17 - Integration and the Lines of Development


Ken Wilberís linear approach to development is well reflected in the manner he refers to the streams of development, as lines that traverse, in a relatively independent manner, the various main waves (or basic stages) of development.

However there are a couple of major problems with this approach.

He does not properly distinguish primary streams (what I refer to as key primary modes) from more composite mixtures of these streams.

When it comes to integration an important balance must be obtained as between primary (rather than composite) modes. Therefore from an integral perspective, it is important to distinguish primary from composite aspects.

Thus I would see affective, cognitive and volitional aspects as key primary modes. Like primary colours in printing, all other modes comprise varying configurations of these aspects.

For example, artistic, affective, aesthetic and interpersonal development could constitute streams of development. However these are composite rather than primary (and in this case the affective mode would be important in all cases).

Secondly, though there is certain validity in viewing streams as relatively independent at the middle stages of development, this is not really valid at "lower" or "higher" stages (especially with respect to primary modes).

Treating streams as relatively independent is dealing with the differentiated aspect of development. However - quite clearly - insofar as the integral aspect is concerned we must treat them as relatively interdependent (which Wilber does not properly do). It is all very well implying that the self is responsible for bringing overall coherence to development. However this does not constitute an adequate demonstration of the dynamics through which integration actually occurs.

In particular the view that the primary "lines" can develop in a relatively independent manner, becomes increasingly untenable as development proceeds into the "higher" spiritual stages.