Tuesday, December 1, 2009

the challenge of charging for acquired knowledge

We have an integral meeting this Thursday, the 3rd of December, at 7pm, at the Quaker Meeting House. The address is

Quaker Meeting House
10 Hampson St
Kelvin Grove Q 4059

Something that is coming up for me in a couple of arenas, and Tim from Sydney Integral brought it more to the forefront of my attention in an email conversation we had, is the issue of how we monetize our knowledge of integral.

I think Integral thought, and the various frameworks and models, are very useful in their way. The way in which Integral Institute pitches Integral thought though, leaves me feeling very disenfranchised at times. If you're on the right mailing lists, presumably to do with having paid for Integral content at some stage, you may have recently gotten an email with the From field saying Ken Wilber, and the Subject field saying "Think You Understand Integral?" The email is selling a new program of teaching, mentoring, accreditation, access to knowledge, etc called Core Integral.

I wonder how that question makes you feel:
Think you know integral?

To me, it sounds somewhat challenging, with an unexpressed assumption that the answer would be a self-questioning

and the follow up response would be
Well, let us set you straight.

And thus it raises the ongoing issue around whether the understanding of Integral thought by, well, basically anyone other than Ken really, is sufficient to allow the use of the name Integral.

A look at the Integral Movement Wikipedia entry indicates that there are indeed many more viewpoints on integral thought than Ken's, and many people who use the term with their work.

My questions for discussion on Thursday are:

  • Do you think you know Integral enough to use the term when doing something you charge for?
  • Do you think that if you did that, you should have a piece of paper from Ken accrediting you?
  • Do you have other examples of where you have learnt something that you take further, which you feel is "owned" by those who first developed it?
  • How would you like the Wilber style Integral Thought headquarters to engage with those who take their approach to Integral further?

I really like the Integral community for their openness to multiple simultaneous perspectives, particularly some not their own. The identification of this community with the Integral Commercialisation Machine makes me feel a little uncomfortable at times. This leads me to some related questions:

  • How would you like the Wilber style Integral Thought headquarters to engage with salons and other communities like ours, who come together in an Integral perspective.
  • What other communities do you associate with where this multi-perspective joining happens?

Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday, or to reading your thoughts on these questions in the comments, if you're drawn to respond.


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