mardi 23 mars 2010

Jennifer Gidley LETTER

Dear Michel, Carine and Integral Friends,

I was very excited when I learned a few months ago about the Université Intégrale in Paris.

I live in Australia and have been involved in integral research for several years now, including studying and working with the writings and practices of Rudolf Steiner and exploring the relationships among his work and that of Jean Gebser, Ken Wilber, Ervin László, Sri Aurobindo, Edgar Morin and others. My PhD research drew from all of these thinkers and as part of my doctoral research I undertook a major analysis—especially of Steiner, Gebser and Wilber—which I called "The Evolution of Consciousness as a Planetary Imperative: An Integration of Integral Views." It was published in the journal Integral Review and can be accessed online at:

I should also tell you that I'm a futures researcher and current President (2009-2013) of the World Futures Studies Federation. I have recently written about an expanded view of integral futures.

I am pleased to see that one of our long-term WFSF members, Thierry Gaudin, is also quite involved with your initiative.

One of the things that I have found disturbing with the "integral movement" in general is that so many people tend to cluster around a particular theorist, e.g. Wilber, Sri Aurobindo, Ervin László. This can potentially be divisive and fragmenting rather than integrating. This is not how I like to be.

From what I have read so far of the Université Intégrale in Paris, it seems to actively work to counter this siloistic approach. There appears to be a genuine openness and embodiment of the principle of unity in diversity in the programs that have been offered in the first two years. This openness and inclusiveness also seems to be embodied in the core organisers, Carine Dartiguepeyrou and Michel Saloff-Coste.

I think a major strength of the UI initiative is its breadth and openness. Its non-alignment to an institution such as a university is a double-edged sword. It is perhaps what enables the openness, yet this may result in its operations not being taken seriously by the academic community. Some bridge building with academia may be valuable. Another major strength is that UI is making very good use of Web 2.0 networking capabilities, which very few university-based organizations are really doing.

So I wonder what the future holds for the Université Intégrale de Paris.

My personal interest would be to see a deepening of theoretical and philosophical aspects associated with integral consciousness—perhaps by way of establishing a research centre. I think it would also be valuable if the Université Intégrale de Paris made collaborative links with other related organizations. For example, I would love to see something organised in the future where members from all the major centres that are working to further integral theory and practice in the world could come together. Too idealistic? Or not?

Jennifer Gidley