What's your biggest disagreement with Integral theory?


Wow this is good news you had a music appreciation afternoon
“Jai Guru Deva, Om, nothings going to change my mind ,written by john .
personally i resonate with George’s works just inspiring love it.
I say hi as im fresh back on ILC ,perhaps you could point me out some discussion s kens talks or others loads to engage with .
I have joined full membership this week.
Truly kens philosophy’s have been life changing for us all thank you.
( be blessed,oh my God,who gives suffering
As the only divine remedy for our folly,
As the highest and purest essence preparing
The strong in spirit for ecstasies most holy.)
That was from Les Fleurs du mal Charles Baudelaire.
dipping in and out of kens works his collaborations teachings are for me some of the most interesting discussions on the planet .
over the last 30 years or more really wow time flys.
Discovering Then receiving paper publications “what is enlightenment magazine.
I have decided to really adopt ,engage ,and accommodate
Integeral theory,n practise , i still have my integral life practice 2008 book now in plane sight not tucked away also received the download
That comes with joining .
Lawanna i am reaching out as we have some
rep-ore .
Perhaps i have overstepped the ‘to much info,or wrong time place boundary .? you havent the time to read all the following please don’t feel obliged
Or i am breaking community rules cross-topics i would apreciate sine-posting To appropriate topics

Somone with my age has interests alined with ilp from time, i have had and do have, personal struggles both recognised owned, and accepted, towards growth, and some ongoing and difficult life situations .
I have tried to go it alone to long under adverse conditions for years.
My friends return of liver disease after a liver transplant some years ago is now thrown us into the unknown , and into grief .
( my neglect of practise zazen, let this be a warning life shows up , it aint always great they way it decides to do this , i have practised mainly zazen zen for 10 years well untill i decided i dont have time. Crazy yes.
my unsuited work Which stops engagement with practise. Struggle.
ensuing, Depression Time away from employment.
I could do with an integral councillor ?something i promised i would do.
I have recently been diagnosed with adult ADD. ADHD and all its substrates fun things like rejection sensitive dysphoria .
Empaths ,i never could work out if i felt emotions in a say nuro typical way?
Now i understand the amplified emotion is the neurological wiring ADD/ADHD . Creating some jumping around states for sure.
For me personally this would explain so much and am interested what some of the integral professionals people who work in neurology or medicine or psychiatry,or just great advocates of integeral philosophy here have to say on this, in regards to ;
Actualising self , lines of development,and practise.
I have my own experiences of this but it would be great to find integeral
Pundits with whom i can engage n contribute with on ILP on this enquiry
ADD/ADHD has is a confusing, contradictory, inconsistent, and frustrating condition. Interfering with my deepest core interests lines of development ,over a lifetime leading to deflation substance misuse and all those dark places
Hey I’m 12 years sober after 2 years in rehab so thats a start.

Kind regards .dan


Hello again, is it Dan? Please be assured that you are certainly not the only person on this site with personal struggles, as you’ll discover for yourself as you start reading in various topics.

Your quoting Baudelaire made me want to offer a few quotes of my own, relevant to ‘personal struggle.’ There is this: “Life has meaning only in the struggle. Triumph or defeat is in the hands of the Gods…so let us celebrate the struggle!” (Swahili Warrior Song) And speaking of warriors, there is the motto of the Navy Seals: “The only easy day was yesterday.” And this on warrioring from Castaneda’s “Journey to Ixtlan”–“To achieve the mood of a warrior is not a simple matter. It is a revolution.” And finally, when all else fails, I find this useful and cause for a smile, from one of the founders of Esalen Institute, Dick Price: “The situation is hopeless, but not serious.”:slightly_smiling_face:

I can suggest some categories and topics here that might be relevant as a jumping-off point for discussion; some of them have links embedded that will take you to other resources that may be useful. What I would say about the ADD/ADHD, however, is that you might want to start your own topic at this site on that subject, as I don’t recall any conversation around it up to now.

What I would also offer is a suggestion that you might want to check out some of the free videos/audios on the internet as examples of yoga nidra practice, also called ‘yogic sleep’ (nidra is Sanskrit for sleep). Many people, myself included, think depression, while having numerous causes and forms, is oftentimes related to energy depletion, or in sleep-research terms, disruption in our BRAC (“basic rest-activation cycle”). (And not just during sleep, but during waking hours as well.)

Yoga nidra is a form of deep conscious rest/relaxation, an extension of the Savasana posture (corpse or sponge) of hatha yoga. It is generally done lying down and listening to an audio (or live voice) that guides one through a rotating series of directives of where to place one’s awareness/attention in the physical body (e.g “on the hollow of the throat,” “at the bend of the right wrist joint,” “at the space between the eyebrows,” etc.). Then you are guided to move through subtle layers of self, (referred to as the four bodies or sheaths or koshas, i.e. the energy body, the mental body, the wisdom body, the bliss body) using breathing and mindfulness techniques, for deeper healing and rejuvenation and to ‘clear’ these bodies. I believe some branches of Buddhist philosophy also equate depression with an imbalance between rest and activity, leading to depletion of energy in both the physical and subtle bodies. I’ve read, although I can’t quote you the source right off hand, that yoga nidra has also been helpful to people with ADHD. Anyway, just google yoga nidra and check it out, if interested.

As to topics on this IL community site that might get you started, the Ken Show on Integral Live (https://integrallife.com/live/–for future reference) that just aired on March 9 was on “growing up,” and covered stages of development with a great adjunct of movie clips to illustrate the stages. You can find that on this site under the MEDIA category, topic “Growing Up: A Guided Tour.” There was mention in this episode that “lines of development” which you’ve indicated an interest in, will be covered, possibly in the next episode. (The Ken Show is monthly, about the 2nd Saturday usually I believe; this is possibly my favorite of all Integral Life offerings.)

Also under the MEDIA category, the topic “Reclaiming Your Power While Struggling with Chronic Illness” offers access to some inspirational interviews and stories.

Under the UNCATEGORIZED category are these topics: “Big Awesome List of Integral Voices” (listings of Integral leaders in different fields, including therapy); “Starting on the Shadow” (mentions here too of integral therapists); “Medicine and Spiritual Practice.”

Under the REFLECTIONS category are the following topics: “Approaches to Healing Trauma,” “It’s Lonely at the Top,” “When Integral Met the Twelve Steps,” and “Integral Studies and Therapy.” (And given that you’re an audiophile, check out under this category “What albums, songs, artists or genres of music have had a profound influence on your life?”)

Under the DOJO category, there is the topic “How to decrease stress level with using integral approach.”

Finally, just scroll and check in with whatever looks interesting, as there is a lot of conversation/content that may be relevant to your interests, but is shared under a seemingly irrelevant topic (just like you and I are doing here…).

Hope this is helpful, rubbersoul2 Dan, and yes, I like George too…Something about that gently weeping guitar that sounds like my sweet lord. :slightly_smiling_face: Congrats on the sobriety–no easy feat.


“Integral theory” has regress to Orange… it only is integral when you ‘live’ it or ‘embody’ it it doesnt work if you ‘think’ it. It just make your a stuck up know it all which is the shadow side of integral.


We did a live video chat on this topic yesterday in “Integral Crossfire”.

If you are interested in talking instead of writing, connect with me or Ryan!
Next discussion next Sunday on states of consciousness.


Yesterday evening I went online to YouTube looking for a particular something and this video showed up first thing, so I watched the full episode. The first thing I would say is that I think your conversation met a goal laid out by Ryan when he introduced Integral Crossfire at the IL Community forum–the tone of your conversation was quite civil and laced with consideration and kindness towards one another. I would also say I think Ryan did an excellent job of moderating/facilitating; he held everyone to time limits set beforehand and the questions he asked of Theo and Jeremy, for example, were exactly the questions I myself would have asked, for clarification purposes. What is lost through Ryan’s moderation of the conversation is that we don’t get to hear much from him on his own perspectives around the subject matter, and Ryan, I missed that.

I found the conversation very energizing; I don’t think I would watch Crossfire (if they’re all this energetic) as late in the day as I did this time, as the mental stimulation actually kept me awake part of the night! Having gotten a little sleep and this morning, reflecting on it all and watching another related YouTube video, I’m ready to make a few comments (or maybe a lot of comments, we’ll see how it goes.)

Perhaps the most intriguing statement (for me) was made early on by Jeremy, when he said rather off-handedly that ‘Rebel Wisdom has written the post-mortem on Integral.’ I’ll come back to that later.

I thought Theo’s early comment about Integral being “only a model” was spot on, and a necessary reminder we all need from time to time to help us keep everything in perspective, and hold things a little more loosely. “The map is not the territory” has been said or written by KW and other Integral leaders so many times, and yet, we can still lose sight of this. I still lose sight of this.

Another comment by Jeremy was/is to me the crux of effective Integralism: that everything needs to be folded into a larger awareness. Theo later seconded this by saying we need a greater sense of the Whole. Karen too spoke of the need to include everything about the Integral model in a larger awareness of unity. If I had to choose one idea that I feel best represents Wilber’s own Integralism, and the message he goes to great lengths to get across, it is exactly this: Wholeness.

I personally never tire of hearing/reading Wilber riff on Wholeness, Spirit, Nonduality, Presence, the Totality of the Painting of All That Is. I actually sometimes tear up hearing him talk on these subjects or reading these sections of his books. Partly this is because I “get” (i.e. have experienced) some of what he’s talking about, and what I don’t get, I long for, as I think many people do. It is in/as this Wholeness, that we are all, not equal, but absolutely The Same, identical–One Self. So yes, we definitely need to keep the Whole in mind.

That said, and at the risk now of being thought of as engaging in what my friend Paul the LionLamb funnily calls ‘ass-kissery’ or otherwise defending Wilber, I’m going to go on a little tangent here about some of my views on him, who I ‘know’ only though his books and videos/audios, in response to some of the comments made during this Crossfire.

I have never thought that Wilber is writing just for me or people like me or for our small niche Integral community. Certainly he is writing for us, but also for academia, and for high-powered leaders in every field, and for posterity. This has to shape his writing to some degree. I have immense respect for someone who can write so prolifically about so many subjects for so many different readerships, while holding to his own integrity. For example, some people find the talk of chakras and subtle and causal bodies and such and spirituality in general off-putting, and yet, he hasn’t compromised on these subjects. He’s not stupid; he knows many people think this is “woo-woo,” and yet, there it is, his authentic voice, his “more-truth.”

Some people don’t find the repetition in his books or online talks useful, but repetition is one of the primary ways in which we learn. Not only is the Integral model complex, but some people may read only one book, and the basic tenets of integralism need to be there. I personally always find something new in material he is repeating; he shines a new light on the knowledge I possess, adds to it. The Institute of Noetic Sciences did a study some 10-years ago of leaders in an array of spiritual traditions, from paganism and Wicca to shamanism to Judeo-Christian religions to various Eastern traditions, asking what were the primary elements in their practices. Repetition was one of the top five. So I don’t think it can be underestimated as a teaching/learning tool.

Also, some people don’t find the lengthy books useful; while I agree the average person will not delve into 800 pages on an unfamiliar subject, and I too would like to see a brief Integral “primer,” for those with a deep interest in the subject matter, 800 pages is not enough!

Some people object to his favoring or emphasis on Buddhism in his writings/teachings. I have never felt he is trying to convert anyone to Buddhism, but he has stated in his books that he finds the philosophy and teachings of Buddhism more comprehensive and in-depth than any other tradition he has looked into. And I don’t think we should forget that Wilber is still human, still an individual, and he has the right for a preferred spiritual allegiance of his own. We shouldn’t deny him that. He makes plenty of room for other spiritual traditions. My own spiritual grounding is in the shamanic-yogic traditions, and yet, sensing the universality of all traditions; I find some benefit in all of them, and I am not bothered by his Buddhist leanings, and do in fact learn from what he writes on the subject.

I personally find tremendous heart and feeling in Wilber’s writings and talks, tremendous heart and feeling, and I have to repeat that, tremendous heart and feeling. And given that he has practiced hatha yoga and weight-lifting and has dealt with physical illness, I don’t think he’s out of touch with body. Have you read his pages in “The Religion of Tomorrow” on obesity? Genius application of integral theory to a bodily issue. He also uses nature metaphors extensively in his writings; I don’t think he’s out of touch with earth and nature.

That said, when I first started tuning into Integral online probably 12 years ago, I too questioned the “headiness” of integralism. But I see things differently today. Integralism is a complex model, and cognitive awareness is necessary (but not sufficient) for development in any of the other lines, be that values or morals or psychosexuality or spirituality, etc. I think a lot of what I and others have called headiness could more accurately be described as highly-developed, exquisite cognition combined with an intellectual brilliance. As Jeremy said, intellectual talk can be viewed as an art form, and I agree, whether it’s an individual talking or a dyadic conversation.

As for the conversation on Crossfire about the ‘arrogance’ towards other (non-integral) levels of development, I wasn’t clear as to who or what the term was being applied to–to Wilber’s integral model? to Wilber himself? to other integral leaders or personalities? to members of our own Integral Life community here? Once again, I think we have to ask some questions around this–is it arrogance or is it possibly that most integral leaders speak from a highly-developed sense of autonomy and conviction? Do we really believe integralism is arrogant, or are we responding to others saying integralism is arrogant and incorporating their views? There is arrogance everywhere, and again, 12 years or so ago tuning into Integral online, I too thought there was some arrogance, but I just don’t see that much of it today. I do remember some 10 years ago, taking one particular integral leader to task over his arrogance. We exchanged several lengthy and somewhat heated emails around a situation; not only had I found him very arrogant in unnecessarily trashing a particular Buddhist teacher’s work who he had not even read, but he was arrogant and condescending and patronizing in his initial assumptions that I was a know-nothing dummy. To his credit, he ultimately acknowledged I was right. I’ve taken another one to task over their use of F-bombs every 15 words; so many integral talks are in the public domain, that I do think we have to at least consider how others might view our language, and I’m pretty certain there’s a large group out there that would find so much F-ing language offensive. You know, use it for emphasis if you choose, but we’re way past needing to prove Spirit exists in the profane as well as the sacred, so I say, clean it up a bit. I’m a little conservative that way.

Some other statements that stood out for me in this Crossfire–Theo’s comment that perhaps there is a “sensitivity avoidance” among integralists, that we shouldn’t be caring, etc. Ryan added that perhaps we reject too much of the green altitude consciousness. I see some truth in this, and I think that we on this site can start right now correcting this. Theo, I love you! You too Ryan!! Seriously, I think exchanging positive regard with one another is totally legitimate here or anywhere, and while I personally have observed quite a bit of this actually on this site, there’s room for more.

And speaking of green consciousness, yes, I did feel this conversation was oriented to some extent from that perspective (that perspective as we know it from the Integral framework). A pivotal point in the conversation came when Charles raised the question to differentiate between dominator hierarchies and growth hierarchies, and Paul spoke as an advocate for hierarchy. That’s when I thought the conversation really began to take a turn towards being more fully Integral, because if you can observe that your conversation is exhibiting hallmarks of what we typically call the green altitude (anti-hierarchy, anti-hierarchical development), then that suggests a higher (greater, larger, more encompassing, whatever word seems appropriate) perspective than green, i.e. Integral. I thought Heidi made a wise comment about how in a single day, people can move from stage to stage, i.e. aren’t always stable at integral or any other stage. They indeed are sliding for most of us.

But what I would also say is that we do have to accept where we are, and in some cases, include more of the prior stages in our beings when we recognize our having short-shrifted them. I recently heard Jeff Salzman of the Daily Evolver speak of wanting to fill out his own green consciousness; I’ve heard him speak of wanting more of the magical-stage experience as well. What’s wrong with this? Nothing, in my opinion. And I do think that we who are identified with integralism could possibly affect unhealthy green consciousness by ourselves modeling healthy green.

And when it comes to metaphors for the hierarchical stages of development, I thought Karen’s suggestion of the spine a good one; it’s also closely related to the chakras. But you know, Wilber has offered numerous metaphors himself: there’s the Russian eggs when we’re talking about the enfoldment of structures in a nested holarchy; there’s the ladder; there’s the rainbow which I like really well–as he points out, the stages aren’t rigidly ‘marked,’ rather, they sort of blend into one another as do the colors of the rainbow. He’s also spoken of belts in Aikido or the martial arts in general, how everyone can accept that there is a different degree of capacity in someone with a white belt than someone with a black belt. This is a developmental hierarchy. So, yes, the more effective metaphors we have, the better.

I did want to say something to you Max, thank you for your comments about awakened kundalini “skipping around,” not being totally linear. Speaking from personal experience as well as the academic literature, this is true; kundalini can jump from chakra to chakra in no particular order. And yet, I would add, the overall ultimate direction and “destination” of awakened kundalini is upwards towards the crown of the head.

And finally, Jeremy, nice to see you back in the Integral community! I remember our conversations from last year and enjoyed them and was educated more about Gebser’s work. I remember the sense that his work had a bit more emphasis on what have typically been called feminine values, and on immanence. If you show up at the Daily Evolver again, I’ll be sure to watch.

But I do want to ask about your comment on Rebel Wisdom’s post-mortem on integralism. That’s what I did this morning, is go in search of that. I had watched Jeff Salzman’s interview with David Fuller about Fuller’s interviews with Wilber, and I had watched Wilber’s interviews with Fuller. My impression was that David Fuller at least found great value in Wilber’s developmental stages. What I watched this morning was Fuller’s interview with Jamie Wheal: The Legacy of Integral. Probably you’ve seen this, and perhaps others in this Crossfire conversation as well. Is this one of the Rebel Wisdom talks you’re referring to as a ‘post-mortem?’ If not, can you steer me to what you are referencing?

I had numerous problems with Wheal’s comments. His main objection to hierarchy, as far as I could tell, is “the problem of people’s egos, that everyone wants to be at the top.” To me, this was kind of like saying, “I object to the sun because some people get sunburned.” I thought he had some pretty significant blind spots; for instance, one of his main criticisms of Wilber’s integralism is around the chakras and subtle body, which the inclusion of in Wilber’s work he referred to as “far off the reservation.” I tell you, in my experience, it is Wheal who in this case is far off the reservation. Just because he has not experienced chakras or his own subtle body does not mean they don’t exist.

I did not view Fuller in this interview with Wheal as writing Integral off. He in fact said that he thought Wilber’s inclusion of developmental stages and vertical development was a “great addition” to the current intellectual conversation.

So yes, this turned out to be quite long, you Crossfirers stimulated me! As I want to sleep well tonight, I needed to burn through these responses to your conversation. There…I’m already yawning. xo, xo


Wow, Thanks for your long and thoughtful reply. And thanks for your contributions to the topic. Why don’t you just join us live next time? I am sure you could add much value to the conversation.

As to the arrogance: I noticed that we are seen as arrogant when we try to tell people about integral and they are either not ready or not interested to hear it - or we/I am not skilful enough to tell them what it is and why i is useful.

I think we humans, whenever we have some deep insights, have the human desire to share that with others and, more often than not, enter into a sort of missionary attitude by which people are often pushed away instead of getting pulled in.


Yes, wow, it was really really really long, wasn’t it? I’m glad you found it a thoughtful contribution.

I know that these Zoom meetings are open to anyone on this site and I thank you for the personal invitation. It’s just not possible for me to add another regularly-scheduled event to my calendar; I have to just “catch as catch can” these days. But again, thanks!


RE: The Live Video Chat:

I actually feel a little uncomfortable “disagreeing” with aspects of integral theory. I feel like I need “the big book” of twenty to thirty pages that Heidi suggested to help me get the full framework. After having just read the Wikipedia version, I can see there are no surprises there for me… I like what I see…Maybe I have a better grasp than I imagine, even though I’ve been engaging in sort of an a la carte kind of way.

I’m actually one of the few here who does not have a “higher education”, and my natural inclination is not at all “heady”, but I think my interest in integral is about the recognition of that “weak spot” in my own development and really recognizing my need for, and the value in gaining more ability to translate my experience into a form that even “heady” people can understand. (Karen, I actually loved what you said just before you said you were “rambling”…that’s more my style I guess!) This is actually very hard work for me, and yes, can at times start to feel “far too heady” for my own personal comfort. I think there are those who are just naturally inclined that way. I’m just not one of them! : ) I just take these moments as a sign that I need to take a break and restore my balance.

Is there anything about Integral Theory itself that would cause me to feel “less than” for needing to do so? Not that I have picked up on yet. Is there anything about the Integral “community” that might cause me to feel “less than” for needing to do so? I haven’t been here long enough to say. I hope not! …but I realize communities are made up of (perfectly imperfect) people, so I suppose that possibility would exist.

I do remember once hearing someone here speaking in a somewhat condescending way about people who don’t yet have the Integral “lingo” down… which, to be honest, did make me pause and wonder if arrogance might be an issue here…but I decided to just set that aside knowing it’s not necessarily a reflection of the overall community.

Heidi…I was imagining a circle as a more useful representation of growth hierarchies as well! Seems like it would better reflect that concept of “transcending and including”, and the idea of embracing and allowing what is already a part of even so called “higher” levels.

Also, the way I’ve been understanding Integral thus far, it doesn’t seem to be saying that “more expansion” equals “superiority” or “higher value” (someone please correct me if I’m wrong…I may well be…I’m newish here)

I understand and agree with the need for the structure of “growth hierarchies”…but it seems to me that the human ego can and will, at times, naturally look for ways to distort and/or “use” even growth-hierarchies in less than optimal ways. (Think of less-than-perfect parents)

In my experience, more growth mostly equals more responsibility…Responsibility to embrace, support, and allow “earlier” (not “lower”) stages to be exactly where they are, acknowledge them and their process as “essential”… to respect them as the “precious and perfect expressions of the totality” (borrowing your wonderful words Karen! Thank you so much for them!).

I am so “with” the idea of better metaphors….In fact, metaphors are my natural way of processing information…The more the better, as far as I’m concerned! (Maybe y’all …and the world in general!.. could meet me halfway in my dogged pursuit to develop more linear thinking capabilities? :)) I think there may be a lot of us in the world who could really benefit from more of this)

In response to Paul’s question “how do you not lose the distinction”…I feel the answer again, is “new metaphors” The use of words like “higher” and “lower” and reaching “down” could be transformed…to something like (off the top of my head) to “later”, “earlier” and “embracing” (the “earlier stages”)…or, in the “circle” representation this could, for example, be transformed to the “embracing” of what’s already visually “embraced” in the image of the circle…namely the “center”). The distinctions remain here, with less tendency to suggest “higher value”. Movement, yes…growth, yes…superiority, no…higher value…no.

Again, using parenting as a metaphor, imagine the difference between, a very healthy, functional parent who does not have any unconscious (shadow) need to feel “superior” in any way to their child compared to, say, that child’s older sibling who takes a kind of pride in being “more grown up” and has a tendency to use his/her younger sibling’s lack of certain “skills” to pump up his/her “significance” or “value” in comparison. This very healthy/functional parent might recognize the need of that older sibling and find a way to acknowledge/recognize the additional “skills” of the older sibling while also discouraging the use of subordination of others value. Metaphors can be so soooo useful for finding such solutions.

I could name so much more that I loved about this discussion, but this is getting really long…(I warned you…Rambling is my thing)… I just want to say I really enjoyed watching/listening to this entire discussion. And Jeremy, I swear I could listen to you all day long and not get tired…which is saying A LOT for me. Seems like you have an incredible grasp and use of both sides of the linear/non-linear equation… best of both worlds!

Thanks to everyone and to Heidi for posting the video!