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The Dawning New Reality

by Owen Waters

The Shift into the New Reality is a consciousness revolution. It dwarfs all previous and current revolutions, including the Industrial Revolution, which swept through Britain in the eighteenth century, bringing massive social and technological changes.

Today’s information revolution, made possible by computers and telecommunications, is transforming the face of society at an even more dizzying rate. However, these changes pale in significance when compared to today’s consciousness revolution.

Identifying Trends In Thought

A leading social scientist, Clare W. Graves, identified the historical phases of civilization and social progress to the point where he came to the realization that, today, mankind is preparing for a momentous leap. This leap, he said, would be a mega-change in society which would dwarf all previous changes.

Clare W. Graves (1914-86)
Visionary Social Scientist

Clare W. Graves was a professor of psychology at Union College, New York. In the chaotic years after World War II, he wanted to determine exactly what lies beneath human nature. Rather than comparing the conflicting theories of the day, he decided to dump them all. Then, he decided to figure out for himself what was happening. Graves, unfortunately, passed away in 1986, just before releasing the book which would have expanded greatly upon his life’s work.

Two of his students, Don Beck and Christopher Cowan, stepped in to fill the void caused by his departure. They assembled and published the essence of his research in their book, Spiral Dynamics. In it, Beck and Cowan have taken Graves’ theory even further, enhancing his findings by drawing from the science of Memetics, the study of memes.

Memes are the social equivalent of genes, cultural units of information which self-replicate from mind to mind on a vast scale, appearing within society as new trends of thought. So far, eight different memes have been identified and analyzed in the evolution of society throughout recorded history.

The different memes, which reflect the evolution of society from its primitive beginnings up to the present, are defined by the following keywords:

1. Basic, personal survival. The most primitive motivation of just staying alive.

2. Clans. Tribal and family bonding along with superstition-filled attempts to understand the powers of nature which threaten to overpower them.

3. Courage, survival of the fittest. Mastering the environment, fighting to break free of constraints. Sensing many gods, all of which are models of power.

4. Finding order and purpose in life. Obeying authority, regulations and externally imposed rules of behavior and morality. Sacrificing the self to a greater cause for a deferred reward. Dedicating allegiance to one supreme God. This social meme started to spread within civilization some 5,000 years ago.

5. Achievement, striving to succeed. Fighting to win, beating the competition, achieving independence. This meme started to spread significantly in the 1700s. It was made possible by the collapse of feudalism and also a sense of increased personal empowerment, which was a side-effect of the Protestant Reformation. It gained particular strength with the founding of the United States, whose Constitution and Bill of Rights intentionally empowered and protected individual liberty.

6. Community and caring. Unconditional love, accepting others as they are, seeing the value of service to others, the beginnings of spiritual understanding. Freedom of the spirit from greed, dogma, contention and other distractions from spirit. This meme started to spread in the mid-1800s.

7. Responsible freedom. Flexible flow, adapting to a world full of change. Big-picture views, the discovery of self-accountable, personal freedom. This meme started to spread after the global defeat of fascism in World War II. While most people started to look forward to the renewed chance to create personal prosperity, the beat generation of the 1950s emerged with its questioning of materialistic culture. This emerging movement examined Eastern philosophy, such as Zen Buddhism, in a search for answers to the mysteries of life.

8. Holistic, global view. Spiritual awareness, learning through simply being as well as doing. Becoming conscious of the superconscious, trusting intuition. This meme started to spread in the cultural and spiritual awakening of the mid-1960s. Those seekers who found this pattern of thinking launched a whole new movement of spiritual awareness. This spiritual renaissance has the potential to develop and carry humanity through The Shift and into the New Reality.

Stepping Into The Second Tier

Clare Graves saw the first set of six memes as a first tier of human development. He called the transition of the human race into meme number seven a momentous leap, an entry into an entirely new set of memes, a new tier of consciousness.

With this new tier comes freedom from all of the fears of the prior memes, and, finally, the freedom for human cognition to focus upon its possibilities in the world. In meme number seven, people act from an inner-directed core. Values come from fundamental, natural law, meaning that human rights are perceived as fundamental due to the fact that you exist.

By nature, seventh meme thinkers are self-accountable and independent within reason. They are honest in their communications and do not spend time on the rules of formality, unless they are important to those present. Seventh meme thinkers like technology for what it can do to improve life, and they value knowledge and competency above rank or status.

They enjoy the pleasures of life, without being bound by any of them, and pursue activities that express their inner joy. External fashions and trends have no bearing upon these choices. They have emotional control, meaning that they still express emotions, but these expressions are appropriate, and not uncontrolled outbursts.

Cultural Creatives

These seventh meme values, along with the sharing and caring values of the prior, sixth meme are also described in a parallel work, Paul Ray’s The Cultural Creatives. This 1990s study of culture in the United States revealed that over 50 million Americans fit the definition of a newly emerging type of humanity.

These “Cultural Creatives” want to heal the environment, help others to bring out their unique personal gifts, and they are also seeking a new type of political expression. They love nature, other people of the world and other places of the world. They also love spiritual development, being creative and optimistic about the future.

In short, they hold the seeds of the salvation of our culture and the building of a new, sustainable culture.

The vast majority of Cultural Creatives want a caring quality in their relationships, and they believe that every person has a unique gift to offer the world. They want to help other people, and they believe that society should have a lot more respect and reverence for nature. They want to find their purpose in life and make a contribution to society. Most of them believe that a divine nature completely permeates throughout the world, and say that people have some sort of psychic ability, such as precognition or an awareness of spirit guides.

Cultural Creatives have grown enormously as a social group in recent decades. In the early 1960s, they represented less than 5% of the U.S. adult population. In the next 30 years, those who had shifted to a new worldview had grown to 26%, or 50 million, of the U.S. adult population. Surveys in the 15 European Union countries in 1997 indicate that there are at least another 50 million Cultural Creatives in the European Union.

Author Paul Ray sees society today as facing a “tipping point,” where one culture is ending and is poised to tip over into a new one, even though the form of the new culture is not yet in sight. He says that through getting in touch with our inner selves, we will regain our passion for life and unclutter from the trappings and diversions of the old reality. He sees society finding a way past the overwhelming spiritual and psychological emptiness of the old reality.

Spiritual seekers, he points out, realize that they no longer want to be spoon-fed comforting thoughts. They just want the truth.

Whether you look at the world from the point of view of the Cultural Creatives study or from the memes of Spiral Dynamics, it is obvious that we are in the midst of truly momentous changes.

The Shift is real, and today the dawning New Reality is taking shape in the minds of possibility thinkers everywhere.


This article was written by Owen Waters, author of
"The Shift: The Revolution in Human Consciousness"
and the Infinite Being Insight E-Books


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