October 23, 2007

Integral Embrace: A Plea for Solidarity

In a recent letter to the readers of the Integral World website, author and Now & Zen founder Steve McIntosh sounded the call for solidarity among the diverse community of people interested in the Integral Movement.

Steve suggests attempting “to build cohesion within the integral movement and to exhibit a sense of ownership and commitment to this emerging new worldview.”



Anonymous said...

Defining "Integral"

by Thomas Jordan

An effort was made to define the meaning of "integral" in terms of a set of criteria that could be used to assess whether a perspective is integral or not. One point of departure was the field of Integral Politics and the need to describe the characteristics of an integral political perspective. Here are nine items on a checklist. The resulting product is an "Integral Evaluation Process." Perhaps it captures the essence of integral meaning-making, i.e. integral as a consciousness structure, rather than as the name of a particular kind of theoretical framework. Hopefully this checklist will lead to a conversation about defining what we mean by the word "integral" as opposed to being a final statement.

The Integral Evaluation Process


Do goals and aspirations reflect a mindset that is committed to the well being of "the whole," where even appropriately-focused specific interests and allegiances are always situated and pursued within a consciously overarching world centric frame?

Visions and Strategy

Is the strategy free from dualistic thinking in the sense of pitting an idealized vision of what ought to be, against a depreciating image of what is, in favor of a processual and integrative approach to learning, social change, etc.?

Does the perspective underlying the strategy view others as "objects" of the strategy's action, or does the strategy's design treat them consistently as the subjects of their own experience?
Does the strategy incorporate first-, second-, and third-person research and practice where possible?


Is there a well-developed awareness of the nature of the perspective used in the process or task being undertaken, with awareness of the characteristics of this perspective in relation to other perspectives?

Is there evidence of non-attachment to one's own identifications with standpoints, i.e., an absence of defensiveness in relation to other views?
Identifications (self-embeddedness)
Is the meaning-making free from an adversarial stance, i.e., the tendency to regard other parties as the cause of significant problems who must therefore be defeated or brought under control?
Is there a fluid and open-ended relationship to identifications with collectives on the whole scale from one's own family, organization, faith community, professional practice or discipline, ethnicity, etc. to humanity as a whole, sentient beings in general, and the physical environment?
Interpretations of the world around us and in us
Does the worldview (the narrative describing the situation(s) of concern and causal relationships in its environment) reflect a profound awareness of the existence of complex systems, contexts, and causational layers and webs that influence the behavior of individuals and groups and explain the specific forms of events and conditions in society?
Does the worldview draw on an understanding of the limitations and dynamics of prevailing levels of development in the social systems and leadership that are related to the focus of concern?
Are proposals adapted to existing levels of development or meaning-making, so that any social processes or structures that are recommended will have good chances to function as intended, given where the people and culture are?

Is the perspective sensitive to the dialectic between (1) the need to create stable and well-adapted holding environments for existing meaning-making systems, so that these can be expressed in benign forms; and, on the other hand, (2) the facilitation of transformation to levels of meaning-making that are more competent in solving problems?

Jason Lu said...

It's all good for Steve to call for solidarity when he is firmly within the Wilberian paradigm of Integral, but what about those of us who are opposed to the great Wilber's overall project to make Integral a monolithic rational edifice?

What about William Thompson's approach?

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