Integral Life - a tad ethnocentric?

I post this with hesitance, but I wonder if anyone else feels this.

Enthralled by Integral Theory and the marvellous content churned out by the team, I feel myself growing, developing and entering this new meme with a bolstered confidence. It is hard to put a price on the work being done here and the value the new practice section does.

As I participated in one session, we finished by shouting out where we were from and where we were situated in the world. The result was 80% USA, with myself being ‘over the pond’ in the UK and one from the Netherlands. Is this an accurate representation of your audience? I’m not sure, I’d love to know.

Listening to a recent show by Jeff the words ‘the epi-centre for integralists’ when referring to Integral Life grated with me. You are without a doubt the epi-centre, yet so much of the content is created, curated and considered from a largely Amerian perspective. The epi-centre is saturated in an experience many struggle to relate to. Not very integral.

Where are all of the European ideas, or Asian perspectives? Why do you not have guest editors from around the globe? Why, when the evolution of consciousness is a global event, is this not more of a global platform?


I’m from over the pond in the UK as well. I work out of Bradford which has a significant south asian minority population. I get to mix with them - well did, until covid - and there are all levels of the spectrum visible in the people I meet. Many are up for a discussion about Integral Theory once I let them know how much it informs my work.
So my thoughts are that other ethnicities need their own Corey De-Vos’s and Jeff Salzmans and their own site so they can develop their own understanding of Integral Theory. Once that is up and running, then I think there could be some wonderful cross-fertilisation. But at the moment, I wonder if contributions from other ethnicities into this community would simply be subsumed into our culture and we would lose the opportunity for growth that would come if they were to develop their own way forward.
Is this an occasion to recognise that we are partial and that, for the moment, it is right to remain so?

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I know a man who has received Spiral Dynamics certification and is training folks in China, yet he has repeatedly told me how difficult it is to find people across Asia who are interested in the concepts.

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It’s a blind spot that I am fully aware of :slight_smile: I know that my own experience is entirely America-centric, and therefore my own enactment of integral is being filtered through that lens. And I always try to identify my own biases as much as I can as we go, so people can account for them while listening. I myself simply do not have the life experience of traveling outside these national borders that would allow me to make my entire inherited intersubjective/cultural matrix into object. So it’s a known issue!

At the same time, where a lot of this actually seems to get worked out is during our live shows. We tend to get a lot of international callers, and I always love sharing the platform with them so they can offer their own views and get their voices into the mix, from the bottom up. So that is a nice thing that happens pretty regularly.

Otherwise, as Andrew says above, the real solution is going to have to come from within those different cultures themselves. We are hopeful, for example, that once we have hit a critical threshold of live practices and turnout for those practices, we can begin bringing in practice leaders from other continents, who can lead practices in their own times and within their own language, cultural idioms, etc.

In the meantime, I know that there are ongoing activities and integral groups outside of the U.S., and we try to support them however we reasonably can. Bence Ganti, for example, does the annual Integral European Conference, and those are always a hit. So there are people out there, you just have to find them!

Anyway, just a few reflections. Thank you for the feedback!

It’s good to hear that you share our perspective Corey.

Just posting this has enabled me to hear from and link up with integralists closer to home, and a couple of new projects are starting to happen as a result. This type of collaboration, if it goes well, could then feed back into IL in the form of content, or practice sessions.

On the other hand, to Andrew’s point, it would be great to generate our own voice to critique prevalent issues, hosting them both on our own platforms and encouraging cross-fertilisation as and when possible.

The gauntlet has been laid, time to saddle the horse!

Hi Andrew,

I’m based over in York, and would love to hear more about the work you’re doing in Bradford… as I work in Leeds I’m over that direction a fair bit. Covid depending.

I’ve personally found many people are open to a discussion about Integral, and I’ve used it to inspire new approaches to work, but the stages are always the part I struggle with most. I’ve been working up to presenting them to a few other consultants at my place of work, but each time I think of a way to covey it to them, something stops me.

Anyway, perhaps there are some discussions we can start on a local level that can sow the seeds for Integral appreciation closer to home. Let me know if you’re keen.

well, I am physically located in China. there is hardly anybody who is aware of integral here.

there is a reason for integral to start first in America because the country attracts so many more immigrant groups than any place else in the world and it is by far the largest developed nation in terms of population. Integral, in the sense of integrating hundreds of perspectives, does start from the “meeting and mating” of many perspectives, be it cultural, racial and developmental. While europe and asia both feature dozens and even hundreds of native ethnic perspectives, there are not nearly as much immigration from different continents there. But I do suspect the spiral dynamics description of “green” /pluralistic-postmodern might indeed be more US centric and other countries might not have the similar kind of mean green meme as US due to its much greater racial diversity. Latin America also has enormous diversity, but it is not as economically developed as US and canada (we have to remember US has 10x the population of Canada and 5 times population of UK)


Constantly changing😄