I wrote the Lingua-U White Paper in 2010 and within 5 or 6 years of reflecting on the nature of subtle energy, translated imperfectly into the sound symbolic coordinates of countless variations of alchemical art, I had a pretty good idea of what it signified for the “Integral map” of human nature. But I could barely believe what I had learned.
If Lingua-U was right, then the constructions of “tier” in mainstream Integral Theory were way off base, so far off that it might cause a rebellion among integralists who could dismiss Lingua-U with prejudice rather than accept that the cornerstone of their very identity was a mirage.
According to my own theory of human development, there was indeed a Second Tier of Mind that radically reoriented everything that came before it, effectively turning the world upside-down. But here’s the problem. The Second Tier didn’t start with the “Integral consciousness”. When you look at other Integral maps, the Integral stage variously known as the Yellow vMEME, Teal altitude, or Strategist phase of ego-maturity was NOT the actual start of the Second Tier. It was still significant in its own way, but it did not even come close to the grandiose claims that were made about it by proponents of integrative meta-theories.
Could it possibly be true that Yellow/Teal was not actually a great leap in human consciousness, evolutionary realization, and spiritual advancement, but an incrementally progressive nudge? So many integralists that I had met seemed to have organized their entire sense of identity around the concept that they were “evolutionaries” who had evolved beyond their Green brethren and sisters, or that they were post-postmodernists who had successfully surpassed postmodernism. Indeed, they thought of themselves as being “at a whole new Tier”.
If I was right, then integralists weren’t anything like their own self-concept at all. They were at a great stage, a really “terrific” stage as real estate mogul Donald Trump might have said about one of his properties. But their qualities of Mind were hardly the HUGE, REALLY BIG DEAL that they thought they were.
What was I to do? This discovery helped to convince me to push a pause button on Lingua-U for a while. You see, I truly believed in Lingua-U. But I couldn’t just rush out with an exposition of it for the integral community while so many people could be put off by the way that it demolished the inflation of the Integral myth of specialness.
Before I could announce that the entire structure of tiers of consciousness needed to be revisited, I needed confidence in an alternative story which could account for the problem and offer a potential solution. So I looked into the roots of Integral Theory’s notion that human consciousness development trend lines could be divided into a First Tier and a Second Tier, and I hoped that I could find a way of articulating Lingua-U’s novel insight without crushing too many egos.
I traced the problem to Clare Graves’s exploratory essays on human nature and development which were a major influence on Don Beck and Chris Cowan, the co-founders of the Spiral Dynamics school of thought. Basically, Graves believed that the transition from Green to Yellow was a momentous leap in human nature itself. While I couldn’t disprove his idea, my own model of consciousness lent it no support.
According to Clare Graves, people had come to a major turning point, a “paradigm shift” in consciousness. Everything would change as more people left Green into Yellow. People would no longer be motivated by fear, he thought! People would no longer be motivated by scarcity; they would have confidence in abundance and affluence!
Part of Graves’s theorizing (and Spiral Dynamics following in his path) rested on the bold notion that human evolution had progressed in a sequence of stages from Beige to Purple to Red to Blue to Orange to Green as part of one continuous process. After Green (postmodernism), that process was supposed to have ended.
That which came afterwards, Yellow, was an entirely different animal. Graves himself thought that Yellow was sort of an up-leveled repeat of Beige, the first stage linked to infantile psychology or the archaic mind of Stone Age peoples. If Beige taught individuals how to survive, then Yellow would teach all of humanity how to save the planet from the vexing problems that threatened the survival of human civilization as a whole.
The problem here, I think, is that Graves probably misidentified the true stage that signals the “Beige repeat”. I had created a massive map of human consciousness through aligning theoretical and empirical data with the Lingua-U map, and the evidence did not support Graves’s theory. The actual start of the Second Tier was not Yellow. It was Green.
Yes, Green. Green, I had theorized, not Teal or Yellow, was the actual start of the Second Tier.
Green, the serious integralists’ bane. Green, the home of the “mean Green meme” that was constantly vilified as First Tier by mainstream Integral theorists. Green, the home of the so-called “identity politics” and “political correctness” and “liberal fascism” that all the conservative integralists and Jordan B. Peterson fans demonized like an actual demon.
The theoretical basis for my conclusion is too difficult to explain in a blog post, so I’ll have to put it in Lingua-U: The Unitive Metalanguage (in progress). But it’s easy to see for yourself when you look at Lingua-U as it appears in both The Nine Square Kalendar and The Nine Elements artworks. In these Integral Konstructs, there are three tiers or rows which organize the cycle of human development. If you believe that art can have the power to radically reshape human perceptions by directing our attention to the obvious for the first time, then follow along…
As best that I can tell, based on this new Integral Konstruct, the First Tier (§1, §2, §3) is associated with the Principle of Yang and the phonemes which are frontal (labial or coronal) in the mouth. It traces a path from symbiosis to the emergence of a personal identity and ultimately a new, social identity (Yang-Yung-Yung-Yung) in which the differentiated person has become almost fully submerged into a hierarchical model of reality (the Zeitgeist, as in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, or Socialism, as the word is pronounced in its German variant which was used by Karl Marx), at least at the level of Mind as an idea, if not concrete social relations.
And in the new Konstruct, the Second Tier begins with (§4) a shocking, massive upheaval in consciousness away from a social-first identity into something new and uncertain. The Yin sounds in the mouth are centrally produced, not initiatory (alveolar, post-alveolar, and dorsal). The fourth Kalendar month is also aligned to the 4th-person-perspective (as all Kalendar months correspond numerologically to a specific person-perspective). So, Beige/Black in the Konstruct started the First Tier rolling, and now as Graves imagined, the same sort of explosive process starts to repeat. Beige/Black (known as The Black Stone in The Kalendar) was the Beginning with a capital B; Green (known as The Golden Egg) was the Start with a capital S.
In the Second Tier, at Green’s inception, the Mind manifests as a fully Symbolic consciousness as opposed to the Body-driven consciousness of the early First Tier. This focus on Symbol is initiated by a return of Safety needs, the appearance (mythically) of Satan or Iblis – and Sin / Cynicism — to oppose prior concepts of divinity, the emergence of Spirit and a Savior (mythically?) to suggest a return of the divinity, a focus on Science with a concern for Evidence, an awareness of Situations and Events as opposed to mere Thoughts, and the priority of the Circle and the Cycle as the central metaphors for reality.
What I’m talking about here – as you will soon be able to see for yourself in The Kalendar posts during to the period from April 22 to April 26 – is the first appearance in this Integral Konstruct of the Throne of Evolution itself. At its first appearance, you see, Evolution is in a blind spot. It is not yet aware of itself as such; it is a mere wisp of reactivity to spiritual impulses completely outside its knowledge. Only as Evolution becomes self-aware, later at Yellow and Teal, does it begin to mature into the sort of phenomena that Graves and Beck and Wilber have associated with the rise of the Integral stage of consciousness.
Thus, if this artistic vision of human nature is accurate, the essence of Green and everything associated with it most closely (relativism, nihilism, aperspectival thinking, socio-centrism, equality focus, ecological awareness, etc.) begins not as a reaction against the individualism of modernity in favor of a communitarian imperative, but a seismic “counter-bang” in the form of a massive transition from Yang-Yung-Yung-Yung energy (at the Throne of Zeus, the grandest patriarch) to Yin-Yang-Yang-Yang energy (at the Throne of Evolution, the Satanic and/or Spirit/Sophia-based counter-revolution that begins with some of the most powerful feminine/dyke symbolism in the entire Konstruct.
The evidence that Green is First Tier, according to Wilber and many others, seems to focus on the fact that this stage like other (allegedly) First Tier stages believes its values to be the only correct ones, whereas Teal is able to relate healthfully to all the First Tier stages as a force of reconciliation and stewardship. But it isn’t necessary to see Green as First Tier to explain Green’s hostility to the First Tier value systems or levels of consciousness.
Green, I think, as the start of the Season of Yin after a long Season of Yang, has an extraordinary “First Tier allergy” that blinds it to all else. Green is so bent on demolishing the oppressive patriarchal structures that preceded it, so that Yin may find its own life independent from Yang, that it rejects almost all of what came before – except the earliest stages (Beige and Purple in Spiral Dynamics / the early parts of The Black Stone in The Kalendar), which it lionizes.
Green also has a love/hate relationship with Red; Red is the final third of The Black Stone in The Kalendar, in parallel to Yellow / Teal). Whether we are looking at Green’s relationship to Beige, Purple, or Red, we can easily see that earliest stages of Green truly identify with the earliest stages of the entire Spiral and take indigenous spirituality (romanticized as supremely peaceful and eco-friendly) as its model for ideal human relations precisely because they were basically twins separated at birth, the First Tier wearing a Yang-faced mask and the Second Tier wearing a Yin-faced mask.
Throughout the Month of the Golden Egg, Green slowly transitions into Yellow or Teal. In terms of the new Integral Konstruct based on Lingua-U, the Letter of Self-Sensing (the rise of Green) transitions to the Letter of Shunting (the Green/Teal hybrid) until finally reaching the Letter of Enfolding (Teal / Yellow) around the time of Memorial Day in late May (the American holiday of remembrance).
The story of the Second Tier begins, I say, at Green’s inception into a new paradigm for human sapience and self-hood that eventually rewrites the source code of everything prior in existence. The Month of the Golden Egg is the first third of the Second Tier’s story, an exciting tale of the Throne of Evolution’s rise to full consciousness of itself, culminating at the Throne of Eros, when it seems to resolve its dilemmas through sexuality and reproductive profligacy. It’s a sexy solution that elevates the self into a golden egg among a carton of plain eggs, but it does not last for long.
Whether you choose to believe this new “Violet-altitude-fable” or “origin myth” for integralism or not, I hope you will at least take away a deepened awareness that there is more than one model for these stages of human development that have merit. As the Second Tier of The Kalendar progresses, Green leads to Teal, Teal leads to Turquoise, and Turquoise leads to Indigo. Ah, Indigo. Mainstream integral writings consider Indigo to be the Third Tier, but in this Konstruct it looks quite different; at the Letter of Generativity which culminates at the Throne of Jazz/Order, human individuality reaches its apex and penultimate expression, the individual becoming reconciled to all prior notions of divinity.
Only thereafter may the Third Tier properly begin. Where else? At the Throne of the Avatar.