Integral Ethics Part II: Money

Integral Ethics Series

Integral Theory helps us hold multiple perspective; still, decisions must be made and actions taken. In that regard, one question remains largely unanswered, “does an integral worldview impose any moral imperatives?” Postmodernity, taken to the extreme, makes all perspectives equal. Integral includes honoring the relative truth of all perspectives but also reintroduces ranking. An integral perspective does not pretend that all actions are equally loving and good for the kosmos. No matter how many perspectives we honor in theory, we end up embodying the ones that we find ethical and act accordingly. The question is whether or not integral consciousness will tend to foster certain behaviors over others. Does integral have normative potential?

This Months Topic

This month we will look at how holding an integral perspective impacts our relationship to money. Throughout the ages money has been imbued with all manner of value. We live in a world where money is required for the vast majority of our activities and endeavors. From basic survival to the utmost luxury very little happens without an exchange of money. Inescapably money has become the most coveted of all acquisitions and the most condemned of all evils. Some have gone as far as to call it ”the root of all evil.

A more nuanced approach to money ethics might point out that money, in and of itself, is value neutral. It is the thoughts, feelings, actions, products, and services that are done in the name of money that can be considered as more or less loving, more or less damaging, and more or less ethical. Moreover each of us in the modern world can be said to have two primary relationships with money: how we earn it and how we spend it. An integral approach to money ethics should explore both. There may well come a time when our entire monetary system is replaced, but for now and as long as money remainsthe universal way in which the we quantify exchanges,any attempts to live with more integrity must include an honest and rigorous evaluation of our relationship to it.

Has learning integral theory caused you to re-evaluate your work? Has attempting to embody the concepts that Ken Wilber and others expound changed the ways that you spend your hard earned money? And should it? These are but the beginnings of a deep exploration into the Integral Ethics of Money.

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