Who or What do You Worship? The purpose of this writing is to lay out different “gods” or objects of worship as an outgrowth and/or expression of the mimetic stage [meme codes within values spheres] of individuals and groups using a rough sketch of the Spiral Dynamics model.
Be forewarned ::: this is serious personal evolution geek stuff.
I am also going to make the unusual move of saying the very premise of what I am about to lay out is inaccurate. That’s right. I am beginning by saying I am wrong in my assertion that there is an individual relationship between mimetic stage and what one “worships”. Why? Because we experience / interpret through and emotionally react from our stage of development—and an individual can therefore have an experience of a particular spirituality or spiritual expression that is the same religion and same “god” as another at a radically different stage and therefore experience it differently. However, I have noticed cultural clumps that gives us enough evidence to make these generalizations below for the purpose of engaging in this thought experiment. To understand some of what I will say in this writing, one must have an at least basic grasp of the Spiral Dynamics model. There are two summaries attached for your downloading HERE and HERE. Source ::: LINK. Review those before reading further.
My favorite way of representing Spiral Dynamics comes from Dr. Claire Graves himself: The memes are “degrees of activation of the nervous system”. These are not types of people but rather ways of thinking that are holarchically emergent within people. Having established all of the above as our foundation...
The status of the world today is precarious.
All we need to do is turn on the television or spend a day reading the New York Times, WaPo, The Wall Street Journal, Instapundit, or google news, to see some article about humans attempting to force their value system—often expressed through religiosity—onto others. Whether you are a Israeli having to worry about your existential existence while others in the name of Allah want to push you to the sea, or a secular humanist fearful of the Christian Right in America and some Nation States in Europe, or you are a secular Jew shaking your head at the expansion of settlements deeper into “Palestine”…or you were a New York Resident who watched the twin towers fall you are probably--to varying degrees—aware of and worried about religious fundamentalism and its perilous impact on the global web of life.
But there are other forms that are not as obvious and are more popularly accepted and advocated in today’s media and the latest social mimetic in vogue.
Regardless of which belief system you call your own, the dangers of religious fundamentalism are undeniable. In all likelihood, you just think it is the fundamentalism of the Other that is dangerous. But what of your own? You may or may not worship a traditional god, but there is a 98% chance you worship something—and have your own attachment and identification to it. Who or what do you worship? It may not be a god, a goddess, or a Great Spirit but it is something. Is it success, achievement, or the all-mighty dollar? Is it Gaia, Mother Earth, the biosphere? Is it the Nation State, government, or the democratic process? What do you surrender your mind to? What are you an activist for? Put your worship into? Become irrational over or about? Deny evidence to the contrary for/of? Once someone says anything is a settled matter—and are closed to debate or dialogue—and go so far as to say that those who do not agree should be tried and hanged, that, my friends, is religious fundamentalism regardless of the form of the deity. In fact, here is an organization advocating Nuremburg-Style Trials for Global Warming Skeptics. Lovely. Lovely example of fundamentalism, that is. Gaia as God/dess. Apparently we are going back to burning people at the stake for being heretics. Only the deity has changed.
Now that I have your attention, the rest of this piece will be a geek-out session of personal evolution and the emergent in spiral dynamics coupled with cultural clumps and the waves a particular god/dess or “deity” is most inclined towards.
Purple or “magic/mythic” will worship nature and the spirits in nature. The trees talk to Purple. So does the wind. They may worship the great Spirit or the Directions and their elements. Red worships power, respect, might, and most notably, blows things up in the name of Allah. Their “gods” may be the gang, the dictator, the Authoritarian State and so on. Blue/Conventional is likely to worship a Christian/Judeo god in a fundamentalist way—taking the bible or the Torah literally. Orange will worship the all-mighty dollar, success, status, and achievement, and/or hard science. Green will worship Gaia or Community or Multiculturalism and "Diversity" with great fervor and no regard for real-world results.
And thus ends Tier 1, where the “Momentous Leap”, as Dr Claire Graves called it, emerges and occurs. At Yellow, or Integral—the first stage in Tier 2, there is little or no “worship”, but rather an appreciation of all forms of worship and all metaphors [yes I said it] for the highest form of consciousness; what some refer to as “God” or Goddess”.
Having said all that, it is possible for someone to rise through these emergent stages in one of any of the religions or forms of worship listed above—but the way they interpret it moves from maniacal and fervent to literal to obedient to questioning to rejecting to appreciating it for its metaphorical value--yet having choice around it. And as one rises through those waves, stages, or levels of development in relationship to it, its grasp and its “Truth-ness” becomes less and less rigid and less and less fundamentalist and therefore less and less violent both physically and metaphorically. We hold our beliefs less rigidly and in relationship with them, our beliefs do not hold onto us quite so rigidly either. They lose their grip on us.
So…who—or what—do you worship? Each memetic stage in the evolution of values [another way of thinking about and representing SD] has its own fixation and spiritual expression. Is it God? Jehovah? Allah? Is it the Market? is it Gaia? Is it Community or the State?
Consider this ::: your view, while accurate and valid, is incomplete. It is partial. It must be. They all are. I look forward to a day when we can all truly appreciate the value and beauty in all beliefs while creating a stable and sustainable dialogue between all of them as we transcend our fundamentalism in all forms and create an Integral and integrated world.