September 20, 2005

Welcome to Spiral Dynamics Integral

The remarkable body of work attracting a growing constellation of thousands of people around the world.

Spiral Dynamics Integral, or SDi for short, concerns itself with the deep complexity codes that shape our many worlds. The model describes and makes sense of the enormous complexity of human existence, and then shows how to craft elegant, systemic problem-solutions that meet people and address situations where they are. Conceived and led by Dr. Don Beck, a leading global authority on value systems, societal change, and stratified democracy, SDi is an advanced extension and elaboration of the biopsychosocial systems concept originated by the late Dr. Clare W. Graves of Union College, New York, and later developed as Spiral Dynamics - a model that Canada’s Maclean’s Magazine rather grandly dubbed “The Theory that Explains Everything.”

Well, almost ...

Spiral Dynamics™ reveals the hidden complexity codes that shape human nature, create global diversities, and drive evolutionary change.These dynamic Spiral forces attract and repel individuals, form the webs and meshes that connect people within groups, communities and organizations, and forge the rise and fall of nations and cultures. Spiral Dynamics meshes the new science of memetics with Gravesian value systems to form “value memes” or ”vMemes” to craft a model of transformational change. By exploring and describing the core intelligences and deep values that flow beneath what we believe and do, the model offers a profoundly incisive, dynamic perspective on complex matters such as:

HOW people think about things (as opposed to “what” they think)
WHY people make decisions in different ways
WHY people respond to different motivators
WHY and HOW values arise and spread
The nature of CHANGE

Spiral Dynamics suggests ways to move more quickly in the direction of deep dialogue and comprehensive, integral solutions. As our world is now moving into the next stage of cultural pluralism and diversity programs, Spiral Dynamics offers a point of view that looks at the evolutionary dynamic of the deep underlying values systems. MACRO applications of Spiral Dynamics re-examine the whole globalization issue through an entirely new lens. The focus is on the underlying vMeme currents and contours of the diverse, competing economic, political, health care, education, religious, and community-based models.

Spiral Dynamics connects everything to everything else. For example: The work shows clearly why attempts to deal with the HIV pandemic only through medical solutions fail dismally unless equal time and resources are spent on the interior, cultural dynamics that contribute to the spread of the virus. It also demonstrates why simplistic, fragmented approaches to international and domestic terrorism, crime and drug-related problems, education, economic and social development - the list is endless - and the complexity of challenges in the Middle East and other hot spots around the globe will continue to confound us unless we integrate, align and synergize the efforts of all these stakeholders.

"It’s not that we need to form new organizations. It's simply that we have to awaken to new ways of thinking. I believe it makes no sense to spend a lot of time attacking the current realities. It is time to create the new models that have in them the complexity that makes the older systems obsolete. And to the extent that we can do that, and do that quickly, I think we can provide what will be necessary for a major breakthrough for the future."

~ Dr. Don Beck

At the National Values Center we have been tracking and researching the emergence of human nature since 1978 by using the BioPsychoSocial Systems perspective of Dr. Clare W. Graves. The publication of the book, Spiral Dynamics, in 1996 introduced that term. The foundational Gravesian model - the core of SD - focuses on the elements that create choice, change, personality and behavior. It addresses change in social systems, management practices, education and variations in 'consciousness,' a variant which is currently quite popular. Our concentration is on practical uses of deep values theory and application of Spiral Dynamics® while expanding on the foundational work of Dr. Graves with new research and studies.

As NVC Consulting and Humergence® in Santa Barbara, CA, we teach the model and how to use it in understanding human value systems via the Emergent, Cyclical Levels of Existence Theory (ECLET) and answering the Design Question: "How should who manage (teach, influence, motivate, etc.) whom to do what when?" The work is especially important when people factors and differences in Value Systems shape decisions, drive relationships, and form personality. Welcome to the Gravesian map to human nature, and the definitive source for SD. Visit our sister website,, to read more about Dr. Graves in his own words. There are copies of many of his original papers available for online reading.

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