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Joseph DillardDr. 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: and his YouTube channel.


Reposted from Healing Integral with permission of the author.

The integral cure of pathology

Joseph Dillard

The following is taken from “Healing Integral,” which is available as a free or “pay what feels right” download here. In either case, the text is requested by emailing [email protected]. A summary of “Healing Integral” has been posted on and is available here. Those who share a solution focus on increasing the relevance of Integral for the world are invited to join our working group, the Integral Healing Reading Group on Facebook.
Look around. See what sorts of alternatives integralists and spiritual elites are offering.

The current implosion of integral can be explained as suppression by dominator hierarchies, a common source of holarchic pathology noted by Wilber.[74] He states that

“the cure of any diseased system consists in rooting out any holons that have usurped their position in the overall system by abusing their power of upward or downward causation. This is exactly the cure we see at work in psychoanalysis (shadow holons refuse integration), critical social theory (ideological holons distort open communication), democratic revolutions (monarchical or fascist holons oppress the body politic), medical science interventions (cancerous holons invade a benign system), radical feminist critiques (patriarchal holons dominate the public sphere), and so on. It is not getting rid of holarchy per se, but arresting (and integrating) the arrogant holons.”[75][76]

For Wilber, the solution is not getting rid of holarchy per se, which after all, is impossible, but arresting (and integrating) the arrogant holons. But the issue integral faces is not the rooting out of some arrogant holon, like Donald Trump or the triumph of ethnocentrism; integral itself is a subset of an arrogant holon. You cannot arrest and integrate an arrogant holon when it is the context, the culture or the decisive power. A sub-holon cannot and will not “root out” a holon of which it is a subset. This would be like your heart eliminating your diseased body without destroying itself. What are the implications for integral when it is a subset of, and therefore in league with, the arrogant holons? This has arguably been the case to the extent that integralists have aligned themselves with the neoliberal agendas of Clinton, Obama and Clinton.[77]

From the perspective of the “deplorables,” the progressives, liberals, Democrats and integralists who have supported Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and most recently Hillary Clinton are “arrogant holons.” From that perspective, AQAL itself is an “arrogant holon.” There is ample evidence that they are right, which does not make the alternatives - Republicans or Republican/phony populist Trump relatively any better. They aren’t. The choice is between Pepsi and Pepsi Lite, both of which will destroy your health, and in time kill you.

Neoliberalism and neoconservativism are in charge throughout the West today, which is thoroughly in the clutches of the Deep State. Support for left wing or right wing candidates is support for the Deep State because both become co-opted when elected, if not before. The pathological dominator socio-cultural holon, which is at an early to mid- prepersonal level of development, demands that its representatives function as its sub-holon, that is, on an equally prepersonal level. A vote for Integral and the candidates it tends to endorse is a vote for interior quadrant utopia over social quadrant reality.

The problem for those integralists, neoliberals and neoconservatives pressing the case for globalization is that they are functioning as a part of a dominator hierarchy.[78] Instead of supporting solutions that tetra-mesh on authentic levels of need - prepersonal basic security, such as a guaranteed minimum income and the redistribution/predistribution of wealth - they want to impose on the lower levels the solution that makes sense to them and at the same time benefits them. As British politician Tony Benn said, “If we can find the money to kill people, we can find money to help people.”

Look around. See what sorts of alternatives integralists and spiritual elites are offering. We typically are either selling some change in inner consciousness (learn to love exclusion, being poor and exploited) or some elitist “solution” that only the rich can afford: green this, organic that, happy thought this, quantum that. We typically see ourselves as being altruistic when we are incredibly naïve and narrow-minded.

I am reminded of a used car salesman who has a pink Cadillac on his lot that he needs to move and that he is positive is just right for his customer, who really just wants, needs and can afford a Volkswagen. Who is the car salesman working for? Himself, of course. This is integral elitism, exceptionalism and, of course, narcissism. Unfortunately, it is largely a subset of the neoliberal mindset, which sees itself as the moral dispenser of democracy, justice and human rights to the world as it bombs other countries and funds terrorists. When and where we integralists have become allies of the arrogant holon we too need to be confronted.

Matt Tabbi, in his July 2009 Rolling Stone article “The Great American Bubble Machine” described Goldman Sachs as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”.


But Goldman Sachs is only a small part of the multinational financial extraction industry, composed of narcissistic gamblers of other people’s money. The global financial squid is only one tentacle of a real Kraken - the type you see in old c-rated monster movies and that used to pull three-masted schooners down into the briny depths. Other tentacles of this vampire kraken are just as menacing. They are your favorite smiling politician, available to the highest bidder; bureaucratic careerists of the Deep State; corporate CEO’s and board members; the “fake news” mainstream media; rabid dogmatists and exceptionalists of all stripes; and intellectual elites, including integralists; and, of course, you and me. The combined, interdependent competencies of these tentacles makes the vampire kraken much more lethal than a mere kraken, because krakens, as far as I know, weren’t vampires, so the vampire kraken deserves a genus of its own, krakenus vampiris.

Spreading the blame around by acknowledging our responsibility is not meant to lean into either guilt, remorse, or a hopeless sense of overwhelm, but to say, “Folks, we have a real monster on our hands. “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” It’s time to wake up, grow up, clean up, show up and shut up. We need to wake up to the realization that we are feeding, maintaining and allying with this dominator kraken hierarchy; grow up by recognizing the ways we feed and maintain this parasitical vampire and stopping it; clean up by recognizing we are addicted to it and breaking our dependency; show up by getting over our self-inflated narcissism and moving our wonderful but abstract and impotent consciousness into concrete actions that help those that need it today. “Shut up” is an addition by Frank Visser, which means, stop with the elitist preaching! Instead, practice deep listening to the concerns of others and attempt to help them tetra-mesh at whatever level of development they happen to be by serving their needs, not ours.

We may be “surfing the waves of integral consciousness,” but the kraken is too. He wrapped his tentacles around our surfboard, devoured us, and we are now corpuscular constituents of its groupthink. If we aren’t careful, we will simply wake up into improved blood-sucking capabilities, grow up into being even larger krakens than we now are, clean up by purifying our kraken consciousness, show up as something as obscene as Jabba the Hut reincarnated as a Dementor, and shut up to the truth of our own lagging lines and failures to respond to the dire needs of the less fortunate.

Wilber does not appear to view the turn of integral, demonstrated by its support of Clinton and abhorrence of Trump, as a statement of integral holonic pathology, but rather as a failure of those at higher developmental stages to honor, respect and respond to the legitimate needs of those at lower developmental stages. That is a pathological misreading of hierarchy by both integralists and Wilber because it feeds the krakenus vampiris. It is pathological because it excuses elitism, elevationism and reductionism to the interior quadrants. The result of this myopia is that integral was and continues to be blind-sided by this massive “evolutionary self-correction” and “legitimation crisis.” In other words, we continue to lie to ourselves and to those we seek to serve.

We of higher consciousness have assumed ourselves to be on the side of more inclusive, just, true and good wholes. Our perspectives, being more evolved, more inclusive, more transcendent, could not be part of the problem. It was not contemplated that we could actually be at lower developmental levels, morally regress and/or be co-opted by dominator hierarchies.[79] However, this is exactly the source of the current “legitimation crisis” of integral. Integral must discover how to generate respect and authenticity if it is to affect a radical reversal of chronic narcissism, grandiosity and elevationism, represented by an inflated sense of personal evolution throughout the Integral community.

Actualization hierarchies can function as dominator hierarchies, and as a type of “ontological fascism,”[80] in that they represent the higher aspirations of many in the Integral community, to force consent around supporting Obama, electing Clinton and inadvertently maintaining the dominance of the Deep State. By doing so, integral is acting as part of a dominator hierarchy in suppressing the actualization hierarchies of the victims of economic discrimination in the United States, which comprise all of the lower and middle classes, or perhaps some 95% of the population, if we define upper class as comprised of millionaires

Support of integral, as it is currently constructed, is a vote for consciousness at the expense of social action and human rights, leading eventually to a failure to tetra-mesh, “legitimation crises” and “developmental self-corrections.” This is not what integral is supposed to be nor is it what it can be.


[74] Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution, 1995, p. 39-40.

[75] Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution, 1995, p. 39, p. 91;

[76] “Feminists have several hierarchies (e.g., partnership societies are better than power societies; linking is better than ranking; liberation is better than oppression)…” “…the correct word for hierarchy is actually holarchy…” Introduction to Volume Six of The Collected Works of Ken Wilber.

[77] A broader, and much more profound example of subholons unable to change a holon in which it is embedded involves the way all four quadrants that comprise identity are captured by the myth of the self, which acts in support of its own world view and agenda, justifying it by believing it to be in alignment with that of the Divine, when it most assuredly is not. We will discuss this core problem in Part 2. The essential argument is that the self lacks an empirical method, other than gross feedback in the social quadrant, such as disease, war and natural catastrophe, by which it can achieve the objectivity necessary to see that it is not in alignment with priorities of life itself. It requires cultural yogas that provide subtle, ongoing input of deviations before self-absorption results in individual, societal or environmental death.

[78] The financial community in the City of London has become alongside Wall Street the champion of unrestrained financial globalisation, taking the process of deregulation even further than Wall Street has done, which is as good an explanation of any for both the success of Brexit in the UK and the election of Trump in the US. In contrast to Smith, it is difficult to see how globalization, in its main, economic consequences, is anything but prepersonal greed and a very far cry from worldcentric late personal.

[79] I am not claiming that Wilber says these things are impossible. In his treatment of pathologies at different fulcrums of development in Transformations of Consciousness, he very clearly delineates late personal and transpersonal pathologies. His exhaustive exposition of the "mean green meme” in various writings can also be read as a devastating critique of integralists, but not of the legitimacy of the calibration of levels by AQAL, acknowledgement of its inability to tetra-mesh in the social quadrant or of an over-emphasis on the self. Although again, Wilber would point to The Atman Project as evidence that this latter point is a straw man argument. However, not only psychological geocentrism but psychological heliocentrism is a problem for integral, and even in the context of Wilber’s multiple and excellent writings on sunyata and the non-dual, AQAL remains a system that is centered on the self that climbs the evolutionary ladder.

[80] Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution, 1995, p. 41.

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