Integral Politics

Hello Integral community!

I’ve noticed that in a variety of Integral conversations relating to politics and the current dynamic on America we’re dealing with that Bernie Sanders gets little love. I understand that he’s not coming from an Integral level of interpretation but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the most “morally evolved” of any of the candidates and considering how the lack moral development is doing a lot of damage I’m wondering why so few are willing to embrace him?

IMO, probably the scarcity of integralists here who are familiar with (edit: maybe not “familiar”, but identifying with and arguing for) millennial concerns and left-leaning political discourse… :upside_down_face:

But there are integral folks who are really emphasizing Bernie’s politics. Michael Brooks of the TMBS and Majority Report is doing exactly that:

Just hosted a salon in my Patreon community about integral and the left.

I’ve found that calling back to Jean Gebser is more applicable, and translatable, to the discourse in secular communities such as the literature coming out of Zero Books, Verso, etc.

Finally, integralists are certainly tackling these socioeconomic issues in other hubs, such as the “emergence” circles. Have you read this one? It scans the general territory fairly well. Lots of integralists named there:


Thank you for your response! I’m going to check out your suggestions. :+1:

1 Like

Welcome @Brian_Downey. I am currently voting for Bernie.

1 Like

Thank you @jdj for your insightful comments and especially the great link to the website. This is superior information and I am grateful to have happened onto your post here today.


For me there are two ways to look at Integral. First is “what set of ideas most resonates with your post-Post Modern world view” the other is “what set of ideas most resonate with every level of world view”.

Does Bernie resonate with my worldview, sure, but I don’t think his ideas will resonate with other worldviews and I think that is a problem. People need to feel connected and involved in their world. If we design a world so out of reach for people I just think it will fail. We need a bold new vision for how this all works that is multi-tiered, that takes into account how the world is processed by differing groups. The left is just offering “think like we do, we think better” True enough, but still the wrong answer…maybe.

1 Like

Thanks Michelle. Curious as to what world views you think that he doesn’t resonate or connect with? When I think of depth and quantity I think his platform addresses both of these concerns better than any candidate. The world wasn’t ready (debatable with the DNC and Russia fiascos) in 2016 but he moved the needle (see to where almost every Democratic candidate supports most of his ideas (heath care for all, $15 minimum wage,…).

1 Like

Rand Paul is already bringing in Scandinavian Historians to discuss why Democratic Socialism won’t work here. It’s not a debate of whether or not he is right, that doesn’t matter, what does matter is that his world view can’t hold the possibility. Neither can many traditionalist because they dont’ identify it as American. Talking about Scandinavia is not convincing them and it never will, its actually doing the opposite.

The challenge as an integralist is to not just see the issues from every level of development but to engage solutions WITH every level of development. We can’t just come at a problem from a space of knowing the best answer and then enacting it. True integral is going to be understanding how to support every level of development where they are and facilitating the healthiest expression of that level.

Answers that feel like they come “from above” wont be effective. Evaluating efficacy along with “rightness” will become more important. Efficacy will be dependent on how an answer is received by every level. We will see, but I didn’t think Bernie would be well received by amber or orange in 2016 and I doubt he will now. He may win since Trump couldn’t be worse, but I doubt he will be able to legislate and whatever is passed will then get torn apart in the courts, now freshly stocked with conservative judges. If the US was more green…yes, he is a great direction, but this country is not mostly green.

There is really going to be an emergence of an amazing new system. It will feel more like an eco system. We may need to go through more green first, I’m beginning to accept that:) but the teal systems to come are worthy of real excitement…

I would love to know why this economic theory wouldn’t work in a geographically different place on the planet.
The gamble is when we will hit the Integral tipping point and how will that set off the domino effect. I’ve read at the end of the century, which when I last checked was yesterday. Sort of.

You think this is about picking the best ideas…that’s only half of the challenge:)

All systems have an interior component to them. Economics is emotional. If people don’t accept the system it wont work. If the system is coming at them from people who are expressing shadow hatred to a lack of understanding and no interest in learning about them they are far less likely to accept it. This is the big miss, by every candidate out there. The information age needs to be followed by the interpersonal age.

The job market has been exploding since Trump took office. It’s not that Trump did anything, the market turned in 2012, but conservatives wouldn’t hire anyone. It was crazy. I was waiting 3 months for work that should have taken two weeks. I had a conversation with one of my subs about this. It went something like this.

Me “The economy is exploding and has been for years, I don’t get why you don’t just hire people”
Sub (in deep southern accent) “I know, I know. I was talking to my best friend about this the other day. No offense, but we talk like women sometimes. I was saying I think we have PTSD or something, but I just cant seem to let myself hire anyone”
Me: Big sigh…

Trump took office and they all relaxed and hired people…job numbers went up. The challenge isn’t just coming up with the right ideas, you also have to get people to accept the ideas. If it feels forced on them they will reject it, and if there are red tones left, forget it. We need to get smarter about this. In 2020 you can no longer just win elections, you have to actually care and relate to the entire population. And really, why are we so scared to do this. Even Ken, no disrespect, but his answer is to diminish their vote…big sigh again!

What needs to be happening is a collaborative effort among groups to bring forth the best the level values have to offer the system. The first candidate to holds charrettes instead of town halls will shift the system into integral.

Michelle, I love your specific angle and your assessment and analysis of Integral politics and the need for policy/ideas to resonate with people of all stages…which is exactly why I am supporting Andrew Yang. I don’t know how much you have followed him, but IMO he is by far the most Integral candidate in the race (and I think its unfortunate he hasn’t got more coverage both in the Integral world and in the main stream media). Yang’s brilliance is in the way he frames his policies such as UBI – no matter the audience or their worldview, he can frame his campaign in a way that resonates with such a broad base of people – he has libertarians, alt-right, Trump voters, progressives, social justice advocates and artists, truck drivers, and every other worldview and group backing him. To me, the ultimate proof of his success is in the comments section on Youtube. “If he can unite a Youtube section, he can unite a country” has become the rallying mantra of his supporters. His interview with Ben Shapiro was my favorite. I’ll link a few videos here and if you haven’t done so, I encourage you to read the comments section (IMO its more important and inspiring than the actual video).

He is impressive, his website is awesomely hysterical…he is thorough! But he is not breaking through yet, I think he is only polling at 2%. I hate the blaming MSM stuff. People break through and media will cover it, so why do you think he isn’t breaking through yet?

Yang is so normal and most politicians are exaggerated or bigger than life in some way. I think this is a developmental challenge. The more integral you are, the more subtle you present. You are calmer, you know there are answers and you are not really worked up fighting some “evil”, you are just problem solving. Which is great for solving problems because you are not isolating and threatening a particular stakeholder, which everyone else is doing. BUT…you are not getting seen or heard because you present too subtle for certain people to see…It’s a real catch 22.

He needs a story teller on his team. Someone who can really frame this up, someone who is integrally aware and can make this bold case subtly because integral ultimately has to be subtle because it’s actually really intense, my experience is too intense if you are not ready for it. It’s fun to see this actually coming to life a bit…wild times!!!

Yea I totally agree, especially on your use of the word “subtle.” He is more zoomed out, subtle, and meta than any political I have ever seen, and that can definitely be a disadvantage. Not creating an enemy or an “us vs. them” mentality. When I was campaigning for him on the streets of Portland, most older folks had no idea who he was (but almost every young person knew of him). The pollers only call landlines which are overwhelmingly older people, so he may actually be higher but we will have to find out once voting begins.

So in terms of your general take on politic, I’m curious to know what you would do if you were running. i.e. how would you frame your message, how would you present as an Integral person, what kind of narrative you would craft, what the core issues would be, etc.

It is interesting to watch this process beginning and think through the next step. My gut on it is Integral needs to shift away from the “cult of personality” politics and idea politics in order to move into solution design governance. We are no longer debating ideas and deciding on what idea is best because best is relative to populations and time (thank you green and your relativity). Now we are looking to design the world we want and this is a fluid process because desires vary and are always in motion so the creative design governance needs to reflect this dynamic. How to do this???

I think the integral politician will be the facilitator more so than the “idea man” or political theater performer. The energy comes not from them, but from the crowd they are engaging. It’s all going to be about how you engage.

I think you will need to integrate art, real art that is not didactic or propaganda. You have to shift peoples idea of what they are looking for. Art is the most direct and effective way to shift a perception.

I would like to see charettes used, both to help define local needs and with large scale problems using experts representatives from all stakeholders.

You need a good story teller, you have to bring people into the process.

Maybe start to use the debating process to let people vote of the platform; ie, I want Warren’s plan for corporate reform, Yang’s UBI plan, Marianne’s department of peace, Bernie’s medicare for all. Not that it has to be definitive, but informational about what parts are resonating and reinforcing the idea that this is bigger than the politician delivering it.

Nothing will ever work without massive buy in, so this needs to be an American process, not a party process. I think this is where the charrettes will help. We need to also incorporate healthy concerns about immigration, budget control, and other conservative issues.

How about you? How do you think integral politics will look?

Exactly like what you said lol. I totally resonate with the idea of politician as facilitator (I am a facilitator so I also have that bias). I think the role of the Integral politician is also to role model how a 2nd tier person reacts/frames/responds to things; how to conduct yourself in a debate or conversation in which a disagreement is present, and how to respond to tragedies, catastrophes, etc…
But when it comes down to nuts and bolts of policy and governance, my vision is an integration of direct democracy (Swiss style) combined with “Deliberative democracy” which is most notably expounded by James Fishkin and Amy Gutman. Changing the governance structure (and incorporating your idea of charettes as an example) to one of “collaborative governance,” “citizen sourcing” and other types of crowdsourced intelligence like participatory budgeting would be the centerpiece of my campaign. Not sure if you have ever heard of “Collab” developed by Cecile Green – it uses a process called “Integrative consent” in which tensions are processed in a series of rounds, which could have some governance implications:

Also, @Coda has put a lot of thought into a model of society called system-society which you may be interested in (you can also join our Discord conversation for a more in depth look). :smile:

1 Like

So when do you think we will see this stuff? I think it will need to be tried out first in small scale areas to refine exactly what it means, structural changes are serious. It seems like significant structural changes in the past have been violent. We may talk revolution, but no one really wants what seems to come with it. We need to prototype it. It would be interesting for someone to propose that, even campaign as a prototype of a new process. Be a bit questioning about it all…

I was thinking about putting together a run for city council in a couple of years to at least get these ideas out there and see what people think. I may try some polling in my local area of Gresham OR to take the temperature and see where the public is at. I have recently been hamstrung by some health issues so my enthusiasm for such an undertaking has dwindled, but its always in the back of my mind. Other than health issues, whats preventing me from running right now is my lack of a clear vision of how this all would look like and the way it would be communicated/framed to the public. I’d love to chat more about this with you and put something together :slight_smile:

1 Like

Sorry to hear about your health issues, I hope they resolve soon.

Real-world application is my passion. I like the conceptual stuff but when it stays there I get bored. Something so powerful happens when you step out of the studio and into the world with your ideas. It can be jarring and most people just retreat back into the studio and try to find a way to never come out…a lot of books are written by these people:)

I would love to chat. One thing I am finding with my education program is everything I think of has been not only thought of by someone else, but there is some group doing something with it. Linking these programs with an integral vision may in fact be the most effective route. This is what I’m pivoting to now with my education program. I would love to find ways to link this with local community development boards too.

One answer Yang had nothing on was how to address housing cost or what to do with all the displaced truckers. I have at least some direction to point to for that, but we need to link together a lot of ideas and there is already a lot of support and money out there for it. The strange beautiful thing I see is there seems to be no answer other than integral here. It’s an opportunity literally waiting…

Awesome! I’ll PM you.

About Yang and housing costs/displaced truckers – he does have some solutions. We need to identify the underlying reasons why housing has skyrocketed in certain areas. One of them is because of zoning laws which prevent new housing from being built in the area. So one of his policies is to redesign current zoning laws to accommodate more housing and increase supply, thus lowering costs. Also, he actually has a Ted talk about called “Fixing the flow of human capital” where he illuminates how the top talent from major universities gets funneled into certain jobs in certain areas, namely booming coastal cities. His goal with Venture For America was to redirect this talent to cities in the rustbelt/midwest like Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, etc… which have been in decline for several reasons, which is why housing costs are much lower there (my girlfriend is from Flint, MI and we regularly check out housing costs just for laughs as its so cheap). If these cities can get more work demand, people will stop concentrating in cities that can’t build more housing due to limited space (bay area etc), and can revitalize these towns that have fallen into dereliction. Also, UBI will ultimately encourage people to move – free-spirited artsy type can get their $1000 a month and move out of super expensive cities to cheap rural areas where their freedom dividend can go a long way, thus bringing more liberal types together with rural conservative types, decreasing polarization and increasing housing demand in those areas. So a big part of it is to redistribute the demand for housing across the US, which is what his policies are designed to do. Also, states like Texas have cheaper housing because there is so much damn land to build on, so revitalizing towns/cities in areas like that will attract more talent/energy/demand and lower housing costs in other areas.

And about truckers - the freedom dividend is designed to help people find a new job, move to a new area (which his policies will help pay for), and allow people to find new ways of value creation. As he often cites, government job retraining programs have a very low success rate of 0-15% – so why not just put money and resources directly into peoples hands and have them create new jobs in their local communities? With medicare for all, healthcare will be taken off the backs of companies and decouple health insurance from employment, thus encouraging freedom and entrepreneurship. However, many people are right to point out that money alone will not fill the shoes of the more important aspects of work such as meaning, structure, dignity, etc… which is why we need to expand the idea of work so that the “latent functions of employment” can be fulfilled in other areas, such as community/civic engagement, time banking, artistic creation, etc… so we need to change the metrics from GDP alone to other forms of value creation and expand what we consider as work to give value and dignity to other forms of helping the community.

Anyhow we’ll talk more :slight_smile:

It’s so exciting, and so in need for integral. My 30 year professional expertise has been in the urban redevelopment field so my bells are ringing all over the place. Talking about redoing zoning laws makes me roll over laughing (and crying) but also excited to hear a politician at least go there. It’s a great example as to why we have to have integral now. Even redirecting, will have massive effects, but he is still right on target with the direction, it just has to be fully integral to work and take full advantage of the massive and amazing opportunity we are sitting on but missing with all this stupidity.

Are you working on his campaign or just a big fan?