What if life was a game? If I told you that our spiritual evolution was like that of a toboggan, but unlike the toboggan or we slide down, here our soul has to climb a spiral slide. This is what happens with our consciousness, individual and collective.
I talk a lot about balance because it is the 1st pillar of the 5 pillars of personal success. I also regularly give you tips to maintain balance in your life, especially on Koena’s Instagram account. But what about consciousness, the 2nd fundamental pillar of personal success?
Today I want to tell you about the 8 levels of consciousness. The 8 levels of consciousness have been described in a concept called “the dynamic spiral of consciousness”.
This concept was developed by psychologists in the 1950s, based in particular on the principle of Maslow’s pyramid. Like this evolutionary pyramid of human needs, researchers have developed the evolving dynamic spiral of human consciousness. It is a theory that describes the different levels of development of humanity (societal and individual). According to this concept, human consciousness evolves in stages, named after from colors.
Let’s dig into this concept together.
The origins of the theory
In 1952, a researcher in psychology, Clare W. Graves, began research on what he initially called the “theory of levels of human existence”. Beck and Cowan, two academics trained by Graves, in their 1996 book provide a visual representation of these stages as a spiral of color, called a dynamic spiral.
This spiral is made up of different colors, each representing a level of consciousness. Each level has a specific role, both at the individual level but also at the societal level.
There are 8 levels in total, the lowest level is called Beige and the highest is called Turquoise. Each level therefore has a specific role vis-à-vis the individual and can also be found in human societies at different times and places.
Spiraling evolution is found both on an individual scale (growth from newborn to adulthood) and on a human scale (from prehistoric times to the present day).
How the dynamic spiral works
The dynamic spiral is a continuous upward spiral, dynamic expansive and open.
A continuous and dynamic spiral
We are doomed to progress on this upward spiral.
The ascent on the spiral occurs when living conditions change or become unsustainable for the individual or the group of individuals. We then seek to access new levels of existence and therefore of consciousness. Our soul thus evolves all our life, through these colors (levels), which give us the answers to the problems we face in our daily life. When a color no longer suits our needs or its answers / way of looking at life no longer satisfy us, then we move to the next level.
It is important to point out that the different levels are in addition to the previous ones, but do not replace them. Beware of ego messages that may make us mistakenly believe that we are becoming “higher” than other levels as we ascend. In reality, we are simply expanding our field of consciousness. This allows us to broaden our perspectives in our life choices, and therefore to adapt our way of reacting according to the situations.
It is the preferential use of certain levels that will guide our general way of functioning in life.
This is why in some cases we “slide” to lower levels depending on certain situations. For example, someone who is at the Orange level can easily drop back down to the Red level upon contact with someone at the Red level.
This ability to “slide” to lower levels can be an asset, especially in communication: the other’s capacity for adaptation and understanding is greater since the spectrum of consciousness is wider. But she can also be a brake on her spiritual evolution if she does not surround herself with enough individuals of the same level of consciousness as her, or if she still resists progression because her soul is not ready for its ascent.
Moreover, Professor Graves himself had speculated that these levels repeated themselves several times over the course of a human life, a spiral in a loop of sorts.
A spiral split in two horizontally and vertically
The graphic representation of the spiral makes it possible to distinguish two sides of the spiral. This refers to an alternation of evolution between value systems focused on:
- on the left: individualistic values, favoring self-expression,
- on the right: self-sacrifice for the benefit of the collective.
The horizontal split is between the green level and the yellow level. We then speak of the passage from the 1st cycle to the 2nd cycle of human consciousness:
- the 1st cycle: based mainly on survival, whether individualistic (on the left: beige, red, orange) or collective (purple, blue and green),
- the 2nd cycle: based mainly on the need for existence, whether individualist (left: yellow) or collective (right: turquoise).
The 8 levels of consciousness
Now let’s take a closer look at the different levels and colors of the dynamic spiral.
1. Existential Level (Beige)
The beige level of existence is satisfied when basic needs are met. It is a primary level of thought, which no longer exists, or very little, in any society today. It is a way of thinking dominated by nature and the survival instinct.
For example, for an association that would like to receive donations, talking about possible tax deductions will be of much more interest to an Orange individual than the feeling of saving the planet.
- Age of onset: From birth to 1 year. The baby is only focused on his own needs.
- Relationship with others: There is no discrimination against other colors at this level, as long as the immediate needs of Beige are met
- Satisfaction: When their basic needs are met. It also corresponds to the first need in Maslow’s pyramid.
- Values: Absence of values, except that of survival.
The beige level’s difficulty in meeting its basic needs alone prompts it to move on to the next level of existence to live in a supportive group. The fact that the hunter-gatherer ended up settling down (cultivation, breeding) no doubt also played a role in the passage of humanity from the beige level to the purple level.
2. Animist level (Purple)
These are the so-called “animist” tribes, which have a culture centered on magic or spiritualism, close to nature and its cycles. This leads to the creation of tribal groups, which emphasize rituals. Blood ties are very important.
- Age of onset: 1 to 3 years: this is the age of magical thinking, the little mouse and Santa Claus.
- Relationship with others: Perceive other Violets as one of them. The Reds as leaders they must follow. The Blues like the state or the government. The Oranges as their saviors or masters. The Greens as beneficent. They find it difficult to differentiate Yellow and Turquoise from Oranges or Greens depending on the context.
- Satisfaction: The group must be in complete safety, and live in accordance with traditions. In this, the Violets often pass initiations, rituals to prove their loyalty to the group.
- Values: Tradition, Respect, devotion, security, acceptance of our life as it is.
For example, we can find identical structures in the hazing practiced in university, in particular in fraternities or sororities in the United States.
3. Egocentric Level (red)
These are rather authoritarian people who rule: “It is the law of the strongest”. Red companies or groups are generally run by dictators or despots who have a vision of the world very much linked to the balance of power (the weak in the population must be eradicated). Leaders in this color are only recognized after they have suppressed all their emotions, being relentless and ruthless.
- Age of onset: 4 to 6 years old. The age of “no”, of the early adolescence where the child tests the limits of the adult.
- Relationship with others: Perceive the Violets as tools. The other Reds as enemies or their next leader if they are strong enough. The Blues as an authority and an enemy. They envy the luxury of Oranges and love to appropriate their possessions. Greens are seen to be weak in spirit and easily subjugated. Yellows and Turquoise are not valued or are therefore ignored.
- Satisfaction: When a certain power is acquired, the Red feels that he belongs to the dominant group and that he is respected within it. He seeks to avoid any feeling of shame and dishonor, while acquiring immediate rewards (leisure, money, luxury, sex, even drugs).
- Values: Power, authority, will, exciting life, stimulation, hedonism, appreciation of life, comfortable life.
Today, we find this way of thinking especially in prisons, gangs and other mafias, in the army as well as in most countries that violate human rights.
4. Absolutist Level (Blue)
They are people who have faith in an authority that comes from a belief or a set of moral values. They show a lot of loyalty and respect for the rules. People living in the blue have a Manichean view of things. For them good corresponds to respect for their belief / authority and evil is represented by all the people or things that go against it. Patriotism and supreme power are glorified. Those who do not obey them are made to feel guilty when they do not conform to the standards. The goal is often to serve the “global good” in the interest of the system, even if it means sacrificing one’s freedoms or oneself.
- Age of onset: 7 to 10 years old. The pre-adolescence during which the child builds his own system of values, and his moral rules which can be completely different from those of the parents.
- Relationship with Others: Perceive Violets as “noble savages” in need of rescue. The Reds are seen as bad. The other Blues as being righteous, as long as they have the same “Truth”. Oranges as arrogant, selfish and stingy. Greens are seen as weak in mind and unimportant. The Yellows and Turquoises as eternal dreamers in their little world.
- Satisfaction: Blue needs an organization in which he feels safe (which brings him closer to Violets), but also justice and morality. He will be keen to control all impulsiveness (the Reds) and to right wrongs (evil) according to his moral system.
- Values: Conformity, politeness, obedience, discipline, honor for parents and respect for the elderly.
The Blues tend to group together in large communities of the same belief / morality to feel comfortable. Cults are often a gathering of Blue. We find these systems in countries like Mexico, Taiwan, Malaysia, but also in organizations and religious groups such as: Scouts, American Puritans, Amish, Chinese Confucianism, religious fundamentalists or the Catholic Church in its own right. extremism.
5. Opportunistic level (Orange)
They are success-oriented people, where everyone rationally calculates their personal advantage. Their motivations are largely economic and they are sensitive to fringe benefits, bonuses or money rather than loyalty or group membership or a job for life. These rational capabilities allow individuals to test a number of options available to them. An Orange system is based on competition, and can be very cruel to those who do not want to take part or to those who fail. It is based on the belief that competition improves productivity and therefore growth (especially economic).
- Age of onset: 10 to 15 years old. The adolescence in which a child is in search of independence is the age of pocket money, personal choices and comparison with others of his age.
- Relationship with others: Perceive Violets as resources to be exploited. The Reds as dangerous. The Blues are seen as stuck and backward. The other Oranges are seen as sources of aspiration or competitors. The Greens as being without interest and without ambition. Yellows and Turquoises tend to make things unnecessarily complex in their opinion.
- Satisfaction: The satisfaction of the Orange is very much linked to its social status, for him it is about being successful, being popular and above all being more successful than other Oranges. The external signs of wealth are thus for him a means of proving his social success.
- Values: success, ambition, ability, wealth, social recognition, image.
We find the Oranges in competitive fields such as financial fields (banking, stock exchange, etc.) or real estate or entrepreneurship.
6. Relativist Level (Green)
They are people motivated by human contact and contribution to causes of general interest (such as the environment, world hunger or respect for animals). Collaboration, empathy and tolerance are essential for them.
Being loved by peers is important, and fear of rejection is a motivator for social cohesion. Morality is much more lax. Living in harmony with each other, without clashes or conflicts is at the center of their motivations.
In a Green system, leaders are facilitators or mediators, the hierarchy is fuzzy and tends to be egalitarian, where every voice counts. However, the system, if applied to structures that are too large, can easily get bogged down and ineffective. Individuals then risk being rather inefficient and stagnant due to a dilution of responsibility, or even out of spite coming back to Orange.
- Age of onset: 15 to 20 years old. At the end of adolescence or young adult, the individual attaches particular importance to certain causes that he defends, this is the age of associative or political commitment, for a better world.
- Relationship with Others: See Violets as fabulous communities that must be protected. The Reds are people to be saved or educated to change their behavior. The Blues are seen as authoritarian, biased and unfair. Oranges are seen as stingy and disrespectful. The other Greens as being enlightened and beneficent. They perceive the Yellows to be insensitive and overly intellectual. Turquoises are good friends, but they feel they lack emotional sensitivity.
- Satisfaction: Respect for others, fairness and sharing are very important values for Green, who will only feel at ease in an environment that respects these same principles. He will be keen to eliminate everything that can divide populations: poverty, racism, patriotism, capitalism …
- Values: Respect for others, equality, sharing, social justice, protection of the environment.
We find them in charitable or committed organizations such as Ben & Jerry’s, ecological political parties or even non-profit associations but also some countries such as Sweden.
7. Systemic level (yellow)
They are people driven by autonomy, freedom and efficiency. Yellow individuals organize their life in its different facets: personal life, professional life, social life, etc. Each is then interconnected and taken into account to improve the system.
The citizens of a Yellow system are motivated to learn for themselves, while being aware of being part of a more complex structure that they are changing through their contribution. They like to come up with new ideas and change the system, and change becomes a desired and welcomed organizational process. Even so, they sometimes find it difficult to deal with their own emotions and those of others, which they perceive as interfering with their thoughts. They are sometimes seen as cold individuals on the outside.
The search for an ever more efficient system is at the heart of their concerns. The leader is chosen especially on the basis of his skills, and he can be changed from one task to another. Yellow individuals often work independently and are at the periphery of organizations, providing advice and facilitating exchanges within these structures.
- Age of onset: After 20 years or mid-life crisis, sometimes never. The more mature adult begins to consider the impact of their choices on family, colleagues or friends and realizes that they are part of a system that influences and influences them.
- Relationship with Others: Perceive everyone as “interesting” and will adjust to them when the situation calls for it. They are particularly close to the Greens moving towards the Yellow, as this reduces the loneliness they can feel on a daily basis. They feel immensely frustrated and distance themselves from those who “don’t understand” them.
- Satisfaction: The quest for knowledge is a major value for the Yellow, who uses it to perfect his ideas and systems. He sees the world as if it is in danger of collapsing because of its inefficient management of resources, which he intends to correct at all costs. He sees life as an accumulation of diverse and contradictory principles, and is not afraid of having ideas that are opposed to popular opinion. He feels satisfied when the people around him understand his point of view.
- Values: Autonomy, freedom, curiosity, self-respect, altruism, mature love, responsibility, openness.
The yellow individual is still rare today. It is a strong ally and a provider of solutions to find a way to the survival of humanity. His spirit of reflection leads him to find new answers. But he will also have to confront a multitude of new questions that are increasingly complex and endless, because he likes to open doors and broaden his vision of life.
8. Holistic Level (Turquoise)
They are people who seek to be in tune with the different balances that exist in life. Synthesizing the experimental and the known, Turquoise emphasizes spirituality and the image of “collective consciousness”. All work must have a deep meaning and fit into life as a whole.
Both the experience gained from feelings and information are taken into account, making it easier to draw valuable resources. This level is also able to understand the many points of view of the lower levels. Turquoises individuals are aware that there is no single view of things, and that we must use collective human intelligence to work on large-scale problems, without sacrificing individuality.
The perpetual evolution is sought because there is no goal to reach, all the lived experiences deserve to be lived and are an interior richness. They are deeply rooted in the present, and try to show the way to those who have not reached their color. There is no organization based on this system, Gandhi’s idea of harmony or Ken Wilber’s work on integral theory comes closest to it.
- Age of onset: No age of onset. It is a slow evolution of Yellow, which is accompanied by a greater awareness of oneself and of the world, of a strong human and spiritual connection. It is a stage very rarely reached and which requires a great capacity for introspection.
- Relationship with others: There are not enough Turquoises to describe their behavior. That said, one can imagine a rather pragmatic acceptance of other colors, associated with the curiosity of the Yellows to solve problems on a more global scale. Loneliness will be all the more marked when people of other colors do not understand their ideas.
- Satisfaction: The Turquoise perceives the world as being in danger of a geopolitical collapse, due to the human tendency to favor short-term solutions. He seeks a deep spirituality and feels at ease in the unity / harmony of all living beings. All his efforts are directed towards the eradication of war, poverty, disease, hunger, and political oppression (which can sometimes bring him closer to the Greens), even if it means making the necessary sacrifices for it. common good.
- Values: Universalism, wisdom, altruism, world peace, unity with nature, world of beauty, Benevolence.ns le monde, unité avec la nature, monde de beauté, Bienveillance.
There are very few Turkic individuals on Earth. A talking turquoise will say: “The” I “is only an illusion”, “Everything is energy”, “To see the sacred in everything”, “Each is a part of the whole”, “Each one holds a part of universal truth ”.
The climax of the 9th level of consciousness
In summary, the 8 levels of consciousness can be summarized as follows:
The model is becoming even more complex today, since the spiral is open at its top: a 9th level of consciousness is looming on the horizon (color: Coral). The emergence of the levels is done as humanity evolves.