Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
For an introduction to this expanding meta-thread see Integral Anti-Capitalism pt I. We continue here because we have, hilariously, exceeded this website's capacity...
I agree that holacracy should be singled out for special investigation. The provocative notion that we are dramatically over-emphasizing the need for "conscious leadership" pertains very pertinently to this discussion. Robertson, like ourselves, is pointing to the fact that business (organizations) which integrally improve the interiors and cultural
spirit of their participants are still predisposed to certain outcomes as a result of their actual structural habits of communication and their specific decision-making protocols.
His notion of a constantly self-correcting dynamic organization drawing upon the capacity of individuals to act as tension-sensors relative to the "evolutionary purpose" of the organization is compelling and admirable.
More important is simply that he is making a stand and making an attempt to construct a protocol (constitution). I am not fully versed in the 4.0 version of the holacracy constitution but we should get deeper into some of these proposals.
Given the level of your current knowledge of their protocols, what would you want to change or add in order to ethically and functionally empower this approach even more?
I’m not yet familiar enough with holacracy to know it might need. So for now I’ll ask questions. From p. 8 there was a blog post on ownership and the model might (but not necessarily) include outside capital investors. I asked:
“One question immediately pops up on outside investors. Are there limits on the amount of outside capital investment? What if their investment is such that without it the company could not financially survive? And/or depends on it for start-up? Then such investment would control the company, like it or not. If you don't do what I say I'm taking my ball and going home. No ball, no ballgame. Not the same as a mortgage or loan company.”
Granted why such investors are included on the Board there are other stake-holders to balance their input. But are there rules about which outside individuals or companies can invest? Do they have to have similar values like triple bottom lines instead of just profit for their investors? Can a Goldman Sachs provide start-up capital? Or Romeny’s ex-firm, Bain? Just wondering, so perhaps it’s time for those out there more familiar with the system to engage us?
I appreciate your inquiry about the potential influence of outside investors in holacratic systems. Perhaps they have a good protocol for that. Or perhaps not. In general, all "smart groups" need to comprehend and anticipate the distortion influence that donors and enablers wield. The psychology of human nature shows that we may believe ourselves to be quite sturdy and impartial while we are really bending in the breeze.
One of the concerns I had while perusing the holacracy constitution was about the voting procedure for filling roles. There are many parts of their approach which impress. In particular I would like to make not of the necessity to place constraints upon discussion. When the mention of a concern is met with the mention of counter-concerns then the intelligence and practical efficacy of discussions drops dramatically. A highly suspicious mind might even supposed that the human hive is encouraged to engage in the constant casual usage of dysfunctional conversation. So their use of controlled phases in both operational and hiring decisions is admirable. However, their actual voting protocol seems (to my naive glance) to be based on a model of transparent majority. A sophisticated "show of hands".
So this may be an area in which holacratic principles can be expanded to include a more thorough use of "secret ballot" and "averaged ranking".
The former often seems like a show of bad faith and an invitation to covert dangers... but these are considerably outweighed by the liberation of individual intelligence from any conscious or unconscious concerns about the social consequences of their input.
The latter evades a primitive "first past the post" approach in which our intelligence is functionally limited to a yes/no determination about each candidate relative to other candidates.
Another thing I admire about holacracy is that it represents a functional procedure and culture in which participants would appear to become better participants by participating. Their capacity and ethical commitment to the good of the organization through its evolving protocols should be an increasing trend. Any smart group needs to be arranged so that even people who try to distort the results will find their capacity and will to do this reducing over time. Replaced by the inspirational efficacy of the group.
This brings me to another issue relative to voting, both in political and economic groups. That is the relative absence of specific instructions about how to translated ones feelings into a vote-mark. This is almost completely unaddressed in terms of popular elections. To discuss it even seems insidious to some people who fear coercion (and/or wish to maintain the current material power structures).
Protocols should have at least a clear suggestion about how to locate both "gut" and "intellectual" data within ourselves and convert that into a numerical value which can be contributed to a group decision. A lack of clarification at this critical junction may act as an invisible source of drag upon an otherwise very functional group organism.
It might even be possible to define an "integral-level organizational set up" for business or politics by simply compiling a list of areas in which intelligence and capacity are distorted. We might recall that most of Wilber's philosophy has emerged in levels correlated to his discovery of "fallacies" or "basic errors". Integral proposals about business and society could be all over the map unless there is a reasonable set of constraints that make sure they fall in the most lucrative zone.
So other than the potential influence of outside "helpers" and "donors" what other sources of distortion or inhibition do you see going mostly unaddressed in otherwise progressive groups?
My next question of holacracy is who came up with it? It seems to be the pet project of Brian Robertson, his own brainchild. I'm wondering if that is so of if it was a community or P2P project? I mean, the structure of holacracy itself calls for distributed decision-making but was the creation of holacracy itself derived from this process or mostly dictated by Robertson? I've yet to find an answer at the site so I posed this question to them via contact info. I'll provide the response if/when received. I think the answer is pivotal in determining if this thing called holacracy arose from its own medicine.
I look forward that answer if it is forthcoming. The notion of self-arising systems is something which haunts the periphery of these discussions. My fantasy is that we can devise a group protocol which so reliably and simply exceeds the cognitive capacity of the individual participants that it would be foolish to predetermine the purpose and nature of the group. Collectively we could a better job of determining what kind of a collective we should be. "Smartgroups" of this kind could then spread through the world in a very radical social uprising. How possible that is remains uncertain...
As I understand holacracy, the different companies making use of it are assumed to engage in their own mutational modifications of the "constitution". So even if Brian wrote the whole thing out in his bathtub it still retains an open source quality. The answer to whether its current forms are or are not the result of distributed decision-making is almost certainly: sort of.
One of the reasons the holacracy approach is so amenable to business organization is that it seems to depend upon the functional axis of a specified purpose. The aim is somewhat pregiven -- our job is to sell widgets or maximize share-holder profit, etc. His use of the metaphor of the sensors on an airplane derives from a mechanism that is assumed to be designed for a well-known purpose.
My question would be whether or not this "aim" is a necessarily functional element in generating enhanced organizational capacity? Or whether it is simply an artifact of the need to make these systems serve a relatively conventional marketplace task?
Your suggestion of a smart group that arises creatively from a continually evolving set of parameters seems to be the intent and practice of holacracy. As to the organizational purpose of Holacracy One, it seems to have multiple bottom lines including but not limited to profit. For example, see this post in the comments where I noted that the top to bottom pay ratio is 3 to 1, and quoted some of those multiple purposes:
"With Holacracy at play, the game is entirely different: with the decentralization of authority, the separation of people and role, and the dynamic evolution of those roles, we end up with a situation that looks more like free agents going about their work with no central planning. There might not even be a single person who knows about everything you do."
This sounds much more like the sort of emerging P2P organizational structure discussed throughout this thread. And also of significance in the post following this article where The Integral Center of Boulder has "voluntarily relinquished their rights to control their company as owners. Instead, they have ceded authority to a purpose-centered governance process called Holacracy, a model that distributes authority across the organization and gives primary power to the organization itself."
These are indeed advances over the kind of conscious capitalism promoted and AQALly packaged for sale at I-I.
This is an interesting moment. Apparently Amazon.com is experimenting with a version of holacracy as well. It clearly represents a theoretical advance over the typical kind of conscious capitalism which combines advanced sentiments with a potentially dangerous and uninspected ideological allegiance to more primitive routines of social organization and wealth production. Yet we cannot know the results of the experiment in advance.
I have tremendous optimism about emergent p2p organizational structures. Experimentation is utterly necessary and should be strongly encouraged. I am also very hopeful that advances can be made in terms of quantification. This is very central in my thinking lately.
It seems that experimental protocols for advances social organization systems suffer from the lack of a quantifiable evaluation of their respective degrees of "collective intelligence". Most people are drawn to such possibilities by ethical and aesthetic criteria which do no necessarily persuade the world. So I would love to see experimentation supplemented by the attempt to devise a metric for estimating the intelligence of a social organization protocol.
Along similar lines, my "tetrabucks" type notions represent the possibility/necessity to structure our currency at a level that correlates to advanced P2P organizational structures and post-pluralistic consciousness.
The potential of an evil holacracy has hardly been broached. If it works -- it works. Other than simply the tendency of less complex people not to use more complex systems, and the tendency of more complex systems to complexify their participants, there needs to be some inter-organizational structures which incline all organizations int he direction of broad human well-being. It is my assertion that as long as primary areas of value remain outside monetization the actions of groups trying to utilize official social credits will constantly become unstable.
So I am imagining a line leading from pathological capitalism to standard capitalism to conscious capitalism to trans-capitalist network organizations to such organizations bound together by a integrated set of metrics for determining the intelligence of groups and splicing together (at least) four broad domains of human value.
Along these lines -- how will we decide whether holacratic integral business is working better?
As to how we determine whether alternative economic paradigms are 'working,' I'd suggest that even by the standards of typical business democratic workplaces like co-ops are successful. If by that we mean the organization runs smoothly, has low employee turnover, high employee satisfaction, makes a profit or surplus over operating costs, and other such typical measures. Plus they fulfill their stated purposes as expressed in theRochdale principles, like community education, cooperation, democratic control, etc.
I'd say the same applies to holacracy. They also have to accomplish the usual business parameters like above but also meet stated principles like in their constitution. Given Robertson's business acumen I'm sure at the site he has precise and measurable indices to track such progress, though I didn't try to find them as yet.
Perhaps you need a refresher about what we the people have already done? The excerpt above is about how we can accomplish progressive changes if we but get over the intentionally programmed apathy of those who want to maintain the oligarchy. The changes already made are obviously not merely illusory dreams. It sounds like you've succumbed to their brainwashing and are in effect conspiring with what you despise by beating down the resistance as ineffective and useless. Good job.
The Warbler is one of the smaller long travelling birds. They have senses that would baffle us. Those senses at times will take them well off their instinctual path if they know there is trouble ahead.
Happy New Years eve, or at least salutations to Janus.
Astute analysis of capitalism. I like the conclusion on the just consequences for the bankers.
WoW! Really loved the fourth of fifth in the series of cartoon lectures, the one about higher human incentives instead of just profit: autonomy, mastery, purpose. This resonated with insights I had while preparing for my marathon comeback and then using that as an allegory of growing in my Christian faith. The book, Christian Running, is the first of what will be a three-book series called The Christian Potentiality series. Potentiallity is seen as being an integral part of the core Christian value of forgiveness (the flip side of which is "judge not.") "Why," I asked myself, "do Christians emphasize forgiveness?" The answer that came to me was that we believe that within each sinning scoundral is still the potential to be benevolent or "good." Instead of writing off that person based on his or her actual "bad" behavior, we forgive in order to set our minds and hearts on helping actualize that person's inner potential. That means a true Christian believes there is a bit more actual to potential than the rest of the regular non-forgiving and judgmental (writing off each other) world.
So in my motivation of mastery (one of the freakeconomics authors' three major non-monetary incentives) of distance running (enough at least to run a marathon again after several years of failure) I found also a sense of purpose, because if I could experience the actualization of my inner potential to run another marathon then I would have an analogue of the potential to be sinless (or at least sin less). The marathon training then doubled as a purposeful exploration of the potential for spiritual and moral growth, both in myself and in others. What can I/we do to train other people to run the marathon of being more spiritual, "better," people instead of couch-potato scoundrels and sinners? Some of what works for running works for actualizing our potential for spiritual growth also.
What I discovered in my very small sample of one person was that my potential actualized better if I did the running in an inside-out sort of way in which I facilitated a realm of inner potential to interface, one training run at a time, with the world of actual running. A whole inner vision of "depth dynamics" began to form. At times I reached in way deep to get the unexpected ability to finish a long run after it looked like I was toast, too depleted. The marathon itself led me to that point. I was fascinated by how I reached down deep inside to find some unexpected way to run. I documented some of this odd tapping into unknown inner sources (re-sources) of energy and ability in the essay, A Whole Marathon, that I submitted in the One of Us anthology which Layman compiled and online published at the Integral Life online community/blog.
This look at inner potential could be misconstrued as being only something an individual can discover within himself or herself. If interpreted that (wrong) way, it would suggest the delusional optimism culture that the earlier cartoon lecture showed to get in the way of "real" sociocultural" progress.
But the true implications of what I witnessed was that there are ways of looking at the unfolding of potential which can assist not only self but others. We can teach these ways of thinking (some paradigms really do offer relatively good "answers"-- the depth dynamic view of reality is, I believe, one of those worthwhile "paradigms.") to each other in order to accelerate and enhance the actualization of human potential, be it in terms of spirituality or in terms of mastering distance running.
Thus the "mastery" incentive seems at some point to doevtail into the "purpose" incentive. Teaching others this depth-dynamic insight about how good "stuff" hidden inside seems to intentionally, or at least semi-intentionally, unfold into reality outside is a strong purpose for being here. I want to liberate human potential. The shared sense of mastery will, I believe open up into other's generativity or sense of purpose. The "gift" longs to be given. Mastery opens up into the sharing of the mo jo. Perhaps because down deep we are, and always have been, transpersonal beings.
I wholeheartedly agree with the freakenomics authors' implication that external incentive structures can draw out sense of mastery and sense of generative purpose. These human longings are themselves hidden treasures within us. These riches make mere external money seem boring in comparison. The hidden treasure was never just on an external island. It was always within us. But there are things we can do out here to better draw out those treasures/incentives.
I have been crystal clear most of my life that there are much more powerful and sustainable incentives than money. I found it ironic that my last name happened to include "money." The "money" I feel purposefully called to give others are those treasures within, UL and LL "riches" -- Rifkin's "social captial," or what I dubbed "logonomics" in my first book, Allsville Emerging.
One can see the emergence of what Rifkin, Kevin Kelly, and a whole sleau (sp?) of futurists call "dematerialization." We are more and more rewarded by internal senses and energies. We are evolving into "soul-full" and "spirit-ual" beings. Our resource allocation systems need to be designed to draw that evolution out into the real-world-now. New incentives in a new economics. And intentional culture creating to be integrated with that new resource allocation system as well. Both/and.
This all is why I find what fellow-essayist, Brian McConnel, in One of Us, had to say:
Now I actually do not confuse human suffering with lack of self attainment. In my postmodern
phase I would say 80% is self ignorance and 20% society (or others below postmodern dominating
society). But now I see it as 80% society (and not the people using it) and 20% self ignorance. It
seems to me since the vertical is essential much of integral focuses on this. But if integral is truly
interested in the suffering of humanity it would need to understand the systems that cause the most
negative tension. Negative tensions that will not go away till we have pluralistic money systems,
direct democracy, abundant gross energy supply. Thinking our problems are internal is a great
tragedy to the rest of humanity that does not have time, and mental individuality to notice that the
suffering we go though does not benefit our self development. It just what happens while society is
still at a prehuman stage.
Civilization has not reached a stage that is truly a civilization that is appropriate for humans. So,
some say, it’s just growing pains. But it takes leaders to notice that representative democracy is
“premodern.” A monetary unit provided by decree is premodern.
Astute analysis of capitalism. I like the conclusion on the just consequences for the bankers.
Otto Scharmer seems to be barking up the same tree I've been barking up. First I obsessed about "thinking like energy" instead of "thinking like matter." Scharmer's "bending the beam" is one clue that the inner transformation that he is talking about seems at least similar to "thinking like energy." Energy has, I've figured out recently, three faces: force, flow, field. Scharmer's language hits on flow and field strongly. Force probably ties into "open will" in which the self serves a higher purpose. Incarnated, physical self, is but a steep wrinkle in the unified field or zero point field. Nonetheless that mere wrinkle can have a lot of useful agency and purposeful satisfaction. The self that serves God or unity function is a more abundant and deeper self.
"Deeper" leads to my latest obsession: seeing reality in terms of depth. The quantum physics investigations saw strange entangled realities in a literally deep part of physcal reality. Might our human minds actually be able to go there? Consider that the mind itself seems more like an energy flow or field. If the zero point field is more like energy than matter (which the lay-interpretation by Lynn Taggart, in The Field, suggests, and if mass is really more of a residual an energetic interaction between charged subatomic particles and the zero point field (an underlying "sea of energy"), then mind, as an energy flow or field, could be expected to connect down into the zero point field and points inbetween (lesser fields). Mind simply seems to have the "nature" of energy. Thus Scharmer's bending the beam to "awareness of awareness," "organizing the organizing," etc. is almost (to my thinking at least) like mind becoming aware of its own nature as energy, or at least more like energy than it is matter. We really don't have to have rocks in our heads anymore. We can access pools and oceans and all sorts of currents. This then seems to automatically take us deeper, but also mentally intending our minds to "go deeper" into itself (more like withdrawing into itself or relaxing into itself than "bending," but similar) can access more of this flow and field reality that is nonlocal and more and more transpersonal the deeper we "go."
When one combines going deep with thinking like energy, then one begins to develop the capacity to observe the depth-unfolding, the "dynamics" of the depth dimension of reality.
I shared this earlier with you via a fountain or (solar) flare metaphysical model of reality. Self-as-flare sort of reality view. But it is not a static image. Learning to have even-flow or "depth continuity" as one mentally or spiritually navigates the depths is a vitally important part of the development/evolution. Integrating deep with surface is akin to Wilber's stages, vs mere (deep and/or high) states.
Layman and I begin the depth dynamic way of seeing reality and self in about wholeness, mostly in the Depth and Wholeness section, which is first in the book because the door of depth has siezed my imagination lately. Now I am in the process of playing around with practices of depth-unfolding in everyday life. So far its mostly confined to running. I run by unfolding from a deep inner zone. I also view sports from an eye of the hurricane sort of imagining my (via identification) "team" reveling in the moment, having fun allowing their excellence to calmly unfold, etc, as opposed to a mind set of trying to will them to win. Winning and losing is too surface-y. Even as a spectator I can imagine a deeper way to play the game. Interesting that while doing this with the Buckeye's football team in the NCAA footbaball championship last night, at one third down I absoultely "knew" a big successful pass was about to happen. No need to worry. I sensed the future! Confident, calm, not at all like the regular surface me that sits on the edge of my seat breathlessly worrying.
If I generalize this "wierd science" to other daily activities, competitive or not, then I may over time experience more and more depth continuity (as an evenflow mental sense or "state") and depth integration (as a self-structure "stage").
Finally, this passage from Sharmer shows that depth -- perhaps even literal depth -- is on his mind too:
As one’s listening moves from level 1 (shallow) to level 4 (deep), the listener’s field of attention passes through several turning points, from suspending (gateway to level 2), to redirecting (gateway to empathic listening), to letting go (gateway to generative listening).
A blog from Otto Scharmer on collective mindfulness and economic evolution.
"Collapse now and avoid the rush."
I think it's about time for my wife and I to move to our land in Nepal.
Why wouldn't the TIR cover the gross energy needs? Yes, oil past its peak output is one of the main reasons Rifkin says we are in economic strain and/or dysfunction, such as dangerously big gap between haves and have-nots. While flaws inherent in capitalism itself might account for some of the failure to distribute resources more evenly, it seems likely that a take the money and run attitude might accompany economic shrinking due to a contracting supply of easy-to-get energy. If the whole venture were expanding due to a new energy source and energy infrastructure, perhaps the Plutocrats would not be as tempted to take the money and run.
And what about the "democratization" effect that Rifkin predicts regarding the highly distributed nature of renewables? Less opportunity for concentrated wealth due to overly centralized sources of energy (oil tycoons, petroldictators). The TIR itself would seem, as Rifkin predicts, to create a more horizontal power structure instead of top-down vertical structures.
Or do you think the inherent flaws in the capitalistic system will result in collapse anyway?
I imagine that Brian was thinking along the lines of Maslow's heirarchy of needs. If basic needs are met, including enough energy to do basic activities, then less stress, insecurity and distraction over feeling the need to survive by working hard (or being clever with money) in order to achieve "economic security." And if those basic needs are met, then more of a willingness to explore growth areas, including personal depth and spirituality. The cartoon lectures shared earlier in this discussion did suggest that money is only motivating up to a point for most people. After reasonable amounts are obtained the best incentives tend, according to the authors of the presentation, to be about "autonomy," "mastery," and "purpose." This would seem to be an example of the "lower stress" that I thought Brian was probably referring to.
Besides wouldn't we naturally grow tired of low priority materialism over time anyway? Hopefully we will develop a "been there, done that" about superficial values and mistaking wants for needs or trinkets for jewels.
Here are some interesting ideas about the inherent flaws in capitalism that I had "Lucidia" (like Matrix movie's "Oracle" matriarc/mentor) share with "Eric" in the first draft beginning of the novel Layman and I are working on:
“Ha ha! Aren't you the clever one!” quipped Eric. And then, “What do you mean exactly by 'Integral Recourceism?' I've heard that term bantied about lately but I'm not clear what it means, except that it is apparently an alternative to capitalism.”
“Capitalism is based on the notion that individuals own something and then can exchange it for things owned by other individuals. Money and complex money systems are used to assist in those transactions. While the markets and money systems have an obvious dynamic quality about them (spiritual author Deepok Chopra long ago noted how the word 'current' is in the word 'currency'), the cold hard truth is that individual ownership artificially separates both the resources and the people managing them.
As a resource allocation system, capitalism is far too static, piecemeal, and mechanistic to fully adapt to dynamic currents of human needs and wants and dreams as they intermingle among many seemingly individual minds which actually function more like one collective mind. If the traditional concept of God can be seen as a viable way to help create group cohesiveness and effective collaboration, then capitalism was simply too―for want of a better word―'godless.'
'Wow!' thought Eric, 'It's statements like that that can get you killed!'
“God owns everything. Individual humans don't really own anything. They are stewards yes. Owners no. By trusting in God and relying on the unity and sharing which the concept of God facilitates, the resources are spread about in the most overall effective manner.”
Again, Eric said silently in his mind, out of his newfound respect for Lucidia, 'That kind of talk … killed!'
“Even the modern belief that all persons and beings are interconnected by the Zero Point Field is consistent with the old notion of God. The Zero Point Field is at least a God function. If not God's pure essence or 'self,' the ZPF appears to be at least a major means of God doing what God does. If not the mind of God, it is at least the body of god that allows for the interconnectedness to actually behave like an interconnected reality.
'God' properly understood and the ZPF properly taken into account both provide maximum integration and overall utilization of all types of resources, including human resources like inspiration and love. Such 'godly' beliefs manifest themselves in the form of a sharing economy or resource allocation system.
In contrast, the godless, or I should in all fairness say 'less god, system called capitalism, creates over time a situation in which the resources tend to get stranded, or at least unnecessarily stalled, on artificial islands of humanity.”
'Well,' Thought Eric, ' at least it's toned down a bit. 'Maybe not killed; just maimed or imprisoned!'
“It is said that 'no man is an Island.' The fatal flaw of capitalism is that it is based on the assumption that each person is in effect an island that stores or 'owns' various degrees of resources, largely in isolation from the rest of the islands.
Over time, the human islands began to pathologically compete for the isolated resources they hoped to win and own. Their focus was on the things owned or ownable―on the 'capital'―instead of on the people themselves as they really, authentically, and dynamically are.
Too many people ended up with disproportionate stores of resources while others had limited or no access to resources truly needed to survive or thrive as a human being. Attitudes of distrust and aggression dominated. Every person, even the so-called 'winners' who had huge stockpiles of resources, were left 'on their own.'
By wrongly thinking that each man was an island, capitalism created a modern nightmare of human castaways who felt hungry or alienated or both. The resource allocation of capitalism never managed to become integrated enough to consistently and broadly serve humankind and to optimally meet its needs and to actualize its potentials. 'Surely,' more and more folks were thinking, 'there are better resource allocation systems than capitalism.'
And they were right. Resource sharing systems, especially Integral Resourceism, are better ways to be collectively 'human,' in the best sense of the word.
Resource sharing systems organized with computerized information technologies, such as the internet, and making use of effective software programs to help process the digitally- identified resources in order to share them in the way that the collective 'gets the most bang for its buck' are the way to go. To go forward, that is -- to evolve.
This little poem that Lucidia shared with Eric, in order to explain why she called Ken Wilber the mother, instead of the father, of Integral Resourceism is a projection of something I feel, identify with. I might change my blog name to "mo.thermouse." The period inserted to suggest the "Mo" abbreviation of Moneyhon. Something wierdly fun and mildly self-transforming to do I suppose. Here's a swath from the first draft of The Pergram that includes the poem:
While his Integral map was constructed from studious analysis, its heart always belonged a process of creative synthesis that pulls disparate parts and isolated, siloed, players together into a whole picture and happy family. Wilber allowed himself to give birth to a truth we had all been waiting for: the big picture.
But it wasn't just the 'big' of male bravado. It wasn't 'Look how much more I understand things than you.' It didn't entail a big puffing out of his chest. And it wasn't a big picture that rolled over all other pictures. In fact, Wilber was very leary of mere 'paradigm' changes that tended to seize everyone's attention from time to time.
His big picture was a softer and more nurturing big, as in a big family. It was a 'big' that honored the multicultural pluralism which was so prevalent at the time of Wilber's giving birth to the Integral map and method.
Again, he allowed the realities of the time to pass through him and to take new form. He did not merely reject the cultural pluralism for all its flaws. Wilber recognized the flaws but saw the beauty as well. His map's multiple perspectives honored pluralism, but in a considerably more organized and useful way than pluralism itself had managed to provide.
Have you ever heard the poem 'Wean?' It describes the attitude required in order to give birth to those earth-moving innovations:
'I will wean him off my milk.
Fishes and loaves shall be his snack.
He has more than enough of what
I, quite frankly, lack.
He an elephant, I a mouse;
his mother nonetheless.
To think in terms of size or sense
is cause for much distress.
But birth is not the birther's job.
THAT would be a curse.
It is instead the handiwork
of the universe.'
Darrell R. Moneyhon said:
Or do you think the inherent flaws in the capitalistic system will result in collapse anyway?
'Wow!' thought Eric, 'It's statements like that that can get you killed!'
A lot of great questions - I can only scratch the surface here; for more keep an eye out for my upcoming ITC 2015 paper (Patterns for Navigating Transitions in a Descending Energy World).
And what about the "democratization" effect that Rifkin predicts regarding the highly distributed nature of renewables?
Yes, this is one of the very important components of Rifkin's program; I very much support this.
Why wouldn't the TIR cover the gross energy needs?
I personally do not believe the Third Industrial Revolution will occur. Keep in mind that Rifkin presents scenarios in his books that could occur, but that does not mean that all the pieces will necessarily come together to bring them to pass. For example (from two books in my own library), in The Emerging Order (1979), Rifkin argued that the rising demographic of evangelicals could help usher in a new social order that would be less materialistic and take on more of a stewardship role in care for the environment. Unfortunately, it didn't play out that way. In his 2002 book, The Hydrogen Economy (which I'm reading now), he told us that "a new energy regime is being born that has the potential to remake civilization along radical new lines..." and that "the first mass-produced [hydrogen powered] vehicles could be on the road in just a few years." Well, 12 years later, and the hydrogen economy seems to be nowhere in sight.
Likewise, and for a number of reasons, I don't think we're going to see a third industrial revolution (or a zero marginal cost society). At best, we might experience an alternative energy bubble, just as we saw the housing bubble, and then the fracking bubble seems to be in mid-burst as I am typing this. That's not intended to dismiss Rifkin, I think much of what he writes contains very good information, and a lot of very good recommendations. For example, his chapter on "Energy and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations" in The Hydrogen Economy is really excellent - really good info, and great references.
Or do you think the inherent flaws in the capitalistic system will result in collapse anyway?
Yes. "Collapse" is a trigger word, and people have different connotations of what that means; it doesn't necessarily mean a sudden, devastating event, but could be a long, slow process. But the longer we wait to put the brakes on, the harder it gets to create a soft landing. Since there are many credible experts that are becoming increasingly alarmed, with a lot of good evidence at their side, I think it's time we take collapse seriously as an increasingly likely possibility. I also think the only possibility of avoiding collapse is to intentionally embrace careful energy descent pathways.
Yes, this is key. Your earlier question was about covering the gross energy needs. We could cover our "needs" for a while at least, speaking of the very basic needs from Maslow's hierarchy (though we likely also need to reduce global population in order to sustain this). Ted Trainer put it best with his book title: "Renewable Energy Cannot Sustain Consumer Society." Meaning, I don't think alternative energy can be substituted to power growth-oriented/debt based consumer capitalism.
Besides wouldn't we naturally grow tired of low priority materialism over time anyway?
Eventually perhaps, but will that occur in time to avert a crash? Economist and Gebserian integralist Peter Pogany has made a very strong case that we are now living within a global system - a global socio-economic system that has developed a very strong immune system to ward off elements that would lead to a smooth transition to other arrangements. He believes that only when the current system is demonstrated to fail, followed by a very chaotic period, will we then see "people around the world on their knees begging for a planetary guild," which "will take nothing less than a mutation in consciousness, as outlined in the oeuvre of Jean Gebser." So he sees a mutation in consciousness happening, not to avert the crisis of civilization, but rather as a means to rise from the ashes of that crisis into a new epoch.
The new epoch "will favor cooperation over competition; acquiescence over indifference; responsible sociability over isolation; integrative open-mindedness over stubborn, perspectival dogmatism, altruism over extrasomatic hedonism." (similar to Rifkin's and other P2P ideas).
Several of Pogany's papers are available for free download, and very worthwhile, though his writing style is challenging at times. Essential for anyone interested in alternative economics, Jean Gebser, and energy realism / thermodynamics.
Hi David, Pogeny's tone sounds like the architect in the matrix! Too funny:) Um, though, so no shopping therapy for 10 billion hipsters and their vehicles! Go figure, dang contrary planet…..
Wilber seems to think some kind of new novelty will manifest. I think this may be linked to his causal within complex triune brain systems. Layman touched on this earlier today and I'll ask how this possible avenue of advance into novelty could possible solve what appears to be gross 3D energy needs. If I'm off base here and not grokking this then ignore me and i'll head back to the pub.
I think Wilber's response has been varied over the years, which is understandable - being willing and able to shift perspective. But at least at one time in 2003 he provided a response that sounds remarkably similar to Pogany:
"Anyone who’s thought about these concerns, it’s going to keep you up at night. If you have an integral orientation to these things, you’re trying to think about what has to be done in all four quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types, in order to make change effective.
…we have to have more people at integral…you also need world views that support that type of integral orientation, and in the exteriors you need entire types of natural capitalism…but that’s not going to be enough to do it, because those things move much slower than these over-run, overshoot tragic scenarios that are both set in motion, irrevocably in some cases, and might spontaneously pop up in any event. And so in order to supply the last few links that would be sufficient to propel humanity into action that would prevent collapse, I think its going to just take a series of really gruesome ecological catastrophes increasing and increasing over a period of about ten years that would force world governance structures into looking at ways to, frankly, force behavior.
I really don’t see any other thing happening. No world view change is going to happen fast enough; I don’t believe interior growth is going to happen fast enough…
I kind of see a series of not total doomsday, but a really unpleasant decade of turning up the heat – possibly literally - …
Things never change out of foresight and wisdom, it’s just too rare. It’s usually after the fact, then there’s a catastrophe, and you put something in place, and you hope to hell that you correct it the best you can. So I sometimes think that an almost sane approach to environmental concerns is to try to manage catastrophe in bite size chunks, because you’re not going to stop it, it doesn’t appear."
- Ken Wilber, from The Nature of Human Change in the Real World, a dialogue between Hunter Lovins and Ken Wilber, July 7, 2003, Integral Life.