Kheper Home | Spiral Dynamics Home | Evolution of Consciousness | Integral Approach Home | Topics Index | New | Search

Beige Purple Red Blue Orange Green Yellow Turquoise

First Tier vMemes

In Spiral Dynamics, there are a number of stages of development of consciousness, including stages that have already developed, and those likely to emergy. These are broadly grouped in two "tiers". Here, and also in Wilberian Integral Theory, "First Tier" is directly equivalent to, and in part inspired, the stage of transformation that I call (for sake of a better word) dualistic. The stages are very misleadingly called "value Memes" or vMemes. This has nothing to do with Richard Dawkins' idea of memes, except that I guess they got the term from him.

To save the hassle of reinventing the wheel, I took the following from Wikipedia link from Wikipedia, but with graphics added (I don't recall the website I ot the graphics from, this was some years ago). Links are to more detailed coverage of each psycho-social archetype/v-meme:

These vMeme levels are focused on different themes for existence, and include almost all of the worldviews, cultures, and mental attitudes up to today. New systems build on adaptations of previous levels and seek to solve problems created by living in those earlier ways. (Attaching concrete examples to these levels of psychological existence is difficult and often misleading because (a) there can be multiple reasons for the same behavior and (b) centralization in a single level regarding all aspects of living is rare. Some advocates of Spiral Dynamics argue that these are ways of thinking about things, not types of people. However, Spiral Dynamics does explicitly define a category of people labeled "Spiral Wizards" who have attained equilibrium around "higher level" vMemes.

[MAK note: my understanding is that even these "second tier" (Becxk & Wilber jargon) "Spiral Wizards" would still be exoteric, even if holistic]

Archaic-instinctive survivalistic/automatic/reflexological
From 100,000 BC on
"Express self to meet imperative physiological needs through instincts of Homo sapiens."

Animistic-tribalistic magical-animistic Tribal order
From 50,000 BC on
"Sacrifice to the ways of the elders and customs as one subsumed in group."
This is the level of shamans, spirit animals, and medicine men

Egocentric-exploitive power gods/dominionist
From 7000 BC on
"Express self (impulsively) for what self desires without guilt and to avoid shame."
Expressed by the mentality of gangs, the vikings, etc

Absolutistic-obedience mythic order—purposeful/authoritarian
From 3000 BC on
"Sacrifice self for reward to come through obedience to rightful authority in purposeful Way."
Embodied by fundamentalist religions.

Multiplistic-achievist scientific/strategic
From 1000 AD on (as early as 600 AD according to Graves and Calhoun)
"Express self (calculatedly) to reach goals and objectives without rousing the ire of important others."
Expressed in the scientific revolution and the industrial revolution.

Relativistic-personalistic communitarian/egalitarian
From 1850 AD on (surged in early 20th century)
"Sacrifice self interest now in order to gain acceptance and group harmony."
Expressed in 60s pluralism, and systems theory

In all these systems (same with Steiner, Wilber, etc, these two being very similar), attributing a fixed series of dates indicates a rigid, deterministic worldview, too much mental over-abstraction, and nothing at all to do with the real world in all its infinite complexity

In the above series, according to the Beck and Wilber interpretation, Green is followed by the "second tier". Beck and Wilber in particular seem to have a dislike of what they perceives as excessive green meme opposition to his own Integral Theory (while ignoring the fact that "orange" "blue" etc would be equally opposed to anything he said, if not more so); thus giving rise to Adobe Acrobat pdf document the myth of the Mean Green Meme, a label used by certain of his followers and by himself to attack and refute critics. All of which shows that Wilber's and Beck's version of Integral Philosophy is itself "first tier" because it has not yet transcended antogonistic and perspectival worldviews, or if it has it is only via lip service, not policies. The fact that this supposedly "Turquoise" philsoophy is actually entrenched in "first tier" perspectivism and antagonism shows either that

  1. each type (including traditional "upper tier" or "integral" levels) includes both tiers, or
  2. the whole Beck-Wilber concept of tiers is hierarchical, elitist, and Nietzschean in the worst sense (the fascist overman) - see A Critique of Wilber and Beck's SD-Integral.

Personally I would prefer to replace "tiers" with transformative stages. Were I to retain the terminology and hierarchical concept of tiers (in the sense Wilber uses (see Link to Amazon com Integral Spirituality) of a spectrum of consciousness) I would include "Green" in the second tier.

Kheper index page
Topics index page
Spiral Dynamics main page

contact me

page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 26 October 2009