Episode 93: The emergence of integral consciousness in Europe

dennisbenceIn this episode I have the delight of connecting with Dennis Wittrock (left) from Germany and Bence Gánti from Hungary. Together they are leading the Integral Europe initiative, a community of knowledge and practice that aims to “embody, represent, teach, develop and give voice to integral consciousness and its resulting practical applications on a European basis” (from their website). In this regard they are currently in the process of organizing the first European Integral Conference which will be held 8 – 11 May in Budapest, Hungary. If you are totally new to the integral discourse I would highly recommend that you first read the introductory article by Sean Esbjörn-Hargens (see below). Dennis and Bence start of by sharing their background and the ways in which they became involved in the integral scene, before going into what they envision for the upcoming conference. For instance, how can the different projects, groups and initiatives that we see spread out in Europe come together and contribute something to the integral commons? Bence goes on to explore what an actual integral conference would look and feel like. How can we transcend the constraints of traditional conferences and give space to different modalities of inquiry and holistic modes of exploration? Dennis follows up with emphasizing the value of creating a nurturing holding environment for these types of events, and he describes how the organizing group is working internally amongst themselves to strengthen their relationships and to deepen their own personal engagement. Another interesting theme that they point out is how we can truly integrate all the levels in the spiral (referring for instance to Spiral Dynamics, see chart below), and maybe especially the “green level” which is all about sharing, bonding and creating pathways between the minds and hearts of people involved. The integral movement has often criticized the “green meme”, but could it be that the integral movement is actually under green, and in this regard, truly in need of owning and growing into this level of psycho-social development? Further on we explore the fabric and potentials of a European identity, inquiring into how one could start to vivify a true European sense of soul. What does it actually entail to be European? Also, could it be that the labels and assumptions we attach to each other are creating unnecessary division? And how can we create a fertile ground for unification and coherence amongst all the people on the European continent?  Following up on this theme we explore the possible unique voices and flavors of a European integral perspective. In what ways can the different European cultures contribute to the overall global commons of integral theory and practice? Towards the end we explore the potentials of the overall initiative through a little exercise where we let go of all our conceptualizations and just listen to what wants to emerge.

If you feel inspired or provoked by our conversation feel free to add your comments after the interview. You can also send in a written piece of work and get it published together with this episode. Further details can be found here.

Episode links:
Bence Gánti 
Dennis Wittrock
Integral Europe 
An Overview of Integral Theory – An All-Inclusive Framework for the 21st Century written by Sean Esbjörn Hargens, MetaIntegral Foundation

SteveSelf-Altitude
Comprehensive AQAL Chart by Steve Self – click to enlarge

James Alexander Arnfinsen (redaktør)
James Alexander Arnfinsen (33) er lærer og arbeider ved Åsvang Skole i Trondheim. Han har i tillegg en variert opplæring innenfor dialogbasert prosessledelse, nærværstrening og konflikthåndtering. I fritiden trener og instruerer han aikido. Han er oppvokst i Oslo, men har studert og arbeidet i Trondheim siden 2005. Ta kontakt med James på følgende adresse: james.arnfinsen @ gmail.com
James Alexander Arnfinsen (redaktør)
James Alexander Arnfinsen (33) is a teacher, his subjects being geography, religious studies and sports science. He is currently working as a teacher in primary school. In his free time he practices Aikido, a Japanese martial art that in it´s essence is about creating a healing relationship towards oneself and others. James lives in Trondheim, Norway.
  • James Arnfinsen

    Here is an article from the Guardian that has caused some row, at least in Norway. It uses some very common stereotypes to describe certain aspects of Scandinavian society. If nothing else, the author does address the issue of cultural shadows in the Scandinavian countries. Nevertheless, I´m thinking we could engage these topics in more intelligent ways.
    Dark lands: the grim truth behind the ‘Scandinavian miracle’

  • Mark Davenport

    We enjoyed listening very much and Heidi got inspired to think about an “integral canon” that could be the leitmotif of the Budapest event. More about that on Sunday when we meet live online.
    For my part, I began to think about my tribe (America) and how it might have to await a meta-view to arise after the deposition of the old Colorado-centric “regime.” all in good time.
    -Mark Davenport & Heidi (Adelheid) Hörnlein-

    • James Arnfinsen

      Hi Mark! Interesting point about the “integral canon”. I suppose such a canon would benefit from contributions that are truly global, in terms of which primary “tribe” someone is speaking from. Again, how does integral look and feel like from a Russian perspective, what academic, cultural and philosophical nuances could a Norwegian practitioner bring to the table etc.? Also, I´m thinking such a canon could benefit from including pieces of work produced by people that are thoroughly situated outside the integral community. My sense is that many disciplines (for instance geography, which is my academic background) are steeped in integral-like perspectives, at least integrative. I suppose delineating what is integral and what is “integrative” would also be relevant to discuss. Glad you enjoyed the podcast!

  • James Arnfinsen

    I’m glad to learn that the 1st Integral European Conference became a succsess. Sadly I couldn’t attend myself and when reading Jeff Zalsman’s report I regret this even more. Nevertheless, I hope something similar will manifest again. Check out the report: http://integrallife.com/integral-post/report-integral-budapest

  • James Arnfinsen

    THE IEC-team has recently released a one hour documentary in relation to the 2014 conference that was held in Budapest. Includes reflections from Erwin Lazlo, Ken Wilber, Roger Walsh and many others. Highly recommended! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxkkcFmt65Q#t=249

  • James Arnfinsen

    Here is a video from 2004 with Bence Ganti asking Ken Wilber “what is your vision for integral?”. Interesting reflections from Ken..

  • James Arnfinsen

    New post by Ken WIlber in relation to the upcoming 2nd Integral European Conference: Integral Meditation and the new Europe. http://integraleuropeanconference.com/integral-meditation-and-the-new-europe/