Integral New Economics

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What: Integral New Economics – a conference call

When: Wed 21 June 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Where: Online via Zoom

Why: Early 21st century economics marks a shift in focus – whereas late 20th century economic analyses still rested much assurance with mathematical analyses of macro and microeconomic models, new approaches bring more emphasis on understandings achieved through distinct special sciences, such that we have ideas such as the Social Economy, Solidarity Economy, Sharing Economy, Collaborative Economy, Peer to Peer Economy, Steady State Economy and Community Economy.

These new proposals for economic perspectives share two key goals: (i) to challenge the current dominant system with its reliance on fossil fuels, large scale resource extraction and socially unjust structures and wealth distribution, and (ii) to create and strengthen diverse economies that serve the needs of people in ways that are socially just, culturally diverse and ecologically sustainable.

We’ll take a look at them with an eye to an integral lens. All welcome to participate in the conversation – Zoom login instructions will be forwarded around on the day before, contact trisha.nowland@mq.edu.au for information on how to join.

It will be great to see you, online. 🙂

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Seeds of Truth – an Integral Down Under Discussion

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What: Seeds of Truth – an Integral Down Under online discussion

Where: Online via Zoom

When: Sunday 6:30pm – 8:30pm AEST

Why: This is the next of our collaborative discussions exploring insights from Integral Theory for post-truth times.

From our last call we had discussed returning to the concept of truth and looking at this in connection to the present circumstances of global politics.

With round-ups from the first 100 days of Trump, election results from the Netherlands, soon France, and eventually the UK, and immanent changes in world circumstances in world leadership and population/migration changes, we’ve plenty of material to explore, taking four quadrant and eight zone approaches, and looking to how perspectives might be combined, in the effort of discerning, truth.

All welcome to be a part of the conversation. Typically the first 20 minutes or so involves introductions and general discussions, you’re very welcome to join us for this part or the whole thing.

Zoom software is used for the calls, it is easy to use, links will be posted in the discussion section of our Facebook event and messaged to any folks who RSVP. We are here to help if you need some support getting set up.

Please join our Facebook group here to get more details and to RSVP:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1115259621856582/

Look forward to seeing you next Sunday!

Integral Politics – Down Under Perspectives in Post-Truth Times

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What: Integral Politics – Down Under Perspectives in Post-Truth Times online discussion

Where: Online via Zoom (link will be forwarded following your RSVP)

When: Saturday 4 March 2017, 6pm AEDT (5:30pm ACDT)

Why: This online community conversation will play host to both open discussion and facilitated collaborative activity, exploring integral responses to the present circumstances which see us encountering Global Trumpism, and post-truth times.

Join us as we traverse cognitive, sensible, interpersonal, collective and existential truths, exploring blendings of them in an experiential deep dive into the 8 Zones set out in Ken Wilber’s Integral Spirituality, looking for the ways that they inform and connect us to these weirde tymes, of post-truth being.

Please RSVP here if you would like to attend, and we will forward through a link to the Zoom user interface for the call. Email Trish at trisha.nowland@mq.edu.au if you have any questions beforehand. All very welcome, we look forward to chatting with you soon, discerning the reach and breadth, of Integral Politics in Post-Truth Times.

Note you can join our conversation at Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1115259621856582/

State of Integral Play Down Under 2016

In late November 2016, a group of folks came together online in an encounter where we traversed the contours of four distinct approaches to embodied-being informed by integral theory, as it lives out in Down Under spaces. Note Down Under here has two modalities implicit in it’s expression – there is both a geographic latitude and longitude implied in our connectedness, and there’s also the sense that with each of the presentations there’s a seeking into something like the basis or foundations from which we could say that something like the content of integral theory can be experienced.

There was narration from myself in between these sessions about a kind of personal inquiry I had brought to these unique sessions – this was an inquiry about how these sessions might inform the ongoing development of Integral Down Under, with a particularly leaning into what sort of considerations could best support interpersonal engagement, as it continues to morph and change in response to situational changes – such as, for example, the social despair that seems to have emerged in 2016 in light of global Trumpism and Brexit. I’ll describe how these came to be and bear as we journey through each of the short (15 min) presentations below.

Embodied Integral Theory with Simon Divecha

Simon leads us through an embodied awareness of the psychological, biological, social and cultural aspects of our being, as informed by integral theory’s quadrants. For Integral Down Under I found myself reflecting on how it is always possible to lean into a different register as we sense forward, for a project – and how that sensing forward is informed to the extend that works not to unduly exclude any particular source of information or experience. This meditation invited me to acknowledge how these different aspects of our consciousness may themselves persist with contradictions, but that meditative awareness graces us the space to hold them, in view.

Integral Polarity Practice with David Sainsbury and Sue Stack

Integral Polarity Practice is a voice dialogue practice developed by John Kesler, extending on the Big Mind process of Genpo Roshi. Dave and Sue here walk us through the ways that encounters with otherwise-opposites, through a collective and reflective practice, can open the way for an appreciation of how a kind of still-point unfolds between polarities, which has some other quality in its essence – some broadening of capacity, evoked in a new quality. With polarity practice, the way that the gross material realm, the subtle meaning realm, and the emergent or source realm connect becomes transparent to our experience, precisely through the way that the process itself works – there is direct insight into the state-stages available, here. For Integral Down Under, I found myself curious about how we might best reflect notions, ideas, positions and principles that seemed to be opposite in their own structure –  how it might be that we can nurture a space where the fourth-person perspective on these ‘differences’ can be adopted, without reducing the differences directly to a monistic view, or the idea that ‘all is one’ in a way that obliterates their value.

Authentic Relating with Khali Young

Authentic Relating and Circling are interpersonal practices that have roots in integral theory and which as Khali describes here, lend us tools to embrace and embody conflict and coherence, as it arises in social spaces. For Integral Down Under, this calls to presence something of how difference itself may be the germinate ground of transformation – and reminds me of the complex background work that goes on in the simple experience of being human, together. Authentic Relating seems to ask us to stay true to what our response is, to each other, while also bringing to light skills in how to be aware of how expression of that response will shape the interpersonal space that we co-inhabit.

Pattern Dynamics with Tim Winton

Tim here describes for us his experiences with the development of Pattern Dynamics itself and also some exciting new ground looking at how Pattern Dynamics might feature in decisions, where decisions are taken as formative in the structure of organisations or collectives of peoples. We discussed here the way that Pattern Dynamics might shape awareness of the different means by which groups of people arrive at decisions – and how Pattern Dynamics can describe it with reference to the state-stages as experienced in the Integral Polarity Practice session. For Integral Down Under, this drew to presence some exciting possibilities in thinking through consciously using Pattern Dynamics in the development of the project and its possibilities, in a way not dissimilar to Theory U, but also in a way that allowed for a much more dynamic structure of going from knowing, to unknowing, to newly-knowing.

So very grateful to all involved, thanks very much for your time and support.

Re: Religion, to Re-Religion

“Religion”
from “Religio” –> to bind together

It is not that we do not need religion, but that religions have ceased, for many, to be particularly “religious” (that is, adequately binding).

All spirit (from “spirare”, that is, breath) has escaped so much of religiosity, leaving too many crushed and suffocated under the weight of orthodoxy, violence and oppression.

We still need religion, but it may not look like our so-called religions, whether or not it may share the name…

We still need places where where we breathe life into one another as communities of meaning and practice. Perhaps religiosity has become unbound from institutions that hold certainty, perhaps to be found rebonded to good friends, of all temperaments and from all places, who share a curiosity in the seeking, with whom we may share life in the search.

A Short Essay on Insignificance

The following is a piece I have put together over the last year or two, which I think deserves some airing. It is not overtly integral in its language, but very much consistent with integral understandings, and I would like to get some feedback on the ideas and observations in it. See what you think!

On Our Alleged Insignificance

How do we know that we are an unimportant recent mammalian species on an obscure planet? We see claims like this made all the time, usually as some kind of introductory admission or background comment, as in ‘Of course, we know that, despite our self-conceit as a species that wants to think of itself as at the centre of things, we are actually very small and insignificant in the universe…’. A prime example would be the following widely quoted (and sung!) comment from Carl Sagan:

Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.

Clichéd references to supposed medieval arrogance, due to the Ptolemaic scheme which has the Earth at the centre of the universe, are commonplace. They are also somewhat ill-informed, by the way. To the medieval mind, being at the centre was, in a number of respects, not a great thing. This was the realm of change, corruption and fallenness, with Hell at the centre of all! Nevertheless, we can at least admit that, to the medieval mind and indeed all periods before that, we matter in some ultimate cosmological sense. It is this view that is denied, explicitly or implicitly, by much modern thinking.

What does it mean to say that we don’t matter? If you look at it very carefully, it is actually hard to make out. To start with, you might ask who, or what, actually does matter if we don’t? Talk of our position on an insignificant planet in an obscure star system on the edge of an unimportant galaxy (or that we have somehow been ‘forgotten’ by someone, as Sagan puts it) would seem to imply that there are other planets in other solar systems, and no doubt in other galaxies, that are known to be truly significant, in contrast to us. Hardly any thought is required to see that we know no such thing. If we ever do acquire such knowledge, it will presumably be because we have come in contact with an extra-terrestrial civilisation hailing from the planet in question (or knowing of it, at least), and they prove (as would be likely) to possess wisdom and technologies superior to our own. (It is perhaps worth noting that some people claim that this has already happened…) This would, however, be evidence that there exist people in the universe who matter as much or more than us, not that we don’t!

Nor should significance have anything to do with being in the actual centre of a galaxy, especially given the recent astronomical discovery that the centre tends to host a black hole! That is one sort of significance, granted, but not the sort that any kind of intelligent life would rationally aspire to. The only sense I can think of for the literal centre of the universe, moreover, would be the ‘location’ (if that makes any sense) of the Big Bang, which would be the spot that everything is, quite literally, accelerating away from. You can’t be there any more than you can be in the centre of a galaxy!

I am confident, though, that none of this is what is usually actually meant, though rhetoric like Sagan’s would frequently suggest otherwise. What I think is actually being said is that there is no such thing as the kind of significance that medieval people thought we had. In other words, conscious intelligent life has no cosmological significance or meaning, which is more or less equivalent to saying that there is no such thing as cosmological significance as such, unless we mean by that great physical size or long existence. The rhetoric we hear not infrequently seems to suggest that too, but I am not impressed, and nor should you be. The view I am pointing to instead was perhaps best expressed by Bertrand Russell:

That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built. (From A Free Man’s Worship)

Let me say up front that I think Russell was profoundly wrong. These things are very far from ‘not quite beyond dispute’ or ‘nearly certain’. Indeed, they can be shown with reasonable certainty to be false. Russell’s view is based on the idea that we are the result of chance – ‘the accidental collocations of atoms’, as he puts it – and, importantly, that our being is indeed made up of those atoms alone. This is the doctrine of philosophical materialism, or physicalism. It is one of the best kept secrets in modern philosophy (though it is starting to get out a bit more) that physicalism is in dire trouble as a doctrine. All the best philosophers of mind, such as David Chalmers and Colin McGinn, have been edging away from it in various ways for decades now, though so powerful is the pull of intellectual orthodoxy (as exemplified these days by such people as Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett) that they usually can’t quite bring themselves to make a clean break. For anyone interested in following up these matters in detail, I can highly recommend Irreducible Mind: Towards a Psychology for the 21st Century, ed. Kelly & Kelly.

The technical details are too involved to go into here, but essentially the nature of mind, and what it has been empirically demonstrated to be capable of doing, render Russell’s view untenable. Moreover, the intrinsic extreme unlikelihood that a universe such as ours could come about completely by chance has been demonstrated beyond doubt since Russell’s time. So many things about how the universe started up turn out to have been necessarily exactly as they were and are in order for there to be a universe at all, or for stars, planets, life or intelligence itself to show up. Among these are the precise strengths of the various fundamental physical forces, such as the weak and strong nuclear forces and gravity, and various other constants. So decisive is this case that those who still claim that we are an accident are reduced to claiming that there are infinitely many universes, and that we are in the one that just happened to turn out this way! This doctrine of the multiverse should be seen for what it is – a desperate and utterly unconvincing ploy to save a failing doctrine, the very doctrine that must be true if there is to be any substance to the idea that we are insignificant!

So, I am maintaining that there is no reason to deny, and much reason to affirm, that we are actually significant in the universe, contrary to widespread and usually casual assumption in our time. The precise implications of this are a rather different matter, and I would hasten to point out that they by no means amount to an automatic endorsement of any traditional religious or spiritual doctrine. Indeed, a religion or spirituality that fully honours the many scientific and philosophical discoveries of modernity will necessarily look quite different from, say, the Western medieval world view mentioned earlier. Immanuel Kant’s philosophy wrestled, not altogether successfully, with the beginnings of articulating such a new outlook, so rather than Russell’s supposedly tough-minded rejection of our ultimate significance, I endorse the attitude of the following sentiments:

Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily reflection is occupied with them: the starry heaven above me and the moral law within me.(Immanuel Kant: Critique of Practical Reason: 5 161-2)

 

© Keith Price 2014

Process is the Product

I post here a quick reflection, an informal reflection of a conversation had between 6 of us on Sunday 26th June, when Trish Nowland had invited us to discuss the (ongoing) formation and consolidation of Integral Down Under (IDU), canvassing ideas and reflections for what this “is” or could be.

Sue kindly took a screen shot of our conversation, which I now reflect here.idu chat

I am the militant Asian nerd on the Southwestern-most corner of the pic. Moving clockwise, above me is Keith Price, followed by John O’Neill. To John’s right is Sue Stack (who has provided the screenshot above). Below Sue is Trish Nowland, founder and catalyst for IDU, and lastly, on the Southeastern-most corner is Dave Sainsbury.

It was only quite belatedly into the conversation that we reflected that it could actually be a good idea to post some reflections on this conversation as a contribution to the wordpress itself.

[[Sketches of thoughts discussed]]