GROUP FOUR – INTEGRAL MODEL COMPARISONS
As we look at the Integral Model, unlike with the 6th Plane of the Emotional Plane — Group Three — Red, it is easy to make the correlation between the 5th Plane of the Emotional Plane — Group Four — Salmon and the stage of consciousness in Integral known as Amber. To summarize the Integral point of view, I am simply putting the following direct quotes from An Overview of Developmental Stages of Consciousness compiled by Barrett C. Brown, Integral Institute April 3, 2006.
Amber Values: Bottom line: Stability and purposeful life. Basic theme: Life has meaning, direction, and purpose with predetermined outcomes What’s important: Sacrificing self for a transcendent Cause, (secular or religious) Truth, Mission, future reward; laws, regulations, and rules; discipline, character, duty, honor, justice, and moral fiber; righteous living; controlling impulsivity through guilt; following absolutistic principles of right and wrong, black and white; being faithful, maintaining order and harmony; one right way to think/do; convention, conformity Where seen: Puritan America, Confucian China, Dickensian England, Singapore discipline; totalitarianism; codes of chivalry and honor; charitable good deeds; religious fundamentalism (e.g., Christian and Islamic); “moral majority”; patriotism
Amber Self-Identity: Main focus: Socially expected behavior, approval. Qualities: Emergence of capacity to see and respond to what others want; self-identity defined by relationship to group, whose values impart strong sense of “shoulds” and “oughts”; values that differ from one’s own are denigrated or avoided; conform to norms of whatever group they want to belong to (including gangs and peer-groups); avoid inner and outer conflict; think in simple terms and speak in generalities and platitudes; attend to social welfare of own group; “us vs. them” mentality; feedback heard as personal disapproval. How influences others: Enforces existing norms.
Except for the last comment regarding enforcing existing norms (which I see more as associated with Group Five), I would agree that much of Integral’s Amber level matches with Group Four. And, many of the Integral keywords for Amber if applied to Group Four can expand our understanding of what Group Four might be like as well. The main issue I have with Integral here, however, is how they do not connect the dots of many of these keywords to the idea of desire. Here is where I believe the Alice Bailey teachings have something to add. Integral tends to focus instead too much on cognitive development as the reason why humans shift from one level to the next. They borrow from Piaget’s work on cognitive development especially at their lower levels of their model to support their theories (see the area I have circled in the chart below).
We as a human species are still immersed in Atlantean consciousness. When we are within a particular stage of consciousness, it can be very hard to step outside of it and see it for what it is. But, I invite you now having reviewed this chapter to notice what is really going on with humanity at this point. Begin by simply turning on your television, radio, or take a bit of time to surf the internet. How much of what you hear and see is all about getting you to want something? How much of it is about encouraging a state of discontentment so that you will continue to crave something more? How many shows, songs and YouTube video clips are really about desire — desiring sex, money, power, work of a different kind, some better and better relationship? Walk around most any town and notice what you see around you. How many stores and buildings are dedicated to desire — of food, clothing, entertainment, alcohol, drugs, or other things that are meant to entice and distract you? We live in an ocean of desire playing upon our emotions constantly to get us to want more and more and more.
And, though we have minds, our mental processes are truly “kāma-manas” because so much of our thought is primarily focused on “desire.” Yes, it is remarkable that human beings are learning more and more how to think. But, we still spend precious little time looking at what we think about. Most human beings use their minds to think about what they want and how to get it. When they can’t get what they want they tend to “lose their minds” and swirl down into emotional states of jealousy, anger, and depression. Sadly, instead of learning to raise their consciousness so they can learn how to really think and help themselves, Group Four types are mainly taught to do something quick to fix it or distract themselves. Just take this new drug or solve it all by going shopping (as President George W. Bush wanted everyone to do after the bombing of the World Trade Towers in New York City).
For anyone who is growing out of these kāma-manas Emotional Plane levels, our world can seem like a very strange planet. Especially if you are surrounded by Group Four types who want you to conform to their point of view, fitting in without losing yourself takes some skill. But, we can’t just do a “spiritual bypass” and skip over our desire natures. We need to live on this planet and some level of desire is required. The question becomes then how to desire correctly? That is the major lesson we need to help Group Four people learn. We also need to teach them better discernment; give them tools to better observe and manage their emotions instead of encouraging them to go for “feel quick” short-term solutions; and set up religious, political and financial systems that no longer try to exploit them. Only then can those in Group Four evolve more quickly into creating a world that is better for us all.
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