- Dec 2020
Zak Stein, who is a contributor to the aforementioned book Metatheory for the 21st Century, is one of the strongest proponents of post-Integral metamodernism in terms of ‘social justice’ (a term that the IDW has helped nullify). In the Integral conference debate in 2015, the “weak argument” Stein proposes is that Integral should at least become more informed about what capitalism is. The “strong argument” is that Integral should be, at the very least, post-capitalist. Given that Integral was doing neither, the way people used terms like “green meme” and “second tier” became, Stein says, substitutions for actual thought.
This is also kind of true of e.g. Buddhism and many other spiritual traditions: they don't have a very thought out socio-political vision. Instead they have an advanced form of the "personal is political". I suspect this is part intentional, part accidental. Getting involved in critiques of capitalism, at least at a detailed level, tends to get political quickly and getting political in general a) risks obsolescence (and being wrong) b) risks alienating potential participants c) risks being wrong (and dangerously wrong, e.g. being misused to justify, say, authoritarianism).
All that said, I think this is a major lacunae both of Integral and spiritual traditions.
On the podcast Emerge, Daniel Thorson interviews Robert MacNaughton on Learnings from the Life and Death of the Integral Center (2019) which survey the history of tensions within the community itself. And in a no holds barred interview, Jamie Wheal vividly discusses The Legacy of Integral (2019), with its ample pros and cons, saying 2nd Tier created far more problems than it solved. People got a “contact high” from reading Wilber, Wheal says, which “resulted in a bunch of dissociated eggheads masquerading as Jedi and thinking they could solve the world from the position of a whiteboard.”
People got a “contact high” from reading Wilber, Wheal says, which “resulted in a bunch of dissociated eggheads masquerading as Jedi and thinking they could solve the world from the position of a whiteboard.”
Much truth to that.