Integral answers to controversial issues

Nothing excites me more than talking about controversial issues. I think it’s a wonderful way to challenge our existing perspectives, surface our hidden shadows (and work with ourselves when we get triggered), and scrutinize every one of our opinions and assumptions from a 2nd tier consciousness.

I believe that part of our current climate of polarization can be attributed to our collective inability to discuss heated topics with equanimity, reason, compassion, and an open mind. Polarization and division tend to coalesce around such issues, and if we can provide the thought leadership to at least frame the issue in a holistic and pragmatic way, we can help lead the charge towards a Teal worldview. There couldn’t be a more important time for such Integral analyses – the world needs it!

Here’s a list of issues off the top of my head – please add your favorite to the list and share any insights on these topics. I can’t wait to see what you have to say!

Abortion: When do rights start? Is there something between Pro life and Pro choice?

Islam: Is the doctrine or ideology of Islam a large contributor to Islamism and Terrorism?

Cultural appropriation: Do marginalized groups have the right to certain cultural memes, practices, or artifacts?

Issues in the Black community: Is black culture a large contributor to problems such as poverty, crime, and broken families? (personal note: this one was brutal for me to mention)

Race and IQ: Objective science or racist garbage? How seriously should we take these findings that racial groups correlate with IQ scores? And how important is IQ really?

Prostitution, drugs, and sex robots that look like children: Legalize or not?

Death penalty: Should it be legal?

Transgender: Immoral? Mental illness? Free to be whatever you want? Should we always use correct pronouns and should there be a box for every gender? If transgender is acceptable, what about trans-racialism?

Political correctness: How much is too far? Should we be ultra mindful not to offend the dignity of certain groups? Or too much of a slippery slope?

Hate speech vs. free speech: Should government legislate to protect certain groups from hate speech?

Vegan/animal rights: Is it immoral to eat animals if we don’t need to?

Gun control: Strict gun laws? Good guys with guns?

Affirmative action: Should group identity trump individual achievement in education or employment?


We had a lovely evening last night eating haggis, neeps and tatties, together with a few brews. As so often happens in convivial company we got into deep discussion. After agreeing to avoid Brexit for fear of upsetting the evening we moved on to religion. That didn’t get very far. I suggested that religion could have a number of meanings depending on the context of the discussion. We had got on to whether a humanist wedding could actually be a wedding or whether it was a lesser event that had misappropriated the word wedding. The difficulty was that a number of those around the table couldn’t bring themselves to open up about religion. When I suggested that a religion didn’t need a god to be a religion and gave Buddhism as an example, I was met with significant resistance. and directed towards a dictionary with the comment that it was quite simple: religion is only a religion if it has a god and any attempt to go beyond that meant you were moving into a different category of discussion. These wonderful people whose company I was enjoying are all intelligent people who were unaffected by the logic and rationality of my offerings.
Whilst the above is clearly anecdotal, and if I can put any reliance on it, it does seem to me that if we are to move society forward we need to be working on opening people up to change. Then being with them as they discover new lands for themselves. The difficulty is that the current atmosphere of uncertainty and fear of what change will bring - vulnerability at least - mitigates against any desire to open up.
It is great fun to discuss controversial issues with like minded colleagues, and they have certainly helped clarify my own thinking However they don’t seem to be, for me at least, a way in to opening up others to a change of perspective.
Has anyone else had/have similar experiences?


Hey HawaiianRyan,

I am just going to share my perspective on the topics I feel I can have an “opinion on”.

Abortion: Carol Gilligan did not do some research on this, with the selfish, conventional and post-conventional stages. The yes, no, yes pattern. About the question of abortion overall with regards to where do rights start. I personally believe… that pro-life and pro-choice are most likely integrated into the post-conventional stage, since the child needs are perceived in a more relativistic way, seeing that there are many choices the women could take in order to create a wholesome life for the baby… for example -> finding a good career first, or marring a partner which can financially care, living circumstances do I want to bear a child into this area… etc. Basically, she would choose a pro-life choice since she considers life in general of her child and is also pro-choice carries out her ideas, how she wants to raise the child etc. So, she has a choice IMO !!! Instead of having conventional ideas about pro-life and pro-choice saying that even if she is technically pro-choice she can’t because she is influenced by the norm of the culture. So, she has to be pro-life that is her choice then. A selfish stage is most likely a conditioned animal or rather… a demon who can not even conceive the idea of relating to the child in a non-egotistical way, she must always think she is right etc. And then being driven by the moral majority aligns her “red” values or magical? … To green/orange depending on city/culture (Imo city is important) and then expresses these values in a red fashion, for instance saying yes because. Yes, she can. While only caring about herself. So, she has a right, imo. Yet, that is like giving a stage red prisoner male who has not integrated stage red or archaic? A right to act out his aggression of course he has that, but how can one be sure that he does not hurt people ? There is no gurantee it’s most likely going to happen if there is the wrong environment etc, as long as there is not some sort of … brain damage which influences his behaviour, some health problem/issue.

Islam: I don’t know much about Islam I heard the Audiobook Spiral Dynamics by Don Beck and he helped in some regions to fight terrorism? I know he helped Mandela to fight apartheid, but no idea how etc. I live in Germany, so I see a lot of Muslims that want to have the right to practice their religion. Obviously, in any religion, there is a tendency to idealize a doctrine, idea, ideology, way of practice, living etc. I just finished watching the documentary of OSHO on Netflix in case you are interested, I can recommend that on how ideology is formed or guru worshipping rather since the topic… is more nuanced than that. Anyway, a lot of Muslims are peaceful as long as they are stage blue and they move quickly into stage orange where the religion overall, tends to fade off or receives a new impetus at stage green and a dialog is possible in a non-rational way IMO! I mostly believe that it is the world that is unable to create a structure for each nation in order to grow at least to a capitalistic society. (That is currently my notion of things, I rarely watch the news it triggers me even green news trigger me because it moves so quickly into blue sometimes it’s odd…)

Cultural Appropriation: **Most likely I can’t tell I talked about this with a friend who studies political science and sociology at the cultural epitome of the '60s as Ken has talked about with the student’s protests etc. ( I do not know a lot about history just “big” chunks of concepts). Anyway, we argued and she explained that not knowing the meaning of a symbol or the tradition of culture and for instance wearing native American clothes to a Halloween festival “is” cultural appropriation since one does not know if he offends anyone or she and abuses culture for his or her own benefit.

For example, rap music, or Jazz and whatever which has been “historically” an expression of oppression of black human beings? Now a white human being becomes a rapper and offends black culture, so potentially, he is monetizing a thing that originated from black culture and therefore robs, money from their culture.** Potentially, I think it would be fair to have a higher price for the item let’s say on the market and at best not to sell out the procedure for some cultural artifact let’s say a secret recipe to make tea. Otherwise now, I admit I re-read the Wikipedia entry while writing this, that it is helpful to foster a cultural appropriation a mixture of culture, at best perserving some original form of it. For instance, I love Korean hip-hop/rap or pop, because of the language and the "phonetic " sound and it has a hard tone, sounds sophisticated ( as a German native speaker…) and not to cute… which in my humble opinion Chinese does sound and I lived there for 6 months…

Issues in the Black Community: I am bi-racial I’ve never been to the U.S to say that FIRST! Still, I am mixed/black/Afro-American some concepts with a historical or cultural connotation, I’ve read a bit and watched a video from a Harvard professor about this on youtube. But, W.E.B Du Bois was one of the first black people? To study at all and he studied social science and since he was Afro-American / black fully he was able to interview a lot of people at the ghettos they had to house in and was able to conduct a study, what the actual study was about I don’t know, what he found out I know though through Wikipedia that even though equality or the basic rights have been integrated into the culture after the industrial revolution, to have the right to access the same kind of workplaces in mines I imagine, for example, they were unable to access housing, receive titles etc. So, they had an economic parity, but a psychological and sociological disparity because the people who worked there white people from France, Portugal, Spain Germany, IDC when the first settlers came to America, wanted to one-up “black people” and were given titles of honor and received more payment in order to show they are still second class, but somehow free, so access to new jobs etc was difficult since they hired mostly people who were qualified and “accidentally” all of the good schools etc were inside white communities and therefore there was a structural disadvantage. Because of the disparity psychologically and “sociologically” because white people had better titles, more access to wealth through better schools and education and also earned more while oppressing the beforehand oppressed. I will leave it at that since, there was also some strategy how real-estate people snuggled in black people in order to destroy the “economic” value of a region because the region would then be lower class ?

Race and IQ: This pissed me off for some time, because of popular culture see porn and being a young male, which somehow screams dork sometimes, or testing my intellectual niveau. I know this is prevalent any were but feels like shit when you are in another country and the idea about your skin color or nation is completely different then let’s say from an Asian country with lighter skin. I did not finish the book which explained something about genes, so I searched a bit online and obviously watched the JP videos and they were talking about how a Jewish minority has a consistent IQ score of 115. Or smth like that. I never did a real iq test. Online yes, but they are garbage mostly there are some which are better. Also, for instance, I’ve read an article stating that black males have a higher androgen level than whites for 10% and 200 million more active neurons even in countries which are underdeveloped. I know about the book the bell curve and some might say it is outdated, JP would argue me to death or uplift me in some chaos and order way. Overall he also said the 99% percentile of wealth or smth like that generally has an higher IQ, meaning that wealth can contribute, yet only the highest percentiles. IQ is important as well as conscientiousness for predicting academic success or professional success. So, it is a factor one can’t deny. But, valuing it too much just drives for more performance and performance and excellence etc. Imo the bad side.

Prostitution, drugs and sex robots that look like children: I just read that the first sex doll brothel has opened its doors in Europe, can’t tell prostitution is legal here. Some women might prostitute themselves because of life circumstances, fetishes etc. Never really read anything about this ( besides feminism), but I rarely see somebody complain about it. But, the sex slave trading market is there. So, potential repercussions could be some sort of groping in public? Or sexual harassment at home by the parents… for instance, one friend of mine his girlfriend works at the hospital and there was a young father who took… his finger and tested the young girls’ genitals. Can’t really express this normally. I did not see it, but maybe some shit like this could occur, when it is not done in some healthy manner, this is just the worst case idea.

Death penalty: I always thought the freedom to kill oneself could be a choice a fundemntal right in the sense it is legal. I don’t know. Maybe not.

Political correctness: Some “trigger practice” can work quite well, if someone does shadow work (I only tried the 3-2-1 process) and otherwise sometimes it is so much, it evokes the sense of superiority and social class etc. Being part of a majority etc. It is still possible and important to maintain it but, for me tbh. It feels like this as I moved up the stages your use of language automatically changes, even if there is no “real” effort evolved in changing the skill. Like becoming an adult / young adult or reaching adolescence and saying the word egalitarian for the first time or oppression and systemic etc. So, it is important and not and is filtered out with higher stages but kept there in lower stages as long as one is not horizontally further devloped, so going more into the stage.

Transgender, Vegan/animal rights / Gun control / affimative action. Would enjoy your opinion on this as some things to contemplate about.


It is interesting that trangender people and their rights are considered controversial… For whom ? For cis straight people. Why is being straight cis person NOT controversial? Just becose they are majority and might makes it right?! I am not trans person,but i am gay,so i understand very well that for many people we are controversial. But we exist no matter what many cis straight people think. My dear LGBT brothers and sisters,let’s make straight cis people and their rights controversial!


Dear @Bojan, the horse has escaped the paddock. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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The paddock was to small hehe! All the best.:grinning:

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Many times. It appears your intelligent friends are victims of a particularly virulent case of confirmation bias. Everyone has a case of it, but it is hard to understand how it can cause people to be so close-minded about a definition. Definitions are neither true nor false, just more or less useful. Restricting the denotation of ‘religion’ to belief systems that have a god/gods/goddesses at their center is just not very useful, as you have pointed out. I have no easy solutions for you to offer to your close-minded friends, but you may find a two-part essay I wrote last year helpful for your own thinking. It is titled “What Is Religion? An Integral Approach.” You can read it at

Best wishes,
Charles Marxer, retired philosophy teacher, integral Buddhist


Hi @Andrew_Baines, @Charles_Marxer
People can’t be blamed and accused of closed mindedness if they shy away from discussing religion. They have reasons for not opening up. I struggle with the mundane conversations of my mainstream friends (and family) but I understand them because they are green or orange with no higher consciousness.
However When I’m with my Interfaith group I am at home with equals who all love all religions, open minded on politics and social issues and familiar with meditation practice, prayer, cosmology, ritual, consciousness. etc etc. These are my FRIENDS. A couple of them have read KW Grace n Grit, so I will be promoting integral theory with them and I hope there will be synergy there.
#infinitelove #interfaith #integrallife #the3I’s

Thank you Charles, I will have a read.

More issues to consider:

What money can’t buy: Should some things such as healthcare or prisons be exempt from profit (perverse incentives)? Should we pay citizens to vote? Should schools pay children to incentivize studying? Should we allow an organs market so people can make money selling a kidney?

Freedom vs. community: Should we reinstate some sort of “draft” or mandatory national service? Should people be forced to be vaccinated, even if some believe it can cause autism? Should we enact compulsory voting like Australia?

Retributive justice/prisons vs. rehabilitation: Should prisons and the criminal justice system focusing on punishing individuals, or rehabilitating them to be better citizens? What would an Integral prison/criminal justice system look like?

Should euthanasia and assisted suicide be allowed?

Is torture ever justified? Torture from a developmental perspective?

Integral analysis of Israel/Palestine conflict?

More LGBTQ issues: Should Obama have mandated that a private business bake a wedding cake for the gay couple? Should transgender folks (or anyone) be allowed to use any bathroom they want?

Are the costs of drone strikes (civilian causalities) worth the benefits (own troops not getting injured/killed)?

Is gentrification a natural economic process, or should special measures be taken to preserve the cultural character or prevent community displacement of lower income families?

Should we move to a school voucher system for private schools, so parents can have the freedom to choose where to send their kids? Should we also publicly fund vouchers for religious schools?

Multiculturalism: How do we determine which cultural values to prioritize? Should a high school english class (In North America or Europe) choose reading Shakespeare or Chinua Achebe?

To see all of these issues listed in one place makes me a little dizzy…Every one of them is complex and deserving of a full-out integral analysis; some are of course, a little more pressing than others.

Some of them that are phrased as ‘either-or’ would be best addressed through a both-and approach; for example, yes, gentrification is an economic process but it’s also related to increasing beauty in the world, I believe, AND, in many situations measures should be taken to preserve cultural character and prevent displacement of lower income people, or measures should be taken to relocate those displaced people in environments that make for a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Questions here related to abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia and assisted suicide (and we could add suicide itself to this list as well) have foundational commonalities, in my opinion, and if one looks to history, we see that they have often arisen as questions in culture at similar times. For example, 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision came when the right-to-die movements in the U.S. were also gaining attention, and issues around the death penalty were also again on the table. More recently, as abortion and Planned Parenthood have taken heat, so has the states’ use of injectable drugs for capital punishment (as there have been a number of cases where death by injection was prolonged and possibly painful, i.e. ‘cruel and unusual.’) While each of these issues, abortion/death penalty. etc., has its own aspects to be considered, they all reflect culture’s trying to come to terms with humanity’s rights/responsibilities around ending life, and more to the point perhaps, trying to come to terms with an individual human’s rights/responsibilities around ending life (versus nation-state sanctioned killing as in war, policing, etc.)

(An aside: while suicides are increasing in the U.S., I just learned through a recent Daily Evolver episode that worldwide, suicide is decreasing, attributable to the fact that women in abusive relationships by husband or relatives are finding other ways “out” of the situation than suicide. That’s a positive.)

I will also weigh in on gun control. I once made a list of how many times in my own life I had encountered instances of gun violence or death, and it was a whopping 36 times. These ranged from situations of being ‘on site’ when an accidental gun death or injury occurred, to people I’ve known who have taken their lives, or attempted to, using firearms, to two instances of having a loaded gun pointed at me (both involved mentally disturbed people I was encountering in a clinical situation for the first time, neither of which had any history of ‘danger to self or others.’ Lest anyone think it was something I did that provoked them, I assure you it was not. They simply came into the office, sat down, and pulled out a gun. It was something I did that saved my life, I think; not just my superb :slightly_smiling_face: counseling skills and relative calm, but the spiritual mantra that was automatically repeating itself in me 24/7 during that time–so another good reason to take up spiritual practice…) My sister-in-law was also murdered by a young male having his first psychotic break; he used a gun. With or without these personal situations, I do support stricter gun control laws, although in the majority of the situations I’ve encountered, I can’t imagine laws that would have prevented the situations. Still, I think it’s ridiculous the number of guns in this country.

(And an aside to this: Ken Wilber has mentioned in talks about politics that a parliamentary form of government in the U.S. would help things out a lot. Not knowing that much about parliamentary systems, I did some research–check the subject out even on Wikipedia, where the pros and cons are discussed and numerous interesting tidbits are listed, such as the fact that a list of cities (50 of them) by murder rate shows an overwhelming number of them with the highest murder rates are in countries that use presidential systems of government, not parliamentary. There are many other findings that suggest parliamentary governance is saner/healthier and less corrupt in many ways.)

I could get started on vegan/animal rights, but I’ve gabbed enough for now.


Wonderful post as always, @LaWanna! Sorry for cramming all these issues into one post. My main intention for this thread was to explore new and creative (Integral) ways to think about these issues, so we don’t get stuck in some 1st tier binary framework. I didn’t put a lot of consideration into how these questions were framed; I actually wanted to include 1st tier framing just to see how people would respond.

People who are new to Integral have often asked me: “Can Integral theory actually provide an answer to these problems? If it can’t provide a clear cut solution, then what good does the framework do anyway?” So I’m constantly explaining how its more about framing and viewing the issue holistically, rather than providing snap-of-the-finger solutions to deeply complex problems.

I really appreciated your gun stories – very intense! I’ll weigh in on gun control here: Coming from a liberal Buddhist family, I have always had a strong aversion to guns and supported staunch anti-gun legislation. When I moved to cities, I became even more anti-gun, as being enveloped in highly liberal urban environments shaped my moral perception regarding where guns should be allowed. It was horrifying to think that some kid could buy a gun at Walmart and then stroll into an unarmed elementary school – “guns belong on the battlefield, not in the public square.” Even if someone was able to procure a firearm illegally or otherwise, at least we would have laws to prevent one from acquiring one easily; lest we be complicit in allowing such horrendous acts to take place.

Then I moved to the country. We have cows, chickens, and goats. Mountain lions and coyotes prowl the area regularly and have even killed some of the neighbors livestock. I looked to my girlfriend and said, “wait…we don’t have a gun?!” It is also a very conservative region where everyone sports a MAGA bumper sticker on their pickup truck, and goes to the range regularly. Suddenly guns seemed like no big deal; in fact it would be strange if we didn’t have one! I realized how strongly the environment shaped my perception of what’s acceptable, and how living in the open countryside dovetailed nicely with gun ownership, unlike living in a dense urban area. It’s kind of like when your a kid and your parents yell: “Play with that outside! Not in the house.” Certain activities or objects are just not appropriate when in the house; but they are perfectly fine outside.


Just a note to say that I love the list of issues that you’ve laid out, and I may ask Ken for his views about some of these in a future episode of The Ken Show. Would be interesting if we can get Ken to offer a number of short responses for these. But knowing him, he’ll want to take a full hour for each question :slight_smile:

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Hey Hawaiian Ryan, great post yourself, and I didn’t intend my initial comments as any sort of criticism of your list or this topic… I appreciate what you’ve done here and know you’re way too smart to, for example, frame your own analyses in either-or terms; based on reading your posts, you’re definitely a both-and kind of integral guy.

That said, thanks for engaging the topic of gun control. I started out in life where you are now–in a rural, conservative community where guns were ubiquitous, in my family as well–brothers had guns and hunted, mother owned a gun. Target practice was a family affair. For whatever reason, I hated it; perhaps I was intuiting all those future 36 situations I would encounter involving guns, and shied away. Perhaps I observed the carelessness and recklessness with which some people handled their guns. Or the fear and the violence in some of their hearts, their eyes. Perhaps I grew into green at a fairly young age, you know, too crybaby sensitive for all the noise and explosion. Perhaps I was too typically female, more interested in people than things. (Not entirely true, I’m interested in lots of dead, inanimate ‘things,’ just not guns.)

I understand a bit about the birth of this nation, the rebellion against the tyranny of English rule, the insistence upon individual freedom, the “rugged individualism,” the vital instinct for self-preservation while conquering and colonizing the new frontier, the role of firearms in putting meat on the table and protecting self and possessions from wild animals and wild Indians. I think all of that has played a role in shaping the American fascination with firearms.

And fascination it is, perhaps even an addiction. While there is no way of obtaining an official count of the number of guns in this country as there is no adequate database, a number of respectable studies have attempted estimates. The Small Arms Survey, a project of the Graduate Institute of International and Developmental Studies, in Geneva, found that in 2017, while Americans made up 4% of the world’s population, we owned 46% of the entire global stock of 857 million civilian firearms (The Washington Post, June 19, 2018). That’s 393 million guns owned by civilians (not military or law enforcement) in this country, or 120.5 guns for every 100 residents. The country second to the U.S. in gun ownership is Yemen, with 52.8 guns per 100 residents. That’s less than half the rate in the U.S., and while Yemen is a poorer country, it’s also rather habitually war-torn. Among the wealthiest nations, gun ownership in the U.S. is three times the rate in the next highest country, which is Canada. The average gun-owning household in the U.S. owns nearly 8 guns.

There have also been domestic studies regarding the number of guns in the U.S., by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service using Department of Justice data, for instance, which in 2012 put the number of civilian-owned firearms in 2009 at 310 million, when the population was 305 million. Again, more guns than people, and the numbers do not include BB guns, replicas, or no longer functioning firearms (lost or destroyed).

Then there are the research studies regarding gun deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control database, there were 39,773 people killed in shootings in the U.S. in 2017. (The Guardian, December 13, 2018). Of these, about 60% or around 24,000 were suicides (which we all know is increasing); 14,542 gun deaths were homocides. Of the nearly 40,000 people killed in shootings, when age fluctuations are accounted for, that results in 12 deaths per 100,000 people. That actually doesn’t seem like such a huge number, but the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Network compared that to other developed countries and found: In Japan, 0.2 people per 100,000 died from shootings; in the U.K, it was 0.3; in Germany, 0,9, and in Canada, 2.1 people per 100,000. According to the JAMA Network, six countries were responsible for more than half of all of the 250,000 civilian gun deaths in 2017 around the globe: the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Guatamala.

Further, studies by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence found that access to guns in the home increases the odds of suicide more than three-fold, and that suicide in the U.S. is concentrated in those places where gun ownership is most prevalent and gun laws are most lax. The highest rates of suicide occurred in the three states with the greatest gun ownership: Alaska, followed by Wyoming and Montana.

This is not to debate whether people have the right to take their own lives, but to merely point out that there is a correlation between the prevalence of guns in the home and loose gun laws, and the incidence of suicide (if we really want to address that issue.)

Finally, I do think there’s middle ground around guns and gun laws and gun safety laws; I don’t see it as an all or nothing situation. And any changes, if they come, will certainly be incremental. But I think the number of guns in this country is, as I said, ridiculous, vulgar, insane.

I’ve barely touched the surface of the many issues around gun control, certainly no integral analysis here. But at least there are some numbers to consider, and maybe someone else can take it from here.

Great posts, got me reflecting this Sunday morning. The posts certainly helped me clarify my thoughts, as they often do. As regards how Integral Theory helps me address the points raised, general and specific; to me it goes something like this. Integral Theory doesn’t give answers to any questions but it does give an overview as to how we approach asking questions and getting answers. It is made up of insights as to framework, process and content. The framework is the structure, scaffolding, barriers, boundaries that provide the space within which the conversation can take place. That framework is constructed according to the culture, the linguistics, individual etc, i.e.the four quadrants/quadrivia clarify the framework of the discussion.
Then comes the process. So we don’t have a random barrage of opinions fired here there and everywhere, there is a process that helps the conversation move from less informed to more informed. Same comment about culture, linguistics quadrants/quadrivia here. Just as a framework adopted at a Teal level will be able to hold a wider/deeper spectrum of ideas of reality than at Green, similarly a process that functions within Green will be able to deal with a wider/deeper level of conversation than that of Blue.
We then get onto content and the same thing happens again.
There is a saying that goes something along the lines of “Don’t try to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig.” The concept behind the robust saying appears to explain e.g. how Donald Trump had so many people vote for him. When we engaged with those likely to be at Donald Trump’s political level, we didn’t give them the respect they deserved and engage with their needs, worries, aspirations etc. Rather we came at them with our Green liberal democratic ideas and were mortified when they voted against us. Now, clarification here, I’m not equating Trump supporters with pigs, rather I’m saying that we each have needs aspirations etc that match where we are in our life. However the saying is a succinct explanation of a problem. We tried to teach the pig to sing - why on earth would a pig have the slightest interest in singing? Such a complete lack of understanding of the needs aspirations of the pig by the singing instructor unsurprisingly annoys it. And the time of the singing instructor is entirely wasted.
So, in answer to the question (I think) Integral Theory helps us to avoid trying to teach pigs to sing and gives us an opportunity to adopt an approach that can meet the needs, aspirations of any person with whom we may have a conversation and shows us how we can give the respect that is due to that person in their own situation in life.

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Aloha @Bojan, thank you for your comments. I meant to address them some time ago but forgot, so sorry this is coming a little late.

I share many of your sympathies, and also at times find it flummoxing how LGBTQ rights can be considered controversial to some. As an aspiring Integralist, I try my best to stretch myself and put myself in the shoes of others, as difficult as that can be at times.
If you don’t mind me asking, I have a few questions for you:

  1. What would be the goal of making straight cis people and their rights controversial?
  2. How would one go about doing this? What kind of tactics or communication strategies can be employed to challenge straight cis rights?
  3. How can we do this (and I certainly see the value in making people uncomfortable at times) with kindness, compassion, and understanding, so as not to regress to a “Mean Green Meme?”

Thanks for humoring me, and I greatly look forward to your response :slight_smile:

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My thoughts as to why making “cis” controversial may have some sense. Straight cis people and their rights are already controversial amongst some groups. As I understand it, the concept of “cis” came about as a reaction to the idea that “straight” is the norm and anything else is non-normal. As Greens have a tendency to do, they make everything relative. The use of “cis” puts straight gender identity on a level playing field with other gender identities. Or the other way round, depending where you are coming from. From a Green perspective then, if gender rights are all relative, then whatever your gender identity might be, it is either controversial, because they all are, or non-controversial because none are. Making straight cis people and their rights controversial is to place them on a level playing field with all the other gender identities which, from some perspectives, are controversial.
Why do that? Because of the gender politics that are going on with Orange and below. Blue is likely to say there is no need to have this conversation about “cis”, it is an utter and pointless nonsense. It doesn’t exist. Humans are straight. Period. Anything else is not a gender identity. There is only one gender identity and that is straight. Anything else is an aberration at best and an abhorrence deserving of damnation at worst. So how do you have a conversation with that? Well, one way in is to concentrate on the idea of “rights” rather than whether anything other than straight is right. You might come from the angle that even prisoners on death row have rights, because that’s part and parcel of a decent society. If death row prisoners can have rights, then its not too far a step to talk about all gender identities (aberrations/abhorrences) having rights. Once you have your rights in place, then you have viable way of life in your community. You can then go about helping those lower down the spiral to understand where your lifespace is coming from.


I will add another ‘controversial issue’ here, with reference to an article and also to an episode of The Daily Evolver: “Is Masculinity Toxic? Thoughts on the Gillette ad and new APA Guidelines.”

I read the article “The Fight Over Men Is Shaping Our Political Future” by Thomas Edsall of The New York Times, in which he reported on the support and criticism of the “Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men” just released by the American Psychological Association. Criticism tends to be coming largely from traditional quarters who object to the APA’s emphasis on the social construction of masculinity, ignoring biological factors. Having some familiarity with the APA, my own take is that historically, they have tended to play it safe, their remarks/guidelines “in line” with what is leading in social popularity, and these guidelines don’t veer much from that practice. At the same time, I think their “message” is a needed one, lacking and non-integrated though it is.

What was extra-interesting to me about this article is that the reporter did try to offer a 4-quadrant coverage, even using the term “integral” several times.

The conversation between Jeff Salzman and Dr. Witt on the DE was full and rich. They showed the Gillette ad in its entirety, which I had not seen. It’s hard not to like the ad, and at the same time, perhaps because I’ve had the term on my mind since reading it in a couple of Corey’s posts, I sensed a little “virtue signalling” in the ad. (I researched the origins of the term ‘virtue signalling,’ and came across this tidbit: Zoe Williams in The Guardian suggested the phrase was the “sequel insult to champagne socialist.” Don’t you love that? You gotta laugh.)

Hey guys, just a heads up that Ken will be offering his own views on many of the issues raised above in today’s Ken Show. I hope you can join us! 3 PM MT on Integral Live:

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If i would say what i really want to say about making straight cis people uncomfortable, i would be permanently baned from this forum😉