Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Issue 5 Dec 2007


Jonathan Reams


The Evolution of Consciousness as a Planetary Imperative: An Integration of Integral Views

Jennifer Gidley

Abstract: In this article I aim to broaden and deepen the evolution of consciousness discourse by integrating the integral theoretic narratives of Rudolf Steiner, Jean Gebser, and Ken Wilber, who each point to the emergence of new ways of thinking that could address the complex, critical challenges of our planetary moment. I undertake a wide scan of the evolution discourse, noting it is dominantly limited to biology-based notions of human origins that are grounded in scientific materialism. I then broaden the discourse by introducing integral evolutionary theories using a transdisciplinary epistemology to work between, across and beyond diverse disciplines. I note the conceptual breadth of Wilber’s integral evolutionary narrative in transcending both scientism and epistemological isolationism. I also draw attention to some limitations of Wilber’s integral project, notably his undervaluing of Gebser’s actual text, and the substantial omission of the pioneering contribution of Steiner, who, as early as 1904 wrote extensively about the evolution of consciousness, including the imminent emergence of a new stage. I enact a deepening of integral evolutionary theory by honoring the significant yet undervalued theoretic components of participation/enactment and aesthetics/artistry via Steiner and Gebser, as a complement to Wilber. To this end, I undertake an in-depth hermeneutic dialogue between their writings utilizing theoretic bricolage, a multi-mode methodology that weaves between and within diverse and overlapping perspectives. The hermeneutic methodology emphasizes interpretive textual analysis with the aim of deepening understanding of the individual works and the relationships among them. This analysis is embedded in an epic but pluralistic narrative that spans the entire human story through various previous movements of consciousness, arriving at a new emergence at the present time. I also discuss the relationship between these narratives and contemporary academic literature, culminating in a substantial consideration of research that identifies and/or enacts new stage(s) or movements of consciousness. In particular, I highlight the extensive adult developmental psychology research that identifies several stages of postformal thinking, and recent critical, ecological and philosophical literature that identifies an emerging planetary consciousness. In summary, my research reveals an interpretation of scientific and other evidence that points beyond the formal, modernist worldview to an emerging postformal-integral-planetary consciousness. I posit that a broader academic consideration of such an integration of integral theoretic narratives could potentially broaden the general evolution discourse beyond its current biological bias. The article concludes with a rewinding of narrative threads, reflecting on the narrators, the journey, and the language of the discourse. Appendixes A and B explore the theoretical implications of the emergence of postformal-integral-planetary consciousness for a reframing of modernist conceptions of time and space. Appendix C holds an aesthetic lens to the evolution of consciousness through examples from the genealogy of writing.

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Towards an Integral Critical Theory of the Present Age

Martin Beck Matuštík

Abstract: A new model of a critical theory that is integral is introduced. It adds a seventh stage to a six-stage model of critical theory. Building on the model’s predecessors, from Kant, Hegel, and Marx to Habermas and Wilber, this proposal is a three-pronged model of material, socio-political, and spiritual critique of the present age. Each dimension is non-reducible to the other. The current model echoes the attempts to bridge social and existential perspectives by early Marcuse and Sartre, and the author’s prior work that did this for Habermas and Kierkegaard. This model of an integral critical theory introduces a self-transformational axis, the integer or witness-self, complementing transversally the vertical stages and horizontal states of consciousness.

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Illuminating the Blind Spot: An Overview and Response to Theory U

Jonathan Reams

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Sent to Play on the Other Team

Josef San Dou


Art and the Future: An Interview with Suzi Gablik

Russ Volckmann

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Reactivity to Climate Change

Jan Inglis

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Developing Integral Review: IR Editors Reflect on Meta-theory, the Concept of “Integral,” Submission Acceptance Criteria, our Mission, and more.


Abstract: Over the past three years our journey as editors of Integral Review has been full of rich learning. The processes of providing authors with feedback, going over reviews of articles as well as writing ourselves have all contributed to our growth. The primary forum for this learning has been the many conversations amongst us to deal with the various issues that arise in publishing IR. Our intention in this brief piece is to share some of our reflections on this learning journey with you. These will take the form of contributions/reflections from individual editors, allowing us to share with you the particular issues we feel of value in this process.

By writing these short pieces, we aim to provide additional resources for understanding how IR works. While we have guidelines and criteria for submissions on our website, it seems that narrative voices from individuals may add some flesh to them. Relating how we perceive issues around writing for an “integral” journal offers a supplement for engaging these criteria, and will hopefully bring them to life. As well, we hope that our writing provides insights into how and what we think about issues relevant to IR’s mission. These pieces reflect the unique voices we have as editors of Integral Review, and demonstrate some of the thinking and passions behind this journal.

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