Integraal KwadrantIntegrating heritage

From our standpoint in the second decade of the twenty-first century, Europe appears at a crossroads. The “old world,” is the source of many traditions and the ground of a lot of scientific approaches, famous and influential philosophers and religious movements. What does this mean in the context of an Integral view that has the potential to integrate different domains of reality, and the ways they can be approached, on a higher level.

In these times we need everything and everyone

We need each culture, but we don’t need any one of them exclusively. We need the rigorous depths of different scientific and philosophical approaches, but we don’t need any one of them exclusively. We need the pragmatic utilitarian as well as the fundamental ethical approach. We need the materialistic positive sciences as well as the idealistic approach to reality. We need a pure objective scientific approach next to a subjective and inter-subjective approach to reality. In other words, the world needs an integral view of the highest levels of our spiritual, cultural and scientific possibilities.

The great reconstruction

For this we must be able to hold paradox in our life and culture so that, in this further unfolding of reality, we can go beyond the pure relativistic skeptical position. Altogether we are in a great reconstructive project after a long period of postmodern deconstruction of every possible fixed idea of reality in culture, science and religion. From postmodernity we have inherited a very fragmented world that is also mirrored in a fragmented World Spirituality, and in this it is extremely important that Europe reclaims its depth in collaboration with the rest of the world.

We are differentiated, not integrated

Although Western culture brought us almost every possible way of looking at the world, our view is still incomplete. Many people can sense this intuitively, and many of them are trying to find their ways outside of the official or commercial organizations. There is a whole army of potential (r)evolutionaries waiting for a more integral view of reality. Lots of them are engaging in a private search for meaning, looking for peace in their states of minds, for psychological recovering or for new ways of living in all sorts of experimental communal forms – be it virtual or local.

We need a ‘Yoga’

What Ken Wilber in his magnificent book The Marriage of Sense and Soul: Integrating Science and Religion calls the great omission in Western culture is its primary intellectual approach to reality. It did not develop what is called in the East “a Yoga,” which is a practice of self-inquiry and intuitive inner development that is not only intellectual or psychological in nature, but authentically and evolutionarily spiritual. Developing this now could be supported by the modern developments in science.

Democratization of Enlightenment

This means that everyone can participate in this great reconstructive project by inquiring into herself as part of this great interconnectedness and interplay of all and everything. Everyone can participate in his own life in this great evolutionary adventure by being a conscious part of the great unfolding of evolution in which everything is interconnected. This is what Marc Gafni calls the possibility of the democratization of enlightenment.

Integration of Western and Eastern Enlightenment

For this, the West needs new “Dharma,” new reconstructive ways to view reality, ways that are not exclusively scientific, or philosophical, or pragmatic, but also spiritual and filled with a flame of every human being who can know from within that he is not separate, but an intrinsic part of the evolutionary unfolding of existence. One of the key-elements in this new enlightenment is to integrate the core principles of Western Enlightenment, which is to say ego, individual, the specialness and uniqueness of every human being, with the eastern notions of being and interconnectedness, not only as a state of being, but as the actual state of affairs as quantum-mechanics shows us from a scientific point of view today.

About Mauk Pieper

Mauk Pieper is Senior Teacher at Venwoude School of Life, plus a Scholar and Senior Teacher at Venwoude Retreat Center. As a Teacher he specializes in process facilitation which helps students actualize the Centrauric Vision at their own developmental stage and in harmony with state experiences. By studying the work of Ken Wilber and experimenting with Integral insights for more than 25 years, Mauk has integrated his own earlier insights from philosophy (especially structuralism and phenomenology), political sciences, psychotherapy, somatics and other body-oriented disciplines of knowing. The result is an integral training-curriculum for the Venwoude Training Center that also includes an Education for Integral Leadership and Coaching.


  1. Alfred R. Richardson april 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    Habermas’ (1981) notion of Lebenswelt or ‘lifeworld’ must here be introduced as a contextual marker to link action theory with rationalisation processes. This linkage requires understanding not just of how particular actions may be judged as rational but how rationality remains potential (unfulfilled) throughout separate spheres of life under conditions of modernity. At the same time, a degree of rationality—or better, “rationalisation”—remains embedded in particular actions and thus makes possible rational conduct of everyday life. Thus, human action, qua action, remains intelligible, even where we cannot fully articulate the logic reflected in everyday experience and thus “taken for granted.” In effect, Habermas precisely understands this ‘lifeworld’ as the taken for granted universe of everyday existence. For Habermas (1981) the lifeworld is the saturation of communicative action by tradition and routinized way of doing the things we do in our everyday actions. The lifeworld is a pre-interpreted set of forms of life within which daily conduct materialises. In Habermas’ view the context for the process of evolutionary development of society, culture and individual personality is the articulation of the lifeworld that correlates with an internal system of language. We can see therefore that the lifeworld forms the linguistic context for processes of communication.

    • Mauk Pieper mei 24, 2013 at 4:11 pm - Reply

      Dear Alfred R. Richardson,
      Thank you very much fot your comment.
      I would like to point to the critique of Wilber on Habermas concept of language. This concept is still too flat in his opinion. This has of course consequences for what you consider to be ‘the life world’. This very influential and important concepts that comes from the ‘Geistenswissenshaften’ could be worked out in a new way in libe with Wilbers critique.

      ‘I respectfully disagree on many of the details of those broad programs, however; and I strongly part ways with Habermas on his treatment of both the pre-linguistic and trans-linguistic realms. Habermas relates humans to both preverbal Nature and transverbal Spirit in ways that I believe are profoundly incorrect. A more integral (or “all-quadrants, all-levels, all-lines, all-states”) approach allows us to handle a much larger view of the Kosmos than Habermas allows.’
      See whole article:

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