8. The Integral Model

direct mini-link to this page: http://bit.ly/IntegralModel


Full recording available to

students of the Academy

Module 1 Class 8

What is the Integral Model & how does it work?  Why is it so significant for this time in history?
In this class we study the integral model in depth & ask why it could be one of the most important maps for directing us in the creation of more sustainable human societies.
Integral theory is an all-inclusive framework that draws on the key insights of the world’s greatest knowledge traditions. 
The awareness gained from drawing on all truths and perspectives allows the Integral thinker to bring new depth, clarity and compassion to every level of human endeavor — from unlocking individual potential to finding new approaches to global-scale problems.

A Summary

from an article by Mark Manson

Instead of attempting to explain Ken Wilber's work, I’ll instead outline a few of the most important ways that he’s influenced my own thinking:

  1. Nothing is 100% right or wrong, they merely vary in their degree of incompleteness and dysfunction. No one or nothing is 100% good or evil, they just vary in their degree of ignorance and disconnection. All knowledge is a work in progress.
  2. Leaps in evolution usually occur in a manner of “transcending and including,” not by wiping out what came before. For instance, the evolution to the developmental level of a single-cell organism did not wipe out molecules, but included them into a greater order of complexity. Wilber asserts that this pattern of evolution occurs with all phenomena. Rational thought did not eliminate emotion, but included it into a greater developmental level of consciousness. Industrial societies did not wipe out agriculture, but transcended agriculture into greater levels of efficiency and prosperity. If we’re going to truly evolve, we do so by including and integrating what came before into something greater, not by wiping it out.
  3. Related to Point #2: the goal of spirituality is to transcend the ego, not to demolish it or repress it. Many spiritual leaders who claimed to have rid themselves of ego, it turns out, merely repress it. The results are horrible and sometimes tragic.
  4. Wilber has a concept called the “Pre/Trans Fallacy” which states that people often mistake what’s pre-conventional (earlier phase of development) for being post-conventional (later stage of development) because neither are conventional. One example he uses is the New Age spiritual movements which glorify a return to an infantile state of acting purely on emotion and desire. They mistake these earlier, narcissistic emotional whims for spiritual experiences, since both emotional revelry and spiritual experiences are non-rational experiences. Since their emotional revelry is non-rational, and spiritual experiences are non-rational, they confuse the two. This concept can be applied in many areas of personal and social development.
  5. Perception contains interior and exterior modalities, or Wilber’s solution to the Mind-Body Problem in philosophy. You can cut open someone’s brain, track the neurons firing when they think about a cat, but which is real, the neurons firing or the thought about the cat? It depends who you ask. The problem arises when one assumes that our thoughts and behavior are controlled by the physical assortment of neurons firing, it implies that our minds are not autonomous and that we lack free will. Wilber states that both the interior and exterior modes of consciousness are not only equally real, but reflections of one another. Indeed, research into neuro-plasticity (the ability to change the physical configuration of your brain through changing thought patterns and behavior) is beginning to back up this conclusion.
  6. Hierarchies exist, but don’t necessarily mean moral superiority. There are higher levels of development and complexity, people of greater skills and talents, but that does not mean they are morally superior or more complete expressions of reality or that lower levels on the hierarchy should not be honored. For instance, nuclear science is a higher form of human understanding than voodoo magic or religious dogma, but Wilber argues that that does not mean one should be imposed onto the other. Each has its uses depending on where a person’s level of consciousness is.

The beauty of integrating ALL fields of knowledge into a single model is that that model has wide implications on EVERY field of study. Once you understand Wilber’s conclusions, it becomes apparent how his model and ideas could benefit everything from politics to science to psychology to spirituality.

A Glossary of AQAL Terms

AQAL = All Quadrants, All Levels, Lines, etc.
Here you can see a complete glossary of terms of this 'model of models'

Links for Further Study

for the basics

Integral Life is your lifelong companion for growth, as well as the "town square" of the 21st century integral cultural renaissance that is quietly occurring among the most influential people and places on the planet today.....

The Journal of Integral Theory and Practice (JITP) is the official source for material related to Integral Theory and its application.

Integral Institute’s mission is to awaken humanity to full self-awareness. By providing research, education and events that foster intentional, behavioral, cultural and social self-awareness, the Institute helps global leaders from all arenas to improve the human condition. The Institute’s vision is that humanity lives with the awareness necessary to compassionately integrate the fragmented and partial perspectives of differing pursuits of the good life.