Introducing and Understanding Integral Art

Matt Rentschler Aesthetics, Art & Creativity, Article, Journal of Integral Theory & Practice 237 Comments

This article briefly outlines a general definition of art and the main approaches of art theory andpractice. It then illustrates how those approaches coherently fit together via the four quadrants of AQAL theory. The article concludes that Integral Art preserves the important truths of these approaches (while negating their more extreme versions). Therefore, nothing short of an Integral approach will suffice in both tuning artists to their fullest expression and reminding critics of their widest embrace.

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About Matt Rentschler

MATT RENTSCHLER is a poet, arts scholar, Co-Director of the Integral Art Center, and member of the AQALReview Team. He lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with his mate, Channon.

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  1. Well if it isn’t another friendly difference of opinion from FermentedAgave. Well, maybe not so friendly this time around.

    I’ll see if I can quickly answer your questions for you.

    How many conservatives do I talk to? Plenty. My wife’s family is entirely conservative. Catholic too! I also talk to plenty of right-leaning libertarians, left-leaning libertarians, centrists, progressives, socialists, and Q Anon followers. I love taking to all sorts of people, especially people who disagree with me, because I find that most of them — the ones who don’t have their identity completely wrapped up in their politics, anyway — have offered me some partial truth or perspective that has informed my own views. Some more than others, of course.

    As for your next paragraphs, I think it’s an awfully uncharitable and fairly disrespectful reading of my views, values, and overall intentions with this show. It’s almost like you have a hard time with the idea that I simply have a different view than you do, and how dare I present that view in my discussions with Ken. But that’s kind of what we do here. I offer a frame, and Ken responds to it. Sometimes the frame is mine, other times it’s a summary of Ken’s own thoughts, so I can get him to the good stuff more quickly without feeling like he needs to repeat what he’s said in other discussions. Integral is not an ideology, after all, so I am not particularly interested in bringing a whole lot of ideological fervor to these discussions. But I do occasionally have a view. And clearly you don’t like my views very much. But again, that’s okay, we are allowed to disagree here.

    As I said in the discussion, I think this is all largely a question of metaphysics. It all comes down to the question, “when do you believe life begins?” And I offered examples from some of the loudest voices from each altitude. And for amber, “life begins at conception” is by far the loudest voice. I did not say all conservatives have that view.

    And no, I wasn’t comprehensive in my examples. Upon review, I also gave a fairly negative appraisal of orange as well (“fetuses are parasites until they are born”, which I called profane). I also made a little joke about green, saying they would just be mad at us for being two men daring to have this conversation. A little poke at wokism, you know.

    So I don’t really see where I “conflated” anyone here, other than by giving purposely hyperbolic examples from the fringe of these altitudes.

    Except, you know, that whole amber “life begins at conception” thing isn’t really so much an example from the fringe, as it is has been a defining slogan of the culture wars and repeated by mainstream politicians on the right for just about 40 years now.

    I’m fact, here’s what Abbott said as he was signing this into law:

    “Our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion,” Abbott said in a bill signing ceremony.

    So yes, because religious fundamentalism is undeniably a major current in today’s GOP electorate, and because laws like the one in Texas are being actively and publicly justified by religious beliefs, I did find it worthwhile to mention that it turns out the only actual mentions of abortion in the Bible are a recipe for abortion, as well as the fact that it’s suggested that life begins at first breath, not at conception.

    The book of Genesis is still a fairly important reading in American Christianity, is it not? Was there some other mention of abortion in the New Testament that I missed? Or was there some later clarification about when human life truly begins?

    And yes, only 1.3% of abortions occur after 21 weeks. And I actually did appreciate your point about “the triviality of scale”, as this is exactly the tactic many anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers employ when talking about the horrific death rate from Covid. It’s a really important point — there are a LOT of human beings on this planet, which means that things that effect 1-2% of a given population are impacting far more people than we imagine. Of course, in this case, I made clear that the vast majority of that 1.3% are due to medical emergencies. Safety of the mother, organs growing outside a fetus’s body, etc. Real grisly stuff. The sorts of things that are already incredibly traumatic for women and families, even without the protestors outside the door calling them evil.

    Because, as it turns out, the scale of these medical emergencies is anything but trivial.

    Or are you implying that otherwise healthy women with healthy pregnancies are choosing to terminate a week or two before delivery?

    You say, “The comment on using the US Constitution as your “North Star” was sarcasimn right?”

    I was actually referring to the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution, saying that I believe the values of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” is hierarchically arranged — you can pursue happiness, but not at the expense of my liberty, and you can pursue liberty but not at the expense of my life. I then stated how this reading is causing me some degree of moral conflict as I apply it to abortion, because as useful of a heuristic as that often is, this discussion calls into question the life and liberty of multiple agents at multiple holonic levels. I find that an interesting frame, so I presented it to Ken.

    Why do you think I don’t support the Constitution? Why would you suggest it’s a joke? That seems needlessly disparaging. Because we have different interpretations of what it means and how it should be enacted?

    You then engage in a couple unprovoked low blows that border on personal insults. This politics stuff sure gets you riled up, huh? Hey, I get it, I’ve been pissed off about this absolutely idiotic Texas thing all week, the very idea that a vigilante system has been created in order to effectively outlaw abortion for as many women as possible, regardless of matters of rape or incest. Thankfully it has exemptions for late-term medical emergencies, so I imagine that 1.3% will pretty much continue unchanged. And of course, middle class and rich women can still get their abortions, they just need to pay for a plane ticket. But not poor mothers of course.

    So yeah, this week pissed me off. But instead of choosing to go online to argue with fine folks such as yourself, or accusing people like you of being a far-right spokesman for your contributions to the community, instead I spent the day planting a couple trees in my back yard. I’m exhausted, but it was tremendously rejuvenating work and practice. I do a lot of woodwork, so my overall k/d ratio could use some improvement, but it was nice to spend the day only thinking about what was directly in front of my eyes.

    In the end, it really was a fantastic discussion, and I am glad that Ken and I essentially agreed on the overall takeaways — we hope the Supreme Court maintains the post-Roe status quo (oh well, that didn’t quite work out did it), that a fetus does not achieve “wholeness” (viability as a separate organism) until 22-26 weeks, and that multiple studies have demonstrated that the very best way to prevent abortions is to emphasize sex education, personal responsibility, sex positivity, and easy access to birth control. Hey, that’s one for each quadrant :wink:

  2. I find the topic of abortion a very high energized topic that neither side does well in defending.

    From the point of view of respecting life … if we had a neighbor killing puppies we on the “Left” would likely be lined up in outrage for the brutality. While from the "Right’ imagining that we will outlaw abortion certainly seems like a step backwards to the dark ages for humanity.

    Respecting life, for animals or a human fetus, sets a tone that I think most civilized people would agree is deserving of preserving and defending. This respect is abandoned when the debate devolves into politics.

    Certainly a more integral format of discussion would be in support of positive constructive conversations around the topic rather than fighting a battle that’s already been decided. Abortion will never be completely banned that legal battle is OVER.

    Perhaps an honest discussion on how to minimize this heinous procedure would be better? A decision that needs to be made by a woman with her doctor exclusively. There is already great suffering for a woman who actually selects to undertake such a personal trauma as the lesser of two evils.

    There is so much suffering and pain around this issue that lasts a life-time for the woman, something men will never fully understand. Let’s love and care for those who are faced with such an intense decision. Let’s not undermine it to an unconscious decision like having a tooth pulled. As an integral community we are bigger and better than the petty politics of left vs right. ~ Peace :slight_smile:

  3. Ummm, Corey doesn’t come across as a PR operative for a far left agenda to me.
    The major problem I have with “Right” and “Left” is that they are redundant as terms to describe and encompass a political view in today’s nuanced world.
    We have a small Integral discussion group over the pond in England where politics often comes up for discussion. Whilst I can’t speak for the others, if our conversation ever heads towards Left versus Right or vice versa, I immediately feel the discussion loses all depth and we soon get bored and so move back to a deeper discussion of the issue at hand.
    In broad terms, to me it appears democracy in its current form and content has passed its sell by date. One of the progressions from Green to Teal will be to develop a new structure and content to deal with the changes society is creating/suffering/enjoying.

  4. I had an abortion and I’m fine. We women need neither your sympathy nor your permission. Abortions, like miscarriages, are very natural and a part of life and are, yes, sad and sometimes traumatic, but also ok.

  5. Not enough time to say all I might want to say, but @Andrew_Baines, Esq., thanks for asking for some female contributions, and for your clear view on the issue. While male head-butting may not be the party I want to attend, make no mistake, I do follow the conversations.

    And to me, the original post here made the conversation a political one. One doesn’t have to overtly state their political view on an issue for that political view to be known; there is history at this site through discourse on other topics. We’re a pretty small group; we tend to know where others are coming from politically, even if they use questions rather than outright statements of position. So I thought Corey was perfectly legitimate in expressing his personal stance about the Texas law. And actually, when I re-read this thread, it was not Corey who threw the first verbal “punch,” so I think some of the criticism lodged against him is off-target. While he may have “chased a few squirrels,” he also held to the integral framework with a lot of integral education throughout this thread. As for his intellectual prowess, we all might want to ask ourselves why he’s in the job he is, and we’re not.

    My own view on abortion is that until there are better alternatives and better methods of contraception, women are going to have them, whether or not they’re legal. The article I linked to about Mexico decriminalizing abortion speaks to other largely Catholic countries as well. Here is a quote of paragraph 11 in that article about what happens despite illegality or restrictions on abortion: “Despite the restrictions, there were an estimated 6.5 million abortions each year in Latin America from 2010 to 2014, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a U.S.-based policy group that supports abortion rights and tracks national abortion statistics. It estimated that some 760,000 women are treated each year from complications related to unsafe abortions and that some 900 women die each year.” This is in Latin American countries with huge Catholic populations, abortion still happens despite religious prohibitions, and much of it unsafe for the woman. That should tell us something about the import of personal choice around this issue

    I appreciate the many slippery slopes and nuances that have been raised in this thread but I am overall pro-choice. But I don’t think abortion is a stand-alone social issue. Our culture is hypersexualized, and I suppose this is where my conservatism comes in. I found the Grammy performance by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion for instance (I think that’s who it was) totally inappropriate for television. But women are not the only ones contributing to this oversexualized culture; there are lots of crotch-grabbing men and boys and men wearing really low-slung pants and “performing” in ways that leave little to the imagination. I also think there is a relationship between thoughts, words, and deeds. I support free speech, but I think that right is being utterly abused in so many areas, and not just in the form of lying. I find excessive cursing, for instance, to be antithetical to a better behaved and less crass and more humane, less violent culture. (Although cursing is probably as prevalent among ‘conservatives’ as ‘liberals,’ and liberals certainly do not have the patent on inappropriate sexual behavior.)

    Much more I could say about abortion being intertwined with other social issues, but I’ve run out of time. Great discussion here, I thought, head-butting and all.

Continue the discussion at community.integrallife.com

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