This dude also deserves a thread, a postmetaphysical visionary of an integral paradigm different from the trademarked variety. And quite "spiritual" to boot, if by that we mean creating a more equitable and humane lifeworld in which all can thrive and aspire to their highest potentials. From the integral capitalism thread:


Have you discussed Jeremy Rifkin's notion of "distributed capitalism," based on emergent peer-to-peer technological models, which he discussed in his book, The Empathic Civilization?  I skimmed the thread and didn't see mention of it, so I thought I'd add it to the mix.  Here's a brief article on it.

(An interesting notion of his, which is not directly relevant to this thread but possibly relevant to this forum, is Rifkin's notion of an emergent "dramaturgical self" as a stage of self-making beyond the "existential postmodern self."  I haven't explored it in depth -- I've just been reviewing his book for a class -- but I'll look into it more and will comment further if it's relevant.)


Thanks for these links. I've heard of Rifkin but have yet to read him. I agree with most of what he's saying but he is stretching the definition of the term capitalism beyond its intended meaning. Recall its meaning from the beginning of the thread. Private ownership of the means of production with profit flowing to the top is antithetical to shared, open and distributed ownership of resources and information and P2P relationships, much like selfish concern and cosmocentric morality are so in a moral hierarchy. Rifkin is right to make the connection between the worldview and economic-communication systems, and that the internet correlates with an empathatic, biospheric view necessary for such shared resources and environmental consciousness. But again, capitalism was all about the exploitation of natural resources as if they were infinite with little to no regard for the environmental consequences. Rifkin laments this destruction and rightly analyzes the consciousness and systems that created it, capitalism, yet by keeping that name in his new view of P2P distribution is a functional misfit.

One can also view him speak on his new book at YouTube. Just watching the first couple minutes it seems to be the same info in the text linked above.


I also had posted this video on his work here on IPS awhile back.


Now I understand hybrid systems during transition phases. For example we have hybrid gas-electric cars which are better than just gas-driven. But we know that it is a transition to a full electric car when we develop the technology and infrastructure to make it feasible. That is, we know we must completely leave behind using a limited resource like petrol for a more sustainable energy source. So with economic systems. There are hybrids of capitalism with open source and of course it is a step in the right direction. But like with petrol we know that at some point we will leave capitalism behind in a more equitable, humane and environmental consciousness with correlative political economy.


So for me it says something about our consciousness to which economic system we attach. Given the I-I agenda of a kinder, gentler capitalism it appears to be on the transition of rational-pluralistic and it calls that integral. Hence you get no language or values about open source, distributed networks or P2P. Whereas I think what Rifkin is describing, that ecologic empathy that is growing out of the informational-pluralistic into the internet P2P network, is what we might call integral. And it is open source, not private property. But again, it is currently a hybrid in transition but we know where it is going and what must be left behind.*


*As to worldview and moral level replacement, see the previous thread on ladder-climber-view. Like I said, I don't think it's a strict or clean dividing line between one level and the next, with transitions containing mixes and hybrids. But we see the trajectory of where it's going and what it will eventually leave behind.

You can find Rifkin's website here. Following is an excerpt from the synopsis on his lecture "The age of access":

"The new information and telecommunications technologies, e-commerce and globalization are making possible a new economic era as different from market capitalism as the latter is dissimilar from mercantilism. In the new century, markets are slowly giving way to network ways of conducting business, with far-reaching implications for the future of society....The notion of exchanging and holding on to fixed property becomes an anachronism in a society where everything is continually evolving."

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Have you posted any comments on his blog?  If you haven't, I think you should.

I tried to but his Wordpress program required me to give up my email password and I refused to do so. That hasn't happened in the past when I posted.

See this P2P Foundation wiki on the book. An excerpt from one of Rifkin's articles at the wiki follows:

"The partial shift from markets to networks establishes a different business orientation. The adversarial relationship between sellers and buyers is replaced by a collaborative relationship between suppliers and users. Self-interest is subsumed by shared interest. Proprietary information is eclipsed by a new emphasis on openness and collective trust. The new focus on transparency over secrecy is based on the premise that adding value to the network doesn't depreciate ones own stock, but, rather, appreciates everyone's holdings as equal nodes in a common endeavor.

"In industry after industry, cross-sector networks are competing with autonomous transaction-based business models, and peer-to-peer business practices conducted in commercial commons are challenging competitive business operations in siloed markets.

"Something very strange is happening out there. Ideology is disappearing....politics is less about right versus left and more about centralized and authoritarian versus distributed and collaborative.... The two generations whose sociability has been formed, in large part, by Internet communications, are far more likely to divide the world into people and institutions that use top-down, enclosed, and proprietary thinking, and those that use lateral, transparent, and open thinking. As they come of age, they are affecting a shift in political thinking--one that will fundamentally alter the political process in the twenty-first century."

The thing is, that is exactly the difference between progressive and regressive political ideological positions. So yes, not left versus right but right versus wrong. At least for this particular time and place in our collective developmental journey. To reiterate a seldom-used kennilingism when it comes to worldviews: "Transcend and replace!" Or to perhaps coin a new OOOrgasm: "No node knows it all." Or maybe "Node thyself."

Lest one responds that this P2P collectivism plays into the green meme notion of pluralistic relativism, and/or the SDi notion of alternating individual/collective memes in the 1st tier, keep in mind the concrete enactment of nodes in a network. Rifkin's P2P network empowers individuals in ways heretofore unimaginable by giving them the capacity to generate their own energy needs at home while being connected to the world via a smartgrid. This narrative sustainably balances the individual nodes with the more influential hyperobjective nodes, and with the network as a whole. That is in kennilingus, it goes 2nd-tier in an individual-collective and well as internal-external manner. Or in ontocologese, the individual machine maintains its own autopoeisis in balance with other machines and the larger environment.

And not coincidentally, the environment is healed through renewable energy generation via the type of empathic (spiritual) consciousness inherent to this meme. This is the kind of secular spirituality I can get behind, the saeculum saectorum.

Actually my original and more aesthetically phonetic phrase was saectum saectorum.

This is interesting, from wikipedia: in saecula saeculorum. That is, now and forevermore. Amen.

I'm reminded of this thread on Ferrer's religious pluralism. Recall this quoting Ferrer:

"It is important to sharply distinguish between the modern hyper-individualistic mental ego and the participatory selfhood forged in the sacred fire of spiritual individuation. Whereas the disembodied modern self is plagued by alienation, dissociation, and narcissism, a spiritually individuated person has an embodied, integrated, connected, and permeable identity whose high degree of differentiation, far from being isolating, actually allows him or her to enter into a deeply conscious communion with others, nature, and the multidimensional cosmos.... The new spiritual bottom line, in contrast, will be the degree into which each spiritual path fosters both an overcoming of self-centeredness and a fully embodied integration that make us not only more sensitive to the needs of others, nature, and the world, but also more effective cultural and planetary transformative agents in whatever contexts and measure life or spirit calls us to be” (146).

And my comments:

One form of this might express as a postformal, postmetaphysical, naturalistic and nondual secular humanism whose spiritual practice might be, for example, social engagement with no meditation or contemplative practice whatsoever. Ferrer allows for this kind of atheistic expression as long as it overcomes self-centeredness and lends itself to being a “more effective cultural or planetary transformative agent.” 

We see Rifkin dealing with this in his thread in the extension of empathy to wider circles, the reduction of narcissism and the embodiment of reason and spiritual values. But I would add to Ferrer's tests the socio-economic test, i.e., not only integrating the individual self via spirit-mind-emotion-body but how well the usually more significant influence of the lower right quadrant in the form of economic system is integrated and supported, without which the inner development and integration is unlikely. Rifkin is aware of this and it is truly and spiritually liberating to live in a more human economic system.

I learned from this interview of Jon Meacham that Jefferson was considered an atheist, but he didn't say that the charge was proven.

Rifkin discusses the worldview matrix that was enacted through the energy regimes of particular eras.  Fossil fuels are found is select areas and require large financial and military investments to secure them. Along with this comes a way or organizing business top-down with centralized command and control. For example, the railroad required large financial investments that included foreign investors, and such immense capital required a stock market to track it. Ownership became separated from management, and workers from management. All of which was a drastic change from the more agrarian economy envisioned by Adam Smith. Max Weber studied this shift and noted that the new business model emphasized pyramidal organization structure (top-down), pre-established rules for all operations and jobs, a strict division of labor and wages. This railroad model transformed all businesses (107-09). 

He also explored the context in which Adam Smith proposed an economy. Smith looked to Newton for guiding principles and the latter’s three laws became the template.  The market, once set in motion, operated on the same principles of motion. Though instead of God being Newton’s prime mover it was for Smith enlightened self-interest , with supply and demand making the necessary adjustments. However the laws of economic motion gives us limited data and doesn’t take into account time and irreversibility. Both Newtonian math and Smith’s economics are completely reversible and both lack the insights of thermodynamic laws. We’ve seen this same scenario play out with quantum mechanics itself, with the earlier versions also not taking into account thermodynamics and irreversibility (193-95). 

All of which is due to the modernist paradigm and the assumptions inherent to it. Whereas the emerging P2P and postmodern paradigm surpasses all of the above by using alternative energy sources and the networked modeling of the internet. It’s an entirely different way of doing business that  distributes energy, knowledge, power, everything in a truly democratic model.

I'm appreciating these updates, theurj. This is a book I will definitely read when I have the time.

Rifkin also addresses the type of consciousness that accompanies the various techno-energy regimes. Forager-hunter societies were oral and mythological. Hydraulic agricultural and writing were theological. Print and coal-steam tech was ideological. Fossil fuel and electronic were psychological. And with alternative energy and the internet we have biosphere consciousness.

The last is based on empathy. But much like the Lingam uses moral development Rifkin notes that the empathic drive has a more inclusive embrace the farther along it goes. In forager-tribal culture it was extended to the tribe. In hydraulic-agricultural it extends to one's religious identification. In industrial culture it extends to one's national identity. Finally in the TIR phase it become a biological embrace of the entire planet (and beyond) and everything within it. It goes beyond empathizing with all mankind to all of the cosmos (235-36).

He presents a very similar view in The Empathic Civilization.  I appreciated, especially, his insight into the LR conditions that support these shifts.

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

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

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