Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
I started this inquiry at FB IPS. Is integral all about meta-theory? And does one have to be involved in meta-theory to be integral? Even more broadly, do we have to meta everything? So I'm curious about how one can be integral and not necessarily participate in meta-theory. It seems most discussion that claim integrality usually go through delineating AQAL, as if that is what defines it in toto.
I'm reminded of Gidley's work. She talks about the difference between research that identifies postformal operations (PFO) from examples of those that enact PFO. And that much of the research identifying PFO has itself “been framed and presented from a formal, mental-rational mode” (109). Plus those enacting PFO don’t “necessarilty conceptualize it as such” (104). And of course this now infamous Gidley quote:
"For Gebser, integral-aperspectival consciousness is not experienced through expanded consciousness, more systematic conceptualizations, or greater quantities of perspectives. In his view, such approaches largely represent over-extended, rational characteristics. Rather, it involves an actual re-experiencing, re-embodying, and conscious re-integration of the living vitality of magic-interweaving, the imagination at the heart of mythic-feeling and the purposefulness of mental conceptual thinking, their presence raised to a higher resonance, in order for the integral transparency to shine through" (111).
So how do we DO that? And is a meta-theory necessary to do that?
I'm also reminded of this Ferrer essay on integral transformative practice, abstract below:
"Most psychospiritual practices in the modern West suffer from favoring growth of mind and heart over physical and instinctive aspects of human experience with many negative consequences. Michael Murphy and Ken Wilber have each made excellent contributions in offering prescriptions for “Integral Transformative Practice” (ITP) which includes various physical and psychospiritual disciplines. Their prescriptions, however, can easily perpetuate the mind-centered direction of growth characteristic of the modern West in that they inherently ask one's mind to pick and commit to already constructed practices. Needed is an approach that will permit all human dimensions to co-creatively participate in the unfolding of integral growth. As one possible solution, the author presents a program of ITP developed by Albareda and Romero in Spain. Their Holistic Integration is based in group retreats to practice “interactive embodied meditations,” which involve contemplative physical contact between practitioners that allows access to the creative potential of all human dimensions."
More from the Stein study a few posts up (), which unequivocally answers my inquiry in the initial post. Recall this study was with JFKU graduate students in the integral studies program, not your run of the mill online troll.
Note the chart on p. 5 of the levels, then the chart on p. 10 on the range of interpretations of the AQAL model in stages 10 through 13 (aka formal, systematic, meta-systematic, paradigmatic; or orange, green, teal, turquoise). The notion of a 'center of gravity' for levels is, irony of all ironies, GREEN relativism! And typical sophomoric interpretations of quadrants and levels are ORANGE! Just knowing the AQAL model does not in any way jump one to postformal (or so-called integral) cognition, as one's prejudices are carried into the study of AQAL.
I'm reminding the forum of this thread, as it seems that often one is considered 'integral' if they engage in AQAL or some other metatheory. And if one doesn't engage such theory they are often considered not so integral.
The Stein study unequivocally answers my inquiry in the initial post. It was done with JFKU graduate students in the integral studies program. Just knowing the AQAL model does not in any way jump one to postformal (or so-called integral) cognition, as one's prejudices are carried into the study of AQAL.
As I note in this thread all of that complex metatheory is not necessary to enact a so-called integral perspective. My main concern at this point is trying to enact a socioeconomic system that provides the base from which people can develop to their higher needs and cognitions.
And that starts not with meta-theory but with working with what we got politically, which requires using whatever means work best to effect that change. Intellectual meta-theory, IMO, doesn't do the trick. Yeah, it might have some effect on shifting the intellectual community toward a more comprehensive view, which might or not eventually 'trickle-down' into political enaction. But we probably don't have time to wait for that.
Along these lines, I often get 'integral' criticism that my blog is simplistic, that it doesn't build complex arguments, etc. Hence I'm not displaying integral cognition. Maybe even being mean and green.
My blog's purpose is not to provide complex arguments. Such arguments do not win the heart of the average voter but in fact repel them. My blog's purpose is to use the framing necessary to effect voting behavior. While such framing can be rationalized in complex terms, the actual practice is really quite simple and requires simple, emotional framing. Use what works to reach your target demo. The smart, caring people are already voting for scientific climate policy and don't need my convincing.
It is a common tenet in developmental models that one must frame an issue to the target audience that one intends to influence. Hence just throwing the AQAL model at people does not in itself connect with and/or influence them to change, often to the contrary. This is also something Cambridge Analytica (CA) and Russian spies are well familiar with, framing very specific messages for very specific target audiences right here on Facebook, and their effectiveness in the 2016 election was apparent.
Going back to my comments above about my blog, I have learned from the above and decided to frame messages in a way that target two key demographics that statistically decided the last election: 1) those well meaning working folks who voted for Dump, not racist or hateful generally, who rightfully feel they're getting a raw economic deal from a rigged system, and; 2) those progressives who fell prey to the Cambridge Analytica and Russian frame machine and chose to vote not for Clinton but a 3rd Party, or not to vote at all.
I think so-called mean green framing works in both cases, in that it shames the first demo because given what they're learning about Dump they realize they were fooled and are ashamed to be further identified with him. The second demo are shamed into realizing that indeed Dump is far, far worse that Clinton ever would have been, even given her own negatives. Polls are showing both demos are now shifting back toward authentic, progressive candidates and away from Dump. The last election adds weight to this claim.
So if one wants to categorize me as mean green given my conscious strategy of winning elections for the betterment of everyone, have at it. What someone claiming to be integral thinks of me is irrelevant in this literal battle for democracy, itself a prerequisite for providing the necessary foundation from which to launch the collaborative commons, itself necessary to move people along the network of development.
PS: See my paper "From capitalism to the collaborative commons" for more. Yes, a shameless plug, you know, 'integral' marketing.