The Swedish Response to the Refugee Crisis From a Spiral Dynamics Perspective

Kristian Stålne PhD, associate professor at Malmö University writes about his contribution:

Spiráldinamika_INTA_SpirálPicThe Swedish response to the refugee crisis is analysed using the Spiral Dynamics model. The analysis gives an overview of the conflict between the blue, orange, and green vMemes. Due to the crisis and changes in life conditions, blue nationalistic perspectives have challenged the dominating green values. Two defining aspects were the sheer volume and its economic consequences that made Sweden substantially reduce its intake, and the sexual assaults in Cologne, Germany, along with similar incidents in Sweden. The first aspect entailed a conflict between a green emphasis on global human rights and tolerance, and blue stability and national interest, as well as an orange emphasis on economic aspects and a preserved welfare state.

The second aspect led to two expressions of the green value system coming into conflict with each other, namely gender equality and multiculturalism.

It will be discussed whether the conflict leads to a regression of values or progress towards yellow values.

Register now! Check the program! Get more content!

Kristian Stålne joined us for the previous conference as well. Here is how he remembers it:

The focus and emphasis of the conference, as I perceived it, was more on total experience rather than on theory and academia, as well as putting Wilber’s AQAL theory as central rather than following the development of the ITC and broadening to other similar meta-theories and theorists. My impression was that

the aim was integration and unity in the community-building rather than differentiation and diversity of ideas.

I submitted two abstracts, one together with Svein Horn on integral perspectives on Peak oil and the other one was a proposal for a workshop on adult development.


Europe Constellation

I arrived in Budapest and to the IEC with slightly mixed feelings. Perhaps it’s part of my cultural secular heritage to be skeptical or at least sensitive towards any forms of movements and community building, especially with an integrated spiritual dimension. Although I have previously seen myself more as being part of it. But the stronger the shared identity, the harder it is to scrutinize, criticize and to transform if necessary. The tighter you hold a community with a shared set of values, ever so evolved, the more it will exclude people and the more it will stagnate in the long run.

Each session contained several presenters that talked about roughly the same theme, and one of the presenters had also been chosen to facilitate the session as a whole. My first session was on adult development, one where I was both presenting and facilitating. Chairing or facilitating a session and at the same time presenting is not optimal and some other uncertainties around the content and forms of discussion added to the stress. Our session drew a large audience, the room was packed with about 50 people, some sitting on the floor. I suspect that Susanne Cook-Greuter added some star quality and of course the topic of exploring the highest stages of development likely had some allure, despite our focus on a critical discussion and on problematizing.

The last half-hour we formed a big circle in the room and shared our thoughts on development vs crisis, development vs suffering, enlightenment vs psychosis and so forth. The topic was quite heavy and when we did a final round of formulating wisdom questions to bring with us, the last one:

“How do we not forget to have fun in the process?”

was relieving and could bring us back to a more playful mode.

The conference schedule contained several organized and facilitated group processes, but I preferred the evening activities that allowed for more spontaneous socializing, such as the boat party and the goulash party, where I made the following recording that I could use for next day’s presentation on energy as an illustration of how the first energy revolution, the domestication of fire, has shaped us:

The following morning Susanne Cook-Greuter gave her keynote speech titled “On being human” that addressed problems, concerns and beauty of a more universal human nature rather than specific for high stages or integral. Interestingly, she mentioned the new “Superhuman potential” marketing campaign as a good example of how one should not relate to or promote development. And among other things, I noted that she has good taste in art.


Susanne Cook-Greuter gave her keynote speech titled “On being human”

To me Gauguin’s painting Where Do We Come From? Who Are We? Where Are We Going? represents humanity’s quest for meaning and is formulated as three questions. In relation to this, Integral can be seen as an answer that addresses those very questions. Or in Wilber’s words: “to explain why dirt would get right up and eventually start writing poetry.”  To which his answer became integral theory or AQAL. After the forming of Integral Institute, Integral became more of a movement and the answer AQAL started to look for new questions, such as what economy, education, politics, psychology, medicine should look like or how various theories should be organized, or even as a theory of everything and also as foundation of meaning-making.

The following morning I was approached by “Jack Wolfskin” who had participated in the ecology/sustainability session and he thanked me for my presentation and for our work on the energy issues, which he thought was important. However, he said that it had been a bit hard for him to follow and get all the information. I agreed that I may have packed one or two diagrams too many in it and that the scope of the work ranging from history/anthropology, engineering to philosophical aspects of human development did not easily allow itself to be introduced in 20 minutes, although I personally felt quite pleased with my presentation and the feedback I got.

After a few moments reflection I agreed that there might have been some fear involved in presenting something that I thought would be controversial in this context.

– But now we connect – he said.

– Yes, we do.

Beyond what can be achieved by means of strategies and practices, a shared set of values or life purpose, and beyond politeness and psychological defenses, we were just two human beings meeting. We met in a long embrace and a space that allowed me to admit to myself that it had been quite a stress for me. Although I had many interesting, stimulating and enriching discussions and meetings during the conference, this was my most intimate one.

But what was there to fear? Perhaps fear of being rejected by a community!? But mostly I think I feared that someone would react the way I did when I first discovered these perspectives five years ago – my world fell apart.

It was a relief to find that there were several participants that welcomed these new perspectives. And it was also a pleasant surprise that we received official recognition by being awarded Best academic paper! Svein and I are grateful for this recognition and I would like to personally thank the organizers for all their hard work in creating and hosting this conference!

– Kristian Stålne, Sweden,


Kristian Stålne holds a PhD in Structural mechanics from Lund University and is recognized as an Excellent Teaching Practitioner for integrating adult development perspectives in pedagogic theory and practice. He is a co-founder of ESRAD, the European Society for Research in Adult Development. Kristian is affiliated with Malmö University, Sweden, where he teaches building engineering subjects such as structural mechanics and acoustics.

Register now! Check the program! Get more content!