Skypecast: Integral Politics (Audio Content)


Click the link above for a discussion of integral politics between Scott and I–the first in what we are hoping will be a series.  We had a technical glitch or two (per our usual) but is I believe worth the listen [I’m of course biased on this subject :)]

A whole mess ‘o links for those interested:

Ken Wilber:  (Basic Summary of his Model).  Video Introduction to Politics through his Philosophical Lens.
Ha Joon Chang (The Economic Developmental Piece):  Here and here.
Thomas Barnett (The Brief):  Here, here, here, and here.  Barnett’s map here:

Spiral Dynamics:  Here and Pt. 1 of an 8 part series of shorts that show each level of development (all 8 are on youtube).

Integral Politics Presentation Monday Night


I’m leading a presentation on integral politics Monday night here in Vancouver, for any readers of the blog in the area. I hope to record the audio and post my Power Point slides sometime next week, depending on the quality of the recording.

For now, here is the information on the evening:

Integral Politics.

Politics according to Aristotle is the art of the polis.  Polis-things in other words.  The art of the possible, the art of compromise within the life of the polis (the city-state).  We will explore in depth the current transformation of humanity brought about by the mass migration of human beings from rural to urban life, the rise of technology, and politics in the global polis.  Integral thought provides a lens whereby to make increasing sense of and bring clarity to the complexity of our world.

We will explore the intersection of integral thought in the political events of our day.  Come prepared with questions on any topics you would like discussed–there will be a good amount of time for questions—for example the Canadian elections, US elections, War in Afghanistan, Economic Crisis, Terrorism, and/or more local concerns.

If people are interested, Integral Life has put out a short but helpful video introduction to politics through Ken Wilber’s AQAL system on their website.  I recommend it, but it is not required–fear not there will be no quiz!!!!

The link to the video is here.




  • Dialogue
  • Learning
  • Networking

An Exploration of Integral Framework & How It Can Change Your Life

Doors Open at 7:15, Event Begins at 7:30

Suite 100, Main Floor, 2245 West Broadway, Vancouver (between Vine & Yew)

[Image Courtesy Steve Self via Flickr, CC License].

The Spiral in Palestine

Now in the street there is violence
And a lots of work to be done
No place to hang out our washin’
And, and I can’t blame all on the sun

Oh no, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we’ll take it higher
Oh, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we’ll take it higher

–Electric Avenue

Below is a video of the Center for Human Emergence Middle East’s Build Palestine Project. The speaker Nafiz al Rifaie a leader in the third generation of Fatah. In this talk you hear him outline (via Don Beck’s influence) a third way for Palestine.

The one way comprising the US and Israeli left as well as the old guard of Fatah is still built around the Peace Plan (the latest effort of which is the Road Map signed on to by the Arab Countries in 2002). The old guard of Fatah however exists via an external pipeline of Western donors allowing them ultimately not to be particularly responsible to their own people (hence they lost the elections in 2006 to Hamas), build their villas in France, and come now closer to a Palestinian State.

In this model the Palestinian State is handed to the Palestinians from top-down and is predicated almost entirely on control of security by Fatah.

The other route is the weirdly shared by both Hamas and the American and Israeli hardline right. i..e That the peace process is a sham and unending war is the only way forward. From the Hamas side, however, this model still assumes that there is a Palestinian state (or one to be had at least) once the violence is over, that is once Hamas achieves victory.

But in this talk with the theoretical aid of Spiral Dynamics, the creative alternative becomes clear. There is no Palestine state to be recognized internationally nor jerry-rigged by outside players like the Quartet. The issue is to build the Palestinian state (Rifaie with resonant language calls this the real resistance), forcing the outside world then to have to recognize what is in fact already built at the same time as creating momentum and hope within the Palestinian people themselves (as well as others) that concrete positive steps are being taken in the direction of a goal. An outside aid has to go to people doing such work as opposed to the crony power structure of the higher echelons of Fatah.

iow, The people themselves must gain the capacity to hold a state (and the institutions needed to buttress such an operation which is a whole lot more than a bunch of armed dudes on the street).

Minus this third way, the Peace Processes will continue to fail which can only in the next term strengthen the pro-war parties on both sides. On the Israeli side this will lead them to what Jimmy Carter has called apartheid (listen in the talk for specific reference to South Africa as a parallel)–falling birth rates for the Israelis and rising ones for the Palestinians leads to an even more brutal crackdown/occupation in the West Bank leading inevitably to even more violence volleyed from the Palestinian side, leading of course to more crackdowns….and the negative feedback cycle intensifies.

Don Beck on Afghanistan (and Stratified Democracy)

[Edit note: On the terminology of Spiral Dynamics, i.e. colors and their meanings, see here].

Surfing the intertubules last night via The Spiral Dynamics Wiki, I came across this talk Don Beck (co-founder of SD) gave at the World Bank. The video is less than stellar and the audio has some glitches but is still worth the time.

Beck lays out his theory of human emergence and how in his work in helping to end apartheid in South Africa he developed a stratified banking system–i.e. a bank model catered to each layer the social class-human development schema.

As my friend C4 would say, Don Beck has some ginormously big balls (ballz?). He goes into the World Bank (just watch the thing) and tells them to either reform the entire system, shut down, or change their name since they are lying about being the bank of the world.

He points out the World Bank is lost in what he calls (echoing Ken Wilber) “flatland”–which in more precise philosophical language is called the “myth of the given”. i.e. That there is literally only one world that we can all see with our eyes and therefore one solution fits all schemes are put forward. Some work because–without realizing the underlying causation–the World Bank schemes happen to gel with the actual needs/life conditions/level of development of the people. Not that the people doing this know that this is what they are doing–it’s more hit and miss (here a hit). Some plan works someplace so then it is automatically thought it will work everywhere else–not taking into account the levels of development–and therefore fails. And they don’t know why one succeeds while another fails.

Beck applies this model to the issue of Afghanistan. Memetically Afghanistan breaks down in the following way. The Bonn Agreement of 2001 which the US brokered involving the Northern Alliance (non-Pashtun Northern Tribes of Afghanistan), Iran, India, NATO members, on the future post-Taliban Afghan government was bound to fail. It brought forward excessive notions of democracy and liberal rule of law notions to a situation that needed a 2nd World not 1st World Solution.

Afghanistan during the civil war of the 80s was run by red warlords. The Taliban came in and established peace via an imperial mechanism (destroyed warlords) and were originally greeted as liberators but quickly became pathological in their value system (extreme puritannical Sunni Islam). The US invasion broke the blue power structure leading to the return of the red warlords and a proto-orange cocoon centered around Kabul. That government has failed to have the strength necessary to deal with the rising insurgency (the return of the Taliban/Pashtun in the South and East).

Stratified democracy (better stratified governance I think) is the notion that the kind of government (like the kind of banking institution) has to paired to the appropriate station of life. For Afghanistan this would have been a Singapore-like consultation yes, parliamentary democracy vision no rule. And it certainly couldn’t have been built out of the dominance of the Northern Alliance with its more pro-India/pro-Iran stance.

This is the kind of work integral needs to be doing. Not in-house fighting or arguments about who has more lines/levels, who transcends and includes whoever else. [And this criticism swings in all directions of these communities].

It revived in my mind some thoughts I have had applying this model of stratification (love that term) to churches. A stratified ecclesiology.