I AM - David Long


What does a "Healthy Stage Translation" Look like?


I have been talking a lot with people about what healthy translation looks like lately. I think it's an interesting and important topic.

I think people have this idea of just because we want to have a healthy expression of every stage, people should be allowed to think whatever they want and you shouldn't say anything about it or correct them. I think this is wrong. I think there are negative ideas on every stage worth dealing with. It's ok that they come up, but it's not ok to express them in society. They won't/shouldn't get thrown in jail (unless they act on these ideas), but they won't/shouldn't be socially acceptable. These people should be told why they are wrong, and why their ideas are harmful. People should know about ideas and their consequences.

“Saving the biosphere depends first and foremost on human beings reaching mutual understanding and unforced agreement as to common ends." - Ken Wilber

We need enlightened leadership to help create a healthy spiral to transition people through. It maybe ok for people to be where they are but some ideas, translations, and expressions, on every stage are negative and unhealthy.

"Part of the lesson—for you, for me, for any of us—when it comes to integral (second tier, vision-logic, centaur, turquoise) in today’s world especially relates to the difference between what Trungpa Rinpoche called compassion and idiot compassion. Idiot compassion is compassion minus depth. That is, idiot compassion is flatland compassion. Or, idiot compassion is compassion minus wisdom. Being more inclusive means being able to reject less inclusive, reject those perspectives that marginalize others. Extending compassion to that which marginalizes is not real compassion but idiot compassion: in our understandable desire to be compassionate, we extend compassion to that which actually hurts somebody. Not being able to tell the difference is idiot compassion." - Ken Wilber

As the over all culture evolves so do the expressions of the stage archetypes. I think as higher stages become the norm in society the lower stages become less extreme (probably because they go by quicker and their ideas don't take hold as well because they are not the social norm). Think about stage 2, kids have imaginations, but they are not the same kind of tribal mentality that was prominent in tribal times. It's not expressed the same way in the same culture. In that way I think we can grow out of a lot of the negative aspects of these traditions. Especially when we have provided upgraded versions of these traditions, and/or healthy outlets for natural expressions at these stages.

I do think we need to figure out what a healthy spiral would look like. If we don't understand the best/healthiest stage developmental processes, healthy versions of stages, and what healthy translations look like on each stage in a healthy spiral all the way up, then we can't help people to become healthy and authentic where they are.

Do you think primitive superstition is something that should be taught as fact on any level of the spiral? I don't.

Imagine your an integral parent what does your child's amber stage look like? I bet the ways you get them to conform are not by lying to them about hell, or telling them to have faith, and I bet the traditions you raise him/her in are not superstitious versions. That doesn't mean the kid won't be superstitious in some ways, but that would be based on misunderstandings not intentional brainwashing or pre-rational translations.

As I understand it, the main thing that makes a healthy stage is that it keeps the lower stage in check and/or helps it to evolve. For example:

Red is impulsive/egoic. "I want it now"

Blue is just a conformist stage where we "sacrifice now, for something better later" this is often a magic/mythic translation but it doesn't have to be. You can be a traditional conformist that knows the science stories and sees myths as myths. If your parents are atheists do you not go through a blue/traditional/conformist stage?

Our kids will have an "ethnocentric stage" but he/she will not be taught racism. If he/she learns it he/she will learn quick why he/she is wrong. BECAUSE WE WILL TELL HIM/HER. Those negative aspects get weeded out. As they should. 


Also I think it's unfair to reduce people in rational scientific traditions to orange, just like it would be reductionist to reduce Integral Christians to blue. (I have some cool literature on different stages of Christianity if you want to see it.) These traditions CAN go all the way up the spiral. What changes is how we translate or qualify these traditions. In fact I wish there were more integral people who understood rationality and science better. It would help them get out of a lot of the green new agey muck they so often want to make seem trans-rational, and it would help them to make more practical skillful judgments.

I also think that science and rationality can open up the mystical realizations just as well as any tradition, if not in a more humble and accurate way. Really people need to get over trying to reduce other people to a stage purely based on what kind of traditional language they speak. Part of Integral is understanding how to translate all of the languages, knowing what is being referenced and knowing how to apply the validity claims. (just because someone is rational doesn't mean they are orange just like if a person references the trinity it doesn't mean they are blue. What matters is how they are understanding and applying it.

I know tons of people who claim to be integral. They are still transitioning from green into integral and they want to try and sneak in their new age superstition. New age superstition basically lives in green like fundamentalism lives in blue. If there is muck on every level this is an example of some of the muck on these levels.

There is a healthy green that says "I don't know" and is not superstitious. Its a healthy kind of confusion that happens when you are beginning to understand greater complexity. (This is where that "no judgments" judgement is coming from. Really what they are saying is "There are too many unknown factors and relative circumstances for me to blame someone personally for their actions, and we are all victims of circumstance anyways. That gets reduced too "it's all relative".)

I don't like to think of people as being reduced to a stage. I like to try and understand where they are in process. Some people are new to a stage, some people have lived in a stage for decades and will never leave it. Some people are beginning to see more and more of the limits of their stage and are starting to transition. (I think making a smooth transition from stage to stage helps you to move faster as well and teaches you to embrace the process. Having a knowledgeable and healthy teacher from the next level or higher is the best possibility.)

I think healthy integral is trying to learn to communicate to/or organize 1st tear skillfully in the world and in themselves by dealing with their shadows. Also learning to make judgements of depth and span, balance the absolute and relative plains. etc.

Thanks for reading, Much love,
David Long