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.
George Lakoff has long lamented that progressives need to frame their policies in moral language if they want to achieve a better society. Well according to this Alperovitz article that's exactly what Senator Sanders is doing, much like the Pope.
"Pope Francis and Bernie Sanders also agree on at least one strategy to begin changing the fundamental structure of our economy: democratizing wealth through worker ownership."
See this article and video on what Sanders means by democratic socialism. Speaking of Scandinavian examples he said:
"You have all kinds of capitalist entrepreneurship going on, a lot of wealth being created. But what else do you have? … An effort to make sure that all people benefit from the wealth that’s being created. So you have a much more equitable distribution of wealth and income."
This is the same form of democratic and socialist capitalism Robert Reich talks about. And it is the necessary socio-economic system that sets the stage for the emerging neo-Commons.
Check out T. Collins Logan's paper on "Escaping the Failures of Capitalism." He starts with a summary of what he's aiming for:
"I have proposed what I call a “Level 7” political economy in my book Political Economy and the Unitive Principle
Really, really , good David, and quite congruent or nearly the same as my 2 right hand protocols. Of course he is framing the basic ideas in a more eloquent Integral fashion compared to my coarseness . BTW: I think Chomsky has been an outspoken spokesperson for the 2nd protocol : non-necessary exploitation of people or life systems for profit . I doubt though, that Chomsky would see the first spiritual protocol : non-ownership .
Regrettably, Christendom has deluded itself when it comes to these two primary spiritual principles . But, IMO, that was to be expected but only because of the default mechanisms of the left hand protocols . But that is a topic of another forum .
On Sanders : if one reads through the comments section of that article one quickly sees the impossibility of implementing solutions to the present trajectory of civilization . The control mechanisms have been too successful . Nothing short of Wall St. admitting to their manipulations is going to work, IMO . And even that is not a sure thing: once you've manipulated someones mind/brain it is near impossible to undue.
Wow! This thread is certainly active! This is great stuff.
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.
I am sorry if my “kennilingus,” disturbs your sensibilities. I will however continue to employ those concepts as I still find them very valuable and useful. I am by no means a devoted “wilburite” however I do find his and Don Becks work on AQAL to be valid for the most part, especially in terms of human consciousness. As far as the spiral of development and its division into “colors” and “tiers,” again I find these to be valid as generalities and immensely useful when trying to understand the development of human society and culture. Are they strict categories where you are either one or the other? No of course not. Are they stereotypes? Yes absolutely. Are individuals actually more complicated than just a color label, inhabiting a developmental range across many different areas? Yes, of course. I am not concerned with the use of labels and stereotypes as a tool to observe overall general trends in societies and individuals, as I think that is a totally valid approach. I guess I am not sure if there is actually a rebuttal to my argument here or if you are continuing the previous discussion? In any case I feel as though you are missing my point completely, ignoring my arguments and just regurgitating more quotes and articles and books from the “anti-capitalist” r-selected/exterior/communal perspective rather than taking a true a-perpectival approach.
@David and all
OK so following from our premise that the Means must Justify themselves, by which we mean only that whatever action is taken by Actor A upon Actor B must be justifiable from an ethical/moral standpoint regardless of intentions or the promise of “beneficial” outcomes. Now we must decide what is justifiable. And this is where the volantarist “initiation of force=evil” position comes into play. I unabashedly take that position and argue that it is a fundamentally a-perspectival position and that because initiation of force is immoral/unethical it is the universal root of nearly every wide ranging social problem we have. But before I ask anyone here to jump to that conclusion I will make the argument for it to everyone here and allow you all to try to pull it apart.
Keep in mind right now that I am solidly in the Right hand AQAL realm here (it and its), and of course a fully integral AQAL picture of society will incorporate the left (interior) side of spirit and soul as well, and we will see how that comes into play later. But as so many political, economic and social debates about “what ought to be” start from a reductive materialist right hand (exterior-objective) view point, I will begin with that before incorporating the equally important interior-subjective piece.
Firstly let’s recall the two primary methods by which one actor initiates an exchange with another actor (as discussed by Mark Michael Lewis and Jeff Salzman) which are persuasion and force—persuasion being an attempt to initiate a voluntary exchange, and force being an attempt to initiate a non-voluntary exchange. There are generally two types of force, to reiterate from above:
1. Direct Physical Force; as in one actor physically violating another actor, or compelling another to take some action through physical violence.
2. Indirect Force; as in one actor compels another actor to perform an action against their will through the threat of violence to himself or another.
Initiation of force means simply to initiate one of the forms of force above on an actor in the absence of any prior use of force by that actor upon the initiator.
A simple example of initiation of direct force would be beating up a stranger to take the money in his wallet.
A simple example of initiation of indirect force would be threatening to beat up a stranger unless he gives you the money in his wallet.
It is attempts to initiate a non-voluntary exchange which I argue are moral/ethically evil (again, excluding non-voluntary exchanges that are in response to another prior initiation of similar force).
Because the initiation of force subjugates the will of one actor (or group of actors), in order to benefit another actor (or group of actors). To subjugate means to bring under control, to enslave. Thus another way to rephrase the above is, the initiation of force enslaves one actor (or group of actors), in order to benefit another actor (or group of actors). The natural reaction to attempts at enslavement, is an attempt to avoid that enslavement, or failing that to resent it viscerally.
Lets now get back now to how that relates to taxation, a topic David brought up earlier.
So keeping this really simple. Let’s we have a government which is currently centered at green, and that government decides that it will implement a tax, and use the proceeds to help the poor (essentially a welfare tax). For those citizens already centered on green, there is no issue. They will see this as a valuable and worthy goal, and wishing to correct inequity and disparity in wealth, they will enthusiastically pay the tax. The exchange is voluntary, and so from an ethical/moral standpoint there is no issue. However for those citizens centered at blue and orange, there is a problem. For those at orange (again generalities here) the issue of poverty is an interior problem to the poor. It’s not their fault, the poor just need to work harder! For blue, they may want to help the poor, but only those who share their values. They want to do it through their church, not just dole out money indiscriminately to all comers regardless of what value system they might hold.
Through their lenses, those at orange and blue feel righteous indignation. And so they should!
Now let’s flip the thought experiment and say that a tax is issued to pay for an aggressive war to secure another nation’s resources and to impose upon that nation our value system (I know I am really going out on a limb here right?). For Blue this is great! We’ll destroy the heathen, and expand our value system to new territories, likewise Orange will approve of new economic opportunities made available by securing those resources. So orange and blue are happy to pay the tax, but through a green lens this is a catastrophe! And of course there is righteous indignation at the thought that they are forced to pay for such a war! And they should feel that way.
So how in any proposed integral political paradigm do we reconcile these conflicting vMemes? It seems to me that this is the primary function of any “Integral” political system. I hesitate to even use the term government, as I am not sure that concept is even applicable to this new paradigm.
To me the question of whether we have a Capitalist system or a Socialist one, in the absence of government, is irrelevant. Both Capitalism and Socialism require government mandate to function universally. Thus I argue that any “Integral” economy will be neither capitalist nor socialist, but will be instead a-perspectival toward both. It will create an economic framework where capitalism, socialism, gift economies, and any other form of voluntary exchange can and will be accommodated.
What if there was an action, that we'll call Action X, that if acted upon by Y percent of the population at Z level of intensity would make life on the planet uninhabitable in N years (which for the sake of argument we'll say is an established fact, rather than just an opinion held by Green, or a "lens" issue). However, Reds, Blues, and Oranges had somehow become addicted to this activity, or at least, in less loaded terms were habituated to it, and maybe even really enjoyed it.
If a tax were enacted that was designed to make the activity less affordable, and therefore to reduce this activity, would the use of this taxation force be morally just in this instance? Even though Red, Blue and Orange will express righteous indignation?
This brings us to the concept of "protective use of force." If a child runs out into the street in the face of an oncoming car, the moral thing to do is to grab them or push them away from danger, despite their desires.
This is a great question. I would say that protective use of force at some level in the two cases you mention is justified--with a caveat. In this case a unilateral tax (like from a government) would not be the moral/just way to solve this issue. As you alluded to, one group of people will accept the established facts, and others will not be convinced or will manufacture contrary evidence.
Environmental issues like this however are actually quite simple to solve if you think of them in terms of property rights. In other words, If my neighbor were to be in the habit of dumping his garbage into my yard, naturally I would be justified in doing something about that. That same argument can apply to the commons. The air, the oceans, rivers, wild habitat etc. can all be protected under the same justification (i.e. don't mess up my yard). So how do we do that, without initiating force?
Let's assume that we have achieved an integral panarchic society where non-initiation of force is the highest law. A prerequisite to that is having at least a large and very influential minority centered on integral and the majority centered on green. Naturally such a society will have to deal with the problem of the environment. I have faith such a society will find a way, and it may not look at all like what I would propose, but I would think it would work something like insurance. Like "Environmental Health Insurance" for example. If we assume at the very least, all those in society centered at green or higher levels cares for the maintenance of the environment, then I would think that we might all have Environmental Health Insurance, in order to ensure a healthy environment for not only themselves but for future generations. The job of the insurance company then would be to ensure that we have a healthy and clean environment. Either they have to clean it up themselves, or they have to stop people from messing it up. Probably they would start efforts to clean, while sending the bill to polluters. Polluters who fail to pay could then be ostracized economically, until they make good on their crimes.
In my view pollution itself is an initiation of force, therefore an "in-kind" response is justified against a polluter (but not against society as a whole, as would be the case with a tax).
In the case of the child you mentioned. I don't think there is a question there. pushing someone away from an oncoming car in order to save them is not really what I intend when I say initiation of force.
Bryan: "In any case I feel as though you are missing my point completely, ignoring my arguments and just regurgitating more quotes and articles and books from the 'anti-capitalist' r-selected/exterior/communal perspective rather than taking a true a-perpectival approach."
If that's the only way you can frame my contributions then I have nothing more to offer you. The others seems interesting in responding so good luck with them.
Some general observations:
- over the last decade alone there have been many far more intelligent than I that have called into question the direct correlation between the way an individual develops and the way civilization has developed.
-the right quadrants don't concern themselves with how humanity concerns itself with any given value . There are laws and processes that are non-personal . We either align ourselves with these laws and processes or deal with the consequences of not doing so .
- at this moment I would say an optimistic assessment of our technological capabilities would be, maybe, a billion people affording non-polluting green tech . That's considering that all the people that could afford the tech would use . Not so sure that's a good assumption. If the next 50 years are anything like the last 50 years economically , then 4 to 6 billion people will not be able to afford clean tech . Setting up the conditions where an angry and frightened elite find an easy target when things really do start getting bad .
- the last hundred years has seen force become covert within modern cultures through mind manipulation . Much more insidious IMO than punching someone in the face .
' Let's assume that we have achieved an integral panarchic society where non-initiation of force is the highest law'
I'd be amazingly surprised if this happened within two centuries. I can pretty well guarantee you that nothing resembling that is going to happen this century . Hmmm, Integral underground bunkers ! That's the ticket .....
Andrew, you're putting words in my mouth. It was Bryan who said that, not I.
I'll refer again to economist Peter Pogany, who had some ideas with some parallels to yours, i.e. a two level economy.
I don't think we have two centuries or even one century to turn things around. I also agree with you that it seems unlikely, based on current conditions and trends, to expect to see it any time soon.
Pogany argues, citing Gebser, that the only possibility that might bring about an integral epoch relatively soon is via a very rough chaotic transition, where a bifurcation occurs making a rapid shift possible. Rapid transitions can and do occur in systems that experience radical shocks. This was discussed in my ITC 2015 paper when looking at the Order/Chaos pattern.
Pogany wrote a 2011 paper on "Gebser's Relevance to the Global Crisis." (paper attachment below). He wrote,
"...for a Gebserian, one thing appears to be certain: If the chaos that has grabbed the world by its throat were to lead to a new, more sustainable world, it would entail an intense, mass-scale transformation into integral consciousness.
But we are very far from any collective understanding that current reality will have to make space for another one that is potentially fuller, clearer, and more satisfying for the individual. Few see or are willing to admit that the fundamental material cause of the current convulsive state of affairs is that the interwoven demographic and economic growth has run into constraints. Simple as this process may sound in this reduced, abstract formulation, its phenomenology is stochastic and complex.
At present, global society confronts environmental, energy and other resource problems along with those that an outdated, growth-dependent monetary-financial system represents. While solutions are sought in each of these domains through new policies, reforms, and plans, the most important circumstance is being overlooked. A cluster of inextricably interrelated problems outside the range of familiar experience constitutes a predicament. Whereas a problem or a series of relatively independent problems may be solved through rational maneuvering, a predicament must be lived through; it has to be endured.
This is the case per force because the hallmark of a comprehensive crisis is that the solutions offered to end it correspond to interests so divergent that they cannot be synthesized through negotiated compromise." (see full paper attached below)
Pogany, btw, also warned about an excessive faith in high tech (which would include some of what we call "Green Tech") in his 2010 paper "New Scientific Evidence Confirms Gebser's Concerns About Technological Overreach."
"Big push plus blind faith equals predicament.
Perhaps no other thinker besides Gebser has a better record in anticipating the nascent
conviction that growing technical prowess entails a cumulative downside. With sober
poignancy, and much against the beliefs inculcated in the generations of modernity,
Gebser warned that technology cannot possibly bestow on man the omnipotence that he imagines himself to possess."
Me Bad ! sorry :)