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.
Stein: 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. That 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!
Neale: Thanks for your participation, Zak, although your response was somewhat predictable and therefore not disappointing. However, when are Integral "visionaries" such as yourself going to step up to the plate and become Integral iconoclasts? Opportunities like Bernie Saunders are rare and magnificent, like the "big one" for surfers. Bonnie and Tom Clearwater are the only two so far who really grok what I was attempting to communicate. I really think the Integral establishment academia has totally lost the Integral plot and reduced the Integral platform to impotency. My post was not really for personal opportunism, Zak, although I confess to a moment of integrally capitalistic indulgence! Not to underestimate the Integral standard model sucks, and how is Integral progress going to crawl out of flatland without an expanded model? THAT is the real Integral problem imho.
Stein: 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.
Me: I disagree that Sanders needs any 'integral' guidance, meaning from AQAL or any other variety. He's doing just fine for himself (within the broader progressive movement) providing a socio-economic infrastructure to enable everyone to meet their lower needs (per Maslow), which then provides opportunity to grow into a more autonomous, just and equitable individual and social framework.
And the already emerging neo-Commons is well on the way to establishing the new socio-economic paradigm, as documented by the P2P Foundation and Rifkin. No, they didn't create it from a top-down ideological model; it is emerging just fine from the middle out. Which is part of the difference between it and capitalism. Yes, capitalism is here for some time to come, but it will slowly lose its dominance as the neo-Commons gains momentum day by day.
I'd even argue that integral meta-models are part and parcel of the same command and control structure inherent to capitalism and the modern meme.
Balder: This is a sledgehammer kind of statement -- too broad and destructive. Not all integral meta-models amount to this.
Me: Agreed, hyperbole for effect. Although I'd like to hear about those that aren't top-down command and control. One example I can think of, not so-called integral, is Sanders. He is led by a people's populist movement, not by an ideological top-down movement. I'd say that the progressive movement is that in the same way. From the middle (class) out in both directions.
Camosy: saw your article on "Organized Resistance to High-Stakes Testing" and the "deeper structural injustices that result from standardized testing practices." We all participate in these structures and so there is a place for an Integral Resistance. How an Integral Resistance might differ from other kinds of resistance is a largely unexplored area. I hold that an Integral Resistance would be adopting those actions and activities which have the possibility of triggering a bifurcation or emergence. It is not trying to replace a system with what we think is a better system. Instead, it is creating the conditions for the possibility of something new to emerge - it is the art of constellating a pregnant void, which is both a TOMB and a WOMB. In other words, the paradoxical center of it ALL.
Me: Exactly Joseph, and that is how the neo-Commons is emerging. Meta-tinkering is still "trying to replace a system with what we think is a better system."
Neale: You see, this is where I am coming from too. The whole "Integral Anti-Capitalism" concept is an aspect of command and control, whereas I am saying nurture the spiral at ALL Levels - including Newtonian Yellow, where Plutocracy and its wealth monopoly needs to emerge into and be redistributed into the Green Commons. And to do this painlessly we need an Integral consciousness not a draconian reaction which will result in more Plutonian power structures and a rebellious Commons. Most of my peers reading the open letter didn't get that, that INTEGRAL Conscious Capitalism means just that - nurturing the transition from Newtonian Yellow to Green in developing ways to encourage and inspire Plutocrat participation in that redistribution. They are after all human beings who have also the capacity for greater insight. It is not the lack of insight that makes them hold on, but the fear of releasing their power. Nurturing the spiral will defuse that fear. I'm not saying they should avoid 100% taxation, but I am saying they can be inspired to enjoy 100% taxation. Now Bernie, great as he is, does not have that Integral insight of nurturing the spiral, and when will one of our own take this type of Integral manifesto to the political table? We need to encourage that also, as an Integral community.
Camosy: while I agree in principle with much of what you're saying, I also must caution you that what you propose could also be seen as quite naive. How would this be any different from a spiritual version of (the failed policy of) trickle-down economics? It is quite possible that the Integral movement itself has been colonized by neoliberal ideology.
What's really needed right now are examples of non-violent system or regime change and some good analysis on what principles were in play. Probably the best examples right now are those involving the principles of democracy such as what happened in South Africa and now with the crisis in Greece. In both cases we have the case of the collective will of the people going against the will of a plutocratic minority in power. This is the OPPOSITE of "trickle-down."
Me: Then there's healthy and pathological expressions of memes. Plutocracy by nature is pathological, or as Eisler calls it a dominator hierarchy. Such pathology cannot see fair distribution and will not participate in it. So no, we do not need to include pathology in some notion of integral ideology.
And the Commons is not in a conscious rebellion against the plutocracy (although I am). Most therein don't get involved at the level of ideology but just use tech to live in a sharing, P2P organization. Few of them participate in politics at all.
Now I do favor some command and control by way of government legislation. That is, our elected leaders create laws imposed on all of us. However as I noted above, it depends on which leaders are doing the law-making: those doing the will of the people or those doing the bidding of the plutocrats. The former are leader-followers, with the people as follower-leaders. You know, democracy. Plutocracy has no place in that.
Or as Wilber says of transitional structures, transcend and replace! Same can be said for pathology.
Bonnitta's post was a breath of fresh air (for me) in this exchange, and matches some of the thoughts I express in my ITC 2015 paper, emphasizing Gebser's idea, where worldviews don't evolve progressively/linearly, but rather they become increasingly deficient to the point where they break apart, and chaos ensues (where we seem to be at in the current state of capitalism). This "creative breakdown" (Winton's Order/Chaos polarity pattern) then provides the opportunity for a new mutation to emerge.
My basic position is that the industrial growth model is in its deficient phase, especially because growth requires abundant low-cost energy. Because we live on a finite planet, "things that can't go on forever, don't" (Herb Stein).
Bonnitta and I once had a disagreement about hierarchy existing in nature over at Beams and Struts, but my views have evolved a bit, and I think she better articulates her position here in a way that seems more agreeable to me.
It seems a bit ironic to me that Neale would lecture Stein about development, when it seems to me that Stein is one of the "go to" integral experts on this topic. My paper references his 2010 paper on "On the use of the term integral: Vision-logic, meta-theory, and the growth-to-goodness assumptions," and I would also highly recommend Cook-Greuter's 2013 award winner "Assumptions vs. assertions: separating hypothesis from truth in the integral community."
Having said all of that, I do generally agree that it would be better form to be talking about post-capitalism rather than "anti-" capitalism.
We are all Greeks now by Hedges.
"Human life is of no concern to corporate capitalism, which is designed to callously extract money from the most vulnerable and funnel it upward to the elites, while it turns everything, including human beings and the natural world, into commodities to be exploited until exhaustion or collapse. To swell its profits, corporate capitalism plunders, represses and drives into bankruptcy individuals, cities, states and governments. The destruction of Greece by the big banks and financial firms is not about austerity or good government. It's about a rapacious elite of all-powerful corporate oligarchs, backed by a militarized police force and the most sophisticated security and surveillance apparatus in human history, forming nations of impoverished, dis-empowered serfs in which the laws it imposes on the poor are little more than 'organized sadism.'
"A vicious political war being waged by the world’s financial elites in which corporate profit is God and it does not matter who suffers. No one elected them. They ignore public opinion. And, as in Greece, if a government defies the international banking community it is targeted for execution. They do not know how to respond in our time of crisis. They are trained only to make the system of exploitation work. They are blinded by their insatiable greed which posits that controlling inflation, privatizing public assets and removing trade barriers are the sole economic priorities. They are steering us over a cliff.
"We will not restore democracy until these global speculators are stripped of power. This will happen only if the streets of major cities all around the Western world are convulsed with mass protests. The tyranny of these financial elites knows no limits. They will impose ever greater suffering and repression until we submit or revolt. I prefer the latter. But we don’t have much time."
From this article on postcapitalism:
"Capitalism, it turns out, will not be abolished by forced-march techniques. It will be abolished by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system, but which will break through, reshaping the economy around new values and behaviours. I call this postcapitalism."
"Almost unnoticed, in the niches and hollows of the market system, whole swaths of economic life are beginning to move to a different rhythm. Parallel currencies, time banks, cooperatives and self-managed spaces have proliferated, barely noticed by the economics profession, and often as a direct result of the shattering of the old structures in the post-2008 crisis."
"They exist because they trade, however haltingly and inefficiently, in the currency of postcapitalism: free time, networked activity and free stuff. It seems a meagre and unofficial and even dangerous thing from which to craft an entire alternative to a global system, but so did money and credit in the age of Edward III."
"There is, alongside the world of monopolised information and surveillance created by corporations and governments, a different dynamic growing up around information: information as a social good, free at the point of use, incapable of being owned or exploited or priced. I’ve surveyed the attempts by economists and business gurus to build a framework to understand the dynamics of an economy based on abundant, socially-held information. But it was actually imagined by one 19th-century economist in the era of the telegraph and the steam engine. His name? Karl Marx."
"The transition will involve the state, the market and collaborative production beyond the market. But to make it happen, the entire project of the left, from protest groups to the mainstream social democratic and liberal parties, will have to be reconfigured. In fact, once people understand the logic of the postcapitalist transition, such ideas will no longer be the property of the left – but of a much wider movement, for which we will need new labels."
"Who can make this happen?[...] Today it is the network. [...] By creating millions of networked people, financially exploited but with the whole of human intelligence one thumb-swipe away, info-capitalism has created a new agent of change in history: the educated and connected human being."
"The first thing we have to recognise is: different modes of production are structured around different things. Feudalism was an economic system structured by customs and laws about “obligation”. Capitalism was structured by something purely economic: the market. We can predict, from this, that postcapitalism – whose precondition is abundance – will not simply be a modified form of a complex market society. But we can only begin to grasp at a positive vision of what it will be like. [...] If such a society is structured around human liberation, not economics, unpredictable things will begin to shape it."
"The outcome means that a helpless European Council is effectively declaring itself politically bankrupt: the de facto relegation of a member state to the status of a protectorate openly contradicts the democratic principles of the European Union. Finally, the outcome is disgraceful because forcing the Greek government to agree to an economically questionable, predominantly symbolic privatisation fund cannot be understood as anything other than an act of punishment against a left-wing government. It’s hard to see how more damage could be done."
Yet another accurate comparison between Clinton and Sanders:
"She [Hillary], Bill and Barack Obama practically invented neoliberalism and remain members in good standing until proven otherwise. If your speeches are long on weepy tales of “everyday Americans” you met on the campaign trail, but short on policy prescriptions, the credit goes to David Axelrod, not Paul Krugman. If you’d raise the minimum wage but won’t say how much, you’re Mitt Romney. If you back the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership–and despite recent evasions she’s all for it–you’re fighting for capital, not labor."
"Voters prize civility and long for a populism without culprits or conspiracies–but sorely want to hear their righteous anger expressed. Clinton won’t do it, in part because she can’t offend the delicate sensibilities of her donors but also because [...] she mistakes the mood for a leftist insurrection. Many of us [...] have long argued that the old categories are defunct and that much of what the old order calls radical has long since gone mainstream. Soon everyone will see it. For now, let me suggest a rule: any policy enjoying majority support in every poll must henceforth be called centrist, not 'radical' or 'left wing.'"
"Clinton’s speech had its isolated moments but if it sparks a debate it won’t be because she made common cause with a category of unicorns called paleoliberals, but because Bernie Sanders seizes the chance it presents. Clinton still doesn’t get it. It is the neoliberals who are paleo now. The ferment Sanders has tapped into is the future. But to get there coalitions must be broadened and policies rethought; when the old order collapses you don’t seek the old center, you invent a new one."
"Sanders has long recognized that 'fair growth' demands not just a little profit sharing but economic democratization through employee ownership, consumer and producer cooperatives, cooperative banks and a host of other new and old economic forms that struggle to survive under present rules. Clinton says she wants to be the “small-business president.” I think she means it, but I don’t think she knows what it means. Again, Sanders is miles ahead of her."
The issue of the day is 'trade.' [...] When jobs cross borders in nanoseconds the advantages everyone seeks are low wages and weak governments. Somebody must tell the neoliberals this is no longer about who has the best weather to grow bananas in. In fact, it is no longer about trade. It is about whether democracy rules commerce–or commerce rules democracy. It’s a subject Sanders knows well. Clinton appears clueless."
"This is the debate we need: how best to turn back the impersonal tide of globalization and begin conscious creation of a new, intentional economy. This isn’t the debate Clinton or the media is prepared to have. But it’s the one the country urgently desires, and one progressives can win. Like the polls, the throngs flowing to Sanders’ events and the small-dollar donations to his campaign attest to the ripeness of the moment. The real proof’s in the power of ideas."
I read the entire article on Postcapitalism, but remain unenthusiastic about this approach.
As something of an antidote, I visited our locally owned independent bookstore today to peruse Andrew Keen's The Internet is Not the Answer (How the Digital Dream Turned Sour) - "He wants to persuade us to transcend our childlike fascination with the baubles of cyberspace so that we can take a long hard look at the weird, dysfunctional, inegalitarian, comprehensively surveilled world that we have been building with digital tools" according to the review in the Guardian.
And "The more important truth about the internet, Keen thinks, is that it has evolved into a global machine for creating a world characterised by vast and growing inequality. “The error that evangelists make,” he writes, “is to assume that the internet’s open, decentralised technology naturally translates into a less hierarchical or unequal society. But rather than more openness and the destruction of hierarchies, an unregulated network society is breaking the old centre, compounding economic and cultural inequality, and creating a digital generation of masters of the universe. This new power may be rooted in a borderless network, but it still translates into massive wealth and power for a tiny handful of companies and individuals.”
Along similar lines, another book I looked at was Jaron Lanier's You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto.
The book I actually purchased, however, was John Michael Greer's "The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age." Published in 2008, but still quite relevant I think, outlining his view of what he calls "catabolic collapse": "Like the vanished civilizations of the past, ours will likely face a gradual decline, punctuated by sudden crises and periods of partial recovery. The fall of a civilization is like tumbling down a slope, not like falling off a cliff. It's not a single massive catastrophe, or even a series of lesser disasters, but a gradual slide down statistical curves that will ease modern industrial civilization into history's dumpster."
In a more recent essay (Jan. 2014), Greer outlined 3 actions that will help ease the post-industrial transition:
1) Conservation - "unromantic but effective techniques such as insulation, weatherstripping, and the like, all of which allow a smaller amount of energy to do the work previously done by more."
2) Decentralization - "In an age of declining energy and resource availability, coupled with a rising tide of crises, the way to ensure resilience and stability is to decentralize instead: to make each locality able to meet as many of its own needs as possible, so that troubles in one area don’t automatically propagate to others, and an area that suffers a systems failure can receive help from nearby places where everything still works."
3) Rehumanization - "Industrial societies are currently beset with two massive problems: high energy costs, on the one hand, and high unemployment on the other. Both problems can be solved at a single stroke by replacing energy-hungry machines with human workers. Rehumanizing the economy—hiring people to do jobs rather than installing machines to do them—requires removing and reversing a galaxy of perverse incentives favoring automation at the expense of employment, and this will need to be done while maintaining wages and benefits at levels that won’t push additional costs onto government or the community."
From this article on postcapitalism:
See this article, which includes conscious capitalism among other 'fixes' within the capitalist system. An excerpt on conscious capitalism:
"The problem is that these solutions don't work. They may improve the lives of a few people in the short run, but they do nothing to tackle the broad systemic problems that need to be solved. In the long run they may actually make things worse by deepening the reach of inherently divisive market forces. They burnish the meritocratic façade of corporate America while encouraging people to blame themselves for their failure to achieve a comfortable life, rather than empowering them to examine and challenge the political and economic structures that order their lives."
"John Mackey’s model of 'conscious capitalism' [....] is not a solution. It ignores the fundamental imperatives of global capitalism that force every company, conscious or not, to continuously expand, overcome their competitors, and most importantly, earn profits. As researchers like Peter Dauvergne and Jane Lister argue, eco-business practices do very little to challenge the way we produce, consume, and dispose of material goods. When we channel our desire to end global warming or rainforest destruction or species extinction through corporations, our desires end up by getting absorbed into business strategies for growth and expansion, strengthening the production-for-profit architecture that’s consuming and destroying the world’s resources.
"In covering up the structural nature of problems and putting a radical sheen on ideas that reinforce existing hierarchies of power, these solutions ‘kick the can down the road,’ displacing critique and enabling capitalism to survive as a system. But we don't have time for false starts and platitudes. It’s imperative that we train a critical eye on easy solutions and start building collective, democratic projects of our own that develop real alternatives for change."
Scott Preston, in a Nov. 2011 post entitled "Metanoia and Metamorphisis":
"...It is not a question of “fixing” a broken capitalism but of overcoming it through an essential transformation or restructuration — a metamorphosis. A re-imagining of the world and of its relationships is the metanoia that will bring about the necessary metamorphosis — the only “fix” possible now. This is not a question of reconstructing, reforming, or inventing an ideology. For Gebser, ideologies are the decayed remnants of a “perspectivising” mental-rational structure of consciousness now in crisis and functioning in deficient mode. What Blake calls “the Poetic Genius”, and the “imagination” as the generative and regenerative function in human beings, is more fundamental and inclusive than the mental-rational structure of consciousness. This was, itself, originally a product of the imagination and of an essential metanoia also — the dream of Reason that became the “European Enlightenment”, but is now decaying into the post-Enlightenment (post-modern) shadow and nightmare of “deficient rationality”: from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Reductionism (or fundamentalism) and the obsession with quantifying and the quantification of everything (including the commodification and marketising of all life relations) is the hallmark of this deficient rationality — or, as someone once complained, of a mentality that “knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing”.
“Metamorphosis” is what Gebser calls the quest for “a transformed continuity”. That phrase involves a paradox about time. It is neither revolutionary change, nor is it “business as usual”. It is a metamorphosis. The change we seek is already latent in the affairs of the world, and governs the relationships between beings. The task, as Gebser sees it, is to make what is already present, but latent, “transparent” and therefore manifest. William Blake’s “Heaven in a Wild Flower” and “eternity in the hour” has the very same meaning. What Blake calls “Heaven” and “eternity” is what Gebser calls the atemporal “ever-present origin” or “the originary”. In other terms, this relationship between the formless atemporal “ever-present” and the temporal, form-bound is the same as described in terms of the sacred and the profane..."
And in a post today, "Metanoia, or Rethinking the World":
Pogany, like Gebser, like Rosenstock-Huessy, is also what I would call an “apocalyptic thinker”, who sees no exit or out from the accumulating dilemmas and self-contradictions of Late Modernity except in a general catastrophe or crisis. Metanoia is “survivor mind” in other words, the mind that has passed through the crucible and survived the crisis in order to “think anew”. Survival is transcendence.
Metanoia in our times is “the integral consciousness” and its new holistic and quadrilateral logic. In political terms (or “socioeconomic” terms as Pogany calls it), it is now to perceive that the full “truth” as such is not, and cannot, be contained within any one particular “perspective”, but lies in the dynamic interrelationship, interface, or “interstices” between the partisan perspectives, creeds, or ideologies that we call “liberalism”, “conservatism”, “socialism” and “environmentalism”. This is also true of the world’s religions.
So, the switch from a static “point of view” consciousness and logic to dynamic “interdependency” logic represents a major shift in the structure of consciousness. At the very limits of intelligibility and coherence, where one partisan perspective ceases to make sense, another picks up the slack, as it were, and complements it. The truth of the individual and his “pursuit of rational self-interest” runs into social anarchy and the culture of narcissism if it is not amended by the others. And the same is true of conservatism, socialism, or environmentalism. The truth is not in them, but in the dynamic relationship between them, considered as a whole. Pogany’s thermodynamic model of socioeconomic reality bears some notable resemblances to Rosenstock-Huessy’s short book on economics called The Multiformity of Man.
To say that the full truth lies in “the interstices”, is somewhat akin to speaking of “the crack between the worlds” in Castaneda or, if you prefer, to begin to perceive the fuller “context” in which the “text” is embedded, or in Nietzsche’s terms, to have the capacity to “switch foreground and background perspectives”.
The disintegrate state of our current hyper-partisan politics is quite dismal. It resembles nothing less than the warring “four Zoas” of William Blake’s dissolute and disintegrate “Albion”, who is the archetype of the full human form when restored to its full integrity, and who is the “quintessence”. And when the truth of the fourfold human form is perceived in its integrity, the current state of politics as being “war by other means” and that also connected to the growing chaos of the socioeconomic spheres (Pogany) looks like the triumph only of complete insanity at our “end of history”..."