Monday, August 19, 2013

Integral Politics: A Primer

[This piece is an in-depth lesson on how to develop an integral analysis of political matters, written in part to provide background to a dialogue with Layman Pascal on the Integral Life web site.  The issue we are wrestling with concerns the nature of integral politics, which I contend must await the emergence of teal in a critical mass of people.  Until then we can certainly work hard at being "integrally informed" on matters of politics and power relationships.]

In his extended interview with Tami Simon on Kosmic Consciousness, Ken Wilber makes the distinction between integral consciousness and being “integrally informed.”

The latter is the threshold of the former.  Being “integrally informed” is using one’s cognitive capacity to apply the AQAL model to any given situation.  Integral consciousness is the first transpersonal band of awareness, incorporating enough lines of development to constitute a center of gravity in the second tier.  Wilber’s observation that the cognitive is almost always the first line of development to expand into the next wave applies quite aptly here.

I have yet to find a discussion of integral politics that isn’t actually an attempt at integrally informed analysis rather than politics from an integral perspective.  Wilber’s discussion with Simon about an actual integral politics is not only highly speculative but suffers from the usual translation challenge that a second tier perspective has in communicating to first tier.  My own sense is that an actual integral politics awaits the day when there are enough people with a second tier center of gravity to take it on and invent it.  We’re not there now, especially with people running around proclaiming that Barack Obama operates from teal.

But it is quite useful, in the cheerful spirit of AA’s “fake it till you make it” injunction, to practice an integrally informed look at particular political situations.  This way we can begin to familiarize ourselves with the AQAL method and intuit, if not directly observe, where an actual second tier perspective might be reaching out to us.

So let’s take the example of Abraham Lincoln’s extraordinary achievement in guiding the United States through the Civil War and, applying AQAL analysis, see what it might suggest in the way of an eventual integral politics.

First Step: One's Own Perspective

Effective AQAL analysis begins with an awareness of our own perspectives, since we will be starting by an “objective” look at the historical period in question as it appears to us as an LR expression.  How this subject looks at and interprets that object is a necessary prerequisite to practicing Integral Model investigation.