Integral Critical Theory: The 8 Zones of Racism


#141

@FermentedAgave any Guru worth his salt can bring these states to dozens of people in a weekend. There are millions of people who have had these experiences. The only real challenge is it takes dedication and practice to achieve these states independently - without a Guru / guide.

If your Pastors have been lacking in skill or knowledge to teach these to you - then, well, that is the case as it is. Your lack of experience is not universal. But when you deny that millions of people have had these experiences, that’s like if I refused to drink alcohol and said the state of drunkenness didn’t exist, lol.

By the way - the Greeks got most their knowledge from Asia, but did not understand all of it and so only “got” part of it. Western civilization is based on watered down planarization of what the Greek Philosophers learned in the East. It’s only recently in this century that the West is “catching up” with experiencing these states that have ben commonplace in the East throughout history.

Every day, hundreds of millions of people in India, Nepal and Tibet and across the world achieve these states as a part of their daily practice to make their life of paycheck to paycheck living more joyful and peaceful. In Islam they have a variation based on absolute 100% dedication.
I can’t speak about all Christian groups, but in my experience only the more far-left “Unitarian” or “Unity” types or perhaps “Born Again” sects of Christianity seem to experience these states on the daily. I believe this is a result of a 100% dedication of life to “The Lord” 24/7 and placing everything in “His Hands”. I would say the Christian and Islam is similar to Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga of dedication.


#142

LOL. I’m moved, likely to a confirmation of Red/Amber ethnocentrism (right?) almost every Sunday. I can also invoke, much of the time, “experiences” at home either praying or through shamanic journeying.

A wise friend once said something along the lines of Buddhism and Hinduism are excellent spiritual practices that enable humans to find some level of peace in horrible living conditions. Looking at Buddhism or Hinduism as a spiritual foundations for their respective cultures, it really sucks when you snap out of the peak experience to find yet again hunger, dysentery, plague, poverty (of course all due to Western Imperialism, right? :wink:)
Meanwhile in societies that sprang out of Christian foundations, you wake up and wonder UberEats can deliver within 20 minutes or if the government is going to pay for my “natural urge” for hormone therapy.


#143

@FermentedAgave
As usual, you are running circular arguments that don’t make any sense and turn the world upside down just to try and make your topsy-turvy view make sense. Then when it falls over, you flip your own views on yourself and try to make sense from the other way.

The very fact that you are seeking a legit drumming circle suggest to me that your nightly Christian prayer is “not enough” and you need something “more”. Otherwise you would be organizing “PRAISE THE LAWD” Holly Roller Kumbaya sessions at your local church on Wednesday evenings and that would fulfill your life. If I was into Christianity or New Age interpretations of it, there are events literally every day of the week at my local Unitarian and Unity Churches - or there is the Word of Life Church for a more singing praising experience.

Do you know what sucks worse than?

Never having that peak experience in any income bracket, or not knowing how to experience it on demand. That must really suck to experience mental and emotional pain and worse be trapped it. Not knowing that all mental anguish and most physical pain can be eliminated or reduced with just a change in one’s spiritual state? Ouch. That must really suck.

UberEats, lol. God, what a stupid measure of progress. Never even considered using them, tbh. I have real food at home - why should I pay someone to bring garbage to my house? For me that kind of food is for when I’m stuck in a city food desert and don’t have options for real food.
But for you poisonous food is progress? That is your measure of the culmination of civilization? Diabetes, Heart disease, Obesity?
Then when all those Uber Eats clog the blood vessels in your penis, you need “hormone therapy”? Oh, I see - you see the need to take Viagra as the pinnacle of human accomplishment. No thank you - take all the hormones you want to improve your sex life but don’t fool yourself that it’s “progress”.


#144

Love the satire on the satire! Cracking me up here. Lol

Hallelujah Brother. Maybe I’ll roll into Church and demand drumming circles during Sunday services, or the Lord’s Prayer to start the drum circles. Lol.


#145

Here’s what I’ve read…
Sex, Ecology and Spirituality
A Theory of Everything
Integral Spirituality
Integral Life Practice - book, cds, dvds…
Integral Psychology
A Sociable God

Also along the post or post post modern domain interspersed with:
Foucault - The Order of Things
Pinker - The Language Instinct
McWhorter - History of Human Language

Plus a bunch of Human potential workshops and seminars.

As I’ve likely shared previously, Wilber’s writings really helped me settle I to an understanding of our world and perhaps even more importantly peace with not understanding. As a systems engineer and strategic planner guy I found Wilbers rationality easy to take in. Make any sense?


#146

Makes perfect sense to me, you simply appear to have some fundamental disagreements with Mr. Wilber, such as his prescription for more Orange worldcentric Christianity — which of course is fine, it’s perfectly okay to disagree with Ken. I just think it takes a bit of rigor to do so in a satisfactory way :slight_smile:

So, as you likely already know, Ken has based a significant portion of his career trying to make a case for religion evolving into post-amber stages. In fact, I think he is in many ways betting the world on it — that is, he sees the arrested development of religion as one of the primary failures of the conveyor belt (for a number of historic reasons, of course, particularly an over-correction as we shifted from Amber religious fusion into Orange differentiation, which allowed alchemy to grow into chemistry, astrology into astronomy, etc.), and one of the greatest continuing sources of violence in the world.

The question, of course, is how do we get there from here? How can we fully include the Amber stage (and the people who inhabit that stage) while also getting the transformative gears turning again, so that people can more easily re-translate their religious sensibilities and grow into Orange universal values and views?

So, understanding all of this, I hope, helps resolve your perception that I have some kind of animosity or hatred for Christianity as a whole. We need to be able to acknowledge the dignities of Amber, yes, but also the many disasters and indignities that can also come from that stage. Which means that, yes, we need to acknowledge that fact that many forms of popular Christianity are blatantly homophobic, some even demanding death for gay people, and what sorts of effects that can have on kids growing up in those subcultures. It doesn’t mean all Christians are bad, but it does mean there are bad Christians.


#147

Corey, Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful response.

While I do wholeheartedly that we want all of our institutions, organizations, cultural foundations to grow and develop, I think our fundamental disagreement is on your assessment of the current level of religious development. I would point out that, to my knowledge, Ken only holds discussions with “like minded” intellectuals. If you have examples of Ken discussing religion with religious scholars adherent to the religions they practice, I would love to see them.

Speaking about that which I have visceral experience, I simply don’t see Christianity today here in America as your essentially “frozen in Amber”. Can you find hard-core Amber churches with Red militias? Of course you can use those examples if you want to make specific points, but that would be a disservice to both Christians and Integralists. We can fixate on the “Whiteness” of the Integral community or the “homophobia” you highlight of some groups of Christians. Should we pain the entire Integral community as anti-People of Color and also paint all of Christianity as homophobic?

Questions that I have include:

  • Can an individual have an overall Orange or Green or Teal altitude, yet still practice a religion that you deem as Amber? Or must a religious adherent disavow their religion in order to ascend the Integral levels to Orange or Green or Teal?
  • If you were to assess, as an example, Catholics in the US (roughly 48M, not picking on Catholics they’re just the easiest to find information on), do they have on average a lower developmental level than the average American? Just how much is the Catholic Church “hold back” these peoples’ development in your assessment?
  • As I’ve shared before, the Integral community is extremely white and predominately male. Religions today simply do not appears as ethnically homogeneous as Integralism. We of course can find “examples” to make points on both sides, if we like, but lets stay at a Meta level if we can. Should we measure “ethnocentrism” based on what a group manifests or what they say?
  • Looking at Churches, is a Church or religion “ethnocentric” (aka Amber) if it’s filled with almost an exact cross section of the population across all demographic slices? Latino, Black, White, Asian, Indian, Tall, Short, Skinny, Fat, native born Citizen, immigrant, Leftist, Centrist, Rightist, Wealthy, Working Class, Poor, High IQ, Average, Low IQ. Is “stuck in Amber” a credible assessment?

Interesting discussion. Thanks for looking below the surface level on this discussions.


#148

Interesting breakdown on an Anti Defamation League report.

Seems the ADL cherry-picks their examples to make points - or at least that’s the premise of the report assessment.

“In 2021, white supremacists were responsible for more murders than any other type of extremist; in many years, they comprised an outright majority of the extremist murders that year,” the report said. “Indeed, over the past 10 years, white supremacists have committed 244 (55%) of the 443 killings that the ADL (COE) has documented.”


#149

Great questions.

“I would point out that, to my knowledge, Ken only holds discussions with “like minded” intellectuals. If you have examples of Ken discussing religion with religious scholars adherent to the religions they practice, I would love to see them.”

I’ve posted a long list for you before, which includes tons of conversations with folks like Father Thomas Keating, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Paul Smith, Rollie Stanich, and several other Christian leaders and practitioners. We’ve been talking regularly and directly with Christians for nearly 20 years now :slight_smile:

Happy to post a new list later today if you like. Much of it is member content, but I’d be happy to send you some files for free if you like.

“Can an individual have an overall Orange or Green or Teal altitude, yet still practice a religion that you deem as Amber? Or must a religious adherent disavow their religion in order to ascend the Integral levels to Orange or Green or Teal?”

Simple answer: somewhere around 60% of the population is at an Amber stage of development, and people will seek forms of community and worship that correspond to their overall developmental level. So people at Amber will seek Amber forms of religion. People who move beyond Amber become less satisfied with Amber forms of religion, and will begin to seek forms that satisfy them at the Orange stage, which are typically going to be more experience-driven than belief-driven. And if they can’t find those forms, they often walk away from religion entirely (which is the primary reason we see church attendance plummeting in America and Europe). Not too surprising here.

Less simple answer: human beings are tremendously complex, and no one is “at” a single stage of development. Which means we have a great many people with otherwise Orange+ stages of cognition (rational, reasonable, objective, etc.) but still possess Amber worldviews. This is very common. In fact, our cognitive intelligence is often a stage or two ahead of our moral development, our values, and our worldviews. This allows many people to “compartmentalize” their beliefs, in order to cope with the possible dissonance that comes with having cognitive capacities that go beyond their worldviews.

“If you were to assess, as an example, Catholics in the US (roughly 48M, not picking on Catholics they’re just the easiest to find information on), do they have on average a lower developmental level than the average American? Just how much is the Catholic Church “hold back” these peoples’ development in your assessment?”

No, they do not have a lower-than-average development, I would say they ARE the average development, since ~60% of the world remains at Amber or below.

One of the challenges here, I think, is that Amber beliefs often make it very difficult for a person to transition from Amber to Orange in their own development, because they are told, in a mythic-literal way, that their souls depend on them maintaining their Amber beliefs. We see this in some Christian communities around things like evolution — if you believe it, you are going against God’s word, and you will spend an eternity in hell. Same with homosexuality, abortion, other spiritual traditions, and any number of other perceived “sins”. (My wife, who was raised Catholic by a very sweet, smart, and loving family, nonetheless remembers having a list of religious symbols from other traditions on her refrigerator, with a warning that these symbols were themselves inherently “evil”.) Which is why I think it’s so important that we pay attention to Ken’s call for Orange forms of religion — which, as he points out in the post, already exists, particularly in the Catholic tradition, and just needs to be made more available — since this can help repair the religious conveyor belt that could potentially guide people through multiple stages of growth, rather than just one or two.

A similar developmental roadblock exists between Green and Teal, by the way, but for different reasons. Green is allergic to earlier stages, which it needs to reintegrate before shifting into Teal. Amber, however, is allergic to later stages, which can often (but not always) make it difficult for people to transition from Amber to Orange.

“As I’ve shared before, the Integral community is extremely white and predominately male. Religions today simply do not appears as ethnically homogeneous as Integralism. We of course can find “examples” to make points on both sides, if we like, but lets stay at a Meta level if we can. Should we measure “ethnocentrism” based on what a group manifests or what they say?”

Well you were partially right about being white (but only partially because we have a large international community), but far less correct when it comes to “predominantly male”, since about 50% of our audience are women. Either way, demographics do not determine whether a group is “ethnocentric”. Do we have whites-only policies? Do we have specific roles for women and for men? Then chances are, we’re not “ethnocentric” :slight_smile: “Ethnocentrism” refers to the underlying values that drive a group, not to what a group happens to look like.

Hope this is helpful!


#150

Generally when I see people who take criticism as hatred I realize I am looking at people who are incredibly insecure, and need to feel as victims to rationalize lashing out.
There are thousands of years of historic documentation of the Atrocities committed by most of the worlds major religions - also, thousands of books pointing out inconsistencies and things that just don’t make sense at all.
For people to make the claim that it is hatred to point these out or discuss them is just over the top cognitive and psychological breakdown.
Ironically, when they become irrational due to this imagined persecution complex, they reinforce the points of critics that religions tend to attract people who are not capable of thinking logically (below Orange).


#151

Are you using a special Integral specific definition of ethnocentrism?
Of course Integral Life doesn’t have racial, gender or religious exclusionary rules or criteria. It’s not overt racism but more a structural bias/racism that limits adherents to seemingly very specific demographics.
Might be worth swiveling the Eye of Zones at the Integral Culture to see how to expand the audience given that Whites will be a minority very soon.

Somehow these ethnocentric (barring your fundamentalist whack job examples) churches do seemingly have something figured out that spans race, gender, orientation even in the face of being frozen in Amber.

Do you or Ken have actual experience of practicing Christianity as a free to choose adult? Or is it solely during adolescence or as Integral analysis?

Again, I don’t see in the congregations we interact with, what you seem to see. And at least for us, it’s pretty “experiential” as well as “belief driven”. To state that Christianity isn’t experiential seems inaccurate, or perhaps you’re using an integral definition of experiential. Is Integral Theory experiential?

Thanks and yes you’ve shared these in the past. Is Integral Life engaged with any practicing Christian leaders today? Perhaps some of what we might call Christian theologians or intellectuals?


#152

Can you spell this out more clearly?
Specifically which very specific demographic is it limited to?

Could you describe what they have figured out? Of course they have figured out how to conduct worship, but besides that I can’t say it’s evident what religions have “figured out”.

OBVIOUSLY, OBVIOUSLY, OBVIOUSLY
Not all congregations are the same. It’s absurd to say “Well, my church is good, so therefore there can’t be any problems anywhere on the planet, can there? Corey must never have been to church anywhere in the world because well, every church on the planet must be the same as mine.”

It’s not difficult to find a church and try it out and see what’s going on in it. It’s also not difficult to see churches organizing political protests (against their nonprofit status, by the way), and it’s not difficult to attend a protest and see religious people expressing an US vs THEM messaging.
hint: Us vs them = ethnocentrism


#153

Sort of, but not really. The ethnocentric stage is primarily looking at the self-identity and values lines of development — the “us. vs. them” structure of consciousness associated with the Amber stage. And it’s not something that ever totally goes away after we transclude the Amber stage – it is simply transcended and included. I can be integral, but still ethnocentric when it comes to protecting my family, serving my community, etc. To the extent that we have a community here in Integral Land that we care about, we are practicing some degree of ethnocentrism. But it is a very “soft” ethnocentrism, which does not limit or constrict our other behaviors in other sectors of the world. I care about the integral community, for example, but not the the exclusion or detriment of other communities.

Of course Integral Life doesn’t have racial, gender or religious exclusionary rules or criteria. It’s not overt racism but more a structural bias/racism that limits adherents to seemingly very specific demographics.
Might be worth swiveling the Eye of Zones at the Integral Culture to see how to expand the audience given that Whites will be a minority very soon.

I wasn’t sure if this was 100% sincere or not, or if you were trying to expose some of the flaws of either “critical theory” (distinct from “critical race theory”) or the sort of 8 Zone approach that I’ve been working with (which you may also consider to be a form of “critical theory” but I am not sure). But yes, these analyses are absolutely worth doing! I think we’ve talked about this in the past — what are some of the reasons that predominantly white Americans and Europeans have selected into Integral communities like this one? At which point, I think need to take a hard look at things like economic conditions in Zones 7 and 8 — most people who come to Integral are coming from middle class, with some degree of disposable time and income to invest in self-improvement projects. This would definitely be worthy of analysis.

But, we don’t want to oversimplify either — we have significantly large followings in Spanish-speaking countries, for example, as well as some Asian countries. But when it comes to the English-speaking world, we should take a look at some of the developmental barriers and challenges in all four quadrants that make it more or less difficult for certain groups to pursue their own growth, development, awakening, and self-actualization.

Alongside these economic and environmental factors in Zones 7 and 8, we could look at the Zone 4 integral — is it primarily using cultural tropes and reference points that are more meaningful to some groups than others? We can look at Zone 3 — is there something about integral discourse itself that is more or less attractive to certain groups? I can look at my own Zone 2 — do I have any unconscious biases that prevent me from bringing more diversity into this space? We can look at behavioral zones 5 and 6 — should I personally be doing anything in particular to increase the amount of diversity in the space? Should I exercise an “integral affirmative action” where I am looking to meet a particular quota of diversity in the community? Or should I allow things to run their own natural course? (I tend to be somewhere between, I think).

Overall it’s a very worthwhile analysis, and one that I myself am always sort of running in the background of my consciousness. Great question! These are EXACTLY the kinds of conversations I want to be having more regularly :slight_smile:

Somehow these ethnocentric (barring your fundamentalist whack job examples) churches do seemingly have something figured out that spans race, gender, orientation even in the face of being frozen in Amber.

Some more than others, but yes! As I mentioned before, ideally when a new social transformation emerges (such as the rise of Green multiculturalism), that exerts an influence on previous stages that causes them to re-translate their stage in different ways. I used the example of interracial marriage — 4% approval in 1958, 94% approval in 2022. This doesn’t mean that 94% of people are suddenly post-ethnocentric, it simply means that many at the ethnocentric stage in this society were able to re-translate their ethnocentrism to be generally supportive of things like interracial marriage. And this is genuine progress! Sort of a horizontal translative development, more than a vertical transformational development, but we take all the development we can get. Healthy translations are vital to a healthy society. But so is creating opportunity for healthy transformation to later/deeper stages, which I very much believe is something that religious institutions can evolve toward in the long run.

Do you or Ken have actual experience of practicing Christianity as a free to choose adult? Or is it solely during adolescence or as Integral analysis?

I’ve talked about my own Christian practices, beliefs, and experiences in the past. Ken himself is primarily buddhist, in a sense, but really he practices an “integral spirituality” that can find its roots in all of these traditions. But he has spoken to, about, and from a Christian perspective many times in the past — particularly from the deep esoteric traditions “hidden” within the Christian faith.

“Is Integral Theory experiential?”

Integral theory is enactive. Which means, it is based on a series of repeatable methodologies across a number of knowledge domains. It’s the third of the three major integral principles — nonexclusion (everyone is right, everyone has some piece of the puzzle), enfoldment (some are more right than others, some truths are more true, and methodologies can only disclose realities in their own zone), and enactment (if you want to know this, do that). So in that sense, integral is deeply empirical and experience-based, as is all good science (if you want to know how many moons are orbiting Jupiter, you need to look in a telescope and have an experience). No one is asking you to believe in integral concepts as a matter of faith.

This is particularly true for integral spirituality — which is fundamentally based on the premise that all human beings can experience the same transcendent states as the world’s most realized mystics, teachers, and religious founders. Integral spirituality is built on a set of practices that allow you to confirm or falsify its central claims. But in this case, it’s not looking through a telescope and having an experience, it’s engaging in a different kind of interior injunction — sit on a cushion every day for 20 minutes and look at your own mind, for example.


#154

I’m not following how “Integral is enactive”. I understand the claim, but don’t see how integral is enactive. The “enactive” part sounds like what religions recommend. Also this idea that there is no “faith” involved seems like semantics. In order to get what you can get out of Integral, you have to adopt X practices and Y beliefs over time, without personal empirical experiential evidence. Any “commitment over time” in order to “get the results” requires “faith that the outcomes will be attained” without having experience the outcomes, yet.
And as we “practice our faith”, the line between “knowing” and “faith” continually shifts. My “faith” that sitting on the pillow for 20 minutes/day will turns into “empirical evidence” once I’ve committed to the work. But I don’t think anyone claims that this demarcation zone between “knowledge” and “faith” ever stops. It simply shifts just outside our realm of experiential evidence.

Interesting thought (at least for me). Some practices or ideologies have broad appeal and hence cultural impact. There are experiential empirical benefits for practicing a little and even more benefits for practicing a lot - level of commitment and practice enables access to the outcomes/states/levels/experiences. It’s not the “knowing about” that gets you the results. This is what has led me to ask if you or Ken have ever been “committed to” (had faith in) and practiced while committed to Christianity or any of the religions analyized and dissected so often by post modernism and here.

I can take a “Buddhist Perspective”, but that doesn’t give me the “experience of” Buddhism in all it’s forms - as a spiritual practice, community, cultural. For me to think that my “knowing about” is anything at all like the experience of a committed Buddhist would be intellectually bankrupt. Knowing that I’m using my own languages and experiences to project Buddhism onto my map of the world is me knowing about, not having an understanding of the benefits of Buddhism.
Of course I can always rely on “humans have the ability to take perspectives outside themselves”, which if I’m not careful presents my ego with fertile ground to do those things that egos love to do.


#155

I don’t think this is accurate. Integral does not leverage unfalsifiable “beliefs”. All of integral’s central claims can be tested empirically (knowing that empiricism — aka the "3 strands of knowledge [injunction, apprehension, confirmation] — can be applied across all quadrants).

Enactive simple means, “if you want to know this, do that”. We don’t say, for example, “nondual states exist, trust us on that.” We say, “nondual states exist, and here is a set of practices that allow you to confirm that for yourself.”

And when we cannot verify/falsify, ideas are held as hypotheses. Such as Ken’s treatment of subtle energies.

Any “commitment over time” in order to “get the results” requires “faith that the outcomes will be attained” without having experience the outcomes, yet.

This is true for every single branch of knowledge. When kids are learning math, they haven’t experienced the outcomes yet, but nonetheless math is not a matter of “faith”. Or if it is, it’s a kind of intermediary faith that leads to direct injunction, experience, and verification. There is no Integral analog to “Moses literally parted the Red Sea, and Jesus was literally born from a biological virgin, and no you cannot verify that yourself, you just have to take our word for it and have faith that it is true.” Integral knowledge is injunction-based, experience-based, and verification-based. It is enactive. Which is why “enactment” is held as one of the three central pillars of integral thinking, along with “nonexclusion” and “enfoldment”.

And this is true for the quadrants themselves. As we can see when looking at this overview of integral methodological pluralism below (which thankfully gets this conversation back on track with the original discussion), every single zone has a well-defined methodology associated with it, with its own methods of injunction, apprehension, and confirmation (those different “methods” are why they are called “methodologies”).

I can take a “Buddhist Perspective”, but that doesn’t give me the “experience of” Buddhism in all it’s forms - as a spiritual practice, community, cultural.

Yes, this is why we’ve talked directly to so many Christians over the last 20 years, as we have from the very beginning. We even had an entire conference wrapped around Integral Christianity. We do not, however, fall into the sort of postmodern essentialism that says that only Christians are allowed to discuss Christianity :wink:


#156

Thanks @LaWanna
I’ve read about a 1/3 and skimmed much more. Great reminders to honor the earth our sustenance, and our peoples and their cultures and religions that are all but gone.
Thank you!


#157

I’m so glad we share an appreciation of this history. Some passages in that book can still make me cry; others just make me sing!


#158

Interesting view at reality vs perception of Race relations.