Articulating a unique theory of human behavior, Dr. Clare W. Graves described “Levels of (human) Existence” in an “Open System Theory of Values.” In the writings, Dr. Graves described human adaptation to increasing complexity as a cycle of looping phases propelled forward by opposing poles of selfish and communal interests. He called this the “Emergent Cyclical Double Helix Model of Adult Biopsychosocial Systems.” According to Graves, this evolutionary arc — the trajectory of humanity’s common response to complexity — resembles other naturally occurring logarithmic patterns such as the arms of spiral galaxies, the contours of genomic structure, or “The Golden Spiral.”

Scholars following this pioneering work include Don Beck and Chris Cowen. These scholars picked up the Gravesian flag as it became apparent the professor’s health would not hold long enough for his ideas to become fully formed and published. Cowan and Beck further refined the Gravesian levels and organized them into color-coded adaptive strategies called “Value MEMEs” (vMEMEs). Their framework is called, “Spiral Dynamics” and through multimedia publication, seminars, and corporate management retreats they have touched the lives of millions. Dr. Graves left this world too soon, but thanks to Beck and Cowen’s efforts, his ideas live on.


Earth’s cultural melting pot (over 7 billion strong) needs a means by which to understand the various word games practiced by natives of multiple loops, most of which are prominent somewhere on the planet to this day and with the connective power of the Internet, just a discussion post away. Connection and ever more efficient linguistic tools are bringing the world together like never before. Some believe these conditions will lead to a new age of enlightenment — every bit as significant as the 17th and 18th centuries. However, others may consider this birth of enlightenment breach at the time of labor.

Either way — an age of enlightenment or backward-looking age of perpetual tribal conflict — Dr. Graves’ ideas are uniquely suited for the task of bridge-building. Loopcircus.com is committed to spreading these ideas, and you’ll find a summary of Dr. Graves’ “Levels of Existence” within the pages of this evolving website. Please take a look around… if you like what you see… pay it forward.

Gravesian Epoch I reached its peak in the closing decades of the 20th century. As we approach the second decade of the 21st century, the first two loops of Epoch II have begun to take shape… they are briefly described below in the WIZARDS and FEDERATION links: