Unapolgetically Integral In Our Own Way

“Our Most Important Activism For This Point In History Involves Building The Integral Worldview Itself” — Steve McIntosh, author of Evolution’s Purpose

Integral Blog has a new quote plastered across the top of our sidebar, so I thought I’d tell you more about it. You may have recognized it from a 2011 conversation between Scott Payne and Steve McIntosh published at Beams & Struts, or my discussion of the conversation on Awake, Aware & Alive.

Here’s the immediate context of McIntosh’s remarks:

[T]here are obviously many forms of legitimate political activism that integralists can pursue. But from my perspective, the most important form of activism for this point in history involves building the integral worldview itself. That is, we need to demonstrate the power of the integral perspective and show how effective it can be at providing solutions. We need to build wider recognition of, and agreement with, this emerging understanding of evolution. In other words, we need to teach the truths of integral philosophy and persuade people that consciousness and culture do evolve, and that we can solve many problems by coming to a deeper understanding of this phenomenon.

“Teaching” integral philosophy as a form of activism can, of course, involve a wide variety of activities. It can involve creating media such as books, videos, blogs, articles, etc. And it can also be as simple as engaging our friends and family in conversations about it. Further, the more we can each embody it as our own philosophy and not simply Wilber’s philosophy or Whitehead’s philosophy—the more we can show how it is actually a new understanding of evolution that recognizes interiors and can detect a new kind of depth—the more effective we’ll be in these communications. (Bold added.)

Now there’s a reason why I’ve given these words a special place on this new blog. Firstly, they have been inspirational to me in my blogging since I first heard them over three years ago. Secondly, they are just as relevant today as when Steve first spoke them. And thirdly, I believe they have the power to shake my fellow Integralists from their comfort zones and help to give focus to and context for the work they do. (Incidentally, as you will see I’ve shortened it a bit and changed the first word. I hope we can agree these changes are not significant.)

Integral Blog is unapologetically written by an Integralist for fellow Integralists (or integralists) if you prefer. We will not say we’re sorry for discussing theory when others would say that we are “stuck in our head”. We will not shy away from using vocabulary that requires more than a middle school education. (We have a rudimentary Integral glossary for the interested.) We will not try to sneak Integral perspectives quietly into conversations in order to appeal to the huffy-huff-huffington-posters or the league of not-so-extraordinary gentlemen.

And make no mistake: we do not object to the skillful use of altitudes, vMemes, structure-stages, or other markers to indicate levels of development. Too many “integral” blogs in the past have erred by trying to hide their Integral stripes, preferring to wear their colors as badges of shame. We are “out of the closet” as proud Integralists and part of our own evolution means we need to read sources of information that are willing to discuss levels of consciousness. Period.

I’m stressing this out the outset not to stir controversy but to define this publication’s particular agenda. Integral Blog is out to advance and advocate this worldview in our time through education, conversation, and community building. We believe there is a revolution in consciousness which has already emerged in early forms and is ripening and strengthening and widening as we speak. But its ripening and strengthening and widening is not to be taken for granted. It requires a healthy ecosystem of adherents, explorers, adventurers, and practitioners cooperating in healthy and skillful ways.

From my perspective as one who has written blogs since 2003, I can say that the time for this publication is long overdue. Since my early years of writing the blogs that became published as the books Soulfully Gay and Rising Up, I have often wished there were a wide-ranging, newsy, independent blog which was unapologetically and explicitly Integrally-based. Without taking anything away from the blogs out there today or giving criticism on the blogs that have folded, there isn’t anything like the blog that I envisioned.

In the past three years I have made a few abortive attempts at such a blog (by such forgettable titles as Awake, Aware & Alive, Spirituality Post, and WE Spirituality). In every case, the blogs were launched as prototypes of possible publications. One was successful, but it had to fold when I took a new job. The others I abandoned before officially launching them because I couldn’t see myself getting behind them passionately and without qualification. (A big issue: the word “spirituality” just wasn’t going to fly.) Integral Blog is already different: it puts the Integral worldview at the fore, and then quickly gets on to business.

And so we return to Steve McIntosh’s wonderful quote. I believe it reflects a wise prioritization of different types of activism that we can do. If we find ourselves taking an Integral worldview, we feel a need to educate ourselves and others (at least our loved ones) about it. We need to embrace criticism and make our views stronger. We need to do the practices and form connections with others. And we need to participate in a healthy ecosystem of other folks doing their life’s work integrally.

And that’s what this blog is all about. In our own small and seed-like way, we are doing the tasks that only an Integral blog can accomplish: provide newsy updates, offer timely insights into culture, review new books, point to workshops and events happening, and give reflections on Integral in real daily life. Whether we are talking about politics or medicine, art or business, the underlying framework remains the same: an Integral worldview. Our ambitions are high, are abilities are limited and partial. But as our blog grows and evolves, we are helping a more Integral world to emerge.


Photo Credit: Stuck in Customs via Compfight cc

About Kalen O'Tolán

Kalen O'Tolan is one of the Hanimwaa, an Immortal being who has served humankind quietly for more than 2,000 years, descended from the Son of Orr in the Third Wave. He is a philosopher, poet, and warrior. The story of his life, death, and return is told in The Kalendar, a series of fantasy/adventure books created in partnership with the Poet and Tangent Publishers.