Krisena

Spiral Dynamics and Art

26 posts in this topic

Hiya! I'm Krisena. Nice to meet you!

I was inspired by the newest video on Spiral Dynamics and Leo's advice to find mentors to reach higher stages. What if we could also compile a list of art that roughly corresponds to the various stages to help us understand as well? Indeed, maybe art is the best way to inspire you to take steps forward into higher stages?

Film, literature, music, painting, architecture, poetry, video games... All is allowed. I will analyze some pieces of art that are very dear to me in high detail, as well as add some easy entries into the lists to get us started.

So when suggesting art for the different colors, I would like you to ask yourself some questions about the work:

  • Consider the whole work of art. A piece of art may use ideas from one stage to demonstrate another stage. The main character can start out materialistic, but change into a person that values their fellow man - in which case it's green, not orange.
  • If there's a narrative, what kind of value does the protagonist use to win over the antagonist? The power of friendship (green)? The power of maturity (probably yellow)? The power of non-violence (yellow/turquoise)? Pure power (red or orange)?
  • Is mythic imagery invoked? Mythic stories tend to convey archetypal truth and in general be closer to archetypes. This may or may not mean that the story in question jumps to stage yellow and above, under the right circumstances.
  • Stories about "good and evil" can either be on a really low stage, where "evil" is demonization of the other (tier 1), or really high one, where "evil" is presented as a large-scale pattern or "ocean current" that emerges from countless small acts of malice (yellow). You really have to judge on a case by case basis without generalizing one way or the other. Argue as well as you can.
  • Please keep in mind that there can be value dissonance between the surface and subtext of the story. The Wolf of Wall Street lets the indulgent protagonist off the hook, but this may or may not, depending on your interpretation, be a critique of a society that lets people like this have their way. Could be orange, could be green. Please clue us in on the interpretation you choose.
  • As for music without lyrics, I would like to make some observations: Romanticism in classical music is not unambiguous. Both intense expressions love (green) and "worship of the genius" (orange) are part of it - so don't generalize based on genre. Try your best to put into words what the particular piece in question is conveying.
  • If you think these guidelines are flawed or you have a unique interpretation, go for it! I'm here to expand my horizon so I would like that.
  • You can argue whether the stage you're personally at hinders you in seeing the truth in certain works of art. Leo did say that you can only see two stages up. Maybe that's a limitation we should be conscious of.

 

Turquoise:

  • Tree of Life - Terrence Malick (film)

Yellow:

  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms - Luo Guanzhong (novel)
  • Sophie's World - Jostein Gaarder (novel)
  • The Ring of the Nibelung - Richard Wagner (music drama)

Green:

  • Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë (novel)
  • Before Sunrise / Before Sunset / Before Midnight - Richard Linklater (film)
  • Birdman - Alejandro Iñárritu (film)
  • Wild Strawberries - Ingmar Bergman (film)
  • Avatar - James Cameron (film)
  • Interstellar - Christopher Nolan (film)
  • Symphony No. 9 - Ludwig van Beethoven (music)

Orange:

  • Advertisements (film/visual arts)

Blue:

  • National anthems (music)
  • Propaganda movies (film)

Red:

  • War marches (music)

Purple:

  • Totem poles (sculpture)

Beige:

 

...yeah, good luck finding lower than green fine art. xD

I have some questions for you that I hope you can help me with as well:

  • Where does art that only has the purpose of stimulating the senses belong?
  • If any of you are familiar with the impressionists in music or painting... Where do you think they belong?
  • What about modernistic psychological dramas that show the dangers of subconscious drives and urges?

 

Finally, here's my elaboration on one of my entries:

Romance of the Three Kingdoms:

The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been.

The story of an empire that falls apart and the warlords that strategize and fight for power in the ensuing chaos. The main characters are Liu Bei "I will restore the rightful order and hierarchy" (blue), Cao Cao "I am destined for great things and will rule the world" (orange) and Sun Quan "When others gain power, we become an easy target, so we too must expand to survive" (???), who eventually establish three minor kingdoms that all try to conquer the others.

On the local level, the story is about power and ambition (orange) as the different warlords try to get the upper hand on each other. On the large scale however, the picture that is painted is one of "cycles of nature". In the end, as it seems like one of the warlords are about to triumph, one of said warlord's own generals overthrow him and put their own clan on the throne. In the next years, they conquer the other two kingdoms - restoring stability to the land after 50 years of war.

The ending is shocking, but powerful, as it reveals to the audience the futility of the main characters' struggles. The story starts with order, descends into chaos and in the end, returns to order, with a final remark of the narrator:

All down the ages rings the note of change,
For fate so rules it; none escapes its sway.
The kingdoms three have vanished as a dream,
The useless misery is ours to grieve.

I experience the story as a meditation on the laws of cause and effect (the string of constantly shifting alliances and battles that follow logically from one another) and the patterns that emerge from them (the rise and fall of social structures). In the end, the impression I'm left with is that the actions of humans are just a part of the larger system of nature, that is impossible to transcend. Clearly a yellow piece of art, and truly one of the greatest stories I've ever read.

 

With that I hope I can stimulate some discussion. I'm happy to answer any questions, and I don't mind feedback either. I posted a lot of fine art, but that's because I'm just into that. Please talk about the art you care about!

Edited by Krisena

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Krisena Good analysis. I've always wondered which level is Zhu Ge Lian, and Sima Yi? (In popular culture; Sima Yi is almost portrayed as a Machiavellian, while as Zhu Ge Lian is Albert Einstein like). Whats your opinion?

Yellow/Turquoise

  • Westworld

 

Orange

  • Ocean's 8

 

Blue/Orange

  • Crazy Rich Asians
Edited by Wyze

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely hell yeah! This is one of my favorite Ted Talks. ❤️

Are you a Tool fan? 

 

Edited by VioletFlame

"Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand." --Patti Smith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Krisena said:

Where does art that only has the purpose of stimulating the senses belong?

Very interesting question actually, I've also thought about this. I think on a meta perspective, everything is just perceptions, so art always "just" stimulates the senses. But that is not really useful in the context of this thread. So I'll just throw two bands in here that I think I know where to put:

Yellow:

  • Tool (Fav. album: Lateralus)
  • Animals as Leaders (Fav. album: Weightless)

Tool is very overtly psychedelic (Alex Grey, that was posted above, created some of their Cover artworks) but has a very logical, nerdy quality to it musically. Just the song Lateralus is an absolutely crazy piece of art in terms of complexity (it's based on the Fibonacci sequence which appears on multiple levels throughout the song (syllables of verses, rhythm, lyrics...).

Animals as Leaders is progressive instrumental metal stuff, also very psychedelic, incredibly complex. I can recommend the songs "An Infinite Regression" and "To Lead You to an Overwhelming Question" from Weightless.

Have fun :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, VioletFlame said:

Absolutely hell yeah! This is one of my favorite Ted Talks. ❤️

Are you a Tool fan? 

 

I’ve had several people tell me that I’d like Tool but I’ve yet to listen to them. Good track from them that you recommend I start with?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@kieranperez Dude their lyrics are Jungian oriented! Also about Enlightenment. Forty Six & Two (chromosome analogy about human evolution) is about confronting and awakening the Shadow. They speak about the Shadow archetype in many of their songs.

This one below refers to the Anima (as Carl Jung coined to be the feminine aspects of a man's psyche) which I believe he was referring to Mother Nature clearing away/removing (hence the word enema) the negative bullshit within an area.

 

Edited by VioletFlame

"Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand." --Patti Smith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@kieranperez This is probably my favorite song by them. ❤️

Most of their artwork has been done by Alex Grey. ❤️

 

Edited by VioletFlame

"Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand." --Patti Smith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 22.11.2018 at 2:19 AM, Wyze said:

@Krisena Good analysis. I've always wondered which level is Zhu Ge Lian, and Sima Yi? (In popular culture; Sima Yi is almost portrayed as a Machiavellian, while as Zhu Ge Lian is Albert Einstein like). Whats your opinion

Ohh, that's a good question. With their intelligence and mastery of their craft, I'd be tempted to put them both at stage yellow, supporting their tier 1 lords. Sima Yi is very ambiguous. Was he legitimately scatter-brained, or did he fake it for his ambition? Maybe you are right that he's more orange. As for Zhuge, I agree he's more enlightened. If not yellow, I would say at least he comes off as green in his interactions.

 

On 22.11.2018 at 5:32 AM, kieranperez said:

Alex Grey is Ana AMAZING Turquoise artist. 

*impressive pictures*

If anything, I'd say these images make me more scared of stage turquoise, although also amazed. :ph34r:

Also, I might have to check out Tool now. The idea of a yellow rock band is intruiging.

I will add another blurb on one of my own list entries:

 

The Ring of the Nibelung

This is one of the greatest achievements of art in human history. The struggles of one man to create a 14 hour music drama of the finest music you can possibly find in classical music, as well as a story of Shakesperean proportions, tightness and richness.

The story is inspired by Norse mythology and shows how the lust for power and the prioritzation of power over love corrupts society until it falls apart. This is almost the opposite story of Romance of the Three Kingdoms in that at the beginning of the drama, Wotan, the king of the Norse gods and all creatures establishes order by finishing his castle. However, to pay his workers, he steals a ring from one of the dwarfs - that the dwarf gained through magic means by sacrificing his ability to love for the sake of gaining power. Warned about the curse of the ring, he gives it away, even though he came to covet it. Still, he, the state, used stolen goods to pay off his debts, and now the universe is in imbalance.

Wotan tries to restore the balance by manipulating events in the human world, so as to avoid the world ending in Ragnarok. However at some point, his quest to maintain power comes at the expense of the people he loves and he has to make a choice. Power over love? Or love over power?

The drama sets up a struggle between green and orange values. In the end, the orange values win, but that also means the destruction of society. And in the last scene, the castle of Valhalla crumbles while the original owners of the ring of power try to wrest it from one another. In some way, you could say this makes for a compltely green story, but like Romance of the Three Kingdoms again, the struggle is painted as a cycle of nature, and the orange vs. green struggle as a law of the universe.

The story is also rich with incredibly tightly written psychological drama. The characters sing what they think, but the underlying music shows what's really going on in their subconscious.

So yeah, I would say this is a green story that transcends to yellow because of the way it argues its case and sees the causality and forces in the world that lead to the end result with such clarity.

Edited by Krisena

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Uh love all of this!!

Love Alex Grey and Tool, I've been to one of their concerts and WOW, it's a piece of art in movement, first Maynard the singer does the whole show in the dark, he stays in the back of the stage and the spotlights are focused in the other musicians and on the video clip being payed in the big screen, from what I understood he does that to not feed his ego, and really pass the ideas behind his music directly to people, the focus are the lyrics that make us think, not him or the band, and the video clips are a completely mind fuck:

Tool are one of those bands that gets people talking, and a lot of times that talk is about their striking music videos. Most of them are full of abstract imagery that seem to be culled from some strange dreamworld. Guitarist Adam Jones directs a majority of their clips and uses many different visual techniques to breathe life into creatures and worlds far removed from our own.

The human mind is wired to find stories in its environment. When presented with a string of images and scenarios, the brain will try to tie them all together into a narrative. Tool's videos play with that human instinct, often to unsettling ends. Keep your mind open and enjoy as Noisecreep presents the 10 Best Tool Videos.

Also he lives in the middle of nowhere, grow his own food and prefer to be away from society and big crowds, very interesting human being.

I met Alex Grey in a concert too, and in a festival, it's just fascinating the way he lives his life, if you look at his face, he is always happy with a big smile, his wife is super sweet too, they paint while the band is playing psytrance, I wonder how it would be to live a life like that, living your passion and your full potential, sharing that energy with all the people around, he is an amazing human being, not sure how "enlightened" he is but I was just speechless for seeing his art and being around him, my theory is that he is an alien haha just like Leo xD

I would also add this song from Porcupine tree, not sure of their place in spiral dynamic but it's for sure an interesting trip, the instrumental is really good, it's the story of a guy who took LSD for days and he had a bad trip in the 34th day, sounds so real, I'm not sure of the story behind it, it's beautiful tho and worth listening.

 

Among with Alex Grey I think Android Jones is also great, he is a digital painter but has been working with virtual reality, in his expositions he tries to create how a psychedelic trip would be, very fascinating

Best described as a “digital painter,” Jones has created an immense body of work. He has become well known for his many layered, psychedelic works and live performances using a custom built digital set up. He participated in the Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well Tour and his work has been projected on the Sydney Opera House and the Empire State Building. A long time member of the Burning Man community, Android has traveled the world exhibiting his work and has contributed to events on 6 continents.

At the center of Jones’ work is spirituality and altered states of consciousness. Describing his work as Electro-Mineralism, Jones attributes his ability to create to the wonders of technology, crediting the planet’s resources for advancements in art production. Manipulating light and energy, Android Jones captures complex concepts while utilizing his formal background in the arts. Described as a digital alchemist, he is determined to alter the viewer’s perception, pushing the boundaries of the imagination through the use of innovative media forms.

 

mly0AS0.jpg

Harmony_of_Dragons.jpg

butterflymain-4965x2048.jpg


"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Shakespeare

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCqtX3EPGsnmWjK76m5Vpbw

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Tool being Yellow/Turquoise. Really everything Maynard has touched.

Aurora also seems to be Yellow/Turquoise, even though her methods, sound, lyrics, and presentation are very different than Maynard. 

An interview with her explaining her music:

One of her songs:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@thehero The inner child one? well you’re free to come to your conclusions about the meaning, but here’s what artist Milov wrote about the sculpture:

“It demonstrates a conflict between a man and a woman as well as the outer and inner expression of human nature. Their inner selves are executed in the form of transparent children, who are holding out their hands through the grating. As it’s getting dark (night falls) the children start to shine. This shining is a symbol of purity and sincerity that brings people together and gives a chance of making up when the dark time arrives.”

We are forgetting Pink Floyd 

 

pink-floyd-dark-side-of-the-moon-album-cover-wallpaper-1.jpg


"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Shakespeare

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCqtX3EPGsnmWjK76m5Vpbw

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 22-11-2018 at 8:03 AM, VioletFlame said:

Absolutely hell yeah! This is one of my favorite Ted Talks. ❤️

Are you a Tool fan? 

 

I didn't know about Alex Grey before this thread. :o Thanks a lot. That really resonated.

What he does with his art, I want to do exactly that but with (instrumental) music.
Art that mirrors Truth.
 

34 minutes ago, MsNobody said:

We are forgetting Pink Floyd 

pink-floyd-dark-side-of-the-moon-album-cover-wallpaper-1.jpg

??????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, DoubleYou said:

What he does with his art, I want to do exactly that but with (instrumental) music.
Art that mirrors Truth.

Do it!! :x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Currently, my favourite tier 2/Stage Yellow artist is Marina Abramović
Some of the themes in her work are the limits of human physicality and consciousness, the relationship between masculinity and femininity, and reconnecting with humanity through the direct experience of being in nature, slowing down to do things, and connecting with natural materials like quartz, bronze, wood, and iron. Her work lately is what she describes as immaterial art, art which only exists as it is happening and then vanishes after the performance is over. For example, in 2010 she had a now well known retrospective show at the MoMA in NYC where she sat in a chair for 8 hrs a day for 3 months and allowed the public to sit across from her to hold eye contact with her for as long as they would like. 

Marina’s medium of choice is long durational performance art which involves repeating a task while being as present as possible on a moment to moment basis for many hours at a time. To be able to do this, she has done numerous meditation retreats. After leaving Ulay, her romantic and professional partner of 12 years, she did a 3+ month retreat in Tibet where the goal was to repeat a single mantra 1,111,111 times. She has also tried other retreats and practices including Vipassana upon which her Marina Abramovic Method is based. This method is the distillation of her life’s work and is used to teach and prepare artists to take on long duration performance art pieces of their own. 

The workshops that teach her method are like a meditation retreat:
4 days of no talking, no eating, doing meditative exercises in a hot or cold environment
The workshop teaches:
Endurance, concentration, enhanced perception, self control, willpower, and confrontation of mental and physical limits. 

Here are a selection of exercises from the workshop:
Counting Rice (6hrs):
        Dump a pile of white rice mixed with black lentils onto a table, sort and count them and arrange them however you like. 
Blindfold: 
        Leave home, go to the forest, blindfold yourself, try to find your way back home. Learn to see with your whole body. 
Looking at Colors (1hr each):
        Sit in a chair, look at the wall with a paper with one of the primary colors printed on it. Repeat for the other 2 colors. 
Walking Backwards (4hrs):
        Walk backwards while holding a hand mirror. Observe reality as a reflection. 
Slow Motion Exercise:
        For the entire day, do everything very slowly. 
        Walking, drinking water, showering. Peeing in slow motion is very difficult, but try. 
Opening the Door (3hrs):
        Very slowly open and close the front door of your house, neither entering nor exiting. After 3 hours, the door is not a door anymore. 

Here is a video Marina had made documenting one of her workshop retreats. This one took place in Brazil, so they also had an ayahuasca ceremony at this retreat. 

 

 

Edited by waking_dreams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now