I got the impression halfway through writing this I was writing just to entertain myself, but hey, maybe that’s why anyone theorizes anyway...
Okay, it seems like the map we are drawing goes something like this:
In searching for truth we create a meta-theory by freely incorporating sections of various concentrations and disciplines that have collectivity become assembled. One particular approach to regarding this massive social accomplishment is “Integral”—the simultaneity of many (or different, though ideally all) parts of meta-theory re-establishing themselves within each subsequent theorem, bringing clarity to all other component theorems as well.
“This integral overview, or Theory of Everything, further acts as an indexing system for all these worldviews, thus allowing us to appreciate the special and profound contribution that each makes. ” (Wilber 112)
In creating this integrated lens, we transform an impossible abstraction (the Kosmos) into something much more manageable. As the meta-theory evolves, so too does our understanding of it—and consequently, our understanding of ourselves.
Within this context our experiential stratification begins. By living our lives in the separate places that we do, our intake of processes or interpretations of given multifaceted social phenomena provides the differentiation between individuals. Social groups and communities develop at rates relative to each other, resulting in the specialization of individuals into interdependent value-driven memes [Spiral Dynamics].
“The prime directive is for all of the memes…to be seen as necessary parts of the overall spiral…allowed to make its own crucial contribution to the comprehensive health of the spiral.” (Wilber 124)
From an integral perspective on “Transformation,” we are enamored by this advancement; we concern ourselves with the “Leadership” dynamics of evolution (i.e. how to transcend and include different levels of SPIRAL DYNAMICS to “change” the overarching social order/system into a more harmonious collective cultural value system) to better apply and institute ways of adapting to the surrounding environment. Our community value system manifests as the social system, which itself is constructed out of the individual values that shape an action.
This relationship between individual and collective in their effort to change can be seen in the many different processes and illustrations of generally unified conceptual schemes.
Is this more or less correct? I’m assuming the point of all this is that the more “in-tune” you are to the knowledge production process (meta-theory), the more inclined you will be to solve problems, which will present themselves more frequently in the future as global dilemmas no doubt will require global responses. Thus, the need for “Integral” dynamics—psychological, social, technological, ecological…
This seems pretty general, like a “no-brainer,” though I’m prepared to recognize the enormous implications that studying the specific concept of leadership may play. If correctly mapped, proposed, and implemented, the perpetual state of evolution’s rate of collective transformation could increase exponentially, helping us adapt and advance to the world around (and inside!) us at an altogether staggering speed.
Questions that arise are such:
1. What are critical variables in an analysis of leading, or transforming?
2. How would we translate the “Apocalypse” into integral terminology?
3. What are variables involved in determining values (good, evil)?
4. What is the role of Object and Subject?
5. How do foundations relate to formulations?
6. What is the future of Integral theory?
7. What is the difference between theory and theorist?
For me, something that produces results is necessary in analyzing any change or transformation. Perhaps this is an idea, policy, social institution, coded technological process, etc…rather than a person. I’m not sure change is a process as much as it is an idea representing an alternative situation, with leaders acting as the portals from one state of reality to another. I think people are used as vehicles for a concept that is now “different.” They may go out telling others what needs to be done, or how to do it better, but they are constantly in motion living one way, as opposed to the idea, policy, institution, … which is stagnant and unchanging in its self. People may subscribe to a NEW belief, and their actions may come into compliance with that unchanging belief system (which even while the system may state “everything changes,” is itself unchanging), but again, the higher order process, which, to me, is the prime cause for the “leadership occurrence,” remains the same. People are then “enabled,” or “allowed” to act in a more “pleasing” manner due to the ideal absence of any convoluted or contradicting aspect in the different, other thought.
I think this relates tremendously to an integral approach concerning the archetype of “Apocalypse” in the many united forms of spiritual folklore. Apocalypse, Greek for “lifting of the veil” (revelation), implies the general acknowledgement of some previously unknown truth, and thus, the reversal of actions to fit to the new prescription. So, it is not people who are the “Change,” but rather a new governing tool being utilized. Here, the evolution of Meta-theory (or perhaps the integral approach to that theory) has developed to a single point in time of which people now accord their actions. Thus, acting in a different way involves having a new model to mimic—or, making one up as we go.
So too, I see the relationship of ob/subjective to be inextricably linked to determining values. While objectively we may concede that there are only enough resources to provide all with only half of our requirements, subjectively we possibly could assert that “my” needs are more important than anyone else’s. I think self-interest/preservation is definitely at the root of any value system, though as we transcend levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, entertainment, purpose, and spiritual fulfillment certainly guide our actions as well. Tradition, religion, moral application, worldviews, and the recognition of human values influence thought and action as well, but these, to me, are emotional responses of the subjective to the objective world one finds him/herself in. We all create our own meaning and structure our responses accordingly.
Maybe it’s this meaning we have rationed into existence that creates the foundations for formulating any other truths we may feel is important. Wilber writes, (84) “I made the observation that…liberals tend to believe in exterior causes, whereas conservatives tend to believe in interior causes.” If one were to make an a priori assertion that people are basically good, then perhaps they would be more inclined to adhere to social institutions, thinking these bodies were aimed at helping and aiding them in their pursuit for a higher quality of life. Conversely, if people were considered to be bad, then these same institutions would be the subject of fear and confusion, and people might think they were there to control and corrupt the individual in their quest for success or prosperity, for the gains of another. The resulting conclusions might mutually contradict each other, providing for the stagnation of social processes if nobody can agree on common values.
Here is where I think Integral theory has potential for its greatest success. By identifying common values, fears, and expectations, and neutralizing all qualms, we can move forward with how better to use the system for personal and communal gain without labeling ourselves (progressives, conservatives, environmentalists, Christians, Muslims, working class, activists, etc…), because everyone would recognize the commonality of their aspirations and goals.
Finally, I think the only difference between theory and theorist is that we tend to identify one as subject and one as object, a detrimental mistake in my mind. We live our lives by what philosophies are fashioned at the different times, deeming theses “truth” and turning them into doctrines to guide ourselves by new cultural religions. The difference is that while a system of words created by a theory is unchanging, that is, a published paper can never be changed—it simply exists as is—the theorist on the other hand CAN change. S/he can be subjected to a whole array of new experiences and events that can drastically change their views and opinions. The theorist can then write another (unchanging) document that will serve as the most “enlightened” display of experiential truth discovered, at least until the next attempt.
Responses to responses to questions:
1. Is anything alternative to integral theory? Considering each assumption is developed and guided by aspects and dynamics motivated by a concurrent understanding that continually evolves—and as was stated, we are all in “learning mode”—perhaps the only alternative to integral theory is integral practice, a revolution of body to enact any necessary shift in individual/societal norms. I suppose a break from integral theory could be if one were to study a specific subject in such depth as to understand its matter completely; and consciously choosing not to factor in its contextual relevance within the greater holarchy. But even simply understanding a multilevel-integrated lens would move them into the realm of Integral. Anything else would be like looking for answers in a limited “ignorance is bliss” type of environment.
2. If integrated culture includes malevolence, then perhaps we should differentiate between “pain” and “suffering.” While surely there will never be an end to tragedy in our lives, we can more assuredly dictate the place it holds in our lives. We learn and “grow” from personal accounts of pain, yet it is more of a choice to suffer from that pain, even while agony is repeatedly inflicted. I think Merry might speak more about the necessity of pain, and one quote I liked was something to the effect of “stress is the inability to accept what is.” We are called to seek out injustice and make it right (perhaps that is just my own assertion), and to be oblivious of malevolence, or to decidedly ignore it, I agree, would be detrimental to an integrated culture.
3. I think my question is are we saying there is something “déclassé” about operating from a lower level of meme status? One could argue all day about the moral opposition and ethical contradictions that are implicit in war as a means to justify not fighting in one. However, how can anyone argue with the statement, “no one tells me what to do!” besides sending them to prison, showing them you actually DO control what they do. I propose that justifications for action operating out of the higher memes often appear cluttered to anyone not on that level when having to account for integral processes, when all that is really needed for a person to stay resolute about their actions is deciding what they will in fact be obliged to do, and then not compromising with anything else. Obviously, that individual will “suffer” from a retardation of complexity, and the flat-out refusal to accommodate compromise, but s/he will never be persuaded by a more “authoritative” logic, or be manipulated by the governing social apparatus. I brought this up because it seems as if this statement is quite fundamental and crucial at a lower level (red, I think?); and, because it’s transcended and included in second-tier, it is quite valuable to be acquainted with to utilize correctly.
4. Just so I have some clarity about the majority opinion on the subject, are we saying that simply leading others (and ourselves) into a new generative future to overcome any obstacle or adapt to any situation is the ends itself? Or is that where we are now, and there is something in our way presently, hindering us from fully implementing it? I think this could fall into the both/and category, but to me, there seems to be something currently preventing that transition. Maybe it’s only Time, but if indeed a theory needs proof—the empirical observation of change—or as you put it, using a “meta theoretical approach, particularly integral, to shape a strategy for survival of the species in the face of the challenges we face today,” then I believe there must be a fundamental transformation from the present climate (perhaps not accommodating of integral notions) to one that implements, encourages, fosters, and demands an atmosphere of collective integration, and furthermore, I think a 1-unit class is the perfect place to theoretically construct that social structure as an acting catalyst in solving the problem!
Step 1: Make a list of things that suck, while proving an unhealthy imbalance
Step 2: Formulate a healthy balance using various lenses
Step 3: Embed results through local networked governance from self to Self
When parts impact the wholes they make up, a “positive” charge (as opposed to a “negative” one) will determine the extended life course of the social organism, and new energy will create new actions. Let the system change.
Was that too much, worth saying, or even coherent? Am I projecting?