The Intellectual Dark Web: An Integral View

Robb SmithCognitive, Conversations, Free, Integrative Metatheory, Perspectives, Values, Video, Worldviews 10 Comments

In this video dialogue, Mark Forman and Robb Smith discuss the Intellectual Dark Web, the loose counter-cultural band of intellectuals recently profiled in the New York Times. Mark and Robb both agree that IDW is playing an important role in challenging prevailing culture to engage in necessary conversations and issues created at the leading-edge of a Green “operating system” that is increasingly straining under its philosophical and evolutionary contradictions, but with limitations that seem to arise from their failure to take a broader, more integral worldview.

For Robb’s personal take on IDW, see his accompanying Integral Post here, and for minute-markers on this dialogue see below the visual.

5:20 The IDW as an anti-Green, but not post-Green, enactment, stuck in and arising from the very postmodern condition being criticized: “Against the grain, against the Green”

12:31 IDW with heavy positivist bent, right-hand (exterior) evolutionaries without left-hand (interior) evolutionary model, and thus no transformational map or way through deconstructive postmodernism itself

19:20 The Integral movement hasn’t always done a great job of enacting post-Green itself, perhaps due to under-integrated Orange

30:15 Jordan Peterson acting as “heat shield” for Amber-to-Orange maturation and against the anomie of Green, but with his own serious blind spots

41:30 The only way out is through, by including the entire evolutionary stack in an integral embrace as we head towards momentous leap into Transformation Age

50:41 Integral technologies hardly exist to support Teal cultural structures, but the integral vision calls to each of us to live with kosmic integrity in service to all


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Robb Smith

About Robb Smith

Robb Smith is a leading thinker on the Transformation Age and the global Integral movement. He is the creator of the augmented leadership platform Context, co-founder and CEO of Integral Life and founder of the Institute of Applied Metatheory.

Mark Forman

About Mark Forman

Mark Forman, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist whose text — A Guide to Integral Psychotherapy Complexity, Integration, and Spirituality in Practice – is considered one of the seminal works in the field of Integral Psychotherapy.


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    Thank you. This was a great talk and I look forward to more on how the integral community is stepping up to the challenge of encouraging a cultural conversation that leads to societal shift in the direction of teal.

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    Thank you. I found this extremely helpful. For example, I’ve been reading a lot about Jordan Peterson and his influence, and appreciated the integral take on where he might be coming from.

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    I didn’t hear mentioned The “Factual Feminist”, Christina Hoff Sommers is one of the IDW podcasters that indeed comes from an integrated post modernist position. She has been frustratingly attacked by radical left students on campuses yet I find her views the most Teal or Turquoise of all of those mentioned here.

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    This is an important topic. Here’s how I see it.

    The “conservative” wing, in general, seems hostile to integral approaches. They associate Integral with SJW and the narratives of the far-left. But their own default, Neo-Darwinian “because genes” gobbledygook-masquerading-as-paradigm has no viable alternative to offer. When I call them out on their cherished NeoDarwinism, for example, I get shouted down by a whole new class of true-believers whose only cred seems to be the part-time science of armchair theorists… EVEN WHEN I SPEAK FROM THEIR SIDE!

    Jordan Peterson and the Intellectual Dark Web, in which I’ve also been a participant, are a step in the right direction. But the opinionated armchair theorists that inspire much of their narrative are devote followers of the Gospel of Dawkins, and their ignorance of real science points to weaknesses in their narrative. Integral can help meet that need, but we need to connect more solidly with the narratives of science… evidence-based, with serious regard to onus of proof (in Neo-Darwinism, for example, the onus of proof regarding entropy remains outstanding). Only then might Integral stand a better chance of winning the hearts and minds of a broader audience, and for the longer term. Indeed, if we fail to properly address this crisis in paradigm, we might be witnessing the end of civilization as we know it.

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    Thank you for this conversation! Yes! The most important word, for me, in “include and transcend” continues to be “and”! Any integral thinker who shows up in a conversation with someone in the IDW and keeps on saying, “Yes, and…” will be laying a brick on the path to integral. And so, I love the idea of an Integral Speakers Bureau! Not being content to only lay bricks, though, I believe we need to build scaffolding and bridges to help people cross from the green world, as it were, into the teal world, with as little disorientation and pain as possible. It would be lovely also to have some additional evidence to present within the orange and greens world about the efficacy and gifts within the teal and turquoise worlds.

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      OMG Jordan Peterson is a highly respected clinical psychologist (40 years helping clients) at both Harvard and U of T. He is from Northern Saskatchewan. You have no idea who you have slandered. There are over 200 hours of his VERY POPULAR undergrad course ‘maps of meaning’ available for free on You Tube. In a few months, he has influenced probably 100 million people, positively. First we had Trump Derangement Syndrome, Now Peterson Derangement Syndrome. What’s next? Kind of ironic, no? Ken was the instigator of the drive for more holistic maps. Certainly the 15 years of Peterson’s Life spent writing Maps of Meaning are also a significant contribution.
      While you’re at it, look up Northrup Frye…..

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    I can feel the authenticity of the IDW, which includes very skilled intellects which also includes people like Scott Adams, black Pigeon Speaks, Gavin McInnes, Stefan Moluneux, Jonathan Haight and many more. Again, my favourite Canadian, Jordan Peterson became the pivot on which the world shifted. Because he took a stand. Likewise Janice Fiomengo, a Pioneering Ottawa U. Prof., Warren Farrell etc. Owen Benjamin is an on line personality with a particular appeal. Go Bears.

    The Genie is out of the bottle. We will not deal kindly with the evils of postmodernist feminist thought and action.

    I agree that Integral will be, and has been for some time, essential to the successful transformation of our society. Because it doesn’t seem to be going along according to models shouldn’t be that big of a surprise.

    Welcome to the Cassandra Complex.

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