The Life Cycle of a vMeme (part 2 of 2)

Here’s where things really start to get interesting.

Although the vMemes themselves in their general characteristics are consistent and effectively “immortal,” the manifestation of a vMeme in a given social group. Much like a person, they are born, they grow and mature, they peak, and eventually they grow ill and die off. The life cycle of a vMeme in a given society can be as short as a few decades, or as long as millennia depending on the social circumstances of that particular group in that particular time.

Another important thing to remember is that the Meme (the content) is not the same as the vMeme (the container). For example, a christian, a muslim and an atheist have very different beliefs yet their worldview comes from the same absolutist vMeme (BLUE) – different Memes, same vMeme.  A Meme can even spread across several vMemes as we’ll see.

A given vMeme will continue to dominate a society as long as life conditions fit the vMeme. When that changes a new vMeme begins to emerge.  The new vMeme emerges after the  current vMeme’s peak/plateau has come to an end due to a change in life conditions and has begun the slide downward. It’s during this slide downward that the dominant vMeme will often attempt to “color” prior vMemes. In Spiral Dynamics this is called “stretching down” or “stretching up” depending on the direction. This is where the term Mean Green Meme comes from. And it is why GREEN, which should be a very empathetic and inclusive Meme is now so confusing. Its when a formally Healthy GREEN Meme (such as that which peaked in the 1960’s and 1970’s) begins its downward slide and starts to color certain RED, BLUE and ORANGE social groups with GREEN Meme values. Those social groups remain rooted in their vMeme, they simply use and broadcast GREEN-looking value sets. This is what other healthy RED, BLUE and ORANGE social groups who do not adopt GREEN values have very astutely come to call “virtue signalling.”

So lets take the example of the Emergence, Rise and Fall of the GREEN vMeme. GREEN was born out of the exploitative and materialistic Industrial Age of the mid 19th century. It was a reaction to the “flatland” materialist worldview of ORANGE where the resources of the world were considered free to be exploited for the benefit of Man. As those resources began to appear finite a change in life conditions became apparent, resulting in the emergence of the GREEN vMeme.


As the new GREEN vMeme began to take hold, and ORANGE began to fall ORANGE colored BLUE and especially RED Memes finally resulting in the rise of Fascism (the Mean Orange Meme) and two terrible World Wars. The end of WWII marked the end of  ORANGE vMeme dominance and the beginning of GREEN vMeme’s rise to dominance. GREEN gave us the Civil Rights Movement, Environmental Movement, Anti-War Movemement, and so on. In fact I believe it was GREEN cultural vMeme values that saved us all from nuclear war.

However GREEN peaked probably at some point in the late 70’s when again life conditions made it apparent that a full rejection of materialism, industrial progress and science and a completely egalitarian society would not be sustainable. A new vMeme emerged which is able to take all the pieces of prior vMemes and bring order to the chaos, this vMeme is what we call the Integral (YELLOW) vMeme.

As YELLOW emerged GREEN has stretched down to color ORANGE, BLUE and RED in GREEN value statements. ORANGE corporations and politicians parrot green values casting themselves as “Environmentally Responsible” or “Equal Opportunity Employers” etc., BLUE churches became more “liberal” and “Unitarian” and BLUE bureaucrats and politicians make their absolutist and authoritarian expression of GREEN values into law. RED absorbs all the plunder GREEN can offer, and willingly plays the “victim” for GREEN, they bring the fight to the streets in violent protests and riots, and demands for redistributed wealth and other special treatment or entitlements.

That is the Mean Green Meme.  

Healthy expressions of GREEN have been drown out completely by the Mean Green Meme, and even those who are genuinely operating at GREEN have a difficult time seeing the RED, BLUE and ORANGE motives behind the wall of virtue signaling.

I believe that Healthy GREEN has more common cause with Healthy ORANGE and BLUE than with the Mean Green Meme.



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2 Responses to The Life Cycle of a vMeme (part 2 of 2)

  1. Jason Gosnell says:

    Question: Do you think that many of the elder integrals (aged 55-75) suffer from boomeritis still? I only ask because the ones I know are very PRO Hillary. I was also, but very concerned about the green approach to terrorism and even the economy. When I discuss this, they seem unconcerned. What do you think about this?

    Regards…Jason Gosnell


    • brodoland says:

      I am not a member of the “Boulder Integral” crowd so I am not sure what they may suffer from. I’ll give you some observations that I have made over the years. I think that many integrals are a bit too inward looking (a reaction maybe to coming out of outward looking GREEN) so I find many have not really thought deeply about what a 2nd Tier Integral Politics should even look like.

      So they default to whatever sounds the closest, and typically respond to GREEN virtue signalling because frankly its the most progressive sounding rhetoric out in the mainstream, even if it comes out of less complex vMeme places.

      Of course GREEN has no idea what to do with Terrorism as we have seen during Obama’s term. GREEN is totally unequipped to deal with it and usually just make it worse. GREEN’s compassion and empathy cause them to project more complexity into the Muslim cultures that breed terrorism, and as we see in Europe they bring them in with open arms, believing that once they come and experience the egalitarian values of the west, they will be good progressive citizens. As we have seen during this bloody summer in Europe (and to a leeser extent the US) that is not the case.

      But GREEN is willfully blind to this. It doesn’t fit the GREEN worldview, and infact a GREEN reaction to me even writing this would be to say I am racist or a bigot. Because GREEN’s greatest weakness that the very capacity for empathy that makes GREEN so beautiful, is what causes them to project that empathy onto people and groups (vMemes) who have no such capacity for empathy themselves.


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