Following is a transcript of a six minute discussion of “integral politics.” In this talk Wilber uses color-coded terminology from the “Spiral Dynamics” system; however, it is not necessary to have any familiarity with this system to understand the main points of this transcript. The most important point Ken makes is “if you have a more accurate map of the terrain of human beings, then when you're looking at political situations and international political situations, you have a much more accurate map. If you're flying over the Rocky Mountains, then the more accurate the map the less likely you're going to crash. And so far politicians have been making judgments based on flatly inaccurate maps, wildly inaccurate maps, and we see the results of that. So having a much more comprehensive, inclusive map of what we're doing, is going to, I think, help politics in all sorts of ways.”
Integral Politics (transcript of Ken Wilber's 2003 JFKU Talk)
Mostly the role of integral psychology and politics is analyzing the complete psychosexual nightmares of our presidents
So actually, people who work with the politicians use the four or five “P's”, which is basically principle, profit, people, planet – and if you want to add red, then it's power, principle, profit, people and planet. So for the red meme you stress empowerment, for yourself – now I know empowerment sounds like human potential green, and it is, but it actually caters right to the red - it's very egocentric, so I get to empower myself. So if you have a language of “this is what you can do to be more powerful, this is what you can do to empower yourself,” then you couple that with principle for the blue meme. Principle is, “we have to do the following in order to protect those things that are important to us, protect our families and so on” – then blue resonates with that, because they want principles of stability that's going to help them. Orange wants profit and they want excellence, so “if we do this then you'll have a chance to bring excellence into the world, a chance to succeed, and achieve in ways that can be very beneficial to others.” Green is the “people” of the “P's” so that is sensitivity and caring for all people, “the boat is going to rise for everybody if we take this approach.” And then yellow is global, or the fifth “P” - “planet” – so then you talk set in the values of that which will help the entire planet as a whole. So that's just part of the marketing side of politics.
On what I would consider the more germane uses of it: how do you create an integral political leader, how do you have somebody who, again, is integrally informed – not necessarily hitting turquoise on all of their lines, but they're aware of these, they know how to use them, and most importantly they know how to use it to read the population and to read the world at large. Bill Clinton is now giving speeches – well I think a lot of you know Bill's read a lot of my stuff, and the way Al Gore got into it is Bill Clinton read The Marriage of Sense and Soul, and he wrote a hand-written four-page letter on it, and then he gave the book to Al and told him to read it.
Now Al is running for the presidency at that time, so at the time he was reading the book the New Yorker magazine was doing one of those in-depth profiles of him, and in the course of this they said, basically what is your favorite book and he said “The Marriage of Sense and Soul. “ So the poor New Yorker had to write a column explaining a book that oh my god had the word “spirit” in it, and I could just see the New Yorker writer just choking on trying to get this thing out. But they did a very good job of it! And then Gore was interviewed by Rolling Stone and told them that that was his favorite book as well.
Clinton recently gave a speech where he said “I now understand why the Iraq situation and the Middle East situation is such a mess,” he said, “it's because less than two percent of the population are at an integral level of understanding.” Now that's exactly what you want to see start happening.
So we are going to bring several of these politicians into Integral Institute. We're not doing Bill Clinton or any of them right now because we don't want to be defined by these names - that's what would happen at this early stage. We want to go ahead and set our own agenda and create that but I've got Bill's cell phone number…
George Bush doesn't read
For me one of the best things is, if you have a more accurate map of the terrain of human beings, then when you're looking at political situations and international political situations, you have a much more accurate map. If you're flying over the Rocky Mountains, then the more accurate the map the less likely you're going to crash. And so far politicians have been making judgments based on flatly inaccurate maps, wildly inaccurate maps, and we see the results of that. Having a much more comprehensive, inclusive map of what we're doing is going to, I think, help politics in all sorts of ways. So that's one of the main things we'd like to see happening. We do have a college of integral politics at Integral U – so, stay tuned.
This transcript was prepared by Arthur Gillard. To listen to the original “integral politics” audio presentation please go to the audio page of Formless Mountain.
The Integral News and Views blog aims to explore accessible and practical integral perspectives for people who are interested in getting beyond fragmented worldviews, who desire intimacy with all that they are, and who wish to help the world, themselves, and others evolve and thrive in a mutually beneficial and sustainable manner.
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