Here is a brief summary of the key points of Sprial Dynamics, for my own benefit…
- Each individual and group of individuals (subcultures, nations, etc) have their center of gravity mostly on one particular level. Life is of course more than and different from – and more fluid and complex than – any map.
- Each level has its own meme, its own associated values and worldview.
- The observed progression is from a lower level to the next higher, without skipping any (although we can progress faster or slower through each).
- Level 1 through 6 are first tier and tend to see their view as the only legitimate one. They get into conflicts with folks with a center of gravity at other levels. Level 6 and 7 are second tier and acknowledge, seek and sort out the (limited) truth and validity of each of the other levels.
- Moving up the levels, there is a movement…
(a) From narrow concern with self to an increasing circle of concern.
(b) From fragmentation to a systems and integral approach.
(c) From blind identification with personality (sensations, emotions, thougths/ideas) to the center of gravity including awareness/witness.
- Each level has its healthy and unhealthy expressions. It has strengths, insights and approaches valuable in specific situations, and its potential “diseases”, its less enlightened/helpful expressions.
- Level 8 – Integral
Keywords: Cosmic spirituality
Examples: Ken Wilber, Big Mind, many/some spiritual traditions
Concern: Universal in broad/deep sense, fully transdual. No experience/phenomenon in the outer/inner world is excluded, resisted or seen as “other”.
Healthy: Cosmic, integral view. Acknowledges the value of all previous levels, and applies principles from each when appropriate.
Unhealthy: Inflation, the “guru disease”, not acknowledging the problems of the personality. Can also have an unbalanced view of the absolute/relative, emphasizing the absolute over the relative.
Missing: Deepening exploration of each end of the polarity: transdual experience and embodied experience. Deepening integration of a fully transdual view into this body/personality/world. And probably something more as well.
- Level 7 – Ecological
Keywords: systems, multiple realities, seamless whole
Examples: systems view approach, Fritjof Capra, Prototista
Concern: Universal in broad sense, systems view
Chakra: 5+6th, throat/third eye
Healthy: Systems and holistic view. Integral.
Unhealthy: Can be one-sided and emphasize systems over parts (holistic rather than integral/systems approach). Can deny the existence/value of higher levels.
Missing: a cosmic spiritual view, more fully transdual.
- Level 6 – Egalitarian
Keywords: plurality, authenticity, community, inclusive compassion (self, other, earth, future generations), informational age
Examples: Cultural Creatives, Greens, sustainability, seven generations view, Yes! Magazine, Utne Reader
Concern: Human rights, civil rights, gay rights, animal rights etc. All life, all species.
Chakra: 4th/heart (some 5th/6th)
Healthy: The circle of compassion includes all life. Makes choices that seem to benefit all life.
Unhealthy: Can deny the value of the other approaches. Can try to apply level 6 solutions when rational/scientific (level 5), rule based (level 4) or other level approaches are more appropriate (for instance when you are dealing with people operating from those levels). When there is a crisis, or you’re dealing with a gang, a strong leader or strong rules may be more appropriate than consensus and endless meetings.
Missing: a second tier approach that sees the value in approaches from all precious levels.
- Level 5 – Modern
Keywords: progress, materialism, success, image, status, growth
Examples: mainstream business, New York Times, Bill Clinton, industrialism
Concern: universal care extended to humanity, human rights
Chakra: 3rd/hara (some 4th/heart)
Healthy: focus on science and research, rational approach.
Unhealthy: focus on growth while resources are limited, blind to long-term/far-reaching consequences due to fragmented worldview.
Missing: inclusiveness of all human perspectives, and care for the whole system, including society and ecosystems.
- Level 4 – Morality
Keywords: rules, discipline, lives for later (reward in the beyond)
Examples: GW Bush, conservatives in most religions, agrarian
Concern: own group, those with views aligned with ones own, some universal care
Chakra: 3rd/hara (some 4th/5th)
Healthy: rules and morality has its place, valuable in some situations.
Unhealthy: inflexible, rigid, not able to see the value in other points of view, self-righteousness, harsh treatment of those who do not follow the rules.
Missing: disidentification from rigid rules, universal humanitarian ethics.
- Level 3 – Power
Keywords: gratification, conquest, action, impulse, lives for now
Examples: some US soldiers, some youth, some business people, gangs
Concern: Self, gang
Healthy: taking care of oneself, life-force.
Unhealthy: single-minded focus on self, lack of consideration for others.
Missing: rules and guidelines that takes the welfare of others into account.
- Level 2 – Tribal
Keywords: rituals, taboos, superstitions, lore, tribal
Examples: some tribes?
Concern: self and small circle/tribe
Chakra: 1st/root (some 2nd)
Healthy: tribal connections, strong bonds.
Unhealthy: irrational, strong sense of “us” vs. “them”, narrow circle of concern.
Missing: individuality, sense of separate identity
- Level 1 – Survival
Keywords: protection, staying alive, food, water, procreation, warmth
Examples: seen during extreme emergencies/crisis, and in most/all non-human species
Concern: Physical self + few close others
Healthy: survival, taking care of oneself.
Unhealthy: narrow focus, ignore other human/own needs, very narrow circle of concern.
Missing: sense of community, of “us”.