More examples of key points of integral


Hello everyone.
Is there a collection of more examples of some of the key points of Integral? As far as I remember of the KW books I have read, there is only one example KW uses when writing about how it is important to distinguish between oppressive hierarchies and natural hierarchies. For the natural, non-oppressive hierarchies, the example is: atoms -> molecules -> cells -> … organisms -> … -> communities, etc.

I agree that many people at green get carried away with trying to reject hierarchy, but I think a lot of those people could acknowledge that organisms are made of cells, which are made of molecules, which are made of atoms, and that this is some type of hierarchy (haven’t asked anyone that I got the hierarchy-rejecting vibe from, though).

What are some good examples that show more clearly where the line is between oppressive and non-oppressive hierarchies which are less obvious / closer to the line than atoms, molecules, etc, on the one hand vs the caste system on the other?

I might have noticed other cases where it would be nice to have a variety of examples to use, but I do not remember them now. Please feel free to add other points that could use more examples. I will add if I remember.


Hello, Moss -

Good question.
For the largest collection of natural growth hierarchies - 100 or so- see the charts at the back of KW’s Integral Psychology. The ones cited most often by Wilber are the cognitive, moral, interpersonal, emotional, spiritual, self-identity, and a few other multiple intelligence lines of development in all of his recent books. Less obvious cases can be found in all four quadrants. In the Upper Left, for example, the hierarchy (from lower to higher) we find id-superego-ego (healthy-Freud); superego-ego-id (unhealthy). Also Anger-Controller-Ego in the Voice Dialogues system (healthy); Ego-Anger-Controller (unhealthy, dominator hierarchy). In the Lower Left, paganism-Christian theology (dominator hierarchy in early Christian societies). In the Lower Right, female-male (theoretically healthy in pre-industrial farming societies), unhealthy in industrial and post-industrial societies. Also, citizen-legislature in liberal democratic societies (healthy); subject-tyrant wherever seen (unhealthy).


Thanks Charles! Those are good examples. I guess they were sitting under my nose without me realizing.


Thanks for the question, which I had never thought about before. It occurs to me that all the ordinary hierarchies displayed in our everyday lives have both healthy (non-oppressive) and unhealthy (oppressive) versions: parent-child, older sibling-younger sibling, husband-wife, employer-employee, master-servant, pastor-parishioner, leader-follower. I’m sure you can think of many others.