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Posts Tagged ‘Ken Wilber’

The Life and Death of an Accountant

A Homage by the famous Red Cap.

Johann 7/02/1954 – 7/10/2018

“Show me your face before your parents were born” the Buddhist Master will ask of his student, and most of the time he will whack him on the head if he starts to ramble about previous lives or something to that effect.

But here we will stick to what we know, or think we know, and be whacked over the head because we do not yet know what reality is, what truth is. But we will not be deterred by trivialities like that, we will march on regardless.

Where did it all start for The Accountant? We do not know much about the beginning. We know that he grew up on a farm, but all we have is a photograph of him on his tricycle in front of an apricot tree, a very fateful apricot tree, because it was there that the knife was, the knife that pretty much determined the course of the rest of this life, the youngest of six dirty little barefoot buggers running wild on a maize farm, miles from the nearest town.

The pocket knife with the very sharp, pointed blade used to skin prickly pears that was left unattended on a table. The knife that he picked up on that fateful day, that cost him his eye and sped him into a life of rejection, distrust (even disgust?), questioning, seeking, and depression, the life of the outsider, the silent witness who later in life could identify strongly with outsiders like Harry Haller in Herman Hesse’s ‘Steppen Wolfe’ and  Joseph Knecht in ‘The Glass Bead Game’.

Primary school was mostly a blur (with a girl named Catherin moving in and out of the haze of his freaked-out consciousness). The rest was a futile exercise of trying to be invisible, of flying under the radar, but his intellect projected him into the limelight which both delighted him and frustrated him. He hated attention, he hated competition. He did not want to be “better” than anyone. He just wanted to be, but the race was on and he had to stay ahead of the pack of hungry and envious little wolves and their ambitious parents.

He later recounted an incident when he was in grade two where one of the less intellectually endowed, but aggressively ambitious class mates, eager to demonstrate his (mostly imagined) Rambo like physical superiority over this one eyed sissy-boy, tried to coax him into a fist fight. Enter another member of the clan of the six barefoot buggers, (the same twerp who much later became the frustrating and extremely irritating companion of me, the famous Red Cap), a skinny little man, not too bright in the top story but a reasonably good athlete, who quietly went about the business of persuading the cocky dumb ass of a would be Rambo to forsake his foolishness and go play with his toys, which he promptly did.

Strangely enough, it was this same youngest of the 6 siblings that, a couple of years later, punched my moron companion a solid blow on the nose, (he was so small that he had to jump to deliver the blow to that nose) causing said nose to bleed profusely, and that for simply stepping accidentally on one of the little attacker’s toys where he was playing in the dirt under that same fateful apricot tree. That was the only punch on the nose that my moron received in his entire, foolish life, and incidentally, the only punch that The Accountant ever delivered to any nose in his entire life.

But it was also during this time that The Accountant discovered the magic of silence. Towards the end of his life he recounted to a friend how he used to hide in the dark, almost sacred sanctuary of the living room (exclusively reserved for important guests like the Dominee) on Sundays before the family’s monthly excursion to the church in town. Here he would lie down on the carpet in the semi-darkness and enter that ineffable state of complete silence, which he later learned all the esoteric traditions called “no mind”. A state of mind that takes most students of spirituality a lifetime to reach.

Life in Highschool was for him, if possible, even worse than primary school. Now a very self-conscious  one-eyed teenager, who battled to fit in. He was called ‘dead-eye-dick’ by some of the more envious morons who could not beat him intellectually, and so he became even more of an outsider.

Sadly, his dad was also not very impressed with his youngest’s intellectual prowess. He wanted him to be a man, to stand up for himself, to be a real farm boy with dirt on his hands, to at least show some interest in farming. To make a man out of this softy, he bought him a horse. A boy must be able to ride a horse to prove that he is a man. That was the world the old man grew up in, a world of horses and ox wagons, and that was how life and men should be. But The Accountant didn’t like horses, he liked to play chess. He loved chess and represented his school in tournaments, but his dad never attended one competition, nor did he ask about the results of the games he played. Dad insisted that he must get onto that bloody horse or else …

In silent rebellion he bought himself a bicycle and started to ride back to school in the afternoons to play tennis. Despite having only one eye, he found that he could play tennis better than most of the other children at school. He excelled in the game and became the number one player for the school and represented the school at inter-school competitions. And again, his dad showed no interest in his youngest’s accomplishments on tennis courts and refused to attend the matches that he played. In his world a real man played rugby and girls played tennis and that was that.

Then it was off to university to study, on his father’s insistence agricultural sciences, to obtain a BSc degree so that he could one day become a farmer. Naturally it didn’t work for him, so he changed course and studied B.com instead, which of course did nothing to bridge the divide between him and his father. In fact, that was about the time that they stopped talking to each other at all.

It was then that our Accountant started to lose all interest in the games people play. He put away his tennis rackets and gave away his chess board. From now on the big questions about the why and the how of life that has been simmering on the backburners of his mind started to step forward and demanded attention.

As a famous Red Cap, my experience is that  people who suffered severe trauma early in life, who needed and begged and prayed in this desperate dark hour for help from Above like a good Christion should, but received no such help at all even though the church promised that if you asked, it will be lovingly given unto you, either turns against God in anger and become insufferable atheists forever and fiercely fighting a (for them) non-existent entity, or they go the exact opposite way and become zealots for his or her wrathful God and promise death and damnation unto all who does not believe in their very loving, very angry and wrathful god sitting on his throne somewhere up in heaven.

But not so for our Accountant. Spirit started to stir deep inside of him, and he started looking for, and demanding answers to his questions. He became involved with the guys from Practical Philosophy, but soon parted ways with them when they started to demand money “for the bi- weakly drivel that they dished up as truth to impressionable and naïve searchers after Truth”, as he called it.

He started to read profusely. Aldous Huxley’s ‘Doors of Perception’ intrigued him and he was inspired by transpersonal psychology and the work being done at Esalin.

It was at this stage that the eldest brother of the family gave my future companion, the skinny, barefoot farm boy (the one that got punched in the nose), a copy of Erich von Danikin’s ‘Chariots of the Gods’.  That was a mind changer for both the Accountant and the future owner of me, the famous Red Cap. Add to that the works of Carlos Castaneda, Baal Shem Tov and Islamic Sufism that they discovered in second-hand bookshops, and you have the beginnings of a serious intellectual and spiritual rebellion.

They found common ground, they found a world full of exiting possibilities, a world away from the stale (Aristotelian and Cartesian) ‘if – then’ predictabilities and entered a world of ‘what if’ possibilities. ‘The varieties of religious experience’ by William James and von Danikin’s books, as well as Zecharia Sitchin’s “The 12th Planet” confirmed their suspicion that the Old Testament of the Bible with its horrible and immoral bloodshed and unpredictable and unforgiving god, might just not be a true rendition of what really happened back then, or what should happen in a just and civilised world ruled by an all knowing, omnipresent, almighty God. God, The Accountant argued, is not an old man, a cross between old Zeus, Neptune and Father Christmas as most churches like to portray Him as, and as most god-fearing believers saw him. There was something seriously amiss in this picture and the search was on to find ‘the holy grail’ like the Gnostics of old.

The question for the Accountant turned from “what is life about” to “what would constitute the good life,” a train of thinking that led him to Buddhism (or led him astray, as some would later accuse him of). As a philosophy, Buddhism accorded with his intellectual approach to life, and, as a psychological system encouraging a life of non-violence, contemplation, meditation and compassion,  confirmed his own intuition of what a good life entails, and how life should be lived. It was a way of being far removed from the average Christian’s ‘go-to-church-every-Sunday-and-do-as-you-like-during-the-six-days-inbetween’ way of life he grew up with. He believed that, if you cannot live your spiritual convictions (or walk your talk, as the New Agers like to say), then it is no use going to church at all. Going to church more out of convention than conviction, does not make you a Christian, nor does it make you less of a barbarian if you beat up your wife or fuck your secretary or your own daughter in the days between your pious visits to the church. (Kierkegaard: “The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”)

He used to get quite worked up on that issue! (meer…)

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Part 3. (The last part of this discussion. Next time we will look at Wilber’s “Trump and the post-truth world” and why Trump won the election.)

What then is the Integral approach to politics? How do they see the future of politics different from the usual Left/Right paradigm?

Wilber explains:

So, any truly integral political theory must specify how to integrate across all levels in the Spectrum; and this means the Prime Directive, both of which mean, in essence: Since the leading edge today is turquoise, there are at least 6 major levels, or structures, or altitude, or stages of development that must be included as stations of life or stations of the lifeworld (i.e., magenta, red, amber, orange, green, teal/turquoise) in today’s political world.

And for the leading edge to lead, they must talk to people in all of the above lower (and higher) levels or stages of development. It will not do to ignore, or worse, to demean or degrade people stuck in the lower stages of development as if they have some sort of disease, calling them hillbillies or retards as did Clinton and some of her haughty fellow (green) Democrats did. It is a bit like children in grade 12 calling children in grade 2 morons because they (the children in grade 2) do not understand grade 12 mathematics. That is a bit silly.

Wilber:

As noted, adults will stop their development at any number of stages—there will always be red adults and green adults and indigo adults—and that is their right. At any point in history, the political ideal is to let each stage be itself, and govern from the highest reasonably available (stage) at any given time. (There was a point historically when that was amber, and then orange, and then green, and today, it’s close to becoming teal/turquoise.)

The original or classic Left was defined as representing liberte, equalite, fraternite—or liberty/freedom, equality, and fraternity/solidarity (at orange altitude). That is, using our four major scales to index the Enlightenment, it was orange/world centric (for levels, #4); externalist (#1); progressive (#2); and, when it comes to the remaining scale, that of individual/collective (#3), it is here that we find the famous internal contradiction of liberalism—because it is individualistic when it came to freedom or liberty, but collectivistic when it came to both equality and fraternity. (This is a contradiction because you cannot have both freedom and equality: each requires the restricting of the other. Alex de Tocqueville was probably the first major theorist to point out that you can have freedom or equality, but not both.)

But the point we are focusing on now is that, while the Enlightenment (and the birth of the Left) was indeed progressive (representing transformation to orange over translation/conservation of amber) and externalist (social institutions and bad nurture, not bad nature, are the cause of humankind’s suffering), all of those were set in a postconventional, world centric, universal context (its orange level), and that is absolutely crucial. It was The Universal Rights of Man, and not the rights of this or that man, this or that woman, this or that religion, this or that sex, this or that creed, this or that skin colour—which is why the orange Enlightenment—created mostly by white, male, European, patriarchal, rational-analytic, Newtonian-Cartesian individuals—has reduced more suffering, created more freedom, released more oppressed minorities, and done more to advance the cause of self-determination, respect, freedom, and human dignity than any other single movement in human history, bar none, and by the widest margin imaginable. As only one example, the orange, industrial-rational, modern societies were the first societies ever to completely abolish slavery. (my itallics) (meer…)

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Ken Wilber and Integral Politics. Part 2:

In the previous post we got as far as where green jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.

So, what happened to green postmodernism to cause it to jump into the fire as suggested by Wilber in the previous post?

The problem is that postmodern liberalism was so happy with its newfound freedom and ‘enlightenment’ that it forgot to ‘transcend-and-include’ the lower levels of development’s values to arrive at, and consolidate a higher value system from where it could influence, encourage and inspire people at lower levels (Amber and Orange) to move up to the postmodern green level.

They could see so clearly now that all people were the same. All people were equal and in their enthusiasm they made the fatal pre/trans fallacy mistake, believing that everybody from the lowest levels of development knew this and could see this new world of freedom and joy for all mankind.

Ken Wilber explains the problem thus:

“The problem is that liberalism—championing equality—will not face the fact that it is an elitism. It is a value structure held by a minority in most cultures, including ours—but it is an elitism, the only elitism that wishes to treat EVERYBODY fairly and equally, even if they disagree with you. Even if they disagree with you and your values, you as a liberal will accord them equal status before the law. But the number of people who can do that—the number of people at world centric orange or higher—is less than 50% in this country and less than 30% in the world at large (and even less than 30% in South Africa?). And the point in any event is that orange itself is a developmental achievement (and only one of the stages in a hierarchy of stages) reached only at higher stages, and if you don’t get to those higher stages, you simply don’t produce liberalism. (Recap this with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and Piaget’s cognitive development, Graves’ development of values as well as Kegan’s orders of consciousness for a better understanding of Wilber’s statement above).

“So, if liberalism stated its own stance more accurately, it would say that liberalism is an elite developmental stance, often reached by a relative minority of people, but whose values insist on treating not just that elite but everybody equally—an unheard-of fairness and generosity (my italics). It is an egalitarianism held by an elite. But the typical liberal, not understanding both of those clauses, often arrives at the disaster of a conclusion that it is an egalitarianism held by everybody, or easily could be. Whereas, at this time in history, very few people share that value, and it’s losing ground. (my italics) Liberalism is an elitism that is open to everybody, but to actually get there and share liberal world centric values require interior hierarchical development from egocentric to ethnocentric to world centric.

But if you deny, and actually despise any form of hierarchy, you enter egalitarian flatland where no social or spiritual progress or evolution is possible. You basically commit suicide and take everyone with you.

“The separation of church and state—some form of which is absolutely necessary, to be sure—degenerates into an extreme and rancid version that amounts to the oppression of all interiors, via a sin not of commission but of a sin of omission, an oppression by silence and consequent ineptitude. Instead of pioneering a new wave of interior talk—higher values talk, higher spiritual talk, higher character talk, higher meaning talk—it talks only of tepid egalitarianism, a supposed plurality of equal values, tractionless multiculturalism, (my italics) … Whereupon every interior, no matter how vulgar and narcissistic and self-serving, is accorded not just equal respect but equal value, period — and the regressive nightmare is about to begin.

“And so classical liberalism, and virtually every variety of the Left, saddled with a flatland psychology, does indeed work very hard to undercut its own existence. (or to self-destruct by a toxic process of deconstruction, led by liberal, intersubjectivist philosophers like Foucault and Derrida.)

“As important as conservative is, there are, of course times in history where embracing tomorrow and Eros—or our upward-moving and forward-looking impulse toward higher wholes—is called for, and not just embracing yesterday and Agape—or our downward- moving and backward-looking impulse (like we find in conservatives in America and indeed all over the world today). The progressives are always the revolutionaries. Of course, not everybody who calls themselves ‘revolutionary’ is necessarily a true progressive: many ‘revolutionaries’ are just lower levels parading as a newly emergent higher levels: which is exactly what happened with the Terror, as every egocentric- power trip was mistaken for world centric compassion—thoroughly confusing pre-conventional and postconventional—and to this day, ‘Off with their heads!’ unfortunately has been the calling card of most revolutionaries pretending to be progressive but who actually embody the worst sort of regression imaginable. (my italics.)

“Around the time right before the Enlightenment, the establishment level was amber. Because the establishment level was amber, then to be conservative meant, of course, to conserve amber, to conserve traditional amber values. That was the Agape side of the street. But evolution was about to bring forth a new and higher level of consciousness: orange. And thus, the Eros or progressive side of the street would soon bring forth a new political orientation, one that conscientiously referred to itself as siding with progress: namely, the progressive movement.

“Thus, the birth of the new and higher level of consciousness (orange), and the birth of the Enlightenment, was the birth of a new political orientation—Liberalism—that was originally both externalist (as all Left parties are) and progressive (for reasons we just discussed). At the new and modern level of orange, this political orientation therefore believed in world-centric, postconventional morality (“all men are created equal”); the external cause of human suffering (e.g., John Stuart Mill); was strongly individualistic (on the individual/collective scale); and decidedly progressive and even revolutionary on the progressive/conservative or Eros/Agape scale. So, there are the three axes and the level of original liberalism or the original Leftist parties.

But evolution marches on: (meer…)

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Integral Politics (and the road to disaster) as described by Ken Wilber.

In a previous post I undertook to expound on Ken Wilber’s effort to elucidate the utterly unbelievable and unexpected (and overwhelming) win of Donald Trump in the recent election in America, that bastion (so we all believed) of freedom, progressiveness and postmodernism.

What happened is history. Why it happened is still a mystery for most commentators and analysts.

But, because Wilber’s diagnoses and prognosis of the phenomenon (using his Integral Perspective or Integral Meta Theory by way of his EQAL Matrix)  is quite involved and difficult to understand, I thought it best to introduce the Integral Perspective by way of his own Integral explanation of what the difference between Conservative and Liberal is, and how evolution played a role in bringing that divide into existence.

 Yes, I know most people today do not, or can not read more than a short sentence on twitter or Instagram and find even that difficult to comprehend most of the time. For those I suggest you go back to your small and/or big screens and see what new scandals of world-shattering importance by celebs tops the charts at the moment. You do not want to miss out on that, do you?

For the rest, I think you will find this insight into modern politics one of the most important discussions for the future of humanity. We are living in an unstable, dangerous time of transition for the human race and the planet we live on. It is time we take a hard look at where we come from and where we are heading.

So, let’s start with Ken Wilber:

“What is the basic difference between Democrat and Republican, or between the Left and the Right? Here’s an easy way to tell. If you ask the simple question—

Why do human beings suffer? —you will get two major answers. The Right will say, you suffer because of yourself; the Left will say, you suffer because of someone else.

“Likewise, when it comes to social change, the Republican recommends interior development (character education, family values, God values, industriousness, self-responsibility, work ethic); the Democrat recommends exterior development (material improvement, economic redistribution, universal health care, welfare statism). Of course, there are all sorts of exceptions and mixtures. But more often than not, that is a genuinely basic difference in socio-political orientation between the Democrat and the Republican.”

Yes, I also had the interior/exterior thing turned around. I thought that the Democrats were for interior change, while the Republicans were for exterior change. The problem turns out to be one of how they differ in bringing about the desired change. When you look at levels and lines of evolutionary development, especially when it comes to moral and spiritual development, the internal/external axis is turned around 360 degrees. You find that Republicans (or everyone on the amber level of development and lower) employs external means of power like the police and the army, the church and social sanctions to enforce change, or in most cases to prevent change, (think Spanish inquisition and the burning of dissidents on the stake back in the Dark Ages, and harsh riot control in our times). In other words, we will force you to change you to our way of thinking, using external forces, even if it kills you.

The Democrats on the other hand believe that change must come from within the individual (Upper Left Quadrant) by a process of transcend and include (a system of development introduced by Abraham Maslow). The current (orange) values must be transcended to reach higher evolutionary states of being, but it will still include the lower value systems as foundation for the new, higher order that will eventually change the whole system or society (or Holon which includes all 4 Quadrants) from the inside. Or like Thich Nhat Hanh said, “The only way out, is the way in”. Interior change brought about by evolution and the effort  of the individual him- or herself.

The confusion will be cleared up as Wilber expands on the difference in world view between Democrat (or Liberal) and Republican (or Conservative).

Wilber:

“Mainstream Republicans or conservatives have very strong amber/traditional values. Hence, when they say that ‘character counts,’ or that they want to ‘instil values in people,’ or that they are ‘the party of values,’ they almost always mean amber values only, traditional values, ethnocentric values: nationalism, family values, militarism, patriotism, patriarchalism, good ole Biblical injunctions and command morality.

They do not mean green values, red values, teal values, turquoise values, etc.”

The amber, orange, red and other colour designations will become clear as we go on. It is important to get a clear understanding of this hierarchical differentiation in the evolutionary development of people in order to fully understand Wilber’s theory.

Wilber:

“But that sort of (amber) traditional, conservative political movement — grounded in mythic- membership and the amber value system—was the dominant form of governance for most of humanity’s civilized history, East and West, from the great Axial Period (around the 6th century BCE) up to the Enlightenment in the West. This amber value structure, and the governance systems that it supported, were those of the great Republican empires and ancient nations, East and West, North and South, Rome being one of the mightiest. These were agrarian societies (in the Lower Right), and therefore typically they had a corresponding mythic-membership culture of amber or traditional values (in the Lower Left). At their best and healthiest, and for their time, these cultures were a thing of beauty and wonder. (But creation is a dynamic, ongoing process. To stagnate is to die, to evolve is to reach for higher states of being. We cannot stay Romans for ever, we must move on to higher states of civilization, higher states of technological development, higher states of consciousness.)

(“Lower Left” and “Lower Right” of the EQAL matrix, of which more later-on)

“But the important point to note is that, precisely because the spectrum of consciousness and the spiral of values are constantly regenerated — everybody is born at square one and begins their growth through the spiral as it exists in their culture at that time—then, even in today’s modern/orange world, magic/magenta values are still around, and egocentric/red values are still around, and traditional/amber values are still around— and hence there will always be human beings who, stopping (permanently) at those value stations in their own lives, will be attracted to political leaders, philosophies, and systems that give voice to these values—their values. And thus, as we will see, there are red blocks of voters, and amber blocks of voters, and orange blocks and green blocks and so on….

“Up to around 1200 BCE in the West, the highest major mode of average consciousness was traditional amber. In its sophisticated forms, the great Republics organized at that stage produced the roots of what we today would call Republican or conservative political philosophy — aristocratic, hierarchical, disciplined, agrarian-patriarchal, traditional, amber-value oriented, with emphasis on military defence, national identity, and ethnocentric religion.

“But beginning around the Renaissance and culminating with the Enlightenment, an entirely new level of values began to emerge — namely, the orange, modern, world centric value system—and with it, a radically new type of political philosophy was born: liberalism.

It might be more accurate to say that this was the first time that the term ‘liberal’ was used as a label to describe a ‘deviant’ individual or group of individuals who dared to openly defy the existing norms and values of a society. In the past when magic/magenta was the dominant worldview, the emergence of egocentric/red values were more liberal than those of the previous worldview, but when traditional/amber values emerged and replaced the egocentric/red worldview and values, red became the conservative mode of thinking while amber represented the new, more liberal value system though it was not called liberal, it was just called dangerous and to be eradicated by killing the ‘enemy’ of the people. The same happened when (the more liberal) modern/orange worldview and value system replaced the traditional/amber (now the more conservative) worldview and value system. The only difference was that orange represented a rather drastic move away from red and amber values, and thus the term Liberal was somewhat maliciously applied to the new threat to the status quo. We see the same thing today where the term liberal is used even more vehemently and demeaning as Lib-dem, Lib-con and even Neo-libcon.

Back to Wilber: (meer…)

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Trump and a post-truth world

(Just another Glass Bead Game?)

Just a short introduction to and, discussion of Ken Wilber’s book on the phenomenon of the election of Donald Trump as the forty-fifth president of the US of A that came for some as a complete surprise and even as a staggering shock, while others could hardly contain their jubilation.

I urge you to go and read the book yourself to get a completely different perspective on the issue from the normal I hate him/I love him emotional outpourings in newspapers and on the digital social media forums.

The million-dollar question is; Is Trump the demon that is going to destroy America (like the foaming at mouth Democrats make him out to be), or is he the saviour that will make America great again as the Republicans, and Trump himself, so loudly proclaim?

Wilber, with his Integral Theory (or Metatheory), does not focus on the new occupant of the White house as prime factor (or culprit) in the shocking result of the election that put an “orange” (more about this later), leader in the driving seat of the country that was once regarded as the indisputable economic, technological and social leader of the world.

Wilber rather focusses on the evolutionary process that integrates premodern, modern and postmodern structures, stages and lines of development and everything that went right to bring America (and most of the free, democratic world) from level 1 (Infrared/Archaic) development to a level 7 development and leadership country (Green/Postmodern/World-centric) and then to the brink of level 7 (Turquoise/Integral), and what went horribly wrong to get the US back to a level 4 (Amber/Ethnocentric) government, fanning the flames of new internal culture wars where 50% of Americans positively hates the other 50% of Americans who hates them loudly and vehemently right back.

At a time when leading (Green) intellectuals became toxic and started deconstructing and virtually destroying the very systems that were holding the Postmodern society together, and moving it forward, the Republicans (with a little help from the Kremlin?), capitalised on the ensuing bewilderment of the people and grabbed control of the government.

Wilber’s Integral Theory, combining different developmental theories (from Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, to the theories of Graves, Kohlberg, Maslow, Kegan, Loevinger, Gerber, Fowler, Gilligan – stages of female development – and many more, into one Integral Operating System (IOS), using the AQAL matrix to map individual or group evolution on Cognitive, Emotional, Interpersonal, Psychosexual, Moral, Spiritual and other developmental factors that influences and determines  human behaviour, tries to make sense of, and postulates a way to salvage a world gone slightly mad. (meer…)

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The (in)Sane Society.

When things are falling apart:

“During times of radical change, how do we hold both the magnificence and tragedy of the world?” asks Geneen Marie Haugen, voicing the concern of some of us about the drastic and dangerous changes we see around us, changes indicating a regression in human social development all over the world, regression into intolerance, division and even hatred.

“In these days that feel similar to running an unexplored river through a canyon with continual rapids and spectacular betrayals, staying mindful of the thoughts and images that I am contributing to the noososphere is a bumpy, wild task. No doubt it is essential to feel and respond to the full catastrophe of our time, yet how do we navigate if we endlessly repeat the unfolding disasters in our minds, and only see the potential disasters ahead?” she continues her exploration of our world gone slightly mad.

We are in trouble, and not only because of global warming, but also as a result of unsustainable population growth resulting in war and massive waves of migration. Add to the mix the new breed of demagogue exploiting the situation of uncertainty and change, preaching hatred and separation, and calling their followers back into the “lager” to hide behind high walls to defend the tribe or clan or nation against “the enemy” (which is anyone thinking different from you, looking different and praying to a god different from yours), and you have a catastrophe of global proportions.

Different people advocate different solutions to the problem of social fragmentation caused by the aggressive drive towards identity politics, facing us. To counter the division, there is an urgent call to, and desire for belongingness, for community, but away from ethnocentric/class/language/religious exclusivity towards a world-centric inclusivity.

This approach is indeed commendable, but as Duane Elgin warns: “A natural tendency is for people to separate and seek islands of safety to ride out the disruptive storms of transition … However, if we pull apart and seek our security by retreating from the world and isolating ourselves, then systemic problems are certain to escalate and produce the very future of ruinous collapse we most fear.”

It must also be remembered that the desire to belong is still, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of development, regarded as a deficiency need and not a growth need. Erich Fromm warns us that; “Identification with a group is a substitute for true identity, and represents a regression to an earlier state of cultural development.”

He says: “The necessity to unite with other living beings, to be related to them, is an imperative need on the fulfilment of which man’s sanity depends.”

And sanity is indeed what is needed in our fractured world. Fromm elaborates on two ways in which we seek union, one is “to become one with the world by submission to a person, to a group to an institution, to God.” and the other is by: “transcending his individual existence by domination.” But he warns that; “Both persons involved have lost their integrity and freedom; they live on each other and from each other; satisfying their craving for closeness,”

At its worst, identification with a group can lead to excessive sentiments of nationalism and patriotism, sentiments that can quickly regress into exclusivity, separatism, racism and feelings of ethnic superiority or what Fromm calls a fixation to blood and soil, with the worst manifestation of this blend of state and/or clan worship being Fascism, Nazism and Stalinism. (meer…)

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Aan Pa, met sy verjaarsdag, al 770 bladsye, geskenk deur sy dogters Hannelie en Marli.

Wat n groot heerlikheid is dit nie. Kan nie wag om te begin lees nie. Dit gaan lank en stadig lees vat om deur hom te kom, en om die ou koppie om al die groot woorde te kry om te kan verstaan.

Wilber is n groot gees, sommige beskou hom as die grootste filosoof van ons tyd. Ek hou van wat hy sê en hoe hy dink. Sy “Integral Spirituality” was n indrukwekkende boek, n rigtingwyser vir my pad deur die lewe, inderdaad `n openbaring oor die hoekom en waarom van die lewe. Baie dinge in die ontwikkeling van die mens het begin sin maak na ek die boek gelees het.

Abraham Maslow het vir my die fondament gelê, en Ken Wilber het voort gebou op daardie fundament. Ek was lanklaas so opgewonde oor boek soos ek oor die een is.

As julle my soek … ek sit iewers in n hoekie en lees en maak verwoed aantekeninge met n “Do NOT disturb” bordjie om my nek!

Ek sal dalk so stuk-stuk vertel van die storie soos ek vorder. Hou dop.

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