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.


So Long, Integral

Joseph Dillard

There is a growing and pressing sense of responsibility to get my own work out to the world as the walls of time close in on me.

So long, Integral, and thanks. When a person just leaves a community without explanation, most won't notice or care, but some do, and those people deserve an explanation. While such explanations can be read as justifications or rationalizations, I am not saying I am “right” in my reasons for leaving and I am not encouraging others to do so. And of course, one can never “leave” integral; its principles and worldview will forever remain important constituents of my own. No one touched by the Integral worldview ever leaves it; we simply synthesize it in our own way and use it to walk our walk, talk our talk, and dance our dance.

I have learned a great deal from the very intelligent, inspiring, and motivated people on the different Facebook Integral forums I have participated in, as well as from the feedback I have gotten on the various essays related to Integral that I have posted here, at Frank Visser's IntegralWorld.Net. Those who have disagreed with me have challenged me to think through my ideas, my biases, my prejudices, my worldview, my values, and how I can best use the time I have left in the world.

It has been a process of deep growth for me.

A deep sense of thankfulness and appreciation is foremost in my mind, as I have benefitted from Integral in so many ways:

From the multi-perspectival awakenings I have received from Ken's deep and provocative thinking,

To the challenge of applying his developmental model to real-life clinical issues with my clients,

To learning to think in terms of balancing four quadrants and tetra-mesh,

To appreciating different agentic and communal, yang and yin styles and times of growth,

To a deeper understanding of how multiple lines play significant roles in growth,

To appreciating development as a dialectic of distal and proximal selves, something I never learned from academia,

To the importance of core lines,

To a deep appreciation of the Pre/Trans Fallacy,

To the easy confusion of line with level development,

To how easy it is to mistake temporary state access for permanent enlightenment,

To imagine that such state access indicates transpersonal levels of development,

To understanding how easy it is to ignore injustice done in my name while imagining I am pursuing enlightenment,

To how easy it is for me to imagine that because I intend good that somehow that makes my actions and affiliations moral or ethical,

To discover how easy it is to regress into simplistic polarizing over-simplifications, like idealism/materialism, consciousness/unconsciousness, or 2nd Tier/Red.

To the uses and misuses of idealism,

To the ever-present potential for possession by elitism, exceptionalism, and grandiosity as a possibility for the very best, most intelligent, and most inspiring of any of us,

And most of all, to discovering how easy it is to spend my time fiercely debating points that are irrelevant to the vast suffering of humanity, largely to prove to myself that I know what I am talking about.

I owe a particular debt of thanks to Frank Visser, for creating his amazing IntegralWorld.Net, which welcomes all comers and posts essays on all things related to Integral without censorship or publisher proctoring of any kind. This is a concrete and astonishing demonstration of multi-perspectivalism. The enormous trove of essays published there have sharpened my understanding of many integral concepts while opening my eyes to important discriminations among integral ideas and major blind spots in the integral model as it now exists. Thank you, Frank!

I find it humorous that, like David Long, I am saying sayonara to Integral. While I have admired David's contributions to Integral and his ability to introduce it to a broader audience through his many videos, I have also disagreed with him publicly in a variety of ways on a number of issues. That reminds me of one of my favorite movies, “The Dark Crystal,” in which I enjoy the delicious irony of David in the role of a gentle, enlightened Mystic and myself in the role of one of an evil, selfish Skeksis (portrayed above).

The Dark Crystal is a classic retelling of the struggle between good and evil, seen as two sides of the same reality. While my reasons for leaving Integral are very different from those of David's, the loss of both perspectives represents something of a loss for Integral, at least as currently framed by its guiding lights, because it has not proven multi-perspectival enough to maintain the participation of people as different as David and myself. Frank Visser is also no longer a participant in debates or comments on various Facebook Forums, as best as I know, although he continues to publish essays by Integralists at Integral World.

The debates surrounding what constitutes an Integral worldview boils down to a debate about what values are paramount and where each of us draw our red lines: what we do not overtly or tacitly allow in our version of multi-perspectivalism.

My perception of integral leadership - not just Ken Wilber himself - is that there are indeed red lines, and that some of these matter. Here are mine:

  1. Endorsing as enlightened, “2nd Tier,” or “Integral” those who have a history of repeatedly abusing people and either are not apologetic or are apologetic but don't change their behavior.
  2. Ignoring or minimizing our own culpability via our passive (via personal benefit) or active (voting, etc.) for injustice and abuse done in our name.
  3. Ignoring or discounting science when its conclusions disagree with the Integral worldview.
  4. Censoring or blocking people Integralists disagree with. I don't find much that is multi-perspectival about that.
  5. There is a certain convenient hypocrisy about declaring “all is maya” and then at the same time demanding a cut-out or King's “X” for Shankara's/Nagarjuna's/mystic's Absolute Truth. While such may indeed exist, it provides a perfect way to rationalize why one won't give up one's own precious worldview, regardless. Ethically, it can be used to defend any violation of group norms.
  6. Supporting or remaining silent in the face of Western support of Israeli apartheid, drone bombings, illegal sanctions, and Russiagate. This amounts to a collapse of the reality of the external collective (LR) quadrant of social holons for Integral leadership. The integrity of my interior and individual (UL) intention and interior and collective quadrant (LL) values, definitely; but LR justice? Not so much.
  7. Persistent and determined resistance to acknowledging or addressing any of the above six. For example, to climb down from one's defense and support of one person, like Adi Da, Andrew Cohen, or Marc Gafni does not equate to eliminating a persistent and determined resistance to acknowledging that there is something about the Integral worldview that keeps Integralists supporting and defending people, untruths, and abuses that require confrontation and accountability. Another example: continue to hold one's nose and vote for Democrats just because they aren't Republicans or Trump. Really?

Looking over the list of contributors to Integral World, I can only think of two, beside myself, who have remained a regular voice on popular Integral Facebook forums. That would be Joe Corbett and Edward Berge. Most everyone else has said what they have to say and moved on, for reasons ranging from a mistaken sense of intellectual superiority to a simple lack of acknowledgement, lack of impact, or lack of receptivity. That is not so much the case for me. Judging by the number of “likes” I have generally gotten for my various posts on Facebook Integral Forums, agreement or support within Integral for positions I have taken has generally far outweighed the resistances and disagreements.

For myself, there is a sense of tiring of what has come to feel more and more like a metaphysical circle jerk combined with a calling to get my own work out into more public spaces before I die, which is becoming sooner rather than later with each passing day. There is a growing and pressing sense of responsibility to get my own work out to the world as the walls of time close in on me.

I thank all of you, whether you have agreed with my positions or given me the benefit of being challenged by your disagreements, and urge you to continue to add your thoughtful perspectives to those of the ongoing evolutionary process that is Integral.

I may well continue to show up with essays on IntegralWorld on issues relating Integral perspectives to this or that, so while this Skeksis is withdrawing from Integral forums, his shadow will continue to darken the Earth for a while longer. Ha ha!

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