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Issue #1401 - Sunday and Monday - April 14-15, 2003 - Editor: Jerry

Photo by Al Larus, submitted to NDS

Live Journal

Find this on your map of consciousness and stick a pin in it: The
empty space in which nothing is known, is a place without details,
form, shape, feel, without anything that can be described
accurately -- to say an I lives there is to say there is an I to
fill that space.

In that space, questions and answers are the same. This place of
emptiness and being is a place of fullness. It is full of the womb
of existence. Out of it everything comes and into it one can reach
and pull out what is needed. Any feeling of power, higher
consciousness, god, is not it, it is only something you sang a
lullabye to. It is more existence. More sleep.

You say there are relationships, responsibilities. Look at what
you're looking after. Realize how you brought the unreleasables
into your life. Realize that they are like rashes on your skin or
inflammation within your body. See how they have arisen. Bear
witness to them.

Don't just intellectually know or understand this, but actually
recognize it. Don't merely pick-up on the scent of the trail that
intuition traverses, but clutch and be clutched. When you go beyond
knowing to where knowledge knows you, you see the dance between you
and the source of you.

If you are now struggling with situations in life in a way that
arises out of failing to see beyond intellectual recognition and
understanding, then you will be led down avenues that seem to
promise release. Be aware of the opening of any avenue and of any
strolling along the avenue. The best avenues will be named 'you'
and the neighborhood will look exactly as your life does now.

Look up. The dome of the sky is the empty space in which nothing is
known, a place without details, form, shape, feel, without anything
that can be described accurately -- to say an I lives there is to
say there is an I to fill that space. Look at your map of
consciousness now, baby. All the pins are gone.

Daily Dharma

"'While I of course remember various insights and
revelations, on the whole my spiritual life has been a
process of years and years of consciousness opening,
This process simply has to be respected and
encouraged. If I pay attention to what is happening
inside, what wants to open next, it will always
intensify. And as I sense each new capacity, I also
discover what is in the way, preventing my opening. So
if I sense my compassion is growing. I also encounter
the doubts and resistances that stop me from really
living in compassion. Acknowledging this becomes the
next step in the process of opening.

Even though we know the truth, we have to work through
the holding and beliefs that keep us limited. For a
long time you have to keep this opening process going
by paying attention. But you reach a point where it
goes on by itself. There's no turning back because you
know what it is to rest in True Being, to trust, even
though you fall back into resistance sometimes.
Because you know this is who you are, your
understanding can't disappear.'"
~A Sufi master

From the book, "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry,"
written by Jack Kornfield, published by Harper

"When speech is silenced, all movements stilled, every sight and sound
vanished - 'then' is the Buddha's work of deliverance truly going
forward!... Hills are hills. Water is water. Monks are monks. Laymen are
laymen. But these mountains, these rivers, the whole world itself,
together with sun, moon and stars - not one of them exists outside your
minds! ... Outside Mind, there is nothing! The green hills which
everywhere meet your gaze and that void sky that you see glistening
above the earth - not a hairsbreadth of any of them exists outside the
concepts you have formed for yourself! So it is that every single sight
and sound is but the Buddha's Eye of Wisdom." ~Huang Po

From the book, "The Zen Teachings of Huang Po," translated by John
Blofeld, published by Grove Press.

  Spiritually Incorrect
Dan Wakefield
Spa Spirituality
This spa regular sees community as the core of his spiritual experience there.
"Spa spirituality" is usually thought of as the natural consequence of taking a healthy break from daily routines and recharging mind, body, and soul, aided by the kind of classes most spas today provide in meditation and spiritual disciplines like t'ai-chi and yoga. Time for the nurture and nourishment of self and spirit is the legitimate lure of a spa vacation. Community is rarely thought of as one of the benefits of a spa, yet I think it's one of the most rewarding aspects of the experience.

Home Is Where
the Spa Is
Do-It-Yourself Day Spa

Since 1985, I've been going to the destination spa Rancho La Puerta, just below the border in Tecate, Mexico. I've often joked that I love it because it reminds me of Camp Chank-tun-un-gi, a Boy Scout camp in Indiana where I spent many summers. In fact, there are many true parallels in both experiences--not just the hiking and physical exercise but also the sense of camaraderie, the community spirit that arises among people who haven't known one another before but have come to a particular place with similar agendas.

There are no creeds, chants, or liturgies; the text is in the rocks and flowers that border the hiking trails on Mt. Cuchama.

Most people don't go to spas to meet people. The gender ratio is overwhelmingly female. Women don't go looking for a mate but are more likely to see it as a place to relax from such concerns. The men who go understand--or soon learn--that the women are not there to impress or please them. If anything, they want to take a break from all that.

(Still, when men and women are in the same place, romantic connections sometimes occur. Digby Diehl, the writer and former editor of The Los Angeles Times Book Review, met his wife at Rancho. And, on one of my trips there, I met a woman with whom I carried on a bicoastal romance for several years. I remain friends with her and her family, who are all Ranch returnees. But those cases are exceptions to the rule.)

Dan Wakefield's book "New York in the Fifties" is the basis of a documentary film shown on The Sundance Channel. Visit his website.

The common experience of Rancho is meeting people just as they are, without pretension, makeup, or starch, sweating in T-shirts and shorts, layered with dust from the mountain hike, sharing similar sensations of aching limbs, sore feet, and heavy breathing. You also see these same people transformed, emerging from showers, Jacuzzis, and saunas, smiling and fresh on the way to dinner.

Home Is Where
the Spa Is
Do-It-Yourself Day Spa

Unless you "vant to be alone," Garbo-like, or choose to be only with whomever you came with, you are seated at a big round table for six or eight, maybe all strangers before the meal, or people you met on the morning's hike or in yoga class or circuit training.

Meeting in this informal way, eating and talking, hiking and exercising together in a beautiful place, away from business and domestic duties, creates a natural bond, possibly a quicker and deeper one than is likely to come in places where you have to always look your best, be on guard, wary, and protective.

True spirituality is in community.

There is also the underlying, unspoken bond of choosing to come here, a place that some of your friends and fellow workers and maybe even family find superfluous or silly or boring or beside the point. There are people here you surely disagree with about religion or politics or ethics or aesthetics, but simply by being here you all share a faith in the value of what the place offers.

None of that needs to be spoken, and I realize that much of what I find spiritual here is not on the verbal level. There are no creeds, chants, or liturgies; the text is in the rocks and flowers that border the hiking trails on Mt. Cuchama; in the stretch of limbs in the triangle pose; or the crossed legs of those who come at noon to sit in the meditation room.

None of this is done in isolation, not even the morning hike, for it's dangerous to go on the mountain by yourself because of the snakes. You are not alone as you reach for the sky in the sun salute that opens yoga class, or rush from stationery bike to treadmill in circuit training, for bodies of all shapes, sizes, genders, and hues are breathing and sweating around you, striving as you are, alone and together, under the same mountain, the same sun.

Communion is in the Silent Dinner held one night of each week, when anyone can sign up to go to a dining room where guests eat without speaking. You may smile or even laugh, make eye contact or simply concentrate on your food, but no words are spoken; you are alone to fully taste the food and be with your own thoughts, at the same time sharing this time and place and meal with others who are joined in a common enterprise, an exploration of sense and spirit.

Afterward, there is an opportunity to speak of what you experienced, and that too deepens the bond of those around the table. Just as prayer in community is different than praying alone, the silent dinner is a far different experience than eating alone; it provides an enriching sense of connection and support.

Home Is Where
the Spa Is
Do-It-Yourself Day Spa

When I first became aware of the concept of "a spiritual path," I thought the highest, most desired form of spirituality was symbolized by the image of a lone monk on a mountaintop--the isolated holy man communing only with God. In the course of time and experience, I have turned 180 degrees to the belief that true spirituality is in community.

More than 50 years ago, I enjoyed the community of boys engaged in outdoor physical activities at scout camp, where friendships were forged and our spirits lifted by a common sense of adventure. Now I go to Rancho La Puerta and find similar rewards of spirit as well as physical health, all of it enhanced by the sense of community, of shared experience.

At dinner on the last night, addresses are exchanged with promises to meet on trips ("If you get to New York, you must...") or again at Rancho, some signing up to come same time, next year, to renew the newly made bonds. In seven days of shared activity, a community is created, a spirit is born, one that adds a rich new dimension to your life.  

To Fight or Not to Fight? The Bhagavad Gita and the Iraq War
Does God ever want people to fight? Understanding the Hindu epic's complex teachings on nonviolence and war.

By Swami B.V. Tripurari (Bio)

The author of Bhagavad Gita: Its Feeling and Philosophy answers questions about "Operation Iraqi Freedom" from the Hindu scripture's perspective.

In the Bhagavad Gita, God tells the soldier Arjuna to fight a battle even though Arjuna feels guilty about the war and uncertain about whether it is right. God (in the form of Krishna) says fighting is Arjuna's dharma, duty. How should we apply the Gita's wisdom to the current situation in Iraq?

Qualified violence is an unavoidable reality of this world, even when we view the world from a religious perspective. Everyone embraces the principle of qualified violence on some level. Any sensitive person can feel, however subtle, the spirit of violence behind even the peace protestor's outrage as they chant for peace or denounce those in favor of war.

We live in the human drama at the cost of others. One living being is food for another. In this plane we must kill in order to live, however politely. To do so politely only when absolutely necessary is the religious course of action. Beyond this, the spiritual path leads to the land of the soul proper and absolute nonviolence.

Those noble souls who seek complete nonviolence must look beyond the material world, and even the religious world, to this realm of the soul to realize their ideal.

In the Gita, Krishna instructs Arjuna on these two levels: the religious and the spiritual, with the former leading to the latter.

From the religious point of view, in which one sees oneself as a member of a world belonging to God under whose guidance one should live, Krishna tells Arjuna that there is a place for violence when diplomacy fails. Krishna also says that there should be a class of men and women who at such times engage in the unsavory task of dealing with inappropriate aggression. Arjuna was a member of this military class. Thus it was his duty to stand up militarily against aggression and tyranny.

From the spiritual point of view, in which one sees oneself as categorically different from matter--a particle of consciousness and thus not identified with any particular class, nation, religion, etc.--Krishna tells Arjuna to declare war on his material ego, his identification with matter. Only by following this instruction of Krishna will Arjuna realize absolute nonviolence, transcending all varieties of exploitation.

Ultimately, the task that the Gita lays before us is to slay our attachments and extinguish the material desire that generates the human drama. It asks us to die an ego death if we are to live without struggle--to be free from violence and all forms of exploitation. Our identification with matter, our material ego, must die if our soul is to have a life of its own.

This is what Krishna asks of Arjuna: to slay his material ego. While Arjuna, due to his material attachments and subsequent identity based on those attachments, first hears Krishna asking him to fight against his own relatives, ultimately he understands that Krishna is asking him to slay his attachments and thus free his soul from the material sense of reality, in which violence is unavoidable.

Based on the teachings of the Gita, it seems justifiable in the current world situation to take steps to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and to free those living under the tyranny and torture of Saddam Hussein, if indeed Iraq has such weapons and its people are suffering from horrendous violations of human rights under Saddam's reign. The Gita opines that, should diplomacy fail, violent means are justifiable.

The Gita, however, speaks only in principle on the issue of qualified violence. The current world crisis is far too complex to expect the Gita to provide a specific answer on how to proceed, militarily or otherwise. Scripture does not provide pat answers for every human circumstance. It provides revealed knowledge--as to the nature of God, the self, and its material predicament--that can help individuals make decisions about every aspect of human existence by considering the nature of ultimate reality.

What are the responsibilities of Iraqi and American leaders and soldiers, dharmically speaking?

The Gita teaches that a warrior who fights for a just cause is acting religiously, and he or she will benefit spiritually by such fighting. It suggests that there must be rules of war, especially with regard to innocent civilians. If what we hear is true with regard to the cruelty of Saddam Hussein's regime towards its own dependents, and the regime has lied to the U.N. and in fact possesses weapons of mass destruction that it intends to eventually use in acts of aggression, those coalition forces fighting to free innocent people from this regime's reign of terror are on the side of dharma. In this scenario, the best thing the Iraqi solders can do is to join the coalition forces and revolt against Saddam Hussein.

If, on the other hand, as some media sources report, the coalition forces are motivated primarily by the desire to rule Iraq and its oil and Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction or intention to acquire them for terrorist purposes, the coalition forces are not on the side of dharma and would do best to desist from their military campaign, while Iraqi soldiers now dying in battle are martyrs.

What spiritual solace can the Gita offer us in the midst of this particular war?

The Gita offers the greatest solace to all of us in its advocacy of absolute nonviolence and its explanation as to how to attain this noble ideal. The present world crisis should serve as negative impetus to pursue this ideal at any cost. My article target="_new">The Play of Violence explains the concept of absolute nonviolence in considerable detail and the Gita's advocacy of this purely spiritual concept.

The War In Iraq

Ken Wilber

Hello friends,

Allow me to make a few comments on a situation about which virtually nothing can be said, or heard, with any sort of equanimity: the war in Iraq.

For many years—actually, for about 3 decades—I have respectfully declined any sort of in-depth interview about my work, simply because I did not want my person to be the point; I wanted the ideas themselves to be the point, and so I have kept a very low public profile (as I'm sure I don't have to tell most of you).

Starting a year or two ago, I made an exception for my friend Jordan Gruber, who did a terrific job producing Speaking of Everything. I had long promised another friend of mine, Tami Simon, of Sounds True (the largest audio producer in the world), that if I ever did a full interview about my work, I would do so with her and Sounds True. Tami is a remarkable woman, one of my favorite people anywhere. So last month I said, what the heck, let's do it. Tami and her crew came over to my loft in Denver, and for 4 or 5 days we recorded approximately 20 hours of material, basically covering all the essentials: quadrants, levels, lines, states, types; plus all the requisite personal, embarrassing, humiliating stuff that goes with this sort of thing (:-). Sometime this fall, Tami is planning on bringing out a 10 CD set of this material, called, I think, Kosmic Consciousness, which is all 20 of those hours, for those of you so disturbed as to find that possibility interesting.

During the course of that long discussion, the topic naturally turned to the war in Iraq: what it might mean, why it might be occurring, what the role of protest is, and so on. Up to this time, I have made one basic statement on the Middle East situation—"The Destruction of the World Trade Center" [posted on this site]—and that statement still contains my general orientation to this (or any) war. When I was asked to make a specific statement on the present war in Iraq, I released only the following:

(KEN: do you have anything you would like to add since you wrote "Deconstructing the World Trade Center?")

no, but just remember: if you are green, you are against the war. but if you are against the war, you are not necessarily green. there are second-tier reasons not to go to war. but there are also second-tier reasons to go to war. green doesn't have a choice--it won't go. second tier has a choice, so weigh the evidence carefully. second tier might indeed recommend war, it might not. but you can check and see if you are "merely" green by asking under what conditions you would recommend war. if you can't think of any, ahem, welcome to green. still, the issue is enormously complicated, even through integral lens, so again, weigh the evidence carefully.

the problem with this discussion at large is that it is entirely first-tier. blue says bomb the hell out of the evil ones; orange says, okay, but hurry, because it's hurting the stock market; green says, no way, let's be loving. first tier has such a hard time seeing big pictures, so it moves around within the partial value structures that define it. this is a discussion that i have stayed out of since doing WTC essay. it's just a big first-tier food fight.

unfortunately, the world needs integral action. unfortunately, it will not get it, whether we go to war or not. still, better to light one candle than curse the darkness. so we work on ourselves and attempt to increase our own integral consciousness to some degree each day, so that in the end we leave the world just a little bit more whole than we found it.

I am going to make a few more statements now, not because I believe saner voices can be heard, and not because I believe I have a saner voice, but simply because the insane voices are so shrill, a few more worthless words can't hurt anything now.

Let me start by repeating a question Tami asked me. We had finished the "first half" of the interview, which covered the theoretical material, and we were now talking about its applications in the real world, nothing of which is more real than war. Tami asked, "If you could arrange the world situation, what would you do? What is your Utopian vision of how to handle war?"

As I often do, I used the terms from Don Beck's Spiral Dynamics Integral to make a few points. As students of my work know, in my opinion Spiral Dynamics focuses on one developmental line—that of values (vMemes)—among at least two dozen other developmental lines (cognitive, interpersonal, psychosexual, mathematical, kinesthetic, etc.). But it is such an important line, and one that is easily grasped, that it makes a terrific introductory view. Don has also situated this stream in an AQAL framework (which he also calls 4Q/8L, "four quadrants, 8 levels in the line"), to produce Spiral Dynamics Integral, a wonderful version of an integral psychology. Of course, I am here speaking neither for Don nor Spiral Dynamics, but for my own integral psychology, but happily using a few SDi terms to get the points across.

As a utopian point of departure in response to Tami's question, I therefore suggested a few things about what a world governance system operating at yellow might look like. "Yellow" is the level of consciousness at which "second tier" or truly integral awareness begins to emerge. It is thus contrasted with the previous 6 levels or vMemes—which are called first tier, each of which believes that its value system is the only true, correct, or deeply worthwhile value system in existence. Those first-tier waves are, very briefly: beige: instinctual; purple: magical-animistic, tribal; red: egocentric, power, feudalistic; blue: mythic-membership, conformist, fundamentalist, ethnocentric, traditional; orange: excellence, achievement, progress, modern; green: postmodern, multicultural, sensitive, pluralistic.

Those first-tier waves of development are followed by what Clare Graves called "the momentous leap of meaning" to second tier, which has, as of today, two major levels or waves of awareness: yellow: systemic, flexible, flowing; turquoise: cosmic unity, integrative, nested hierarchies of interrelationships, one-in-many holism. The point of the utopian discussion was simply: what might a world be like whose center of gravity was second tier? In the following I will often use the terms "second tier," "integral," "yellow," and "turquoise" interchangeably; the points I want to make are very general.

The reason that Graves called second tier a "momentous leap" is that unlike all first-tier waves (which imagine their values are the only correct values), second tier has an understanding of the crucial if relative importance of all previous values—including red, blue, orange, and green. Orange thinks green is mindless; green despises orange; blue thinks both of them are going to burn in hell forever. Yellow, on the other hand, finds all of them necessary and acceptable, as long as none of them gets the upper hand and starts repressing the others. This, needless to say, would have a profound influence on any World Federation operating from yellow or second tier values (as we will see).

There are two basic points to keep in mind about any future world governance system. The first is that laws, to be laws, are enacted from the highest average expectable level of development in the governance system. In today's world, for example, most of the laws in Western democracies stem from the orange level: worldcentric, postconventional, and modern (or, as our French friends first expressed the orange meme 300 years ago: equality, fraternity, liberty). Many countries continue to operate basically at a blue level: conformist, non-democratic (dictatorial or totalitarian), grounded not in evidence but in dogma (Marxist, Muslim, or otherwise), and ethnocentric (believe the Book or burn). Some terrorist cells (not to mention street gangs) remain at red: hierarchies of raw power and physical strength, implemented often by torture, rape, or any means necessary to keep a particular warlord in power. Although structures such as red and blue might sound rather brutal, and often are, they have to be seen in context: they are usually the best that can be arranged under the given circumstances and conditions.

So we are asking, what would a world governance system—a World Federation—look like if it operated from second tier, and implemented its basic laws from a yellow (or higher) center of gravity? But before we address that, there is the second basic item to keep in mind, namely: no matter how highly developed a society might be—including one whose center of gravity is yellow—nonetheless everybody in that (or any) society is still born at square one. Just because a society is "yellow" does mean everybody in that society will be yellow; on the contrary, very few will be, at least at first, just as today in our "orange" societies, not everybody is at orange; in fact, at least half of the adult population pre-orange (purple, red, blue). It is simply that our laws stem mostly from orange.

That means that, even in an "integral society" (yellow or higher), there will still be pockets or subcultures of individuals at purple, red, blue, orange, and green. This is not only unavoidable, it is healthy, normal, desirable. What is not desirable, however, is that any of those waves dominate the governance system and therefore attempt to force their values on others—whether those are red values, blue values, or green values. A yellow society, in short, would have laws that basically stem from that second-tier level of consciousness. And the basic defining characteristic of yellow is that it accepts all previous values without letting any of them repress or dominate others.

A second-tier, integral, World Federation—in my utopian view—would therefore prevent any first-tier memes from dominating, attacking, or exploiting any other populations. If necessary, a World Federation would do so by using police force, just as all democracies today have an internal police force to curtail murder, rape, robbery, extortion, and so on. Somebody whose center of gravity is green will not commit murder, rape, or robbery. However, somebody whose center of gravity is red will do any or all of those, sometimes happily. And because everybody is born at square one, and must progress through purple, red, blue, and so on, some sort of police will always be necessary to protect others from those who do not evolve to a worldcentric level of care and compassion.

So any World Federation would have some sort of police force, of necessity. Call them the World Cops. Needless to say, the World Cops would be regulated by the World Federation, not by any country (and certainly not by America, Britain, France, Germany, etc.).

This police force is NOT allowed to tell people what level of consciousness they should be at; it is NOT allowed to govern what individuals do in the privacy of their own homes or dwellings; it is NOT allowed to coerce or intimidate people who are not at the average level of social development. It is, however, allowed to prevent (or punish) those whose public behavior stems from a less-than-worldcentric stance. For example, if in the privacy of my own home, I wish to think about burning at the stake all people who do not accept Jesus as their personal savior, that is my right. However, if I actually shoot you because you do not believe in Jesus, then the State—in this case, the World Federation—can arrest and incarcerate me.

The simple rule, already implicitly used by all worldcentric governance systems (i.e., at orange or higher, including Germany, France, America, Britain, Japan, etc.) is this: in the Left-Hand domain, think what you like; but in the Right-Hand domain, physically behave according to worldcentric law or you can be removed from the public sphere.

As we were saying, in Western democracies, the "law of the land" is largely orange; in the last 30 years, this has been supplemented with an increasing number of laws drawn from the green wave, including equality-in-the-workplace laws, healthcare freedom laws, and (anti)hate laws. Those mean, for example, that you are allowed to hate homosexuals (in the privacy of your own Left-Hand mind), but if you publicly (Right-Hand) express that hatred (e.g., through hate speech), there are penalties for doing so. Thus, in many Western democracies, free speech (a classic orange value, and, in this country, a First Amendment freedom) has often been supplemented with limitations on free speech (a classic green value: green wishes to limit speech not in accord with its values). My only point is that both of those express the implicit rule I stated in the previous paragraph.

An Integral World Federation would therefore, in that regard, be no different: one could think whatever one wanted; but one must behave according to laws stemming from the center of gravity of the governance system, in this case, yellow. That is, the values embedded in the "law of the land" would not be orange or green but yellow or integral; not first tier, but second tier. Accordingly, although individuals are again allowed to think or believe whatever they want (Left-Hand), their public behavior (Right-Hand) would be regulated according to yellow (or higher) standards. Because the major stance of yellow is integrative, this means all first-tier value systems would have a respected place, but no first-tier values would be allowed to colonize others.

This would mean, for example, that America is allowed to despise Iraq (in the privacy of its own Left-Hand, national, cultural space). America is not, however, allowed to attack Iraq (in the Right-Hand, public, international commons).

But that is only half the story of what would not be allowed by an Integral World Federation. Saddam Hussein, by conservative and uncontested estimates, has murdered approximately 200,000 Kurds and another 200,000 of his own people, often after torturing, raping, or gassing them. Any Integral World Federation would, through use of force if necessary, prevent both of those actions. Neither of those actions meet yellow standards and therefore neither would be allowed under yellow world law. America's invasion of Iraq meets certain blue-to-orange standards; and the action of Saddam Hussein meets certain red standards. Neither of them would be allowed by an Integral World Federation.

Moreover, it goes without saying that the World Federation would itself invade and police Iraq if incontrovertible evidence of mass homicide was presented at a World Federation hearing. Mass homicide anywhere violates worldcentric values. Saddam Hussein is allowed to hate the Kurds (in the privacy of his own red-meme mind); he is not allowed to gas 200,000 of them. If he did so, the World Federation police would use military action to prevent Saddam Hussein from continuing to do so, if he did not voluntarily cease and desist immediately.

For the same reasons, I personally believe that any protest movement that does not equally protest both America's invasion and Saddam's murder of 400,000 people is a protest movement that does not truly represent peace or non-aggression or worldcentric values.

I am aware of no major protest movement that has protested both forms of violence equally, and that has insisted upon an immediate end to both aggressions, and offered a believable way that both aggressions could actually be halted immediately so that neither side can continue its homicidal actions.

That is, I am aware of no integral protest movement anywhere in the world, unfortunately.

There are instead mainly pockets of blue, orange, and green values, all at each others' throats. There is no mistaking Mr. Bush's values: they are essentially blue-to-orange. It is the deeply fundamentalistic, absolutistic values of Bush that alarm many other governments (particularly those of France, Germany, and Russia), and understandably so. The blue wave typically divides the world into good vs. evil, and has an unshakable (if ethnocentric) sense of right and wrong. Bush's "axis of evil" is classic blue. The worst that can be said of Bush's essentially blue approach is that, indeed, it is deeply ethnocentric and imperialistic. The best that can be said is that it takes blue to curtail red, and Bush's actions are serving the larger Spiral by rooting out pockets of red terrorism.

The other major faction in the debate is essentially representing green-meme values. The green wave—what Clare Graves called "the sensitive self"—wishes to end all war, and thus must see itself as anti-war under virtually any circumstances. Because it often takes war to end war (e.g.. it takes WWII to end Auschwitz), green is often paralyzed in the face of real world aggression, insisting on lying down in front of Nazi tanks, as if that would actually stop them. But as long as green can see itself protesting aggression, it is relatively content. The worst that can be said of these protesters is that they are essentially "Saddam enablers" (in exactly the same way that Neville Chamberlain was a Hitler enabler). The best that can be said is that these individuals serve the larger Spiral by sensitizing more people to the horrors of aggression.

What has struck me in the highly emotional debates about the war in Iraq is how deeply the entire discussion is sunk in first-tier value fights. Both the blue-to-orange Bush supporters, and the orange-to-green media (and protesters) give wildly skewed, biased, and prejudiced accounts of the events. I am constantly taken aback by how brutally narrow a given perspective is, even (and sometimes especially) those claiming to be caring and inclusive and compassionate. There is plenty of truth on each side of the debate, just not the whole truth, which both sides vociferously claim to possess.

I long for a discussion where integral openness can flourish. I long for a group of world leaders who can see a bigger picture, a bigger picture that really does allow all value systems to arise, but only worldcentric behavior to be tolerated. I long for this silly utopian view of a World Federation, where "everybody is right" but only if some are more right that others (e.g., worldcentric is more right than ethnocentric; see excerpt B, "Three Principles Helpful for Any Integrative Approach" [posted on this site]). I long for the freedom and fullness of integral awareness shared by as many sentient beings as possible. I long for a time when an integral value is not hated by both green and blue. But, alas, I am doomed to long largely in isolation, it seems.

Still, the world has to do what the world has to do. My own belief is that, in the coming century, we will see the present United Nations peacefully replaced by the first move toward a genuine World Federation, driven particularly by threats to the global commons that cannot be handled on a national level (such as terrorism, global monetary and economic policy, and environmental threats to the global commons).

I believe that the first World Federation will likely be orange-to-green. My hope is that it will be healthy green, but who knows? I believe that any such green World Federation will make substantial strides toward world harmony, but it will eventually face the inherent limitations and contradictions of all first-tier perspectives. The equivalent of worldwide, politically-correct thought-police will surface—a green Inquisition, if you will—whose subtle brutalities, accompanied by a series of extremely unpleasant events, will force a second-tier, yellow, World Federation to move haltingly into place. But that, I believe, will be at least a century or so away.

Until that time—and given that today no government, no protest movement, and no national or international policy is yet integral—one is forced to ask: what can I personally do in the face of today's dire circumstances? Here I can only repeat what I said in my earlier comment, and I do mean this with deep conviction:

unfortunately, the world needs integral action. unfortunately, it will not get it, whether we go to war or not. still, better to light one candle than curse the darkness. so we work on ourselves and attempt to increase our own integral consciousness to some degree each day, so that in the end we leave the world just a little bit more whole than we found it...

14 april, 2003.

From Spiritual Instruction of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi
1. What are the marks of a real teacher (Sadguru)?

Steady abidance in the Self, looking at all with an equal eye, unshakeable courage at all times, in all places and circumstances, etc.

2. What are the marks of an earnest disciple (sadsisya)?

An intense longing for the removal of sorrow and attainment of joy and an intense aversion for all kinds of mundane pleasure.

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