The Shock Doctrine: The War on All of Us

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"I think for the first time in my life I can see how people just throw in the towel. I never understood that before. But it's hard. I guess I'm saying I can see the appeal of not bashing my head against a wall. But then you look at people who have made the decision to become cynical and disengaged. Really, just look at those people. Look where it leads, ha ha. They don't look relieved to me, they look self-loathing. I won't allow myself to go there."  –Naomi Klein, The Glasgow Herald


The Shock Doctrine is a huge book. It's daunting. But a "developmental" urge inside my head said, There is shit going on out there and you need to know about it. Coercive things have revealed themselves in the world, so opaque, so raw, yet so fucked up. You should know: I grew up near Glasgow in the 70s and 80s, a place once infamously known as "No Mean City," so unlike my adopted home of Toronto. How things have changed.
The Shock Doctrine book coverThis response is not a book review. The Shock Doctrine is a brilliant journalistic work and should be read by everyone. There. That's my review. Instead, this is a conversation about the areas that the book doesn't have the space to cover. As a card-carrying Integralist, I love to attend to these other "things": reality in the four quadrants as best as I can see it. The Shock Doctrine lays out how the ruling elites of our time use systemic anti-personal, anti-social, and anti-cultural shock (coercion, assault, torture, murder, political propaganda, media manipulation, ownership of the courts and officers, and brazen and horrific injustice) as a way to destabilize all quadrants, in many social spheres, across the world. This book is a solid, well-researched, and mandatory read, mandatory because what Klein might call a "war on all of us" is affecting our world completely. I also suggest that you read this book as a tactic: as the saying goes, "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." It may seem a bit melodramatic to say that there is a war against all of us, but there truly is one. And if you don't believe me, don't be a coppertop: read the book.

Klein's book provides sobering, unrelenting exposure to the "objective" reality of the current situation. However, she doesn't spend much time on the "subjective" experience of shock, that is to say that shock is a felt experience, mentally and physiologically. By the time you finish the first chapter, you may feel that subjective experience of shock in your mind and body, and the shock will continue to worm its way in. It's a bit like reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy, though the world that Klein describes is unfortunately not a work of fiction.

A Quick Quadrant Primer (pass this by if you already know this stuff)

The quadrants are a map that illustrates how we experience the world. This map splits the perspectives by which we view our 'experience' into four areas, quadrants. We already use quadrants, but we don't normally use them quite this way. We normally use them in grammatical perspectives: 1st Person, 2nd Person, 3rd Person, 3rd Person plural. That is to say, I, WE, IT, or IT'S.

The graphic below defines their relationship to each other, what they cover, and what the do not. In simple terms the left hand quadrants cannot be seen by anyone, they are 'subjective' or 'personal'. The right hand side of the quadrants are provable, since they are the land of the 'objective' and 'impersonal'. As you might already guess a lot of us get hotly into debate about these things. Is love real? Is God real? Does property have more rights than a human? What is democracy? Who has moral authority? What is authority?

the four quadrants

So in Quadrant terms:

UL = Upper Left Quadrant = I = 1st person perspective: Individual/Subjective: My thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Experience and consciousness.

LL = Lower Left Quadrant = WE = 2nd person perspective: Collective/Subjective: Our rituals, shared sense of us, shared sense of community, traditions and norms. Culture and Relationships.

UR = Upper Right Quadrant = IT = 3rd person perspective: Individual/Objective: My body, my actions, that object, its actions. Body, behavior, objects, observable phenomena, actions. The things we do, or things objects do that can be observed.

LR = Lower Right Quadrant = ITS = 3rd person plural perspective: Collective/Objective: Systems, analyzing, planning, designing, monitoring, procedures, regulations, infrastructure and nature.

The CIA develops the 'clean slate'

The Shock Doctrine opens with the story of a McGill University psychiatrist, Dr. Ewen Cameron, who in 1957 was awarded a large research grant through CIA intermediaries to conduct experiments on his patients in an attempt to create a "clean slate" in their minds. Cameron converted old horse stables Dr Ewen Cameronbehind his clinic into isolation rooms for his experiments. The program's purpose was to wipe out the developed cognitive awareness and memory of his patients, what Cameron called mind blanking, so that new behaviors could be installed. Under the guise of "new" treatments, the minds of these unsuspecting patients were overwhelmed by severe electroshock therapy, extreme sensory deprivation, chemically increased sleep duration (up to 65 days), and also intimidating isolation treatments, sometimes lasting 35 days at a time. Cameron stated that "the purpose of the experiments was to wear the patient down." The experiments resulted in permanent changes to the patients'ability to know where they were and who they were. What Cameron probably didn't realize was that his experiments marked the beginning (in the West, anyway) of scientifically establishing the best practices of torture — under the guise of understanding counter-torture techniques for downed US airmen. It is important to note that the survivors of this atrocity instigated a class-action lawsuit against the CIA in the 1980s, and they won. But the damage was done: the evidence of how best to torture was verified and incorporated into the Kubark, the CIA's Standard Operating Procedures manual for interrogation and torture. At this point in the book, we begin to see (in Quadrant terms) the process by which the UL/LL (the individuals internal sense of self, and the individuals internal sense of relationships to all others), can be manipulated by the UR's (observable actions, techniques and behaviors) nasty work, now codified into the LR (systems, administrations, protocols, doctrines) in the CIA's manual for torture.

Psychological warfare: making a clean slate of the masses

By overwhelming the human experience through shock, those in the elite began to have the tools and a keen understanding of how to fulfill their ambition to gather more power, by attacking nation states through the use of mass shock (military strikes, coups, economic sanctions, economic collapse, natural disasters, any event so extreme in nature that leaves an entire population disoriented and severely compromised in their normal activities and habits of living). These mass shocks are a systematic nation-wide form of creating a "clean slate", replacing what was there with what the elite want to be there: more for them, less for us. Klein goes into extraordinary detail in the rest of the book, exposing how the systems and techniques of the shock doctrine have been applied in countries all over the world – Chile, Russia, Bolivia, Argentina, South Africa, Iraq and even the USA. Klein names the players, shows the connections, and exposes the collusion.

Interference. It's a word that literally means to strike another, with synonyms such as "meddle" and "tamper" along for the ride. The Shock Doctrine lays out the systematic national interference against humanity carried out by various people in power since the 1950s. But national interference is not new. It's simply evolved more since wars began. The common dichotomy seems to be the one that Martin Buber and lately Ian McGilchrist have focused on: the difference between two major human styles of relating, and their antipathy toward each other. These are the subjective (personal) I–Thou relationship and the objective (impersonal) I–It relationship. To put this more simply and more generally, in the I-Thou format one might connect to people easily on an interpersonal level, and in the I-It format one might be less skilled with humans relating, in some ways a little more 'autistic', less socially skilled, less personal, less emotionally attached to other human beings. McGilchrist's book The Master and His Emissary points to the eerily similar qualities of each hemisphere of the brain to each relating style and its ways of seeing the world. The left side is detailed, quick, and in the moment, while the right side sees the whole, the connections, and the hidden patterns. The left side Knows, the right side Believes. In addition, in the 1980s Jean Baudrillard developed arguments about the increasing power of the "object" over the "subject" in modern society, and the way in which protest and resistance were increasingly absorbed and turned into fuel by the symbolic "system" of capitalism: in Integral terms, the Right Quadrants (objective experience - quantifiable things, science, statistics, institutions, the letter of the law) subjugate and dismiss the Left Quadrants (subjective experience - feelings, beliefs, relationships, art, culture, the spirit of the law) . Simply put, one view sees people as individuals, the other as inanimate objects. One is happier with a clean slate, the other with a messy yet more human plate.

Readers of Harvard Professor Robert Kegan may note that this dominance of object over subject, in developmental terms, would essentially "stop" human development: no further learning or questioning occurs, as the system perceives that all problems have been solved. This is probably what Frances Fukuyama had in mind when he wrote The End of History. And it really nails how far a conflated and therefore simplistic ego will go in trying to understand and report on 'reality'. To see the quadrants in terms of both of these oppositional styles is to see the ongoing battle in our own heads, and in the heads of the elites.

The rise of the system of the individual

Vision without action is a daydream
Action without vision is a nightmare
–Japanese proverb

John Maynard KeynesAfter the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced The New Deal based on the specific economic principles of John Maynard Keynes, which introduced the welfare state and financial market regulation. As Klein states, "The market crash of 1929 had created an overwhelming consensus that laissez-faire had failed and that governments needed to intervene in the economy to redistribute wealth and regulate corporations."

Like any shadow, power and greed were merely suppressed during and after The New Deal. One man was working hard on another way to re-introduce laissez-faire capitalism. His name was Milton Friedman, and he was a crafty little bastard. He toiled away on his free-market policies in the 50s and 60s, and no one paid him much attention bar a few fervent supporters. He worked at the Chicago School of Economics, and his gang of players were know as The Chicago Boys. During those early years Friedman invented a closed economic system (in Integral terms, he omitted the LL, the space of relationship) by disengaging his system from the needs of the many (the 99%). Friedman believed in unfettered markets, deregulation, denationalization of crown corporations or any state run operation, no social programs, no socialized medicine. Roads, water, energy, hospitals, defense, everything would be owned by corporations – since in his mind corporations are more efficient. Efficient using humans as expendable resources and governments reduced to archaic and useless institutions. This made it much less complex and suited his ideology. In other words, a system that cleans the slate of all need for governments to care of their citizens. This is the exact thing that The New Deal was set up to prevent, but Friedman was out to dismantle it. He was successful, because along came Nixon.

Nixon and the United States government were beginning to see social democracy in Latin America as a problem — even though these countries were considered "jewels of Keynsian economic success," but that isn't how Nixon felt about it. Instead, strategically that success was communicated to the rest of the world's citizens as the "rise of communism." Nixon and Kissinger cared only for US corporate interests in South America (Klein for example shows how ITT funneled $2 million into the hands of an alternative right-wing political party in Chile), and this is when they got Friedman involved, in order to help re-engineer South American economic ideology in favor of US corporations. These countries were getting poorer and losing control of their economies, owing to US corporations siphoning off the wealth, these countries wanted a more holistic nationalized democratic economy. Nixon had a problem, and in Freidman he had a solution – a man who could clean the slate. As Klein puts it, "It was Nixon who would give the Chicago Boys and their professors something they had long dreamed of: a chance to prove that their capitalist utopia was more than a theory in a basement the Chilean coup, 1973workshop — a shot at remaking a country from scratch. Democracy had been inhospitable to the Chicago Boys in Chile (under Allende); a dictatorship would prove an easier fit (Chile under Pinochet)."

Klein goes into detail about how Chile and its democratically elected President Salvador Allende, were targeted. The country was re-engineered with massive planning, co-opting a Chilean University Economics department and filling it with teachers and students trained at the Chicago School prior to the assassination of Allende. A corporate-backed totalitarian apparatus involving Pinochet and the Chilean military was built, targeting and torturing activists and the populace in a reign of terror. This is when the shock doctrine gets established as the ultimate power play in all quadrants to change the economic system from democratic to free market via dictatorship. In this way, the shock doctrine combines Ewen Cameron's techniques of individual shock with national economic and political shock to create the "clean slate." Friedman's economic system could only be engaged by using well-planned brutality and massive administration. The messiness of humanity is easier to order if you shock them into being supplicant and afraid. It is an efficient method, but obviously it's a theory in a vacuum, a closed system. It's an I–It relationship, where humans are object, a system of the individual. This is why it appeals so well to the ruling elites of our time: it turns the 'mass' into an 'it' with a single will, which must be subjugated for their own 'good', and they will do everything to keep it that way.

A Quadrant reading of the Shock Doctrine Order of Battle

UL: Destabilize sense of individual autonomy and economic potential, creating cataclysmic and sudden fear, fear that drops an individual's developmental altitude and Maslow level. Sense of meaning and purpose is replaced by security needs and fear of reprisal.

LL: Infiltrate economic commons ideals with free-market unfettered ideals by coercive means: assault, torture, and murder citizens, union organizers, leaders, politicians, activists, and elders opposed to unfettered Capitalist theories (the State's new ideology). Use less aggressive means in more democratic countries to divide and conquer the middle class, for example, converting a massive nationalized home and apartment rental market into private home ownership at bargain prices (UK in the mid 1980s), creating a "haves" and "have-nots", explicitly constructed civic polarity.

UR: Political manipulation of facts through media, acts of misinformation, deceit, propaganda, obstruction of facts. The acts and techniques in creating an utter smoke screen of their real purpose for national, corporate, and elite personal gain. All techniques have devised in advance.

LR: A massively planned (and over the decades, refined) economic, media, political and policing systems approach to all of the above using shock as the ripe field for action. A very nasty closed system used covertly to wrest the commons from the citizens of the world, for a new world order, without the people of the world really knowing what's being done to them.

The Shock Doctrine then takes apart what happened using this Order of Battle in Argentina, Bolivia, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Iraq, and the United States itself. Did you ever wonder why Nelson Mandela's vision never became an economic reality? In South Africa, the whites held onto total control of the banks, through background deals with the IMF and World Bank and saddled the new ANC government with loans, denationalization and austerity mandates. The ANC never gained access to the means to run their own economy. They were cheated. Ever wonder what really happened with Gorbachev? In Russia, free-market reforms were essentially strong-armed on the people of Russia by Milton Friedman and George W BushJeffrey Sachs (a Friedman disciple), the IMF and the elites system, creating vast inequality, making millions of Russians unemployed, and allowing for the rise of crime and oligarchy. In the United States, the main proponents of the Iraq war and their cronies in the administration developed and invested in private companies to become security and construction consultancies and gave them tenders that would traditionally have gone to the nation of occupation's OWN citizenry. By comparison the Marshall Plan worked to great effect because the majority of reconstruction was purposefully put into the hands of the German people themselves, not 'contractors for profit.' During the Bush/Cheney era, the US political administrators were creating personal profit directly from their own public legislation, now that's efficient corruption!

The most powerful sense I have of The Shock Doctrine is the relentless pursuit of free-market ideology and how brutally cruel and rank it is, how far it has infiltrated, and how we can feel its anti-LL focus. For those of us who have some rudimentary systems thinking capacity, a closed system, like Friedman's, is the most efficient system. An open system is much more complex and much more difficult to attend to. Thus Friedman's idea was based on false efficiency - without the LL (the complex human relational area), and of course was doomed to failure. Doomed because humanity may slumber when 'times are good', but historically humanity always rises against oppression, always. But what an enormous price has been paid because of our own ignorance, and what an incredible level of deceit the elite continue to engage against the majority of the human race. This has been the most strategically managed war in the history of the planet. Think about that for a moment. It is quite overwhelming. That's the "feel" of the shock doctrine.

The shock doctrine and the triune brain

How does the brain respond to propaganda? We can look at Fox News as an example of propaganda. News is objective and factual, like science, and on that basis people can make decisions based on "the facts." Propaganda is ideology disguised as fact, someone's opinion disguised as news. The most obvious recent propaganda of importance was the WMDs in Iraq. This was propaganda because it was not based on facts. Nevertheless, we were told that Iraq "had WMDs." But good critical thinking dissects the propaganda – for example look at these two statements: The tests are positive, you have cancer and we need to operate immediately OR The reports are inconclusive but I think you have cancer and we need to operate immediately. Propaganda plays on our fears and stokes our sympathetic nervous system, our fight, flight, and freeze response. Which Doctor do you want to give that scalpel to?

Depth psychologist Ginette Paris in her book Heartbreak conveys the triune nature of our brain in psychological and symbolic fashion, which is helpful in communicating what's going on in a mind under duress. In her book she describes the three main parts of the brain as actors on our personal inner stage. The reptilian brain, autonomous and reactive, is responsible for survival: fight, flight, freeze, fuck, and food. It's the crocodile in us that sheds no tears — it has no "emotional centre". The next brain sitting on top of the first is the limbic, or mammalian, brain. This is the social and emotional centre, as unconscious as the reptilian brain, and with the cognitive range of an average 18 month old. The limbic brain is therefore not logical and contains our fear-processing and memory equipment. These two particular systems are activated and traumatized by shock: think PTSD, death of a spouse, abuse, assault, etc. This area can be called the "puppy brain" because it cries for its mom and wags its tail with unconditional love. The puppy is highly emotionally and socially sensitive.      

These are the two areas that the shock doctrine is actually attacking. This is why propaganda works on lots of people: the 'puppy' brain wants to fit in socially, be loved, and feel okay with others, and is also concerned about its security if everything is okay. What shock does is to enlarge the amygdala, a vital system in the puppy brain, with powerful consequences, making our triune brain go into overdrive with fear, stress, and anxiety. Unable to find peace or safety, we regress to simpler survival techniques and smaller worldviews – more puppy-like. This is the clean slate's aim, what the CIA developed and codified: we become slaves in our own mind. The third actor in our mind is the cortex, or the "wise human". This part's job is to calm the reactivity of the reptilian brain and to look after the puppy and care for it. This requires work. Most of you reading this know to which work I speak. It is extremely hard work, because the "wise human" is bombarded by the "puppy" and the "crocodile", and its job is to calm that cacophony, but when overwhelmed it cannot do so effectively. To be completely clear, we lose our objectivity when we're in shock. We cannot use our critical thinking skills and therefore cannot see when the wool is being pulled over our eyes, our options and solutions diminish with the effect of shock. Propaganda and the shock doctrine work on the "puppy" and the "crocodile", while we need to counteract that and engage our "wise human".

A call to arms

So where are we right now? What are the ramifications of the shock doctrine, and what can I make more coherent not only for myself, but for others? Time is running out. The planet is in an ecological death spiral, and the elite only care about themselves, not their legacy or responsibility. Considering the recent Occupy Integral dialogue, there is the prime question of waking up and growing up that informs the Integral perspective. I would suggest that to understand the "enemy of the people" (the dismissal of the LL by the system of the individual) is to understand the scale and scope of the powers that be, and the consciousness, shadow, and worldview that creates this power. The shock doctrine's tools and strategies have been honed by a professional body that in some form will have to be "broken up" and "woken up," this will no doubt come as a shock to them too, and as I suspect the elite will fight wholeheartedly against it. What I see is that we now have a choice between radical disruptive activism and/or incremental reforms. The problem with disruptive activism is the engagement of a further "shock" to the already-shocked populace, and the problem with incremental reform is that it creates a slow-moving target for the 1% to strategize against, given that they have the reins of the lawmakers and capital flow in hand. Gradualism, as it's called, is not a strategy of war, unless the enemy is in a castle that can be surrounded and cut off from resupply. We do not have the luxury of infinite time. Climate change is a huge long-term economic, social, and political catastrophe waiting to happen. We're stuck with activism, so what should we be active in? Everything we can be. And so, during this time of activism there will be a "transcend and include" process that will evolve. Development of consciousness, our evolutionary process of adaptation, works amazingly well and intuitively with challenge IF we can apply the 'wise human' and not become a clean slate. Are you feeling that challenge yet?

We are indeed at war, we need to take the red pill and wake people up one by one, group by group, audience by audience, in the way our audience needs to hear it, as soon as possible, by as many of us as possible. Bring the 'wise human' back to them with care and attention, strategically, tactically, and with the sense of integrity of a larger purpose. This is in some ways the fight of our lives. But at this level of complexity there is much to attend to, and there's no model for attending to it. But...

As C.G. Jung said,

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakes.

We can, if we're brave, see our preferences and blind spots, as well as those of others. The blind spot of Friedman et al. is their lack of capacity in the LL, their lack of empathy. Friedman's intellect and theories could not be matched and countered in the LR owing to the preponderance of people with similar mindsets in power. It remains that way. The groundswell of youth around the world that can see the lack of care and statesmanship of their elders will eventually counterbalance the power level, but only if there is a LR manifesto to embody real principles that contain all quadrants working interdependently. As a checklist, it would look something like this:

Upper Left: Are we allowing for individuality of meaning and expression? Uniqueness.

Lower Left: Are we allowing for the care of all humans? Interdependence.

Upper Right: Are we engaging in practices, behaviors, and actions that engage the capacity for these UL/LL necessities? Truly integrally objective about the subjective.

Lower Right: Are we building strong systems of government to enact these principles through participation at all levels of society in every corner of the world, creating the moral imperative to engage in life-serving systems for hundreds of years to come and building a psychologically and developmentally sustaining civilization?

Of course, keen observers may have noticed that these questions orient from my own LL perspective. In the discussion of economics, this is indeed where it also belongs. Economics is not a science but has been reimagined as such by Friedman and the elite. They have used the tools of shock. This book is a vivisection of their methods. It's an exposé of the system that has spawned Augusto Pinochet, Margaret Thatcher, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, and of course Fox News and all those other smart people in the room. These things are not mutually exclusive. These people have found a space in the psyche and jammed a wedge in to break down the development of the rest of us. Anger is always a good way into the warrior spirit, and I think we are all getting pretty angry. That's encouraging. Anger from an Integral crowd would be a blessing.

Engaged Activism

1. Get mindful. Meditate the hell out of your amygdala. Reduce your fear.
2. Get pumped. Face some dragons. See how limitless your pain threshold can be.
3. Get joy. The most unselfish purpose in the world will give you endorphins.
4. Get language. Stop being abstract, right now. Speak with your balls/ovaries. People listen.
5. Get wise. Tune-up your BS detector. Make it detect a closed system a mile off.
6. Get simple. Powerful ideas come from crazy ones simplified.
7. Speak out. The system of the individual abhors a moral compass.
8. Don't panic. Get a towel, and never throw it in. We are hitchikers in our galaxy.
9. Help everyone do the same. Share what you know.


Editors: TJ Dawe, Chris Dierkes 

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  • Comment Link Hokyo Joshua Routhier Monday, 13 August 2012 17:59 posted by Hokyo Joshua Routhier

    I love this so hard! Gregor, wonderful pseudo-review and Integrally informed take of this huge blind spot within the current incarnation of society and the Integral community respectfully.

    Your questions really are provoking and this my friend, is going on Trollz.

  • Comment Link C4Chaos Monday, 13 August 2012 19:48 posted by C4Chaos


    kudos to this excellent, intelligent, passionate, and compassionate piece of writing! it's about time that so-called Integralists go down this dirty rabbit hole.

    as for radical disruptive activism vs. incremental reform, this is where the tire hits the road. here's a good dialogue on this topic between Hedges and Lessig. i agree with both. but historically, i think Hedges more partially right.

    Occupy The Courts - A Conversation with Lawrence Lessig and Chris Hedges ~


  • Comment Link Gregor Bingham Tuesday, 14 August 2012 00:09 posted by Gregor Bingham

    @Hokyo, a deep gassho to you. Glad it hit you hard, that's how it felt for me too, good to know I can transmit that. :-)

    @C, it's been a long time since Zaadz... the years roll on.
    Thank you for the kudo's, I appreciate your feedback highly, it does indeed seem like the no-go Integral zone, one I was in too.
    Thanks for the link, the tactic that seems best is one I had not thought of is to shame the police, divide the pillars. Whatever is necessary is necessary, I have a feeling there are more people with critical thinking skills on this and will only be more as things get worse. Hedges point about the anemic middle class only lasts until they (we) become poor and not just angry but radically angry.

  • Comment Link David MacLeod Tuesday, 14 August 2012 04:12 posted by David MacLeod

    Good timing! I am just queing up to listen to The Shock Doctrine as an audio book. More later.

  • Comment Link Joe Corbett Tuesday, 14 August 2012 05:50 posted by Joe Corbett

    great article, gregor. glad to see a progressive integral analysis of our times. i will be giving your article a closer reading and post some comments later. i have also done some integral social analysis here at beams, and i use the aqal in a full integral critical theory of society in a couple of pieces here:

    integralists of the world, unite!

  • Comment Link Joe Corbett Tuesday, 14 August 2012 07:12 posted by Joe Corbett

    gregor, i have a disagreement with you when you say freidman's free market ideology omitted the lower-left quadrant of deep human relationship, for the lower-left is also values and beliefs, or culture, in short. so its not so much that neo-liberalism (free market ideology) doesnt have deep human relations of culture, but rather its culture is grounded in the ideology of individualism and freedom, and that is precisely the basis for solidarity and deep meaning among the right-wing.

    furthermore, these values (freedom and individualism) are shared among many with a modern world-view, even those who are not right-wing in their political and social orientation. so the partial truth of the elites that says everybody is responsible for their own fate resonates widely, and can be used as a way to shame, humiliate, and take away the dignity of people who are then disempowered from even speaking-out much less organizing against neoliberalism.

    the economic and political elites are thus able to win the ideological battle as well as the institutional battle at the level of law and economic policy because the puppy-brain wants to be loved and approved-of in a modern achievement-oriented environment that says, 'you are responsible for yourself, and what happens to you is of your own doing'.

    the insidiousness of modern capitalist culture as hegemonic over human motives and goals is a challenge progressive forces cannot afford to ignore.

  • Comment Link Gregor Bingham Tuesday, 14 August 2012 11:25 posted by Gregor Bingham

    Joe, thanks!
    I checked out your articles this morning, looks like we are weaving the same rug! :-)
    And some nice points you bring up.

    Yes, of course, Friedman didn't omit the LL. He was hoping to eradicate everyone else's. I used the word omitted to prove the point and for the sake of punch. Next time I will use: Friedman used a diminished form of LL, but that would sound a bit too abstract for clarity. You know?

    The Shock Doctrine is an expose of the Freidman's war on the LL because it is a war on all of us, its a war on republicans too, except they don't know they are being duped. We can call this duping their ‘culture’, but is it actually theirs? It feels more and more to me that it has been massaged for years to create a buffer between the elite and the critical thinkers (a point you make in your article). Anything to add to that? It’s a wonderfully dense question.

    The nuance part that is missing from the piece is the SIZE of the WE. How big is a Republicans WE? And what power do the powerful WE’s bring to enforce that view? The Shock Doctrine really shows the disregard of the larger WE space by the neoliberals et al., whereas I suspect most democrats and left-wingers are just a huge amount more inclusive. The Shock Doctrine does not seem to have a counterpart on the other axis. There is no book that shows the LL enforcing their view on the UL is there? Well, perhaps The Bible fits in there. Maybe that just proves your point?

    The loving message of Jesus though was not transmitted particularly well. That was a choice. Adam Kahane in his wonderful book: Power and Love, makes the point that there is Generative Power and Degenerative Power, and Generative Love and Degenerative Love. The Shock Doctrine is essentially all about degenerative power, which is Power-over, as Kahane puts it. Generative Power is the Power-to. The Power-to care for more than yourself and your crocodile brain’s reaction against having to share the toys.

    Sometimes I think the best book about all this is still I’m OK, You’re OK.


  • Comment Link Matthew Lewis Tuesday, 14 August 2012 14:20 posted by Matthew Lewis

    I get the sense from this piece that Milton Friedman was some sort of diabolical mastermind, biding his time and developing his theories in Chicago, just waiting until the moment when he could start implementing his (neo liberal) agenda. This doesn't seem like a fair characterization of the man and his work.

    In economics, Milton Friedman and his work is seen as an intellectual and natural push back against the ideas of Keynes. A good economist understands that neither of their work is absolute or correct all the time. Both made large contributions to the the field and synthesizing their work and applying their ideas selectively is most prudent.

    Looking over his wikipedia entry on his involvement with Chile, it is hard to reconcile this image of a mastermind with what is presented there. If anyone could help bridge this gap for me I'd appreciate it.

  • Comment Link Gregor Bingham Tuesday, 14 August 2012 16:15 posted by Gregor Bingham

    Hi Matthew,
    Have you read the book? Klein goes into significant detail about how his agenda didn't look too fair to those it effected. I don't think Keynes was in cahoots with any coups (by proxy or otherwise) as far as I know? What would be fair, and how would that inform us, what would your objective of fairness be?

    Seeing economics as either an art or a science is the thing as far as hindsight is concerned. The elite has prudently chosen Friedman and he was a happy man. A pushback yes, a humane one, not at all. Did he mean it that way? We are responsible for whatever we do and whatever we encourage.

    Chapter 3 of the book is about 28 pages and covers your last question. Don't take my word for anything, just read the book and let me know what you think.


  • Comment Link Matthew Lewis Tuesday, 14 August 2012 17:32 posted by Matthew Lewis

    @ Gregor

    I will read the book and get back to you on some of these things.

    In terms of what is fair, the paragraph in which you introduce Milton Friedman describes him as being always against government because corporations are always more efficient. I mean, a quick google search for 'Milton Friedman and public goods' turns up this document, written by the man himself.

    In it he outlines the justification for government intervention in general before taking a specific look at education as possibly needing to be reformed. This casts doubt on the idea that Friedman was as pro market and anti government is as suggested in this piece.

  • Comment Link Joe Corbett Wednesday, 15 August 2012 06:20 posted by Joe Corbett

    gregor, indeed neoliberal free market ideology is culturally nihilistic, a kind of genocide on the democratic and socialist traditions of reciprocity, cooperation, and mutual support. but we dont have to point just at the republicans for this nowadays, as even the democrats since clinton and the 'washington consensus' have implemented a global free market agenda, happily taking contributions (bribes) and revolving door positions from wall street.

    also, i think we have to look not just at the shock and pillage technique of economic and political elites, but the fact that the cold war propaganda of many decades made the west in general and america in particular increasingly receptive to free market supply-side ideas and immune to, paranoid of, and even hysterical over more keynesian 'socialist' type demand-side solutions to economic development when the stagnation of the 70s arose.

    and to top it all off, as i mentioned previously, is the cultural milieu of modern achievement-orientation (the capitalist book of success), which basically says the success or failure of every individual is a personal outcome, a result of individual responsibility or lack thereof. this is a pretty powerful cultural enforcement mechanism on individuals to either put-up or shut-up over what life has dealt them, and this applies to everyone regardless of whether you are on the left or the right, because every modern person has that puppy-love brain just longing for approval and esteem by their modern peers.

    thus, nowadays even liberals can come to believe that successful people are tough and 'adaptable', while poor people are lazy and belong to unions. that's the kind of cultural totalitarianism we live in today under neoliberal capitalism, the modern achievement inspired cold war shock-ortunity nightmare that we are currently living in.

  • Comment Link Gregor Bingham Wednesday, 15 August 2012 09:29 posted by Gregor Bingham

    @ Matthew, thanks for responding, but with a 1955 document I am not sure if you seriously want me to consider that making up for what I am pointing out. Was that your purpose? What is your purpose? What are you adding to in the discussion, what would you like me to come away with?

    @Joe, yes, what a balls-up eh! Fear all the way down. What are we going to do about it? What connections do we need to do differently? What arguments? What solutions? What is going to make people learn to try democracy - the end of the world? Yeah, I know big questions. Maybe we should do a writing project about scenario plans and have some fun with it! We could have
    1. The Neoliberal agenda completes its grand slam, corporations really do take over the world, the UN becomes a corporation and is bought by Wal-Mart and the earth survives, crazy but true!
    2. The 99% follow through their nonviolent struggle and Tibet and all the Glaciers are saved, everyone has a part time job.
    3. Everyone watches and blames each other as the world ends humanities capacity to live. I am sure there are a few more.
    I think we can make a few more slightly more realistic, I should ask Adam Kahane for a pdf to help me with the process!

  • Comment Link Matthew Lewis Wednesday, 15 August 2012 11:31 posted by Matthew Lewis


    If the views expressed there are consistent with his published views over his life time, I am not sure whether the date has any bearing on it. It's not like he put out a manifesto when he was a teenager! There are other more modern documents I can point you to if you like, but I thought this one was a nice read.

    My intention is to point out your hyperbole. It might be intentional or not, but in either case the hyperbole plays well with people that are already sympathetic to the arguments presented here. Milton Friedman! Diabolical mastermind! But, shouldn't we be shooting higher as an integral community? I think some of what you write here is too easily dismissed because of the hyperbole. Although each argument should stand on it's own, when I see errors of this sort, I start cringing.

    Basically, you want me on your side. I have been trained in neo classical economics and a lot of my world views are steeped in it or are based in it as a discipline. But I seek to understand my training's limitations and how it has created my own blind spots. Perhaps we have stumbled onto one of yours?

  • Comment Link Gregor Bingham Wednesday, 15 August 2012 13:37 posted by Gregor Bingham

    @Matthew, thank you, now I know where you are coming from.

    Please illuminate my blind-spots. I welcome them, really. I do apologize for my exaggerations for effect, but my sense of Friedman and the impact his policies have had leave me angry.

    I am sorry that makes the text cringe worthy to some extent. However, I have read the book, and you have not. The classical argument for me is, read it then tell me why you disagree with it, don't send me an old paper to paper over what you perceive as lack of understanding.

    The impact of Friedman's system is what the article is about. So please, bring on your perspective, and let me know how the moral developmental line of Freidmans system stands up to neo classical critique. I for one don't have the wisdom to do that. But you my friend do, so please do.


  • Comment Link Matthew Lewis Wednesday, 15 August 2012 16:51 posted by Matthew Lewis

    @ Gregor

    Thanks, I do intend to read the book. However, suggesting that I can't or shouldn't disagree with what is written here until I have read the book is a logical fallacy called special pleading.

    Sports casters make this mistake all the time, "She can't know what she is talking about, she never played major league baseball!"

  • Comment Link Hector Wednesday, 15 August 2012 17:56 posted by Hector

    A very complete article/argument. In your activism portion, along with speaking from the heart/balls/ovaries I'd add become precise with your language. In other words speak to the point. Too often people on two sides of an argument are actually after the same thing. We get caught up in name calling and finger wagging blame games. What is the objective? Keeping this in mind can serve to unite all quadrants despite our blind spots.

  • Comment Link Robert Lyons Wednesday, 15 August 2012 18:01 posted by Robert Lyons

    Commenting on a recent edition of the Daily Evolver, "On the Risks of Cultural Devolution," I closed by rolling a grenade (borrowed from Joe Corbett) into the room:

    "[I]s Justice a part of the shadow of Integral Theory, a kind of repressed aspect of its existence?"

    I argued, 'There is no measuring our relative evolution or devolution without close attention to our fidelity to the rule of law... Not to discount other advances, some quite phenomenal, I’m scoring recent evidence in this realm as devolutionary.'

    I am somewhat sanguine with the notion that Community Integral is still maturing and becoming stable in its understanding. Still, I wonder if there isn't an excess satisfaction with the Eastern paradigm of cultivating and abiding in spaciousness as sufficient. Contrast that with the fieriness of that Jesus guy, who, united with the All-in-all, commenced to tossing the money-changers' tables.

    Chris Hedges has that fire. So too, we see here, dear Gregor. Terry Patten's work is emerging in this direction. Some of the Evolutionary Enlightenment folks are emerging from their years of cloister, mature and stable in their realization -- hopefully, with some fire in their bellies.

    The catastrophe of Climate Change is well underway, contributing to the Anthropocene or Sixth Mass Extinction; the Artic melting; our oceans choking with acidification... The "Shock" troops are legion and very powerful.

    Let's hope our affection for spaciousness will quicken and strengthen our response.

    Thank you, brother.

  • Comment Link Gregor Bingham Wednesday, 15 August 2012 19:33 posted by Gregor Bingham

    Howabout some moral fallacy? You seriously want to defend Friedman without reading the opposite of what you believe him to be, not even the 28 pages? Your linking his old document seemed a bit rushed to me you see... Klien put two and a half years into the book, I'd like some effort on your part, just a wee bit more, that's more special pleading, sorry if that is rude, I don't mean to be rude. If there is a better way to encourage a reader to give me their knowledge, let me know.
    I don't demand your best, but I want your best.

  • Comment Link Gregor Bingham Wednesday, 15 August 2012 19:40 posted by Gregor Bingham

    @Hector, thanks, it's hard, but it's good!

    @Robert, thank you. I see the return of the king's and queen's of our own psyche's. This maturation is in quite the alchemical container that is more real than Jung would have imagined - but yet probably not! We all serve our future, glad to share it with you too brother.

  • Comment Link Trevor Malkinson Wednesday, 15 August 2012 19:56 posted by Trevor Malkinson

    Matt, just wanted to jump in and say that I think it's completely valid for Gregor to ask you to read the text before drawing final conclusions on what's been written and argued in the piece. I hear you quibbling over details when there's something much more substantial and broad to be directing our attention to here, aka a system of systematic domination that is causing the suffering of millions of people (not to mention the wanton draining of natural resources).

    'Logical fallacies' are true within Aristotelian modernist/rationalist logic, and you invoking them alone is anything but an 'integral' response to this article and its contents. I invite you to open up other dimensions of yourself to the content of the piece and conversation that could be had here. There is indeed something diabolical happening here my friend, and I would also invite you to read the book with an open mind and heart, and see how you really feel about the situation as it's played out on the Earth over the past thirty or so years. It's a grim story, easily turned away from.

    Gregor, great piece. Joe Corbett, fuck I love your voice man. Good to see you around again.

  • Comment Link David MacLeod Wednesday, 15 August 2012 21:28 posted by David MacLeod

    You asked the question, "There is no book that shows the LL enforcing their view on the UL is there?"

    Of course there are. We could start with the '70s era book by Francis Schaeffer, "How Should We Then Live - The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture." At that time, the common enemy of conservative Christian thought was often described as "secular humanism." In current framing, try a google search on "tea party agenda 21".

  • Comment Link Gregor Bingham Wednesday, 15 August 2012 21:33 posted by Gregor Bingham

    @Trevor, thanks for your input. I didn't go to university, I worked in factories...

    @David, thank you, though it was rhetorical. Both systems are diabolical. That will be another essay for another time. Looks interesting!

  • Comment Link Matthew Lewis Thursday, 16 August 2012 11:33 posted by Matthew Lewis

    After reading the first three chapters, I still have my quibbles. But I guess I am getting caught up in the details because that's all I want to talk about. Defending Milton Friedman is not what I am trying to do and if that's how it was perceived then I'll have to examine my rhetoric. What was perpetrated in Chile in the name of 'free markets' is abhorrent to me.

  • Comment Link Gregor Bingham Thursday, 16 August 2012 13:57 posted by Gregor Bingham

    If I may share my own vulnerability here, I lack the details, it's not my strength. This is to a certain degree one of the the underlying human condition we have both experienced in our attempts here to connect: details vs. patterns. I see patterns very well and you see details. We need both to have a better world, once cannot omit the other, that is why empathy is so important, we cannot do it without the LL. Neither detail or pattern is supreme, together, well, lets see! Thanks for contributing, and please continue.

  • Comment Link Joe Corbett Friday, 17 August 2012 03:25 posted by Joe Corbett

    robert, i think you are right that integral theory and practice places far too much emphasis on the eastern paradigm of contemplative quietism and spacious navel gazing, and that this imbalance is most un-integral. moreover, there is tremendous resistance even to the suggestion that this is so, which i think shows that a shadow is at work within the inner integral clique.

    of course, this would be nothing new, as the split between the hippie new age spiritualists and the new left radicals goes back at least as far as the 60s, and shows up in the various romantic movements of history as well. but the point of 'integral' is precisely to transcend and include, which does not seem to be the spirit of kw inc. on the matter of justice. jesus would be horrified, and very angry.

    trevor, its always good to hear your voice too.


  • Comment Link Robert Lyons Friday, 17 August 2012 06:29 posted by Robert Lyons

    Hey Joe,

    Have been stewing for a while with your querie, "[I]s Justice a part of the shadow of Integral Theory, a kind of repressed aspect of its existence?" And using it as a search term on the internet several days ago, I landed at the blog of Joe Perez and his essay, "On Integral World, Joe Corbett calls Ken Wilber not-so-nice things." I traded notes with Joe, digging down on this question of justice as shadow:

    'I can fairly ask: Is there any Integralist who can be all things to all people, in every situation, all the time? And I can confidently answer: No.

    Do I expect Ken Wilber to stand on the steps of some courthouse demanding a just verdict in a pending case; expect him to file lawsuits; search in vain for the amicus brief he filed in the case of ____ v. ____? Of course not.

    It is arguable that Kenneth Earl Wilber has given humanity the Keys to a New Kingdom. What more might anyone ask? It is up to you and me, second, third, and succeeding generations of Integralists to put these Keys to good use.'

    It may be that I am more of kool-aid drinker than you are, Mr. C, as regards Kenjushri and "the inner integral clique." KW does not regard himself as a guru, but he holds that place in my heart. And I find many explicit "rabble rousing" invitations to fierce moral action in his work -- even in the seeming stillness of his Prime Directive: "The health of the entire spiral is the prime directive, not preferential treatment for any one level." At the same time, his blog, for example, is not exactly a clearinghouse for the "radical disruptive activism" that Gregor and others are contemplating if not engaging already. And I have submitted comments to his blog lamenting this fact.

    Also with Mr. Perez, I said:

    In a recent dialogue* at the Enlighenment Conference, Amy Feldman shared her remarkable reflections on the "cloistered" and "exclusory" period of time that the Evolutionary Enlightenment community has gone through on the way toward becoming stable and mature in their realization. Undoubtedly, something similar is transpiring in community Integral. We are still filling out this new suit of clothes.

    Ol' JC had his "lost years," while someone like Dr. King seemed born to go. Maybe there is some necessary and righteous period of "monasticism" or "householder Zen" that many of us are engaged in, out of which some similarly brilliant and catalyzing revolutionaries will come. Few people ever have revolutionized human understanding quite as profoundly as Ken Wilber. Whether it amounts to so much navel gazing or the profound AQAL changes our very survival depends upon, we're about to find out.

    I don't fly at the same altitude or velocity as you or Perez or Gregor do, and certainly not in the same atmosphere as KW. And probably of a weaker constitution, also, I ruined my health on account of outrage fatigue associated with the Bush/Cheney wars and torture horror show, capped off with the the orgy of greed leading to the '08 Financial Collapse. Some personal quietism was in order, for me, to re-integrate and re-equip for what's to come.

    I love your passion, brother.

    *Translineage Awakening - Meeting on the Path, with Lynne Feldman and Amy Edelstein

  • Comment Link James Barrow Friday, 17 August 2012 16:32 posted by James Barrow

    Hallelujah! Gregor I have been waiting for this article to appear in Integral circles for a long time(waiting for someone else to do it cos I'm not a very good writer, and I'm a bit lazy.)

    This encapsulates my own perspective: "Anger is always a good way into the warrior spirit, and I think we are all getting pretty angry. That's encouraging. Anger from an Integral crowd would be a blessing."

    I think Matthew is right to be slightly put off by your hyperbole, and also to want to look at the details more closely. I also comlpetely see why you chose to let your anger come to the forefront and I like your response to him about needing attention to both patterns and to details. Nice.

    So, with regard to some of the details re. Freidman, coincidentally last week I was following a link from the Positive Money website to a video of Ayn Rand and then onto this video of Friedman.

    What I found interesting about these two videos is that despite the numerous areas of difference between Rand and Friedman, they both exhibited the same lack of concern about the "robber barons" (rand video from 5min 20secs, friedman from 4.00mins). And I have often felt the same thing about Ken's writing and other pre-eminent integral writers, that while they are great at pointing out the important distinction between the healthy and the pathological at any given level, they do not focus on what an incredibly powerful force for regression emerges when pathology and excessive concentrations of power/money are combined and left unchallenged. It's as if the threat to the rest of us by the robber barons has been airbrushed out of the integral model, or perhaps was barely ever included or given enough priority in the first place.

    Thank you Gregor and Naomi Klein for pointing out this clear and present danger.

  • Comment Link James Barrow Friday, 17 August 2012 16:34 posted by James Barrow

    Sorry, misse dout link to Friedman video:

  • Comment Link Gregor Bingham Friday, 17 August 2012 23:09 posted by Gregor Bingham

    Hi James,

    Grazie. It took me a few months to get through it, like a freaking marathon that didn’t end. I don’t have a head like Ken.

    I am really quite fine with my own claims here, because the ensuing ‘hyperbole’ accusation is the perspective we grandly take when we infer that someone is exaggerating – before they actually read the data. I am and have been equally guilty of feeling that way when my data set doesn’t match someone else’s. I want an open challenge because I might be wrong and I want to be wise, not right. Secondly, if I had written this piece like some of the soft material that shows up in the Integral world, with every perspective taken into account equally, then what ends up happening is a loss of contrast. This book shows blood in rivers the size of the amazon. The Integral view is to see perspectives and call out the deviants, surely?

    I too would like Ken as a leader, but I think he can see a wee bit more than we care to that we all need to evolve en masse. I have a feeling that Ken knows that we all must pass through the fiery initiation from dynamic masculine into static masculine, from our own purpose to a new stability and order that truly serves humanity on a global level. We are facilitators and co-creators of another order, we don’t have a map, and we need to work together and discover the landscape as we experience our life as contributors with all other contributors, to a new way of being in this world.

    Thank you for the links.
    Friedman hangs his value on ‘creative and productive’, which is in business terms is another word for ‘billable’. Government ‘sit around’. ‘Local governments should do the work so you can see if you are getting your monies worth’. Not much trust in ‘the state’ being efficient here. Such an old saw, efficiency without moral or interpersonal restraint feeds upon itself, Friedman was under the grand illusion of infinite growth and infinite consumption. Reminds me of Agent Smith in The Matrix talking about the human race as a virus. Friedman forgets that it was empires and armies that created profit, then industry takes over and make it look like ma and pa all along. Klein points to the fact that Friedman’s parents ran a sweatshop in NJ. The unions shut them down when he was a child – I wonder how that helped him develop his theories about lassez-faire? Hmmm? And Rand, scared shitless about totalitarian communism, and completely blind to totalitarian capitalism- a confused logic that considers power better in individual hands than in many hands – it is still power and it will be corrupted without a third party. We choose our poison, or we can see if there is an alternative, dichotomies are subject waiting to become object too. But I do see that those two are a product of their time, and they got cognitively and morally lazy with horrific results, and that’s me being generous.

  • Comment Link Joe Corbett Saturday, 18 August 2012 03:43 posted by Joe Corbett

    james, i think you said it exactly with a bulls-eye when you stated:

    "I have often felt the same thing about Ken's writing and other pre-eminent integral writers, that while they are great at pointing out the important distinction between the healthy and the pathological at any given level, they do not focus on what an incredibly powerful force for regression emerges when pathology and excessive concentrations of power/money are combined and left unchallenged. It's as if the threat to the rest of us by the robber barons has been airbrushed out of the integral model".

    right on man, and its a point that i and others have made in the past, but to no avail, with nothing, no response from kw or his inner circle. and certainly while kw is not obligated to go march with occupy, he is responsible for not addressing this most serious omission from his theoretical model, which purports to be a theory of everything.

    furthermore, not only is kw guilty as a spiritual leader of a flock of followers for remaining silent on this issue, he has actively misled his followers by a kind of misdirection, a propaganda technique of the corporate media, by endlessly repeating the mantra of 'the big three' (truth, beauty, goodness) while falsely equating the lower-right quadrant of justice and the interobjective social relations of inequality with intersubjective morality on the one hand, and with a generalized external material world of 'it and its' on the other hand. by doing this, he is able to completely erase 'justice' as the fourth archetype of the aqal on equal footing with truth, beauty, and goodness, and hence mislead his followers.

    my suspicion is not that this is an oversight or misinterpretation of the lower-right quadrant by kw and his inner circle, but rather it is an ideological blind-spot that serves to protect the economic and ayn randian interests of the inner integral agenda at integral institute, and which also jibes well with the wilberian interpretation of buddha as a republican ('your social position in life is of your own doing').

    its time to overthrow the integral elites in the anger and passion worthy of a jesus christ, in liberty and justice for all.

  • Comment Link Lincoln Merchant Saturday, 18 August 2012 18:16 posted by Lincoln Merchant

    Joe Corbett said:
    "my suspicion is not that this is an oversight or misinterpretation of the lower-right quadrant by kw and his inner circle, but rather it is an ideological blind-spot that serves to protect the economic and ayn randian interests of the inner integral agenda at integral institute, and which also jibes well with the wilberian interpretation of buddha as a republican ('your social position in life is of your own doing')."

    My suspicion is that "kw and his inner circle" flew through the Green stage in the cognitive and ego lines of development so fast that they never translated and got to know the mature and healthy territory of Green, especially in the LL & LR. That's why they tend to reduce a lot of Green down to the po-mo college professors of the 90s that rejected them from the Academy, their narcissistic boomer pals, and the New Age spiritualists with whom they deeply want to disassociate from. They don't know really know what healthy Green is.

    And no one really knows what healthy and mature Green political/economic systems will look like since they have not yet been co-created across the world. I think it's what Occupy is pushing for.

    Also, Integral Institute and Integral Life were floundering and dependent on big donors until Robb Smith came along and fixed them to be self-sustaining in the present economic system. They were running on pre-conventional Magic and Myth. Now they've got a functioning conventional business model. Next is a move towards a post-conventional model that accepts that Orange is a pathologically wrong fit for a global economic system.

    Just the perspecitve I'm enacting in this field of meaning and understanding we're co-creating! (if you know what I'm sayin')

  • Comment Link David MacLeod Sunday, 19 August 2012 00:48 posted by David MacLeod

    Although I think some healthy Green post-modernism was reflected in Wilber's "Integral Spirituality," what you are sharing here really resonates. Thank you for sharing these thoughts, and I'd love to hear more.

  • Comment Link Joe Corbett Sunday, 19 August 2012 04:10 posted by Joe Corbett

    lincoln, you may be correct that the integral elites may be so hung-up on the mean green meme theme that they cant see the forest for the trees. but only time will tell if this will ever change.

    however, we must not let our hopes dampen our pressure on the integral elites to change their ways, for, afterall, the hierarchical perspective of development sees cognitive and self development from an individualistic perspective, and too easily translates this and equates this with a natural, autopoietic 'justice' of social hierarchy and inequality about which nothing needs or even should be said lest we embarrass or enrage the 'losers' and undermine the sacred developmental reward mechanism of meritocracy.

    meanwhile, what actually gets left unsaid by not addressing social inequality, first, is that social inequality is not a natural, autopoietic (self-organizing) reflection of developmental differences for the very simple reason that the distorting influences of power and money makes it an unnatural and strategically manipulated system of differences; and second, even in a natural or 'just' meritocracy, if inequality brings suffering to the 'losers' it is immoral and therefore unjust as well (whereas inequality without suffering would be a just meritocracy).

    in other words, whatever the promise or hope of integralism, we must continue to beware and vigilant of the creep of social darwinism whenever the stakes are hierarchical development.

  • Comment Link Lincoln Merchant Sunday, 19 August 2012 16:11 posted by Lincoln Merchant

    *per my understanding of the Beams and Struts policy, my references to the SD colors are actually technical (not that I'm a huge expert) references to Spiral Dynamics, not a generic reference to vague levels of humanity. I would welcome tutelage from SD experts if I'm erring.

    It's always struck me how fast the Integral community seems to want to push people through the Green code. It takes a while for a code to grow into the more primary organizing force in an individuals vMeme stack (not that the others go away), then it would take even longer for several people working from Green to get together and co-create a functional social style, and then even longer for enough to people at Green to actually invent and make practical political and economic systems capable of supporting human existence, and then even longer for those systems to replace the previous status quo. These are long over-lapping processes, not something that can come and then be gone in a matter of a few decades.

    For every new code there's an exit phase from the previous code, a honeymoon phase of the new code, and then a translational period where the new code becomes a functional adaptation to life conditions. That exiting phase is characterized by a lot of energy, maybe violent energy and projection towards the previous code which is now failing to guide the person in their existential life needs. The code is seen as attacking the person going through the transition. In this phase the person tries to find some kind of opposite direction to go in, creating the antithesis for which (if conditions are right for growth) the healthy, mature version of the next code is the synthesis. The entering phase is characterized by a honeymoon of belief that NOW the person will be happy forever and grandiose claims of pending universal utopic transformation. Of course, innovative growth might not be the answer to the life conditions for the individual, so you can also see people consolidating back to a simpler code when the code they're on fails.

    Almost every time I see KW reference Green regarding individual attitudes and behaviors, it strikes me that he's either talking about the exit-Orange antithesis phase or the enter-Green honeymoon phase. References to Green in the LR tend to be references to things like the Civil Rights or environmental movements. The leaders of the Civil Rights movement may well have been acting from a moral realization of universal human compassion and been personally acting from the Green code, but what they actually accomplished was straining the ethnocentric detritus from the legal system. Now I believe the Constitution was written by men operating from a primary Orange code so essentially the Civil Rights movement purified and strengthened an Orange based political/legal system based in the equal rights and liberties of individuals. It did not create a Green system.

    Likewise with the environmental movement. The leaders and pioneers very likely realized that they were enmeshed in a global eco-system/web of life which, while resilient, was not an infinite source of resources and an infinite hole into which you could dump waste. Planetary consciousness means consciousness that we inhabit one planet. That said, what the environmental movement accomplished was to create a powerful special interest lobbying group, like any other in the political system, and thereby influence government regulatory policy. It's still just in the mix of every other lobbyist group striving to achieve maximum influence in competition with others. There's nothing Greener about the system itself than there was before. They still completely rely on faith in the invisible hand of political competition to yield optimal results for the most people over the long run.

    We're not on the verge of global Integral utopia, we're in the dark territory where the Orange vMeme is failing as the dominant global political/economic organizer and we've got deal with tension of not knowing whether we're going to grow to Green or collapse backwards into one of our previous codes. Of course, that's assuming that moving towards a wider spanning, more complex vMeme is a movement towards more freedom and more compassion for more people, which is debatable.

    Have a good one!

  • Comment Link Lincoln Merchant Sunday, 19 August 2012 16:51 posted by Lincoln Merchant

    @Joe Corbett,

    It really does seem that the KW Integral brand people want the ear of the Davos elites in order to pursue top-down integral strategies. Like you, I'm not sure they recognize the extent to which those elites are causing some of these global problems and the resistance the global elites will give to solutions that would almost certainly hurt their geopolitical and financial interests. I'm concerned about this path, but I'm not ready to condemn it. Maybe I just don't get what they're up to.

    One thing that I think is a great accomplishment and really support coming out of the KW circle is the Journal of Integral Theory & Practice, the SUNY books, and the Integral Theory Conference. If I was them, I'd be really proud of getting that serious academic work together. That stuff is just light years ahead.

    The KW brand Integral community is like a small town that thinks it's the center of the world. I'm ok with that. The world will keep spinning even when the leadership misses the mark. There's a lot of other directions to go in.

  • Comment Link David MacLeod Sunday, 19 August 2012 17:47 posted by David MacLeod

    Thank you Lincoln. I've had similar thoughts, and think it would be advisable for the integral community to put as much time into figuring out how we might avoid collapsing back into previous codes, and how we might help the culture grow into healthy Green, as is being put into individual development into Yellow and Turquoise codes.

    As well as acknowledging healthy Orange, Red, and Blue, and seeking better understanding and communication (integral multi-lingualism). As Wilber once acknowledged, if the planet is to be saved, we don't have time to wait until "enough" people reach the Green code.

    AND being aware of, and preparing response to the expected pathology of late stage Orange (aka late capitalism/neoliberalism/corporatism) as it attempts to hold on to its power just as its reach is exceeding its grasp.

  • Comment Link Steven Brody Monday, 20 August 2012 01:12 posted by Steven Brody

    As you stated,the civil rights movement "did not create a Green system", and much of the economic effects have been in Orange. But the civil rights movement was, emphatically, an important current in the 1960s incoming Green wave.

    I largely concur with your perspective of what's happening with KW and Green. As a psychotherapist, psychology is my primary angle in looking at it, and from this angle KW/II is not just dissing postmodern psychotherapy, he/they are totally ignoring it. Following is a post I made a few weeks ago in the new MetaIntegral site, at the Integral Psychotherapy Center section. It's not an official KW/II site, but it hugely informed by Integral, and they have nothing, zip, about postmodern therapies.

    "As a mentee of KW for over 30 years, and a licensed therapist for nearly that long, the absence of postmodern therapies is glaring in most presentations of Spectrum/Integral Psychotherapy by just about everyone.

    "Postmodern therapy can be identified as being influenced by the philosophies of a handful of individuals, including Derrida, Foucault, Wittgenstein, Rorty, and a few others. Actual clinical work that is rooted in postmodernism can be grouped in three major categories or influences: (1) Narrative Therapy, (2) various off-shoots from the work of Milton Erickson, such as Solution-Focused Therapy, (3) Collaborative Language System. There are other therapies that may assert themselves as postmodern, but these three constitute the majority, worldwide. In KWs "valid knowledge acquisition", this is where communal confirmation lives; this is the accepted community of knowers.

    "Similarly, KWs four validity claims (truth, truthfulness, cultural meaning, functional fit) are met in this perspective of postmoderrn informed psychotherapy.

    "However, one will be hard pressed to find much, if any, mention of any of this community of postmodern therapy knowers in the writings by KW or most any other writer of Ingegral. The integrity of Integral demands otherwise. I am currently writing an essay that addresses this, with the working title of "Ken's Green Poop", outlining his expressed Phobos of postmodernism, as found in psychotherapy.

    All thoughts welcome.

    Steven Brody


  • Comment Link Joe Corbett Monday, 20 August 2012 05:29 posted by Joe Corbett

    for those who are interested, i want to offer a brief psycho-socio-historical genealogy of the integral elite aversion to the green meme and their seeming embrace of the neoliberal ideology of davos.

    the new age hippie spiritualists represent for kw the pre-trans fallacy of enlightenment, where magical and egotistical levels of consciousness were mistaken for spiritual liberation, whereas the postmodern faction of the new left radicals represented the mean green meme, the cultural 'absolutist-relativists'.

    this basically left kw as a strange bedfellow to the backlash against the counter-culture and a champion of the heroic individualism of his early ayn rand years. then reagan enters the stage, cowboy individualism incarnate for the chosen ones, and a cultural confirmation of the self-made man philosophy of the atman where those hippie radicals can stick it where the sun dont shine, or something like that.

    by the time mr washington consensus guy bill clinton rolled around a third-way politics of the end of ideology was all the rage, and it was all about a seamless capitalism of personal responsibility and the ownership society, a perfect time to start-up a business of spirituality with a marketing plan.

    then, finally, obama, where the integral dictum that everybody is right will have functional fit into the washington consensus and be used as a compromise strategy touted by integral consultants and meta-lobbyists who say the truth is somewhere in the middle between left and right. never mind that a left no longer exists in mainstream politics today, or that the right has gone loony-fringe-right, as corporate democracy for the elites will find a way, the one way of an undivided, nondual capitalist totality, suchness as it is for those awakened with the right stuff, and a pocket full of integral seminar consulting fees.

  • Comment Link Robert Lyons Tuesday, 28 August 2012 22:44 posted by Robert Lyons

    Still ruminating on this conversation. Revisited Terry Patten and Marco Morelli's Integral Revolution last night, wanting, I suppose, for further instruction. Probably redundant, but figured I'd post a link to IR here:

    Also, just discovered, "A Response to Tom Huston, Re: Integral Activism," by Chris Dierkes, also part of this conversation:

  • Comment Link Gregor Bingham Sunday, 02 September 2012 18:55 posted by Gregor Bingham

    This is a fairly straightforward argument against Capitalism, in its current context, using the same proposition: what helps and hinders human development? What is important in the LL?

  • Comment Link James Barrow Monday, 03 September 2012 13:57 posted by James Barrow

    Gregor, thank you for this link. I've been observing this process and talking about it myself for about 15 years... it's good to hear someone more eleoquent than me making it more widely understood.

  • Comment Link Robert Lyons Thursday, 06 September 2012 06:06 posted by Robert Lyons

    Have recently been shaving the differences between Joanna Macy's Three Pillars and Ken wilber's Four Quadrants. "Where's the Lower Left in Macy's model?," a friend asks. Have found this thread and another here at B&S, "A Response to Tom Huston, Re: Integral Activism," by Chris Dierkes, speaking to me directly where I am living. (Deep bow to the authors and respondents.) Have been pouring uncounted hours into volunteering for the recent Integral Initiatives Enlightment Conference (convinced that the Awakened state may prove to be our most precious and phenomenal natural resource) and the Integral City Collective City 2.0 Conference (hopeful that we might adapt) currently underway. And tonight I read and share the latest from Chris Hedges, "Life Is Sacred," brought to task by his terribly honest appraisal:

  • Comment Link Joe Corbett Thursday, 06 September 2012 11:23 posted by Joe Corbett

    its interesting and frustrating to see hedges reach the depths of despair he does where there's no way out but the hope of resistance, and yet he remains absolutely opposed to any violence.

    well, if you see hitler on the street, kill him, mr hedges, with no regrets! its the moral thing to do. and if anyone honestly see's the dismal prospects of a corporate controlled future as hedges does, which i think is reasonable and probable, then its about time to set the sniper rifles loose on the leaders of the 1 percent, for the sake of your children, mr hedges. and you can take that one to the integral bourgeoisie cocktail parties to hear the screams of shear terror and horror.

  • Comment Link David MacLeod Friday, 07 September 2012 03:53 posted by David MacLeod


    My own thinking is a hope that the integral community will waken to the concerns you're speaking about - that Naomi Klein and Chris Hedges speak about.

    And yet, I also hope that the integral community will bring a response that differs from the traditional "activist" responses ranging from non-violent mass protest to violent revolt/rebellion.

    Some various ideas that mostly congeal around Bucky Fuller's idea: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

    "The Next American Revolution - Sustainable Activism for the 21st Century":

    The Rocky Road to a Real Transition - reviewed by Rob Hopkins

    David Holmgren Talks Strategy

    Nature: A System of Systems by Rex Weyler (Greenpeace legend)
    See comment section where he basically echoes Holmgren's Permaculture principles:

    Rex Weyler says:

    Virginia: RE: What do humans need to do?

    In my humble opinion, given what I have witnessed over 4 decades of environmentalism, these are the priorities:

    1. Apprentice ourselves to nature and learn how it works as best we can.

    2. produce less humans (stabilize population, then let it recover to a reasonable burden on Earth. This will take a few generations. Universal women's rights and available contraception would be two valuable first steps. Win, win.

    3. Simplify & Localize: Avoid complex technical solutions that dig our ecological debt hole deeper. Gain local food and energy security. Learn to grow food, and how to take care of each other. (Most simple people already know this stuff.)

    4. Ditch all economic growth models. They are not sustainable. Learn what ecological, biophysical, and steady state economics can offer humanity: Better lives with less crap.

    5. Design for pattern: preserve the integrity of land, water, biodiversity, and human community.

    6. Restore and preserve every wild ecosystem on Earth; learn to live from nature's natural production. Help reverse diversity loss by protecting places where diversity can increase.

    7. Ditch the automobile and internal combustion engines of all kinds. Create low-energy, light-rail public transport. (Smart communities have already done this.)

    8. Be nice to each other. End armed conflict. Promote Peace. Outlaw weapons industry as legitimate way to make money. Feed the hungry. Comfort the sick and disturbed.


    That's just for starters.

    Recovering Environmentalists Paul Kingsnorth and Michael M'Gonigle

  • Comment Link Gregor Bingham Sunday, 16 September 2012 21:48 posted by Gregor Bingham

    Fellow travellers,

    After having my first Ayahuasca experience I would like to add that to the 10th step of my list. It might go like this:

    10: Every potential and sitting politician should have an ayahuasca ceremony with a stable diversity of his/her constituents. Somehow I think the LL will be illuminated well enough...


  • Comment Link David MacLeod Tuesday, 18 September 2012 03:15 posted by David MacLeod


    I'm happy to report that I've finally finished listening to the Shock Doctrine audio book. Very worthwhile, and I recommend it to everyone.

    I was struck by the conclusion, which was not a call for more traditional "activism," but rather for more community building, which matches many of the suggestions made from the folks referenced in my previous reply above.

    Naomi Klein: "sometimes in the wake of crisis, we grow up fast.
    ...The best way to recover from helplessness turns out to be helping...peoples' reconstruction efforts represent the antithesis of the disaster capitalism ethos...local peoples' renewal movements begin with the premise that there is no escape from the substantial messes we have created....These are movements that do not seek to start from scratch, but rather from scrap - from the rubble that is all around.
    ...These projects point a way forward between fundamentalisms, radical only in their intense practicality, rooted in the communities where they live, these men and women see themselves as mere repair people, taking what's there and fixing it, reinforcing it, making it better and more equal. Most of all, they are building in resilience for when the next shock hits."

    Similarly, Grace Lee Boggs, a hardcore activist for over 70s years, suggests working from the ground up to transform individuals and to rebuild community. Living radically differently by rejecting consumerism and the ideas around unending economic growth. It can begin with simple actions such as “planting community gardens, recycling waste, recycling waste, rehabbing houses,… and organizing neighborhood festivals.” It can then develop into “a solidarity economy whose foundation is the production and exchange of goods and services that our communities really need. It’s about “remaking this nation block by block, brick by brick,” pledging to look after not only ourselves but also each other.

    "The Next American Revolution - Sustainable Activism for the 21st Century" by Grace Lee Boggs. See this review:

    Finally, I want to mention a related article. "Neoliberalism, Degrowth, and the Fate of Health Systems" by Dan Bednarz and Allana Beavis. I love that they bring together a discussion of neoliberalism (including a couple of references to Klein's 'Shock Doctrine'), energy depletion, and the end of economic growth. And that embracing Degrowth is likely the best strategy for mitigating the crises we face today. So it's a great read, even if the health care system is not on your radar of issues to be following.

  • Comment Link Gregor Bingham Thursday, 20 September 2012 03:12 posted by Gregor Bingham

    Hi David,
    Glad you got to take on the whole book.
    Thanks for the links, I'll get some time soon to review, the ideas sound very tasty.
    I came across this today, which I thought was a fairly powerful review of a more Integral approach, specifically what I liked was his drive and clarity, worth the 28 minutes.

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