The Conversation: What the Integral Movement Needs Next


If - warning: big assumption ahead - it is right that the business structures created by Orange had their roots in the social structures created by Blue, should Teal be looking to Green for the roots of the business structures it wishes to evolve/create? Are the difficulties we are seeing that Teal is having in creating new business structures caused by Teal trying too much to “go it alone”?
Is this what Robb Smith is alluding to when he refers to software being an answer?


It seems that despite our integral aspirations, we still remain confined to anthoropocentric priorities. It seems that “knowing how to be” is missing from the narrative.

Christianity made a major impact on European cultures, and the European renaissance could never have occurred without it. What was it that Christianity provided? I’ve given this considerable thought, despite not being a believer. What Christianity provided was:

  1. Belief in the greater good. Christians expressed this as belief in God, but ultimately it manifests in practical terms as belief in the greater good. Irrespective of whether one believes in God or not, it is belief in the greater good that makes the difference, and ALL authentic religions can come on board with that;
  2. Standing up for what you believe in. Moral individualism (as distinct from selfish individualism). As an example of what this implies: Buddhism, in contrast to Christianity, prioritizes filial piety, and in this it is more inclined to a kind of moral authoritarianism as distinct from moral individualism;
  3. An implied contribution to the semiotic narrative… the choices we make shape what we become. Again, this is a notion that all authentic religions can come on board with [Semiotics, as the focus of my own work, has recently been formalized into a compelling synthesis of the theory of Charles Sanders Peirce with the biosemiotics of Jakob von Uexküll].

Belief in the greater good and moral individualism, with an intuitive (not formalized) semiotic awareness, lie at the heart of Christianity’s effectiveness.

These are the reasons, I believe, why Christianity has played such a central role in western cultures. But its man-made-in-god’s-image anthropocentrism is problematic. Anthropocentrism has been a major ball-and-chain that has blocked progress in the life sciences. Intelligent Design (ID), for a while, was on the right track, but then they went all Humans-R-Speshul with their human exceptionalism, and with that, I lost interest in ID. We are much more like the animals of nature than this Humans-R-Speshul anthropocentrism can bear. ID cannot appreciate the importance of knowing how to be.

The life sciences require something of a Copernican revolution. This is a living universe, it is vast, and the principle of “knowing how to be” is one that applies throughout. “Knowing how to be” places it all into perspective, because it is “knowing how to be” that extracts from infinite possibility that which works.

So… coming back to Robb’s interrogation to place it into practical terms. What’s missing from all the different factions that are dividing us is an appreciation of what it means to know how to be. Knowing how to be is not in the genes. It is experiential, and it is learned. And it is universe-wide. And placing it into this universal context, we can better imagine the possibilities, the importance of cultural values and the choices we make. And that calls for humility. This manner of thinking discourages the sorts of indulgent narratives (e.g., relativism, determinism) that have become so toxic to contemporary cultures.

If my explanation thus far seems woolly and terribly woo, my recent article (published in Cybernetics and Human Knowing) provides a more tangible outline:


I love this simple yet profound statement … Thank you @steljarkos :slight_smile:


I second Moss’s complaint. Jesus, Robb, are you writing only for integral nerds?


I agree that Robb’s complaint was difficult to unpack. He mentions Transformational Thesis, but he seems to be trapped in the same kind of determinism (cultural assumptions) that he seeks to correct in others. What, indeed, is it that transformation requires?

The transformation of which Robb speaks is not new. It has been a central concern of the world’s most authentic religions for millennia. Hence my reference to Christianity in my most recent post, earlier this week. As a non-believer (call me agnostic if you will), I cannot accept Christianity’s anthropocentrism, nor that a god was required for the creation of all things. But I do accept that Christianity, in synthesis with Buddhism/Hinduism and contemporary semiotic theory, might provide solid foundations for perhaps a new kind of religion that will be better placed to address Robb’s concerns.

In this context, for example, what Robb refers to as “the epistemology of goodness” falls into place naturally, when we factor in personal lifestyle choices with cultural context. What is it that makes a culture robust and healthy? Unhealthy cultures are divisive cultures that splinter in the face of toxic, self-indulgent interests, where virtue-signaling scolds, masquerading their moral high-ground, try to shame everyone else to their own interpretation of truth… Cancel Culture and all that.

Our world religions carry much baggage from the past; not just Christianity but also, for example, Hinduism with its caste system, or Buddhism with its own anthropocentric biases. With contemporary insights, we might relieve them of their baggage and transform our contemporary mess into something new and more sustainable.


Epistemological Calculus


It seems unnecessary, slightly disturbing even, that anyone would want to create a type of blueprint or template for how a particular stage of human development should manifest. I would link the Zen parable of the Chinese farmer to this - perhaps you are already, but perhaps you mean it more in relation to the best way to help people develop to a certain stage (and this I see no problem with.)

It’s never really going to happen anyway that everyone at teal will fit into a few people’s preconceived ideas of how this stage should be, and I don’t see why anyone would want it to unless they want to create a tribe, have influence over people, or create a world in their image. What about diversity? The most beautiful thing is surely everyone growing into their unique individual selves and expressions within each stage of their own development.

I’m aware it’s something Ken Wilber speaks of, that people paving new ground in evolution will create the basis of how that structure will play out for people reaching that structure in the future. But I disagree. I think this only happens for people who have a strong amber shadow, or who are at the amber stage in certain lines (or anyone whose developmental histories have created a conformist mindset, to put this in everyday terms), who feel a need to fit into other people’s preconceived ideas.


Beautifully articulated.

I would add from my vantage that this self appointed illuminati approach in definition of THE Teal Noosphere very much comes across as fundamentalist zealotry. I will assume everyone’s motivations are sincere but simply do not see breadth and depth of multidomain-multisystematic knowledge in the IT community that would have me bet that ITers could come up with a better culture, religion, economic, and/or governance models than what we have today.

My previous comment on humility and appreciation was a soft attempt to point this zeal out.


An analogy: Is it better to work towards enlightenment and use the tools that arise from that endeavour towards helping the world, or is it better to help the world and accept the emergent enlightenment. Similarly, is it better to clarify what Teal behaviour is and use it to deal with Green’s issues, or is it better to work at dealing with Green’s issues and accept any emergence into Teal that such behaviour provides.
It may be that we are getting too hung up on “Teal” and seeking to create it from the top down, rather than allowing it to emerge from the bottom up.


This is profound. Thank you for the clarity.