Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Is anyone here familiar with David Korten's work on living economies? I just heard, from Dr. Kurt Johnson (author of a forthcoming book on integral and inter-spirituality), that Korten is beginning to use the term "integral" in his work -- describing (like Rifkin) our passage through several major worldviews and techno-sociological forms, and calling for an emergent, post-empire, integral living economy.
This is news to me. Thanks for the reference. I'm going to check this out.
David Korten is co-founder and board chair of YES! Magazine, co-chair of the New Economy Working Group, president of the Living Economies Forum, an associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, and a member of the Club of Rome. His books include the international best-seller When Corporations Rule the World, which will be released in an updated 20th anniversary edition in June 2015.
Didn't know there was a Korten thread here. I devoured his book on The Great Turning, and helped spearhead bringing him to town in several venues back in 2007. Around that time Anodea Judith had come out with a book (Waking the Global Heart) that had very similar, very parallel themes, but Judith referenced Wilber repeatedly. Korten and Judith ended up doing a number of events together, and I wonder if Korten picked up on some of the integral ideas initially from her.
I've heard him give some presentations on his ideas for a Living Economy a couple of times, and I actually have the book out on loan from the library, but I haven't given it a read.
Korten's first best seller was called "When Corporations Rule the World" - the title says it all.
Nice. I've met 5 of the authors of that report (a number of them based here in NW Washington).
Here's a 2 minute summary (teaser) of Korten's "The Great Turning" presentation:
This page has links to a 1 hour audio or video presentation from 2006. When I watched this more than 10 years ago, I found it very inspiring. I'm a bit of a different person now, and the intervening years now indicate to me that we'll have to undergo the great unraveling before the great turning comes about.
Here is something inbetween the 2 minute and 1 hour renditions. Here it is in 30 minutes:
And here it is in a conversational/interview format:
Two different reading groups at my local UU church are now focusing on Korten. In one we're reading Change the Story, Change the Future, in another we're discussing the video below. One of Balder's concerns in this and the FB forum is that some of us turn every discussion into capitalism. But as Korten notes, capitalism is a religious matter because it is the defining and organizing story of our culture. It so permeates every discussion of any domain because of its dominant yet unconscious big picture worldview. Recall LP's very similar definition of religion.
Put in kennilingus we might say that capitalism is the formal operational (instrumental rational) level's form of religion. But to merely discuss postformal expressions of religion without also examining how they might still carry this unconscious worship of capital is to not just taint said postformal religious expression, but also to unwittingly carry forward capitalist religious premises.
So Korten rightfully calls the capitalism story the gospel of sacred money and markets and explores makes conscious that religion and how it operates and influences every aspect of our lives. We need to do that in order to change that story, to replace it with another one. And yes replace, not transcend and include. There's no room for conscious capitalism in the new story.
When I helped organize an event with Korten in 2006 or 2007, I had him speak at a church, and had him interact with a Christian pastor, a Unitarian pastor, and a Jewish cantor. I asked Korten about the role of spirituality in The Great Turning, and he said he saw it as essential to make the kind of transition that is needed.
I'm reminded of integral economist Arnsperger's comments here:
"I think we need to go as far as saying that economic thought has a strictly spiritual root.... The economy is, therefore, less a technical-operational domain than an existential-spiritual one.... Economics, therefore...is part and parcel of theology—not only neo-liberal economics (as some left-wing critics claim, using the word 'theology' as a degrading term), but all of economics to the extent that it ultimately seeks to liberate Man. Marx, Keynes, and Hayek were, literally, the most influential theologians of the 20th century; I say this not by analogy or as an image, but as a literal description of what their study of economic activity was about."
And offered in support of the above, from Peter Pogany's "Fifth Structure emergence in Economics..." paper:
"Gebser’s archeology of consciousness, augmented by its graciously nonpositivistic (open
destiny) eschatology through archaic-originary projection, presumes the epiphenomenon
of socioeconomic transformation. Since the history of consciousness is also a history of
social consciousness, which is never without economic interpretations, it is mirrored by
the history of economic thought.
The thermodynamic conceptualization of the human journey provides further warrant to
Gebser’s caveat that the mutation of the prevalent mental-rational structure of
consciousness into the integral-arational (“fifth”) constellation is a sine qua non for
dignified survival. This crucial moment in collective psychohistory is inseparable from a
change in the global socioeconomic system, which cannot occur without transcending
mainstream orthodoxy in economic sciences.
Geographic globalization was complete by the end of the 15th century. The visualization
of Earth as a three-dimensional object became a powerful catalyst to spatial thinking and
the path was cleared for the gradual coming to dominance of mental-rational
consciousness. The birth and development of economics as a specialized field of interest
coincided with this process...
The conservative ideology of contemporary economics reinforces convictions that keep
the potential of individual behavior in a thin enclosure. The maximization of
consumption and the accumulation of monetarily measurable assets as the ultimate goals
of life is its vehemently protected, enshrined centerpiece. At the bottom of this
complicated dynamism silently lies the mistaken belief that humanity’s psychohistory is
complete and over.
Eppur si muove!" [trans: "and yet it moves!"]