Understanding the Hysterical Reaction to the Google Memo Using Spiral Dynamics

by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:

Today’s post is the final installment of a four part series on the Google memo and the various issues it’s raised regarding our cultural capacity for intelligent debate. I’ve also touched upon the very serious issue of Google’s expanding position as an integral and willing tool of U.S. imperial foreign policy, as well as its defense of oligarchy and status quo thinking at home.

Here are the first three parts, in case you missed them:

Part 1 — Why the Google Memo Brings Forward an Overdue Conversation

Part 2 — ‘The Firing’

Part 3 — Google: Search Engine or Deep State Organ?

Before I get started, I want to make something clear. I am entirely sympathetic to the fact that the Google memo justifiably made many women who work in the tech industry feel uncomfortable and anxious. While I’ve never worked in that field, I worked in the highly aggressive and male-dominated environment of Wall Street for a decade. That sort of culture can definitely make women feel left-out, awkward or worse. I do not deny that such problems exist in an industry dominated by one gender. Unfortunately, that very legitimate issue has become totally swamped in the public mind due to the hysterical, dishonest and illogical reactions by many to the Google memo.

Irrespective of what you think of the memo, it’s dangerous and counterproductive to start calling people names rather than engage in calm, intelligent debate. Certainly, James Damore could’ve done some things differently in the composition of his memo, but anyone who reads it can see he was trying to be fair and open-minded. I have no doubt that he was genuinely trying to have a conversation about an issue he identified at Google and feels passionately about. He wasn’t trying to make his colleagues feel anxious or uncomfortable. For that transgression he was demonized and fired. Are we already back to burning witches?


Today’s post will focus on applying what we learned about consciousness evolution in my five-part series on Spiral Dynamics to the Google memo affair. I’ll do my best to make this as understandable as possible for those of you who never read those posts, but to fully grasp what I’m about to discuss, you should probably read (or reread) them.

As I started reading the Google memo I couldn’t help but think that I was reading something written by someone coming from a second-tier consciousness perspective. This is important, because according to author and thinker Ken Wilber only a small fraction of the world’s population (about 5%) is centered around yellow consciousness or higher. Here’s a brief description of yellow consciousness from a prior post.

     7. Yellow: Integrative. Life is a kaleidoscope of natural hierarchies [holarchies], systems, and forms. Flexibility, spontaneity, and functionality have the highest priority. Differences and pluralities can be integrated into interdependent, natural flows. Egalitarianism is complemented with natural degrees of excellence where appropriate. Knowledge and competency should supersede rank, power, status, or group. The prevailing world order is the result of the existence of different levels of reality (memes) and the inevitable patterns of movement up and down the dynamic spiral. Good governance facilitates the emergence of entities through the levels of increasing complexity (nested hierarchy). 

If that’s confusing, here’s an alternative attempt:

Yellow value system Characteristics

Firstly, he noticed that a Yellow orientated lifestyle is much more free than a lifestyle in any of the other value systems. Yellow oriented people seemed to move and express themselves completely free and independent of their life environment. Contrary to people in other value systems, they were not afraid anymore to be rejected and they didn’t fear other people’s or God’s judgment. They didn’t show the need to make an impression on others and to reach the top at the cost of everything.

They also didn’t strive anymore for absolute truths and they didn’t have the need to belong to something anymore. In short: these were people without irrational fears, compulsive needs and compulsive behaviors. However, this Yellow freedom doesn’t mean that people in the Yellow value system are not connected to their environment. On the contrary, Yellow oriented people are very much involved and show a lot of compassion. The biggest difference with people from other value systems is that their life environment is not fearfully or compulsively leading them.

Right off the bat, I identified James as a second-tier thinker when he wrote the following about political leanings.