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Parent nodes: Civilisation | Evolution of Consciousness | Socio-Cultural Transformation

Sibling nodes: Spiral Dynamics


in terms of Spatial Archetypes

These pages are based on material © by Mimi Lobell originally appeared in ReVision, A Journal of Consciousness and Change, vol.6 no.2, Fall 1983 - additional material: the Network by external link Anders Sandberg.

The seven primary Archetypes of Psyche and Civilisation

This list is by no means definitive - there are doubtless many other archetypes - both in the past and of future possible civilisations.

Sensitive Chaosthe sensitive chaos: World of the Great Spirit

Great Roundthe great round: World of the Goddess

Four Quartersthe four quarters: World of the Hero

Pyramidthe pyramid: World of the God-King

Radiant Axesthe radiant axes: World of the Emperor

Gridthe grid: World of the Technocrat

Networkthe network: World of the Infonaut

Similar classifications

Spiral Dynamics proposes a more linear, psychological or psycho-social system of stages, which, especially in its current (Beck-Cowan Integralist) form is much more simplistic and less naunaced than either its original definition or the theme of spatial archetypes presented by Professor Lobell. There is even use made of visual diagrams (see e.g. this page), reminiscent of those presented here.

Rudolf Steiner presented a complex theosophical (more technically Anthroposophical) series of cycles and root races; the idea of these successive archetypes, as Steiner describes, would seem to be very similar to the material presented here, although this is veiled by his rather procrustean series of stages and strongly theosophical-occult language, the meaning of which is impentrable to anyone who doesn't have a gnostic perspective to make sense of it.

Wikipedia link Jean Gebser independently presented a similar psycho-social developmental model, very similar to Steiner, but which only used five stages: Archaic, Magical, Mythic, Mental-Perspectival, and Integral-Aperspectival. (Pages and links to be added at some point...)

I'll avoid incorporating Steiner for now, and simply correlate Gebser, Lobell, and Beck & Cowan:

Gebser Archaic Magical Mythic Mental
Lobell Sensitive chaos Sensitive chaos / Great_Round Four Quarters Pyramid Radiant Axes; Technocrat/Grid
Beck & Cowan Archaic-Instinctual Animistic-tribalistic Egocentric-exploitive Absolutistic-obedience Multiplistic-achievist

It doesn't really seem that Anders Sandberg's Transhumanist-inspired network/Infonaut is equivalent to either Gebserian or Beck-Cohen definitions of Integral. This is because once one goes beyond modernity, many possiblities open up; and to only assert one or the other is misleading. Indeed, evolution in general is often a tree-like branching process, as is involution. And what we are considering in the above table is a series of specific archetypes, which as the Traditionalists/Perennialists point out, and as gnosis informs, do not have to be aligned in a temporal or evolutionary sequence, although they can be.

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page uploaded 5 August 1999, last modified 26 October 2009.