An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber

Integral World Forum

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Steve McIntosh is a member of the Integral Institute. He participates in the Institute's Core Business Team 2, and he is also a member of the Art Branch. By combining the experiences of his diverse careers in art, law, and through his leadership in business organizations, McIntosh has gained the perspective that has led to his passion for evolutionary theory. He is an honors graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, and the University of Southern California School of Business. He is president of Now & Zen, Inc. (a consumer products manufacturing company,, and director of The Beauty, Truth & Goodness Foundation (a non-profit organization which advances the appreciation and practice of the primary values, He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Noosphere Evolution
and Value Metabolism

An examination of the nature and behavior
of the structures of consciousness and culture

Steve McIntosh

This article expands on the work of Ken Wilber and the theory of Spiral Dynamics, advancing the thesis that the essential forms of consciousness and culture (the holons of the Lower-Left quadrant -- the "organisms of the noosphere") are human relationships which, like biological organisms, are self-organizing dynamic systems that metabolize the "noosphere equivalent of energy" to create order in themselves and their environment. However, unlike energy in the biosphere, the "food chain" in the noosphere is made up of the spectrum of information, meaning, and value.

By identifying human relationships as the "organisms of the noosphere", the article shows how intersubjective relationships nourish subjective consciousness with meaning and value. The article also examines the energetic qualities of the primary values -- beauty, truth, and goodness -- and shows how these values act as descriptions of the directions of evolution. It is argued that evolution proceeds in three basic directions at once -- the three perfection directions. And that this tripartite evolution is mirrored in each of the domains of "I, we, and it."

The article concludes by describing how an understanding of the underlying "biology" of the internal realm of evolution leads to increased health and functionality in human relationships and organizations.

Read full article (in PDF format, 226 Kb)

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