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?


First some housekeeping in providing links in part I to comments on holacracy: their website, comment 1, comment 2, comment 3 (and 3 more on p. 7), and the first 7 comments on p. 8

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 authoritythe 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.


(comment pending)

This is an interesting moment. Apparently 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.


(comment pending)

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OK, but you also seem to be saying that non-voluntary exchanges, such as taxation is an indirect force. Therefore the initiation of taxation is necessarily an evil? I'm not ready to agree with that as a foundational premise, if that is what you're arguing.

That is one conclusion you could eventually draw from that premise. But I am not trying to argue that taxation is evil just yet. First I am trying to establish an understanding of foundational ethics. All philosophy is developed as an attempt to describe what ought to be in the face of what is. First Tier ethics is dominated by the belief that the Ends justify the Means, and little thought is given to the means of establishing what ought to be. This is what leads to pathology. 


Therefore I am starting off by arguing for a foundational ethos for a Second Tier consciousness. At Second Tier--at Integral, humanity is finally able to not only recognize other perspectives as valid (as in the culmination of First Tier, Green) but to fully honor those perspectives for what they are (rather than try to force them through a green lens). My argument is that society cannot be "Integral" in a healthy way without a foundational paradigm change. You cannot simply use First Tier social structures (such as traditional governments), which are built to enforce specific vMemes, and expect a healthy Second Tier society to result from that. 
Much of this argument is in my essay, The Peaceful Path to an Integral Society, but what I am trying to get to is an integral consensus on right and wrong. Fundamentally, when is an action--any action ethically right, and when is it wrong, from the perspective of a Second Tier consciousness? My argument is that whereas at First Tier the statement "The Ends can justify the Means" is the dominant Ethos, the statement "The Means must justify themselves," ought to be the dominant Second Tier Ethos if we want a healthy Integral society and not just a mean yellow vMeme soft tyranny.

In order to "justify the means" we must first understand what those means are and ascribe to them an ethical value. The means by which we do anything, whether individually or as a group, are namely "voluntary" and "non-voluntary" and from there my question above stems. 

If we agree that the Means must justify themselves, then I believe we have a common foundation from which to build an integral society.

However, if the majority of those with emerging Second Tier consciousnesses decide that the Ends can justify the means, then I fear we will eventually end up in a very bad place as a species on this planet.

I hope that helps you understand my purpose in posing that specific question to this group.    


1. Yes, I believe so.

2. It is very likely in my opinion, but I have no first hand knowledge. I can only speculate what happens behind closed doors and in smoke filled rooms... ;)

3. Not following you at all here... sorry.

I'd still vote that Iceland and the Scandinavian countries are the most highly developed as far as being consistent with healthy spiritual principles ; notwithstanding some likely ethnocentric problems among some of the populations. 

The thing is with the libertarian don't tax income folks is that it never gets past the idea! No where has it been implemented- so talking about it is kind of useless -even if I agree with the basic premise in theory . 

I suspect the truth of the matter is this : as long as countries insist on the central banking /fiat currency system ; then implicitly what comes along with that is income tax/service tax/consumption tax/ property tax/ levies/ fees/surcharges/penalties/compound interest etc ad infinitum as the very basis of its philosophy is continued and unending growth .  Everyone is paying the man under this system in every way possible. 

Got it. Thanks for the clarification Bryan. I think I can agree in general that the means must justify themselves in a truly integral society. But there will likely be a number of qualifiers (and maybe exceptions) that will come up.

I can no longer talk kennilingus like second tier; it's useless to me. Plus the notion that "the means must justify themselves" smacks of the metaphysics of presence, as if the means are self-justifying from some ultimate perspective in intself, aka the thing in itself. Which of course such specious rationale is rampant in kennilingus, that we can experience ultimate truth directly and clearly and operate from that premise. The whole second-tier metaphysics of presence is a self-reinforcing circle jerk bubble in which I no longer participate. For me integral is something else, and an integral economics is more like the neo-Commons.

By the way, we had a FB discussion about Zak Stein's anti-capitalist manifesto for the ITC discussion. Here's what Zak said in that discussion which was interpreted as green by the inbred kennilinguists:

June 28 @ 7:38 am:

Been asked to weigh in here by Lex. Honestly, there is little for me to say thanks to prior comments:
Bruce: indeed, I would not have written a piece like this (with this structure, brevity, and tone) were it not for the demands of the ITC panel. Tha
t said, it was a useful (and apparently attention grabbing) exercise.

Fractal: indeed, I find some of this naive and bourgeois, and in fitting with my story about Hegel, i.e., "Capitalism is as it should be; it's developmentally appropriate" is exactly the trap of conservative dialectic that the Young Hegelians dismantled...

Bonnitta: indeed, the developmental thinking is too simplistic. I agree with Bonnie on the complexity of moving from thinking about individual development to thinking about socio-cultural development. But I would also say that the views expressed in the letter on personal development, involving terms like 1st tier / 2nd tier; Orange, Green, etc, are a problem all on their own, even when not applied to social systems. Capitalism and capitalists are not "at" a single given level, exactly because no single person is ever "at" a single level. We have developmental ranges, as well as developmental profiles (psycographs), etc. etc. See any of my papers on development, and especially on the development of reasoning about integral theory itself, where I show these colors and cut and dried rankings are stereotypes and need to be, ironically enough, negated but preserved by higher-order ways of understanding development.

All that said, I lover Bernie Sanders smile emoticon … and were I to write a longer piece on this kind of thing it would lay out a much more complex set of constructs about the global transformation into a post-capisalist sociosphere. I see this as mainly an issues of interiors, which is to say I think that humanity’s inability to understand itself is cascading into a planetary phase shift; a species wide identity crisis is coinciding with the climax of the Anthropocene…. but that is a longer story you can read about in my forthcoming book…

Hope this clarifies and helps… not sure I'll have time in the coming days to engage further. But, thanks for your interest in my work!

June 28 @ 10:06 am:

I'm happy to participate, and sorry for your disappointment in the integral "visionaries" (whoever they are; i've not met any)… perhaps you should put less on us visionaries and step up to the plate yourself? BTW: i'm clearly no "integral visionary" (hell, I don't even believe in or use the ideas of 1st and 2nd tier)… so don't blame me… As Bonnitta, knows, I'm just a failed musician faking it as a philosopher wink emoticon See you at the conference!

No problem on number 3 Bryan. There is no talk of over-arching ass-holons on this site although occasionally ; when the bourbon and whiskey is flowing in the pub, the discussion of god will come up ):

Fantastic paper by Stein! He's saying everything I'm saying but with much more eloquence . The solutions that I'm putting out there in various threads are premised on any Integral culture on masse is centuries away . In the meantime we need to find a way to deal with the beast that is strangling us now; in the hopes that something better can emerge . Six billion people volunteering to live simply for a generation or two is much better than 6 billion people being executed . 

Hey, what the hell is the matter with failed musicians ?!!! Not that I failed as I saw through the deception when I was 14 . Really now, it goes to the narcissistic hubris of the entertainment /sports complex that they actually believe they are worth the obscene amounts of money they are paid . Let's be absolutely clear here: THIS IS NO ACCIDENT ! THEY ARE PAWNS BEING USED BY A CORRUPTED ELITE ! Now, what I am suggesting is one of the only methods that will be successful in persuading the global populace to change is if the Wall St. Advertising firms alter their corporate propaganda messages and start telling the truth about the precarious predicament we find ourselves in . In other words, Wall St Mad Men would need to put out a new message on masse . Not easy I know . Not after manipulating the !@#$%^& out of everyone for a hundred years . BUT , people would be responsive to the truth if it was laid out frankly and honestly . 

What Stein said (quoted below) is well aligned with Peter Pogany's interpretation of Gebser, and I very much look forward to Stein's forthcoming book.  Anyone know what kind of musician Stein is/was?

I just came across a 2003 paper by my friend Karen Litfin: "Towards an Integral Perspective on World Politics: Secularism, Sovereignty and the Challenge of Global Ecology"

She closes the paper with this thought: "If ‘the owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling
of the dusk,’ then perhaps the creeping planetary crisis comes as the greatest of teachers."

theurj said (quoting Zak Stein):

...were I to write a longer piece on this kind of thing it would lay out a much more complex set of constructs about the global transformation into a post-capisalist sociosphere. I see this as mainly an issues of interiors, which is to say I think that humanity’s inability to understand itself is cascading into a planetary phase shift; a species wide identity crisis is coinciding with the climax of the Anthropocene…. but that is a longer story you can read about in my forthcoming book…

This Chomsky interview addresses some of the issues Bryan brings up. Also Eric's thread on the imperial integral mind addresses how that frame can't see the forest for the trees in a political context.

This article explores what society would be like if we fulfilled our basic needs with the basic income. Then we'd be free to pursue our higher needs and achieve deeper fulfillment and satisfaction. But that's exactly why big business does not want us to get past our survival needs, for then we will accepts their crumbs out of fear. Thing is, when we move up the hierarchy of needs and are more deeply fulfilled we all benefit, even the rich. It's just that they can't have it all, because their sick greed for money and power has corrupted them.

Thinking of digitizing all my old analog stuff from different bands . Here is a first attempt ( guitars by moi) :

( not sure how to embed the soundcloud code here) . 

Classic Chomsky! He's alluding to the same control mechanisms that I was talking about . I do tire of the false right/left dichotomy though . The promise of some kind of synthesis of this boring old and destructive duality was one of the things that pulled me into Integral thinking . On this issue I don't believe Integral Central has been anywhere near close to succeeding . 

Paul Mason and panel on post-capitalism:

Mason concludes that if capitalism isn't yet over then it needs a better version of itself. Recall Robert Reich's new book. And even in that scenario we need to envision what's after capitalism.

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

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