… more spiral dynamics: work in progress

Posted on gaia Feb 11th, 2008

Up till today, spiral dynamics (c) Beck, Gowan and Graves, has offered me great insights into the way the world is more or less kept together. I use its sociological and psychological matrix to get more in tune with my students and colleagues and family. Apparently this works, and there has been a qualitative progress, difficult to pour down in quantitative statistics.

After my last post about coral and turquoise levels, i got some links thanks a.o. to Albert, and spend some time in bookshops and libraries. I have come to a preliminary and intermediate conclusion that spiral dynamics is far from finished and a theory in progress, without well defined regions in the so called 2nd tier.

However the layers that really interest me and with which i get confronted on a daily basis are most of the time first tier. This layers are not only defined in spiral dynamics per se, and i came into contact with them through “the atman project – ken wilber” a long time ago. Wilber pointed my attention to spiral dynamics in some of his later work. He did a great job in comparing and juxtaposing more than hundred systems in just about any field imaginable of psychology, sociology, phenomenology and ontology. (OK i don’t understand what last two “-ologies” really mean. Just want to sound intelligent.)

2nd tier seems to interest and frighten many people at the same time. The latter is due to the fact that 2nd tier is not well defined at all.

Many sources have different ideas about this matter and one of them claims copyright on its vocabulary. To become a member of the club one has to follow courses in order to get a certificate. This link gives you an idea of the price tag: http://www.spiraldynamics.info/trainingen.php !!!2290euro for a first course!!!
That is a real course in financial miracles for the organizing parties.

Now i had contact with Peter Merry who teaches for them, and he told me that the price can be discussed, depending on what one wants to spend. So the threshold is not that high, but … it is a lot of money to get certified and ‘be able to use the colors of the rainbow’ and talk about spiral dynamics in public, without a lawyer threatening you about copyright infringements. I understand that the authors want to protect their work from abuse by charlatans who would like to sell productivity classes to corporate managers under the flag of spiral dynamics, but is this the way to do it?

In my working area, i have a lot of colleagues with cisco (c) certification but no real knowledge of computer networks at all. The same can be said about other commercial certificates.

So now we have many problems:

1. which sources to follow – all, some, one? there is a problem that different systems pretend to talk about the same thing but in fact they don’t.
2. we have confused people who have read or heard about this spiral dynamics, but they don’t know yet that it is confusing and not well defined
3. we have confusing people who start to shape spiral dynamics into something completely different, talking about 3th tier while 2nd tier is not even well defined. These are the people who use quantum physics to prove that god exists.
4. we have people who think that they belong to an elite because they think they understand spiral dynamics and feel they are coral themselves, giving great boosts to their ego, and not letting others in their club.
5. we have people writing books about narcissism (i had to use the spell checker to write that correctly) in the first ‘tier’, but what about narcissism in the 2nd one?
6. we have people like me wondering whether this “2nd tier knowledge” is really worth the effort if the researchers seems to diverge as fast as linux distributions.
7. we have people who will correct me in public or private mail, and who will be part of my ever evolving dynamic spiral of thought about spiral dynamics

I adapt my preliminary conclusion higher in this text:
I will continue to use my own discerning eye and i will try to make a blueprint of my own experiences with people and organisations and try to fit those experiences with one system (not forgetting there are other systems). I will treat this blueprint for what it is: a system, that is not reality, but a map to the shores of antarctica as they might look like when global warming will have lifted their ice cover.

Disclaimer: don’t take this too seriously


2 thoughts on “… more spiral dynamics: work in progress

  1. LOL, how could anyone presume to "correct you??" Each person is speaking not only from their own worldview, and their own perspective, and their own understanding, but also from their own unique database (of experiences.) It's a wonder anyone entertains the notion we are communicating, much less that we could correct someone else!!! LMAO!!

  2. We share an interest in Ken Wilber and Spiral Dynamics. I have written a book exploring one life-area on all the levels through 2nd and 3rd Tier, my own understandings of those Tiers. (Which is pretty well defined for me, even without scientific research, but of course only my opinion/perspective.) The area is sexuality. The book is not finished.I really resonated with most of what you said here. And narcissism in 2nd and 3rd Tier is the subject of a paper I wrote, which is also still not finished! It is definitely important to examine. Mostly it is apparent or pseudo-narcissism. I offer the same disclaimer. This stuff is an enjoyable and highly useful map. It is still evolving, and not well understood, and often misused, and I have my own map of the map which is evolving and not taken too seriously!

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