Skipping lightly through the Green

I’m coming back to the Integral fold and have a general query about progressing from Orange to Green and beyond. I’m a 46 year old guy from Australia, and I’m definitely on the move from the Rational/Modern stage of development. My perspective has expanded and I am feeling far more tuned into environmental issues, multiculturalism, gender identity, my emotions and things like that. I certainly feel like I’ve arrived at post-modern, which my wife, who has been at Green for years, tends to agree with!

My question relates to how quickly an ex rational/modern Gen Xer like me can evolve to Integral once the shackles of the orange world view have been thrown off. My sense is it could be quite rapid as I don’t feel weighed down by years of post-modern baggage. As stated, I now identify with post –modernity more than rational, and I can see the shortcomings and gifts of modernity (and traditional for that matter). But I’m wondering if I need to ‘do my time’ at Green before moving on.

I sense some baby-boomers, professed Integralists, struggling to dis-identify with post-modernity, particularly those who were in the trenches during the cultural revolution of the 60s and 70s. At the time they were at the leading edge of cultural development, so I can see how they might get stuck there. Can those of us who were late to the green party, move through quickly? Does anyone have a view on this?

It’s taken me 46 years to move from mythic (strict Catholic upbringing, Boarding school, 9 years in the Army, the whole 9 yards!) to rational (growing a corporate career, achieving goals, having a family, financial stability etc) to green. Is it reasonable to expect rapid progression to 2nd tier (assuming I put in the work), or do I need to ‘mark time’ at green absorbing the post-modern perspective before transcending it?

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Here’s a metaphor to consider: think of your development stage as a car. Put your new green car through its paces! It’s not so much about the mileage – it’s about seeing how it handles in various environments and under different (emotional) weather conditions. Is it serving you better than your old orange car did? Is it getting you everywhere you want to go? Is it getting you there as safely, as quickly, as reliably, and as enjoyably as you want? If so, great – keep driving it and savor the fulfillment of going wherever you want to go!

But if not – or if there comes a time when you want/need to drive to places your green car can’t take you, or drive in weather it can’t handle – you’ll be well informed. The more you know about those environments and conditions, the better you’ll be able to identify your next car, and the smoother it’ll feel to transition from the old one. You’ll know more precisely what skills you need to drive your next car, and can focus more clearly on practicing them.

And if you find yourself lost and driving in circles, shifting the car into neutral every now and then (meditation) can help you recalibrate your GPS (regain your sense of balance and direction). Okay maybe that stretches the metaphor too far – but you get the idea :slight_smile:


Thanks Kartik. That is really useful advice. Very much appreciated!:slightly_smiling_face:

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Totally love Kartik’s response! If there’s a bias in Integral circles, it can be that higher stages are better. Not necessarily so. If your green car is serving you well, so be it. Vertical stage development is one piece of the puzzle; necessary but not sufficient. There’s all the lines of intelligence - cognitive comes first, but then what about the others? Emotionally, can you readily, n the moment, describe the emotion that is arising, what triggers it, sit with it without being swamped and re-direct as necessarily. Somatically, can you name subtle body sensations such as joy or stress, and where they sit in the body? Inter-Personally, can you see your own view, the view of the other, and the larger impact on the system?
Then there’s your ability to flex among the various quadrants, tackle inevitable shadow issues, work with the highs and lows of your type. … You get the drift. The full AQAL.
There’s a lot of horizontal work to be done to fully inhabit whatever vertical stage we happen to be at.
IMHO, I think the world can do with a lot more green in folks before we jump further on. Green started in academia, non-profits, ++. It’s just getting started in the corporate world, politics, world governance. Its here that green can transcend and include good orange work.- triple bottom line anyone?
Long story short- enjoy the ride. If the world needs you to up-shift vertically, then you will know it. :slight_smile:

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I am glad that I have come upon this thread because there are many elements here which have spoken to me, some triggers come up and I have also been shown how much I have already been able to understand in my lifetime up until today - at least intellectually.

To me it seems like there is a voice within you that I can so relate to though I might be wrong. I will just speak for my own voice from now on though:

After having come upon INTEGRAL material through my father 5 years ago when I was 15 and had just underwent a huge life change ( I had try to escape my whole life in Austria and go to Ecuador for an exchange year.) I came back and was on what I think is S4 in Kegan terminology and grounded in ORANGE/GREEN, which I had been exposed to from home.
After subconsciously realizing that I could not ‘just escape’ to another place physically but still not connecting to my classmates I become righteously indignant (which suited me as an Enneagram 1) by starting projects that nobody wanted to join me in ‘surprisingly’ and escaped into my new pseudo-integral understanding - or that’s a way that it makes sense to me right now to tell the story. This summer I got in contact with some GREEN people and lived in their resentment to modernity/parallel society world for some time. After that distinguishing between GREEN and TEAL became difficult for I remember even though I talked about Spiral Dyanmics to an NGO in Nepal in the following summer my blog post from back then seems very GREEN to me ( especially the takeaways, which were based on experience and not on reading Wilber.
After this time I was again engaged in Integral theory and what I noticed was that I felt I must not be GREEN and I developed aversions to GREEN. My internal judge came up and basically pushed me against all kind of pluralism - I dissociated with a lot of my environment, even GREEN people which was problematic, and I carry this burden with me, as a conditioned reflex to this day. Slowly I have begun to incorporate GREEN but also all the other MEMEs. For example I have found out that most likely one reason why I was so drawn to rap music for some time last year, even though my superego was condemming it, was because I was in the process of incorporating RED power and masculine energy, or that’s the way it makes sense to me.

Looking back on these five years now, I feel that I was trying to come as high up as fast as possible and with some ego involved and a ‘fire in my eyes’ that certainly worked, although there were so many complexes and ego-defenses that I am working through now. However, what brought me here will not bring me further. Now is the time to develop some patience I feel, which is also why I am reconsidering dropping out of what is arguably the most developed university in terms of how they do stuff, seven cities in four years and focusing on cognitive skills from the start, although they are certainly not integral not in content, where they are still rationalizing everything, at least academically. (Minerva KGI)

The way that I think about coming to INTEGRAL or maybe even TURQOUISE, and coming there not just intellectually, now is that it is not an ‘achievement’. It’s not really something to be proud of, which for me back then was certainly the case - it was a way to build up self-esteem for I did not find it through social relations. Now it seems to me that all experience can be a lesson, and not necessarily the lesson that we want, but rather the lesson that we need. For example, so often did I get opportunities for learning to develop out of arrogance and I hope by now I have taken at least some steps on that path.

If I might turn away from this ‘case study of my life’, which apart from just expressing myself, was also the way to be humble and evidence based in the experiences that I do have and that I do not have as a 20 year old.
Now, I hope to try to and speak to you directly and I would say that now that you have come in contact with this website it is unlikely that you will ever be ‘stuck in GREEN’ but maybe coming to integral as quickly as possible is not the most pressing thing right now. Considering that you are already thinking in this way it is unlikely that you will not end up at integral at some point anyways.
I simply pray for you that it is a healthy/integrated integral not the crazy dissonances that I have gone through in the past five yeares and in many ways am still going through as I am writing this as a twenty year old in a college dorm room in Seoul with ORANGE/GREEN all around me and trying to write a paper about self-organizing communities and marrying Spiral Dynamics and complex systems to apply in counter-corruption efforts in Kenya. (My ego likes these past lines and my inner child is again sighing: why am I so restless in this development, what am I still running from?..)

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