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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From Developmental Politics: “The higher purposes which we recognize as *transcendent* have a kind of magnetic power that draws us forward. As Oxford philosopher Iris Murdoch wrote, ‘we are spiritual creatures, attracted by excellence and made for the Good.’”
Emerson’s insight, that “every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact,” reveals the connection between exterior physical energy and interior ‘value energy.’ In fact, ‘the good’ in itself can be most accurately conceived of as an upward current of perfecting energy.
Although every infant begins life with the same basic form of biological “human nature,” the extent to which their consciousness develops is largely determined by the culture in which they are raised. Human nature itself thus evolves through the evolution of human culture.
Managing the polarity of liberal and conservative values is not simply a matter of meeting in the middle or compromising. Working to both challenge and *support* our political opponents is a new approach to politics that is pragmatic and transformational at the same time.
On the new Growing Down Podcast, Jeremy Johnson, Ryan Nakade, Matt Hudkins, and I discuss the intersection of progressive politics and developmental politics. We focus on how progressive politics can benefit from an integral perspective. https://anchor.fm/growing-down/episodes/3--Developmental-Politics-ft--Steve-McIntosh-Interview-Series-ec5914/a-a1qcs3g