Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

Spiral Dynamics integral’

Looking Beyond the Midterm Elections

In Quest for Humanity’s Master Code by Don Beck 6 November 2018 I am thrilled to publish this ‘guest blog’ by Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck which has been published elsewhere – such as Said E Dawlabani’s MEMEnomics Group – and has been sent to several media outlets.  Don is, of course, writing about the left-right extreme polarisation in American politics which has become such as dominating and divisive discourse in the United States since Donald Trump began his presidential campaign in 2016. But the Brexit ‘debate’ – and ‘debate’ may too polite a term for it! – has wrought similar highly-polarised divisions in British society. As with the US, so superordinate goals will need to be created in the UK to bring our divided kingdom together in a healing process. A great deal of what Don has to say is relevant to all societies bedevilled by polarisation. You can e-mail Don or visit the Spiral Dynamics Integral website to find out more about his work. I want you to stand 30 years in the future and tell me if the America you see is the one you envisioned in November 2018. Has the ‘us v them’ polarization disappeared? Have we become a stronger union because of it, or did one… Read More

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

The Use of SDi in Psychotherapy

‘The Use of SDi in Therapy’ is one of 2 contributions commissioned from me by Tom Christensen for his compendium, Developmental Innovation: Emerging Worldviews and Individual Learning (Integral Publishers, August 2015). Originally the work was to be entitled ‘SDi Applied’ as Tom wanted to present chapters which reflected Don Beck’s ongoing development of Clare W Graves’ research. Accordingly, Tom wanted the primary term used to be SDi rather than Spiral Dynamics or the ‘Graves Model’. Although I readily acknowledge my debt to Don Beck (and Chris Cowan, for that matter), I have never operated under the SDi umbrella, preferring to use terms such as the Gravesian approach. To maintain the integrity of the piece as published, I have retained the SDi terminology. However, readers should know that effectively I mean ‘Gravesian’. Tom ended up with so many strong contributions – including from the likes of Said E Dawlabani, Elza Maalouf, Barbara N Brown and Fred Krawchuk – that he and Integral Publishers split the material into 2 volumes: the first on Systems Change and the second on Individual Learning. Both my contributions are in the second book. Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi) is often thought of as a means of addressing large-scale issues such as inter-racial conflict, socio-economic malaise and global power plays. This is the way Don Beck himself has used the model in the past, to great… Read More

Lives on the Spiral #2

PART 2 Work And Spiral Dynamics integral Prior to the Beck & Cowan workshops, career-wise I was very much driven by BLUE. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, given the household I grew up in, once I had gotten over the peak of my hippie rebellion, unconsciously perhaps my YELLOW taking in the consequences of all that GREEN-liberated RED indulgence – I settled easily into BLUE ways of thinking and ended up working as a consultant on quality standards like ISO 9000 and Investors in People. Unfortunately I very much approached this work, not from the angle of business improvement but from the perspective that what was required was rigid conformity to idealised models of business performance. My precision and attention to detail made me effective in getting organisations to meet their desired standard but I did little or nothing to improve business performance. One printing house in London threw out the project because I was tying them up in paperwork. That was typical of BLUE’s emphasis on form over function. That motivation was taken to the extremes of punishing the sinner when, during a procedural audit in a care home, I castigated a nurse for not signing the care plan in the right place.… Read More


A Year of Starts and Stops… 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     2020      2021 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network Gallery: Rossett Year 13 Psychology students in publicity poses taken during an actual lesson, January – all photos by Lynda Lee/Rossett School – click on photo to enlarge February: For the first time, provided general tuition support to 2 university students doing degrees in Psychology. Commentary: One was ‘Julie’, the young lady who had previously been an A-Level tutee and then come back to  me the previous August. The other was an Open University student. Both found my explanations easier to understand than their respective university tutors! March: The results from the January Psychology exams showed another good smattering of As, Bs and Cs. In the Health & Social Care results, most of the students had got their target grades while 2 had exceeded them. Commentary: Considering how fraught things had been with this very mixed ability class at times, overall these were very pleasing results. March: Asked by Spiral… Read More

What They’ve said…

…about This Book Newest comments at the top; oldest at the bottom. “Thankyou for this gem of a book!!! I actually came across it I think around 2007. When just starting out in Paul CHEK’s Self Mastery course. I’ve ever let go of the book! I only got half way through it and knew one day I would pick it up and finish it! Reading it again it makes more sense now. And again feel grateful for your hard work bring it together! My Mother found your book while I was starting to go through Paul’s Self mastery course. She passed it on to me and then Paul heard about it through me. Exciting how the universe works. Like myself at first, your book buyers  may not finish the work of the book, and like Paul’s How To Be Heathy book, get put back on the shelf, half read. But, that said, they won’t ever forget it and it will never be thrown out. Instead your book waits patiently as a guide ready to be read with eyes and hearts wide open. – Josette Curry, Canada, January 2021 (Josette is a personal fitness trainer and life coach.) “…a word of big… Read More

The Trouble with Tribalism…

7 July 2016 …is that most Western politicians don’t get it. It’s seen as something relevant to Pre-Modern ‘primitive’ communities but not to Modern societies. And, when Western-style one person/one (secret) vote Democracy is offered to tribal communities as part of the Modernisation process, so many Western leaders seem genuinely perplexed at the relative lack of enthusiasm for it. The Americans in particular seemed baffled that attempts to embed Democracy in the wake of their invasions of the Noughties produced the markedly-corrupt government of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan and the corrupt and overtly-sectarian government of Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. A Do-It-Yourself attempt to introduce Democracy in Egypt produced a government (of the Islamic Brotherhood) so unacceptable to the urban middle classes and the army that a ‘sort-of coup’ was instigated, followed by rigged elections, to return the country to neo-military rule as before. Highly-controversial and bitterly-contested ‘democratic’ elections following Libya’s revolutionary civil war resulted in 2 – and arguably 3? – would-be governments claiming the right to rule with their various militia, often organised on sectarian or tribal lines, slugging it out in a patchy, second civil war. Anyone versed in the Gravesian approach could have told the Western planners and the internet-inspired urban ‘democrats’ of Egypt that their campaigns to introduce Western-style Democracy would hit trouble. (See:… Read More

The 7th Code

by Don Beck October 2006 Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck is occasionally prone to post what effectively amount to teach-ins or mini-lectures on the Spiral Dynamics e-lists. This is an extract from one such posting in 2000. You can e-mail Don or visit the Spiral Dynamics Integral website to find out more about his work. Clearly, the contours of YELLOW (G-T/Systemic/Authentic) have not been etched in tin much less set in concrete. But, with all due respect to other developmental models, this highlights the uniqueness of the Gravesian/SDi perspective in that it does address, with great specificity, how each new vMEMETIC code actually appears; what are the life conditions that spark and drive it; and how life problems ‘G’ will awaken the capacities (T) to deal with new realities, new challenges and new threats as well. What provides the totem pole for development is, in our view, the accumulation of the vMEMETIC codes or schemes (with the multiple expressions of content or themes) that form societal stacks that maintain all of the awakened codes and set the stage for new ones in the future. This is what we call The Double Helix; namely the interaction between life conditions experienced and the… 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

Glossary S

Nos   A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P-Q    R    S     T     U    V    W    X-Y-Z Sample: Sample Bias: Sanguine: Schema: the term  means any cognitive structure or encoded packet of information in the mind-brain. That cognitive structure, according to Susan Fiske & Shelley Taylor (1991), “contains knowledge about a thing, including its attributes and the relations among its attributes”. Michael W Eysenck & Cara Flanagan (2001)  say schemas – the plural is sometimes referenced as ‘schemata’ –  are socially determined, learned and refined through social exchanges. When schemas are shared culturally in this way, they effectively function as memes. Schizophrenia: a severe mental illness where contact with reality is impaired (psychosis) and the sufferer finds that thoughts and feelings often don’t fit together. Symptoms commonly associated with this illness include bizarre delusions and auditory hallucinations (hearing voices); although neurocognitive defecits in memory, organisation and planning and language impairments (speech peculiarities) are also frequent.There are considered to be 5 classifications of Schizophrenia:- ○ Disorganised – characterised by delusions, hallucinations, incoherent speech and large mood swings ○ Catatonic – where the ‘patient’ has periods of peculiar or very limited activity and mobility –… Read More