A Brief Opinion Regarding Integral Theory for Latin America
By Giorgio Piacenza
Quite often it is loosely assumed that the ways individuals develop in the U.S. is essentially the same way people basically develop in other parts of the world but that may not be exactly the case. Although I think that the main tenets of Integral Theory appear to be logically sound, foundational and broadly adequate to function as the most comprehensive theory in the making, I also see that, by and large, the activists and intellectuals that support or challenge the Theory apparently come from the same self validating, sub cultural network of post humanist, Buddhist-no dual, green-oriented, First World, American individualists, partly influenced by a long history of distinctions between conservative protestant and liberal ideological struggles within a territory in which native Americans were –for the most part-secluded and non assimilated. Although, as a student at JFKU and as a member of Integral Institute, I attest that there's a general willingness among Integral theorists to be intellectually honest and, nonetheless, as an observing foreign-born person striding between two cultures, I must say that there are certain inadequate assumptions due to the blinding projections of cultural bias.
As a sociologist and as a Latin American (Peruvian) student of Integral Theory, I notice that a majority of people in Latin American countries do not seem to follow the developmental pattern which is apparently expected by orthodox followers of the Theory and -by all means- this needs to be taken into account more seriously if we expect to develop the most germane theoretical model in relation to great swaths of human experience. The less advanced magical-into- mythical pre Hispanic stage of the Inca Empire was partially suppressed, scrambled and combined with a more advanced Western mythical-into-modern stage leaving a compromise with less strict boundaries and values.
Nowadays, convenience seeking, pragmatic behavior alongside with a half-hearted use of modern rationalist tactics amidst relativist, post modern ethics that merges well with the interpretations of red selfishness seem to profusely coexist in the cauldrons of Latin American urban centers alongside with greater or lesser attachments to mythic and magical beliefs.
Today, very few individuals (except perhaps for those in older generations and in the most isolated rural places) show solidly mythic, amber characteristics or purer pre mythic ones. Also, very few Peruvians nowadays behave under strongly coherent pre modern, modern or post modern cultural codes. Our historical processes heavily defined by the simultaneously biased (and probably schizoid) cultural and political inclusion and exclusion of native populations have ensured the superficiality and incompleteness of our general acculturation and, in my view, non isolated, semi acculturated people do not follow a clear-cut sequence of the developmental stages as apparently expected by followers of orthodox Integral Theory.
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GIORGIO PIACENZA is a sociology student in the Certificate program leading to a Master's degree in Integral Theory at JFK University.