A Brief History of Politics
June 29, 2006 23:23

~posted by Corey W. deVos

On Integral Naked we recently featured an interview between Ken and John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods. In it, Ken offered an eloquent breakdown of an integral approach to politics, explaining in seven and a half minutes how every major political theory in human history has spilled out of the AQAL model.

For me, the AQAL model is a truly psychoactive map, in the very best sense of the word. Not only is it a third-person map which inherently demands first- and second-person engagement (not to mention fourth, fifth, sixth, etc.) but it makes explicit the implicit structures of consciousness itself, and in so doing the model has the capability to "light up" very powerful states of consciousness. I have had several experiences with Ken's work where it has been as though i could actually feel all of history unfolding within me, within this singularity of consciousness at the very center of each of our souls. This clip had a very similar effect upon me.

You can listen to the mp3 here .

This is Colin's wonderful description from the Integral Naked talk page:

In integral political theory, each party/camp/affiliation can be understood in terms of what aspect of the AQAL model—Quadrants, Levels, Lines, States, and Types—it emphasizes, and therefore also how it originally arose, and its relationship to all of the other orientations. How does this work? Let’s take a look:

First let’s look at the four quadrants, which are simply the interior and exterior of the individual and collective, all of which are present in any occasion. Concerning the debate on rights versus responsibility: an emphasis on the sovereignty of the individual (rights) yields positions such as libertarianism; an emphasis on the sovereignty of the collective (responsibility) yields positions such as socialism. Concerning the debate on the cause of human suffering: an emphasis on interior factors yields a more republican position (if a person is suffering it is because they lack work ethic, family values, etc); an emphasis on exterior factors yields a more democratic position (if a person is suffering it is because they lack opportunities, have been downtrodden by an oppressive system, etc).

In any individual holon (meaning “whole/part”) there are four drives. Within a level—horizontal translation—a holon has drives towards autonomy (rights) and communion (responsibility), and between levels—vertical transformation—a holon has Eros (to reach beyond) and Agape (to embrace and preserve). We’ve already seen how autonomy and communion can function in the political arena, and now we see how the progressive (move things forward!) and conservative (preserve the status quo!) wings within a given party can be explained by Eros and Agape.

And what is it that various political groups seek to either progress towards or diligently conserve? Often it is a particular wave or level of development, and these unfold from archaic, to magic, to mythic, to rational, to pluralistic, to integral (and beyond). Different wings of a political party—conservative, to moderate, to progressive—are, in fact, often representing different waves of development.

Taken together, the various elements of a truly Integral Politics represent an astonishing breakthrough for political theory, and as yet there is nothing else that can approach the explanatory power of AQAL.


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