I’m writing this from an undisclosed location deep in the Berkshire Mountains, because ever since our last issue on women’s liberation came out, I’ve been a marked man. In fact, we expected a strong reaction—both positive and negative—to some of the more provocative contents of our last issue. And we weren’t disappointed. Senior editor Elizabeth Debold responds to the passionate debate in full on page ten.
Even though the dust is far from settled, we’ve been hard at work on the new issue you’re holding in your hands. For what seems like forever now, we have intended to get at least one or two issues ahead of our production schedule. But the truth is, we get so involved in every detail of each issue—from the philosophical to the grammatical to the graphical—that so far, anyway, we barely make it to the printer in time, every time!
This issue attempts to answer what is perhaps the most common question spiritual teachers get asked. Whenever the subject of enlightenment comes up in public forums, lectures, and dialogues, inevitably someone raises the obvious question: “But what does higher consciousness have to do with the reality of our day-to-day problems? How can spiritual insights help us respond practically, appropriately, and efficiently, to the real-life challenges of a world in trouble?” In fact, the very heart and soul of what we are trying to share with others through the creation of this magazine has always been about attempting to answer that question, and even more so in the last few years. The current issue, “Envisioning the Future of Ecology, Politics, and Consciousness,” is probably the most direct response to that question to date.
Ross Robertson’s special feature article, “A Brighter Shade of Green,” introduces the “bright green” eco-movement, which presents new and startlingly revolutionary ideas about how to respond to our urgent environmental crisis. All of my previously held notions about environmentalism were challenged in the most inspiring way by our energetic discussions on this hot topic.
As we navigated through new perspectives on the future of our world, many of our habitual ways of thinking about nature and our relationship to it were turned on their head. Carter Phipps’ comprehensive interview with integral thinker par excellence Steve McIntosh on “integral politics” is breathtaking in its scope, precision, and depth of vision. In their discussion about the multidimensional complexities of our many global conflicts, a brilliant vision of order and hope shines through. McIntosh has a unique gift for conveying the fundamental tenets of integral thinking in a way that is clear and profoundly rational, and that (after you understand it) always appears to be obvious!
Completing the feature section is my most recent “Guru and Pandit” dialogue with evolutionary pioneer, philosopher-genius, and comrade-in-arms Ken Wilber. This exploration of the emerging level of development that many are calling “third tier” may be one of the most important discussions we’ve had . . . though I’m probably not in the best position to judge!
Other treats in this issue include “The Death of the Mythic God,” an important conversation about the evolution of religion with former Catholic monk and Washington-based public-policy attorney Jim Marion; “Music for an Integral World,” a lively discussion about creativity, consciousness, and culture with legendary producer and master guitarist Corrado Rustici; and finally, something close to my heart, a tribute in memoriam to Ajja, the great enlightened “avadhut” saint, whom I first met and interviewed for WIE in 1998.
Last but not least, please take note of the new and improved “Pulse” section of the magazine, created through the many late nights of editors Ross Robertson and Tom Huston.