The following is the draft of an article i decided to put down to get some feedback.
I hope its ideas make some sense and they are not too “out there”
I am sure some of the points could be further demonstrated but I am happy of any feedback nonetheless!
A lot of people, struggle with a working life that too often seems much to separate from their internal life.
We see this as an almost inevitable outcome of our current societal structure and this leads to a profound separation between our internal lives and our external participation in society.
A lot of the spiritual litterature does not quite take into account this aspect due to the different contexts in which it was developed.
Gurus are economical “white flies” who, due to their scarcity, generally make being Guru their profession altogether.
Regular people people on the other hand need to face participation in society and often the tools provided by teachers do not efficiently take this into account.
This is not very integral!
I want to suggest a perspective that may re-unite these two dimentions from a both internal and systemic point of view.
The article is divided in two parts:
- The internal point of view: Social Identity and Congruence.
- The external point of view. Bridging the gap between Left and Right: the democratisation of Social Congruence.
The internal point of view: Social Identity and congruence.
If we follow integral theory, we may realise how all our identities can be mapped within AQAL and that all are equally important in both helping us integrate and transcend ourselves.
In this sense, our SOCIAL identity, meaning the sense of place we take in society, is a key identity. Marx used to call it Class Consciousness where for example the workers all became aware of the specifics of their condition and their shared situation.
We all inhabit a social hierarchy that seems to work a little bit like quantum levels. To “jump” to a new level, which generally grants more financial and personal freedom one needs to be mentally and objectively in line with the state that is sought.
So my question is… in trying to enlighten, we are often pondering on our person identity, but shouldnt we ponder more, and doubt more also our social identity?
Example: one observes onself to be struggling economically, working in complete absence of freedom and impossibility for self-realisation. This may be due to external circumstances but a corresponding identification was either previously present or is formed over time, adding to the person’s sense of being “stuck”;.
That identity would define all the person’s expectations of success and failure and its understanding on reality. Such identification would become self-realising as all ideas in the mind would be relative to it.
In this sense, imagining a new identification, specifically on the social spectrum (ex. I am the CEO of a huge corporation, orI am a totally free person that lives without needing to worry about money;) could actually produce a lot of value.
That does not mean that merely seeing one-self differently may suffice, but it could dramatically increase the odds of success at change as well as provide many other results.
Many coach and motivational speakers work on this, and this type of focus is often looked upon by meditative tradition as it is often a strong expression of one’s own ego.
Nevertheless the implied wisdom in Anthony Robbins and its lookalikes is the idea that the minds perception of reality and itself. Yes Anthony Robbins is an unwitting modern vedantist
It also aknowledges that society itself uses the mechanics we know se well (such as SHADOW) to force people into narrow identifications.
I speculate that, using the SOCIAL ladder as a map of shadows, and playing at identifying with each, could have a lot of advantages.
It could in-fact:
a) Help the mind make the current identification an object, rather than let it work as an implied logic. This makes it conscious.
b) By identifying with an opposite identity one would integrate a SOCIAL SHADOW, integrating an identity that was projected outside. (never hurts)
c) The person would become more able to actually pursue different avenues and get to a more efficient financial state as its mind would become more untangled from the biases it has posed on itself until now.
This would in turn produce the following:
c1) Greater freedom and a better live could increase the possibility for some degree of surrender. For how much we like to think enlightenment is possible in all moments, freedom from a certain degree of worry can help the state of surrender, that may otherwise be prevented in conditions of anxiety and constant fight or flight response.
If the social identity is taken for granted, enlightenment will inevitably be seen as a “tool” to resolve the general situation, subserving it to a goal and thus making it virtually impossible.
Much too often awakening may become a goal sought to solve troubles that have little or nothing to do with awakening (even tho the advantages in turn would be obvious). For awakening to be effective one may assume it may be best to unbound its pursuit from economical needs.
c2) The EGO of the person, would be shifted. This is the most important thing!
In finding new possible identifications of the self, humans are able to relax identity all together. This is the idea of deity mysticism in Tibetan practices, shadow work in jungian psychology… and unwittingly, the point of most coaching / motivational approach, that tries to get the self to identify with a new state of mind. They simply had left the whole “let the ego go” part.
The world of stars, dream entrepreneurs, politicians… is in a sense a pantheon of archetypes. While the hindus had to look at infinite Gods to explore the different identities the mind can play with, we have entire industries dedicated at making us experience the full variety of what the self can identify with.
Let’s use this as a way to further break our ego, while broadening our freedom, fishing from a new bucket of identities.
This approach has one added factor.
c3) Its technically more integral!
If every new state of consciousness corresponds to a new internal and collective structure, we must also admit that a new social structure must unfold and that anyone looking to integrally evolve, should embody it also in the lower right quadrant.
In saying this I stipulate that part of integral awakening itself could be to live one’s own life, as much as possible, embodying one’s own passion and vocation, as part of a social system that we are inseparable from.
This does not mean that all integrally awakened people must be top company CEOs, or presidents, but it means that they way they live their life, can be in line with the same degree of mental and cultural freedom that is sought spiritually, and that this can be pursues in line with deep sense on UNSEPARATION from society itself.
I therefore speculate, that reflecting on radically achieving freedom from any SOCIAL identification, and embodying with ones own vocation one’s own life, is a key factor in integral enlightenment. Struggles at work, to which one is not able to surrendered to, are probably and indication that perhaps the state one is in is not so much the result of external curcumstances, but having internalised the general social structure and self-image within it.
This is just a hypothesis, but given the profound state of discontent with work we have with work at this stage, it feels to me logical that an integral society should, as much as possible, allow people’s path of growth and awakening to be integrated with their working life and this corresponds to an internal practice (ex, Social Shadow practice) as well as the ideation of a social system that systematically enables such freedom.
External point of view.
Bridging the gap between Left and Right: the democratisation of Social Congruence.
Ken has often described the difference between the right and the left as “internalist”; VS “Externalist”
The Right being more entrenched in defining the causes of one’s own success upon their internal structure, good effort and moral fiber.
The Left being mindful of all the external circumstances that led someone to a certain point in time to have a certain place in society.
For how often self-serving, narcissistic and biased, there may be more to the perspective of the Right.
Acknowledging such truth may actually hold the key to bridge a lot of the gap between Left and Right if we aknlowledge two things.
Congruence IS a KEY factor in success.
Yes congruence helps, but it is the result of external circumstances.
Congruence IS a KEY factor in success.
Being absolutely identified with a certain level of socio-economic development helps bring in line a lot the mind’s computational capacity for the right goal.
At the core of capitalistic thinking is the glorification of social congruence such as the classic story of the poor person him/herself by the bootstraps to gain success.
In this view only people who are completely congruent with their capacity to accomplish success are able to maintain it. They are probably right in noticing that, outside of external circumstance, the difference between the poor that didn’t make it and the poor that did make it is not really an external one: if one is truly congruent success is almost inevitable.
b) Yes congruence helps, but it is the result of external circumstances.
What the right did not realise tho, is how much the environment shapes social congruence:
- Education: the son of a rich person (or a person who thinks like a rich person) may not be told to be careful about spending money, but about investing money. A poor person may be looking for financial answers in the areas that are in line with his/her expectation. While alternative solutions may be available, they often require the kind of creative thinking that is typical of people who succeed to emancipate themselves from adverse circumstances.
- Stress: the state of anxiety and confusion less wealthy people are constantly in prevents lucid thinking to begin with. (just remember the clarity and focus you had about beauty, leasure and emotion as a child and teenager… and how it drifted away in the light of the alienation of a society that doesn’t seem to provide an escape).
- Opportunity: even given the same level of congruency, having greater social networks, education, financial resources and more… is very important.
If we DO accept the lesson of the right, in understanding how much of one’s own social level is influenced by one’s own mental state, we can look at how such mental state of freedom could become democratised.
This DOES not mean discounting the important of social safety nets, but it acknowledges the idea, that ones own mental state and congruence is equally valuable.
I believe that the social ladder is as much a ladder of how society is structures in the Lower Right quadrant, as well as a distribution of internal identifications that our society has been conditioned to assume.
I wander if not a socioeconomical revolution could come, by also freeing ourselves by the inherited notions and identies provides us, but at the same time the creation of a society that truly offers that same freedom in gaining such beliefs as well as the equal opportunities to enact them