I start this week’s call with a pat on the back to my old friend Brian Robertson, who is getting big mainstream attention for holacracy, the organizational governance system he has developed.

Inspired by integral theory, holacracy attempts to replicate in business organizations the holonic structure of the cosmos, where independent entities integrate to create more complex entities (for example atoms create molecules, which create cells, which create organisms).

Holacracy replaces a typical business hierarchy with a series of interlocking circles of people, each responsible for a task, from planning the company picnic to managing its finances. It’s particularly popular in the tech world where creativity and responsiveness are paramount, and hundreds of companies have adopted holacracy, including Zappos, the online shoe company owned by Amazon.

Here’s a terrific article from Ezra Klein’s cool new website,Vox, which explains holacracy’s basic principles and showcases its success. On the call I also share my personal experience with holacracy when in 2007 the Integral Institute served as a laboratory for its development.


This tragedy of the Malaysian airliner being shot down over Ukraine serves to illustrate how much harder it is these days to oppress another country. In the bad old days, the Soviet Union could just roll in the tanks (Czechoslovakia, 1968) or starve a rebel population to death (Stalin’s forced starvation of over five million Ukrainian “separatists” in 1932-33).

But today Vladimir Putin has to act in Ukraine through Russian proxies that range in competence from professional to ragtag to, apparently, drunk. The downing of the civilian jetliner appears to be a mistake perpetrated by one of the less disciplined of the Russian militias. In addition to the human tragedy, it is bad news for Putin as it has riveted the world’s attention on his stealth campaign to destabilize his neighbor.

The question I explore in the call is what is the appropriate response from the West — and who is responsible to carry it out? My conclusion is that this is a case for European leadership. America is slowly resigning its position as the world’s police. This causes all sorts of anxiety on all sides, of course, but it is an inevitable and intelligent move for our country, and one for which I believe President Obama will be admired by history.

Is it because America is war weary? No, though the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have been long and grueling, they are relatively minor compared to the cost of other US wars in terms of lives and treasure. Americans aren’t war weary as much as we are orange and green (the modern and post-modern stages of development), which means we are war weary on behalf of all of humanity. As modernity comes more fully online in the interiors and exteriors of a culture we are entering the post-war world.

So Europe, what will it be? Greater sanctions for Russia, which will in turn hurt your own economies? This is a fascinating question for Americans because much of Europe, most importantly Germany, is at least a half a stage higher in development than we are. They may very well decide that it’s not worth it to punish Putin by adding significant suffering to their own people. But is this just appeasement that delays the inevitable day where Putin will have to be stopped militarily? The story will continue to unfold…

LISTENER POLL: Should America offer “lethal aid” (guns, tanks, missiles) to the Ukrainians? Result: Yes 7%; No 93%


It feels like deja vu with this latest conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but the damage and suffering are concrete, immediate and heartbreaking.

What the Israel/Gaza situation has in common with the Russia/Ukraine situation is that each conflict is being fueled by the pre-modern strata of their respective populations. There are plenty of people in all of these countries who are flying at modern and postmodern (and integral!) altitudes as well, and like developed people everywhere they want to stop fighting and be part of the world community. Each country has these two populations in different proportions, however, giving them different developmental centers of gravity.

The center of gravity of the Palestinians is traditionalism (amber altitude) and the center of gravity of the Israelis is modern (orange altitude). On the call I examine the asymmetry that these differences create in warfare.

LISTENER POLL: Who is more responsible for the violence in Gaza: the Israelis or the Palestinians? Result: Israelis 77%; Palestinians 23%.

I think the result of this poll represent a key principle of evolution in the lower left quadrant (the collective interiors of culture and relationship): the person or group at the higher stage of consciousness is more responsible for the health of the relationship than is the person or group at the lower stage.


A key feature of integral consciousness is the heightened ability to see through the eyes of people who experience the world differently than we do. Art is a great vehicle for this practice, and in the call I share two of my favorite songs that transmit some radical differences between pre-modern and modern-plus worldviews.

1) The Exodus Song represents the pre-modern worldview, which is ethnocentric and nationalistic and where one’s identity derives from one’s land and people. (We can’t resist linking to a YouTube version here which features the iconic soundtrack sung by Andy Williams overlaid by a post-modern video illustrating the inevitable violence which a pre-modern worldview provokes. To experience it un-ironically simply close your eyes.)

2) Anthem represents a thoroughly post-modern worldview, where borders matter less and one’s country is to be found anywhere one’s own mind, heart and soul are free to roam.

THE EXODUS SONG (from the movie Exodus)

This land is mine, God gave this land to me,
This brave this ancient land to me.
And when the morning sun reveals her hills and plains,
I see a land where children can run free.

So take my hand and walk this land with me,
And walk this lovely land with me.
Though I am just a man, when you are by my side,
With the help of God I know I can be strong.

I’ll make this land our home,
If I must fight, I’ll fight to make this land our own.
Until I die, this land is mine!

ANTHEM (from the musical Chess)

No man, no madness
Though their sad power may prevail
Can possess or conquer, my country’s heart
They rise to fail.

She is eternal
Long before nations’ lines were drawn
When no flags flew, when no armies stood
My land was born

And you ask me why I love her
Through wars, death and despair
She is the constant, it’s we who don’t care
And you wonder will I leave her – but how?
I cross over borders but I’m still there now

How can I leave her?
Where would I start?
Let man’s petty nations tear themselves apart
My land’s only borders lie around my heart