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Brett Thomas writes: “Kickstarting a Movement: A Call for Integral Leaders”


On Integral Post, writes a post which is the most important blog post I’ve seen in a long while: “Kickstarting a Movement: A Call for Integral Leaders.”

I Have a Confession to Make.

I am a man obsessed. In ten years, I don’t think a single day has passed without some part of my mind puzzling over Integral Leadership.

I am also going to confess what is either a grand delusion or a grand vision. And to be honest, I’m not sure which one it is. You may know that famous quote attributed to Archimedes: “If I had a lever long enough, I could move the world.” The reason I think I’m so obsessed is that I believe Integral Leadership is Archimedes’ lever. Please let me know if you think that’s crazy or not after you read this article.

Do You Remember Your First?

Do you remember that first recognition… the moment you realized that there was an actual name for this intuition you had? Can you recall that auspicious day when you first heard the word?

The word, of course, was “Integral”. And the realization was likely some version of, “This is exactly what I’ve been intuiting but couldn’t quite articulate it!”

For me, that moment was also the recognition that I had found my people… and my calling.

Of course eventually the initial elation wears off and we settle into the new reality that we have a condition called Integral, and we learn that we are part of a small but growing tribe of like-minded men and women spread around the globe who share our perspective, our values, and many of our aspirations.

But then we are stuck with a new dilemma: “Now that I have an Integral worldview, what do I do with it? How can I use my unique understanding and perspective to make a difference?”

Is This a Movement or Not?

Ken recently delivered a keynote presentation at the Integral Leadership Collaborative entitled “The Time Has Come for Integral Leadership.” And to further put my cards on the table, I have to say that I enthusiastically agree with him.

I believe it is time to shift our community’s focus from “map” to “movement.” But is there really an Integral Movement? What defines a movement?

Let’s be honest. The Evangelical Movement is a movement. Evangelicals are staggeringly effective at popularizing their Biblical worldview. The NeoCon (neo-conservative) Movement is hugely influential. The U.S. Tea Party is clearly a movement. Of course there is the Occupy Movement, which seems to be gathering momentum as well. What defines them? They have organized influence.

Can the so-called Integral Movement become a real movement like these? In my opinion, yes—but if and only if we organize. That’s when we will become a real force for good.

Are You Willing to Stand Up for What You Care About?

For several years now, the question about how to organize has been a frequent behind-closed-doors discussion among Integral teachers and advocates. The truth is that no one has come up with any kind of top-down, centralized strategy that is likely to work. And this is where you come in.

I’m convinced the best way for us to organize our movement is to allow leadership to emerge organically, in the “Flex Flow” fashion that Clare Graves intuited more than three decades ago. I believe Integral Leadership is the key—but not just from a few select individuals. It needs to come from all of us. Every one of us has the choice to stand up for what we believe in—the Evangelicals do, the Tea Partiers do, and the Occupy protestors do.

As integralists are we too cool to do that? Too intellectual? Too “meta” perhaps? I don’t think so. I think we just haven’t organized yet…until now.

This article is my attempt to share some insights that are a result of teaching Integral Leadership to hundreds of people over the past decade, both at the Integral Institute and at my company, Stagen. And it is also a call to action. I am asking you to take a moment, presence your Self, look inside and ask, “Is this integral thing just a casual hobby, or are am I serious about it? Do I feel a call to be a positive force for integral change in the world? Am I ready to answer that call?”

Read the whole thing.

The World Spirituality movement is a central force in building the connections between people necessary to advance human development in evolutionary, progressive ways… while safeguarding the inherent dignity of the individual. We can all learn from Brett that those of us informed by Integral Theory can be too “meta” for our own good. It’s time to organize, and we at the Center for World Spirituality are doing our part.

Photo Credit: JPC24

About Joe Perez

Joe Perez is Executive Editor of Spirit's Next Move, Director of Communications and Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for World Spirituality. He has eight years of blogging experience and has seen two of his blogs published as books including Soulfully Gay, a pioneering Integral Spirituality memoir. He is an Honors graduate of Harvard University, has studied at The Divinity School at The University of Chicago, and holds a certificate in Integral Leadership from Pacific Integral. He also blogs at Gay Spirituality.

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