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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Brad ReynoldsBrad Reynolds did graduate work at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) before leaving to study under Ken Wilber for a decade. Born in 1955 he has been a scholar of integral studies and the perennial philosophy for most of his life. He is currently an independent writer and graphic artist living in the San Francisco Bay Area where he also works in the computer arts industry. Brad Reynolds is also author of Embracing Reality: The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber (Tarcher, 2004) and Where's Wilber At?: Ken Wilber's Integral Vision in the New Millennium (Paragon House, 2006).

Transcending Trump

(Yet Including His Voters' Concerns)

Brad Reynolds

As pointed out in my previous essay, “Hillary Clinton's Loss Is Our Loss,” everyone contains within them the ENTIRE spectrum of consciousness, so therefore, all structures and worldviews, or ways of seeing the world, are available to everyone, at least in potentia. This stretches from the archaic views of primordial hunter-gatherers to the magical-typhonic views of tribal peoples to the mythic-membership views of traditional societies and religions to modern democratic nation-states to pluralistic worldcentric visions (that transcend borders and boundaries), and, ultimately, to yogic and enlightened visions that see all beings and events as arising in Divine Light. One of the principle characteristics of this developmental unfolding is that each succeeding stage “transcends-yet-includes” the previous structures, thus giving us overall a progressive movement in the evolution of consciousness and collective worldviews (as articulated, for example, by Ken Wilber and Spiral Dynamics). This has been called “Integral Theory,”[1] since it tries to integrate ALL of these various perspectives, honoring their strengths yet also understanding the limitations of each (with Enlightenment or God-Realization transcending-yet-including them all).

By recognizing the progressive evolution of consciousness, from a baby to Buddha, where all stages (and states) are available in both individuals and collective societies (all the way up, all the way down), then it becomes easier to label them by their defining characteristics. This is why Integral Theory came up with the rainbow COLOR-scheme to indicate the various “altitudes” or depth (or height) of any particular level or worldview. It's not a way to label a person, but to acknowledge their basic developmental point of view. Until a person can grok the jargon, however, learn the language, it might seem a little confusing or even off-putting (or arrogant), yet if used properly, and with compassion, such an approach also opens up new vistas of understanding previously hidden by seeing all views in a flatland of appearances.

Consequently, I previously suggested that between the two Presidential candidates in the recent United States election, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (b. 1947) and Donald John Trump (b. 1946), can each be viewed as representing different stages of development. That means their “center of gravity,” or average level, involves opposing worldviews within the spectrum of possibilities. Ms Clinton resides more around the level of GREEN, for this averages her tendencies toward ORANGE scientific views and the possibilities of integral thinking (or TEAL-TURQUOISE altitudes) — so let's identify her as GREEN overall. GREEN consciousness is “postmodern” by valuing pluralism and equality, thus it honors minorities and those living outside the norm, yet in its extreme form it's also very relativistic (i.e., believing there are no universal truths but only relative ones). GREEN, therefore, honors the average progressive-thinking and pluralistic-minded voter trying to be inclusive of all groups, including the legal equality of men and women. In addition, GREEN is highly sensitive to the Earth's natural ecology, as the name implies, thus supports alternative energy sources. These are the postmodern values that began arising in force during the 1960s, such as with the civil rights movement and a growing environmental awareness. GREEN has been struggling to transform our social institutions and humanity-at-large ever since.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, resides more in the lower levels of RED and AMBER, a step backward from ORANGE scientific thinking. RED is egocentric, vigilant, impulsive, and aggressive — so has “Strong Man” tendencies — while AMBER is ethnocentric, nationalist, and religious faith-centered, which I think defines much of Trump's constituency, his voters; so let's average Trump as being an AMBER meme (or altitude). Granted, I conceded that by being a successful businessman living in the modern world, benefiting from the rewards of democracy and capitalism, it's also fair to say Trump has individualistic ORANGE leanings (beyond his dyed hair) — the developmental level before GREEN pluralism. Yet AMBER is how he presents himself to the average voter.

Importantly, this AMBER altitude is also the center of gravity for many people in today's developed nation-states, particularly the rural United States, and the world-at-large, perhaps nearly half of the population. Thus, the people of the world today are embroiled in a massive conflict of worldviews, as the global situation amply shows. But, remember, everybody has all the levels of consciousness, all perspectives, within him or her (even if only in potential). Hence most people vacillate between several levels along the developmental spectrum. Nonetheless, each of us leans toward a certain “center of gravity” or average altitude that we identify with the most… that is, until we transform (or evolve) to higher levels (or altitudes) of development. Ultimately, we are encouraged to evolve to Divine Enlightenment, the realization of our oneness with God (or our inherent Buddhanature), the pinnacle of human evolution, according to the experts.

In today's world, the United States and the world altogether are caught in a “War of Worldviews” or an ideological conflict between the traditional AMBER worldview and the modern ORANGE worldview — sometimes called the “Clash of Civilizations” — evident, for example, in the wars of the Middle East. In this case, pluralistic GREEN values are often marginalized, even though they represent the leading-edge of evolution. This is a major thesis of Integral Theory. In a very real way, then, this too is the very conflict that arose during the 2016 US Presidential election. And this time AMBER won!

From this view, the foreseeable future will probably set the evolutionary thrust of history backwards, a regression into less evolved thinking and less pluralistic stances. This is exactly why I (and many others) fear we're in for a rough ride: that is, the religious-oriented, unscientific, mythic-membership level of consciousness wants to reverse the evolutionary progress of history that's been trying to secure the equal rights of all citizens, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual preference. They want to return to former, lower stages of political existence in order to “Make America Great AGAIN”! The Trump administration, now backed by a majority Republican Congress, is already gearing up to dismantle the progressive advancements made during the past several decades (such as with healthcare, climate change, abortion rights, and universal spiritual wisdom, etc.). Big trouble, in other words, for an emerging postmodern, pluralistic global culture. Sure, we can only hope Trump's independent thinking (outside the Republican agenda) helps reverse this course, but I doubt it.

Again, as stated in my previous essay, I truly believe Hillary Clinton's, and the Democratic Party's, election loss is our loss. It's a huge loss for diversity and compassion for others, especially the poor and disenfranchised, including, ironically, the unemployed “middle-class” or Trump voters who threw this country, and the whole world, backwards by giving him the 2016 Presidential election. Or that's what it looks like so far. Yet, we must include those angry voters who were so disgusted with the democratic system in the United States that they voted for such a regressive political possibility. Yet, in response, Clinton's GREEN altitude acknowledges this important truth too, as she admitted in her concession speech:

Our campaign was never about one person or even one election; it was about the country we love and about building an America that's hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted. We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America and I always will. And if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don't just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things: the rule of law, the principle that we are all equal in rights and dignity, freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values too and we must defend them.

Such embracing and noble ideas can only arise from a consciousness that is self-transcending, other-embracing, and enlightened beyond the tendencies of her times. This is why we needed Her, and not him, this time around. It's everyone's loss, all over the world too, not just in the USA, for we are some of the world's leaders, the leading-edge of human civilization. We have not only let ourselves down, as Americans, but we've also let the world down with the election of this dangerous demagogue Mr. Donald J. Trump. Sure, give him a chance, they tell us, and we will, but from an integral perspective we've seen enough already to know where he's coming from: the lower levels of consciousness development (or, actually, an arrested development). There's no way to sugarcoat that fact. May God bless us all — and may we get to work!

Transcending Trump

So, how do we transcend Trump? That is, how do we transcend AMBER magic-mythic thinking and RED power elites? By the transformation of consciousness; nothing else will do. The developmental Stages of Life are real (such as outlined by Adi Da Samraj's “Seven Stages of Life”[2]); they are universal currents that all human beings traverse in the course of their lifetime — or at least we have the potential to unfold them, if the conditions are favorable. There are two major phases in evolutionary development during a person's lifetime:

  1. The “Outward Arc” of growing from a newborn to an infant to a toddler to a child to a school kid to a teenager to an adult in establishing a mature stable ego (capable of effectively functioning in the world by handling family, jobs, and social relations, etc.) — what Wilber currently calls “Growing Up” (Adi Da's First Three Stages of Life); then
  2. The “Inward Arc” of spiritual development from a mature adult to an introspective and loving man or woman who engages in meditation and contemplative practices of ego-transcendence — what Wilber currently calls “Waking Up” (Adi Da's Fourth through Seventh Stages of Life).

Such “Growing Up” and “Waking Up” (then “Showing Up” and “Cleaning Up,” as Dustin DiPerna points out) are part of the leading-edge of evolution, the developmental history of the “Universe Story” (or “Big History”) that's been unfolding since the Big Bang (or the beginning of time), and which has become most active on Earth since the advent of human beings. “Growing Up” has generally been the province of culture and religious tradition, and was basically adequate by itself until we've become aware that we're now One Global Family (an awareness that's still not been fully realized by enough people) — that is, we're actually One Human Race — living on One Whole Earth (grounded in a single holistic biosphere). This is new to people, so we're adjusting. Now, since the dawn of the 20th-century, and particularly since the end of World War II, the unification of West and East, the “marriage” of science and spirituality, rationality and mysticism, has become the domain for “Waking Up” to our higher human nature. This is the all-important topic for many integral philosophers and transpersonal psychologists today. It was looking towards this universal unification that Integral Theory was born, and to which we all now need to resort.

But we knew this before Trump was elected. So what's changed? The realization that still too many people here in the United States have been left behind, not only economically, but also intellectually and spiritually as well. It is true; we need to have empathy for the misplaced workers who have lost manufacturing and factory jobs in the emerging global economy, and they've not been provided adequate opportunities to get new and better jobs… and evolve their consciousness. Yet both Clinton and Trump promised in their campaign to address these issues, but Trump apparently was more convincing for a variety of reasons. In any case, we all now must deal with Trump's victory, for he obviously represents a large group of people who were flying under the radar, so to speak, undetected by polls and pundits alike… and, unfortunately, by Clinton's own campaign.

However, only Clinton provided real plans (such as raising taxes on the rich to finance the infrastructure jobs aimed at those ailing middle-class workers), whereas Trump provided little details other than to cut taxes on the rich (what a surprise!), and then borrow money to create those jobs — basically very bad news for our future national deficit and debt. So what's going to happen? No one really knows. But just you watch: Trump's going to give away our children's future to bargain a deal for his legacy. In other words, short term goals, at best, while long-time needs we go vastly unmet (particularly the health of our planet). Yet, we all pray, this will not be the case.

Transforming Consciousness

So how do we transform consciousness so that all people, regardless of race or religion, can move from lower altitudes to more evolved stages of conscious awareness? How do we change AMBER to ORANGE to GREEN and beyond?

One method is to access higher “states” (or temporary “peek” experiences) of consciousness, for they are indicators of, or foreshadowing towards, our greater human potentials offered by the higher “stages” (or permanent adaptations) of life. Yet, this is tricky, for higher “peak” states do not come along easily, which is why many people are still stuck in lower levels of thinking. We must provide avenues for opening these higher states, yet without drug addiction and self-indulgence, so natural methods, such as meditation and contemplative prayer, weekend retreats, and studying the Great Wisdom Tradition (or Perennial Philosophy), are necessary. In other words, accessing higher states of consciousness must be grounded in a higher spiritual (and Enlightened) understanding. This is a great challenge, regardless of your economic status.

One suggestion has been to use traditional religion, which all have an esoteric (or inner-directed) branch that can potentially awaken higher states. Then these religions can act like a “conveyor belt” (in Wilber's words) to help lead ordinary people into higher states (then stages) of deeper understanding. In other words, esoteric religious practices expand our mind, and hence widen our embrace to other people and different ways of thinking. This means going beyond the exoteric (or outer rituals) and mythic-orientation found in today's major world religions. They've been based upon literal interpretations of ancient scriptures instead of accessing the deeper teachings of the Awakened Adepts themselves, the root source of all religions. Meditation, for example, is indispensible to humanity's further evolution, as it's been for millennia. This is why, for example, the popularity of “Mindfulness” (as taught by Buddhists) in today's society, from schools to the corporate world, has become such an important tool for mental health, a first step to higher-order integration and the raising of consciousness.

Another good step in “transcending Trump” is to stop the hate and to practice love, that is, to have empathy for people not “like you” (i.e., not like your group, your race, or your religion). Unfortunately, for example, I've seen YouTube videos of Trump supporters being beaten up by anti-Trump activists, which is NOT the proper way to get our message of non-violent tolerance and peace across to others. Tolerance can be learned and comes with higher moral development, which can be taught in a number of ways. Yet, this takes encouragement from your peers, from our social institutions, from our community, from our Arts, and, importantly, from our leaders, since this is a “four-quadrant” affair (as Wilber would say). Arts and music, for example, as always can help lead the way to higher consciousness, instead of just being an expression of reactionary anger and adolescent rebellion, or worse, mindless pop consumerism. We the people need to keep growing spiritually, beyond the limitations of mythic religions. “Being spiritual, not religious” is a popular dictum that leads to higher states of consciousness and more evolved thinking, as many people (and voters) have already discovered, but not yet enough of us.

I wonder, for example, how long it will be before we can have a President who can openly call himself or herself an “atheist,” or someone who transcends conventional religion, yet still is seen with high moral values? For people can be fully adequate to the job of governing without having to subscribe to a particular traditional religion, particularly Christianity. In fact, the US Constitution seems to favor such a “separation of Church and State.” How long before a leading political candidate can openly express an evolved spiritual view — and deep love for Real God (or our nondual Divine Condition) — without being ridiculed and threatened with violence by the cultic mind addicted to their particular parochial religious tradition? Our current 2016 election cycle was nowhere near this evolved possibility… for we couldn't even handle a decent GREEN candidate… let alone a woman!

Back To Green

Since Secretary Clinton failed to secure her ORANGE and GREEN base adequately, since she herself tends to see the world from an even higher perspective with tinges of true integral thinking, then there was an AMBER or traditional backlash to the leading-edge politics of GREEN pluralism. Thus the radical challenger Donald J. Trump pulled off a shocking upset! Apparently, it even surprised him and his party, for they listen to the polls too, which failed to adequately read the population. The college-educated professionals (who have benefited from the new global economy) and minorities (who were repulsed by Trump's xenophobia and racism) — Clinton's base —were apparently not quite large enough to offset the negatives on Clinton herself (e.g., she's an elitist, untrustworthy, etc.). Consequently, many voters voted for Trump as “the lesser of two evils,” which is amazing to many of us living at higher developmental levels that Trump could ever be considered the lesser “evil.” Apparently to the MAJORITY of American voters too, for let's not forget she won the popular vote (now by at least 1.5 million votes).

Amazingly, although Trump was obnoxious with his endless narcissistic tweets and reactionary attitudes, it seems many of his supporters took him seriously, if not literally. As some of Trump's commentators (such as Ann Coulter) noted: the media took him literally, but not seriously, while his voters took him seriously, but not literally… so they only laughed at the crazy things he said. “Fuck you 'all if you can't take a joke! At least he's a successful billionaire businessman!” At least he's anti-immigration and white… and a man. Over 60% of white men (and 53% white women) voted for Trump. As The Economist summarized: “The hapless Hillary Clinton might have won the popular vote, but she stood for everything angry voters despise.”[3] Consequently we've been left with fearful uncertainties about America's traditional role in the world, and what will take their place.

I can feel a very palatable fear in my friends and compatriots, and the media everywhere, over what's ahead as our country falls back. For example, an actor in the popular Broadway play Hamilton, Brandon Victor Dixon, eloquently announced to Vice-President-elect Mike Pence from the stage: “We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”[4] So what is going to happen? No one knows, and unfortunately, I'm not sure Trump does either. And worse, the so-called advisors (or “Cabinet”) he's gathering around him so far will guarantee a bleak future ahead, no matter how you look at it.

Obviously white America is still very WHITE so they were willing to overlook personal faults if someone supported their deep values, such as being anti-immigration, anti-globalization, pro-white, pro-gun, and a Christian anti-abortionist, and so on. They've been particularly angry, in my opinion, ever since the black African-American Barak Hussein Obama got elected eight years ago (by overwhelming majorities). In fact, birther-evangelist Donald Trump was at the leading edge of dismissing and publicly humiliating our duly elected President for years. No wonder white America gravitated to him so quickly. TV News channels lavished free airtime to him unlike never before. Thus the angry American won this election, barely… so to be truly integral we must see what they're angry about, beyond racial concerns, and have some empathy for them, since it's mostly about economics, stupid, not religion or good manners.[5] Once more, as The Economist, a liberal media magazine seems to summarize best this disgruntled situation:

Anger has sown hatred in America. Feeling themselves victims of an unfair economic system, ordinary Americans blame the ethics in Washington for being too spineless and too stupid to stand up to foreigners and big business; or, worse, they believe that the elites themselves are part of the conspiracy. They repudiate the media—including this newspaper—for being patronizing, partisan and as out of touch and elitist as the politicians. Many working-class white voters feel threatened by economic and demographic decline. Some of them think racial minorities are bought off by the Democratic machine. Rural Americans detest the socially liberal values that urban compatriots foist upon them by supposedly manipulating the machinery in Washington. Republicans have behaved as if working with Democrats is treachery. Mr Trump harnessed this popular anger brilliantly.

Although, as my previous essay maintained, Ms Clinton was coming from a higher level of consciousness, even a higher moral ground (which angers people who don't think like that, for such an integral analysis seems elitist — and it is, for you must learn or earn it — and arrogant — which it isn't, for it wants the best for everyone, not just one group).

Nevertheless, most non-college-educated working class people — including the “Rust Belt” (of PA, OH, MI, WI, and more) — had no inclination to see it this way, since they tend to live at AMBER, not even scientific ORANGE. Rather they moaned about Hillary Clinton as being part of the elite power structure that billionaire Trump was supposedly rallying against. This was primarily due to her long history in politics starting as the First Lady to President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, and then with her newfound wealth in the 2000s (paid partially by Wall Street lectures). Oddly, they overlooked the fact the Clinton Foundation is a very effective platform for helping people all over the world (thus they're very pluralistic by helping multiple nations); stealing and cheating was not their M. O. (as watchdog groups amply testify). But in many angry white voters' eyes she was simply part of the damn problem, not the solution. Our loss.

Yet, still, the venomous anger directed to Hillary, in my opinion, was simply shocking (and sick), especially by angry white Trump voters (e.g., they openly suggested killing her, a position anathema to any true democracy). Trump himself fueled this anger among his supporters by creating a cultic-like madness or fever against “Crooked Hillary” that left no hope for reason or empathic attitudes of tolerance. He even threatened to put her in jail if she lost the election (he'll probably let that one go).

Heck, Trump wasn't even really Republican — for the official Republican Party despised him — so he was the only real possibility in their aggrieved view to bring about radical change in order to “Make America Great Again”! Since from their poor white perspective things in America basically suck… and have for a while now, at least since the Republican great Ronald Reagan; maybe not since World War II when white America reigned supreme (for the rest of the world lay in ashes). So it's easier to blame Mexicans and gays, the media and government, instead of one's own worldview. For if you've lost your job, your steady income stream, then it's hard to be happy in this “Land of the Free” when you're barely able to make a living, let alone spend some money to buy things and live the consumer lifestyle seen on TV and in the movies — to actualize “the American Dream.” So Trump triumphed.

Nonetheless, based upon my examination of the evidence (which is, admittedly, not exhaustive but extensive), my essay suggested the overblown negative view of Clinton was a misguided misperception. Sure, she had her weaknesses and had made mistakes, but overall I found her very worthy of this Highest Office in the Land (though initially I voted for Bernie Sanders for I liked his ideas better). After living through Nixon, Reagan, and Bush, Hillary Clinton was the least of my worries. (Yes, I'm also a big admirer of Barak Obama, and his wife Michelle, genuine integral thinkers, in my opinion). In fact, I believe (like Michael Moore, and many progressives) that Hillary Clinton sincerely wanted to help ALL American people, not just her economic class or educated peers. I suggested, therefore, that this misconceived perception (greatly amplified by Republican propaganda; and partially due to her own actions) was based on surface values, and not by understanding the deeper values that Clinton genuinely holds, nor what's evident in her voting record and her articulated concerns expressed over the course of her dedicated life. Hillary was genuine, so I was “with Her” (though, honestly, I wasn't a big fan of that slogan).

I've been watching this woman for decades in the political arena and have come to favorably trust her sincerity and intelligence (as much as I can with a pubic figure I personally don't know). But, most important, I trusted her capability to get some positive things done for the majority of all people (Trump supporters included). She is a true politician, not an actor, who has cultivated extensive connections on both sides of the aisle (in Congress), and her agenda would have helped most of us, not just some. She was the only candidate presenting actual plans for putting people back to work, i.e., by taxing the rich to pay for building our infrastructure, unlike Trump, who doesn't like to pay taxes either (but who does?).

I wanted to give her a chance, not him. “Oh Sweet Jesus, please God, no. Anything but that; Come on!” Nonetheless, I also recognize Democratic Candidate Clinton failed to communicate her views properly and convince enough people she was there to represent everybody, not just the rich and the educated elite, but also the weakened middle class of America (and the “Rust Belt”) as well. I still maintain, as my essay said, her election loss is our loss, the people's loss. And we're going to pay a steep price for this failure to elect the first woman President in United States history. I wonder how many Trump voters have already begun to regret their misguided “fuck you” vote, now that they've seen what they've possibly done. Probably not many, yet. But, especially for Integralists, or those who transcend-and-include even GREEN, it will be devastating in so many ways, for Trumps' a dangerous asshole (there, I said it).

Nevertheless, I believe it's important for people not to become too cynical about the political system of modern governance. In the entire arc of world history never before have more people been able to participate in selecting their elected representatives. Thus, if there's a problem, it might be useful to look at whom you are electing. Elections are our public “term limits,” so it would be wise to vote for more worthy candidates.

And for all of the anti-“New World Order” conspiracy enthusiasts who do not believe any government or political leader or media outlet are sincere, or believe in what they preach, I suggest you look at your own RED narcissist tendencies, for you act like everyone else in the world is wrong and misguided, while only you (and your fellow conspiracy theorists) have the “real truth” about what's going on in the world. This leads to nihilism and cynicism, although, granted, you want everyone to wake up! But usually this only leads to anger and hatred, which infects the entire process with more negative, egoic energy. Sure, the elite power structures collude, in some cases, and try to influence outcomes to their benefit. We cannot be blind to those facts either. We've known about it ever since Marx. But, ultimately, we the people have shown we have the power to shape history by the people we vote into office — so vote consciously (not cultically)! That's my recommendation, not condemnation.

Looking Forward

At this time, we can only integrate Clinton's loss with a view to a greater embrace of Reality, to take the long view and see this as another example of the slow meandering progress of evolution. Evolution, in other words, has it's ups and downs; progresses and regresses; good news and bad news; so we move two steps forward, one step backward over generations of human history. Yet, ultimately, Spirit-in-action is leading us to a more Enlightened Society where people will live in love and compassion for all beings, where all borders unite us as One World Family, so our beauty and creativity may thrive. We know this, instinctively, for we can witness it in any individual human being who takes the trouble and time to evolve their own inner consciousness… so we see God present in the here and now and in the eyes and hearts of all living beings. It thus makes sense it could happen for the whole world as well… we see it in our children's eyes.

But for now, starting January 20, 2017, no doubt we will move backwards with a Trump Presidency and a conservative Republican political dominance around the nation (at least for two years). Yet this opportunity will also allow us to organize an active Resistance Movement to push forward in the coming years reaffirming the rights and health of all people. Even the Democratic Party has already realized it must change after this devastating defeat, and help protect the working class again; and not recapitulate on all the progress already made. It's time for young people, the so-called Millennials, to become politically astute and fight for their rights too. All of us, young to old, Democrats to Republicans to Independents, must each become more involved in protecting everyone's rights and upliftment to higher consciousness. As Martin Luther King, Jr., so memorably recognized: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” It just takes time! So it will be the same for us today. Indeed, Ms Clinton nobly announced as much in her first speech since losing the election: “Please listen to me when I say this: America is worth it. Our children are worth it.” Exactly correct.

So everybody hopes Trump will do the right things to really secure a good legacy. That he heeds some of President Obama's wise advice. He is our new President, after all. But, personally, I doubt it.

When it comes to the all-important topic (and reality) of climate change and global warming, and saving our planet for all future generations, then most people believe we truly have suffered a horrendous loss in electing Trump as President of the USA (at least according to his platform on climate concerns and his disregard for scientific facts). Yet, we cannot sink into despair, for the times are too urgent, the planet too fragile, people hurting too much, so therefore, like Hillary Clinton said in her first speech after her painful loss, she idealistically implores us with visionary advice:

Let's do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear; making our economy work for everyone not just those at the top, protecting our country and protecting our planet and breaking down all the barriers that hold any American back from achieving their dreams.

We've spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American dream is big enough for everyone — for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities. For everyone. So now, our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek. And I know you will.

From the integral perspective, then, how do we pro-actively “Transcend Trump”? First, as Wilber would maintain, we must become active in all “four quadrants,” i.e., work on our inner and outer development for ourselves and our society as we keep evolving forward. Quick tour: in the Upper-Left (individual consciousness) — keep studying, keep growing, start meditating, etc.; in the Upper-Right (individual behavior) — live Right Life, be healthy in body and mind and soul, handle business, take care of food, money, and sex from a spiritual perspective, etc.; in the Lower-Left (collective worldviews) — grow your own consciousness to grow the collective world, talk to your friends and family, participate in integral organizations and salons, vote for integral politicians, know your world history and learn about the evolution of worldviews (such as with Spiral Dynamics), etc.; in the Lower-Right (collective systems) — work to positively change your work place, your community, your state and nation, engage in planet-saving environmental works, plant trees, beautify the inner cities, make the world a better place for all human (and non-human) beings to live. Simple things like this will awaken and enliven all dimensions of the Kosmos within which we live (and die).

From an even higher spiritual perspective, study the Great Wisdom Tradition, or our collective inheritance of true religious culture bequeathed to us all from our wisest ancestors and awakened Adepts, men and women, black, brown, yellow, red, and white. By seriously studying the world's Spiritual Masters to see how they all essentially teach the same thing: peace, love, and happiness, awakening to the Divine — it may sound cliché, but it's true! Then practice their recommendations, as much as possible, so live right, eat right, treat others right, and start meditating so we can each evolve our consciousness to Perfect God-Realization, then, guaranteed, each person and the world altogether will find the peace and prosperity we're all searching for. Beyond politics, in prior unity. But it's not easy; never was; there will be set-backs, both individually and collectively, as this election reminds us. Remember and realize: the Truth that is the Good and Beautiful are real currents in our Kosmos, even greater than evil and darkness, for the Divine Light is the Eternal Truth of every universe, every possibility, every worldview. It's in that Conscious Light of Real God that we discover all evolutionary possibilities may be Realized, now and tomorrow, even when going backwards.


[1] “Integral Theory” has been called a “theory,” it is true, yet it's not just an intellectual exercise or wishful thinking, for it's based on scientific, psychological, and sociological evidence. But since it is appearing in a modern scientific world, the word “theory” is often used in deference to the concept that any group of ideas, even those based on “facts,” can be wrong, or proven inadequate, so it's open to modification. Somewhat like the Big Bang “Theory” is not 100% certain, although highly certain, therefore it can be useful to consider it a “fact” until proven otherwise.

[2] See my book: Growing In God: Adi Da's Seven Stages of Life from Birth to Enlightenment — An Integral Interpretation (forthcoming, Paragon House) by Brad Reynolds.

[3] “The Trump Era,” in The Economist, November 14, 2016, p. 9

[4] Brandon Victor Dixon, November 18, 2016.

[5] The word “stupid” is used in reference to Bill Clinton's first Presidential campaign where they had a sign on the wall that read: “It's the economy, stupid,” meaning the voters were mostly concerned about their financial well-being above all else, and Clinton recognized this, so he got elected over a sitting President.

[6] “The Trump Era,” in The Economist, November 14, 2016, p. 9

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