God Help the World if Integralists are in Charge

This post is in response to a Ken Wilber interview by Raquel Torrant that took place in October 2016, and the reaction of the integral community after the election of Donald Trump.

The more I read about Wilber’s perspective on so called Second Tier, the more I realize that Integral Theory is mostly philosophical/Intellectual and out of touch with political, economic and social reality. Its elitist views are rarely applied to solve problems in a First Tier world. The only exception, of course is if we believe that individual advancement and shadow work are ways to save the world from impending cataclysms. To me those pursuits are representatives of a very narrow and unhealthy expression of both the Orange and Green systems of the First Tier. Because of their thin, elitist, and personal growth focused nature they can easily become closed systems that only embolden the very shadow they’re trying to come to terms with. Well, it seems that the shadow of most of the integral movement has broken and it’s manifesting in very unflattering ways. The universe couldn’t have picked a more befitting event than the election of Donald Trump to show how un-integral the movement is.

My assessment could be somewhat subjective and I must say that I was shocked by Trump’s election for a few days. While I have since regained my stratified Spiral view of the American electorate and refrained from engaging in polarizing conversations, I have not seen the same coming from the integral community, or my blindly liberal-progressive friends. If they were really centered in Second Tier values, we wouldn’t be experiencing the visceral anger and hate coming from so many online integral groups worldwide. What has helped me regain my perspective is the reminder of what was instilled in me over the last 15 years, that it’s always about Value Systems.

My primary gripe with Wilber’s followers is what they were taught about Second Tier values, and more specifically how vastly different they perceive the Yellow system than the original Spiral Dynamics theory does. Wilber has naively overlooked the important work that the Seventh Level of development has to do in aligning the healthy expressions of all the systems in First Tier. Yes, systemic Second Tier consciousness is not going to appear magically, nor would it appear by us passively waiting for more people to become Second Tier thinkers. We have to role up our sleeves now and fix the damage that the First Tier systems have done to our planet. This is half of the mandate of the Beck-Graves Yellow system that rarely appears in integral consciousness.

The work is not just environmental or psychological. It’s cultural, political, and economic. We have to design healthy habitats for tribal Purple in rural America, for egocentric Red gangs in inner cities, for nationalistic and patriotic Blue in white suburban America, and enterprising and scientific Orange and humanitarian and egalitarian Green in big cities and urban locales.

The problem with integral practitioners is that they have relegated this entire Gravesian conception to a “values line”, which again shows the closed system views of the elite and explains their post-election suffering and dysfunction. To solve problem in the age of Trump, followers of Integral Theory have to acquire a deep understanding of an essential part of the Gravesian model called Life Conditions. To put it in language integralists understand, we call it the functional quadrant.  It implies that you start in the trenches where dynamic change is taking place. You study the challenges facing people at every level of development mentioned above. Then you begin to design solutions commensurate with that particular level of development. This is what was meant by “transcend and include” that is at the heart of both frameworks. Sadly, it seems that the integral crusade has unconsciously moved into a psychology of “transcend and ignore.” That’s where the healing begins, not with the integral community suddenly realizing their shortcomings and begin to hastily consult the Gravesian model to get a quick intellectual fix that will be relegated again to a “line” on an elitist and out of touch model for development.





The Limits of the Social Network

This blog entry is an update to an article I submitted to the Huffington Post last year. It is in light of some new manifestations of social patterns than could signal the maturing of the era of social media/network. It could also be the beginning of a new phase that closes the gap between the old system and the new. A very important stage in our upward human journey.

For years I’ve been tracking complex social systems and their life cycles through Gravesian methodologies. The one that we’re in now has been the most fascinating. It is the most ubiquitous, the fastest moving and has proven to be exponentially more complex than all previous systems put together. I call this cycle the “Democratization of Information and Resources”, which started in the early 1990s. This, in my opinion represents the widest spread of the Green, 6th level value system of Egalitarianism in human history. We are witnessing that through the Social Network and the spread of information.

The Huffington Post piece was written at a time when I believed the system was exiting its introductory phase; transparency and chaos. Since the publishing of the article, there has been a few unfortunate manifestations of the system as it enters its maturity phase.  ows_144002532180502The most visible example is the inability of the “Black Lives Matter” movement (relying heavily on the Green/social network) to reach peaceful change, which empowered disgruntled ex-military men, who are trained to kill, to take matters into their own hands and attack police officers.

ice_Shootings_Dallas_Funeral.JPG_U8OQ7GP_t1140(RED doing the work naive Green couldn’t achieve on its own by attacking the symbol of the Blue system).

I’m still assessing whether other events such as the Brexit vote and the rise and fall of Bernie Sanders as a presidential candidate are a part of the end of the “Introductory” phase of this cycle.


Maybe these are the needed calls for the losing side on both of these issues to adopt more inclusive (transcend and include) strategies that are the manifestation of a truly healthy Green value system. This is an essential stage of development before humanity can move into an entirely higher set of values denoted by my work and the words of Graves as the the values of the “magnificence of existence.” We do, indeed live in interesting times. We are indeed witnessing history.

To read the original Huffington Post article, Please CLICK HERE



IEC BannerThe Second Integral European Conference will be taking place this year in Budapest Hungary from May 4-8. Dr. Beck, Elza Maalouf and I were honored to be invited as Keynote Speakers. Dr. Beck will speak about the New Global Divide  on Thursday afternoon. While Elza and I are scheduled to speak on Saturday morning.  Elza will use her Large-Scale Design tools to address the refugee crisis in Europe, and I will be speaking about the future of  EU Economic integration from a Gravesian perspective. There’s nothing better than a presentation on Evolutionary Economics at 9:00 AM to energize the whole day. For a detailed list of speakers, conference schedule and registration, please CLICK HERE.

Spiral EU

Elza’s keynote will be followed by a panel discussion on the refugee issue. There will also be 20-minute side sessions immediately following the panel where these conversations will continue. Elza will speak about the importance  Arab Nationalism and the different contents of Arab Purple-RED.   I will address the issues on the decline of Capitalism and the forces shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The conference will be preceded by a 3-day Spiral Dynamics training from April 30-May 2. It will be led by Dr. Beck, Teddy Hebo Larsen, Elza Maalouf, Bence Ganti and me. This will be the first public training offered in Europe in over a decade and will focus on Organizational Design.  For more information and registration for the SD training, please Click Here.

As Europe faces difficult  challenges, it is assuring to know that the organizers of  this conference have recognized the importance of verticality  as an essential ingredient in designing  robust integral  solutions.