Here you can find your main meme, your centre of gravity and then perceive or open the door towards your future and get a glimpse of what the future holds for you. Take a look at the coloured statements and see what fits you best.
If you need clarification you can read more here too about the knowledge base of memes.
Our level of development, our understanding, our world view, values and perspectives are described in developmental psychology and Spiral Dynamics in steps or levels.
Here is a short test to find your meme by checking which belief is closest to you.
Through evolution life manifests an increasing complexity, the same goes for our personal development as for the development of organizations and society. In developmental psychology these steps have been divided differently with different names by different researches, but the process is still the same.
Ken Wilber has compared these and shown analogies between the different models in his AQAL model (here). In Spiral Dynamics these steps are described as memes with a colour tag for each level (See the colour lines above).
In the same way that genes drive evolution in biology by selection and replication, memes drive evolution in society and culture. When people select and copy the thing they select gains territory and can eventually become the dominating trend. People can copy what they like that others have or do, what they buy or believe, their worldview or values etc. Research has shown that these selections drives evolution step by step as society gets more advanced. Clare Graves researched these sequences over 30 years through qualitative research with interviews and observations. He concluded that these changes, follows a sequence with eight steps (1,2).
Things that happens in peoples life make them progress or regress, but according to Spiral Dynamics it will be along the same line with the same sequence up or down the string of memes. This progression is named with a sequence of colours; beige, purple, red, blue, orange, green, yellow, turquoise and there are even a coral and teal levels that are under exploration. (The dominating in the world today are in bold)
It is the guru of the scientists, Richard Dawkins who is said to have “invented” the term meme in his book about the Selfish Gene (1976), but already in 1904 Richard Semon published the book Die Mneme and that term was also used in Maurice Maeterlinkck´s The Life of the White Ant (1926). They all use the term in very similar ways.
The phenomenon that certain trends or values dominate art, culture and society over a period is even older. Philosophers as Spencer, Voltaire, Goethe, Herder and Hegel all spoke of zeitgeist or “timespirit”; “spirit of the age” or “spirit of the times”.
These “spirits” in esoteric circles are regarded as spiritual entities influencing human kind stimulating their development and awareness in a particular direction over a set time, to let the next spirit then take their place.
Others explain these phenomena as set cycles of different length that influence periods in history almost like seasons or the 7 days of the week, or 12 stages of the zodiac.
The observation of the phenomenon that certain qualities penetrate many aspects of culture and society and dominate during an epoch or limited time is the same even if the name or explanation is different.
To use Clare Graves own words: “Briefly, what I am proposing is that the psychology of the mature human being is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating spiraling process marked by progressive subordination of older, lower-order behaviour systems to newer, higher-order systems as an individual’s existential problems change. Each successive stage, wave, or level of existence is a state through which people pass on their way to other states of being. When the human is centralized in one state of existence he or she has a psychology which is particular to that state. His or her feelings, motivations, ethics and values, biochemistry, degree of neurological activation, learning system, belief systems, conception of mental health, ideas as to what mental illness is and how it should be treated, conceptions of and preferences for management, education, economics, and political theory and practice are all appropriate to that state.”
Back to the memes let us look at some keywords that can described them further:
1. Beige: A handful of humans living archaic and instinctual concerned about basic survival
2. Purple: A tribe living magical and animistic. Concerned about keeping the tribe ethnic and even safe from other neighbour tribes also concerned about magic spirits to influence good and bad in their lives.
3. Red: A city state or small province concerned about keeping it safe and believing in Power Gods. Archetypal gods and goddesses doing heroic things to inspire them in their challenges.
4. Blue: A nation with mythic order (religious, philosophical or political). Concerned about the meaning, direction, and purpose of life. The state myth decide what is right and wrong.
5. Orange: Multinational unions, trade units and cooperation. Concerned about financial safety and profit as well as Scientific Achievement, seeking rational truth and meaning.
6. Green: Global awareness. Concerned about global safety and all living beings. The feelings and caring of community with all living supersede cold rationality. The individual has peaked rationality and become a Sensitive Self able to put the benefit of all in front of his own needs.
7. Yellow: Solar system inter-planetary. Concerned about integrating all life and all human activity. Using pattern recognition and abstraction with flexibility, spontaneity, and functionality to recognise universal principles.
8. Turquoise: Universal. The universe is not only alive but also aware. Concerned about coherence with higher awareness and the brotherhood of man. Holistic, holonity and unity. Not only understanding and living but being aware through holonistic unification.
As you can see humans through history develops meme by meme. The first humans were all in the Beige meme, as humans developed new levels of expression and awareness manifested new memes. Today the memes can be said to be distributed more or less like this:
The red meme is strong were there is war, or strong conflicts between different religions or ethnic groups. The blue meme is were one strong leader be it political or religious rules in a dictatorial way without democracy or accepted or legal alternatives. In the blue meme there is One truth.
In the western world the orange meme dominates and money defines the fight for the marked, monopoly, trade deals and multinational companies. The financial driven control of the information flow and the fabrication of meaning (astroturfing) is the signs of the orange meme approaching its end.
This lack of consideration of different opinions is the birth of the green meme were consideration, cooperation and sustainability is becoming a basic obvious attitude. Only amongst spiritual seekers and the most lucky or blest people with resources for further development we see the manifestations of higher memes.
While there was a loose metaphor behind the colours to make them memorable, Cowan didn’t intend any metaphysical significance or derive the colours from chakras or any other system. The ordering was deliberately picked to differ from the visible light spectrum, though there has been complaints. The express-the-self systems (odd numbers) got warm colours—beige, red, orange, yellow, coral, etc. The sacrifice/deny-the-self systems were all assigned cool colours—purple, blue, green turquoise, etc.
( see FAQ Colors and Terminology from spiraldynamics.org).
Modern society has a dominance of blue, orange and green. Blue having been the dominant over the last centuries and is now decreasing, orange dominating today and green starting to grow and opening the door to the future.
Let us look closer at these three since it is most likely you belong to one of them.
The blue meme person has a set belief system and is very convinced it is the right one and the only right one. Their form of Christianity or Islam is obviously the only right form, or they could be Theosophs or Antroposophs with a strong conviction of being the only ones seeing the world in the right way, the obvious only right way.
Today this perspective on life is about to be out dated. It could even be said to be pre-modern representing the same approach as Victorian morality and religious convention that dominated the world a few centuries ago.
The state and religion are one in the blue meme. The worst expression of it is in fundamentalism and religious repression. The blue meme think; If you are a follower of our church/temple/mosque/synagogue etc your are accepted, if not you will never really be within range of any honourable position and always be suspected.
The blue meme at its best is full of optimism. It represented a time in history with expansion throughout the world. Exploration, colonialism and missionary activity as well as through the international exhibitions. They were initiated by Queen Victoria´s husband Prince Albert and developed exchanges between nation stimulating industry, art and design, trade, tourism, education an more. This can be considered as building a bridge into the next meme, the orange. Colonialization confronted the invaders with different world views and languages. Mapping the world, inventing a common taxonomy of nature etc. are all orange meme activities growing out of the blue.
Some fundamentalistic religious areas in different countries and some totalitarian states are still predominately blue meme. It used to dominate much more but it is starting to loos out.
The orange meme represents modernism with mechanical inventions, industrialization and urbanization. It has rational thinking with advances in science and rapid changes in society and social life. The orange meme gives us new invention and ideas, new modes of expression, experimentation and all kinds of experiments. Just try it out, see if it works is a typical attitude, or every man has right for his own opinion as a reaction to the blue meme. Here liberalism and opportunism lives hand in hand with marketing, branding and financial play rules leading to competition of the profit and marked. This give us multinational industry trying to get monopoly. In the orange meme money rules and everybody should be able to do more or less what they want etc.
With monopoly and multi-nationality the step from single individuals to bigger groups of people approaches the green meme. What is called post-modern can be viewed as an end stage of the orange or a transition towards green.
It represents advertising evolving into mass-mediated consumerist, fake news and astroturfing in its worst aspect. Here financial interests plays with peoples minds on a global level without any moral door guard.
With the internet the old-worlds boundaries and borders are challenged and cross cultural phenomena are mixing; copy, cut and paste, sampling and downloading are challenging hegemonies, morality and legality. Definitions and identities are challenged, national cultures and languages are challenged by a global English-meta-language and smileys and other ideograms.
In this end stage of the orange meme the ego is peaking with self-awareness, everybody can make TV or radio with YouTube or podcast what ever they want. Everybody is advertising themselves hunting for “likes” and followers. When everybody can broadcast themselves the empty, shallow expressions with no consideration other than fame and profit get revealed and stimulates toward the green meme.
This collective autonomy of publishing creates on one side fragmentation and multiple, conflicting information chunks, web-discussions, web-trolls and skeptics trying to manipulate the truth and running Wikipedia with the blue meme (regression from orange). On the positive side the web is an inter-connected drive engine towards one world. Printed media becomes hypermedia and all information gets inter-connected globally in a place where the respect for every voice will come, as we enter the green meme.
We also see the braking up of the blue-meme where family units are turning into single individuals, with the obvious rights to be themselves uniting with whom they feel like, in units that they decide themselves. When this opens the door to any sexual identity, any coupling or family unit we are left with the love and care between people of the green meme.
The inter-net exposes the shadow side of sexuality and forces the individual to look at the animal within. The animal representing our drives to be close to others, near loved ones and make flocks and tribes and lifting it up to a new level of opening up for true intimacy and closeness to the other with or without sexuality in the green meme.
Green and beyond
Going beyond the green meme is dependent of enough humans transcending the global level of awareness. When humans have managed to become “the salt of the earth” and protect and support all activity on the planet we are ready to expand into the planetary realm. This means not only physical with techno-electronic spacecraft means, but also becoming aware of the organic dynamic plasma creating a coherent state in the solar system of mutual influences between its parts (planets, moons and asteroids). First at this level we will reach a level where we can start to relate to extra terrestrial intelligence. This will also transcend the illusion of the interplanetary activity being dependent on physical vehicles and open us again to ways of knowledge and awareness that have been lost since ancient times. The difference is that now we will reach this level with new achieved awareness from centuries of experience.
Post script; Short history of memes:
Clare Graves discovered levels of values and build on his contemporary and close friend Abraham Maslow and the stages of development of people like Erik Erikson, Lawrence Kohlberg, Carl Rogers, Jane Loevinger, James Fowler, and Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi. Graves found many of these too limited and researched the levels of value through many years. His work was made known by Don E. Beck and Christopher C. Cowan not to forget Ken Wilber. Gravesion theory is often labelled Spiral dynamics. Wilbers terminology AQAL (All quadrants, all levels) is also used.
1. Clare W. Graves. 1974. “Human Nature Prepares for a Momentous Leap.” The Futurist, April, p. 72; and Don E. Beck and Christopher C. Cowan. 1996. Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, Inc.
2. Clare W. Graves. 1971. A SYSTEMS CONCEPTION OF PERSONALITY: Introductory Remarks by Clare W. Graves on his Levels of Existence Theory Presented at the National Institutes of Health, 1971. Based on a tape transcription by William Lee, Great Falls, VA. (Edited with Commentary by Christopher Cowan, 1988). Unpublished manuscript.