The Story of How ICE Came to Be

By Steve McIntosh

The idea of forming a nonprofit think tank focused on influencing the American electorate through the insights of integral philosophy began in the summer of 2011. As I was putting the finishing touches on my last book, Evolution’s Purpose, I realized that this emerging understanding we are now calling the “evolutionary perspective” (among other labels) would have to be my vocation for the remainder of my working life. And among all the people I had met over my decade of involvement with this integral/evolutionary movement, I felt the strongest sense of camaraderie with the editors of EnlightenNext magazine.

It was also around this time that, like many other culturally sophisticated publications, EnlightenNext magazine was going out of print. So in October 2011, I approached EnlighteNext’s editor-in-chief, Andrew Cohen, about the possibility of working with him and his team to found an integrally-focused social policy foundation, also known as a think tank. The folks at EnlighenNext had already had similar ideas about creating a think tank so we agreed to collaborate.

Then in December of 2011 I traveled to the headquarters of EnlightenNext in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts for an initial meeting with those who would become the principals of this new political organization. Although Cohen was an enthusiastic supporter of the idea, the primary “thinkers” and writers for the think tank would be Carter Phipps and Elizabeth Debold, who had both served as executive editors of the magazine. Over the course of our three day founder’s meeting we also agreed to invite prominent integralist and professor Michael E. Zimmerman to join us.

Michael lives in Boulder, Colorado near me. And after admiring his work for a number of years, he and I had recently become close friends, so I knew he would be a good fit for the think tank. Once Michael accepted our invitation to join the team, the four principals—Phipps, Debold, Zimmerman, and myself—began work on the position paper that would become the Campaign Plan for Climate Change Amelioration that now appears on this website.

Then by the forth quarter of 2012, we were ready to launch the think tank. After several rounds of input from our wider circle of integral friends and colleagues we eventually went public in December 2012. This lead to Carter and I being invited to present the work of our new institute to an auspicious gathering of business people at the famed Esalen retreat center on California’s Big Sur coast. During this March 2013 conclave at Esalen we became friends with Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey, who was already using the evolutionary perspective in his own work in the emerging field of Conscious Capitalism. And because we were already working toward many of the same goals Mackey agreed to contribute to our start-up think tank and serve on our board of directors.

Since then Carter and I have been developing this nonprofit enterprise, making public presentations and creating this new and expanded website. However, the organization will not become fully operational until we receive our official 501c3 nonprofit designation from the IRS. Once that is in place we will be able to receive the already pledged philanthropic donations that will allow us to pull the trigger on one or more of our campaign plans.

So this is how things stand as of July 2013. In the meantime I hope to finish the new book I’m working on about spiritual experience. But I trust I will be able to devote myself completely to the work of the think tank before too long.

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  • Cynthia Johnson
    Reply

    Hello Steve and all,

    It is exciting to see how this website is becoming more comprehensive and to see the services you will be providing to organizations! I am hoping as you continue with the media campaign that you will be able to expand on and be more specific regarding the talking points mentioned in the Climate Change Amelioration paper.

    As I check blogs on post-modern ecological sites, it would be good to have a short intro about ICE that is in one paragraph or so..versus 10 talking points which can be a bit lengthy. I think, just learning how to dialogue one to one on blogs or in person about these issues would be great. I have some idea of how to do this, but I think it would be great to have more dialogue and more information about this.

    I guess what would help the person on the street …like me…. is watching an actual dialogue (simulated or real) between an integral perspective and the green (post-modern) perspective…where the integral ideas are proposed in a brief time. Often we have little time to catch a person’s interest and the shorter the better. Maybe this is already in the future plans to do this…but just an idea.

    I am so glad that you and others are going to work on this particular edge of evolution and that your group has the courage and compassion to attempt to put these theories into action for the good of the whole. To go where no man has gone..I am a Star Trek fan:)

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    Reply

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