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/

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]]

 

Shadow’s Screenplay

Birthed from the Jungian archetype of ‘shadow’ – where archetypes can be characterised as psychic forces which have their own source of instincts and impulses, the concept of ‘integral shadow’ consists in a simplified model of psychodynamic principles (Ingersoll & Zeitler, 2010). Shadow for integral, simply, is defined as an unconscious aspect of the personality, which does not recognise itself.

Per Integral Psychotherapy (Ingersoll & Zeitler, 2010), shadow describes mental content which we lie to ourselves about in some way, and which we also push out of awareness. Shadow is proposed in this literature as a barrier to deep relationality, a veil to legitimate authenticity, and as dis-integrative, in a general sense, , both here and otherwise in integral theory (see for example, Forman, 2010).

An approach called the 3-2-1 process brings a perspective-taking process to working with shadow. This seeks to make it visible, make its bases known, and to liberate its lifeform. ‘Face it, talk to it, be it’, as proposed here at Integral Chicks, as a means to uncover shadow’s covert operations, and to change our capacity to engage it’s presence. http://www.integralchicks.com/2010/06/the-3-2-1-shadow-process/

Collective shadow work takes a similar process and brings it to a group environment. Thomas Hubl with his transparent communication has worked extensively in the global Integral community to shed light on relationality as it is illuminated, in this form, as here reported by Chris Dierkes from Beams and Struts:

‘So imagine one person in the group is struggling with a shadow around anger and someone(s) else in the group is clear in this area. The clear person can attune to the contraction and can see through the symptoms to the light trapped within. This person then seeks to hold deep presence and compassion for the person with the shadow and in this way it, as Hübl says, facilitates a process for that movement to be released and fulfill itself. As the topics shift to different dimensions of life, the roles may reverse. We all have shadows in certain areas and all have gifts/clear awareness in others.’

Source: http://www.beamsandstruts.com/essays/item/934-inner-ecology-thomas-hubl-on-the-shadow

One term surfacing recently is ‘group shadow’ – the idea that, in our group interactivity, unconscious projections actually arise at the level of group awareness. The question of how to address something that is arising between us, but is largely functioning just beyond our awareness, has been pursued across different community conversations, but as far as I am aware has remained as a puzzle, a kind of Gordian knot – how do we handle collective shadow, particularly if we can’t collectively see it?

From here emerges two seemingly disparate possibilities, as modes of engagement.

The first stems from an insight revealed with Janice Macpherson’s review of Rene Girard’s concept of scapegoating, which she had posted in our local integral theory community, in Sydney. With roots in rituals of ancient Greece that saw villagers tie ribbons with their bad news, their problems, their failures and their worries recorded on them to a goat which they then would send out of town, scapegoating was chartered as movements through the Old and New Testaments, by Girard, in a shifting interpretation of ‘sacrifice’. While in the Old Testament several stories evidence a successful ‘scapegoating’ – where one individual is charged with a community’s shadow projections and ousted from that same community, thus portraying a worthy sacrifice, what the New Testament works to do is to give an account of Christ as a failed, yet far more triumphant, scapegoat, one that is resurrected ultimately, in recognition of his role as the coming of the Lord.

Image

The whole mechanism of scapegoating is thus upended, with the inception of the New Testament, according to Girard. Not only were the live animal sacrifices of ancient Greece transcended, but now God’s revelation occurred not at the exclusion of evil, or the scapegoat, but at the transformation, the resurrection, of the scapegoat, perhaps the greatest one of all time, Jesus, as Christ.

There is a richness to be noted here – what happens when someone is willing, actually, able, to carry the group shadow, the scapegoat label, to allow for a thoroughgoing metanoia, or transformation, of our hearts and minds? What might be available, when we can engage in this dance, collectively, consciously?

This brings me to the second thread, that of narrative therapy, and of one of the initial techniques often employed in a narrative therapy approach, that of externalising.

Externalising is a process that is almost the inverse of what integral describes as ‘shadow work’. Shadow work at a personal level asks that we take that which we have projected outside of us, and return it to its internal home. Externalising, on the other hand, asks what have we buried inside us, which, brought out into the open and explored, could become less of a sore or a suffering and become perhaps seen as a diamond, a unique offering unfolding from our individual and very particular experience, on the earth.

Externalising asks that we take a label that has been projected onto and even into us, bring it out into the open, and explore the ways that we do relate to it, and then the new ways that we might like to relate to it (Carey & Russell, 2004).

As an example, where someone (or maybe a group) scapegoats me and tells me I’m angry, there are really endless ways I can respond to the projection of anger, beyond facing it, talking to it and be-ing it.

I can:

– walk out on the shadow projection (from the concept of agency)

– eclipse the shadow projection (from astronomical concepts)

– dispel the shadow projection (from magical concepts of life)

– go on strike against the shadow projection (from industrial action concepts)

– become de-acclimatised to the shadow projection (from geographic travel concepts)

– set myself apart from the shadow projection (from the concept of individuation)

– defy the shadow projection (from notions of resistance)

– disempower the shadow projection (from notions of energetic strength)

– dissent from the shadow projection’s influence (from ideas of protest)

– educate the shadow projection (from concepts of teaching)

– escape the shadow projection (drawing on liberation)

– reclaim the territory of self from the shadow projection (from land rights concepts)

– undermine the shadow projection (geological concepts of life)

– refuse invitations to co-operate with the shadow projection (concepts of civility)

– depart the shadow projection’s sphere (concepts of travel and journey)

– engage in redress against the shadow projection (concepts of justice)

– come out from the darkness cast by the shadow projection (concepts of light)

– disprove the shadow projections claims of identity (concepts of judicial authority)

– repossess self from the shadow projection (concepts of commercial ownership)

– take life out of the hands of the shadow projection (concepts of puppetry)

– resign from the shadow projection (concept of employment)

– coach the shadow projection (concept from world of sports)

– steal identity back from the shadow projection (ideas of theft)

– tame the shadow projection (concepts of domestication)

– harness the shadow projection (concepts of equine training).

(Source: adapted from Michael White, ‘Maps of Narrative Practice’)

The list could probably go on, and one exercise could be to go through the list and feel into which ways of relating to a projection would work for you – what feels right? What might feel more right or less right for different kinds of shadow projections?

One way to explore this in the context of illuminating group shadow would be to create a situation where a volunteer might be willing to be a scapegoat – carry a group shadow projection, created consciously by the group itself, and then form a working dynamic, a dialogue, based on the chosen form of interaction. How might the group like to coach the anger? In what way would they educate it? How would they ‘steal’ group identity back from it?

Working to keep language grounded in collective descriptors (working to reduce the use of ‘I’ and ‘me’ while engaged in the practice) (per Denborough, 2011), group shadow, otherwise invisible, may become tangible through mechanisms of association, in this context. Working less to roleplay than to adequately account for an internalised sense of the collective meaning, in this way, we might find ourselves newly relating to each other, with new insights about the shape and interplay of the state-stages, in our newfound collective embodiment.

Part of my personal inspiration in writing up this post lies with noticing what suddenly becomes available for me when someone is actually willing to stand there and ‘hold’ my projection, for me, someone who will openly respond for themselves what goes on, when I ‘do the doing’, of the projection. A new kind of intimacy is shared and borne, in that vulnerability, the willingness to play the parts and follow the lines through to their conclusion (it is rarely a logical conclusion, at that).

Shadow’s screenplay. An upending and revolution, of shadow. Collectively.

References:

Carey, M, & Russell, S. (2004). Externalising: commonly asked questions. http://www.dulwichcentre.com.au/externalising.html

Denborough, D. (2008). Collective narrative practice: Responding to individuals, groups, and communities who have experienced trauma. Adelaide: Dulwich Centre Publications.

Forman, M.D. (2010) A Guide to Integral Psychotherapy. Albany: Suny Press

Ingersoll, R.E. & Zeitler, D.M. (2010). Integral psychotherapy: Inside-Out/Outside-In. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

White, M. (2007). Maps of Narrative Practice. NY: W.W. Norton & Company.