Mary and I recently started watching the new TV series Outlander based on the series of books by Diana Gabaldon. The author’s story is in essence a historical romance with time travel twist. The main character, Claire, and her husband are attempting to rekindle their marriage by taking a holiday in Scotland after their being apart during World War II. By chance, Claire touches a remote boulder which is part of a circle of rocks used by locals for religious rituals and in doing so falls back through time to the Highlands of Scotland in the 1700s.
Claire is taken in by one of the local Scottish lords and his family where she is considered to be a Sassenach or an “outlander”– a somewhat derogatory term for someone who is not from where we live or not like us. Of course, they don’t realize how much of an outlander she really is – someone from 200 years in the future! Claire doesn’t let on the truth and does her best to fit in.
What’s especially interesting to me about the series is watching the clash of worldviews. When I put on my “Spiral Dynamics cap”, it’s easy to see that Claire holds primarily the modern-scientific view of life (orange meme) prevalent in mid-20th century England. She was a nurse during the war and has a professed interest in botany. Yet you can see within her the blossoming of a tinge of the higher humanistic worldview (green meme). She sees herself as an independent woman equal to everyone including her somewhat perplexed husband.
Claire’s worldviews obviously clash with those of the Scots in the 18th century. There we encounter evidence of the purple meme “kin spirits” where there is still a belief in the enchanted, magical power within nature and its sacred places as well as the strong bonds of the clan. Yet we also see the egocentric red meme “powerGods” level evidenced by both the strong authority of the local lord who rules over his local subjects as well as the very independent Scots who willingly fight to defend their reputations. There is also the occurrence of the traditional viewpoint (blue meme) such as when we encounter the local priest to whom the locals defer religious power or the attempt at local “laws” by the local lord.
Time and again, Claire’s orange-green reactions to events generated by a purple-red-blue culture causes her to stand out even more as an “outlander”. She gets into a conflict with the local priest performing an exorcism on a young comatose boy (and allowing him to die so as to drive out the devil) when she realizes he has simply eaten some poisonous leaves and only needs some medicine. Her orange scientific viewpoint is at odds with the blue religious interpretation of events. Claire’s green sensitivity is appalled by “red justice” when another young boy has his ear nailed to the stockade in the town square for the crime of theft. Yet, Claire does encounter a few people whose worldview seems to be on the leading edge of the 18th century and exhibit some struggle in fitting in with their own culture.
Claire’s fish out of water scenario led me to wondering what it would be like for someone from our future to return here to early 21st century life and try fitting in. My imagination leads me to their experiencing similar types of cultural shock as Claire. Their advanced viewpoint I suspect would have difficulty with the violence and selfishness of many current day humans. They would see beyond the limited perspectives of religious fundamentalists and strict scientific materialists. They would struggle trying to deal with how poorly we treat each other and the planet. In their regard, our massive social and economic divides would be seen in the same light as Claire witnessing the ear nailed to the stockade.
Yet, I can also imagine this future visitor encountering small numbers of current day individuals with what we might consider leading-edge viewpoints for our times. Although these people would certainly not have developed their consciousness to the level of our visitor, they would likely have more in common with them than most of us. And, I suspect that these highly developed individuals might feel like “outlanders” within our mainstream 21st-century culture.
As I often discuss, there are three prominent worldviews in modern Western culture. In Spiral Dynamics “colors” they are blue, orange and green. These are the traditional, materialistic and humanistic viewpoints. Yet there is evidence which shows that there are a small number of people who exhibit worldviews which have evolved beyond these three predominant levels. Both Spiral Dynamics and Integral Theory have outlined what are seen as key characteristics of these “higher tier” levels of consciousness. Here are some of the characteristics of these “higher” more evolved levels:
- They begin to see the interplay of all of life, how everything is interconnected.
- They become “systems thinkers”, realizing the interwoven complexity of all of life and far reaching impact of any change.
- They discover how to live fully within their own personal freedom, doing so without harming others or seeking excesses in their own self-interest.
- They expand their circle of care and concern to more and more people, eventually feeling a sense of responsibility for everyone and the world.
- They are able to live comfortably in the space of holding what appear to be conflicting “truths”.
- They focus on solutions that work rather than clinging to old ways and old beliefs. Such solutions must consider everyone and the “whole system”.
- They value the fullness of living on earth with all its diversity and seek to protect this planet, our only home.
- They recognize the truth of the evolutionary process, but also see that it extends beyond simply the material realm and into the realm of consciousness. They acknowledge that we are now co-creators of our future evolutionary path.
- They realize the importance of our evolutionary past, including all of our evolutionary worldviews, and how all of these circumstances and beliefs have served our ultimate development to where we are now. In doing so, they honor those who hold different worldviews recognizing that it is appropriate for their life conditions.
- They realize that both the old religious myths and the newer scientific truths have both served us and limited us. They realize it is time to move beyond the limitations.
- They see a melding of religion and science leading towards the emergence of the new spirituality where each person develops their own relationship with the divine.
- They recognize that there are untapped potentials within the use of human brain/mind tools and competencies and seek to expand our understanding and use of them .
- They see themselves as part of a larger, conscious, spiritual whole – a whole that ultimately serves the greater self.
Do you see yourself within any of these described characteristics? If so, then I suspect you may find yourself at times at odds with our prominent culture. You may feel like you don’t fit in. Occasionally, you may feel discouraged by the actions and apparent beliefs of the majority. You might feel like an outlander in the 21st century.
If you do feel like such an outlander, then I want you to remember this –
You are not alone! There are a growing number of people who see life as you do.
History suggests that your beliefs and viewpoint are on the growing edge for humanity. Your worldview may very well be predominant one sometime in the near future.
Learn to see and enjoy your role as a cutting-edge spiritual change agent!