The Future of the Human Race Revealed:
In the ground-breaking book, "Spiral Dynamics" by Don Beck
and Christopher Cowan, 'memes' are defined as the social
equivalent of genes. Memes are cultural units of information
which self-replicate from mind to mind on a vast scale,
appearing within society as new trends of thought.
The progression of memes reflects the development of society
from its primitive beginnings up to the present. So far, eight
different memes have been identified and analyzed.
Their characteristics are:
Meme 1. Basic, personal survival. The most primitive
motivation of just staying alive.
Meme 2. Clan survival. Tribal and family bonding along with
superstition-filled attempts to understand the powers of
nature which threaten to overpower them.
Meme 3. Courage, survival of the fittest. Mastering the
environment, fighting to break free of constraints.
Sensing many gods, all of which are models of power.
This is where individuals first find their personal power
but, seeing reality through a worldview of separation and
limited resources, compete against each other in attempts
to gain advantage. As a meme which is short on thought and
long on passion, societies in this stage quickly fragment
into territorial, feudal-type communities surrounded by
competing, enemy communities.
Meme 4. Finding order and purpose in life. Obeying authority,
regulations and externally imposed rules of behavior and
morality. Sacrificing the self to a greater cause for a
deferred reward. Dedicating allegiance to one supreme God.
This social meme started to spread within civilization
5,000 years ago. Eventually, alliances arose between
large-scale feudal structures and those who wished to
develop extensive religious power.
Meme 5. Achievement, striving to succeed. Fighting to win,
beating the competition, achieving independence. This meme
started to spread significantly in the 1700s. It was made
possible by the collapse of feudalism and also a sense of
increased personal empowerment, which was a side-effect of
the Protestant Reformation. It gained particular strength
with the founding of the United States, whose Constitution
and Bill of Rights intentionally empowered and protected
Meme 6. Community and caring. Unconditional love, accepting
others as they are, seeing the value of service to others,
the beginnings of spiritual understanding. Freedom of the
spirit from greed, dogma, contention and other distractions
from spiritual centeredness. This meme started to spread in
Professor Clare Graves, the originator of this branch of
social science, saw the first set of six memes as a first
tier of human development. He called the transition of the
human race into meme number seven a momentous leap, an
entry into an entirely new set of memes, a new tier of
consciousness. With this new tier comes freedom from all
of the fears of the prior memes, and, finally, the freedom
for human cognition to focus upon its possibilities in the
As more and more people shift into the second tier of memes,
the underpinnings of society become spiritual rather than
materialistic. The second tier is expansive rather than
self-serving or merely survival-oriented. Service to the
world community, to the planet as a whole, becomes the
inspiration as people activate these higher memes of
"Love and light" is not just a greeting to wish someone well,
it is the byline of the emerging New Reality. The future of
the human race is a bright one. It is love and light.
Meme 7. Responsible freedom.
Flexible flow, adapting to a world full of change.
Big-picture views, the discovery of self-accountable,
personal freedom. This meme started to spread after the
global defeat of fascism in World War II. While most
people started to look forward to the renewed chance to
create personal prosperity, the beat generation of the
1950s emerged with its questioning of materialistic culture.
This emerging movement examined Eastern philosophy, such as
Zen Buddhism, in a search for answers to the mysteries of life.
In meme number seven, people act from an inner-directed core.
Values come from fundamental, natural law, meaning that human
rights are perceived as fundamental due to the fact that you
By nature, seventh meme thinkers are self-accountable and
independent within reason. They are honest in their
communications and do not spend time on the rules of
formality, unless they are important to those present.
Seventh meme thinkers like technology for what it can do
to improve life, and they value knowledge and competency
above rank or status.
They enjoy the pleasures of life, without being bound by any
of them, and pursue activities that express their inner joy.
External fashions and trends have no bearing upon these
choices. They have emotional control, meaning that they
still express emotions, but these expressions are appropriate,
and not uncontrolled outbursts.
This is a powerful meme in promoting the exploration of the
greater possibilities of life. It creates information networks
and networks of people which easily adapt to changing needs.
Seventh meme thinkers are concerned with the endangered world
environment and want to restore viability and ecological
order. Their purpose of living includes being independent
within reason, knowledgeable as much as possible, and caring
for others within practical limits. They are accountable to
themselves as responsible individuals, yet embrace their
community of associates. Rather than striving to have things
or to achieve things, they prefer to pursue personal
development along a pathway that is natural to them.
They can interact with people of the first six memes and speak
their psychological language. They respect others' world views
and unique habits, customs and cultures, even if they don't
necessarily agree with them.
This meme brings a high sense of self-esteem based upon
information as much as emotion. It brings an enlightened
self-acceptance which acknowledges and accepts their own
shortcomings and faults as mere stages along the way to
acquiring more skills.
Meme 8. Holistic, global view.
Spiritual awareness, learning through simply being as well as
doing. Becoming conscious of the superconscious, trusting
intuition. This meme started to spread in the cultural and
spiritual awakening of the mid-1960s. Those seekers who found
this pattern of thinking launched a whole new movement of
spiritual awareness. This spiritual renaissance has the
potential to develop the awareness to carry humanity through
the Shift and into the New Reality.
This meme has a global village outlook, and seeks projects
and solutions that will work well for the whole planet.
It contains the vision to bring order out of chaos.
Because of the incredible power of the second tier of memes,
these will accelerate the transformation of the world as
they become more and more widely adopted.
Meme 9. The mystery meme.
The authors of Spiral Dynamics have identified, as of the
1990s, meme number nine. They call this the Coral meme, but
they have not observed it in large quantities of people,
so they cannot yet summarize its characteristics.
However, using basic metaphysical principles, you can
predict exactly what meme number nine will become.