In a conversation at Integral Global, Tom Amarque of Lateral Conversations said:

think of it that way: Wilber’s true word is ‘integral’ — he dreamt it, like Einstein dreamt theory of relativity. It is powerful, and in the case of Wilber, we can assume that is more ‘true’ since any word uttered by any postmodernist … because he included it, so to speak. Maybe he dreamt that word because of his his year long studies and meditation, because he found something deeper within himself … something more profound or ‘authentic’ … that is the level I am talking about. And again: While I think there is a lot of usefulness in Wilber’s word … it is still his word. It has limitations. Adopting it without finding a ‘authentic’ voice or word is ‘problematic’ …

I stepped into the conversation to add the following remark:

Tom, Re: “Adopting it [integral] without finding a ‘authentic’ voice or word is ‘problematic’ ..” While there’s certainly a lot to be admired when a spiritual genius invents something big and new, I see a problem with attaching originality to the failure to use perfectly acceptable and useful terms when they exist. Movements need powerful symbols such as the word ‘integral’ to latch on to, or they fail.

A decade ago, it seemed several of Wilber’s green critics were simply watering down his philosophy and changing the name – like something with ‘new paradigm’ in the title. THAT’s not genius, it’s piracy. If something truly new comes along — like Critical Realism for instance or my own Lingua-U — it needs a different name to help people to situate themselves properly.

While there’s certainly a lot to be admired when a spiritual genius invents something big and new, I see a problem with attaching originality to the failure to use perfectly acceptable and useful terms when they exist. Movements need powerful symbols such as the word ‘integral’ to latch on to, or they fail.

Tom Amarque replied:

Joe Perez, Yes, actually I was thinking of you. You certainly synthesized something ‘new’, because, I presume, you had an urge to – let me stay in this metaphysical context – utter a word which fitted your soul or cosmic address. I think that goes hand in hand with a deeper understanding of yourself; hence ‘authenticity’ and truth. And I still think you have to … at least to some degree … get rid of your ‘integral copy-self’ to do so ..

Hi Tom, you may be right about that last part. Who knows how my own evolution of the state of Integral Spirituality will unfold in the future. There are too many variables for me to predict 5 or 10 years ahead…

But let me briefly explain, right or wrong, the most important reason why I think it’s important for me and others to explicitly put themselves within the Integral Spirituality movement at this time (even if they use a somewhat different name): Individuals need to take responsibility to help build a healthy global culture that is BOTH centered at 4th-to-5th-person-perspectives AND genuinely open to higher level perspectives (in my Lingua-U model, from 6th–person’s X-Mind up to 9th-person-perspective, the Una-Mind). So people who today are waking up into systemic cognition, meta-systemic cognition, and cross-paradigmatic thinking can find the sort of community of resonance that allows them to develop the Global-Mind so desperately needed in the world today … AND preserve formative insights from (what Wilber and/or Aurobindo calls) para-mind, meta-mind, over-mind, and super-mind. In other words, if 5th-person-perspective is held up as “all there is”, hello, we’ve got a new sort of flatland: a flatland with a little hill.

So far as I know, there is no other game in town that offers the world what it needs other than Ken Wilber’s oeuvre in general and Integral Theory specifically. Not the Gebserian integralists, not the Cultural Creatives or Evolutionaries who aren’t themselves quite “integrated” yet, not the Spiral Dynamics theorists who don’t think there’s anything worth looking at after Turquoise, not the meta-modernists who have shucked Wilber and chucked the third-tier to boost their appeal among street-smart secularists, etc. Any one of these schools of thought could evolve in the future, but that’s how I see them today.

At this time, only the Wilberian tradition carries this full-spectrum Dharma, for lack of a better phrase. As everyone knows, a specific culture emerged has around Wilber’s philosophy that calls itself Integral. Personally, I think it’s a fine word, but I associate it with the 5th-person-perspective, and everything more complex meta-grammatically is what they call Super-Integral. That term is acceptable and useful enough as well.

So why chuck it? Good words are really hard to come by. Wilber’s certainly built a conveyor belt up to the 5th-person-perspective (and higher when you dig into his total oeuvre), and as a community I think we need to maintain what he’s built, correct its flaws, add to it, and so on. If people don’t “get” at least 5th-person-perspective thinking, they aren’t going to “get” a whole library of possible writings that could be coming in the decades to come by many talented people. We need Integral ideas, culture, and community; we’re all enriched by it, at its best.

The irony in my writing this, perhaps, is that Lingua-U doesn’t require AQAL or Integral Theory. As a sort of Kabbalah of the International Phonetic Alphabet, it reconceives AQAL-like “altitudes” as ArcheStations described by subtle energetic symbols linked to 39 vowels and consonants based on the Sacred Word traditions and ordinary speech of the world’s major languages. If Lingua-U turns out to be successful, it will be Violet (Meta-Mind) spiritual technology that could be used by any religious, cultural, or linguistic tradition to steer the course of evolution in Sacred Words or ordinary speech without requiring the adoption of any particular philosophical position.

But inventing Lingua-U would not have been possible without Integral Theory, and the connections between the two haven’t even begun to be explored. Plus, I have to add that we don’t really know what the shortcomings, dangers, and misuses of the new technology are. Nobody knows. With Integral Theory, there is a valuable conveyor belt from Turquoise to Indigo to Violet that will help the entire Integral community to make space for the “real magic” of Lingua-U or similar future technologies in their worldviews.

Still, it’s worth asking … if Lingua-U turns out to be successful, then when you’ve got “flying carpets” like Lingua-U, do you still need conveyor belts?

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