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Reflections on the Integral Paradigm - 3 viewpoints

Author: Sri Aurobindo, Jean Gebser, Beck and Cowan

Last Updated: May 8, 2009

Reflections on the Integral Paradigm


If the emergence and growth of consciousness is the central motive of the evolution

it must at last reach a point where it develops or acquires the complete fullness of its capacity and that must be a state or action in which there is no longer an ignorance seeking for knowledge, but Knowledge self-possessed, inherent in the being, master of its own truths and working them out with a natural vision and force that is not afflicted by limitations or error.

This would mean an entry or approach into what might be called a truth-consciousness self-existent in which the being would be aware of its own realities and would have the inherent power to manifest them in a Time-creation in which all would be Truth following out its own unerring steps and combining its own harmonies; every thought and will and feeling and act would be spontaneously right, inspired or intuitive, moving by the light of Truth and therefore perfect.

All would express inherent realities of the spirit; some fullness of the power of the spirit would be there. One would have overpassed the present limitations of mind; mind would become a seeing of the light of Truth, will a force and power of the Truth, Life a progressive fulfillment of the Truth, the body itself a conscious vessel of the Truth and part of the means of its self-effectuation and a form of its self-aware existence.

(Sri Aurobindo, The Supramental Manifestation upon Earth (1949/1971), p. 16)


We are compelled to find a new form of statement.

Eteology must replace philosophy just as philosophy replaced once replaced the myths. In the eteologemes the eteon or being-in-truth comes to veracity or statement of truth, and this wares or guards verity and conveys the verition which arises from the a-waring and imparting of truth.

Every eteologeme is a verition, and as such is valid only when it allows origin to become transparent in the present. To do this it must be formulated in such a way as to be free of ego, and this means not just free of subject but also free of object; only then does it sustain the verity of the whole. This has nothing to do with representation; only in philosophical thought can the world be represented; for the integral perception of truth, the world is pure statement, and thus verition.

The means for making this statement possible is systasis. We are using the term systasis to circumscribe the efficacy of all categorical elements, that is, all types of manifestation and aspects of time which, because of their non-spatial character, cannot be the object of categorical systemization inasmuch as they are not givens or data but in a certain sense givings or impartations. Systasis is the conjoining or fitting together of parts into integrality. Its acategorical element is the integrating dimension by which the three-dimensional spatial world, which is always a world of parts, is integrated into a whole in such a way that it can be stated.

Systasis is the means whereby we are able to open up our consolidated spatial consciousness (systematic thought) to the integrating consciousness of the whole. This integrating consciousness enables us to perceive and presentiate the integrity or integrality of the whole.

(Jean Gebser, The Ever-Present Origin (1953/1985), p. 309-310)


As YELLOW peaks, scales drop from our eyes enabling us to see, for the first time, the legitimacy of all of the human systems awakened to date. They are seen as dynamic forces that, when healthy contribute to the overall viability of the Spiral and, as a result, to the continuation of life itself.

YELLOW generates a Flexflow perspective. This view honors value system differences and facilitates the movement of people up and down the human Spiral. This produces a sense of stratification, a recognition of the layered dynamics of human systems operating within people and societies. If PURPLE is sick, it needs to be made well. If RED is running amuck, the raw energy must be channeled. If BLUE turns sour and becomes punitive, it must be reformed. Since many of our social messes are caused by the interaction of people at different levels, such messes can only be sorted out through the YELLOW complex of intelligences and resources.

The YELLOW mind sees the ebbing and flowing of human systems all over the planet. These, rather than ethnic cores, cultural or national diversities, or even political structures, determine the interactions of peoples and societies. YELLOW gets

behind the scenes in a hurry and acts directly on the deepest dynamics that are causing the problem. YELLOW thinking people are able to fix problems while others fret, manipulate, query higher authority, form study groups, or play theory games.

(Beck and Cowan, Spiral Dynamics (1996), p. 276-277)

  1. How do any of these statements or concepts of the integral consciousness either complement, supplement or contradict one or more of the others? Be critical.
  2. What kind of situation or problem might be better solved or handled by any of these kinds of consciousness? Be practical.
  3. What kind of behavior do you think would characterize one or more of these types of consciousness? How would it look and feel? Be personal.
  4. What doubts, questions, or obstacles might need to be addressed regarding the feasibility, necessity, or potentiality of an emergent integral consciousness? Be specific and seek an answer from the group.