This has been a good week to think integrally. It’s a relief to be able to take a larger perspective on the first tier food fight that is going on in American politics.

As integralists we can see that the brinksmanship over funding Obamacare, which at the moment has non-essential federal services closed, is emblematic of the larger struggle that is going on in our culture all the time, the struggle between the competing world views of conservatism and liberalism.

Our job as integral practitioners, of course, is to hold a worldview that includes the best of both of these warring tribes, sees what each is missing, and transcends them both with a more spacious, flexible and friendly view that has a better chance of actually being helpful.

Integral theory shows us that liberal and conservative political sensibilities are largely a function of developmental altitude. Amber traditionalists are naturally more conservative, particularly socially, and politically they team with right-leaning, libertarian/business Orange modernists. They’re good with religious and moral rules, but want them to be based on the mores of a the group they are in. They have psychic antibodies to government power. Green progressives, on the other hand,  are naturally more liberal and team up politically with the academic wing of Orange modernity. They are worldcentric and recoil at any whiff of ethnocentric thinking. They have psychic antibodies too, but to corporate, not government, power.

Conservatism and liberalism may also be seen in terms of personality type: the right attracts people who are wired to conserve and preserve what is good in life, and the left is populated by people who want to push the limits and move on. Both are important to a healthy system (including the system of our own mind and bodies).

On this call I focus on getting into the psyche and energies of the Tea Party Republicans. Most, though not all integralists, have a liberal sensibility, so that view is natural and easy to hold. Predictably my integral / lefty friends are appalled by the actions of the Tea Party Republicans. I notice this is the opinion that immediately arises in myself as well. And lest we think the left is more gentle than the right in our rhetoric, I offer this screed against the Tea Party from the often (but not this time) integral pundit Andrew Sullivan:

This is the challenge today. Not to out-last these vandals, but to vanquish them. To vanquish them to end this preposterous excuse for a political party, to expose their lack of any constructive alternatives for the challenges we face, to indelibly mark them as vandals of the very constitution they dare to celebrate, and as saboteurs of this constitutional democracy. We have a chance now to show the kind of scorching sunlight on these creatures of ideological certainty and personal hubris that they scurry back to the dark holes from which they have recently emerged and be consigned to the moral margins their rancid racism finds most congenial.

I must say I do find that to be rousing red meat, I mean nature-burger, for my “tribal liberal” mind. But ultimately … boring!  Why? Because that is not how the Tea Party members would describe themselves. As integralist I will still have political opponents but I don’t want to see them from an opposing perspective; I want to see them as best I can through their own eyes, hearts and guts. That’s how we built a bigger, more loving and  intelligent cultural we-space.

My guest on this call is Marty Keller, who is an active member of Integral Life and host/author of AQALBlog where he comments on current events. Marty is a integrally informed conservative (yes they actually exist!) who was appointed by both Gov. Schwarzenegger and Gov. Brown as an advocate for small business in the California state government. He was a leader in the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay conservative movement, and has a masters degree in consciousness studies from JFK University. Welcome Marty!

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