POLARIZATION

Hyperpolarization 101!!! Roe versus Wade, inflation, southern border, Ukraine War, unfolding elections, political chatter, fired House leader, indited former President, these have been our recent headlines. An analytical glance will establish the least common denominator to be hyperpolarization accompanied by social regression and anger. Steve McIntosh offers,

Our frustrated, stymied, stalemated, and hyperpolarized political process is stuck in its tracks, and this gridlocked condition is now beginning to cause our social regression. Hyperpolarization is really the mother of all our problems because very few of the serious challenges we face can be adequately addressed until we ameliorate the fractious and frozen state of our body politic…The only way to ameliorate this “wicked problem” is to effectively grow out of it…Although further regression is certainly a possibility, the fractured state of American society also has the potential to catalyze a cultural renewal that can lead to a new era of political cooperation and progress. In other words, the difficult work of overcoming hyperpolarization can lead to a renaissance in American culture. (Steve McIntosh, 2020, Developmental Politics: How America Can Grow into a Better Version of Itself, St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House, xiii)

Integral Worldview

…this project of cultivating cultural evolution reveres and integrates the values of traditionalism, modernism, and post modernism, and seeks to facilitate the unique kind of progress offered by each of these worldviews. Moreover, this evolutionary program also seeks to bring about a new and inclusive integral worldview that can effectively include the best and transcend the worst of America’s three existing cultures…It is thus by restoring our common sense of higher purpose and collective destiny that we can grow into a more advanced stage of cultural maturity and thereby save our democracy in the process. (McIntosh, 168)

America!! We have a great deal to heal and get done in the battle for the soul of the Nation. Our opponents are not our enemies; and we are not “Red States” and “Blue States.” Let us be open to the infinite potential and possibilities and unify our great country. We are all Americans, and we can each choose to transcend and include others. A vision of our “mighty task” might look something like this:

  • Evolve with solid virtues, core values, and guiding principles.
  • Limited government for citizens.
  • Fiscal responsibility; economic stability and equity; and long-term financial security.
  • Public safety for all Americans, respect for law and order, and no one is above the law.
  • Top ten healthcare system and pandemic preparedness.
  • Programs, processes, and coalitions to dismantle systemic racism.
  • Controlled business ethical and moral issues.
  • Avoid war with strong military and space forces, global allies and networks, and dialogue.
  • Professional State Department and alliances coupled with reasoned foreign policy.
  • Caring about and helping others: churches, individuals, groups, institutions, the government, and individuals.
  • Judges: objective, uphold the Constitution and guiding principles; and satisfy evolving cultural needs.
  • Marriage or children: citizen’s choices, current need, and level of culture’s evolution.
  • Respect for science.
  • Environmental awareness, control, and self-restraint.
  • Strength in diversity and sane immigration laws and regulations.
  • Respect for democracy and decentralized culture with empowered citizens.

Current Reality

As the “run-up” to the 2024 election unfolds; and as we witness the dark divide becoming wider, deeper, and darker, contrasting candidates for political positions can bear fruit for American democracy. It appears the critical decision is to select political leaders who can best close the gap between current reality and a desired vision for freedom in America. Moreover, how we humans choose to “show-up” at the voting booth can be critiqued by our research, examination, and witnessing talents, skills, habits, virtues, identities, and experiences; making observations; and scrutinizing character, personality, mentality, and interests.

In the hyperpolarized environment there are a bunch of tasks that need to get done: non-political voting rights management, women’s rights, technology building, inflation management, infrastructure maintenance and improvement, jobs creation, healthcare, childcare, immigration reform, countering systemic racism, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, minimum wage, climate control, confronting home grown, white supremacy, terrorism, fair share tax reform, sanely evolving through COVID-19 and preparing for future pandemics, education re-tuning and funding, sane gun control, policing in communities, foreign policy, et al. As the two Japanese characters for crisis offer, with danger comes opportunity. The danger is continued and expanded division and autocracy…control; and the opportunity is to work on our unhealthy personal and collective issues, participate in interactive dialogue and coalitions, and get done what is good for all Americans…freedom.

An opinion is that cultic-tribal addiction—political party sorting—is simply unresolved discomfort within the emotional body, the unhealthy self, or as offered in Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening (Wilber, Patten, Leonard, and Morelli, 2008, Boston, MA: Integral, page 41, 92-93),

 

…the shadow or dark side of the psyche, those aspects of ourselves that we’ve split off, rejected, denied, hidden from ourselves, projected onto others, or otherwise disowned…repressed unconscious…because we’ve pushed or pressed it out of our awareness, and unconscious because we are not aware of it…But the fact that we are not conscious or aware of the shadow does not mean that it has no effect: it just expresses itself through distorted and unhealthy means-or what is typically called neuroses…safety and security are sought by bonding together and identifying (fusing) with a tribe in order to persevere and protect against outsiders. Allegiance and admiration are given to the chief…emergence of a sense of self (ego) distinct from the tribe, although it often acts impulsively on behalf of its favored group.

 

Undoing and reintegrating this repressed and denied unconscious to improve our psychological health is process and is not easy; however, the work can free energy that has been spent shadowboxing with the self, making excuses, spinning, blaming, and telling stories. An initial step is simply a sense of openness and a commitment to face everything and fear nothing, just sit in the flames of the unresolved discomfort and give birth to penetrating insight and skillful means. We are simply witnessing the evolution of the human condition, and with patience, persistence, education, compassion, learning, and spirituality, we can move forward together, not further divided, and closer to autocracy, more lying, zero leadership, an orchestrated overthrow of elections, bypass of constitutional order, accelerated division and violence, racism and white supremacy, direction of a violent insurrection, and committed students of Vladmir Putin and his Ukraine disaster. Individually and collectively, we can grow common good, compassion, mindfulness, awareness, virtue, and self-restraint, and quiet the insatiable, unhealthy ego; and the dampening of anger, egotistical pride, jealousy, envy, doubt, ignorance, attachment, and fear can begin to free energy to nurture peace-of-mind, a foundation of compassion for purpose and connections, and a sense of happiness and joy. Let us get this job done for all Americans, not just a select, partisan few. Casts, conflicting political messages, and deliberate, negative words that separate, attack, and divide are simply wrong.

Gap Closers (Steve McIntosh, Developmental Politics, 169)

Commitment to unfold personal contributions to the evolution of the universe.

  • The practice of learning, teaching, perking, mindfulness, awareness, and self-restraint.
  • The practice of appreciating and creating.
  • The practice of devotion and service.
  • Reading: Steve McIntosh, Developmental Politics and Developmental Politics, Selected Bibliography, 209-214.
  • Investigating some of the integral interviews and podcast available online.
  • Investing the time required to learn this new philosophy and share it with others.
  • Practicing the virtues of faith, hope, love, prudence, courage, justice, and temperance to evolve our character and consciousness.

Simply create a vision, objectively assess current reality, and generate gap closers to move current reality closer to the vision. We can do this!

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