Is Democracy Destined to Fail, or is it Exiting its Adolescent Stages?

Recent scientific surveys conducted by Dr. Bjarni Jonsson reveal that almost 97% of people around the world believe that Democracy is a good way to govern. The same survey also revealed that almost 80% of people worldwide seem to have a deep mistrust in the system and its philosophy. This figure is likely at an all-time high and is not expected to moderate anytime soon.

What accounts for this discrepancy and does scientific research support the findings that Democracy is a failed experiment that needs to be replaced by a different system for governance. Would an alternative system need to be more authoritarian and restrictive, or would a deeper level of engagement and trust in Democracy help improve the virtues of governance. What if more of the world population and its leaders gain a better understanding of what needs to be done to guard the precious virtues of “government by the people?” What would be the mechanisms that need to be put in place to guarantee that all voices be heard?

Dr. Jonsson argues that Democracy as a fully functioning system for governance has not emerged yet, and what we call democracies is a big misunderstanding. He will be arguing his case for the different types of governance and what it will take for us to gain a better understanding of governing systems designed from the Emerging values of Humanity, what we in Spiral Dynamics call the values of the Second Tier.

Dr. Jonsson will present his views on these issues at the highly anticipated Spiral Dynamics Summit on the Future scheduled to take place in Dallas in April. Please click here for more details, and for a preview of the event. You can find out more about Dr. Jonsson and his work with the Icelandic National Assembly and the crucial role it played in reuniting Iceland after the devastating effects of the financial crisis of 2008. You can also look up Dr. Jonsson’s talks about “Crowd Visioning” on TEDx Stage.

“The primary focus of the Summit is to bring together the brightest global minds to help us better understand chaos and change in these times of uncertainty.”                                                                                

                                                                                                                    Dr. Don E. Beck



Spiral Dynamics Conference on Understanding Chaos & Change

Today humanity finds itself at one of its biggest crossroads in history. Predictable patterns of cultural evolution have given way to unpredictability and chaos. Human civilization is mired in breakdowns and clashes of historic proportions. Strong nations are being weakened internally, while weak nations are collapsing into disorder.

Climate change is becoming increasingly irreversible requiring unprecedented levels of global cooperation to insure our survival. Revolutionary technologies have knocked down the walls to much of the organizing structures we’ve taken for granted in the past. The rapid rise of the digital age continues to make a mockery out of our understanding of change and the forces shaping our future.

Are all these dynamics a part of the chaos that precedes humanity’s Momentous Leap into the more inclusive values of the Second Tier, or did the Gravesian and Spiral Dynamics models underestimate the influence of technology, globalization and other unforeseen factors disrupting our evolutionary journey?

If these are questions that you’ve been asking yourself, then the upcoming Spiral Dynamics Summit on the Future might provide some of the answers for a possible road forward.

Six Days of Spiral Dynamics in Dallas

The week of April 15, 2018 will be full of Spiral Dynamics activities in Dallas Texas. We are happy to announce an added activity to the already exciting line up of events for the week. Participants can choose to attend just the 3-day conference, the Level 1 training, or both.


For those who have been waiting to be trained in Spiral Dynamics, we are happy to announce that there will be a Level 1 Spiral Dynamics Training and Certification in Dallas 3 days before the start of the conference. This will be led by Dr. Don Beck and some of his closest colleagues and will run from Tuesday April 17 to Thursday April 19. For a more detailed description of the training and to register please click here. There will a special discount for attendees who participate in both the training and the conference.


This conference will be taking place at the newly renovated conference center at The Embassy Suites Hotel in Grapevine, Texas. It is a familiar place to many of us who have been to any of the annual Spiral Dynamics Confabs in the last 15 years. The event is a one-of-kind Summit on the future that is packed with 3 full days of events highlighting 3 major milestones in the continued evolution of Spiral Dynamics and the Gravesian Model.

1. Three days of powerful presentations made by some of the most prominent practitioners of SD from around the globe in different area of specialty. For a detailed list of topics and speaker profiles please click here

2. The official US launch of the long awaited book Spiral Dynamics in Action: Humanity’s Master Code. Participants will be able to purchase singed copies of the book and other books written by other speakers at the event. For Publisher Preview of book on Amazon, please click here

3. We will honor Don’s legacy and his contributions to humanity at a dinner event on Saturday night. It will be held at the banquet room at the hotel.

For full details on the the 6 days in April, please visit the event website; Spiral Dynamics Summit on the Future

Other links:

  • To purchase tickets to the event: please click here.
  • The Embassy Suites has set aside a block of rooms for the event at substantially discounted rates. Bookings are under the Spiral Dynamics event. You must call the hotel directly at 972-724-2600 (not central booking). Rooms must be booked before March 30th to be elegible for the discount. You can also book online www.embassysuitesdfwnorth.com and use group code SPD.


This post is in response to a simple question posed on social media regarding the definition of the Healthy expression of the Red value system. Like many questions of this general nature that were posed before, debates and opinions went on for days with responses as varied as each commentator’s personal experience with Red, or what appeared to be Red in their world. In the end, this was a highly engaging debate that allowed many members of the online Beck-Graves group to engage in conversation for the very first time. The purpose of this post is to offer some nuanced analysis, reminders and some possible tools that practitioners might take to their field of work or personal lives.

One of the very first things I caution people about at trainings and presentations is not to diminish the effectiveness of the theory by superficially placing labels like colors and levels on people or systems. This is how we diminish the merits of the developmental model and bring an end to any in depth analysis to a given situation. Instead of asking for an absolute description of a particular color or level that solicits so many varying answers, the question should always be: How does that developmental level show up in your daily life, acknowledging the dynamic nature of the framework.

People’s vMEMEs don’t exist in a vacuum as permanent psychological states or stages. They are complex profiles that can range from Purple to Turquoise in a span of a single day. While one or more value systems are active in us at any given time, the rest lay dormant waiting to be activated in response to environmental stimuli. Yes, Life Conditions the one important factor that was greatly overlooked in the online debate remains the essential element that makes the model operational. This is the other half of the ECLET/SD framework that determines a person’s resilience to respond and adapt effectively. It guides the upshift, the downshift and diagonal movement of the psychological health of an individual or a system.

It is important to understand that Red today, healthy or unhealthy is not a permanent stage even in people where the Bio/Neuro Triad of the theory (the hardware of the brain) is limited to the Red vMEME. We live in complex Life Conditions that are constantly bombarding our brain to the point that if it can’t create new hardware, it develops mirror neurons that can mimic higher value systems; a fake it till you make it type of assimilation. Additionally, what might look like healthy red to a Second Tier observer, might be viewed as extremely unhealthy Red to Blue or Green, or even a healthy version of Orange. What is important is to know when healthy Red is needed, and more importantly, where to direct its energy when its not. When we take these factors and place them into the non-theoretical complexity mentioned above, analysis becomes far more effective.

I often use this graphic in my presentations to illustrate the dynamic nature of how the different developmental levels may stack in a psychologically mature person on any given day when in different Life Conditions.


It’s important to keep in mind that these are hypothetical value systems compositions that are intended to convey the complexity of the entire vMEMEstack that changes whenever challenges from Life Conditions change.

So, when do we see a particular expression like healthy Red dominate? Well, it all depends on the situation. In the Western world today, Red bravery alone is rarely needed in a permanent way in leadership due to the existence of higher complexity. Should that higher complexity become toxic and resistant to emergence, the system will choose a Red leader to detoxify the blockages in the memestack. Unfortunately, Red’s best capacities are in undoing higher systems, or dominating lower systems. It cannot rebuild after the system is detoxified. That job is for higher systems. Which higher systems and what are their contents? That depends on those ever changing and often complex Life Conditions.