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.



Dear Banker, The End is Nigh

(First Published in The Huffigton Post September 11, 2017)

In one of the clearest signs of how pathological the banking industry has become, this past week Texas Republican Congressman Jeb Hensarling escalated his party’s rhetoric on how government regulation gets in the way of freedom and how the banking industry’s crusade to kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the CFPB) is a patriotic duty. How ironic that this comes at a time when Texas needs billions in taxpayer dollars to rebuild in the aftermath of hurricane Harvey.

On his official website, the Congressman declares that his next legislative step is to repeal the law that brought the CFPB into existence, the Dodd-Frank Act. Like the Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank has been a thorn in the side of Republicans since its creation. The warped repeal logic is the same; anyone who comes in the way of corporate greed must be neutralized before they cause an outright psychotic meltdown to a system seeking self-preservation while on life support.

So, why is it at a time when the unemployment rate is at historic lows and stock markets are at historic highs, are Republicans still blindly pursuing a deregulation agenda? The short answer is that the political infrastructure for deregulation is far more developed and well funded than the weak voices of the 99% advocating for regulation and fairness. In an era of low interest rates and slow growth, the only way for bankers to stay alive is by inventing new fees and penalties, and engaging in predatory lending. In short, the banking industry has become an entire system of Tony Sopranos in designer suites made more brazen by the 2008 bailout and a refusal to accept new economic realities. They own politicians who want the world to believe that any protection of the consumer is a despicable violation of freedom. This is the very definition of predatory capitalism that has run amuck in an economy that has gotten used to a passive, nonexistent, incompetent and impotent-by-design regulatory structure.

The CFPB is the brainchild of Senator Elizabeth Warren, who many believe represents a new breed of politicians on Capitol Hill. She thinks in terms of the generational run of democracy, not its exploitation for short-term gain. Her believes, while representing the emerging values of humanity, are a clear threat to bankers and their lobbyists who think only of the quarterly bottom line. While wealth continues to shift away from Main Street due to this well-established deregulatory infrastructure, bankers and their representatives in Congress seem to be hell-bend on making sure no regulation whatsoever gets in the way of their bottom line as they repeatedly called this agency undemocratic, freedom hating, and a destroyer of jobs and consumer choice.

This rhetoric about the evil effects of regulations on the private sector was borne out of Ronald Reagan’s declaration that government is the enemy of capitalism. Forty years later and this pathology has continued to grow. It has given America a fresh crop of ill-informed lawmakers who know nothing but obstructionism and the dying belief in the powers of the free market. At the behest of their lobbyists who control their destiny, they have successfully blocked the evolutionary pulse of our institutions and our culture. They have wrapped themselves in Old Glory while doing the ugly deeds of a predatory private sector. Who would point to such raw display of patriotism and freedom and accuse it of wrongdoing?

To see this battle play out from an ideological lifecycles perspective gives us hope that the end to predatory private sector behavior is near. The emerging system of values is rightfully angry and has no tolerance for incompetent and corrupt politicians. It recognizes the toxicity of an untamed private sector. As part of its natural manifestation it seeks to undo the inequalities caused by the dying ideology. What’s next for the US is a system of social democracy with a capitalist expression that can only thrive on collective fairness. While its current advocate, Bernie Sanders might seem abrasive to many the merits of its values speak volumes to millions of people.

This social evolution is being helped by two factors. The first is that history shows when an environment of unregulated greed is accelerated, which is the case under the Trump Administration, it spawns the seeds of its own destruction. The current White House is full of advisors who see the current pathology as truth. It is now just a matter of when President Trump appoints a new head of the CFPB. It will very likely be someone similar to the rest of his appointees, grossly incompetent, and fanatically intentional in his/her actions to destroy whatever is left of the power entrusted to our government institutions. It seems inevitable that the Dodd-Frank Act will be repealed. This will result in a new financial crisis for which there will be no bailout, which will hasten the end of the current system and help usher in the new.

The second and far more ominous factor is the confluence of the disruptive forces of the digital economy. The driving dynamism behind this technological revolution is the quantification of each and every industry. Banking is no exception. Neither is healthcare or is the carbon fuel industry. Here’s what we know about the patterns of this revolution: Once an industry is quantified it becomes digitized, and once it’s digitized it goes through a profound structural disruption. After the disruption comes the industry’s democratization. This last stage is the nightmare that haunts traditional CEOs since it violates so many of the tenets of the traditional capitalist model.

So as bankers and CEOs of old model industries continue in their myopic vision of lining up political stooges to deregulate and lobby for their outdated and outmoded products and services, something far bigger is emerging that terrified them. The real possibility that this game we call capitalism can no longer be rigged.