Thursday, January 18, 2007

Rejecting simplistic linear interpretations

The more I contemplate this subject, the more I realise that the Integral movement, the Integral evolution - as a bringing together / convergence of different ways of being - goes beyond popular forms of a intellectualised New Age, New Paradigm etc.

For one thing, practice is most important, theory is secondary. All the theory and theorising and mapmaking in the world doesn't matter, if there is no practical outcome.

Also it is necessary to get away from the Gebserian, Wilberian, and Beck and Cowan (Spiral Dynamics) idea of a march of evolutionary progress from archaic magical thinking to modernity and postmodernity, and beyond that to an integral or "upper tier" perspective, as if they are all part of a simplistic linear sequence. These linear, ethnocentric and anthropocentric assumptions need to be challenged, they are simply part of the myth of modern man, an update on European colonial ideas of social evolution, white man's burden, etc

A true Integral or full or complete (purna Sri Aurobindo, pleroma Teilhard) perspective and transformation represents and includes all elements, both the human and the natural worlds, both the technological west and tribal society, both secularism and yogic transcendence. But - and here is the key, and here is also where I differ with "orthodox" integralism - it isn't a sequential, linear artificial series like a temporalised "great chain of being" (or if you want to be a Wilberian holarchist "great nest of being"). The human noosphere is not a step above the natural biosphere, they are both equal in importance. Ditto the technological west and tribal society, ditto yogic or mystical transcendence versus secularism. It is not that one is "higher". Concepts of higher and lower tiers so beloved of Spiral Dynamics and Wilberian Integralism, concepts that "only man has a soul" such as Teilhard retained from his Christian belief, the idea that a mystical life of renunciation is better than life in the world, or vice versa, all these are misleading and relativist conceptions that profoundly take away from our understanding of what an Integral Transformation will be like.