Integral insight into politics & culture

Author: Jeff Salzman

George Will’s story of slowing economic growth is correct — but it misses the best part

In his recent column, “Why the Future is Going to Disappoint Us”, George Will presents the case that economic growth is likely to slow indefinitely, and that the unprecedented wealth creation of the 20th Century was a one-time and unrepeatable event. I agree with this main thesis, as long as we stipulate that we are talking only about growth in the material realm. Economic wealth is of course crucial, especially when one is without it, but it represents a fraction of what it means to be human. Development in the future will be of a different kind, located not...

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The soul of jazz part 2: A conversation with integral music critic Greg Thomas

This is part two of a two-part series. Find part one here. As we see with integral theory, art is often the leading edge of cultural and consciousness evolution, and jazz today continues to lead the way. In this two-part series, “The soul of jazz”, Greg takes us through the history of jazz from its roots in the magic, mythic and traditional interiors of African Americans at the turn of the last century, through the modern and postmodern strains of the mid and late 20th Century, to the more wild wooly contemporary scene. He points out the evolutionarily potent...

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The soul of jazz part 1: The songs

This post is an addendum to The soul of jazz part 1: A conversation with integral music critic Greg Thomas. "Maple Leaf Rag" by Jelly Roll Morton"West End Blues" by Louis Armstrong"Swinging the Blues" by Count Basie Orchestra "Kansas City Blues" by Charlie Parker"Bessie’s Blues" by John...

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The soul of jazz part 1: A conversation with integral music critic Greg Thomas

This is part one of a two-part series. Find part two here.   I’ve long enjoyed music critic Greg Thomas’s insightful posts on Integral Life, where he writes about jazz. Not that I like jazz music. Truth is, I’ve always found jazz to be annoying. I can’t tap my foot to it. I can’t sing it in the shower. Like a lot of artforms, when we don’t understand them, jazz has shown up to me as noise. Of course like all good integral practitioners, I want to turn toward the object of my annoyance. I know it’s not the...

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Looking at the super blood moon with a pre-modern mind

From the podcast “Is the Pope integral?”  As an integral practice, we look at the super blood moon as if we didn’t know what it was. We look at it with a pre-modern mind. So we do our best to tune into seeing the blood moon at the consciousness where all of nature is real, alive, immediate. We are not just in relationship with it, we are it, in ways that are difficult for the modern mind to comprehend. Everything is local, tactile, drenched in meaning. In our practice of getting in touch with our tribal consciousness, we have...

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The Daily Evolver Live podcasts resume on Tuesday nights!

Think the world is going to hell? Tired of the same old left/right, good/bad, yes/no arguments? Want to throw your shoe at the shouting heads on cable news? Then join us for a live weekly podcast where we explore current events from an integral perspective. Every Tuesday night at 7pm MT (9ET/6PT) host Jeff Salzman looks at the news in politics, the economy, culture, science and spirituality with an eye towards spotting the upflow of human consciousness and culture. Tune in to Integral Radio on Tuesday nights to get a weekly cure for the news...

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Thoughts on integral theory as a spiritual path

A while back the folks at the Integral Center here in Boulder asked me to deliver an integral sermon for a Sunday morning service they were conducting at the center. I was excited about the opportunity, as I believe that the story of evolution is not just the story of the development of matter and life, but is also the story of the development of intelligence and spirit and love. And that evolution reveals spiritual insights that not only include the inspiration of the great religious traditions, but also the hard truths of science. I truly believe that evolution...

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Can we become more spiritually intelligent?

Today I’m sharing a conversation I had a couple years ago with my dear friend Cindy Wigglesworth, right when she released her really terrific and influential book SQ21: The 21 Skills of Spiritual Intelligence. One of the key premises of integral theory is that people evolve in multiple lines of development or what we call intelligences. We evolve in our cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence, social intelligence and of course, spiritual intelligence. Now this last line of development, spiritual intelligence, is kind of tricky. What does it actually mean to be spiritually developed? How do spiritually developed people think, act,...

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Spirituality and psychotherapy: Integrating the two great paths of development

This week, a gem from the archives: an early talk between Jeff and Dr. Keith Witt–part of a series that eventually became The Shrink and The Pundit. Dr. Keith Witt has been practicing psychotherapy in Santa Barbara for over 40 years, and is also a master martial artist and devoted spiritual practitioner with experience in many traditions. Who better to talk to about integrating psychotherapy and spirituality, the two major approaches to human development? It’s a topic that causes so much confusion and consternation among seekers of higher consciousness. Spiritual teachers and psychotherapists are often at odds and people who participate in both modalities often reflect that conflict in their own minds. Which is the best way to go? Is it more fruitful to work with our personal history and iron out the stuck points in our lives (psychotherapy) or to work to transcend them by seeking enlightenment (spirituality)? Do we work with our story or drop our story? Most spiritual traditions are rooted in pre-modern schemas that see dysfunction as a spiritual problem, whether possession by evil spirits or a separation from God. Even a non-theistic religion like Buddhism perceives the manifest world as a fallen and corrupt place that is to be transcended (and in more advanced Buddhist thought, re-embraced) through meditation. A lot of spiritual teachers, because they deal so much in metaphor, begin to think...

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Oklahoma school replaces chalkboards, finds 98 year old lessons hidden behind them

Today’s big educational controversy is about the Common Core program, which teaches kids a new kind of abstract reasoning. A century ago school was about civilizing bumpkins and street kids into pupils who could sit in a row and pay attention. Central lesson: cleanliness is next to Godliness. Written on the chalkboard: My Rules to Keep Clean Wash my hands Wash my teeth Comb my hair Clean my fingernails Take my bath often Keep my clothes clean Wash my hair...

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America goes green meme: thoughts on a thunderous week

There’s a concept in biological evolution called punctuated equilibrium, which states that species can exist for eons in relative stability then burst into sudden evolutionary change. Culture and consciousness can evolve this way as well, and last week was a sterling example.This was the week America moved into the green meme. Here are some thoughts on the big events: Obamacare validated by the Supreme Court As of Thursday it is now embedded in American culture that a proper role of government is to ensure basic health care for its citizens. Welcome to postmodernity! A social compact that includes healthcare...

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Making the move to worldcentric consciousness: A conversation with Theo Horesh

Theo Horesh is a Boulder social entrepreneur, philosopher and a familiar face in the integral community. Last year Theo published a series of insightful essays on the Middle East, inspired by his time spent with the Palestinians and the Yazidi refugees. I invited him over to talk about his travels, only to find out that he has also released a new book on a broader topic: Convergence: The Globalization of Mind. I enjoyed our conversation, and hope you do, too. Theo and I talked about his travels, and his heart-to-heart connections with people under siege, particularly with the youth in...

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Fifty shades of shadow work: What happens when integral gets kinky

Fifty Shades of Grey may be a terrible movie, but its popularity is indicative of a new friendliness in our culture towards the kink community, (formerly known as perverts). Jeff talks to New York author and theater producer Robin Reinach, who is an integrally informed explorer herself in the world of BDSM, and together they unpack the evolutionary potency of kink.

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The banality of ISIS: Obama, the Inquisition and Medieval brutality in our time

    This week Jeff covers a range of topics, focusing on the controversy over Obama’s remarks about the historical sins of Christianity such as the Crusades, the Inquisition and slavery. Jeff also explores the mindset of the perpetrators of such brutalities, which we saw erupt anew this week with the immolation of the Jordanian pilot by ISIS. In other matters, Jeff notes the explosive growth in Chinese cinema, and it’s evolutionary power. Plus we revisit vaccines…and get to meet the Integral community’s own Navy Seal sniper. Did Obama blow it in his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast? He...

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Conservatives evolve: how American Sniper and Fox News integrate liberal values

This week Jeff takes a look at the movie American Sniper and Fox News’ rising star Megyn Kelly, to make the case that conservative culture is evolving by taking on the best of green altitude values. And it’s not just a one way street. The left also evolves by taking on the best values of amber altitude traditionalism, such as the gay rights movement’s argument for marriage and military service. This year’s Super Bowl commercials also moved the ball…

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Obama leads from the front: an integral president promotes postmodern values to a modern nation

This weeks Jeff looks at President Obama’s annual “State of the Union” address to Congress. He makes the case that Obama is pushing for the developmental move from an Orange modern economy to a Green postmodern economy. Obama’s policies won’t prevail, at least in the short term, but they will spark the conversation (okay, fight) between the advocates of freedom vs security, right vs left and Republicans vs Democrats that will lead to more integrated solutions.

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Am I Charlie Hebdo? An integralist considers the events in Paris

In this week’s podcast Jeff explores the Muslim/Western fault lines exposed in the Charlie Hebdo massacre, where twelve people were killed in an attack on the satirical magazine by Muslim extremists who were offended by their depictions of Muhammad. In the 2nd half of the show, Jeff is joined by special guest Amir Ahmad Nasr, author of The Future of Islam In the Age of New Media, and My [email protected]: How Fundamentalism Stole My Mind–And Doubt Freed My Soul.

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A Great Year for The Daily Evolver!

It’s good to be back in the saddle for another season of the Daily Evolver Live. 2014 was a growing year for the podcast and blog. In our fall season alone we had over 20,000 downloads, a number that astonishes me. I’ve always seen the Daily Evolver as something I did more to be faithful than successful, but it’s great to have it catching on.

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