Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

Centre of Human Emergence’

Tom Christensen : a Tribute

I’d barely been back in the UK 24 hours – following my participation in the wonderful Spiral Dynamics Summit on the Future in Dallas when I learned of the sudden and unexpected death of Tom Christensen on 23 April. To say I was shocked and saddened would be quite an understatement. To my knowledge, Tom didn’t have a serious/terminal illness and he was only 4-5 years older than me. I believe Tom’s last comments on Facebook were less than a couple of days before his passing was announced. I had been emailing with Tom and also exchanging views with him via the Spiral Dynamics integral elist and Facebook groups for several years. He was a staunch advocate of the Gravesian approach and was a well-known and well-respected contributor to a number of Integral forums. We first started emailing directly in January 2013. Looking back on those first posts, when he had just (sort-of) retired and was in a very what’s next mode, he was infused with a passion for Graves and was like a sponge absorbing and mapping anything to do with Graves and complementary theory and research. He was particularly interested in exploring consciousness and cognitive complexity in relationship to the Gravesian approach. He had already… Read More


PART 4 How complex is people’s thinking? The issue of just how far the bulk of any population ascend the Spiral/Hierarchy – experience the emergence of vMEMES in an ascending sequence – is a contentious one. In 1996 Beck & Cowan conjectured that the percentages of the world’s population dominated by a nodal vMEME in their thinking was:- BEIGE: 0.1% PURPLE: 10% RED: 20% BLUE: 40% ORANGE: 30% GREEN: 10% YELLOW: 1% TURQUOISE: 0.1% The percentages, of course, don’t add up to 100% and there is no breakdown of percentage to continents, cultures or societies. Cowan (Chris Cowan & Nastasha Todorovic, 2006b) has admitted that the figures were a (very!) rough interpretation/extrapolation of various data sets (including United Nations data) while Beck has never commented (for public consumption) on the estimates. Nonetheless, in general it supported the notion that the bulk of the population – the Western population, at least – were not significantly beyond a BLUE (Kohlberg) or BLUE/orange (Loevinger) way of thinking. Further support for this notion came from research using Kohlberg’s concepts. Using what effectively was a 9-stage model incorporating 3 sub-stages, Lawrence Walker, Brian De Vries & Shelley Trevethan (1987) found general agreement with Kohlberg. They interviewed 40 boys and 40 girls… Read More

Clare W Graves’ Research #2

PART 2 The freaky stuff!!!! In over 30 years of research Graves discovered some fairly startling information about the way the systems he had identified operated:- The O system is stimulated by smooth gradations in light and sound – eg: a sunset – while the P system is stimulated by pulsing light and sound – eg: in a disco In terms of hormones, noradrenaline is higher than adrenaline when the P system is active and adrenaline higher than noradrenaline when Q is active The T system has 4 times the problem-solving capacity of the S system Graves was so struck by these discoveries he wrote an article ‘Human Nature prepares for a Momentous Leap’ (published in The Futurist, 1974), describing the significant difference in complexity of thinking engendered by the move from S to T Fear and compulsion are absent when the T system is activated Galvanic skin response varies between systems and increases dramatically when the U (TURQUOISE) system is activated “Oh, my God, it becomes so high you can’t hardly get it. I’m talking 2-3-4 standard deviations. This thing has really jumped.” (Graves, 1971/2002, p68)  Graves also said of the eighth level: “The H-U person can turn off other… Read More