Curious what an Integral view would be on the work of author and journalist Chris Hedges?
Hi Brian. I very much like Chris Hedges work. I would say he is definitely at green politically and spiritually. Spirituality is important to him as he is an ordained minister (which I imagine you already know if you’re in to his stuff). I’ve never heard him mention Integral so I think he does not have any kind of stage view of development. And I would guess it would be hard to persuade him of any kind of stage outlook given the horrible things he’s had to live through as a war correspondent.
Thanks for responding to the post. I agree with you. I think his moral line of intelligence is pretty well developed. He’s sacrificed his own well-being over the years to bring a light to things that are putting our world in danger. It takes tremendous courage to do what he’s done and I have great respect for him. I can’t image the things he’s endured side by side with peoples around the world living in deadly circumstances. I do consider him a hero of mine.
I’ve watched a few brief You Tube videos of Hedges speaking, at the recommendation of someone I know. Given that he was at one time the NYT’s bureau chief in West Asia/the Middle East, and given that he’s been in a lot of the “hot spots” in the Mid-East and Eastern Europe as a war correspondent (and, that he’s a Presbyterian minister), he has a unique perspective. While he of course does not use specific integral language, my sense from these brief videos is that he does think at least somewhat integrally (definitely, pre-integrally).
While he seems to emphasize the ailments of the LR quadrant, as many sense-makers do these days, he covers them all, the quadrants. I’ve heard him speak of the “sublime madness of the soul” and also of faith, defining faith by quoting Daniel Berrigan: “the belief that the good draws to itself the good.” He speaks a lot about social bonding, and how he’s seen it disintegrate in war-torn or corrupt countries. (The disintegration of social bonding being a primary symptom of collective trauma, and also, according to Hedges’ view, a primary symptom of “empires in descent.”)
While he may not speak of stages of development, he seems to have some understanding of stages of cultures/nations. He talks about the “pre-rationality of fundamentalist religion,” he talks a lot about ‘magical thinking’ (which, from his experiences abroad, he sees as a cornerstone of totalitarianism), and whether one agrees with him or not, he defines the US as “not world-centric, but nationalist.” And he speaks about the “wealthy elite” and their influence on the media and our political systems in a way that most Integralists would view as referencing the (unhealthy) orange/rational stage.
Whether he puts these all together in a way that addresses hierarchy/holarchy, I couldn’t say; I don’t know enough about him. He seems to see government authority as oppressive and often corrupt (which sounds perhaps a shade unhealthy green? or just a political philosophy? --I’ve read somewhere comparisons of him to Dorothy Day). I heard him quote somebody (don’t remember who) that “people who are attracted to power are either mediocre or venal.” (paraphrasing)
While he’s good at “diagnostics” from his perspective, like too many sense-makers, I don’t hear a lot of specific solutions coming from him. I’ve heard him talk about the general need to have faith and the importance of “the assertion of our dignity” (Hedges quoting Camus), and that “resisting the forces of death” gives one hope. But then again, he’s been a new voice for me, and I really don’t know much at all, and I wouldn’t disagree with those suggestions. He presents as rather grim, dour; perhaps I would too if I had seen as much atrocity in the world up-close-and-personal as has he. And grim and dour might be a good antidote for cheerful denial when it comes to the state of the world and things, but I don’t think most cheerful deniers are tuning in to Chris Hedges.
Thanks for the response! One of the things that he’s talked about in his lectures is the importance of connecting with others at a community level. He encourages reaching out to those in our communities and having a vibrant discourse and finding a common ground that we all share. He also talks about the importance of learning to have discourse with those that we don’t share a world view with and stop demonizing them even though we strongly disagree with them. It reminds me of something Ken said,“Let red be red and green be green.”
Thanks Brian for sharing these things. You have a kind way of communicating, not just here but in other posts, and I thank you for that as well.
Yes, that connecting is important, and I have actually heard him talk about “re-integrating” particular others into the social fabric. He seems to be really big on social bonding, and is an interesting guy for sure. The pain and suffering he has witnessed gives him a depth and sincerity that I also appreciate. He puts a lot of interesting topics on the table, and I 'll probably listen to him a little more yet, to get a better grasp.