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 Theo-Politics of Witchcraft

This video is getting some circulation now.  The Pastor in the video is a man by the name of Thomas Muthee.  He has an interesting record to say the least.  Read about it here from CSMonitor. Muthee believes very strongly in the existence of demonic spirits and fighting against them.  He prays over Palin that the evil of witchcraft be driven.

Steven Benen at Political Animal has some thoughts/questions on the matter.

He writes:

Just to clarify, the pastor’s interest in witches and witch hunts is not metaphorical — he means it literally.

To muddy the waters for a second, while I obviously know what Steve means here, his understanding/use of metaphorical is less helpful not more.  Northrop Frye understood that the metaphorical is the literal meaning of the Bible.  In other words, metaphor is concrete.  Benen is using language (according to Frye’s schema) in its third paradigmatic form: representational (think modern, scientific language/discourse).  Truth is what can be precisely represented, really described.  Therefore in this pattern, metaphorical means something more like symbolic or abstract.  When applied to say demons/evil it would be something like Ricoeur’s Symbolism of Evil or Wink’s The Powers.    (more…)

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.