There’s a concept in biological evolution called punctuated equilibrium, which states that species can exist for eons in relative stability then burst into sudden evolutionary change. Culture and consciousness can evolve this way as well, and last week was a sterling example.This was the week America moved into the green meme. Here are some thoughts on the big events:
Obamacare validated by the Supreme Court
As of Thursday it is now embedded in American culture that a proper role of government is to ensure basic health care for its citizens. Welcome to postmodernity!
A social compact that includes healthcare as a right is evolutionary appropriate for a wealthy country like America. Future presidents and congresses will continue to fight over the details, but it will be a fight forward, integrating over time the best of what the liberal and conservative worldviews have to offer this most Green of goals.
The tension between the left and right is itself evolutionarily appropriate. We don’t want the American health care system to be smothered by government or to lose its edge in technology and innovation. [Rich] people from all over the world come here for the most advanced treatments. Well-insured Americans have gotten excellent care for decades.
But as our circle of moral consideration rachets up into the Green altitude, it becomes apparent that some reasonable baseline of health care ought to be extended to all Americans, no matter how sick they are, how terrible their habits, or their station in life.
Let’s also note that an ongoing project of human evolution, from the tribal stage through postmodern stage, is to provide an ever more safe and reliable world for ever greater numbers of people. Paradoxically, evolution produces an increase in human liberty at the same time … as we can see from the second landmark ruling from the Supreme Court issued on Friday:
Gay marriage legal in all 50 states
One of the features of the Green postmodernism is the arising of pluralism. We begin to see the deep humanity of all people, regardless of tribe, race or background, and eventually sexual and gender orientation as well. When this shift is adequately made it becomes morally untenable to deny rights to anyone based on these characteristics.
At Green the differences between people become less threatening and more interesting. We get bored with being with our own kind. We also develop a sensitivity to the pain of people who have been excluded, and make it our job to include them not just legally but also in our minds and hearts.
The gay marriage ruling codifies into law what has already been won in the hearts of over 60% of the American people: the affirmation that LGBT people are to be full citizens. I expect non-discrimination laws in housing and employment to follow forthwith.
Green light on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
On Tuesday Congress empowered Obama to finish a historic trade deal with 12 Pacific rim countries, and it looks like it will pass when he does.
In a Green postmodern sense the TPP represents a de facto move to world-centric governance. It knits a significant part of the planet together in the lower right quadrant, standardizing laws, tariffs, property rights, and raising the bar on labor and environmental standards. It brings modernity’s best practices to this most important and developing part of the world.
The modern / postmodern world is a marvel of wealth and decency creation. It pulls people out of poverty (over a billion people in the last 25 years, with a billion to go). We integralists have to factor that into a world-centric view … while also holding a nation-centric view appropriate to our role as citizens of our respective countries.
For Americans the big question is how will this trade deal affect working people? I’m holding my nose and crossing my fingers and trusting my guy, Obama, when he says he’s looking out for them. We’ll have a better idea when the actual deal is presented.
At any rate, it’s very difficult for human beings to ultimately say “no” to further integration with other people. That goes against our evolutionary grain. People don’t want policies that feel like they’re going backward, and this presents a challenge to the Democrats who represent labor.
We don’t want to go back to the old ways of furthering the interests of labor, we want to go forward to new ways of furthering the interests of labor by making it more valuable, with education and training. And we want to ensure that regardless of training and education there is a job with dignity that provides a living wage for anyone willing to work.
Obama and the black church take spiritual leadership
Much has been said in praise of Obama’s eulogy on Friday for slain pastor Clementa Pinckney at the Emanuel African Methodist Church. For me it was to experience a good, true and beautiful transmission of the African American spiritual experience, and to witness Barack Obama assume the role of a spiritual leader.
Obama is bringing his unique historical karma as the first black President of the United States to the precise leverage point that is most potent for the African American community. The African American church represents the next natural evolutionary move for multitudes of people who are lost in the four-quadrant chaos of Red culture. A pillar of Amber traditionalism, the church provides meaning and dignity and discipline. Obama has said that his post-presidency will focus on working with disadvantaged youth, particularly young black men through his My Brother’s Keeper program. On Friday we got a sense of the spiritual potency he will be able to bring to this calling.
Could Obama be an integral shape-shifter?
I also note that our President is aware of punctuated equilibrium:
“Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes, there are days like this, when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.”
He said this after the gay marriage verdict but it could have applied to the whole amazing week. In fact it could apply to him. That so much of what will define Barack Obama’s legacy culminated in five days is part of a pattern of punctuated equilibrium that has been a feature of his own career. Let’s not forget that Obama was a state senator and college professor just 11 years ago. Today he is in the last 18 months of an eight year tenure in the he most powerful office on the planet. And he’s not acting like much of a lame duck.
Seriously, folks, let’s appreciate this man in real time. I’ve made it amply known, through my Obamapologia columns, that I acknowledge him as an integral thinker, uniquely gifted in looking through other people’s eyes and harmonizing multiple perspectives. I get a transmission from his teaching and writing similar to what I get from reading my integral heroes. I’m thrilled that this highly-conscious man is also the President of the United States, and that he presided over such an astounding week of evolutionary growth for our country.
Long may we wave!