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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The Four Pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution:

1. Renewable Energy

We put this systemin at work along with a modcon boiler. Would not have done it without a grant from the state and tax credit from the fed (otherwise the ROI was too far out). Modcon boilers are wicked cool. They take so much of the heat out after combustion (over 90%) they exhaust thru PVC instead of aluminum duct! We went from a 500,000 BTU to a 300,000 BTU boiler. My wife’s cousin is doing a post-doc at Columbia in environmental engineering. She feels energy efficiency NOW is as needed as much as renewable energy. She says to look at the biggest appliances in your home to get the most environmental bang for your buck... turning off lights aint gonna cut it. After our daughter was born we bought a front loading High Efficiency washer (they have been around for awhile), not only saves water but it uses less than half the energy of our old top loading washer. Not to mention it is super large so we spend less time doing loads.


2. Buildings as Positive Power Plants
I had this vision of neighborhoods or multiple blocks as solar farms that sell their energy back to the energy companies after seeing this photo. You get free energy and turn what was an expense (gas, heat, electric) into an income generator. Remove what people pay in gas, heat and electric and more than likely we would not see a housing bubble again. That is if the economy becomes “sustainable”.


3. Hydrogen Storage
One issue with Hydrogen is its explosive. Also you need a cheap source of electricity to split a water molecule for it to make sense. The Earth is bathed in enough sunlight to supply the world’s energy needs for a year in 1 hour. The problem has been Photovoltaic’s have been inefficient and costly. Either efficiency needs to go up drastically or cost down (efficiency need not go up to make hydrogen). Cost has been going down as production increased. Imagine if we spent all the money of 2 wars to give people grants to adopt this technology for their homes. We would be well on our way to weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels! I did these simple calculations...ready to freak out?

Trillion dollars on 2 wars. About $10,000 for a photovoltaic system that would produce 80% of a single family’s energy needs in a single family home. Divide $1 trillion by $10,000 yields 100 million homes. How many single family homes in the US? You guessed it... about 100 million!! Now with all the money saved in electric and gas usage that literally goes up in could put that to health care, education, ice cream sundaes, whatever!

4. Smartgrids and Plug-in Vehicles
Put a $100 down on a Nissan Leaf when they first introduced the car. They just delivered the first one to a customer in San Fran.

Edward, I am not convinced this is the Third revolution as it is a tweaking of the "2nd". It is after all "2nd" revolution companies making the products above. Yeah you think everyone is gonna share energy but there is still sunk costs in the tech to have the ability to share and that means good old fashioned capitalism. You will need to incorporate companies, raise capital, build factories (they won't be made in a commune) hire employees, etc. The kids sharing their energy won't be able to do it by breaking their piggy banks. :-) Still looks promising, I will get his book from the library after I finish the 3 in the queue. Thanks!

Cool site for do it yourself solar projects and loads of info.


Of course we still need capitalism in the transition, which is why Rifkin calls it distributed capitalism. It is a hybrid. And like the hybrid of the gas-electric car, it is moving toward and away from something. And the transition will take quite a long time, likely hundreds of years. I think Rifkin is prognosticating at least 50 years for the initial changes he talks about, just getting some infrastructure in place.

But my criticisms have been two-fold in that Kennilinguists are supposed to be 2nd-tier visionaries so why don't we see 1) them moving in this hybrid direction with distributed networks and P2P relations and 2) why no vision of where that transition is going, into what a fully 2nd tier economy might look like in 200 years? At least the likes of Rifkin (and the P2P Foundation) are building that bridge while kennilinguists maintain the status quo of power relations and personal property, all expressed in the most conventional and conservative of marketing maneuvers.

All of which is fine of course if you're not claiming to be a so-called 2nd tier visionary on the cutting edge of evolution. Which claim is of course itself part of that conservative marketing campaign, inflating its value beyond the actual like the housing bubble. That I point out that inconsistency and opt for more actual cutting edge exemplars must make me a villain I suppose. Good thing this site at least allows for such examination and itself is moving toward postmetaphysical hybrids via P2P open source knowledge generation and sharing, daring to venture where the kennillinguists fear to tread lest they endanger their market share.

Here is a link to a P2P blog inquiring into a grassroots economy and its counterfeits. The latter is represented by "netarchical capitalism," a business co-opting the P2P paradigm for personal profit. Bauwens sees both good and bad in this and it seems similar to Rifkin's distributive capitalism. While acknowledging the need for transitional hybrids a valid issue is that the capitalist view might indeed not only exploit but appropriate the P2P ethic and defeat its very premises in the process.
Integral Options highlighted the following today:

Kalle Lasn - Paradigm Shift: The great machine of capitalism starts to heave

There’s a tectonic mindshift going on in the science of economics right now, but you wouldn’t know it by tuning in to the likes of Martin Wolf, Paul Krugman, Andrew Sorkin, Lawrence Summers, Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, Dominique Strauss-Kahn or most of the professors teaching Economics 101 around the world. These old-school practitioners of neoclassicism are stuck in past, versed in only one language: the language of pure, unadulterated money.

As oil reserves dwindle and climate tipping points loom, they babble on endlessly about liquidity, stimulus, derivatives, bond markets, sovereign debt, AAA ratings and investment banker bonuses. They never say a word about melting glaciers, eroding coral reefs, rising sea levels, fizzing oceans or the methane that’s bubbling out of the arctic tundra. Like medieval theologians who argued endlessly about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, today’s economists argue incessantly about how economic growth can be sustained forever on a finite planet. Ten years from now, as the blowback from the externalities of their way of doing business repeatedly hammers us and global warming kicks in with a vengeance, we’ll look back in shock and awe – and wonder what it was about these logic freaks and their money narratives that so mesmerized us.

Five hundred years ago astronomers following Ptolemy’s geocentric model of the universe were tearing their hair out trying to make sense of all their calculations of the sun, moon and stars moving around above us in the night sky. It was only when Copernicus pointed out that we are not the center of the universe – the sun does not revolve around the Earth but rather the other way around – that all their convoluted calculations fell magically into place.

Today something eerily similar is happening in the science of economics: Economists and lay people alike are realizing that our human money economy is a subset of the Earth’s larger bioeconomy rather than the other way around. Over the next few years, as this monumental shift of perspective kicks in, all the economic, ecological and financial craziness of the industrial era will evaporate, and a new sustainable way of running our planetary household will fall magically into place.

Economics students, especially PhD students, in departments around the world have a crucial role to play in ushering in this new paradigm. Go to and join the movement.

—Kalle Lasn

Here's an excerpt from a relevant article by Evan Thompson called "From intersubjectivity to interbeing" (aka intergraal in my neologism):


Human consciousness is not located in the head, but is immanent in the living body and the interpersonal social world. One’s consciousness of oneself as an embodied individual embedded in the world emerges through empathic cognition of others. Consciousness is not some peculiar qualitative aspect of private mental states, nor a property of the brain inside the skull; it is a relational mode of being of the whole person embedded in the natural environment and the human social world.

The purpose of this report is to present this perspective on human consciousness with an eye to its implications for the emerging field of consciousness studies.

Guiding questions

Two main questions will guide this report:

How can recent research in cognitive science help us to understand intersubjective consciousness and empathy as part of our natural, evolutionary heritage?

How can phenomenological methods and contemplative practices deepen and guide scientific research on intersubjective consciousness?

Conceptual architecture

The conceptual architecture of the report can be summarized in three main points:

Individual human consciousness emerges from the dynamic interrelation of self and other, and is therefore inherently intersubjective.

Cognitive science and the philosophical tradition of Continental European Phenomenology* provide the main support for this point.

A deep understanding of intersubjectivity requires an understanding of empathy as the basic mode of experience in which one relates to others and understands their experiences. Empathy is developmental and opens up pathways to self-transcendent or non-egocentric modes of "interbeing."

Phenomenology and the contemplative and meditative psychologies of the world’s wisdom traditions provide the main support for this point.

Real progress in the understanding of intersubjectivity requires a "science of interbeing" that integrates the methods of cognitive science, Phenomenology, and contemplative and meditative psychologies.

The previous two points provide the main support for this conclusion.


Here's another relevant essay by Evan Thompson, entitled, Empathy and Consciousness.


From the introduction:


"The theme of this article is that the individual human mind is not confined within the head, but extends throughout the living body and includes the world beyond the biological membrane of the organism, especially the interpersonal, social world of self and other. This theme, long central to the tradition of continental European phenomenology, derived from Edmund Husserl (1859–1938), has lately begun to be heard in cognitive science. Indeed, there is a remarkable convergence between these two traditions, not simply on the topic of intersubjectivity, but on virtually every area of research within cognitive science, as a growing number of scientists and philosophers have discussed (Varela, 1996; Gallagher, 1997; Petitot et al., 1999). In the case of intersubjectivity, much of the convergence centres on the realization that one’s consciousness of oneself as an embodied individual in the world is founded on empathy—on one’s empathic cognition of others, and others’ empathic cognition of oneself.

Yet despite this convergence, to be explored in this article, many questions remain about how to understand the relationship between the cognitive scientific and the phenomenological treatments of consciousness. In the end, these questions all come back to the question of what kind of science the science of consciousness is or can be. Put another way, if we are to have a cognitively and ethically satisfying understanding of consciousness, what form should this understanding take?  To frame my discussion here, let me propose two key points that go to the heart of the matter. I call these points the Core Dyad:



  • Empathy is the precondition (the condition of possibility) for the science of
  • Empathy is an evolved, biological capacity of the human species, and probably
    of other mammalian species, such as the apes.

The first side of the Core Dyad comes from phenomenology. I will explain its meaning more fully later, but the basic idea is that the mind as a scientific object is an abstraction from, and hence presupposes, our empathic cognition of each other. The second side of the Dyad comes from cognitive science and is comparatively straightforward.  My aim in putting the two together, side-by-side, is to create a kind of hub or axis for all of the many different issues that can be raised about intersubjectivity and consciousness as seen from the viewpoints of phenomenology and cognitive science.  Underlying all these issues is the fundamental question of how to conceptualize or understand the relationship between these two poles. I will come back to this question later in the article."

hi Balder

Tell me how the meaning "the point of view of phenomenology" (the very philosophy of the western subject) could fit with the space of intersubjectivity which is prior and constitute it?


Good question, of course, X.  Here, I think he's referring to a different "lineage of thought" around the notion of intersubjectivity from the postmodern, post/structuralist one.  I think his account is incomplete, because it doesn't include  this very important line of thought on intersubjectivity, but I don't think this renders his thesis invalid or incoherent.  In this context, when he talks about intersubjectivity, he's talking here about findings in cognitive science on the vital importance of affect and empathy in the development of cognition and a sense of self.  But I would agree that there are certainly further aspects of intersubjectivity which are not accessible to UL and UR methodologies.  Or you could also say, he's talking about a different "enactment" of the multiple-object, "intersubjectivity," from the postmodern/poststructuralist one.

I have to confess I haven't actually read his full essay, yet, however.  I posted it because I wanted to save it and come back to it later to review.

Actually there are points of confluence with the phenomenological and the poststructuralist forms of intersubjectivity. I made reference to that confluence between Merleau-Ponty and Derrida (in “what ‘is’ the difference?”) as well as between Habermas and Mead (in “Varela”). Rifkin makes use of both Mead and Varela in his book but not Habermas or Derrida. Those fricken' Yankees stick together.

As a response to x's question, Habermas says this in Postmetaphysical Thinking (MIT Press, 1994):

"Attempts to think of transcendental consciousness as 'embodied' in language, action or the body...are supported by a set of arguments not entirely insignificant. These arguments have been developed, from Humboldt through Frege to Wittgenstein and through Dilthey to Gadamer, from Pierce through Mead...and finally...Merleau-Ponty. These attempts need not get stuck in the cul-du-sac of a phenomenological anthropology. They can also lead to a revision of deep-seated ontological prejudices by employing the pragmatics of language, for example, to overcome the logocentric bottleneck of a tradition that is ontologically fixated on the being of beings, epistemologically fixed on the conditions of objectivating knowledge, and semantically fixated on the truth-claim of assertoric is possible to arrive at world concepts that are more complex" (19-20).

Looking over Habermas' chapter on Mead again in PT leads me to think it is of the same type of intersubjectity as Thompson & Varela, since the American pragmatists like Mead were quite an influence on them. With perhaps a slightly different focus and terminology.

Continuing the brief tangent into types of intersubjectivity this is from the prior Gaia Mead thread at this link. Taken from my post of 1/13/09 12:07 pm, quoting Hargens indexing Wilber on the subject:

"1. Intersubjectivity-as-spirit: the transcendental quality of all relationships that allows for any dimension of intersubjectivity to manifest. The only reason that two subjectivities can touch simultaneously (co-presence) is that they are ultimately only one Subject.

2. intersubjectivity-as-context: the context created by multiple intersubjective structures (i.e., meshworks) which are constitutive of the subject and create the space in which both subjects and objects arise (e.g., physical laws, morphic fields, linguistic, moral, cultural, biological, and aesthetic structures). These cultural contexts, backgrounds, and practices are nondiscursive and inaccessible via direct experience.

3. Intersubjectivity-as-resonance: the occurrence of “mutual recognition” and “mutual understanding” between two holons of similar depth. Within this dimension there are Worldspaces and Worldviews.

a. Worldspaces: ontological resonance between two subjects who share emergent domains (e.g., physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual). Here, mutual recognition is simple co-presence prior to reflection (precognitive).

b. Worldviews: epistemological resonance between two subjects who share a level of psychological development (e.g., archaic, magic, mythic, rational, and centauric). Here mutual understanding is co-presence via cognition, which complexifies with development. This is the cognitive component of a shared worldspace.

4. Intersubjectivity-as-relationship: the way we identify with and have relationship with other subjects and objects. Within this dimension there are at least three types of relationships.

a. It-It relationships: an objective subject in relation with an objective object.

b. I-It relationships: a subject in relationship with an object (or a subject seen as an object).

c. I-I relationships: a subject in relationship with a subject. This last subdivision has two general forms, either solidarity or difference.

i. Relationship-as-solidarity: relating to another subject because they mirror your values, ethnicity, gender, or nationality etc.

ii. Relationship-as-difference: relating to another subject as a subject despite the fact that they are different from you in important ways.

It is also helpful to keep in mind a related quality to intersubjectivity, namely:

5. Intersubjectivity-as-phenomenology: the felt-experience of different dimensions of intersubjectivity, including: spirit, resonance, and relationships. Note that intersubjectivity-as-context is not available as “felt-experience” by its very nature of constituting the subject prior to experience."

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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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