How do we develop and implement a "post-metaphysical" justice system? What is the legal and moral philosophy which correlates to the various divergent/convergent forms of meta-theorizing and, more broadly, to what I call the "Dionysian Cultural Revolution"?

This is a topic too seldom examined...


Let us begin with Nietzsche's little known description of three emergent, unfolding-enfolding layers of human justice systems. He called  these: the Pre-Moral Age, the Moral Age & the Post-Moral Age.

In the Pre-Moral Epoch age there is yet little sense of human interiority. Therefore there is no strongly shared sense of a culpability related to individual ideas and intentions. What you meant to do is not a significant part of the human animal's instinct about blame and social organization. All guilt is therefore "popular" and "circumstantial". If many people perceive that your crops all die mysteriously then possibly you are the GUILTY PARTY (i.e. cursed by the Powers of Nature).

Kill the witch, save the Village.

Outcomes are the basis upon which human justice attribute blame. And we still see this form of justice-logic at work in mobs, rural regions, hysterical individuals, etc. It remains enfolded at a more primitive level of the moral psyche.

In the Moral Epoch, we have started to internalize a lot more. Depth, self-control, a certain degree of reliability, self-articulation and foresight are common. They are common enough to become the instinctive basis of shared attributions of blame for the purpose of social organization.

We begin to attribute guilt to "intent". Thus we go easier on accidents (something which would have made no sense in a pre-moral era). We even go easier on "irrational outbursts of rage" finding them to be less culpable than people who "thought about it in advance".

The notion of which one is most likely to pose a future threat is almost utterly absent. Common notion of justice gravitate around finding the appropriate degree of retribution to apply to groups or individuals who are presumed to have internally given birth to a plan or desire from out of their "Essential Self".

In the Post-Moral Epoch we have deepened even further. Now we begin to see many ways in which the notion of the individual, the plan, will, etc. are quixotic and unreliable. Pluralist philosophies apply to the psyche. Multiple perspectives on events stand out. Neurology makes us skeptical about whether the "individual" knows or controls his bodily choices.

We begin to wonder very odd things like -- does the brain disease of "psychopathy" mitigate your legal culpability in a murder? Does punishment "do" anything? Do prisons make people MORE into criminals?

These strange questions and many others are starting to flower in the minds of people who contemplate the justice protocols of their contemporary societies.


We are looking at things like: Post-Intentional Justice, Restorative Justice & Preventive Justice. What is Preventive Justice?

It is somewhat like "preventive medicine". It sees the impractical and unjust element in "reactive healing". Treating symptoms, diseases, and tragic outcomes must be complemented by and perhaps ultimately overtaken by sensible, sensitive and cost-effective distributed attempts to prevent disease conditions from forming. Our eventual goal must be "well-being" and not "reactions to illness".

How does this apply to the social body? Obviously we are limited by "reactive justice" (or old-fashioned, metaphysical EVENT-AND-INTENT justice).

Large-scale terrorist attacks are good examples of criminal behavior for which we cannot afford to wait. We must be proactive in policing such deed. Yet this flies in the face of the popular moral instincts we have inherited from hundreds of generations of metaphysical humans who have learned to associated blame with "intent" and "demonstrated external outcome".

Although our Conservatives constantly affirm some degree of preventative justice (which they rather naively conflate with the forceful indoctrination of children into their own cult's moral assertions), most modernists and post-modernists worry about a "Minority Report" scenario.

Analysis of the fantastical "pre-crime" policing in that film reveals two distinct sources of social concern. One is conventional or regressive stress which has its basis in any challenge to our long-habituated custom of waiting until "after the fact" to attribute blame to a "culpable individual intent". That is a stress which we must be willing to challenge in ourselves. The other concern in this film is associated with the faulty treatment and corrupt management of the system. In many respect it is "poor execution" that gives Preventative Justice a bad name.


Regular readers know that I situate MIP-civ (Massive Internal Profiling Civilization) among my basic "5 Pillars of Planetary Wisdom-Civilization". There are fair, functional and ethical ways to handle such a system. It can be conceived and deployed in ways that amplify both "autonomy' and 'community', self-control of one's life and social security. But that all depends on HOW rather than WHAT. To move beyond event-and-intent (reactive) justice requires a more complex and deft handling of individual interiors.

I am unabashedly more comfortable with the Air Marshall having a gun on my plane... than I am having an unarmed person on board who nevertheless has the neuro-psychological and behavioural profile of a terrorist.

Enormous danger and injustice is constantly occurring because we continue police "objects, past events and plans".

We know that a sleep-deprived or agitated person possesses a neural chemistry which makes them as dangerous behind the wheel as a drunk or drug-user. But in many places among the "advanced nations" we still persist in the clumsy and narrow attempt to punish a person for "blood alcohol levels", etc. Or for having "open liquor bottles in the vehicle". Justice must move forward from policing the objects to analyzing the probably interiority of the individuals.


People rightly stand in horror of the American Prison-Industrial complex. However,n we must again look at the How and not the What.

It is not essentially problematic to have a large chunk of the population "in prison". Our idea of "prison" should not be heavy and fixed. It has many possibilities. But the moral and pragmatic error which makes the current American system so dubious lies in the selection of the types which populate the prisons and the efficacy of the treatment and education they receive.

It is clearly very egregious to treat "drug users" and "sex workers" in a manner virtually identical to "sociopaths" or socially-deprived members of primitive gang-communities. Their status cannot be considered equivalent merely because they have all been processed bureaucratically as being individually culpable for events or object-possessions which differ from the local norms. That false consistency among "criminals" must be considered an offensive metaphysical presumption stemming from the absence of any robust attempt to establish the interior and potentials of that complex which forms an unfolding "individual".

Unless we base the organization of prisons, and the deployment of "treatment" and "punishment" around multi-factor, changeable internal profiling we will continue behave in an unethical and ineffective manner that is analogous to the naive metaphysical errors of traditional philosophy.

But if we are willing to move forward then we can see how the emergence of mass incarceration has possibilities as well as dangers. From a developmentalist viewpoint we must have the courage to admit that "pre-conventional morality" is a de facto criminal stance -- irregardless of the commission of crimes.

The ethical concern which currently balks at the unfair incarceration of certain socio-economic, sub-cultural and racial types must direct itself toward ways to (a) determine which types of mixed individual interiorities actually a problematic risk to the general population (b) what forms of rehabilitation, grow, quarantine or -- in certain cases -- punishment are appropriate to produce the optimal overall benefit for the culture.

These a few ways in which we can move past the "metaphysics" of conventional justice. What else?

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Great post LP!  I agree that those three epochs exist bit i would assert that at any given time throughout human history there were those who had developed to post-moral or post-conventional understanding. If you are saying that there has been a general trajectory culturally, then, i would buy into that; but all three groups are still players today and have always been here.

The conventionalist's 2000 odd years ago hung two pre-moral thieves beside a post-conventional rabbi/teacher. To them , that teacher looked like a thief or behaved to them, no differently than the thieves. So, these interior perceptions have always been with us. I assert that even in those days there were individuals who had what we call egalitarian post-modern values today. 

Where would you place the amoral psychopathy of people like Billy Bob's Fargo character; Brad Pitt's Fight Clubber; No Country for Old Men lead character. I believe these are all allegorical to the neoliberals that have taken over the earth in the 50 years. People who are non-moral ; believe fervently that there is no god, and believe that they can murder anyone at will with no chance of being held accountable for their actions. 

Here is a scenario for you to consider: 


Consider the video of the planes spraying aerosol into the atmosphere. First though, we should consider the site itself; is this an NSA psych-ops site? Who made that video? Was this video made by the CIA in partnership with Hollywood filmmakers ? Is the video real? What if they really are spraying aerosols into the atmosphere? What chemical is it? Should Exxon/Chevron unilaterally be allowed to spray sulphuric acid aerosol into the atmosphere so that the planet cools enough so they can continue on their merry carbon ways. Should individual oligarchs be allowed to spray this themselves? Should any state be allowed to take it upon themselves to geo-engineer the atmosphere. Who polices this behaviour? i believe we now have the technology to do this, so these are all legitimate queries , imo.

I'll touch on how few of the worlds neoliberal elite end up in those prisons later.

Hey Andrew,

No developmental vision can function if it naively imagines that phases of growth simply replace each other. There are always advanced agents and underdeveloped agents relative to the broad norms of any epoch. Even I become an animist when I stub my toe (i.e.  "I blame the damnable table corner itself").

If we use the mythology of the Christ-character we certainly, as you point out, get that delirious sense of how readily pre- and trans- are confused by social forces.

It would probably be misleading to group and conflate fictional characters like Billy Bob's Fargo character, Brad Pitt's Fight Clubber and the lead character from No Country For Old Men. They are, on the one hand, quite distinct and diverse from each other. On the other hand they also represent a classic figure and interest which does not merely represent our concerns about the dubious morality of so-called "neoliberal" populations. I think it is clear that the absence of traditional moral teachings and belief in God have little or no relevance to the apparent widespread ethical retardation of populations. However traditional and God-related moral teachings CAN sometimes be healthy ways to cultivate moral sensibility. Yet in many cases, historically and in the current age, much more decency and empathy is to found among those who actively profess no God and no absolute morality than among those who feel the conviction of a belief anchored in more old fashion childhood training systems. It is a very mixed bag.

The cultivation of moral force, ethical intelligence & interpersonal virtue in people and children is area where we hope to make some real innovations which both incorporate the "wins" of various different traditional approaches and the opportunities afforded by the trends which seeks to escape from many narrow and contaminated versions of traditional moral education.

Billy Bob's Fargo character is quite like classic images of the Devil or the Sorrower-of-Strife in pagan mythologies. He creates violent chaos and conflict wherever he goes and seduces people to imagine that their liberation lies in excessive and destructive gestures rather than in the more delicate movements which actually secure personal happiness and liberation.

"Tyler Durden" from Fight Club represents the pre-integrated Higher Self of the anonymous narrator of that film. There is no strong evidence of immorality or psychopathy in that figure any more than in any other revolution leader. That character in fact is driven by a moral desire to overturn corrupt and violent elements within the social system that current oppresses so many people.

On the other hand, Javier Bardem's assassin from No Country For Old Men is very much the classic cinema psychopath with a slightly sadist streak.

Psychopathy is a wide and fascinating field of study which must be separated from things like 'serial killers', culturopathic anarchists, morally underdeveloped narcissists, etc. It would be fascinating to discuss further in a focused manner. As for atmospheric shenanigans... that probably falls too far afield for this current thread.

Well, thanks for the deconstruction of my conflation!lol

Okay, agreed on part one. Agreed on your 4th paragraph, hopefully , anyway. 

Why do you think so many people, including myself, view integral theory as being impotent towards social justice? It's well and good to espouse complex theories of why; quite another not be able to remedy much; quite another thing again, to befriend the likes of Obama, Blair, Gore, Kerry, and dismiss ole nasty Bush. I'm not the first one to point out the obvious cultural bias of who is a champion of integral and who isn't. Sorry, i call that integral stinky!lol Anyway, i'm of the opinion that not much good change is going to come from the top, it's the grassroots pushing up against the excess of the elite pathologies that are going to make any difference. Presupposing that a difference can be made. Of which i am not so sure.

I'll take a stab at answering my own question and at the same time hope i don't derail this important topic. The conflation of western democratic leaders being synonymous with integral is dubious at best. The cozying up of integral to mammon undermines its ability to be clear and concise on issues of justice. Not delineating integral spiritual hypothesis from scientific theory undermines integral credibility; which is not directly related to issues of justice, but it does go to issues of honesty. And honesty is related to justice and integrity should be related to integral. Confining a god hypothesis to a upper left quad phenomenon is just plain sneaky, imo. But do what thou will shall be the whole of the law. Other than those issues, integral is all right by me. 

More on preventative justice please:)

Some lenny Breau for ya bro!

>Why do you think so many people, including myself, view integral theory as being impotent towards social justice? It's well and good to espouse complex theories of why; quite another not be able to remedy much; quite another thing again, to befriend the likes of Obama, Blair, Gore, Kerry, and dismiss ole nasty Bush. I'm not the first one to point out the obvious cultural bias of who is a champion of integral and who isn't. Sorry, i call that integral stinky!lol Anyway, i'm of the opinion that not much good change is going to come from the top, it's the grassroots pushing up against the excess of the elite pathologies that are going to make any difference. Presupposing that a difference can be made. Of which i am not so sure.

There are several sources for this.

First is one's own excessive expectations. It is a little odd to judge a complex theory for being only a complex theory. "Integral theory" itself is just a set of ideas and not a movement or social powerhouse. So we must be careful in evaluating it. Insofar as "integralites" (meaning people who are generally aware and resonant with this altitude of sensibilities) are required to make real change in the world it is "we" and "you" who are the agents of integral activity and not a hypothetical entity subsumed under the notion of the theory.

Secondly, there are some areas which the theorists have been better at getting an early lead on -- and others which, while acknowledge, grow more slowly and wait for individuals who want to push them forward. Many of those issues are addressed in this forum. Particularly of note are the types of organizational structure which are capable of modifying real life situations. Another missing element, one which I address quite a bit in my Bible of MetaTheory, is the need to conceive of what we are doing in a "big tent" fashion that incorporate very integral, not very integral, superficially integral, depth, beginners, alternative metatheories, etc. in a collective "sense" of shared idea space and emotional spirit. A certain "mass" and "coordinated passion" is needed before this emergent segment of the population really starts to spill over its own boundaries and appear as a strong change agent.

Thirdly, I am not aware of any credible integral thought-leaders who identify the movement or its goals particularly strongly with any Western political "leaders". However we must expect that every integral network will probably have both a great deal in common and a subtle bias towards the language, region and political-ideological zone in which they have emerged. We must not adopt some half-assed "flat" notion that all the major powers in the world are operating in the same way, etc. We must not fail to support the "lesser of two evils" in every situation where there is a more complex and less complex moral perspectives BUT at the same time we need always to hear from integral voices on the inside. Obviously second Tier english-speaking North Americans are going to have a limit on their frame of understanding. Even if they are all strongly depressed and skeptical about forces in their own nation, or parts of their own nation, they still lack the intelligence needed from other regions. For example, our general evaluation of Putin must rely heavily on "second tier Russians". Where are their voices?  Where is our information from the most second tier Iranians?  

Frankly a general, online Second Tier political exchange is desperately needed. Anyone have the programming skills and time to make one?

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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?

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