Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Steve McIntosh, Carter Phipps, Elizabeth Debold, and Michael Zimmerman have recently launched the Institute for Cultural Evolution, aimed at influencing public policy from an "integral evolutionary" perspective. I heard them introduce their mission a few months ago at a local event, but the presentation was fairly general and introductory. (I may be going to an event this evening where I'll have a chance to talk to them in person; if so, I'll report back on that later this weekend.)
From their website:
The Institute for Cultural Evolution ("ICE") is a start-up nonprofit think tank organized around the goal of applying groundbreaking insights taken from Integral philosophy, developmental psychology, evolutionary theory, and the social sciences to help create significant forward movement in the evolution of the American political landscape. Our plans to produce cultural evolution will be tested through a series of focused Campaign Plans. Our first two campaigns target the issues of climate change and political gridlock. These campaigns for cultural evolution include detailed persuasion strategies and media tactics for achieving realistic, measurable goals that will represent real progress on these pressing challenges.
ICE's Political Campaign Plans, together with our Business Plan proposal and related documents are available for downloading below: 1) Introductory Cover Letter; 2) Business Plan; 3) Campaign Plan for Climate Change Amelioration; 4) Draft Campaign Plan for Reducing Political Polarization; 5) White Paper: Premises and Principles of the Evolutionary Worldview; and 6) Media Release.
While I'm all for applying integral theory to socio-political activism, heretofore sorely neglected and urgently needed, I'm still a bit leery. I listened to the 1st 6 minutes of their video intro and Phipps was past editor of EnlightenNext, Cohen's magazine. So from both him and McIntosh I get a hyper altitude sickness feeling, much like we discussed in this thread. On top of that Mackey from Whole Foods and conscious capitalism are involved, so recall this thread. That's why I'm more apt to promote the likes of Rifkin for implementing integral socio-economics, as well as Arnsperger.
And recall McIntosh's whole-hearted endorsement of Cohen's book on evolution.
Yes, agreed, for the most part. I feel a bit leery as well, at least with what I have heard articulated so far, but I will try to approach the meeting this evening with an open mind.
If you get a chance to talk with them I'd be interested in your reactions.
The polarization plan is based on a false equivalency between Republican and Democrat. It fails from the outset because generally this is a huge difference between regressive and progressive, which are not equivalent. They note it is not the Democrat Party that is polarized but rather the radical left activists, who react to the ever more right leaning Republicans in terms of "combative tit-for-tat." True, most of the Dems are pretty blase and just as much under the thumb the corporate money. And true, the progressive left like me are vociferous in our war against the regressive GOP. But again, it is not a matter of an equal and opposite polarization; it is a different levels war.
Yes, war. You cannot reason with a raving lunatic bully; you must punch him in the face and beat him, as it is the only language they understand. If you compromise with one you immediately lose ground and will lose more and more from then on. Obama if anyone has learned that from trying to take the integral post-partisan bullshit seriously and losing at every step.
Now the paper is aware that the regressives are intent on creating polarization as their very lifeblood. But they quote people who say if you play their game by fighting them you lose, which is exactly wrong. Their game is to get you to compromise, thereby proving you are weak so they can take further advantage of you. It is amazing that those who espouse a higher consciousness cannot even understand this very basic psychology of bullies. I submit that their supposed higher consciousness, and its desire to take the 'high' road, is in fact exactly part of the regressive strategy they play into, as they know it weakens the progressive position and further strengthens their resolve to destroy it.
Their solution? Incorporate 'healthy' versions of each Party. Wrong. A healthy version of a lower level is again not equivalent to a healthy version of a higher level. What is a healthy version of slavery? Wage slaves? It seems the same ongoing confusion between basic and transitional structures discussed in this thread. We in no way should be "integrating and harmonizing the fundamental truths of each ideological camp." We should be transcending and replacing the ideology of the regressive camp and promoting further development of the progressive camp. And this replacement requires a fierce fighting spirit. Anything less will not do.
They claim their view is higher vertically, beyond left and right. But left and right are not on the same plane; left is the higher view. And their self-professed higher than progressive integral view is effete and as mentioned above plays right into the game plan of the regressives. Hence it is not higher at all but ironically caught at the same level in a master-save polarization. They are unconsciously playing out their slave part in buying into the false notion that it's more evolved to submit to ineffective 'concessions.' Obama is prime example number one and has tried everything they suggest and to what effect?
And by the way, the country itself is become much more progressive, attested to by polls on many specific issues, from gun background checks to marriage equality to immigration reform. One wonders if we should concede to partial racial equality, like separate but equal? No! We march forward and leave behind regressive views and polices of the past. And we fight to get their, even wage metaphorical war. Agreeing with Wilber, all war is not bad and some wars are not only worth fighting but must be fought and won.
I am not a fan of the Republican party, but I would be hesitant to say that it consists entirely of same-level partisans. What do you think? Are you suggesting that Republicans/"regressives" are all at the same level, and that that is across-the-board lower than anyone in the Democratic party? (I would expect not, but I want to be clear about what you are saying. It seems to me both parties span a number of different levels, in their appeal, orientation, and membership, and that while there is -- I believe -- a weighting towards a higher center of gravity overall among the Dems, or at least progressive Dem ideology, it is not uniform.)
Of course it is not uniform with individual differences so I'm making generalizations. There are rare exceptions in the Republican Party on specific issues,* but overall the Party itself has regressed horribly. Gone are the days of a Teddy Roosevelt or Eisenhower, or even a Reagan, who would not survive in today's GOP. And yes, even many Democrats, while not as bad, are still not progressive. I am suggesting that the progressive caucus of the Dem Party is indeed a higher developmental level, generally, overall.
* Like morning Joe Scarborough, for example, on some issues. Even Michael Steele on occasion, now that he's long gone as RNC chair and had to defend ridiculous nonsense.
Okay, I thought so. I have to admit, though, that I am feeling pretty stung by the performance of Obama's admin. Yes, he's experienced significant obstruction. But even granting that, some of the things going on within it, if the stories I am hearing are to be believed, indicate something significantly wrong (or corrupt). I am thinking, for instance, about Eric Holder's performance; about the apparent wire-tapping of AP and other news agencies; about Obama's aggressive prosecution and punishment of whistleblowers (more than any other admin); about the passage of the NDAA (with its inclusion of provisions for assassinating US citizens without due process); etc.
I personally am not aligned with any mainstream platform now (though my values are certainly closer to some important "Progressive" ones).
On all the issues you list the CPC has been most critical, as has the progressive media (like MSNBC shows: Maddow, Schultz, etc. And don't forget Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, a Catholic!) So Obama is not 'progressive' on some key issues. But he is certainly progress overall compared to the alternative. And Hillary will be another step in that direction. It's a long war, one battle at a time. I'm just a little lieutenant on the front lines doing my small part.
Did you go last night? Thoughts?
Yes, I went, and it was sort of an Integral and EnlighteNext Who's Who -- lots of people who are either teachers or writers in this scene. It seems more and more folks from these communities are moving to this part of the country. But the party turned out not to have included any discussion of ICE, other than a brief talk by Carter Phipps and Steve McIntosh to thank people for supporting their efforts. They also had copies of their "white paper" and other documents for folks to pick up, but I didn't since the same documents are on the ICE website. I did talk for a bit to Carter, but not at any depth. Most talk by most folks there didn't circulate around ICE, but around just what's happening in Wilber's and Cohen's communities (and about the tension between the two communities). I did bring up to one person your question/remark about whether the Dem and Repub parties and platforms were being treated as equal in ICE's polarity paper, and the response I got was that they weren't necessarily equal in all areas, but that the Repubs were stronger in their power, and in their ability to articulate principles and to shape and disseminate a principled vision (which sounds like one of Lakoff's observations). But that was as far as the conversation went because it got interrupted. In any event, Carter did extend an invitation to me to write to him and keep in touch with him, so there may be a chance to explore some questions then.
"The problem with such statements as 'transcend and include' is that they can easily become platitudes. They sound meaningful but remain meaningless until we detail what exactly should be transcended and what should be included. Steve, I know you have included a list of the 'enduring' elements of each stage. But unfortunately this is where the real problem begins. I simply don't agree that they are 'enduring' at all. Interesting isn't it? The things you think should be included I think should be transcended."
"The Greens of course, are a global organisation. We are already 'doing' the difficult politics of global governance.... I invite you to investigate what is already being done in this area – rather than start a new proposal. I suggest you sign on to some of those and work from within. You will find that many people working in this area are already integral and quite sophisticated thinkers – even if they've never heard of Ken's work or the Integral Institute."
Hence my inclination for orgs like the CPC and DSA. They are already integral, well established and making small but significant inroads toward a progressive future.