My Personal Path to Integral

Before I go too much further I think it is important to describe my own path toward Integral and in that way I think my personal biases will become clear. Every person takes a different and very personal path to reach a Second Tier world view. And that path imparts on each person a unique viewpoint.

I recall being maybe in 6th or 7th grade, and I was totally Blue. Operation Desert Storm was in full swing, and while some students were protesting, I was wearing an American Flag t-shirt. I was a member of a youth group, born again, the whole nine yards. At about the time my Blue zealotry was at its zenith my dad pulled me aside and began forcing me to examine my beliefs. He used Reason and Logic to pull apart every argument I had, right before my eyes. In a matter of only a few hours, my entire Blue worldview was in tatters.

My father had demonstrated the power of Orange’s Rationality, the power of critical thinking, using reason and logic. My stay at Orange was quite brief though (although I would return again later). Perhaps only a year or so, and that may be why I experienced Green in such an Agentic way. Because I felt I had been duped by Blue religious dogma I had gone to the extreme opposite. I became interested in only things that could be proven objectively. I lost all interest in Spiritual matters entirely. I clearly recall during this period the derision I felt toward people who were religious.

When I was first introduced to Ken’s writings I was in flat land. This was high school (maybe age 15 to 18) and I was pretty Green ideologically, although I was a somewhat Agentic Green, whereas Green is primarily a Communal stage. I tried to read Ken Wilbur and simply couldn’t get through it. I wasn’t ready. At that time I was a hard core Atheist, a Multiculturalist, an Environmentalist, an Egalitarian, and had a very Pluralistic Worldview. Sometime during my senior year in high school I began to question my Atheism.

I had (still have) a very close friend who is Bahai. The religion fascinated me. It had everything my Green consciousness craved and allowed an avenue to explore spirituality once again that made sense to me with its pluralistic (In some ways even Integral) approach to other world religions.  I studied the Bahai faith for about five years, my entire college career. I got into deep prayer and meditation (although I had practiced meditation for years since about age 12 or 13 as a means to control anxiety), I was still Green, but I was pulling myself out of Flatland.

Right around my Junior and Senior years in College I began to sense something was wrong with the way I saw the world. I began to question my long held Green worldview. I was coming upon somewhat of a crisis. I remember having long discussions with friends about the nature of God,  about the nature of consciousness and self vs. other, about man’s relationship to the environment and the universe and especially about the meaning of truth. I remember having long heated debates with friends about defining “truth.”

I began searching for answers. By the time I was out of college I was reading the writings of several religions including Bahai, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Shinto writings, philosophers, from Plato to Descartes, Kant and Nietzsche, to one of my favorites; Thoreau, but then I started reading economics and politics and I was hooked; Smith, Marx, Bakunin, Proudhon, Spooner, Mises, Friedman and son, Rand, Rothbard, Hayek, Molynuex and more. I flirted with Orange again and joined the republican party at the beginning of this period, but didn’t dwell there long. It was the works of Rothbard, Spooner, and Mises that I really liked. I became more and more libertarian. It was also very early in this period that I first read A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilbur. It was a game changer. When I was done, I read it again. I wanted more. I started collecting his books, reading all I could find; Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality; One Taste; Grace and Grit; The Collected Works; A Theory of Everything.

Ken Wilbur perfectly described a way of seeing the universe that made sense and answered my search for the meaning of truth. And meanwhile, having studied and debated political philosophy and economic theory for the better part 0f a decade, I began my search for a political and economic system that could transcend and include the old paradigms into something new and Integral. I was a libertarian in general terms, but I knew that libertarianism in and of itself was not Integral. At best it was a very Agentic Green.

About two or three years ago I began scouring the online “Integral Journals”, whatever I could find that combined Politics, Economics, and Integral thought. Much has been written and said about the subject from then to now, but what I found was somehow very lacking. The ideas put forth seemed to me to be simply slapping integral lipstick on a 1st tier political paradigm pig. A whole new political, social, and economic paradigm was in order.

I set out to find it.

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3 Responses to My Personal Path to Integral

  1. kenelwood says:

    Hey InakaB, Holy molly! this is some good reading. I’ve never seen it all condensed down so much. Looking at the chart, I’m personally all over the place; basically in every tier. And by the looks of it I can’t totally part from one to another, probably never.



  2. brodoland says:

    Hey Ken, yeah its a lot to bite off in a single blog post when literally thousands and thousands of pages have been written on this stuff. I certainly don’t have a completely full grasp of it and I have been reading this stuff for 15 years. Of course these levels and whatnot are really amorphous, not at all as rigid as they seem when put on a graph. An actual individual at any point in their lives will be a complicated brew of different levels of development along different lines. But the AQAL graph is a helpful tool to generally categorize transcendent development across all interior and exterior lines. The problem comes when describing Integral Theory to those that are not ready to comprehend it. Rational Orange sees Integral as just more New Age Bullshit, while Relativistic Green regards it as another judgmental hierarchical approach.


  3. willsprings says:

    Very interesting bro. Be very keen to know what you have to say about the Bahá’í Administration in relation to finding something integral.
    What does it have?
    What is it missing?


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