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A Hierarchy of Consciousness


Decades of research worldwide suggest that cultures evolve in stages, a hierarchy like nesting Russian dolls elegantly described in the eight colors of Spiral Dynamics — and tested against apartheid. Surprisingly; the most dangerous stage may not be toward the bottom where people fight for survival, feudal power, and market share. Instead, it may be where we are…

This article first appeared in the Spring 2001 issue of Spirituality & Health. On November 30, 1998, The New Yorker ran a remarkable and cautionary feature by journalist Douglas Preston on Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, and Mexico, and that most mysterious civilization, the Anasazi. Chaco, with its magnificent stone Great Houses, was the hub of a huge civilization spreading over 50,000 square miles, a civilization that ended right after lunch, circa 1150 A.D., without anybody cleaning the pots. Afterward, their legend grew and grew, until their civilization became a parable of Utopia. They were said to be a profoundly spiritual people who lived in harmony with nature; a people without rich or poor or even a ruling class, who governed by consensus. In 1987, Chaco Canyon was a Mecca for that great hand-holding called the Harmonic Convergence and at least one archaeological site has since been closed because so many people buried crystals or had their ashes spread there. One extreme of the story claimed that these “highly evolved beings” left the earth in space ships. But, as Preston detailed, the Utop …

Stephen Kiesling is a former Olympic rower, cocreator of the Nike Cross Training System, and editor at large of Spirituality & Health. A 35th anniversary edition of The Shell Game: Reflections on Rowing and the Pursuit of Excellence has just been published.

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