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Bryan O'DohertyBryan O'Doherty currently works as a consultant for an Engineering and Construction company. He grew up in Portland Oregon (US) and graduated from Portland State University with degrees in Architecture and Japanese. He currently lives in a very rural part of Japan with his wife and three kids, where in addition to his work, he is attempting to live a more simplified life, more in tune with the land and with his family.


Reposted from (November 9, 2016) with permission of the author

What the US election was really about and why Integrals should feel OK

Why the Integral "Establishment" is wrong about Trump, wrong about Clinton, and wrong about what it means for the world

Bryan O'Doherty

Trump is driven to succeed, to compete, to negotiate and to win. He’s an arch-typical Agentic Alpha-male.

My Facebook feed is literally awash in hate right now, and it’s not coming from my right leaning friends. I understand the grief caused by the election results. Although I do not share it, I do understand it. I don’t mix politics and Facebook though (it’s a matter of personal policy. I use Twitter and this blog for that purpose) so all I can do is give the occasional “like” as a show of empathy, but usually I just don’t respond. Believe me; sometimes that is very difficult.

Trump wins in landslide

What I see in my left leaning friends, including left leaning—communal—Integrals (I still love you all!) is an inability to understand and empathize with the other–agentic—side. It is fundamentally a failure to understand their true motivations. And for the most part those motivations are not about racism, misogyny, bigotry, or any of those things (although admittedly that element does exist on the fringe, I have not encountered it personally). Such “identity politics” are almost always a creation of communal bias (common at Purple, Blue and Green levels) and are typically incomprehensible to those with agentic bias (particularly Orange). In any case it is important to point out that if the tables were turned it would be the left gloating, and the right lashing out in similar fashion. I think all people who are truly Integral seekers of truth can acknowledge that. All “Subsistence” levels on the “First Tier” are incapable of taking an a-perspectival view. Their worldview is the only correct worldview and so all others must be coming out of some “dark” place.

Of course, as integrals we know that the truth is more nuanced—that the worldview of each level is correct from the vantage point of that level, and that we are all travelers on a journey toward greater consciousness. Where we stand on that path colors our view of the world.

What many integrals overlook far too often is their own position on the Agentic–Communal axis. What I will call “Establishment” Integrals (E-Integral), i.e. those who form the vanguard, so to speak, of the self-aware integral wave have held a predominately communal bent. This is actually contrary to what one would expect of those centered in Yellow (which can be explained by the likely-hood that most rapidly moved on to Turquoise, a communal stage, and centered there).

I have made the claim before that our Agentic–Communal disposition in many ways determines how we move through the stages. It explains why some stages are more comfortable for us than others, and why we linger in some stages longer, while in others we embrace and then immediately try to transcend to a more comfortable stage. This is much more obvious for those on the more extreme edges (i.e. those who lack balance).

I am admittedly in that camp (on the agentic side) but I would caution that E-Integral is generally dominated by the extreme communal. In and of itself that is perfectly fine. However what it means is two things:

  • That E-Integrals are ill prepared to empathize with the coming social order that will be centered in Yellow. They may fail to understand it and will tend to misinterpret its agentic tendency as an expression of Red or ORANGE vMemes.
  • Because of the above they will tend to interpret the emergence of an agentic-YELLOW social movement as a regression to ORANGE, BLUE or RED rather than transcendence from GREEN. This is exacerbated by the fact that RED, BLUE and ORANGE elements will attach themselves to the emerging populist YELLOW movement’s message as it speaks to their vMeme.

There are a few ways we can know we are seeing the beginning of a transcendent social movement centered in YELLOW:

  • The movement will be a populist movement which rejects the established social order. We know this because it has been so with all transcendent social orders. They all begin as populist movements, at their peak they achieve their goals, and then they entrench themselves and become the Established order, ready to be transcended by something new.
  • The voices directing the movement (its academia) will have, themselves, come out of GREEN in the recent past. They will recall this frequently in their discourse, and will often praise GREEN for its virtues, while attacking the GREEN Establishment (regardless of party affiliation) as having betrayed those very virtues.
  • The new “academia” will tend toward political anarchism. That is not to say all will be anarchist, but rather they will tend to prefer a breakdown of political structure toward more local and individual autonomy.
  • As it was in past transitions, lower level vMemes will attach themselves to the emerging Social Movement, RED will sense the shift in the wind and be attracted to the newly powerful, BLUE will see the new populism as an opportunity to push a nationalistic agenda, ORANGE will embrace a rejection of communal GREEN values for something more objective and agentic, etc.

Ultimately we will know that our society is centered in YELLOW when the existing social order has been replaced by something else. I have put forth my vision of an Integral Panarchy. I believe a Being level Society will indeed adopt a similar model. Obviously we are not there yet.

Trump is not Integral. I would never suggest he was. I believe he is centered in ORANGE. It is possible I am wrong (I do not know him personally after all). But I think if he were RED, he would have entered politics long ago. Modern Politics attracts those who are centered ethically in RED. Not all, but a large portion of Establishment career politicians are motivated by RED values. They may “sound” BLUE, or ORANGE or GREEN, but look to their actions, not their words, and you will know them.

The Clintons and their associates seek power for power’s sake. To them and others centered in RED it is the ultimate end goal. They may rationalize it to themselves and to others, and frame their rhetoric in GREEN terms, but look to their actions. The evidence is prolific. Agentic people tend to judge a person’s motivations based on their actions (objective reality), Communal people judge a person’s motivations based on their words (subjective reality). You can see this in the Main Stream Media. Nearly all the complaints regarding trump boil down to, “He said something mean.” The complaints about Clinton are all based on things she has done.

Trump is driven to succeed, to compete, to negotiate and to win. He’s an arch-typical Agentic Alpha-male. He makes the arch-typical Communal Beta-male nervous. Similarly, agentic women love him and communal women hate him. That’s natural. Agency is more prevalent in males, and Communion in females. That’s natural too, part of our evolutionary biology. I don’t think Trump cares about power for power’s sake. He just wants to recast America in its ORANGE image.

That’s OK for now. It gives us some time. I am hoping for time enough to make the transcendence to Integral Panarchy a peaceful one.

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