Jordan Peterson - an integral thinker


Very interesting comments, Michelle. I would love to see a thorough Integral discussion about what is racism and what is not, given that unhealthy Green tends to blow racism out of proportion. As for your comments about transcendent Integralists opening back up to Green in regards to race, I think that sensitivity around race is a specific sub branch of Green, and not an intrinsic part of Green. For example, many Japanese Green types move to Hawaii, as they can’t cut it in the cutthroat Blue/Orange world of Japan. Most of them are a back to the land, new age type of Green who want to work on an organic farm, swim with dolphins, and attend massage school and hula dancing. The difference between Japanese Greens and American Greens is that the Japanese don’t have a prominent Green cultural movement, such as LGBTQ/social justice/identity politics; there is still plenty of racism and bigotry in Japan (especially towards the Koreans) and not a very large public effort to combat it (though times are changing there, finally!). So, many Green Japanese folks have no sensitivity/awareness around racial issues; they are not “woke” on cultural issues, since they don’t have any in homogenous Japan.
So I think as Integralists we need to have more conversations around race, and try to develop a very conscious and explicit Teal/2nd tier conversation around such a charged topic. My contention is that there are people who are not in an anti-green space (like the Japanese folks I mentioned) and still not be aware of the impact of racism. It sounds like you would like to bring some awareness to people around racial issues and traumas around racism – my question to you would be: how would you inspire/move forward with this discussion? I’m greatly interested in your answer on this topic, as this is something I am interested in instigating :slight_smile:


The first challenge is to look at what does “blowing racism out of proportion” mean. If we analyze the straw in isolation the only reasonable and rational conclusion is that something is terribly wrong with the camel. Is this the correct analysis or do we need to look at the whole pile? Sure, it’s just a t-shirt or it’s just a Halloween costume or sometimes the police make a mistake, their job is really hard. Straw by straw we can always find the perspective where we feel this is getting blown out of proportion. This is where green comes in. From this conscious space we look at the whole pile, the totality of the history and feel into it.

I would suggest people listen to the stories of oppressed people. Just listen, no input, no opinions, no feedback, just listen. One skill we need to learn is how to make autonomous space for the other. We need to relate but we also need to accept others autonomy without trying to convince them they are wrong when we don’t get it. Basically if a black student tells me it’s painful to walk past a mural that depicts black oppression, I say ok…There can be conversation, of course, but I don’t hear conversation, I don’t hear questions being asked, personally I hear people just “telling” minorities they are suffering from madness. I say thank you green for not backing down!

What does integral racial relation look like. First there is a healthy autonomous space for minority expression. This is what I see we are currently fighting for. Then, I think there is a shift in understanding the dynamics of development around race so it’s not so much “such and such people are bad” but this is the danger with ethnocentric thinking. I think this will be helpful for parts of the world, like Japan, that haven’t had to tussle as much with the challenges of racial integration.

I like to think of integral race as a spreading apart of the fabric so other voices can be woven in. This is how we move beyond consensus…we make space for the other while passionately committing to the first tier fight to define what’s unhealthy.


Thanks for your response, Michelle. To double down on your point, it has been difficult for me to share my personal stories with racism with certain folks, especially those with an “anti social justice warrior” mentality (some Integral, many not). I would be excoriated, and frankly smeared, as a victim, SJW, “overly Green” etc, even though I was being totally reasonable and just sharing a personal experience. Many seem so sick around the current conversation around race that they can’t even listen to a minority speak about their experience in society without some type of ideological backlash (however I have had some success in opening peoples minds).

I agree with you that it would be prudent to nail down what “blowing racism out of proportion means,” – even starting with a definition of racism that we can all agree on. I would like to invite you to a debate/discussion group called “Integral Crossfire” where we get together to discuss controversial topics, with the hope of coming to an Integral conclusion by the end of the call. We just had one on gender, I would love to have you (and anyone else) join us for one on race. Here is the one on gender:
Let me know if you are interested!


I’m sorry to hear about your experiences. My community has held listening sessions on race issues. They are truly transformational. I wish we would do it more often.

Shutting down these expressions is just such a loss. I think we are starting to see what “toxic teal” looks like. For me this is why focusing on overall developmental health along with more emphasis on horizontal development over vertical achievement is important. Someone may have green capacity but no horizontal development with it and I think we are seeing the problems this creates.

I agree that defining racism is important, I also think developing capacity for healthy racial autonomy while being in relation at the same time is very important. I think this is the skill I had to learn to have a multi-racial family. I just don’t have a full view on what it means to be black in America. Period. I don’t have a first person perspective on that, but I don’t use that as a reason to turn away from relating either, instead I learn to listen and I do what I can to make sure these perspectives are represented in community and cultural decision making positions.

This is just a lesson that dominant groups have a hard time learning because the roots of supremacy in all egocentric and ethnocentric culture is that ones first person is THEE first person. Denying or diminishing these first person experiences is then limiting us to only integrating a small potion of knowledge obtained from the human condition and there is just a wealth of wisdom in that first person that needs to be integrated into the whole of the system. We can not do this without green, deep healthy horizontally developed green.

Let me know when your next talk is. I would love to make it if I can swing it!


I am late to the party here. I attempted to read Peterson and couldn’t get into his book. I did see the interview with Ken when he spoke about him (Dark Web). I am just not sure what all the buzz is about. What is he bringing to the table that’s new? It seems he got a lot of attention when he fought back against the political correctness of how to use pronouns in academic writings.


I’m so sorry I forgot about this post - I said I was going to invite you to one of our debates. We will have another one and I will let you know for sure. If you want, I can add you to our email list to inform you about future sessions. Anyhow, here is our crossfire discussion on racism:


I am a latecomer to this conversation also, but I have read through all the posts and have also watched the relevant videos. And I have found it interesting, fascinating – and also somewhat frustrating – to watch all these attempts by the members of the Integral community to get a firm handle on Jordan Peterson.

In trying to figure out where my feeling of frustration comes from, it suddenly dawned on me that all the efforts to fit Peterson’s ideas into the Integral framework remind me of the difficulty experienced by the Dutch merchant Francisco Pelsaert when his ship ran aground off the coast of Western Australia in 1629.and he became the first European to encounter a kangaroo. Peisart reported that:

“…there are large numbers of Cats, which are creatures of a miraculous form, as big as a hare; the head is similar to of a civet-cat, the fore-paws are very short, about a finger long. Whereon there are five small Nails or small fingers, as an ape’s fore-paw, and the two hind legs are at least half an ell long* [~35cm] *, they run on the flat of the joint of the leg, so that they are not quick in running. The tail is very long, the same as a Meerkat; if they are going to eat, they sit on the hind legs and take the food with the fore-paws, and eat exactly the same as the squirrels and apes do."

According to George Kelly’s Theory of Personal Constructs, when we encounter something for the first time we have no choice but to try and fit it into our existing way of seeing the world. But it seems to me that Peterson, like the kangaroo, is a person whose thinking has taken totally different evolutionary pathways to arrive at a spot tantalisingly parallel to—but strangely different from—the ones we are familiar with from Integral Theory.

We are all familiar with the satisfying ‘aha!’ we experience when something we encounter slots neatly into place in our existing framework, thereby extending it. Rather like fitting a nice long word into a Scrabble game. (I have been having those aha moments at regular intervals since I first came across Wilber’s ideas back in the early 1980s.) Which is probably why we find ourselves wishing that Peterson would bone up on Integral and get with the program. But is seems to me that if we are going to transcend and include his ideas we can only do it at a higher level of organization – one in which cats and kangaroos both fit neatly. Quite how to do that, I don’t know. I am still puzzling over it.


Thank you for your comment. I like the idea you are developing and the reminder to all of us about how easily we forget our biases, our need to see everything within already existing frameworks, instead of allowing the possibility that there is something new involved.
This reminds me of our inability to realise that, at 9/11, there was a completely new technology involved. It was not known to the public then and that’s why almost everyone bought into the official story, just by the inability to imagine that things could be so completely different and not fitting in any familiar framework.