Is the “Integral movement” basically about “individual attainment”?


J.C. writes in Integral Politics:

The “Occupy Integral” manifesto says it:

“… integral consciousness hasn’t yet generated a coherent cultural movement that could become its own force for socio-political change. In fact, its early expressions almost seem to deemphasize the importance or urgency of social activism. Instead, it has tended to prioritize the evolution of the self. Moreover, integral culture (especially in its more awkward attempts at marketing) often blurs across a line of credibility, and risks becoming a sub-section of the new-age, new-thought movement.”

Paraphrasing: Current expressions of Wilber’s work have deemphasized communal work, and emphasized individual attainment while straining credibility.

Other than the work on metatheory, many Integral works have essentially been about promoting lifestyle enhancements. The Integral we see being marketed today has become a “Super-Human Operating System” or “technology of the Self”

As such the “Integral Movement” was a creation of marketing. It never existed. What did and does exist are various fan and interest groups as well as some individual and industry attempts to apply integrally informed methods to various problems and tasks.

For an organic group or social movement to form, it must congeal around a real perceived issue or problem that can bring people together with some cohesion. Individual attainment (grow up, wake up, enlightenment, etc…) is not the most compelling reason for people to come together. It’s kind of a contradiction. A community for individual attainment? What kind of community would that be? What would it look like? And just how cohesive would it really be? It might be like a club for lawyers or something where people get together for the purpose of networking to aid in their own entrepreneurial endeavors. A networking group.

IMO the most compelling model for how someone was able to come up with an analysis of current psycho-social-economic conditions and then for this theory to get weaponized and democratized to support the formation of a large social movement would be the model of what Marx achieved. Marx interpreted and weaponized Hegel. If we interpret and weaponize Wilber what do we get?

I respond:

Re: “A community for individual attainment?” Yes. I think that nails it. Gafni’s Unique Self community. Cohen’s Authentic Self community. Stuart Davis’s music, its celebration of the evolved self. I’m not fond of the phrase you use, but basically that’s what you get when you “weaponize AQAL”, I think, at least in the initial formative period.

In The Kalendar, this is all Month of the Golden Egg drama. It’s the Archetype of the Evolutionary. It’s the first third of the Second Tier — the yang form in which the self gets healthy so it can provide leadership at a Global and Gaia/Jaia-level scale. It’s the self and its quest for enlightenment. It’s the self under the spell of the Letter “S” — which is, of course, the letter of Superman.

Even at its most “integrated” in Teal/The Week of the Eastern Heart Clam and the Week of the Elephant, it doesn’t get any better than this. Not that I can see. This is it, enjoy it.

I’m not knocking enlightenment or anything like that. The world needs teachers of enlightenment, especially evolutionary or integral enlightenment. The world needs Integrally informed teachers of enlightenment who can bring Buddha and Freud together — paths of Ascension and paths of Descent. Absolutely we do. But look around at what kind of social movement that generates and what you see — just look! — is what you get. That’s its suchness.

What’s next? I would point to Turquoise/Month of the White Horse in The Kalendar. It’s right around the corner in June. Integral as a social movement hasn’t got there yet. Except where it has… there have been some stunning emergent Global-Mind thinkers and projects out there on the Integral scene, not getting nearly as much attention as they deserve (but I’m not giving away the story until next month).

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