Evolution in the culture…

Young girl transmits the awakening of body and soul in this live performance
Fun Home

Many of the big moments of our lives are actually movements -- sometimes in an instant -- of our psyches and energy bodies into the next altitude of our identity development. This is a central theme of great art and literature.

Such is demonstrated in this thrilling performance of a young girl being hit out of the blue by her own next self. It’s from the Tony winner for best musical, Fun Home, now on Broadway.

It is performed live at the Tonys by a great artist, 11 year old Sidney Lucas, who brings down the house.

–Jeff Salzman

Outspoken modern Muslim’s merciless critique of his pre-modern culture
modern muslim

Wow, this Saudi leader, Ibrahim Al-Buleihi, is a true lover of the West — and a fearless critic of muslim culture. I have to say I was surprised by a couple things in this video:

1. Apparently a muslim can can criticize their culture more freely than they can criticize their religion. Note he separates religion out of his thesis. “When we want to study a religious issue, we go back to our heritage. But when we are studying an earthly matter, such as why we are backward while others are prosperous, we must search for the answer elsewhere, not in our heritage."

2. He gives an amazing, first hand account of the mindset of a pre-modern culture: a lack of independent thought, a herd mentality and a reflexive sense of cultural superiority.

–Jeff Salzman

“You can’t trust news outlets if you want to understand the world…”

God bless Hans Rosling, cantankerous proselytizer for the upward arc of history: "I am right and you are wrong," he tells his Danish interviewer. Wish I had the nerve ...

A listener from Denmark sent me this video. He says it has has become quite popular there and has been viewed over a million times. It makes sense. The Danes have one of the highest developmental centers-of-gravity in the world.

Mature postmodernists (green altitude) are tiring of fear and doom narratives. They have adequately integrated a world-centric sensitivity to the plight of suffering beings, so they are ready to move on to the integral stage of development, which recognizes that most things are improving.

This would explain the surprising popularity of the Rosling message in Denmark. At any rate, Hans made my day.

Hans Rosling is a TED Talk favorite. Check out his best talks here.

–Jeff Salzman

Integral essay brings happiness in five minutes

Sarcasm reaches its apogee at the Green post-modern stage of cultural development. So whenever we see a work of art that includes sarcasm and transcends it with something like sincerity, there’s a good chance we’re moving out of Green and into the Integral stages of development. Thus it is with this short essay, "How to Live an Alternative Comedy Lifestyle," by Mike O’Brien in the New Yorker. I loved this piece, and when I finished reading it I noticed that I was in a heightened — and heartened — state.

Remember: “If you want it to be really hilarious, mean it."

–Jeff Salzman

“My name’s Blurryface, and I care what you think” – The 20-somethings’ lament

The song “Stressed Out” by twenty one pilots really captures the angst and self-rumination (always a bad combination) of today's postmodern 20-somethings.

These young folks are, after all, pioneering a distinct new stage on the road to adulthood, emerging adulthood, which is explored in a terrific piece in the New York Times, What Is It About 20-Somethings?:

The traditional cycle seems to have gone off course, as young people remain un­tethered to romantic partners or to permanent homes, going back to school for lack of better options, traveling, avoiding commitments, competing ferociously for unpaid internships or temporary (and often grueling) Teach for America jobs, forestalling the beginning of adult life.

Emerging adulthood is similar to the advent of adolescence at the beginning of the 20th century, when humanity became rich and sophisticated enough to accommodate, indeed require, a new life stage between childhood and adulthood.

And once again life expands, which makes further sense when we consider that today’s young people will likely live well into their 100’s.

But still ... it’s stressful being a grown man on a tricycle.

Read the lyrics to "Stressed Out" by twenty one pilots.

More stories of Evolution in the Culture→

The evolution of masculinity in two short videos

One way we grow is to differentiate and integrate—to see aspects of ourselves that we thought were solid and final, to tease them apart into their sub-components, and to befriend them. So it is with the evolution of the culture at large.

Consider masculinity. The male ideal may still be strong, stoic and straight -- but the edifice is crumbling. Postmodern consciousness allows many more options, as we see in these videos below.

First is an ad for men’s grooming brand Axe, which gleefully explodes the stereotype of what it means to be a man. It exhorts men to “find your magic.” After all, “who needs some other thing, when you got your thing?”

The second video is a three-minute dance piece by director Bertil Nilsson, which explores the intimacy of physical interactions between three male friends on the streets of London.

–Jeff Salzman

We’re getting better at being human beings. Today’s teens are proof.
40 years ago: our first glimpse of a whole-planet, worldcentric POV

Forty years ago today, little TIROS-1, the first weather satellite, was launched into space aboard a rocket that took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was a game-changer for meteorology. At the time we were still relying on a patchy network of buoys and weather stations. This type of satellite is what eventually allowed the five-day forecast, which we take for granted today.

"From its vantage point 400 miles up,” the NYTimes writes, "the satellite let forecasters track wide cloud movements for the first time.” Within ten days it sent back pictures of a typhoon swirling 1,000 miles off the coast of Australia.

We basically have thousands of eyes and ears orbiting the earth, looking back at us and our planet (2,271 to be precise). We use them not only for communication and navigation, but also to see natural and man-made changes in the earth, to monitor storms, and even to track poverty. This is the lower-right infrastructure of a worldcentric consciousness that is spreading like a virus in the other quadrants. It seems appropriate to take a minute and marvel at what we can do!

This wedding video shows a healthy integration of Red warrior energy into contemporary culture

This video really touched me. Not just for the beauty of its particular moment -- although it is mightily beautiful. But also for the beauty of humanity.

It's a video of a wedding in Auckland, New Zealand, where a newlywed husband and wife watch their family members perform the Haka, a dance from the Maori tradition.  It's a war dance, and evokes a Red tribal/warrior energy. Very masculine. Very aggressive. Yet done in this most tender of settings, with all participants dressed in suits and gowns.

The second half, starting at 1:38, wrecked me, especially when the groom -- and the bride! -- were swept up into taking part.

This is an example of the power of integrating developmental levels in  a healthy way, as a work of creative expression and performance  art.

Questions to ponder:

Is this an example of cultural appropriation?  What if the Haka was done by a bunch of Americans at the Integral Center, without a native Maori to be seen?

How deeply loved and supported does this couple feel?

Thanks to Tara Harper for the arrow.

–Jeff Salzman

The victims become the oppressors in this clip from “Transparent”

Copyright Sony

Jeffrey Tambor is brilliant in this show about a parent coming out as transgender later in life. In this episode “Man on the Land”, Jeffrey's character, Maura, has come with her two daughters to a famous women's music festival in the woods of California. The three of them eventually become aware that trans women are not welcome at the festival. This is traumatic for Maura, and before she leaves she has a chance to confront some of the old-guard, the lesbians that established this place by and for women so they could have “one goddamned place for ourselves," and who propagate “the policy” that dis-includes trans women.

In this four minute clip, Maura is essentially held to account for all the years she spent enjoying her male privilege, while simultaneously being discriminated against for who she is now–a trans woman. The encounter is fraught with victims and perpetrators, past and present.

Find "Transparent" on Amazon.

–Brett Walker

When fiction fails reality rises

It's rare that I laugh out loud while reading a column in the New York Times — even those ones meant to be funny — but this one had me spitting out my coffee.

Perhaps I like it so much because it is written in a form that is shared by a potent integral spiritual practice: the practice of taking oneself out of context, of waking up to your life in any moment as if you had just discovered yourself where you are, with no past or future. This simple practice presses “pause” your habitual mind and its perpetual story. The result: you suddenly find yourself with more insight in a more vivid world.

Not sure what I'm talking about? Read this column and see how you feel at the end.

More stories of Evolution in the Culture→

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A sweet holiday invocation—anitdote to postmodern cynicism

A Colbert Christmas - Elvis Costello/Stephen Colbert Duet from AdamSchlesingerMusic on Vimeo.

“There Are Much Worse Things To Believe In”

Written by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger, performed by Elvis Costello and Stephen Colbert

Elvis: There are cynics, there are skeptics
There are legions of dispassionate dyspeptics
Who regard this time of year as a maudlin insincere
Cheezy crass commercial travesty of all that we hold dear
Stephen: When they think that
Well, I can hear it
But I pity them their lack of Christmas spirit
For in a world like ours, take it from Stephen
There are much worse things to believe in.

Elvis: A redeemer and a savior, an obese man giving toys for good behavior
Stephen: The faith in what might be and the hope that we might see
The answer to all sorrow in a box beneath the tree
Find them foolish
Elvis: Sentimental
Stephen: Well you're clearly none too bright
Both: so we'll be gentle
Stephen: Don't even try to start vaguely conceiving
Both: Of all much worse things to believe in

Stephen: Believe in the judgment, believe in Jihad
Believe in a thousand variations on a dark and spiteful god
Elvis: You've got your money, you've got your power
You've got your science, and all the planets going to end within the hour
Stephen: You've got your dreams that don't come true
Elvis: You've got the ones that do
Stephen: Then you've got your nothing
Both: Some folks believe in nothing
But if you believe in nothing
Then what's to keep the nothing from coming for you

Stephen: Merry Christmas, Happy New Year
Now if you'll forgive me there's a lot to do here
There are stockings still unhung
Colored lights I haven't strung
Elvis: And a one-man four-part Christmas carol waiting to be sung
Stephen: Call me silly, call me sappy
Call me many things, the first of which is happy
You doubt, but you're sad
I don't, but I'm glad
Both: I guess we're even
Stephen: At least that's what I believe in
Both: And there are much worse things

Chris Rock’s Oscar opener was supremely integral

If you haven’t yet seen Chris Rock’s opening monologue for the recent Academy Awards ceremony, check it out. It is a virtuoso performance of integral flex-flow consciousness. He inhabits perspective after perspective – black and white, boycotters and supporters – honoring each one’s piece of the truth and goring its sacred cows.

He’s very funny, brutal at times, but ultimately loving – and wise.  By the time he gets to the point where he calls for a re-examination of all human categories (“Think about it: There’s no real reason for there to be a man and a woman category in acting.”) I felt expanded and edified.  I think the people in the room did too. It was a lovely metabolization of a lot of the energetic stuck-points about racism, and a small act of liberation for all with ears to hear.

Here he is “going at it the right way.”

“Here’s the real question. The question everybody wants to know is: Is Hollywood racist?

You know, that’s a...you gotta go at that at the right way.

Is it burning-cross racist? No.

Is it fetch-me-some-lemonade racist? No. No, no, no.

It’s a different type of racist. That’s right. Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right Hollywood is racist. But it ain’t that racist that you’ve grown accustomed to.

Hollywood is sorority racist.

It’s like, “We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.”

That’s how Hollywood is.

But things are changing. Things are changing.”

Find the full transcript here.

An evolutionary view of Ultimate Reality

Nondual Oneness and The Love of God are not necessarily just different paths to the top of the same mountain, says spiritual philosopher Steve McIntosh. There’s a very important interdependent polarity here that evolutionary spirituality integrates into a transcendent and inclusive new whole.

This clip is part of a one-hour book talk for The Presence of the Infinite that Steve gave at the Integral Center here in Boulder in October, 2015. We recommend watching the full video and more short clips over at Steve’s website.

A photographer edits out our smartphones to show our strange new world

We’re cyborgs now, and short of some cataclysmic event, there’s no going back. We usually have to give some things up to acquire novel abilities like the ones our smartphones give us. So what are we giving up to see where we are in relation to the rest of the earth at any given time, to look up any piece of information when we want it, or to contact anyone we know, anywhere on earth, right now? To have the world at our fingertips, are we giving up patience, imagination, true intimacy?

The evolutionary process means we not only include, but we negate. And it’s scary to leave things behind. But what if we are mainly leaving behind ignorance, loneliness, and the experience of being lost so we can focus on better problems? The thing about development is that in addition to our new capacities, the old ones are still available to us. We can turn our phones off and be lost, we can practice not-knowing or create a cocoon of solitude, secure in the knowledge that contact with our loved ones is easy, should we need them. You did teach your mom how to FaceTime, right?

–Brett Walker

Find more of Eric Pickersgill’s “REMOVED” series here.

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