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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Meanings of "integral"
Frank Visser
Since the use of the label "integral" has caught on like wildfire in recent years, resulting in an Integral Institute, Integral Psychology, Integral Research, Integral Developent, Spiral Dynamics Integral, Integral Coaching, etcetera, etcetera, it's high time to focus on this key concept.
I have come across many different interpretations of this term, an enourmous source of confusion:
Who can come up with more meanings of "integral"?
 the integration of the transpersonal and the personal  the earliest "spectrum of consciousness" view
 the integration of the individual and the social  seeing the sociocultural context of individual phenomena
 the integration of lines of development  cf. integral yoga, which is a synthesis of jnana, bhakti and karma yoga
 the integration of theory and practice  studying and practicing spirituality, or politics, or medicine, or art
 the integration of different theories within a field  cf. integral psychology, where does every school of thought fit in?
 the integration of inner and outer life  acknowledging biochemical correlates of consciousness, even of spirituality
 the nodifferentiation approach  no differentiation, let alone hierarchy, but "integration"^{1}
 the integration of all quadrants  at whatever level you are at.*
 the integration of states with stages in one's own being.*
 the integration of emptiness and form  in One Taste.*
 the integration of being and becoming  in sahaj.*
 and to save the best for last  the integration of all of the above !
* provided by Ken Wilber
1) This item might need some explanation. By definition, human development is a twin process of differentiation and (hierarchic) integration  meaning: the emergence of something new, and the rearrangement of the psyche under this new element. Without the concept of differentiation, the idea of integration can easily be misunderstood.
Without differentiation, integration is just the integration of "what is". Integration by itelf does not discover new levels or realms. Only by differentiation we transcend "what is". After every step of differentiation, integration is called for, but it is never a goal in itself.
February 2003
