Spiral Dynamics and Literary Criticism

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This thread is meant as a continuation of an interesting topic of discussion that originated in the Spiral Dynamics Stage Blue MegaThread. This discussion itself was about using Spiral Dynamics as a lens to look at various literary and philosophical works; in particular the works of Dostoevsky (who'd I'd argue is a healthy example of the Blue worldview), and of Nietzsche (who'd I'd argue is a Red worldview, though @Bernardo Carleial made a convincing case that he's closer to a malfunctioning Orange that dips in to the aggressive tendencies of Red).

About Nietzsche in particular, I suppose I have a bit of trouble placing someone who has disdain for %99 of humanity, and is so predominately ego driven, into the Orange worldview. I'll also cite how outspoken in his opposition to Orange value systems such Utilitarianism, Consumerism, and Material Comfort, as well as his sycophantic admiration for the Elites in society as further evidence of this. And while Nietzsche would never have supported groups such as the Nazis, his work easily lends itself to fascist (mis)interpretations, since a positive claim is never made in his work as to why other people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

I'll admit that Nietzsche  can be a tough one to place,  as he does offer quite sophisticated critiques of aspects of Blue. Perhaps we're also seeing some of the limitations of Spiral Dynamics as a model; while it's a really useful model for most people most of the time, there's also a few cases where I have trouble mapping someone's ideas onto the SD model (where the hell would you put Hegelian Dialectics on the SD model?)

Edited by DocWatts

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It is absolutely true that not all people will nicely fit into one stage. And the Spiral Dynamics model actually accounts for that. If we take a look at Ken Wilber's Integral Model, as well as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, we will see that people diferent areas of development that they want to pursue in their lives. Leo also made a video in which he talks about that.

As for philosophy and scientific models, I agree with you that it might be tricky, because it is very easy to spot the value meme of a stage at its broadest/grossed forms in society. Whereas with philophy and scientific models. We have to look at the implied metaphysics that reflects their worldview.

Going back to the example of Nietzsche: his most strongest worldviews is that reality is inherently meaningless, and the conclusion that he drew was that neither social nor religious morals should drive one's path, which is basic nihilism. But he acknowledges that the individual should develop his own identity by being more authentic and relying on himself in order to guide his life(vMEME Orange). At the same time, he lashes out a lot of his hatred towards religion and seems a bit moralizing when he judges those who follow their rules ( which strikes me as vMEME Blue and vMEME Red).

Albert Camus, however, took a different path: he arrived at the same conclusion that Nietzsche's had, but instead of feeling bitter about it, he was cool with it. he actually embraced the absurdity of living a life that is inherently meaningless and inspired others to do so.

I'll leave a link that talks about the principles of the Integral Model developed by Ken Wilber. I think that it's a very nice tool in order to make more finer dintinctions on the Spiral Dynamics model. And I'll also sent a link to Leo's video about the nuances one needs to take while using the Spiral Dynamics lenses.??



Ken Wilber Integral Model:



Leo's video on the nuances of the Spiral Dynamics model:


Edited by Bernardo Carleial

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Awesome,thanks! I always intuited that Albert Camus was a healthier form of Existentialism  than the existentialism espoused by Nietzsche, as unlike Nietzsche I got the sense that Camus cared about other people in a way that Nietzsche struggled with; he put his life on the line by fighting in the French resistance against Nazi occupation, and was a critic of Colonial Racism; he was also wise enough to understand the value of community.

I'll admit that I'm much less familiar with the work of Ken Wilber than I am of Don Beck and Clare Graves. I've read most of what I could get my hands on for the latter, and only one Ken Wilber book so far (A Theory of Everything, which I found quite insightful). I'm also aware that Don Beck and Christopher Cowan distanced themselves from Ken Wilber, since he took their model in a direction they didn't quite agree with. Not to devalue Ken Wilber, I just think it's interesting that Spiral Dynamics is also open to different interpretations and implementations, just like any other model. I'd be open to other Ken Wilber books suggestions though; especially any books that go deep in to systems thinking, as that's something that's really resonating with me at this point in my life (I find the Spirituality stuff interesting and potentially valuable, but it's something I struggle to connect with as much at my current stage of development).

I'm aware that people are a blend of different stages of Spiral Development, and saying that someone is at a stage just means that's where their center of gravity is at, so to speak. Just as a counterbalance when I find myself getting excited about an idea or concept, I like to take a step back and try to find its limitations (this really helped me a ton and allowed me to put things like reductionist materialism into perspective, for instance). Parsing out the implied metaphysics from a model or philosophy makes a lot of sense as to integrating it into the SD model.

I'm writing a philosophy book! Check it out at :

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