Spiral Dynamics And The Different Levels Of Human Consciousness

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to hold on to organized religion while others claim that they have already outgrown it?

It doesn’t matter how smart, how rich or how influential you are…

Individuals, societies and even entire countries all function at different collective levels of human consciousness.

As humanity is being ‘pushed forward’ on the path to higher consciousness, it gives us a framework to understand the different levels which they operate on.

This is where Spiral Dynamics come in.

According to the theory of Spiral Dynamics, some people have a mind that is more evolved than another.

spiraldynamicsThis is in no way carries a derogatory meaning – a higher evolutionary mind doesn’t mean that one is better than another, it just means that a person is conditioned by a different environment and exposure compared to another.

When values work together with the evolution of the mind, you will start to see patterns of evolution of the human mind. When a person moves to a higher level, they will also have access to the resources in the lower levels as well.

Spiral Dynamics assigns colors to a person’s state of consciousness.

Here we go:


Beige is known as the primal consciousness.

Every human being begins here.

Self awareness is limited here because the primal drive is upon survival.

Even people in modern society can wind up here if they are ostracized from the rest of the world, starved and in danger.

They focus a lot on very basic needs of food, water, safety, and sex.

They may even group together with other like-minded people in order to survive.

People at this level of consciousness generally does not exist as a whole anymore because it resembles semi-stone age tendencies.

The very few people who live in the wilderness outside civilizations belong here – living only slightly better than animals.

Some of them form loose, clan-based lifestyle in order to survive together.

People who are in famine states also drop to this mode.

‘Normal’ people who fall into this category are newborns, people who are senile, the mentally ill, starving countries, late stage alzheimers and people who has never seen civilization before.

Once grouping is coherent and synchronized, only will the individual move to a more tribal – purple level.


Purple is the tribal mentality that focuses on the magical and animistic tendencies.

Think of rural tribes that holds on strongly to tradition or superstition.

When people move away from the ‘me’ stage of Beige, they move in to the ‘we’ stage of purple where people band together to placate or appease the gods, spirits, deities, and authorities.

Individual needs are secondary to the group.

As the individual ‘transcends and includes’ elements from Beige, they still prefer to survive together, just collectively as a tribe.

People here focus on appeasing ancestral spirits or the land itself.

Blood ties is very important at this level and they tend to have a huge reverent towards the land or earth itself.

The role of a clan leader is huge as it is hierarchical in nature.

Other common themes includes guardian angels, voodoo, blood pacts or oaths, lucky charms, superstitious beliefs and even grunting amongst sports teams (male testosterone) are considered purple.

When one starts to move away from tribal mentalities and start to individuate as a person and lay claim to their personal power, they move to red.


When an individual outgrows the tribe and moves away from the ‘we’ consciousness to the ‘me’ consciousness again, then they are in the red level.

The Red level of consciousness is impulsive and egocentric. It’s all about ‘good old no.1’.

Like a rebellious teenager, the core motivation is about doing what you want and being who you are regardless of what others think.

Guilt is not very strong as this level as there is no place for it in a world that is seen as rough and harsh.

People fight for the right to survive and might makes right.

People might even exploit others to gain more power.

You will see red in a lot of mafia or gangster communities.

In the past, you would have seen it in slavery (or a virtual kind of slavery as witnessed in oppressive working environments).

Exploitation, top boss, my territory versus your territory, forced labor, fighting for the top position in a gang, mercenaries, feudal kingdoms, rock stars and rebellious teenagers fall into this category.

Once the individual outgrows this phase and is ready to embrace authority in a systematic format, then they start to move to blue.


Compared to blue, red levels are relatively chaotic and short-lived. That is why blues step in and offer order and regulation.

Strict adherence to authority is imposed on the masses. Once again, the consciousness moves from the ‘me’ (red) to the ‘we’ (blue) once again.

Guilt becomes a very powerful tool in the evolutionary sense on consciousness as the individual finds their place in a society ruled by right and wrong, do good or do what is right, and religious societies emphasize doing right in order to obtain better rewards in the after life.

People in the blue level finds their life purpose through causes with extreme cases such as crusades or jihad where fundamentalism to a strict law dominates.

Once they accept their ‘position’ in life, they are assigned roles and their life long goal is to execute it to perfection.

This doesn’t just apply to religious societies but to feudal, cultural and dogmatic societies.

Obedience to authority is a powerful theme at this level.

People may organize into groups and work towards a greater good through self-sacrifice.

You will see this in industrialized nations or economies.

Discipline and punishment can be quite strict here (dogmatic and rigid) but is often based on a fair judicial system and serves as an example to keep people in line.

The majority of the world are here and once they are ready to be responsible for their personal power, will they be able to move towards the orange level.


A person becomes fully individuated as they move up from the dogmatic ‘we’ to ‘me’ where they enjoy a world view where independent thinking, logical understanding, healthy competition, success, optimism and progress are highly valued.

Science is also a preferred methodology as they have advanced from the ‘mythic’ understanding of religious guilt and punishment.

Authority is not the be all, end all and people tend to seek creative ways to look for solutions.

If the Red level is about I win you lose, the Orange level is about win/win relationships (although I might prefer win a bit more than you in the long run).

They are very objective at this level and may use economies of scale or industrialization to advance ahead.

This is characterized by entrepreneurial success, personal development seminars focused on empowerment, gaining personal advantage, perks, bonuses, money more than loyalty and finding personal power.

The United States and other developed countries are at this level today.

Autonomy, gaining advantage, free market economy, Lady Gaga and multi-party democracy all fall into this level.

Slightly lower in numbers than the blue level but is significant for the advancement of humanity.

Once all the needs in this are are fulfilled, the individual starts to give back and moves to green.


Green carries a ‘softer’ energy of compassion as the ‘me’ of industrialization and enterprise moves to the ‘we’ of oneness, healing and empathy.

Thinking at this level is no longer for the individual but for humanity as a whole.

People at this level might recognize that they are not one but connected to the whole.

No longer will the mass utilization or resources appeal to green as they seek conservation and healing for the planet.

They see less and less hierarchy and treat humans as equal.

This is a very idealistic level which doesn’t believe in hierarchies a lot.

They see community and giving back to the society as a must.

Once a person’s mind has ascended through the various levels of the lower hierarchies, they will begin to experience a more transcended understanding of the world.

A good example of people here are John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, Humanitarian causes, Doctors without borders, animal rights, environmental and ecological concerns and Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal the world’.

Once a person has ‘transcended’ all the colors in the first tier, they move towards a more expansive view of life starting from yellow.


For many, the green tier is considered to be a very transcended state.

But as one move towards the yellow tier, they will start to have a more integrated view of life.

They will start to realize that equally distributing resources among all people and expecting that all humans are equally good and loving can create even more problems than it can actually solve.

Material possessions become less and less important at this level, as does social status and service.

An integrated person at this level operates in such a way that makes them see flexibility and functionality as their primary goal.

Instead of trying to wipe out weaknesses such as poverty or inequality, a yellow person tries to integrate everything into a coherent system.

Chaos and change are expected but they assimilate these into an integrated system as well.

Yellow thinking integrates life into a larger perspective.

They find the interconnectedness with the rest of humanity.

Being here requires a quantum shift in life’s perspective.

They welcome change and challenges.

They think in terms of systems, an orientation to how parts interact to create a larger and more complete ‘whole’.

Yellow thinkers like engineering complex systems fine-tuning situations and procedures.

Examples include Hawking’s brief history of time, chaos theory and Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people.

They are less attached to the rest of world’s concerns and are less than 1% of the world population.


The Turquoise level is no longer thinking in terms of the individual but in terms of the collective consciousness.

This is the level of complete, holistic thinking where the individual is both viewed as distinct and also a blended part of the whole.

The individual serves the collective, which serves the whole and the one as the same, because they are not separate.

This is the most transcended level a human being can obtain.

Everything at this level is focused on global holism and integralism.

They understand the delicate balance of all the interlocking life forces concerned.

They are also focused on spiritual connectivity in a holistic and all encompassing way.

Examples include the Gaia hypothesis, Ken Wilber’s work and Gandhi’s idea of pluralistic harmony.

Only 0.1% of the world’s population are here as they focus on large scale problems without sacrificing individuality.

Right now, humanity as a species is ready to transcend the lower levels of the spiral and ascend together.

Old patterns are falling away as they become obsolete.

When people adopt new paradigms, they will no doubt begin the path towards self awakening and bring humanity to the next level on the spiral.

From The Editor
At Power Follows Thoughts, we publish articles and stories about self-growth, systems about human consciousness, mind-body connection, social awareness and building a better future for you and the next generation. We welcome you to embark on a journey of self discovery as we help individuals with the right tools to raise the consciousness of the planet, one thought at a time.