The book “Spiral Dynamics”, by Don Beck and Christopher Cohen, examines the idea of worldviews – the beliefs and filters through which we see the world. World views are seen to progress from relatively less integrated to more integrated, and are given colour codes. The image below gives a highly summarized picture of the different worldviews described by Beck and Cohen. This image also shows how the worldviews relate both to the development of world social/governing systems and the internal development of an individual.
The statements below help to explain the principal filters, or governing perceptions that correspond to each belief system in the spiral schema. Like wearing a pair of coloured glasses, these belief systems colour everything that a person sees, perceives, and does. Each of these is therefore a complete system and will operate like a fractal within the feedback loop of the mind. Experience will create beliefs, beliefs will colour perception, perception will induce reaction, reaction will influence events, and events will confirm beliefs on and on in an endless circle.
Belief systems are often unconscious and they colour our perception without us knowing about them. However, it can be useful to examine our worldviews and belief systems in order to decide if they are helping us to focus on (and therefore promote in our lives) the kinds of experiences that we truly want.
Here are some statements that describe some of the belief systems. For more information about this, you can click on this link to the Spiral Dynamics website. These short descriptions were borrowed from the .pdf image located here.
Beige worldview: (Instinctive, Survivalistic) Do what you must in order to survive.
Purple worldview: (Magical, Animistic) Keep the spirits happy and the tribe's nest warm and safe.
Red worldview: (Impulsive, Egocentric) Life is a jungle. Be what you are and do what you want regardless of how it affects others.
Blue worldview: (Purposeful, Authoritarian, Authoritarian religions) Life has meaning, direction, and purpose, with predetermined outcomes.
Orange worldview: (Achievist, Strategic) Act in your own self-interest by playing the game to win. Technology, resource development, objective thinking.
Green worldview: (Communitarian, Egalitarian) Seek peace within the inner self and explore, with others, the caring dimensions of community.
Yellow worldview: (Integrative) Live fully and responsibly as what you are and learn to become.
Turquoise worldview: (Holistic) Experience the wholeness of existence through mind and spirit.
Put three new people in a large city. If one believes that life is a jungle where he has to fight for survival, then this is what he will find and how he will live. If another believes that life is about objective thinking, industry and self oriented achievement, then he find support for these beliefs and live in such a way as to support them. If another believes in the power of community, self exploration and caring for others, then he too will find support for these beliefs and live according to them.
One worldview is not necessarily better than another. However, the power of understanding is that it can bring awareness of how to change if current situations are not as you wish.
Understanding worldviews is also helpful in relationships, especially at work. Worldviews give a framework for understanding how to communicate with and work with others even when they operate from different belief systems.
One way of learning about one's worldview is to prepare a "Primary Scenario", looking at the beliefs and relationships that have been part of one's family system over three (or more) generations. For more information about the Primary Scenario, click here.