The GameStop Revolution Has Started. It Won’t Be Televised.

Robb Smith Article, Free, Leadership, Perspectives, The Transformation Age, World Affairs, Worldviews 14 Comments

“The Green-stage Information Age has created the tools that help save us from its own contradictions, becoming the rocket fuel that takes us into the Transformation Age…. You get the resilience [we need in the Transformation Age] by distributing wisdom down to the individual levels from the hierarchical savior leader, you get resilience by having power, wisdom and economics distributed amongst the crowd. So it is implicit in the nature of Green that, as it breaks down centralized power, what it’s also doing is reconfiguring it in a preparatory way for the resilience that’s needed at Teal, sowing the seeds for its own solution to emerge.” — The Metacrisis is Giving Rise to the Transformation Age


he revolution won’t be televised, it will be Reddited. And it has started. In a four year run of incredible, historic events, it’s hard to objectively recognize which and when the most significant of them occurs. But I think it possible that one of the most important events of the past several years is playing out as we speak: the deep structure of society has just phase-shifted into a state of conditions necessary for a Teal, Integral, Transformation Age to continue to emerge and without which it cannot: the GameStop Revolution is putting in place a demand by the crowd that will force Green-platform power holders to either evolve to Teal or become increasingly irrelevant.

You’d be forgiven for thinking revolutionary fever is catching. The attempted coup by a sitting president of the United States and his incitement of insurrection against the Capitol was just a few weeks ago. Now just this week occurs an organized rally against institutional short sellers by retail everymen on GameStop stock, which forced billions of dollars of losses against hedge funds.

But they are related: both were clear examples of my thesis in A New War for Power that the Green structure of sociocultural evolution introduces a new ontologically-novel power to convene that is unmatched in its ability to attack and reconfigure the prior powers of rational-capitalist Orange (the power to contract), mythic-agrarian Amber (the power to sanction, then Red’s power to expel etc.)… Green was always powerful precisely because its ontologically emergent power to convene was genuinely new and robust, allowing it to reconfigure all prior powers:

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Green technology, such as that found on Reddit, Parlor, Twitter and the like, is about to force Green structures themselves to Teal by using the very power to convene to become the power to integrate. Green power holders face a choice to either evolve or die. Said simply, because the platforms are mis-accommodating what is actually happening, especially in the wake of GameStop, Green is going “platform shopping” sensitive to the systematic, syntactical rules of the platforms themselves for the very first time. This is new, and important, because it is a behavior that stands meta- to Green’s power itself: indeed, only platforms that can can integrate a fuller spectrum of reality will win here.

What Green technology does is it empowers every person with a smartphone to say no to any other structure (whether corporation, religion, institution, political party, brand, even people (e.g., cancel culture)). Green-level technology, and primarily social media, empowers people to feel like they can reject any and all pre-given ontologies. As I said in The Metacrisis is Giving Rise to the Transformation Age:

Indeed, it is the integrative innovation underway as we speak that is growing the Transformation Age structures that will integrate and overcome today’s contradictions through transitions to new consciousness (from pluralistic self to integral self), technology (quantum computing, effectively free energy, nanotechnology, personalized genetic medicine etc.), governance (dysfunctional oligarchy to representative panarchy), education (economic-focused, job preparatory translational education to citizen-focused, lifelong transformative education), economics (accelerated decoupling of the physiosphere from noospheric economic growth) and environment (full, internalized costing and circularity).

As many of us have pointed out, Green structures are massively liberating at the same time they introduce a disaster for mental health, psychic wholeness, and social cohesion; every person is called to be their own narcissus, a tabula rasa, a fully-self-constructed stack of myths, meaning, rationality, moral judgment and behavioral subjectivism.

And none of us—I repeat, no one on this planet—is equipped to do so.

So it’s not surprising that into this maelstrom of anomie rose Donald Trump, who as the ultimate anti-elite, egocentric victim himself, and a master at reading an alienated and angry riot, knew how to touch the early emotional drives of enough of those people to convene them into something kind of approaching temporary coherence. And of course his supporters are learning what happens when you cross legal lines and actually attack the Orange, modern rule of law in the real world and not just with your keyboard: you get arrested, and Orange uses its still-intact powers of sanction (Amber) and expulsion (Red) to maintain social order (i.e., keep the Orange social holon intact). Then came the technology platforms deplatforming all of the insurrectionists. That is, the platforms themselves, from Facebook to Amazon, used their Green-level social media and information technologies to accrue both social power (they hold the structural power underlying Green’s power to convene) and Orange power of capital, profit and economic monopoly.

The mistake with the Trump revolution though is that very few actually want healthy, modern, Constitutional Orange disrupted. No one but a tiny fraction of Red-stage actors (and Red itself only 5% of the population, max) wants the rule of law destroyed, their national Capitol burned to the ground, or a bunch of bomb-throwing anarchists or monarchists to reorder society. Everyone knows, implicitly or explicitly, that that represents a horrifying regression to some older and ugly atavism. The direction of social evolution is towards Teal Integralism from our current Green Pluralism, and not backwards to Red Magic tribalism:

Enter GameStop. Similar to the Capitol in many ways: an aggrieved group of keyboard warriors, convened and focused to action online, but then taking their grievance against the Orange establishment—this time putatively economic, not political—into action in the real-world. (I don’t want to get into the details of how a short squeeze works, but there are a lot of people covering those details.) And now a similar backlash to contain the revolution, with the media (like CNBC) calling for regulation of main street investors and deplatforming, with Robinhood restricting trades in Gamestop (or AHC, which is a more recent iteration as the crowd gets warmed up).

Robinhood protecting Wall Street? Robin Hood… ah that longstanding mythic symbol of the heroic guy who protects the market-dominating rich against the greedy, ignorant masses. Wait a minute, hmm.

If you don’t have an integral point of view, it would seem like the Capitol and GameStop are the same anti-Orange backlash because they share so many similarities. They are, to my biased eye, indeed both evidence of The Great Release, a world system at the height of its maladaptive irresilience in the face of overwhelming power consolidation. They both attack Orange and its dominant forms of conventional, institutional power. They are both primal screams of helplessness by dispossessed everymen against those elites in power who cannot find it within themselves to listen harder, think more complexly and be bolder in breaking up our power monopolies to free up innovation (an innovation that is necessary for us to move beyond a release phase, through reorganization, and into the emergent new of the Transformation Age).

But they are radically different in one serious way: the GameStop Revolution attacks unhealthy Orange, especially its capital-consolidated money game, while the other attacked healthy Orange, especially our representative democracy and rule of law. GameStop pursues a liberation that is progressive through actual decentralization of power and greater autonomy over our economic lives. GameStop is attempting to break our civilizational irresilience towards the future, not backwards into a savage, pre-Constitutional yesteryear of even-greater monarchical power consolidation. GameStop is on the right side of history, the Capitol is not. And, in the case of GameStop, this is what the institutionalists are up against:

So what makes GameStop remarkable enough that I dropped everything else I was doing to write why I think this could be the beginning of another important phase shift into the Transformation Age? Because those who are being deplatformed by the Robinhoods are now indeed platform shopping, signaling that the convening power of Green is being used to eat Green itself, to force it to face its contradictions in such a serious way that its only choice will be to embrace a better power, the Teal power to integrate. If Robinhood doesn’t innovate to a Teal integration that allows Green convening power to attack Orange structures, it will be quickly made obsolete. And whether it does or not, the game’s already played, it’s just a matter of time: capital from the rising generation of activist digerati will increasingly end up on the blockchain, where the existing power monopolies will have a much harder time of manipulation and domination. It’s why I say that the Internet of Value (e.g., Bitcoin) is the economic ground for Teal and The Transformation Age.

And that’s also why I think this GameStop Revolution is a battle in a contest that is still in its early stages, with GameStop acting as a sort of 21st century Boston Tea Party. Everything the institutions are doing in reply to this emergent is dumb and wrong, exposing their hypocrisy and ill-fitness for the moment, all while animating moral grievance and enhancing the revolutionary call to arms. Notice below the use of “movement” and you’ll see that for many this is not, and probably never was, an economic issue:

As this contest makes itself known to more people, it will attract combatants and advocates to both sides. But unlike the Capitol, which has little popular support and will rightly be adjudicated by society as illegal, GameStop has reality on its side—with a handful of people accreting trillions of dollars in net worth gains amidst a global pandemic—and I expect this to be a bludgeoning of institutional power no matter what they do (the only correct move is for them to build the Teal systems of power distribution that will obsolete their current selves, but also allow them to trade power today for legitimacy and participation tomorrow—that is, the correct move is to actually transform their organizations to Teal; this is a mirror of the argument I’ve made about what the United States needs to do with respect to the global hegemony of the US dollar as reserve currency: either transform from within and participate in the newly-created world, or the environment will eventually transform you from without).

In any case, that’s probably a good place to close, because global US dollar hegemony and the power monopoly of Wall Street that the Gamestop Revolution attacks are two sides of the same coin (with only nuanced differences, economic vs political, national vs global, etc.). And that’s why I feel confident that we know the battlefield where this contest will be finally waged and decided: Bitcoin.

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About Robb Smith

Robb Smith is a leading thinker on the Transformation Age and the global Integral movement. He is the co-founder and CEO of Integral Life and founder of the Institute of Applied Metatheory.