Inclusion & Exclusion

Corey deVos Polarity Map

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The polarity between inclusion and exclusion is a central dynamic in the development and functioning of communities at the integral stage. It navigates the delicate balance between embracing a diversity of perspectives and maintaining a certain standard of discourse grounded in expertise and developmental adequacy. This polarity is pivotal in fostering environments that are both open and discerning, encouraging rich, multifaceted dialogues while preserving the integrity and depth of the discussions.
Inclusion stands for the acceptance and integration of a wide array of perspectives, valuing the richness brought in by varied backgrounds, developmental stages, and areas of expertise. It nurtures a sense of belonging, empathy, and collaboration, allowing communities to be dynamic and adaptive. Inclusion fosters environments where diversity is seen as a strength, promoting innovation and growth through a collaborative approach. However, it holds the risk of diluting the depth and quality of discourse if not paired with discernment.
Exclusion, on the other hand, underscores the necessity for discernment, boundaries, and standards in community dynamics. It safeguards the integrity and depth of a community by ensuring that the discourse maintains a high standard, grounded in relevance and informed perspectives. While it protects the community from potential dilution of purpose, it holds the risk of fostering isolation and a lack of diverse perspectives if taken to an extreme.
Integral non-exclusion is one way of thinking about the integrated polarity, representing a sophisticated balance between inclusion and exclusion. Non-exclusion is another way of saying “everyone is right… but some are more right than others.” It embodies a holistic approach that encourages the inclusion of as many perspectives as possible, so long as they are not overly hostile to other perspectives. This approach fosters “communities of the adequate,” where individuals share similar levels of development, expertise, or qualification, promoting a rich and deep discourse while avoiding the pitfalls of overextension.
Communities of the inadequate often result when there is a failure to balance the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion effectively. These communities may either stretch too wide, losing depth and focus, or become too narrow or elitist, stifling diversity and innovation. The inadequacy comes from not effectively navigating the tension between depth and span, leading to a limited, flatland perspective that doesn’t fully leverage the potential richness of a truly integral community.
Tips for
To successfully integrate this polarity, it is essential to foster environments that encourage open dialogue while maintaining a respect for expertise and developmental adequacy. Communities should be encouraged to embrace diversity while also cultivating depth in discourse. Regular reflective practices can be instituted to ensure that the balance is maintained. Moreover, creating spaces for both confidential deep dives and broader, transparent discussions can aid in navigating the tension between depth and span, fostering a community that is both deeply connected and widely impactful.

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Corey deVos

About Corey deVos

Corey W. deVos is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of 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.