Sunday, January 18, 2015

Le massacre Charlie Hebdo: a Second Tier Perspective

I am working with the hypothesis that humanity as a whole has been in a state of civil war since the emergence of the orange wave of consciousness as a mass meme five hundred years or so ago.  (For a survey of this period and how the emergence first of orange and then of green has contributed to today’s intermemetic turbulence, see my essay “Three Blind Memes.”)

The key is Wilber’s insight that first tier waves presume that their perspective is the absolute truth; by definition they are not capable of embracing other perspectives.  Therefore these other perspectives, regardless of their actual interrelationship, are at best sources of suspicion and at worst causes of warfare.  Evolution is neither smooth nor linear.  New waves emerge from earlier stages as discontinuities, doing seeming violence to the established order of those older memes.  These disturbances are “built in” to the fabric of evolution, so that what most humans romantically long for as peace—a state of nonviolent equanimity—never seems to materialize.

History records how emergence is never simple, peaceful, or swift.  At least in the first tier the novel features characterizing a new wave make it radically different from that which gave birth to it; thus to the older wave it appears foreign and threatening.  The two co-exist in the same Kosmic space but remain suspicious of each other.  The principle of “transcend and include” means that the newer wave cannot attack the previous wave without doing damage to itself, but the reverse is not true.  Thus while orange has struggled to find its Kosmic groove since its emergence as a mass meme 500 years ago, amber has had the stability from which to oppose orange’s trajectory.

Similarly green faces the twin hostility of both amber and orange, although amber barely notices green, for neutralizing orange will automatically neutralize green.  Orange is the only of the Big Three first tier waves required to fight a two-front war: defending amber’s resistance while attacking green’s drive to transcendence.  Indeed, as the Charlie Hebdo massacre implies, amber and green find common purpose in boxing in orange.