Order portrays the immortal man’s experience within the fourth stage of Spiral Dynamics: the “Blue” mode of consciousness.
Blue arose out of a need to create order and stability out of the chaos and turmoil of Red. Blue introduced meaning, purpose, and objective morality into the human drama. Blue entails sacrificing one’s own desires for the good of the group, and encourages the delay of gratification for the promise of future reward. Blue societies and communities unite on the basis on shared belief and devotion to a transcendent purpose or cause. Within Blue, life has a definitive meaning and purpose with predetermined outcomes. Often, a central text serves as an authoritative manual or guidebook for good living. Social systems emphasize respect for authority, and rigid social hierarchies create structure and stability. Everything has its proper place and a reason behind it in Blue.
As the immortal man transitions from Red to Blue, he begins to search for a sense of meaning and direction, as well as salvation from his egocentric tendencies. His quest leads him into the welcoming embrace of “The Order”- a fictional religious cult which promises to provide the immortal man with all of the enticing elements of Blue: a reason to live and die, a code of conduct based on absolute principles, eternal salvation, and a community united under a shared devotion to a transcendent cause.
But, one of the key ideas within Spiral Dynamics is that there are healthy and unhealthy expressions of every color. Within The Order, the immortal man becomes the victim of one of the most pernicious expressions of unhealthy Blue: one in which those in authority abuse unquestioning devotion and guilt as a means of control and manipulation. The immortal man pledges unflinching loyalty and obedience to his newfound haven, and The Order takes full advantage of his compliance, controlling him like a puppet for its own selfish purposes.
The reality of this sort of manipulative manifestation of Blue is strikingly portrayed in the 2015 documentary “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.” The film depicts how Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard has exploited thousands of decent and intelligent people out of their time, effort, and money by convincing them to devote themselves to an entirely fabricated system of beliefs, the most bizarre elements of which are kept hidden from the vast majority of adherents. On the surface, Scientology promises to provide all of the same essential elements of Blue that the immortal man discovers within The Order. But, behind the scenes, both Hubbard and his eventual successor David Miscavige have used the devotion of their congregation for personal gain.
Some of the most troubling manifestations of unhealthy Blue arise within the transitional zone between Red and Blue, where Red’s desire for action combined with Blue’s need for purpose becomes a recipe for ideologically motivated aggression and violence. Terrorist groups such as ISIS excel at exploiting the devotion and zeal of extreme Red/Blue as motivation for committing appalling acts of violence such as suicide bombings and mass shootings.
The history of the Christian Church has been plagued with its fair share of destructive Red/Blue as well, as seen in the Inquisition and The Crusades. We still see examples of this vehement value system at work in groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, who trade the love and acceptance of Jesus for hatred and judgment. Their actions seem to contradict the central message of the one they claim to follow.
“If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did.” -Tim Keller
Despite its potential for negative expressions, it is important to remember one of the central messages of Spiral Dynamics - that all of the colors provide crucial and valuable aspects of the Spiral. Healthy Blue empowers us to unite under a transcendent purpose or goal, commit to the pursuit of truth and goodness, and create the structure and stability needed within society. We invite everyone to consider how we can integrate the best aspects of Blue into our lives, while joining together to overcome its most malignant manifestations.