Irony: *Integral* exclusion

a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.


Alright, one last time

—recall: *Integral* = online-Integral

A “safe space” for denying systemic racism?

Wait! What?!

Some questions:

Is making a “safe space” for denying systemic racism something that’s important to *Integral*?

Significant enough to make absurd claims about it?

Perhaps a koan to evangelize Integral’s ‘are both right’ approach?

I mean, saying “systemic racism doesn’t exist” is quite a bit different than saying “systemic racism is not everywhere.” The latter creates neither the absurdity problem, nor the curiosity/algorithmic-attraction of the former. 

A possible analogy

Perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch, but I feel as though the fourth evangelist saying that Jesus was the one and only way (John 14.6) forms a bit of a parallel to this alleged Ken Wilber [kw] quote we’ve been interrogating. I say, “parallel,” because both express a universal absolute invoked through a particular context. One is a negative — i.e., kw‘s affirming “systemic racism doesn’t exist.” The other is a positive — i.e., affirming Jesus is the one and only way. Still, both require careful unpacking to reveal the purpose/meaning of each claim. —Of course, my analogy is not comparing the relative scale (or veracity) of the two claims, merely their parallel (esoteric) form.
So, again, here’s the alleged kw quote:


OK, last week we talked about the tension between exoteric and esoteric readings.
So, setting aside the absurdity aspect of a naïve/literal reading, the statement can be fairly taken to explicitly affirm those who deny systemic racism. Why affirm that? Was it intentional to affirm denial? If left at that, it’s tantamount to creating a “safe space” for self-deception. I understand why DJT did it; I’m not clear why *Integral* does it. 
Now, I’ve said that dogmatic constraint is a possibility (and we know that can be unconscious). Other possibilities might include approaches that leverage and liberate limiting constraints.
For example, I’ve often used the quadrant model to help illustrate the partial nature of a particular perspective. In those instances, first, I acknowledge why it may seem to be this or that; then, I use the quadrants to illustrate aspects being left out of a more holistic apprehension of facts and truth. 

Biggest stumbling block?

Well, that’s surely a formidable question.
In the context of trying to talk about race in America (and other difficult cultural topics), I have a contender to submit.
OK, many people come to the discourse with a strong understanding of/commitment to their own position. However, that alone is not really the problem.
I’d suggest that the biggest stumbling block is that so many people come to the discourse with the idea that the problem is a binary (either/or) question. Believing (naturally) one’s own ideas are correct/right; consequently, all other ideas are, by default, incorrect/wrong. Again, an “only one way” conception producing difficulty. We looked at this in an earlier post (and mini-series) in which we explored Barry Johnson’s book, Polarity Management.
In the post, “Root of polarization problem?“, I wrote: “The simple reason we feel like we are virtually hard-wired to react to difficulty with either/or problem-solving in the foreground is our educational system.”
In a 1998 paper, Johnson wrote:
…, academic type “problems” have 1 right answer. No culture can teach its language, mathematics, history, science or morals without using primarily single answer, problems. They are absolutely essential. It is difficult to overstate their importance, power and influence in the lives of those growing up in any culture. No single answer problems, no culture.

The bottom line?

Irony: that in practical terms, with *Integral*, the well-meaning all-inclusion of Integral is far from being all-inclusive. Rather, it’s quite exclusive. Much of *Integral* that I’ve observed essentially discounts and dismisses (excludes) the exoteric. In top-heaviness, Integral has a problem.

My concern is the potential collateral damage that is created by such things as *political technologies* that opportunistically exploit esoteric material like kw‘s statement.

As I can make it no plainer (the “Paradox” I described last week), it’s a polemic that is finished for me…. at least for now.


—I surely hope that no one thinks I’ve written this polemic interrogation of kw‘s alleged statement for my own personal benefit in some way, because there have been no personal benefits. Actually, there is one (unexpected one) I can think of right now. As I reported last week: through what I’ve learned in the research process, I was released from a burden in my relationship with my dad. A tremendous blessing, no doubt! However, I had never imagined that it would come from this polemic writing process.




*Integral* excludes the exoteric. That makes *Integral* top-heavy, not necessarily dangerous. Playing “French parlor games” on behalf of those who deny systemic racism is what’s dangerous. Playing with matches we may get burned.

Both sides in this aren’t “right.” Neither appeasement nor protection are helpful here. Unfortunately, *Integral* wants to have its cake and eat it, too. 

Plus, a widespread (intersecting) problem of too many people framing complex problems primarily in binary terms. So, yeah.

Next week: January 6… plus one year

[this post ~850 words]

Your thoughts? 



2 thoughts on “Irony: *Integral* exclusion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s