Is integral just replacing mean green with teal tyranny?


I do appreciate coming back here to work this out in my mind. Thank you to all who have been listening and engaging with me.

This is the issue I have. All these worldviews are just constructs. Yes, I totally get some constructs are better than other constructs and the world needs better constructs to function under. Check! Hierarchies have merit, but they too are just another construct. The idea that integral can manage all the constructs from its stage sounds to me like we are walking into a teal trap.

This is quote from a talk Robb gave “Can you bring people together with otherness because when you have the power to integrate you reconfigure the whole power stack below.” Let’s hit the pause button here. I think this is a statement we really need to sit with…

It seems like there needs to be more awareness given to people functioning within a given construct are embedded, embodied in a constructed space and need power and authority over their constructed reality. Maybe some of the chaos we are seeing is a reaction to this felt sense of the “reconfiguring of the whole power stack below”

(4) R.E.M. - Losing My Religion (Official Music Video) - YouTube


Many, if not all, of our Grand Collectivism theories have not worked out well for any but the academics and philosophers, and politicians using to justify power grabs in name of the Greater Good.


Hi Michelle,
I’m not sure of the context of Robb’s quote, or your interpretation of it. Was this statement possibly from his talk on the different types of power each stage has?

When I read that quote, I wonder if there’s a question mark after ‘otherness’? Which would make more sense, that he’s asking rhetorically if it’s possible to bring people together by ‘othering.’ I would think (and could be very wrong) that what he’s trying to say is that when you have the power to integrate (i.e. combine things, bring things together so that they become a whole), then you reconfigure (re-put-together, or reshape/reorder/reframe) the lower/earlier stages of development. Reconfigure/reshape those earlier stages in terms of their contributions to the whole being seen as worthy, important, necessary, etc, and those earlier stages also being influenced by the very act of inclusion/integration. He could be saying something entirely different. How do you see what he’s saying?


I think that is exactly what he is saying. Here is the thing I see in myself, when I transcend a stage and

reconfigure (re-put-together, or reshape/reorder/reframe) the lower/earlier stages of development

the stage changes from being “a God that compels me” to being “a muse that inspires me”

At each stage we see this shift. At Orange one is compelled to achieve, make money, etc. In Green, achievement still happens but the focus shifts and in Green you are more compelled by say Social Justice, at Integral, you are inspired by it, working to serve it but there is a difference in the intensity.

The integration process transforms the level itself and this does not really translate to the someone who is in the stage. This has been my overwhelming experience. It’s better, but when we then make claims that we can “reconfigure the power stack below”, it’s not really working because there is a resonance difference between an integrated stage and an embodied stage.

When someone is constructing reality around God and Nation, they don’t want that reordered. Have tried to reframe social justice to someone at the green stage? Hold onto your hat! I just think we need to bring more awareness to how these constructions operate when in that “full power mode”.

I think that there can be a real danger to believing that an integrated stage can “reconfigure the power stack below” thorough the Integral constructed reality and this integrated stage will automatically generate a sense of wholeness for all levels. I just think the embodied level will demand its own power and not really “fall into line”, at least not until its seen.


Would not honoring humans need to enfold/include Transformation themselves at their own pace not be Transformative in and of itself?


I think this is a start, but the world is so enfolded at this point I think there needs to be more. That more is what I am unsure of. I used to believe in the Integral ideals, like is expressed in Robb’s quote, but it’s not working in my experience. I wish there could be more open awareness of these stages, but that will only work if this elitist hierarchy can be dissolved. I think it’s very toxic and it is intuited even if people have no idea about integral philosophies. It’s two-fold, first, how do we find greater respect for those at the embodied stages, dissolving developmental elitism and two how do we work with primary stages to better see the wisdom and skills brought by later stages. It’s a sort of active cultural integration instead of the top tier ruling it all.


Could it in fact be working, just not with the immediacy they we each might prefer?

I plant a lot of fruit trees. My Olive is going on year 3 and I’m really wanting some big juicy Manzanilla’s but she’s looking barren again. I’ve put in an Apple that’s got quite a few set this season but they all dropped before ripening last year. My Mexican Lime is barren again at year 2.

Are they progressing even though I’m not harvesting bushels of fruits?

Or are they “toxic failures” that need to be destroyed simply because “I want and I’m not getting”?

Maybe I destroy my irrigation system since it might be the issue, or bulldoze the soil as worthless, in my frustration. Or maybe I learn how these very complex and subtle systems work, fine tune what might be issues, and continue loving all of them?


I agree with you that there is a difference between having integrated a prior stage and currently inhabiting/embodying that stage, e.g. the experience of the green stage for a person at integral who has truly integrated that stage, is different from the experience of someone who is still pre-integral, fully at green in “full power mode” as you say.

For one thing, there is the difference in Tier: 1st Tier stages believing only their perspective is the correct or “true” one, 2nd Tier stages being able to see that each and every stage has partial truth. For another, when we transcend a stage, we leave the worldView of that stage behind, but include and still have access to the structures of that stage. For example, integral stage folks still have access to and use the “rules and roles” structure of the amber stage, without inhabiting the traditionalist View of that stage. People “solely” at the amber stage (and no one, imo, is “solely” at any stage; there’s lots of blending and bleeding, plus there is the likelihood of a person being cognitively at a higher stage than their center of gravity–they can “talk” the higher stage, but not “walk” it) --but people “solely” at the amber stage do not overall have the option to leave the View; they are relatively restricted to that View until it is transcended.

Again, not having the context for Robb’s remark, I can only share how I would interpret his statement. How I see the “reconfiguration” is that it happens within the person at the integral level. By integrating–bringing all stages into a whole–we can then appreciate in ourselves and in the exteriors all earlier stages as “stepping stones” to where we may be now; we can see and appreciate all earlier stages as worthy in their own right, important and necessary to the whole. Our very appreciation of these facts, our inclusiveness itself, has an influence on those prior stages, a subtle one perhaps, but nevertheless, an influence, I think. And it can have positive effects when we directly interact with people who are at earlier stages.

I think there are some integral precepts or ‘injunctions’ that are relevant here too. One is that people have a right to be exactly where they are in stage development. People have a right to choose not to grow, a right to stop growing. Granted, not every self-described or self-identified integralist lives up to this idea, and some say that the idea itself of the ‘right to not grow’ needs to be reassessed, but in general, this is current integral thinking, in my understanding.

Also relevant: each stage has its healthy and unhealthy sides. This is where the “negate and preserve” idea comes in–negate the unhealthy aspects of a stage, and preserve and carry forward the healthy aspects. A lot of integral conversation here and elsewhere addresses both the “dignities and disasters” of each stage; I personally think that’s appropriate, given it is most often educational in nature.

I do not see the integral stage of being one of “automatically generating a sense of wholeness for all levels,” and I doubt that Robb is saying that. I am not saying that. I am saying that our integral recognition and appreciation of wholeness, of all stages being whole within themselves and also a part of a greater whole, can have a positive effect on the entire stack. Yes, as you say, people need to be seen for exactly where and as they are. That doesn’t mean integral perspectives can’t enter a “green” conversation; we just have to have some finesse, not shove things at people, stay away from integral jargon to some extent, validate the positives/the health of that stage in authentic ways, etc. And not be attached to outcomes!

(I’m kind of wondering if Robb’s statement came from his talk/writings about the specific power of each stage; for example, the rational stage with its power to contract/make contracts, the green stage with its power to convene, etc…?)

I like your phrase “a God that compels me” to being “a muse that inspires me.” Well said!


Divided Minds, Divided Societies: How ILP Can Help Heal Social Division – Integral Life

This is what the quote came from.

I agree with all of this, but for myself and I think for many people the pressing question of the moment is how do we find deeper connection and better working relationships between the stages. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought Integral would work better. Maybe I’m not executing things with great skill, but after 25 years this is just what I have learned and what questions are arising after failed and successful attempts at practicing with this.

I think this process of taking the ideas out into the world, seeing what works and what doesn’t, bringing it back into the theory incubator to refine understandings is the only way to develop a healthy working process. It can be hard. Every time we learn something new it too goes through the same developmental process. We have development enfolded within development. We have an integral level of development, that learns about itself, this learning maybe at a purple stage (embedded in the pure receiving of the new energy) red stage (I’ll do with this what I want), amber stage (honoring the dictates of the theory without questions), orange stage (I’m going to make this my own), green stage (what else is there), then we may pop up into turquoise.

I’m curious about the nuanced ways development works and how interactions between stages operate; within ourselves and society and then within the stage itself. I’m curious about the way pre/trans process (the healthy version of pre/trans fallacy) works. I get I’m throwing things into the mix that are not a part of the traditional theory. Is the challenge to them because the new idea is coming from red, more egoic stage of the learning, or is the challenge coming from the amber stage and the new idea coming from orange or green. This interaction itself is developmentally fruitful, so thank you!

But there does seem to be a point where things get stuck too. The more aware we are of these enfolded developments we can turn to them and see what’s happening. I also think seeing the development within the development can help us understand the embodied stages more, refining the ways we work to connect and then we can be better at honoring someone at their stage while simultaneously working to create a more goodness, truth and beauty in the world.


Or maybe I learn how these very complex and subtle systems work, fine tune what might be issues, and continue loving all of them?

This is exactly my goal. From my perspective, our orchard isn’t thriving, there is an issue. I absolutely see progressive reaction as bulldozing, I also see conservative denial and obstruction as equally dangerous. This is the issue with development, sure if the tree doesn’t produce after 3 years, you may need more patience, if the tree hasn’t produced after 20 years, something is wrong.

Between the 3 and 20 years you need to start to understand what’s going on. Maybe nothing, but the process of understanding only gives you more expertise. Why fight it? If you sit back and do nothing, sure maybe the tree produces on its own, maybe not. Why not start with some healthy, educated intervention? I really do not get the conservative resistance to this. Like in the conversations about school curriculum. I get the new conservative motto is never admit a mistake, so the curriculums that focus on owning mistakes, learning from them, strategizing how to do better are a threat to this. Really, cant you see how unhealthy that is? I just do not believe you actually buy into the “never admit a mistake” and learning from mistakes is a form of abuse or grooming line. This is the thing, I KNOW it’s all just a game, playing this game is risking the whole orchard, is it worth it?

One last inclusion. I think the reason we play this game is we mistakenly believe that in owning the mistake we have to eat the “whole pie” of the others ideas. This is silly, and both right and left do this. This is just a product of the reactive defensive state. Developing the skill to own the mistake without feeling like your self sense is collapsing is healthy cleaning up…we all need more of this.


Thanks for the link. Robb’s article does seem to align quite closely with the Great Reset concept - it’s all screwed up so it’s a foregone conclusion that everything will change. Interestingly the parallels with the 2nd Coming, the Great Rapture are fairly easy to make.

“If we don’t, then the transition to The Transformation Age, and The Great Release that we’re in as our economic, cultural and political divides grow, will be harder and more tumultuous than it needs to be.”

Call it Integral or perhaps dust off ages old cliches - the “ebb and flow of life”, “take the good with the bad”, “look on the bright side”, “don’t be a negative Nellie/Linus”. The Integral mapping can be very useful, but are we looking at anything new, really new, that humanity is going through?

It’s quite easy for all of us to let our personal biases cloud what we see. You might see stuck, someone else might see magical levels of progress, isolation or incredible collaborations.

What communities or structures do you have in your life that have you interact with people across developmental, cognitive, social, political, religious, and economic slices of humanity?
What are their names? What’s going on in their lives? What do they care about? What do they dream about?

For myself I intentionally, consciously look to enrich my life with real people across as many demographics as I can. And the beauty is I DON"T KNOW WHAT THAT WILL LOOK LIKE, but just want to be open to the experiences.

It’s really a good exercise to note, for yourself what these different communities or interactions look like. This gets our “heads out of the clouds” and into real world with real people.

What if I have to peace to appreciate the grapefruits and tangelos, and don’t sweat the figs and oranges not producing.

Just want to point out that these questions aren’t unique to our age, even if our descriptions might be new.
Luke 13 6-9
6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ 8 “ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”

Yes, this is sad but sadly the state of our culture. You define my mistakes, I define yours, then let’s create narratives or even policies to enforce “cleaning up” of the losers “mistakes”. Not so compassionate. It’s very Old Testament “eye for an eye” regression.


@FermentedAgave @Michelle
Søren Kierkegaard is attributed with coining the concept:
“Once you label me, you negate me.”

Ironically, what we see in the United States (and this is not done in most of the world) is to try and keep labels on others. My own accusation is that this is either a conscious or a subconscious effort to negate the other - that which they do not understand.
That’s important. People label things they do not understand in order to negate it. This whole effort to label others is an effort to negate concepts they do not understand and negate the people who express and live these concepts they do not understand.

I think the place to start is absolutely to stahp thinking in terms of labels. Try it out for a week. Try to use words in a political discussion other than Republican or Democrat or Liberal or Conservative.
This doesn’t mean never use defining terms - but just TRY to not use them for a week. Imagine their complexity in their lives.

Most importantly, stop negating oneself by labeling oneself. Stop doing that harm to oneself.


Thanks for the link to Robb’s article. I’ve probably read it in the past, but will do so again when time permits.

That is a challenge, as the communications between folks at this very ILC site attests to. Finding and maintaining awareness of what are core and primary and foundational commonalities, regardless of stage of development, seems necessary. For some, the commonalities or ‘sameness’ may stem from a sincere religiosity or spirituality (e.g. my True Self is your True Self, no difference, identical). Without that, there is always our shared humanity; we’re all human, we all eat and sleep, laugh and cry, fret and brood, feel pain and pleasure in relationships, share DNA and the same moon and sun, etc. etc.

For me personally, I don’t have a rigid expectation that everyone will “get along,” that there will be no conflict or pain. Conflict is a part of life. A seed sprouting, reaching towards the light, in its pushing against the soil is at variance with the soil, and that is a form of elementary conflict in the evolution of a plant. Mammals, including human ones, experience labor pains in the process of contracting and pushing to birth another generation, and that too is evidence of a very basic form of conflict.

I also don’t expect there to be unlimited connection in terms of depth. The higher/later the stage of development, the greater depth of consciousness there is in that person/group. Integral-speak says “the more depth, the less span,” which is why the numbers/percentages of people at earlier stages of development than orange-rational are far greater than those at later stages, such as pre-integral green and integral. While we can certainly have functional, working relationships with people at different stages of development than our own, the depth (or ‘height’) of connection, and the ability to see eye-to-eye on many things will be limited.

Even people within the same stage of development do not all see eye-to-eye or get along, sort of the way flies can hang out with butterflies but not spiders, even though they are all insects, or the way sparrows can hang out with finches but not hawks, even though they are all birds, Within species, within stages, creatures do not always mix well. And between stages, it can be even more challenging. Conflict and any associated pain seem baked in to this manifest realm, perhaps all the more so because we remain an egoic culture, having failed as of yet to become a subtle-soul culture, as you and I are both interested in. It’s sort of incredible we keep breathing through it all, the conflict and pain, and that as many of us stay interested and committed to bettering things as we do.

In reviewing some pages from Wilber’s Religion of Tomorrow book, I was reminded of some things about the Integral stage that may be pertinent in this discussion. For one thing, he points out that Integral is the first major stage of development where a number of individuals actually knew it was coming. With the 60s revolutions (which began in the '50s), no one actually knew (including those early greens) that there would be the massive changes that resulted from those revolutions.

But, during this same period, researchers were doing developmental studies and had already identified the Integral stage (called by different names by different theorists), and a coming “Integral revolution” was expected (by a small group of people) who watched for signs of it. His point is that through this “watching for it,” a self-reflective awareness was born in those people (and successive ones–some of us) that they were “close to the edge of evolution itself.” This self-reflection can reactivate narcissistic tendencies (and other psychological dysfunctions).

Which is why, says Wilber (and LaWanna), “waking up” is so important, to help with transcending the ego and separate-self sense, and why keeping humility as a constant characteristic of self-awareness is so important. Cleaning up/shadow work is also important for the same reasons.

Another thing he says is that people at the Teal stage tend to have a sense of “certainty and self-security.” Whereas people at the integral Turquoise stage tend to have a “wobbling insecurity” (because they are close to 3rd Tier where there is a good amount of genuine transpersonal awareness). This makes me think of how the stages have been characterized by some as generally alternating (e.g. amber–collective, or feminine; orange–individualist or masculine; green–collective or feminine; and to follow this on out: integral teal–individualist or masculine and integral turquoise–collective or feminine.) (We could maybe also think in terms of the competitiveness–cooperation poles, apply them.)

To apply this security/certainty–insecurity/uncertainty dichotomy to the stages, we would have amber–insecure; orange–secure; green–insecure. I think Suzanne Cook-Greuter has addressed something similar to this in her stages of identity. I don’t know if this is of any help Michelle with your concerns, but maybe it adds new pieces to the puzzle.

Finally, I will admit I am a little confused by claims or wonderings that Integral may be practicing “tyranny,” at the same time as claiming or wondering or questioning that Integral is “doing nothing.” Integral is tyrannical in its doing nothing? Seems like an oxymoron, but maybe not.


Wonderful reminder. “Hold it lightly”

How about a week of humor, satire, nothing but lightness?


But Sidra, if we didn’t talk colors/stages here at ILC, what would we talk about?? :slightly_smiling_face:
Just joking of course.

An Integralist from another forum has said he sees two different kinds of people in the Integral community: those who are well-familiar with the theory and the jargon (“Integralists,” he calls them) and those who have an affinity and interest in integralism, but are not that familiar with the theory or jargon (“Integralites,” he calls them.) Both are welcome, invited, of course; it’s all one community.

Some people want to learn more of the theory and jargon; some don’t; for those who do, this forum can help. It’s also important to remember that the stages are based on actual science, developmental theories of the past 75-100 years; they’re not “fluff.” While the assigned colors may be a bit fluffy, they provide a short-cut for communicating shared concepts.

I’ve been at this forum for over 3 years, and have heard people disagree or complain about talking about “waking up” and its aspects; also about “cleaning up”/shadow; also about “types,” particularly feminine and masculine typologies; also zones of the quadrants. If we get rid of talk of stages, states, typologies, quadratic zones–that only leaves lines of development from the AQAL map. And maybe that’s where we need to focus, who knows?

I get what you’re saying though. I make a distinction between how I “integral-speak” here and in “real life,” where I would never attempt to point out somebody’s stage to them, even if I were certain of it, or even discuss stages. That’s divisive. If I’m teaching basic IT/AQAL in real life, I do use the stages and colors, but again, do not assess someone else’s stage. I rarely even bring integralism up with most people; I hope I am inhabiting the territory regularly in interactions.

I love this sentence. Agreed!

Where or how do you suggest we start, in this forum?

I’m glad you’re participating.


As a kid I just loved to look over and explore maps. I could spend entire days examining maps of countries, the world, the stars, both in real life and in fantasy or science fiction. There is a certain enjoyment I get in this, though as an adult I rarely indulge myself in it.
At some point, each person has to determine when or if they are going to remain in the indulgent phase of imagination and theory, and when or if they are going to try to put it to practical use.

On this topic, there is also another aspect. Let’s stick with the analogy of maps of imaginary worlds.
In general, when it’s time to share these imaginary worlds with others, the “worst” way to do it is to give them an endless stream of data and locations, and so on.
A game designer has the entire world mapped out in minutiae, but you never give players that info dump right off the bat. You start them with a simple “quest” that anyone can understand. As the plot develops and the player explores the world, they start to find minutiae and get the feeling that there actually is a fully developed world to explore.

Tolkein did this somewhat. When you read the Lord of the Rings, you know there is a whole history that was developed, and even entire languages and cultures. More recently, The Elder Scrolls series of games are just mind bogglingly immersive all the way down to you can find secret codes written on certain doorways that 99.99% of players will never even notice - but they are there to be discovered.

The point being, that yes, it’s great to spend time in the “map making” stages of discovery.
How to reveal this map to others?
Ideally, not by throwing an atlas at them.
I think a good place to start in real life application of the map is to think in terms of a heroes journey. Who is the hero? What do you think they want to accomplish (the quest). How do you present this to them as a pressing need? What support can you give them as they proceed, while not doing it for them?