Today ‘s cities are being transformed by activists. Tomorrow’s cities will be transformed by AQALists. What is the difference?


Today’s activists demonstrate their beliefs through confrontive action. They stand up against injustices, rules, authorities and infrastructure by blocking access for as many people as possible. They are willing to threaten power,  throw projectiles and thrust their bodies into streets, doorways and jails. Emotions drive motion and defiant acts define active participation.

Activists break down barriers and open doors in places where human freedom has been suppressed. Their actions are necessary to release the energy of changing from what we no longer want. But activism of this type is not sufficient to change to what we do want.

Changing to what we do want requires contribution of an entirely different order. Activists must expand individual actions into creating and organizing collective systems that serve the greater good of all.  They must invite the civility of society to embrace relationships with cultures different from their own – including those with whom they disagree. Such tolerance requires leaders who can create the habitats for mutual respect and coexistence of different belief systems, expressions and practices – as long as they don’t infringe on the beliefs, expressions and practices of others. The new activists must also be willing to reflect on their actions, systems and relationships, becoming ever attentive to the never-ending quest of their own learning, spiritual depths and personal development.

Changing to what we do want demands that we add to the energy of action, the strength of structures, the goodness of relationships and the beauty of inner reflection. When we centre in the four quadrants of these capacities, and open the door to ongoing development and evolution of our individual and collective selves, we have taken the momentous leap (1) from mere Activism to AQALism(2) – able to be, do, have and relate in all quadrants and all levels of complexity. This momentous leap moves us from merely being able to take care of ourselves, to being able to integrate our care of each other and our care of Integral City 2.0 as necessary contributors to the evolution and wellbeing of Gaia.


(1) Momentous Leap refers to the framing of Clare Graves in describing the developmental path of healthy human beings

Graves, C. (1974). Human Nature Prepares for a Momentous Leap The Futurist.

(2)AQAL is a term coined by Ken Wilber to embrace all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all types. For further explanation refer to

Wilber, K. (2007). The Integral Vision. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.