For the first time in human history, a global civilization is emerging. It was initiated by the European empires which first connected together the whole world with trade and has been super-catalyzed by the technologies of the airplane, television and internet.
In the West, Governments are becoming increasingly authoritarian, invading our privacy and suppressing freedom of speech. Our pensions, welfare and health care are unsustainable. Inequality is rising. The American Dream is out of reach for many. We’re polluting the planet. Our democracies are manipulated.
Societies have been destabilized by uncontrolled immigration with poor integration. Religious extremists are establishing colonies and terrorist networks. Parts of Europe are at risk of civil war as we import the conflicts of the Middle East. America is losing its place as top dog. When that happened to Britain, it led to two world wars and a Cold War. The apocalyptic possibilities are magnified with weapons of mass destruction and religious fundamentalism.
Simultaneously, we have more opportunities to thrive than ever with exponentially expanding knowledge, technology and interconnectivity. There are more human beings alive than ever, healthier, richer, learning faster than ever before. Culture is evolving at lightning speed. A new global civilization is taking shape.
To survive and thrive in this complexity, we need to take what Professor Clare Graves foresaw as a ‘great leap’ into integrated and holistic world views. Mature postmodern thinking is essential to make the transition to integral thinking. Naive and toxic postmodern thinking is the greatest barrier.
Naive, immature postmodern thinking, like all the preceding value systems undermines those before it. The mature, adaptive postmodern worldview sees the strengths and weaknesses of all the value systems and is emerging into early integral thinking, integrating the systems whilst cleaning up their extremities and shadows. Postmodern bigotry is the prime driver of the soft totalitarianism in which we live and are slipping further. It’s driven by emotional wounds; shame and guilt for imperialism, racism, holocaust, male chauvinism, harming the environment and dehumanization. These have been unhealthily processed through victim mentality, dissociation and identification with the victim and hatred of the perceived perpetrator. So the postmodern bigot is full of hate; anti-white, anti-male, anti-Western, anti-American, Anti-British, anti-authority (except its own), anti-doctor, anti-business, anti-science and so on.
Just when we should be rising to these challenges and opportunities, the West has lost its self-confidence. This lies on a spectrum from doubt and loss of hope through to cynicism and a suicidal desire for the destruction of the West. Many of us are in a state of denial or dissociation, distracting ourselves with the anesthetics we use to avoid consciousness.
This loss of morale is strange because our civilization has been more successful than any other. It has transformed the world largely for the better. The rest of the world has copied us, and many want to come and live here.
Some say, ‘So what? The old civilization is dying and a new one is being born.’ We’re all attracted to the metaphor of the caterpillar transforming into the butterfly, but our postmodern enthusiasm to get there might just make us jump off the cliff prematurely and fall into the abyss. Western Civilization forms the core pillars, the scaffolding of the emerging global civilization. The rest are joining us and it’s going global but we’re not there yet. We need to simultaneously preserve, defend and transform it whilst supporting the rest to develop.
President Trump said, “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?”
I’ve been trying to answer that question since I was 10 years old. Growing up in the 1970’s it felt like Britain was in constant decay. My family experienced a massive wave of violent crime, disorder and alienation. In the early 60’s my mum could walk from Leicester Square to Brixton at 2 am without fear. By the 1980’s my grandparents lived in constant fear of violence. Their council estates were dominated by gangs. They were intimidated by teenagers on busses, elderly people were followed, beaten and mugged. They said, ‘We didn’t fight Hitler for this. What was the point?’ They instinctively trusted authority yet when they called the police to protect them, they were impotent. The once great British industries and institutions were collapsing. The unions were taken over by political extremists. There were riots.
My family’s attitude was, “The country is finished. There is nothing you can do about it. Just work hard and look after yourself.” So, I studied medicine, specialized in psychiatry and worked in inner London, seeing the crime and social decay for myself. I experienced the National Health Service as a soul-crushing bureaucratic machine treating the staff and patients like objects. I explored how we could rehumanize our organizations and developed what I called organic leadership.
Halfway through an MBA at London Business School, I watched 9/11 live on TV. I realised that, we needed a psychologically intelligent foreign policy and launched myself as a consultant in the psychology of international relations. A House of Commons Committee asked me to submit a psychological counterterrorism strategy. How could we inspire our people to be patriotic and cohesive? How could we inspire newcomers to become one of us? How could we inspire the rest of the world to align with us? When I looked in the mirror at us, the British, I saw a postmodern blancmange of self-hating materialistic nothingness, lack of coherence and confidence. Why would anyone want to join our team? We’d spent 60 years deconstructing it.
I researched how to rejuvenate healthy authority. I interviewed a huge range of people from my grandparents to Captains of Royal Navy warships to teachers and policemen. They each gave the same answer. It felt like I was talking to the same person. I realized that just like bees, migrating wildebeest, shoals of fish, flocks of birds we carry an inner map of our civilization and I could feel it here, about an inch deep under the forehead – the third eye – this who we are, these are our values, this is true, this is false, this is good, this is bad, this is right, this is wrong, these are the rules.
We navigate this map with our inner compass of intellect, heart, gut, intuition and instinct. I realized that we could analyze our inner map, diagnose it, improve it and inject it back into the group consciousness just like upgrading the software on your computer.
I set about identifying our group pathologies. There are many, but I’ll describe the top five. The first is dehumanization, the loss of life force, our spiritual core. This is the flip side of modernism. Science and capitalism are powerful drivers of human potential but because they place the highest value on those things we can measure with numbers, we have devalued the human spirit, love, compassion, family, security, freedom, health, the environment- in other words, all the most important things in life. We have discredited our instinct and intuition. We see this in the way our organizations treat people like cogs in a machine. We see it in healthcare which has forgotten the basics of diet, healing and compassion. We see it in our collapsing birthrates.
Second, we have so fragmented, relativized and deconstructed ourselves that we have lost our coherence, our ability to agree on shared values, morality and truth. Thirdly, we act out of guilt and shame for slavery, holocaust, war, imperialism, men dominating women, rich exploiting the poor and damaging our environment. Ideally when we have done something wrong, we should stop doing it, repair the damage, prevent it happening again and reach a state of forgiveness. On the unhealthy side, when we get unpleasant emotions, we can push them down, deny them, project them, or turn them against ourselves. We have done it about 50% healthy- 50% unhealthy.
We have gone from white supremacism to anti-white racism; from cultural superiority to self-hatred and idealization of the other; from imperialism to mass immigration; from male chauvinism to man-hating feminism and from certainty to relativism.
Fourth, we are stuck in the victim-perpetrator-rescuer dynamic in everything from our personal lives to welfare, justice and foreign aid. We blame others for our problems rather than taking responsibility and empowering ourselves. Sometimes we play the rescuer role where we try to help the victim. It can be helpful, but not if we are doing it to make ourselves feel good and disempowering the victims in the process. Often as rescuer, we enjoy attacking the perceived perpetrator, creating new victims in the process. The Israelis and Palestinians have been locked in a game of competitive victimhood for 70 years. It’s even in our fairy tales! Cinderella was victim of the ugly sisters, rescued by Prince Charming.
Fifth, we’re locked in a culture war between the dominant modernist economic and postmodern cultural groupthink versus the reassertion of tribal, power-driven and traditional mindsets embodied by Brexit, President Trump and the patronizingly named ‘populists.’ Far from being a disaster, this is an opportunity for people who consider themselves to be ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ to step up into integrated and holistic leadership. It’s time to give up postmodern bigotry and embrace all 8 human value systems.
As Don Beck says, it’s time to stop predicting the rain and to build the Ark. On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I launched the Future of Western Civilization Project. I connected with visionaries at the evolutionary edge around the world to discover the seeds of the future, success in embryo.
After 2 years, my girlfriend asked, “if Mr. or Mrs. Western Civilization came into your consulting room as a psychiatrist, what would that be like?” My book Analyze West answers that question. It tells the story of West, a character who embodies the group consciousness of Western Civilization. He turns up in hospital having a panic attack. The Islamists are attacking, the Chinese are taking over, I can’t pay my debts, I can’t cope. The psychiatrist takes him through psychotherapy for each dimension of the Western mind culminating in his announcement of his intention to write a new Magna Carta.
I wrote The New Magna Carta to codify Western Civilization’s inner map & compass; the rules of the West, the essence of the Western soul upgraded to make us fit for the challenges and opportunities ahead. Imagine you could look down on the Earth from space and see across time. We are human beings living in a conscious living system in evolution. We are hurtling towards a global civilization at phenomenal speed. When we beat ourselves up about the rate of progress, we need to get a sense of perspective.
Cultivate a feeling of gratitude for what we have and forgiveness for our shortcomings. We are fortunate to live in a time with so much prosperity, health, freedom, peace and opportunity. If you told our ancestors that they could walk five minutes to a safe place where they could find everything that they need to eat, cook, clean and clothe themselves produced by people all over the world, they would be astounded.
One of the most powerful things that we can do is to positively visualize the future as if we had already achieved our goals. When we honestly assess where we are now, this stimulates a creative tension. As we take daily baby steps in that direction, it unleashes a powerful motivating force and attracts others to support us.
We can restore the human spirit and put it at the heart of everything we do. A successful society requires that each of us is a free, sovereign being who is responsible for ourselves, embodies authority and uses our instincts, reason and judgement. We can reintegrate compassion and healing with holistic, scientific medicine.
We can rehumanize organizations with organic leadership. I pioneered the discovery of authentic outcome measures used in the interactions between stakeholders in a self- organizing living system. It’s a catalyst for continuous learning and culture transformation. The West was built on Christian foundations, but modernist science and capitalism neutered religion and postmodernism relativized it away. The second fastest growing group in the West identifies as spiritual but not religious and we’re trying hard to find and follow our own spiritual path. It’s not easy but an even greater challenge is evolving a shared integrated and holistic spirituality which can replace those lost foundations of society.
We can heal the wounds from the past, let go of our shame and guilt to release our energy for the future. On a personal level this happens one relationship at a time. On a group level, forgiveness and healing can be achieved through good leadership. Don Beck was the mastermind behind Mandela’s symbolic healing action in embracing the South African Rugby team as shown in the film Invictus.
There is a clear path mapped out from victim mentality to empowerment; from victim to creator, perpetrator to challenger and rescuer to coach.
For most of human history, humans were tribal, territorial and racist. We’re fast becoming a post-racial world in which people are judged according to their behavior alone. It’s entirely possible. Look at the modern British. We’re a mixture of prehistoric Brits, Irish, Celts, Picts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings, Danes, Norwegians, Normans, Dutch, Huguenots and Jews. Since World War 2 we have had a vast influx of people from all over the world. Many are integrating well and becoming as British as me. However, the sheer scale and speed of this migration is such that we need to actively manage it to make a success of it.
We need healthy postmodern thinking to suppress all forms of racism including the racism of minorities. We need to stop the denigration of white people’s history and identity. We need to stop the naive postmodern worldview pretending that all cultures, beliefs and values are equal. We need to stop encouraging racial victim mentality and identity politics. Where there are apparent racial inequalities, we must address the authentic causes. We should never discriminate by race, but we should discriminate by beliefs and behaviors. We need to heal racial wounds. It has to be a deep and sincere process.
If a patient came to me and said, ‘I hate myself I don’t have the right to exist. Everything I’ve ever done is wrong. Everything bad in the world is my fault. Everyone else is better than me. I can’t wait until I am erased and replaced,’ it would be clear that this person had a serious problem. Yet this is what toxic postmodern thinking has been promoting.
As groups, we British, Americans, the French should have healthy identity, good self-esteem, not arrogance; not self- hatred; a positive patriotism which successfully integrates newcomers and is respectful of others. We need healthy postmodern thinking to interweave our traditional patriotic stories with our evolutionary human story which includes newcomers and invites them to become one of us.
One of the great strengths of the West is our doubt and self-criticism. Yet we’ve taken that to the extreme and thrown the baby out with the bathwater. We should also celebrate our strengths. Democracy is the best form of government for an advanced society. Our culture is the most tolerant of minorities. People are free to be themselves. Migrants from all over the world want to live here. Our countries do more to help other peoples develop than any other. Capitalism has created more wealth and liberated more people from poverty than any other economic system. Our militaries provide the backbone of the world’s security. Like most other civilizations, ours practiced slavery but, unlike any other, we put a stop to it and forced others to do the same. The West is by far the most innovative society. Our science and technology have transformed human life largely for the better.
The naive postmodern worldview is reluctant to set boundaries. Toxic postmodernism says it’s non-judgmental unless you dare disagree with it in which case you’re an ‘-ist’ who must be brutally crushed. We need mature postmodern thinking to work wisely with the other value systems to set healthy boundaries, make healthy judgements, assert healthy values and embody healthy authority.
Our borders, like the membranes of every cell in our bodies, should be semi-permeable membranes to maintain inner coherence and to protect from predators and threats. Our immigration policy should welcome those with skills, entrepreneurship and energy who genuinely want to become one of us. We should welcome new members warmly and support them to fit in, learn the language, learn the law, establish businesses and get educated. We should exclude those with exclusive ethnocentric identities who do not wish to join our society but rather establish colonies. We should exclude those with a history of crime, corruption and violence. We should exclude those with fundamentalist values incompatible with our democracy, law and rights. Citizenship is a sacred contract of tribal membership and should be earned on probation.
Winston Churchill said, ‘democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried.’ The modernist economic and postmodern cultural elite suppresses voices who challenge their groupthink. Freedom of speech is the best guarantor of freedom from tyranny and oppression. Where there are people with bigoted, intolerant and foolish opinions, it is best to get them out in the open and subject them to scrutiny, reason and laughter. We must have an open competition of ideas. Nothing and no one should be beyond criticism or scrutiny. We need to make it safe for comedians laugh at toxic postmodernism and Islamic supremacism. We need healthy postmodern thinking to evolve our democracy with more effective methods of dialogue and policy making.
We should upgrade political correctness. The task of suppressing racist, sexist and homophobic bigots is a work in progress. We must set very strict boundaries around religious extremism to defend liberal democracy, our sacred truth.
The reductionist bigot reduces humanity to a spreadsheet or a target. We need mature postmodern thinking to cleverly integrate modernist capitalism and science with the other value systems.
Then we have a diversity of postmodern bigots. It’s good to be against racism, but we have the racist, ‘anti-racist’ bigot who promotes racism against white people and victim mentality in minorities. We have people who call themselves anti-fascists who are the closest thing we have to fascists. It’s good to be against sexism, but we have the feminist bigot who denigrates men and disrespects traditional women who do not fit their stereotype. It’s good to promote fairness, but the anti-success bigot promotes jealousy against those who are successful. It’s good to live in harmony with nature but the environmentalist bigot hates business and science. We need mature postmodern thinking to effectively harness capitalism and science to solve environmental problems. All of these postmodern bigots’ bully those who don’t submit to their prejudiced world view. All of them must be made taboo with the same vigor that we suppress racism, sexism and homophobia.
We can integrate the false dichotomies- right and left, masculine and feminine, peace and security, globalist and patriotic, intellect and emotion, spiritual and secular. We can be wise to the dark side of human nature, harness it or heal it. Regarding criminals, a conservative will say ‘punish them.’ A liberal will say, ‘rehabilitate them.’ A Socialist will say fix the sociological causes of crime. A Christian will say, ‘forgive them.’ They waste their energy fighting each other. We need to do all of those effectively with trans-partisan policies.
Within 150 years we have burnt billions of years’ worth of fossil fuels and polluted our environment. Every time you fill your car with petrol, you are funding the Russian and Iranian militaries, religious fundamentalists and all kinds of criminals. I want us to invest a massive level of research and development into clean, sustainable, secure energy. We won’t persuade people to do that by shouting abusively about climate change, we might persuade them to do it because it will make us more secure, create a new industrial revolution, cause an economic boom and liberate the poorest 3 billion people from poverty.
Science is one of the prime drivers of human potential, yet it can be so much better. Science is seriously restricted by traditional orthodoxy masquerading as science and by egos, power and corporate greed. For example, we spend vast sums on surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. We need truly evidence-based medicine to also research the other things that prevent and treat cancer like diet, exercise, psychology, energetics, healing, ablation therapies and a vast list of supplements.
We need healthy postmodern thinking to improve science by integrating judgement, intuition, wisdom, complexity and consciousness with empiricism, logic and reason. Capitalism is another powerful driver of human potential. Yet we are stuck in a battle between capitalism and anti-capitalism. Mature postmodern thinking can help us transform capitalism by seeing it through holistic eyes. Money is a token of human energy and value. Capitalism is the flow of human energy into human potential. We need strict regulation to limit corruption and exploitation. Conscious capitalists are experimenting to integrate what we truly value- family, security, health, fairness and the environment into prices, balance sheets and company structures.
Before welfare and the National Health Service, my granddad sometimes only had a piece of bread dipped in fat to eat. My grandmother worked 18-hour days to live in a slum. Yet they also witness the welfare system being gamed by self-serving players. They see how our health service is abused. Policymakers trying to address these problems are ruthlessly attacked by postmodern bigots. We need healthy postmodern thinking to intelligently work with the other value systems to make social systems work effectively.
Just as Deng Xiao Ping liberated the Chinese peasants and ignited capitalism by allowing the them to keep their profits, we should liberate people from the disempowering dependency culture of welfare by allowing them to keep the profits of their work and entrepreneurship. Some countries are experimenting with a universal wage to test this idea.
Postmodern cultural and materialist economic groupthink is causes us to keep making systematic errors in foreign policy. When communism failed in the Soviet Union, capitalists and opportunists rushed in but the absence of order, law and healthy bureaucracy instead liberated gangsters and oligarchs necessitating the emergence of authoritarianism. In Iraq, we removed the state and army which unleashed a hornet’s nest of thuggery and sectarianism. In Afghanistan, modernist-postmodern groupthink didn’t stand a chance of success and took 10 years to learn what was obvious to more integrated thinkers.
In those places where human development is stuck, we must do our best to empower them. But international development has been itself stuck in a combination of toxic postmodernist rescuers promoting victim mentality, toxic opportunists exploiting people and ideologues imposing systems on people not suited to their culture or life conditions. We need an integrated worldview to work with the other value systems to empower the poorest and most vulnerable societies.
The world is increasingly unstable and dangerous. Whilst we encourage emerging powers to step up to help maintain peace, we must vigorously defend our own security. Europe needs to massively increase its defence spending after decades of freeloading on the United States.
Gender identity and relations are out of balance as a result of wounded family, abuse, out-of-date traditions and dehumanizing modernism. The postmodern worldview has tried to sort out the mess. The toxic rescuer has vilified the perceived male perpetrator disempowered the perceived female victim. Extremist postmodernism has tried to relativize away gender all together.
We need to rejuvenate healthy masculinity and femininity- to rediscover what it is. Both men and women have a balance of masculine and feminine energies. Healthy masculinity is decisive, logical, practical, courageous and assertive. As feminism rightly pointed out, toxic masculinity is abusive, dominating, exploitative, callous and egotistical. Healthy femininity is intuitive, nurturing, receptive, empowering and empathic. The unhealthy feminine is submissive, dependent, unable to set boundaries, and lacks confidence.
The single most powerful thing we can do to maximize human potential is to give education to all free, online globally. It’s do-able. It’s affordable. Let’s do it.
All of these things are happening but nowhere near fast enough. Our choice is whether we do this by now by adaptive evolution or painfully in a crisis. The evolutionary edge is at the transition from the dominant modern and postmodern world views to integrated and holistic ways of seeing, being and acting.
Whether we survive and thrive depends on us effectively integrating all 8 value systems- survival, tribal, power, truth, modernist and postmodernism. Naive and toxic postmodernism is the number one barrier to us achieving this. Healthy mature postmodern facilitation is the essential catalyst.
We can relax and leave it to learning, and evolution, to take care of things. Eventually postmodern worldview will evolve into an integrated one but it’s a painfully slow process. That’s OK if you don’t mind suffering and hundreds of millions of dead. I’ve spent 20 years trying to catalyze the transition from postmodern to integral consciousness.
Just like the earlier value systems, postmodernism is certain that it is right, and the others are inferior. Toxic postmodern thinking hears criticism of it as reactionary tribal, predatory, traditional and modernist world-views and then brutally attacks. If you ask the naive postmodern worldview for its vision of heaven on earth, it becomes even more extremely postmodern. If you try to show it the harmful effects of its actions, it either denies them, rationalizes them away or attacks you.
I’ve seen the British and wider Western elites up close and I am very sad to report that they are deeply entrenched in modernist economic and postmodern cultural groupthink. Under pressure they are becoming even more extreme. It’s been shocking to me to discover that some very powerful people who maintain the status quo secretly agree with me. They’re like the old communist bureaucrats who were were just playing the game to keep their position. The upside of that is that they will be ready to jump on the integral bandwagon as soon as it gets enough support.
There are signs of hope – green shoots or more accurately integrated and holistic shoots beginning to sprout. There is much more emerging integrated and holistic thinking in the younger generations.
My mission is to catalyze the rejuvenation of our civilization by inspiring and coaching them to step into their full potential, to make it practical with strategy, policy & outcomes.
About the Author
Dr Nicholas Beecroft is a military psychiatrist with 20 years’ experience of coaching on purpose, values, vision, strategy, leadership, decision-making, relationships, pitches and performance. He has worked on conflict resolution for couples, companies and countries. He is a Member of the Royal College of Defence Studies and is the author of Analyze West, the New Magna Carta and the Future of Western Civilization series.
He graduated as a doctor at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Medical School and from University College London with a BSc. in Psychology. He worked as a House Physician and Surgeon. He gained Membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists at the Maudsley and Bethlem Royal Hospitals. He earned an MBA from London Business School.
His experience includes working with investors, entrepreneurs, Chief Executives, Directors, Ministers, diplomats, the military, journalists, doctors and thought leaders. He has worked with McKinsey & Co, Royal Navy, British Army, Hedge Funds, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Schroder’s, National Health Service, Ministry of Defence. He has advised the Israeli Defence Force, Palestinian Authority, German Foreign Ministry, British Council, Johannesburg City Council, Marks & Spencer, Cable & Wireless, BP, BAA, Channel 4, BBC, Home Office, Department for International Development, Oxford Research Group and Wilton Park.