Elements of Integralism: An introduction to the Integral Era – Part I

by editor

Integralism considers everything as a part of an organic whole. This holistic view of the world is a trait carried forth from the postmodern era, where, pluralism prevailed over objective and structuralist perspective of society. Though the postmodern era was upbeat against all that was negative about the modernist era, the Integral era is one step ahead – a holistic embrace of everything pluralistic. Henry Augustine, a research scholar in Integral theories, postulates the definitive characteristics of the Integral Era in his scholarly article, ‘Integral Politics: A brief outline of and introduction to the Integral Era’ on the web. In the essay, Augustine deals with the diverse characteristics of the forthcoming Integral era and its impact of the society in characteristics like Morality, Art, Technology, Power/Authority, Economy, Education and Architecture. This article will outline the elements of an expected Integral era and how it differ from the existing middle period or what Augustine calls, “the Holistic Era”.

Integral Thought in its nascent stages:
Integral Thinking, according to Henry Augustine, is a direct offshoot of postmodernist thought. In fact, it is the “transitional period” after the modernist era, which was the basic, nascent stages of Integral Thinking. Augustine calls this the transitional period, the one that starts with Kant and ends with Darwin’s origin of species. When postmodernity  spread worldwide, Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’ and Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spake Zarathurtra’ had already been published. The first sub-era of postmodernism can be said to have ended with Darwin, while the second one ended with World War II. If there was a final postmodern era, it was, according to Augustine, the period between World War II and the collapse of the Berlin wall in 1989.

It is then in the 1990s that Integralism emerged. Postmodernist pluralism was rampant in the philosophical circles and a holistic era was about to be born. If one terms postmodern pluralism as the first sub-era of Integralism, then the Holistic era (which we are right into) is the second sub-era of Integral Thought. Though the Holistic era has not affected the world in its entirety, it is already showing signs of growth after incubation.

The Holistic or Second Period of Integral Era:
The Holistic Era termed by Henry Augustine is what we are experiencing now. This era encourages a holistic view of life. Everything is viewed as a whole, not a part. Ontological thinking is prevalent and the emergence of a world-state is simmering beneath politics. In this Holistic era, communication has exploded in all spheres. It is possible to communicate with anyone, anytime within a matter of seconds. Integral Thinking in politics is yet to set in and we have only the European Union operating as a world-state, an integration of several countries and economies. Though architecture, art and power/authority, economy and education are yet to show signs of Integralism, there have been Integral advancements in other areas like Technology.

Integral Era – Predictions and Possibilities:
Henry Augustine believes that the third and final period of Integralism or Integral Thinking is what we can rightly call the Integral Era. As a successor of the  current Holistic Era, the Integral Era will be more refined and definitive about morality, expression, authority, economy, education and technology. A individual of the Integral era will resent restriction and seek to experience freedom of a unique kind. Differences and demarcations will melt, encouraging a pluralistic approach to society. The world will function as one organic unity, without any local dogmatism, region-centric politics or religious fanaticism.

Elements of the Integral Era: Augustine has an overtly positive perspective on the aspects of the Integral era. He opines, everything – from morality to architecture – will take on a holistic approach and embrace kosmocentric ideals.

In Augustine’s words, Morality in the Integral Era will be “universally kosmocentric, by which all humans will embrace a kosmocentric basic moral intuition.” Drawing on the philosophical knowledge of Eastern mysticism, kosmocentricism will become a “commonsense” approach to life. Integral art, opines Augustine, will view Beauty with higher regard than postmodernist standings and will associate a thing of greater Beauty with a greater idea of Truth.

Technology, in the Integral era, may explode with experimentation in stem-cell development and particle physics. In brief, humans will be able to create a concrete objective relative to anything that can be perceived by the human mind. Communication will be possible with any person, at any time. To quote Augustine, “communication between any person at any place on Earth to converse directly, in many forms, just as a neuron, in holonic proportion, so fluidly exchanges its respective data with another.” To live in the Integral technology world will be to live in an “epic amusement park”.

The other characteristics/aspects of Integral era in will be dealt in detail in Part II.

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