Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
8/27/19 update: IPSB has closed its doors so the links are now defunt.
I mentioned recently that I attended a massage therapy school in San Diego from the summer of '84 to summer of '85. It was called IPSB, which at the time stood for the Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing. It later changed its name to the International Professional School of Bodywork. Apparently it sold the earlier name to another school which still has that name in LA, but it's a different school. The link above is to the same school I attended, whose history is in this page.
While I was a serious student and absorbed all the various teachings with enthusiasm, I was always a bit skeptical of some of the more grandiose claims made by the various disciplines. And as is typical of my life-long sardonic and sarcastic sense of humor, I put such skepticism into a series of satire flyers to mock the sort of advertising that was commonly used at the time. It was well and ill received, depending on the audience.
I just scanned many of them into the attached document for your enjoyment. Note that during this time PCs were still pretty primitive. I was using someone's MAC and the fonts had poor resolution with jagged lines.
As is evident from these 30-year old satires, the same issues are pertinent today. While I've been all in on the human potential movement, and now the integral movement, they have the same problems in common. I'm not at all opposed to an elite vanguard exploring and developing our higher potentials in intensive and focused communities. But it's then on how we formulate such achievements, how we envision the next phases, how we implement it in the larger society, how we share it and induce a societal shift for the better. I see that happening in the emerging Commons which Rifkin merely documented. I don't see that happening with the kennilinguists, but do see hope in the broader integral movement as it includes Morin, (pre-metaphysical) Bhaskar, Rifkin and many others, including the extremely rich forum that is IPS.
Nice -- these are quite funny, theurj! I'm glad to know you have a similarly perverse humor. Years ago, I made a similar satirical flyer which I posted around the town of Sedona. A local channeler used to host some rather outrageously expensive events, with some pretty flaky themes. I responded to her by creating a service, "Channel-a-Date," in which a team of professionally trained channelers is available to channel any being you would like to spend an evening with. Like to play laser tag with Joan of Arc? Want to chat with Buddha at the Waffle House? Like to have a romantic dinner for two with Cleopatra, Koot Hoomi, or the Archangel Michael? Just call .... (and I provided her phone number).
Recall Laske in this post:
"I am also concerned with effects of systems on human agents because systems are typically used to classify, constrain, and subdue individuals, often with the pretension of 'helping' them (as in 'developmental coaching')."
Compare with p. 6 of the satires:
“The number of people doing massage far outnumbers the number of people that actually exist! So we have to use our imagination in creating a market by telling people what they really need […] by judging them according to our 'programs' and telling them what they should do to be healthy.”
Most all of these developmentalists (including Laske) are not strictly theorists doing pure research but also make their living by selling such developmental coaching. I do not doubt their sincerely in wanting to help people, but they do not account for a very basic premise inherent to a worldcentric paradigm, i.e., that due to the financial remuneration there is likely a conflict of interest, and such a conflict may very well be influencing their classifying people to fit programs they are selling. Whereas pure research without a financial reward attached to specific results would yield a much less biased scheme. Granted there is no such thing as 'pure' research, but when one's paycheck isn't directly tied to reinforcing a particular outcome there is far less chance of a circle jerk.
More from Laske:
"We need to be [...] very aware of our biases and the history of our profession. [...] I don’t think of development in terms of tasks or performances which is a constraint imposed by our present society and more or less blindly carried into the theory as a methodological constraint. I would suggest, then, that we take dialectics out of the developmental field to begin with."
The first 2 paragraphs question the scientific or ‘objective’ facts claimed by developmentalists and see them more as a product of their unconscious societal biases. One of those biases is that very blindness in accepting the modernist (formal) premises of a pure objectivity apart from more subjective biases, as if science or math could get outside of context and determine the final ‘truth’ of things. Such a blindness then doesn’t even recognize the societal shifts necessary for personal transformation, instead assuming that it’s all a personal quest and responsibility, the very values inherent to that status quo, modernist and capitalist system that only accepts personal responsibility as legitimate via this formal and metaphysical logic. All we need do is get them to personally grow and send them back into the shark-pit of the capitalist workforce, as if they then have the personal power and will to overcome it.
Another example of that is the incessant obsession with classification in the 3rd paragraph, and that those classes are rigidly structured with clear dividing lines: you’re either in the classification or not. Laske doesn’t see this a representative of dialectical thinking but a continuation of formal logic. And this maintains the hierarchical status quo of business as usual, with the ‘leaders’ in charge as they should be. However once we ‘enlighten’ them with personal growth this will of course trickle down to the rest of us and make our lives better? Instead it reinforces the very formal and modernist notion of hierarchical business relationships in the first place and completely misses the P2P boat of the actual next phase of societal development.
I like each of these posts as they challenge our reductive and overly objectifying dehumanizations that so often, almost inevitably, are, hah, coincidentally, in service of our self-structures that are so involved and fearful and obsessed about satisfaction of basic needs. The striving and theories that build up around this striving for satisfaction of basic needs as Maslow, Gebser and other developmentally orienting theorists identify gets so carried away that it comes to seem like everything.
You and I (as do others) have some parallels in our past interests and a variety of health/sanity/expecting-the-world-to-be-a-better-place activities, and in our skepticism and at times anger over the "abuse" and mis-direction of ideas and statures of individuals selling their schticks.
It seems that you have gotten a very broad and deep grasp of the territory of so much of this, as shown in your many threads and posts. I have some feel for it as well, (as obviously do others here and in the integral world) but the sense of it all still swirls a bit messily and unreliably in me.
This and related themes are alive in so many places in IPMS, and I am connecting dots with several of them including David's recent Jean Gebser thread:
Satire and sarcasm is one worthy way of nudging people out of their grooves, though a little goes a long way, before it loses its desire punch through novelty and humor and poignancy.
Maybe, as perhaps have you, have had some degree of difficulty financially capitalizing on some of the knowledge, skills, and credentials that could generate more, perhaps, personal comfort, say, because of how we see and maybe wrestle with these questionable integrities.
Something like that.