[Note – this article references the Spiral Dynamics model – see http://spiraldynamicsintegral.nl/en/ for more background].

Trump was always going to beat Hillary. His energy (strong Spiral Dynamics Red Power Gods wrapped in successful Orange Achiever-self) resonates with the US population much more fundamentally than hers (Spiral Dynamics Orange-Green smart political correctness). Now Bernie would have given Trump a run for his money, due to his access to the more fundamental value systems. But the democratic leadership was blind to that reality. It is also part of a trend – disillusion with a cognitive elite that has lost touch with people’s need for simplicity, identity and deeper meaning.

Before a system makes a major leap, it often has to regress in order to gather more fundamental energy from the past that it has left behind, split with or repressed. Think of bending your legs before you jump. In the Netherlands that happened a number of years ago when following political murders, the country regressed to an order-driven party (Spiral Dynamics Blue) and Prime Minister (Christian Democrats with Jan-Peter Balkenende). He got in on a return to core values. The Netherlands is a more feminine we-centered nation than the US. The US is more masculine, individualistic and expansionist, so a regression in the US was far more likely to express itself through an “express-self” value system (e.g. Red Power Gods) than a “sacrifice-self” value system (such as Blue Order). Hence Donald Trump.

The good news is that the Netherlands then went on to elect the most Integral Prime Minister in their history, Mark Rutte. Having re-stabilised and integrated the earlier Blue order-driven value system (which had been largely suppressed by Green egalitarianism), it had the energy to push beyond Green in Yellow Integral. Whether that is the promise in the US remains to be seen, but it might help to see it in this perspective.

From a volutionary perspective (www.volutiontheory.net), what we are seeing is indeed “regress to progress”. This will amplify the polarities. When you stretch the poles, it increases the flow of energy in between. The implications are that we can expect increased instability and turbulence, but that means increased energy in the system that can create more fundamental change. It also brings more risk of course. Will the system be able to hold it and ultimately channel it constructively? Will decisions on for example climate change taken by a republican-dominated US led by Donald Trump damage our ecosystem to an extent that massive human conflict and suffering become unavoidable?

We will see. Life will continue its quest for a dynamic balance and general directionality of increasing differentiation and interconnection. We are a resilient expression of life. Let’s stay as centered, clear and compassionate as we can, and keep taking the next natural step towards the kind of future that sings in our hearts. Life will take care of the rest.


  1. clear, beautifully spoken and somewhat hopeful… a feeling we us Americans need to cultivate right now

  2. Thank you Peter. This is a vision of hope for a future beyond our current vantage point here in the US. Life finds a way, doesn’t it?

  3. Well phrased Peter, thanks for this. What I like about it is: it is good to see things for what they are, in perspective – and instead of becoming scared of reality, becoming curious. While maintaining your own stance.

    It is also a great demonstration of the clarity that Spiral Dynamics provides!

  4. Yes. I’ve been feeling for some time now we need to step back and work with healthy blue so we can move forward together more consciously to the next levels.

  5. thanks Peter, for sharing your view on it, it makes sense from a spiral perspective.
    May i ask what makes you say that Mark Rutte is the most Integral prime-minister of the Netherlands? I’m really curious to hear more of your view on that

  6. Thanks for your perspective and the potential for legitimate hope.

  7. Nice article but I disagree with the part about Mark Rutte. In my (dutch) opinion he ought to be categorised as being part of the (mean) orange meme. When you observe Mark Rutte one wil see that he rejects the necessity of having a vision or ideas. He reacts to what is instead of anticipates what will be(come). He is only focused on economic growth. His government for instance was sued by Urgenda (http://www.urgenda.nl) and convicted to comply to reduce the CO2 emissions by 25% and his government apealed. Being integral yellow implies one can see that each meme is valuable and needs to be addressed and treated accordingly.

    • Thanks Ronald (and Ilse) for your questions about Rutte. Now I don’t know him well enough (although I have shared a car ride with him after a dialogue session we participated in together) to know definitely, however to me he definitely has Green sensitivity in him, and a Yellow ability to hover above all the issues and keep multiple parties on board. He is of course having to operate in an orange-dominated economic system and has plenty of that in him. I have seen him activate a diversity of value systems in himself, although if he lacks anything it is a healthy relationship to Red that he can express in a such a way as to also resonate with a Wilders supporter.

  8. I too have felt like we had to go back before there can be forward progress. Thanks for putting it in the context of SD, makes a lot of sense. You can see/feel the huge momentum of red energy in Trump’s rhetoric and corresponding resonance among his supporters. I too fear development to higher levels may return too late to avoid virtual ecosystem collapse. But as you point out the dynamics were there to play out as it has. Perhaps Netherlands is the place to be.

  9. I agree with most of what you write, apart from one thing: “Trump was always going to beat Hillary”. That doesn’t sound right to me. If the election had been one or two weeks earlier, and even with polling errors, it’s very likely that Hillary would have won. Even as it is, she won the popular vote. It’s odd to me when a marginal win is made into “this was inevitably going to happen”. Yes, he was going to have a great deal of support, we knew that early on. But that he narrowly won seems more connected to his advisors keeping him out of the media spotlight after the final debate, and the renewed focus on Hillary’s emails.

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