Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
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.


Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

Important Implications of Chinese Humanism for Humanity

China's Contribution to an Integral World View, Part Four

Joseph Dillard

Xi and the Cultivation of De

Integral needs to recognize that there is no realistic appraisal of the “Superior Man” without taking both individual and collective varieties of moral development into account.

This exceptional quality, combined with other knowledge and skill, makes junzi the ideal people to create and govern a harmonious society. For this reason, the entire corpus of Confucian teaching, texts and traditions is focused on the cultivation of moral character in people who have the intellectual capacity to learn the things necessary for government. Intellectual capacity alone for leaders and governors is not sufficient; moral character must accompany it, otherwise these governors and leaders will drive society into lawlessness and chaos. In the West, Clinton, with his repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act in 1999, which unleashed the subsequent frenzy of unregulated financial corruption in the US and his passing of crime and prison “reform” in 1994 that incarcerated thousands of members of social minorities for non-violent crimes, as well as Obama, who bailed out Wall Street and banks in 2019, leaving thousands of home owners to default and drop out of the middle class, are examples of highly intelligent leaders with massive deficits in moral character. According to Integral AQAL, “the cognitive line leads” in self-development, because awareness and objectivity are necessary for changing proximal selves into distal selves. However, in collective development, the moral line leads, because interpersonal norms intrinsically condition, constrain, and contextualize self-development. Integral and Western Idealisms fail to note and respond to this reality, with the result that individual elitism, hubris, and exceptionalism blind them to their dependency on the collectives in which self-development is embedded.

While China has historically turned morality into an academic and intellectual study in addition to an expectation of day-to-day human relationships reinforced by the practice of li, Mao and Deng demanded that officials demonstrate it through years of laboring among the lowest and weakest citizens. To this day in China, top officials are promoted based on their previous accomplishments at raising standards of living and solving the social problems first of towns, then cities, and then entire states. Xi Jenping, the current leader of China, is a product of this policy, which represents a full-throated embrace of the Confucian ethic at the very top rungs of Chinese government, by viewing moral education as a product of service to the lifting up of the disempowered in society. In case readers assume that these ancient and philosophically lofty ideals have no relationship to current China, one need only examine the biography of its current leader, Xi Jinping:

In a Confucian land, Jinping's high birth brought high expectations: “The primary duty of a son is to live an upright life and to spread the doctrines of humanity in order to win good reputation after death and thus reflect great honor upon his parents” The Book of Filial Duty.
Young Xi's life in the public eye began inauspiciously. During the Cultural Revolution the twelve year old was paraded as an enemy of the people wearing a metal dunce cap and a placard around his neck before being sentenced to prison. But the juvenile detention center was full so he was sent to poverty-stricken Liangjiahe village as part of Mao's “Up the Mountain and Down to the Countryside” campaign to educate privileged youth about rural life. When his tearful family farewelled him, “I told them if I didn't go I wasn't sure I'd survive”. His older sister stayed and, persecuted by radicals, committed suicide two years later.
He would spend seven years growing to manhood in Liangjiahe, sleeping on brick beds in flea-infested cave homes, enduring the peasants' life of hunger and cold, ploughing, pulling grain carts and collecting manure. “Just after I arrived in the village beggars started appearing and, as soon as they turned up, the dogs would be set on them. Back then we students, sent down from the cities, believed beggars were bad elements and tramps. We didn't know the saying, 'in January there is still enough food, in February you will starve, and March and April you are half alive, half dead'. For six months every family lived only on bark and herbs. Women and children were sent out to beg so that the food could go to those who were doing the spring ploughing. You had to live in a village to understand it. When you think of the difference between what the central government in Beijing knew and what was actually happening in the countryside, you have to shake your head”.
Liangjiahe's farmers rated the city boy six on a ten-point scale, “Not even as high as the women,” he said. “I was very young when I was sent to the countryside, it was something I was forced to do. At the time I didn't think far ahead and gave no thought to the importance of cooperation. While the villagers went up the slopes and worked every day, I did as I chose and people got a poor impression of me so, after a few months, they sent me back to Beijing and I was placed in a study group. When I was released six months later I thought hard about returning to the village and talked to my uncle who had been active in revolutionary work in the 1940s. My uncle told me about his work back then and about how important it is to cooperate with the people you live with and that settled it. I went back to the village, got down to work and learned to cooperate. Within a year I was doing the same work as people in the village, living as they lived and working hard. The hardship of working shocked me, though eventually I could carry a shoulder pole weighing more than a hundred pounds up a mountain road. People saw that I had changed”. The only reliable light was provided by old kerosene lamps and the village had neither running water nor electricity. There was no school but he was 'always reading books as thick as bricks,' villagers recall. He began to lead small projects like reinforcing riverbanks and organizing a blacksmiths' cooperative and constructed the first sewage system in the county, “The pipe from the pond was blocked and I unblocked it. Excrement and urine flew all over my face”. From plans sent by his mother he built a methane digester that gave Liangjiahe reliable light at night and eventually the county named him 'a model educated youth'—a prerequisite for admission to university during the Cultural Revolution—and awarded him a motorcycle which he exchanged for a two-wheeled tractor, a rice mill and a submersible pump.
After repeated rejections because of his father's imprisonment he was admitted to the Communist Party in 1974, the village elected him Village Party Secretary and, at twenty-two, his political career was launched. The following year he was accepted by Tsinghua University and a dozen villagers walked the twenty miles with him to the railhead, “It was the second time I cried there. The first time was when I got the letter saying that my big sister had died”. “Experiencing such an abrupt change from Beijing to a place so destitute affected me profoundly,” he later recalled.
He returned to Beijing to greet a father who, released after seven years in solitary confinement, was unable to recognize his grown sons. His father urged him to enter government while friends and classmates were going into business or studying abroad so he left Beijing to begin a twenty-five year apprenticeship administering villages, townships, cities, counties and provinces across the country. Along the way, he picked up a PhD for a dissertation on rural marketization. Like his father, he was effective, diligent and versatile and left a trail of prosperity behind him as he rose through the ranks. Posted to backward Zhengding County, Hebei Province in 1982, he demonstrated the paternal flair for economic development: learning that a TV production of The Dream of Red Mansions was scouting locations, he persuaded the county to employ local craftsmen to build real mansions instead of temporary sets. Fees from the production company paid most of the construction cost and, as soon as shooting ended, he turned the set into a tourist attraction that still hosts a million paying visitors each year and has been the backdrop of hundreds of productions.
Promoted to the governorship of Fujian Province, he upgraded its Internet, networked the provincial hospitals' medical records and made government transactions accessible on line. He sent officials to work in villages throughout the province and set up citizens' committees of to supervise village Party Committees—an innovation Beijing legislated nationally as The Organic Law of Villagers' Committees. He was the first governor to crack down on food contamination and created the first provincial environmental monitoring system. Today, Fujian's pristine environment attracts high tech startups. Appointed Zhejiang Provincial Party Secretary in 2002, he fundraised fifty percent of the five hundred million dollar cost of the twenty-two mile Hangzhou Bay Bridge, the world's longest, from local businesses. “Private funds have infiltrated all walks of life here,” he told a visitor, echoing his father.
Earnest, blunt to the point of rudeness and a workaholic, his track record ranked high in Beijing's annual surveys. He was, in the words of U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen, “The kind of guy who knows how to get things over the goal line”. Like his father, he possessed immense energy for work, as Taiwanese businessman li Shih-Wei, who saw him regularly, told The Washington Post, “When we discussed my problems he would listen closely, track the issue and try to find solutions. His working efficiency was pretty high—quite rare among the officials we encountered there. Meetings were usually in the government cafeteria, not the fancy restaurants most officials chose. His lifestyle wasn't luxurious”. Xi encouraged initiative with policies like 'special procedures for special cases', and 'do things now,' urged officials to meet people face to face and set an example by meeting seven hundred petitioners in forty-eight hours.
A regular at farmers' markets, on fishing boats and down coal mines, he became a local celebrity for being the first local Party Secretary to visit all the villages in Zhengding County, a performance he repeated everywhere he governed and, after becoming President, visited all of China's 33 provinces, regions and municipalities. His only recorded outbursts were over corruption. According to one Zhejiang official, Xi 'kept his reputation wholesome and untainted by allegations of corruption' and, under a pen name, contributed hundreds of earnest opinion pieces to local dailies: “If we remain aloof from ordinary people we will be like a tree cut off from its roots. Officials at all levels must change their style, get close to ordinary people, try their best to do good things for them, put aside the haughty manner of feudalism and set a good example”. In an essay on graft he said, “Transparency is the best anti-corrosive and as long as we embrace democracy, go through a proper procedures and avoid 'black' case work, fighting corruption won't be just empty words”. “How important the people are in the minds of an official will determine how important officials are in the minds of the people. Officials should love the people in the way they love their parents, work for their benefit and lead them to prosperity”.
He waited twenty years to give his first public interview, and his advice was prosaic, “Politics is risky. Lots of people who've experienced failures reproach themselves: 'I've helped so many people, I've done so much and all I get is ingratitude. People don't understand me. Why must it be this way?' Some colleagues who started when I did gave up their jobs for such reasons. But if you have a position somewhere, if you stick to it and continue your work then, in the end, it will produce results. The essence of success is to fasten onto your assignment and continue working. I've come across many difficulties and obstacles. That's inevitable. Going into politics is like crossing a river. No matter how many obstacles you meet there is only one direction, and that's forward”.
In 2007, after Shanghai officials looted its pension fund, he was assigned to clean up the giant city, a sinkhole of iniquity for centuries. He turned the governor's mansion into a veterans' home, promoted green, sustainable development and pushed Shanghai to become a leading financial center—drawing a relieved headline4 in the People's Daily: 'Glad to Hear Some Good News from Shanghai at Last'. Today, Shanghai's pension fund is in surplus, its police are noted for their honesty, its courts a preferred international forum and its education system the best in the world. In 2008 Xi produced a flawless Beijing Olympic Games, on time, on budget and without a hint of corruption—while coordinating the military, police, bureaucracy, localities, diplomacy, security, logistics, media and the environment—a feat that made him a leading contender for the presidency. In a patriarchal society, fond memories of his father could only help.
Though our media refer to Xi as 'President' (President Trump called him 'the King of China'), China has no such office and no Chinese official resembles an American President, about whom Lincoln's Secretary of State, William Henry Seward, observed, “We elect a king for four years and give him absolute power within certain limits which, after all, he can interpret for himself”. While American Presidents hire and fire their administrative teams, make war, pardon, imprison or assassinate enemies Chinese leaders, even Mao, are board chairmen only. They can set agenda and direct discussion but, ultimately, must follow to the votes of the seven-man Steering Committee, none of whom they chose or can dismiss—and virtually all Steering Committee decisions are unanimous.
Xi's primary leadership responsibilities were spelled out in the Twelfth Five Year Plan which, as a member of the Politburo Standing Committee for the previous five years, he helped draft: double national wages and pensions during his tenure, clean up corruption, reform the military, pass a stalled Social Security bill and, by December, 2020, deliver the Party's xiaokang promise: 'a society in which no one is poor and everyone receives an education, has paid employment, more than enough food and clothing, access to medical services, old-age support, a home and a comfortable life'.
Xi's style fits the Chinese mold: his speeches are businesslike, soft-spoken, non-confrontational and his first presidential address was retail politics, “People expect better wages, higher quality medical care, more comfortable homes and a more beautiful environment”. He invited the Carter Center to help expand democratic participation in policy-making, called for a greater role for the constitution in state affairs, strengthened Congressional participation in interpreting the constitution and generating citizens' involvement in the legislative process. Promising to tackle corruption, he quoted Confucius, “He who rules by virtue is like the North Star, which maintains its place and the multitude of stars pay homage,” and placed responsibility for integrity squarely on official shoulders. His most sensational political gesture was lunching at the communal table in a Beijing dumpling restaurant and chatting with customers for twenty minutes without security.
Though not as precocious as his father, he proved comparably effective. The piecemeal, outdated, inconsistent legal code and judicial unpredictability he inherited had undermined people's faith in the legal system. He reformed the legal system, abolished laogai re-education through labour, eliminated local government interference in the courts, called for transparency in legal proceedings and professionalization of the legal workforce and the Supreme People's Court agreed to broadcast its proceedings live. He formed cross-jurisdictional squads of officials to coordinate corruption investigations, gave them independence, filed a million disciplinary cases and prosecuted a hundred ministers, generals, senior executives, university chancellors and private CEOs.
Abroad, he turned the Shanghai Cooperative Organization, SCO, into the largest political confederation on earth, uniting half the world's people and four nuclear powers—Russia, China, India and Pakistan—in a single security zone. In 2013 he offered to finance the Belt and Road Initiative, BRI, a ten trillion dollar program of roads, railways, telecommunications, energy pipelines and ports integrating the Eurasian continent from Barcelona to Beijing into a seamless, secure, integrated market.
In 2017 he broke ground on Jing-Jin-Ji, an 82,000 square mile green megacity with the population of Japan. It will integrate Beijing's financial, regulatory and research strengths with Tianjin's port and Hebei's technology using seven hundred miles of new rail lines, scheduled completion in 2020. In 2017 he initiated the transition to a dàtóng society by endorsing Social Credit, a transparent, publicly owned system ranking the creditworthiness of government departments and officials—from President down—businesses and citizens. More carrot than stick, it provides increasingly valuable benefits, from low-interest loans and no-deposit rentals to visa-free travel, with rising public reputation.[25]

If you were not familiar with the autobiography of the man in charge of the world's most populated and economically successful country, don't be surprised; I wasn't either, and I believe there is a reason for that. Xi's background does not match the picture decades of carefully constructed Western narrative wants us to have about China, its governance, and its people. In turn, there are reasons for that. Some are racist; some involve stoking myths of empire; some involve shifting attention and blame for Western inadequacies and failures. Some simply involve chronic, pervasive ignorance of China, its culture, and its world view. Concepts of jen, li, junzi, and de may be foreign to Westerners, but with the continuing ascent of China, that may well change.

Yi - Setting Proper Intent

Based on reciprocity, yi refers to doing what is ethically best, and is often translated as the intention to do good or act righteously. yi is empathy and harmony with other people, produced through a growing identification of the interests of self and other, and reaching for personal and social perfection, as personified by junzi, the Superior Man. Master K'ung believed in the superiority of personal exemplification of good character over explicit codes of behavior, such as divinely given rules. He was interested in promoting action that supported the greatest good, which he saw as the outcome of yì. This is doing the right thing for the right reason. Placed in an Integral context, yi is interior individual moral intent to do good. Master K'ung places emphasis on the demonstration of ethical behavior in the outer individual and collective quadrants over deontological definitions of morality in the interior collective quadrant of values. Applied within the context of Integral Deep Listening, yi involves strengthening powers of discrimination, the ability to differentiate the useful from the unuseful, objectivity and clarity from immersion within drama, reason from cognitive distortions, and cultivating the ability to know what actions are in fact respectful, benevolent, and in accordance with the priorities of your life compass.

Application of junzi Within the Context of IDL

One simple and easy way to approximate a clearer form of junzi than even Confucius conceptualized is to become an emerging potential from an ambiguous waking or dream situation that you have previously interviewed and let it act for you. This is not a matter of going into trance or surrendering your responsibility in making decisions. It is a matter of deferring to authority when in doubt. An example is the interview with Air, mentioned above, which is a background element of life focused on from the Bhagavad Gita's famous depiction of the encounter between Arjuna and his charioteer Arjuna. When interviewed, air claimed to score tens in all six core qualities, confidence, empathy, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing, which implies that it is highly aligned with the life compass. Therefore, to become Air in waking life would be to enact an experiential multi-perspectivalism that bridges self-development in the interior individual quadrant with social relationships in the exterior collective quadrant, enacting yi. To become air in an ambiguous dream situation, lucid or not, would also be a decision to enact yi — a moral disposition to do good, even though we may not be at all sure what good is in this or that particular situation.

This is different from relying on “conscience” or “intuition,” something that Confucius would probably have equated with yi. In fact, the Confucian junzi is something akin to the Freudian super-ego, the assimilated or appropriated values of culture, generally internalized social scripts of one form or another which become so embedded in our “nature,” “character,” or “self-definition,” that we think they are who we are. We are, along with Master K'ung and just about every well-meaning teacher, guru, and llama in the history of the world, very likely to confuse internalized, socially scripted priorities with yi because we lack methodologies to differentiate them from our life compass.

Master K'ung believed that some actions should be performed because they are expressions of yi, because they are the right thing to do, rather than for pragmatic reasons, such as their consequences, effectiveness, or workability. For this approach to hold up for us today, IDL assumes at least two conditions apply. One is that you have good reason to believe that your acts in a particular situation reflect not your priorities, but those of your life compass. This in turn assumes that you do regular interviews on your dreams and life issues. The second is that you act in the context of respectful questioning, with a phenomenological suspension of your sense of self, to the best of your ability. Consequently, yi is very different from the intention of soft determinism that typifies stoicism, and is different from thinking about the consequences as you act out of free will, the approach of Mill's utilitarianism. yi is similar to Kant's ethics of duty in that actions are done because they are in themselves good, not as a means to an end. When you act for the sake of jen, because respect for humanity implies the right human way to act, you are acting from yi. When you do so until it becomes second-nature, then right action, or yi, is an expression of jen.

For Confucianism, the assumption is that if you do the proper external forms that respect the order of relationships, society, and life, that is, li, for the proper reasons, then you are acting in accord with jen. You can have confidence that you are practicing yi. IDL does not make that assumption. Instead, what it requires is that you take your assumptions of yi-based action back to interviewed emerging potentials, become one or another that you have reason to believe is more closely aligned with your life compass, such as Air in the above example, and ask its opinion. This is an example of triangulation. Just because your common sense and others tell you that you are acting in accordance with yi you still need to check it out.

Here is an example. Let us say you are in combat, like Arjuna, and your relatives, officers, and “Krishna” all support you killing your cousins, the enemy. Your common sense tells you to do so because otherwise either you will die or you will allow your clan members to get killed. You think you are acting in accordance with yi. Are you? Here is another example. You fall in love. You know you have found your soul mate. Your family and best friends love your partner. You are sure you are acting in accordance with yi. Are you? How do you know?

IDL says that trusting your “intuition” or saying that your astrology chart, tarot card reading, channeler, medium, or guru told you to do it cannot validate that you are acting in accordance with yi. To know that, do indeed consult whatever objective sources of input you respect. And, in addition, interview one or more personification of the priorities of your life compass. Again, you do not know that they are truthful or accurate; you are simply increasing your odds that in fact, you are not fooling yourself and telling yourself what you want to believe, that killing is a moral act or that someone is your soul mate when they may in fact, be drain sludge.

Hsiao: Veneration of Parents and Grandparents

Another important concept for Master K'ung is Hsiao (showe), filial piety and reverence for those who are the source of your existence, as shown in physical, emotional support, as well as upholding both their reputation and carrying on their unfulfilled aims and purposes after they die. Master K'ung taught Hsiao because he believed jen could be learned and that the primary and most important opportunity for learning it was in the home. He thought that maintaining a proper attitude of respect toward one's parents was the quickest and most effective way to learn jen. It could then be extended by generalization to family, friends, society, and mankind.

IDL agrees with Master K'ung. Parents are due respect for their role, that is, for bringing you life and because they are responsible for your care and upbringing, regardless of what they have done. However, there is a difference between respect and agreement and between respect and blind obedience. You can respect someone and still not agree with or obey them. This, however, is a position of IDL and not of Master K'ung. He would probably counsel erring on the side of respecting too often and too much. This goes against the grain of most Westerners, who are strong advocates of autonomy and allowing children to “be themselves,” even when that means acting out their disobedience to parents and authorities. However, Master K'ung is probably basically correct: parents do deserve respect, simply on account of being parents, as do foster parents, elders, and teachers. Our responsibility is to get into the hands of those older and therefore more experienced and worthy of respect for the life skills they have learned and can teach, tools that will make them that much more worthy of respect. Obviously, there are many ways to do so that are important, including providing the ability to make a living to support the physical security of children, access to health care, educational opportunities, and good communication skills. IDL is interested in teaching parents and other role models how to listen to and follow their own life compass so that they can model that behavior to their children. Ideally, parents will teach their children to practice Hsiao toward their life compass, as an expression of respect for life itself. This is how IDL teaches jen through cultivation of Hsiao in the family.[26] Of course, IDL interviewing in the family not only teaches parental respect but respect for each other as equals in the context of interviewing. It also teaches children the generalization of Hsiao to anyone and anything that can be interviewed, or any character in their sleeping or waking dreams.

Confucianism Emphasizes the Collective Quadrants

While we can point to both Master K'ung's emphasis on teaching and on personal action as an expression of character as strong examples of attention to the interior and exterior individual quadrants, there is little doubt that Master K'ung's fundamental interest was in how humans can harmoniously function within the context of collective realities, whether they be familial, cultural, social, governmental, or natural. This emphasis is not only very different from that of both India and the West, which emphasize individual enlightenment and salvation, it shares with Integral Deep Listening the question, “How can the interests of collective quadrants best be brought into balance with those of the individual quadrants so that integration can lead to advancement in developmental stage for both individuals and societies?” This is a relatively unique contribution that Confucianism makes to both IDL and to the evolution of both individual and collective holons.

We can see that Master K'ung emphasized the importance of all four quadrants: the interior individual with yi, intention, the interior collective with de, virtue, the exterior individual with jen, manifested virtue as honorable action, and in li and Hsiao, as virtue manifested in and through our relationships with others. When he stressed the importance of the manifestation of virtuous intent through concrete ethical behavior and relationships, virtues and relationships over consciousness and individual behavior, Master K'ung was emphasizing the collective quadrants. Because the value emphasis in Western culture is relatively individual, with a split between consciousness and self-development on the one hand and amoral, objective scientific analysis on the other, the difference is striking. In the interior collective quadrant of values, where Master K'ung emphasizes order, stability, honor, respect, obedience, humility, and relationship, Western culture tends to emphasize innovation, flexibility, individuality, power, control, doubt, and questioning.

Instead of teaching the Superior Man to find and follow his life compass, which is a set of interior individual priorities that is multi-perspectival and transcend and includes psychological geocentrism (both the self and Self), Master K'ung teaches junzi to follow an externalized, universal ethical code, just as Buddha and Socrates do. The yogas of Integral Deep Listening, in particular Dream Sociometry, reveal applications of the teachings of Master K'ung that are not readily apparent but are nevertheless profound. These include the ideas that the microcosm and macrocosm mirror each other, a common emphasis on self-development in the service of broader collectives, the centrality of character, the determination of character by virtues, shared virtues, particularly respect, reciprocity, trustworthiness, and empathy, an emphasis on all four quadrants, intrasocial governance, personal governance, and a statement of social order.

However, there are important differences. Confucianism does not view life as a dream. It has no yoga of waking up out of the dream of life, much less a consideration of waking up in other states, such as dreaming, deep sleep or seeking mystical, ecstatic experiences. It has no decision-making by triangulation. Despite a powerful and well-developed expression of empathy, it has no identification with other perspectives.

IDL dream yoga adapts li as the “rules” that determine how respect is demonstrated and maintained while awake and interacting with the world, while dreaming, while deeply asleep or in an altered state, in addition to the structure of interviewing and applying character recommendations. Let us say you wake up in a dream in which a monster is attacking you. jen tells you to treat the monster as you would be treated as well as the values which determine how and why you are to behave: with respect and humanity out of your innate goodness and benevolence. li tells you whether to attack, ask questions, go into meditation, or run like hell.

From the perspective of IDL, Master K'ung went too far in attempting to assign proper responses to different circumstances, because the essence of life is that what is respectful to one person or thing may or may not be respectful to another, or what is respectful to one dream character in one situation may not be respectful to it in another. We do not know until we ask. IDL does not posit some a priori behavioral responses; what is deemed appropriate and respectful and inappropriate and abusive is determined by the recipient of the behavior, not by the intention of the actor, nor by any preset ritualistic norms. This is why not just listening, but deep listening, meaning respectful, empathetic listening that is a manifestation of jen is required in each case. Empathy is contingent on the feedback of the other in a particular, specific circumstance. We cannot assume we are empathetic; validation from the other is required.

Consequently, the default position of IDL is to maintain an attitude of respectful questioning. This means to check out your assumptions and expectations when in doubt. When not in doubt, respectful action, jen-based li, is in order, not respectful questioning. However, a chronic confusion that humans encounter, particularly in dreams but also in waking life, is to assume some respectful action is required and that we are acting respectfully, when in fact what is needed is respectful questioning. Action may not be requested or required. Unless we get feedback, how do we know if our response is respectful or not? If you question characters while dreaming or afterward, in an interview, you will almost always find that your assumptions about what was respectful action are different from the preferences of the interviewed character. Therefore, the challenge is to make respectful questioning your default expression of li and to fight back the fear that you are thereby indecisive, expressing doubt, or lacking in confidence. Instead, consider that it often requires more confidence and self-respect to assume an attitude of respectful questioning than it does to go ahead and act.

Clearly, this is an example of li as the balancing of extremes. On the one hand, you do not want to avoid action out of an intention to respectfully listen; on the other hand, you do not want to trust yourself and act confidently if you are not clearly rooted in jen. This implies a further test to ask yourself in a dream, waking, or any other state, as part of your dream yoga: “Is what I am doing and saying an expression of my life compass as best I understand it at this point?” To ask this question assumes that you interview dream characters and the personifications of your life issues and can look for consensus of priorities that include, yet transcend your own. If the answer is “yes,” assume you are expressing jen and act with confidence and trust in yourself.

The more interviewing that you do the clearer your sense of alignment with your life compass becomes because while the perspectives you encounter may be infinite in their external manifestations, they are limited and aligned in their priorities and intentions in limited ways. This does not mean that all interviewed perspectives will agree with each other; they obviously will not. However, it does mean that you will find repeated themes, priorities, and recommendations that stand the test of triangulation. The idea, in Confucian terms, is to evoke junzi in your decision-making, by more closely aligning yourself with your life compass as a higher order manifestation of jen, and expressing it in ways that respect the structures of life, li.

Social Governance

How does the application of Master K'ung's principles of ethical governance to the intrasocial sphere allow the macrocosm to mirror a healthy microcosm and to thereby create a healthy macrocosm, for culture and society? Master K'ung's ideas and observations, while often brilliant and highly influential in Chinese society for almost twenty-five hundred years, clearly were insufficient to either save China from itself or from conquest by the Mongols and by the West. Chinese government, steeped in the Confucian ethic, was, by the period of the arrival of the British, mostly a corrupt and sclerotic despotism, devoid of human rights or the ability to defend itself or its cultural values. Confucian principles were used to justify and maintain the presence of ossified mandarin bureaucracies that mostly served the function of self-perpetuation. Confucianism ended up valuing stability over growth and authority over innovation. Why? Was this a failure of the teachings of Master K'ung? Was it a failure in the application of his teachings? Integral Deep Listening believes both factors played a part in the overwhelming cultural stagnation that typified the Chinese “century of humiliation” before 1949.

We have seen how for Master K'ung personal and societal governance are both macrocosmic and microcosmic. The nature of virtue flows downward, in imitation of the Way of Heaven. However, character for the Superior Man flows upward from manifestation of these virtues in his own life. Does the absence of application of something resembling Master K'ung's analysis of the priority of relationship for the ordering of social, personal, and intrasocial government keep an unhealthy macrocosm mirroring an unhealthy microcosm? We have seen that Master K'ung's goal was to create superior men as rulers, men who would spread their own virtues to the people instead of imposing proper behavior with laws and rules. Because waking identity was the center of identity, so the ruler was the center of the power of the state. A healthy waking identity was considered to be unified and strong then, just as it is now, in psychodynamically-based ego psychology, with an emphasis on self-esteem, confidence, and coping skills. Healthy governance was considered to have similar characteristics: autocratic, confident, controlled, controlling, and decisive, conjoined with compassion, benevolence, humanity, and humility. Harboring doubt, indecision, or second thoughts, tended to be viewed as signs of weakness. Seeking council also tended to mirror the style naturally pursued by most individuals. We respect those sources most likely to confirm our basic assumptions and world view, and therefore become locked in confirmation bias, a cognitive bias usually operating out of our awareness. Similarly, rulers are most likely to surround themselves with advisers who will validate their assumptions.

Like Plato and the framers of the US Constitution, Master K'ung had an idea of what an ideal society would look like. It would come when the teaching of moral virtue was everywhere, in every home, where everyone learned to be superior men. Then, based on meritocracy, those most virtuous would rule over society. Consequently, culture would be transformed as life was regulated by virtue rather than by arbitrary laws. This is not so different from Plato's Republic or Sir Thomas More's Utopia. The problem with classical utopias is that they rely upon alignment with cosmic harmony by the rulers and government or they rely upon the wisdom of the consensus of wise waking identities. Both plans are subject to the level of development of the governing and/or the governed. You can have such a utopia when both the government and the governed, the culture as a whole, are functioning at a stage of development that makes a priority of practicing such virtues. However, no culture has come close to achieving such a level of development, probably at least equivalent to some stage similar to Kohlberg's Level III, post-conventional self morality. It is therefore highly unlikely that if some ten percent of society reaches Wilber's “second stage,” or a multi-perspectival, vision-logic, integral-aperspectival world view and level of development, that we will find ourselves in a world of unicorns farting rainbows.

Government relies on the level of development of those waking identities that both form the government and are represented by it, and that level of development is controlled by the level of morality of the collectives in which individuals are embedded. Economic systems that put profit, or “capital gains” before the welfare of the collective as a whole are amoral because they make decisions based on standards like productivity and efficiency rather than on the basis of basic principles of morality, including respect, reciprocity, and empathy. Amorality is early prepersonal in development, prior to pre-conventional morality and immorality. When a society is organized economically around amorality it forfeits any claim to any level of overall development higher than prepersonal, regardless of how advanced this or that line may be. Trustworthiness is focused on those areas that involve financial gain for at least one party. When we look at the pervasiveness of such economic models within global societies today it is difficult not to conclude that most economies function at a pre-moral or amoral level, associated with nature, animals, young children, and personality disordered individuals.[27] Political models that put power before social justice are not amoral or moral, but immoral, because they make decisions based on exploitative, non-reciprocating social norms that involve the imposition of power rather than mutual respect. Immorality corresponds to Kohlberg's pre-conventional level of moral development and to mid to late prepersonal stages of self-development. Again, when we look at how much of our current international order is governed and maintained by the immoral principle of “might makes right,” it is difficult not to conclude that many nations of the world function geopolitically at a pre-conventional level of morality, associated with the narcissism and grandiosity of late prepersonal four year olds. Is it possible to generate a utopia on foundations that are both amoral or immoral in major, foundational respects? Are not claims by individuals and societies that refuse to suspend amoral and immoral principles and behaviors not examples of hubris, exceptionalism, elitism, and massive self-delusion?

Human nature attempts to first secure the elementary relational exchanges of safety, security, and sustenance for itself and its collectives because they are the foundation upon which the higher relational exchanges, such as education and the attainment of knowledge, wisdom, goodness, and beauty for their own sake, are built. Since these foundational relational exchanges can never be completely secured, their pursuit easily becomes addictive, as in the pursuit of wealth, power, and status for their own sake. Addiction, which in general is most closely associated with a mid-prepersonal level of development, tends to crowd out, disenfranchise, and undercut higher relational exchanges, and therefore the attainment of utopia.

Master K'ung attempted to address this state of chronic immorality and amorality by mandating education, that is, requiring an emphasis on higher order relational exchanges. Education does indeed slow down but not stop the erosion of morality aspiring to manifest socially as utopia and personally as junzi. In practice, education applies a civilized veneer or facade on amorality, immorality, addiction, and predation, largely because of the moral prostitution that normally accompanies employment. As long as people have a primary interest in maintaining their job security the needs of others will follow, producing a chronic state of non-reciprocity or non-jen. This largely explains the slow ossification of Chinese society.

Societies do not generate governance that reflects intrasocial input for the same three reasons that individuals do not. Their degree of self-awareness is not multi-perspectival, they have no methodology to get them there, and they live in a culture without incentives to do so. On the contrary, most cultural incentives encourage stabilization at the current level of moral development, because higher standards threaten stability that has interdependently coalesced around a certain level. For example, neoliberal democracies depend for their continued existence upon the maintenance of an economic regime that is amoral. Therefore, amorality in character is desirable and reinforced. In addition. government remains inadequate because relatively undeveloped waking identities attempt to speak for a whole they do not see, recognize, listen to, or understand. This relationship remains in both the microcosmic realm of waking totalitarianism and the macrocosmic realm of collective quadrant social relationships and culture, when authoritarians or groups of authoritarians bend governmental processes to the maintenance of the privileges of the elites at the expense of the overall health and development of the collective.

Intrasocial Governance

For Master K'ung, as for most people throughout history, self-governance is a matter of self-control. It is the responsibility of the Superior Man to amplify virtue, minimize non-virtuous qualities, and to develop character. There is, not only for Master K'ung, but for shamanism, bronze age religions, and almost all forms of contemporary spirituality, no awareness of an intrasocial community or of a life compass,[28] no sense that microcosmic and macrocosmic governance needs to emphasize democratic, in addition to autocratic, characteristics, or that internal and interpersonal governance is greatly improved when other perspectives that have an investment in that interior governance are heard.

The externalization of Confucian values created a socio-cultural context that modeled, maintained, advocated, and probably strengthened autocracy in both children and adults, making it very difficult to create societal permissions for individuality or creativity. While this was not the intention of Master K'ung, these consequences are entirely understandable. Those who are individualistic or creative in a value system that emphasizes the unity of the self as self-control are likely to find themselves under immense pressure to conform for reasons of safety and the validation of powerful cultural norms. This is the psychological structure that has oppressed humanity from the dawn of society. While it is hardly unique to China, it supports the “authoritarianism” that Westerners so love to hate and scorn in Chinese governance.

Integral Deep Listening attempts to take this problem into account when it asks, “What if waking identity demonstrates respect, a basic virtue for Confucianism, toward its intrasocial relationships? What if that respect takes the form of suspension of assumptions and identity, meaning that expectations, preferences, interpretations, and one's sense of self are de-emphasized? What if that respect takes the form of deep listening to dream characters and the personifications of our own emotional and personal issues (the microcosm) as well as the personifications of the issues in our social relationships (the macrocosm)?”

Integral Deep Listening takes Master K'ung's analysis of the priority of relationship for the ordering of personal and governmental affairs and applies it to intrasocial government. Intrasocial governance is decision-making that is informed by the perspectives and recommendations of interviewed emerging potentials. It is a movement away from the authoritarianism of decision-making by an executive waking identity to a more democratic and consensual macrocosm, as well as to culture and society, supporting stage development through and beyond the perilous but necessary foundational prepersonal stages. This is because four quadrant moral tetra-mesh is a pre-requisite for level to level development, since morality is a core line. Higher development in the cognitive, proprioceptive, spiritual intelligence, musical intelligence, and even the self-system lines is normal. However, any of these can be achieved without moral development, as is commonly observed, with equally common disastrous results.

IDL concludes, in contradistinction to Master K'ung, that there needs to be as much decentralization as can be tolerated in both social and intrasocial government, because it maximizes the number of relevant perspectives that are informing government. This is not psychological and social libertarianism, because it respects the fact that some functions do better with decentralization (power generation, production, communication networks) and others are better centralized (transportation, food standards, health and welfare standards). Nor is it psychological decompensation or dissociation because waking identity remains that perspective responsible for integrating and making use of those other perspectives with with it identifies. The paradox is that all functions, once learned, as the cognitive scientist George Lakoff has shown, become competencies that function below awareness and serve as building blocks for still higher functions. This frees awareness to focus on broader and more inclusive types of integration and synthesis.

In the social sphere, these subunits are bureaucracies that function automatically based on policies. In the intrasocial domain, while some functions require strong waking control, most do not, most of the time, and in fact are designed to operate optimally without any waking awareness whatsoever. The more powers that can be delegated to a personal sub-awareness level and in the social domain, to the local level, the more flexible and responsive both systems of personal and social governance are likely to be. For example, when individuals can themselves generate all the energy they need they have a degree of security that creates both freedom and confidence that in turn allows more creative contributions to society. This is an example of securing fundamental relational exchanges in order to provide the foundational stability necessary to maintain higher level relational exchanges. By focusing on the maximization of personal responsibility and growing order from within, Master K'ung encouraged individual autonomy in the form of primary allegiance to principles of li, jen, Yi, and Te.

Independence Day in the US enshrines the concept of freedom. Alone, freedom means license, as in the right to wage foreign wars without consequence, and the absence of responsibility, as in the right to not pay taxes, wear a motorcycle helmet, or contribute to the public welfare, such as some forms of libertarianism advocate. Alone, freedom can also be a synonym for “enlightenment,” which in the absence of conditioning contexts can easily be understood as self-development without regard for the interests of others.

Many people balance the concept of freedom with that of responsibility, as if they were equivalent. This is a convenient misconception that encourages a consumption-based society as in “drink responsibly.“ If we look at life itself, we find that freedom is not equivalent to responsibility but a product of if. If I am responsible at learning my lessons in the first grade I earn the freedom to advance to the second. If I am responsible in my work I may earn the freedom a raise or promotion represents.

This is part of the explanation for the current collapse of the US and the rise of China. Chinese culture traditionally understands freedom is subordinate to responsibility and earned by it, while the US tends to champion freedom as a stand-alone and pre-eminent value. The US seems determined to blame China, Russia, and Trump for its own deep set addiction to individual rights over collective responsibilities, making Chris Kristofferson's famous line prophetic: “Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.”

The nature of intrasocial reality and the relationship between the priorities of various interviewed perspectives and social governance are most clearly understood and demonstrated by creating a series of Dream Sociograms and Sociomatrices, as part of a practice of dream yoga. Otherwise, these realizations are not at all apparent. Multiple years experience depicting snapshots of intrasocial reality were required to awaken to the relevancy of Master K'ung's collective world view to internal governance, to understand what his worldview lacked, and why it did so. When you collect the preferences of a number of invested perspectives toward a dream or life issue you are accessing an ad hoc intrasocial, collective constituency. You are learning about multiple perspectives that are important to consider in order to make decisions that are broad and stable. Unless you actually become these perspectives, in acts of deep listening as a function of a dream yoga, you are not going to access the component perspectives that together can and should create the values and decisions of the “Superior Man.” Why should you otherwise? How could you otherwise? The process of creating a dream sociomatrix, eliciting preferences associated with specific scores, and using this data to create a picture of group relationships is a powerful modality for objectifying, broadening, and thinning your sense of self. Consequently, your waking identity is much more likely to rule in ways that reflect the needs and intentions of the broad majority of its inner constituency.

“Bureaucracy” Defines Both Social And Intrasocial Governance

Unfortunately, the culture of the collective of citizens rarely defines governance. This is largely because as numbers grow, popular representation becomes unmanageable. The smaller the group, the more likely and effective collective governance is to be. Consequently, the culture of a stable, self-perpetuating bureaucracy typically defines what the prevailing government really is. This is the underlying reality for any and all sorts of governments, regardless of what they may call themselves - democratic, socialist, monarchy, or communist. Because bureaucracies naturally tend to accumulate to themselves both the right and the ability to hide whatever actions and policies they wish to conceal, they are largely free to act without consequence or penalty. This is the description of any absolutism, whether a totalitarian fascism like National Socialism, a totalitarian communism like the Soviet Union, a totalitarian command economy like China, or a totalitarian democracy like the United States. This is clearly evident in the wildly unlawful operations of the US National Security Administration, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Drug Enforcement Agency, and Homeland Security Administration. However, Greece, Rome, China, Catholicism, and Western democracies are all examples. These byzantine bureaucratic structures are dedicated primarily to their own preservation and expansion and are relatively protected from accountability.

Not only governments have self-perpetuating bureaucracies; so do individuals. These are made up of your habits of thinking, feeling, and action as well as your social roles. Your life script is an expression of your personal bureaucracy. Totalitarian absolutism due to a lack of oversight is the description of the normal state of affairs of your governance of yourself by your own waking identity.

If local rule tends to disempower and deconstruct rule by bureaucracies, then the interviewing of groups of characters from the same dream or perspectives associated with the same life issue will tend to generate local, ad hoc rule.[29] Fortunately, we do not have to interview very many members of our intrasocial communities in order to have a widely expanded sense of what the priorities of a consensus governance look like. This is because the priorities and themes are relatively few; multiple interviews present the same themes in a variety of ways, providing clarity and confidence that a priority we are hearing really is something broader based than simply a priority of this or that intrasocial subgroup. Such limited subgroup priorities do indeed exist, and that is one reason why multiple interviews are important.

For example, I once had a dream about eating baby opossums on a stick. After interviewing several dream characters it became clear that it was an emphatic negative reaction to a mineral supplement I had taken the night before. This was a priority for a strong subgroup and was not a priority for other interviewed emerging potentials. Does that mean that the negative reaction was false? I don't think so, only that avoidance was a priority for a specific affected subgroup.

Decision-Making By Waking Identity

Integral Deep Listening views the common sense worldview of waking identity as psychological geocentrism, or forms of development of the self or “ego,” and psychological heliocentrism, or forms of development of the transpersonal Self. In both cases, waking identity sees itself as the center of reality, the chooser, the executive, the determiner, of what is important to do and what is important to ignore. In Integral Life Practice, the self/Self is the identity that sets life and practice priorities. These two forms of psychological geocentrism, one prepersonal and personal, and the other transpersonal, overdetermine waking identity. Self-centrism places far too much responsibility on the self for decision-making than it is mature enough to handle. This is because the decision-making ability of our waking identity is determined by our level of development. All humans must evolve through prepersonal stages before they can even arrive at rational decision-making, much less arrive at multi-perspectival world views that transcend and include both belief and reason. Even transpersonal world views are still manifestations of one line, the cognitive, and not the moral line, and that is a serious, endemic problem for both personal and societal development.

Waking identity is a subset of awareness. For it to make decisions for the entirety of awareness is like the tail wagging the dog or a child speaking for a family. We can decide that the response was appropriate, merely adequate, or a disaster. Whether we rationalize it as “divine will” or “fated,” we are allowing a narrow, limited subset of the totality of awareness to speak for and represent the entirety of microcosmic, intrasocial awareness. To a large extent, this is both necessary and useful. Still, individual and interior intention is speaking for and representing the values and needs of the collective quadrants, in a form of interior individual reductionism and colonialism. This needs to be recognized and steps taken to compensate for the limitations of this default human framing of experience.

On a societal level, this is called totalitarianism or dictatorship. It is only considered to be democratic when the opinions of the ruler are informed and actions limited by the collective judgment of the ruled. Waking identity, like all rulers, presidents, prime ministers, kings, monarchs, priests, parents, despots, tyrants, and leaders know that they speak for the governed, since they are convinced that they have their best interests at heart. This conclusion is self-serving in that it validates the power and sole decision-making capabilities of the government. The problem for personal development is that if waking identity makes decisions without the consent of the governed, it lacks authority, legitimacy, and credibility. It is sowing the seeds for its eventual overthrow. This is the natural state of waking identity at its present prepersonal level of development

Integral Deep Listening sees in the teachings of Master K'ung both a diagnosis of and treatment for some of the ailments of both self and societal governance. It provides partial remedies for chronic societal and personal governmental pathologies when approached as a dream yoga. Integral Deep Listening begins where Master K'ung begins by emphasizing the priority of self-governance as the model upon which society rests. To do so emphasizes the interior over the external quadrants and the microcosm over the macrocosm. IDL does so, not because these realms are more important, but because they are more subject to individual control because they are interior to the self. However, just because thinking, feeling, and consciousness are more or less subject to individual control does not mean that they are the focus of life. Systems and holons evolve interdependently in all four quadrants. Both objectivity and introspection are required in order to recognize, control, and flow with the subjectivity of interior experience. Until very recently in human history interior experience has not been subjected to human scrutiny, because humanity was subjectively identified first with its sensory environment and with the perceptual mechanisms that allowed humans to experience it. Until relatively recently we have been subjectively immersed in our sensory environments, feelings, and identification with the seeming concreteness of thought, language, and those objects they signify. Consequently, human development has been slowed by a lack of objectivity regarding the two quadrants that are most difficult to change, interior individual experience, due to its subjectivity, and collective behavior, because we are interdependently related to others, and therefore the exterior collective quadrant remains partially outside our individual control.

As spiritual and ethical traditions world-wide have done and still do today, Master K'ung bases self-governance on the choices of the self, that is, who you think you are right now, on the perspective or world view of your waking identity. His hope is that this self will evolve into the junzi, Superior Man. In practice, Confucianism tends to justify the priorities of internalized social norms. This is a critical error that limits both individual and collective governance to the level of moral development of one's group or society. It defines self-government in terms of the individual internal quadrant and how “I” interpret the other quadrants: the values, perspectives, and culture that “I” prefer; the behaviors, yogas, actions that I believe are important; and the interactions with people and the environment that I think are necessary. Personally, this leads to a dictatorship by whatever stage of development is in control of waking identity. Socially, this leads to a dictatorship by whatever stage of development is in control of the collective culture.

The ruling bureaucracies of waking identity and societal governance set rules based on their priorities, which are framed in the context of the developmental level of that bureaucracy. If those priorities are at an early prepersonal stage of development, that bureaucracy will use threats, fear, rationalization, and whatever psychological defenses it can to immobilize opposition to its agenda. It will tell the public what it wants to hear, instead of the truth. We can easily find examples of this on a governmental level: simply generate a terrorist threat to immobilize reason and resistance. It can be summarized by the addage, “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” and is graphically described in Naomi Klein's, The Shock Doctrine. When we allow our fears to determine our choices individual governance remains fixated at an early prepersonal stage of development. For example, of almost all the causes of death, terrorism is least likely. We are more likely to die by being kicked by a donkey or having a Coke machine topple over on us than by a terrorist, yet where do our tax dollars go? For what justification do we give up our Constitutional rights for “security”? Resources go to defend against an irrational, early prepersonal fantasy that serves the ends of the media, military, governmental bureaucracies, the perpetuation of neo-liberal economics, and politicians.

If the “waking self,” or collective identity of a bureaucracy is functioning at a mid-prepersonal stage of development, it will satisfy its emotional preferences, doing what makes it happy and avoiding that which makes it unhappy, creating alliances of convenience while indulging in whatever addictive form of self-rescuing it can get away with. When you combine the security-based priorities of the early prepersonal with the emotionally-based priorities of the mid-prepersonal, you have a powerful psychological magnet that pulls both individual and collective choice down to the lowest common denominator. When you add to this the reality that everyone must grow through these stages, but that there is no guarantee that anyone will grow past them, the reality is that most people and most governments will listen, hear, and act from one of these two levels most of the time, despite what they know and despite what the facts may be. Knowledge and facts have relatively little persuasive power in the face of security and emotional relational exchanges.

If development of waking identity is late prepersonal, it is likely to exploit whomever and whatever it can to maximize personal control and to extract maximum value, because to do otherwise would be to undermine its core reason for existence. Capitalism becomes the ideal societal economic vehicle for furthering the agenda of late prepersonal identity, while the pre-conventional morality of “might makes right” becomes the preferred means of maintaining control.

Because we inevitably frame personal and societal issues in terms of our stage of development, both as individuals and as governmental bodies, focusing on forms of governance, whether democratic, socialistic, communistic, or libertarian, is so much bread and circus for the masses. Whatever system exists is taken by the mean or average developmental level of the governmental bureaucracy and used to sustain itself at that developmental level. Democracy will be used by bureaucracy at prepersonal levels of development to block societal evolution beyond prepersonal levels. The United States, while strongly personal and rational in technology and science, as well as culturally grounded in a constitution that guarantees human rights, uses these as tools to maintain an early prepersonal Sparta-type perpetual militarization fueled by early prepersonal issues of safety and security, that are in the service of validating mid-prepersonal emotional preferences and a mid-prepersonal agenda of greed. Later developmental levels, such as the collective social identities of political party affiliation, university education and the acquisition of reason-based credentials in law, medicine, business, or the humanities, are cognitive lines and roles used by these more basic levels to legitimatize them or to provide tools that prepersonal identities bend to their own ends. For the prepersonal, human rights are fine, as long as they don't interfere with the security of the state; unions are fine, as long as they don't interfere with business maximizing its profits; privacy is fine, as long as it doesn't interfere with the need of government to know; negotiations are fine, as long as they support the ends of the state. If they do not, it's time for war, either against someone else or the Enemy Within.

Accessing internal and subjective sources of objectivity, as IDL interviewing does, reduces many of the blind spots of waking identity. In terms of the Johari Window, it enlarges those areas known to self by internalizing perspectives known to others but not known to self by interviewing multiple perspectives. This reduces the power of developmental fixations while accessing perspectives that are multi-perspectival and trans-rational. The result is that there is a compensatory higher order input that is authentic to balance out the inertia of constant prepersonal influences, familial and societal scripting that we all too often internalize as “conscience” and confuse with authenticity.

The Importance Of An Integral Methodology Of Deep Listening

Master K'ung was quite aware of the governance of yin and yang over different bodily and psychological processes,[30] as well as the importance of balance among them for health.[31] However. Master K'ung couldn't effectively apply his analysis of the priority of microcosmic relationship, as reflected by the values of the Superior Man, to the ordering of either personal life or government because he lacked a methodology that disclosed intrasocial government. Because there was no concept or methodology for accessing a model of intrasocial governance, what was projected out into the world was psychological geocentricism, not experiential multi-pespectivalism. As we have seen, psychological geocentrism is decision-making by waking identity. It is to assume the role of Superior Man for oneself without validation by one's intrasocial community.

The entire model of self-regulation based on the imposition of macrocosmic “Rule of Heaven” via the emperor or other political leadership, is flawed because it emphasizes only one pole, the yang, of a governmental polarity, and is therefore unable to integrate the two. Notice that the interior parallel to the imposition of the “Rule of Heaven” is rulership by the “Superior Man.” From this shifted, microcosmic perspective, yang is relatively external and individual waking identity and Superior Man, while yin is relatively internal and collective intrasocial identity. As we have seen, junzi is created and regulated by internalized social scripting and conscience, not by one's life compass. The culture and values of the external collective quadrant is internalized as conscience and mistaken for that of the authentic internal collective voice, life compass.

A more integral model of governance includes intrinsic, as well as extrinsic, democratic and collective interests, in which the power of waking identity flows upward, both bestowed and retracted by the governed. Microcosmically, that is the intrasocial community as revealed by IDL dream yoga. Balance in decision-making and in life comes with the integration of both polarities.

These are principles that Master K'ung did not see and could not see because he lacked both a conceptual framework and a methodology that revealed intrasocial governance. For most of the rest of the governance of the world, it is even more correct to say that it has not been, nor is it at present interested in understanding intrasocial governance, because that would mean power sharing by waking identity, and like all dictatorships and authoritarianisms, waking identity is loathe to share power, because doing so is associated with loss of control, insecurity, impotence, and death. These are the fears. The reality is quite the opposite, but that can only be discovered by performing the necessary experiments with a phenomenologically-based, experiential multi-perspectival methodology.

Because Master K'ung lacked a model for the consultation of these internal interests other than shamanistic oracles, he could not construct a methodology that would disclose intrasocial governance. It would be both unfair and foolish to expect any bronze age culture, or indeed, any culture prior to our own, to be able to do so because the conceptual discriminatory tools simply did not exist. Concepts like “psychology,” “self-aspects,” and the “unconscious” hardly existed until the 20th century. We easily forget the power of such assumptions to create possibilities that otherwise do not exist because they are not seen. Most developmental psychologists still build their world view around models of self-development, not the including and transcending collective holon that contains all developing selves. Most psychologists still assume that interviewed imaginary elements are reducible to self-aspects instead of taking a phenomenological approach and suspending that assumption.

Other key concepts like democracy, intrasocial, wake up calls and life compass, had also not been teased out of the ground or field of life experience. Without such conceptual distinctions it is impossible for anyone to distinguish the experience of a separate, living, interior government of indefinite ontology, neither all personal and subjective while clearly not all objective, “other,” and “real.” The consequence of this non-discrimination is the continuation into adulthood and personal stages of development of the waking totalitarianism of the early stages of human individual and societal development, regardless of how much development there has been on the cognitive, self, and moral lines. Waking identity, particularly that of the “Superior Man,” knows that it knows what is best for itself and proceeds to demand those values, behaviors, and relationships that are important to it. Just like in the ancient days of Master K'ung, we think that our goals are the priorities of God, spirit, and life. How? Well, because we are honest, good, and loving, so our goals must be. Like Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, the premier exploitative investment bank in the world, or George W. Bush, or fundamentalist Christian Mike Pompeo who stated that, as Director of the CIA, “We lied, we cheated, we stole,” we think we are doing “God's work,” whatever our version of “God” happens to be.

What is “right purpose” from a waking perspective, proper upbringing of children by parents, the generous salvation administered by Goldman Sachs, the IMF, the World Bank, the militaries of the world, or the benign rule of the president over his constituents, may be viewed very differently when the recipients of totalitarianisms that present themselves in a style reminiscent of Joan of Arc, are interviewed. What you will find is that some subjects have no problem with authority, others believe the reliance on authority is short-sighted and therefore a cause of unnecessary suffering, and still others are adamant and demand immediate change.

We see the same thing in countless IDL interviews. Some interviewed perspectives will have no problem with the way we are running our lives and will indeed encourage us to continue to do so, others will recommend additional perspectives to broaden the effectiveness of our waking authority, while still others will demand immediate change. Which ones manage to break through our many layers of resistance is determined by how much the interviewed perspective is being affected by the particular issue, and that can be assessed by the strength of the wake up call, whether emotional distress such as fear, anger, guilt, shame, or confusion, interpersonal conflict, or physical pain. We don't have to guess; we don't have to assume that waking identity is imposing its will on its subjects; we don't have to believe that waking identity represses dissent and acts like a colonizing imperial power imposing its will in a despotic will on the natives. Do interviews and draw your own conclusions.

Because concepts and methods that could objectify structures of intrasocial governance were unavailable, the consequence was that the intrasocial domain was colonized and exploited by both the socio-cultural macrocosm of society as well as by the self, acting as controlling executive, in China, as elsewhere, to the present day. The inner world existed to serve, to obey, to be controlled, by its master, the Superior Man, who in turn was to serve, obey, and be controlled by superior men who governed the nation. Because the nation lacked rulership by such men, because humanity was out of touch with the actual interpersonal behaviors that would turn them into superior men, and because even if they did, they still would lack the concepts and methods to support intrasocial governance, the microcosm had no choice but to mirror an unhealthy macrocosm. That is the status quo that remains world-wide, to this day, as reflected first in widespread amoral (“profits over people”) and immoral (“might makes right”) social and geopolitical norms, secondly, in the common repression of wake-up calls and thirdly, by the interpretation of wake-up calls by the self, at whatever level of development it happens to be at, instead of by those in a far better position to know: invested emerging potentials that are interviewed.

Social And Intrasocial Systems Of Accountability And Transparency

What both the teachings of Master K'ung and governance in general lack are systems of personal and collective checks and balances that emphasize both accountability and transparency. Notice that the issue is not the absence of systems of personal and collective checks and balances. Master K'ung established those, as did the Chinese government when it implemented his teachings, and as have parliamentary democracies. On the level of international governance, laws exist that are entirely adequate. The problem is not an absence of checks and balances, or with inadequate checks and balances, but with a lack of accountability and transparency among those systems of checks and balances that are already in existence. We don't need a world government or to change our system of governance to this or that “new and improved” version of an old model. We don't need to adopt an entirely new form of government. What we need is an enforcement of the laws already on the books. What we have is a failure in transparency and accountability, combined with a widespread complacency, since most people, even the poor, have access to resources unavailable to royalty only a hundred years ago. We can see this clearly in the United States, where its trumpeted system of checks and balances has been co-opted by a pernicioius collusion of bureaucratic, plutocratic, and political interests. We find it in international governance, in that some governments declare themselves above the laws in place and instead substitute their own self-serving conditions. We can also readily observe this in the functioning of waking identity when it shuts out and ignores integral deep listening in general, not merely the methodology which shares that name.

The solution to these problems of governance, which Master K'ung nobly attempted to address, lies in the oversight social justice is supposed to provide, but doesn't. Transparency and accountability, both on an individual and a collective, governmental level, are more important to governance than voting, meritocracy, or laws. This becomes more true every day due to the increasing interdependence of humanity. A simple example is an accident on an expressway. How many people are inconvenienced due to the actions of one person? How many people lose how much time and income? History demonstrates that the public can vote for the best people (Obama) who are ruled by the best laws (the Bill of Rights), but if there is a failure to require transparency and oversight, corruption will find a way to destroy whatever form of government exists. This is because greed, power, and status are addictive; those who have these addictions generally operate in systems that reinforce these obsessive-compulsive behaviors and never question their importance or morality. In such circumstances, psychological studies have demonstrated that we humans will do what we can to increase our advantage, particularly in the context of an authoritative structure that provides authorization; if other people or nature are exploited in the process, well, that's not our problem.[32] Is such behavior immoral, amoral, or both? There is certainly room to debate that point, but it is much more difficult to create a moral defense for a profoundly non-moral cognitive bias in humans. While we live in a system that works hard to deny this reality, just how much evidence do we require before we recognize and factor in realities of human nature?

I am not arguing that human nature is fundamentally immoral. I agree with Confucius that humans are essentially good, but with amazingly elastic adaptational abilities, which means that we can act amorally or immorally quite naturally and easily. Consequently, where transparency and accountability do not exist our ability to rationalize our behavior has very few limits. The basic principle is both simple and well understood. The more remote and isolated government is from the people the less transparency and accountability exists. The more local and connected government is to the people the more both transparency and accountability are likely to exist. A major exception exists when there is a collective culture of ignoring or validating some amoral or immoral behavior. Monks in monasteries agree to rule by an autocratic style of government; they understand why the rules exist and choose to remain under them. They agree to norms we find abusive, such as the beating of student monks and the inevitability of pedophilia, if only tacitly. Workers agree to work under non-democratic conditions in exchange for economic security. We also see this collective consent to amorality and/or immorality in common public attitudes toward politicians and public servants. It is commonly expected that they will lie, cheat, steal, and kill if necessary to protect the interests of the country, and very, very few public servants are ever held accountable for moral transgressions or crimes that would send you and me to jail. This is different from a totalitarianism from which there is no escape, such as Gaza, where attempts at the securing of basic human rights are met with economic strangulation, imprisonment, or death.

In the United States, freedom exists to elect any candidate the plutocracy nominates and supports. There is the freedom to vote for Pepsi or Pepsi-Lite, Sargon or Sauron, Cruella de Ville or The Wicked Witch of the West. Even those distinctions quickly evaporate within the context of party caucus in the legislature, in which great incentives exist to tow the Party line. Everyone has the freedom to protest, knowing that all their emails, passwords, phone calls, and electronic communications are swept up and stored, to be used against them at any moment. The result is a state of constant vulnerability and intimidation, knowing that at any point, if you raise your head above the other sheep in the flock, this information could be used to destroy your life. We typically deal with this reality by diving into the routines of our lives and the joys of consumption, self-rescuing within the Drama Triangle to avoid the elephant in the living room: the emasculating powerlessness of the status quo. Such circumstances provide insufficient transparency and accountability for the governing bureaucracy, which unlike the politicians, is not even subject to the largely empty recall by the electorate.[33] While this contrast is dramatic in the United States, it is the relationship between the government and the governed everywhere — in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, China, India, Canada, Australia, and Brazil. This is maintained not only by the natural tendency for power to sustain and grow itself, but also by the tendency of citizens to grant powers to those agencies and individuals offering security and social stability, powers that they do not grant those citizens acting outside of a governmental capacity. This is a three-tiered system of ethics; one is moral and universally proclaimed; it is meant for the majority of citizenry of limited influence over government. A second is immoral because it uses force to crush dissent. The third is amoral because it puts the growth of the economy, that is, profit and consumption, before and above human welfare, and is encapsulated in the phrase, “socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.”

Steven Pinker, in “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” has made a powerful and persuasive case that the civilizational imposition of law has increased transparency and accountability and decreased violence. However, there is only so much that law can do, and is by itself manipulated by police, courts, lawyers, and those with power, wealth, and status to work on their behalf. Consequently, with the constantly increasing interdependence of society, versions of China's “social credit” system are likely to become widely accepted, as an adjunct to law in order to increase transparency and accountability, with the price being a reduction in personal liberty and privacy. As society becomes increasingly interdependent, meaning one or two rogue individuals can create massive societal damage, the sacrifice of personal privacy in exchange for greater collective security becomes compelling. On a personal level, interviewed emerging potentials provide another level of transparency and accountability that can contradict prevailing amoral or immoral group think. Of course, there is no barrier to ignoring, repressing, or denying such a source, but it does exist, and for those who wish to move beyond common layers of self-deception, it is available.


Integral Deep Listening attempts to provide transparency and oversight through its interviewing methodology combined with accountability in application of recommendations using the process of triangulation. Triangulation can be applied both individually and collectively, in families, businesses, governmental bureaucracies, and elected officials, as well as by the media. Triangulation is Integral Deep Listening's solution to the dilemma posed by failures of both authority and conscience. Consensus decision-making and consultation with both internal and external sources of objectivity become the foundation of both intrasocial and social government, with the final decision always resting with the common sense of waking identity, or collectives of waking selves. Consensus does not have to be complete, which is a formula for stagnation; groups can agree on what constitutes a working consensus depending on the issue at hand.

Final decision-making and implementation is the unavoidable responsibility of waking identity acting as executive. IDL interviews demonstrate an astounding fact: many interviewed perspectives desperately want waking identity to grow up and take a leadership position; they view waking identity as junzi, “Superior Man.” It is the job and responsibility of waking identity to assume adult authority and act as best it can as the representative of its consulted constituencies. Triangulation changes the definition of junzi from waking identity acting in harmony with society and Heaven to waking identity acting as an advocate and representative of its interior constituency and acting in harmony with society and nature. On a governmental and exterior collective quadrant context of relationships, group members invested in the resolution of a common issue or creative problem solving can each do interviews with personifications of the issue at hand and then compare recommendations with other group members who do the same.

It is not enough to understand triangulation; for it to work, triangulation must be applied in a way that is transparent, with an accountability structure in place. Otherwise, it becomes one more recognized and respected system of checks and balances that is ignored, just as government and individuals ignore the Golden Rule to advance the before mentioned Autocrat's Rule, “Do as I say, not as I do.” “Ideally, you only know what I say, because I conceal what I do from you. Therefore, you judge me on the basis of what I say, not by my actions.” This worked well for the Catholic priesthood for some two thousand years; it has worked extremely well for the world-wide financial sector for over fifty years. It works well for any and all governmental bureaucracies as long as they maintain the power of concealment. It works well in interpersonal relationships as long as we can coerce others to take responsibility for our errors by teaching them to feel guilt and shame, or by using aggressive and abusive styles of communication, such as interrupting, changing the subject, name calling, talking in paragraphs, refusing to talk, and resorting to threats and violence. It works well as long as you and I can use Freud's defense mechanisms of denial, repression, regression, projection, rationalization, and so forth. We can conceal the truth so that we do not admit to ourselves that we are living a lie. All of these are examples of unethical governance, because they curtail accountability and transparency.

On a personal level, Integral Deep Listening undercuts the sabotaging of intrasocial governance by making self-deception much more difficult. Interviews put us in touch with a broad spectrum of relatively autonomous viewpoints that know us at least as well as we know themselves, because as aspects of ourselves, they know what we know, plus add their own unique perspectives. Therefore, self-deception is much harder to maintain. The interviewing process itself provides a powerful system of accountability and transparency. The transparency comes from interviewing emerging potentials that again, know you better than you know yourself, meaning that it is much more difficult for you to continue to lie to yourself. The accountability comes from operationally defining those recommendations that pass the test of triangulation and submitting your progress in applying them to an objective, trusted third party, such as a fellow student or an IDL practitioner.

While triangulation supports transparency and accountability on a personal and microcosmic level, it is not sufficient to create transparency and accountability on a social and macrocosmic one. What is required is an increase in the surveillance technologies largely decried by libertarians. However, we can already see how ruling elites have much more to fear from these tools than does the average citizen, because they have so much more to lose. We have a powerful recent example. The video of one policeman choking a black man to death with his knee was sufficient to defund and dissolve the police department of the city of Minneapolis, instigate wide-ranging reforms of police departments in cities across the US, and generate massive increases in oversight by the federal government, enforced by the withdrawal of federal funding. Therefore, it does not take much of a crystal ball to predict that versions of China's “social credit” system are going to become commonplace across the globe. This is because only transparency and accountability motivate sociopaths and corporations with sociopathic characteristics to change their behavior.

Different Conceptions of the Sacred

The West appears to largely not comprehend or misperceive the sense of the sacred embodied in Confucianism. This ignorance and/or misperception is profound in its implications, extending from religion and psychology to economic models and geopolitics. Within comparative religious thought, for instance, in Rudolph Otto and his “idea of the holy,” or in those varieties described in Evelyn Underwood's Mysticism, or in Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness, the sacred, whether transcendent or immanent, is the grasping of a radically different self, other, and nature. Fascination with siddhis, psychic phenomena, lucid dreaming, and altered states of consciousness is an interior individual preoccupation with issues like self-control, mental power, and self-development. Karma and bhakti margas, the two most mundane and secular of Hindu spiritual paths, center around personal purification, development, transformation, and actualization, all self-centered conceptions of the sacred. In Buddhism, enlightenment is very much an introspective and personal affair, even when undertaken in monasteries and embedded in communities upon which monks are dependent for food and support. Even the Tibetan ideals of karuna (compassion) and the Bodhisattva Vow, both of which are rooted in a collective understanding of enlightenment, are manifestations or outgrowths of spiritual self-development. The result is an approach toward transformation, spirituality, and the sacred which is strongly predisposed toward the individual and the interior, and this is the lens or perspective from which the sacred is viewed and comprehended by almost all men in almost all places and times. Even collective rituals and ecstatic practices are designed to promote individual catharsis and enlightenment.

This focus is probably due to the nature of human development itself, with a preoccupation on self-control as a fundamental adaptive survival skill and self-development, including the pursuit of excellence, as universal paths to personal and social success. Almost everything in our personal and collective cultural scripting reinforces these values of self-control and excellence and rewards such emphasis, while punishing deviations from it. Therefore, it is exceedingly difficult to grasp just how innately grandiose, narcissistic, exceptionalistic, exploitative, elitist, unbalanced, and self-destructive this orientation can easily become when taken to extremes, as both addictions and yogas of enlightenment generally do. Self-control and excellence involve such a total subjective immersion in the self, to the disadvantage of social and natural collectives, that those so embedded may authentically claim collective alternatives are false, delusional, or evil, and that their perception and approach includes and transcends exterior and collective approaches. A current topical but secular example is the enshrinement of various forms of libertarianism in the West and demonization of collectivist forms of governance, such as socialism and communism. Another common example is the claim of “enlightened” gurus that their wisdom transcends social norms and thereby allows them to act with impunity. This over-emphasis on the interior and individual can also be observed in the religious and elitist rationalizations for colonization and exploitation by the West of the peoples and resources of the world.

When we make even a superficial survey of approaches to the sacred we discover that almost all make claims of unique access to the sacred, but since these approaches are based on different systems of doctrine and dogma, all cannot be true. In fact, we can readily see the imbalances and partiality of this or that other approach but not so much of our own, which we experience as more balanced and inclusive. This is true even when we embrace cognitive multi-perspectivalism and conclude that a multi-perspectival approach is superior, because it includes and transcends non multi-perspectival approaches.

For example, Integral AQAL points out how Freudian psychology considers itself as embracing all four quadrants, while in fact it is chiefly anchored in the explorations of interior consciousness of the upper left and secondarily in the interpretations of the lower left, at a purely rational or mid-personal level of development. Because it cannot comprehend any “higher,” more inclusive approach, it is reductionistic and discounting toward any claims to higher order humanism or spirituality. However, psychoanalysis is incapable of performing this same analysis on itself. Instead, because it claims to provide an accurate map of the territory of reality, it holds that its perspective includes and transcends all others. It therefore cannot grasp and comprehend, and therefore must reductionistically discount approaches, that understand its approach, include it, and offer a wider, broader perspective. Because this conceit is nearly universal, in systems of thought, including capitalism, democracy, Integral AQAL, IDL, and in all of us, as a means of reducing cognitive dissonance and defending psychological geocentrism, it implies a built-in subjective and protective bias or predisposition, rather than the objective assessment of our position that we are certain it is.

I have come in my life to a fuller understanding and respect for the Confucian approach to the sacred through years of interviewing mundane dream elements and secular personifications of life issues, not only for myself, but for many others, like the fire that is a burning back pain or the pit of our depression or the whirlpool of debt in which we are drowning. These have generally proven to be not only more enlightened than I am, because their perspectives contain my own, since they are, after all, aspects of myself, but transcend my own, as their perspective adds awareness and knowledge that mine lacks. The result is an undeniable sense of the presence of the sacred in the collective and seemingly objective, completely apart from issues of meditation, cultivated objectivity, enlightenment, or spiritual disciplines such as yogas. While a yoga or discipline is required to attain this awareness or reorientation, the path is not the territory. The sacred itself exists independently of maps and disciplines.

What is radically different and instructional about the Confucian approach to the sacred is that it is preferential toward the lower left quadrant of interpersonal relationship and objective, mundane reality. The West is beginning to understand this via the upper right quadrant of scientific objectivity, as seen in the pronouncements by physicists and other scientists of the sacred nature of naturalism itself. While Wilber and others take this as evidence of transcendent spirit or “eros” in matter, science and Confucianism do not draw this conclusion. Instead, the collective and mundane remain “spiritual” and sacred in and of themselves. For these approaches, the collective really does include and transcend the individual; it is not simply a developmental counterpoint within the dialectic of self-development as we move from one stage to the next, which is the common understanding of Integral AQAL. Nor is it a regression to a subjective, undifferentiated definition of collectivism. It is not “regress express” romanticism or idealization of that which is in fact “lower” in the sense of more subjective. It is bigger, broader, and more profound than that: the individual search for enlightenment really is embedded within collective accountability that is awake at the level of average morality of the collective, since the moral line normally is the lagging core line. IDL discusses this in terms of a collective holon, interfacing largely through the two collective quadrants, that includes and transcends all individual holons of self-development. Similarly, the emphasis on the immanent is not to be equated with the sacredness of communion as one of two polar styles of development, to be contrasted with agency and hierarchy, but with every act as ritual in the sense of sanctified. This is well captured by Asian tea ceremonies and martial arts as ritualistic expressions of li and Zen-based practice of objective equanimity, rather than win-lose competitions.

This latter example is illustrative of the difference in emphasis between the interior individual and the exterior collective and how profound it is. The West, largely modeled on the Graco-Roman model of individual excellence and competition, approaches economics, development, and life as war between good and evil. This view, essentially Manichaean, is fundamentally splitting, one factor leading to a diagnosis of mid-prepersonal personality disorder, implying that Western civilization, as well as those second world and third world countries infected by this philosophy, function largely from a dysfunctional, regressive, prepersonal world view based on dualisms of the sacred and profane, self and other, winning and losing, status and exclusion, power and poverty, and health and disease. Obviously China and Asian countries have more than their share of these as well, but with the exception of Imperial Japan, these cultures demonstrate comparatively little of the colonialist mentality that so typifies the West. Due to a relative lack of splitting of the sacred and the profane, nature and humanity and an emphasis on collectivity in a way that authentically includes and transcends the individual, the attempts of the Western empire to defeat Russia and China have failed and continue to fail. The failure of Russia and China to counter-strike against US and Western sanctions and countless other attacks is viewed as weakness that only encourages greater aggression by the West, when it is more like judo - gaining through yielding, or the Taoist concept of wu wei - action through non-action. The closest the West can come to understanding such an approach may be the famous dictum of Napoleon: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is in the process of destroying himself.”

Another example is the environment, which capitalism and intrinsic human exploitativeness relentlessly tear down and destroy for temporary capital gains while oblivious to the loss of long-term benefits and the accrual of long-term losses. The environment, for its part, practices wu wei. It does not fight back or compete, because it cannot, yet by being itself relentlessly, it gradually overcomes and overwhelms all opposition. An example is the way the tendrils at the end of the root of a tree work their way up through tiny cracks in concrete seeking water and nutrients. In the process of living it expands; through its expansion, it cracks and destroys the concrete. Something similar is happening on a global scale. Not only is Western empire like concrete being cracked and destroyed by the growth of China, but Western notions of spirituality, self-development, and the sacred are being cracked and destroyed by the intrinsic resilience of the naturalistic approach to the sacred, organic to Confucianism.


Concepts of individual liberty and governmental forms of democracy arise when fundamental relational exchanges of safety and physical well-being have been secured. When they are, we humans tend to take them for granted and wonder why others do not operate from our own enlightened perspective. But individual liberty arises out of a matrix of collective interdependence and mutual responsibility. When that no longer exists, societies collapse, as the US is currently in the process of doing. The entire world has seen how the centralized “authoritarian” government of China not only controlled and stopped the spread of Coronavirus but generated a resurgence of the Chinese economy, while sending both medical teams and critical supplies to over 80 nations to help them battle coronavirus, while the West largely ignored the threat, eased quarantines, and prolonged the closure of large segments of their economies. Current events have provided us with a case study of how much more effectively and efficiently top-down, command economies can respond to crises and how a demand that individual liberty be placed before collective welfare leads to collective collapse. Under such circumstances, deliberative and consensus systems, such as democracies, are luxuries because they require both time and broad societal agreement, both of which can be barriers to an effective response in times of national threat. The US itself provides an example of that in the movement of government under Roosevelt, a liberal Democrat, during World War II, toward the contravention of individual liberties and the Bill of Rights by placing citizens of German and Japanese descent in internment centers. Societies naturally contract toward centralization and authoritarianism in times of crisis, while in times of abundance they naturally tend toward a broader-based, more consensual form of government. However, it is hubris that causes one government to impose on another society its own solution to this perpetually changing governmental dynamic. The broader solution is the creation of international standards, called the rule of law, and then force all countries to be equally accountable to those standards to which it has agreed. At present, the world has created such standards, in the UN Charter and UN Declaration of Human Rights. What it has not yet done, is force all nations, notably members of NATO and Israel, to be equally accountable to them.

China is currently forcing the West to face the reality of its limitations and failures across several key determinants of civilizational advance, and thereby question assumptions that can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece and contemporaries of Confucius. These include the Western concepts of winning and competition, that democracy is always the best form of government, and the common Western preference of individualism over collectivism. At present, in response to the ongoing confrontation with its collapse, the West remains in the first of the five stages of grief, denial. It is blaming China rather than looking at reality, much less taking responsibility for its corruption, crimes, exploitation, and immorality.

The West has responded similarly to Russia as well, both because it sees Russia's strengths and is threatened by them, as well as by its potential power. Under Putin, Russia's response to Western aggression has largely been one rooted in Eastern world views. I understand this as due to Putin's years of training in the Asian martial arts, which have much in common with Taoism, and which frame competition as teaching, not vanquishing, and as using one's opponent's energies to neutralize them, echoing Napoleon's rather cynical version of the same approach, mentioned above. The West can only perceive non-response to attack as weakness, incapable of understanding how the giving of ground envelops and overwhelms opposition as it burns itself out in its heated advance. Like entropy, nature can afford to wait, because it embraces and includes weather, form, purpose, history, and life. This understanding can be intensely threatening to the cult of self-control and self-development.

China has been stripped of its basic relational exchanges repeatedly throughout its history, and even within the living memory of those Chinese who remember life before Deng's reforms of 1979. In addition, as also noted above, China has seared in its collective memory the “Century of Humiliation” in which it was plundered, exploited, colonized, and stripped of its territory by liberal democracies. This is a reality that Westerners tend to conveniently forget but the Chinese do not. Chinese look around the world at what Western democracies did to Russia under Yeltsin, to the bombing and partition of Yugoslavia, the destruction of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and the consequences of sanctions for Iran and Venezuela, and compare those actions of liberal democracies to its own steadily improving quality of life, with almost a billion people having been lifted out of abject poverty in only sixty years, an unprecedented achievement in human history. It looks with pride at its high speed transportation system, the best in the world, and the quality of its educational system, which has produced a population with an average IQ four to five points higher than that of Americans. Beneath these advances lies the bedrock of Chinese humanism, with its strong sense of mutual responsibility and support.

China is rising because it puts the collective before individuals or, in integral terms, the inclusive and transcending collective holon that interfaces with individual collective quadrants, is given priority over self-development. Self-development is intended to serve societal ends rather than personal wealth, status, or enlightenment. Self-development exists in such a system, in ways scarcely comprehended by the West, to serve the collective. It does so without turning into the Borg from Star Trek by insisting that the moral line lead instead of the cognitive line, which leads in Integral AQAL, developmental psychology, and human psychology in general. A meritocracy based on a proven track record of service, as seen in the autobiography of Xi, and not simply on academic excellence, is another critical and largely under-estimated factor behind the rise of China. These multiple strengths are gifts from a deeply rooted Confucian heritage that is itself grounded in the secular naturalism of both Chinese shamanism and Taoism.

Such achievements and altruistic motivations in no way are meant to ignore the many problems and limitations within China, including corruption, resources wasted on gambling and conspicuous consumption, or the suppression of dissent. However, Westerners need to remember that almost all of their news about China comes from Western reporters and news agencies that highlight Chinese deficiencies while rarely reporting on the steps that China takes to correct them. For example, reporting regarding Hong Kong ignores the fact that it is Chinese territory colonized by the UK and has remained Chinese territory, with the government in Bejing having final say and control over its government, just as the government in London has over Belfast and the US has over Honolulu. A history of murder of citizens by police who are then not prosecuted exposes to the world the hypocrisy of the US reporting with moralistic shock and horror on the curtailment of liberties by China and other nations.

Integral at present is built on and around self-development, leading to enlightenment. This is largely due to a combination of the many contributions of developmental psychology and its application to the understanding of the evolution of groups, societies, and culture. It is also due to the influence of a strong idealist tradition both in the West, fueled by Plato and Hegel, and then in the twentieth century by Hinduism, Buddhism, and. Sri Aurobindo. Integral needs to recontextualize self-development within the collective holon in which it exists because, as Wilber points out in Integral Spirituality, the collective conditions the width and breadth of individual enlightenment. Integral also needs to relativize the priority of cognition for self-development by recognizing that the moral line leads in the super-ordinate collective holon. It also needs to recognize that there is no realistic appraisal of the “Superior Man” without taking both individual and collective varieties of moral development into account. When it does so, the conclusion has to be that interior quadrant assessments inherently inflate morality in order to validate and protect the self, and that our actual level of development is both limited and determined by the ability of the moral line to tetra-mesh.

There are also a number of important guidelines that any dream yoga, spiritual discipline, approach to therapy, or system of governance can draw from Chinese traditions. They remind us to look for and carefully consider the impact of shamanistic naïve realism on our own practice, tending us toward concrete literalism and black and white thinking, both characteristics of mid-prepersonal cognition. An appreciation of shamanism can help us differentiate prepersonal access to mystical states of unity and integration from transpersonal access to both states and stages of unity and integration, so that we do not assume that, because we have experiences of enlightenment that we are therefore enlightened. Chinese humanism, with its emphasis on interior collective moral values that create the junzi, can help us to expand integral to the development of our own interior and collective dream yoga in order to bridge the gap between self-development, with its emphasis on individuality, liberty, freedom, and enlightenment, and exterior collective emphasis on interdependence, responsibility, obedience, and service, in order to promote the healing of the social and environmental contexts in which humanity is intrinsically embedded. These are not small or trifling gifts, and Integral cannot and will not move forward without an understanding and integration of the intrinsic strengths of Chinese humanism.

At present, the hubris and exceptionalism of an adolescent West in a self-created oppositional-defiant crisis remains in the denial and anger stages, exemplified by blaming and societal fragmentation, of Kubler-Ross's Five Stages of Grief. We can only hope that sooner, rather than later, it will move on into bargaining, depression, and then into acceptance of the reality it has created for itself: systemic collapse. In the meantime, China is building both a thriving interior societal model as well an external multi-national interactive model in the Belt-Road Initiative, for global renewal. The West is going to learn essential lessons in the importance and nature of true humility, a principle as foreign to it as humility was the life blood of Master K'ung's teachings well over two millennia ago. Because Master K'ung lacked both a model and a methodology for doing so, the human psychological microcosm remained terra incognito, an area of life unexposed by human awareness. Nevertheless, what he was able to grasp has echoed across millennia and yet continues to be both misunderstood and under-estimated: the fundamental mirroring by the macrocosm of the microcosm:

“If there be righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there be beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there be harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.”

May we live to see the day when the Chinese themselves awaken to the enormous treasure of their heritage for helping all of mankind wake up out of our collective dream.


[25] Roberts, G. Chinese President Xi Jinping: What Is His Background? Unz Review March 3, 2018.

[26] For teaching IDL to children and using it within the context of families, see Dillard, J. “Ending Nightmares for Good.” Berlin: Deep Listening Press.

[27] There currently exists vast resources examining the relationship between economic and corporate behavior and that of personality disordered individuals, such as sociopaths. For example, see Balkan, J. (2003). The Corporation.

[28] However this is by no means meant to imply that Master K'ung did not use concepts like “conscience, ” which are attempts at internal regulation and accountability. IDL does not view “conscience,” “intuition,” “Kingdom of Heaven,” or “higher self” as inner sources of objectivity, as interviewed emerging potentials are, because these concepts are found, upon close examination, to usually be internalized external sources of objectivity rather than innately and authentically alternative perspectives. Or, they may be state realizations that take one perspective on truth and use it to codify both Truth and Reality. However, the Taoist concepts of Teh, the ability of anything to follow its own nature and Yi, the best way of doing things, may come closest in Chinese thought: “The wise man neither deviates from the way inherent in his inner own inner nature nor causes others to stray from the ways of their own inner natures.” “When a tao has teh, then yi prevails. When yi prevails, then a tao has teh. 'It is by self-activity that all things fulfill themselves. . . . The intelligent man [accepts] each man's way as best for himself. And he performs the same service for all other beings, for he willingly recognizes that, by following its own nature, each thing does the best that can be done for it.” (Bahm, 1992, p. 27.)

[29] One example of this process is the dream sociometric interview of a number of elements associated with the waking nightmare of 9/11, as “Terrorists Attack America,” posted on IntegralDeepListening.Com.

[30] “We usually get into trouble when we forget that yang and yin go together and need each other, and dualistically lock ourselves into either side of a polarity. Confucius goes on to point out that it is “natural for men to be social and that the principles of initiation and completion (yang and yin) permeate human association also in ways that are obvious to anyone who takes the trouble to recognize them.” Archie J. Bahm, A., Confucius, New York: Weatherhill, 1969, reprinted by Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press, 1992. p. 26.

[31] “Opposition is the source of all growth,” said Confucius. “”Oppositeness will continue forever, no matter how many opposites may come and go.” Bahm, A. Tao Teh King, by Lao Tzu, New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing, 1958, p. 15.

[32] For example, see the Stanley Milgram shock experiments, which have been replicated, and which show that over 60% of both sexes will deliver a shock they believe to be lethal to subjects in their presence.

[33] The advantages of incumbency create a 90% chance of re-election, meaning term limits are the only rational alternative.

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