Re: Spiral Dynamics
From: David Heimann (
Date: Thu, 28 May 2015 07:21:25 -0700 (PDT)

Hello Diana,

So is "green" the color the Charles Reich refers to in "The Greening of America"? This is a book that got a large currency in the 1970's, and featured "green" as "Consciousness III".


P.S. -- What color is mainstream Western culture?

Date: Wed, 27 May 2015 20:05:13 -0400
From: Diana Leafe Christian <diana [at]>
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Spiral Dynamics
Message-ID: <B7507009-F2CE-4882-9CB0-0C2CE61AAEC0 [at]>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

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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