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International Development - Integral praxis

Last post 05-24-2007, 9:40 AM by drishti. 11 replies.
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  •  04-19-2007, 1:49 AM 21860

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    International Development - Integral praxis

    Attachment: ISF-Tn.jpg
    INTEGRAL PRAXIS AND THE INTEGRAL PRACTITIONER

    This is one of four initial threads of the Integral International Development Center - aka INTEGRAL WITHOUT BORDERS - that will go live soon.

    The initial four
    discussion threads will be on:

    1.   Integral theory (with some reference to international development)
    2.   Integral praxis (i.e. theory and practice) related specifically to international development
    3.    for beginners to Integral International Development
    4.    contemplative practices (we may not activate this thread right away, but want it to be here for the future)

    The Co Directors of this Center are Gail Hochachka and Paul van Schaik.


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  •  04-27-2007, 9:12 PM 22096 in reply to 21860

    • drishti is not online. Last active: 06-08-2007, 1:55 PM drishti
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    Call to Coherence

    A Call to Coherence

    The field of international development aims to deal with some of the most pressing issues our planet faces. The field has an array of excellent, but partial, approaches to do so. Truly incredible scientific, technological, political, and medical interventions exist alongside other unprecedented advances in participatory, community-based, qualitative methodologies for social change. Added to this are the contributions from the world’s wisdom traditions who work with peoples’ interior needs and realities, and developmental researchers who have studied and mapped the process of human development. However, what is largely still missing is a framework that can bring together these different approaches into an integrated whole. Integral theory, advanced by contemporary philosopher, Ken Wilber, explains that to reach long-lasting and effective solutions, humanity needs to integrate the various truths that each discipline brings to the overall process of international development. The general disciplines can be grouped into at least four areas that relate with experience (“I”), behaviours (“It”), culture (“We”), and systems (“Its”) (or quadrants, as they are termed by Integral Theory).

    Based on its exquisite synthesis of wisdom traditions and knowledge systems, Integral Theory explains stages of pscyhological unfolding (from ego-centric, to ethno-centric, to world-centric, to kosmocentric) and multiple intelligences (or developmental lines) that grow as we grow. Whereas less-than-integral approaches in international development may focus efforts on one stage (such as, "getting people to worldcentric") or one line (such as, IQ or Maslow's needs), an Integral Approach suggests that to be fully inclusive it is important to acknowledge the full spiral of stages and to include other lines as well. (Particularly, the "self-related" developmental lines, such as ego, cognition, morals, interpersonal, and values. See further writing about this by any of the moderators of this discussion thread.)
     
    With the Integral framework as a guide, one can perceive the whole of a development issue, not just individual characteristics or causes. It enables a peeling back the apparent layers, to reveal and better understand its deeper, less-apparent contributing factors. International development issues do not arise in a vacuum — there are interwoven systemic (geo-political and economic) factors, cultural factors, and psychological factors that contribute to this, to name a few. The quality of integration needed in international development will include the exterior and interior realities of individuals and groups. It will include exterior interventions such as good governance, gender equality, poverty alleviation, economic strengthening, and ecological sustainability (“It/Its”). And it will also engage inter-subjective, hermeneutic arenas of social action, such as participation and co-creation (“We”). It will also include the individual interior processes of self-development, empowerment, and introspection (“I”). And it will include the intricate psychological unfolding of human development itself. The way forward for international development arises as a meshwork of these complex currents of reality.
     
    This integration asks us to surrender our categorizing mind into the wholeness of reality as it arises. While, at the same time also retaining and refining the capacity to categorize — to distinguish and synergize the parts that, together, weave the whole. This is quite unlike most development interventions to date, which tend to embed solely in one or two categories of action-inquiry. Yet, piecemeal approaches have run their course dry. The complex issues in the world today yearn for more integrated responses.
     
    To undertake such a profound integration requires a framework as a guide. The Integral theory provides one such framework, one that is found to be most comprehensive and uniquely able to synthesize these different areas. It provides a bigger picture of what is at play in international development, so to enable truly integrated responses.
     
    Like any framework or map, it is not the actual territory, and will someday be replaced by an even more complete map. For now, it is one of the very best available. It brings together disciplines, methodologies, and truths, and explains how each one alone is partial, but, together, they become part of a larger whole. Within a whole framework, the distinct disciplines can synergize with all other disciplines. Separate from the
    others — or, that is, outside of an Integral framework — each piece is much like a jigsaw puzzle piece. Each piece offers so much to the picture, but without a sense of the big picture, the piece alone contributes a mere fragment.
     

    In this thread, we want to get practical with how Integral hits the ground. Please participate with the fullness of your experience in international development. Put forth your queries, comments, and reflections on the practice. Those individuals with extensive on-the-ground
    experience in international development will offer their perspectives.

    This dialogue thread on Integral practice in internationald development arises in service of moving beyond the fragments and into a coherence that can more fully care for our planet and all sentient beings.


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  •  04-27-2007, 9:53 PM 22098 in reply to 22096

    Re: Call to Coherence

    Hi, Drishtri,
    I think you're looking in the right place ('drishtri'... get it?)
    There's a paper that I found through this site... It is at Holarchy.org. It's by the 'cutter consortium' called "Holacracy: A Complete System for Agile Organizational Governance and Steering" and it outlines a form of corporate governance that includes the existing 'top down' management structure with a 'bottom up' approach as well. I think this may offer some valuable ideas.
         The two most valuable ideas there are the format of 'circle meetings' by consent (not consensus), and the way that a representative of workers, lets say, meets in the management meetings, and a representative of management meets with workers, both with voting rights. Ummm... This is all kinda vague in my head, I'm working it out here...
        I think that better representation for people is essential. The thing that I'm thinking about is this: Let's look at the United States Government for a minute... There are the three branches of government, the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary. Then there are various, I guess you would call them 'oversight' departments or agencies: Department of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration. My thought is this: what if these 'other' departments and agencies were controlled directly by the people? Instead of the populace electing high officials and having them appoint the heads of these departments, what if people were able to directly elect these people, and vote on how they were organized? I think this could be done, beginning with community organizing along the lines of: household and home. Ten households group together and find their position on an issue along with a rep from the next higher circle. Their vote represents the total number of people represented. The representative from that 'circle' meets with ten other representatives in a higher level circle along with one rep from the next higher circle, and find their position, right on up to a state or a national level. These people together create their position on, let's say, carbon emission regulations, and it is implemented because they control the process.
        I know this is vague. Maybe it's just Lame. Maybe it's a start. I'm groping. We all are.
         What do you think?

    Dmitri

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  •  04-28-2007, 7:05 AM 22100 in reply to 22096

    • Teilhard is not online. Last active: 2007-07-16, 6:09 PM Teilhard
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    Re: Call to Coherence

    Gail,

    So nicely said!  This is one of the best introductions I've ever read on IT.  Well done.

    Brian.

    BE
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  •  04-28-2007, 8:02 AM 22104 in reply to 22100

    Re: Call to Coherence

    HERE HERE!

    Talk about big mind/big heart!

    With a deep bow

    Emine

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  •  05-01-2007, 10:01 PM 22185 in reply to 22104

    Re: Call to Coherence

    Hi Everyone,

    I have a question for the international development practitioners. Both historically speaking and theoretically speaking ideas like "environmental protection," "gender equality," "empowerment" even "participation" would not be visible/comprehensible concepts before the emergence of an orange/world centric level of development. What are your experiences with these out in the field?

     I know, for example, we have Tam's participation platforms for each altitude and Barrett and Chris Riedy's languanging for environmental issues. I do wonder whether or to what extent these are specific to the social centers of gravity of the societies they were developed for. In other words, for example, in a country with an orange/green social center of gravity environmental issues will be part of the dominant mode of discourse and folks with all kinds of UL morphologies will have a take on it within the broad framework of that discourse. What happens when the social cog and mode of discourse is at, say amber or red and then you have folks with different UL morphologies? We see for example, that "free and democratic" elections in red/amber social cog countries/communities are very different than those in orange cog countries/communities.

    In the interests of clarifying my question, some possible (and not mutually exclusive) answers I can think of are things like:

    - We have all become so global that these are part of the global dominant mode of discourse. Everybody has a take on them and we can shift those with skillful languaging.

    - Each individual has his/her multicolored UL morphology and they will usually resonate with these concepts in some line, be it the cognitive or spiritual or values or morals line.

    - Each level of development will have its own definition of that concept. While amber "gender equality" will be very different than what we might consider "gender equality",  it is just a matter of getting to the healthiest possible definition, and then the next and the next...

    - ?????

    Do your experiences suggest the social center of gravity/ dominant mode of discourse at the national or the community level makes a difference?

    All for now,

    Emine

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  •  05-03-2007, 9:31 AM 22232 in reply to 22185

    Re: Call to Coherence

    Emine,
        Wow, yeah... That's a really critical distinction. What is it that they call it when people 'don't interfere' with another culture's exploitive practices because it's part of a different culture? Cultural relativism? That's a of cop out, to say that another culture has its right to exploit women, for example, because that's just the way they do it and it's none of our business. Because at the same time, we know that sexism is just plain wrong. But they're at a different level of development so it's not wrong for them. Jeez... It's like walking on quicksand.
        It's critical that we pursue this point.  I'll have time tonight to straighten my thoughts out a bit on this subject. In the mean time, I'd love to hear others.

    Dmitri

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  •  05-07-2007, 10:25 PM 22480 in reply to 22232

    • Teilhard is not online. Last active: 2007-07-16, 6:09 PM Teilhard
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    Re: Call to Coherence

    I know.  Those who know me know I keep coming in with the same message, or perhaps 'question' - about how we think about these things.   Off-line, Emine, myself and others with the ISF group have been discussing the importance of the lower quadrants - or 'social holons' - and how we can or might pay more attention to the influences from these quadrants.   I think we've come to some agreement that they are not an easy thing to grab a hold of -  and rightly so - simply because they ARE 'social holons'.  They are slippery (especially when wet!). 

    Having said that - I'll get back to my more predictiable part - that is emphasizing that when we speak of 'cultures' - or any kind of 'us/them' dichotomy - it is important to keep in mind that in the world of form (where emptiness is none other than form), there are real distinctive spatial and temporal boundaries that we construct that define an 'us/them' - and therefore, cultural boundaries.   Its not that nation-states do not exist, - they are one level of existence in our mindset.  And this is the crux of so much of  our confusion in international development, I think.   There are many layers and levels of constructions of 'us/them' - in the global social holonic space - that we need some means to incorporate some other language to deal with it.  Otherwise, we end up running in circles or spinning our wheels in discussing international issues.

    Ok - having said THAT!  How's everyone doing!!?

    Cheers and Blessings, Brian.



    BE
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  •  05-09-2007, 7:37 PM 22603 in reply to 22480

    Re: Call to Coherence

    Hey Brian!

    Things are going pretty well kiddo, with you too I hope!

    Can you say a little more on the above topic? I keep thinking I got it --something to do with nested holon nature of our selves? -- and then it proves too elusive -- or is it the Kosmic address of the social holons themselves? or of the folks who look at them?

    Sigh

    Emine

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  •  05-23-2007, 10:22 AM 23201 in reply to 22603

    • drishti is not online. Last active: 06-08-2007, 1:55 PM drishti
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    Re: Call to Coherence

    Emine, Brian, et al.

    I hope you are all very well!

    Emine, regarding your question: "Both historically speaking and theoretically speaking ideas like "environmental protection," "gender equality," "empowerment" even "participation" would not be visible/comprehensible concepts before the emergence of an orange/world centric level of development. What are your experiences with these out in the field?" This is obviously a HUGE topic, and I literally only have 10 minutes here (or less!), but I want to share some reflections from the field about this.

    The global discourse may center generally around orange/green, and yet people will still translate that according to their own integral pscyhographs. That goes for Bush as well as for an African villager. And so, this is where things get just fascinating....

    For an exmpale, in workshops that I have been in (in certain parts of Africa), while the "assumption", if you will, held by the organizers is to discuss gender equality, each participant is interpreting that through their own developmental lens. Some may use the term all the time (since their funders come from an orange/green center of gravity and the discourse is expected to be there), and yet to actually live and inhabit that space is a whole other story. You can see, feel, and TASTE the dissonance! One of the biggest limiations to this scenario is NOT that those individuals are not "getting" gender equality on their self and moral lines, but rather that the oragnizers who are supposedly coming from a modern/postmodern mindset are not seeing the vertical complexity here.

    To echo Ken here:

    "What does a 'space' or 'clearing' mean in this regard? Originating with Heidgger, but takign on numerous other (yet related) meanings, the idea is essentially this: reality is not a pregiven monological entity lying around for all to see; rather, various social practicesw and cultural context create an opening or clearing in which various types of subjects and objects can appear. For exampel, as I would put it, the magic worldspace creates a clearing in which animistic objects can appear; the mythic worldspace createa a space in which a caring God can appear; the ratioanl worldspace creates a clearin gin which worldcentric compassion can appear; the psychic worldspace creaes a space in which the Wolrd Soul can appear; the causal worldspace creates a clearing in which the Abyss can be recognized. None of those are simply lying around out there and hitting the eyeballs of everybody. There is simply no "pregiven world" (THE essential insight of postmodernity)."

    POint being that, to the extent that international developmetn practitioners assume a pregiven world, in which gender equlaity, sustainability, etc. are lying around out there, we actually fail to see the true complexity of this situation.

    gotta run... but will pick up this discussion later!!

    love to you all.

    gail
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  •  05-23-2007, 9:34 PM 23215 in reply to 22096

    • drishti is not online. Last active: 06-08-2007, 1:55 PM drishti
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    Re: Call to Coherence

    Brian,

    Just wanted to thank you for what you wrote about the ways we set up an 'us/them' dichotomy. I'd love to hear you expand more on the global social holonic space.

    looking forward to it.

    Gail
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  •  05-24-2007, 9:40 AM 23234 in reply to 23215

    • drishti is not online. Last active: 06-08-2007, 1:55 PM drishti
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    Re: Call to Coherence

    Hello again, Emine, Brian, et al...

    And so, to continue with some reflections regarding your question, Emine (to re-post it here for accessibility: "I have a question for the international development practitioners. Both historically speaking and theoretically speaking ideas like "environmental protection," "gender equality," "empowerment" even "participation" would not be visible/comprehensible concepts before the emergence of an orange/world centric level of development. What are your experiences with these out in the field?")....

    I will offer a couple examples from my experience....

    With any developmental center of gravity (including turquoise!), when one comes to one's own limits with that worldview, there is curiosity to peer into what other worldspaces are possible. When working with red-amber center of gravity, to pose questions (for example regarding gender equality) that encourage people to go to the edge of their meaning-making structure is really useful. If the question is not easily answered from a red-amber center of gravity, then it provides cognitive dissonance that can open up the inquiry and discourse differently. I have seen certain methodologies that engage the UL work really well here, such as appreciative inquiry - methodologies that ask people to reach inside themselves to find answers rather than relying soly on what the tradition or implicit social norms say. What experiences to other practitioners have in this regard?

    Secondly, I have found that helping to enable a healthy amber (that is, to help people really "get" ethnocentrism) can lay a foundation for worldcentric ideas. For example, rather than living as separate individuals (in a more red worldspace), when people come together to look at shared problems as a group, that process can serve to shift how a problem is looked at and engaged in. Sustainability makes very little sense without this amber process of uniting as a group and without a concept of a shared future. With women's groups in Central America, I have found that ideas and questions/ideas about sustainability arose spontaneously with this group process and sense shared future as the foundation.

    Just some further thoughts about this truly excellent question, Emine,... would love to hear your response and ideas from others.

    warmly,

    Gail
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