The Mackey incident got me to wondering again why we have yet to see something like the above emerge, if not out of I-I that what about us, the general integral community? So I went back to my 04 essay â€œGiving Guns to Childrenâ€ (in the Reading Room of Integral World) and pasted a few paragraphs below, with some questions to follow. The seminar on ethics to which I refer was one given by Walsh and Wilber (mostly Walsh) at I-I in 04.
â€œWilber went on to explain that ethics were first stabilized as a level of development in the mythical stage. This is the reason why ethics get a bad rap; they can be perceived as ethnocentric. But this does not mean that all ethics are at this stage. Like all developmental holoarchies, ethics continues to grow into higher and more inclusive views with concomitant dignities and disasters.
â€œWalsh said in the seminar that ethics was a foundational practice, the starting point and cornerstone for all other integral practices. He said that at post conventional levels of ethical development we are no longer bound by the conventional rules of right and wrong. At this stage it’s more of a consciously felt, intuitive choice to act with appropriateness to each situation. It becomes more a spontaneous sense and expression of our true nature. That is why Wilber calls it the basic moral intuition, as they are no absolute rules for every case. Wilber gave an example of 10 people in a stranded lifeboat that could only handle 7, so who do you throw out? The BMI would take into consideration if one were Einstein versus if one were Hitler. While maintaining that there are no absolute rules on the one hand it sounds like the BMI does in fact have some universal criteria: save those that have greater depth and can make a higher contribution to the greater span of society.
â€œBut the BMI will be interpreted from each level of consciousness and will hence generate that level’s moral stance. The typical warrior ethic, for example, will extend the greatest depth to a span only of itself, whereas the sociocentric stance will extend the span to a particular culture. The worldcentric stance extends the span to all people, but in orange’s flatland orientation depth is reduced to a mono-level happiness (typically exterior monetary success). This early level of worldcentric embrace cannot yet differentiate the different kinds of happiness or different levels of depth. However, the integral-aperspectival (yellow) level can make these differentiations. But at this level and higher the BMI must extend beyond a mere intuition in only the subjective, UL quadrant. A full ethical theory must embrace all four quadrants. (Wilber, 1995, pp. 613-615) â€œOtherwise we will very soon slide into solipsism and subjective idealism, which plays heavily into the hyper-agentic, hyper-masculine, disengaged and dangling subject of the fundamental Enlightenment paradigm.â€ (Wilber, 1995, p. 615)
â€œWalsh reiterated this idea in the seminar by saying that a peer group is needed for a post-conventional ethics. This is so that we can make commitments to one another and be held accountable. In that sense ethics in not just what each individual decides is right based on their individual moral intuition. Like Wilber’s above statements on integral law and the BMI, this must be validated in an intersubjective community of the adequate to hash out those universals that can be applied to case-by-case situations.â€
So my first question is this: are â€œcodes of ethicsâ€ limited to the blue meme? And codes in general, given their limiting â€œright v. wrongâ€ thinking? We can see from above that ethics certainly isn’t limited to the conventional levels, as it continues to develop. And if by code we mean the right-hand, external expressions of the internal then so too would codes develop. What about in terms of legal codes? Certainly they continue to evolve to match the cultural center of gravity? So why no ethical codes? Yes they’d be more flexible, etc. but they’d be codified nonetheless.
So although there might not be â€œabsoluteâ€ rules for every case within a rigid code, are their not broad, orienting generalities that might lead us in creating such an integral code of ethics. Are there not such broad, orienting generalizations to integral theory per se? Is there not a structure within which it must fit? And isn’t this AQAL structure itself one of the external measures of whether one is truly â€œintegral?â€ Surely such a structural code could also be created for ethics that is flexible enough like the integral model itself to accomodate a higher moral imperative like the Basic Moral Intuition?
Not above that Ken said â€œa full ethical theory must embrace all four quadrants,â€ not just the individual uppper left.. â€œOtherwise we will very soon slide into solipsism and subjective idealism, which plays heavily into the hyper-agentic, hyper-masculine, disengaged and dangling subject of the fundamental Enlightenment paradigm.â€
So one must ask: Why has such a code not yet been created? If ethics is â€œcornerstone for all other integral practicesâ€ then why has it apparently been neglected? And why are we still so preoccupied with our own, individual development and â€œprocess,â€ but have yet come together to express our collective values within a code of ethics? Perhaps we have yet to really evolve beyond our disengaged and dangling subjectivities, despite our talk to the contrary?