Integral Politics: The need for and purpose of an Integral Government – Part II

by editor

This is a continuation of the article titled, “Integral Politics: The need for and purpose of an Integral Government – Part I”, inspired from Henry Augustine’s “Integral Politics: An Introduction to Integral Government”. In Part I, we analyzed the purpose of any government and the question of importance, justice etc. involved in governance. The need for and purpose of an Integral Government involves what analysis of the basic flaws in the current system too. The Part II will deal with the problems with  the existing rational-legal governance and what are the crucial issues that such a linear governance fails to address.  

Problems with current political systems: The political systems of the current type, the rational-legal authority, originated with the modern and postmodernist era. Though it ideally covers both the Orange and the Green people, who can perceive different levels and dimensions of problems that the others cannot conceive of (and though Green meme is better than Orange), the existing political system has several major drawbacks and pitfalls. These defects disqualify it for application in this problem-prone current world.

Henry Augustine identifies five primary drawbacks with the rational-legal authority: 1. Mediocrity, 2. Slow Change, 3. Linear Thinking, not holistic, 4. No practice of rhetoric or any other philosophy, 5. No existence world government united by world-states. Augustine opines that all these problems are rooted in democracy by which the current political systems act. We will consider each problem in detail.

1. Mediocrity: Mediocrity is one of the major problems of democratic societies. This basically rises up from the very concept of democracy. If we peruse history, we understand that democracy had its base in ancient Greece. That was the time when transition was happening from Feudal systems to more refined, democratic set up. The Orange worldview served the then political climate, developing the concept of democracy, where everyone has their say. The Green worldview too embraced democracy because it is centered on the individual and hence, it benefits the collective group of individuals in the long run. But the Turquoise worldview is different, it opines that democracy is not ideal for “optimal governance”. Why is it so? What are the problems?

Even Plato has identified the problems of democracy. He says that a system which allows everyone to have an equal say will produce “results that are in direct concordance with the condition of people responsible”. Plato explains this with the example of his view of the society in three groups. According to him, a society will comprise of three groups – artisans, warriors and philosophers. In the Spiral Dynamics view, we can take this to be people with Red worldview, Amber view and Orange view. The proportion of their existence is like this – 60% Red, 30% Amber and 10% Orange. Though people with Orange view are the best in thoughts and know the best solutions for problems faced by Red and Amber, their voice is lost in a democracy comprising of the largest number of Red population. This results in mediocre decisions taken to satisfy people of the majority. People who are largest in number win, while the others, even if they are good, lose. Mediocrity results, thanks to people in authority’s decisions to satisfy the status quo of those in large numbers.

Some may opine that dictatorship can be a good antidote to mediocre democracy. Sure, it can be. But the price of such a totalitarian state can be too much. The fact that all the dictatorships in the world history have failed so far shows how much of an impossibility is dictatorship when it comes to maintaining balance and harmony in the society. Though totalitarian states allow fast change and are not mediocre, they are no better than democracy if the ruler or the one in power lacks political prudence. But democracy is worse in that, as Augustine puts it, “democracy not only allows mediocrity, but also sustains it”.

2. Slow Progress: Mediocrity leads to slow change. Change in a democracy is slow, often not-positive and very less fruitful. In this era of global crises, it is imperative that we make fast positive change in our societies. But democracies seldom allow such things. Though one reason for such slow progress is the majority of Red, another is the cognitive ability of the groups. Though Green is better than Orange in worldview, it is not as holistic as Turquoise view. Slow growth/change occurs because of the thinking pattern of the majority people. Linear rationalization is the source of the problem.

3. Linear Rationalization, not-holistic view: Linear rationalization will never help in the current world where global problems are more than national or interstate issues. When one adopts only linear logic to view these problems, there are very many chances of losing insight into the whole nature of the problem or crisis. Holistic view is not possible and this results in an inferior kind of authoritarianism, where, majority view is hailed and the 10% Orange view is ignored.

4. Ignorance of rhetoric and philosophy: There was a time when governments operated only by some philosophy or the other. Democracies are, to a large extent, ignoring the need for such philosophies. They feel rhetoric, in the sense of effective communication, is not required. But this is wrong. Augustine points out that rhetoric is crucial in a rational-legal set up as it is the only thing that makes people understand/share other’s plans or problems. For instance, a Congressman needs to explain (in effective communication) his plans/ideas for the state in order to avoid dispute with another fellow Congressman. In other words, a rational-legal authority should persuade all and sundry to view the world in its perspective. Also, communication of the ground reality of issues, situations etc. is critical for solving problems. Philosophy and rhetoric are important for achieving this. The existing governments have no idea of the Integral philosophy of the world. They stay stuck to a bygone way of thinking – democracy.

5. World-government and world-states: There is no world-state to address global problems. Though the European Union is something of this kind, it is still not complete. According to Augustine, “The more globalized humanity becomes, the more interdependent it becomes. Because of this increasing global connectivity, humanity will eventually be required to form a means of organizing such potential harmony for the sake of achieving actual harmony.” Moreover, the rational-legal government is in first-tier thinking and what is required is a second tier authority which can address issues with a holistic perspective, instead of linear rationalization. In Augustine’s words, “In order for humanity to achieve world governance – which is what will be imperative – it is necessary that we shed the old skin of rational-legal philosophy and incorporate the new layer that pertains to the Integral paradigm.”

Augustine’s Integral Political view does not just stop with pointing out the need for and purpose of Integral government or problems with rational-legal authority, but also charts out how an Integral Government should function. We will discuss this in depth in Part III of the series on Integral Politics and Integral government.

Reference Links:

1. Integral Politics: The Need for and purpose of an Integral Government – Part I

2. Integral Politics: An Introduction to Integral Government by Henry Augustine

3. Integral Politics: An introduction to Integral Economy by Henry Augustine

4. Henry Augustine’s Integral Politics: A Brief Outline of and Introduction to the Integral Era

5. Greg Wilpert: Dimensions of Integral Politics

6. Ken Wilber: Some Thoughts on Integral Politics

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