A recent FB IPS discussion reiterated something that has long been happening which I'll call quacademics. You know, if it quacks like an aqal... The phenomenon arises because Wilber is often perceived by typical academia as a religious zealot and/or cult leader and thereby dismissed. The main goal then is to legitimize his work academically. Hence we have all kinds of folks pursuing and getting degrees from typical academic institutions while trying to insert their integral agenda into such programs through MA and/or PhD theses/dissertations. The hope is obviously to legitimize integral studies so that it is something more than just an isolated, sub-cultural phenomenon applicable only in its own bubble. Another hope is when so legitimized that it can change the world for the better, as adherents truly believe it is a breakthrough paradigm in the next stage of evolution that can indeed improve life conditions for all. I applaud and support such hopes.

But is this truly the most effective place to focus our energies? Is academia really the cultural leader when it comes to enacting a new and better paradigm? Take for example Rifkin's work. Yes, he's an academic but implementing his plan has moved from the ivory tower to the political towers of power in EU governments. Government is the key player to enacting such an agenda via laws that govern individual, social and most of all corporate behavior. Without such law our academic towers only grow ivy, moss and mold.

But most importantly, even governments must ultimately answer to the people on the street. That is, if such government is a democracy. Granted in the US we've become more of a fascist oligarchy due to the capitalist system, but that is changing. As more of us get politically involved and elect more progressives like Senators Sanders and Warren, and representatives like Grayson, the latter realize they represent the people. That is, government is not to pass laws from the top down from enlightened leaders to the masses, but do so from the bottom up, from the will of the people. They represent us.

I'll also grant that if the people are uneducated and ill-informed they cannot wisely tell our representatives what is best for the public. Hence the oligarchs try to destroy education by making schools into the sort of top-down programming factories, to make ignorant workers kept in their place. But what is happening since the advent of the internet is that many more of us are getting educated in a P2P fashion, sharing information and knowledge, getting politically informed, and taking action by contacting our representatives to express our educated and wise wishes for a better polity.

It is we who create the next paradigm. Rifkin didn't invent most of what he discusses in his books; he reports on the phenomena that have arisen organically from culture, like the new commons paradigm. It is arising from ordinary people connecting via tech like the internet to form new forms of communication, news, publication, music, knowledge generation, product production, economic exchange etc. We have educated ourselves. We not only know what we want but are not waiting for leaders to create it, doing it ourselves instead. We are creating the next wave and it is here right now.

Pursuing academia in the hopes of changing the world assumes the old-school (capitalist) premise that education begins with the best and brightest teachers and thought leaders who have been certified in that old school. The already emergent new-school of the Commons doesn't see education in this sort of top-down approach. (E.g. see this post from Rifkin's new book.) The culture created by the Commons is transforming traditional educational institutions, so at least the latter are getting with the program in reflecting the culture rather than creating it. It seems quacademics are still adhering to the old paradigm in trying to create a new one, thereby missing the already manifest Commons culture all around them. Part of that is that kennilingus doesn't recognize the new culture because of its inherent and unconscious biases, still stuck in this old school hierarchical way of thinking. And hence it misses the facts on the ground. Or dismisses them because it doesn't fit the kennilingus map. Or is a lower level that just doesn't get it. To the contrary, it is kennilingus that doesn't get it. And those quacademics who want to be leaders in an old school way of being.

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I'm reminded of some of Mark Edwards' comments in the IPS thread bearing his name. In the initial post he said: "Altitudinal leaderism: This is the assumption that we need enlightened leaders to have enlightened communities." He follows that up with how kennilingus is trapped in the archaic student-teacher relationship based in a strictly developmental frame, whereas he sees learning "engaging much more with the language of relationality, situational choice, shared play, communal learning, distributed intelligence, collective wisdom, reflexive learning, and action inquiry."

I also like this Edwards quote:

"But I think that stressing the role of the developmental holarchy lens, that AQAL and SD and DAI have so importantly drawn attention to, has reinforced that old view that we need some 'Great Leader' to lead us out of our troubles. We need a messiah to transform us. The redeeming CEO who will say the word and we will all follow to some new promised land. This is a big mistake. I don’t think that is how transformation occurs. If integral metatheorists see social transformation as resulting from the developmental genius of individuals then it is being dangerously reductive. The use of the developmental lens has to be much more sophisticated that that. We need to combine it with and differentiate it from many other lenses if we are to see how stage-based development aligns with other aspects of transformation."

I join in the criticism of that tendency -- although I do not think it especially important to connect it to emphasis on the role or lens of developmental hierarchy.  This tendency to project salvation upon leadership is distributed throughout human societies and has its origins in three well-known factors (a) bio-psychological disavowal of responsibility by individuals and communities (b) intentional and unintentional misleading of society by oligarchic resource controllers (c) the legitimate need for people to organize themselves through exploitation of "leadership" in a variety of circumstances.

None of that is particular to the holarchical lens.  What the holarchical lens (or the AQAL lens generally) adds to the discussion in the implication that the production and development of increasing integration-complexity and inclusion, whether in individuals, groups, systems or objects, offers unique opportunities and indicates a quasi-teleological direction for healthy progress. 

An analogy can be made to "mindfulness".  It is not enough, on its own, to transform civilization, but we are not quite justified in complaining that Buddhism and other mindfulness advocates are pinning our hopes upon an intensified state of consciousness at the expense of the understanding that life and ethics apply to everyone in every state of consciousness. 

I think Edwards would serve us better by a slightly different phrasing.  Nonetheless, the point is well taken that the infiltration and modification of "top down" social structures is, as a strategy, quite insufficient on its own.  However I cannot think of anyone advocating it in isolation. 

Part of this gets the question of that "left" and "right" might look like as constructive labels for complementary facets of the integrative/Dionysian cultural revolution.



theurj said:

I also like this Edwards quote:

"But I think that stressing the role of the developmental holarchy lens, that AQAL and SD and DAI have so importantly drawn attention to, has reinforced that old view that we need some 'Great Leader' to lead us out of our troubles. We need a messiah to transform us. The redeeming CEO who will say the word and we will all follow to some new promised land. This is a big mistake. I don’t think that is how transformation occurs. If integral metatheorists see social transformation as resulting from the developmental genius of individuals then it is being dangerously reductive. The use of the developmental lens has to be much more sophisticated that that. We need to combine it with and differentiate it from many other lenses if we are to see how stage-based development aligns with other aspects of transformation."

Regarding old school education I'm reminded of this classic hit:

It is quite obvious that changing any system requires two complementary approaches:

1) Modify the existing the levers of control

2) Modify the psychological, social and material realities which create both the current control system and the current regime of controllers.

We cannot fly with only one wing.  Old-schools systems will continue to operate even though they are out dated and doomed.  They cannot be ignored but they cannot be posited to be the privileged sites of social determination.  Both because they have never really been those sites (a tall man or a woman up on a stage was never "special") and because the global situation is changing out from under them.

The Dionysian philosophical spirit undermines the distinctions between academia/politics/sacred/secular/colloquial/top/grassroots.  Most all our successes have come from blurring, straddling or exceeding these boundaries.  That is the "flavor" of the society which is pushing forward both in intellectual metatheory, developmental spirituality and socio-political reorganization.  And that means we have to have people on the outside and inside of every major inherited (and only apparent) "bloc" in order to accomplish the undermining which we require.

In this video, Thom Hartmann interviews Kshama Sawant, a socialist and member of the Seattle city council who was instrumental in getting the $15 minimum wage passed. At around 3:40 Hartmann discusses how we has always challenged the notion that it takes a great leader to effect social change. He then asks Sawant, a 'leader' of this movement, how that squares with her socialist frame. Her response starting at 5:10 in enlightening and representative of the emerging Commons notion of leadership.

ISM started a FB IPS discussion on grounded theory here. I noted it's first premise is a point I make in this thread: Theory is generated from the data of the phenomena it studies, i.e., a theory is not generated first from which phenomena must then fit. Which reminds me of what Mark Edwards said about meta-theory in this post:

"Integral metatheory building is based on the analysis of extant theory and does not deal with empirical data. Consequently, it cannot validly make conclusions about empirical data based on its metatheorising. If it does so, it is stepping outside its realm of authority. To put this in another way, metatheory is primarily about other theory and not about the prediction or evaluation of first-order empirical data."

He is highly critical of kennilingus for doing exactly that.

ISM replied: It seems this idea of "meta-theory" is not essentially unlike a post-Kuhnian understanding of what amounts to "meta-paradigmatic" thinking...

I said: Except that it's job is not to in/validate empirical theories but to find ways theories might mesh, and to make some broad overarching generalizations therefrom. And possibly finding some 'relative universals,' as Zalamea calls them. But certainly not to transcend and include theories, or to make empirical claims about theories. Or even to implement empirical changes in socio-economics etc., as that is not its purview. It's sort of like meta-data, not dealing in content but finding the broadest, and I'd argue, the most superficial of connections. Like we both called the same number in Iran associated with someone whose cousin's sister's friend is a terrorist.

It is dangerously "liberal" to move top-down from theory to data... and lop-sidedly "conservative" to insist that data must drive theory.  This is true with normal and meta-theory.  The integrative balance requires us to view both theory and empirical data as two complementary domains evolving toward greater correspondence with each other -- and this correspondence is a qualitative and practice surplus which exceeds either.  Inter-domain validation is a concept which is already built upon a critique of theory moving in its own realm apart from the emergent data points.  Yet it is too easy, too MOA-1 to think we merely need to flip this around.  Ambidexterity is required.  And though it is not difficult to agree with this point it is a matter of personal and collective praxis in weaving theory and empiricism together in more robust ways that is missing.  Unless we are grounded and ambidextrous in our behavioral intelligence there is not view (metatheoretical or empirical) that will carry us past the inherited limits of our field of study.

That is where the discussion of grounded theory is going in the FB IPS site. Theories are necessary to give context to data. But when new data comes in the theory is revised to account for it in an ongoing process. The criticism above was about kennilingus having an aversion to revision when new data challenges it.

Yeah, it sounds likes it's going in a very good direction.

The danger of theory-building is over-optimization.  Success proves an existing form which entrenches it and adorns with a halo effect.  This makes future openness a little more difficult.  But at the same time we should have to work harder to challenge things which have comprehensiveness and internal consistency.  Yet, of course, we SHOULD make that effort.  Every system is only as open or closed as the person handling it at a given moment. 

This gets even more complicated with theories that include verticality because it is uncertain how much depth can be unfolded from any structure.  We want to encourage people to carry existing models as far as they can go (acting as though they could go endlessly) while opening them at each step of the journey to alternatives (including both rival theories and rival domains of verification -- such as, importantly, empirical data).

What happens when all the data fits your meta-theory? 

Has anxiety been relieved  through an adequate "signification" or through a kind of paradigmatic psychosis?

In other words, has "The Name of the Father" done it job well, too well, or not well enough?

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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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