An approach to understanding everything in our world. Complex, yes. Interesting, even moreso.
My notes are below, which for this book may be a bit non-sensical if you don’t read. However, there’s a quote in the book that best captures the essence of it all:
In this Theory of Everything, I have one major rule: everybody is right. More specifically, everybody – including me – has some important pieces of truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace. A genuine Theory of Everything.
If that has you intrigued, read it. If not, skip it.
My rating: 4/5
My Notes on A Theory of Everything:
The first six levels (or memes) are “subsistence levels” or “first-tier thinking”
A few hallmarks of memes:
- Beige: Basic survival. Food, water, sex, safety. Bands of people to survive and perpetual life.
- Purple: Mystical. Magical spirits. Kinship and lineage create political links. Gangs.
- Red: Strength and power. First emergence of a self from the tribe. “The world is a jungle full of threats.”
- Blue: Order. Unvarying principles of right and wrong. Rigid hierarchy.
- Orange: Seeks truth and meaning. Highly achievement oriented. “The world is a chessboard” with laws that can be learned, mastered and manipulated for one’s own purposes.
- Green: The sensitive self. Focus on community. Reaches decisions through consensus. “An aggressive anti-hierarchical stance is usually an unmistakable hallmark of the green meme.” Why green will go out of it’s way to try and destroy blue.
The following levels are “being levels” or “second-tier thinking”:
- Yellow: Integrative. Life is a kaleidoscope of natural hierarchies and systems. Flexibility, spontaneity, and functionality have the highest priority. Differences can be integrated. Nested hierarchies as a hallmark of second-tier thinking. Knowledge and competency should supersede power or status. The prevailing world order is the result of the existence of different memes and the movement up and down that spiral.
- Turquoise: Holistic. Universal order but in a living, conscious fashion (not based on external rules (blue) or group bonds (green).
Less than 2% of the world population is at second-tier thinking.
Comprehending the Theory of Everything requires at least a touch of turquoise to comprehend it and “then you will think (for many concepts)…’I already knew that! I just didn’t know how to articulate it’”
Individuals at any stage can have altered state or peak experiences which can have a profound impact on their consciousness and development. But in order for these experiences to become permanent traits, they need to enter the team of enduring development.
The health of the entire spiral is the prime directive, not preferential treatment for one level.
The advantage of second-tier (integral) awarenesses that it more creatively helps with the solutions to our world’s pressing problems. It sees the big picture better than most of our institutions and organizations do.
The US Constitution is written largely through the lenses of the orange meme both in its worldview and focus on individual rights even though most of America at the time weren’t developed to that point yet. It became a forcing function for helping a new nation develop to embody those characteristics though.
One of humanity’s constant nightmares has been been the IT-level development of technology outpacing the individual’s and collective’s ability to grow in wisdom, care, and compassion for using that technology.
This has become humanity’s biggest fundamental problem: a lack of integral development.
If we remain merely at the stage of celebrating diversity we ultimately are promoting fragmentation, alienation, separation and despair. You go your way, I’ll go my way…It is not enough to recognize the many ways in which we are all different; you need to go further and start recognizing the many ways that we are also similar.
By creating a practice we can support our own integral development but this needs to be done at all-levels in all-quadrants. Can’t just be in self has to also be in community and in nature. Mutually respectful dialogue can be a key practice. “In nature” means that we don’t view nature as an inert backdrop but as participatory in our own evolution. For any practice to be integral it must exercise all the basic waves of being human – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual – in self, culture, and nature.