As some of you know, I am boycotting the Integral Conference because of I-I's unabashed promulgation of global capitalism. (See for example our prevous discussion on Integral Capitalism.) In that regard see Daniel Gustav Anderson’s “Sweet science: A proposal for integral macropolitics,” Integral Review, 6:1, March 2010, pp. 10 - 62. An excerpt:


“I will retell Wilber’s ontology…in order to demonstrate the political significance…which coincide with the particular social regime (or in Wilber’s terms, the “telos”) it expresses, integrated global capital (Guattari, 2000). My purpose is not to explicate the flaws in Wilber’s logic or demonstrate his misreadings of particular texts; such exegesis has been taken up elsewhere; it is instead to suggest ways in which Wilber’s holarchy flickers or mechanically reproduces in the field of metaphysics and spiritual aspiration the social and political structures of late capital, which are not integral at all. Further, because Wilber’s holonography reproduces the present political order and forecloses any legitimized means of transforming its problematic terms of exchange, the unevenness of its development (as I will show), one may plausibly claim that it is not a transformative model but a conservative one in the last analysis, where conservatism is understood as an attempt to maintain the status quo for its own sake” (23-4).

Views: 1551

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

e :

 "i.e. I can enact Red while playing ice hockey, Blue while obeying traffic laws while driving home, Orange at work, Green while making a car purchase, etc."


you know , I have often wondered about this, ( and I think this is also another Wilber simplification ) if one can as you say "enact Red while playing ice hockey, Blue while obeying... etc" .... my thinking is that when a vmeme is transcended and included, that the earlier vmemes are a very new vmeme altogether .... sort of a yellow/red dialectic rather than red that is "enacted" for example.


What do you think ?


PS Really enjoyed Wei Wu Wei, particularly Open Secret. I recently picked up The Tenth Man by chance while I was in a bookstore in India.


All of Wei Wu Wei's books ( minus the last chapters ) are free on this site

This depends on what is included in transcendence and what is replaced. I explored this in the "ladder, climber, view" thread.

I watched Bill Maher's show last night and his special comment was insightful about this topic. He was discussing the Super Bowl and how the NFL is socialist, as opposed to the more capitalist model of major league baseball. I found his comments from last night at Huff Post, excerpt following:

"With the Super Bowl only a week away, Americans must realize what makes NFL football so great: socialism. That's right, for all the F-15 flyovers and flag waving, football is our most successful sport because the NFL takes money from the rich teams and gives it to the poor teams... just like President Obama wants to do with his secret army of ACORN volunteers. Green Bay, Wisconsin has a population of 100,000. Yet this sleepy little town on the banks of the Fuck-if-I-know River has just as much of a chance of making it to the Super Bowl as the New York Jets - who next year need to just shut the hell up and play.

"It's no surprise that some 100 million Americans will watch the Super Bowl next week - that's 40 million more than go to church on Christmas - suck on that, Jesus! It's also 85 million more than watched the last game of the World Series, and in that is an economic lesson for America. Because football is built on an economic model of fairness and opportunity, and baseball is built on a model where the rich almost always win and the poor usually have no chance. The World Series is like Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. You have to be a rich bitch just to play. The Super Bowl is like Tila Tequila. Anyone can get in.

"Or to put it another way, football is more like the Democratic philosophy. Democrats don't want to eliminate capitalism or competition, but they'd like it if some kids didn't have to go to a crummy school in a rotten neighborhood while others get to go to a great school and their Dad gets them into Harvard. Because when that happens 'achieving the American dream' is easy for some, and just a fantasy for others.

"That's why the NFL runs itself in a way that would fit nicely on Glenn Beck's chalkboard - they literally share the wealth, through salary caps and revenue sharing - TV is their biggest source of revenue, and they put all of it in a big commie pot and split it 32 ways. Because they don't want anyone to fall too far behind. That's why the team that wins the Super Bowl picks last in the next draft. Or what the Republicans would call 'punishing success.'

"Baseball, on the other hand, is exactly like the Republicans, and I don't just mean it's incredibly boring. I mean their economic theory is every man for himself. The small market Pittsburgh Steelers go to the Super Bowl more than anybody - but the Pittsburgh Pirates? Levi Johnston has sperm that will not grow up and live long enough to see the Pirates in a World Series. Their payroll is about $40 million, and the Yankees is $206 million. They have about as much chance at getting in the playoffs as a poor black teenager from Newark has of becoming the CEO of Halliburton. That's why people stop going to Pirate games in May, because if you're not in the game, you become indifferent to the fate of the game, and maybe even get bitter - that's what's happening to the middle class in America. It's also how Marie Antoinette lost her head.

"So, you kind of have to laugh - the same angry white males who hate Obama because he's 'redistributing wealth' just love football, a sport that succeeds economically because it does exactly that. To them, the NFL is as American as hot dogs, Chevrolet, apple pie, and a second, giant helping of apple pie."

theurj said:
This depends on what is included in transcendence and what is replaced. I explored this in the "ladder, climber, view" thread.
. ... thanks .... off to read it now

e: Will they have a better chance here or in a 3rd world country?

Edward: But I never compared the chances of the impoverished from 3rd world countries to the US, but rather the US with those on the list from Europe, like Norway and Netherlands. I'd say given the distribution of wealth in those countries, with less disparity than the US, their chances are better. And that disparity, while it no doubt has something to do with what you said, likely has more to do with their social democratic orientation versus the state capitalist model.

Yeah all I am saying is you need wealth and its continuous creation first in order to distribute and the less barriers (ethnic, cultural, etc.) will foster a quicker distribution. Let's see how China does (might take another 20 years) If they distribute their wealth to a substantial number of the 700 billion still in poverty, then that will show social democracy has less to do wtih it then simple job creation i.e. a healthy economy.

Plus I don't deny, nor have I on this thread, the necessity of the previous economic structures as prerequisite for latter ones, or that they can be healthy in the appropriate time and context. I find Chomsky's view of Adam Smith, for example, to be a healthy capitalism. I find the capitalism of my youth to be more healthy, when folks like my parents actually could achieve the American dream through hard work. But that's long gone and the current state/corporate capitalism is so sick as to be heinously unjust. All I'm asking for is for so-called evolutionaries to promote the next phases and stages of economic systems, and I find Rifkin doing that.

I don't beleive the dream is gone... only changed from global competition. A friend turned me on to Susan Faludi's Stiffed a few years back and she chronicles what the lack of opportunity has done to our culture (specifically men). She feels corporations sold out the middle class shortly after WWII. I get the perspective and see it plain as day. But let's look from a wider view, one that encapsulates the world and not just our country. Was it realistic for America and Europe to have 20% of the worlds population and keep 50% of the worlds wealth? If you were a US auto worker and saw the disparity in global wages, you may have thought twice about going on strike when you were making $30/hour working on an assembly line (i.e. you really had it better then you thought). Either top management is going to "have enough" and move the plant out of the country or your global rivals will make a more affordable car and take your job away anyway. Looked at in this way and resisting the urge to moralize about who and what was done to whom, global capitalism is actually "working" as 300 million Chinese have come out of poverty and millions of Indians and South Americans etc. So let's say Europe and the US lost 10% of their jobs due to globalization. That is what... 60 million or so jobs? If there is any silver lining in the middle classes current hardships it is that half a billion people now live on more than $1 a day. My hope is that the economies of the emerging markets stabilize and their own markets generate demand and increase worker wages and China plays fair by unpeging the renminbi from the dollar so that manufacturing and service jobs flow back the other way. This is another way "forward". Have not had time to check out the Rifkin thread but I will.



Mark: you know , I have often wondered about this, ( and I think this is also another Wilber simplification ) if one can as you say "enact Red while playing ice hockey, Blue while obeying... etc" .... my thinking is that when a vmeme is transcended and included, that the earlier vmemes are a very new vmeme altogether .... sort of a yellow/red dialectic rather than red that is "enacted" for example.

LOL that was my (over)simplification Mark. So sure, hockey is now played with carbon fibre sticks, players are better trained and coached (Chara just hit a 105.9 MPH slap shot), rules have become more stringent to try and avoid injuries, players can now 2 line pass to get rid of the slow clogged middle style game that forced play to the boards of years past and yet fights still breal out :-).


Check out the apendix in Integral Spirituality, Wilber has put forth the idea of a kosmic address for both subjects and objects that may afford the complexity and fidelity you are mentioning. Thanks for the link!


I've often speculated on the relation of capitalism to feudalism, that the former is in many ways an outgrowth of the latter, more of a lateral development than a vertical one. This article offers some interesting history on their relationship. An excerpt:

"It was the increase in the standard of living of the lower strata moving in the direction of relative equalization of incomes... that for the upper strata represented the real crisis.... There was no way out of it without drastic social change. This way... was the creation of a capitalist world-system, a new form of surplus appropriation. The replacement of the feudal mode by the capitalist mode was what constituted the seigniorial reaction; it was a great sociopolitical effort by the ruling strata to retain their collective privileges, even if they had to accept a fundamental reorganization of the economy....most importantly, the principle of stratification was not merely preserved; it was to be reinforced as well."

We see this continuing to play out in today's economic battles, with conservatives conserving the stratification of privilege, power and wealth at the expense of the rest of us. Capitalism is a regression into feudalism, albeit a more 'complex' one, not an advance into freedom and shared opportunity concomitant with the Enlightenment. Now a democratic economy led by (noncorrupt) unions, maybe...

Joe Corbett has an interesting Integral World response to the Institute for Cultural Evolution (ICE). It seems ICE blames pomo for not getting along with modernist capitalism, nor recognizing all its wonderful benefits. It those MGMs would just get over their dysfunction and integrate modernist capitalism things would work out just fine. Corbett, to his credit, berates ICE's Polyanna attitude that the corporate-industrial-military complex can be "swept aside" once pomo gets on track and we can get on with the business of selling evolutionary theory. He notes that this is incredibly naive, since it misses the power structure of that massive complex and how it limits the very possibilities of action of the underclass, lest they be out of a job and die. And all the while meanwhile ICE touts individual initiative (more like obsession) and material consumption as positive values we should "integrate" is some kind of next gen survival of the fittest. All of this is explicit in the thread criticisms above.

The following is from Corbett's Integral World article "The rise of integral conservatism":

He discusses Habermas' instrumental rationality and how it manipulated people and the environment for profit. And that Kennilingam supported this critique in favor of a more integral or postformal rationality. And yet the old adage "what what I do, not what I say" seems apparent. He said:

"That the integral leadership beginning with KW chooses to remain silent and even takes sides favorable to the right-wing austerity bastards (which includes the so-called center-left these days) on this most timely and urgent issue, I think speaks volumes not just about their intellectual bankruptcy but about their own aspirations to power and wealth, the same kind of petty bourgeois opportunism that gets minorities and women into positions of power without really changing anything, those very things that strategic-instrumental rationality can be employed to acquire and accumulate, at whatever the cost. Indeed, there are those including myself who have experienced first hand the interpersonal and institutional manipulations of KW and his inner circle of loyalists who will go to great lengths to avoid and otherwise exclude anyone who questions or challenges the 'party line' of integral ideology and its practices. Of course, the solution to this political corruption within the inner integral circle is to splinter off into a more progressive and open network of integral scholars and practitioners who don't deploy strategic-instrumental manipulations for their own personal systemic benefit within the integral echelon."

And from his article "Ken Wilber, philosopher-king":

"What concerns me most is not so much the apparent cult-like tendencies of the inner circle of KW-integral, but the almost banal stride with which a social Darwinian perspective makes its way into integral theory through none other than the king himself, KW. Individual survival strategies in response to collective crisis seems to be all the fashion-rage among new age self-help gurus these days, indeed, as it always has been in America. Personal responsibility for ones fate in life beyond external determining forces of oppression is also a well known tenet of integral politics, and of a Buddhism that has historically been used to justify the caste system in traditional Eastern societies. In fact, Wilber has gone so far as to claim that Buddha was a Republican, thus recruiting Buddhism to the cause of joining the chorus of those right-wing conservatives who blame the victims of social injustice for being lazy, irresponsible, not of right mind, and generally deserving of what they get. The war of all against all in a neoliberal world of the global race to the bottom thus seems to find a champion in the KW-integral call for individual responsibility, mental discipline, and physical austerity, aka, blaming and punishing the victims of the unregulated excesses of financial and political elites."

The so-called Lower Right Quadrant is the sneakiest of all -- the most difficult for human beings to get a firm intuitive grasp upon. To produce systems that are commensurate with integrative consciousness means not merely to have some books, some buildings, some websites which are themed around 'integral community'. It means to produce and advocate behavioral protocols -- especially institutional decision making protocols -- which are of equivalent depth and complexity to this altitude of consciousness. Conservatism and Corporatism generally operate slightly below (rather than notably above) the already simplistic and outdated LR protocols of Democratic states.

We must challenge ourselves in many ways when it comes to this zone of political, technological, ritual & socio-economic programs. On the one hand I find myself advocating Integral Machiavellianism -- the courage and cunning to play sin & virtue off against each other, to think in non-sentimental terms about placing ends above means, to exploit the structures and inner tendencies of the different evolutionary layers in human beings & to indulge-harness the selfishness of individuals and cabals to produce part of the engine we need is all stuff that challenges us. There is, surely, far too much idealism among integral-sensitives... and contemporary ideology works today's progressives and would-be paradigm-shifters as if they were as much a puppet as the self-styled conservatives of the world.

At the same time, there is a pretty obvious problem of facile compromise and naive "balancing" which goes on. There is a common tendency to mistake social regression for an authentic "right wing". And it is obvious that the hive-mechanics of the implicit ideology in which our world operates does not except visionaries and meditators from its subliminal control. 

At the very least, we find that "integral capitalism" is all-too-easy to affirm, so amenable that it begs for an integral anti-capitalism.

In fact, it seems like integral theory is a perfect vehicle with which to critique Corporations as non-holons. The holarchical enfoldment of atoms by molecules introduces a new level of autonomy, community and intelligence... not a system by which a few of the atoms in that molecule reap disproportionate benefits. "Top o' the heap" is not a "higher level".

So despite the real need to observe interesting things like the 'conservative social mentality' of ancient sages, the need to make a clear stand against naive pluralist sentiments, the strategic pseudo-Marxist idea that the real revolution depends upon the establishment first of egoic modernity pattern, etc. there still stands out a glaring failure of institutional integralism to produce and support radical politics which counterbalance its own attempt to be amenable to all "types"... and which keeps pace with the emergent urgency that characterizes a great many of those who operate with integrate sensibilities in the current global climate.

David Loy is one of the authors of Beyond McMindfulness, an informative article about the commoditization of meditation and how it is used to reinforce corporate status quo. Corporations are a agog over it because it reduces stress and improves efficiency, but they don’t want the Buddhism that goes with it. The latter includes a context for meditation that includes ethics, compassion and rightmindedness, which are not compatible with corporate bottom lines, labor maltreatment and environmental degradation. Hence corporate promotion of the secularized version keeps the benefits but eliminates the moral code that would challenge its own agenda. Such a divorce enhances the abilities of an executive practicing the technique to more effectively abuse his employees via ‘productivity’ quotas, which tends to mean more overtime work for a smaller salary. If that’s stressful for the employee, well then meditate to reduce the stress and be more efficient. The problem is reinforced rather than fixed.

The authors also lay bare the fallacy that if the executive or employee practices meditation then the social good behavior will automatically follow. This has been a major rationalization of the kennilinguists with the leadership training  programs. We give them the tech and the tech is so ‘integral’ it will transform them for the good of all. Bullshit. It makes them better bastards since the issue of corporate greed and the inherent abuses of capitalism are completely by-passed. The authors are reminded of corporate sensitivity training in the 60s, where executives were taught to listen and respect the worker’s feelings. What is was in effect was a means of making the worker feel ‘heard’ and then doing absolutely nothing to remedy their complaints. Having been in corporations I’m well aware of this social engineering, having bed fed it many times with no corporate change whatsoever. Now corporate meditation training is the newest means to mollify the masses for the profit of the few. Welcome to integral or conscious capitalism.

Of course I’ve had similar complaints about traditional Buddhism itself, in that while they might seek to aid the poor or downtrodden with food, shelter etc. they have tended not to themselves get involved in politics to change the socio-economic conditions that created such situations. There too there has been a kind of belief that if those helped will then take up the meditative and ethical discipline then this will magically change not only them but those around them. The engaged Buddhism movement seeks to counter this fallacious reasoning, noting that to effect broader political change requires broader political action in addition to meditative and ethical training.

The standard Wilbersaurus argument is that compassion training is a necessary supplement to meditation since they are evolutionary stimulants to different lines of intelligence. Meditation is primarily attractive to the ideological machinery which observes its short term effects -- enhancement of productivity, relaxed concentration and acceptance of situations. But its longer term effects are supposed to include an increased likelihood for developmental stage-unfolding along the cognitive line. So a more complex sense of self relating to a larger worldspace. That is ambivalent in some regards but also does tend to lean in the direction of taking more variables and more entities into account. Therefore meditation, under certain conditions, might be imagined as a kind of Trojan horse. That remains to be seen. As a meditation instructor I can assert that the precise variations in the methodology can make a lot of difference.

In his talks with Buddhists, Wilbs has often discussed the problem of the person illuminated-by-emptiness but lacking in compassion. His solution is usually to affirm traditional empathy-training practices as something which must come before the highest stages of meditative unfolding. One might disagree with him here, postulating that there actually is a very existential rather than contingent-pragmatic connection between meditation and compassion... but the issue of their divergence is more critical socially than the issue of their root affinity.

So these two points (a) the different effects of different meditation practices over different ranges of time (b) the connection/disconnection of meditation and compassion are of interest to me as part of the consideration of (c) the neo-corporate and ideological adoption of meditation as an efficiency and control mechanism -- marketed to employees as a route to happy meaningfulness and relaxation -- meant, in part, to depressurize the humanly intolerable side-effects of the current globally dominant system.

All that features in Conscious Capitalism... a double-edged sword barely analyzed with any sophistication. And crying out for a ferocious Conscious Anti-Capitalism to at least broach these issues.

Reply to Discussion


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?

This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.

Notice to Visitors

At the moment, this site is at full membership capacity and we are not admitting new members.  We are still getting new membership applications, however, so I am considering upgrading to the next level, which will allow for more members to join.  In the meantime, all discussions are open for viewing and we hope you will read and enjoy the content here.

© 2024   Created by Balder.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service