(Image: EnlightenNext)

The day job is still keeping me too busy for regular blogging. Since it’s election season I thought it might fun to post a little something about worldviews. Below is a semi-essay I assembled in response to the notion that the nation not being divided into two factions (Democrat & Republican), but really being divided into at least three: Traditional, Modern, and Postmodern.

The series of questions below are based on developmental psychology as explored in Spiral Dynamics.  If you are interested in Spiral Dynamics you can check our these sites:

Don Beck’s Spiral Dynamics Site
Christopher Cowen’s Spiral Dynamics Site
And an overview of Spiral Dynamics can be found here.

In Spiral Dynamics terms Traditional would be Blue, Modern would be Orange, Postmodern would be Orange, and Integral would be Yellow and Turquoise.

So here’s a sort of quick checklist that you can either apply to yourself, or use to explain to others. None of these are hard and fast descriptions. Many people are in a transitional phase between one of the worldview stages, and these transitions generally take at least five years.

Moreover, I advise caution in two respects. The first is to attempt to avoid being judgmental of any of the stages. This is our natural reaction. If we have a Modern worldview we will take a pejorative attitude towards those with Traditional worldviews. It’s pointless. There’s always someone with a wider worldview. About 25% of the US population has Traditional worldview, about 50% has a Modern worldview, around 20-25% has a Postmodern worldview, probably less that %2 has an Integral worldview, and much less than 1% is at any of the four stages of Spiritual worldview.

This leads to the second caution, which is not to overestimate the depth and breadth of your worldview. If anything, you are better off under estimating it. Again, these are just general description and this is not a test. Hopefully it’s interesting and helpful in these final days of the 2012 election.

The Five Main Worldviews

You probably have a Traditional worldview if:

  • You believe in a literal interpretation of your particular religious text (whether it is the Christian Bible, the Jewish Torah, the Muslim Koran, or any other ancient text).
  • You believe that faith is more important that science.
  • If you believe that abortion should be illegal.
  • If you believe that homosexuality is a sin and should be illegal, or at the very least that gays and lesbians should not be afforded the same rights as others, particularly that they should not be allowed to marry.
  • You believe that sex is something that should be reserved for marriage and you may not believe in contraception.
  • You believe that moral issues are black and white, right and wrong.
  • You long for a return to a less complicated way of life with clear and easy to understand social structures. Depending on your ideal, this could be a longing for a return to the 1950’s, 1900, or even the 1800’s.
  • You believe in a return to a “traditional” family structure with a stay at home mother and a father who is the source of decision making.
  • You believe in a “creationism” explanation for the origins of life and the universe over the Theory of Evolution.
  • You prefer more authoritarian forms of government and justice (i.e. the death penalty and longer prison sentences for repeat offenders of non-violent crimes).
  • You believe that the individual will must submit to the will of a higher power.
  • You believe that life and human social structures are naturally hierarchical.
  • You prefer a more isolationist approach to economic and cultural globalization.You would feel uncomfortable if someone described you as modern or postmodern.


You probably have a Modern worldview if:

  • You believe that science has disproved most if not all of the basic tenets of religious beliefs.
  • You believe that religious texts must be interpreted in the light if science, and that the best interpretation is metaphorical.
  • You tend to reject faith for rationality.
  • You tend to reject religion and prefer secularism, or at least a more secular version of your religion.
  • You believe that moral issues can be more than simply black and white, right and wrong.
  • You don’t “understand” homosexuality, but you prefer not to take rights away from people.
  • You feel that sex is something that individuals should decide on their own and believe in the use of contraceptives.
  • You believe in the Theory of Evolution over a “creationism” explanation for the origins of life and the universe.
  • You believe that abortion should be legal.
  • You believe in individual agency and that individual will and desire should be constrained a little as possible by the government or society.
  • You believe in the equality of women but it isn’t a priority for you.
  • You believe the consumer life-style of the Unites States and other Western countries is the way to live and structure our society.
  • You don’t mind hierarchies as long as they don’t get in the way of what you want to do.You would feel uncomfortable if someone described you as traditional or postmodern.
  • You prefer an expansionist approach to economic and cultural globalization.


You probably have a Postmodern worldview if:

  • You are searching for a spiritual path that incorporates religious beliefs but that does not deny science.
  • You prefer a secularism that embraces the spiritual aspects of religion.
  • If you believe that moral issues can be not just black and white, right and wrong, but gray and dependent upon context.
  • You do not support the death penalty.
  • You do not want to see any laws passed making abortion illegal.
  • You see sex and something natural and human in all of its expressions and believe in contraception.
  • You believe in the equality of women in all aspects if life; work, family, religion, and government.
  • You believe in a pluralistic and egalitarian society that embraces all people of all races, ethnicities, religions, and sexual orientations.
  • You see nothing wrong with homosexuality or marriage between gays and lesbians.
  • You believe in giving equal value to all cultures and see Western culture as part of a rainbow of cultural possibilities and not its supreme expression.
  • You tend to dislike hierarchies of various kinds.
  • You believe that everyone’s perspective should be honored.
  • You like to try to “see” the world from different perspectives.
  • You reject the consumer way of life and are searching for an alternative.
  • You are very concerned with the ecological state of the Earth and the impact of humanity upon the natural world.
  • You are critical of the current expansionist mode of economic and cultural globalization and see it as detrimental to non-Western nations.
  • You would feel uncomfortable if someone described you as traditional or modern.


You probably have an Integral worldview if:

  • You can see the difference between the different worldviews clearly and see how each successive stage embraces more truth than the previous stage.
  • You seek to take the truths of each worldview and abandon their falsehoods.
  • You acknowledge the conflict between science and religion but see not need for conflict between science and spirituality.
  • You seek to see how to supply the needs of each worldview and help people transition between the different stages.
  • If you see hierarchies as necessary but potentially pathological.
  • If your understanding of moral issues rests not in religious rules, social laws, or cultural customs, but in a direct understanding of the interconnectedness of all people.
  • You understand the various roles of religion in society and seek to elevate and integrate the spiritual traditions within and between the various religions.
  • You actively seek to understand how the different aspects of our world are connected including the ecological, economic, social, cultural, and personal.
  • You seek to find a global holistic or systems view of the world.
  • You are concerned with the individual and collective health of the entire human world as well living and non-living systems of the natural world.
  • You believe that economic and cultural globalization can be a great benefit to humanity if pursued in a manner that reflects natural complex systems such as ecosystems, and which engender a bottom up, rather than top down, approach to integration of social and cultural systems.
  • You would be amused if someone described you as traditional, modern, or postmodern.


You probably have a Spiritual worldview if:

  • Your first response to hatred is universal love.
  • Your first response to anger is universal compassion.
    You are concerned with the suffering of all living beings.
  • You recognize the interconnectedness of all living beings and the entire manifest universe.
  • You are less concerned with the wants and desires of your individual ego-self and more concerned with the needs of all other living beings.
  • You rely not upon a literal interpretation of your religious texts, but upon a direct experience of the Divine for your faith and beliefs.
  • Your understanding of moral values is not grounded in religious rules, but in a direct experience of the interconnectedness of all things and in universal love and compassion for all suffering beings.
  • You see the Divine in all people and all things.
  • You are unconcerned with what people call you, because you have found that you identify less and less with the ego-self that people usually cling to and the ground of their being, because you have begun to realize a greater ground of all being that is all people and all things.


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