of egalitarianism!

     Under the noble guise of liberal egalitarianism--and under the sanction of the intense subjectivistic stance of this pluralistic and relativistic wave--every previous wave of existence, no matter how shallow, egocentric, or narcissistic, is given encouragement to "be itself," even when "be itself" might include the most barbaric of stances. (If "pluralism" is really true, then we must invite the Nazis and the KKK to the multicultural banquet, since no stance is supposed to be better or worse than another, and so all must be treated in an egalitarian fashion--at which point the self-contradictions of undiluted pluralism come screaming to the fore.) [12]

     Thus, the very high developmental stance of pluralism--the product of at least six major stages of hierarchical transformation--turns around and denies all hierarchies, denies the very path that produced its own noble stance , and thus it ceases to demand hierarchical transformation from anybody else, and consequently it extends an egalitarian embrace to every stance, no matter how shallow or narcissistic. The more egalitarianism is implemented, the more it destroys the very capacity for egalitarianism; the more it invites, indeed encourages, the Culture of Narcissism. And the Culture of Narcissism is the antithesis of the integral culture.

     (Narcissism, at its core, is a demand that "Nobody tells me what to do!" Narcissism will therefore not acknowledge anything universal, because that places various demands and duties on narcissism that it will strenuously try to deconstruct, because "nobody tells me what to do." This egocentric stance can easily be propped up and supported with the tenets of pluralistic relativism).

     In short, the rather high cognitive development of postformal pluralism becomes a supermagnet for the rather low state of emotional narcissism. Which brings us to boomeritis.

      Boomeritis is that strange mixture of very high, postconventional cognitive capacity (early vision-logic, the green meme, postformal pluralistic relativism) combined with preconventional emotional narcissism. A typical result is that the sensitive self, trying to help, excitedly exaggerates its own significance. It will possess the new paradigm, which heralds the greatest transformation in the history of the world; it will completely revolutionize spirituality as we know it; it will save the planet and save Gaia and save the Goddess; it will....

      Well, and off we go on some of the negative aspects of the last three decades of boomer cultural studies. This is exactly why observers on the scene have reported, as we saw with Lentricchia, that "it is impossible, this much is clear, to exaggerate the heroic self-inflation of academic literary and cultural criticism." Once again, that is not the whole story, or even the most important part of the story, of the boomers. But it appears to be an unmistakable flavor. What was so startling to me, as I gathered examples for the book, was the way boomeritis had significantly tilted and prejudiced academic studies. Virtually no topic, no matter how innocent, escaped a reworking at its hands.

     The importance of dialogue is a prime example. An extraordinary number of brilliant philosophers, ever since Socrates, have pointed out the importance of dialogue in reaching truth and understanding. Nor is the notion lacking in modernity; in fact, it has often gained prominence: Heidegger's notions of intersubjectivity; Martin Buber's I-thou spirituality; the structuralists and poststructuralists absolute obsession with discourse and discursive formations; Habermas's central claim that dialogue free of domination and distortion is the means and the method of truth disclosure; my own system, where all subjective events occur only in the clearing created by intersubjectivity. The list of premodern, modern, and postmodern philosophers stressing the importance of dialogue is truly staggering.

     Yet to hear the boomeritis version, which has appeared in literally thousands of publications, nobody seems to have really understood the importance of dialogue until just now, whereupon there follows a treatise about how important it is to listen to others, which usually runs something like this: People who, like me, engage in caring dialogue, which is free of domination and attack, have found a new way to meet each other, not on the pattern of discourse as a war to be won, but as a show of how caring and loving we really are, and you can see how caring and loving we really are by comparing us to all those people who do not follow our example (whereupon there usually ensues a list of the uncaring culprit's wicked ways, which just happens to have the advantage, not really intended, of making the lecturer's moral superiority blindingly obvious to the entire world).

     I have a file in my office that contains references to over 200 essays, books, and articles on the importance of caring dialogue, most of which tear into their opponents with a ferocity that is startling or a condescension that is measurable. At the same time, most of their opponents have also written articles on the importance of caring dialogue, cooperative inquiry, and sharing instead of fighting. Since everybody seems to be talking about the importance of talking, I have been trying to figure out just who it is that isn't talking, because I would like to meet that person.

     In most of these calls for dialogue, there is a calculated claim of moral superiority in the very stance of condemning in others precisely what the speaker is doing himself. This pattern (claiming to be free of those features that one uses in the claim) seems to be at the heart of boomeritis--from universally damning universals to hierarchically damning hierarchies--and it is pandemic because it appears to be the central psychological mechanism that allows emotional narcissism to mask its preconventional face in postconventional pieties. If one were truly engaged in caring dialogue, one would simply do it; one would not constantly pause to point out how wonderful it is.

      Well, the list is endless, and I don't mean to give a blow-by-blow of Boomeritis. But it was boomeritis, as it touched dozens of different disciplines, that I was angrily reacting to (in SES, BH, ES), particularly its domination of academia, conventional and especially alternative. I am not excluding myself from this criticism; as I said, I believe few of my generation escape it; but I was definitely reacting to all of that. Healthy anger, I believe, constitutes the T-cells of the psychological immune system, throwing garbage out of the system, and my T-cells went into overdrive. But there was a very important reason, I believe, for that reaction, and this is really the only point I would like to emphasize: pluralistic relativism infected with emotional narcissism is a major barrier to the emergence of universal integralism.

     In other words, since, in normal development, pluralistic relativism eventually gives way to second-tier consciousness (and universal integralism), why did my generation become so stuck in pluralistic relativism, extreme egalitarianism, and anti-hierarchy flatlandism? One of the central reasons, I concluded, is that the intense subjectivism of pluralistic relativism was a prime magnet and refuge for the narcissism that, for whatever reasons, many social critics have found prevalent in the Me generation. I called that combination of pluralistic relativism and emotional narcissism "boomeritis," and it followed that boomeritis was one of the primary roadblocks to universal integralism and second-tier consciousness.


     The Many Gifts of Green

     Boomeritis is still one of the single greatest barriers to that unfolding, I believe. But with the exception of the book Boomeritis (which, if I publish it, would have to be counted in that "angry period"), I have no desire to keep shaking the tree in that particular fashion. In the new editions to those three books, some of the polemics have been toned down, although the critical stance--and the critical theory--definitely remains.

      For the truly important point is that it is from the large fund of green memes that the second-tier emerges. [13] It is from the pluralistic perspectives freed by green that integrative and holistic networks are built. That fact is worth emphasizing. Development tends to proceed by differentiation-and-integration. [14] The green meme (which is early vision-logic, or the beginning of the postformal stages of consciousness) heroically manages to differentiate the often rigid, abstract, universal formalism of the previous rational wave (formal operational, egoic-rational, orange meme). It therefore discloses, not a rational uniformitarianism that tends to ignore and marginalize anything not of it ilk, but a beautiful tapestry of multiple contexts, richly different cultural textures, pluralistic perceptions, and individual differences, and it becomes sensitive (the sensitive self!) to all of those often unheard voices. We have seen that every meme makes an invaluable contribution to the health of the overall spiral, and this pluralistic sensitivity is the one of the great gifts of green.

      Once those wonderful differentiations are made, they can then be brought together into even deeper and wider contexts that disclose a truly holistic and integral world: the leap to second-tier consciousness can occur--but only because of the work that the green meme has accomplished. There is first differentiation, then integration. Middle and late vision-logic (yellow and turquoise) complete the task begun by early vision-logic (green), and this allows us to move from pluralistic relativism to universal integralism (e.g., Gebser's integral-aperspectival). That is what I mean when I say that the green meme frees the pluralistic perspectives that second-tier will integrate.

      In short, since green is the conclusion of first-tier thinking, it prepares the leap to second-tier. But in order to move into second-tier constructions, the fixation to pluralistic relativism and the green meme in general needs to be relaxed. Its accomplishments will be fully included and carried forward. But its attachment to its own stance needs to be eased, and it is precisely boomeritis (or a narcissistic attachment to the intense subjectivism of the relativistic stance) that makes such a letting-go quite difficult. My hope is that by highlighting our fixation to the green meme, we can begin more easily to transcend and include its wonderful accomplishments in an even more generous embrace.


     Beyond Pluralism

     Thus, as much as I have been chiding green for some of its downsides, we should never forget that it is from green that second-tier emerges, and that the many accomplishments of green are the necessary prerequisites for second-tier consciousness. All of my writing has been, in a sense, an invitation to those greens who find it appropriate to move on, not by abandoning green, but by enriching it. But when green becomes infected with boomeritis, nobody moves anywhere....

     But why is boomeritis one of greatest obstacles to the emergence of an integral vision? What about the rigid conformity of mythic-membership? What about the often nasty materialism of egoic-rationality? What about the horrible economic conditions of many third-world countries? What about....

     Yes, all of that is true. But, as we were saying, it is only from the stage of pluralistic relativism (early vision-logic, green meme) that universal integralism can emerge (mature vision-logic, second-tier). Of course, all of the pre-green memes also "prevent" the emergence of an integral-aperspectival view. My point--and the only reason I am "picking on" boomers--is that this generation seems to be the first to significantly evolve to the green wave in large numbers, and thus this is the first major generation that has a real chance to significantly move forward into a mature vision-logic, second-tier consciousness--and to use that consciousness to organize social institutions in a truly integral fashion.

     But it has not yet done so to full effect, because it has not yet gone postgreen to any significant degree (as we saw, less than 2 percent are postgreen). But it still might do so ; and since it is only from green that it can do so, the boomers are still poised for a possible leap into the hyperspace of second-tier consciousness. And that is not a boomeritis grandiose claim; it is backed by substantial evidence, particularly from social and psychological developmental studies.


     Integral Culture?

      The sociologist Paul Ray has recently made the claim that a new cultural segment, whose members he calls "the cultural creatives," now make up an astonishing 24 percent of the American population (or around 44 million people). In order to distinguish them from the previous cultural movements of traditionalism and modernism, Ray calls this group the integral culture . Exactly how "integral" this group is remains to be seen; but I believe Ray's figures indeed represent a series of very real currents. The traditionalists are grounded in premodern mythic values (blue); the modernists, in rational-industrial values (orange); and the cultural creatives, in postformal/postmodern values (green). Those three movements constitute exactly what we would expect from our survey of the development and evolution of consciousness (preformal mythic to formal rational to early postformal).

      But a few more points stand out. What Ray calls the integral culture is not integral as I am using the term; it is not grounded in universal integralism, mature vision-logic, or second-tier consciousness. Rather, as Ray's survey results suggest, the majority of cultural creatives are basically activating the green meme , as their values clearly indicate: strongly antihierarchical; concerned with dialogue; embracing a flatland holism ("holistic everything," as Ray puts it, except that all genuine holism involves holarchy, or nested hierarchy, and the cultural creatives eschew holarchy, so their holism is usually an amalgam of monological wholeness claims, such as offered by physics or systems theory); suspicious of conventional forms of most everything; admirably sensitive to the marginalization of minorities; committed to pluralistic values and subjectivistic warrants; and possessing a largely translative, not transformative, spirituality. [15] As Don Beck himself points out, using substantial research, "Ray's 'integral culture' is essentially the green meme. There are few if any indications of yellow or turquoise memes; in other words, there are few second-tier memes in most of the cultural creatives." [16]

     Further empirical research strongly supports this interpretation. Ray claims that 24 percent of Americans are cultural creatives in an integral culture. I believe he has accurately measured something, but it is actually the fact that most cultural creatives are, to use Jane Loevinger and Susanne Cook-Greuter's terms, at the individualistic stage (green), not the autonomous or integrated stages (yellow and turquoise). Research shows that, indeed, less than 2 percent of Americans are at the autonomous or integrated stage (this also fits very closely with Beck's research--less than 2 percent at second-tier--as well as with that of most other developmentalists); the rest are at individualistic or lower , and that includes, by simple arithmetic, at least 92 percent of the cultural creatives. [17]

     In fact, since it is the green meme that, if not let go of, is what immediately prevents the emergence of second-tier integration, what Paul Ray calls the "integral culture" is actually what is preventing the integral culture. Almost anyway we slice the data, the "integral culture" is not that integral.

      But it can be . As the cultural creatives move into the second half of life, this is exactly the time that a further transformation of consciousness, from green into mature vision-logic and second-tier awareness (and even higher), can most easily occur. As I will suggest in a moment, this transformation into second-tier integral consciousness (and higher, into genuinely transpersonal waves) can most readily be effected by integral transformative practice . The only reason I am talking about "boomeritis" is with the hope that, by discussing some of the obstacles to this further transformation, it might more readily occur.

     These obstacles are not found exclusively in boomers or in Americans. Pluralistic relativism is a universally available wave of consciousness unfolding, and it has its own perils and stick-points, of which intense subjectivism, magnet for narcissism, is a major one. Thus "boomeritis" is by no means confined to boomers, but can afflict anybody poised for the leap into second-tier consciousness, itself the great gateway to more enduring spiritual and transpersonal awareness.


     The Integral Embrace

      It appears, then, that approximately 1-2 percent of the population is at an integral, second-tier stance, but that around 20 percent are at green, poised for that possible transformation.

      In order for green go one step further and make the jump into integral-aperspectival consciousness, the following factors might be considered:

     (1) All systems are context-bound, according to green pluralism, so let us fully carry forward that agenda: all relativities and all pluralities are therefore also context-bound: they themselves have wider and deeper contexts that bind them together into even larger systems.

     (2) Therefore, let us acknowledge these even larger contexts, and then begin to outline the universal-integral networks binding them all together. Let us begin to move from pluralistic relativism to universal integralism.

     (3) The only way to arrive at such an integral stance is to include both hierarchies and heterarchies (and thus arrive at holarchies). Let us, then, relax our morbid fear of all hierarchies, stages of development, levels of reality, critical judgments, qualitative distinctions, degrees, excellence, grades, and rankings. Not all of them are bad, and we use them anyway, never so much as when we deny them; so let us use them in a healthy, conscious, fair, and judicious fashion.

     (4) Once we include both hierarchies and heterarchies--both ranking and linking--we can develop a more integral vision that is "all-level, all-quadrant" (see below), a vision that includes the I and the We and the It domains--or self, culture, and nature--as they all unfold in matter, body, mind, soul, and spirit, spanning the entire spectrum of consciousness in all its radiant dimensions. This includes multiple modalities, waves, streams, states, and realms, all woven together into a global holism or universal integralism.

     (5) Many of the waves and streams of the spectrum of consciousness are indeed local, culturally specific, and not universal. But research has consistently confirmed that many of these patterns of richly interwoven textures are common to humanity as a whole; others are common to large areas of humanity or to various epochs; and some are merely local and idiosyncratic, varying from culture to culture and individual to individual. [18] Acknowledging and honoring the common and crosscultural patterns in consciousness is not necessarily a marginalizing, oppressive endeavor; in its non-marginalizing form, it is in fact the basis of universal integralism. Let us therefore attempt to include both the universally common patterns of consciousness as well as the local, specific, and pluralistic features, and thus continue to move from pluralistic relativism to universal holism.

     (5) This multidimensional Kosmos is therefore not just a final state, but a flow state. Not just holographic, but holodynamic. Not just given, but ceaselessly unfolding, in multiple waves and streams of existence, flowing and evolving in endless displays of Spirit's own self-blossoming. Therefore, let us honor and include these unfolding, developing, evolving currents as the Kosmos flowers in all its domains.

     (6) Once that happens, the important contributions of green can be taken up, embraced and included, in the ongoing unfolding of consciousness. Green is not lost or denied, but included and enriched, as a more genuinely integral vision emerges.


     A Full-Spectrum Approach

      Since all of the above can sound like platitudes, cliches, and slogans unless we can actually supply details backed by reputable research, allow me to very briefly sketch the specifics of a postgreen integral map of human possibilities (a map that is presented in phase-4 books--SES, BH, ES, SS, OT, and IP). This simple overview of an integral vision will also serve to set the books in this volume into the context of my work as a whole.

      Since we have already used Spiral Dynamics as one example of some of the levels or waves of consciousness unfolding, we can continue to use that model, and then plug it into an "all-level, all-quadrant" conception, as shown in figure 1. (Wyatt and Marilyne Woodsmall, well-known proponents of Graves' work, have been using a diagram similar to this ever since they read SES, as has Peter McNab; they have combined this comprehensive map with various change technologies. Don Beck has also begun using a figure similar to this, which he calls "4Q/8L" to refer to eight levels in all four quadrants. Of course, I extend the levels or waves to include the higher, transpersonal waves and states, and I include numerous different altered states and developmental streams progressing through the major waves, but this simplified figure is quite adequate to make our general points. Incidentally, if you would like to work with Don Beck in applying this "wilber/graves" model and Spiral Dynamics in general, you can contact him at

figure 1

      With reference to figure 1, we might note several items. The four quadrants--which you will find fully explained in the books in this volume--simply refer to four of the most important dimensions of the Kosmos, namely, the interior and the exterior of the individual and the collective. Here are some quick examples:

      The Upper-Left quadrant (which is the interior of the individual, and which in the simplistic figure 1 only contains one stream and eight personal waves), actually contains a full spectrum of waves (or levels of development--stretching from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit; or again, from archaic to magic to mythic to rational to integral to transpersonal, not as rigidly discrete platforms but as interwoven nests); many different streams (or lines of development--the different modules, dimensions, or areas of development--including cognitive, moral, affective, linguistic, kinesthetic, somatic, interpersonal, etc.); different states of consciousness (including waking, dreaming, sleeping, altered, nonordinary, and meditative); different types of consciousness (or possible orientations at every level, including personality types and different gender styles), among numerous other factors. Taking all of these items into account allows us to utilize the important research findings from developmental studies, but also place them in a larger context that suggests their important but limited contributions, complementing them with an understanding of multiple modalities, dimensions, states, and types, to result in a richly textured, holodynamic, integral view of consciousness.

      Let us focus, for a moment, on waves, streams, and types. Waves are the "levels" of development, conceived in a fluid, flowing, and intermeshing fashion, which is how most developmentalists today view them. Carol Gilligan's three major moral waves for women--selfish, care, and universal care (i.e., preconventional, conventional, and postconventional)--are typical of the holarchical levels or waves of development. Why does she maintain that these stages are (her word) "hierarchical"? Because each stage is a necessary ingredient of its successor, and thus stages cannot be skipped or reordered, as her research confirms. [19]

     Through these general waves of development flow many different streams of development. We have credible evidence that these different streams, lines, or modules include cognition, morals, self-identity, psychosexuality, ideas of the good, role-taking, socioemotional capacity, creativity, altruism, several lines that can be called "spiritual" (care, openness, concern, religious faith, meditative stages), communicative competence, modes of space and time, affect/emotion, death-seizure, needs, worldviews, mathematical competence, musical skills, kinesthetics, gender identity, defense mechanisms, interpersonal capacity, and empathy. (You will see some of the evidence for these independent modules presented in The Eye of Spirit ; more extensive references can be found in Integral Psychology ).

      One of the most striking items about these multiple modules or streams is that most of them develop in a relatively independent fashion. Research is still fleshing out the details of these relationships; some lines are necessary but not sufficient for others; some develop closely together. But on balance, many of the streams develop at their own rate, with their own dynamic, in their own way. A person can be at a relatively high level of development in some streams, medium in others, and low in still others.

     I have indicated this, also in a very simplistic fashion, in figure 2. Here, I am using just four major waves--body, mind, soul, and spirit, each of which transcends and includes its predecessors in increasing waves of integral embrace (a true holarchy of nests within nests within nests). Through those general waves pass various developmental streams. I have selected only five as examples (cognitive, moral, interpersonal, spiritual, and affective), but you can see the uneven development that is theoretically possible (and that empirical research has continued to confirm often happens).

Figure 2

     This model sheds considerable light on the fact that, for example, some individuals--including spiritual teachers (and Presidents)--may be highly evolved in certain capacities (such as meditative awareness), and yet demonstrate poor (or even pathological) development in other streams, such as the interpersonal or psychosexual.

     This also allows us to spot the ways in which the spiritual traditions themselves--from shamanism to Buddhism to Christianity to indigenous religions--might excel in training certain modules, but fall short in many others, or even be pathological in many others. A more integral transformative practice might therefore seek a more balanced or "all-level, all-quadrant" approach to transformation (see below).

      As for types, see figure 3, which uses the enneagram as an example. What I have done here is take only one developmental module or stream (it can be anything--morals, cognition, defenses, etc.), and I have listed the eight or so levels or waves of development through which this particular stream will tend to unfold (using Spiral Dynamics as an example of the waves). At each level I have drawn the enneagram as an example of what might be called a horizontal typology, or a typology of the personality types that can exist at almost any vertical level of development. The point is that a person can be a particular type (using Jungian types, Myers-Briggs, the enneagram, etc.) at virtually any of the levels. Thus, if a person is, say, predominately enneagram type 5, then as they develop they would be purple 5, red 5, blue 5, and so on (again, not in a rigid linear fashion, but in a fluid and flowing mesh). [20]

Figure 3

      And this can occur in any of the lines. For example, in the moral line, a person might be predominately enneagram type 7 at the green wave in the context of the workplace; under stress, the person might move to type 1 at the orange wave (or even blue wave); cognitively, the person might be type 4 at turquoise, and so on. Notice, however, that what the enneagram alone cannot spot is the shift in vertical levels; an orange 7 under stress might go to orange 1, but under real stress, the orange 7 will regress to blue, then purple. These are not just different types, but different levels of types. Again, by combining horizontal typologies with vertical typologies, we can make use of second-tier constructions for a more integral view.

     For many radical feminists, male and female orientations also constitute a type. Based mostly on work by Carol Gilligan and Deborah Tannen, the idea is that the typical male orientation tends to be more agentic, autonomous, abstract, and independent, based on rights and justice; whereas the female orientation tends to be more permeable, relational, and feelingful, based on care and responsibility. Gilligan, recall, agrees that females proceed through three (or four) hierarchical stages of development, and these are essentially the same three (or four) hierarchical stages or waves through which males proceed (namely, preconventional, conventional, postconventional, and integrated).

     The reason that many people, especially feminists, still incorrectly believe that Gilligan denied a female hierarchy of development is that Gilligan found that males tend to make judgments using ranking or hierarchical thinking, whereas women tend to make judgments using linking or relational thinking (what I summarize as agency and communion, respectively). But what many people overlooked is that Gilligan maintained that the female orientation itself proceeds through three (or four) hierarchical stages --from selfish to care to universal care to integrated. Thus, many feminists confused the idea that females tend not to think hierarchically with the idea that females do not develop hierarchically; the former is true, the latter is false, according to Gilligan herself. [21] (Why was Gilligan so widely misread and distorted in this area? Because the green meme eschews and marginalizes hierarchies in general, and thus it literally could not perceive her message accurately.)

      As you will see in The Eye of Spirit , contained in this volume, I have summarized this research by saying that men and women both proceed through the same general waves of development, but men tend to do so with an emphasis on agency, women with an emphasis on communion.

     This approach to gender development allows us to utilize the extensive contributions of developmental studies, but also supplement them with a keener understanding of how females evolve "in a different voice" through the great waves of existence. In the past, it was not uncommon to find orthodox psychological researchers defining females as "deficient males" (i.e., females "lack" logic, rationality, a sense of justice; they are even defined by "penis envy," or desiring that which they lack). Nowadays it is not uncommon to find, especially among feminists, the reverse prejudice: males are defined as "deficient females" (i.e., males "lack" sensitivity, care, relational capacity, embodiment, etc.).

     Well, we might say, a plague on both houses. With this more integral approach, we can trace development through the great waves and streams of existence, but also recognize that males and females might navigate that great River of Life using a different style, type, or voice. This means that we can still recognize the major waves of existence--which, in fact, are gender-neutral--but we must fully honor the validity of both styles of navigating those waves. [22]

     Finally, a person at virtually any stage of development, in virtually any line, of virtually any type, can have an altered state or peak experience , including those that are called spiritual experiences, and this can have a profound effect on their consciousness and its development. Thus, the idea that spiritual experiences can only occur at higher stages is incorrect. However, in order for altered states to become permanent traits (or structures), they need to enter the stream of enduring development. [23]

     The point is that, even looking at just the Upper-Left quadrant, a more integral map of consciousness is now at least possible, one which includes waves, streams, states, and types, all of which appear to be important ingredients in this extraordinary spectrum of consciousness.



      But individual or subjective consciousness does not exist in a vacuum; no subject is an island unto itself. Individual consciousness is inextricably intermeshed with the objective organism and brain (Upper-Right quadrant), with nature and social systems (Lower-Right quadrant), and with cultural settings, communal values, and worldviews (Lower-Left quadrant). Again, each of these quadrants has numerous waves, streams, types, and so on, only a pitifully few of which are indicated in figure 1. But in the following pages, you will find a wide variety of examples from each quadrant, as they relate to art and literary interpretation, feminism and gender studies, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, and religion.

      The Upper-Right quadrant is the individual viewed in an objective, empirical, "scientific" fashion. In particular, this includes organic body states, biochemistry, neurobiological factors, neurotransmitters, organic brain structures (brain stem, limbic system, neocortex), and so on. Whatever we might think about the actual relation of mind-consciousness (Upper Left) and brain-body (Upper Right), we can at least agree they are intimately related. (The exact relation of mind and brain is explored in detail in Integral Psychology ). The point is simply that an "all-level, all-quadrant" model would certainly include the important correlations of states, waves, streams, and types of consciousness (UL) with brain states, organic substrates, neurotransmitters, and so on (UR). There is now occurring an extraordinary amount of research into organic brain states and their relation to consciousness--so much so that most orthodox researchers tend to simply reduce consciousness to brain mechanisms. As you will see in the following pages, the insidiousness of this reduction of Upper Left to Upper Right is detailed in both The Eye of Spirit and Brief History (and Integral Psychology and SES), and it is a reductionism that is fully avoided when we take instead an all-level, all-quadrant approach, which refuses to unwarrantedly reduce any level, line, or quadrant to any other.

      The Lower-Left quadrant involves all those patterns in consciousness that are shared by those who are "in" a particular culture or subculture. For you and I to understand each other at all, we need, at the very least, to share certain linguistic semantics, numerous perceptions, worldviews that overlap to some degree (so that communication is possible at all), and so on. These shared values, perceptions, meanings, semantic habitats, morals, cultural practices, ethics, and so on, I simply refer to as culture, or the intersubjective patterns in consciousness.

     These cultural perceptions, all of which exist to some degree in subjective spaces in consciousness, nonetheless have objective correlates that can be empirically detected--physical structures and institutions, including techno-economic modes (foraging, horticultural, maritime, agrarian, industrial, informational), architectural styles, geopolitical structures, modes of information transfer (vocal signs, ideograms, movable type printing, telecommunications, microchip), social structure (survival clans, ethnic tribes, feudal orders, ancient nations, corporate states, value communes, and so on). I refer to these interobjective realities in general as the social system (the Lower-Right quadrant).

      As you will see in the following pages, the integral approach that I am recommending--and which I simplistically summarize as "all-level, all-quadrant" (or even simpler: "the holonic approach")--is dedicated to including all of the nonreducible realities in all of the quadrants--which means, all of the waves, streams, states, realms, and types in any and all dimensions, as disclosed by reputable, nonreductionistic researchers. All four quadrants, with all their realities, mutually interact--they "tetra-interact" and "tetra-evolve"--and a more integral approach is sensitive to those richly textured patterns of infinite interaction.

      I sometimes simplify this holonic model even further by calling it a "1-2-3" approach to the Kosmos. This refers to first-person, second-person, and third-person realities. Notice that, in figure 1, the Upper-Left quadrant involves "I-language" (or first-person accounts); the Lower-Left quadrant involves "we-language" (or second-person accounts); and both Right-Hand quadrants, since they are objective patterns, involve "it-language" (or third-person accounts). Thus, the four quadrants can be simplified to the "Big Three" (I, we, and it). These important dimensions can be stated in many different ways: art, morals, and science; the Beautiful, the Good, and the True; self, culture, and nature. The point of an "all-level, all-quadrant" approach is that it would honor all of the waves of existence--from body to mind to soul to spirit--as they all unfold in self, culture, and nature.


     A More Integral Map

     Thus, what can we say about a more integral model of human possibilities? Before we can talk about applications of an integral vision--in education, politics, business, health care, and so on--we need to have some general notion of what it is that we are applying in the first place. When we move from pluralistic relativism to universal integralism, what kind of map might we find? We have seen that a more integral cartography might include:

      --multiple waves of existence, spanning the entire spectrum of consciousness, subconscious to self-conscious to superconscious.

      --numerous different streams, modules, or lines of development, including cognitive, moral, spiritual, aesthetic, somatic, imaginative, interpersonal, etc.

      --multiple states of consciousness, including waking, dreaming, sleeping, altered, nonordinary, and meditative.

      --numerous different types of consciousness, including gender types, personality types (enneagram, Myers-Briggs, Jungian), and so on.

      --multiple brain states and organic factors.

     --the extraordinarily important impact of numerous cultural factors, including the rich textures of diverse cultural realities, background contexts, pluralistic perceptions, linguistic semantics, and so on, none of which should be unwarrantedly marginalized, all of which should be included and integrated in a broad web of integral-aperspectival tapestries (and, just as important, a truly "integral transformative practice" would give considerable weight to the importance of relationships, community, culture, and intersubjective factors in general, not as merely a realm of application of spiritual insight, but as a mode of spiritual transformation).

      --the massively influential forces of the social system, at all levels (from nature to human structures, including the all-important impact of nonhuman social systems, from Gaia to ecosystems).

      --although I have not mentioned it in this simple overview, the importance of the self as the navigator of the great River of Life should not be overlooked. It appears that the self is not a monolithic entity but rather a society of selves with a center of gravity , which acts to bind the multiple waves, states, streams, and realms into something of a unified organization; the disruption of this organization, at any of its general stages, can result in pathology. [24]

      Such are a few of the multiple factors that a richly holistic view of the Kosmos might wish to include. At the very least, any model that does not coherently include all of those items is not a very integral model.


     Topical Issues

      I have been asked my opinion on several topical issues, and in this section I will briefly comment.

      Donald Rothberg has written a long essay, "Transpersonal Issues at the Millennium." This is a superb summary of a type of average consensus that has emerged in the last three decades or so regarding the possible directions for future theory and research. Rothberg summarizes these general conclusions and recommendations, and he calls for a more integrative stance, itself admirable. However, in my opinion the level of his analysis (and its implicit assumptions) largely reflects a green-meme approach. It does so, I believe, because the green meme is in fact the most common meme shared by alternative and countercultural consciousness, and Rothberg is brilliantly presenting and faithfully echoing this background.

      Don Beck did a memetic analysis on Rothberg's article and concluded the following: "This article is approximately 90% green meme, 10% turquoise. Some of the questions asked are turquoise, but the solutions and analysis are green. There is little depth perception in the constructions; in other words, there are almost no second-tier recommendations. The article clearly allows for transpersonal realities, but the presentation is conducted through green lens. The article does an excellent job of summarizing green's contribution to psychology and sociology."

      Just that is the value of Rothberg's analysis, I believe. By outlining the green meme's general orientation to countercultural topics--from development to education to spiritual practice--Rothberg discloses many of the pluralistic modalities and heretofore marginalized areas that need to be taken up, integrated, and blended into a more holistic, second-tier approach to these issues. (This is not to suggest that Rothberg himself is not alive to second-tier considerations, only that this particular article is not.)

      Here is an example of Rothberg's central recommendations, which involve including the "excluded" and "marginalized" modes of inquiry, and one can detect the green-meme language of pluralism, communion, connection, context, diversity, multicultural, and so forth: "Inquiry and learning increasingly occurs in the context of a connected, collaborating, multicultural group of diverse persons, who are trained and competent in several types of somatic, emotional, rational, aesthetic, and spiritual ways of knowing. This group of individuals will be able to balance what we now call 'masculine' and 'feminine' qualities and approaches; will be interested in 'inner' and 'outer' transformation in accordance with core ethical, social, political, and spiritual values; and will be grounded in particular social, community, cultural, political, and ecological settings."

      All of which is well and good, and brilliantly stated, and constitutes exactly, as I said, the nonmarginalizing sensitivity that is a hallmark of green. But let us ask a simple question: what if the "group" that we are counting on to give us a balanced education is composed of individuals who are all at Carol Gilligan's "selfish" or "preconventional" wave of development? Is a whole bunch of people at moral-stage 1 the type of group that will give us educational guidance? Obviously not. But because of green's intense antipathy to hierarchies and value gradations of any sort, including nested hierarchies and holarchies, there is in this analysis no real vertical dimension of height or depth, just a horizontal balancing of different types (not also different levels).

      Rothberg clearly calls for an extended notion of development that includes previously marginalized modalities (he strongly endorses multiple streams of development). But there is no substantial discussion whatsoever about the levels or waves of development (reflecting, presumably, the fact that green has a great deal of difficulty with those concepts). And in the one sentence where Rothberg mentions "levels of development," he gives them as: "intrapsychic, interpersonal, group and organizational, community, social, ecological, and global." But those are not levels of development . Levels of development means that an entity would proceed through those levels in some sort of developmental sequence; but clearly an individual does not first develop intrapsychically, then interpersonally, then organizationally, then communally, then ecologically, and so on. In fact, most of those are still dimensions, streams, or lines of development, reflecting again, I presume, the fact that the green meme has an inordinately difficult time grasping levels or waves. This is one of the reasons that Beck's memetic analysis concluded that this article had little or no depth perception--no frank coming to terms with the holarchical unfolding of consciousness, or an explicit depth dimension. As such, it is a superb presentation of green concerns, but with few second-tier integral constructions, in my opinion.

      (This is perhaps why the book, Ken Wilber in Dialogue , edited by Rothberg and Kelly, is such an uneven presentation of my work--for which I assume a fair amount of the responsibility, since I half-heartedly participated in an often green-dominated dialogue. As Beck's memetic analysis harshly concluded, "This book is largely a series of typical green-meme attacks on second-tier. Several of the presentations, including Wright's and Kremer's, have little relation to Wilber's actual views. The middle section badly distorts Wilber's stance on the 'others' of body, nature, woman. This book is a model of how to treat a scholar unfairly." I think the book is a fine presentation of alternative conceptions, and I often recommend it for that. But it is not a reliable source for my own material; it often focuses on the stage-conception from wilber-2; and I was disappointed at how rarely the discussants brought in any of the wilber-4 constructions. However, writers such as John Heron and Daniel Helminiak have found the book extremely useful.)

      Another transpersonally oriented theorist who writes predominately through the green meme is Jorge Ferrer. Although not as dependable as an analyst of others' works (since he tends to filter everything through the green meme), Ferrer has brought a brilliant touch to elucidating his own version of green's contribution to countercultural and spiritual issues. Since stable higher development rests upon green, these green articulations, if not clung to as "the" meme, are important contributions, helping to prepare a more sensitive opening to second-tier constructions.

     But more integral writers have been incorporating green ideas into their holistic constructions for quite some time, and Ferrer seems here a bit behind the times, in my opinion. His critique of the perennial philosophy, like that of Heron's, is often based on tiresome green cliches and slogans, rife with the standard pluralistic performative contradictions, and bubbling with boomeritis and its suffocating claims of moral hauteur. I personally happen to like Jorge very much, and I believe he will eventually have many wonderful and important contributions to make, but his formulations to date--perhaps due to their CIIS biases (see below)--are rather disappointing, at least to me.

      As we have seen, precisely because dynamic pluralism bends over backwards to avoid marginalizing viewpoints, it acts as a magnet for almost any trends, including those that are frankly regressive. This combination of high cognitive capacity (early vision-logic, postformal, green) with preformal narcissism (purple, red) is a hallmark of boomeritis.

      For exactly that reason, the presence of boomeritis is particularly a problem at many of the alternative educational institutions, such as CIIS. A memetic analysis of a recent CIIS brochure found: 30% purple, 30% red, 40% green. In other words, a strongly boomeritis-driven brochure (which is fairly typical, in my opinion, of its overall agenda). This is why I cannot comfortably recommend CIIS to students. Nonetheless, there are many excellent teachers at CIIS, and it is now under new leadership, so it might begin to turn its general orientation around toward more dependable constructions. (If you end up at CIIS, be sure and check with Bert Parlee, who runs a superb study group dedicated to not marginalizing second-tier dialogue. He can be contacted at

      One institution worth serious consideration is the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, in Palo Alto, California, founded by James Fadiman and Robert Frager. ITP now has a fully accredited Ph. D. program, headed by Jenny Wade, whose Changes of Mind is an excellent summary of some of the general waves of existence. Jenny has moved to introduce second-tier and genuinely holarchical considerations into the curriculum of ITP, understandably against much resistance from green. But because of these reforms, which appear to be generally succeeding (it's still a bit early to tell), at this point ITP looks to be the alternative institution of choice.

      The Naropa Institute, in Boulder, Colorado, is another viable option, particularly if one is drawn to serious meditation practice. Naropa has a quintessentially green core (and therefore also a significant dose of boomeritis). It has also recently joined with Mathew Fox's creation college, in the Bay Area, another strongly green institution. Nonetheless, Naropa's saving grace is the genuine emphasis on meditation practice, which is a time-honored way to open oneself to the transpersonal waves of consciousness. Other alternative institutions with excellent teachers include Saybrook and JFK University in Orinda. (For a listing of alternative institutions, one might consult "The Common Boundary Education Guide," obtainable from Common Boundary, 5272 River Rd., Suite 650, Bethesda, MD 20816; and the guide available from the Association for Transpersonal Psychology, 345 California St., Palo Alto, CA 94306.)

      I would certainly not rule out the more conventional centers of learning, many of which are not only increasingly open to integral concerns, but are moving quite beyond what many of the alternative colleges are doing. Harvard's Graduate School of Education, for example, is unexcelled in developmental studies, acknowledging higher and even transpersonal waves.

      Those are simply my own personal opinions of issues about which I have been recently asked. But they point up exactly what I believe is the central issue for spiritual and integral studies at the millennium: we will remain stuck in the green meme--with both its wonderful contributions (e.g., pluralistic sensitivity) and its pathologies (e.g., boomeritis)? Or we will make the leap to the hyperspace of second-tier consciousness, and thus stand open to even further evolution into the transpersonal waves of Spirit's own Self-realization?


     The Prime Directive

     The holonic model that I suggesting is an attempt to opt for the latter option. The applications of this model--in education, spiritual practice, politics, business, health care, and so on--will be explored in the Introduction to volume 8 of the Collected Works . In the meantime, let us return to our major points--the impact of an integral vision on both the leading edge and the average mode--and note the following:

     One of the main conclusions of an all-level, all-quadrant approach is that each meme--each level of consciousness and wave of existence--is, in its healthy form, an absolutely necessary and desirable element of the overall spiral, of the overall spectrum of consciousness. Even if every society on earth were established fully at the turquoise meme, nonetheless every infant born in that society still has to start at level 1, at beige, at sensorimotor instincts and perceptions, and then must grow and evolve through purple magic, red and blue myth, orange rationalism, green sensitivity, and into yellow and turquoise vision-logic (on the way to the transpersonal). All of those waves have important tasks and functions; all of them are taken up and included in subsequent waves; none of them can be bypassed; and none of them can be demeaned without grave consequences to self and society. The health of the entire spiral is the prime directive, not preferential treatment for any one level.


     A More Measured Greatness

      Because the health of the entire spectrum of consciousness is paramount, and not any particular level, this means that a genuinely universal integralism would measure more carefully its actual impact. I have long maintained that the real revolutions facing today's world involve, not a glorious collective move into transpersonal domains, but the simple, fundamental changes that can be brought to the magic, mythic, and rational waves of existence.

     Human beings are born and begin their evolution through the great spiral of consciousness, moving from archaic to magic to mythic to rational to... perhaps integral, and perhaps from there into genuinely transpersonal domains. But for every person that moves into integral or higher, dozens are born into the archaic. The spiral of existence is a great unending flow, stretching from body to mind to soul to spirit, with millions upon millions constantly flowing through that great river from source to ocean. No society will ever simply be at an integral level, because the flow is unceasing (although the center of gravity of a culture can indeed drift upward, as it has over history--see Up from Eden ). But the major problem remains: not, how can we get everybody to the integral wave or higher, but how can we arrange the health of the overall spiral , as billions of humans continue to pass through it, from one end to the other, year in and year out?

      In other words, most of the work that needs to done is work to make the lower (and foundational) waves more healthy in their own terms. The major reforms do not involve how to get a handful of boomers into second-tier, but how to feed the starving millions at the most basic waves; how to house the homeless millions at the simplest of levels; how to bring healthcare to the millions who do not possess it. An integral vision is one of the least pressing issues on the face of the planet.


     The Integral Vision in the World at Large

      Let me drive this point home using calculations done by Dr. Phillip Harter of Stanford University School of Medicine. If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of only 100 people, it would look something like this:


     There would be--

      57 Asians

      21 Europeans

      14 North and South Americans

      8 Africans

      30 white

      70 nonwhite

      6 people would possess 59% of the world's wealth,

      and all 6 would be from the United States

      80 would live in substandard housing

      70 would be unable to read

      50 would suffer malnutrition

      1 would have a college education

      1 would own a computer


     Thus, as I suggested, an integral vision is one of the least pressing issues on the face of the planet. The health of the entire spiral, and particularly its earlier waves, screams out to us as the major ethical demand.

     Nonetheless, the advantage of second-tier vision-logic awareness is that it more creatively helps with the solutions to those pressing problems. In grasping big pictures, it can help suggest more cogent solutions. It is our governing bodies, then, that stand in dire need of a more integral approach. It is our educational institutions, overcome with deconstructive postmodernism, that are desperate for a more integral vision. It is our healthcare facilities that could greatly benefit from the tender mercies of an integral touch. It is the leadership of the developing nations that might appreciate a more comprehensive vision of their own possibilities. In all these ways and more, we could indeed use "an integral vision for a world gone slightly mad"--and that is the central topic of the books in this present volume.


     To Change the Mapmaker

      Let us return, then, to the issue of how to more effectively implement the emergence of integral (and even transpersonal) consciousness at the leading edge. What is required, in my opinion, is not simply a new integral theory, but also a new integral practice . Even if we possessed the perfect integral map of the Kosmos, a map that was completely all-inclusive and unerringly holistic, that map itself would not transform people. We don't just need a map; we need ways to change the mapmaker.

      Thus, although most of my books attempt to offer a genuinely integral vision, they always end with a call for some sort of integral practice--a practice that exercises body, mind, soul, and spirit in self, culture, and nature (all-level, all-quadrant). You will hear this call constantly in the following pages, along with specific suggestions for how to begin a truly integral transformative practice in your own case, if such seems desirable to you.


     The Eye of Spirit

      Much of my writing has been dedicated to trying to present the reader with the conclusions from researchers working with second-tier conceptions, whether from premodern, modern, or postmodern sources. Researchers, that is, who are looking at the entire spectrum of consciousness, in all its many waves, streams, states, and realms. And, beyond that, to present an all-level, all-quadrant view, which is the full spectrum in its multiple modalities--a conception that specifically attempts to accommodate the most amount of evidence from the most number of researchers.

     This present volume contains two books ( A Brief History of Everything and The Eye of Spirit ) and a long essay ("An Integral Theory of Consciousness") that are some of the primary sources in this particular integral vision. As indicated, I have done second, revised editions of both books, included herein (just as I did a revised edition of SES [volume 6 of the CW]). The new editions of BH and ES will be first available as volume 7 of the Collected Works , out in a few months; they will then be released as separate books. Brief History is probably the most reworked, with many new sections and four new diagrams. Brief History has a reputation as being "nothing but" a simplified version of SES, which is true in some ways. But it also introduces many new concepts, such the culture gap and industrial ontology, and thus those who enjoyed SES might still find much that is new in Brief History .

      The Eye of Spirit contains what is still my own favorite piece of my writing, "Integral Art and Literary Theory" (chapters 4 and 5), and my favorite meditation on nondual awareness ("Always Already: The Brilliant Clarity of Ever-Present Awareness"). It also contains responses to several critics, and in general attempts to advance our understanding of universal integralism, which itself is simply a platform for more stable, transpersonal waves of consciousness unfolding. And Jack Crittenden's foreword to The Eye of Spirit is still probably the best single introduction to what an integral approach is trying to do.

      The Eye of Spirit also opens with a call to find a way to integrate Spirit and politics. This has continued to be a strong concern; I have increasingly begun writing on this topic. The overview is simple enough: liberals believe primarily in objective causation of social ills (i.e., inequality is due to exterior, unfair, social institutions); conservatives believe primarily in subjective causation (i.e., inequality is due to something in the character or the nature of individuals themselves). In other words, liberals emphasize the exterior quadrants but not the interior ones; conservatives emphasize interior causes more than exterior. Further, liberal political theory tends to come from both scientific materialism and pluralistic relativism (e.g., orange and green), whereas conservative political theory tends to be grounded in traditional conventional modes and mythic-membership (e.g., blue). Also, liberal and conservative both have "freedom" and "order" wings, depending upon whether they value most the "individual" (the upper quadrants) or the collective (the lower quadrants). By combining an understanding of the four quadrants with waves of development in each--that is, by adopting an all-level, all-quadrant view--one can rather seamlessly bring together the very best of liberal and conservative theory, resulting in a genuine "Third Way," as it is often being called. Several political theorists working in the field have increasingly found that an all-level, all-quadrant view is the most reliable way to effect such a synthesis, which would, if successful, perhaps move us forward through what many people perceive as the stalemate of left versus right political views.

      In all of this, we see the increasing importance of finding a postliberal spirituality, a postgreen spirituality, which builds upon and honors the richness of pluralistic relativism and network sensitivity, and then transcends and includes that in an even more holistic embrace. For it is finally spirit, the eye of spirit, through which we all might see more clearly the tender role of each and all in the manifestation of our own highest natures. Through the eye of spirit, the Kosmos shines forth brightly, a thing of beauty and wonder in its every gesture, ornaments of one's own deepest being, testaments to one's own primordial purity. And in the eye of spirit, we all will meet, in the simple endless outflowing of this and every moment, where history as that horrible nightmare uncoils in the vast expanse of all space and the radical freedom of what is, and all waves and all streams become finally irrelevant in the radiance of just this.



     [1] From an overemphasis on the social construction of reality (the omnipotent cultural self creates all realities), to the relativity of knowledge (all knowledge is culturally relative, except my own omniscient knowledge that this is so), to extreme deconstruction (I have the power to explode all texts), to reader-response theory (when I view an artwork it is actually I, not the artist, who creates the artwork), to theories that will resurrect and save Gaia, Goddess, and Spirit (whereas it is usually thought that Spirit will save us, not the other way around), to the new-age notion that you create your own reality (actually, psychotics create their own reality), to UFO abductions (an extraordinarily advanced intelligence wants nothing more than to look at me), to hundreds of new paradigm claims (I have the new paradigm which will transform the world). In an enormous number of different areas, this is an awful lot of power ascribed to the finite self, don't you think? Social critics who have perceived a considerable amount of "self-inflation" here are on to something important, it seems.

     [2] F. Richards and M. Commons in Alexander et al., Higher Stages of Human Development , p. 160, emphasis in original.

     [3] C. Graves, "Summary Statement: The Emergent, Cyclical, Double-Helix Model of the Adult Human Biopsychosocial Systems," Boston, May 20, 1981.

     [4] Don Beck, personal communication; much of this data is on computer file in the National Values Center, Denton, Texas, and is open to qualified researchers.

     [5] I know, from conversations with Beck, that he is very sympathetic with the existence of transpersonal states and structures. The stages outlined in Spiral Dynamics are based on research and data, and the problem, as always, is that although altered states are very common, higher permanent stages are relatively rare (greater depth, less span). If around 0.1 percent of the population is at turquoise (as will be explained in the text), you can imagine how few are stably at even higher waves of consciousness, not as a passing state , but as an enduring trait or permanent realization. For that reason, it is very hard to get much data on any sort of genuinely higher stages, which is one of the reasons that agreement as to transpersonal waves tapers off.

     In one publication, Beck and Cowan give the name "coral" to the stage beyond turquoise, and then they state: "Coral, for these authors, is still unclear." Coral, in my opinion, is the psychic wave; but you can see how difficult it is getting decent data in this regard. See Integral Psychology for more details.

     [6] There is an enormous amount of disagreement as to what colors best represent what levels of consciousness (e.g., what colors best represent the different chakras). The traditional explanation is that the colors of the rainbow represent the levels of consciousness, starting at the lowest level and progressing to the highest or most subtle--thus, the ascending order is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (representing chakra one through seven, respectively). But there is considerable variation in these color schemes, and many of the traditions that specialize in contemplative development see the colors blue and white as representing the very highest states (that is my experience as well). Spiral Dynamics, on the other hand, selected colors based on some of their common popular associations ("blue" for "true blue," the blue of many police uniforms, etc., to represent the law-and-order, mythic-membership wave; "green" for ecological sensitivity, and so on). Obviously, the use of colors is to some degree arbitrary, and this will be a confusing area for years to come, until (and if) a common usage is found.

     [7] Personal communication. Beck uses meme in a specific sense, which he calls a "value meme" or vMEME, which is defined as "a core value system, a worldview, an organizing principle that permeates thought structures, decision-making systems, and various expressions of culture."

      The Graves/Beck system does not clearly distinguish between transitional and enduring structures, nor between basic and self-related structures. In my own system, the basic structures are enduring and remain fully active capacities available at all later stages, but most of the self-related streams (such as morals, values, and self-identity) consist of transitional stages which tend to be replaced by subsequent stages. (Subpersonalities can exist at different levels or memes, however, so that one can indeed have a purple subpersonality, a blue subpersonality, and so on. These often are context-triggered, so that one have quite different types of moral responses, affects, needs, etc. in different situations.) But in general, for the central or proximate self, once its center of gravity reaches, say, green, it will not activate a pure purple meme unless it is regressing; but it can (and constantly does) activate the corresponding basic structures of the purple meme (namely, the emotional-phantasmic level). When a green adult "activates" a purple meme, that is not the identical meme the two-year-old child possesses. For the two-year old, the purple meme is the basis of the infant's central identity, its proximate self (or I), whereas for a green adult, it is part of the distal self (or me). When the green adult "activates purple," he or she is actually activating the basic capacities (basic structures) first laid down during the "purple period" (e.g., phantasmic-emotional), but because the self's exclusive identity is no longer at the "purple level," the corresponding transitional structures (morals, values, worldviews) are not fully activated unless one is regressing (or unless one is activating a purple subpersonality). So, at the least, I would differentiate between "purple capacities" and "purple self;" the former are enduring, the latter is transitional. See Integral Psychology for a further discussion of these issues.

      Still, these are technical distinctions, about which there is much room for friendly disagreement; and the Graves/Beck system, in speaking of "activating memes," offers a simple and concise way to deal with the most general and important facets of these waves of existence (such as the fact that there are indeed general waves of consciousness, but once they emerge, you can activate any of them under various circumstances, so that you can indeed be a "different person" in different situations, and so on). I also find that, especially for educational purposes, the more technical distinctions (enduring/transitional, basic/self) confuse more than edify, and a generalized discussion of memes more than suffices to help people think in terms of the entire spiral of development, the entire spectrum of consciousness. For the simple and crucial point is that all of us have all of these waves of consciousness available to us as potentials that can unfold under facilitating circumstances.

     [8] Much of the following descriptions consist of direct quotes or paraphrasing from various publications of Graves, Beck, and Beck and Cowan. See Integral Psychology for references.

     [9] See note 6.

     [10] See Integral Psychology for extensive references to these studies. See also the Introduction to volume 4 of the Collected Works for a summary.

     [11] See One Taste , November 23 entry, for references and extended discussion.

     [12] The healthy version of the integral-aperspectival wave (the green meme) is: all perspectives and all stances deserve to be given a fair hearing and a fully equal opportunity; no perspective is to be unduly privileged. The pathological version is: no stance is better than another, a version which, if true, would not only undercut its own claim to moral authority (since its stance could be no better than the alternatives), it places the most shallow and most barbaric stances on the same level playing field, with Hitler and Mother Teresa staring eye to eye. The pathological version of the green meme--which is sadly the most common version in today's world--I have called aperspectival madness (see Sex, Ecology, Spirituality).

     [13] Jenny Wade, who has made a careful study of Graves, believes that orange (achievement) and green (affiliative) are not two different levels but two different choices offered to blue (conformist), so that both orange and green can advance directly to second-tier (authentic). Wade's book, Changes of Mind , is a superb overview of the spectrum of consciousness; it is discussed at length in the second edition of The Eye of Spirit , included in this volume.

     [14] See Sex, Ecology, Spirituality , second ed., CW6.

     [15] See One Taste , Sept. 23 entry, for a discussion of Ray's integral culture as an example of the newly emerging Person-Centered Civil Religion.

     [16] Don Beck, personal communication.

     [17] See The Eye of Spirit for references and discussion of this data; see also Integral Psychology for an overview.

     [18] See Integral Psychology for a review of crosscultural evidence.

     [19] For a good summary of Gilligan's hierarchical view of male and female development, see Alexander and Langer, Higher Stages of Human Development , especially the editors' Introduction and Gilligan's chapter 9.

     [20] I first suggested using horizontal typologies, such as the enneagram, with the vertical levels of development in A Brief History of Everything . Other researchers have independently arrived at similar suggestions.

     [21] See note 19 for references.

     [22] Thus, using our example of Spiral Dynamics, females would develop through the great waves of existence with a more relational, permeable, or communal orientation, and an integral feminism would dedicate itself to exploring the dynamics and patterns in all of the waves, states, and streams, as they appear in this "different voice." See The Eye of Spirit , chap. 8, "Integral Feminism."

     [23] See Integral Psychology for a full discussion of this topic.

     [24] See Integral Psychology for a discussion of the self, the levels of pathology, and the typical treatment modalities.

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