For quite some time I’ve been contemplating the “the self-destructive nature of the human race”. Once you open your eyes and look around you the signs are everywhere. The problem seems to be that it’s only a handful of people that notice it or maybe the masses are all so caught up in their own “separate” worlds that they no longer see the forest but only small fractions of their own tree or they think that it will never have an impact on them in their lifetime.

We live in a selfish, materialistic , consumer based society that is busy consuming itself. The human population on the planet is expanding exponentially and our greed for money and power are creating acts of war, poverty, civil unrest, and the collapse of our monetary systems. We are destroying vegetation, forests, habitats, ecosystems and food-chains. We’re polluting the oceans with toxic waste. We’re harming our atmosphere by burning fossil fuels which turns our planet into a greenhouse and in turn causes global warming causing massive floods which we are already experiencing…

What will it take for us to wake up and stop our destructive selfish ways?

This made me think and while I was doing some research for my studies, I stumbled onto some material called “Spiral Dynamics”. Spiral Dynamics is a theory of human development introduced in the 1996 book by Don Beck and Chris Cowan. They argue that human nature is not fixed: humans are able, when forced by life conditions, to adapt to their environment by constructing new, more complex, conceptual models of the world that allow them to handle the new problems. Each new model includes and transcends all previous models. According to Beck and Cowan, these conceptual models are organised around so-called vMemes: systems of core values, applicable to both individuals and entire cultures.

Beige (Instinctive/Survivalistic meme)

  • Do what you must to stay alive — survive

Purple (Magical /Animistic meme) Starting 50 000years ago

  • Keep the spirits happy and the Tribe’s nest warm & safe

Red (Impulsive/Egocentric meme) starting 10 000 years ago

  • Be what you are and do what you want, regardless

Blue (Purposeful/Authoritarian meme) Starting 5000 years ago

  • Life has meaning, direction and purpose with predetermined outcomes

Orange (Achieves/Strategist meme) Starting 300 years ago

  • Act in your own self-interest by playing the game to win

Green (Communitarian/Egalitarian meme) Starting 150 years ago

  • Seek peace within the inner self and explore with others, the caring dimensions of community

Yellow (Integrative meme) Starting 50 years ago

  • Live fully and responsibly as what you are and learn to become

Turquoise (Holistic meme) Starting 30 years ago

  • Experience the wholeness of existence through mind and spirit

As you can see from the model above, we are spread over a mixture of these levels of consciousness and people display a combination of characteristics from the various levels of consciousness based on the set of values they live. Every individual is conditioned and nestled in systems of cultural and social networks that have a profound influence on the knowing and being of the individual. These levels can also be grouped into three basic stages of consciousness namely Egocentric, Ethnocentric and World centric as described by Ken Wilber.

Moral development tends to move from “me” (egocentric) to “us” (ethnocentric) to “all of us” (world centric). The problem is that the majority of people are stuck in the first two stages and only progress to the third stage by some kind of profound experience they encounter like a serious illness/disease, a near death experience or losing everything they own.

Conclusion

In the words of Albert Nolan, we are like a giant ocean liner that has come loose from its moorings and are drifting out to sea. The dangers ahead are incalculable. Are we heading for extinction? Some want to return to the safety of the harbour (fundamentalists), but that is no longer possible. Others are distracted so they are not aware that we are drifting. Still others want to jump ship and swim to the shore, but we are too far out. We are all in this boat together.

On the other hand a growing number of people view this drifting out to sea as an opportunity to move away from the slavery and suffering of the past, in search of freedom and happiness. New possibilities are on the horizon every day. The hunger for a new “way” is hopeful. The dangers and threats remain. The ship is already leaking and while some are trying to repair the leaks, others in their selfish blindness are creating new leaks and ignoring the icebergs ahead. There is no storm at sea, nature is not hostile to us, the storm is on board between the passengers themselves. Each blindly pursuing their own agenda.

The only people that can save this ship are the people on board. Are we going to wake up and see that we are not separate from or better than each another?

Concepts like gender, colour, race, and social status has no meaning in the bigger scheme of things. There is no real difference between us, we are just different expressions of consciousness having one universal experience.

We are in this thing called “life” together. We all live, love, struggle, fear, laugh, cry, and sometimes suffer….a lot.

There is suffering because there is ignorance. There is pain because there is judgment, and in judgment there is the absence of love.

We are not here to waste away our lives in selfish gluttonous ways just to end up getting buried at the end of it.

We are here to learn how to love unconditionally. We are here to journey with awareness through life. To raise our consciousness and live together in peace and harmony with each other and the rest of the precious life forms on this planet.