About Hierarchies, Spiral Dynamics and the integral worldview


People today reject hierarchies – and throw out the baby with the bathwater:

In a private conversation with Dough Breitbart he uttered his problem with the concept of Hierarchies in the world and that things would be better without them, roughly speaking.

“You are throwing out the baby with the bathwater”, I said, as so many people with a post-modern mindset do regularly. They think in a far too limited way. They believe that the only thing in the world which counts is power. And power hierarchies are not really pleasant, especially for those in the lower levels of this hierarchy.

But power hierarchies are a minimal part of all the existing hierarchies which you throw out or at best ignore them (at your peril) if you dismiss all hierarchies only because power hierarchies are “bad”.

What about natural hierarchies?

Everybody knows that children need first to learn to speak before they can resolve mathematical equations. And these are expressions of different levels of development which follow up each other in a concrete sequence, that makes them  to be located in a hierarchy of levels in personal development.

Or atoms, molecules, cells, body parts and the whole human being, the classic example where you can see clearly that there is no VALUE  “good” or “bad”connected with the “higher” or “lower” levels of the developmental hierarchy. In the contrary, in this example it is very clear, that there wouldn’t be any body, if there were not cells or even atoms. The “lower levels” are essential for the “higher levels”, the later couldn’t exist without the former.

No GOOD or BAD, the attribution of those values to hierarchies is an invention of a mind who wants to see things in a certain biased way.

Dough was struck by the distinction of power hierarchies and hierarchies of any other type. So we decided to talk about the topic more in depth: we recorded the conversation, and you can listen to the co-creative dialogue we engaged in which was not at all limited to the topic of hierarchies, but went further into clarification of many other concepts which seem to be problematic.



Doug Breitbart is a co-founder of The Values Foundation, a center devoted to exploring how we can do us differently, in service to healing our world, one human being at a time.

He is an attorney, consultant, instructor, facilitator, coach, cultural catalyst, and provocateur at large.

A graduate of Columbia College and Fordham University School of Law, Doug has consulted, represented and been principally involved in start-up and early stage ventures, not-for-profits, and social enterprises.

Doug is a Certified Instructor of The Living Course, an Adlerian weekend workshop devoted to transcendence of personal fears and beliefs, currently offered in Israel under the name “Its My Choice;” and offers organizational and individual coaching, focused on unblocking, self-empowerment, and experiencing life, sans fear and from abundance.