An integrally enlightened society

I want to launch a though experiment.
How could one build a society in which most people are integrally awakened?

  • Would it be massively different from the current one?
  • What are the steps to build it?
  • Can it be built “in parallel” or a large consensus is needed before doing the necessary steps to bring it about?
  • What in the current structure of society makes it harder and less adaptive integral awakening? (otherwise we would see plenty of it!)

The assumption behind the concept of “levels” is that their unfolding is almost inevitable and that each of them corresponds to a new structure of society that supports it.
An industrial society for instance, tends to produce a society in which the rational level of development is mainstream at the least.
In order to try to immagine an integral society therefore, one must ask oneself, what society would inherently produce an integral level of consciousness?

To make the reasoning a little more extreme (which I believe could help at least the reasoning process), rather than asking oneself how to bring integral “more” into the mainstream I propose immagining a society where most people age 18 can be considered integrally awakened, thus they were able to:
a) Develop to an integral level of consciousness
b) Awaken spiritually
c) Integrate all shadows and past levels

My hypothesis is that if we “force” ourselves to immagine how such a society could look like, we may be able to come to a more complete definition of the Lower Left and Lower Right correspondents to an integrally awakened individual structure and we could develop a lot of ideas of how we can re-think many mechanics.


Great ideas. I think it would require an education system that is aware of development and actively works to promote it. So it’s not just on your own or accidental. We teach kids to Grow Up through the spiral along with teaching math and science and reading and writing. I heard Ken talk about this in an interview once. He also had the possibly controversial idea that if you could somehow accurately measure someone’s altitude of development, perhaps higher developed people would be given more of a say in how decisions are made - i.e. their votes are weighted more. That would require some method of reliably measuring though and it is quite a departure from the egalitarian ideals of orange/green. More of a pie in the sky idea than adding integral development to our educational systems.

Yay you posted this!

In the book Purpose Rising, Ken and Dustin Diperna talk about a “Deliberately Developmental Civilization,” based off Kegan’s work on deliberately developmental organizations. I haven’t read Purpose Rising yet, but I resonate with the idea and envision a type of “Deliberately Developmental Society” in which evolutionary pathways are baked into the fabric of every societal institution, from education to healthcare to politics to business. Walking down the street will be an encounter with beauty, truth, and goodness. Art will be used to inspire a higher, more Integral consciousness, science will be infused with proper ethical concerns and value the development of the scientist, economics will be a way for people to find a higher purpose through work and create sustainable value for everyone, etc… Several thinkers, such as Daniel Schmachtenberger (who is familiar with Wilber and is lauded by some as a Teal thinker) advocates for a system with no externalities; everything will be “upcycled” and reused in a regenerative, close looped system. The book Crowdocracy by Alan Watkins argues for an Integral system of direct democracy where politicians as we know them are put out of business. These are but a few examples. More to come later :slight_smile:

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Hey, if Ken Wilber is right, it will only take 10% of the population at second tier in order for an integral society to emerge.

Whether or not he’s right about this, our number one priority is to really arrive at that stage ourselves :wink:.

Damiano, my take is that the unfolding of the next stage in its deep structure is indeed “almost inevitable,” but the specifics – the surface structure – very much depends on what we create. So it behooves us to be as mindful as we can about what we are co-creating. Which is among the reasons I am SO GRATEFUL for these integral forums!

I will leave the question of “what society would inherently produce an integral level of consciousness” to lower-right-quadrant types like you and HawaiianRyan to hammer out. As an upper-left-quadrant visionary, I give you my sincere thanks for chewing into the details on behalf of the rest of us.

In the meantime, all around me today I see the society you envision already starting to take shape. Just one example: Peter Drucker’s book “The Post-Capitalist Society.” Already in 1993 Drucker, one of the most respected voices in the business world, saw a completely new economic and business order emerging. It’s been a while since I read this, but I think his vision of what’s emerging was what we’d call integral.

For my part, I am in the process of writing a short story that contains (in the guise of an entertaining work of Sci Fi fiction) my vision of a possible integral society 40 years from now. As I work on it I’ll do my best to consider all four quadrants. And, Damiano, I will keep in mind the three questions you just posed. A) How will these people deliberately nurture the development to an integral level of consciousness? (and how will they deal with those who do get that far?) B) How will they nurture spiritual awakening? And C) how will they be encouraging people to integrate all shadows and past levels?

I already know that the “bad guy” in my story will be an influential spiritual leader who has achieved a very high state of consciousness but has not addressed his shadow issues around power. Mwa ha ha.

And HawaiianRyan, I just love the idea that “walking down the street will be an encounter with beauty, truth, and goodness.” Wow. On good days, it’s like that here in Berkeley CA. But that’s just the good days, at least so far.