Green sensitivity makes us worthy of becoming integral. ~Clare Graves

Obama’s integral manifesto

Jeff begins the podcast with a few observations about Obama’s final State of the Union address, where the President invited us to look not just at the next year, but further “to the next ten years and beyond.” And to see that the key feature of our journey is change, change which is influenced by the actions we take.

Obama then sets up America’s challenges, as he sees them, in a series of polarities: how do we broaden opportunity and not widen inequality? How do we stay safe and not become the policeman of the world?

He explicitly pushed back on the Republican “apocalypse narrative” that has our economy collapsing and the world on fire, by pointing out that we have the strongest economy in the world and no existential threats.

The idea of change as a fundamental feature of reality—the potency of polarities … a challenge to move beyond fear—these are all markers of integral thinking. Obama’s last year in office is going to be fun to watch.

“I don’t want to debate. I want to talk about my pain”

Moving on to the main story, Jeff starts by sharing a question from a listener about an exquisitely complex and contentious topic in the culture: political correctness.

Chris in San Francisco writes:

I’ve been fascinated and a bit confused by the recent activity at Yale University. There’s a lot going on there regarding race, discrimination, free speech, developmental stages, safety, vilification of those who disagree, entitlement technology, et cetera, and I would love to hear your thoughts.

The current Green, postmodern wave of political correctness, speech codes and cultural sensitivity is part of a long history of words and ideas declared acceptable or anathema in any given time, place, and culture. Jeff takes us on a tour of how speech has been regulated and codified for hundreds of years. There is political correctness, it turns out, at every stage of development, from the capitol crime of blasphemy at the traditional/amber stage to the prejudices and microaggressions you may not even know you’ve inflicted at the postmodern/green stage.

When we encounter green warriors for social justice we can bear witness to their pain, which goes some distance toward healing it, as well as healing the larger, karmic pain of human history. ~Jeff Salzman

Green is the nicest of the fightin’ first tier memes

“Trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” have become a regular part of our vocabulary in the last decade, and easy to deride. Many see the young student protesters on college campuses from Yale to Mizzou as coddled and effete—the entitled offspring of a generation of narcissistic baby boomers—demanding their feelings be taken into account by the wider world. And no doubt the green warriors of political correctness can be strident and self-righteous (as can people at all first tier memes). Yet Jeff shows how they are pushing humanity into new, ever more humane and compassionate territory.


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