The Green Meme

Discussion Post I submitted for my Atlantic University TP5100 Course – October 29, 2020

As we’ve discussed throughout this semester, Ken Wilber’s theories on the evolution of human consciousness are linear. He believes we have evolved from a lesser state of awareness to an accelerating time of awakening. On the other hand, Riane Eisler believes humans had a Golden Age before the more recent male-dominated hierarchical world took over. She notes that these ancient periods featured “partnership societies” which was “a way of organizing human relations in which beginning with the most fundamental difference in our species the difference between female and male diversity is not equated with inferiority or superiority” (Eisler, p. 5).  She adds that in these “partnership societies woman and the Goddess were identified with both nature and spirituality,” and “neither woman nor nature were devalued and exploited” (Eisler, p. 5). Wilber, aware of “Golden Age” theories, developed a response, which he coined “Pre/Trans Fallacy.”  Mark Manson explains that Wilber believed “that people often mistake what’s pre-conventional (earlier phase of development) for being post-conventional (later stage of development) because neither is conventional” (Mason, n.d.). Wilber would certainly see Eisler’s theory where she looks back thousands of years, placing her in his Level 3 period, as pre/trans fallacy. 

I see elements of the Green meme in both Wilber and Eisler’s theories, more than differences. For Wilber, the “Green” is part of a neat and logical evolutionary system that began with Beige approximately 100,000 years ago, according to the theory of Spiral Dynamics (Paine-Clemes, 2015). The colors match our human development and ascend or evolve through purple, red, blue, and most recently orange before “graduating” to green, which, according to Paine-Clemes, began approximately 150 years ago. And Eisler would feel right at home with green’s emphasis on environmentalism and “much advancement in terms of ecological and social awareness” (Graham, 2008). Her primary criticism of the past 5,000 years is a male-dominated structure that’s succeeded in “efficient domination over both nature and other human beings” and, in particular, women (Eisler, p. 2).  

In terms of differences, there are many more layers and gradations than Wilber’s 4 Levels presented in Up from Eden that cover millions of years. In the case of Eisler, she makes an important point that she’s not advocating for replacing female dominance with male dominance. She is advocating for a return to a “partnership society,” as discussed above. Green, now in its latter stages, according to Brodoland, is doing nothing to bring people together into common ground let alone a partnership. As Graham notes, the post-modern Green meme has a lot of resistance since it “tends to be at war with its parent’s generation of Orange and Blue which extol the virtue so hard work, discipline, and tradition” (Graham, 2008).

As I mentioned on the Zoom call the other night, I’ve had a front-row seat to the unfoldment of the “mean Green meme” generation. I was born in 1962, and while technically a Baby-Boomer, I don’t consider myself one. Instead, I call myself a “Tweener,” as in between the Boomer’s and their kids, the X’ers. The Boomers are the generation of the Green meme. They proudly look back at the Civil Rights battles of the 1960s, protesting the Vietnam War, sparking the environmental movement, and launching many other human rights fights, including the woman movement and fighting for gay rights. I find them selective regarding what they consider a human right, and they can be intolerant to differing viewpoints. Maybe this is because, in their minds, we’re supposedly moving past Blue and Orange, so whatever the beliefs of these colors must be outdated and wrong. I’m not ready, however, to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Certain traditions and values do not change over time and are worth keeping. One of the most important of these is freedom of speech, which is now under assault on America’s college campuses. And whose now in charge of these institutions?! The very same Boomers who themselves protested on these same campuses back in the 1960s when they were students.  

References

Brodoland (2012, January 3). “Why the green meme is in crisis.” Retrieved from https://brodoland.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/why-the-green-meme-is-in-crisis/.

Eisler, R. (1987)“The gaia tradition and the partnership future: an ecofeminist manifesto,” Reweaving the World, Atlantic University TS 503.  Retrieved from https://moodle.atlanticuniv.edu/pluginfile.php?file=%2F55221%2Fmod_resource%2Fcontent%2F1%2FEisler%2C%20The%20Gaia%20Tradition.pdf.

Graham (2008, January 13). “The trouble with green.” Integral Permaculture Designers’ Manual. Retrieved from http://en.permaculturescience.org/english-pages/1-peoplecare/models-dc1/spiral-dynamics/toxic-green-meme.

Manson, M. (n.d.). “The rise and fall of Ken Wilber,” Mark Manson. Retrieved from https://markmanson.net/ken-wilber#:~:text=Wilber%20has%20a%20concept%20called,development)%20because%20neither%20is%20conventional.&text=This%20concept%20can%20be%20applied,of%20personal%20and%20social%20development.

Paine-Clemes, B. (2015). Spiral dynamics and evolutionary consciousness, Virginia Beach, VA: Fourth Dimension Press.  Retrieved from https://moodle.atlanticuniv.edu/mod/resource/view.php?id=43044.

Wilber, K. (1981), Up from eden, New York, NY: Doubleday

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