Here's how it looks to me today.

Anything standing out as being left out?


cult-cult / MIP-civ / COS-pals / smartgroups / the New Academy


A culture of cultivation.

That means we must support, promulgate, institutionalize and enforce a "culture of cultivation". What is a culture of cultivation? It is one which places and axis of developmental altitude at the center of its social policies and organizational ethos. The qualitative, non-dogmatic development of inner, outer & shared skills -- and their deepening or progress relative to one's structural capacities and basic temperament -- is the requirement and currency of society. Rights and privileges are "exchanged" with individuals in exchange for their demonstration of personal growth, assistance to the development of well-being in others, participation in social and ecological improvement, etc. These changes place complexity, depth, subtlety, capacity, width at the "official" center of the social agenda. All other values (strength, prosperity, virtue, health, etc.) must be regularly SYMBOLICALLY asserted as contributing to and deriving from the principle of cultivation.

This ethos applies both to individuals and to society as a whole -- which must firmly establish qualitative refinement and improvement (which includes quantitative increase as an occasional subcategory) as the metric of accountability. 


Massive Internal Profiling civilization.

This triggers some warning bells for people but in fact it is already well underway on this planet. Turning back is not a real technological or social option at this point. So it is not a question of whether there should be MIP -- but rather: how willing we are to embrace it, improve it & shape it into the kind of system that will be optimally beneficial? The most dangerous social problems facing our species and our nation cannot be legitimately or practically resolved at the level of merely external interventions. But the very same systems which are beginning to allow us to track and analyze people are the ones we would need in order to know more about ourselves and to ensure that the people we put in charge of things are competent and decent.

So what does a better MIP-civ look like? It means that the individual is the “owner” of his or her “data”. This data is a constantly updated packaged of medical history, resumes, search history, bio-chemical information, brain scans and complex personality tests which is takes developmental stages, types and different “lines” of intelligence into account -- and cross references all the components of those results with the scores from all other human beings. This is an “opt in” process. You are not under any obligation to share your data but neither is an airline under any obligation to let you on a plane without reasonable evidence that you do not have one of the common “terrorist profiles”. No one is confined to their current profile because it is always in flux and the most accurate and comprehensive data provides the greatest opportunity for individuals to voluntary alter themselves in more benign directions. The system itself must be guaranteed by our strongest civic authorities and has validity ONLY if it is constantly upgrading its capacity and it overseen by reliable individuals. These individuals, like those who wish to take a greater roles in the directing of general human resources (i.e. politics, corporations, etc.) must make relevant aspects of their profile available for public inspection -- including cognitive, ethical, social, emotional and neurological data. This is a trans-partisan approach which combines the conservative realism that understands the necessity of profiling with the progressive understanding that “external factors” (such as clothing, gender, skin color, religious affiliation, etc.) are merely indirect and mostly misleading variable. While it is true that “guns don’t kill people” we are obligated to police the external objects until such time as we can exceed these results by policing people psychologically.


Smartgroups means having more intelligent group protocols for eliciting and combining individual intelligence into actionable group directives. Enhanced democracy. Just as a “secret ballot” and “voting” increases our ability to extract collective intelligence from groups of people we must experimentally put into play our best understandings of how to further this capacity. Both the intellectual and “gut” evaluations of people are relevant. Combinations and averages of gradient votes must come to replace simple “first past the post” majorities. The emotional desire for “consensus” and “accountability” must be teased apart from the actual dynamics which result in better decisions. No society can function well unless its collective decisions exceed the swarm intelligence of the individuals. And every society, no matter its stage of development, will falter if its rituals for combining intelligence into decisions result in outcomes less intelligent than those of its individual members. Credibility of the “system” exists only if it can demonstrably outdo individuals acting on their own.

Smartgroups suggests a definite trend in the arrangement of human management patterns. This applies equally to diverse domains such as energy production and distribution, legislative oversight, nourishment, military security and "global policing", mobilization in the face of international ecological urgency, etc.


This stands for Cultural Operating Systems (COS) friends. A COS is analogous to a vMeme in Spiral Dynamics. So these "pals" are trans-episteme allies. The arrangement of cooperation and alignment between constituencies of different worldviews on key issues such as ecological crisis. As long as basic constituencies like the traditionalists, libertarians, modernists and progressives are trying to solve problems in opposition to each other -- or suggesting improvement methods which first require the mass population to convert to their particular value-system -- we will remain stymied in our ability to robustly address our real situations.

“the new Academy”

This has resonances with both the monastic tradition (out of which the university tradition grows) and also the widely felt need to re-establish alternative human communities which are appropriate our genuine needs and potentials. We must generate real (not merely virtual or "hobbyist") facilities which will deepen, accelerate and promulgate the interests of so-called "second tier civilization" by all means possible. It is well understood that inner development, consciousness evolution, meditation and being-education are necessary to produce people who can produce and anchor a better human civilization. Such people currently exist scattered, partially, aligned with this or that proto-Academy or teacher, in need of group self-consciousness, intensfication, subtle and practical community and activation in intentional causes.

This has at least three important aspects:

1. To locate, enliven & acquire 2nd tier (and proto-2nd tier) individuals.

2. To provide participatory (“skin in the game”) sanctuary, embodied practical community, networked allegiances, deepening and widening of integral skills in “hives” of some kind.

3. To create and coordinate evolutionary change teams and to strategic/organic projects which will occupy networked positions in the World.

What goes on it such facilities?

At the very least: experimentation with the other “pillars”, vigorous integrative (multi-quadrant, multi-level, multi-line, multi-type) practices, intensified group and personal meditation (or meditation equivalents), the enriching and deepening and cross-pollinating of existing spiritual-developmental tradition, experiments at innovating new forms, exercises to intentionally harmonize body-heart-mind, practical self-discovery and strengthening work alongside people of different types, exploration and comparison of various modalities of collective consciousness, ego-building & ego-transcending, shadow work (psycho-bio-emotional), subtle energy training, health training, skills training, integrative study of History, Science, Art and Politics, critical study of Evolutionary Change Institutions and Network -- how have they succeed and/or failed?, work to establish allies.

security training (paramilitary/policing, paramedical, ecological... to be ready as individuals and teams to deal with bodily dangers), Participation and generation of socio-economic projects for mutual benefit in securing, strengthening and increasing the world-share of second tier groups.

*A NOTE ON ENERGY (an example)

Many already know that new energy production is crucial. To fuel a survivable (& thrive-able) future takes a power-generation and power-distribution system that is relatively massive, non-toxic, sustainable, secure from disruption, widely distributed, diversely sourced and accessibly inexpensive.

Beyond those needs are also other hints about new or subtle energies which may be amenable to mathematical treatments and technological harnessing. May it be so! But what is required to bring about a new energy age?

  • Firstly, we need a general social mood AND official symbolic commitment to innovation. All social incentives must be biased toward qualitative improvement including those which determine energy production. This is what I have called "cult-cult".
  • Secondly, our programs of technological innovation must be both operated and overseen by the most competent and flexibly appropriate people who do so in the most transparent manner possible. That means "we" need to have a far better idea of what is going on inside people. A MIP-civ is needed to establish this opportunity.
  • Thirdly, in order to create and utilize these opportunities appropriately we must make the correct collective decisions. All advancement depends upon conclusions drawn and enacted by group of humans (with the help of machine intelligence and, hopefully, "higher influences"). To responsibly and sensibly conceive, organize and utilize these systems we must improve our rituals of decision-making and group enactment. Smartgroups are necessary in some form.
  • To get these project underway, and to protect them from untoward interference by large cultural blocs (associated with developmental "levels") means that a strong cooperation or "spirit-sharing" must occur between the moods and values of such blocs. Cos-pals names this necessity.
  • None of this is possible without "integrative individuals" who hold a "second tier" vision. A new energy era requires an increase in such people, their communities, their capacities and the share of human resources determined by their vision. A robust network-facility need to deepen, empower, protect, connect & prepare such people for their roles and their new form of living. A new academy of living-training must cultivate the necessary legions of people who can invoke and operate the new environment without a loss of value in any critical area.

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Interesting visioning, brother Layman.  I think it would be worthwhile to begin exploring a vision such as this in a collaborative text -- perhaps a collection of stories where different people explore the implications of the 5 (or more) principles and the likely shapes and trajectories of this imaginal wisdom civilization (as the folks at the Co-Intelligence Institute do, in their various "story field" projects.)

A possibly left-out element is one you have discussed in your anti-capitalism thread with theurj: something like Rifkin's new p2p energy economy.  New LR paradigms (particularly economic and energy) to complement the revolution in our communications/media/information-sharing paradigms (which also gives rise to your MIP-civ pillar).

I've been thinking about something similar to your cult-cult as I've been preparing for an ILP class (in particular, Sloterdijk's discussion [and call for further enhancement of] humans as practicing beings, as beings that transform themselves through innovative practices in multiple fields; and of Deleuze's notion of becoming-_____ [animal, woman, other, etc], where we transform in the process of drawing near to something other, entering that zone of indeterminacy that opens up in maximal nearness to the other and undergo unpredictable and sometimes-imperceptible change...)

Your discussion of smartgroups reminds me, as I mentioned, of the future community visioning work at Tom Atlee's Co-Intelligence Institute.

I've been pondering whether new forms of energy technology and new forms of energy management (e.g. Rifkin's decentralized grid) ought to have their own "pillar".

They certainly stand out but I'm tempted to think they broadly fall under

(a) establishing smarter social arrangements for the management of all social powers

(b) cultivation, improvement, refinement.

I'll make a couple changes above to that energy is securely included...

The 'progressive' philosophies of becoming (most of which are, in some sense, unpackings of the unsung hero of integralism: nietzsche) fit very well with the other social constituencies as soon as the direction of change is framed by Virtue... as an amelioration, refinement, expansion of opportunity, etc. At this kind of balancing it suddenly sounds a lot like the notions of "evolutionary" spirituality and culture. 

Yes ... with both the promise and the peril that entails ...

As a general rule 'progressives' do not accept the kind of metaphysical postulates as does the evolutionary spirituality crowd. While sharing the notion of progress the former tend toward the more secular humanistic and thus reduce if not eliminate the kind of hubris involved when one thinks they are doing God's, or even Spirit's, work.

The simple concept and generalized language of virtue, so commonly used in the classical world, seems to go a long way to bypassing the tension between these positions. The "spirit's work" crowd and the more secular (and/or "my spirituality is personal") crowd only have to share a vague sense of enacting a dynamic of improvement in many areas of life under the auspices of generic virtues. That is enough to start using "cult-cult" to help build "cos-pals" who are aligned what what is being trained more deeply in "the new academies". 

Phrased correctly, almost all crowds can agree with hubris-reduction. At least in principle...

In the FB IPS discussion on the conveyor belt I brought in your notion of the MIP-civ. We need something more than typical democracy to ensure leaders are keeping our best interests in mind, since such democracy just assumes leaders are coming from a level that has such worldcentric values.

Exactly.  An "enhanced democracy" is necessary.  And that means both taking advantage of things we understand about improving the righteousness and collective intelligence of our voting and administrative systems as well as working with the emerging technologies of the current epoch.  We are already profiling everyone... just not fairly or intelligently.  If we do not attempt to actively create a sort of "constitution" for profiling then we will simply succumb to haphazard and predatory monitoring in which the monitors stand outside of the system.  That is both dumb and unjust.  The only way to stop profiling exteriors, to start profiling the profilers and to ensure that the hyper-electronic universe is a developmentally oriented universe is to really try to grapple with across the board, individual-empowering, multi-dimensional psycho-behavioral profiling.  

On the other hand, who profiles the profilers? And who determines what 'integral' means? As if obvious from this forum, there is quite a bit of debate about what an integral level is, what it means, how it is conceived. It's far from settled so as to use it as some kind a profiling system.

I'm also reminded of Montouri's reflections on the last ITC conference.

"One of the historical criticisms of hierarchical theories of development is that the person developing or using the hierarchy almost inevitably finds himself at the top of said hierarchy. Whoops! There’s a not-so-subtle tendency to feel like a master of the universe when the whole map of creation from soup to nuts appears to be laid out before you."

So that's one trap. If we find ourselves at the top of any system we need to wonder about that system.

"The role of systems and complexity thinking in Integral Theory is still not particularly well articulated, in my mind. [...] Interestingly, postformal thinking has been irrigated by two streams, as it were—the dialectical stream, which started out in the pioneering work of Klaus Riegl, Basseches, and the more contextual stream, with Arlin, Commons, Koplowski, Kegan, and others."

This relates to one of my points above, the kind of complexity we use to determine what is even 'integral' in the first place. I've posted quite a bit on this in the pomo and complexity thread and elsewhere. And it really isn't as simple as saying we 'integrate' these two forms into a higher level, as that very sentiment is what is being challenged.

We might also recall when I asked Commons about Morin's variety, he immediately reduced it to his own horizontal complexity saying it doesn't account for the vertical. Elsewhere I used Lakoff to show how such varieties like Commons can only see it in these two versions.

One of the things which distinguishes MOA-1 from MOA-2 in any moment of consciousness is whether the question "Who profiles the profilers?" causes us to pause and drop out -- or whether it is accepted as a practical challenge. 

Since all systems require, in the broadest sense, administration, we have no alternative.  Non-hierarchical theories of development performatively posit themselves at the top of their heirarchy (though they will strenuously deny this).  So there is no getting out.  We need to be asking ourselves what are the minimum functional requirements that ensure any emerging hierarchical system trends toward open-ended-ness, full spectrum balance, self-improvement, etc. 

We already have hierarchies.  We already have profiling.  What can we do to that in order to make them better?  Which moves create a better arrogance?  It is certainly far from settled but unless we try to implement our current best guess (which MUST include ongoing improvement and developmental transformation of our guesses) we are subject to the default condition of "whatever constraints currently exist to skew the emerging techno-planetary system according to their own biases.

It would be great to be able to formalize something like a mathematical or structural schematic which defines a "level".  Then no one is at "the top" -- even if no one is currently higher than they are on some particular line.  Whether or not that is possible is debatable but nonetheless we must try to do something like that.  As with most things, we don't really understand it until we give it a try. 

My Rules of Metatheory (and I still might do a new version of it) wants to articulate what different versions of metatheory have in common and what practical requirements may impinge upon them.  Nobody's "version" can be trusted... if only for the fact that it will irk everyone who is used to viewing through their own concepts of verticality, complexity, etc. A political work of consensus building, even in theory, and a technical work of attempted implementation are what allow us to move past the disagreements which are inevitable and perpetual at the level of theorists engaging in partial examinations of each other's works.

Did I say anything about dropping out or not accepting the challenge?

No. Those remarks are not meant to suggest that you are located in one of these two "camps".  It is just a preliminary discrimination to orient my general remarks. 

I hope, in general, that it does not seem like I am imputing the categorization of the person I am responding to if I begin by clarifying a tactical "forward/back" option that exists within human response patterns to the given topic! 

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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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