About the Authors

Professor Ronnie Lessem is a Zimbabwean political economist, and graduate of Harvard Business School, who co-founded the Integral Worlds approach to Integral Development via the Trans4m Centre for Integral Development in Geneva.

Professor Dr Ibrahim Abouleish is an Egyptian-born, Austrian-educated engineer and pharmacologist, ecologist and spiritual scientist, who received the Right Livelihood award for founding Sekem, a Sustainable Community in the desert.

Marko Pogacnik, who studied at the Academy of Arts in Slovenia, is a conceptual artist and earth healer, and an iconic figure in his country, who designed the national flag of Slovenia and practices Sacred Geography around the world.

Professor Louis Herman is a South African born medical graduate of the University of Cambridge in England, now head of the department of political science at the University of Hawaii, West Oahu, renowned for his Primal Politics.

In our current situation of economic, social and environmental crisis we need new ideas to make us fit for the needed transformation processes. It will require new ways of thinking, new forms of organizations and communities. Our past experiences show that relying on governments alone cannot be the solution. The examples of integral polity are very inspiring by starting development from the local context as opposed to the prevailing top-down method. Trans4m gives a valuable orientation to our coming integral age and we all have to ask ourselves where we stand in order to proactively shape our future in a purposeful and sustainable way.

Helmy Abouleish, Managing Director of Sekem Group

Integral Polity makes for fascinating reading. I was deeply moved by it. It is as if something deep within me that has been mostly voiceless all these years finally found an articulate voice. And this articulate voice addresses fundamental questions of sustainable development not from the normal standpoint of prevailing theories and frameworks that have failed dismally in creating healthy societies. Instead the authors bring an enormous and exciting amount of wisdom from all over the world, and from different ages, to bear upon the meaning, purpose, and possibility of what they are calling integral polity.

Nicanor Perlas, author of

Shaping Globalization: Civil Society, Cultural Power and Threefolding

PROLOGUE: An Introduction to Integral Polity: Nature, Culture, Society, Economy


All subjects, no matter how specialized, are connected with a center; they are like rays emanating from the sun. The center is constituted by the very core of our convictions, by those ideas which really have the power to move us.

E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful


Starting with the core

In our pursuit of what we term Integral Polity, we are seeking after harmony, like the ancient Egyptians did through their goddess Ma'at, and the Greeks through their polis. In effect, what we term such an integral polity is “integral" insofar as it serves to harmonize nature and culture, society and economy. Alternately, again harking back to the ancient Greeks generally, and to Plato specifically, it serves to recognize and to interconnect truth, goodness and beauty. Indeed, such an overall, integrated pursuit, characterizes our core programme, specifically at the Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development, thereby standing on the shoulders of its ancient harmonic heritage.

Indeed, for us, such a "core" programme picks up from where the liberal arts in the "West" left off, in the 19th and 20th centuries. In our integral case, though, such a core is invariably focused on a particular society, that is Egypt in this case, while purposefully drawing from other societies across the globe. In fact, standing at the Egyptian historical cross-roads of civilization, we co-authors are spread across such – Ibrahim Abouleish from Egypt in the Middle East, Louis Herman from Hawaii in the American West, Marko Pogacnik from Slovenia in the European North, and Ronnie Lessem from Zimbabwe in Southern Africa. Moreover, and at the same time, Abouleish is an engineer, pharmacologist and environmentalist, Herman a political scientist and philosopher, Pogacnik a conceptual artist and sacred geographer, and Lessem an economist and business academic. So we are overtly transcultural as well as transdisciplinary in our integral reach. We have therefore coined the term integral polity to embody such, as the core of our pursuits. How does this relate to other well-known integral perspectives?

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