Jordan Peterson - an integral thinker


Yeah it does rather, I often wonder whether the mainstream narrative holds weight these days because of that. If most people think like the mainstream, or actually think more similarly to what they see online. Political correctness is such a pain in the A. It’s own regression but also the regression it illicits in people who are sick of it, I have to often catch myself when it irks me to be truly inclusive.

Definitely on board to integrate some serious blue. I think Buddhism just has a very different central flavour that christianity, I know over the last few decades there have been successful efforts to integrate the two, but with a bias towards meditation states it seems to me, the contemplative part which Buddhism clearly has vastly more proven record with. And less the myths, the obligation to a higher power as well as a real call to be there for others. Also evil, which buddhism seems to prefer in the guise of ‘ignorance.’ Is alot to integrate though it seems to me, you often speaking ot me of the beauty of purple, which green has some amateur interest in but a rigorous multiple view of all the worlds spiritual traditions is no small thing.


@ Heidi - I would be down with Ryan and anyone else to talk about it. I think the whole of the IDW is certainly a fruitful topic. There is a cultural shift towards integral, and perhaps more importantly it speaks to how to affect the zeitgeist as so many of them are examples of that.


I’ve been following this interesting conversation, and wanted to add two cents–

First penny: re: ‘hallmarks of 2nd tier’–the phrase I come back to again and again is “looking for oneness in the many.” This to me covers a lot of distinguishing territory of 2nd tier, from its emphasis on interconnectedness, to its recognition of wholes and parts, to its understanding (even if its just intuitive understanding) and integrating all lower developmental structure-stages/perspectives/views. The phrase also embraces Spirit-in-action/Eros/transcend-and-include processes for me. “Looking for unity in diversity” is another phrase that works well for me too.

Second penny: re: the conversation between LionLamb and Hawaiian Ryan about integrating the ‘devotional aspects of blue.’ How I understand what you are saying, and I may be wrong here, is that you may be interested in having a 2nd person “I-Thou” (we) relationship of union with some aspect of Spirit, perhaps in addition to a 1st person identification (I am) with Spirit (or whatever word you might use for Spirit) which is a primary emphasis of Eastern meditative traditions. (Then of course there’s 3rd person relationships of communion with Spirit (it),as many people experience in nature. And of course it’s not as simple as I’ve stated it here, as 3rd person perspectival relationships of communion with nature, for instance, can also become relationships of union and identification. Wilber’s “three faces of God/Spirit” (and CD: The 1-2-3 of God) speaks eloquently to this.


Thanks for posting this video Heidi. Its very exciting to see Ken coming back into the fray, now with support from the emerging IDW pioneers who are calling out the regressive green post modernists.

I’ve been following JP / IDW and Quillette for a few years now and at times have questioned my attraction and interest, given the backlash and criticism. So its with some relief that Ken champions this movement as early Integral.

What it takes to be Integral, the benchmarks and identifiers, and how this can be applied to everyday life is something I think about regularly, so having JP and the IDW headline mainstream media events and taking on the regressive green movement is the ultimate Integral Life Practice example thats helping me see (outside of IL) how Integral can be brought online in realtime. I feel we need these outside examples of Integral thinking to help move and support the movement itself, brining it out of theory and into reality.

There are however some challenges I have with the notion of an Integral IDW, most notably Kens assessment that most members come from Orange liberal, yet are displaying key Integral qualities like cross-paradigmatic thinking and inclusivity. No problem with the former, especially via JP’s brilliant lectures and talks. I do struggle with the prerequisite of inclusivity, where so much of it appears to be healthy Orange and below. Isn’t the way to Integral through Green itself? There doesn’t appear much inclusion of post modernity, so I wondering if this is simply assumed and applied by default (ie they all agree on the value of the civil rights movement, environmentalism etc). Perhaps this has more to do with the way they define post modernity, believing it to be the stomping ground for the regressive left, leaving all the ‘good stuff’ to modernity and the Enlightenment (Steven Pinker comes to mind). Either way, I would argue what we transcend, where we transcend from and how this is included into the next Integral structure stage are all on display here and open to ongoing interpretation.


Hi Josh. Thanks for your answer, I appreciate it a lot and it reflects my own experience. I have been following JP and some of the IDW for a very long time, right from the beginning when JP was challenged and Joe Rogan had him as guest for the first time.
I thought right away that JP was operating from an integral level, a few of my integral friends agreed, but there was more criticism, especially aroused by surface phenomena of interpretations which often showed to me only that the critic didn’t listen to much of what JP had to say and formed their opinion prematurely.

I wrote 2 open letters to Jeff Salzman because of his first assessment of JP which I thought was erroneous. I actually suggested that Petersons definition of “postmodernism” was not the one integralists use. You are the first person I meet who has the same idea: JP sees under “post modernism” the “mean green meme” while integralists see also, and first of all, the sensitivity and inclusion aspect. In my opinion JP has included all this in his worldview, maybe in a slightly less radical manner as others do, but he just doesn’t talk about that so much and especially not under the label Post Modernism.

I, too, am Glad that Ken sees the showing up of these people as an important contribution to move us all into integral. If the “Master” says that, I hope that all the ungrateful criticism will stop and bring the discussion back to the important things which need to be done in shadow work (healing the previous stages - as these people do) and in many other areas, like showing up (and stand upright when they throw rotten eggs on you)…


Yes I completely agree Heidi and its no wonder we have an issue here of defining developmental phenomena given how little attention is given to Growing Up. It sounds less like a stage, and more like a symptom?

JP does work in this space with Jean Piaget, although I’m yet to see him use this when debating Harris and others which is really frustrating! In one talk, Harris and JP run around in circles about human atrocities and how cause can be attributed to both those of faith and those without. The perfect backdrop to G.U. but doesn’t take the bait!

I’ve stumbled across this interesting interview between JP and an Integral philosopher Thomas Bjorkman, who pushes JP on developmental stages and discusses Robert Kegan, transcend and include etc. Very layered and abstract, where I get the impression JP doesn’t want to attribute stages to ongoing human development.


Definitely agree with your first penny Lawanna.

On the second penny, I definitely want that I-thou, that was one of the main things I experienced different to mine in Buddhism, which I gather actually at times do have degrees of idol worship with statues of the buddha etc. I remember listening to Sally Kempton who does a fair amount of 2nd person with various feminine goddesses, alot in the tantra tradition.

There’s alot more to blue than that though. I could have a ‘I-thou’ relationship to Hades the god of the underworld and I doubt he’d have quite the same flavour as Jesus Christ lol. So stuff like a sense of universal morality and an obligation to something higher is a massive part of it. A deep awareness of suffering, order, the dangers of ego and how difficult it can be to wrestle with, which lends itself to sacrifice and delaying gratification. All relevant stuff when not just taken as pure blue, so much of that is relevant to green narcissism and indulgence and also I think it comes back at integral, as you say this awareness of wholeness, and with that some kind of obligation and love of it. I imagine there could be a sort of integral pooling actually of all the various deities one could have loyalty to, possibly in order of hierarchy.


Watching that video, is funny how simple yet true ‘get your emotional life and your rational intellect together’ in many ways is a massive part of integral. Yet another example where it half feels like Peterson is reinventing the intellectual wheel and hence struggling, and quite probably hashing out something that is new. ‘Transcend and include’ gets dumped in so many times during this conversation lol.

I also wonder if this is why at times he seems like so weazle word. If he’s trying to explain potentially integral things, there’s a minority in the world that can grock this, but most can’t, I have this hunch that Peterson doubts himself because not enough people mirror what he’s saying. That and unconsciously enjoying the lime light, there’s a benefit to expressing things in a slightly confusing convoluted manner because it’s half substance half smoke and mirrors which makes me wonder why Peterson has such a celebrity status rather than being more united with other public figureheads. Perhaps that’s my personal bias but I find it painful to watch so often. so much gold, and so much confusion also.

I almost get to the point that the debate around whether or not he is integral does that even matter? It almost feels like some purple/tribal longing in us integral crowd to classify him as one of us, to pull him in to our fold and also inject integral wisdom in to Peterson. Maybe that would be a great thing actually, more outreach from our community, which it definitely has to do with at least on some respect where integral hasn’t got a mainstream voice as far as I know anywhere. But that’s a different debate.

Also feel this strong red vibe to Peterson, part of me wants to rip him to pieces for half baked ideas and weazle words,the other part wants to celebrate him as a cultural force and icon that’s changing the zeitgeist. Surely we should do that as integralists? Transcend and include? Celebrate and criticise?

I’d start with a criticism which there needs to be a more nuanced debate around ‘privilege’. For starts that word probably needs changing, ‘advantaged’ seems more nuanced, and made vastly more diverse than just ‘whitey get off the top you exploitative ***k’ that green peddles. He mentions in that video at the end that intelligence is more a factor than marxist economic factors but intelligence is a massive advantage. He could easily inject that in to the narrative, but instead gets this constant visceral reaction, and so many interviews, probably green in mentality or at least holding some of it just can’t sit with him on that makes him less powerful. Race and gender but way beyond, intelligence, inheritance, attractiveness, health, height, culture, religion, personality type. I also see this is something integral at times struggle with, just this knee jerk red reaction to green racism/ sexism/ prejudice. Integral should really bring true diversity in to the equation.

He’s amazing at integrating religion with psychology, as this interview showed not just Christianity, is a bunch of ideas he talks on in this case Buddhism. Weaving societal development from red to blue mainly also in this fashion, somewhat showing how orange relies on blue but possibly not the break orange needed from blue which Ken has talked about. I have this hunch that he doesn’t embody them that well though. Knows alot about psychology and religion, but emotionally expressive and actually has a spiritual practice? He’s so weasily about what he believes. I watched an interview with Sheldrake who is alot more ballsy when it comes to standing up for spirtiuality in the mainstream and he raised some fair questions that Peterson just doesn’t answer. Does Peterson go to church? meditate? Believe someone literally parted the red sea? Believe it’s some indefinable Jungian archetype? He needs to grow some balls around what he believes in this area, or just say he’s not sure, on the fence. Cause being weasily he loses his credibility and frankly shows either a degree of loneliness and or narcissism because god knows there are enough people out there in the world that have a more complex take on religion than fundamentalists and creationists.


Hi Heidi, Good to see this post. I too have thought Peterson was an intuitive integral practitioner. (whether he knows this or not) after reading his book “Maps of meaning” and then later listening to many of his classroom posts and interviews.

I believe his is doing a good job in “showing up” and helping others in “waking up” pointing out the process of “growing up”.

I, more often than not, agree with what the man has to say. but also think there are a few areas where it seems that his own consciousness development needs some further fine tuning. (just like the rest of us!) Seems like his biggest hangup would be his over emphasis on traditional views in response to the negative attributes of pluralism while failing to distinguish that he is using the more positive or useful pluralistic modalities. (integration - ironically a word he uses often) It seems he can see the spirals, yet demeans the less healthy side of the pluralistic spiral instead of accepting it for what it is and embracing it while dismissing his own use of the more positive aspects of pluralism.

In other words, I see transcendence, but there is still some work to be done on integration. He is second tier, but has not fully integrated his shadow elements (again, like us all) but at least he presents as being open enough to look and we all know that he has the tools to process these aspects of the self once discovered.


LionLamb/Paul, My ‘second penny’ comments were largely in response to a comment at the end of one of Hawaiian Ryan’s replies to you (and perhaps it would have been more appropriate to address my reply to him). He said: “I feel like this devotional aspect of Blue (and as you said Paul, the power of Pure belief) is something that is worth reviving and reintegrating, how that is done specifically, I’m not sure.”

I was suggesting that one way of reviving that devotional aspect is through a second-person “I-Thou” relationship, as I have personally experienced and still adhere to as a practice and fulfillment of my own devotional nature and integral spirituality. I referred to Wilber’s writings/recordings on this subject.

I think one of the reasons we might be misunderstanding one another, if indeed we are, is that we’re using different developmental models. You are probably more familiar with Spiral Dynamics than I am; I lean heavily on Wilber’s structure-stages model. So question for you: does the SD blue ‘truth force’ stage encompass a universal morality? I’m used to correlating that blue stage with the amber-mythic stage, which does not; being ethnocentric, the moral concerns of the amber-mythic stage extend only to ‘us,’ not an ‘all of us,’ and are therefore not universal (although some fundamentalists will attempt to place their moral values on the entire universe, but that’s not the same thing).

And I would add here that certainly it is true that the amber-mythic stage (as you say about blue) includes much more and a lot of value and is not defined solely by any I-Thou relationship. But most of Christianity does operate at this stage, and I-Thou/union and devotional relationships predominate and perhaps excel in Christianity (versus 1st person identification, or 3rd person communion).

While it is true that one could have an I-Thou relationship with “Hades the god of the underworld” as you say, this is of course not the kind of an I-Thou relationship that I was speaking of or suggesting. Hades is a mythic figure appropriate to the amber-mythic stage of development (or even magical-mythic) which is a pre-rational stage. Universal morality does not come ‘online’ until the rational (orange) stage. I erred in my comments in assuming it would be understood that I was talking about an I-Thou relationship that was higher up the scale and of a higher spiritual intelligence than pre-rational mythic.religion generally attains, i.e. that it was at least rational. (Which isn’t to dismiss pre-rational mythic religion’s 2nd person devotional relationships).

The only other thing I would say is that besides relationships with gods and goddesses, as you referenced Kempton, or with Jesus Christ, or any particular deity, all kinds of I-Thou relationships are possible, such as with one’s spiritual teacher or guru (even temporarily and perhaps provisionally), and indeed, with any “beloved other,” be that a mate, one’s child, friend, or anyone with whom we offer compassion and the best of ourselves.

I hope this clarifies a bit where I was coming from.


Gonna respond soon LaWanna, in my view no not a misunderstanding between us just different points of emphasis :).


I’ve been mulling over your points. Occurs to me that “I-thou” could be applied to lots of things and possibly at the root of the beauty in blue. Sacrifice, appreciation, gratitude, all seems to me tied to an appreciation of something bigger than the self, even if it’s just the community or family. I think at integral that really has a flavour of evolutionary appreciation, how far we’ve come and how much all our ancestors sacrificed to get here. The actual feeling of something bigger than one’s self to be grateful for, which can be very grounded and then go all the way up to god. As you say can do that with various relationships, pretty great blue practice it sounds like .Is so much to be humble about so you pointing that out really made me think how far you could stretch that.

I need to familiar myself more with Wilber’s stages but I imagine essentially we are talking the same. Personally I think blue has a universal morality in principle it’s just not pluralistic. Christians have a monopoly on truth, but it’s open to all, even if the center of gravity can’t quite hold everyone being equal in the eyes of god. To me that’s fundamentally different than the gods before, I mentioned Hades, that era, those gods would happily lay waste to their enemies, I’ma little muddled on the transition from purple to red to blue, maybe there are intermediary stages also. You even see that somewhat in the old testament, pretty dam archaic all the way up to Christ… It’s tricky as I think there is a transcendent quality also to the good in religion that goes beyond the limitations of their human practice, this is part of the reason I think it’s valid to revisit prior low levels as it seems to me there is alot of latent intelligence in it that hybridises with a higher level. Like a poem or vision that has deep deep layers of meaning written thousands of years ago. Actually something that fascinates me because alot of the truths in the bible personally I think you can interpret profoundly at integral.

Again with Hades seems like a good example, could he actually be upgraded some, made more blue and above without losing his clout. Given at the time people were either terrified by him or totally posesssed, rather than an energetic force at times useful or archetypal. The new age does some of this sort of thing, although they also get lost in mythic/ magic,would be great to see it in Integral. Some dam good Roman/ Greek etc gods to pool from.

Some of this I think also gets confusing because we are talking a fair bit about Christianity as though it’s only blue, orange generally gets labelled as throwing religion out, but I think there are plenty of orange rational Christians around, C.S Lewis perhaps being an example. Green is more rare but I’ve seen instances, not sure if John Piper is centered at green but he certainly embodies some of it, emphasis on feelings, pleasure, race relations, gender etc. Makes me think of the horizontal differences being way more than is recognised at each sage, not just rearranging icing on the same cake but major difference in emphasis.The various blue religions share alot but have alot that seems radically different also. Forgive me feel like I’m being more rambly today but your comments did make me think :).


Hey there again, your first paragraph brought a tiny tear to my eye, particularly the phrase “…at the root of the beauty in blue.” Followed by those beautiful words ‘sacrifice, appreciation, gratitude…tied to an appreciation of something bigger than the self…’ My associations with the color “blue” itself run deep, so there could be the explanation for the mistiness. Anyway, thanks for that evocative paragraph!

I think there is a lot of beauty in the Christian religion. It’s very clear that Christ had both a second-person I-Thou relationship with God (“Father, why have you forsaken me?”) as well as a first person identification (“I and the Father are one.”) That to me is one of the important pieces of an integral spirituality–engaging all three “faces of Spirit” in our personal practices, communion, union, and identification. And I agree with you that there are higher (Integral) interpretations of at least some the Bible’s contents.

I once had a client/student who had been raised in a fundamentalist Christian family; as an adult, she dropped most of the fundamentalism but still felt strongly connected to Christianity as her primary spiritual path. An issue that came up for her was around one of the Ten Commandments:
“Honor thy father and mother.” Her parents had been very abusive and in her view, extremely hypocritical, and she had made the decision to sever ties with them, so she couldn’t wrap herself around this one. Ultimately, she was able to reinterpret that commandment to mean “bring honor to your mother and your father,” and felt that through her own life choices and actions, she could fulfill that commandment. I thought there was a lot of integrity in that. (I have her permission, by the way, to tell all the stories I want to about her, anytime, anywhere, and there are a lot of them…)

I also agree that there are Christians at stages besides SD blue or amber-mythic. I think what largely gives Christianity a “bad name” to the extent it has a bad name, is its fundamentalist sects. Not only is there rampant hypocrisy, and selective literal interpretations of the Bible, and antipathy towards certain people (gays, transgendered, even women to some extent, etc.), but there is belief that psychic and some subtle-state phenomena is “of the devil.” And identification with Spirit/God is seen as the most horrific blasphemy. Ideologies steeped in ignorance and fear, and definitely, Christian fundamentalists aren’t the only ones “guilty” of this.

Anyway, thanks for the engaging conversation. I think we “get” one another a little better now, don’t you?