As I write, Melbourne is witnessing its first “consultation process” in the proposed establishment of Integral Institute Australia.
Honestly, I tried to attend. I even got half way to the venue, but as a Western Suburbs Man, I grossly underestimated the east-bound traffic at 6:30 pm on a Wednesday, and eventually abandoned the journey. I had so many things I wanted to say, too: Maybe it’s best I didn’t make it…
Proudly reprinting a letter from Integral Institute CEO Robb Smith (who dropped by this blog once asking about my “desire to connect,” but when I did clearly had no desire to connect with me), this new initiative is intended to offer “I-I-sanctioned in-country research.”
But for all the scholarly aspirations of the various uses of the word “research,” one thing jumps out at me: Smith frames this process twice in terms of the “market”: “the market consultation process” and “a market exploration process.”
I have an academic paper coming out soon called Lohas and the Indigo Dollar: Growing the Spiritual Economy, which looks at precisely this type of thing: how I-I has positioned itself in the spiritual marketplace as a seller of integral products and services, co-opting Lohas (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) and spiritual values along the way.
It’s quite easy to imagine the integrally-sanctioned products and services that will come from I-I Australia. Of the current board, we are told: Don Adlam attended the inaugural Integral Psychotherapy Seminar in Boulder; Adam Fletcher has completed the Integral Leader course in Boulder (and “financially contributed to the Integral Institute for 18 months”!); Jennifer Gidley spent three months in Boulder in 2005 as a member of the Integral Institute education committee. These guys will no doubt be happy to on-sell their integral experiences to you in Melbourne. Also of the current board, John Wood has been employed in corporate roles and managed his own business; Bob Millar has qualifications in economics and accounting, and a background in public finance. All the better for keeping good books (I talk a bit in Lohas and the Indigo Dollar about Wilber’s essay Right Bucks in which he waxes lyrical about accounting procedures for sharing the Dharma).
Anyway, I’m sure any day soon we’ll receive a report on Integral Life about how the consultation process has shown that the Australian market is ripe for integral exploitation research, and probably a request for volunteers interested in being on the cutting edge of shifting product consciousness.