FermentedAgave, I think I’ll take a (long) tour around the Integral AQAL model to answer your question, starting with:
State of Consciousness: Through individual and collective action, move society from an egoic culture (with ego defined here as the “separate-self sense” or the “I, me, and mine” focus) to a soul culture (with soul defined for purposes of this discussion as the “spiritual expression of the separate self”). For people interested in such things, there is an abundance of diverse practices, as well as audio-video technologies, and perhaps not far into the future, some legalized psychedelics that can help with finding a spiritual or higher awareness and expression within oneself. For people with no interest in religion or spirituality, virtues like respect, kindness, compassion and such can be more often or more consistently expressed through the separate self.
Stages of development: I don’t see much movement of people/groups from 1st Tier stages to 2nd Tier Integral, but of course those things are hard to spot in real time, as is upward movement within the 1st Tier, which I also don’t see much of. What I do see is that the stages are “out of the closet” so to speak, are fully in the light, able to be seen by those familiar with them, both their “dignities and disasters.” And there are dignities with each stage; it’s just that the darkness or shadow sides are more on display, more spoken of, more commented about. That the stages are so recognizable, so intensely and fully themselves, I see as a positive thing, because it suggests to me a coming to fruition, a ripening of some kind that sets the stage for the next act. That next act could be an all-out civil (or world) war with boots and guns, or it could be that out of the chaos of countless unsolved wicked problems, civilization partially or totally makes an evolutionary leap of some kind. That next act could be some kind of unifying event, perhaps global in nature, you know, nuclear war or an asteroid hit or “close encounters of the third kind” or some nation or globe-shaking climate catastrophe–who knows? It doesn’t have to be a negative event, and I wouldn’t put my eggs in this one basket, for sure, but it could happen. Or it could just be a continuation of years of “collapseology” (to borrow a term from environmental/climate studies), where things end as they say “not with a bang but a whimper” (poet T S Eliot). How quickly and in what way some kind of major change or transformation comes about is the basic question.
Lines of development: The cognitive line (“necessary but not sufficient”) and the moral line are in the spotlight. Wilber once defined morality as “the rules for how to play the game of we fairly.” Certainly for decades, but definitely since Obama’s first term I think, when Wall Street that essentially created the financial crisis and Great Recession saw not a single individual held legally accountable and was bailed out while Main Street took the brunt of the fall, it’s been clear the monetary game we’re all a part of us is not being played fairly.
Along with these two lines, I would place emotional intelligence as an important line to focus on. Given all the emotional arousal and response in culture, I sometimes wonder that the reptilian part of the brain isn’t in charge for many people. The oldest brain part, which we share with territorial animals, is overreactive to fear and responds with threatening kinds of behavior (fight) or with flight or with trauma freeze responses. While territorial land disputes are still evident in the world and territoriality is evident in things like borders and walls, one’s ego, tribe, and ideology have also become “territories” to the extent that people are willing to hate, rage, fight and kill in trying to defend them. (That was a bit of a rant and a digression, but my point is that more emotional intelligence in the world might help turn down the heat.)
Types: I’ll stick with the basic masculine-feminine types here, and say we need more balance. Feminine values such as relationship and communion and cooperation, along with the female-type moral principles (care and responsibility) need to be emphasized, in my opinion. Exercising one’s autonomy and agentic rights needs to be in the context of responsibility to others/relationships. That goes for individuals and nations too.
Quadrants: I’ll start this section by saying I think we as a nation, and a world even, have what is needed to solve the problems, or at least we have the seeds of solutions, What seems to be lacking is the heart (e.g. courage, desire, caring) and the will to do so. So in UL Interior quadrant, I would place intentionality to stay connected to one’s heart and will. In the LL (culture) quadrant, I think the Biblical Golden Rule sums up what’s needed pretty nicely: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” In conversation, social psychology says that four particular traits are effective in conflictual or polarized discussion: detachment (e.g. open to outcomes, not attached), loyalty (to the relationship and process), care, and tactfulness.
In the UR quadrant, I think behavior via language/speech is important, so let me rant (again). Free speech has become something of a sacred cow, its teats milked as theoretical insurance against losing freedom, but in practice, those teats are sometimes both non-nutritional and malodorous as dung. Persistent lying does not make either an individual or a nation free. Nor does insulting others, or mocking them, or name-calling, or cursing at others or cursing excessively in general. We tend to focus on associating language with meaning, and want people to define their terms, which is fine, great; I support that. But I don’t think there’s a problem with understanding what ‘idiot’ or ‘loser’ or F U means; what I am talking about is the flavor or tonal quality of language which is becoming more and more crude, crass, aggressive, combative, and contributing I think to a social milieu that is more nasty and warlike than necessary–headlines are full of battle words. This isn’t just on social media, but in mainstream broadcast and cable media, and is also becoming more prevalent with political representatives and in business and advertising (an ad on my computer screen for a t-shirt, reading “this rooms smells like slut.”). As abused and mutilated as the practice of free speech is, we might as well butcher the cow and be done with it; it’s serving some pretty nefarious purposes. But no, no, no–I am not suggesting we do away with the free speech aspect of the First Amendment; I am suggesting we all can choose to make a difference through language, both defining our terms and practicing speaking in less crass and offensive ways, or at least less frequently in crass ways and in less quantity. Rant done.
As for the LR collective exteriors quadrant and where we might focus our efforts, I tend to look at what’s right in front of us, and also look at those livability factors (as cited in my previous posts) as sort of “lines of development” for nations. What’s right in front of us is the threat itself to democracy, which from the reading I’ve done, is generally attributed to the decades-long shift to the right by Congressional Republicans, many of whom at this point seem to lack integrity and to be motivated solely by self-interest and careerism, and the party as a whole by power. On the other side of that, supposedly only about 30% of the U.S. voting population supports MAGA, so what kind of threat Trumpism really is, I’m not sure. I do wish more Republicans would speak out, or some of them get on with forming a third party. I don’t doubt that it is easy enough for a nation to slide into authoritarianism bit by bit, and probably lots of things need to happen to prevent that–continued arrest/prosecution of the “insurrectionists” (and politicians that helped incite that ordeal need held accountable), election and campaign finance reforms of various kinds, overturning Citizens United which has allowed large corporate and superpac donors to “push” ideologies (studies have shown that large contributions by individual donors do not have the same effect in shaping a political party’s platform/ideology as anonymous corporate/superpac donations). Many things need done; it’s exhausting.
Some kind of combination capitalist-socialist economic system needs to be up for consideration, as it ain’t working this way. As some of the Integral Left people have repeatedly pointed out, policy proposals that were once thought “progressive” are now really more centrist, in terms of majorities of the U.S. population supporting them. Things like the $15/hr min. wage, universal healthcare, even some form of UBI. A huge problem is that the politicians/government are not responsive to the will of the majority of people; how do you fix that?
In terms of the livability factors, a few things seem obvious to me. One is in the area of housing. Among low-income renters (the bottom 20% of all renters), the median expenditure for rent is about 75% of its household income. The National Low-Income Housing Coalition recommends that the upper limit for rent should not exceed 30% of the household income, so we are far and away from that. The U.S. fares the worst in this area among 12 advanced countries, and its Section 8 HUD assistance programs are far underfunded and not meeting the needs. So as a “line of development,” the U.S. needs to give some oil to this squeaky wheel, in one form or another.
Another line of development might be racial equality, as according to those world indices, the U.S. ranks among the bottom ten in this area (and possibly the events/uprisings since George Floyd’s death last year have contributed to this ranking). I do think there needs to be some kind of public, government-sponsored “truth and reconciliation” process around slavery and the history of racism against Blacks. These processes have born some fruit in other parts of the world, so why wouldn’t we work towards that? I also think investment in Black (and Native American) communities would bode well, addressing food deserts, contaminated/polluted waters and soil and air (and lack of water on some of the reservations), and inadequate housing and such would be helpful.
And then there’s mental health, with the U.S. having one of the highest rankings among developed countries for mental health impairments. Another squeaky wheel…
Polarization: the U.S. in world indices is said to be increasing in polarization. According to what I have read, polarization is common throughout history in that the public always has differences, but is said to be most intense when there is unemployment/financial problems for people and when inequality is high and when it is the ‘political elites’ themselves clashing over cultural issues.
Finally, there is addressing climate change, which according to Pew Research as of Feb. 2020 is the number one partisan issue in the U.S, with only 21% of Republicans and about 78% of Democrats considering it a top priority. (The other top four partisan issues are protecting the environment, reforming gun policy, and bolstering military strength.) While Biden is being lauded by many Democrats for addressing climate policy across the board and as a part of all policy-making, he is also being criticized by those same people for not including climate migration in climate change planning and policy. Climate migration is a bigger problem than most people probably think; tens of millions of people in the world have already been displaced due to climate change effects, and there will be more. Which adds a different slant to border and immigration issues. I think climate migration should definitely be planned for, and that we should recognize it as already happening and affecting the U.S. (e.g. parts of Central America migrating due partially to climate change effects) and also as happening within our own borders, not on as large a scale as elsewhere, but people are leaving areas in the U.S. prone to wildfires and flooding.
This is such an inadequate response to the question; wonder how long my post would be if I tried to make it adequate? Anyway, there you have it.