Why do you humans have so much conflict with each other?
How can two intelligent beings be unable to see eye to eye?
What’s at the root of so much of our inner conflict and our frequent inflexibility to adopt totally different views?
Spiral Dynamics addresses all of those questions and extra.
When you’re keen on understanding human conduct, psychological improvement, cultural dynamics, leadership, and communication, bounce in!
- 1 What is Spiral Dynamics?
- 2 The Origins of Spiral Dynamics
- 3 The Eight Levels of Spiral Dynamics
- 4 The Relationship between Grave and Maslow’s Model
- 5 The Importance of “Second Tier” (One other Term for “Integration”)
- 6 The Dance of Masculine and Female Energies
- 7 How Spiral Dynamics Explains Human Conflict
- 8 How you can Use Spiral Dynamics for Leadership
- 9 How Spiral Dynamics Influences Psychological Development
- 10 The Very important Shift From Inexperienced to Yellow
- 11 The way to Use Spiral Dynamics for Shadow Work
- 12 Methods to Use Spiral Dynamics for Self Development
- 13 What Do You Assume?
What is Spiral Dynamics?
Spiral dynamics is a psychological mannequin that highlights levels of improvement specifically around values. This hierarchy of value buildings consists of eight levels that individuals categorical of their psychological life.
These eight levels are developmental in that we develop via these levels. Society itself has advanced by way of these stage buildings as properly.
I know this could seem a bit abstract, however hold on for a minute as this mannequin will grow to be solely sensible as soon as we start exploring the individual levels under.
The Origins of Spiral Dynamics
Whereas Abraham Maslow was formulating the hierarchy of human needs, psychologist Clare W. Graves was analyzing what makes individuals totally different in their behaviors, values, and worldviews.
Graves’ over 20 years of research yielded what he referred to as the levels of existence. Questioning hundreds of individuals in longitudinal studies, he discovered there are specific levels of improvement in human values.
Graves and Maslow have been contemporaries. Graves initially sought to validate Maslow’s conclusions. Grave’s detailed analysis, nevertheless, revealed many psychological insights that went beyond Maslow’s hierarchy of wants.
But Graves passed away in 1986—earlier than he accomplished and revealed his work. This partly explains why his work is much less well-known than Maslow’s regardless that, in some ways, this analysis is richer and more instructive for understanding our psychology.
Grave’s analysis was picked up by Don Beck and Christopher Cowan who coined the term “spiral dynamics” and revealed their ebook by the identical title in 1996.
Don Beck joined forces with American thinker Ken Wilber who integrated spiral dynamics into his integral principle, helping to popularize Grave’s work.
The Eight Levels of Spiral Dynamics
The eight levels of spiral dynamics are each labeled with a special shade. As you scan these levels, take a look at them as “expressions” inside the human experience.
It’s necessary to note that a specific stage of improvement doesn’t outline a person. For instance, it’s incorrect to say, “I’m at Orange.”
As an alternative, the literature uses the term “center of gravity,” in that every of us has a center of gravity that’s predominantly in a single stage of improvement. However we categorical other worth buildings as properly. (This distinction will turn into extra necessary once we talk about “Second Tier” under.)
From the underside up:
BEIGE: The Instinctive Self
Driven to outlive. Beige is archaic, primary, automated, and instinctive. It thinks and acts in a needs-driven, wish-fulfillment method.
The first theme of Beige is to “do what you must just to stay alive.”
Age: zero – 18 months.
PURPLE: The Magical Self
Purple needs security and security. It’s tribalistic, magical, and mystical. Seems to gods and higher powers with rituals for safety.
The underlying theme of Purple is to “keep the spirits happy and the tribe’s nest warm and safe.”
Age: 1 – three years.
RED: The Impulsive Self
Pink drives for power, glory, rage, and revenge. It is egocentric, exploitative, impulsive, and rebellious. The Pink value structure believes it will probably take what it needs by aligning with energy.
The essential theme of Pink is “be what you are and do what you want, regardless.”
Age: 3 – 6 years.
BLUE: The Rule/Position Self
Blue seeks the last word peace, locked in the battle of excellent and evil. It’s absolutistic, obedient, purposeful, and authoritarian. By following the principles and exceeding its given position, it’s going to know the elemental fact. Most religions and non secular values are rooted in Blue.
The theme of Blue is that “Life has meaning, direction, and purpose with predetermined outcomes.”
Age: 7 – 8 years.
ORANGE: The Achiever Self
Orange wishes autonomy, achievement, and self-interest. It’s materialistic, strategic, formidable, and individualistic.
The aim of the sport is to compete and win: material pleasure, acquisition, and the advancement of civilization. How? By learning tips on how to excel at every part it does, setting and attaining objectives, measuring success, and so on.
Orange builds companies, science, drugs and most of recent society. It creates hierarchies of domination (comparisons, “better than,” and so forth.). Orange turned the dominant wave through the industrial age and continues by way of the technological and knowledge age.
The first theme of Orange is to “act in your own self-interest by playing the game to win.”
Age: 9 – 14 years
GREEN: The Sensitive Self
Inexperienced lives by connection, group, egalitarianism, and consensus. It’s relativistic, personalistic, pluralistic, and delicate. Inexperienced appreciates numerous views and focuses on the needs of the various.
The Inexperienced wave first emerged in the course of the hippy movement in the late 60s. With Green got here the notice of human and animal rights and gave start to feminism, racial equality, postmodernism, and so on. Liberalism and activism is an expression of Green.
The underlying theme of Inexperienced is to “seek peace within the inner self and explore the caring dimensions of community.”
Age: 15 – 21 years
YELLOW: The Integral Self
Yellow seems to be to turn into entire and synthesize all the degrees that got here earlier than it by awakening as many strains of intelligence that it could and integrating them into a cohesive entire. Yellow is systemic, ecological, versatile, and conceptual. By studying and adapting it may well incorporate the levels that came earlier than it.
The primary theme of Yellow is to “live fully and responsibly as what you are and are learning to become.”
TURQUOISE: The Holistic Self
Compassion and concord guide turquoise. It seeks peace in an incomprehensible world by creating extra profound receptivity of multi-dimensional perspectives with out privileging any of them.
The primary theme of Turquoise is to “experience the wholeness of existence through mind and spirit.”
Okay, so now let’s make sense of those levels.
The Relationship between Grave and Maslow’s Model
At first look, these levels don’t look too just like Maslow’s hierarchy of wants. But let’s take a better look.
Beige focuses on doing what it’s worthwhile to do to survive. This is identical as Maslow’s physiological needs.
Purple and Pink search safety and a protected setting. Those are Maslow’s security and safety needs.
Orange is fascinated by achievement, which hits on Maslow exterior esteem needs.
Affection and reference to others guide Inexperienced; Maslow’s “love and belonging needs.”
Yellow is about turning into the most effective model of yourself—another means of describing self-actualization.
Turquoise represents the stage of consciousness the place an individual transcends their ego, identifying as an alternative with the collective entire. Maslow referred to as this stage in his later work, self-transcendence.
The first distinction between the 2 models is that in Grave’s version, Green develops after Orange, whereas in Maslow’s mannequin, love and belonging (Green) come before vanity (Orange).
It’s doubtless that this will depend on the individual. Ladies might extra typically develop their Inexperienced value structure first while men extra typically build their Orange structure first.
The Importance of “Second Tier” (One other Term for “Integration”)
From the attitude of our psychological improvement, probably the most crucial thing about spiral dynamics is knowing the difference between the mannequin’s two tiers.
The primary tier consists of all of the levels from Beige by way of Inexperienced. That’s, the initial six of the eight levels of values are within the first tier.
Once you’re middle of gravity is in one among these six levels, you are likely to determine solely with that exact worth construction.
So, for instance, in case your middle of gravity is in Orange, you doubtless determine yourself as an achiever (even in the event you don’t use that term). You additionally are likely to consider that the values of Orange (pleasure, material things, acquisition, attaining objectives, money, capitalism) are what’s most necessary. And also you’re convinced that everyone should worth this stuff too.
The second tier represents a radical shift, nevertheless, in how a person perceives reality. While within the first tier, the individual’s ego identifies with a specific stage of improvement, in the second tier, there’s an enlargement of consciousness.
Now, we will perceive these levels of improvement and their related worth buildings. We will perceive the advantages of each stage as well as their inherent limitations. And we will begin to combine each of these levels without making one value structure “right” and the others “wrong.”
The Dance of Masculine and Female Energies
One notably lovely facet of Grave’s mannequin is the way it illustrates the constant pressure between masculine and female energies—one of the hallmark considerations of the individuation process.
The masculine power seeks autonomy and independence. The feminine power drives towards communion and togetherness.
Every stage within Spiral Dynamics toggles between these two energies.
- Beige: individual survival (masculine)
- Purple: tribal (female)
- Purple: power and dominance (masculine)
- Blue: follows moral precepts of the group (feminine)
- Orange: autonomy and achievement (masculine)
- Green: egalitarianism and group (female)
- Yellow: integration and personal duty (masculine)
- Turquoise: collective individualism (female)
Isn’t that fascinating? The shift in emphasis goes forwards and backwards between masculine and feminine, individualism and collectivism, time and again. Is it any marvel that we’re divided as a individuals and as people?
Holding the opposites—the Yin and Yang—together is not any straightforward feat in this steady dance.
How Spiral Dynamics Explains Human Conflict
I typically seek advice from Spiral Dynamics in my teaching periods with shoppers as a result of this model so eloquently explains why conflicts happen between people.
In response to this analysis, solely roughly 1% of individuals have a center of gravity in the second tier (primarily Yellow).
Eighty % of people have a middle of gravity in both Blue, Orange, or Green (or some mixture of the 2, for instance, Blue-Orange or Orange-Green).
These percentages assist explains interoffice, political, and marital conflicts.
Take politics as an illustration. Republican or conservative worth buildings are an expression of Blue whereas Democratic or liberal value buildings are Green. Blue and Inexperienced cannot see each other’s viewpoint. In truth, analysis exhibits that liberal and conservative viewpoints stem from totally different elements of the brain.
By the way, this doesn’t suggest that Green is “better than” Blue or that a liberal viewpoint is more advanced than a conservative view.
Every stage of improvement represents a more complicated structure in consciousness. When you will have a system of larger complexity, it signifies that more things can go flawed. They usually typically do!
So each value construction can go to extremes. And the more complicated the worth construction, the extra damaging the extremes develop into. For this purpose, Wilber calls the out-of-balance Greens the “Mean Green Memes.”
When two individuals can’t see eye-to-eye, it means they’re stuck in one of many first six worth buildings. Somebody looking for achievement (Orange) perceives the world via a special lens than someone pushed by equality and group (Inexperienced).
How you can Use Spiral Dynamics for Leadership
The key to efficient leadership is first to know where your group members are coming from and then assist them grow to larger ranges of improvement.
If this matter is of interest to you, I like to recommend reading two books: Spiral Dynamics by Christopher Cowan and Don Beck and Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux.
Cowan and Beck’s e-book illustrates the colorful dimensions and subtleties of every stage in Spiral Dynamics.
Laloux’s Reinventing Organizations offers an in depth research of organizations at each stage of improvement. He additional highlights what we need to do to cultivate a second tier (Turquoise/Teal) organization.
Brian Robertson’s Holacracy: The New Management System for a Rapidly Changing World also provides a system to construct Turquoise businesses. Quite a few progressive corporations including Tony Hsieh’s Zappos are adopting this holacratic model.
However finally, to turn out to be higher leaders, we must develop our personal second tier buildings in our consciousness. So let’s turn our attention right here.
How Spiral Dynamics Influences Psychological Development
In an “ideal” social and cultural surroundings, we might naturally progress via these levels of improvement in our first 20 years of life.
This natural progression, nevertheless, virtually by no means occurs. As an alternative, individuals are likely to get caught or fixated at a specific stage of improvement and subconsciously wrestle to maneuver beyond it.
For instance, people in strict spiritual households whose mother and father train them that their faith is the “right one” and everybody else is going to hell will possible get stuck within the Blue stage. If they arrive to worth private achievement, they could start to push into Orange.
Orange versus Green
Most individuals in New-Age religious communities are expressing the Inexperienced worth structure. Inexperienced tends to hate Orange because Orange hasn’t developed a worth for human care or the setting.
Orange is especially curious about private acquisition and progress for progress’s sake. People in Green, nevertheless, overlook that they have been once pushed by Orange values too.
Orange competes. Inexperienced seeks cooperation. These two have a troublesome time coexisting. And regardless that Inexperienced needs cooperation, it’s dissociated from its shadow (Orange) and unaware of the way it needs to be victorious too.
Including versus Dissociating
You see, in wholesome improvement, we “transcend and include” the level that got here before it. Which means we develop to a better stage of consciousness whereas incorporating the important points of the prior stage.
But, usually speaking, this isn’t what happens. As an alternative of “transcending and including,” we, as Wilber explains, “transcend and disassociate.”
That is, we adopt a better stage of improvement whereas chopping off and discarding the earlier structure.
The elemental religionist at Blue might develop into an atheist at Orange. Or, an Orange Achiever might turn into an anti-capitalist environmentalist in Green.
A lot of my 30s was marked by the wrestle to combine Orange and Inexperienced. Once we begin to open up religious values in Inexperienced, it’s typically troublesome to incorporate the achievement values of Orange.
Many entrepreneurs wrestle with this rigidity, and it will possibly take years to resolve.
The Very important Shift From Inexperienced to Yellow
Because the literature states, simply turning into conscious of these levels of consciousness (which you’re doing by studying this) helps significantly. With no language for these levels, our acutely aware minds don’t have a deal with on what’s happening.
Once you’re acquainted with the eight levels of Spiral Dynamics, you’ll begin to note their expressions both inside yourself and those around you.
The primary objective for our self-development is to determine our middle of gravity in the second tier (Yellow).
Yellow is “transpersonal” in that we’ve included the private levels that got here earlier than it while also shifting past them. The leap from Green to Yellow represents a big shift in consciousness.
As we noticed in the guide to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we will solely meet our primary needs in relation to different individuals. Then, with the shift to self-actualization, our consideration turns into inwardly targeted.
Graves found the identical factor to be true with values: The degrees under Yellow (first tier) are expressed relative to others. Then, there’s a radical shift to the second tier the place our focus isn’t on the private, however on the transpersonal.
The search turns into to “live fully and responsibly as what you are and are learning to become.”
In the event you’re studying this, there’s an excellent probability your middle of gravity is between Orange and Inexperienced.
Enhancing your mental performance and growing your financial freedom are subjects of Orange.
Should you’re in search of to discover what you worth and study your shadow, these subjects solely develop into related at Inexperienced.
Transcending and including these values is the primary perform of Yellow.
The way to Use Spiral Dynamics for Shadow Work
In fact, a lot of the guides on this web site supply methods and insights to help individuals turn into more integrated at Yellow.
A lot of the causes that almost all of us get fixated on first-tier worth buildings are external. Cultural and society are fragmented and compartmentalized, so it’s natural that our inner construction reflects this fragmentation.
To keep away from the anomaly and tensions of holding opposites and paradoxes without taking sides, we tend to cut off elements of our humanity. Once we minimize off a part of us, we relegate that part to our shadow.
And this dissociation is what allows numerous archetypes to hijack our psyche.
So right here’s a method we will use Spiral Dynamics to combine our shadow: look at each stage and see when you can decide the place and the way you’ve divorced yourself from that degree.
Beige: In case you’re usually not acutely aware or current inside your physique, you’re doubtless divorced from Beige. Overeating and other compulsive and addictive behaviors are indicators of disconnection.
Qigong and Zhan Zhuang are methods for body-mind integration.
Purple: Let’s say you set little inventory in the power of your creativeness since you solely consider in logic and purpose (Orange). This bias implies a dissociation from Purple.
Your imagination isn’t only a wellspring for creativity; it’s additionally a way of integrating your psyche. One of the primary reasons that archetypes are a troublesome matter for many individuals is because we’ve collectively divorced ourselves from Purple.
Pink: Should you expertise persistent fatigue or ache, there’s a great probability you’re repressing Pink.
Pink is our energy drive and the source of our rage and aggression. Studying how you can channel this power in wholesome ways is the duty of the Warrior.
Green: The Green value structure has a tendency of shaming and guilting the worth buildings under it. As such, these aligned with Green typically train power vampirism with out figuring out it.
Methods to Use Spiral Dynamics for Self Development
Finally, the objective right here is to integrate your consciousness on the second tier (Yellow).
How can we do this?
By awakening as many intelligences of physique, mind, emotion, and spirit we will. Primarily, we develop the innate potentials which are presently mendacity dormant inside us.
Discover ways to find your middle. In our middle, we’re neutral. And from neutrality, it’s easier to catch once we’re stuck in a limiting perspective or denying a specific worth structure.
Combine your shadow. Use the levels of Spiral Dynamics as a type of assessment device to find out the areas you’re presently dissociating from or ignoring (as I described above).
Create a personal improvement plan. Most individuals aren’t acutely aware of all the methods they will develop themselves—particularly once they fixate at Orange. In Orange, we solely develop in ways that help our professional achievements (that are primarily pushed by our want for money and our need for status/exterior esteem).
Develop your Observing Thoughts. This idea is just like centering, but finally, the hot button is to develop self-awareness expertise so you’ll be able to stay open to totally different views with out shutting down based mostly on previous programming. Meditation might be useful right here.
What Do You Assume?
The place do you assume your middle of gravity is presently?
Are you aware of the place you may get caught?
Do you see what levels you want to combine?
Share your ideas, reflections, feedback, and questions under.