Pic of the day: "You sure are a strange one." This is the normal reaction to a Yellow character, with their insatiable curiosity and disregard for conventions. But trust me, we are all strange ones. (Screenshot: To Heart 2.)
Yellow vMeme and me
Continuing my musings on the Spiral Dynamics, this time with focus on myself. After all, there are well paid and famous people who are experts on SD, but there is no greater expert on me than myself!
I may be overshooting a little when I classify myself as a Yellow, the next-to-highest level of consciousness that is reliably observed as of today. But I really love knowledge for its own beauty, and I love insight even more, not just knowing but understanding. Not just that things work, but how they work and why. To some extent this is the human condition, but it is all about extent here.
When I wrote my two years ago entry, "Life in the Phantom Zone", I did not understand why I seemed to be out of sync with even my best friend. Today I think I know. It makes perfect sense, because she is an Orange (not the fruit, the vMeme) and I am a Yellow. There is all of Green in between, so there is no overlap between them, no transitional phase where you identify with them both. You can be Yellow in some part of your life and Orange in another, but you cannot be centered in between them, because there is a completely different mindset in between.
When I was younger, I thought that if someone was more intelligent than me, they would love knowledge for its own sake even more than I, and be even less bound to the conventions and ideals and dreams of society. But there really is no such connection. An Orange will see knowledge and insight as useful tools, to earn money and gain influence, improve their standard of living, and do something good and useful in their lifetime. In fact, they probably think any other attitude is just plain wrong. A hammer is for nail, a brain is for your job.
My friend, not to mention her family (who had transitioned up from Blue while I knew them), simply could not and cannot understand that I am wasting my time and my brain just playing around, building imaginary systems and taking them for a spin, over and over and over, rather than earning more money and doing something respectable. I think they are a bit ashamed of me. But I am not. And on that note...
Beside the infatuation with knowledge, there is another yellow trait that fits me like tailor made. I am immune to peer pressure.
OK, that may not be absolutely divine truth: At work I need to keep in mind what people expect from me, to some extent. I am paid to work with people, really, not just with computers, and some synchronizing is necessary for me to do my job. But in my personal life... even when people I like and respect disagree with me, it has very little effect on me. If they bring new information to me, if they point out some connection that I did not notice, they can easily convert me to a completely different opinion on some detail. Then again, so could an enemy, if I had any. But their likes, dislikes or opinions are of no matter to me. That is kinda harsh to say, given that some of these very few people probably will read this paragraph. Yet it is true. Your like or dislike of what I think is not important. Conversely, I actually don't have an opinion on most of what you do, say and think, if by opinion you mean "value judgment".
I mean, some of you do things I could not possibly make myself do, or make myself recommend. I don't judge you on that. It is an objective fact that you really do that, but it does not make me stop liking you, stop being your friend, stop talking to you or listening to you. Conversely I do things you would not do. I am always interested in learning why you think so, but unless you bring to light something I did not consider before, I won't change. And I won't pretend that I change. I feel no need to be like others, or even to be like someone else. Possibly Jesus, but then again even my Jesus is suspiciously different from the Jesuses you normally meet on postcards and in churches. And even so, the truth is that my Jesus and I disagree on quite a few things. Hopefully this won't last forever... He has convinced me of various things as the years have passed. But I don't think I'd call that "peer pressure"!!
On the other hand, fear. One of the most striking traits of second-tier vMemes is the absence of fear. And I cannot honestly claim that. But that is where the concept of "peak and trough" comes in. As already C.S. Lewis (now of Narnia fame) pointed out, a wave is the closest humans come to perfection. We never reach full stability. This is certainly true for my mental and emotional functions. Even then, I am amazingly stable by human standards, more so than you would guess from my journal. It is not as if one day I only play games, one day only think of the world economy, then one day only religion and then suddenly anime. I sure have a lot of different interests, but I don't load a new random personality each morning. I just break up the themes for your benefit. Even so, I am not a rock in a sea of frothing waves. I am just very viscous, is all. A mound of heavy maple syrup in a sea of frothing waves, perhaps? Wait, that would dissolve, wouldn't it? A mound of maple syrup in a clear plastic coating in a sea of frothing waves, then.
In particular, sickness makes an impression on me. When I get violently ill, like sudden stomach pains rather than the gradual wrist pains, I fall down to a lower level of mental operation. Depending on how ill I am, I can fall down quite a few levels. And then I know fear.
When I am healthy and safe, I am not afraid. You may say "of course", because why should I? But the truth is that people are often afraid of weird things that are no threat to life or limb. They are afraid of what people may say about them, they are afraid of losing that promotion, they are afraid of loneliness or even wrinkles. They worry like crazy, obsessively, as if they risked losing something precious. I don't. I probably worry slightly less than would be good for me, but at least it is a rather happy life. As long as I'm healthy and safe, that is.
Even death itself, when I look at it objectively, is more distasteful than scary. I resent it, but I don't fear it, at those times. It has even happened a couple times that I have come close to death while in such a state... I mean, not that I have been almost dead but that I have been in a situation that could have ended with my death. Like in the traffic for instance. And I've thought: OK, perhaps this is it. And I have felt surprise, a hint of sadness, some curiosity, but not real fear. But when I am gradually sliding closer to death, I react very differently. When I grow more and more ill, or when I am locked in a room with no exit and my stove is on in the other room... then I am very fearful like any other small furry creature.
Strangely, while I have these "trough" experiences, I don't have corresponding "peak" experiences. I may fall down to Blue or even Purple, five levels below, but I hardly ever touch Turquoise (the next level up) except theoretically, and I have no idea what the 9th level even is about. It is as if I normally function at peak level.
That is how it feels when I am sick too. I feel afraid that I am going to have to pay for all the good times I have had. It just doesn't seem right that someone should have that much fun and not be punished for it. Now I know you people don't think I have a lot of fun, but that's how it feels for me. As Abraham says to the rich man (in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus): "Remember, my child, that you got your good things in life." And indeed, life in the Yellow zone is a good thing. I would not switch it for riches, fame, power or cat-eared teen girls in too short skirts... Not really.
Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.