Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Flaws in Wilber’s Integral Politics

The stress points pervading our national, regional, and global political economies only increase the impetus for an understanding of and focus upon an integral politics.

Wilber has been turning his attention to this since at least 2001 when he posted “The Deconstruction of the World Trade Center” on line. He elaborated his examination in Boomeritis, and, more recently, in excerpts from the unpublished Integral Politics: the Three Faces of Terrorism posted on his web site. He also addresses it in his interview with Tami Simon in Kosmic Consciousness.

In each of these attempts to explicate an integral politics, Wilber flounders where he and most of his collaborators tend to lose their way: in the chasm of the momentous leap into the Second Tier.

I have examined this problem in previous posts (see “Green Is Not Integral,” “The Immediate Need: Healthy Green,” and “Second Tier Speculation Traps”). The problem is this: once our identity transcends the First Tier, the contours of our individual ego become objects of our awareness, so that now we can see the grasping and defensive activities of that ego. This occurs simultaneously with the appearance of a new, larger identity, whose locus is now in the Lower Left. “We” replaces “me.”

But because the experience and trajectory of human evolution to the present has been, almost exclusively, in the First Tier (“me” and “pre-me”), we have nothing upon which to base an understanding of the experience of the leap into Teal and beyond.

The transcendence into the Second Tier is momentous precisely because for most of us, it is totally without precedence. It is a singular and original emergence. Further, the escape velocity necessary to sustain a center of gravity in Teal and beyond is—at least to the experience of one lingering on the border between the two tiers—extraordinary. One has only to immerse oneself in the literature of the experience reported by mystics in all religions to appreciate the magnitude of the shift that occurs.