Friday, August 11, 2006

Suggested definition for a complete Integral metaparadigm

The following is from my essay in progress, tentatively entitled An Integral metaparadigm. This essay is about 2/3rds finished and will be posted on Frank Visser's Integral World when finished, as the follow-up to my 4-part essay "Towards a larger definition of Integral"

Please note that this is still a work in progress, and some of this material may be modified in the submitted essay:

A definition of Integral:

My current definition of an Integral Metaparadigm (so-called because it would include various integral paradigmns as components or sub-components):

A pragmatic movement of individual, collective, and global transformation, which uses theoretical integralism as a preliminary framework or entre to a practical integralism orientated to greater synergy and ultimately to the divinisation of the world.

Such a transformative integralism should be one in which the mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and divine, the individual and collective, the exoteric and esoteric, the secular and the sacred, the scientific and the occult, in fact all dichotomies, can and should be incorporated. Nothing less than all of the above, can be considered truly integral. And it is this wideness and depth and height that the integral movement should aspire for, not just in theory, bit in practice as well, the practice being transformative (because it is integral) rather than simply a one-sided development of a single faculty that ignores the rest, or (as in most conventional spiritualities) a one-sided liberation that confers freedom and transcendence on the individual, but leaves the world unchanged.

Themes and Categories:

On the basis of the above definition, a number of specific categories could be suggested, that an Integral movement or meta-paradigm would have to include or incorporate in order to be truly Integral. Remember, the goal of Integral (as defined here) is firstly to include and encompass everything, hence all human knowledge and fields of expertise, and everything in the cosmos even beyond that, and second, to transform everything. Since we are still limited to human ways of being and knowing, there will be the largest number of categories and their included themes in those areas we are most familiar with, and much less in those we aren't. As always, the following list should be taken as provisional only; it is not an attempt at a complete explanation; that would certainly be impossible. Rather it is hoped that it can serve as a suggestion or starting point for further discussion.

The categories given here are


  • Integral Philosophy - the mental “map”, integration of knowledge, which incorporates the understanding of various ancient and modern cultures including the insights of secular modernity. Incorporates both exoteric academia and esotericism – the latter transcendending the mundane and constituting the mental “map” as regards the supra-mundane

  • Integral Science – the understanding and mental integration of the natural, social, paraphysical, and noetic worlds and sciences

  • Integral Aesthetics and fine arts which expresses, symbolically represents, participates in or allows the audience to participate in narratives and archetypal realities at various levels.

  • Integral Morality and Epistemology – action in regard to other (physical/embodied) beings, which is based on empathic relation with all sentient beings and with the entire cosmos, and actions and behaviour only in accordance with that

  • Integral Education which addresses the whole child and the whole adult, in a harmonious manner which furthers individual personal and transpersonal/spiritual development

  • Integral Society – which is pluralistic, diverse, ecological, spiritual, and wholistic

  • Integral Technology which is always appropriate and always sustainable

  • Integral Psychology and Phenomenology of which includes all states of consciousness and all aspects of the psyche and the microcosm

  • Integral Esotericism and Occultism – interacting with subtle forces, action in regard to supra-physical realities, understanding the nature of the subtle forces impinging on and influencing the individual

  • Integral Visionary Cosmology of which brings together science, esotericism, mythology, occultism, and gnosis and encompasses and explains all worlds and realities and their transformations

  • Integral Spirituality and Yoga – becoming transpersonal, accessing of the inner being; consciousness may or may not still be limited to the physical, may be solitary or interact via positive morality with others or with society, transcendence of ego, enabling the transformation and transmutation of the entire personality and surface individuality through the triple transformation of Self-realisation (Liberation or Enlightenment), Soul-realisation (The Divine Center), and ultimately Supramentalisation

  • Integral Spiritual teachers and Initiators who are fully self-realised and Godhead-realised beings, free of all trace of ego, narcissism, and self-delusion

  • Integral Tikkun – Transformation and divinisation of the individual, collective, and planetary consciousness and being on all levels, Soul- and Self-realisation and beyond; Godheadhood, Supramentalistion, Omega Point, Divinisation of the World


Each of these categories will be explained at greater length in the essay, although some of these terms - e.g. soul-realisation and self-realisation - are explained in my previous essay on the Visser site.

If anyone has any suggestions for further categories or definitions, or comments or criticisms of the ones suggested here, please send them in.

6 Comments:

Blogger G. said...

Before saying anything, I will say this: the integral ideal is a false one, and it will encounter much success, more than you already see today, no matter the arrangement it takes on (and yours is not fundamentally different from any others').

I have one basic question, if you can excuse my wish for an open dialogue. Why aim for this integral view that you have defined (a question concerning the definition itself is suspended for the moment), or, to put the question differently, what "benefits" or potential ramifications can be associated with it? It can very well be said that such an approach will lead to ultimate dissolution and degredation and degeneration. Have you not tried to survey the course of humanity's development with at least the comprehension that at its current state, an "integral" view would simply prove detrimental, even harmful? With all due concern and understanding, my view of the matter is this (for what worth words have by their means of conveyance): whither humanity is going and will go no one shall for one moment dare to presume (those that do are either self-deceived or concerned with self-interest, more often both together), but, as this matter, this certainty, portends, what we can see here in the integral movement is an expanding and then contracting of peoples toward each other for familiar feelings and thoughts, something comforting and yet reassuring that no matter the difficulties our abilities to grasp knowledge — a caught false premise? — and to execute it in precisely such ways as "revealed" by the knowledge thus gained should be so perfectly united thereby to entail the betterment of all of life (at least the life that is usually taken for all of life, that is, "human", and talks about "consciousness" in anthropological ways is symptomatic of this, once more) — this however is an error, the sort of realism known for centuries. There is no "betterment" that has once been indicated, nor will it ever be so much as hinted at, let alone inferred, except in the case of these aforementioned peoples, with their weakness and hindsight, that wish to construe the course and development of some small part of life, that is, human life in, what is through and through, a fundamentally self-deceptively affirming way. More specifically, it can be said this desire to "unify" all existing and yet-to-be knowledge is the last cry of a way of life encountering an altogether foreign one, in which case the former now in its final, desperate throes wishes to dispose itself in such a manner as to consume this new way of living that is fundamentally distinct and at a stage, if I may say this as an expedient, that is far more sophisticated.

Whatever your answer may be, if there will be one at all, and it is no problem this comment would be ignored, I can tell you this much in truth: what you and countless others are now doing is one of the more apparent and most unfortunate occurrences that have taken place since time immemorial; what lies beyond all this, however, is something that can be seen, something which will develop not much later than this very moment. . . Who do you think will participate in this hidden happening?— It is a constant waiting game. . . all shadows, without aim. . . My letters here are only a single, small prelude of what is to come.

10:16 PM  
Blogger james burke said...

I'm not sure if i agree with g's final foreboding comments, but something can be said for the integral movement being perceived as a final utopian striving that is doomed to failure (like what happened in the 20th century). On the other hand, limited to what we are, i believe its a worthwhile and exciting enterprise, as long as our solid sense of humor can balance out feelings of righteousness, serious endevour, purpose and passion in the further exploration, debate and experience of the integral.

2:40 AM  
Blogger m alan kazlev said...

G: First of all, I welcome open dialogue, and thank you for taking the time to comment.

In response to your concerns, my concept of Integral is inspired and based ultimately on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's teachings (known as Integral Yoga). Hence it is primarily, at its center, yogic and spiritual, with the other (secondary) aspects radiating from that central hub.

You are free and welcome to agree or disagree with this premise, but it is the premise that I work from.

In the secondary (non-transcendent) aspects (Integral Science, Integral Art, etc) I have been influenced by the current (non-Aurobindonian) Integral movement which is inspired by Ken Wilber (usually referred to as Integral theory or Integral philosophy). However you will see from my other blog posts here and the linked articles that I seriously criticise Wilber for his excessive abstract mentalisation and his lack of authentic spirituality.

Were I to attempt a utopian synthesis based on a purely humanistic or purely theoretical approach, and limited to the outer or surface personality, then I agree it would be ridiculous and a waste of time.

James said: .
something can be said for the integral movement being perceived as a final utopian striving that is doomed to failure (like what happened in the 20th century).

As regards Wilberian thought and the Wilberian movement, you may well be right. However if you look at my essay on Integral World you will see that I strongly criticise this over-intellectual attitude.

I do suspect that the tendency to unification will always be around, as a counterbalance to the tendency to specialisation (and vice-versa).

It should be pointed out that the non-Wilberian integral movement is very diverse, you have people like William Irwin Thompson, Michael Murphy, Roland Benedikter (essay on his interpretation of Integral spiritual here), Michel Bauwens (p2p), and Jorge Ferrer. So there is no danger of some sort of monolithic over-intellectualised ossificiation. Indeed one might question whether the word "Integral" mean sanything at all. I am using it, as I said, primarily in an Aurobindonian context.

i believe its a worthwhile and exciting enterprise, as long as our solid sense of humor can balance out feelings of righteousness, serious endevour, purpose and passion

Oh - absolutely! As soon as we get self-righteous and start taking ourselves too seriously, all is lost!

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got a beef with the integral worldview. It may help if I begin my discussion by relating an innocuous story in order to illustrate my point: A few days ago I was arguing with a particularly improvident, fatuitous ingrate who was insisting that you and I are inferior to narrow-minded party animals. I tried to convince this rummy ideologue that the integral worldview coins polysyllabic neologisms to make its fulminations sound like they're actually important. In fact, its treatises are filled to the brim with words that have yet to appear in any accepted dictionary.

The integral worldview tries to make us think the way it wants us to think, not by showing us evidence and reasoning with us, but by understanding how to push our emotional buttons.

No matter how bad you think the integral worldview's shell games are, I assure you that they are far, far worse than you think. What the integral worldview is doing is not an innocent, recreational sort of thing. It is a criminal activity, it is an immoral activity, it is a socially destructive activity, and it is a profoundly politically incorrect activity. The integral worldview deeply believes that the moon is made of green cheese. Meanwhile, back on Earth, the truth is very simple: The integral worldview says that space gods arriving in flying saucers will save humanity from self-destruction. You know, it can lie as much as it wants but it can't change the facts. If it could, it'd indubitably prevent anyone from hearing that its tracts are based on two fundamental errors. They assume that it would sooner give up money, fame, power, and happiness than perform a reckless act. And they promote the mistaken idea that university professors must conform their theses and conclusions to its feeble-minded, ignorant prejudices if they want to publish papers and advance their careers. The integral worldview likes to compare its precepts to those that shaped this nation. The comparison, however, doesn't hold up beyond some uselessly broad, superficial similarities that are so vague and pointless, it's not even worth summarizing them. There is little question that I, not being one of the many contemptuous Luddites of this world, find the integral worldview's causeries highly insulting. Let me try to explain what I mean by that in a single sentence: The integral worldview just keeps on saying, "We don't give a [expletive deleted] about you. We just want to ridicule, parody, censor, and downgrade opposing ideas." The integral worldview once said that it is a model organization. Oh, please. I'm just glad I hadn't eaten dinner right before I heard it say that. Otherwise, I'd probably still be vomiting too hard to tell you that if the integral worldview opened its eyes, it'd realize that its animadversions are a modern-day example of a Procrustean bed.

3:34 PM  
Blogger G. said...

It's terrible my comment has attracted an immature harangue that is a mere conglomeration of prejudices. But I thank you Alan and James for your thoughtful comments; I understand the difficulties put forward by your actions and ideas. I will not comment any further here due to the obvious lack of competence and civility that my commentary might entice — a serious shortcoming in today's muggy air — as is exemplified in the above thoughtless statement.

7:46 PM  
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5:37 PM  

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