Evolution of Beliefs

Written by Valerii Pekar

The evolution of thinking is inseparably linked with the evolution of ideas about spiritual and religious beliefs, practices and organizations. This article is an attempt to briefly consider this subject using the integral model.

The beige paradigm is purely materialistic. Here, all energy is spent on survival, so people simply can’t think about something else.

The purple paradigm is able to liberate a part of life energy due to the fact that the community, in which a person lives, facilitates survival. This energy is used on attempts to understand the world, on fantasy and creativity. For the first time, an idea of ​​the world order appears. The beliefs of purple communities in different parts of the globe, as shown by Sir James G. Frazer, are surprisingly similar. Scholars use the term animism to describe the worldview where the world is controlled by overt and covert forces: spirits of animals and plants, mountains, rivers and heavenly bodies, as well as the spirits of ancestors. These spirits are good or evil, supportive or malicious, and we need to win and maintain their favour. This is a world of magic and superstition, “nameless ancient gods”, spells, taboos and mystical objects (blood, seed, house fire, land of ancestors, personal name, etc.). Purple world is very bright and vibrant, here every stone breathes and every tree speaks, voices of ancestors and unborn descendants are heard here, but witches, vampires and demons live here as well.

If beige does not separate itself from the world, then purple is already partially separated from it. However, some part of the “I” is stuck in the physical world, and parts of the physical world are endowed with the properties of “I”. Therefore, purple world is extremely lively: stones have a soul, while trees think and experience. It is here that the magic is rooted: once the world is alive and thinking, then, by changing thoughts, we change the world.

The purple paradigm finds many new objects of worship in the modern world: secret orders and aliens, psychics and esoterics.

It is the “golden age” of primitive people and all kinds of conspiracy theories. Faced with blue ethical religion, purple “privatizes” it, focusing only on magical ritual actions and discarding ethics and morality (“to light the candle is enough”).

The red paradigm, which manifests a sense of self and individuality in a person, does the same for the celestials. In place of “ancient nameless gods” there are personalized “gods of power”, roughly the same in the Egyptian, Babylonian, Greco-Roman, and Slavic-German pantheons. They are just like people (more precisely, as people with a dominant red paradigm): quarrelling and intriguing, jealous and revengeful, they choose favourites on the basis of personal preferences, fight for power and influence. The invasion of the ideas of the red level to the purple world remains in the collective memory as a “battle of gods”. In comparison with purple, red has already emerged from nature, so it can’t address it directly and needs mediators.

There is a strict force-based hierarchy in heaven, as well as on Earth (in a red tribe).

The pantheon of the red paradigm is not just extensive, it is extremely flexible. The gods of neighbouring tribes are associated with one’s own gods and sometimes migrate over great distances. The gods of conquered territories join the pantheon, easily finding themselves among the ones who have climbed the Olympus previously. In this regard red is very tolerant, recognizing the right of everyone to their gods, but requiring respect to the supreme, whose authority holds the hierarchy together.

A strong red person can rise above the world of small people and approach the gods. Such a person deserves to be called a hero and stay in the epic and maybe even defeat death and join the host of celestials. Gods mark the hero with charisma and make him/her their favourite. It is clear that if you are a favourite of Athena, then you can’t be a favourite of Apollo.

In the most developed red systems, above all, over the gods and over the people, there is fate: blind, cruel, indifferent and ruthless force with which one can’t argue. People and gods are in its power.

Red includes purple: the most important spirits are personalized, and often these are the spirits of the winning tribe, that are proclaimed supreme and justify further enslavement and alignment of hierarchies.

The blue paradigm first introduces ethics, the concepts of good and evil, righteousness and sin, repentance and retribution. There is one wide and straight Path of truth, good and light, and the kingdom of darkness, iniquity and sin lies outside it. The Goal is determined above, and movement towards it gives meaning to life. God cares whether you are righteous or sinful: He loves everyone, but the righteous are pleasing to Him, and sinners evoke His wrath. Compliance with the code of conduct means a well-deserved reward, and violation leads to shame, guilt and punishment.

The religion of the blue paradigm is ethical monotheism, like Christianity or Islam, or a set of universal ethical rules like Buddhism or Confucianism. Sometimes a set of these rules looks like an ideology, with communism being an example. Along with the fundamental principles of ethics and the world order, it is important to note the principle of universality: the ethical appeal is not aimed at tribal structures, territories or professional castes, but at all people in the world (this is especially evident in examples of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and communism). Sometimes blue ethical monotheism disguises itself as ethical dualism (for example, Zoroastrianism), but the basic principles remain the same, and the remnants of dualism can be found in some monotheistic beliefs.

Along with universality, blue rigidly imposes membership and division: only followers of true faith will be saved, while all the others are to expect big troubles.

While preaching universalism, in fact, blue originates from ethnocentrism, caste-centrism and other forms of limitation.

By the way, blue can perfectly absorb the previous views: pagan holidays and magical rituals acquire ecclesiastical meaning, and new saints (often simply the red gods of the past) patronize the same territories that were previously cared for by the “spirits of the place” or “baals” (this Semitic word means master).

The orange paradigm generates many interesting phenomena. A modern human being with a dominant orange paradigm, faced with blue orthodox fundamentalism, has, in fact, three choices. The first one is to leave everything as is, to separate the religious sphere from the dominant orange rationalism, leaving it in the blue paradigm. That is, to say “I believe, for it is absurd.” The second possible choice is atheism, that is, the rejection of faith in a god who can tell nothing to a modern person, who can’t answer his or her questions. The third choice is agnosticism, that is, a refusal to articulate spiritual and religious issues.

From the point of view of evolution of thinking, orange atheism is a specific phase in the development of religion. Such atheism is based on a humanistic belief that people can fully explore and understand the world. Don’t confuse it with red atheism, which is simply unbelief. (Orange atheism, by the way, often takes the appearance of ideologies that reject religious tradition, but in fact are built on it. Classical liberalism is an example.) So, a person departs from religion, and in this rejection of dogmas there is sometimes more spirituality. This is a challenge to religion, which encourages it to develop.

Religion, in turn, also has two alternatives. First one is to abandon orange rationalists, recognizing them as atheists and allowing them to drown in their atheism/agnosticism, and devote all efforts to caring for the blue faithful. The second alternative is modernization.

Modernization of religion means that it comes back to the needs and issues of modern people, recognizing that the world has changed, and gives a binding moral foundation for a dynamic orange society.

Historically, the first and most profound example of modernization is Protestantism. Mutual influence of Protestant ethics, capitalist development and the scientific and technological revolution is well studied. Let us just note that, in addition to encouraging continued intensive labour, work ethic of Protestantism also stimulates savings (which became a weighty factor in the formation of investment mechanisms), while an extremely high level of mutual trust in Protestant communities was an important condition for the development of a mutual loan. But, besides all this, Protestantism encourages reading, and without that development and accumulation of human capital is impossible. Therefore, work ethics was also the word ethics.

However, other religious traditions are also gradually moving along the path of modernization. Modernization of Catholicism is associated with the name of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and the Second Vatican Council, while modernization of Judaism was brought by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook and the movement of Religious Zionism (15% of the population of Israel). An attempt to modernize Islam was undertaken by the Fethullah Gülen movement, and it is clear why it is based on schools and universities.

Let’s emphasize: modernization in no way means a departure from religious dogma and the foundations of faith. It reinterprets them from the position of the present, giving a new reading. Orange religious modernists recognize the objective reality as a result of the Divine plan and management, and the religious tradition appears as a deeply non-random objective fact.

The green paradigm, what does it bring to us in the spiritual and religious terms? On the one hand, green categorically rebels against traditional hierarchical religious structures and believes that spirituality is an internal experience. On the other hand, great spiritual traditions can offer their followers green breakthroughs. First, ecumenism: the world-centric self-awareness of a person with a green paradigm requires universalism, which exceeds the scope of his/her church. Secondly, syncretism: since there are no generally accepted truths and authorities, one can collect new religions from the fragments of the previous ones, mixing blue with red and abundantly diluting this mix with purple (a classic example is the New Age). Third, constructivism: a person finds something for himself/herself in Buddhism, something in Christianity, something in Judaism, etc., creating his/her own unique belief, and those who share it at least partially, become “brothers and sisters”.

Green may well be faithful to an ancient religious tradition, perceiving his/her faith as an act of personal choice (and that is different from orange that believes that the choice is determined by objective reality).

Another green approach is a deep non-religious ethic (discussed, for example, in the works of the Dalai Lama). Green does not need rules coming from the outside, they are inside, so it rejects the vision that ethics can come only from Heaven and finds the foundation in its own heart. However, green leave behind the brackets the fact that current ethics are the result of a long evolution, including, among other things, the blue religious stage.

Growth and strengthening of the green paradigm will probably lead to the emergence of a new powerful world religion of a syncretic and world-centric sense.

We see that each level does not cancel, but includes and transcends the previous one: the most important purple spirits and mysteries are built into red polytheism; then they are absorbed by the blue monotheism, turning appropriately into saints and church rituals; orange gives it all new meanings, and green designs unprecedented combinations.

It is important to note that each of the great world spiritual traditions offers its followers an orthodox blue base, as well as orange modernization and green spiritual breakthroughs. Beige beggars, purple servants, red militant Orthodox, blue canonists, orange modernizers, green ecumenists, yellow prophets and turquoise saints coexist in every tradition.

Anyway, moving from egocentrism to ethnocentrism and further to world-centrism, we are gradually approaching personal and direct contact with the Absolute, waiting for us at the end of this path. But this is a completely different story.

Valerii Pekar – Entrepreneur since 1992, a vice-president of Ukrainian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, a member of the board of directors of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI). Lecturer of Kyiv-Mohyla Business School (kmbs) and Lviv Business School (LvBS). Author of more than 250 articles and two books on management, marketing, IT, futurology. Co-founder of The New Country civil platform. Member of the National Reforms Council (2014-2016), adviser to the minister of economic development and trade (2014-2016).

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