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vMEMES #2

PART 2 The Ist Tier BEIGE (A-N) (Maslow’s Survival; Loevinger’s Pre-Social) This vMEME is concerned with basic survival needs and is bottom of the Spiral. It is instinctive and does not lend itself to cognitive thought as such. Air, food and water, sleep, shelter from the elements and sex for procreation (rather than pleasure or affection) are the very basic drives which characterise this vMEME. If these requirements are not met (with the partial exception of sex for procreation), the human body simply cannot continue to function. If the BEIGE driver ceases to work, then we will die because we simply will not do what we need to do to survive. BEIGE ceasing to function is almost certainly what is meant when we say that someone has lost the will to live. Much of what Evolutionary Psychology has to say about the essentials of human nature is centred at this pre-cognitive, animalistic level. BEIGE/PURPLE (A-N/B-O) There is not enough reliable data to break this transition down into exiting and entering phases. The organism is beginning to show signs of cognition. Graves (1978/2005, p214) referred to it as the beginning of “viable psychological life”. Basic cause-and-effect assumptions start to be made. Primitive… Read More

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Value Systems as Foresight Frameworks

by Marcus P Barber Summer 2005 Marcus Barber, CEO of Looking Up Feeling Good Pty Ltd, is a leading Strategic Futurist in Australia. His work straddles academic, commercial and governmental operations. This article, in which he hypothesises about vMEMETIC (value system) perceptions of time, was first published in ‘Futures Research Quarterly’ (Summer 2005) and is republished here with the kind permission of the author. Contact Marcus by e-mail to learn more about his work. The hypothesis of this paper proposes that value systems, as initially identified by Clare W Graves (1970) and subsequently developed by Don Beck & Chris Cowan (1996) into the Spiral Dynamics model, provide clues as to how people approach the subject of time. By identifying someone’s central values system (VS), we are able to anticipate their likely approach to time, their orientation toward the future (and, therein, foresight) and their potential expectations of the outcomes of planning. We are also made cognoscente of the fact that varying life conditions demand alternative methods of resolution. As such, the ability to consider the future for each of the value systems is influenced by differing factors of importance; and foresight practitioners and strategic planners will benefit greatly from being aware… Read More

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Spiral Dynamics and the Enneagramme

March 2005 With its roots reputedly in Suffi mysticism, the Enneagramme has developed through centuries to become arguably the most potent of the typing methodologies. Only the Myers-Briggs Typing Inventory, derived from the types postulated by Carl Gustav Jung,(1921)  and the DISC Inventory, based on the work of William Moulton Marston (1928), have anything like as strong a reputation for reliability. While some of those who champion the systems-in-people approach that Spiral Dynamics identifies are wary of types-of-people models such as the Enneagramme and Myers-Briggs, undoubtedly typing models with an irrefutable level of accuracy cannot be ignored and must offer insight into the human psyche in all its many manifestations. For example, it might be argued that a Type is impacted by particular gravitations – developments of harmonics and conflicts amongst vMEMES. So, when types flip into different but predictable patterns, what movement in the selfplex influenced this? And how are meta-programme axes affected by such shifts – reflected in the ‘flip pattern’? For more than 2 years Fabien Chabreuil – e-mail – and his wife, Patricia – email – have been working with their students at the Institut Français de l’Ennéagramme in Paris to understand how Spiral Dynamics and the… Read More

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21st Century Group

  Tribute to a ‘World-beating’ Business Network written with input from Ian Lavan Updated: 12 December 2007 1988-1996    1997   1998     1999     2000     2001    2002      2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014      2015     2016     2017     2018      2019 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network The 21st Century Group (1997-2001) was a pioneering network of SMEs (small-medium-sized enterprises) which attracted national – and even international – attention. When I joined Business Link Wakefield & District in January 1997, part of my remit was to establish a network of manufacturing and engineering SMEs. Previous attempts to establish such a network had been abandoned, usually within 6 months, in face of massive indifference from local businesses. In general, local response to training and consultancy initiatives promoted through the Business Link, Wakefield College, Mid-Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce & Enterprise and other institutions was decidedly poor. (If more than a handful of business people turned up to an event, it was considered an unequivocal success!) Yet annual surveys by Wakefield Training & Enterprise Council had revealed repeatedly a lack of innovation, competitiveness and ‘best practice’ amongst businesses in the District. So… Read More

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SD for NLPers

by Natasha Todorovic June 2003 This basic introduction to Spiral Dynamics (SD) for Practitioners of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) was written by Natasha Todorovic for ‘Voice Of NLP’ and is re-published here with the permission of both Natasha and that short-lived e-zine’s editor, Steve Bannister. Natasha, an NLP Master Practitioner & Trainer, is the personal and business partner of Spiral Dynamics co-developer Chris Cowan. She can be contacted via e-mail or the NVC Consulting web site. The flirtation is over. The first date has come and gone. We are now in the throes of building a relationship knowing it’s going somewhere with boundaries not yet defined. The quality of the partnership developing between NLP and SD will be determined by the enthusiasm of the parties involved – that’s you! What is SD? Spiral Dynamics is a powerful model of human nature which is capturing the imagination of NLP practitioners, organisational development consultants, coaches and trainers all over the world. It is the title of a foundational book, a number of websites, and a certification programme. For some, it represents an excellent toolbox, with instructions on how, when and where to use NLP tools and techniques. For others, it is a spiritual movement and… Read More

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The First Being Level

The A’-N’ or SYSTEMIC EXISTENTIAL STATE [G-T/YELLOW] by Clare W Graves 1982 annotated by Chris Cowan July 2003 This is an extract from a handout issued by Clare W Graves at a workshop in 1982. The handout was ‘rescued’ and this extract re-published and annotated by Spiral Dynamics co-developer Chris Cowan in July 2003. Note: Towards the end of his life, Graves used A’-N’ and B’-O’ as alternatives to G-T and H-U to emphasise the concept of the 2nd Tier and his belief that the thinking systems of the 2nd Tier were more complex reflections of the thinking systems of the 1st Tier. More original Graves material can be found on the Clare W Graves web site . Chris Cowan can be contacted via e-mail – or the NVC Consulting web site. Theme: Express self for what self desires and others need, but never at the expense of others, and in a manner that all life, not my life, will profit. This is the first system in the second spiral of existence. In this system, sheer organismic life is threatened by the rape of the world by the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th subsistence levels. Thus, the A’ problems are problems… Read More

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Psychosocial Development

Updated: 23 June 2016 Sigmund Freud’s (1920) concept of the Id can be seen as the self-expressive side of Clare W Graves’ Spiral – with its ultimate and most visceral expression in nodal RED. The development of the self-sacrificial/conformist side of the Spiral also parallels Freud’s thoughts to some considerable degree. Firstly, the PURPLE vMEME’s restriction of BEIGE instinct to gain acceptance sounds like the Freudian Ego’s determination to avoid the consequences of the Id’s behaviours. Then, the Superego’s Conscience element is reflected in BLUE’s drive to ‘do the right thing’; while there are strong echoes of the Superego’s Ego Ideal element – how things should be – in GREEN’s idealistic intentions toward human inter-relations. Thus, while the Psychodynamic approach is frequently criticised these days as ‘unscientific’ and ‘overly fanciful’, it is clear many aspects are still relevant and have much to offer in developing our understanding of Integrated SocioPsychology. No other psychological theorist has yet come up with an explanation – or linked series of explanations – of the ‘human condition’ anything like as comprehensive as Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory, the first of the Psychodynamic theories. Yet, from the earliest days of Freud’s theorising, it was obvious there were certain inconsistencies… Read More

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Graves Comparison Map

Updated: 22 May 2016 The Comparison Map provides an at-a-glance reference for comparing and contrasting other key developmental theories with the Gravesian approach. (Click on the graphic for an enlarged view of the map on its own. Click back in your browser to return to this page.) Notes:- Where developmentalists have matched their models to those of other developmentalists, they do not always agree completely with each other’s matches. There is, therefore, a small degree of my personal interpretation in the chart above. Differences between the work of Clare W Graves, Abraham Maslow, Jane Loevinger/Susanne Cook-Greuter and Lawrence Kohlberg are dealt with in vMEMES and/or 3 Stage Theories of Development. The map uses the colour scheme Don Beck & Chris Cowan (1996) applied in their Spiral Dynamics ‘build’ of Graves’ work. Other differences are  outlined briefly below. Gerald Heard’s (1963) Ecological (or Leptoid Man) incorporates elements of integrated and advanced spiritual thinking which could be argued as being 2nd Tier. O J Harvey, David E Hunt & H M Schroeder (1961) identified 4 developmental types in their hierarchy. Hunt (1966) separated out to some degree from Harvey and Schroeder when he came across empirical evidence of a level of thinking less complex… Read More

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Is Racism Natural..?

Updated: 9 November 2015 As a part-time teacher, teaching psychological and sociological approaches to prejudice & discrimination, every year I found myself confronted with this question from one or more of my A-Level students. With posters on some Internet discussion forums making statements like: “I think they [British National Party, Britain First, etc] is only saying what most people think but are too afraid to say” , it seems appropriate to me to revisit the students’ question from an Integrated SocioPsychology perspective. It was explaining Henri Tajfel & John Turner’s Social Identity Theory (1979) in relation to the formation of in-groups and out-groups that usually triggered the student’s question as to whether racism is natural. In essence, Tajfel & Turner say that, simply by identifying yourself with one group as opposed to another, your group becomes the in-group and the other becomes the out-group. According to Tajfel & Turner, this basic act of social categorisation – one group has one identity label and the other group has a different identity label – is enough to bring about prejudice and discrimination. Because we invest something of our self in the groups to which we belong, we need our in-groups to be at least… Read More

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Is Collectivism being overtaken by Individualism?

Updated: 9 November 2016 It’s been a given in cross-cultural research in the behavioural sciences that Individualism has increasingly dominated in the West since at least the end of World War II while the rest of the world has tended to be collectivistic. In the context of the early 21st Century, this dichotomy provokes 2 key questions:- Was it ever as simple as: West, individualistic; rest of the world, collectivistic – and, if so, how did it get to be so? Is Collectivism being overtaken by Individualism – and, if so, what are the driving factors? Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede & Michael Minkov (2010) define Individualism as “the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups”. In individualistic societies, the stress is put on personal achievements and individual rights. People are expected to stand up for themselves and their immediate family, and to choose their own affiliations. By contrast, in collectivistic societies, individuals are seen to act predominantly as members of a lifelong and cohesive group or organisation. People have large extended families which provide safety in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. Individualism, according to Ellen Meiksins Wood (1973), is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology or social outlook that emphasises the… Read More

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