INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
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Dr. Joseph Dillard is a psychotherapist with over forty year’s clinical experience treating individual, couple, and family issues. Dr. Dillard also has extensive experience with pain management and meditation training. The creator of Integral Deep Listening (IDL), Dr. Dillard is the author of over ten books on IDL, dreaming, nightmares, and meditation. He lives in Berlin, Germany. See: integraldeeplistening.com
Integral Closet Ethnocentrism
Galileo and the consequences of censorship for religion and the advancement of science
Integral is being forced out of its ivory tower in the interior quadrants and compelled to take a position, one way or another, on censorship.
Galileo was an Italian astronomer, physicist, and engineer, sometimes described as a polymath, from Pisa. He has been called the "father of observational astronomy”, the "father of modern physics", the "father of the scientific method”, and the "father of modern science”. Perhaps because he was inordinately intelligent and curious, or perhaps merely because he was naive and stupid, Galileo set aside prevailing assumptions about the geocentric nature of the world and went where his observations took him. By publishing what he discovered, Galileo crossed a societal boundary and broke a major cultural taboo: he went against the teachings of the Catholic Church, which were at that time considered equivalent to “Truth” and “Reality.” The consequence was repression and forced censorship. Galileo had a choice: he could either recant what he had discovered or burn at the stake. Galileo chose to recant, perhaps knowing that reality and wisdom would, in the end, have their way.
In terms of the evolution of society out of ethnocentrism and toward worldcentrism, what censoring Galileo did to the Catholic Church is much more significant than what the Catholic Church did to Galileo. Christianity put itself in a position, by censoring Galileo, of placing an exceptionalist ethnocentric agenda - what is true and real for “us,” before a worldcentric agenda - what is real and true for “we,” all of us, without exception. Ethnocentrism had sufficed in previous centuries, so the Church can be forgiven for assuming that what had been commonly accepted in the past would continue to be relevant, important, and above all, omnipotent. However, by censoring Galileo, already, as early as 1615, when the Catholic Inquisition determined that his validation of heliocentrism was “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture,” Catholicism and Christianity were signaling their self-imposed loss of legitimacy and decline in power and status in the minds of the people of the world. That decline continues to this day.
Echoes of Galileo today
We have much to learn from Galileo, and perhaps even more to learn from the Catholic Church of the 1600's. In October, 2020, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and head of Facebook, one of the richest men in the world, who is in charge of one of the most powerful and influential global corporations, one that impacts the daily lives of a fair number of Integralists, capitulated to persistent, determined calls to impose yet a higher level of censorship on Facebook and its millions of posters. By doing so, it put itself in the position of the Church, and its users in the role of Galileo, in that Facebook took a stand for prohibiting the search for truth wherever it might be found. Here is Zuckerberg's statement:
We've long taken down posts that praise hate crimes or mass murder, including the Holocaust. But with rising antisemitism, we're expanding our policy to prohibit any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust as well. If people search for the Holocaust on Facebook, we'll start directing you to authoritative sources to get accurate information.
Facebook has stated that it has worked with a number of groups fighting antisemitism, including the World Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Committee, the Community Security Trust, and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. All of these groups have a strong ethnocentric bias while remaining convinced that their interests and motivations are worldcentric. According to Philip Giraldi,
Facebook has in fact become something of a leader in reversing its self-promotion as a site for free exchange of ideas. It has removed large numbers of users and alleged suspect sites and has blocked any “denial or distortion” of the so-called holocaust in response to what it regards as a surge in anti-Semitism. It has hired a former Israeli government official to lead the censorship effort on the site.
Ron Unz, a Jew who studied physics at Harvard and was voted smartest in his class, ran for Congress in California, and is curator of the Unz Review, has had his site censored by Facebook because he possesses the courage and personal integrity to not censor alternative historical accounts of WWII, the Holocaust, Judaism, China, Russia, Iran, or any other topical subject. While I hardly endorse all of the views of the multitude of authors he publishes, my worldview has been both challenged and broadened by what I have encountered there. But you will not learn about them on Facebook. If you try to publish a link to any article at that site, you will be blocked. This is a case of Jews censoring a Jew for what they, hardly representative of all Jews, deem to be anti-Semitism.
Integral Worldcentrism and the reality of Integral ethnocentrism
Censorship then, is not coming soon to a website near you; it's already there. It is practiced not only by Facebook, Twitter, and Google, but by at least some Integral forums in what constitutes Integral Closet Ethnocentrism. To explain the concept, I will provide several examples, but first it is necessary to provide some relevant context regarding related aspects of the Integral world view.
Integral tends to be a lofty, intellectual, ivory tower sort of pursuit, by those who deem themselves worldcentric, multi-perspectival, and “spiritual.” Integralists are particularly interested in transpersonal aspects of self-development, and that is extended to the development and transformation of culture and society as a whole. The emphasis within Integral is on enlightenment, the expansion of consciousness, and the uplifting of humanity to “Second Tier,” which means a multi-perspectival level of development associated with the transcendence of identification with this or that “personal” level, with the recognition of the entire developmental process, and the necessity and utility of all stages and lines of development, within a four quadrant, holonic model. Therefore, Integral is intrinsically tolerant of disagreement and oppositional perspectives, viewing them as manifestations of this or that stage of development, rather than as something destructive to development itself. Consequently, Integral is strongly inclined toward freedom of inquiry and speech, by its fundamental multi-perspectival nature, and opposed to censorship.
If you find value in Wilber's Integral AQAL, embracing a multi-perspectival, worldcentric (if not a theocentric or kosmocentric) world view, we can conclude that you are, on your cognitive line, at least worldcentric. If, in addition, you have had a number of mystical experiences in your life, we can also conclude you have had transpersonal awakenings and are a proponent of the oneness of life in one or more dimension: nature, devotional, formless, or the integration of the transcendent and the secular. This implies you have a highly developed line of spiritual intelligence. One would think that this would be enough to qualify you as being authentically integral, since the self-system line tends to follow closely in tandem with the cognitive line, and we tend to identify with our mystical, transpersonal experiences as well. However, it's not enough to qualify us as being authentically integral. Here's why.
Line development is not level development. We can be high in any number of lines but, if we are low in a core line, required to tetra-mesh from level to level, our actual, or authentic level of overall development, is going to be lower, probably far lower, than we think it is. The low, undeveloped core line acts as a sea anchor or lead weights on a hot air balloon, keeping overall development from rising. Morality is not only a core line (since what is spirituality or the transpersonal without morality?); morality has to be enacted, that is, manifested in the external quadrants, to tetra-mesh from one level to the next. This is according to Wilber, and I agree.
It is therefore not enough for us to surround ourselves with in-groups that validate our beliefs and our worldcentric morality; morality in the exterior collective quadrant is validated by others, and the breadth of this validation can be narrow, meaning it is either egocentric, or ethnocentric, or broad, meaning it is worldcentric or kosmocentric, If out-groups determine that we, as represented by the groups with which we affiliate, are egocentric, ethnocentric, amoral, or immoral, then we cannot ignore those assessments and claim to have tetra-meshed on our moral line to a higher level of development.
For example, Barack Obama and his supporters can believe he is worldcentric and plausibly cite that he would score post-conventional on Kohlberg's scale of the development of moral judgment, due to his expertise in the domain of constitutional law, and his inspiring worldcentric message of hope and change. However, facts on the ground contradict his interior quadrant intention as well as his exterior individual professed belief. There is nothing worldcentric about drone assassinating anyone, but in particular civilians, women and children, and fellow American citizens. This is an example of how the judgment of out-groups in the exterior collective quadrant of relationship must concur on morality for the moral line to tetra-mesh and develop, level to level. If the families of those who die from drone attacks ordered by Obama declare he does not represent them, then he does not represent “all of us;” his actions are not worldcentric, nor are they moral, by any rational definition of the term. Without moral tetra-mesh, we have significant and fundamental developmental imbalance: high cognitive, self-system, and other lines, and a low moral line. This is the realistic conclusion to draw not only about Obama but those who voted for him twice.
Obama provides an excellent example of how the self-system and cognitive lines, as well as multiple other lines, normally race ahead, while actual authentic, overall development stays at a relatively regressed level if the moral line cannot or does not tetra-mesh. Therefore, as Wilber points out in Integral Spirituality in his analysis of enlightenment, self-development is constrained by the level of exterior collective development of the societies in which we are immersed and enmeshed. If our nation proclaims values of freedom, democracy, and universal human rights while spying on citizens and non-citizens alike, practicing exploitative neoliberal economics, and prosecuting illegal wars, then the reality of the level of moral behavior contradicts interior self-image. This is the sort of contradiction that discloses hypocrisy leading to societal schizophrenia and internal collapse. Currently, that exact process is happening not only in the United States but throughout the West.
While those of us who participate on Facebook Integral forums worry about ever-increasing censorship from Facebook, which, as noted above, has just agreed to apply an Israeli-supported definition of anti-Semitic censorship, and twitter and surveillance by the FBI, CIA, and the Deep State, hardly anybody is speaking out about the self-censoring that most of us do regarding Israeli apartheid and questioning of the official narrative of Zionism. Hardly anyone is pointing out that voting for a candidate for President with a history of votes for dysfunctional ethnocentrism disqualifies those voters from claims of worldcentrism.
A multi-perspectival or integral perspective honors multiple perspectives. It doesn't punish or repress views that don't agree with our own. Because someone votes for a ethnocentrically dysfunctional candidate like Joe Biden, it does not make them a “bad” or a “wrong” person, but only someone who has abandoned claims to worldcentrism. Integral welcomes multiple perspectives because, as Wilber famously says, “No one is smart enough to be wrong all the time.” But the prevailing narrative regarding Jews, Judaism, Zionism, and Israel does not allow deviation. It is not multi-perspectival. It is not integral. It defends not only ethnocentrism but dysfunctional ethnocentrism, in that it defends apartheid, as defined by the United Nations.
The United Nations has defined the crime of apartheid as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.” In 2017 the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia published a report that concluded, “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.” U.N. Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf said the report was the “first of its type” from a U.N. body that “clearly and frankly concludes that Israel is a racist state that has established an apartheid system that persecutes the Palestinian people”. This report was suppressed by the United States and Israel.
Apartheid is an ethnocentric crime, as clearly as is slavery. Ignoring, repressing, or denying that reality does not make it less so. To support apartheid, or to fail to denounce it, is to support dysfunctional ethnocentrism. The shorthand for this type of ethnocentrism, as related to support of Israeli apartheid, is “Progressive Except Palestine.” I cannot claim to have a worldcentric world view or be “Second Tier” if I embrace worldcentrism in all cases except in this or that specific instance.
If we don't speak out about Israeli apartheid, or are silent about it, due to fear of being labeled “anti-semitic,” or not “politically correct,” we forfeit our claim to being integral in the sense of worldcentric or Second Tier, at least on the line of morality and in the domain of social justice. I can still claim to be integral on my cognitive, spiritual intelligence, and even my self-system line, but what exactly is spirituality without worldcentrism? What is morality without reciprocity for “all of us”?
By not speaking out about dysfunctional ethnocentrism, we are not only in collusion with censorship; we are limiting our definitions of integral and worldcentrism to the interior quadrants and the cognitive line. We are giving up a four quadrant definition of either. That reflects on the fundamental credibility of Integral, and that is the core issue of concern for me here, as related to Integral - not Israel, not Palestine, not politicians. The underlying issue is, do we, as self-defined Integralists, support freedom of enquiry and multi-perspectivalism when they are attacked, regardless of who is doing the attacking, or do we make exceptions for this politician or that ethnocentric interest? If so, how is that not a pre-rational, ethnocentric, and amoral, if not immoral, position? What is Integral, and what is integral about our behavior, if our spirituality does not include the demand that universal human rights be respected first by ourselves, and then by those groups with which we affiliate, in this case Integral, and then by our nation?
Are we really mid-prepersonal in our overall level of development?
There is a great deal of evidence to support the conclusion that the level of exterior collective development of global society is at present mid-prepersonal, because profit, power, and status largely take precedence over human rights. Because we are citizens of societies in which this is the case, our overall level of personal development must also be mid-prepersonal, regardless of how advanced this or that line may be. We don't advance on the core moral line unless the societies in which we are embedded do as well. The professing of virtue does not equal moral tetra-mesh.
There are multiple reasons to arrive at this conclusion regarding morality. Economics is a mid-personal theoretical structure that validates prepersonal relational exchanges that are amoral, that is, pre-moral, or pre-pre-conventional morality. Economics is generally rationality in the service of the prepersonal, not the prepersonal in the service of the personal. Economics does not include and transcend. Instead, it uses the transcendence of the cognitive line to defend prepersonal world views and systems of belief. My favorite example of this is the widely acclaimed research by two Harvard economists, Rogoff and Rinehart, that econometrically demonstrated the validity of trickle down, austerity neoliberal economics. That is, it did so until a clever graduate economic student reviewed their mathematics and statistics and found several hidden but convenient errors which validated their results and which, when corrected, invalidated them. This is an example of reason in the service of emotional preferences and a prerational world view, whether those errors were conscious and intentional, or not.
Another example, from the progressive side of economics, comes from Nobel Prize winning economist and NYTimes columnist, Paul Krugman. After years of defending neoliberal, global economics, he has recently reversed himself and said it was an error, that such an economic system impoverishes the lower classes and leads to increasingly disruptive class divisions within society. Again, for years Krugman was practicing rationality in the service of a prepersonal belief system and world view. But the point is not an economic one, but to point out that we tend to think reason indicates a mid-personal level of development and above, when in fact it does nothing of the sort. What it does is indicate a mid-personal, or formal or post-formal level of development on the cognitive line, but that cognitive line can be, and often is, in service to prepersonal relational exchanges, beliefs, and world views.
Amorality, whether validated by economics, realpolitik, or addiction, does not rise to the level of immorality or evil, in that it does not consider good or bad, but merely efficacy, generally through increasing profits, status, or getting laid. Amorality sanctimoniously cloaks itself in delusions of morality. Where are the prosecutions and incarcerations of corrupt financiers and public officials in the West? For example, corruption is simply doing business, with fines figured into the costs of business. Society is in broad collusion in that no one goes to jail for collusion, except those few, like Bernie Madoff, who are foolish enough to burn their fellow thieves. We incessantly spin rationalizations that explain to ourselves how and why evil acts, such as ignoring our votes for war criminals, the funding of terrorists to destroy Syria, the bailing out of the world financial sector at the expense of the lower and middle classes, the offshoring a country's industrial base to increase corporate profits, or the rationalization of gurus having sex with their spiritual disciples, are “worth it,”or harmless.
Relational exchanges, which can be carried out at any level, are essentially amoral. When security, status, power, safety, sex, or intellectual curiosity is the goal, morality isn't. Take Werner von Braun or Robert Oppenheimer for example. Both were arguably post-formal in their development on the cognitive line. Von Braun could, with equal ease and no moral misgivings, create Nazi V-2 rockets and bomb London, and develop the gigantic Saturn rockets that carried US citizens to the moon. Oppenheimer developed the atomic bomb; if he had moral qualms they certainly didn't get in the way of his primary relational exchange: intellectual curiosity, probably conjoined with status issues. Relational exchanges are intrinsically amoral because they put the pursuit of this or that end before morality. However, the pursuit of any relational exchange is usually rationalized based on some moral pretext: democracy, freedom, liberty, justice, equality, spiritual development, economic necessity, or “legitimate” defense. This is so predictable as to cause us to be astonished when someone, like Donald Trump, does not justify their actions on moral grounds.
Why egocentric, ethnocentric, and worldcentric distinctions matter
There are certain underlying principles that outlast you and me. One is the universality of human rights. Another is worldcentrism as a container for ethnocentrism, so that people can exist at ethnocentric stages in healthy, non-toxic ways. Another is multi-perspectivalism, including the freedom to go where the evidence leads.
Wilber, via Corey DeVos at Integral life, defines egocentrism as “The general level(s) where one is identified exclusively with 'me,' or with the bodily self and its impulses.” Unhealthy varieties of egocentrism include personality pathologies, including sociopathy and various forms of addiction. Grandiosity, or “ego inflation” at any stage of development, on any line, is an indication of egocentrism, generally masked behind a presentation of several highly developed lines. Wilber does an excellent job of outlining these at every stage, but particularly in the transpersonal bands, in his essays in Transformations of Consciousness.
Ethnocentrism is defined as: “The general level(s) where one is identified with 'us,' or one's family, group, tribe, or nation.” We all go through stages of identification with ethnocentrism and indeed, historically, most of humanity has never risen above it. With a few notable exceptions, ethnocentrism was the definition of morality until Thomas Jefferson enunciated the basic principles of universal human rights. Ethnocentrism does not need to be dysfunctional or immoral, but it is by nature discriminatory. The UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights, signed by almost all the countries of the world, including the US but never by Israel, bind signatories not only to a worldcentric world view, but to worldcentric practices - following laws that actually protect human rights without discrimination. That is, the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights binds signatories to a four quadrant commitment to the upholding of human rights. Unhealthy varieties of ethnocentrism are social pathologies in which in-group exceptionalism exploits and destroys other groups and eventually itself. Colonization, economic exploitation, apartheid, and war provide examples of dysfunctional, unhealthy ethnocentrism.
Worldcentrism is “The general level(s) where one is identified with 'all of us,' or all human beings, regardless of race, sex, or creed.” Therefore, worldcentric includes all people. You and I cannot be worldcentric while exempting some carve-out or exception for this or that special case or instance. To do so makes us cognitively worldcentric in our own self-estimation and probably in our intention, that is, in our interior quadrants, but functionally or behaviorally ethnocentric, in our own actions and interactions with others. The result is that there can be no tetra-mesh to worldcentric, because the exterior quadrants lag behind the interior ones, similar to the case with the moral line, where interior moral intent can be quite high while exterior ethical action remains quite low.
In relationship to ego- and ethnocentrism, worldcentrism provides an inclusive yet transcending objective context or world view in which to contain and by which to structure them. As we have seen, all groups, including transpersonal ones, are ethnocentric to the extent that they include “us” and exclude “them.” For ethnocentrism, discrimination is a feature, not a bug. At the same time, most groups, as well as most members of them, are convinced of their worldcentrism. They are doing “God's will,” fulfilling “divine dharma,” are “Second Tier,” meaning they are multi-perspectival, including the entire spectrum of developmental possibilities, while in fact differentiating and discriminating in a thoroughly ethnocentric way between those who say, have opened the “Eye of Spirit,” and those who haven't.
Integralists tend to assume that they are Second Tier, based on their grasp of a multi-perspectival world view on the cognitive line and mystical experiences on the line of spiritual intelligence. I certainly did, for decades. Integralists also tend to assume they are worldcentric, based on their embrace of the principle of universal human rights and their intent to respect all humans, societies, cultures, religions, races, and genders. In addition, they may embrace Wilber's Basic Moral Intuition to protect and promote the greatest depth for the greatest span. I certainly did, again, for decades - from about 1983, when I first started reading Wilber, until sometime after about 2012, when I began to recognize that it in no way coincided with my actual behavior: my interior quadrant intent was not manifesting consistently with my exterior quadrant behavior and relationships, which lagged far behind.
Unhealthy versions of worldcentrism exist as well. These largely involve the delusion of worldcentrism when actions remain ethnocentric. In such instances, worldcentrism indeed exists in the interior quadrants, but it does not include “all of us” in the exterior quadrants. The result is unhealthy, or dysfunctional worldcentrism. To defeat tetra-mesh, actions and relationships do not have to present active support for an ethnocentric, immoral, or amoral cause. It is enough to passively support an ethnocentric or amoral cause, such as to not protest US illegal wars, or consign oneself to a vote for “the lesser of two evils,” to qualify one as an ethnocentrist. For an integralist, the result is “Integral closet ethnocentrism.” We are convinced we are worldcentric and moral, and our Integral in-group may well echo and validate that assessment, when in fact we tacitly, if not actively, support this or that form of ethnocentrism or amorality.
I have no problem with people voting for Obama, Hillary, or Biden, or supporting Zionism or Israeli apartheid. Problems only arise when those who do so imagine that they are worldcentric, moral, or Integral while people are being abused or killed in their name. Such voters aren't worldcentric, in any four-quadrant way. They probably are in their own minds and perhaps in their own intentions, certainly in their own rationalizations, and they are highly likely to be embedded in echo chambers that validate their delusions of morality and worldcentrism. However, in terms of objective exterior collective quadrant measurements of worldcentrism or multi-perspectivalism, they are not worldcentric. The holding of such convenient, self-serving delusions is totally understandable, because calling attention to them kicks up so much cognitive dissonance and so challenges our world view and self-image, that our delusional beliefs are defended with all of the power of Freud's various defense mechanisms: denial, avoidance, repression, displacement, projection, or sublimation.
Ethnocentrism is not worldcentrism and dysfunctional ethnocentrism is neither healthy ethnocentrism, nor is it worldcentrism. When progressive, liberal integralists vote for Barack Obama a second time, for Hillary Clinton, or for Joe Biden, they are endorsing policies and histories of dysfunctional ethnocentric actions. They are affirming their validation of dysfunctional ethnocentrism. To support dysfunctional ethnocentrism, say by supporting a corrupt liberal Democrat like Biden, because to not do so is to support worse ethnocentrism in the form of helping Trump get re-elected, is not an argument for worldcentrism. We are telling ourselves, each other, and the world, “I will support the candidate that I believe is less dysfunctionally ethnocentric.” However, if we support dysfunctional ethnocentrism, how are we not giving up our claim to worldcentrism?
These politicians are dysfunctionally ethnocentric because they promote American exceptionalism, both Zionism and Israeli apartheid, illegal wars and drone assassinations, upper class interests at the expense of those of the lower and middle classes, and propaganda campaigns that demean other cultures, societies, and ethnicities, be it Arabs, Moslems, Russians, Chinese, or the designated enemy of the day. When Integralists excuse amorality or immorality in pandits and gurus they are affirming exceptionalism, which socially, in the external collective quadrant, is ethnocentrism, regardless of what it might be in the interior quadrants. That is to say, tantric sex can be intended as the unification of shiva/shakti in the interior individual quadrant of consciousness and still be ethnocentric and immoral sex between guru and chela from the perspective of out-groups in the exterior collective quadrant. Who is “right” is the wrong question to ask; there are different definitions of truth in all four quadrants, as Wilber has pointed out. These have to be reconciled for tetra-mesh.
Due to these considerations, I have concluded that I am neither worldcentric or integral. I am not Second Tier and my overall level of development is mid-prepersonal. I can say that while still being able to say that my world view, that is, my cognitive line, is at vision-logic and multi-perspectival. My self-system line is close behind, since I see and honor all personal levels of the developmental spectrum. However, I am socially and culturally embedded in groups with strong ethnocentric affiliations, and they define me to others in my exterior quadrants. For example, no matter how much I may protest war, as long as my nation is killing people, I bear personal responsibility as part of that ethnocentric collective. Therefore, if others, say Iranians, Russians, Chinese, or Palestinians conclude that I am ethnocentric, I have to agree. The only thing I can say in my defense is that I recognize it, and that I am trying to support our collective evolution beyond dysfunctional ethnocentrism by not voting for politicians that advocate for dysfunctional ethnocentrism and who act in my name, as well as by speaking out about my country's support for or commitment of, violations of human rights.
To conclude that such a position is late personal or “green” is naive and disingenuous, because those believing egalitarianism and pluralism is the superior world view do not yet possess a multi-perspectival world view. Their world view, late personal egalitarianism and pluralism, is best. That is not the position of those who recognize the necessity for both egocentrism and ethnocentrism in development and differentiate between healthy and unhealthy varieties of each. Similarly, amorality is not immoral or evil. Animals are amoral and are neither immoral nor evil. Most of our daily actions, like brushing our teeth or sleeping, are fundamentally amoral. To turn them into moral actions is a mistake and a distortion. Similarly, while egalitarianism in performance is generally not respectful of individual strengths and weaknesses, there are many circumstances in which discriminations, for instance, based on meritocracy, are smart, beneficial, and necessary. The need to make healthy discriminations does not disappear just because one embraces “all of us” in worldcentrism. Nor is pluralism the same as multi-perspectivalism. Giving everybody a voice or insisting on inclusion can lead to hopeless gridlock and block effective action, particularly in response to crises. Awarenesses of these factors demonstrates the hollowness of attempts to reduce worldcentrism to late personal development. It is much more closely associated with integral-aperspectivalism and vision-logic.
Those who claim to stand for worldcentric values and principles while ignoring or accepting dysfunctional ethnocentric exceptionalism show their true face when they censor those who call out abusive exceptions to “all of us,” just as the persecution of Galileo forced Christianity of that century to show its true face: that fundamental loyalty is to fear, power, or pre-rational dogma, not to worldcentrism, love, spirituality, enlightenment, democracy, or human rights, as is typically claimed. “Most of us are fear filled frauds, only willing to take a managable risk within a comfortable threshold. It's cowardice dressed up as tactics.” (Caitlin Johnstone)
Censorship is a normal function of healthy ethnocentrism
Salman Rushdie said, “What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.” Blog, forum, page, or website curation is not an easy job, nor is freedom of speech a black and white issue. Forum curators possess the right to block or censor whomever they please, for whatever reason, in order to protect and maintain a healthy group, that is, ethnocentric, identity. Without boundaries and limits on what is and is not permissible, groups have no distinctive characteristics, no stable self-definition, and therefore no way to manage a collective developmental dialectic of the objectification of the proximate self as distal other and its reincorporation in a broader, more inclusive self-sense.
Censorship is successful and even beneficial when it protects healthy ethnocentrism. For Integral, that means it allows Integral Forums to maintain their normal state of discussing this or that aspect of Integral AQAL, the nature of spirituality, as well as current political issues such as the alt-right, gender, issues, and social justice warriors. Such discussions do not threaten ethnocentric power centers. It therefore draws no attention from overarching manufacturers of consent, because such topics do nothing to protest the growing shadow of censorship and totalitarianism that is descending upon us all. Those ethnocentric power centers view such discussions and socio-cultural disputes as convenient distractions from their pursuit of dysfunctional ethnocentrism. We fulfill the role of useful fools, in that we consume our time and energies attacking issues that do nothing to reduce dysfunctional ethnocentrism in the exterior collective quadrant of social justice.
Censorship exists because it is effective. We have already seen how it has a valid place as a tool to maintain group identity and structure. Censorship is also necessary in times of crisis when collective unity is required for survival. For example, soldiers are not allowed dissent or freedom of speech because independence can mean disobedience in following orders, thereby endangering the war effort. The usefulness of censorship, when balanced against its stifling of free speech and individual liberties, leaves us with a Zen-like question: If social media giants, cultural PC, and laws prevent the sharing of proof of dysfunctional ethnocentrism, whether by politicians or governments, and the media refuses to publish the evidence, did a crime against humanity ever occur? After all, an allegation is a crime only if it is damaging. If there is no coverage, there is no evidence of damage, and therefore no crime. That is the beauty of censorship.
My own stance on censorship is generally the same as that of the American Civil Liberties Union, which might be summarized as, “I may disapprove of what you say, but I defend your right to say it.” This is essentially a worldcentric approach to censorship because it respects the rights of “all of us” while discriminating regarding the content of what is said, or the legality of what is done. It doesn't pretend discrimination disappears at worldcentrism.
The worldcentrism of Integralists
If we are worldcentric in our intentions but not in our actions, are we worldcentric? I would argue that yes, cognitively, on the cognitive line, we ARE worldcentric, but not behaviorally or interpersonally, that is, in the external quadrants. Most Integralists are consistently worldcentric not only in their interior quadrants but in their external quadrants in many, many ways. They support human rights including those of speech, assembly, access to education and health care, as well as freedom from hunger. They act in ways that are consistent with those allegiances. However, Integralists may make exceptions to their worldcentrism in various ways as well, for example, when voting. They will hold their noses and vote for politicians they know are corrupt and which support dysfunctional ethnocentrism, on the grounds that if they don't, they are electing leaders who are even worse. In another example, on the issue of universal human rights, most Integralists, and most Zionists and Israelis, are strong advocates as well as being liberals and progressives. However, many of these same passionate supporters of human rights have a carve out or exception for their favorite politicians and their own group loyalties, whatever they may be. For Integralists, it is Integral and Integral leadership; for the majority of neoconservatives, Israelis, Zionists, and Christian Zionists, it is Israeli apartheid; for Palestinians, it is Palestinian rights.
These honest and fervent supporters of worldcentrism are not really worldcentric at all. That is because worldcentrism is about “we;” it is not about rights for “we” with the exception of the exclusion of rights for “them” when “we,” that is, my particular ethnocentric group, feels (or even actually is), threatened. This is an important point, because it does not wash to say, “I am worldcentric because I believe in human rights for everyone,” when in practice I am silent about the deprivation of those rights in this or that instance for ethnocentric reasons. That exception means that in fact, I am ethnocentric, not worldcentric, because worldcentric is “we;” it is not “we,” with a carve out exclusion for “us.” Can we claim to be worldcentric or Integral without denouncing all apartheid, which includes Israeli apartheid? To not do so constitutes an ethnocentric world view, similar to Jefferson calling for universal human rights but carving out an exception for himself and American slave holders. I understand that Jefferson was a prisoner of his socio-cultural context, just as we are in ours, and I highly respect Jefferson, and still, his position was not worldcentric in any four-quadrant, tetra-meshing understanding of the term. One can also have a post-metaphysical world view on the cognitive line and still embrace ethnocentrism, as do Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, and Wilber, in his support of Krishna's argument, but to do so gives up any claim of a post-metaphysical spirituality that is worldcentric in practice, in the exterior collective quadrant.
It is not that Israel or the US are the only offenders or that there are not other grievous offenses happening elsewhere; it is that Israel claims to be a democracy for all its citizens but still practices apartheid while possessing between two and four hundred nuclear weapons. It both has power and exercises that power to persecute, dominate, and kill Palestinians, censor speech and public debate about Jews, Judaism, Zionism, and Israel in both the EU and the US. We in the West, as well as Russia and China are complicit in that we self-censor any serious challenge to this doctrinal ethnocentrism, such as the BDS movement, or scholarly consideration of the facts of WWII that leads to historical revisionism. We impose censorship, either voluntarily upon ourselves, or upon our group members, through peer ostracism, as occurs on some Integral forums, or, as is increasingly the case, through national, state, and employer punishments. Yes, even you can lose your means of livelihood if you are perceived as a threat to the accepted doctrinal narrative regarding Israel, Israelis, Judaism, and Jews, even if you are Jewish, from Spinoza to Finkelstein. That's a fact. That's censorship with teeth.
How censorship of perceived anti-Semitism increases anti-Semitism
I strongly and clearly differentiate between Jews, a religious preference and ethnicity, Judaism, a religion, Zionism, an ethnocentric belief system, and Israel, a nation. To criticize Israel or Zionism is not Anti-Semitism. Discrimination against Jews is Anti-Semitism. Some of my most respected icons are Jewish: Einstein, Chomsky, Pinker, Finkelstein. My son-in-law is Jewish.
However, despite any amount of evidence to the contrary, there will be those who will proclaim I am anti-Semitic, because they have to, in order to reduce their own cognitive dissonance and protect their own world view when I challenge their own belief in their worldcentrism, morality, multi-perspectivalism, and morality. I understand. I don't take such ad hominem attacks personally and I have compassion for these people, because I have been dysfunctionally ethnocentric myself in my life, although never regarding Semitism.
There are those who will claim that I am unfairly singling out Israel and then attempt avoidance via redirection, by indulging in “whataboutism:” What about Arab terrorism? What about the Uighurs? What about the Russians? This amounts to an attempt to change the subject from the major area of our silent, long-standing compliance, and one particular instance of support of dysfunctional ethnocentrism that does, in my opinion, a great deal of harm to Integral. This is because Integral claims to be spiritual, and many Israelis and Zionists uphold dysfunctional ethnocentric claims based on religious principles of “God's promises,” and spiritual exceptionalism. To the best of my knowledge, the Palestinians, Arabs, Russians, or Chinese are not attempting to censor our posts on Facebook or Twitter. I know of no one who has lost their job because they criticized Chinese, Palestinians, or Russians. I don't know of anyone who has been ostracized from an Integral group for condemning them. On the other hand, I have been called a “supporter of terrorism,” “supporter of authoritarianism,” “communist,” and “useful fool” or straight out ostracized because I didn't outright condemn one or another of these groups, but instead dared to present their version of events. As of 2013, Israel had been condemned in 45 resolutions by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Since the creation of that Council in 2006, it has resolved almost more resolutions condemning Israel than on the rest of the world combined (Wikipedia). The US Congress and government, as well as most of the leadership of Integral, as best as I can tell, ignores this issue, and thereby tacitly supports it.
That is why Israel has to be talked about. It is the elephant in the living room of worldcentrism. There is currently an all-out campaign to make any mention of Jews, Judaism, Zionism, or Israel that Zionists view as derogatory a crime: legalized censorship. You can now lose your government job in many states if you don't agree to self-censor disagreement with Israeli policy. Hate speech laws in Europe put scholars and journalists in jail. Those laws may well be coming soon to a city near you and, as we have seen, they are already omnipresent in cyberspace.
It is a fact of current American politics that almost no one stands a chance of getting elected if they take a public stand against Israeli apartheid, and those who do manage to get elected are publicly pilloried. Congressmen and Senators who do not support Israeli agendas are financially boycotted and lose elections. The US Congress is about to pass legislation that will give Israel the ability to veto arms sales by the US to other countries. There are some ninety pro-Israeli pieces of legislation, most written by this Israeli lobby or another, currently waiting to be passed into US law. Israel, with the assistance of sympathizers in Washington, successfully censored a UN report on Israeli apartheid and have a long-standing, consistent record of voting down any condemnation of Israel. This is essentially a “might makes right” suppression of dissent and the will of the international community. It generates a wall of silence over pervasive dysfunctional ethnocentrism. Integralists, from Ken Wilber on down, should be loudly denouncing these actions as not worldcentric, not healthy ethnocentrism, and violations of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. But they aren't. Why not? Is it because they know they will be tarred as racists?
One can deplore anti-Semitism, hate speech, and groups like QAnon, as I do, without empowering them through censoring them. The key is a combination of ignoring racists and pointing out underlying inconsistencies and self-contradictions, rather than directly attacking a group or its members. In a sense, this is what law does. It attempts to be impartial regarding individuals and instead determine truth, guilt, and innocence based on collective, consensual standards of social justice.
While anti-Semitism is a terrible thing, censorship of anti-Semitism, “hate speech,” and various groups for various causes, is worse. It is in fact much worse, because it codifies ethnocentrism at the expense of worldcentrism. It is a solution that in itself is effective only as long as it can successfully silence critics. Censorship forces critics to not only go underground; it gives them legitimacy as victims of persecution. The result is a strengthening of that which is censored, which requires more censoring and greater punishments for others who violate censorship. For example, the prominent and highly respected WWII historian, David Irving, who ran afoul of a Zionist witch hunt and EU hate speech laws, was made a victim of censorship through his prosecution and incarceration, while his well-documented writings gained a higher visibility due to the publicity his persecution provided. The end result of censorship is totalitarianism, revolution, or both.
In the instance of Galileo, censorship of an early, healthy version of multi-perspectivalism by dysfunctional ethnocentrism, led to the widespread limitation of the power and status not only of the Catholic Church and of Christianity, but of religion in general, as the opinions of religious tribunals gradually gave way to the authority of secular courts, as is currently seen in the prosecution of clergy pedophilia. The realm of religious doctrine believed to be true, as well as the domain of exceptionalism granting elite power and status to religion, continues to shrink before the findings of science and the acceptance of international, rather than ethnocentric, codes of conduct. Whether or not this is advantageous to society is largely determined by whether one is an idealist or a secular humanist. Wilber's position, squarely in the idealist camp, is that modernism “threw out the baby with the bath water” when it discredited the religious traditions of the world, because it also discounted spirituality. That was not a case of repression by science but of cultural and social suicide by religion itself.
The problem with blaming science for discrediting spirituality, is that many famous scientists possess an intense awareness of the sacredness of nature. In fact, Wilber wrote an entire book about mystical statements made by famous physicists. So while material reductionists do indeed exist, it is an error to assume that the Enlightenment threw out the realm of the sacred along with its objectification of religion. The realm of the sacred is not going anywhere, because it has been, is, and will continue to be accessible to all people at all stages of development, through the four varieties of perception of the sacred, that is, through a sense of oneness with nature, devotion, formlessness, or non-differentiation between the sacred and the secular.
Examples of Integral forum censorship
When dissent is disallowed or framed as “hate speech” and censored or prosecuted, what inevitably follows, sooner or later, is a build-up of resistance that eventually erupts as an over-reaction, in this case of bona-fide anti-Semitism on the world stage. If one yells “Nazi!” Or “anti-Semite!” At everyone who disagrees with a policy of Israel or with the accepted doctrinal narrative about WWII, the holocaust, the founding of Israel, and the nature of their treatment of Palestinians, then at some point people will start to ask, “But what about multi-perspectivalism? “Are all perspectives allowed except those which threaten some entrenched mainstream narrative? If that is the case, do we really have multi-perspectivalism at all, or do we have something that claims to be, intends to be multi-perspectival but, when guilt, or fear of loss of both status and financial security are involved, or of being perceived as “non-PC,” does multi-perspectivalism become something less than worldcentric?”
It is within this context that Integral forums on Facebook are currently following a trajectory regarding censorship that is as predictable as it is highly disturbing. Here are four recent examples. Bruce Alderman evicted, that is, censored, representatives of something called “Propertarianism,” and the work of Curt Doolittle, essentially for posting statements that he found discriminatory and racist. I supported him in this, primarily because he has the right, as the curator of the group, to exclude whatever perspectives that he deems a threat to the identity and purposes of the group. In that case, it appears to me that this was an instance of a worldcentric group upholding healthy ethnocentric standards and identity. However, I am sure the Propertarians would disagree, just as both cancer and healthy cells fight for life and do not want to be expelled from the body. As someone who has worked with dreams and gruesome, threatening nightmares for decades, I am less likely to censor a perspective because it is discriminatory, racist, abusive, or evil, because we can learn a lot from our reactivity to such perspectives. We have to assess how real the threat is. Are we really in danger or do we just fear that we are? Most threats, when closely examined in this way, fall into the second category.
Corey DeVos blocked Cameron Freeman from Integral Global for making remarks DeVos deemed anti-Semitic. Like Bruce, I support Corey's decision, based on the usefulness of censorship to maintain group identity. However, I think it would have been healthier for the group to tolerate and deal with Cameron's perspective, as an affirmation of multi-perspectivalism and because I do not consider Cameron a racist or anti-Semitic, although many others might.
David Long blocked me from his group, Integral 2.0, due to complaints by members that remarks I posted were anti-Semitic. I did not know it at the time; I thought I was evicted because David and I disagreed on the definition of the trans-rational. So when I found out, it seemed to me that I had been subjected to the sort of justice meted out by the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland: “Sentence First! Verdict Afterwards!” This got me thinking about healthy and unhealthy versions of ethnocentrism and its relationship to worldcentrism and to Integral multi-perspectivalism. Being expelled from Long's group without being consulted made me aware that groups that claim to be worldcentric can actually be ethnocentric in practice, and that ethnocentrism can either be healthy or dysfunctional. I became aware that forms of Integral dysfunctional ethnocentrism exist - something I had not contemplated before.
The fourth instance was Julian Mark Walter, an integralist and yoga teacher in Southern California, who I admire, who blocked me from his news feed after accusing me of being a “bully” and anti-Semite for responding to fears of anti-Semitism by bringing up the reality of Israeli apartheid on his news feed. I was definitely the skunk at the picnic. This blocking surprised me, because I had Julian pegged as authentically worldcentric instead of one more Integral closet ethnocentrist.
You might be thinking, “Gosh, with all of these cases, surely that implies that you are indeed anti-Semitic.” David Long is an example of someone who has used this logical fallacy against me. To my ear, that is like branding someone who calls for social justice a bomb-throwing revolutionary. I would hope that by now I have made it clear that a call for worldcentrism is not a denial of the need for healthy ethnocentrism.
Dysfunctional ethnocentrism arises when “us” priorities are placed before those of “all of us” in ways that are detrimental not only to others, but to the group itself. This does not occur when censorship upholds worldcentric and multi-perspectival principles. In the case of my expulsion from David's group, when David sided with the reports of his group members without consulting me, he opted for ethnocentric solidarity over worldcentrism. There is nothing wrong with that in principle: healthy ethnocentrism can and does co-exist with worldcentrism, as, for instance, individual nations can and do exist within a global community that respects the “we” of universal human rights. From the perspective of group unity, kicking me out was healthy ethnocentrism, because it maintained the integrity of the group. Kicking out individual members, doing “normal” censorship to maintain the integrity of a group is an “organic” process, not so different from the body disposing of perfectly healthy red and white blood cells, for instance, in the process of its normal functioning. It only becomes a problem when rejection becomes chronic, and the body keeps throwing out healthy cells that it needs to function. If it keeps doing that, it will eventually provoke protective reactions, deplete its reserves, and die.
Ethnocentrism is an understandable choice when group solidarity is the priority. Such discriminations are not necessarily abusive or otherwise harmful, and discriminations are important and have to be made. Also, the issue is not that I, or anyone else, is expelled from a group or socially censored without being informed of the reason; that is not necessary to maintain healthy ethnocentrism. The issue was that I was being accused of being anti-Semitic, that is, racist, for calling out what I believed to be an important instance of unhealthy and dysfunctional ethnocentrism - Israeli apartheid. So a group promoting an Integral and worldcentric world view, appeared to be defending dysfunctional ethnocentrism by its censorship.
Political and Integral Censorship
We live in an interesting time when pornography is protected freedom of speech and an Integral group like Bruce Alderman's Earpy's can enjoy “being as big a dick as you want to be,” celebrating penises and vaginas, while the calling out of Israeli apartheid, as so defined by the UN, and which includes the torture and killing of women and children, is labeled “anti-Semitism.” I am not suggesting Bruce has taken this stance - he has remained silent on the issue, to the best of my knowledge. Like abolitionists in the southern US in the pre-Civil War era, when mention of the abusive and dysfunctionally ethnocentric nature of the “peculiar institution” was non “PC” and a general cultural taboo, the first line of defense regarding the third rail issue of anti-Semitism is a cultural code of silence, in which Integral group moderators attempt to ignore the twin issues of ethnocentrism masquerading as worldcentrism, and of dysfunctional ethnocentrism. If avoidance as a defense mechanism fails, threats and then expulsion can be expected. Bruce has threatened Cameron Freeman with expulsion from his Integral Post-Metaphysical Spirituality forum on Facebook over this issue. On a national level, the consequences in the US and the EU have ranged from censorship and ostracism to loss of livelihood and prison.
It is only when discriminations are discriminatory that a line is crossed into dysfunctional ethnocentrism. This may be what happened to the Democratic Party in the US. Starting in 1968, with the disaster of the Democratic Convention of that year, the DNC began turning against labor, which had previously been the backbone of the party. This began a long march by the Democratic Party to the right of Nixon and even Reagan, embracing neoliberalism, the financial elites, AIPAC, and imprisonment of minorities for non-violent crimes, while perfecting a persona of gender and racial liberty. By continually supporting corporate rights over those of labor, the Democratic Party censored or expelled from its body politic a main rationale for its continued existence. Crunch time has now arrived in the US where, with the election of Biden, the grass roots of the Democratic Party, represented in part by Sanders and AOC supporters, will either be mollified or finally wake up to their own massive betrayal.
Integral generally has been complicit in this defense of unhealthy ethnocentrism, in that it has chosen to ignore taking concrete stands for social justice where they conflict with the prevailing cultural milieu. It is permissible to point out that icon Wilber has moral feet of clay; it is fine to point out that over 20 million people have been killed by the US in illegal wars since WWII, or that its actions have created at least 37 million homeless people, just in the last twenty years. It is no problem to rail against Chinese oppression of Uighurs and Russian poisonings, or medieval punishments dictated by Islamic Sharia Law, just don't address Israeli apartheid, even on Integral forums, which profess to be worldcentric and multi-perspectival, unless you want to be labeled anti-Semitic, a “Nazi,” warned, censored, or expelled. Allegations by group members are sufficient. There may be no patience with hearing a reasoned defense.
So, what is the problem? When curators of Integral sites side with censorship they open themselves, as do sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, to charges that they are endorsing toxic, dysfunctional ethnocentrism. Personally, while I would miss the instruction and growth I get from the many talented people I meet on Integral sites, I don't particularly care if I am censored or expelled due to differences on this issue, because I know I am not anti-Semitic, and any such punishment would say much more about the actual nature of the censors vis-a vis who and what they present themselves to be, than it does about me.
This is generally the price of censorship, as we have seen in the case of Galileo: a loss of public credibility and respect, combined with an empowerment of those forces which censors are attempting to contain. While I have no desire to see any anti-Semitism, much less an increase in it, censorship does create it, thereby validating victim status, which can (and has) been used to validate not only more censorship but to carve out special ethnocentric privileges, such as a higher percentage of Jewish students at elite universities, than is warranted either by affirmative action or test scores.
We have seen that geocentrism is, by definition, “all of us,” and censorship says, “except you.” When we insist on a carve-out for “us,” that is, some ethnocentric in-group, we are no longer doing worldcentrism; we are practicing closet ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism itself is no problem; ethnocentrism that believes it is worldcentric IS a problem. Ethnocentrism disguised as worldcentrism that defends dysfunctional ethnocentrism IS a problem.
When unhealthy, toxic, dysfunctional ethnocentrism is supported under the guise of worldcentrism we get a situation analogous to the rape of Iraq, Libya, and Syria under the guise of “democracy,” freedom,” and overthrowing “evil tyrants.” First Facebook, Twitter, and Google censor far right sites like Alex Jones' InfoWars, censorship that they know most of people will not object to. If that meets with little protest, monopolistic media interests start censoring sites that are progressive, but which disagree with the position of mainstream media.
Right now that is happening to an unparalleled extent in the MSM blackout of the explosive evidence of “pay to play” corruption by “the Biden Family” - Hunter, Jim, and Joe Biden himself. Progressive and liberal reporter Glenn Greenwald has just resigned from the Intercept, the site he co-founded, because his editors censored his reporting of that story. Where will this censorship end? There appears to be one set of rules for elites and exceptionalists while those who are not ideologically similar members of those groups experience censorship varying from being ignored by the media to getting bombed.
The end process for Integral forums could be something similar to the protective “gift” we are currently receiving from Mark Zuckerberg: we ourselves end up getting censored and, on the world stage, anti-Semitism is fueled due to aggressive, continuing censoring by Israel and Zionist-aligned interests in the US and elsewhere. Right now in the US people have lost their jobs for refusing to sign agreements not to support “Boycott, Divest, Sanction” (BDS), the movement for Palestinian rights and against Israeli apartheid. Censorship within Western bastions of democracy, which places censors in a position similar to that of the the Fathers of the Catholic Church when they persecuted Galileo, is indeed currently occurring and getting worse. In the short run, they make examples of threat to their authority and successfully intimidate dissent; in the long run, they undermine their authority and increase opposition.
Zuckerberg, by his decision, is hastening the day when the Federal government steps in and carves up the monopolistic Facebook empire. Integralists need to ask, “When the curator of my favorite Integral sites supports censorship, are they supporting or undercutting Integral in the long run? Long may be hastening the day when Integral is discredited as multi-perspectival, because if he discriminates against perspectives that disagree with his membership, at what point do his claims to worldcentrism stop being credible? Is Integral still multi-perspectival?
Regarding Popper's quote, censors are invariably convinced that they are the tolerant ones defending “a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant.” This is how Facebook, Twitter, Google, the US and most Western governments view themselves. Is that how Integral censors view themselves?
The ongoing collapse of the colonial and imperial aspects of the Western enterprise of the last four hundred years is requiring Integral to take a stand on social justice in the exterior collective quadrant. Integral is being forced out of its ivory tower in the interior quadrants and compelled to take a position, one way or another, on censorship, American exceptionalist “rules based order' imperialism and exploitation, as well as apartheid. It has no problem doing so in the abstract, rather like the Founding Fathers, including slave owners Washington and Jefferson, did regarding slavery, or like God-fearing Southerners reconciled slavery with their Christianity without moral qualms. The problem comes when left quadrant worldcentrism is forced to take a consistent stand in the external quadrants. That is, when Washington, Jefferson or Southerners are asked to free their slaves or when we are asked to stop voting for dysfunctional ethnocentric politicians or supporting national policies that maintain it, such as Israeli apartheid. Integral doesn't appear to want to do this, because it threatens powerful sources of ethnocentric control which in turn can punish Integralists. Therefore, Integralists, for the most part, would much prefer to remain “objective,” “Second Tier,” and above the fray.
Has Wilber himself ever come out publicly and stated that Israel practices apartheid and therefore does not represent worldcentrism? If not, why not? I know of no such statement, and I would very much appreciate it if some wise Integralist would cite where and when Wilber has made such a statement. If he hasn't, the implication is that Integral AQAL is itself ethnocentric in fact (that is, in the exterior quadrants), at least in this one but major instance, and worldcentric in its self-image (UL) and interior collective theoretical (LL) framing. That would mean that it is hypocritical, and has not tetra-meshed on the core moral line above pre-conventional, at best, in that it fails on LR issues of social justice that involve killing people. To date, as far as I know, Integral leadership, including Wilber, has not stood up and said, “Democratic politicians, just like Republicans, represent and support a continuation of the corrupt, discriminatory, imperialistic, and exploitative status quo. Democratic politicians therefore are not worldcentric; they are not even healthy ethnocentric. Regardless of their good intentions or the value of the reforms they propose, like Republicans they represent dysfunctional ethnocentrism, and I refuse to endorse or vote for dysfunctional ethnocentrism. I can't and still claim I am worldcentric or Second Tier.” “Israel is an apartheid state and the US and EU are violating worldcentrism by censoring and criminalizing those who speak out against those policies.” Integralists, to the best of my knowledge, haven't done so because they know full well what the result will be. On the first issue, they feel they have no choice but to vote for the lesser of two evils. But this is a self-serving deception. They can always choose to vote for a third party or not vote at all. The greatest threat to any system is for its component elements to simply refuse to consent to endorse the system. On the second issue, they know they will be called anti-Semitic and find themselves censored, ostracized, and possibly destroyed financially.
You can tell if an Integralist is practicing Integral Closet Ethnocentrism by asking, “Are they putting 'us' before 'we', that is, all of us?” You can tell if you are seeing dysfunctional Integral Closet Ethnocentrism by asking, “Are they discriminating against 'them' and showing favoritism toward 'us'?
The hypocrisy of people like Trump, Biden, Hillary, and Obama is easy to understand, because they sold out to dysfunctional ethnocentrism a long time ago while making no claims to transpersonal spirituality. However, Integral and Integralists do make such claims, which makes them more responsible and accountable. With claims of Second Tier status, worldcentrism, multi-perspectivalism, and having opened one's “Eye of Spirit” comes greater responsibility. Such people, such as Wilber, Long, DeVos, Forman, and Alderman ask to be held to higher levels of accountability commensurate with their positions of Integral leadership and the expectation of superior vision, judgment, and humanity.
We need to ask Integral leaders, participants in Integral forums, and in particular, ourselves, questions such as the following:
“Do you differentiate between worldcentrism “all of us” and ethnocentric “us”?
“Do you differentiate between healthy and dysfunctional ethnocentrism?”
“Do you differentiate between healthy and dysfunctional worldcentrism?” That is, “Do you recognize that one can be sincerely worldcentric in world view and intention and still be dysfunctionally ethnocentric?” (This is unhealthy worldcentrism because it does not exist in all four quadrants.)
“Do you acknowledge that if one makes ethnocentric exceptions for any group that they are not worldcentric in that regard?”
“Do you acknowledge that apartheid is unhealthy ethnocentrism?”
“Do you acknowledge that voting for politicians that endorse dysfunctional ethnocentrism is collusion and support for dysfunctional ethnocentrism that disqualifies you from claims of healthy worldcentrism?”
“Are you willing to go on record calling out those leaders, politicians, and countries that support or practice apartheid and dysfunctional ethnocentrism?
Censorship is not coming to Integral; it is already here, and much of it is self-imposed, in a code of complacent silence. Sooner or later Integral is going to have to come down from its ivory tower and face the dragon that is torching the foundations of its castle. It is way past time that all Integralists take a stand on censorship and therefore on social justice, one that is not simply deontological, as is Wilber's “moral imperative,” but concrete: “We will not vote for any politician of any party that will not vote against illegal wars and apartheid, regardless of who practices it.” “Israeli apartheid is dysfunctional ethnocentrism and we will not censor those who speak out against it. Furthermore, because we are multi-perspectival, we cannot endorse hate speech laws and the persecution of historians and others who disagree with preferred 'mainstream' ideological narratives about WWII, the Holocaust, or any other matter.”
To make such a statement is not to ignore a multitude of other injustices in the world, and it is certainly not an endorsement of racism, but it is to acknowledge major injustices and violations of international law that the US and West as a whole have ignored and in one way or another colluded with for some seventy years. Integral does not have to take such a stand. But if it does not, how does it not surrender its claim to multi-perspectivalism? How does it continue to have credibility in its claim that it represents a worldcentric perspective? How is it not taking the side of the Inquisitors of the Catholic Church against Galileo? How can it reasonably not expect to meet the same fate that befell the Church?
To the extent that Integralists identify with worldcentrism, yet defend dysfunctional ethnocentrism in the form of ethnocentric candidates (or egocentric ones like Trump), policies, or world views, such as nationalism, that claim will ring hollow not only to out-group members but to future generations which will ask, like we currently are doing with Jefferson: “You said you were worldcentric, why did you not stand up for universal human rights?” “Why did you instead support dysfunctional exceptionalism in the form of either voting for ethnocentric candidates or not speaking out against clearly dysfunctional ethnocentric concerns like slavery? (And in our case today, Israeli apartheid?)” Perhaps we can rationalize away this cognitive dissonance in our own minds, but we will not escape these questions being asked of us by our children's children.
I will leave the last word to Voltaire.