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Friday, February 4, 2022

Relationship of Individual and Community in Each Spiral Dynamics Stage/Worldview


 Version Feb. 4, 2022


Please note these descriptions are entirely my own, and might not be agreed with even by others who have extensively and deeply studied Spiral Dynamics for 15 years or more, as I have.


Please note the different worldviews are stages of maturation of consciousness. None can be skipped because they are cumulative. It is also true that both individuals and communities are operating from several worldviews at a time: some are being outgrown, some are being learned and matured, and some are coming in. Also which one is in the foreground of experience and behavior varies with situation, as we can draw on all our earlier worldview skills and capacities to best deal with any current situation.


For each worldview stage, the following are described:


·       What the predominant relationship between individual and community looks like

·       What limitations begin to prompt maturation to the next worldview stage

·       What the primary individual vs community tension is within that worldview

·       What capacities, perspectives, and skills related to creating community get acquired in that worldview and are available in all later worldviews.


The result is a flyover of the subject, and your comments to help expand the conversation are invited below. In particular, far more could be said about group decision-making methods as those evolve through the stages.

BEIGE Worldview stage


 There aren’t BEIGE individuals or communities available in our experience today, but the following points relevant to this topic might be made:


No community can be healthy and functional all the way down to our human roots, unless the following BEIGE capacities and concerns are adequately included in the community design:


·       Personal safety is, if not fostered by being in community, at least not endangered by it

·       Ability to meet basic survival needs are not diminished by the community, and ideally are fostered by it

·       Ways of sensing and adjusting to differences in perceived status of various individuals, for various reasons and according to various criteria, are made transparent and brought into accord with shared community values

·       A deep sense of embeddedness in Nature is part of the fabric of the community. The community itself is sustainable within its physical and social environments.


PURPLE Worldview stage


We in our modern lives are unlikely to encounter any actual groups or individuals predominantly in this stage, but as maturation is cumulative, we all have some PURPLE consciousness operating within us.


There is no sense of self or of community. They are fused, undifferentiated. It is nearly impossible for a modern human to get into this worldview perspective on self and community. The self is one’s role in the community, and the community is me/us versus “them” in another tribe.


This worldview begins to be outgrown when there is a dawning differentiation, often of “will.” There appear feelings of difference and disagreement with the elders who run the show or the gods that must be appeased for tribal survival. A sense of self distinct from family and tribe begins, and this new self rejects any community not defined by or oriented around self.


The primary self-community tension in PURPLE is probably that individuals do have enough sense of self to be sometimes disgruntled with the results of the default community decision-making methods of doing what the elders, or chief, or shaman (who knows what the gods want and need) specify.


What gets carried forward from PURPLE into RED is the capacity to feel a sense of belonging, and the desire and ability to be a useful contributing member of a community, adapting one’s own impulses to community needs for survival and thriving of the community itself and of the individuals involved.


RED worldview stage


The relationship of individual to community is that it’s all about me, and I define my community of people who are loyal to me. I impose my will on the community, and am ok using force to do that. It has to be what I want it to be, and if you don’t go along, you are out.


This worldview perspective on individual and community begins to be outgrown when the survival advantages of being in a more cooperative group, drawing on the skills and wisdom within the group, become more valued than the imposition of my own will on what the group does.


The primary self-community tension in RED can sometimes be torn loyalties between various groups one owes (or is forced) obedience to, and can sometimes be that since decisions are made by the strongest person, even with wise advisors, those decisions can be met with rebellion by individuals not aligned.


What gets carried forward from RED into BLUE is self-awareness of personal wants, needs, likes and dislikes, and of personal boundaries. And the capacity for self-expression honoring one’s own integrity and authenticity. RED (with some BLUE bureaucratic methods) is capable of forming and operating vast empires, which include nested and inter-related communities, so what gets carried forward compared to the PURPLE tribal scale is that individuals become capable of operating in more than one community at a time.


BLUE Worldview stage


The relationship between self and community tips in favor of inhibiting self-expression to conform to the design created by accepted authorities. Community is composed of like-minded people who accept the same authorities and their dictates about behavior.


This begins to be outgrown when limitations on self-expression become annoying, and when one’s own truth begins to differ from that of the authority. Also personal desires and goals begin to feel more important than the goals of the community/authority.


The primary self-community tension in BLUE is possibly related to the need to suppress much of the self to abide by the “One Right Way” to live, feel, think, and behave as specified by their ideology or religion or the design of the authority. This gets to be an inherently uncomfortable level of self-censorship or self-suppression for individuals maturing out of BLUE.


Capacities carried forward from BLUE into ORANGE and later worldviews include the ability to subordinate personal will to something larger than one’s own person. To see self as part of a bigger picture, and to desire to serve a greater purpose. Also within BLUE we learn to regard social rules, designs, plans, and agreements as being sourced from self; in BLUE this involves subordination of self, and while it continues to change through the stages, not until somewhere in TUQUOISE does this become a lived experience of the relationship of self and community.


ORANGE Worldview stage


The relationship between self and community is that self predominates, but not the RED self. It’s been tempered through BLUE community focus and cause focus. In healthy ORANGE, self is seen in relationship to an even larger community beyond “the faithful:” we are all of humanity. Self has the flexibility to “go with the program” where that will contribute to personal achievement and success, and to use the program to further personal goals. ORANGE can create communities focused on living a better (outstanding, extraordinary, better than others’) life, or creating a better world for everyone.


People seek to align others to their community by argument and persuasion. Rationality and mental ways of functioning are highly valued. Agreements are sacrosanct and are the primary way the community operates. The resulting predictability of behavior enables the community to focus on how to achieve its goals, rather than on coping with surprises constantly.


Consensus material reality is seen to be the ultimate arbiter of truth, and the difference between consensus or scientific fact and individual opinion is seen to be a central issue in all kinds of relationships, including communities. The scientific method is the ultimate way to know truth, and if that fails, then the BLUE-oriented fallback is to check with the experts who ought to know, and let them say what is the truth on the matter.


This begins to be outgrown when “me” begins to feel isolated and empty, dry. A shared cause or vision or a shared authority or plan isn’t sufficient because people in the community don’t know or care about one another personally. If they don’t know or value the others, they won’t adapt their behavior to achieve community purposes.


The primary individual-community tension in ORANGE might be that ORANGE communities tend to be simply one-dimensional. They are caught up in procedures, behavior, tasks, and progress/success/goals. They leave out many aspects of our humanity, which leaves the self feeling invisible and inauthentic. Also, majority rule, which is an advance over BLUE authority-rule, leaves the minority feeling unrepresented. ORANGE developed Constitutions and representative democracy (republic) to attempt to mitigate the divisiveness of majority rule.


 What gets carried forward from ORANGE into GREEN is the organizational skills to coordinate people on a large scale, the ability to cooperate in more complex ways, and even stronger realization of the necessity to preserve individual wellbeing and individual thriving, within a group context. Also carried forward is the sense that individual progress and group progress can be aligned for mutual benefit that can also be aligned with the benefit of very large groups, such as country or humanity.


GREEN Worldview stage


Community is defined as people I share feelings with: we focus on our feelings, share them with one another, and we have similar feelings and values. I get to know myself by seeing me as others see me. Together we can change the world to care about what we care about.


This worldview begins to be outgrown when exclusive focus on relationships and feelings is seen to impede making group decisions and getting things done that we and I want to get done for the better life and better world. Also it’s exhausting to always be needing everyone to agree with each other, and everyone outside our community to agree with our community. Consensus decision-making arises in GREEN and its unworkability soon becomes apparent. There is also in GREEN a certain subordination of “me” to “us” which also generates tension of wanting to be more “at cause” in the relationship of self and community.


The primary individual-community tension in GREEN is that “we-think” becomes restrictive after awhile. It occurs to a person they can care about others, even be in community with others, and yet not feel all the same, or think all the same.


What gets carried forward from GREEN into Second Tier YELLOW is


·       self-awareness (how others see me and how I see myself,)

·       a constant ability to be aware of how one’s behavior is affecting (or could affect) others,

·       shifting behaviors so that current and potential negative effects on others are avoided,

·       a deep capacity for caring not just for individuals but for group wellbeing, and

·       a variety of effective methods of facilitating community and of resolving conflicts

·       the ability to accomplish complex tasks and achieve shared goals in a well-coordinated way, all the while taking into account people as real, not just means to my ends or our ends, and

·       the principle of seeking feedback and revising anything that isn’t working for the individual or the community. Nothing is sacrosanct if it doesn’t contribute to constant growth and increased success.


YELLOW (first worldview in Second Tier) 


In this worldview, individuals have a huge sense of responsibility to make community work by allowing everyone to be who they are, and designing community systems that allow them to contribute meaningfully and importantly without changing. In other words, diversity is honored not by “our way or the highway” but by flexibly designing the system to not just accommodate or tolerate differences, but synergize them toward the purpose.


The potential value of everyone to further community goals can be harvested, in a YELLOW-designed community, even if there is no shared wording about what those goals are. YELLOW can communicate meaningfully to all earlier worldviews and align them on a purpose that might be fully understood only by YELLOW. It goes without saying that the purpose of a community in YELLOW worldview is to help the world be a better place while also fostering the growth and thriving of all the individuals involved. YELLOW draws on all previous capacities, to make that happen. YELLOW has the capacity to see how individuals are shaped by community.


YELLOW begins to be outgrown when the dynamics of what happens in a system cannot be fully explained by psychological or social factors. There seems to be something else affecting things, and attention turns to subtle energies that are operating, such as through telepathy, or group fields of subtle energies that affect everyone but in different ways.


The primary individual-community tension in YELLOW is how individuals can manage the complexity of all the interdependent causes and effects, for the benefit of individuals and shared purpose.


Capacities that get carried forward from YELLOW available for use in TURQUOISE include all the ones mentioned above.


TURQUOISE (second worldview stage in Second Tier)


Individuals and communities develop practices, methods, for becoming more aware of subtle energies. Opening meetings with silent attunements to the group, group meditative practices to sense a shared field, learning to both influence and allow unseen forces to affect outcomes desires by the group, are all learned in TURQUOISE. The relationship of the individual to the community spreads beyond consensus material and social reality and becomes more fluid in space and time.


Early TURQUOISE is focused on methods and on controlling outcomes to be as desired. Late TURQUOISE is more focused on intention and allowing emergent unexpected outcomes. “Leading from the emergent future.”


In TURQUOISE things get more non-linear and post-rational, and agreements between people become much less important, as what happens is seen to be influenced by other factors. In fact, agreements are seen to actually inhibit and limit the potential beneficial happenings that can emerge.


This worldview begins to be outgrown when both individuals and groups are facile at moving in and out of ordinary and subtle-energy ways of creating outcomes, and practices and prediction feel unnecessarily restrictive of what can emerge.


The primary individual-community tension in TURQUOISE is exactly where does one end and the other begin? In TURQUOISE one’s identity is becoming both as the individual and as the group. This is paradoxical to earlier worldviews, but in TURQUOISE it begins to be a lived reality. “I am” me and “I am” this community.


What gets carried forward from TURQUOISE into Third Tier CORAL: Everything described above. The ability to both act and allow, to merge self and community in a way that actually enhances and amplifies individual sense of self and contribution to the whole. The realization that there is a larger cosmological context with invisible forces that we can cooperate with, so our goals are in service to far vaster goals that we might not be aware of.


CORAL (first worldview stage in Third Tier)

The relationship of individual and community in CORAL takes off from TURQUOISE and goes further. Each individual realizes they are involved with and contributing to a vast number of visible and invisible communities, and that not all of them need conscious attention or conscious behavioral participation. There is a deep trust of the emergent trajectory of evolution of the universe, and the focus becomes on what each individual feels called to do in any moment. There is no need for any agreements, any predictability in behavior. People experience that their life is organized by a larger (or Divine) intelligence and people experience life as a series of synchronicities that work for the best interest of everyone, even if predicted behaviors don’t occur.


This worldview stage begins to be outgrown when all “practices” no longer feel necessary. The lines between individual and community become hopeless to draw because “community” has become everyone on many scales of existence, many of them outside of ordinary or subtle awareness. Paradoxical to earlier worldviews, CORAL begins to appear to focus on their own calling, their own joys, their own playfulness and humor. This is because the “self” is so vast over time and space, and outside of time and space, that focus on “self” far transcends the inclusion of this particular embodiment.


The primary individual-community tension in CORAL is the last vestiges of any sense of a self that is separate from All That Is, from others, from any particular group. The final relaxation of any such tension appears in TEAL worldview, which resolves all paradoxes into individuation instead of separateness, and individuation as another facet of unity or unification, of a shared universal Self.


What gets carried forward from CORAL into TEAL worldview stage is the paradoxical relaxing of effort to produce any particular shared or individual outcome, yet bringing to bear all of one’s creative powers on preferred outcomes. Plus what has just been mentioned.



Since we are unlikely to see or experience anyone in this worldview stage, I won’t go into it here, although I do in my second book Ten Worldview Stages in Living Color. You can probably make some guesses based on extrapolating the trajectory of maturation of consciousness, so far.


By Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
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