Thursday, June 26, 2014
Developmental pros and cons
Continuing on a theme in recent posts, let's explore Otto Laske’s article in the Aug/Nov ’13 issue of ILR. It is pertinent given that it supports and espouses a developmental framework. But it also cautions about its uses and misuses, something to which we must be attentive, especially when such frameworks unconsciously maintain the very sort of societal obstructions which they claim to overcome.
Therein Laske differentiates between culture and civilization. The 'soul' resides in the former whereas the latter is our everyday work life. In that sense it is akin to this thread, in that religion is the structuring force of a culture at large in its many domains. What has happened with developmental tech is that it has become a tool of its socio-historical capitalist civilization, in that its culture of the higher reaches of human potential (soul) has been instrumentalized to function as more efficient and productive workers within that context. Hence we get these spiritual evolutionaries running around thinking they're at the peak of human development, marketing and selling their wares at exorbitant rates, and sending their clients back into the same capitalist work world as if they can magically change it from within while not addressing the capitalist meme itself. And meanwhile continuing to consume everything at unsustainable rates thereby maintaining that status quo. Laske sees this as an unconscious bias of developmentalists that all the work is internal and individual, overlooking the external and social policies also necessary.
Hence our soul has become a commodity, and ultimately the work of develomentalists is about our soul. So what does that look like when removed from the instrumentalized capitalist framework? How do we move this cultural (religious) force to the next phase of civilization, one more conducive to a soul (spiritual) development? And how do we enact this within the context of our coaching and counseling, when we have to balance what the client wants when their desires are to maintain and support a dying capitalist system and all its inherent dysfunctions and injustices? Do we not have a responsibility to elevate their soul so that their desires move beyond that system to one more equitable and just? These are questions I've been exploring all along in this movement, even before “Giving guns to children.”
So while I support this sort of project, I also understand Laske's concerns as to being careful to watch out for the pitfalls that have already led the movement astray. Which of course we must take into account as we push past the 'first veil,' as LP called it. Laske still believes in this developmental project, including profiling, despite the misapplications. As do I. We just need to continually refine the process as we go along with constant feedback, realizing this discipline is in its infancy. We must acknowledge that this is 'soul' work, and that may require of us to also enact the sort of civilization that can accommodate such a focus. And in that sense Rifkin, the Commons and ecological consciousness are a key part of our spiritual and religious journey and responsibility.