Global Problems, Global Governance, and Denial

Discovering an Integral Civic Consciousness in a Global Age

John Bunzl
September 18th, 2012
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This essay was originally published in the March 2012 issue of the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice. Click here to purchase the full issue.

This article asks why, in an age of global crisis, global governance still remains a low priority for the integral community. It posits a civic line of development, suggesting only those possessing a worldcentric level of civic awareness can fully comprehend global problems and the need for binding global governance. I argue that modern (orange altitude), postmodern (green altitude), and even low vision-logic (teal altitude) worldviews still see global problems nationcentrically rather than worldcentrically. I explore this limitation in light of destructive international competition; a key and potentially catastrophic phenomenon that, it is argued, shows why only a worldcentric, late vision-logic (turquoise altitude) civic consciousness can disclose solutions to the global crisis. Ways in which green and teal altitude split off these realities are suggested, providing clues to how turquoise civic consciousness may be accessed and how the integral community may thus play a fuller, more effective role in global transformation.

Civics entails the rights and duties of citizenship and the role citizens have in establishing, shaping, and overseeing government at any level (Altinay, 2010). Civics is founded on citizens’ perception that governance is actually necessary; that it is functionally required to solve societal, environmental or economic problems at a particular level, be it local, national, or global.

If, for example, a citizen could not perceive national-scale problems, or mistook them as being of a merely local nature, she would see no need for national governance at all. Her civic consciousness would be merely local or ethnocentric. Such a citizen would recognize only their local authority or tribe as functionally required and would likely see any higher levels of government as superfluous, wasteful and suspicious. Those at orange altitude or higher, on the other hand, recognize national government to be required in addition to local governance. Their depth of civic consciousness thus has two levels. Yet, in an age when our problems are increasingly global and threaten our civilized survival, it is notable that very few citizens see any need for a third level, that being global governance. Indeed, for the vast majority of people, including those up to teal altitude, civic consciousness remains, as I will be arguing, at best nationcentric. The emphasis on global civics indicates that global problems must first be perceived as such; a worldcentric perception that indicates that merely technical solutions or national (or local) politics cannot suffice. Instead, a vertical transformation toward a form of binding global governance is necessary.

I distinguish the civic from the political line of development in the Lower-Right (LR) quadrant by noting that civics is fundamentally about the perception, by citizens, of a need for governance. Politics, on the other hand, is what happens after governance (or formal government) has been established. Civics, in that sense, is prior to politics.

The Civic Holarchy

Like all lines of development, the proposed civic line tetra-evolves and manifests in all four quadrants. Civic holons are most obvious in the LR quadrant, in what I will be referring to as “the civic holarchy.” This is the holarchy of our institutions of governance that has evolved and bonded together human societies from the earliest hunter-gatherer bands, through to Middle-Age city and small-states, and up to present-day institutions of national and global governance (Wilber, 2000; Wright, 2001).

Across a wide variety of cultures, the civic holarchy typically comprises, in the LR, the following levels: Local Authority → State → Nation-state. That is, the smallest civic holon is generally a local authority of some kind; an authority that determines local taxes and regulations. In some countries, local authorities form the parts that make up the larger whole of a state; an intermediate level of government which is itself part of a larger nation-state. In other countries, local authorities directly form the parts of the nation-state. In either case, each is a whole/part and each subsequent level transcends and includes its predecessor.

I end the civic holarchy with nation-states because although there may be many supra-national institutions of governance, such as the European Union, the United Nations (UN), and others, these institutions remain, for reasons elucidated later, heavily influenced by nation-states and their differing national interests. It is thus nation-states that today remain the key class of actors on the world stage, the most senior level in the civic holarchy.

Democracy and civics are closely intertwined wherever individuals have a legally binding vote.3 Thus, in democratic countries, individual citizens can be said to represent the Upper-Right (UR) quadrant correlate of civic holons at each level. Meanwhile the civic consciousness of an individual citizen represents the Upper-Left (UL) quadrant correlate. Similarly, the civic culture of a society will manifest in the Lower-Left (LL) quadrant and will be reflected by its institutions of governance in the LR. This is not to suggest an absence of civic consciousness in non-democratic nations; only that it is not mediated by democracy.

Integral Civic Consciousness

The nation-state system and representative democracy first came to prominence with the Western Enlightenment (Wilber, 2000). But given the intervening centuries, one would think civic consciousness, especially among those claiming an integral level of awareness, would by now have evolved well beyond a rational, nationcentric level to a genuinely worldcentric level. For, as Ken Wilber (2000) concludes with respect to our current global ecological crisis,

Gaia’s main problem is not toxic waste dumps, ozone depletion, or biospheric pollution. These global problems can only be recognized and responded to from a global, worldcentric awareness, and thus Gaia’s main problem is that not enough human beings have developed and evolved from egocentric to sociocentric to worldcentric, there to realize—and act on—the ecological crisis. (p. 525)

But if the integral community had evolved to such a level, one would expect it to be engaged in various forms of worldcentric civic-political action; action, in other words, aimed at establishing a form of binding global governance that Wilber and others argue to be fundamental to our species’ survival (Wilber, 2000; McIntosh, 2007; Stewart, 2000). But this seems largely absent. Indeed, integral practitioners seem markedly reluctant to engage in global civic action. As political commentator Scott Payne (2010) asserts, “Certainly activism as teaching people about an integral perspective is vital to our political, cultural, and conscious evolution. ... And yet, I still feel like there is a certain reticence among self-identified integralists around getting into the nitty-gritty, day-to-day grind of the political process.”

What this anomaly suggests is that while consciousness among integral practitioners may indeed have evolved to a more worldcentric level along many lines of development, it remains critically under-evolved in the civic line. Indeed, as I will argue, civic consciousness, for those up to at least teal altitude, still remains, in subtle but critical ways, bounded within a nationcentric worldview. It is this phenomenon—this arrested feature of our consciousness—I will attempt to elucidate and address. In doing so, however, let us first trace the development of nationcentrism itself.

The Nationcentric Worldview

Rationality and modernity, and with them nation-states, emerged with the Enlightenment, so succeeding the prior mythic-membership worldview (Habermas, 1979; Wilber, 2000). The prior, mythic (amber altitude) worldview recognized only those sharing the same tribe or religious belief; an ethnocentric worldview broadly reflected (in the LR) by the horticultural techno-economic mode and, in the civic holarchy of the time, by the Middle-Age small-state or city-state. But with orange altitude rationality came a more encompassing worldview. As Jürgen Habermas (1979) points out, formal operational rationality established the postconventional stages of “civil liberties” or “legal freedom” for “all those bound by law.” It thus extended the civic circle to a much wider group than its mythic predecessor and this was reflected in the LR by the industrial techno-economic mode and, politically, by the nation-state (Wilber, 2000).

In Europe, from roughly the mid-17th century, the circle of mutual respect expressed in each nation-state encompassed all those sharing a particular nationality. Yet, despite this greatly expanded in-group there still remained, for each nation, an “out-group” consisting of all people beyond its borders. This sense of in-group versus out-group was reflected in the competitive, colonial era whereby the rational worldview, being predominantly at orange altitude, saw its own nation before (or above) all others (Gellner & Breuilly, 2009). Struggles for democracy and human rights, although released by rationality—a wave that was transnational in its potential and often in its articulation (e.g., Marx)—nevertheless remained essentially national struggles. That is, since these newly won rights had to be enshrined in law, and since the law is guaranteed only by each nation-state, these struggles could only be resolved within a national framework. For the vast majority of Western citizens in the modern era, then, the concept of the nation-state was internalized as the highest and most powerful expression of a common identity; the highest expression of We (Smith, 1993).

The Postmodern Era and the Emergent Low Vision-logic Leading Edge

But what changes did the late-rational (postmodern) worldview bring to this earlier, quite xenophobic form of nationcentrism? And what of substance has the emergent, low vision-logic (teal altitude) worldview added?

In the postmodern era the modern notion of “my country above all others” has given way to a more egalitarian, pluralistic view. In keeping with postmodernism’s pluralistic relativism, nation-states are seen more as equals (Archibugi, 2008). Political identity is beginning to shift, albeit only to some extent, from nationcentric toward a more worldcentric view (Appiah, 2008). And yet our mode of governance and, as I shall explain, our civic consciousness, remain decidedly nationcentric. What seems to have happened is that while many aspects in both the LL and LR have become globalized (i.e., worldcentric), this has not occurred to the same extent in the civic line of development. As Greg Wilpert (2004) points out,

We can see that the current manifestation of globalization does not represent a globalization along all possible dimensions or lines of human experience. Today, only some aspects of human development are globalized, while others are left out. Specifically, the economic and some elements of the cultural dimensions tend towards the global, while the moral and political [including civic] dimensions remain largely stuck at the national level.

Figure 1. The “governance gap” depicting missing segments in the civic line of development. The innermost circle represents red altitude; proceeding outward, the circles represent amber, orange, green, and teal altitudes.

In the postmodern era, and among those at teal altitude, we can identify an increasing mismatch between, on the one side, aspirations (in the LL) and the economy (in the LR), both of which have moved to a worldcentric level, and on the other, civic consciousness (in the LL) and our continued confinement within national forms of governance (in the LR), both of which remain merely nationcentric. This mismatch, or “governance gap,” can be seen in Figure 1 by the missing green and teal altitude segments in the civic line of development in both the LL and LR quadrants.

But why do such mismatches or gaps arise? They occur, Wilber (2002) explains, because

technological innovation [in the LR] happens very fast, simply because you can change the materials of production fairly quickly .... But ... the worldview, the cultural accoutrements of religion, meaning, beliefs, shared values, and so on [in the LL] moves much more slowly, because this involves... an interior subjective transformation of consciousness—a notoriously slow and difficult process.

The problem, then, is that our techno-economic base (in the LR) is now worldcentric, as are many associated problems such as global warming, global financial market instability, and so on. But our civic consciousness (LL)—the very way we understand world problems and how to deal with them—still remains essentially nationcentric, as does our mode of governance (LR) (Bunzl, 2009b). That is, we still understand the world, not aperspectivally as a whole system, but substantially from within the prism of nation-states and their competing interests.

Efforts to Fill the Governance Gap

But the governance gap is not entirely empty. For, it is here we come to the plethora of global institutions and organizations mentioned earlier.

As noted, there are a number of institutions operating in the LR beyond the nation-state, most notably the United Nations (UN), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Trade Organization (WTO). Equally, there are many nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), some operating on a global scale. These would include organizations such as Oxfam, World Wildlife Fund, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, and others. In what follows, it is not my intention to provide a comprehensive analysis of these organizations and their roles; only to give a brief overview of their position in the bigger picture I will be elucidating.

Governmental Approaches: The Global Institutions

Looking, firstly, at how nations act on the world stage and at the role of the global institutions—the UN, World Bank, IMF and WTO—we can see that their inability to deal adequately with global problems is rooted in two distinct yet related pathologies: one which concerns the global institutions themselves, the other which concerns nation-states.

Global institutions remain heavily influenced by nation-states, and particularly by the most powerful among them. Article 2:1 of the UN Charter, for example, determines that the UN itself can have no autonomous power over its member-nations (Whittaker, 1997). Moreover, the only powers it has are not really its own powers at all. For powers of sanction and the use of force are mandated not by the UN as an autonomous entity, but only by the Security Council; that is, by its permanent nation-state members (Whittaker, 1997).4 As for the IMF and the World Bank, they are substantially influenced by their principal shareholders who are, again, the most powerful nations. The WTO, on the other hand, has in principle an equal, consensual structure. In practice, only the most powerful nations are able to use the WTO’s rules and its dispute settlement procedure to protect or project their interests (Hoekman & Mavroidis, 2000). Furthermore, the rules embodied in the WTO only serve, arguably, to fairly regulate a global economy that, because it already structurally favors the most powerful national economies, provides merely a veneer of fairness (Sachs et al., 1998). In these circumstances it is difficult to see the UN or other global institutions as governing nation-states in a manner that is autonomous, objective, fair, or binding; in a manner, in other words, that could be described as effective, let alone worldcentric.

Today’s global institutions, we might conclude, display a pathological communion (or fusion) with nation-states, and particularly with the most powerful ones. Instead of being holarchically above nations, as would be needed if they were to perform global governance objectively and in a binding fashion, these institutions are instead substantially on the same holonic level as nations. That is, despite their worldcentric pretensions, they still remain subtly, yet decisively, nationcentric. But since these institutions were created by nation-states, perhaps this should be of little surprise.

Alongside this pathology sits its inverse twin: the agency of nation-states themselves. As their inability to agree on anything substantive on climate change or on many other global issues shows, they cannot cooperate with each other in many vital areas because of their need to pursue only their short-term national interests (Johnston, 1996). For nation-states, then, there is the problem of alienation from each other; an alienation that is expressed in nation-centrism itself. These twin but opposite pathologies—on one side, global institutions that are overly fused with powerful nations and, on the other, nations that are overly alienated from one another—not only allow global problems to keep on worsening, they also elucidate the extremely poor prospects for either the established global institutions or the world’s nations to solve global problems if we leave them wholly to their own devices.

Nongovernmental Approaches

But what of the thousands of NGOs that constitute the global justice movement? And what of the many other organizations and approaches that are seeking, in one way or another, to solve or mitigate global crises?

Nongovernmental organizations, particularly campaigning NGOs, have been very successful in bringing global problems to greater public attention. Through widespread campaigns and protests they have succeeded in mobilizing public opinion behind many worthy causes. This is reflected in the dramatic increase in NGO membership over recent decades and in public support for the various approaches the movement has espoused (Johnston, 1996). A selection of these approaches is summarized in Figure 2.

The distinction between nongovernmental green and teal altitude approaches, although somewhat arbitrary, I suggest indicates an important shift in consciousness. Although green approaches reflect a very broad recognition of global problems and a welcome thrust towards greater equity and ecological sustainability, we can note that they are substantially dissociated from both civics and economics. Dissociated from civics, by their choice to incarnate themselves as pressure groups rather than as political parties; and dissociated from economics, in that they tend to campaign against individual corporations or against wider trends in the economy, such as free trade or even globalization itself. Teal approaches, on the other hand, differ from green in that they indicate a willingness to work with the system rather than against it. When it comes to civics, however, teal’s dissociation remains similar to green’s.

Figure 2. A selection of nongovernmental approaches to solving global problems.

Green Altitude Nongovernmental Approaches

Let us first look in more detail at the cognitive sophistication of green altitude with respect to filling the governance gap. One propensity of green cognition is to identify individual global problems, such as climate change, and, from that to identify the entity seen as causing each problem. If there is climate change, for example, it must be governments who are failing to regulate. If there is large-scale pollution, the appropriate corporation is singled out for blame. This kind of cause-and-effect thinking is part and parcel of the rational cognitive structure. As John Stewart (2008) points out,

Rational analysis is very effective at modelling systems in which linear chains of cause and effect predominate. However, it is poor at modelling systems in which circular causality is common—i.e., systems in which each element impacts on other elements and they in turn impact back on it, directly or indirectly. Conscious rational analysis alone can rarely work out how such a complex system will unfold through time.

While it is true that individuals at green also identify the larger system to be at fault—such as capitalism, free-trade, tax avoidance, etc.—when it comes to action, it tends to focus on single issues or individual entities; on raising awareness and protest. Indeed, in keeping with postmodernism’s distaste for meta-narratives, the movement seems to be defined by an overemphasis on diversity at the expense of unity. As one commentator on the World Social Forum observed,

This diversity of opinion and approach is both a strength of the Forum, as well as its principal weakness. The Forum derives strength from this diversity as it provides the opportunity for a very large number of movements and organisations to come together, each feeling that their views have a place in the open space of the Forum. At the same time the diverse trends and opinions lead, often, to a sense of frustration that the Forum is not able to hammer together a consensus regarding both a strategic understanding and tactics to be applied. (Gupta, 2005).

There are cases, however, where organizations within the movement act on a broader international basis, such as in climate campaigns. But, as I will demonstrate, their attempts to persuade governments to cut carbon emissions take no account of new, but as yet largely unrecognized, stimuli inherent in the globalized economy. These stimuli, I will argue, make it virtually impossible for governments to act substantively and this may explain why green altitude worldviews attempting to fill the governance gap have thus far proven inadequate.

The rational, modern/postmodern cognitive structure tends to operate, then, in a binary, either-or fashion. It is very good indeed at seeing the fish; at identifying all the single issues of concern and the individual entities seen to be at fault. But as I will explain in more detail, what green fails to fully see, is the water. That is, it fails to properly recognize the dynamics of the wider collective environment in which all the fish swim and compete and the large extent to which that environment influences their destructive behavior.

Teal Altitude Nongovernmental Approaches

The teal worldview, on the other hand, sees the world more systemically (Wilber, 2006). Rather than working against corporations and the economic system, it seeks to engage with them. Hence the recent explosion in the number of approaches which seek to transform individual corporate or consumer behavior, many of which can be seen in Figure 2. Many of these have been quite successful and have helped raise awareness and alter behaviors.

Nevertheless, one common trait in teal approaches is that engagement with economics tends to act on the individual; be it the individual corporation, or individual consumer. The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR), for example, depends on individual corporations voluntarily deciding to adopt a CSR approach. Ethical consumerism, likewise, depends on individual consumers voluntarily deciding to use their dollars responsibly. This reliance on individual responsibility is inherent in the teal perspective (Wilber, 2006). Meanwhile, as explained earlier, green approaches, albeit for different reasons, similarly tend to focus on individual entities. The common factor between green and teal altitude, then, is that when it comes to action, their centers of gravity reside in the individual quadrants (the UL and UR).

Continue reading (download pdf)

This essay was originally published in the March 2012 issue of the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice. The issue opens with an eloquent argument for the necessity of wisdom studies, by Dr. Roger Walsh (a featured article). The next two articles are by seasoned integral practitioners, David Zeitler and Kevin Bowman, who have done much to develop aspects of Integral Theory as well as apply it to their respective fields of psychotherapy and economics. Then, three authors explore Integral Theory’s utility in the field of education. The first article, by Martin Schmidt, provides an inspiring example of international high school students in Hong Kong working with the AQAL model; the second explores the utility of ePortfolios for professional development; and the third details how integral thinking can help build transdisciplinary bridges between the fields of sustainability and mathematics. The final two articles in the issue, by seasoned authors John Bunzl and Guy du Plessis, detail the challenges of worldcentric governance and the growing utility of integral approaches for addiction and recovery work. The issue concludes with a book review of The Postconventional Personality. Click here to purchase the full issue.

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I found this article to be very much needed, but also see the need to check some of its claims.

The use of of the civics line of development helps very much. But the use of levels of development as the block for individuals in seeing the problem. I think anyone at conop can see the issues, but that there concerns and behaviors leave less energy to make it a self concern. And also the issue of being practical in addressing the issues leaves the concern off the table, and not the level one is at. So I see it as both the individuals concerns and the practicality of addressing the global problems that make it not on the table, not that they are undoable to see it. Which shows a form of integral elitism that runs through much of integral leadership. I'm all for leadership , but saying people teal and below can not see it is a huge mistake. They do not have the time or energy to see it and why are these problems important if I can not do anything about it. Which is brought up in the article with pseudo- democracy. Democracy that has fused with corporate concerns over individuals concerns leaves the issue as unpractical for someone to engage with, because we are powerless to redress it in a corporatocracy. And its not that green and teal can not see the water. They see the water but there isn't a organization to talk to about it. So there isn't data to see if green or teal are aware of it. 

Some fundamental mistakes made in article is when it is stated that nations are the share holders of international organizations like WTO, World Bank, IMF etc. And that developed nations started the organizations and had a share holding in it. What is missing in this article is that private individuals that were trans national AND trans corporate were involved in directing governments,corporations, and BANKS since the beginning of the 20th century. So as valid as the nation international competition distinction is another needs to be made. Powerful private individuals, Nations, and International Competition. And including the powerful private families that were trans national and trans corporate that had shares in both banking and international corporations since the beginning of the 20th century has the development of the UN, IMF, World Bank etc not coming from nations as the primary drivers( Secondary , yes) but from these few powerful families. 

So this statement "As for the IMF and the World Bank, they are substantially influenced by their principal shareholders who are, again, the most powerful nations " Is not really correct. It is the powerful families that got developed nations to be involved but the share holders are the private families.

And this one, "Today’s global institutions, we might conclude, display a pathological communion (or fusion) with nation-states, and particularly with the most powerful ones. Instead of being holarchically above nations, as would be needed if they were to perform global governance objectively and in a binding fashion, these institutions are instead substantially on the same holonic level as nations. That is, despite their worldcentric pretensions, they still remain subtly, yet decisively, nationcentric. But since these institutions were created by nation-states, perhaps this should be of little surprise. "

Again it is not nations that created these institutions but powerful private families, and they are above nations. 


Through out the article it was made clear that international competition ( The water) dominate nations and corporations. Basically stating that profit motive rules. Money rules!!!!!  And the natural question would be, who are the shareholders in the central banks around the world, the World Bank, IMF, and most of all the IBS. If you do the research and get through all the entities that are involved it comes down to a few powerful families like the Rothchilds, Rockefellers, Warburgs, Morgans, Mellons, Etc. The giants from the past. And nations never had more power then these. They use nations to get what they want and it NOT more money( profit motive). But a global government by them for them with a much smaller population. How are they doing this now. Promoting the CLIMATE CHANGE, Collapsing individual nations financially, and Terrorism conflict, all which they created as a propaganda events and actual events to have nations give up their sovereignty to global government.

So as good as an article this is and as needed to be heard( Civics line of development), if it does not include the history of private banking it will seem like binding global government is the only way to go. But that means the solution promoted here is exactly what the  super elite want. 

What needs to happen is a the LR at all levels of governance needs to reach a green level. Money should be pluralistic, governance should be a direct republic or even direct democracy. And freedom of association ( Panarchy) would need to happen. All that is necessary is judicial branch would be mandatory.  This would allow the trust to come back into politics and then global governance based on direct governance. As long as we have representative only model of governance , governments will bend to international competition and a global governance that in alignment with the dark side. Single tender and representative governance needs to be evolved. Not some global governance under some false fears or created conflict designed by the elite. 

I am all for global governance, just not the one forming now. We need green governance and monetary system inside nations before a proper global governance can be formed. 

Is this going to happen? Not a chance. Here comes WW3, with cyber terrorism, forced vaccines, food rationing, riots, zoning, private securities, internet id, chips for the poor, etc. It looks like regression. That is unless LENR's can come to the market place. Then 3d printers, chemical compound printers, robots, nano bots etc. Technology has ALWAYS preceded social development. But integral elitist leadership thinks it takes developed people in power to bring global governance, without the corresponding technological systems and governance systems that can do this without taking the divine sovereignty of individuals away. Solve the issue at a national level will allow the global level to be enacted. Solve the issue of international competition inside the nation by going to a powerful gross energy source and robotics ( Which will make slave labor obsolete for large corporations) and then would be no flight to somewhere else. Thats my peace.

Hello Brian,

We agree on many things although I am often reticent to embrace the " simple obviousness" of the vision you present.  However I just wanted to leap in here and wildly advocate two things you mentioned:

Firstly, that (many of) the trans-national insitutions and agendas come out of predatory clans.  And any attempt to assert that they are wordlcentric or :holarchically-senior" to nation-states is as dangerous as it is dubious.  Of course, like anything, these structures are in play.  A constant war of intepretations and potential utilizations is present at all levels.  No "one thing" is occurruing and the worst-formed structure in the world is still just a soccer which could easily come under the influence of other feet... better feet.  But the conventionalist streak in Integralism too seldom understands the degree to which apparently advanced institutions are merely the superficial dimension of a primitive or regressive power play.

Secondly that the establishment of global governance -- a necessity for the establishment of the Vasud par-Limbix (planetary wisdom-civilization) -- is the result of a balance between external and internal advancements.  Internal transfer to a "structurally" post-modern economy, electoral system, legislature, etc. must rise to meet the post-modern networks of control which are struggling to utilize international institutions and agreements.  Global stress and strife (of which WWIII, jihad and eco-catastrophe are the looming images) is provoked in part by a dissonance between planetary attempts and national infrastructures.  Vision-logic organizations within nations is a prerequisite for a peaceful and developmental shift to advanced international human self-organization. 

May all the demons be with us!

Thanks layman for a reply, I find that you have made this forum a great place to be. Your gifts are much needed. 

This statement "Firstly, that (many of) the trans-national insitutions and agendas come out of predatory clans.  And any attempt to assert that they are wordlcentric or :holarchically-senior" to nation-states is as dangerous as it is dubious."

I am going to assume you mean the assertion of predatory clans as holarchically senior to nation-sates as dangerous and dubious. And I do not mean my assertion as a healthy hierarchy but as a pathological one. For it should not be this way when we look at balanced holarchy. I am not sure why it is dangerous for me to make this claim, and the danger would be great if it was true. And I will assume by you saying it is dubious that you have not gleaned through the research that shows the predatory clans( elite families) are in this position of power. So your opinion I am assuming is not grounded in finding out if it is true. And I know why anyone would not look, based on it SEEMING so dubious. But if it is true, how would it change our orientation to tensional problems in our civilization. The danger would be not seeing if it is true, cause if it is( And for me it is beyond doubt, for I have done the research) then all our best efforts are for not, other than promoting the process of learning from our misunderstandings thatgo with our assumptions that have not been checked and explored. 

The danger I see  is the large amount of people ( Way larger by many magnitudes than IC) who have come to the same conclusion I have but take a first tier solution perspective of it. And they are all dangerous because they will contribute to the problem. Whether they are libertarians, techno socialists, progressive environmentalist, and integral teal/ turquois liberal( which unconsciously aligns with the elite). Their are a few in the IC that are turquoise libertarians that do see the elite problem ( Robb Smith is close to being a true turquois libertarian, as is Michael Zimmermann)  but the majority come from a liberal position and end up as turquoise progressives which can not see the elite family history since it goes against everything they have been taught and believe. So it is difficult for liberal turquoise to even look at the evidence. There are so many interpretations of the elite in the alternative internet that it is hard to find fact from interpretation. And can not be absolutely done anyway, separating fact and interpretation. But a narrative that sticks to the evidence has been done to get beyond a shadow of a doubt for me. The best source is someone who was allowed to look at the elites own private documentation, Carroll Quigley. And since his work (1960's)the elite do not even care to keep it secret (1990 - present) that you can read their documents outright. First Global Revolution and a quick overview Green Agenda ( The guy who made green agenda website has taken his personal story out, but it follows Michael Zimmermann's story, strong environmentalist ( the green agenda guy was an environmental scientist) who took the claims at face value, but when he did more research found a political propaganda agenda started by the elite as the drivers of the movement). So if you like to focus on the environmental elite movement. But what about terrorism? This is a study of the middle east and the black ops, that are not kept secret anymore. They are admitting they support terrorist groups now against Syria. But it has been this way since the British empire, black ops that is. As Carroll Quigley shows. Or you can just study the history of banking and get right to the source. 

The elite don't even care if we know there agenda now. Thats how powerless we have become as people, nations, corporations etc. It does not matter if we know and they are telling it to our faces. LIBOR, Agenda 21, NDAA, etc. And cause of the liberal assumptions many can not see it. But funny enough conservative, orange libertarians, green libertarians CAN. And would laugh at IL, I-I, articles on global problems. We (IC) do not include a perspective that is grounded in history way better than the IC is. So sorry for my simplicity. For the first steps in including the banking history are simple. I can get very sophisticated, but feel like it muddles the issue, when a perspective is not included that is critical in even understanding geopolitical history at a basic level. 

I appreciate layman your inclusion and negation efforts, but/and I find you're efforts more muddle than clarifying cause it balances perspectives that have not come to grips with the historical process other than what powerless people have thought and thus has no power. Include the banking history and I think you will see our issues are not about inclusion or negation but the future that is being made for us top down style. And its not the government or corporations as this post shows but the environment ( water) and IL contributors think it was a natural barrier( which hold some truth) but doesn't even see that it was a designed barrier which in my view holds more truth. And thats what I need from you layman. Checking to see if the elite conspiracy holds more truth than a evolutionary natural unfoldment of the law of accidents and unintended consequences. I THINK IT WAS INTENTIONAL. As do many in alternative media. 

Hi Brian,

Thanks for your kind words. 

My remark:

"Firstly, that (many of) the trans-national institutions and agendas come out of predatory clans.  And any attempt to assert that they are worldcentric or holarchically-senior" to nation-states is as dangerous as it is dubious."

has the following meaning:

That it is dangerous and dubious for people (not you) to assert that our existing trans-national institutions and agendas are necessarily worldcentric and holarhically-senior to nation states when, in reality, many of them are actually the expression of primitive and predatory clan activity. 

I agree with you that the world faces a crucial disconnect between the "alternative libertarian" understanding of the geo-political and techno-economic situations AND the forces of higher consciousness.  Something like second tier & vision-logic (turquoise, etc.) libertarianism is called for. 

And while I do not wish to "muddy" the waters of a serious ethical issue with real consequences for real lives, it is also my observation that part of the problem of integrating these perspectives into higher tiers lies in the tone and style of their presentation.  One can hardly fault the clarity of the well-informed or the urgency of the ethically sensitive person but at the same time there is an appearance of strident fixation which (when combined with the well known presence of exaggerated visions and emotional pecularity among the populist adherents of "alternative narratives") can make it difficult for this merger to take place. 

It seems to me therefore that a more intense degree of blending, especially in an "Integral conversation space" such as this site, requires a good deal of expansiveness, nuancing, unpacking, etc.  How do these things dock best with integral theory?  In part by virtue of their purity but also in part by virtue of figuring out how people can hold this information and energy according to a complex, multi-lateral set of concerns in which intentionality, agency, history, and schemes all have different levels of meaning and simultaneously functions. 

Of course this sort of inclusionism runs a risk of de-potentizing a critical message... but many times the message falls on deaf ears precisely because it seems critical and specific.  So from my perspective one of the most useful things I can do is "open all the doors and windows" while "affirming".  There is always a struggle between comprehensiveness and committment which cannot be won by either side except by making both attempts more amenable to each other.


Ok, so my assumptions were wrong. Thanks for affirming. You have what I need. This patience in approach. I don't have it. Feel like it gets to slow to keep up with my quantum packet processing. A fear of loosing my internal compass and direction in endless tangents to others forgetting the first insight that gave me the impulse to communication to begin with. The fear of ,light packet turning into mud. Most of the time I do not even try, since the packets keep coming and expression can not keep up. Its a massive problem for me. Wish I could just download it into a computer and have it unpack it and complete it while I go asleep. Most others like me do not even enter the self growth movement, keeping safe interacting with computers. Staying stunted in inter relational capacities. I do much better in direct kinesthetic relating, literally downloading through core to core physiological experiential resonance.But getting this into words with the fullness is beyond me. But you do wonderful work. What a gift. Is it something you developed mostly or had it in you?

Tooting my own horn here. For me math and science was just in me. Could have done graduate level work at 13. How boring to watch teachers and academics move so slow, and they were considered fast. Walked out of advanced microprocessors class first day when he said the final could be my final grade. Got a B+ studying 12 hours, most of the class got a C and put in 150 +. I worked very hard to stay out of human fuzziness. Only to have a small hell/heaven satori internal breakdown at 20. Followed by a big satori at 21, spirals and all. Then went into transpersonal psychology and enter the psychic world of Reich and core energetics. Settled for Rolfing and yoga since I still have/had a communication block. I'd rather a most direct approach. Gravity, bones, cerebellum, de/reprogramming eye's, chasing/burning worms etc. Do you have other places for this gift of yours other than this forum? How lucky for people in your life. Am I saying to much?

Hi Brian,

I appreciate your life-sharing, your kind words & I note with the interest how directly the understanding of "structure" (living structures) seems to be your destiny.

Although I have certain have strong hermit-like & anti-social facets in my character I have struggled consciously to both overcome and creatively embrace them.  As I was recently telling Ambo recently in private messages, I think a lot of its is the internalization of physical capacities.  Much of my youth was spent in very flexible, omnidirectional and balance-requiring physical crusades and it is quite clear to me that many of the moves which kept me alive on cliffs and between tree tops are now operating now in my heart, intellect and interpersonal considerations.  And certain writers perhaps helped me so see just how much of my energy and how many dimensions of myself can be brought forward in words... and then also in every aspect of socio-relational concern.

Yet that is clearly only part of the story.  

I can take no credit for genetic and family predispositions. My mother is the most humanly-sensitive member of her very articulate family and my father is a deeply sympathetic figure whose long periods of solitary world travel taught him to rely on the immediacy of relational intelligence even when you share no language or culture with the Other.  Like him, I have often had to rely on people who clearly do not understand what I'm seeing, feeling or talking about.  So I love them and make space for them.  It both is and is not natural.   I work at this shit daily.  I consider myself a kind of "lazy hedonist" and so I cannot tolerate the un-necessary effort and unpleasant sensations involved in my organism's withdrawal into the core of its own intelligence and issues.  

Gratefully, I have not had much trauma or rigidity to overcome (pause to pound the crap out of my solar plexus!) but I still make constant efforts (despite my sense of "prior completeness") to interblend my body, the vulnerable "spot" in my heart and my intellect on every issue.  I still work to keep a senstiive relational context-feeling when I communicate.  And I have a done a lot of work with the Feminine -- especially "letting it be right" and "breaking down, breaking open" for its inspection.  Sometimes the bravest and most self-enhancing thing a smart independent person can do is to temporarily (and obviously only where there is a certain trust already) let a "stupid force" win.

And my many experiments with bio-energetic treatment modalities have certainly helped.  Not just in terms of opening me to myself but in learning to be patient and attentive to the needs of others, to the flow of the energies (which have their own damned schedule!), to the reciprocal nature of the bio-electric interface where "to feel is to be felt", etc.  The general patterns which I have seen in the act of treating people have been very informative for my general approach to people, worlds and viewpoints in general.

I hope these words are on topic. I always feel some self-consciousness, a sense of "possible indulgence", when I talk about myself.  

I'm away for the weekend.  Be well, friend.  Your insights serve us all.

Kosmos does not short-change itself.

Everything that can currently be currently is.

Reality is exactly on time.

A great article, pointing to a much needed LL global perspective on our LR systems. I think Bunzyl’s work with “Simpol”, Simulataneous Policy, will be an important piece of our transition. However, I see some fundamental contradictions with the underlying structures of this argument, and that perhaps it doesn’t go quite deep enough, or far enough.

First, let’s look at the notion of competition, which Bunzl points to as being a major log-jam that we must overcome in order to be worldcentric. We will achieve this, he says, by cooperating with other nation-states. And Simpol has the ability to incentivize this cooperation. Although it is quite important I think to come together globally as nation-states to address our global problems, our underlying system of monetary economic exchange is fundamentally based upon competition. And that competition seems to manifest itself in the need for more and more economic growth, and therefore more consumption. The force of competition affects us at every scale, everyday. Egocentrically we must compete with other individuals for jobs and therefore the basic needs of life like food, water, and shelter. Ethnocentrically we must compete on the city-state level, so local cities must compete with other cities by recruiting firms to locate in their city and provide jobs for their residents. The city must attract more residents to increase its tax base, so they build more housing developments, then they build more strip malls and services, and on and on. Local businesses must not only compete with other local businesses, but also with the big multi-nationals. At a state level, the same thing happens, where there’s a competition to grow more businesses and jobs and housing, etc. At the nation-state level, we must grow GDP, and that means a cyclical process whereby we make and sell more stuff, to create more jobs, so we can consume more stuff, and so on. 

In Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Speech he said, “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. That's how we'll win the future”. If America wins, doesn’t that mean someone else has to lose? Perhaps no, you say. Perhaps you might say that everybody can win, because we will just have a bigger pie, with bigger pieces for everybody. My question then becomes, where are all the resources necessary to make this bigger pie gonna come from?   

Bunzl goes on to point out that destructive competition is a barrier to overcome, which we have successfully done throughout history: 

“It is worth mentioning that if we look back to earlier crises in evolution, we find that the dynamic of destructive competition has always been—and likely always will be—the key barrier to evolutionary progress. As evolutionary biologist John Stewart (2000) points out, this barrier applies...'to all living processes. The circumstances that cause it are universal. Individuals who use resources to help others without benefit to themselves will be out-competed. They will be disadvantaged compared to those who use the resources for their own benefit... The barrier has applied whether the evolutionary mechanisms are those that adapt corporations, individual humans, other multi- cellular organisms, single cells or autocatalytic sets. (p. 57)'

In identifying destructive international competition, then, we are deeply connecting with what is the timeless, universal barrier all societies of organisms threatened with extinction have had to overcome. If we fail to deal with destructive international competition, then, quite simply, we fail.”

But what about the fact that destructive competition is baked right into our monetary socio-economic system itself? It requires and feeds off of competition and scarcity. And what about the competition we must experience at every level, in our day-to-day lives, in our every monetary exchange from the farmers market, to the city-state, to the nation-state, all the way up to the global level? Don't we need to look deeper, and evolve beyond the root source of much of our competition? 

As long as we have a monetary economic system that is predicated on competition instead of cooperation, on debt/ownership instead of gifting, how can we ever have the global cooperation, let alone local cooperation, that Bunzl envisions? Perhaps a true turquoise, or late worldcentric, lower-left orientation would aspire NOT to merely “integrate civics and economics at a worldcentric level” but would instead create both a human economy and an earth economy that transcend money and monetary exchange altogether. Perhaps “Simpol” can be applied to that. And if so, how might that change the whole envisioned picture of what “global governance” would really look like?

Thanks for your great contribution John. 

Why are we assuming that "competition" and "cooperation" are somehow the two polarities of an unbridgeable opposition?  Perhaps instead they are the interwoven steps in a dance, like masculine and feminine, or yin and yang.  Perhaps development and evolution could not proceed without them both.  Bunzl's analysis is shockingly shallow when it comes to exploring the genesis of "destructive international competition," and shockingly unpersuasive in positing a world with its center of gravity at teal or turquoise as a halcyon oasis of cooperation.  Isn't everyone always born at zero, to quote Wilber?  Isn't the world of Form always and perpetually beset by the violence of becoming?  Competition and cooperation have always been a feature of human evolution, and will always be with us.

Most theorizing I've read about "integral politics" is actually just various versions of Boomeritis "why-can't-we-just-get-along" utopianism: First Tier to the core.  Until we heal the narcissism infecting Green, this is in large part a waste of time.  Bunzl's "SimPol" will fail not only for the same reasons he outines in his piece about the failure of various transnational endeavors, but for a more significant reason he doesn't mention: almost no one has made the momentous leap into the Second Tier outside of the cognitive line (and we all know a little knowledge is a dangerous thing).  Second Tier consciousness, as both Wilber and Andrew Cohen (among others) emphasize, will be an emergent whose contours are not predictable from First Tier structures.  As such we have very little evidence to apply to what a Second Tier governance might consist of.  And since this realm is transmental, among other qualities, mere conceptual theorizing falls far short of the mark of what Spirit might ultimately manifest.

This quality of the Second Tier must by its very nature baffle most of us, anchored as we are in the fully mental realms of Orange and Green.

Until we develop the capacity both individually and collectively to be completely accountable for everything arising in our First Tier awareness, there will be no mass transcendence into the Second.  There will remain simply too many powerful beliefs and impulses dictating our subjective perspective from the Shadow to permit the healthy detachment from our personal self conceptions that will catapult us ahead.  And since our personal self conception is generated by a fusion of impulse, emotion, and thought, the capacity to see these as an object of awareness is the sine qua non of transcendence.

Until the "integral movement" focuses like a laser on this point, we are just delaying the moment of mass Second Tier manifestation.  We have it in our capacity to heal the ties that bind us in the First, but are we willing to face that doing this work is hard, tedious, and emotionally demanding?  This is one time where we Boomers must be humble enough to look our generational folly squarely in the face, without judgment, as Bunzl almost parenthetically notes at the end of his conversation with Wilber.  There is no glamor in this work, no bliss, no bling.  But when we complete it we will be authentically worthy of heroic accolades, for this work is the decisive and epoch changing task for which we were created.

Hey MK,

Thanx for yer remarks detailing some of the attitudes and persons you've found valuable in owning your personal responsibility. 

Integral, in my view, picks up on the basic convergent-divergent dualism within the non-dual primal ground of Being which inhabits all gaps and all boundaries.  So I not only agree with you that competition and cooperation are dance partners but even that they are fundmentally one simultaneous difficult-to-grasp movement which provides the pattern for how an integral mind tries to organize knowledge. 

And I concur with you about the post-modernism absence of developmental level psychology which still haunts most of the advanced political alternatives.  Not only are cooperation and competition a unitive phenomenon at higher levels, their apparently problematic alternation at lower levels must be built into integral systems.  We are not the opposite of competition or anything else. 

Personally I would trace the problem back farther than the Green (which only makes visible, as Boomeritis, a long-simmering trend).  The uptake of Red into Amber/Blue is massive, violent and usually only partial.  Most people do not really actualize a virtue-based spirit of collective engagement which supercedes the "tribal" concerns of their personal life, family life, day to day pleasures, stresses, etc.  We are all tempted to the cynical position of dropping back from the political to the personal.  In fact, like Barbarians, we make our egocentric concerns into our putatively ethnocentric political program.  Flashforward and we find the same back dissconnect going on at Green.  Not only does its psychology re-permit a great deal of pre-conventional nonsense but at the same time the squirrely problems getting Amber to actually function have continued in the emotional-values region of many of the higher vMemes.  So we are not surprised to find Green and even Yellow thinkers whose collective politcal sentiment is basically a rejection of the political life per se.  They don't want competition, war, bureacracy, rules, traditions, institutions, etc.  They don't want to see legislative compromise.  They don't have faith in our system, our ideals, our intentions, our destiny.  They have the same ancient cynical gap which wants to drop political life in favor of leaving people alone to have a nice time being troubled by their local and personal concerns.  And this contributes to a lot of even the most complex and well-meaning new visions of human politics which attract those who are progressing into integral vision.

However -- as mentioned in our chat on ambidexterity -- we have to be dancing (just like with cooperation and competition) between a laser like focus (on developmental progress via understanding and accepting responsibility) AND wide-ranging exploratory investigation and experimental enactments of our partial understanding.  Together these two dance partners give Spirit the room it needs to really surprise us. 



And, another way to get at this integral thing is to ask the question: where can we stand to embrace, experience, honor, and become this dance?  How can I relax enough to love their unfolding in me/us?

Don't know yet, and that's OK with me.  The power, for now, is in the question.

Good points, much needed. But where I differ from you and IC is that history has shown that the leftside never leads in the transition and transformation of society/ culture. Technology has preceded the cultural change. Technology UR allowed the LR/LL to change together with the UL benefiting. So do you know what those second tier technologies are? 


Not sure I agree that "the leftside never leads in the transition and transformation of society/culture."  I'd need to explore more of what you mean.  Surely the breakthroughs of the Buddha and the Christ, of Plato and Aristotle, of Luther and Calvin, of Bacon and Descartes, of Einstein and Heisenberg--to mention but a handful--all arose in the interior domains.

If the Integral Model has any validity, then everything "tetra-evolves" simultaneously in the four quadrants, which, after all, are simply dimensions of one activity, Spirit-in-Action.  So it will be more powerful to look at all these as concurrently as we can.

Given the barest manifestation of Second Tier today, it's far too soon to speculate about "second tier technologies," don't you think?  As Wilber has repeatedly said, our biggest challenge is helping humanity get to Orange, and my own corollary is helping cure Boomeritis of its narcissism.

I think once we focus our considerable collective talents on this, the appropriate technologies will emerge.  We already have done the basic science, after all; Bill W. and Dr. Bob pioneered it back in the 30s.

Yes the lefts idle does lead for pioneers of thought and engineering. But for the general unfoldment it doesn't. And sure those pioneers effect the interiors of others like savants. But the stable center of gravity of a given level has a rightside aspect, so tetra arising. But the idea of tetra arising gives the image of equally arising. But what if its asymmetric in its unfolding, which I think history shows is true. So let me change the story a little . Pioneers of interiors change the orientation of view in which engineers create a new technology that enables culture/society to function, maybe not embody, at that new level, in which the general individual benefits from.

If evolution is tetra-evolving asymmetrically then there is a unfolding around the quadrants and my claim is that it goes from LR to LR to LL to UL for the general view. But the opposite for pioneers. If Integral wants to have humanity evolve then try to get others into the integral praxis is going against the direction of the historic pattern by focusing on the left side , getting individuals to grow vertically. Instead of seeing what technologies that when engineered UR would change the LR and the LL/UL.

I think we already have these technologies. LENR's look it up. Having abundant gross energy that does not pollute and is local would allow the automation of basic needs. It would start the beginning of a post resource civilization.

Humanity is evolving regardless of what "integrals" want.  I agree with your suggestion that evolution can appear asymmetrical across the quadrants, but don't know how important that is to your central point.  In the earliest bands of the Second Tier the possibility of identity with evolution itself emerges as a perspective, but how that impacts the direction and velocity of unfoldment still has to reveal itself.  We are well and truly in the trial and error period for this work, and so your inquiry is great but your conclusion thoroughly tentative.  The key for now, I contend, is encouraging the healing of Green so as to expand access to the Second Tier so more of us can play with evolution consciously and see what happens.


This is what my friend said:  'Yes, it's nonsense alright!
But there are grains of truth which have been exaggerated beyond all sense.
When water is electrolyzed, those molecules with the normal light isotope of Hydrogen, H-1, go first. 
Molecules with the more massive isotope, H-2, ("heavy water") linger behind. 
Heavy water so concentrated is useful for nuclear power plants, because it slows down neutrons passing through it, so that those neutrons are more easily captured by Uranium atoms as a preliminary to fission.
H-2 atoms, at very high temperature and pressure, fuse to form Helium-4 atoms plus energy. That is the source of starlight. Also of the explosive power of Hydrogen bombs - in which a Uranium atomic bomb kindles H-2 atoms packed around it. 
Nobody has yet succeeded in getting controlled fusion of H-2 for peaceful power generation.
Though the Europeans have succeeded in fusing H-2 with Lithium atoms.
Gasoline vapor burns better with an addition of Hydrogen gas. It's possible to get that hydrogen by using your car battery to electrolyze acidified water. This has been advertised as a source of free energy. The truth of course is that the battery would have no voltage if it were not continually recharged by the engine 
(conservation of energy). The most we can say for this rig-up is that it improves the efficiency of the engine, more kinetic energy and less wasted heat.
Kozyrev pointed out a source of enormous energy as yet quite untapped. That is the expansion of the universe. If we could hook our engine to a distant receding galaxy we could do very well for energy. Of course anything which braked the expansion of the universe would slow the passage of time. But we'd never notice because our bodies would slow down along with everything else . . . '

You are expressing the current understanding of fusion. But cold fusion has been validated over a thousand times. LENR are not the same as cold fusion. It has to do with the release of the chemical bond of hydrogen and has also been validated , NASA , DARPA and MIT are just the most recent. And in general they say something like this" If you use traditional science models , this effect is not possible, but since it experimentally has been validated the need for need for new models is being worked on". So I will direct you a little so you can see how the conversation is evolving. What happened to cold fusion?

Have fun

i will watch that and mull it over with my companions.... I have not understood this so far... but i can try again... Thanks for the video posting. Jane

Hey there folks - hi  Jane, I'm only responding  to one thing in  you post  -- the part about  Kozyrev's observation  that the expanding universe is a source of "enormous energy",  which  when tapped into  "would slow the passage of time. But we'd never notice because our bodies would slow down."

I  can relate to this because I  got plugged via  my  crown chakra  into  "enormous energy" source ... The proof of this is that my body's aging slowed down drastically  -- which is not just my own opinion, because (just)  the other day I was told  "you don't look old enough to have grown children". Granted, this woman is  quite old   and maybe she needs to wear glasses, maybe not.  She is  into art big time,  is familiar w/ Aurobindo's work and all things 'esoteric' , and her home is spotless!

I have no idea if  Kozyrev would  think I'm off my rocker for stating such a thing,   all I know is  that when I'm in deep samadhi bliss  state,  each fiber of my being taps  into place  where "time" doesn't exist.  To make this  a bit more 'scientific', I'll include the following quote:

"Just as modern science has found that every material object in Creation contains tremendous locked-up nuclear energy, yogic science has found that there is an enormous reservoir of dormant psychic energy, called Kundalini, locked up within each human body, ans when activated this energy can elevate any one to superhuman status through an organic process of psychic transformation known as Self-realization."


P.S. If anyone gets irritated by  this post  because  "this is off topic",  feel free to say  it,  and I'll try to get rid of it (if I can).

the intensity of the state.

like a sword through the heart. i love



and it seems pretty much off topic too!surprise and yet maybe it isn't!  what gives us cause to discover an integral civic consciousness in a global age, if not some awesome energy input?!. 

I can highly recommend this to anybody interested in a new form of integral politics that is worth the title.

Truly inspired and inspiring work. Let's join the campaign team.