Brodoland is Podcasting!

I’ve now dipped my toe into the pocasting world and I am loving it! Look for new episodes of my podcast, Integrate This!, every Weekend (usually dropping by 12am on Sunday).

Integrate This! is a podcast about politics, economics, current events, lifestyle and other commentary from a heterodox Integral perspective… Some things are better left said!

You can find new episodes here in the Integrate This! Podcast Page or by subscribing on your favorite podcasting platform, such as Apple Podcasts or Stitcher and many more. I hope you enjoy this new content as much as I love making it!

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Confessions of an Integral Climate Change “Denier”

Part of coming up through the GREEN world-centric stage involves developing a deep concern for our planet. “That Pale Blue Dot” that Carl Sagan spoke so eloquently of is our spaceship earth, and without it our species could not survive. In fact as far as we know there is no other planet quite like it. When looked at from the vastness of space, our home looks tiny, fragile and insignificant. And from that perspective, billions of miles away, it is. Any number of cosmic disasters could end us in an instant. We have only the most tenuous grasp on survival, clinging to this precious blue gem in the empty, harsh vastness of the universe.

Thus from a GREEN lens, there is perhaps no greater priority than to protect our precious irreplaceable home. This is one of the fundamental and humbling truths that GREEN brings us. To be at “Integral” or higher altitude, means necessarily having integrated this important truth. Yet for many Integralists, including perhaps nearly all well known “Boulder” Integralists, “integrating” a deep concern for the health of the planet means buying wholesale into the MGM version of Climate Armageddon. No healthy skepticism allowed. This stance is not only NOT integral, it is not even GREEN. It is an AMBER(BLUE) all-or-nothing, appeal-to-authority, quasi-religious stance, that given the actual data, any true Integralist should be extremely wary of.

There are elements of truth in just about any narrative. Some facts about the Human impact on our environment are indisputable:


  1. Human activity is releasing billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year.
  2. Atmospheric Carbon has increased from approximately 280ppm to 370ppm in the last 100 years.
  3. The mean global temperature has increased by around 0.8 degrees C since 1880, and most of that change has occurred since the 1970’s.
  4. The temperature of the oceans is also increasing by approximately 0.12 degrees C every decade for the last 50 years.
  5. The Ocean is becoming more acidic due to Carbon Sequestration.

Those are the main indisputable facts on the ground. Most rational people (i.e. ORANGE COG and above), freely acknowledge these facts. Even many so-called “Deniers” (a term use by Climate Alarmists for Apocolyptic Climate Change skeptics that sounds a lot like “Heretic”) acknowledge the well documented human impact on the environment. The question, therefore is not what is happening, but rather what is the likely impact to the environment, and what, if anything, can and/or should be done?


The problem is that Climate Scientists use error prone computer models to predict what will happen in the future. These models have had a horrible track record over the years. A model is limited entirely by the programming and data fed into it. Trying to accurately model a chaotic system as complex as the Earth’s climate in a computer is bound to be fraught with error, and that has indeed been the case. Furthermore, because such models can be easily manipulated (whether consciously or unconsciously), one often need only look at how a study got funded in order to determine what the likely conclusion will be. As Upton Sinclair put it, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

That is a knife that can and does cut both ways. Academic Scientists, publishing in journals and seeking grant money are just as susceptible to confirmation bias as those scientists whose funding comes from the private sector. Especially given what is potentially at stake, Integralists should take any prognostications about climate with a grain of salt. To label such healthy skepticism “Denial” reeks of MGM absolutism.

Here are some additional facts that should be added to the ones above for some perspective:

  1. CO2 is the primary building block of life on earth. Plants need it in the atmosphere at sufficient levels in order to thrive. Plant life dies at CO2 levels of 150ppm and lower. Plants evolved to thrive at an optimal level of 1200ppm of atmospheric CO2. That fact is well known by growers who regularly pump CO2 into their greenhouses to increase crop yields.
  2. CO2 is the second most powerful gas in terms of its overall impact on the greenhouse effect, however the MOST powerful contributor is Water Vapor, which accounts for 95% of the greenhouse effect. CO2 only accounts for 3.6% of the effect.
  3. Human Activity since the industrial revolution accounts for about 12 ppm or 3.2% of all the CO2 in the atmosphere. The rest of the rise in CO2, or about 69 ppm is naturally occurring CO2, mostly from plant and soil respiration and ocean off-gasing.
  4. The overall impact on the Greenhouse Effect from human activity is 0.28% (or 5.53% if you ignore water vapor). The remainder of the effect is from natural causes.
  5. The increase in atmospheric CO2 has caused a greening of the earth which is discernible from satellite data.
  6. The other man made greenhouse gases (methane, nitrous oxide and CFC’s) are 50 times more powerful than CO2.

Some environmental organizations argue that water vapor should be ignored as it is the result of warming rather than the cause. However this same argument could be used for CO2. About half of the CO2 that goes into the atmosphere is offgased from warming oceans, and the evidence shows that CO2 rise since the last global minimum (a frightening almost extinction level of 180 ppm) lags behind global temperature rise by about 800 years. This indicates that natural CO2 rises as the result of rising temperatures and not the other way around.

All of this is not to say we should do nothing. However, it does bring into question the need for the massive, world disrupting, political solutions being put forth by Climate Alarmists. The politicians and their media machine are putting the world into a panic, and raising a generation of children who are in danger of falling into nihilistic despair because they literally believe they have only a few years left to live. Such hyperbole and apocalyptic rhetoric may serve the political class, but it has no backing in reality.

So what do I think we as Integralists should do to care for this planet?

  1. We should take an integral approach to the data, and look for our own tendency for confirmation bias. Always remain skeptical, as any good scientist should be.
  2. We should care for our communities and the land we are stewarding, looking to use less resources and provide more natural inputs to increase the health and fertility of the land.
  3. We should work to eliminate sources of real pollution; including CFC’s, deforestation, factory farming, trash and landfills etc.
  4. We should explore all avenues for the development of alternative energy sources. From solar and wind to nuclear power, which promises superabundant clean energy for millennia to come.
  5. We should encourage the industrialization of poorer parts of the world, which will speed their development toward world-centric consciousness.
  6. We should continue to study the effects of increasing CO2 levels, but also recognize the many potential benefits of higher CO2 concentrations including a greening of our planet and more abundant food sources for the global population.
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Living in the Present Moment

These days I post mostly about politics, but in my offline life my interests are closer to earth. In 2011 I prepared with my family to move to rural Japan to live closer to the land. I was inspired by people like Masanobu Fukuoka and John Seymour, my lifestyle heroes to this day. We lived there only three years. Much of the first year or so of this blog centers around the beginning of that journey.

There are many reasons why we came back to the US, some deeply personal, and some just pragmatic. It is unlikely that we’ll go back to Japan permanently, but I do still dream of a small holding; an off-the-grid home or small zen hermitage on something like 5 to 20 acres of good land. I don’t want to be a “professional” farmer, I don’t want to bring my crops to market or create a CSA (although I certainly applaud those who do so). I just want to work with the land, increase it’s fertility, and leave my spot on earth more abundant than I found it. I believe such a labor of love to be a deeply spiritual endeavor.

Eventually, when the children are off on their own, I would like to fulfill this vision of a simple rustic life in connection with the land and with daily zazen practice. Meditation and the Zen tradition have become a very important part of my life in the last year. Someday I would like to transition to a monastic life, on a plot of land, devoting loving-kindness to the land and whatever small sangha might share this calling. I see stewardship of the land as a spiritual calling–a worship of the Kosmos by caring for and nurturing a small earthly slice. I imagine if millions of others worshiped in that way, what a gloriously fertile and healthy planet we would pass on to our children.

Currently we live in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. We have a very small house, a 1930 cape cod, 2 bedrooms. We heat it with a high efficiency wood stove, which we use sparingly about 3 months out of the year. We have no air conditioning. Our home sits on a 1/3 acre corner lot. Slowly we are turning this into a food forest using permaculture principles. In my mind, I tell myself this is to be my practice ground. However, It is possible I will never move again. So I practice as if I will live here forever.

At least once a day I sit in silent meditation. However I have found that meditation while working in the garden is also very nice. In stead of focusing on the breath, I focus on other things. “One scoop of mulch, two scoops, three… twelve make a full wheel barrow.” It is winter, the time for mulching, pruning, and preparing the garden for spring. A few Swiss Chard plants still remain, defying the frosts. Although my work keeps me from home 10 hours a day, five days a week, and raising three teenagers feels like a second full time occupation (the best, most rewarding occupation possible), the moments that I steal to practice in this way has made a huge difference in my life.

While in meditation, it is inevitable that the mind will wander. Often I find my mind wandering back to Haraikawa, and the time my family spent there. I imagine what it might look like now, if only we had stayed there. Then I catch myself and bring myself back to the present. Attachment to the past or to the future is the root of suffering, the source of anxiety, regret, worry, and depression. I focus on the present again with full attention. A soccer game, a cheer performance, a conversation over a cup of tea. One scoop of mulch, then two… Twelve make a full wheel barrow.

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On Racism and What it Actually is.

In the current postmodern cultural zeitgeist, few people are interested in what I, a middle aged heterosexual white male, has to say about the topic of racism. If that’s you, I understand. This blog post is not for you. This is for me, and for those who know me, either personally or through my online writing. It is to offer my honest, and deeply considered opinion on this complex topic to those with whom I have long been friends, but with whom I have never had this conversation.  This will be a long read, but if you are one of the small handful of people on this earth who actually care about my opinion on this please read carefully.

I am writing this following a weekend twitter exchange with a very good friend of mine. I consider this person to be one of my all-time closest friends. I consider him a brother. I love him as a brother. We’ve been friends since the 9th grade. I can count maybe one or two other friends in my entire life who are as important to me as him. We disagree on many things, especially politics, but that has never, and I hope will never, affect our friendship. It always makes for extremely lively, challenging  and enjoyable debates. He also happens to be a black man.


Here’s is the video he linked. Quite funny actually. Very Postmodern.

And here is the thing. He’s absolutely right. Racism is terrible, and has done terrible things to the world. Europeans colonized the world, and that had some terrible consequences for the native people of those places, consequences and legacies we still see today. All of that is given. All of that is true. But it is all partial. It’s a piece of the truth. It’s not a full picture. Furthermore, if one approaches the world as if that is the full truth and there is nothing more to be integrated, then you are perpetuating the very racism you are fighting against. 

Yeah, you heard me right. If your worldview is the currently (in the US and Europe anyway) fashionable Post-Modern worldview, then while you may think you are on the front lines fighting racism, you’re actually perpetuating it. You’re keeping it alive. You’re prolonging its legacy.

Understanding Worldviews and Value Memes is CRITICAL to understanding racism.

In my writing I talk a lot about Worldviews. One’s worldview is determined by one’s dominant Value Meme. Think of a Value Meme (or vMeme) as somewhat like software, like an operating system for your consciousness, and worldview is the User Interface. Developmental Psychologists have been mapping these vMeme operating systems for the last 50 years or more. Piaget, Graves, Loevinger, Gebser, Kohlberg, Fowler; the maps vary slightly in subject matter, focusing on the development of ego, morality, faith, or consciousness, but they all have in common a developmental progression. In other words, we start with simple, foundational operating software; seek food, seek shelter, create offspring.  Human 1.0 software is very much like any other animal. Then comes Human 1.1; tribal human, then Human 1.2; egoistic human, then Human 1.3; traditional human, then Human 1.4; modern human, and then Human 1.5; post-modern human. In the last 30 years, we’ve seen the gradual emergence of Human 2.0; integral human. However, human 2.0 is still somewhat rare; perhaps 2-3% of the population and growing.

All humans must update their software sequentially as they grow and develop into adults. Generally these updates continue until a mature adult human has uploaded the most current software version his or her social group is utilizing. Every so often, a maverick human will test out a “newer” update. Sometimes they like the demo and implement the update fully. This is how progress is made.

Often, prior versions of the software become corrupted. They get viruses, and at times large chunks of data go missing. At those times it is important for humans to “reinstall” the prior versions of the software. When doing this humans use terms like, “working on one’s shadow,” “Connecting with one’s inner child,” or “going through a midlife crisis.” However, until they actually install human 2.0, they are still limited to the User Interface of their current version of the software.

If we understand the version of the software a person is using we can understand their approach to the world around them. The tools to do this, to take on the perspective of other worldviews, are uploaded with the Human 1.5 update. However, although the tools are there, the UI is  somewhat clunky and underdeveloped. It’s important to remember that prior to 2.0, humans are incapable of looking objectively at other worldviews, that capability, is fully online with update 2.0. The primary feature of the 2.0 update is the ability to revert to prior UI’s as the need arises.

Following the software analogy so far? 🙂

The point of explaining all of this is to understand that humans are not all functioning from the same worldview, and furthermore, all worldviews hold a piece of the truth. Since human 1.0-1.5 operating systems are incapable of fully accessing other worldviews, they find themselves in constant conflict with each other. Each is holding on to the piece of the truth that their worldview can see, while trying to force it down the throats of others who cannot see it. This is the frustration my good friend feels when he says, “People don’t even know what racism is… More than that, though, I don’t think that people really WANT to know what it ACTUALLY is, and what its actually done to the world.”

His frustration is that not all people can see that piece of the truth that those at human 1.5 can see. His UI is showing him the obvious truths of racism that become glaringly apparent with the 1.5 update; the history of oppression imposed by white skinned peoples against brown skinned peoples all over the world; the systemic consequences of that oppression that carry on today; the continuing struggle and work needed to overcome those consequences. It is a powerful worldview, and it is dominant in our culture today. It is the worldview that brought us civil rights, and undid the systemic inequalities built into our legal systems and our social systems, not only in areas of race, but sex, sexual orientation and more. Human 1.5 took the enlightenment tools first introduced in the 1.4 update, and for the first time, applied them broadly to those people who were previously denied access to them.

If we can collect and integrate all the pieces of the truth, we can move beyond racism. We cannot end it. But we can move beyond it.

Generally speaking, as we update our software, our UI allows us to include a larger and larger group into the family we think of as “human” as “us” and as worthy of dignity, respect, empathy, and consideration.

At Human 1.0 that consideration goes as far as ourselves and immediate kin. It allowed cooperative hunting and gathering.

At Human 1.1 the consideration expands to our “tribe” or clan – an extended kin group. This level of consideration allowed specialization, farming and animal domestication.

At human 1.2 it expands further to incorporate related or allied tribes with common interests, goals etc. This level of consideration allowed political/religious organization, empire building and conquering.

At human 1.3 it expands further to incorporate all of “my people” defined by nationality, or by religion, or by ethnicity. This level of consideration allowed for nationalism, colonization and religious expansionism.

At human 1.4 it expands even further to incorporate all people. This is the first operating system to consider all people to be equal, and worthy of equal consideration. It allowed for the enlightenment, science, free exchange/speech/religion etc.

At human 1.5 it expands to an even further degree to include all sentient beings. This operating system prioritizes consideration for peoples/groups that historically suffered at the hands of those using prior operating systems. It allows for healing, diversity, universal empathy, and consensus making.

At human 2.0 the prior spheres of consideration are understood to be holarchically arranged, each becomes fully integrated. This operating system stabilizes the prior operating systems into a functional and harmonious whole. It tempers the excesses of prior systems and allows for a truly integrated panarchic global society.

Racism can thus be properly seen in this context as the difference between the considered in-group of one operating system from another. Human 1.5 sees Human 1.4 as racist because they do not prioritize consideration to those who’ve historically suffered. Human 1.4 sees Human 1.5 as racist (or “reverse racist”) because they prioritize consideration of some over others, thus creating inequalities in consideration. Meanwhile both Human 1.5 and 1.4 see Human 1.3 as racist because their consideration extends only to their nation, ethnicity or religious creed.

Because the Human 1.5 operating system is currently so dominant, Human 2.0 is often focused on tempering the excesses of Human 1.5. Thus Human 1.5 often interprets Human 2.0 as racist in the same way that Human 1.4 is racist because they interpret this tempering or balancing action as an attack on the 1.5 value Meme. This could not be further from the truth. Human 2.0 has integrated 1.5 and is attempting to stabilize it into a functional holarchical balance with the other vMemes.

Sometimes this is more skillfully accomplished than others. Coleman Hughes is hugely skillful in this regard. His contributions at Quillete are must-reads. It is an understandable and perhaps unavoidable circumstance that pale skinned persons must rely on their melanin endowed fellows to be the voice of Human 2.0 with regard to the topic of race. I had accepted that and until recently remained fairly silent on the topic. It is expected by Human 1.5 that I withhold my opinion, that I self-sensor, on the basis of my whiteness. In fact to act as though I could not possibly have any opinion of any value at all on racism by virtue of that whiteness. That is the absolutely silly excess to which Human 1.5 is currently being driven, and against which I can no longer just be silent.


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Health and Pathology; Agency and Communion

city-of-the-future-hd-wallpaper.jpgIn thinking about Integral Politics we must not let our own biases confuse us into mistaking the axis of Health and Pathology, for the axis of Agency and Communion. All too often in political debates I see people (some, not all) usually with either a strong bias toward agency or communion either ascribe pathology to the other, or claim the other to be coming from a lower holarchical worldview. And while it is possible either might be the case, I think that often it is not, and what you have are two genuine people, who both want the best for humanity, simply unable to inhabit the other’s native bias.

As Integralists, we should seek a social/political paradigm that fully honors both Agency and Communion. However we should seek to also eliminate social pathology and encourage social health. But to do that, first we must determine what is the root of Social Pathology? When I began to ask myself that question many years ago, I had a very strong sense of “right” and “wrong,” as most of us do (especially at the First Tier stages). Different stages see right and wrong in different terms, and these terms build upon each other holarchically:


At integral we see that different societies are really just social networks. We identify ourselves as members of these various networks, and our agreements on what is right and wrong are largely shaped by the stage out of which those networks primarily operate. Integral’s goal, our prime directive, is to create a healthy Meshwork (a network of networks) out of these various, often competing and at times opposing networks, so that they can coexist in their healthiest forms.

So how exactly do we determine healthy and what is unhealthy? I would propose axiomatically for Integral that what is Healthy is that which is Fair and Equitable, Rational, Follows our Rules, Strengthens us, Helps our Tribe, and Helps our Survival. Unhealthy is that which is unfair and inequitable, Irrational, breaks our rules, weakens us, and hurts our tribe and our survival. But here is the problem; we often don’t agree on what IS fair or unfair, rational or irrational! Our rules may be different than your rules, and what strengthens me might weaken you, what helps me and my tribe might hurt you and yours. So “healthy” MUST mean Universally “right” for the entire Kosmic Meshwork.  It cannot mean “right according to some and not to others.”

This is why I believe so strongly, that authoritarianism, in all its forms, is the root of Pathology. Authoritarian systems, at every level, are by definition “right according to some and not to others” (otherwise there would be no need for the authoritarian system in the first place). The Health of the Spiral is directly linked to the abolition of authoritarian social paradigms–not the abolition of authority mind you–but the abolition of involuntary systems of authority to which individuals and communities are bound without regard for what is “right” or “wrong” for them. As Integralists we should encourage and advocate for the growth of non-authoritarian systems of social organization, organized into an overall global “panarchic” meshwork.

Integral Political Axis

Such a system is not yet Anarchic (which comes later at higher levels of development), but it is the first step in the major paradigm shift which must occur to reach a healthy Intregral Social Center of Gravity.  My fear of course is that it could just go the other way, and we’ll be trapped in a Pathological Authoritarian “Integral” – one that uses Integral methodologies to control and manipulate a global authoritarian government. In my view this is unfortunately a very likely scenario, unless Integralists do something about it.

Dystopia is on the march!


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Panarchy; The Integral Global Operating System for the 21st Century

Robb SmithRobb Smith’s keynote address at the recent What NOW conference; Never Been Better, Never Felt Worse: Inside the Rise of an Integral Global Operating System for the 21st Century was a very good follow up to his Webinar (and essay) The Great Release, which I talked about in my last post. I recommend checking both of them out. I won’t touch on the latter part of his presentation regarding the rise of (BLUE/Amber) populism. My take on that is a bit different than his. But in his keynote he addressed the question of Integral Politics–the  manifestation of the YELLOW(Teal) Wave in the LR quadrant of the AQAL model. Those in the Integral Establishment do not often weigh in on the specifics of Integral Politics, but Robb seems to have much interest in the topic. However his presentation gave us a wide 100,000 foot orbital view and continued the Boulder tradition of remaining somewhat vague as to the details, perhaps so as not to make predictions or prognostications that turn out in the future to have been false.

Integral Politics (the LR quadrant of AQAL) and Panarchy as it’s most functionally fit operating system, has been the focus of my writing for the last 6 years. So I was frankly astonished, excited and gratified to see him recognize Panarchy in his presentation as the appropriate operating system for a society centered in the YELLOW(Teal) wave of development and I  agree with his assessment that we are seeing this transition toward more and more panarchic social infrastructures right now.

I think Robb and I agree that the transformation to a panarchic social operating paradigm will be driven by technology. As he put it in his presentation “Technology simply is the greatest driver of human evolution in all four quadrants that there is.” Integral technologies will undermine the hold of the old dominant paradigm, eroding its influence over the direction of society. I don’t think this will manifest as a knock-down drag-out fight of ideologies as has been the norm in 1st Tier. Rather I think it will come about organically, through the global spread of seemingly innocuous technology. States will be powerless to stop it, not even North Korea can stop it. and our global society will have to come up with an operating system that makes sense in a world where communication and information is free, instantaneous, and ubiquitous. To quote Robb:

As I argued in The Great Release, I believe that governance will need to significantly evolve to Teal, meta-systematic intelligence that includes whole systems thinking, polarities, and whole-part dynamics. In short, we’ll have to progress from network governance models to holarchical governance models such as panarchy.

Evolution of Operating Systems

In such a society, nations and borders can no longer represent fenced enclosures where citizen-livestock are kept and milked by a political/bureaucratic elite. New more efficient panarchic infrastructures will begin (are beginning) to serve the functions that were considered the sole monopoly of the Estates of the Realm. Our governments will increasingly find themselves in competition with non-estate entities for provision of more and more essential services, until they fall into obsolescence. From correspondence to currency and exchange, to mass-media and education, new technologies have eroded the primacy of First Tier estate systems in favor of new Second Tier panarchic systems. New technologies will continue to circumvent the need for “public” services as the services themselves are made unnecessary, or are provided for more efficiently through panarchic means.

Eventually, nations will come to represent cultural boundaries more than physical ones. As more and more people expand their uchi-soto boundaries to include global and kosmic centered concerns, panarchic systems work to systematically declaw the nation-state system and force it to take on the softer tone of a cultural identity project, much like Modernism’s effect on the power of religion. Thus, like one’s religion, one’s nation will continue on as a cultural unit, an identifier that ultimately will be adopted or discarded at the will of the individual.

That may sound like a future right out of a Neal Stephenson novel and our course may indeed take on some of those aspects. Evolution is a messy thing.  I gave another vision for what such a course might look like, but importantly, I acknowledge that I cannot see the form these transcendent technologies will take and therefore any vision I or anyone else casts is but wistful daydreaming of a future that is as impenetrable as it is inevitable. What is important to remember, and history bears this out, is as Robb put it, “that we bear in mind the long view of evolution, that we keep in our hearts the gratitude that life has never been better.” And I’d add they will continue to get better as our society evolves.

Gradually our society will wade into panarchic waters. Right now we’re only ankle deep, and already the impact on our daily lives has been huge. This is a time of tremendous change, and it will be difficult for many people to find a new balance. But this is the obligation of the leading edge. As Robb said, “This rebalancing must include preparing society for a Teal, post-dash world: post-energy, post-automation, post-work, post-money, post-singularity, post-truth, post-orthodox, post-AI, and perhaps most importantly, post-certainty.” This is our cross to bear, whether we’re “Integrally informed” or not. There are also many extraordinary voices out there doing good Integral level work that are driving society forward, yet who do not speak integralese–and that’s fine too. We need to add our voices to theirs, and work with them to foster this evolution in a healthy direction.

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Response to Robb Smith’s webinar “The Great Release.”

Back in August, Robb Smith did a webinar called The Great Release. I hadn’t had the opportunity to watch it in full until this holiday weekend when I was reminded of it by a post in Earpy’s Integral Saloon, an Integral Facebook Group. This is reposted from my response there.

I thought it was actually very good, Lots of stuff to unpack in there. He’s spot on about why Trump won and Clinton lost and how Trump as a populist represents a push toward protectionist Industrial Age Nation State level, which is of course regression. I fucking love his charts and want them. Can’t have enough chart porn.

I agree with him unfortunately that we probably have some ugly days ahead of us, but that we’re on the verge of a momentous leap. I liked the part about repression (top-down) and suboptimization (bottom-up) forms of oppression, except again I think the biggest part of the problem there is state power. I too, liked his call for “radical centrism” and I think really that is what Integral Panarchy would be. I also liked when he said we need a balance between anarchists and patriots, because I kind of consider myself a patriotic anarchist.

Things I think he got wrong (or just partial):
1. He says Hayek replaces Keynes as dominant/influential economist from the 60’s/70’s onward (neo-liberal period). I don’t think that is the case at all. Our economy has limped along on Keynesian economics solidly since the 1930’s, there is plenty of evidence that the New Deal prolonged the great depression. I don’t see any evidence that we became “economically conservative” in the neo-liberal period. Quite to the contrary infact, the expansion of the public sector has continued (green push toward more socialism).

I also don’t know why Hayek should be considered “conservative” although he is Free-Market. Free Market economics is the hallmark of classical liberalism. To me Keynes would be the economic conservative and Hayek the liberal.

2. He failed to mention the role of the Federal Reserves manipulation of currency and interest rates in the current crisis, or maybe that is what he means by “finance phase” – he didn’t elaborate on that. He briefly mentioned the role of banking regulation, which is the primary cause of the moral hazard that precipitated the crash of the housing bubble in 2007. You can be sure if we were operating under a Hayekian economy and not a Keynesian one there would not have been such a bubble in the first place, because the banks would have been on the hook for every loan they made.

3. When talking about the Trans-State (which is a great term by the way because it implies something beyond the concept of “state”) he mentioned that the Trans-State cannot abolish the nation state. This is the Transcend and Include cannon of Integral which I think is misinterpreted in this context. The Nation must be transcended and included but in doing so it MUST lose the “State” – it’s territorial sovereignty and its monopoly on violence. Nations then become cultural units, rather than agencies of oppression over their chattel/citizens. Thus if Robb would just delete the suffix “State” from the terms in his lower right quadrant he’d have a perfect model.

That’s my take anyway.

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Stop Trying to Make Socialism Integral – It’s not.

Socialism: a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

Socialism in its various 20th century forms has been the most deadly evil ever foisted on humanity by it’s own hands. Only disease is a deadlier threat to humanity. Socialism in the wrong hands is weaponized economics. It’s economic WMD. Socialism in the hands of RED or BLUE is every bit as dangerous as Nukes in the hands of RED or BLUE.

maxresdefaultNow, I have said in the past that I am OK with socialism so long as it is voluntary within a community and not a coercive (mandatory) political order. I hold to that. If people want to get together to do socialism, by starting a commune or something – perfectly fine. They may still have to interact with the “market” of the outside world unless they are completely self sufficient.

Definitions are important.

Many people, and especially socialists, love to hold up our current fucked up system and call it “Capitalism” and then proceed to beat free market advocates over the head with their straw man. So I’ve decided they can keep it. I will cede the term “capitalism” (itself the invention of Marx) to reference the current system of mixed socialist, fascist, corporate kleptocracy. We have the system we have because we live in a representative democracy and it represents an amalgam of the current competing 1st Tier vMemes of Post-Modernists (GREEN), Traditionalists (BLUE), and Modernists (ORANGE) respectively. I fully agree that what we have now sucks (though it could be far far worse). I do not advocate for the “capitalist” system we have today, I advocate for freedom, for Integral Panarchy, and for the Agora.

Socialists see the problem with our system as one of “greed,” and seek to bring about equality of outcomes through forced redistribution or communalization of wealth, property, capital, means of production, etc.. It’s a view that holds that no one person or group is more deserving of wealth and means than anyone else, and therefore those means must be shared equally among all (although in practice we find that this never actually happens in socialist societies). It is the noble post-modern egalitarian ethic of absolute fairness, translated into politics. A beautiful idea, but partial, flat, reductive.

At Second Tier the problem is no longer seen as one of greed, it is one of development. It is really not so much of a problem at all insofar as “rational self interest” is a healthy manifestation of our Modernist ORANGE consciousness. “Greed”/self interest is, after all, a virtue at ORANGE – see Ayn Rand – The Virtue of Selfishness.  Conversely, Socialism is the political manifestation of Postmodernism. It is GREEN’s politics, and as such it can work fairly well in a homogeneous GREEN society where nearly everyone is operating at GREEN. In fact the closer you get to that ideal, the better it functions. Thus you saw in the 20th century that Socialism failed in red/BLUE Soviet Russia and in Asia and in Latin America and in purple/RED Africa, but has more success in orange/GREEN Scandinavia and other parts of western Europe, because they have far higher populations at GREEN. Take a group of people at GREEN, and stick them in community with each other, and some form of socialism is very likely how they will organize.

Similarly with ORANGE Corporatism, and BLUE Fascism (Nationalism), and RED Feudalism. They work just fine for a population where nearly everyone is at the appropriate level of consciousness. What does NOT work well is having a RED or BLUE or ORANGE population in a Socialist framework (or any other mismatch really). America (and increasingly Canada, the UK, and the rest of Europe) have a heavily mixed population all at different stages, and in my view this will eventually result in one of two scenarios: Civil Strife, violence and eventual balkanization, or a peaceful transition to Integral Panarchy. 

Socialism is not Integral. It’s NOT. It can form a part of an integral framework, but stop trying to drag a First Tier political paradigm into Second Tier because you became wedded to it in your postmodern youth. Please for the love of humanity, let it go.

Okay, Let’s start with first principles.

“When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called “the People’s Stick.””
–Mikhail Bakunin

Ask yourself what is the Job of Integral. What is it supposed to bring to society. Spiral Dynamics (Beck/Cowan) tells us that the transition from GREEN to YELLOW is not of the same order as that from ORANGE to GREEN. It is a momentous leap. As Beck and Cowen put it; “This is not just another another step along the developmental staircase. The GREEN problems in LC6 include those of all the previous worlds, LC1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 and often resonate with them.” (1)

The Life Conditions at YELLOW (LC7) are those of an increasingly small, crowded, chaotic world. A world where all 1st Tier vMemes from PURPLE through GREEN are mashed together in constant contact and in constant conflict. People move around the globe creating vMeme mixed populations. Communication is global and instantaneous. Information is ultra-abundant and easily accessible. Everyone is connected to everyone and it is all too much to process. It is very literally a global social consciousness Tower of Babel. GREEN tries to include and harmonize all into the fold but becomes overwhelmed with the various wants, the competing needs and desires. GREEN does not understand that all people are not equal. Equal in rights yes, equal in dignity, but not equal developmentally, not equal in ability, or capacity. This is the wall that GREEN runs into. One “equal” size does not fit all.

The purpose of YELLOW is to harmonize the chaos by integrating and organizing our global society for maximum health of the whole spiral of development; and that cannot be done with 1st Tier tools. YELLOW must arrange new social paradigms. These cannot be merely amalgams of, nor iterations on 1st Tier political orders (Tribalism, Dictatorships, Fascism, Democracy, Socialism). We must find new ways entirely to organize a 2nd Tier world.

If the purpose of YELLOW is to achieve the maximum health of the spiral of development and all the people in it, then a natural first principle is Primum non nocere:

“First, do no harm.”

This is not a new principle. Indeed it is ancient wisdom probably handed down to us from those through the ages who came to YELLOW and even beyond, well ahead of their time. This principle is the basis of the “Golden Rule,” the Hippocratic Oath, and the Non-aggression principle. It is a principle that is especially salient for YELLOW, the SD “doctors” who have the consciousness-tools to examine and diagnose the health or illnesses of the 1st Tier. But the purpose of YELLOW, much like that of a doctor, is as much to heal the illnesses of 1st Tier as it is to not to fix those things that aren’t broken.

YELLOW does not take healthy 1st Tier vMEMEs and try to force them to fit to a YELLOW mold like other 1st Tier vMEME’s do. No, indeed a YELLOW political paradigm would allow for the existence of healthy PURPLE tribes, RED chiefdoms, BLUE Theocracies, ORANGE Republics, and GREEN Communes. All within an Integral Framework that holds to the principle; First, do no harm, but that has systems and methods in place and ready to surgically remove a cancerous pathology when the need arises.  My hope is that such a system is nearly inevitable and that it will form organically within this century (and perhaps as soon as mid century). I believe our trajectory, helped by an increasing number of people at GREEN taking the momentous leap to YELLOW consciousness, and the Integral technological revolutions of Genetics, Robotics, and Artificial Intelligence, will take us there.

The only thing that could possibly stop that trajectory is a metastasization of GREEN pathology, which could cause us to be arrested at a mean GREEN stage. We are seeing the potentials of this in our societies now as the lower stages increasingly cloak themselves in the GREEN vMEME; RED gains power and status through “oppression olympics” and fights on the front lines as warriors for social justice. BLUE leads the inquisition against non-believers, rooting out climate change heresy, “hate speech,” and “fascism” where ever they find it. ORANGE is subdued and covert, towing the party line and finding ways to maximize and perpetuate their personal success within the boundaries defined by GREEN whether in the corporate world, the media, or in politics. All of them will happily use the political paradigm of GREEN; Socialism, to further their own competing ends, and we will find ourselves arrested there in a Mean GREEN socialist world.

I for one am not prepared to let that happen.





Posted in Philosophy, politics | 14 Comments

It’s all Agency vs. Communion stupid!

mrz020617-color_1_origThe political battle in America and Europe is not one of competing value Memes but of competing Types. This is fundamentally a fight between Agency and Communion* – Right and Left along many developmental stages. Our current political systems are incapable of resolving this fight.

Unless Agency and Communion can be integrated into a new 2nd Tier political paradigm this century that fully honors and enables both…. we’re all fucked.

I listen to Jeff Salzman’s Daily Evolver quite a bit, and find him insightful and really just a joy to listen to about 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time I think he is off target especially when it comes to his political views (it’s my agentic bias I know, I know) and the way he often (but actually not always) characterizes “conservatives” as Traditional-Modern, and Liberals as Postmodern-Integral. Of course most of what I often call the “Integral Establishment” (which loosely describes the various institutions orbiting Ken Wilbur) seems to share Jeff’s viewpoint. The fact that I get that visceral sort of “Ugh” reaction when I get a whiff of communal bias may say more about me than it does about anyone. However, I know from the many comments I have received over the years from fellow Integral travelers, that I am certainly not alone.

In any case my view is that the standard characterization I described above paints a quite un-nuanced picture of what’s really happening within the groups we in the US think of as “Conservative” and “Liberal” (which follow the general political lines of “Republican” and “Democrat”) and of course what it has meant to be these things has changed a great deal over the course of history.

Perhaps a short walk through history will be helpful.

The Democrat Party has been a major force in American politics since the founding of the nation. It’s historical roots are in the SDi BLUE Traditionalist vMeme, and this is where (until very recently) it’s ideology was firmly based. The Republican Party on the other hand was born later from an alliance of former Whigs, Abolitionists, Free Soilers and others. Its roots are SDi ORANGE Modernist vMeme to the core. For most of the history of these two parties they fought an Ideological battle between Traditional (BLUE) and Modernist (Orange) values, and for almost all of that time, from the 1860’s to the 1930’s the Modernist Republicans dominated American Politics. The battle lines were clean and very well defined. Democrats were the party of Tradition, Faith, and Nationalistic/Ethnocentric Ideals. Republicans were the party of Modernization, Science, and Imperialistic Ideals.

This all changed radically after World War II and the spread of a new vMeme; Post-Modernism, SDi GREEN. The seeds of Postmodernism were planted long before WWII of course, but it was only after the war that it really took off in academia and very gradually took over our popular culture and politics. Postmodernists began to slowly take over the ideological reigns of the Democratic party until by about the 1980’s the Democrats had completed the transition into a fully SDi GREEN political party. That left BLUE Traditionalists with a problem; the Democrat party no longer represented their values. Thus was born the “Religious Right” portion of the Republican base.

So now for some nuance, because the current truth is a bit messier than all that. A hundred years ago we had two parties that could be clearly divided by vMeme. This is understandable as the Traditionalist (SDi BLUE) vMeme was already a couple thousand years old and in the US was culturally cohesive, while the Modernist (SDi ORANGE) vMeme was at best only a couple hundred years old. They were the social rebels, the classical liberals, the “progressives” of their day.

But the second half of the 20th Century saw something extraordinary happen. From the year 1900 to the year 2000 we went from a nation with a population of Modernists in Ascendance and Traditionalists waning (where Tribalism and Egoist minority cultures were largely disenfranchised), to a country with nearly every developmental level active and enfranchised from Tribal through Integral (and to make it even more complicated, our vMemes are no longer culturally cohesive, so we have several competing flavors of each all jostling for position). In 1900 our two-party system was entirely appropriate and met the needs of two culturally cohesive developmental levels. In 2000 and now in the present our two-party system has had to realign itself so that it no longer represents two different stages of development but rather two different types; The Communally biased, and the Agentically biased. 

Party Archetypes

The Democratic Party is the party of Communion across all Stages of Development while the Republican Party is the party of Agency across all stages. In a two party system where the voting population is made up of multiple levels (rather than just two) the parties MUST organize this way or risk losing viability as parties. The political parties and the political “fight” that we have in America today is not “ORANGE” vs. “GREEN,” it’s Communal vs. Agentic. Unfortunately I think that’s even more dangerous, and is becoming more so all the time.

The Real Problem of Immigration

The real problem with immigration from an Integral perspective isn’t some (BLUE) notion of maintaining the Ethno-cultural purity of the nation. Or even that it’s legal or illegal. The real problem is that the majority of immigrants coming in are developmentally at BLUE or even RED or PURPLE stages. Of course to GREEN that’s no big deal because all stages are equal. But it is a HUGE deal if we are trying to peacefully advance society as a whole to an Integral stage.

Politically, the Agentic Republican Party and the Communal Democratic Party only care about immigration insofar as what it means for their voting base. And immigration heavily favors the Democrats. You can bet your bottom dollar, if incoming immigrants were primarily at ORANGE, the parties in favor and against immigration would be flipped.

Importing masses of people developmentally at RED/BLUE stages into a GREEN political structure will have a massive destabilizing effect. We can see this already in Europe. GREEN is not prepared for this. When GREEN and ORANGE fight, they fight with words. RED and BLUE use fists, and bats, and knives and guns, and bombs, and u-hauls.

If the current trajectory continues, I predict massive civil unrest or even civil war in these countries.

The Great RED Trump

Jeff Salzman and the others at Integral Life are convinced that Trump is just RED through and through. Although I admit after watching him as president for a year I can see where they are coming from. The man has some serious cringe-worthy egoistic tendencies in his personality, I won’t deny that. In general I agree with Mark Forman that he is a narcissist, but I also still think that Clinton is as well (and was more dangerous for her polished skill at hiding it, while Trump is obvious and has no such skill). The way he communicates and his whole aesthetic is very RED. But I also think that he has some more developed lines (particularly cognitive, moral and ethical lines) which I think are probably blue/ORANGE. The mere fact that despite an enormous multi-billion dollar effort to link Trump to sexual misconduct, corruption, ties to Russia and so on, nothing has really come of any of it – although mountains are being made out of molehills while arguably far more serious corruption (cough, cough, uranium one, cough cough DNC corruption) goes ignored by the media.

My prediction is that Trump will serve his purpose. I still think for all his bluff and bluster, he’s not a warmonger and will keep us out of major conflicts. And hopefully somewhat stem the tide of BLUE/RED immigration. If he can do those two things it will buy us some time. In 2020 I think Bernie will have a comeback. It seems like after this Donna Brazile fiasco, the DNC is shifting his way. Maybe he’ll win. I think he has a good chance.

*Agency and Communion are Types (See AQAL – Stages, Lines, States and Types) that describe a person’s tendency to identify more with their “partness” (Individuality) or their “wholeness” (Community) in the Social Holon. This Type attribute may be determined biologically or epigenetically (see From Quantity to Quality of Life: rK selection and human development) and seems to correlate to other social and biological traits as well (See Agency and communion attributes in adults’ spontaneous self-representations thanks to Erik Pierce for that link)



Posted in Philosophy, politics | 5 Comments

The Need to Control

Gun DebateOver the weekend I had a brief twitter exchange with Robb Smith of Integral Life on the subject of Gun Control, which got me thinking on the whole subject of social control itself as it relates to Communal and Agentic bias. I like Robb and have a lot of respect for his fairness and willingness  to engage with people (like me) who are not members of the “Integral Establishment.”  I don’t apologize for my Agentic biases (I rather like them), but I do try my best to recognize how they color my worldview. One aspect of the Agentic-Communal spectrum I observe frequently is the very different perspectives on the need for social control: In general the more Communally oriented one is the more control one believes society should have over the individual.

I think this is fairly easy to see in the evolution of society through the SDi vMemes, i.e. the “warm” Agentic levels (Beige-Hunter Gatherer nomads, Red-Egoistic Warlords, Orange-Enlightenment Minarchists, Yellow-Integral Panarchists) tend to favor less social control, while the “cool” Communal levels (Purple-Tribes, Blue-Traditional Authoritarians, Green-Egalitarian Socialists, Turquoise-Holistic Anarchists) tend to favor more social control.

This locus of control-prerogative is based on an individual’s perception of themselves vis-a-vi society at large. It is the Whole-Part duality that is characteristic of every “holon” in the kosmos. Our global human society is a holon and it is made up of other whole-parts (sub-societies, identity projects, and so on) which are made up of other smaller cliques and clans, all the way down to the individual human holon. In any given holon, Agency asserts the primacy of “partness,” while communion asserts the primacy of “wholeness.”

Social HolarchyLooked at in this way Agency could be viewed in general as a regressive force, with communion being the progressive force. Communion of social sub-holons is required in order for a more complex social holon to emerge.  Individuals are assembled in communion to form tribes, tribes are formed into nations, nations into the UN etc..

One can also observe that the methodology of social control as societies progress up this spiral goes from more overt to less so. In other words the very means of control become less obtrusive (coercive) and more “voluntary.” This is because as society becomes more complex, social power necessarily must become more and more dispersed. That diffusion of social power from the few to the many, consequentially provides society with a sort of social-lubrication to allow varied and diverse social sub-holons to act together in communion toward a greater and more complex overarching social structure. To quote myself:

As the center of gravity of our (LL) cultural worldview shifted from pre-conventional (egocentric), to conventional (sociocentric), to post-conventional (world-centric), we can see that there was a corresponding paradigm shift in the organization of society. From pre-conventional Autocracy/Dictatorship, to conventional Aristocracy/Monarchy, to post-conventional Democracy/Constitutional Republic. As each progression transcended the one before it, political power was dispersed to a larger number of potential actors, from the single (dictator), to the few (aristocrats), to the many (representatives elected from the citizenry). We should therefore expect that these patterns will continue into the next paradigm shift for an integral (kosmoscentric) cultural worldview.

The more complex our social holarchy becomes, the more diffuse social power must be in order to maintain stability and prevent rejection and regression. Ironically as we become a more and more connected and “communal” society, we must simultaneously assume more agency within that society. If we instead try to map our current or past social structures on a more complex global society we will see rejection and regression into lower (less complex) social orders.

What is my point with all this. Well I think it is that the Communally biased among us need to recognize that when it comes to society, greater developmental complexity of the whole must deliver greater autonomy and agency to the parts. If it does not, it will be rejected as tyranny by it’s own holons, resulting in civil strife, or even catastrophic war, and thus regression into less complex (and less desirable) social orders. Conversely the Agentically biased (such as yours truly) must recognize that without communion we cannot progress as a society at all, and the very autonomy and agency we so desire will be forever outside our grasp as we will be stuck, or worse regress, into lower social orders that do not allow for greater individual agency.

What’s this got to do with Guns then?

Everything and nothing. It is just a symptom of the larger issues at play. Terrible things happen all over the world every day. Will stricter gun laws solve these problems? No. There are approximately 350,000,000 registered guns in private hands in the US. There are probably many more unregistered guns. Roughly half of all households in the US have a gun in the home. And despite all these guns, gun violence has been declining in the US for years. Yet with all this profusion of weaponry, the US remains one of the most desirable places on earth to live. (But who wouldn’t want to live in Switzerland? They have the most lenient gun laws in the EU).

Every year in the US roughly 32,000 people die in gun related incidents. That sounds like a lot. But lets put that number in perspective. About 60% of those deaths are suicides, representing about half of all suicides in the US (according to the CDC). That leaves roughly 12,500 non-suicide gun deaths per year. Of those roughly 80% are gang related. How many gang members do you suppose will comply with gun laws?

So that leaves (on the high side) 2500-3000 non-suicide, non-gang related gun deaths every year, consisting of Accidents, Murders, Police Shootings, Mass Shootings, and Self Defense. And to combat this problem, the communally biased “Control” crowd wants to make it harder for law abiding citizens to purchase registered firearms? *smack forehead*

Meanwhile, 40,000 people were killed by cars in 2016. We need Car Control.

300,000 people were killed by obesity in 2016. We need Food Control

52,000 people were killed by drugs. We need Drug Control… oh… wait…

900,000 babies were aborted!!! We need dick and pussy control.

More control is not the answer. Consciousness development is. 



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