Generational perspective on Integral

Recently on the Discord site, a few us were discussing some of the fractions that are in the Integral community. When discussing these differences (mostly political, economic), we brought up the different perspectives that generations might have and how that affects their Integral identity.
I know Ken has the wonderful Boomeritis take (I believe he came up with that term?). I am 42 and fall somewhere in the Gen XYZ group. It will be interesting to see how the voices of this generation distinguish themselves from the Boomers and what this integral perspective will look like.


Been noticing these “factions” appearing fairly heavily on integral Facebook communities.

I’m 32 and fall within the millennial camp, and, generally, associate with most leftist politics. My undergrad degree in sociology introduced me to the rich history of left-leaning intellectuals; we studied Marx, Foucault, the Frankfurt School, etc. etc. Have always carried them with me, even in and through my studies of integral.

For the most part I feel that there are multiple layers at work in the systemic “social fragmentation” happening right now.

Digital platforms have emboldened the cultural wars simply by their design (folks like Rushkoff talk about this frequently). We’re still learning how to build a human-centered internet, and right now, in the era of “Web 2.0” and Goliath platforms like Twitter/Facebook, etc… a human centered internet doesn’t exist. It’s far more profitable to design our apps like slot machines, and sequester like-minded communities into insulated bubbles. Then we can pit them against one another with polemic tweets or clickbait article titles that incite outrage and reaction for views.

The structural and ideological backbone of our economic systems, our ever-more-dire intensification of the ecological crisis, and the gradual ineptitude of our institutions to address economic inequities is a powder keg of problems that only feed the desire to seek out scapegoats. The left is an easy one. Especially the cultural/social left… where identity and representation is a heated and difficult to navigate space (and on college campuses or on Twitter, can at times get out of hand or over-exaggerated, which, as noted, is partly built into those platforms). Wilber has talked about “Mean Green Meme” since the 90s, as Rebel Wisdom also recently pointed out, but I never felt this was very a fair, or well-studied analysis of the left, or “green” values for that matter.

But circling back to your question, that might be a generational gap: I see a the rise of the left and a post-capitalist future as the only one that will likely be sustainable for civilization. I think a lot of young people intuitively know, feel, and cognize this. They may express new values in what we perceive to be an extreme way, with a lot of zeal, but we know as students of cultural evolution and social transformation that whatever has been repressed tends to surge up and be expressed in an overwhelming way.

I think there’s a bifurcation between folks who are growing up in a failing system and the folks who perhaps don’t see that underlying transformation taking place.


Totally agree … one thing I have been wanting to promote is a culture of more face to face online connections, my hope being that it will help humanize some of our online interactions. We have become so used typing on social media txt walls, and my concern is that we are losing the desire or impulse to actually talk live to another human being, especially when we can just resort to trolling/flaming a chat wall. I would love to design an app that promoted this, where you can search topics and then spontaneously jump into a live Zoom like conversation with other people you don’t know (it could be something like “Toronto raptors win NBA finals” or “American wanting to talk to Russians”). So many people are dying for really human connection – I’m grateful to have you guys :slight_smile:


Some years ago BLAB existed and it was right what you are looking for.

Other comments I would like to make to this thread i prefer to do it on video, not text.

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I just watched Jonathan Haidt’s talk “The Three Terrible Ideas Weakening Gen Z and Damaging Universities and Democracies”

Very insightful

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That was pretty interesting thanks for sharing. I get the concept of antifragility and the increase in polarization. It intuitively makes sense. I’m not sure it explains why there is an increase in polarization in politics. That would be interesting to explore.

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Yeah, my sense is that he’s on the right track with the studying parenting trends in the late 90s, which may play into some college conditions, but it’s really only a partial assessment. I think the value shift points to a much larger and systemic emergence, sociologically. Can’t ignore things like the rise of the internet, social media, and economic/class developments (like Seattle 1999, the 2008 stock market crash, 2012’s Occupy and solidarity movements across the globe, neoliberalism, rising awareness of the climate crisis, etc.).

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I would be curious to know more about the qualities of these fractions @lxvythrs . Do they tend to come up as clusters or groups we can identify across the board or are they reinforced by certain actors mainly? At what level are they operating? Are they more focused on differences or what is common across actors? Like @jdj mentions, most of the platforms on which these discussions are happening on are limited in how they can support dialogues or any successful collaborative undertaking. They tend to generate divergence by their design and by their actors coming from seemingly incompatible fragmented views. You need to hop onto yet another platform with different protocols to get a certain level of collaboration and still, it would be limited by the capacities of the group and the presence or not of a facilitation process and shared intent. @HawaiianRyan I like the group video calls as we have a better immediacy to share among a group and come together with more respect and understanding. I can see how such platforms would benefit from more ‘facilitation like tools’ to help with generating even more cohesive undertaking and enable group thinking. Maybe we should look for open protocols for that.
On the big picture level, I think the challenge now resolves around participating in more self-aware communities that are accountable in the planning and decision-making process. The approaches and tools we use and the capacities of the participants are all important elements in such an endeavor. As a thought experiment, if an integrally aware and capable community was to colonize another planet, how would they go about it so this ‘new society’ is constantly self-aware on all level of its operations and development. Or the same idea but applied to an integral community aiming to design a sharing platform (economy) and a governance structure (politics) for our current world with all its highly complex dynamics which includes the generational realities.

I’m 67 and in love with all you beautiful young people. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Having lived through the emergence of the current “leading edge” world order, i.e. postmodern, which came online culturally during the 1950s and 60s (yes, I was a hippie chick), I salute y’all. You are the torchbearers of the next world order that is even now in the process of coming online.

Times of transition between major world orders have always been tumultuous. In physics this process is known as phase change. In biology it is the punctuation part of punctuated equilibrium. In human society this dynamic tends to express itself as Dark Ages, or at least periods of terrific upheaval – such as the wars of religion in Europe 400 years ago that were part of the emergence of the so-called modern world.

My way of making sense of today’s increased intensity of social fragmentation (“culture wars”) is to see them as one of the typical features of such periods of transition. A regressive, xenophobic backlash in the political arena, such as we see with Trump, Brexit et. al., is typical of such transitional eras. Alas.

BTW such transitional periods also generally involve the appearance of a brand-new technology, particularly a new communication technology. If I had to pick one of the strands in the emergence of a new world order as the key, the one that gooses the other factors to co-arise, I’d pick new communications technologies. Existing systems strain to contain the resulting massive changes, and sometimes collapse. Eventually new systems emerge and voila, we have a new world order.

I’ve charted this all out on an Excel spreadsheet that tracks all 6 of the previous eras in human society, with a stab at defining the seventh that is still emerging. Now, if I can only figure out how to post a link to my spreadsheet onto Discord. My aging brain is struggling to cope with this all this expletive deleted new communications technology.

Anyway, carry on, you beautiful people. I make bold to predict that out of this dark period of great turmoil there will emerge yet another new world order. It will be integral, nothing less!


@TVB well I think we are attempting to do that on Discord, and we have already hit speed bumps. It has been almost two weeks now. That podcast about evolution was a beautiful synchronicity. We are definitely going with the wind.
@ksv Karen: Wonderful observation about the power of technology. I liked your mention of social fragmentation. I like your energy you bring to the table.

@TVB @jdj boy that podcast on social evolution just really ties in here. I’ve never heard Ken so energized and battling. DSW was a very good guest. He challenged and was receptive. Generations must choose to pick certain traits.

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Yeah, that recent podcast on evolution between DSW and KW also struck me as a total synchronicity, given what was just going down in some of our zoom chats etc.

And yes, @lxvythrs, we will inevitably hit speed bumps now and then. We learn by doing, after all. But hey, we don’t let little things like that stop us, right?

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Would like to revisit this idea and mention that if integralists on this site enjoy more of a chat platform that the Discord site is something that we are trying to get off the ground. Please message here if you are interested in being invited to it.
As @HawaiianRyan pointed out it offers a bit more spontaneity than a bulletin style platform. It also might interest more people that are drawn to that type of tech.

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