For an introduction to this expanding meta-thread see Integral Anti-Capitalism pt I. We continue here because we have, hilariously, exceeded this website's capacity...


I agree that holacracy should be singled out for special investigation. The provocative notion that we are dramatically over-emphasizing the need for "conscious leadership" pertains very pertinently to this discussion. Robertson, like ourselves, is pointing to the fact that business (organizations) which integrally improve the interiors and cultural
spirit of their participants are still predisposed to certain outcomes as a result of their actual structural habits of communication and their specific decision-making protocols.
His notion of a constantly self-correcting dynamic organization drawing upon the capacity of individuals to act as tension-sensors relative to the "evolutionary purpose" of the organization is compelling and admirable.

More important is simply that he is making a stand and making an attempt to construct a protocol (constitution). I am not fully versed in the 4.0 version of the holacracy constitution but we should get deeper into some of these proposals.  

Given the level of your current knowledge of their protocols, what would you want to change or add in order to ethically and functionally empower this approach even more?


First some housekeeping in providing links in part I to comments on holacracy: their website, comment 1, comment 2, comment 3 (and 3 more on p. 7), and the first 7 comments on p. 8

I’m not yet familiar enough with holacracy to know it might need. So for now I’ll ask questions.  From p. 8 there was a blog post on ownership and the model might (but not necessarily) include outside capital investors. I asked:

“One question immediately pops up on outside investors. Are there limits on the amount of outside capital investment? What if their investment is such that without it the company could not financially survive? And/or depends on it for start-up? Then such investment would control the company, like it or not. If you don't do what I say I'm taking my ball and going home. No ball, no ballgame. Not the same as a mortgage or loan company.”

Granted why such investors are included on the Board there are other stake-holders to balance their input. But are there rules about which outside individuals or companies can invest? Do they have to have similar values like triple bottom lines instead of just profit for their investors? Can a Goldman Sachs provide start-up capital? Or Romeny’s ex-firm, Bain? Just wondering, so perhaps it’s time for those out there more familiar with the system to engage us?


I appreciate your inquiry about the potential influence of outside investors in holacratic systems. Perhaps they have a good protocol for that. Or perhaps not. In general, all "smart groups" need to comprehend and anticipate the distortion influence that donors and enablers wield. The psychology of human nature shows that we may believe ourselves to be quite sturdy and impartial while we are really bending in the breeze.

One of the concerns I had while perusing the holacracy constitution was about the voting procedure for filling roles. There are many parts of their approach which impress. In particular I would like to make not of the necessity to place constraints upon discussion. When the mention of a concern is met with the mention of counter-concerns then the intelligence and practical efficacy of discussions drops dramatically. A highly suspicious mind might even supposed that the human hive is encouraged to engage in the constant casual usage of dysfunctional conversation. So their use of controlled phases in both operational and hiring decisions is admirable. However, their actual voting protocol seems (to my naive glance) to be based on a model of transparent majority. A sophisticated "show of hands".

So this may be an area in which holacratic principles can be expanded to include a more thorough use of "secret ballot" and "averaged ranking".

The former often seems like a show of bad faith and an invitation to covert dangers... but these are considerably outweighed by the liberation of individual intelligence from any conscious or unconscious concerns about the social consequences of their input.

The latter evades a primitive "first past the post" approach in which our intelligence is functionally limited to a yes/no determination about each candidate relative to other candidates.

Another thing I admire about holacracy is that it represents a functional procedure and culture in which participants would appear to become better participants by participating. Their capacity and ethical commitment to the good of the organization through its evolving protocols should be an increasing trend. Any smart group needs to be arranged so that even people who try to distort the results will find their capacity and will to do this reducing over time. Replaced by the inspirational efficacy of the group.

This brings me to another issue relative to voting, both in political and economic groups. That is the relative absence of specific instructions about how to translated ones feelings into a vote-mark. This is almost completely unaddressed in terms of popular elections. To discuss it even seems insidious to some people who fear coercion (and/or wish to maintain the current material power structures).

Protocols should have at least a clear suggestion about how to locate both "gut" and "intellectual" data within ourselves and convert that into a numerical value which can be contributed to a group decision. A lack of clarification at this critical junction may act as an invisible source of drag upon an otherwise very functional group organism.

It might even be possible to define an "integral-level organizational set up" for business or politics by simply compiling a list of areas in which intelligence and capacity are distorted. We might recall that most of Wilber's philosophy has emerged in levels correlated to his discovery of "fallacies" or "basic errors". Integral proposals about business and society could be all over the map unless there is a reasonable set of constraints that make sure they fall in the most lucrative zone.

So other than the potential influence of outside "helpers" and "donors" what other sources of distortion or inhibition do you see going mostly unaddressed in otherwise progressive groups?


My next question of holacracy is who came up with it? It seems to be the pet project of Brian Robertson, his own brainchild. I'm wondering if that is so of if it was a community or P2P project? I mean, the structure of holacracy itself calls for distributed decision-making but was the creation of holacracy itself derived from this process or mostly dictated by Robertson? I've yet to find an answer at the site so I posed this question to them via contact info. I'll provide the response if/when received. I think the answer is pivotal in determining if this thing called holacracy arose from its own medicine.


I look forward that answer if it is forthcoming. The notion of self-arising systems is something which haunts the periphery of these discussions. My fantasy is that we can devise a group protocol which so reliably and simply exceeds the cognitive capacity of the individual participants that it would be foolish to predetermine the purpose and nature of the group. Collectively we could a better job of determining what kind of a collective we should be. "Smartgroups" of this kind could then spread through the world in a very radical social uprising. How possible that is remains uncertain...

As I understand holacracy, the different companies making use of it are assumed to engage in their own mutational modifications of the "constitution". So even if Brian wrote the whole thing out in his bathtub it still retains an open source quality. The answer to whether its current forms are or are not the result of distributed decision-making is almost certainly: sort of.

One of the reasons the holacracy approach is so amenable to business organization is that it seems to depend upon the functional axis of a specified purpose. The aim is somewhat pregiven -- our job is to sell widgets or maximize share-holder profit, etc. His use of the metaphor of the sensors on an airplane derives from a mechanism that is assumed to be designed for a well-known purpose.

My question would be whether or not this "aim" is a necessarily functional element in generating enhanced organizational capacity? Or whether it is simply an artifact of the need to make these systems serve a relatively conventional marketplace task?


Your suggestion of a smart group that arises creatively from a continually evolving set of parameters seems to be the intent and practice of holacracy. As to the organizational purpose of Holacracy One, it seems to have multiple bottom lines including but not limited to profit. For example, see this post in the comments where I noted that the top to bottom pay ratio is 3 to 1, and quoted some of those multiple purposes:

"With Holacracy at play, the game is entirely different: with the decentralization of authoritythe separation of people and role, and the dynamic evolution of those roles, we end up with a situation that looks more like free agents going about their work with no central planning. There might not even be a single person who knows about everything you do."

This sounds much more like the sort of emerging P2P organizational structure discussed throughout this thread. And also of significance in the post following this article where The Integral Center of Boulder has "voluntarily relinquished their rights to control their company as owners. Instead, they have ceded authority to a purpose-centered governance process called Holacracy, a model that distributes authority across the organization and gives primary power to the organization itself."

These are indeed advances over the kind of conscious capitalism promoted and AQALly packaged for sale at I-I.


(comment pending)

This is an interesting moment. Apparently is experimenting with a version of holacracy as well. It clearly represents a theoretical advance over the typical kind of conscious capitalism which combines advanced sentiments with a potentially dangerous and uninspected ideological allegiance to more primitive routines of social organization and wealth production. Yet we cannot know the results of the experiment in advance.

I have tremendous optimism about emergent p2p organizational structures. Experimentation is utterly necessary and should be strongly encouraged. I am also very hopeful that advances can be made in terms of quantification. This is very central in my thinking lately.

It seems that experimental protocols for advances social organization systems suffer from the lack of a quantifiable evaluation of their respective degrees of "collective intelligence". Most people are drawn to such possibilities by ethical and aesthetic criteria which do no necessarily persuade the world. So I would love to see experimentation supplemented by the attempt to devise a metric for estimating the intelligence of a social organization protocol.

Along similar lines, my "tetrabucks" type notions represent the possibility/necessity to structure our currency at a level that correlates to advanced P2P organizational structures and post-pluralistic consciousness.

The potential of an evil holacracy has hardly been broached. If it works -- it works. Other than simply the tendency of less complex people not to use more complex systems, and the tendency of more complex systems to complexify their participants, there needs to be some inter-organizational structures which incline all organizations int he direction of broad human well-being. It is my assertion that as long as primary areas of value remain outside monetization the actions of groups trying to utilize official social credits will constantly become unstable.

So I am imagining a line leading from pathological capitalism to standard capitalism to conscious capitalism to trans-capitalist network organizations to such organizations bound together by a integrated set of metrics for determining the intelligence of groups and splicing together (at least) four broad domains of human value.

Along these lines -- how will we decide whether holacratic integral business is working better?


As to how we determine whether alternative economic paradigms are 'working,' I'd suggest that even by the standards of typical business democratic workplaces like co-ops are successful. If by that we mean the organization runs smoothly, has low employee turnover, high employee satisfaction, makes a profit or surplus over operating costs, and other such typical measures. Plus they fulfill their stated purposes as expressed in theRochdale principles, like community education, cooperation, democratic control, etc.

I'd say the same applies to holacracy. They also have to accomplish the usual business parameters like above but also meet stated principles like in their constitution. Given Robertson's business acumen I'm sure at the site he has precise and measurable indices to track such progress, though I didn't try to find them as yet.


(comment pending)

Views: 8403

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

See this article, which shows that social democracy is the political-economic system conducive to producing the most happiness. Which is why the Scandinavian countries always score the highest on the world happiness index. It's also why the oligarchs keep us starving and fearful, for if we were happy we'd get their influence, and their political lapdogs, out of government. As the article says of capitalism:

"When people become commodities they become subject to pitiless market forces beyond their control. They face a world characterised by chronic insecurity, since the market for the sale of their labour is, like the market for any commodity, subject to uncontrollable fluctuation.  People become dependent on forces indifferent to them, or to any individual. [...] To survive and try to flourish, people adopt the values and norms of the market prison – competitive individualism, egotism, a focus on short-term material gain. In practice, these values detract from a satisfying life."

The article also brings in Maslow's hierarchy of needs related to this internal, psychology state. That is, the lower needs have to be met in order for the higher needs to flourish and produce the most happiness, like self-actualization. And a society's economic system is critical to moving up that hierarchy, or not.

If we define the CIA as the proxy covert agent of the central banking/neoliberal nationstate ; then that article explains in one sentence what is happening in Europe . Paraphrasing: although in recent years the welfare state has taken shots , it still exists everywhere in Europe today . Let's see how that state survives this latest round of shock and awe ! 

Anyway, something that isn't talked about much here: HATRED! A deep seated hatred of the poor ( so deep that I don't believe it is human myself ). There is a certain segment of the corrupted elite that hates certain demographics of humanity . I've experienced this first hand in my life . To do, once again, what the corrupted elite are doing today to those middle east people is a very deep seated hatred of humanity . These events are not random evolutionary accidents! They are engineered by a small population of people with deep seated psychopathy . I see no immediate cure for this although they have hidden themselves behind  the veil of the corporation so changing that structure would be one first step  . 

Anyway Ed., although not perfect from my perspective i see those social  demographic states as being less coercive than the neoliberal one .

Sorry for the typo Bryan! You have a tough audience here . Cheers!

On last thing for the evening : chain of events> let's covertly destroy every social democratic state ( while overtly destroying all the mythic religious states/except for the one we believe in  ) implement our brand of neoliberal capitalism > and integral economics will then magically appear ! Hmmm., i think NOT ! lol

@theurj: I'm sorry to have offended you but I was trying to give you a genuine response to what appeared to me to be a complete dismissal of my argument. Rather than respond directly you first declared that you were beyond what you called "kennilingus" (which seemed directly aimed at me) and then proceeded to make several posts of a variety I internally refer to as "empty-quoting" where you basically quote a book or article or conversation from elsewhere but fail to make any substantive argument to further the conversation (again unless I missed the point you were trying to make, which is possible I suppose). I was left wondering if you were continuing an earlier conversation, just providing interesting information, or if you had meant those articles as an answer to my question. I could not tell which, so I specifically asked you. On a more humorous note, your posts reminded me of this Portlandia skit (I'm from Portland so I love that show) and I haven't been able to get it out of my head all day. ;-D

In any case I am genuinely thrilled to have this conversation, but I would expect some coherent counter argument along with the reference material you post (if counterargument is your goal... I am still unclear there), or at the very least some contextual background as to if/why/how you think the material related. I am, after all, more immediately interested in your thoughts in this conversation than those of Robert Reich, Zak Stein or anyone else, as prescient and interesting as they may be.  

Case in point is andrew's latest remark for the night

On last thing for the evening : chain of events> let's covertly destroy every social democratic state ( while overtly destroying all the mythic religious states/except for the one we believe in  ) implement our brand of neoliberal capitalism > and integral economics will then magically appear ! Hmmm., i think NOT ! lol

I don't know you well enough to say andrew, but you seem less and less coherent as the night goes on! I'll not speculate as to the reason but, this last one comes off as pure snark.. complete with the "lol" at the end. Is this just a bit of late night humor or is there supposed to be an argument there?  

I appreciate your sincerity Bryan and willingness to engage in dialog about your ideas. And yes, the information I provided in the recent posts specifically go to the orienting assumptions and holes in kennilingus, some of which you also engage. To be honest I've already spent a lot of time and energy providing my own thoughts on that topic in this forum and elsewhere and no longer have the interest in pursuing that. My time and interest in now focused in different directions, like in those I post in this thread and elsewhere. I understand you think from a frame that finds that information a/aperspectival* and whatnot but I've got no more time for that debate.

* A/aperstectival, nice term. I'm going to add that to my theurjisms. It means when one has tired of the integral-aperspectival bubble. The double A, as in AA, indicates that like Alcoholics Anonymous those in this group are in recovery from kennilingus.

Good review of Mason's book on post-capitalism. A point I've emphasized:

"Mason is no anarchist railing against the powers that be, far from it. In Mason’s view the way forward can only be paved by our leaders, both politicians and the new wave of tech-industry giants. Mason makes clear, numbers don’t lie, global debt is reaching critical mass- privatization must stop, we must recognize the market cannot save us — it will not reach equilibrium, but more, extensive and involved planning by a strong government hand will be needed as the guiding force, like it or not."

And that government must be led by the likes of Sanders and Corbyn.

Somehow the rest of my post was cut off... late night, sorry for the double post as well.

continued from above:

As to the previous much more coherent points by andrew; starting with your "general observations," which appear to be various familiar arguments from futility (i.e. "it's impossible to implement, therefore you're wrong), or status quo/take it or leave it arguments ("We either align ourselves with these laws and processes or deal with the consequences of not doing so"). Your most compelling statement was the last one, "the last hundred years has seen force become covert within modern cultures through mind manipulation . Much more insidious IMO than punching someone in the face." Here you touch on the means by which modern and postmodern (orange/green) states use coercion. Something I have written about before. Could you perhaps expand on those ideas a little so that I have some more to chew on?

Back to theurj; and the article he linked by Benjimin Radcliff. This again is the Utilitarian argument. I am very familiar with this line of argument. But, I am instead attempting to argue from universal principles. Which is why I went to all that effort to state those principles to begin with. The utilitarian argument has several flaws, chief among them that although the general momentary desires of the majority can be determined, individual happiness and how best to achieve it cannot be universally known. Thus any attempt at a unilateral society (i.e. social democratic government) based on a utilitarian approach will end up either in a constant struggle to please the majority at the expense of the happiness of the minority. Or will have to be extremely complex and intrusive.

Again, apologies if my straightforwardness offends any of you. If I am wasting my time here and you simply aren't interested in my argument at all, please be kind enough to tell me and I will spend my time more fruitfully. Otherwise I look forward to more!

Good night!

I think you might find others here interested in engaging with you on this Bryan. I'm just not one of them.

Hey Bryan , it's probably obvious that I am no scholar ! I'm still hoping that that moneyed republican Dweezel writes a song about Integral before I kick the bucket :) 

BTW: my two economy idea does resolve the tensions (possibly) in your communal/agora dichotomy . Your ideas on Panarchy are similar to what I've called in the past a society of Buddha's and Jesus's . In that context no government would be needed per se . But until then......

I guess the first point that I am having trouble with is your tendency to not see relativity . Not all degrees of murder are the same ; not all coercion is equally toxic . There are destructive forms of government and less problematic types . In the meantime I think it's imperative that humanity seek out the least coercive and destructive forms of government . 

As to my C.T. allusions : even you concede in one of your papers that Integral could be easily co-opted . This was one of my first instincts 15 years age when I first came across these ideas . 

At this point in time I'd be more inclined to put my hopes into a healthy green /yellow state ( chartruce)than a 10,000 points of light Integral non-state .

Kurt posted this link at FB, wherein he and co-author discuss the difference between individual and social evolution in the following quote. We discussed this in different IPS threads, how in kennilingus individual evolutionary levels are just carried over wholesale onto social evolution which isn't necessarily, and likely not at all, the case.

"Wilson differentiates between natural selection for individuals and natural selection at what is called the 'group', or 'multi-level.' While at an individual level, natural selection often operates in a selfish, survival-of-the-fittest fashion, at the group level (think of group dynamics within larger eco-systems), it selects for structures and processes that serve the well being of the whole, and not self-interest groups. In other words, evolution is trending toward a world that works for all. This is a radical reversal of standard evolutionary understanding."

Reply to Discussion


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.

Notice to Visitors

At the moment, this site is at full membership capacity and we are not admitting new members.  We are still getting new membership applications, however, so I am considering upgrading to the next level, which will allow for more members to join.  In the meantime, all discussions are open for viewing and we hope you will read and enjoy the content here.

© 2021   Created by Balder.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service