In response to someone who speaks of a need to replace the failed Integral Institute, I write: I know they had a lot of funding fall through, but I’ve never heard the full story about how and why it failed. (I heard a bit from Marc Gafni, but I’m not sure how much of it is fully reliable and how much of it is his spin on it.) Maybe I never will know what happened (sadly, there seems to be a less than transparent culture).

Also I understand another foundation, one led by Sean Hargens, also failed (now it seems to be a “design firm” called MetaCapital if I’m reading his website correctly), dooming the U.S.-based Integral Theory Conference, and yet once more I don’t know the story. I wonder how we are expected to build a common culture when we don’t know our history?

Ken Wilber or Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, feel free to chime in, or point us to the history as you see it, what mistakes were made or obstacles faced, and the lessons to be learned from the experiments.

Since it seems we live in a gossip culture where our history is only an oral one, feel free to share what you know or think you know about this at Integral Agape! It’s a “watering hole”, so don’t be shy.

And I agree with Chas who thinks I-I needs a replacement. Probably more than one, using different approaches for different audiences and tapping into different talents among their founders. What do you think are the most important things an I-I or MetaIntegral replacement needs to achieve?

I agree with not quite all of Bruce’s comment in Integral Agape, but I agree with the most important part. I also think there was a huge missed opportunity for them to be a *fostering* organization, one that would encourage the sorts of mad experiments that he describes. Sure there have been Wilber Meetups and Integral Salons, and Wilber’s organizations did nothing to discourage them, but these have had some growing pains too. As he says, if these groups had been more purpose-driven with a goal of social transformation, things might have been different….

The part that I partly disagree with is that I don’t think the problem wasn’t necessarily a cult of personality, orthodoxy, or authoritarianism. Well, that’s partly true. But any sort of Turquoise is going to be an upper-level redux of Amber complete with spiritually realized leadership, stable constructs or elaborate intellectual edifices, and structures of certification or guilds of professional achievement, which are going to look cultish to anyone with an Amber allergy. Nothing Integral can do about that, I don’t think. If people have such a strong allergy to religion or spirituality that they can’t handle something like the Integral Life Practice ‘Mind Module’ (for example), then they probably won’t be Integral-leaning for long but will bounce off Teal (so long! I hardly knew ye!) right back to Green or Orange.

One thing I’ll add is that nobody fully grasped and effectively handled, I think, that “Integral” is actually comprised of people at different levels: tealish orange folks, tealish green folks, tealish folks, turquoise folks, and super-integral folks (indigo, etc.) all with different needs and desires and comfort zones. (I’m leaving out all the other factors other than levels right now, different spiritual perspectives and personality types chief among them, for simplicitly’s sake.)

The challenge before institutional Integral was basically: how do we foster the emergence of a common culture among such different folks and motivate them to a common end? Personally, I think an approach closer to the Amberish 12-step world (self-organizing with Rules and Traditions, community-driven, flexible, low-cost, empowered leadership within constraints, providing a tangible *personal* benefit that keeps people coming back, etc.) would have been more effective than the top-down approach in meeting such a diverse range of needs. I’m talking about embracing and innovating from “healthy Amber” based in a Turquoise social Konstruct, not retreating into ancient structures.

BTW, when I worked with Marc Gafni at his organization for a year (2011), I talked about bringing this sort of 12-step-influenced approach to his organization, but it wasn’t really his style. There were two issues. One, it wasn’t his organization’s top priority (building a credible think-tank was his focus), so it would be a distraction. Second, he wanted full control over all the important decisions in the organization and “veto power” over any decision that he disagreed with). So that’s why this idea didn’t move forward in 2011.

I am currently in the process of resurrecting my project of creating a sort of Turquoisish institutional structure capable of fostering healthy, distributed, locally empowered Integral spiritual groups. Unlike the current sort of Meetups and Salons, the organization I have in mind will be guided by content-rich Turquoise structures, not merely meta-oriented, content-free Teal structures, so it will have a very different look and feel than anything out there today. Basically I don’t think AQAL + ILP is enough to create successful, lasting, transformational groups; they need to take a stand in particularity (content) and re-embrace the universal from that particularity. I’ll keep you posted as this new structure begins to take shape in the weeks and months ahead.

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