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

Bryan O'DohertyBryan O'Doherty is an entrepreneur, writer/blogger, husband and father of three. He grew up in Portland Oregon (US) and graduated from Portland State University with degrees in Architecture and Japanese. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest. You can read more from him on his blog at


The Peaceful Path to
an Integral Society

Bryan O'Doherty

"Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary."
--Mahatma Ghandi, Satyagraha Leaflet No. 13
What is needed is a shift of the dominant global culture from Green to a healthy Integral stage. I do not believe that such a healthy expression of Integral is likely to sprout from the barrel of a gun.

How do we get from where we are right now as a species, to a global society centered on the Integral stage? How should the Integral community move society in this direction, before it is too late? These are the questions that seem to be at the heart of a recent string of discussions at Integral World as well as at Beams and Struts and other places.[2]

Over the last 10 years I have spent much of my free time studying the political and economic theories of the 19th and 20th century's greatest minds. I have studied the US "Founding Fathers," as well as Marx, Bakunin, Proudhon, Spooner, Tucker, George, Mises, Keynes, Hayek, Friedman and son, Rand, and Rothbard among others. As I studied more and more, my political, and economic views became more radical. I suppose that ignorance is the root of acceptance of the status quo. The more I learned, the less I was able to accept that government had any moral or ethical justification to exist at all. I began to study the works of contemporary anarchists such as Molynuex, Block, Long, the late SEK3, Graeber and others far too numerous to mention.

Concurrent with all of this extracurricular activity (I only hold two bachelors degrees in fields unrelated to politics and economics and have no plan to re-enter academia), I was also reading Ken Wilber, who really hit a nerve with me. About three years ago, I began to look at the political and economic theories I was researching and try to apply AQAL to them to see what stuck. How could an Integral society function politically, and more importantly; how should an Integral society function politically?

What is the Goal?

When thinking about the organization of an Integral society, one first must have a goal. What is the function of society in general, and Integral society in particular? Humans are naturally social animals, we are told. People the world over form family groups, which expand into larger kinship groups or clans, which then grow into tribes, and ethnic groups, nations, all the way to humanity as a species-family and the oneness of the whole universe. Society is simply the sum of all interactions between the individual conscious whole-parts of the kosmos.

As the pinnacle of consciousness in the known universe, humanity has by far the most impact on this sum total. And the sum total has a value. The sum total can result in destructive consumption of the planet, or enriching husbandry of the planet. It can result in the slavery of the human species, or unleash the free creative potential of the human species. It can suppress spirituality, the arts and sciences, or it can foster their exponential growth.

If the Integral community then, were to iterate a set of goals for an Integral society[11] what would they be? I will not pretend to have the final answer on that question, but I can give you my idea based on the works of Ken Wilber and many of the contributors to Integral World. I think we could all agree on at least the following:

  1. An Integral Society must fully integrate all other levels of the spiral of consciousness. It must honor them fully and encourage them to exist in their healthiest possible form.[1]
  2. An integral society must heal the Earth from the ravages of humanity's flatland materialistic adolescence. It must encourage good husbandry of our planet (and our kosmos).
  3. An Integral Society should function in a way that encourages the "greatest depth" (both UR and UL) of wellbeing for the "greatest span" of the population. In other words it should encourage both the material wellness, as well as the mental and spiritual wellness of the greatest number of people possible.

Using axioms like the ones outlined above, we can look at our societies and judge them, positively or negatively, based on whether or not they meet those stated goals. Looking at the dominant modern/postmodern society we have in the West, which has organized itself into a number of social democracies of various types, we can easily see that:

  1. They cannot integrate all levels. At worst they simply enforce the dominant vMeme at the expense and alienation of all others, at best they achieve a series of ever shifting compromises and half solutions that make no one happy and typically end up either making problems worse, or creating whole new problems that never existed before.
  2. Our society cannot heal the earth when its political and economic systems are based upon the vigorous exploitation of its resources.
  3. Our society, with its extreme top down management structure, is incapable of doing anything other than enriching the few at the expense of the many.

The root of these problems, in my opinion, is that our first tier social structures (the height of which is the postmodern "social democracy") are pathological expressions of social organization. In this essay I would like to make the case that such pathologies will prevent the achievement of a truly healthy second tier society, and at the same time illuminate what I believe is the most ideal path toward achieving such a society.

Three Methodologies for Social Change

"Aggression is simply another name for government. Aggression, invasion, government, are interconvertible terms. The essence of government is control, or the attempt to control."
--Benjamin Tucker, Address to Unitarian Ministers (1890)

There is a great exchange which occurred in December of last year, between Mark Michael Lewis and Jeff Salzman which I highly encourage people to watch.[3] In the exchange Mark very eloquently describes the two general methods people use to achieve their goals. These are force and persuasion. If I want something from you, I have two choices. I can persuade you to give it to me, for example, by proposing to give you something you might value in exchange. The other way in which I can achieve the same end is by forcing you to give me what I want. The only question that Mark and Jeff seemed to disagree on is when is it appropriate to use force rather than persuasion?

That question is really the single most important for the integral community to answer, clearly and in no uncertain terms. Because there is really nothing in AQAL itself that says "persuasion is better," or "force is better." Rather it is my position that one method leads to a healthy society and one leads to a pathological one. In other words, we may have an Integral society, but if we are not careful it may be a pretty ugly and mean version of Integral.

So we have force on the one hand and persuasion on the other, yet I mentioned three methodologies. The third methodology was also described by Mark in his exchange with Jeff, although he never gave it a name of its own. That method is one I will call "force by proxy." Force by proxy, as opposed to overt force, occurs when we use persuasion in order to convince either the democratic majority, or the responsible authority (i.e. lawmaker) to create a law that furthers our goal. This law, once passed, is then imposed by force (or the threat of force) on all members of society. This third methodology is somewhat of a compromise between persuasion and force, and (although I disagree) it is widely accepted as the most legitimate and effective "peaceful" means to affect social change. It is also far more efficient than overt force.

The important thing to remember is that of the three methodologies mentioned only persuasion is truly peaceful. Only persuasion honors the will of each individual and I believe that is of primary importance to the health of any society at any level of development. To the degree that aspects of society are governed by force (overt or proxy) rather than persuasion, there appears to be a correlation to social pathologies; tyranny, slavery, war, poverty, genocide, environmental destruction. These things follow from the use of force as a method to control society.

"When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called "the People's Stick.""
--Mikhail Bakunin

I protest against every order with which some authority may feel pleased on the basis of some alleged necessity to over-rule my free will. Laws: We know what they are, and what they are worth! They are spider webs for the rich and mighty, steel chains for the poor and weak, fishing nets in the hands of government.
--Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

It is often remarked by critics of government (systemic force by proxy), that as "lawmakers" create more and more laws, they make criminals of us all. Who could possibly comprehend the literally hundreds of thousands of pages of laws on the books?[4] The US Code is over 200,000 pages by itself, and does not include State or local laws. The problem is so widespread, in fact, that most people break laws every day, many without even being aware of it. That many of these laws are not even known or understood by those that enforce them is not surprising. Thus, thankfully, many laws are only lightly enforced or are not enforced at all.[5] But the fact remains that a law on the books could be enforced at any time should those in power decide to do so. We are a society of criminals. The vast majority of us are simply "on the lamb."

"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."
--Ayn Rand

So we have two (or three) methods of reaching our social goals. How do we know which method is appropriate to which situation? How do we answer the question; "when is it appropriate to use force, rather than persuasion?"

There are essentially two foundational moral premises that determine the answer and they are irreconcilably opposed. All people operate on one of these two basic premises, most without consciously articulating them. One premise states: "The ends can justify the means." The opposed premise states: "The means must justify themselves." The former is by far the more dominant premise and drives a lot of our daily social interaction, from politics to business, and even within families and communities. But I believe it is that premise which is at the root of all social pathology. Everything from crime, to political corruption, to social unrest, to environmental destruction, to war is rooted in the premise that "the ends can justify the means."

If one lives by that premise (the ends can justify the means) all three of the above-mentioned methodologies are ultimately legitimate means to obtain any goal; persuasion, force by proxy, and overt force are all on the table. This is very easily observed in children. Take a child that wants to play with a toy that another child is currently playing with. The very young child (1-2 years) will simply try to take the toy (overt force). This action is typically corrected by an adult and the child learns that overt force is not considered an acceptable means to gain possession of a toy. An older child may try persuasion first by asking for the toy, and if that fails may appeal to an authority to gain the toy, "Mommy, Billy won't share!" (force by proxy). If the attempted force by proxy doesn't work or is unavailable, the child will either resort to overt force or will protest the situation loudly and tearfully. I am no child psychologist, but I am a father of three, and I observe the above every day. What I see is the illustration of our society in miniature. Scaled up a billion fold, the above is a perfect example of the way in which much of our society currently functions.

On the other hand, when one lives by the premise that the means must justify themselves, force in either form becomes a much more difficult means to justify. Say for example I want rich people to lend financial support to the poor. The end is certainly desirable. Poverty is terrible, as anyone who has experienced it knows, and the wealthy can certainly afford to help those in need. I might first speak to the rich man and try to persuade him to help. But what if that fails? Am I then justified in using force (overt or by proxy) to take from the rich man and give to the poor? Would then, the wealthy be justified in using force to defend against such aggression? What other undesired outcomes might result from my use of force, not only on the wealthy, but also on the poor? What are the overall social consequences of this and other similar uses of force? Most importantly, were my ends realized? Is poverty thusly eliminated? And if the end is not realized, how then can we justify our prior use of force?

It is by asking these questions that we stumble upon what I see as the "nail in the coffin" of the premise that "the ends justify the means." Namely, it is the fact that the ends cannot possibly be known. We cannot see the future. We cannot know all of the millions of variables that will affect the outcome of our actions. As much as we might like to think we can, we cannot predict the blowback, the unintended consequences, of using force. I, for one, don't want the karmic baggage that comes with supporting a system built on the use of force.

That is the 1st Tier's seemingly inherent pathology in my view; "the ends justify the means" thinking is, in my opinion, a pathologic meme that it seems is sadly an inevitable part of coming through first tier in the absence of any healthy overarching second tier social or cultural structure. It is at 2nd Tier consciousness that we have the tools to start to really examine this dichotomy for the first time. It is at Integral that we gain the capacity to really view our means through multiple different lenses. To not only recognize another's view as equal and legitimate, as in Green pluralism, but to actually inhabit that perspective, to see the world again through that lens, and to integrate it consciously into our being. It is then that we can perceive that our own worldview is not as certain as it seems, but is itself a partial view that will continue to evolve, and that we are never capable of predicting all of the various "ends" that will result upon the implementation of our "means."

Second tier consciousness provides humanity the ability to inoculate, for the first time, the entire first tier against its dominant pathological moral premise. If we can achieve that, I believe we will have a healthy society that is not only centered on Integral, but that also integrates and encourages healthy first tier sub-societies within its overall framework.

As I explained in my prior essay, Panarchy; The Integral Social Matrix[6], I believe that there are healthy expressions of every level of development that do not require force to be the primary engine of social organization. What is clear from an observation of human history, however, is that such healthy expressions are highly unlikely to develop in a vacuum. What is needed is a shift of the dominant global culture from Green to a healthy Integral stage. I do not believe that such a healthy expression of Integral is likely to sprout from the barrel of a gun—through violent uprising and revolution, as is espoused by Joe Corbett[2]. In my view such a path would, at best, lead us to a mean version of Integral that could take decades to struggle out of, and at worst to a regression to some baser sort of First Tier tyranny.

"But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever."
--George Orwell, 1984

So is there ever a time when force is justified?

I believe there is a very simple rule that can help us here. Let us call it "the inverse of the golden rule." The golden rule states "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The inverse would then state that, "You are justified in doing unto others as they are doing unto you." This is somewhat similar to "an eye for an eye," but with one significant difference. That is that being justified in doing something is not a demand that you do it. It's not a mandatory sentence. It's merely a guideline I use to "draw my line in the sand," so to speak—to identify the lengths to which I am justified in going to fight injustice.

By following this rule we see that, for example, if a segment of society uses force-by-proxy to make you bail out bankers. Overt force against bankers and their puppets in Washington is not justified. But certainly, dissent in the form of tax evasion, protest, and other means is justified. Similarly, with upcoming gun control measures; once the ban comes on various types of firearms, magazines etc., the appropriate and justifiable response is to disobey the unjust law, not to start shooting.

It is my view that in the face of overt force, a response in kind is justified, regardless of the color of law, however I would caution that people use their best judgment as to where they draw that line in the sand. As for me, it will have to get pretty bad before I will give up on persuasion and peace. If I see my neighbors being hauled off to FEMA camps for thought crimes, or if I feel in danger of something similar happening to myself under the guise of "national emergency," "domestic terrorism" or any other Patriot Act nonsense, I will do what I can to survive and remain free. But I am certainly not looking for a fight, and I am still optimistic that the transition to the next paradigm can be made through peaceful means, via persuasion. That is what I hope the Integral community will focus on.

The Peaceful Means of Transition

"If your highest values require murder and theft, you will not like the agora. Still, you have not wasted your time as you have just read an introduction to the thinking of your worst enemy."
--SEK3, The Agorist Primer

Persuasion is the only peaceful means of transitioning to a new Integral social paradigm. Changing the minds and hearts of a critical mass of people to recognize the pathologically violent means that our traditional societies employ is a necessary part of that transition. Without that inward change in the hearts of the masses, we will be doomed to struggle through more of the same.

Today, the largest and most efficient manifestation of this pathology on earth is the modern welfare-warfare-corporate-state. What I mean by corporate-state is the current dominant order, which consists of a relatively few privately owned banks and major industrial concerns who have used their wealth to influence the state machinery to the degree that they are nominally in control of it. This controlling influence has allowed them to accumulate even more wealth over the last century, and consequently more control of the state apparatus. This in turn provides them with power to influence the direction of global politics in their favor. The result is a downward spiral toward tyranny, where we live under the illusion of freedom and democracy, but in actuality all decisions of any importance are made, not by the citizens, but by the private interests that control the state.

The modern corporate state is not a "capitalist" or free market system, and it is not a "socialist" or communist system either. It is instead an incredibly complex system that deftly uses elements of capitalism, socialism and fascism to create a hybrid form. The media in turn is used as a propaganda arm to keep the population politically divided. The division is an illusory but essential method of control. By tightly controlling the terms and boundaries of the social debate, the population is left squabbling over minutia, rather than examining the real issues, and exploring real solutions. The population is presented with the illusion of control. We elect our leaders, we are told, and this gives the citizens the power to make change. But in fact, all leaders in offices of any importance are carefully selected by those who hold the real power so that the status quo is maintained. Candidates for office who cannot be controlled are marginalized and excluded to ensure that they do not upset the carefully balanced order. Make no mistake, the corporate state and those who control it are well aware of the work Ken Wilber, Don Beck, and others in the integral movement, and are using those integral tools to keep us under their thumbs.

If this sounds like a conspiracy theory, so be it. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. As they say, to find the truth of the matter, one need only follow the money. Where does the money go? If you watch closely it is pretty easy to discover who really holds the reigns of power in our society.


"And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."
--Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor (28 May 1816)

"We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world — no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men."
--Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom (1913)

"Money plays the largest part in determining the course of history."
--Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto

Therein lies the key to affecting a peaceful transition. Money. Money is the fuel of any economic engine. Control the money supply and you control the economy. Control the economy and you control the society, including its government. This is well understood by the central banks of the world, and the people that own and control them. Therefore, the key to transitioning to any new paradigm will depend on undermining the existing monetary and economic system, while simultaneously implementing a new system that will meet the needs of a new healthy Integral paradigm.

In order to understand how to undermine the dominant economic system we must understand how it functions. To help us understand our economic system as a whole we need a few definitions. There are four types of "market" that any human interaction falls under[7]. They are:

The White Market: This is the "above board" regulated market where most commercial transactions take place. It is violent in nature as it is "regulated" by the "legitimate authority." Regulation is a form of force or coercion designed to "scare" market actors into behaving in a proscribed way, or else face consequences from some "authority." The White Market is where you get your paycheck, pay your taxes, apply for various licenses, etc.

The Grey Market: This is an unregulated market where the goods and services traded are nonviolent and are also not considered illegal by the state, but none-the-less the transaction occurs without the state's knowledge and outside any regulating or taxing authority. Examples include things like garage sales, paying the neighbor kid to mow your lawn, or baby-sit for you, giving gifts or trading things without exchanging money. Paying with cash or receiving cash for a good or service and not reporting the income, etc.

The Black Market: Although infamous the black market is absolutely vital to any economy. It is essentially any illegal, yet nonviolent transaction. Hiring an illegal alien to do work for you (or working as an "alien" without the "proper paperwork"), buying or selling certain drugs, engaging in or soliciting prostitution, practicing certain professions without a license, trading in certain goods that are outlawed (moonshine, cuban cigars, raw milk), etc.

The Red Market: Sometimes confused with the black market, the Red market is any illegal and violent transaction. The Red Market includes Racketeering, running fraudulent scams or cons, assassination (murder for hire), theft, etc.

The four markets are really just subsets of all human interaction—the total social economy, divided along lines of morality on the one hand (is violence or coercion being used) and state sanction on the other (does the government approve, or is it legal?). This creates four quadrants (oh my) corresponding to; legal and violent (white), legal and non-violent (grey), illegal and non-violent (black), and illegal and violent (red). If we understand the above distinctions and we are interested in fostering healthy societies (at any stage of development) then it is easy to see that the first step is to encourage the use of non-violent (grey and black) market transactions, rather than violent (white and red) market transactions. This practice is what SEK3 calls "counter-economics."

It is better, from an ethical standpoint, to pay someone and receive payment for one's own services "under the table," than to fill out a form 1099, and there is no reason to feel any guilt should you wish to celebrate 420, or engage in the worlds oldest profession. From an ethical standpoint, there is nothing wrong with any of those choices. It is only when our actions become violent that we have a problem, regardless of whether the violence occurs under the color of law or not.

By practicing counter-economics—gradually basing our day-to-day activity in the grey and black markets, we sap the white and red markets of their strength. The state relies on the white market to support its existence. As the white market weakens, and more and more activity shifts to the grey and black, the state and all the mega-corporations that depend on its favors weaken as well.

"Corporations are legal fictions created by the State to shield executives from liability... It's like if I had a little hand-puppet, and I went to rob a bank, and the hand-puppet held the little gun and told people to hand over all the money, and then the hand-puppet grabbed the money and ran out, and then I got caught and I handed the hand-puppet over the police and then the police tried the hand-puppet, put the hand-puppet in jail, and I get to keep all the money."
--Stefan Molyneux

A Peaceful Transition Toward Integral Panarchy

"The peoples' revolution .... will arrange its revolutionary organisation from the bottom up and from the periphery to the centre, in keeping with the principle of liberty."
--Mikhail Bakunin

We all are familiar with the pattern of violent revolution as it has happened in America, France, Spain, Russia and other countries around the world. Is violent revolution a legitimate means of securing an integral future? Should the political situation deteriorate to the point of overt oppression and tyranny, I might say yes. But as long as we still have the freedom to affect a peaceful transition through persuasion, then it remains the only ethical means at our disposal.

But how would such a transition look, and what would be the end result? Visionaries from Proudhon, to Tucker, to Spooner, to de Puydt have all described a vision of a world without the state. In my opinion each has a value to add to the overall picture. In recent generations the work of SEK3, Walter Block, Stefan Molyneux and Robert T. Long is quite compelling to me. They paint us a picture of a fundamentally peaceful path forward, and an end result that is entirely capable of accommodating all manner of social vMemes in a sort of Market of Communes, a Great Agora, or as I prefer to say, a Panarchy. Let me now take us down such a path. I am, of course, incapable of predicting the future. But I do know that only by utilizing healthy means to affect change, can I be sure that the ends will be healthy as well.

Phase 0: The world we live in

"Some oppress in the name of right, the others revolt in the name of liberty, to become oppressors themselves, if their turn should come."
--Paul Emile de Puydt, Panarchy (1860)

Let us begin in the world as it is. At this phase the integral community is in a state of confusion about its political identity. Integral has yet to cement a dominant political ideology. Every stage/wave eventually does, but integral is in that early stage of self-discovery where the direction it takes is yet to be decided. The critical choice now for integral is whether it will create yet another society based on violence and coercion, or whether it will be a society based on persuasion and voluntarism. This is where we start. At this point there are several integral thinkers who have various ideas about the most effective path forward. As I have established earlier, these various proposals are separated by their ethical foundations. Either, "the ends can justify the means," or "the means must justify themselves."

In Phase 0, the majority of the community will sway in one direction or the other, and will thus determine the course of our future. Let us assume for this discussion that the integral community sways toward a healthy, non-violent approach to social change. Let's imagine that we choose persuasion and peaceful, positive action in our own lives.

Phase 1: Integral Panarchists; the invisible minority

Once a majority (or even a large enough minority) of the integral community has chosen to ally themselves in an "Integral Panarchist" movement, we have moved on to phase 1. Now is the time for education and recruitment. The advantage that the integral community has is its ability to speak to all levels of the spiral at their level. The integral community should recruit panarchists from every level, and show them healthy expressions of their own wave, while encouraging them toward further growth.

During this phase real integral panarchists are few and far between, but are connecting either through virtual communities (online through blogs, forums and meet-up groups), or perhaps in some cases are creating physical "intentional communities" in various locations. The goal of these communities should be two-fold; education and recruitment of new panarchists, and forming and strengthening bonds with other groups of panarchists. In this phase a proto-alliance of panarchist communities should be formed. This could be as simple as an online clearing house of intentional communities[9].

Bonds of counter-economic trade and mutual cooperation should be made, as well as efforts to organize, educate, and influence social change in a positive, healthy direction. It should not matter, from an integral panarchist perspective, what the internal vMeme of any one community is, so long as the ethical basis of each community is rooted in a healthy moral foundation that rejects the initiation of violence as a means toward any social end. In other words, socialist communes, libertarian enclaves, religious compounds, eco-villages, neo-tribal groups, and so on, can all coexist and cooperate in an integral panarchist framework, so long as their guiding ethical foundation states that, "the means must justify themselves."

Phase 2: The "Panarchist Threat"

"There is not a tyrant in the civilized world today who would not do anything in his power to precipitate a bloody revolution rather than see himself confronted by any large fraction of his subjects determined not to obey. An insurrection is easily quelled; but no army is willing or able to train its guns on inoffensive people who do not even gather in the streets but stay at home and stand back on their rights. Neither the ballot nor the bayonet is to play any great part in the coming struggle; passive resistance is the instrument by which the revolutionary force is destined to secure in the last great conflict the people's rights forever."
--Benjamin Tucker, Individual Liberty (1926)

Once a framework has been established the tiny minority of panarchists grows in two ways. Firstly, though the increasing numbers of people moving from first tier to second tier consciousness, searching for fellowship with others on their own wave, and discovering the nascent integral panarchist communities. Secondly, through the education and outreach activities of the various panarchist communities to the surrounding first tier population, those who are not yet at integral are still nevertheless capable of adopting a healthy (non-violent) manifestation of their own wave in the spiral.

As the panarchist communities grow every effort should be made to interact in positive ways with the surrounding non-panarchist communities. The goal is to influence opinion by example—to live what we preach. By doing so we can extend the "period of grace" from state oppression as it will be incredibly difficult for the corporate state to suppress the panarchist movement if it is looked at positively by the general population.

Sooner or later, the corporate-state will very likely act against the growth of this new "threat" to their existence. The counter-economics practiced by these communities will begin to have a noticeable impact on the corporate-state's income. This will be a dark and dangerous time for panarchists everywhere. First will come a propaganda onslaught by the media. The panarchists will be demonized and ridiculed. They will be made the popular "enemy" of good society (this is similar to how the media treats both the occupy movement and the tea party movement). Then will follow threats and intimidation. Examples will be made of practicing counter-economists and mass arrests and imprisonment are quite probable. It is during this time of persecution that defensive force may be justifiable. But in all cases, panarchists should take care to ensure that such force is always used in self-defense. It will not help the cause to make martyrs of the enemy.

The primary strategy during this time should be for panarchists to go underground. To continue their education and recruiting activities, using the actions of the state against the state, highlighting injustices and creating alternative sources of information and underground media. By going underground the panarchists will not only protect themselves, but will further their cause among the general population. As the corporate state becomes more desperate, their methods will become more and more oppressive and will increasingly alienate and antagonize the general population, which may have initially been ignorantly sympathetic to the state.

During this time, it will be impossible for a panarchist to receive justice through existing systems. Rather than looking to the existing corporate-state "injustice system" for resolving disputes, panarchists should begin efforts to create alternative systems of arbitration and dispute resolution. This is an area where integrals can really shine. "Dispute resolution organizations," or "protection insurance agencies,"[10] or "communal councils;" what they are called is less important than their function, which is to provide arbitration services and to represent, "make whole," or otherwise protect their subscribers from violations on their person or property. The formation of these agencies during this phase will be important when dealing with the problems of the next phase.

Phase 3: The Panarchist Majority

Man's rights can be violated only by the use of physical force. It is only by means of physical force that one man can deprive another of his life, or enslave him, or rob him, or prevent him from pursuing his own goals, or compel him to act against his own rational judgment.
--Ayn Rand

We will reach phase 3 on the day that more than 50% of the overall economy is in the counter-economy, and more than half of the population either considers themselves panarchists, or are sympathetic to the anti-state cause. The former will occur long before the later (likely just before the darkest days of phase 2). However it will be at this point that the corporate state is likely to do something insanely destructive as a last resort to maintain power. It will be the job of the now-established protection agencies of various types, to be vigilant against the tantrums of the ever-weakening corporate state. But there is now light at the end of the tunnel. Rather than panarchists living underground and scattered across territories controlled by the state and their enforcers, the state and its apparatus is, by stage 3, surrounded by territory that is entirely out of its control and is on guard against it. The state no longer has the power to crush the panarchy via overt force. Increasingly the remnant state is struggling to keep its remaining citizens. A vast majority of its military resources must be focused inward. As the years pass, the difference in quality of life and overall wealth between the now-isolated states and the panarchy becomes more and more stark. Given the fact that anyone is welcome to freely enter the panarchy, the only way the states will be able to retain their citizens is by forcing them to remain. Walls, barbed wire, and minefields were the preferred methods used by 20th century despots. In the 21st century it will be sub-dermal GPS trackers, surveillance drones, and other high-tech horrors, which even now militaries around the world are developing.

The objective in phase 3 has moved from a struggle for freedom from the corporate state to containment of the remnants of the corporate state. This will primarily fall upon the various protection agencies. It will be necessary to create some method of organization and cooperation between various protection organizations. This will likely take the form of a charter, or other common law form of agreement that will be adopted and signed on to, similar in many ways to how insurance agencies interact today. Whatever form it takes, these agencies will be incentivised toward peace. War is expensive, and the cost would be born by the agencies, who in turn gain their revenues from subscribers. Subscribers would be free to switch agencies at any time, so in turn the subscribers have an incentive to choose agencies with the most peaceful record (and lower rates).

Phase 4: Integral Panarchy is Realized Globally

When people speak of ideas that revolutionize society, they do but express the fact that within the old society, the elements of a new one have been created, and that the dissolution of the old ideas keeps even pace with the dissolution of the old conditions of existence.
--Karl Marx, The Manifesto of the Communist Party

Over time the panarchy spreads. It may not always be a peaceful transition. In fact it is almost certain that there will be casualties. But for the most part, such casualties will be caused in the name of the State, or in defense from state aggression. A true panarchist, worthy of the name, holds to the belief that the initiation of force is the highest form of evil, but that force, used in defense against such an antagonist, is good. This should be the guiding law: "The means must justify themselves."

My vision of a Global Panarchy is not utopian. Crime, poverty, ignorance, and vice will all still remain aspects of our society. But I believe that we will have a far healthier, richer, more sustainable and thoroughly integral society through panarchy. All people will have a home in communities that honor their unique position on the great spiral of consciousness unfolding.

Before closing let us return again to our original criteria and see how, by phase 4, we have met our goals.

  1. Integrating all levels: As early as phase 1 we see that the prime directive of the panarchy is to reach out to every level of the spiral and form communities that honor each level. By phase 4, the stunning diversity of communities at all levels of development cooperating in relative harmony with one another will create a world that is simply unimaginable today.
  2. Healing the Earth: Although not specifically dealt with in this essay, one aspect of panarchic common law, that is a direct derivative of the primary law that "the means must justify themselves," is that pollution and destruction of the environment becomes a crime of force, as surely as murder or theft. If a community upstream A pollutes the water for a community downstream B, then A has "stolen" B's access to that resource. This principal can be applied to any environmental problem, as such problems become an issue of forceful trespass of one party(s) against others. I think this item is worthy of an essay all by itself as it seems to me that most people have the erroneous belief that protecting the environment requires the use of force.
  3. The greatest depth for the greatest span: If you take out the largest organized source of human pathology, and institute in its stead a system of social organization that relies on voluntary human action, you have a recipe for a healthy society at all levels. In such a "melting pot" of communities, cooperating, trading, interacting; they will influence one another. Blue will influence Red, as Orange will Blue, etc., all up and down the spiral. This will happen in a much smoother way because the various vMemes will not be in competition with one another for control of the reigns of state power, and therefore will be more open to hearing one another's views.

In conclusion I want to ask the reader to think deeply—meditate and pray—on these ideas. Even if it doesn't happen in the way I envision, I hope that in the end the integral movement will make what I see as the healthy choice, and break the cycle of social pathology.[12]


[1] Ken Wilber's "Prime Directive." See: Wilber, Ken. "Some Thoughts on Integral Politics"

[2] See exchange between Joe Corbett, Elliot Benjamin, and Bryan O'Doherty at, as well as "Eight Perspectives On Integral Trans-Partisan Politics" at Beams and Struts.

[3] See:

[4] See:

[5] See:

[6] See: Panarchy: The Integral Social Matrix (2012)

[7] SEK3 describes this in greater detail in his "New Libertarian Manifesto." Although I sometimes label myself an agorist, I realize that agorism as a political ideology is still rooted in a first tier (green) materialist/pluralist/flatland view and is, by itself, inadequate to usher in a new integral paradigm, however I feel that it is healthy green (non-pathologic, all-be-it certainly agentic) and is probably the closest to Integral any political ideology has come (I include other forms of anarchy in that statement as well, although my personal bias is toward agorism), and as such provides us a steppingstone to what I would call an "Integral Panarchy."

[9] See, for example: The Intentional Communities Website at

[10] Stephan Molyneux uses the term DRO, while others such as SEK3 and Robert Long talk of "protection agencies."

[11] This is a somewhat more broad and interpretive question than the characteristics of Integral Politics that I described in my first essay. See: Panarchy; The Political Paradigm of an Integral Society (2012).

[12] For questions, comments, or to further the discussion, please visit my blog;

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