Should this be a members-only community?


Very good questions, Ray. Looks like a tough call for Corey but whatever he decides, it might just work- or not; he many have to take a trial and error approach. I recall Corey created the The Stages of Leadership Maturity video with Beena Sharma and Susanne Cook-Greuter back in 2018 (I can’t believe it was 4 years ago!)
It was a great video from the masters of IT. I got a lot out of it, especially when I posted a question and Corey gave it to Susan. It’s unfortunate that such videos are not created as often as you think they should I’m sure there are reasons for it. Perhaps it would help Corey if he provided a questionnaire for the Integral community on what they would like to see in ILC.


Robb received lots of feedback and Corey is playing Whack-a-Mole near full time. They’ve got the inputs.

In Christianity, there is a saying “would you hear if someone were to knock on the door?”
In English we would call it simple hubris or egocentrism.
Here in Integralville we would call this AQAL shadow work starting UL then LL then UR and LR.


I’m at loss as to what you meant…


Robb Smith - IL CEO - started (or Corey posted for him) a “what do you want from IL?” post several months ago. There was some frustration but everyone seemed to be very sincere. The fact that everyone took the time to provide the inputs could be taken as validation for Integral Life, the Forum, and perhaps the demand.
They’ve got lots of inputs in that specific thread, plus much discussion “about” the community in daily conversations.
Make sense?


Crossposted from another thread.

@LaWanna said:

My response:

I’ve thought about similar solutions. The problem I think, is that most people are probably not looking to see what “category” a given thread is in, so even if we created a set of interior-enforced rules of discourse (e.g. “please only comment on media pieces if you’ve actually watched those media pieces”) it wouldn’t be too effective for too long. Unless I manually add these sorts of suggestions to the threads themselves, which would be one possible way to adapt here.

And for the record, I feel personally challenged by this sort of decision. By default, I want to keep things as open as possible, with as few “punitive” rules as possible. I am a bit Green when it comes to community management (which, coincidentally, also requires the least amount of active moderation). But I have also been confronted with the limitations of that approach, which is causing me to rethink my approach to community management altogether. Perhaps creating a “community of the adequate” really does need to be “an elitism, to which everyone is invited” — but that “invitation” refers to specific paths into the community, rather than just opening it up and allowing the discourse of a member-supported community (members are paying the bills for platforms like this) to become dominated by non-members. When it comes to Integral Life, my priorities are first to our members, and then to our possible/prospective future members, and then to everyone else.

But there would also be a net loss for that approach as well, as some of my better writing and reflections over the last couple years have emerged from discussions with non-members, even ones who are occasionally hostile to me personally, and to the views I try to express. It’s nice to be challenged, and to be forced to re-think my own underlying assumptions. But it also makes it very difficult for any conversation to move forward, if we are constantly bringing the discussion back to “first principles”.

Maybe there is yet another solution here, which I have not thought of, and which doesn’t require so much active moderation (which can be a big investment of time and resources). I personally wish there was a way to systematize a genuine “integral meritocracy” in communities like this — like, members of the “community of the adequate” are given particular badges (maybe granted by completing a particular course, or perhaps nominated by other decorated members of the community?) and those badges then give comments more or less weight over others. Or perhaps limiting the number of non-member comments that can be made per day, while giving supporting members the privilege to post as much as they would like. But I don’t believe this platform will support those solutions, and this is probably the best/most robust forum platform out there.

So I continue to try to find the best possible solutions, that can generate the greatest amount of integral truth, goodness, and beauty, within the technological limits of the community software itself, and without requiring a full-time job to moderate the community, or ten full-time jobs to invent a new community platform altogether :slight_smile:


Transcend and INCLUDE.


Just remember, the inverse to “transcend and include” is “negate to preserve”.

As in, we negate the tumor in order to preserve the organism. We don’t include the cancer :slight_smile:

Which is a clumsy metaphor, because I’m certainly not calling anyone in this group a tumor :rofl:


But as you say, people are not tumours.

As we contemplate whatever it is most important to us at any given time, adversity is to be turned towards and limiting the possible manifestations to those that are most integral and least skillful would diminish adversity to our own ability to apply skillful means.

Is :man_shrugging: the right emoji for IMO or :face_with_monocle:


I get what you’re saying about IL priorities for service: members, possible/prospective future members, then everyone else. And a good point that everyone here should take note of: it is the subscribing membership that essentially funds this Discourse site. I also hear what you’re saying about technological limitations with this platform, as well as personnel limitations. All appreciated. I have also thought about most of these things. You have much more knowledge than I about the ins and outs and intricacies around this issue, and I doubt that there is anything I can say that you haven’t already considered. I’m not sure how useful the following comments will be, but I’ll proceed, and these comments are addressed not just to you, but to everyone here.

There are so many ‘categories’ of users/potential users of Discourse, each with somewhat different needs and wants, which indeed, makes having a platform of this kind a great challenge. There are the brand new members; the re-subscribing/established/or older and longer-term members; non-members (some of whom are former subscribing members); prospective future members. I am very limited in information (IL literally not being “my business”), and yet I have been trying to look at the situation from these various (imagined) perspectives. Which is why I thought about using “Categories” to address some of the issues, although I too see the handicaps or challenges with that. I also thought of maybe “grandfathering” in the active non-members that have been here, say, for the past 3-6 months or something, then with the onset of the new community management approach, start applying the new standards for participation. This has the advantage of attenuating the ‘sting’ and circumstance of changing rules mid-stream and excluding current participating people, which is certainly IL’s prerogative, no argument with that. It also has disadvantages in that it doesn’t assure the making of a “community of the adequate;” more on that later.

Regardless, one of the basic general dynamics I see at work in the use of Discourse is:
*Non-members (some, not all) haven’t learned or mastered or do not practice the fine art of accepting a ‘gift,’ which use of IL’s Discourse is–a freebie, given out of a generously good will.
*Members haven’t ‘claimed’ and are not using Discourse as a service they are both entitled to and paying for, at least not to the degree that non-members are using it, or “dominating” as you say.

I suspect the two are interrelated, how closely I’m not sure. I’ll speak first about non-members.

  1. It seems to me that when you’re freely given something that you like and want and do use, such as Discourse, a certain amount of conscious graciousness and gratitude should accompany that use. I am not talking about giving lip service to gratefulness (although that’s a start), bur rather that there is an embodied, lived experience of that gratefulness. Knowing and feeling that one has been given a gift would ideally color to some extent nearly every comment by non-members at this site. This has mostly to do with little else but manners, sort of akin to how one might treat and engage with the host of a dinner party at which you are a guest. The host can always throw you out–you’re not ‘entitled’ to be there–and that subtle ‘threat’ is always present, even if unconscious, on everyone’s part. I think of a Carl Jung quote: “What is not brought to consciousness, comes to us as fate.”

  2. The name of this site is Integral Life Community Discourse. Each of those four words are potent, carry their own explicit and implicit meanings. But without an emphasis on “Integral,” one could just as easily do ‘life’ and ‘community’ and ‘discourse’ at any number of other forums. The focus here is on “integral,” learning, understanding, enacting, and applying to whatever topic or situation arises, integral concepts, tools, and perspectives to the best of one’s ability. There are plentiful resources provided by IL and others at no charge–articles, podcasts, videos–both at this site and offsite for non-members who have interest and are willing to access them. Which doesn’t mean there is no room or allowance for disagreement with aspects of the integral project. But there is a difference between good faith questioning, challenging, disagreeing, and, a bad faith general animosity and rancor towards Integral as a whole or IL as a whole. The former is usually accompanied by an inquisitiveness and often a creative intent, whereas the latter often seems to me to be coming from a destructive intent, a desire to “tear it all down,” including people. Which brings me to the following:

  3. I see the current group of non-members as being some pretty thick-skinned, stalwart participants, with strong assertive personalities and a good degree of anti-fragility. Those are overall positive traits, imo, and if those traits are balanced with one’s softer, sensitive or ‘in-dwelling’ side (i.e. integrated) in communications, that’s quite potent. This past year or more has seen us highly focused on political and cultural issues, which seems appropriate given the world-at-large is also highly focused on these issues. Some of us are interested in “showing up” in these arenas at this site, and are willing to engage with the tension and push-back and conflict and disagreement. But we shouldn’t forget, this is still an INTEGRAL site.

There are non-members here who cover the gamut of stages of development, from amber to orange to green to teal +. Both masculine (autonomy and agency) and feminine (relational, communal) typologies are present in most people, as evidenced by the desire for self-expression as well as interaction. There are various degrees of spiritual intelligence or wakefulness. People are at different levels in different lines of development, and have their preferred quadrants from which to view reality, and some of us pay heed to and point out the partiality of perspectives, and have our own pointed out. We are in essence at this site a microcosm of the world-at-large, and we are working Corey overtime to keep the integral perspective upfront and afloat. Everyone needs to do better, or else we are no different than the disorder we see in the world. Imagine if every strong assertive personality here invested that energy in actually supporting the integral vision and trying to learn, enact, and apply the concepts; what a powerhouse this might be. Which brings me to the last point (and then I’ll stop and continue later):

  1. This point is about a “community of the adequate.” To me, and this is just my opinion, that means not just a group of people who are invested in integralism, but people who are also invested in how we treat one another (which one could well argue is a part of integral). A “community” is generally defined as a group of people who share interests, values, and/or purpose. I think some of the clearest value statements for communication at this site are contained in the Community Road Rules and Guidelines, which I recently re-read along with the T of S, and the comments in response to the CRR. I understand these are “aspirational” and not “prescriptive” guidelines. I understand and support the goal of encouraging the development of anti-fragility by allowing for “messiness in good faith.” I do think at sites that allow and encourage disagreement that there needs to be some agreements about how we do that, how we disagree. One of the statements I like in the CRR/Guidelines is “the conversations we have here set the tone for every new arrival” (which is quite pertinent when it comes to new members). I understand there is no full-time personnel to moderate the site, which means EVERYONE here needs to hold themselves accountable, bottom-line.

This last point I think might have some relevance for new member participation, how they view the site and their degree of interest in getting involved. Saving those comments for next time.


Good idea, but I suggest you keep it simple for your own sake.


Continuing with my narrative… and first of all, I note some changes here already, good deal!

Re: Some or many IL members not using this Discourse as much as they might, or as much as non-members have–
I do not know why, of course, but can imagine certain scenarios. Perhaps there is the factor of not having time for it. Perhaps some supporting members are “past adequate,” i.e. do not need a service such as this. Others I imagine are busy consuming the generous amount of content available to them, or taking courses, or participating in ILP sessions, or individually applying integral to their own lives, work, and projects, with integralism having already cohered in them to varying degrees. Perhaps some have little or no interest in “chat,” or even community per se, but are mostly interested, as one person put it, in “collaborative exchange” with integrally-adequate peers. And maybe if this site were limited to members, more of that exchange would be happening. And maybe some people stay away as they are turned off by the quality and tone of the conversation as mentioned before–somewhat coarse, ‘hardened,’ even hurtful.

I personally would like to see this forum retain a focus on being welcoming and nurturing of newcomers to Integral, new members. People who have recently discovered or who have fairly recently been ‘turned on’ to Integral generally bring a freshness, an excitement or enthusiasm, a ‘beginner’s mind,’ hope, and a positive expectancy of both Integral and themselves for realizing a greater potential. These were certainly some of the things I felt when I was first new to Integral. I am generalizing of course when I say that while some may be more accurately described as ‘becoming adequate’ in terms of having a handle on the integral framework, they are usually growth-oriented, from my observations, and fluid, demonstrating what humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers described in “On Becoming a Person”: :
“A person is a fluid process, not a fixed and static entity; a flowing river of change, not a block of solid material; a continually changing constellation of potentialities, not a fixed quantity of traits.”

With this Integral Discourse apparently entering a new phase or cycle, it’s probably a good idea to reach back and reconnect to some of Integral’s roots, or at least that’s what I find myself doing. If ‘attitude’ can be defined as the “lay of consciousness” (as consciousness researcher Charles Tart did), then these attitudes of newcomers/new members that I’ve generalized about seem to me to be part of the ‘root attitude’ of Integral, an attitude that newcomers inject here which we all could do well to connect to and rekindle in ourselves. We need more positive expectation for ourselves, for the Integral project, for the world–an optimism not blind to the ‘negative,’ but actively hoping for and looking for and noticing the silver linings. I surprise myself a little saying that, as my modus operandi has generally been “wait and see.” But I am feeling more positive these days about: everything; go figure.

There are two practices that I consider Integral root practices that it might be helpful to have even more focus on here, even though they are covered elsewhere, and this first one particularly in the mindfulness training: making objects out of our subjects. This practice is applicable at the gross-physical body level (taking stock of, looking at/seeing our posture or eyestrain when reading, for a simple instance), and at the subtle level of mind and soul (looking at/seeing our thoughts, assumptions, attitude, beliefs, emotions, feelings, energy, etc., for example). It proceeds right through the spiritual practice of and as witnessing consciousness. A practice that addresses body, mind, and spirit, and that advances waking up, growing up, and cleaning up is, in my mind, a root Integral practice deserving of our attention. It’s not about constantly questioning oneself, but rather about making the effort to at least look at ourselves, in which, by doing so, we have a choice as to whether to self-affirm or self-correct or do nothing at all.

The other practice we could call “letting go,” or “dis-identification,” or “dying to” or “Thanatos” or even “sacrifice.” We emphasize “transcend and include” in the growing up process, but if that is broken down further, it means letting go, dying to, or sacrificing what we are (perhaps overly) identified with, and identifying with something greater/higher/better, more inclusive, etc… This again is applicable at levels of body ((e.g. letting go tension being held on to), mind (e.g. dis-identifying with our ideologies or views as definitional of who we are, or others are); and spirit (e.g. an interior sacrificing of the small self’s attachments and aversions in order to serve the well-being of something larger/greater).

(Letting go of course can also mean letting things be exactly as they are, in self, culture, and nature, as in “everything’s perfect…” This is relaxing. A Chinese proverb I like: “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” Seems like a good place to stop.)


I think it should be members only.


Hey everyone,

After a good amount of deliberation, and more than a little bit of agonizing, I’ve decided to go ahead and make this a “members only” community. We are still figuring out the tech in the back-end, but I believe the community should now only allow you to participate if you have an active membership, and should remain read-only for non-members.

If you are a member, and cannot access this community, please send me an email at and I will take a closer look. If you are not currently a supporting member and want to continue participating here, but cannot sign up due to financial hardship, you can also email me at that address and I can set you up with a temporary free membership.

Thank you everyone for your detailed feedback in this thread, I have taken all of it into account as I finalized this decision. I think this will probably slow the momentum of the community threads over the next few weeks, as we find new ways to get our members to participate more frequently in these discussions. If you have any additional feedback to share, you can do so in the comments below.


As someone who isn’t a paying member, I’m open to being screened/questioned.

If somehow I am not ready to contribute optimally, then I’d like to be given guidance.