Integral consciousness has subtly changed our expectations and horizons
As McIntosh shows it is easy to demonstrate the development of human consciousness just by looking back to the shared assumptions we had in the fifties, sixties and seventies. We can do this by watching old movies and tv shows, or listening to old songs. It shows up even more powerfully when we revisit the community attitudes from a time in which we were more inclined to live in our communities not just our houses. It was a time when working towards a communal swimming pool engaged us more than dreaming of having one in our own back yard.
By any measure the level of consciousness change is remarkable
First came family television shows like ‘Leave it to Beaver’ that revealed our unconscious parochialism, then ‘Father Knows Best.’ Who would ever think of calling a TV series by that name now? Then came ‘The Cosby Show’ and the saga of ‘Tim the Toolman Taylor’ in which the fathers were clearly the clowns.
Next came ‘Friends’ where peers became family and family became little more than embarrassing aliens who brought emotional torture with every visit. Then in ‘Sex in the City,’ a bevy of sexually active women were the beneficiaries of the sexual revolution. Their struggle seemed to be to get commitment from males before their biological clock ran out. By any measure ‘Sex in the City’ was an infinite distance from ‘The little house on the Prairie.’
The huge cultural shift over thirty years is telling us something
We oldies can remember the era of the bobby sox, the juke box, Bryl Cream and pony tails, as well as the comforting dream of the white picket fence in the suburbs. While it was never as perfect as depicted on the television we at least thought it worth aspiring to.
Amongst the baby boomers are those who carry memories of the first family in the street with a refrigerator or a television set. Many of them do not like the changes they are seeing in our society. McIntosh calls these people who are being asked by history to straddle two worlds ‘traditional thinkers.’ Most of them grew up going to Sunday school and respecting as divine the institutions that framed the commitments they made to God, family and country.
Most of them made significant sacrifices for these institutions and without these salt of the earth souls we would not have survived wars and depressions; without them we would not be where we are today. They represent the best of where we’ve come from and deserve our profound gratitude and respect. These traditional thinkers are McIntosh’s parallel to Level 2 thinkers.
You won’t know where you’re going until you can see where you’ve come from
In more recent television series like ‘House’ and ‘Big Bang Theory’ we see technically brilliant people who are emotionally and morally without a compass. It seems we have become technical geniuses without a compass to show us the nature of respect and responsibility.
People are currently wrestling with a whole range of issues and questions not even contemplated thirty years ago
You might like to list the issues and questions you’re aware of, from sex out of wedlock to same sex relationships, to whether you should have a child in order to supply body parts for an older sibling in need of a kidney? The age old questions remain: When does a person begin, when does a person end?
Despite how morally chaotic things look, shows like the award winning television series ‘West Wing’ has tried to wrestle with issues of justice, mercy and compassion in the face of contemporary dilemmas. Most people would love to believe their portrayed moral perspective is that of their own government.
Moral questions often present themselves differently today. What should our response be to issues to do with the environment, corporate greed, smoking, gambling and personal responsibility? Before you despair, McIntosh believes things are getting both better and worse at the same time and that at our core we are developing a much broader set of moral concerns.
(further excerpts twice weekly)