I ran across a fascinating TED video the other night: “Jay Walker on the world’s English mania.” As Walker says in his introduction, “The intensity to learn English is almost unimaginable – unless you witness it.”

He was right: I was stunned to see his video clips of huge rallies of young Chinese people chanting in a programmed call-and-response: “I want to speak perfect English! I want to change my life!”

At first my postmodern (green altitude) alarms went off, as I witnessed these throngs of glassy-eyed automatons pledging their deluded allegiance to the corporate state. (You know, like a Tony Robbins rally.) But a reactive critique calls for an integral practice, so I challenged my automatic opinion of these people and did my best to look at their lives through their eyes.

As I did, it all made more sense and was actually quite heartening. These are young people from the developing world, China, India, the Philippines, etc., who want to move away from the ignorance, poverty and conformity of the traditionalist (amber altitude) lives that they and countless generations of their ancestors have been stuck in.

This is Emergence. Like flowers and trees, people can’t help but grow.

Traditional people all over the world, particularly young people, are all juiced up about creating the kind of modern life (orange altitude) they so vividly see young people in other cultures enjoying. A life that includes enough to eat, a clean place to live, leisure time, travel, freedom of thought and of course the greatest modern benefit of them all: non-procreative sex!

They may not see the new problems that they will face as they inhabit modernity, but they are raring to go.