Growing our societies

Healing yourself, loving the world

Spiral dynamics is a theory of social development, also mapping to our individual development, that provides a powerful perspective and roadmap for our growth. Rev. Dr. Jane Simmons, Q-Process Creator and Unity Minister, gave a series of talks about the levels of growth in which we can find wonderful insights to our personal growth and our societal growth.

In her first talk on the survival level, she refers to the idea that just like children grow up and plants grow from seeds, so do societies grow.  What she didn’t cover is that there are conditions for health and growth.

Obviously, children need food, water, shelter, movement, interaction, sunshine, fresh air, and love.  If they are in appropriate settings with attentive care-takers and then later in respectful and appropriate communities of learning, they move through the stages of emotional and mental development.

What do societies need?

Obviously, the answer depends on what level of development the society is in, but societies need to deal with systematic trauma and oppression before they can build interdependent systems. They need to deal with basic needs such as health care and food and water before people can start to think outside of their own survival.  People further along on the developmental path need to learn to listen and respect the other levels while staying centered in their own values.

Those of us with the capacity to understand previous levels must do so.  We cannot move forward by shaming or rejecting previous levels of development.

My invitation to you this week is when you encounter someone you disagree with, see if you can discern what’s their underlying need or worldview.  For a summary list of views, I like this page.

Hmm – something to think about!


This is the second in a series of posts on the subject of spiral dynamics.  Find the whole series here.

Photo by Stanislav Kondratiev
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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.