What the four quadrants tell us is that when we grow up, we have these four aspects of life which influence the journey. We are a product of our environment, as well as the tools and biology within it, as well as the culture supporting it, in addition to our personal views and narrations along the way.
We also know that our societies have changed over time. Especially in the last hundred years, the rate of change has outpaced many people’s ability to keep up. This certainly becomes more exaggerated in the elderly. Those born in a time of slower change and progress. When at the start of the twentieth century the fastest form of personal transport was still a horse. Before electricity was a common household fixture for all strata of society. When the greatest expression of mass communication was still a printed newspaper. And clearly long before the informational revolution of building-sized computers in the fifties. This environment, these tools, this culture, and surely the personal views of it all add to make a description of how a journey from this time would help to shape the developmental growth and outlook of an individual.
This industrial era of Orange corporate achieving business was already accelerating the lives of a very Blue mythic religiously fundamental people into a century of growth which will only be surpassed by this coming century, though not ever before in the history of our human memory. These people were born into a world still vastly inundated by Blue belief, culture, and social systems.
As we edged deeper into the middle of the twentieth century, after the collapse of a roaring stock market, a lost decade of depression and two world wars, the nature of good old times simply explained and guided on faith alone had significantly flown the coop. Science and technology became more greatly forced to the forefront as the demands of the times necessitated it. Needing to understand and put to greater use some chemical properties, manufacturing methods, social systems, organizational styles, and efficiencies in many aspects of life all helped society progress past the major hurdles which had existed in the first half of the century. Through this turmoil appeared greater methods for disseminating information greater interest, necessity, and accessibility to science and a shift away from some of religion’s explanations for things, towards a greater understanding of the role of science and the value gained from its implementation. Many aspects of the world quickly became much more predictable and rationally understandable for the average person. The Orange wave of development had sufficiently propagated through to a larger swath of society and necessity was certainly the mother of this progress.
These early century babies born into a mostly Blue common society had been forced towards growth into creating and aligning to an ever increasingly Orange common society. This was now a post-war peacetime and an opportunity to birth the next great wave of generational change. This generational wave of baby boomers where now born into a common Orange society as oppose to the Blue one of their parents. This seemingly small difference had big effects as we will see.
From developmental psychology, our personal internal development, we all grow through the same stage of understanding the rules and roles of society. This level of developmental mind is called concrete operational or the rule-role mind. A time around six to seven years old when developing a concrete or fixed set of rules to understand the roles of our society. An important point must be made that this concrete operational stage occurs before the formal operational stage. The concrete operational stage is one that understands the rules and roles though does not yet possess any cognitive questioning about the rationality of the rules and roles themselves. That is that the child has not yet developed the ability to think about thinking. Only in the next stage of formal operational can the growing human start to question with rational inquiry the previous stage’s rule and roles which generally starts to happen around eleven years old. This may result in a rebellious teenager questioning the rules and roles learned for society.
The concrete operational stage in the early part of the century provided people with a Blue outlook on life as the society was mostly Blue whereas babies growing up in the middle of the century grew into a rule-role mind with a mostly Orange level societal environment. Thus the pre-rational, pre-formal operational, rules and roles where learned to be Orange.
As this wave of babies continued to grow into more rebellious cognitive questioning into the sixties, the rules and roles of society where going to be questioned. The Vietnam war and war in general was a central topic around which much questioning took place. This counter-culture then grew to include use of mind expanding drugs and an embrace of a level of thinking which was radically inclusive and expressive of love for all, Green ideology. This explosion of Green ideology now became popular enough that it found solid footing into society still dominated by Blue and Orange ideology. This foothold held, though politically Green ideology was attacked in an attempt to suppress the disruptive counter-culture which embodied it. The suppression came in the form of smashing civil protests and anti-drug legislation to go after those propagating these politically counter ideas. It did have a slowing effect, though the foothold had already been established.
Thus towards the end of the century, babies being born were born into an evermore increasingly Green ideological society. Thus when these babies grew up, their stage of development of the concrete operational rule-role mind was that of Green pluralistic acceptance and inclusion.
So we have seen that what these babies believe in at the stage of concrete operational rule-role mind of development has changed from Blue to Orange to Green. What we must take into account, is also how they believe it. To form belief before the formal operational stage of development and to not question the rules and roles after that point is to never apply a rational level of questioning or thinking about the thinking of the rules and roles in life. This is really religiosity.
Religiosity, as defined here, is a level of belief about some belief or ideology which itself has been accepted by an individual or group without the individual or group rationally questioning and validating the idea. That is to say, the whole-hearted belief in an ideology from a pre-rational Blue level of acceptance. The way this religiosity is separate from religion is that one is the believed idea where the other is the way in which the idea is believed; the difference between what is believed and how it is believed.
We can see in the shifting of political alignment the sway of ideology in America over the last 20 years. The shifting of what ideologies are believed, though not how they are believed.
These groups of people fighting politically are simply using the same ethnocentric tribalism to support a different set of beliefs. They are not doing it in a rational or trans-rational way. Many of these Green supporters are not really Green within their own beliefs and actions. Green ideology is one representative of acceptance for diversity but they will ethnocentrically fuck you up if you are not on their team. Those arguing use the belief system of acceptance to not accept others. They void the rationality of their own position which is certainly a limiting characteristic of the lack of judgment Green perspective and ideology inherently comes with.
Green ideology says that everyone is equal and that all hierarchies are bad. Nobody is better or worse than others and that people should all be equal and equally accepted. People who disagree with this ideology however are then seen as worse than others and should not be accepted. This is to say that their system of hierarchy says that all hierarchies are bad; there system of accepting all should not accept those with contrary views; their system of bringing power to de-marginalized groups should be used to de-marginalize groups who disagree. These are the inherent contradictions of Green.
People who do believe Green ideology in a pre-rational Blue way do not typically use logic and reason to question these contradictions. This is the same as pre-rational Blue believers in a religious group who do not tend to apply rational questioning towards their own group or beliefs. These believers are simply switching their religion of choice, or to reiterate, what they believe has changed, though how they believe it hasn’t.
The previous graphic and the political examples of fighting help illustrate the Blue level belief of Green ideology. However, because of the left versus right mentality to politics this example glosses over the mixed ground of Orange belief and the process of development that underlies it. Just as there are Blue believers of Blue ideology and Blue believers of Green ideology there are Blue believers of Orange ideology. We did step over them, though should look at this segment also.
These Blue believers of Orange ideology, and hopefully the trend is starting to be clear, are ethnocentric team-based tribal groups for a different religious belief. Their belief is pre-rationally unquestioned allegiance to science and objective fact. This is their team and all others are simply wrong or misguided.
Richard Dawkins author of the God Delusion and The Selfish Gene is a perfect example of someone who believes in an Orange belief system in an Blue ethnocentric way. What he believes is Orange though how he believes it is Blue. The following quote from an interview with Dawkins shows his not-fully rational application of questioning and judgement onto the rational worldview:
Interviewer: “How do you prepare for death in a world where there isn’t a god?”
Dawkins: “You prepare for it by facing up to the truth, which is that life is what we have and so we better live our life to the full while we have it, because there is nothing after it.”
He does give a nice answer to the question, however where he adds ‘because there is nothing after it’ shows his belief in science although the statement itself is not scientific. It shows the religiosity with which he believes in an Orange rational worldview. What he believes is Orange, though how he believes it is Blue.
So we have seen that although people can have different worldviews of what they believe, they can have the same reasoning as to how they believe it. We have seen the religiosity of the Blue mythical worldview, the religiosity of the Orange rational worldview, and the religiosity of the Green pluralistic worldview.
This is why we see major cultural clashes between them all over the world. Specifically in the west, the biggest conflicts are seen within the following.
We have Blue traditional mythic fundamentalists valuing order from authority and living within the authority dictated rules and roles of life. The other two may be seen as lacking God or morals which they believe they are the sole purveyors of.
Then we have the Orange modern rational pragmatists looking to use logical strategy for optimal achievement in society. The other two may be seen as lacking rationality or personal accountability which they believe they are the sole purveyors of.
Lastly, we have the Green postmodern pluralistic relativists looking to accept diversity and differing views without judgement. The other two may be seen as lacking inclusion and compassion for difference which they believe they are the sole purveyors of.
Remember that none of the three above are able to really agree with any of the other two. They have fundamentally different outlooks on life, i.e. worldviews, and as such, separate themselves culturally.
As we grow up within these societies of belief, we come to the Blue level of ethnocentric rules and roles from pond #4 in our cognitive development. This happens to all of us around the age of six or seven and informs our views of how society works and how we work within it. This is a point of cognitive development which exists before the ability to apply logical rational cognition and judgment. This provides us an ability to create narrations for the explanations of life and society in a pre-rational uncritical way. This style of indoctrination happens and the environment that it happens in will play a part. Thus we can see over time that what people believe has changed, though how they believe it has not necessarily.
This also shows why the trend towards this Blue level attachment to Green ideology is really driven by the younger generations as they were born into this Green belief system though have not yet done their own cognitive work to developmentally integrate the previous stages of Blue and Orange enough to get there. Thus we currently have the ethnocentric Blue wave of babies born in a Green world.
What is the antidote to this style of Blue ethnocentric belief? Well, the escaping of this indoctrinated mentality needs the judicious application of reasoned rational questioning to the foundations of what is believed. Additionally, greater self awareness about the gaps in personal logic and the attachment to a particular level of partial truth and belief as the solely correct absolute truth and belief is also needed. We need to question and mindfully be aware of the what, how, and why of belief. It is only by easing our grasp on the narrations of self, culture, and nature can we better accept the validity that other parts of our own development and cognition can bring greater to our developing narration of life.
Hopefully it shows the real need for an Integrative Yellow perspective to be shared and valued for a greater collective embrace.
Caveats. First and foremost, let me be clear about the lack of information my view has. It is a view which I believe helps to understand the situation much more clearly, though it is based upon only hearing a few hours of conversation from each of the two individuals. This therefore is a point of view which does make some broad generalizing assumptions about each individual based upon my limited experience and never having met these individuals in person. Now having stated this, let’s look at the aftermath from their conversation.
To better understand my perspective and the colour references I make it is important to have an understanding of Integral Theory - Find an Intro - Click Here
I had previously presented my understanding of truths, and the idea of “post-truth” which I believe adds some needed clarity to the conversation. - Click Here
For me, it was an interesting comedy of Blue-level Peterson talking to Orange-level Harris about some of the most important topics philosophy has to present. What was impressive from both people, was that despite the tangible frustration from both sides, they seemed determined to be respectful while walking this path together.
The reason I saw and prepared myself for a comedy of errors, which somewhat unraveled, was because this is a deep conversation between two individuals who are naturally not on the same wavelength. This was a great example of what happens when you put a Blue person with an Orange one. These two levels of consciousness just will not see eye to eye. However, with an Integral framework, things become more clear.
Peterson’s own view of objective truth being nested in subjective morality is exactly the argument which hinders his progress forward. This is because it does bring some important truth, which should be seen and valued, although Peterson attaches to it too deeply. At the same time as he attaches to the very real but partial truths, he fails to see the limitations that his argument brings. This becomes glaringly evident when Peterson finally says “I don’t think that facts are necessarily true”. Wut!? This is exactly what Peterson is fighting in public; people who think facts like biology determining sex is simply nested in the morality of inclusion and therefore are not necessarily true. This clearly provides Peterson’s critics with the exact same incomplete reasoning he is using to combat Sam Harris and build his own theory.
Peterson is unable to start a conversation on deeper topics because Harris points out quickly where he is making an illogical leap. This is one of Orange’s assets, pinpointing logical inconsistencies within communicative interaction. To Harris’ credit, he is very systematic in his approach to presented ideas.
The heart of the matter is that Peterson is trying to reinvent the Integral wheel. He shows, though comically won’t state clearly, that he values objective reality. He also sees the value which is present in moral goodness. Both of these are important and bring truth. Unfortunately he seems to be stuck on the problem of the combination of the two, though is not willing to ever separate them even for the sake of a conversation. He is trying to reduce the 4 Quadrants of Integral Theory to two. He is attaching to the truth that those two quadrants bring, though ultimately isn’t open to someone else’s interpretation of the truth they bring, especially someone like Harris who Peterson has already pegged into a different ideological ethnicity.
Something I found to also be quite interesting was that when moral discussions were briefly raised, Harris never disagreed with Peterson. In fact, Harris stated himself that he probably would agree with Peterson on larger issues, though needed to tackle where they didn’t agree first especially as this was the root of a foundation on which they can communicate. This shows that Harris, being Orange, naturally transcends and includes Peterson’s Blue ideas. Orange can understand Blue and lower, though naturally not the other way around.
Ultimately, they both do not have an Integral framework or language to share as a clarifying thread of communication and as such they tended to go down their own separate wormholes of ideology without ultimately being able to communicate with the other effectively. This is precisely why both of them, specifically Harris, left the conversation confused as to why they couldn’t reach agreement.
What is definitely missing from the moral and objective truths that were talked about is truthfulness which Jurgen Habermas and Integral Theory would argue also brings truth and value to this conversation.
I wish to thank them both for trying and am hoping round two happens at some point.
As mentioned above, I believe my last post on "Post-truth" will help to shed some needed light on the conversational pitfalls. - Click Here
After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth – an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.
“Why is it now that we have the most access to facts, do facts mean the least?” This is the initial question to start off a video by Veritasium called Post-truth: Why facts don’t matter anymore (embedded below). Derek Muller at Veritasium seems to present a position that sees objective facts being valueless at worst or devalued at best; believing that people are generally moving towards a world of complete subjectivity where facts don't matter.
Before getting into it, let's look at things a bit more clearly and get information from someone smart.
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher, who, through his Theory of Communicative Rationality, claims three kinds of formal reason which each have their own validity claim. The three being Aesthetic-expressive, Moral-practical, and Cognitive-instrumental. To hopefully make this more relatable, these can be seen as information from the following three domains, I, We, and It(s). The “Big Three” areas of life. So now that we can more clearly relate to these areas, let’s look at Habermas’ validity claims which are truth, truthfulness, and rightness. We then have the following domains and their respective validity claims:
For the ‘It(s)’ domain of Nature we have cognitive-instrumental formal reasoning which is the objective and inter-objective gauge for objective fit. This is information about how something objectively works on an individual level and within a collective system measured quantitatively. In short the validity claim answers ‘Is it measurably true?’.
For the ‘I’ domain of Self we have aesthetic-expressive formal reasoning which is the subjective truthfulness of one’s interior space. Nothing from this subjective space is able to be measured objectively. Therefore an individual must subjectively feel or experience something and must then subjectively be honest about the subjective personal feeling of fit. If a person is honest or truthful about how they report their interior space then the person will be validating information from this domain. In summary the validity claim answers ‘How truthful or honest is it?’.
For the ‘We’ domain of Culture we have Moral-practical formal reasoning which is a gauge of inter-subjective fit or moral rightness. Again, not a place for objective measurements, though a place for moral fit within a collective. This information gets at truth that does not exist in the other two. Not about measurement or honesty, though answering the question of ‘How right or moral is it?’.
And thus we have:
Truth, Truthfulness, and Justness
The True, The Beautiful, and The Good
Objective Truth, Subjective Honesty, and Inter-subjective Morality
Personally, I think that this is a natural movement from the industrial mentality of objective achievement, which has given us the internet and modern tech while valuing the objective domains, towards a more balanced vision additionally accepting of the value presented in the subjective domains. Relatively speaking, it may seem that “facts mean less” though only because other data is now also seen as valuable, though not because truth itself has been devalued. It is however, precisely because we have the most access to facts can we see that facts aren’t the whole picture. What we are missing is truthfulness and morality, whose lack of presence is evident within corporate and governmental action these days. Propaganda gets twisted to wage immoral wars on the objectively impoverished. Clearly the facts are starting to point us in a better direction towards including more information within our decisions. Decisions that incorporate truth, truthfulness, and justness within the “Big Three” areas of life.
Personally, I see this as a positive movement away from the corporate world of a singular bottom line and "externalities" towards Integral Corporations whose multiple bottom lines will attract consumer purchases based upon greater truth, morality, and honesty.
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