Re: Spiral Dynamics
From: Diana Leafe Christian (
Date: Wed, 27 May 2015 17:05:21 -0700 (PDT)
        Well, Fran asked if I'd pipe up on this one so I will. I was once 
describing an ongoing and seemingly intractable conflict in my community to a 
friend. He listened to my tale and said, "Sounds like a clash between Green and 
Yellow." I didn't know what he meant, so he explained. I then read all I could 
find about spiral dynamics, including the book Fran cites, and have used spiral 
dynamics to help understand some kinds of of community conflicts ever since. 
        The spiral is a metaphor for different paradigms, with different colors 
used to help identify (and remember) the characteristics of each. Some authors 
and advocates use one set of colors for each turn on the spiral; Ken Wilber 
uses another set of colors. I'm interested in the differences between two of 
these. One, "green," is identified with the yearning for replacing current 
mainstream- culture consumeristic, militaristic, "Me Generation" values with 
sharing, community (including intentional community), environmental 
responsibility, and what's often called "New Age" ideas and practices. 
Consensus decision-making, for example, seems to me a perfect example of a 
green value and practice. Manu identify "green" as a reaction against what's 
wrong with mainstream Western culture, inspiring, yet ineffective. 
        The other spiral is sometimes identified as "yellow" and sometimes as 
"teal." Whichever color one uses, it includes the values and practices of green 
but adds the value of what I'd characterize as, "The practices that support 
these values and also work effectively in actual real life?" The N Street 
Consensus Method, a variation of classic consensus, and two whole-system 
governance and decision-making methods, Sociocracy and Holacracy, seem to me to 
be in the "yellow" or "teal" realm. 
        Big conflicts in my community are slowly resolving themselves as more 
and more of the yellow/ teal values and practices advocated by our younger 
people are replacing the classic "We are all one" "green" values and practices 
of our older members.  Understanding spiral dynamics helps me feel less 
baffled, confused, and frustrated by what some of the younger folks here call 
"Hippie Fundamentalism." It helps me have more compassion and understanding. 
And hope. ;)

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