Visitors of this page are invited to suggest
answers for these likely FAQs.
1. How is integral politics different
from existing ideologies and/or how does it compare with the mainstream
political parties in western nations?
IP has borrowed the term 2nd Tier from Spiral
Dynamics. One of the things that distinguishes 2nd Tier from 1st Tier is
the ability to work with multiple positions. 1st Tier has a tendency to
consider its view, whatever that may be, to be applicable to all people
at all times. This leads to the imposition of partial, inadequate, and
often inappropriate solutions. 2nd Tier however recognises both horizontal
and vertical differences and seeks solutions tailored to the specific problem.
Conventional ideologies are 1st Tier and seek to impose a set of values
onto complex situations; they suggest a right and a wrong, and they also
often act from parochial self-interests, a narrow set of motives. 2nd Tier
sees a hierarchy of solutions to a hierarchy of problems. There is no one
right or wrong way, rather a hierarchy of useful solutions. However IP
does have one over-riding ethic, and that is that political health occurs
when groups and individuals have the means to evolve; it is concerned with
the health of the whole polity. By imposing inappropriate notions of right
and wrong 1st Tier political groups and ideologies often act in a way that
prevent other groups from evolving.
The above answers highlight a point worth raising.
This comes from the observation that in many instances the ‘problem’ that
prevents core needs from being met and the group evolving is in fact that
group’s values, the very thing that defines the group. This means that
IP has to point out to that group that its values are, to be blunt, dysfunctional.
Many ideologies are based on a closed view of the Kosmos, whereas the integral
view unquestionably advocates an open view. It is therefore unavoidable
that IP will challenge those closed views, and this just happens to include
a good part of the Abrahamic religions.
Can we support a group, help it to define its
core needs, if that group acts in a way to deny its member’s core needs?
What do we do about groups whose core values dictate that they discriminate
against other groups and actively seek to repress them, for instance, the
Church’s position on homosexuality?
2. What is the "platform" propagated
by integral politics?
Integral politics does not propagate a "platform"
in the traditional political party sense, if we are using the term "platform"
to refer to a "party line" that drives a set of positions on issues. The
closest thing to "platforms" that we might see coming out of an integral
political stance would be in the context of a recommended approach to handling
a specific situation, issue, or group of related issues.
Apparent in such situational recommendations might
be actions favored by conservatives to deal with one facet of the issue,
along with actions favored by liberals to effectively deal with another
facet of the issue, along with possible other actions no mainstream party
has yet proposed.
In short, the only "platforms" we will likely
see espoused by integral politics are approaches that defy traditional
classifications into predictable position statements driven by a single
Expressed another way, IP holds that political
health occurs when each political group is able to secure its core needs
and evolve. Problems arise when the actions of groups denies other groups
access to their core needs and hence the means to evolve. The central platform
of IP is therefore to seek solutions that allow all parties to meet their
core needs and evolve. This means that IP is open to all solutions that
serve the central platform.
3. If integral politics isn't a political
party, how does it expect to influence policy and/or get its thinking into
The problem with political parties is that they
operate from a First Tier perspective. They operate from a set perspective
that prejudices what position they will take on any given issue. There
is a ‘typical’ conservative position and a ‘typical’ liberal position,
and so on. Furthermore, political parties have traditionally sought to
act in the interests of 1st Tier constituencies, with the conservative
parties acting in the interest of business owners and liberal parties in
the interests of labour, consumers and affected parties. Because IP is
concerned with the overall health of the polity it cannot therefore be
defined as a 1st Tier political organisation.
4. How is integral politics different
than "politics as usual?"
Firstly, IP understands that there is no such
thing as a ‘politics as usual’, but rather a set of political processes.
If various groups have different values then it follows that their political
processes will conform to those values. Thus the ‘terrorist’ group el Qaeda
will pursue its political aims using a different process to that of the
Because IP seeks to situate groups in order to
transcend to meta-values it will be concerned largely with process. IP
will seek to work with various groups to aid in the process of ‘transcending
and including’ and eventually arriving at the next appropriate set of meta-values.
Therefore, rather than the ‘usual’ politics of win/lose, IP prefers the
politics of win/win through the process of transformation.
5. Would integral politics advocate
the dissolution of the ‘party’ system, the dissolution of adversarial politics?
Rather than advocate the party system's dissolution,
integral politics would perhaps serve it best by integral analyses of the
comparisons, contrasts, and nuances of parties' positions on particular
issues or conflicts. We might see it doing this in the context of its explanations
for rationales behind recommending certain solution-approaches. For example,
in discussing an integral political approach to a conflict, we might hear
integral politics discuss how a given segment of one mainstream party and
a segment of another mainstream party would both support the approach because
of commonalities they share but perhaps were not aware of or hadn't articulated.
We might expect that, over time, integral politics tends to dismantle entrenched
assumptions about the need for oppositional party politics.
Certainly we look at each issue/conflict, but
we would also I hope, look at the political process in general. One thing
the adversarial two-party system does, worldwide, is dichotomize debates
into false opposing positions. It actually tends to create conflict. A
particular party acts to separate and differentiate itself from its opponents.
A person is attacked, not for their actual position, but simply because
they belong to this or that party or faction. Many a good policy idea has
been destroyed because the opposing party has decided to, for strategic
reasons, paint many proposals as wrong, incompetent or ideologically driven,
in order to win the next election. How can you win the election if you
admit that many of the opposition's policy proposals are in fact sound?
In those divisive election campaigns, it seems
an integral politics would serve as Witness to identify distortions and
insert into the divisive climate a higher degree of integrity and accountability.
Integral politicians, as they arise and campaign for election, would do
the same. It's another way of de-polarizing the combative dynamic, a primary
"charge" of IP.
IP is about process. So, perhaps the response
to the question needs to (1) not threaten the hell out of our brothers
and sisters the politicians around the world (and plug up their ears) who
depend on their party systems for their 'survival' and (2) advocate the
dissolution of all practices (not singling out parties for attack) that
polarize debates because they simplify and distort the questions that really
need wise answers. And an IP would do that by providing/employing those
essential integral political practices that engage the conflict/issue in
an integral non-polarized way. Modeling what dissolution of polarized debates
"looks like," and "walking our talk." It would not be "integral" - would
it? - to advocate the dissolution of a structure upon which so much is
built, without having created, offered, and modeled an alternative integral
structure? Nor realistic, I wouldn't think.
Posted 15 Feb 2003