In this post, I want to address the idea of an Integral Culture, what does it mean, â€śto build an integral cultureâ€ť? What might be some of the pitfalls and at the same time what might we as Integral Evolutionaries need to do to meet each other and find the shared meaning of an inter-subjective We space that is strong enough to influence the deep structures of culture?
If a culture can be described as â€śthe sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to anotherâ€ť, then if we want to undertake the building of an Integral Evolutionary culture, I guess I am asking what would the total ways be and how would the group of human beings building the culture effect the deep structure changes needed?
Our first task, as we come together to create an Integral culture is to be clear as to how we are using the term Integral. Zak Stein suggests that Integral is a thick concept that is both a descriptive and a value. As a value, integral means something is necessary and essential for completeness, which might take place at any altitude.
On the other hand, if we hold Integral as a development term, then we are in danger of suggesting that we want an Integral culture that is only available to the 2% of the population that is allegedly operating at 2nd tier.
I say ‘allegedly’, as there is no real evidence to suggest that we are able to pull all our lines of development into 2nd tier â€“ meaning that we cannot say that someone is Integral, only that some lines have developed the capacity to operate at Integral.
We have developed this operational capacity by studying Integral Theory; we found an embodied understanding of Integral Theory as an application. As individuals, we have evolved into integral levels of understanding, leading to an examination of how to use our knowledge in real life situations. We have found a drive to pull all our developmental lines into an Integral altitude.
We have built up a finely-tuned subjective feel for Integral; now we need to and are ready to make the move to the next level. We need to be ready to make the Yellow level an object within our awareness.
I once heard Steve McIntosh say that Integral Art would never happen until we were able to view our subjective experience of integral through an objective lens â€“ and if we want to create an Integral Culture, we need to do the same.
Which I believe we are starting to do, we have understood integral at Yellow or Integral Teal. At this stage, I am beginning to make sense of vision logic and I now need to understand how to engage with this new view of the world.
I will encounter others in discussion and argument to ensure that I have embraced a fuller understanding of the new worldview I am now living through. This level, the first Integral level, is also an Individual level. It really is all about I, an I that has a much deeper, wider and more inclusive view of the word â€“ but still an individual.
Nevertheless, there is a form of gamma trap here, this is because we have not fully understood what Integral is.
Recently I said that Integral is what is necessary and essential for completeness. Integralâ„˘ is a model of the Integral altitude and, it is a fine model, but as far as maps go it is very limiting, if we take the map as a gospel. However, much good news there is within the map; maps are only the subjective construct of the person building the map.
They only show what the mapmaker wants you to see maps are context created.
I am not saying that the mapmaker of Integral Methodological Pluralism has not taken as many perspectives as possible, but, at times, we need to step off the edge of the map, just to see how it feels.
I am reminded of Sam in The Lord of the Rings who says, as he prepares to say goodbye to The Shire:
â€śIf I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.â€ť
Sam is only able to take the next step because he has friends who understand that he is necessary and essential for the completeness of their fellowship. Sam has integral friends and it is his integral community that Sam is part of that ultimately helps him to be necessary and essential for the completion of the quest. Sam is able to go on because the fellowship had found shared meaning, there was a common goal, they are able, secure in the inter-subjective / personal space, to move into the unknown.
For Integral Evolutionary Enlightenment I think the unknown is Turquoise â€“ the 2nd tier level that exists as a community stage, this is not a level that deals with individual understanding but on what We value.
At this altitude, I am transcending my understanding and now want to share that understanding in a community dedicated to the creation of a new lifeworld.
At Turquoise, we evolve our personal understanding of integral living and feel into the need to develop an understanding of the deep cultural structures that inform integral living. We have a deep heart-held desire to be part of a public sphere that can provide the container for the creation of the new patterns for a new cultural approach to living.
I have always struggled with the term Integral Evolutionary Enlightenment; evolution as it becomes an authentic move to change is integral and enlightenment is always there, we do not need to look inside of ourselves and we do not need to look outside of ourselves. The biggest challenge we have to enlightenment is to stop looking and begin to see.
Only by being in connection with the divine, will we see the grace of enlightenment and by being with beings in a space of grace we will together look into the face of the divine and see ourselves reflected there.
Our task now is to come together, recognising that although we may use different words and find meaning in different teachings, there are some common deep patterns that we are engaging with, deep patterns that form the basis for a Turquoise altitude.
We work collectively to ensure that we hold the most important beliefs for our culture and we constructed the required contextual language for each level, to ensure that our message has relevant meaning and that our message endures.
Through the way we share meaning, and the passion and drive we engage with our culture, we ensure that our message is felt deeply up and down the spiral, and we work to provide through our message personal identity for all within the emerging integral culture.
We support, though the cultural deep structure, the individuals as they make major decisions and choices regarding how to live.
If this is the task, to know what the deep integral cultural structures are, then we need to commune with each other, to discuss how we are going to carry out this task. We need to be creative and playful, we are now in a position to hold the theory lightly, which leads to the next step that of show and play.
One of my drama teachers at drama school use to say “Don’t tell me how you will do it â€“ show me.”
What we need to do now is get together, to throw off the fear of not knowing enough of the teachings, to leave the maps at home and step beyond what we know.
Knowing is good but we need to share unconditionally in a space of authentic grace, in which we are all truly honoured, not for what we know but for the passionate evolutionary drive that has brought us all together.
Feeling free to move and dance and laugh and sing and talk and explore and create and be inspired and be welcomed to create a new lifeworld.
We are at the vanguard, the very edge of the next revolution, not a turning of the wheel revolution but a shift in the movement of consciousness, a complete change in the way we interact with the world.
Seth Godin offered some great words:
“How dare you waste the revolution?”
This revolution will be profound in its simplicity and joyance in its enactment.
And where might this revolution start? Well I might suggest the Midsummer Renaissance taking place at EnlightenNext UK.
This two day weekend event promises to offer a space in which we can come together and share with passion how we support a cultural growth. The weekend is set up to be one of play and celebration, which will be set within the context of Integral Evolutionary Enlightenment.
What, for me, makes this a unique event, is the passion drive and energy that is gone into the creation of the weekend. If we all come together to share that passion, think what we might do with the weekend after.
This is a chance to step right off the map and share within the revolution.
Information about the EnlightenNext UK event can be found here.
As futurists such as Richard Slaughter and Dorothy Gillam Baker have suggested, in the coming years there will be cultural turbulence before transformation. In this turbulence, we do not want the wheel to turn back culture; we want to be in a position to influence the forward momentum to a new world.
Coming together now to create the deep cultural structure is perhaps the most important task we as Integral Evolutionaries face in the next decade.
Understanding our use of the term integral, stepping off the map, meeting face-to-face, and sharing in grace, are all activities we need to create â€“ and the EnlightenNext, Midsummer Renaissance is the place to start.
My biggest fear is that we spent so long on the map that when we pull it back and look at the territory it is too late to help.