Integrating With Bryan O’Doherty
I recently asked in the group of a popular proponent of postmodernism (you can guess who) what they thought would would come next. What is post-postmodernism?
The best answer was Integral Theory. This “theory of everything” creates a framework by which civilizations throughout history have evolved. Each link in the evolution is a “holon”, a whole unto itself that’s also part of a greater whole (the same way sentences are holons that make up a book, which is a holon that is a component of a library).
Postmodernism is the holistic sum of every culture we as a species have developed up to now. Obviously, many individuals haven’t ascended to seeing the world like a postmodernist. Many aren’t even in the hyper-rational modernist worldview yet. But some have moved beyond postmodernism and into the new integral age. That’s what this conversation is about.
We also touch on what Bryan believes is the most logical political framework for an integral world, panarchism. This political framework advocates for competing models of governance based on individual and group needs and not based on power and violence.
If you have been following the show for a while and listened to Vin Armani’s series The Ascendant Project, you’ll notice a lot of parallels. One difference, though, is that the Integral model is very western and linear, where Vin’s model (via PR Sarkar) is cyclical. More than likely (and I think both models recognize this), cultural evolution is more of a spiral or wave pattern with loops and cycles and undulations as we all progress together.
This is a long episode. I considered breaking it into two parts. But in keeping with the theme of integration, I thought splitting it up would be a little too jarring. Plus, if you’re as fascinated by this stuff as I am, it’ll go by really fast.
One thing, though: Integral has a lot of jargon, including a color code. Going through these colors takes up a large portion of this interview. To make matters a bit more complicated, Integral branched off Spiral Dynamics, which had its own color code. The “map” I used as a cheat sheet throughout this interview can be found here. It’s also pasted below if you’re listening to this on Substack, but it’s going to be a tiny image, so you should probably just click the link.
Bryan / Integral Links
Bryan’s essay on panarchy
Bryan’s novel, Alternet
School Sucks Podcast series on Integral Theory (Spotify link)
Come lurk with me in the Integral Global group on Facebook
Recommended Reading: A Brief History of Everything, by Ken Wilber
Spiral Dynamics, by Don Edward Beck and Christopher C. Cowan
Bonus: Take Jonathan Haidt’s morality surveys to see where you stand
Do you like the new music?
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