Thursday, March 31, 2011

Never quite enough

I'd like to highlight an article with the above title by integral economist Christian Arnsperger found at this link. I will provide comments later in that section.

"A 30 percent tax on the world’s two hundred highest fortunes...could give every poor person on the planet a lifetime of nutrition, health, and education. The irony of the situation is that the psychological suffering of a handful of billionaires each' 'robbed' of one third of his fortune would quickly overshadow the physical and psychological suffering experienced today by the 'bottom billion' of the poorest among the poor.

"I fully realize that in the depths of my own body and my own psyche I am just like those billionaires.... For Western man, asking for a third, or even a tenth, of his income in order to feed, house, and educate the whole world is simply too much to ask; each Western Man is the whole world unto himself—we have been
manufactured that way by our culture. It’s called modern individualism.

"We can choose differently, we can choose to look at our lives in another way and to realize that we have made the capitalist market economy into our church, and modern economic science into our religion.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Authoritarian and libertarian conservatism

Last night Rachel Maddow explored this topic, showing how the echo chamber rhetoric machine of conservatism nominally promotes the libertarian variety while masking its authoritarian roots. The authoritarian variety favors big, intrusive government while the libertarian favors small, leave-me-alone government. First she shows the obviously coordinated rhetorical echo chamber for the latter and then examples of the hypocrisy: Florida Governor Rick Scott's executive order to force all public workers to take drug tests, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's financial martial law, Wisconsin's stripping of rights to collectively bargain and several others.

You can find some integral reference to this topic via "The political compass" and this IL discussion. I found this excerpt from the latter interesting:

"Broadly speaking, it appears that free-market capitalism promotes individual rights at the expense of the rights and needs of the collective (e.g. human rights) and at the expense of environmental concerns so is therefore somewhat geared toward the dominator hierarchies of premodern enthocentrism and fascism. This is in spite of being modernist and objective and even postmodernist and pluralistic."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tarot card meditation game

The Holy Spirit herself descends to put the communion wafer into the open mouth of the passive supplicant, while the left hand of God (could it be, Satan?*) cups his baser instincts. Such influx and stimulation cause an overflow of love juice to fertilize the emotive imagination, from which blossoms the lotus/soul.

* Said with the inflection of the "church lady" from SNL.

On the other hand...

A peon contributes his tithe to the church collection plate, which for the most part enpowers its bureaucratic power structure hidden in the "cloud," while meager leftovers trickle back down to support the needy. Consequently, due to not enough to go around below, the peons are led to believe it is one class of them who caused the shortage of funds, thus pitting them against each other while the riches remain hidden from sight in the hands of the powerful manipulators.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Born This Way

Lady Gaga's latest music video of Born This Way. Holy Fricken A +. Maximize to full screen for the most profound effect.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lakoff's Thinking Points

Here is George Lakoff's free e-book Thinking Points. It is an invaluable guide in learning what each of us need to combat the regressive conservative backslide we're seeing in the US and enact a progressive polity. You'll learn why the conservatives have been successful, what they do well, and how to beat them at their own game. You'll also see how progressives unconsciously buy into their frame and lose the battle before it's even begun. I cannot recommend this book more highly in giving one the tools to make real change not only in one's own view but in motivating others toward voting in their own best interests as well as the best interests of our society.

Here is an excerpt:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Nondual image schemas

Here's an interesting seminar in the upcoming Science and Nonduality Conference connecting image schemas with nonduality. Recall I've done this is a number of threads.*

"Image Schema May Reveal Something New About the Relationship Between Dualistic and Nondual Experiencing  by Dr. Frank Echenhofer (Professor of Clinical Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies). Abstract:

"Over the last 15 years there has been a very interesting development within linguistics that may offer new insights regarding the relationship between dualistic thought and nondual experiencing. This development has been the research and writing regarding image schema, all artfully explained in Mark Johnson's book The Meaning of the Body. An image schema is one of many recurring pervasive cognitive structures that are formed from our bodily interactions, our linguistic experiences, and our culture. In contemporary cognitive linguistics, an image schema is considered an embodied prelinguistic structure of experience that shapes the mapping of conceptual metaphors.

"Research studies in cognitive psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience support this notion of image schema. This presentation will provide a new look at the relationship between dualistic and nondual experiencing in light of what is known about how image schemas shape our experiences."

* As a few examples, see this and this link.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rhetoric's potency

At this IPS thread I've been arguing with a kennilinguist over the importance of Wisconsin's political climate. His last quip was what will you do about it, other than whine online like an impotent green meme? My response follows:

If that's all I'm doing you'd have a point, but as usual it is not and you don't. I use rhetoric to move people to action, including motivating myself. It's something at which the conservatives are indeed adept and from which liberals have much to learn. So what else can we do? I use the rhetoric to take personal responsibility for my consumer purchases. I try to find out which companies are supportive of fair labor practices and environmental impact and spend my money at such businesses, conversely withdrawing it from those that bust unions, pollute and treat employees like shit. (Of the latter, e.g., Integral Institute.) I also get politically involved on a variety of levels, from nagging representatives on all levels of government to organizing public interest lobbying groups. That is another thing at which conservatives are skilled, organizing and pooling money to buy politicians. Well the rest of us can do the same thing and we are, and it will have discernible effects in the next elections. (As one example, see the PCCC.)

However we should not neglect the powerful impact of language and rhetoric on this process. Like xibalba mentioned in the constructivist foundations thread, the likes of Foucault taught us to investigate the power structures behind the rhetoric and how to use it for liberation instead of enslavement. Hence posting on forums like this which attract folks with a "spiritual" impulse might indeed have some small influence in motivating us all to enact a better tomorrow my taking personal action today to right such inequities in our current system. It's true this will never happen unless the rest of us are moved to action. So I choose to goad in that direction rather than not only impotent acceptance of such inequity but tacit support by enacting the very rhetoric and practices that promote it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Constructivist Foundations

In my research I came upon a Journal by the above name at this link. It will be an invaluable resource in my postmetaphysical meanderings. This is the how it describes itself:

Constructivist Foundations (CF) is an international peer-reviewed academic e-journal dedicated to constructivist issues raised by philosophy a well as the natural, human, and applied sciences. The journal publishes original scholarly work in all areas of constructivist approaches, especially radical constructivism, enactive cognitive science, second order cybernetics, biology of cognition and the theory of autopoietic systems, and non-dualizing philosophy, among others. The readers of the journal will be kept up-to-date with the central issues and problems of contemporary constructivist approaches.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A sociogenetic hole

I referenced Mark Edwards work on metatheorizing in p. 3 of the progressive economics thread. Returning to another of his JITP articles, "Evaluating integral metatheory" (3:4 Winter 2008), he is criticizing McIntosh for eliminating the LR quadrant. Therein he echos previous criticisms against Wilber from Integral World:

"The artifact-in-use, sociogenetic, and cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) traditions all see artifacts as intimately involved in the evolution of socio-cultural identity. While Wilber also neglects these approaches in his explication of the quadrants, at least his LR quadrant provides a space for the accommodation and exploration of these theories and paradigms from an integral metatheoretical perspective. As yet, however, AQAL-informed theorists, including Wilber, have not explored this sociogenetic tradition of human development" (73).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Capitalism's existential crisis

In his 4/4/10 interview called "Capitalism is experiencing an existential crisis" integrally-informed economist Christian Arnsperger says:

"The brilliant and diabolical logic of capitalism plays on the confusion between 'needs' and 'cravings.' That's why we run after consumption and accumulation. Consequently, it's a system that creates repetitive compulsions for most of us - in any case, for those who have the means to treat themselves to certain things - and that simultaneously creates structural inequalities."

This sounds like a Buddhist economic criticism, that craving is the cause of our suffering. And that this cause is facilitated by this particular economic system with the inevitable result in inequality. He goes on:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Madison's nuclear option detonated

See Rachel Maddow's story on this. So the conservative representatives in Madison separated the union-stripping section of the budget bill to vote on it individually, which they rammed through a quick vote in committee without public notice or time to read the legislation. Recall their argument for it being in the budget bill in the first place was that it was a budget issue, as allowing unions to bargain negatively impacted it. Last night they changed their tune to move on the issue nefariously because there were signs that the Governor and some Republicans were willing to compromise on the union aspects of the bill. Here you go, conservative ideology at work. Is this what you voted for Wisconsin? America?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Michigan's shock doctrine

It's amazing but not surprising what the Governor of Michigan is planning to do, given what's going on in the US these days. This coordinated program of conservative ideology has been in the making for the last 30 years and we need to recognize and speak out against it now, like they are doing in Wisconsin, before it's too late. See this video with Rachel Maddow and Naomi Klein. I also appreciate Klein's advice that we have to then frame the events with what is missing from the conservative spin, not accept their frame in order to neutralize it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lessem & Schieffer

Here's the table of contents for a book called Integral Economics (not the Arnsperger book) by Ronnie Lessem and Alexander Shieffer. This is part of the intergraal alternative to kennilingus. The Prologue is available at this link. An excerpt:

"In this book we build up an ‘integral’ approach to social and economic systems that we have been developing for four decades, in fact over the same time period that the neoliberal model has predominated. It enables us to jointly reframe economics in a way that accommodates nature and culture, science and enterprise, across the whole world. According to our integral approach, every social system needs to find, in order to be and stay sustainable, a dynamic balance between its four mutually reinforcing and interdependent ‘worlds’ and its ‘center’. In other words, a living social system consists of a: Center: the realm of religion and humanity; South: the realm of nature and community; East: the realm of culture and spirituality; North: the realm of science and technology; West: the realm of finance and enterprise.

"This integral perspective is applicable for all types of social systems, from the individual to the organization, from community to society. On an individual level, for example we are seeking a dynamic balance between heart, spirit, mind, body and soul; or, in other words between our ‘Southern’ being (heart), ‘Eastern’ becoming (spirit), ‘Northern’ thinking (mind), ‘Western’ doing (body) and the inspirational and integrating center (soul). A sustainable ‘integral’ society, to bring another example, would have found dynamic balance between its ‘Southern’ environmental or animate sector encompassing nature and community; its ‘Eastern’ civic sector encompassing culture and spirituality; its ‘Northern’ public sector encompassing governance, science and technology; its private sector encompassing finance and enterprise; and, finally, its moral center, encompassing religion and humanity."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Michael Moore in Madison

Michael Moore gave a powerful speech to the protesters in Madison yesterday at this link, with both video and text. From the link:

"America is not broke.

"Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

"Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

The embodied challenge

Here's another oldie but goodie from the IPS thread by this name, excerpts following:

Lakoff & Johnson, in Philosophy of the Flesh (Basic Books, 1999), make some bold statements that challenge many of our preconceived assumptions about not only spirituality but the very nature of consciousness itself. Often for us integralists the latter is intimately tied to the former, as if through consciousness or awareness practice we attune into the nature of existence. Here is their challenge:

“The very existence of the cognitive unconscious…has important implications for the practice of philosophy. It means that we can have no direct conscious awareness of most of what goes on in our minds. The idea that pure philosophical reflection can plumb the depths of human understanding is an illusion. Traditional methods of philosophical analysis alone, even phenomenological introspection, cannot come close to allowing us to know our own minds.

“There is much to be said for traditional philosophical reflection and phenomenological analysis. They can makes us aware of many aspects of consciousness and, to a limited extent, can enlarge our capacities for conscious awareness. Phenomenological reflection even allows us to examine many of the background prereflective structures that lie beneath our conscious experience. But neither method can adequately explore the cognitive unconscious—the realm of thought that is completely and irrevocably inaccessible to direct conscious introspection” (12).

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bricolage and postformalism

In our ongoing discussion of Varela at IPS I found this interesting article by Joe L. Kincheloe (short biography below*) called "Beyond Reductionism: Difference, Criticality, and Multilogicality in the Bricolage and Postformalism." Here are some excerpts:

"Postformalism operates to develop new ways of cultivating the intellect and defining intelligence, while concurrently working for social justice and a democratic redistribution of power. It takes its name from the effort to move beyond what Jean Piaget labeled, formal thinking" (2).

Friday, March 4, 2011

A note on neologisms

You may have noticed that I use a few terms that are not in the dictionary, that I've made up to get across a meaning that is also not in the dictionary. So let me clarify at least two of them for the moment. Kennilingus is one such term. It is a take on the word cunnilingus with which you are already familiar. The kenni part refers to Ken Wilber, so it's a sort of play on one who licks Wilber. This of course is metaphorical, not meaning one who actually gives head to him, although that most certainly could be included, especially since his “suck my dick” comment to critics, which comment it seems acolytes take literally. It's more like those who unflinchingly accept his work verbatim without much, if any, criticism. We all know the type, who when speaking of “integral” will use the exact same language as Wilber, not only in content but often in the same style with the same prejudices. I also use it to refer to the source from when the language comes, to Wilber's own dogma.

To distinguish the alternative integral movement from kennilingus I use the term intergraal. Inter comes more from the interrelations of the elements of AQAL instead of their rigid distinctions. Granted the elements should be separated out to gain invaluable analysis and clarity. Nor should they be reduced to each other in some form a overarching, dominant and relativistic mush of equality. But neither should they be so distinct as to not see how they relate, for it is in the relationships that any sense of a whole emerges from which the parts participate. And said whole is not THE whole, just a particular whole relative to a particular focus in a particular context. And this doesn't have to be reduced to another form of relativism, since it can also accommodate qualitative distinction and make value judgments so to which wholes are better in which circumstances. Also said parts do not have to be entirely subsumed in any given whole, since they retain their own agency and participate in other wholes in other contexts.

The graal of intergraal is the Old French spelling of the term “grail.” We often associate grails with the Holy Grail, the cup that caught the blood of Christ on the cross, and which nectar is purported to induce in one communion with the divine. Hence we drive from such cups in religious masses where wine is transubstantiated into the blood of Christ, and we are washed of our sins by partaking in this ritualistic cannibalism. But again metaphorically it symbolizes more that communion with the big Other. We can demythologize that other from some metaphysical divinity to a more humane other, to focusing more on humanity in the here and now in this world and in this context, in our present embodiment and interactivity with our environment and other human beings. It is a transforming and perhaps even transubstantiating conversion from our isolated agency to a balance with our human communion through the emerging next wave of development in P2P networks. Hence intergraal is in distinction from the typically more agentic, individualistic, authoritarian, capitalistic and intellectualized kennilingus.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Francisco Varela

Balder started a thread on this originator of "enactivism" at the IPS forum. After some historical introductions I commented as follows. For the ongoing discussion join us there.

Enaction in a nutshell from Varela's "Whence perceptual meaning":

"The kingpin of cognition is its capacity for bringing forth meaning: information is not pre-established as a given order, but regularities emerge from a co-determination of the cognitive activities themselves."

What I also find interesting about the above referenced paper is how the general P2P (and evolutionary) zeitgeist of distributed networks organizing via interconnection (like we're seeing expressed in the progressive economics and Rifkin threads for example)* manifests in Varela's cogsci. For example, these passages from section 4 of the paper: