Immigration, Postmodernism, and Feminism: An Integral Reckoning

Ken WilberCognitive, Conversations, Editor's Picks, Ethical, Gender, How should we relate to the social justice movement?, Integral Live, Perspectives, Politics, Sex & Gender, The Ken Show, Values, Video, World Affairs, Worldviews 1 Comment

Log in to see the full 1.5 hour episode.



In this premiere episode of the brand new “Ken Show” Q&A series, Ken Wilber responds to questions about immigration, the dangerous excesses of the political right, and the regressive tendencies we are seeing in the postmodern left. Ken and Corey then offer a fascinating exploration of feminism and the need for both men and women to better harmonize the public sphere of politics, career, and religion with the private sphere of family, hearth, and home.

From Corey deVos:

We are all watching with broken hearts as the latest stories around the Trump administration’s separation of immigration families and internment of children of all ages, as well as the accusations that these children may be abused and given psychotropic drugs in order to keep them sedate, and the failure to reunite many of these children with their families even after the parents have been deported. This feels like a genuine evil that seems to be creeping across the world, particularly the West, and a great many find themselves at a loss when it comes to responding to these nightmares.

Here in integral land, we are often and rightly critical of the worst excesses of the green altitude, and, by extension, those who identify with the political left. You wrote an entire book about this, Boomeritis — which I often say has since metastasized into an even more nasty “millennialitis” over the last decade or so.

However, it seems increasingly clear that, in today’s world, the excesses of the political right — mostly coming from red and amber altitude — have become particularly dangerous in the age of Trump, and likely pose a far greater threat to global civilization than anything we are currently seeing from the left.

For example, placing developmentally-vulnerable kids in “tender age centers” — a type of internment camp for young immigrant children and infants — is far more corrosive to our social values, our global standing, and our national identity than any “safe space” on the left could ever hope to be. I am not a fan of slippery slope arguments, but this one hell of a greasy hill, and concentration camps are clearly a lot worse than safe spaces.

Add Trump’s continued adulation of some of the world’s worst pre-modern autocrats and his petulant alienation of our modern and postmodern allies, seen most recently at the G7 conferences, and it seems clear that we are dealing with one of the most regressive political forces since World War II, which is already beginning to undermine the geopolitical structures and alliances that have stabilized and supported the West over the last 70 years.

So here’s my hypothesis. It seems obvious that the excesses of the political right present a more brute-force threat to the world in the short term. However, it may be that the excesses of the political left are equally corrosive, but in a more insidious and long-term fashion, since they diminish our ability to adequately contain and resist the regressive forces that are now coming from the right, all throughout the Western world:

  • By dissolving the amber structures that are supposed to “put a cap” on our collective red impulses,
  • By creating postmodern social media platforms that actually reinforce anti-intellectualism, narcissism, and tribalism,
  • By perpetuating a strain of cultural relativism that makes it impossible to say “these values are superior to those values” (even while enforcing the superiority of their own values)
  • By plunging our culture into a Warholian nightmare where everyone’s “15 minutes” are stretched to infinity and become the basis of a new set of 21st-century immortality projects.

This gets especially difficult when a plurality of people who are signaling green virtues and slogans are not themselves coming from the green altitude cognitively, but are rather enacting and enforcing green platitudes from an often red or amber altitude (as we will get to in the next question).

So I suppose my questions are:

Is it possible that some people’s “green allergy” are causing them to overlook or minimize the dangers coming from the political right? Should integral thinkers be paying at least as much attention to the excesses of the right as we do to those coming from the political left?
  2. What sort of heuristic “guard rails” can integral enforce in order to help down-regulate the political left and support the healthiest possible expression of the green altitude? How can we support the continued unfolding of green, without saying “just be more Integral”?
  3. What are the appropriate integral responses in all four quadrants to the justified outrage that the Trump administration is creating? How should we hold this in our hearts and minds in the UL? how should we relate and engage with each other differently in the LL? What actions should we be taking in the UR? How should we organize differently and exert integral power in the LR?
Ken Wilber

About Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber is a preeminent scholar of the Integral stage of human development. He is an internationally acknowledged leader, founder of Integral Institute, and co-founder of Integral Life. Ken is the originator of arguably the first truly comprehensive or integrative world philosophy, aptly named “Integral Theory”.

Corey deVos

About Corey deVos

Corey W. deVos is editor and producer of Integral Life. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.