I have been studying and practicing integral for most of my adult life. I have found it to be the most constant source of direction and inspiration in my life. Lately my thoughts on how it is relevant to the world are changing. I use to think that if we help to create more integral structures that can support everyone at their level we, as a society, could achieve a type of balance that would bring on a more peaceful and thriving world. Lately I see that first tier must fight, even if their needs are provided for, fighting is just built into the system in a way that can’t be altered.
The depths of this realization are coming from seeing the way my traditional family reacts to efforts of non traditional groups adopting their beliefs. Family, God, country, fiscal responsibility. Their has been a great effort in the past 30 years of reforming these ideas to be healthier and more inclusive thus more effective. I thought it would be reassuring for them. That traditional people could see their victory.
It’s not and it in fact threatens them. Seeing their beliefs expanded through integration was the greatest sin of all and the distortions that followed have made me, for the first time, completely unable to connect.
I’m interested in what others think or have experienced with this. I find this all to be sad, but maybe sad like realizing Santa Claus isn’t real. It’s just a part of growing up.
Michelle, hi. Thanks for your thoughts, they have got me thinking too.
IMHO: Use your map for navigating the territory. Where there can be confusion is not understanding that Integral is both map and territory.
Firstly: When you take a step back and look at what is happening through an Integral lens, you are accessing the Integral map. Taking your example, you will see clearly two continents: (i) the family in traditional mode and (ii) the family in the postmodern world. What may not be so clear is the third continent in between: the modern family. What may well be helpful for you to do is to magnify the scale of the map to see the almost impenetrable boundaries between these three continents. In a sense its a bit like Trump’s wall: you may think its there to keep out outsiders, and it is in part, but mostly its to keep insiders firmly in.
Secondly: When you go visit these families and communicate with them, you are now in and of their territory. This is the part where you realise Integral is simply another word for reality/ what’s out there. With what you’ve learnt from your map of their reality, you can explore their boundary with them. You will discover whether they see their boundary as permeable or not. If it is permeable they may well begin to reflect on what a modern family might mean if they were to alter their reality to let it in. This is where they may have a peak experience of what it means to be a modern family. Having experienced it, a number of things may happen. They may ignore it, treating it as an illusion of the devil. They may use it a a spur to evolve their stage of development. If it is not permeable, they will not have any understanding of it. It will be like a wolf being handed a copy of Shakespeare’s works. Meaningless to the wolf. If they do get some kind of understanding, they will see the modern family as a threat to their way of life. If they see it as a sufficient threat, they will want to kill it.
(As an aside here, I’m heavily post-modern (Green) and see Teal as a significant threat to my way of life. Intellectually I know if I want to evolve I’ve got to embrace Teal and allow my perspectives to evolve that way. But, man, I’m finding it hard.)
Ok, so the way forward may well be this. Take a fourth person (I think this is the correct wording) perspective. Take a look at yourself looking at the traditional family’s perspective - what’s going on in your mind, how to you feel, when you look at this family. Do you find what’s going on in your mind, what’s going on in your heart, is helpful or does it need a bit of adjustment? Once you distance yourself in this way, you get to see how evolution is wonderful (how brilliant is it that families now have this freedom to function!!) but not pretty (have you seen what that fundamentalist Christian family is going through when the daughter brings home a nice Muslim boy?)
And by the way, Santa Claus is real, whichever way you choose to look at him.
Thank you. This is a beautiful breakdown. It’s helping me see what is at the core of my sorrow is the smallness of their territory limits my ability to fully experience traditional family connection because my full self cant enter without threatening them. I see their fear and worry for me since they do project that devil. It’s torture for them. I don’t want them to feel threatened and I don’ want to get attacked when their sense of threat reaches a critical mass.
There was something about Trump that relaxed them so, since I don’t need to change them, is was easier the past 4 years. That need to project was lessened. This trip was crazy. I think in part it comes down to honesty. It’s like when I am holding back because I know they can’t handle it, they keep pushing.
When they initiate the conversation is it best to stop it or do I need to accept this is the uncomfortable part of evolution and just deal? Curious what you think…
I tend to dance a little in front of them. Keep it light, add in some humour when you can.
By this I mean that you don’t inhabit the full you with them when they initiate the conversation. For example, if I were having a conversation with Ken Wilbur about how bad Teal seems to me and how I can’t see how anyone would want to inhabit Teal, I would not want him to go full on with me as I wouldn’t cope and it would confirm to me just how bad Teal is. So I guess Ken would look to see where I have issues with my post-modernism and he would engage me in conversation gently and with humour, introducing an aspect of Teal that could provide an answer to my issues.
So - just a suggestion - when the conversation starts, ask yourself what is the issue in their territory that is causing them to ask these questions/make these comments. And if they are just being critical of your territory, ask yourself where they are coming from that would lead them to do this. You will be true to yourself and inhabiting your full self when you do this process of enquiry. When you feel you have a handle on it, join them where they are, then dance a little in front of them with a hint of the modern family that meets the issue that the traditional family is having difficulty with.
And if they are fully comfortable being in a traditional family, look for the traditional family aspect that still lives on in you, join them there in their territory and enjoy the undoubted goodness that exists within a traditional family setting.
You need to be an integral family counselor! I feel like I see what the issue is. As a traditional family we were raised in all the racism and homophobia as one would expect. In the past 12-15 years my family has had many experiences that have deepened their worldview and truly transformed them so that these issues are no longer in their hearts but…since they are traditional and there is good and evil, to acknowledge this transformation is to say you were evil and Christianity is fallible and the shame of this is just too much, so instead they project in all sorts of crazy ways. This makes the dance too erratic and unpredictable. I just cant keep myself in front of them. It’s like Trump, he was so erratic who could follow is dance steps!
Curious…I don’t think I have ever had the experience of not liking a higher level. I find myself feeling calmed and reassured. I would love to hear more about what’s hard for you.
I am a little late in entering the dialogue about Maturing Integral Thought, but I would like to propose a different way of looking at the topic. I believe each level of human/cultural development has healthy expressions as well as unhealthy ones. We should be defining each level/stage in terms of healthy forms rather than the unhealthy ones we hear about every day on TV and in the press.
Healthy forms at each level have found ways to integrate all earlier levels into the level they are now living. A healthy traditional level would incorporate the needs and values of Archaic, Tribal, and Egocentric into their way of life. Persons at those former levels should feel that they are being supported as they are living within a culture that is primarily traditional.
As a new level/stage develops, as a greater proportion of the population accepts it or responds to it, there are three basic responses. One is to see it as a threat and to reject it. In the process, they are changed. They are defensive of the former level. Their thought gets crystalized at that level. A second response is to reject all former levels and to focus on the new level as if all former levels have nothing to offer. I believe that is also an unhealthy form of the new level. The third and healthy one is to integrate what is valuable and needed in earlier levels into how you seek to live at the new level. A healthy form at any level does not have to be defensive; it can provide a meaningful and fulfilling life to those who live at that level.
So, we need not to be so defensive of the level at which we live. It is just who we are and how we believe we should live. Other persons can live at other levels. That is okay if they do not try to force it on others. I wonder if, when we meet someone who is defensive of the traditional level, we can help them affirm what is healthy at that level. Then, perhaps, they would not feel so attacked and would not have to attack in return. Of course, that is all easier said than done.