I do the right thing

Healing yourself, loving the world

The fourth level of development

The fourth level of spiral dynamics, blue, is about transcending the lawlessness of the previous ego red stage and finding relief in rules and structure. As with every level, there’s wisdom, desire, and value of this stage that we can appreciate and integrate.

Think of your grandfather or great-grandfather, the stoic men in the military who fiercely believed in doing the right thing in the name of country and service.  Think of your grandmother or great-grandmother and her loyalty to her religion and her duties. There’s a noble quality here of sacrifice and order that has a strength and discipline we all need. Some holiday traditions are deeply rooted in this blue stage, and our craving for institutional tradition can be a healthy expression of this stage.

Like all levels of development, there’s a limit to this level that invites us to move forward. When we hold onto external authority and discount our individual intelligence and intuition, we found the limit. When we polarize into a “we’re right, and you’re wrong” attitude with no attempt to discover an underlying commonality, we’ve found the limit. And for some people and societies, this is where they are, and it’s growth for them.

I invite you to consider both the healthy and unhealthy attributes of this level.  Notice in others and yourself when they are acting out of this worldview.

Here is a talk by Dr. Simmons that explains this level.

  • 4th level, Rev. Dr. Jane Simmons, “Mother’s Day,” May 13, 2018, Unity of Spokane (35 minutes long)


This is the fifth in a series of posts on the subject of spiral dynamics.  Spiral Dynamics is a theory of social development, also mapping to our individual development, that provides an insightful perspective and roadmap for our growth. Spiral lays out eight levels of growth and development. Find the whole series here.

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Photo by Annie Spratt
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Deborah Donndelinger

Deborah Donndelinger

I'm writing from Maryland, but my heart goes out all over the world. I'm cheering you on as you tackle the hard stuff, embrace the easy, and show up to help others.