After the Orange stage of the Spiral we move into Green.
This is exciting as we are almost there. (Where?)
Almost where change is happening!
Yesterday I led a foray into Orange; this is the market-led, capitalist system that dominates (and threatens to ruin) our planet.
There is much more to discuss about this stage, although as it is so present everywhere you look, and, there is so much already written about the success stories of the big and small businesses occupying the market today I will continue with our tour of the Spiral.
The last paragraph made me think of something that Einstein supposedly wrote when he was dreaming his theory of relativity – he imagined what it would be to ride on a beam of light as it passed through the universe.
The Spiral is perhaps not as grand as the universe – although it encompasses this, picturing us happy campers flying through time and space to an undetermined (and undeterminable) destination.
What do you do when you have made so much money you have everything you need? You have all the basics and then some. Shelter, clothing, food, not just for you but your family, friends and acquaintances, even people you don’t know benefit from the largesse of this success. Where are you? Who has this fortune?
Well, only a minority of humanity, that is for sure.
Even the places where the Orange meme is challenged – such as the Nordic countries where minimum standards of living are equivalent to the very best that can be offered in other parts of the world; where GDP is high enough to tolerate equally high taxes that provide schooling, health and social care, results in high Gross Domestic Happiness, equality and human rights are standard; even in these places there are the poor, the less fortunate, but, the process is cycling, accelerating, with more rapid passage from Red to Blue to Orange.
I imagine that much of this still must sound obscure.
Please be patient, and we will get there.
It must be hard for Usain Bolt to remember what is was like before he could walk or crawl, running is such a part of everything he is; this is the Spiral.
Back to Green.
What is the thing about Green?
Well, it is the stage where as I say, basic needs have been met and people decide that it is not enough for them to have what they need, others should benefit; wealth should be shared. Profiting from the success of your company (or nation) has worn thin, as you are unable to ignore those who have nothing.
Eventually people walking around in Gucci and Prada realise they are overdressed in a world where everyone else is in rags. The thrill of the initial purchase wanes and you realise people are staring; not in envy, more with a sense of pity for the shallowness that is apparent in your attire.
The same applies to big car, big house, posh school; fancy holiday, Harrods shopping bag and so on. They just don’t cut it. After all, what do these say about you?
Last night I watched (on Amazon ironically) ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ – towards the end, there is a scene where the main character, Juliet explains to her ill-fated fiancé the reason for not wearing the diamond ring he has given her, ‘It didn’t seem right when everyone was struggling so much,’ that is, recovering from the Nazi occupation, returning from the brink of despair.
There is something about this.
While ostentation might be considered OK in some societies (especially Orange and those before – Orange is Range Rover, Blue is gaudy uniforms, Red, big guns and so on), once you reach Green it becomes worthless.
In his book, ‘Reinventing Organisations,’ Frederick Laloux describes Green organisations by using as example, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and the Smoothie makers Innocent; others are Fairtrade companies and Lush the soap folk, where profits are shared, workers efforts acknowledged and the cost of the product on the environment taken into account.
For example, a tub of Ben & Jerry’s accepts that the cows that make the milk that make the cream contribute to global warming, hence, there needs to be environmental recompense. The packaging is recyclable and the effects on the consumer’s health explicit.
This is honest and openness as a trading strategy.
Green coincides with the Green Movement and the Green Party and indeed the Extinction Rebellion that is working very hard to make people acknowledge the need to change, the necessity for consideration of the planet in our calculations.
It is OK to have a new car so long as the price takes into account the impact on the environment; no one is saying you can’t have fun in a green world, you just have to be responsible.
Until now the Green Party has been held-back by claims of idealism, lack of connection with the realities of everyday politics, considering that they couldn’t be trusted to manage the economy as they would give away all our money; well, recent non-Green governments in the UK and across the planet have demonstrated their inability to responsibly manage economies, whether in 2007 or more recently, applying Red, Blue or Orange economic policies doesn’t work, not when faced with a planet on the brink.
(The edge of the Anthropocene, Claudius?)
Green is good.
It is a philosophy acknowledging the need to protect our environment as well as ourselves, physically, psychologically and spiritually. It is a caring memetic. It is looking out for the less fortunate – it is in part acknowledging that although we are alright, we can’t forget that we are a step away from failure, that our comfortable lifestyles might arise from hard-work but are just as much good-luck.
Last week I saw a leader of the Extinction Rebellion (Green) debating on Channel Four with an economist; it was interesting to see the two of them agreeing and disagreeing; they were from different stages of the Spiral.
Green says, let’s all stop buying new clothes or cars or flying on planes (for all the associated environmental reasons) and Orange says, we can’t forget about the economy, those employed in the clothing, motor or travel industries; essentially, it is both complicated and complex, like I was arguing in the last blog.
It will be a long time before you can get a computer who can understand the rationally irrational behaviour of humans to the extent that they can ‘get people’.
We already have robot surgeons – that is complicated, there are still the surgeons who discuss the ins and outs with the patients – the complexity, what might go wrong or right.
An aspect of Spiral Dynamics is that the higher up and out on the evolutionary path, the more inclusive the conception of the world of others.
Green can understand Orange, but to Orange, Green are profligate; Green can understand Blue, but to Blue, Green are careless and wanton and so on.
We have to be careful here not to suggest that one is better than the other – each is adapted to its own environment;
If you espouse Green values in the harsh realities of a favela, you will not last long, equally, if you use the violent approaches of the Red memetic in more a genteel Orange boardroom, you are likely to have the police take you away.
This is where a camel’s hump is useful in the desert but would be a drag on a cat. Different environments and times, require different stages.
All of this is biding time as I it is the next level that I find most interesting; it is the cutting-edge, it is the trend of tomorrow where all the stages come together and complex, complicated, caring and compassion intersect.
This will be Yellow.
We are almost there.