Will the real Green Meme please stand up?

In my latest posts regarding the Mean Green Meme I have been focusing primarily on the way in which less complex vMemes wash themselves in GREEN in order to gain access the to political and social power of the dominant vMeme. This is what is known in Spiral Dynamics as Stretching down and it usually happens once a vMeme has passed its peak and is on its way to being transcended by the next wave. In other words GREEN stretches down to cover ORANGE, BLUE, RED, and PURPLE and by incorporating them and cloaking them in GREEN value signals it thereby maintains dominance. Conversely the less complex vMemes can enjoy the clout they gain by broadcasting GREEN virtues in order to further their own agendas. A win-win situation you might think, but its also a double edged sword. The less complex vMemes become stuck, having no incentive to actually go through the internal work required to genuinely shift their world view, hey instead enter an “arrested” state. Meanwhile the dominant vMeme becomes polluted with the agendas of the lower vMemes. Their purpose becomes confused and “mean.”

What I did not mention is that SD tells us that a vMeme can and does stretch up as well. The Mean Green Meme can color those in YELLOW (most particularly those who still have one foot in GREEN, i.e. GREEN/yellow or green/YELLOW). Why is this? Because recall that the dominant social Memes are incredibly influential on the individuals in a given group. A vMeme is like a virus, literally. It is transmitted from person to person, and infects the mind with the basic ideas that form the foundation of our view of the world.

Almost all of the dominant social Memes of the current day, regardless of their actual vMeme core values, have donned the  GREEN mantle of the 60’s and 70’s – they are riding the coat tails of GREEN – and it is difficult for GREEN to really discern their true motives for what they are. This is a survival mechanism for the less complex vMemes. When a new vMeme becomes dominant the “lower” vMemes begin to spin off sub-Memes that mimic those dominant vMeme value signals so they too can gain social influence.

memesEven if one operates cognitively at an integral level, if that same person belongs to a social group that adopts Green Memes as its core values there will be a strong pressure to “virtue signal” those Memes. Because YELLOW is the first vMeme that does not reject the true nature of the “lower” vMemes, it is easy for YELLOW to simply re-inhabit GREEN again which can potentially result in a regression. GREEN is the most complex and developed of the 1st tier vMemes, and so to YELLOW it can be the most “comfortable” social space to inhabit. This is one reason I believe many who study Integral concepts such as SD are still so susceptible to the Mean Green Meme. Either they are still GREEN and projecting their vMeme onto YELLOW, or they have left one foot back in GREEN, and have not fully transcended it.

It is this complete transcendence from GREEN, yet simultaneous love of GREEN’s healthy manifestations that I look for when I try to  determine whether someone (political figure, writer, blogger etc) is truly YELLOW (Integral) and not GREEN, GREEN/yellow, green/YELLOW etc.. There are many people who claim to have an Integral World View, while still keeping one foot in GREEN. There is nothing wrong with that of course. Each person walks their own path, and all paths are valid (so long as they are healthy)

Spotting the Integral Mind

Someone who has truly come into an Integral worldview will find themselves capable of discerning the true vMeme through the thickest veil of GREEN vMeme virtue signalling. Whether we’re talking about Third Wave Feminism (RED), or Zealous Environmentalism (BLUE), or “green-sector” Industries (ORANGE), it is easy for YELLOW but nearly impossible for GREEN to discern the true vMeme origin for what it really is. When YELLOW encounters Third Wave Feminism for example it immediately recognizes the contradiction between the laudable progressive goals of 1st and 2nd Wave Feminism and the crass bullying, shrieking, and strong arm tactics that (RED) 3rd Wave uses to kowtow society (particularly in academia) to their ideology.

Similarly when YELLOW encounters Zealous Environmentalism it instantly recognizes the contradiction between, on the one hand; the extraordinarily positive and beneficial impact of environmentalism which vastly reduced pollution in the later half of the 20th century and created a better world for us all; and the current (BLUE) absolutist quasi-religious anti-human Gaia worship that passes for environmental science.

And when YELLOW encounters Green Industry it instantly recognizes the contradiction between the stated goals of these industries to create jobs in a new “green sector” and produce environmentally friendly products; and the actual result of publicly subsidized (ORANGE) boondoggles that consumed countless resources and then promptly failed, or worse, caused their own industrial scale environmental problems as is the case with Solar, Wind and Bio-fuels.

Those at YELLOW in the political-social-media-circus are often quite adept at pulling these Mean Green tropes apart, while giving praise and credit where credit is due to healthy manifestations of GREEN. This can most commonly be seen among the so called “Alt-Right” and “Alt-Left” which includes a wide range from Bernie Sanders Leftist-Libertarians, to Anarcho-Capitalists, Back-to-the-land-Preppers, to Tea-Party protesters, to 99 per-centers. Pretty much the only thing they all have in common is that they are generally Anti-Establishment and not easily fooled by 1st tier propaganda. Exactly what you’d expect from an Integral mind.

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11 Responses to Will the real Green Meme please stand up?

  1. Jason Gosnell says:

    Very cool…have observed this, but not labeled it as effectively. Very helpful!


  2. Jason Gosnell says:

    What do you make of Angela Merkel? Seems to me like sheight have some of these problems…but hard for me to tell. I think that the EU Green has the right spirit, but they seem unskillful or lacking in true healthy green that has some degree of intelligence regarding strategic planning. Or, they ejected orange too much…the refugee crisis is a mess there.


  3. brodoland says:

    Yeah Germany and really the EU as a whole is in a world of hurt right now, and it will only get worse. They are importing a RED/blue vMeme Muslim population into a GREEN vMeme society and it will have disastrous consequences. Because GREEN sees RED typically as victims that need to be saved, and RED sees GREEN as basically lunch. GREEN is simply not ready or equipped to deal with RED. I predict a strong European BLUE vMeme backlash, which we are starting to see spring up in Europe. There will be horrible and escalating violence in the EU in the coming years I’m afraid. Either EU-BLUE will win and the Migrant-RED will be evicted, or Migrant-RED will win, and Europe’s culture will shift to center on an Islamic RED/blue or red/BLUE vMeme. Either way it is bound to be very bloody and very sad.


    • Jason Gosnell says:

      This is why I actually favor a blue to orange type of response in many ways….although most integrals don’t seem to. Really, there needs to be a slower process of integration and, I think, a pretty heavy filtering of the border…a vetting process that is convincing. I don’t find the left’s idea of vetting… based on their refusal to say anything other than ISIL…very comforting!

      Also, Comey indicated a powerful outflow of red as we bomb them…not very comforting.


    • Jason Gosnell says:

      Maybe Britain did the right thing…?


    • Jason Gosnell says:

      This is funny…


  4. Jason Gosnell says:

    I think I left green when it failed me miserably in multiple systems. Family and work. Raising kids with green doesn’t work and dealing with sex offenders from green doesn’t either. I had to go back, examine blue and orange and do a better job of working with those. I don’t know if I am integral, but what I came up with was something like integral meshwork for both like areas. I could see where all the memes were useful. In the process, I think I ended up in yellow. Having said that, I think I hear from some older integrals who clearly value green more than I do. It always surprises me, but I listen to them. With terrorism and the refugee crisis, I think we see a lot of unhealthy or immature green behaviors. When people have no appreciation for the existing culture, I get concerned…and amazed by it. Anyway, one feedback piece I get is…well, green has to do its work and transcend the lower memes…and
    …it will get nasty in the process. I think that’s right, but when you have immature or unhealthy green manifestations or straight MGM, blue, orange and yellow…all of the memes should say…hey, this is crap! Or, that won’t work! Here’s why…

    The angry white men of any culture will naturally be the ones to say something by the way. They represent the existing power base, the existing cultural norms, and, often, the existing font of wisdom… traditionally anyway. That group is being marginalized at the peril of the culture right now…in Europe as well.

    So, I place angry white man labels alongside Islamaphobic labels… partially true, and often NOT. A good way for green to do battle with blue and even orange.

    I think a yellow thinker would see this…my humble opinion.


    • brodoland says:

      Well. Be careful not to confuse real healthy GREEN values with less complex values masquerading as GREEN (MeanGreen). The two are very different. Also be careful not to feel as though one vMeme is necessarily better than another. More developed and complex, but not “better.” All vMemes have value, and you still access all prior vMemes at different times in your life as circumstances demand. Even if you are centered in amore complex vMeme, when faced with immediate bodily harm you still access Beige for a Fight or Flight response to escape the danger, or when you play a sport and feel the exhilaration of winning or the deflation of defeat, that comes out of RED. When you watch the Olympics and feel pride when your country wins gold, that’s BLUE. When you are driven to succeed at your work or to to gain a promotion or new business, that’s ORANGE, and when you see suffering in someplace far away that you have no connection to, yet still are brought to tears and a desire to take action and help, that’s GREEN.

      GREEN is a beautiful positive force in the world. I would much rather live in a world of healthy GREEN than in one of BLUE or ORANGE.


      • Jason Gosnell says:

        Agree…I think I left an exclusive identification with green when I maxed out those values and perspectives…flatland. I had very little blue or orange as a Gen Xer. So, activating those types if drives was not easy for me. I had to actually observe others doing those things to discover some of what I lost or didn’t get much of…

        Also, becoming a father and husband required a bit of an increase in some amount of blue for me. Without that, the household was more like a hotel…too little structure…no consequences to shape behavior, etc.

        Healthy green is better, but that needs to be defined. And, the greens seem incapable of really defining that. Even integrals seem to have difficulty doing that. Certainly the EU has got a form of green, but it seems excessive or unbalanced in some ways. Same for our democratic party…generally good…but somehow dysfunctional at times. That form of green seems to suck…badly. I would choose a reasonably healthy orange-to-blue culture over dysfunctional green with rampant red subcultures!! My opinion.


      • Jason Gosnell says:

        …one more…also I think pretty much any situation can be met with a kind of integral meshwork. Raising the kids required a bit of blue, a bit of orange, and a bit of green…even some red. There is no one meme that I think always applies to a situation. It’s like baking a cake for each situation…different ingredients blended together usually gives you more skill in a situation. Right now, hitting our political situation and social- cultural situation with a meshwork like this would produce better overall results…applying blue where it needs it, balancing it with orange, adding green, etc. But, we are not ready for this perhaps. I am not so sure that Obama was able to do this either.


  5. alan2102 says:

    Brodo: When you write ” the current (BLUE) absolutist quasi-religious anti-human Gaia worship that passes for environmental science”, I don’t know what you are talking about. I mean, literally, I don’t know what you are talking about. I would not know where to find an “absolutist quasi-religious Gaia worshiper” — not a single one — except maybe in some tiny obscure pagan cult group, somewhere. And yet you write about this (“the current…”) as though it were some mass prevailing trend! Further, to whatever extent such nuts exist (if at all), they certainly have nothing at all to do with environmental SCIENCE.

    Also, you disparage “publicly subsidized (ORANGE) boondoggles that consumed countless resources and then promptly failed, or worse, caused their own industrial scale environmental problems as is the case with Solar, Wind and Bio-fuels.” Here again, except for Solyndra (sp?), and leaving bio-fuels out of this (a different thing, really), I don’t know what you are talking about. The solar and wind industries are robust and successful, have certainly not “promptly failed”, but rather are on steep growth trajectories. They have not consumed “countless resources”; where did you get that idea? From a Koch brothers (fossil fuel industry) tract? Or perhaps from a “libertarian” think-tank white-paper? Yes, they have received subsidies, but as you know (or should know) their level of subsidy is dwarfed by the subsidies given to the fossil and nuclear industries. Renewables should have received much larger subsidies all along, for all reasons, not only climate change but human health and other issues. As a result of the very modest subsidies renewables been given, the industries have grown and economies of scale have now (finally!) collapsed prices to such an extent that solar and wind are the only fully economic options for new power installation in most parts of the world. This should have happened 25 years ago, but the neoliberal anti-government (“libertarian”) spirit was too strong, and these wonderful technologies did not get the support they needed to get off the ground. Too bad. We lost critical decades because of this.


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