The „green“ stage of societies development, according to Spiral Dynamics, is pictured by values of equality and social orientation. How does the concept of masculinity change, when the archaic caveman isn’t demanded anymore? What is a „real man“ nowadays and where will it lead in the next decades?
Masculinity changes massively nowadays. #metoo, feminism and manosphere movements are currently insecuring men. At the same time, women are complaining that „the good men“ are nowhere to be found anymore. Why is that?
Let’s have a look at the „green“ stage of masculine development.
What does being a „green“ man mean?
What causes men to enter this stage?
The modern era of enlightenment and capitalism hasn’t just brought wealth to the western world but as well tons of shadows and downsides. Massive ecological destructions, social injustices like poverty or sexism now come more into focus. You do not want to support exploitation anymore. Neither do you want to be that much involved in todays performance society, where the values of faster and bigger of the corporate world leave a man exhausted after few decades.
„We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.“Chuck Palahniuk
Watch this iconic scene from the movie „Fight Club“. It pictures a frustrated sight onto the modern world.
The pendulum swings back and you begin to see the other side.
Maybe you had a burn-out or a midlife crisis. They often go hand in hand with questioning relationship conventions. Womens rising awareness of their inner animus – the masculine parts inside the psyche – gains more weight, especially in todays world of free mate choosing and jobs that require women to act masculine. When your testosterone begins to drop around your 40’s and the wifes menopause kicks in, the former power dynamic in a relationship can completely reverse.
Then you begin to question everything.
You now seek peace. Balance. You realize, that there exists a whole dimension of being, you were completely unaware of all your life.
Your inner fulfillment.
Describe the green man in detail, please.
As a man you may be used to act gutsy. You often used your willpower in pushing through your intentions or relied on brutish body strength on your workplace. But this time something changes. It’s not your balls anymore that drive you to risky adventures and rewarding conquests.
You begin to listen to your heart.
You abandon stuff that you don’t enjoy and seek passion instead. You strive for feeling a warmth in your chest when talking with strangers or get excited about meeting a partner you truly love.
Connecting emotionally to people now gains importance. What are cold business connections worth if you can’t laugh with them? When it’s time to die, will you remember the countless, charade-like business meetings or the giggling of your children?
You recognize, that others shouldn’t be seen as mere objects. You treat them like human beings, like they were yourself. You want to contribute to their well-being.
The mindset of connectivity was massively supported by the establishing of the internet. Like cells in our brain, people all over the globe are now able to communicate with each other. Even climate change is affecting the whole globe and not just your front garden. You think in global dimensions.
With a widened perspective on the world you question the conventions of the modern world. But where to orient on? You go on the hunt for wisdom, experiences and insights. You know intuitively that life holds more than hoarding bags of gold like Dagobert Duck. You want to find your inner treasure chest of gold.
Inner peace and the search for fulfillment are what drives you in everything you do. You abandon jobs or products that don’t align with your ethics and you can’t do anything that doesn’t come wholeheartedly.
The most purposeful thing imaginable for you is to contribute to a better global future. You understand that the garbage you throw in the river today will be washed ashore at the beach, where your children will be spending their holidays in 20 years.
The best you could do is going on a crusade to fight against the destructions created by excessive consumerism. Protecting the environment. Protecting human rights and standing up for equality. You want ethic justice.
You do your best to ban unethical stuff and forbid everything that could be emotionally hurtful. You want to see your kids be raised in a non-violent society.
Harmonic relationships now become a thing to work towards. Maybe you were too superficial in earlier partner choosing and the lack of a deep bond has led to a divorce. The same goes for friendships or working peers. You must connect emotionally with them, or you’re out.
With the human spirit in focus, you sense a desire to spark the fire in others. You begin to speak with inspiring intentions and do your best to help and coach others with their struggles.
We are all on the same boat.
What pictures the collective green „we“?
The green man is a member of the global society, where in the last decades transnational value-communities arose. You may feel totally lonely in a metropolis, but the internet offers access to forums, groups and shared content of people with similar thinking. E.g. as a vegan, you relate to anyone abandoning animal products, whether he lives in Kenya, L.A. or South Korea.
“We are climate activists.“
“We are spirituals.”
“We are animal protectors.”
Whatever it is, you know exactly what the people with similar mindsets think and why they do so. You can relate to their experiences and feelings as if they were your own.
This creates a „we“-identity based on inside similarity.
In contrast to former stages, the green takes the 4th person perspective, called meta–systemic thinking according to development psychology. Today in western world, youngsters between 15 – 21 years or earlier begin to enter this stage of postconventional world-centricity.
What does the green society require from men?
Post-modern social dynamics
The mentioned value shift influences, how masculinity is perceived in society and what is expected from men in social interactions.
When you gather with your green peers, there is no space for aggressive and pseudo-dominant behavior, especially when women are around. It is expected of you to keep your archaic copulating and territorial urges under control and communicate in a peaceful, respecting way to not make others uncomfortable.
You want to keep your group clean from stuff that stems from black and white thinking. Racism, sexism and other mentalities that are based on a separating worldview must strictly be banned.
There is no space for hate or dispute in your collective we. Every member of it has its own unique, intrinsic value, regardless of his age, skin color or gender.
Since men are still subconsciously connected to the principle of penetration, they now can live this out in a mental way. Where in former stages you steered women into your bedroom and commanded your inferiors around, you now choose a more positive, constructive usage.
E.g. by sparking inspiration in people.
The most crucial point for men is that their actions are in alignment with the interests of the group. There is no egocentric separatism and gut drive anymore but rather the desire to contribute to the overall well-being of all peers.
This means as well defending the group if threatened.
Fatherhood gains a whole new dimension in the green stage. Where in the blue worldview a kid has to be molded into a predetermined form and the orange man wants to create the most beautiful and successful children the world has ever seen, the green father regards his kids as already complete beings.
He takes their needs and perceptions serious and tries to look through their eyes. This means as well leaving them enough space and freedom to explore the world in their own speed. Authoritarian education styles get mostly abandoned as they would restrict the childrens development.
By renouncing providing strict directions, the fathers role becomes more an inspirational and guiding one. He’s there to demonstrate a valuable role model his kids can follow, if they choose to. Of course he represents his values like connectivity and mutual respect, what he’s as well expecting of his children. Gone are the days, where you taught your toddlers about your ancestors’ royal blood separating them from the plebs. Instead you support empathetic understanding and consenting communication.
Learning, experiencing and thinking socially stands in focus of the green children education. They are not to put on pedestals and as part of the community you incorporate them in the daily family life like participating in chores and siblings guarding.
The post-modern father in the eyes of his children is a strongly rooted rock in the rough seas they can rely on. Like their mother, he serves as a deep fountain of emotional safety and passive strength.
How change sexual relationship dynamics?
Hardly any dynamic concerning men is as strongly affected from the paradigm shift as relationship dynamics. Women are regarded as equal peers, so the power slope completely vanishes. Society expects men now to leave their women space and freedom. The controlling macho from earlier decades becomes a shamed stereotype that you want to avoid.
Instead, you support her career, hobbies and personal projects wherever you can. Providing her with emotional stability and caring about her needs you do self-evidently.
The sexual superficialness of the modern zeitgeist makes place for a more profound kind of bonding in romantic relationships. You want to laugh with your spouse, feeling a special connection and go on adventures with her. A relationship holds the ideal of being a fulfilling experience for both and to make that work, shared core values are essential requirements.
You bond faster with a potential mate if she pursues the same lifestyle and her visions aligns with yours in a co-creational way. Since relationships are not led by patriarchs anymore, the needs and desires of both partners have to be regarded in an equal way.
For this to be achieved, refined and empathetic communication becomes key, something men never have been good at during the ages. But in a time, where equal rights count for both parties, mutual consent must be reached to eliminate potential conflict.
What are parallels to former layers?
The green stages’ nature of the orientation on other people shows similarities to the purple animistic and the blue conventional layer. Those layers are not to be confused since they provide different perspectives. The newer one include and integrate the former and therefore have a much broader and complete view. In the psyche of the individual, the green thinking unifies the purple identification of inner similarity and the blue viewpoint from outside.
To differentiate better between them, let me quickly list the most important similarities.
Why is spirituality becoming important for men?
Rising interest in spirituality
By entering the green stage we can observe a rising interest in spiritual topics, even for men. The shift of perspective to the inside is accompanied by questioning conventions and societies norms. You question the significance of your work. You question your relationships. You seek your purpose.
You begin to explore your inner world and this draws you naturally to spiritual matter. Not seldom this reaches into esoteric spheres or eastern philosophies like Buddhism or Taoism.
By seeking inner balance, you will inevitably stumble upon hidden aspects of your soul, whose traits are clearly correlating with feminine traits. C. G. Jung introduced the concept of the anima, the hidden feminine side of yourself. Connection, empathy and feeling belonged for thousands of years to the female realm, only to be discovered now by men who strive for integrating their polarity.
Balancing out polarity
To let the pendulum swing more into the feminine side of the spectrum, you first have to cut the masculine extremes of former stages. You soften your red aggressivity and dominance that may frighten others. You back off your superficial power and possession drive that prevented you from empathetic connections.
To gain spiritual awareness, meditation, reflecting about experiences and conscious letting-go are recommended practices by most self-development gurus nowadays.
Doing yoga, hikes in nature and breathing exercises gain popularity in every-day life as well. Men reclaim their lost sense of body-mind connection by slowly realizing, that their true self is not to be found in achievements and job titles but rather inside their own body. (Take a glimpse at the chakra system. I currently write an article exploring the intersections of the chakra system and Integral Theory.)
Expanding awareness not only goes for the corporeal, but as well for the mental sphere. Openness for other cultures, embracing unorthodox worldviews and learning from peers stretches your horizon.
By sharing and exchanging opinions with similiar-minded you accelerate your development even more. You understand, that you can as well benefit from the experiences of others and avoid their past failures. This is what the internet is for generation y and z; A giant collection of individual worldviews merged together into a human-wide reservoir of knowledge and experiences accessible to all.
Last but not least you balance out your work-life relation since this isn’t something that can be separated anymore. Your job has as well to be founded on the same lifestyle values as your freetime activities.
Where to find manly working fields?
The post-modern corporate world
As a green man you will naturally be drawn to jobs that require a connective thinking mind or provide you with a lot of human contact. Teamwork and soft skills are essential in the post-modern corporate world.
Learning-readiness is as much a crucial trait as a creative mind is, since the souls drive to create something out of the heart is picturing most post-modern start-ups and companies.
The most indispensable trait you should gear up with are communicative skills. The green employee is a teamplayer, able to absorb and come up with inputs from others. Also finding jobs becomes often a matter of personal relationships and networking.
The manly job
Since the green stage is entered from the achievement-oriented stage, the issue about a fitting job is still important for men unless you decide to life as a Jamaican Rastafari.
The sparking of passion and intrinsic motivation is what the ideal job should provide you with to fulfill you with a strong sense of purpose.
Post-modern employees are often more concerned with their working conditions than the salary. The possibility of part-time work or self-organized home office is often crucial for maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Last but not least you don’t want to get stuck in a dead-end job, so opportunities for further growing often become crucial.
What pitfalls can occur, if insufficiently developed?
As in every stage, there are traits that may be underdeveloped or exaggerated. Excessive relativism, as it may occur in the green stage, can seriously harm masculine principles.
Let me provide you a short summary in case you already forgot some parts.
What causes the turn to the integral stage?
By fully living the green mindset, you will face the day when you realize, that serving the greater good requires more than just listening and laughing with peers. You slowly realize, that feeling fulfilled is not just a matter of a sustainable lifestyle and networking in internet communities.
It is about addressing different parts of you.
Even such you were subconsciously defeating like impulsivity or monetary ambitions.
Sometimes in life, decisions have to be made quickly and determined like you were hunting deers in the archaic woods. You realize, that without a conventional job you will hardly be able to travel the world or pay your internet bills. And last but not least, harmony and relativity as foundation of your relationships will cost huge amounts of female interest, since sexual attraction is based on polarizing traits.
Those insights will drive you to consciously dig out all the hidden aspects of your psyche and integrate them into a complete human being.
Into an Integral Man.
See you soon
Hi, I’m Ralph. My studies in social anthropology and experience with people with all kinds of backgrounds led me to my work on integral living. I combine Integral Theory, Spiral Dynamics and individual states of consciousness to develop whole-picture advice.
This series is a part of my current work on integral masculinity.
Contact me to talk if we should work together or exchange ideas.