n my travels, I’ve been privileged to sit down with members of the Integral Life community and talk with them about their lives, their growth and what’s on their minds. During these meetings I make it clear that I’m not a coach, and as they are pro bono, I can’t guarantee any specific outcomes. I’m just an experienced integral practitioner who can listen and act as a sounding board to help friends think through issues in their lives. You are invited to listen in to those conversations we have received permission to publish. They are raw, mostly unedited, and often occur in cafes on the busy streets of European cities. I hope you enjoy.
PS: If you would like to connect with me, please let me know by either sending me an email (talktorobb [at] integrallife.com) or by sending me a direct message on Twitter (if you’re interested in more frequent live updates on where I’ll be, I recommend you follow me on Twitter as I’ll post them there). I very much look forward to getting to know you and what’s on your integral mind.
Marco Gagelmann, Germany
“Integral Philosophy is a very compelling story…[and there is a three-stage journey in relation to people’s own journey into it]… They go through a first stage of identification, literally falling in love with it because it feels not separate from oneself. This is who I am, this is my identity, this is me… And you have found it!… It is answering something you’ve looked for for a long time… But this is usually when someone turns around and looks around at the world and asks how to save everyone the way I was just saved. It’s really important to just notice that that’s what precisely grew the Church. That’s precisely what missionaries do. That’s precisely how every religion in the world grew… This Stage 1 identity that solves for the existential crisis of the prior stage and turns you into a missionary, to spread the gospel, to spread the good news.” — Robb Smith
Why isn’t Integral Philosophy a larger force in the world today? In this conversation, which took place remotely between the United State and Germany, Marco Gagelmann and I talk about one of the topics that privately I’ve probably been asked about most in the past 13 years: should we be evangelizing Integral Philosophy?
Marco found himself somewhere many people can relate to in their integral journey: somewhat dissatisfied with his own relationship to his integral knowledge and consciousness, burned out cognitively, at risk of dismissing it as disappointing and irrelevant to the main flows of world events. He found himself unsure of what his own integral journey should look like and how it might apply to the broader world, and whether any of it made sense in the bigger picture.
Join us as Marco and I dive into something I’ve never shared publicly before: the stages of an individual’s very own integral journey, and what it tells us about how we can show up and support the world’s movement more deeply into integrative pluralism. By the end I hope you will have at least one more constructive framing to hold Integral Metatheory’s role in the world and understand a lot more about the ethical conservativism we tend to show at Integral Life as we think about how we engage with the world.
Udom Tan, Bangkok
“We need very intelligent leaders in the west to think hard about how to support China to come into full maturity on the world stage in a way that we can integrate them but where we don’t give over to their most imperial instincts, their territorial instincts, their mercantilist instincts, and we don’t have that level of intelligence in Washington.” — Robb Smith
Asia is the most important continent in the world today. But with its emergence comes profound questions about the 21st century’s competing philosophical viewpoints as they relate to global governance of the human species. This discussion with Udom in Thailand occurred at the beginning of my time in Asia, just as the Ukraine scandal was breaking. Like many of my coaching discussions in Asia, strangely this one immediately gravitated towards the political situation in America, where under the weight of Green-stage media, technology and consciousness, all norms have shattered and all that is left is a raw war for power. In short, what’s happening in my home nation matters a lot to enlightened leaders in Asia.
During the course of this discussion, we examine the late-stage decline of American empire—what I write about in The Great Release—as it meets the confusion of a post-truth world and the rise of China. How does the withdrawal of America from world moral leadership and the willful destruction of soft power under President Trump give rise to a new competitive geopolitical landscape? How might we think about the healthy co-emergence of China amidst a new multipolar world? What are the promise and perils as China—with its relatively higher efficiency of agility—rises to replace the US as a leading development path for the planet in the 21st century, and does this presage a new cold war?
“The key with China ultimately is to create a strategy where you’re always creating a bigger whole that they’re a part of, to allow them a development path into a healthy 21st century. If you don’t create that bigger whole than it becomes a one to one competition between two elephants, and that’s a much harder path for the world to follow.”
Jorge Ochoa, Paris
“How do we create a Teal company that is economically sustainable? That, in one sentence, is one of the defining problems of the 21st century today.” — Robb Smith
How do we integrate the aggression of the Red stage of consciousness into service of a modern Orange-stage economy? How do we reconcile ourselves to the fierce competition and individualism called for in many of today’s social environments while also staying true to our deepest desire for, and value of, service to the broader community? That’s the central theme of this talk between Robb and Jorge Ochoa, a Mexican ex-pat living in France who left a corporate track at Unilever as a young man and spent the past twenty years living in a cloistered co-living community, only to decide it was now time to re-enter the world as an integral practitioner. Touching on everything from the evolution of social bodies, to the need to “know thyself” as you navigate the individual-collective polarity as you grow, this talk may be helpful to anyone who wonders how to better integrate the entire spiral within themselves in order to be of highest service.
Here’s Jorge’s reflections a little while after the discussion:
Greg Blair, Paris
In this wide-ranging discussion, we talk about the opportunity for the emergence of integral marketing and whether it could transform lives. Along the way we get into how Apple is really a spiritual enterprise, how you escape a prison of your own making, and how integral post-metaphysics and the principles it entails seem well-designed to help us surf the waves of this era—the historical disruption we seem to be living in (what I’ve called “the great release”). We touch on why Twitter sucks, the prime directive to serve the health of the spiral, and why you shouldn’t introduce your friends to integral when you’re first getting into it (even though I’m now convinced we can actually create integral people). We end by talking about how to preserve your fullness and freedom by being wary of spaces of commitment, and of spaces of identity, that might prevent you from living an integral life.
Here’s Greg’s reflections a month after our discussion:
About Robb Smith
Robb Smith is a leading thinker on the Transformation Age and the global Integral movement. He is the co-founder and CEO of Integral Life.