Friday, June 13, 2014

What is an integral postmetaphysical spirituality anyway?

Update: If you're a member of Facebook see the ongoing discussion at the FB IPS forum, which starts with the question about Clinton and Warren.

I also posted the Warren v. Clinton in the Facebook IPS forum. One commenter (Mark) asked if such a political question belonged in a forum on spirituality. Which opens a whole can of worms on what integral postmetaphysical spirituality implies.

I responded: What could be more spiritual than helping people earn a living wage to feed their families. Than addressing income inequality so that people have a fair shot at creating enough money to meet their basic needs and have some surplus time and energy to devote to needs higher on the hierarchy, like spiritual pursuits? And I don't mean just traditional religion but so-called integral postmetaphysical spirituality (IPS)? Seems most of us that are into such spiritual pursuits are already privileged with enough surplus in the lower levels like survival, membership, individual autonomy and transcendental awareness that we take for granted that most of the population is struggling to eat and pay the rent. If you are the latter you will not focus on much of anything else, let alone IPS.
So which political agenda lends itself more toward lifting up most people to even approach IPS? Just preaching IPS to the choir of already relatively wealthy elites is a circle jerk. Taking the prime directive seriously means taking action to lift everyone up to achieve their highest potential, not just in financial terms but all the higher needs. But we can't get there without addressing real socio-cultural problems. And it matters a lot which political agenda is in power.

I'm also reminded of Wilber's contention, and with which I agree, that the predominant factor in an individual's level of consciousness is the economic system. Levi Bryant would also agree, coming from an OOO perspective. And coming from a Christian perspective take the recent proclamations of the Pope about trickle down economics being a major factor in subverting one's religious obligations to the people. Or Jim Wallis, who sees economic budgets as moral issues, how we enact our moral and religious beliefs in treating each other.

Btw, as IPS ning forum we've long included political and economic issues as part of an integral view to achieving spirituality. LP's recent thread on integral religions notes this as a necessary ingredient. I can go on and on but that's a start of an answer.

Mark said: You make some very good general points and I appreciate the spirit of your message. But, as I see it, all you've done here is justify that anything political/economic is relevant to spiritual matters and ought to be included when investigating the latter. I agree with this as an abstract principle and that we need to bring the political and religious/spiritual into more dynamic conversation, but this doesn't mean that it's necessary or, in this case, aligned with the intention of a post metaphysical spirituality forum like this one. It may or may not be. If I were adjudicating, I would recommend that you provide some framing in your initial post explicating how the link/piece ties into the subject matter of spirituality. And in this case, as you've shown, it's in a very general way that they are related or should be related. Anyway, I find that integrally informed folks (myself included) are inclined toward interdisciplinary orientations, and this is great, but there's also important reasons for maintaining disciplinary boundaries/specialization.

My reply: So does spirituality include, including integral spirituality, how we practice it? How we help others? Does it mean we just engage in academic discussion limited to defining the upper reaches of what constitutes it within our own specialization? There is obviously a need for that too, hence my heavy engagement with it. But does it matter which political agenda has power to affect the general well being of most people? Isn't that a spiritual practice, to engage a better political agenda? I'd also suggest Terry Patten's ILR interview, where he sees such political engagement as addressing "the well-being of the whole world, with their relationship to the Ground of Being, or Spirit." 

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