Monday, June 9, 2014


I started a new thread at the IPS forum by the above name. The initial post follows. Follow the link for ongoing discussion.

A recent FB IPS discussion reiterated something that has long been happening which I'll call quacademics. You know, if it quacks like an aqal... The phenomenon arises because Wilber is often perceived by typical academia as a religious zealot and/or cult leader and thereby dismissed. The main goal then is to legitimize his work academically. Hence we have all kinds of folks pursuing and getting degrees from typical academic institutions while trying to insert their integral agenda into such programs through MA and/or PhD theses/dissertations. The hope is obviously to legitimize integral studies so that it is something more than just an isolated, sub-cultural phenomenon applicable only in its own bubble. Another hope is when so legitimized that it can change the world for the better, as adherents truly believe it is a breakthrough paradigm in the next stage of evolution that can indeed improve life conditions for all. I applaud and support such hopes.

But is this truly the most effective place to focus our energies? Is academia really the cultural leader when it comes to enacting a new and better paradigm? Take for example Rifkin's work. Yes, he's an academic but implementing his plan has moved from the ivory tower to the political towers of power in EU governments. Government is the key player to enacting such an agenda via laws that govern individual, social and most of all corporate behavior. Without such law our academic towers only grow ivy, moss and mold.

But most importantly, even governments must ultimately answer to the people on the street. That is, if such government is a democracy. Granted in the US we've become more of a fascist oligarchy due to the capitalist system, but that is changing. As more of us get politically involved and elect more progressives like Senators Sanders and Warren, and representatives like Grayson, the latter realize they represent the people. That is, government is not to pass laws from the top down from enlightened leaders to the masses, but do so from the bottom up, from the will of the people. They represent us.

I'll also grant that if the people are uneducated and ill-informed they cannot wisely tell our representatives what is best for the public. Hence the oligarchs try to destroy education by making schools into the sort of top-down programming factories, to make ignorant workers kept in their place. But what is happening since the advent of the internet is that many more of us are getting educated in a P2P fashion, sharing information and knowledge, getting politically informed, and taking action by contacting our representatives to express our educated and wise wishes for a better polity.

It is we who create the next paradigm. Rifkin didn't invent most of what he discusses in his books; he reports on the phenomena that have arisen organically from culture, like the new commons paradigm. It is arising from ordinary people connecting via tech like the internet to form new forms of communication, news, publication, music, knowledge generation, product production, economic exchange etc. We have educated ourselves. We not only know what we want but are not waiting for leaders to create it, doing it ourselves instead. We are creating the next wave and it is here right now.

Pursuing academia in the hopes of changing the world assumes the old-school (capitalist) premise that education begins with the best and brightest teachers and thought leaders who have been certified in that old school. The already emergent new-school of the Commons doesn't see education in this sort of top-down approach. (E.g. see this post from Rifkin's new book.) The culture created by the Commons is transforming traditional educational institutions, so at least the latter are getting with the program in reflecting the culture rather than creating it. It seems quacademics are still adhering to the old paradigm in trying to create a new one, thereby missing the already manifest Commons culture all around them. Part of that is that kennilingus doesn't recognize the new culture because of its inherent and unconscious biases, still stuck in this old school hierarchical way of thinking. And hence it misses the facts on the ground. Or dismisses them because it doesn't fit the kennilingus map. Or is a lower level that just doesn't get it. To the contrary, it is kennilingus that doesn't get it. And those quacademics who want to be leaders in an old school way of being.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.