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Integral Civic Consciousness (Think About This)

John BunzlJohn Bunzl is a successful UK businessman with a simple yet powerful idea for how to practically address difficult international issues like climate change. It’s called Simultaneous Policy (“Simpol” for short), “a peaceful political strategy to democratically drive all the world’s nations to apply global solutions to global problems.” Sound interesting? It did to us, too. So after meeting Bunzl at EnlightenNext’s Midsummer Renaissance Festival in London this past July, we began to explore some of his fascinating “integral” critiques of progressive politics and the controversial idea of global governance.

According to Bunzl, even people whose lives are deeply informed by “world-centric” values, and who are already familiar with things like integral philosophy and an evolutionary worldview, tend to approach issues of global politics from more limited “nation-centric” points of view. In other words, our “civic consciousness,” as he puts it, often lags behind our perspective on things like economics and technology, whose global forces and dynamics we more easily appreciate. Because of this lack of “integral civic consciousness,” Bunzl explains, many of us typically fail to recognize the deeper systemic nature of seemingly intractable global problems, and therefore misplace our efforts to change things—or simply fall into debilitating cynicism and despair:

With the world in the grip of financial crisis and a deepening economic slump, those of us who’ve long been concerned about global warming, looming energy shortages and other global issues will no doubt be feeling even more despondent than before. To ordinary citizens all over the world, the ability to gain any traction on these issues seems inadequate and our efforts to get politicians to do anything substantive likewise seem somewhat futile. And yet the power to reverse this is, I contend, already in our hands if only we realise it.

We—at least those of us in democratic countries—already have the necessary power to drive our politicians to implement substantive global solutions. To fully realise our power, however, first requires that we take stock of the various misconceptions that prevent us from seeing it. We are limited not so much by corrupt or blind politicians, nor by greedy corporations, nor by the “money masters”—the private banks. We are limited only by the false walls of misconception we’ve constructed in our own hearts and minds.

In the rest of this short article, Bunzl explores why both politicians and corporate leaders are significantly constrained by unregulated systems of international competition and the need to remain competitive within them, and proposes an innovative set of solutions in the form of what he calls Simultaneous Policy. For more information about the way Simpol works, and about Bunzl’s International Simultaneous Policy Organization, which has amassed members in more than 70 countries, visit

Also of Interest

Andrew Cohen's Fall Book TourAndrew Cohen’s Fall Book Tour

Join EnlightenNext magazine founder Andrew Cohen for his fall book tour, Sep 27–Nov 12, 2011. Stops include New York, Philadelphia, Boulder, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago, where Andrew will give a series of talks and dialogues about Evolutionary Enlightenment: A New Path to Spiritual Awakening, with people like Ken Wilber, Howard Bloom, and Dr. Ashok Gangadean.

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Filed Under: CultureEnlightenNext Editors’ BlogIntegral PhilosophyPoliticsThink About This

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About the Author

Ross Robertson is a Senior Editor for EnlightenNext magazine. Follow him on Twitter @RobertsonRoss.

Comments (7)

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  1. Frank Luke says:

    There’s really so many reasons to just throw up our cllective hands and say “To hell with it, if humanity is so bent on self-inflicted self-destruction, we deserve to be wiped out!” Apocalypse? Bring it on!

    But maybe when things get too dire (Wars all over the globe) and really uncomfortable (Mommy, I can’t breathe!), maybe humankind will wake up and really see that Integral Ev is the way to go.

    Let us pray that occurs before it’s too late.

  2. Nada says:

    Is “sustainable diversity” such a contradiction to capitalism and democracy? The imperatives of “progress” and “growth” appear to have us all in it’s clutches irrevocably, even when deeper intuition tells us these are only a myth that have helped to create our planetary turmoil, and yes, the revelation of our interconnectedness beyond boundaries and borders, without and within. But even technology that intends to help “save” us needs raw materials and methods of distribution…energy to create energy,and we all know that the raw materials of our planet are not unlimited.

    I can appreciate John Bunzl’s statement re:”We are limited only by the false walls of misconception we’ve constructed in our own hearts and minds.” He is definitely correct in channeling us out of our misconceptions by creating a system by which some, and hopefully many, will passionately conceive and act rightly. Reconfiguring the myths of the “material world’s unlimited potential” needs more Heros willing to operate within right-conception, breaking down the false walls, and reinvigorating the creative power of humankind.

    Much gratitude!

  3. Frank Luke says:

    That’s an interesting and challenging question, whether being part of the solution or part of the problem.

    If I understand the question, it’s to ask if I’m bettering what I discern as what’s wrong with the status quo in general and how am I responding to that, whether I’m actively trying to make the world a better place or just accepting the way things are bumbling along.

    As a bodhisattva (ordained by the Bodhisattva Vow administered by the Dalai Lama, no less) I feel committed to try in my humble way to better the status quo in a concientious way as I can.

    I don’t consider my work world shaking but I consider it important to do what I can to the best of my ability and understanding. I would hope others would be doing the same if we are to have the kind of world we all might want.

    It will happen, may happen, only if we all contribute our energies to that end.

    Otherwise it won’t happen. Be aware: The personal and the planetary are interconnected.

  4. Frank Luke says:

    Here’s a headsup on something that could be as lethal as 9/11, if you all don’t have enough to be worried about. A true downside to the internet and our worldwide connectivity, really worrisome:

    The ‘Worm’ That Could Bring Down The Internet

    As many as 12 million computers worldwide have been infected with a highly encrypted computer worm called Conficker. Writer Mark Bowden details how Conficker was discovered, how it works, and the ongoing programming battle to bring down Conficker in his book Worm: The First Digital World War.

    Anybody with Windows should check this out, how this affects the whole net that has Windows installed in their computers. Tell all your friends.

    Access online (Fresh Air radio)

  5. Frank Luke says:

    Humankind radio show discussed the atrocious rape and violations of human rights going on where mining is being done to get the people who inconveniently happen to live there to leave.

    What is really problematic is that a lot of the mining is done to extract minerals used in all the electronic devices now so popular worldwide as well as blood diamonds. In this way, consumers of these devices are unwittingly in collusion with the violators.

    Mia Farrow speaks about how intervention is prevented by the rule of sovereign countries not to be interfered with. As the UN Human Rights spokesperson, she says we need to be able to warn these countries and if crimes against humanity are not stopped, troops should then be sent in to stop what has often amounted to genocide.

  6. Frank Luke says:

    I share this opening statement of New Dimensions radio show for those who aren’t familiar with that exemplary program. I hope the statement is not preaching to a choir of those already up to speed on it’s message:

    It is only through a change in human consciousness that the world will be transformed. The personal and the planetary are connected. As we expand our awareness of mind, body, psyche, and spirit and bring that awareness actively into the world, so also will the world be changed. This is our quest as we explore “New Dimensions.”

  7. RockyFjord says:

    Ok, I just finished reading The House of Intellect by
    Jacques Barzun, c 1959. He explains that in democracies,
    officials represent interests, which is why intellectuals
    do not run or get elected, because they represent ideas,
    and in a democracy, ideas are dangerous and unwanted for
    the impact upon interests. Why can a China Communist Committee of Six run an economy better than an American
    electorate and their elected officials? Because six people of intellect who can institute ideas, are more
    culturally affective of change than 60 million people who
    are voting for officials who are devoid and incapable of ideas which would not be welcome by multifarious interests anyway. Maybe this is a point to consider in Robertson’s idea: if ideas change culture, and democracies being lugged along not by ideas, but by interests more often than not resistant to ideas, then
    maybe what’s needed is a change in collective consciousness itself, which would mark an evolutionary moment. I know someone who is working in the psychology field, who just may have the one critical
    discovery for such a change, an irresistable idea which
    very well may change everything when it reaches the tipping point. If I didn’t have an intellectual property
    to protect in relation to this, I’d reveal her name.