Our vision of Integral Theory is of a metatheory that becomes more integral through the engagement of other integrative metatheories and their proponents. Hence this year’s conference theme of Connecting the Integral Kosmopolitian, where our keynote presenters are two academic giants of integrative and transdisciplinary scholarship: Roy Bhaskar, founder of Critical Realism; and Edgar Morin, founder of Complex Thought.
I believe this year’s conference is a historic moment for Integral Theory. How could it not be – this is the first time that many scholar-practitioners associated with Integral Theory will be exposed to the integral thought of two major international figures, both of whom have a lot to bring to the integral metatheory discussion.
This is important for the health and growth of Integral Theory for a number of reasons:
- First, Integral Theory is not as integral as it could be – there will always be things it leaves out, marginalizes, overemphasizes, and so on.
- Second, while there is no Integral Omega point – where everything is finally integrated in a big Kosmic embrace (unless we are talking about the Pristine Moment of Now) – Integral Theory like any theory can evolve and become more integral over time.
- Third, one way for Integral Theory to become more reflective as a theory is to have its proponents engage practitioners of other integral metatheories, whereby it will – through critical engagement and exploratory dialogue – come to see what it currently can’t see. I like to think of this as “theoretical shadow work.”
In short, we envision an integral approach to the development of Integral Theory. Our approach recognizes that Integral Theory is not as integral as it could be, and so we continually strive to make Integral Theory more integral through respectful inquiry and debate with other streams of integrative thought. By placing Integral Theory in direct dialogue with Critical Realism and Complex Thought we can come to appreciate the strengths and limits of all three metatheories. This in fact will be the focus of my opening keynote on Thursday, July 18th entitled “The Meta-Praxis of Defining and Developing Integral Theory.”
Just When You Had Finally Finished Reading All of Wilber’s Books…
Ever since we announced our ITC 2013 Call for Papers, which named Roy Bhaskar and Edgar Morin as our keynotes, I’ve been asked by many people for more information about them. A typical question is, “What is the best book for me to read to learn more about Critical Realism?” We decided that it would serve our conference participants, as well as the general integral community, for me to post a blog for both Critical Realism and Complex Thought – a primer that contains articles, videos, and audio clips so that you can begin to learn more about each one. After all, Roy and Edgar have each published as many books as Ken Wilber – it's an integral jungle out there, and my hope is to give you some solid entry points into the amazing work of both of our keynotes. Tomorrow's blog post will focus on Critical Realism, and in May I will post on Complex Thought.