BecomingIntegral.com is the blog of Sam Mickey, PhD. I teach at the University of San Francisco in the Theology and Religious Studies department and Environmental Studies program. My teaching, writing, and research are oriented around ecological thought for a planetary civilization. Doing something like comparative (cross-cultural) ethics and ontology in conversation with the interdisciplinary environmental humanities (ecocriticism, eco-phenomenology, religion and ecology, eco-deconstruction), maybe I pass for a philosopher.
What does “becoming integral” mean?
I started this blog while I was writing my dissertation in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. That’s the source of the blog’s name, “integral.” It’s about integral studies: a transdisciplinary, participatory (embodied, engaged, decolonial) approach to theory and practice. The word “becoming” is a reference to the poststructuralist philosophy of becoming articulated by Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995). Deleuze was a central figure in my dissertation, which focused on philosophical conceptualizations of the irreducible complexity of boundaries in ecological thought (like the lines between human/nonhuman, self/other, organism/environment, subject/object…). A thoroughly revised version of that dissertation was published in 2014 (On the Verge of a Planetary Civilization).
Becoming Integral is not about political integralism. Nor is it about the Integral theory of Ken Wilber or other integral thinkers (Jean Gebser, Sri Aurobindo), although those names do come up occasionally. You could say that it is about holism, but it depends on how “wholeness” is understood. An integer isn’t exactly the same as a whole. In mathematics, integers include whole numbers (1, 2, 3…) as well as their negatives (-1, -2, -3…). Becoming integral is less about becoming something greater than the sum of your parts and more about becoming something with integrity, where integrity is etymologically that which is intact (in-tangere: in-tact, un-touched). Becoming integral is like what Deleuze (with Guattari) calls “becoming-imperceptible,” or what Carlos Castaneda calls becoming inaccessible. It’s about welcoming the other (Levinas, Derrida), coming into the nearness of distance (Heidegger), and passing over in silence whatever can’t be spoken (Wittgenstein). “The key thing may be to create vacuoles of noncommunication, circuit breakers, so we can elude control” (Deleuze, “Control and Becoming”).