Saturday, April 30, 2011

Donald Trump & devolution

I like how Johann Hari frames conservatism in his Huff Post article on Donald Trump's rise to fame in the Republican party:

"They have long claimed that evolution is a myth believed in only by whiny liberals -- and it turns out they were on to something. Every six months, the Republican Party venerates a new hero, and each time it is somebody further back on the evolutionary scale."

For those of you out there enthralled with evolution take note. Some more excerpts:

Friday, April 29, 2011

More on Eco Transitions

Following are more excerpts of posts from the blog Eco Transitions with my comments interspersed, all available at the IPS thread on the topic.

From the blog post "why transition, part 2":

"I want to argue here that the responses to the crisis...rely on, and presuppose the continuation of, the same logic as the one which brought about that crisis....There isn't so much a conspiracy at work (although some segments of the economic world are clearly pushing intentionally for measures which are designed to prevent deeper questioning and/or change) as there is a lack of vision.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Eco Transitions

Christian Arnsperger started a new blog this April called Eco-Transitions: The Next Step Economy. Also check out our IPS discussion on the blog. Here's an excerpt from the 2nd post of 4/16/11 called “Why transition? A first look at concepts”:

"The transition model tries, in a sense, to steer a middle way between revolution and collapse. Transition can be compared to getting an airplane to fall from the sky in a fully controlled fashion -- an accomplishment known nowadays as "landing," utterly baffling and yet totally trivialized. The jet airplane neither falls abruptly from the sky, nor does it remain in flight while mutating into a completely different machine. Transition is intentional, just like revolution. It involves deliberating, tracing out possible scenarios, and then making decisions as to which one we think we can pursue. Transition also has a collapse-like flavor, in the sense that it consists in readjusting many crucial parameters of the incumbent system -- and that readjustment will usually have a "downward" feel to it. Some things need to be done without, in the short and medium run, and sometimes also forever more, but this can be turned into subsequent opportunities for a positive outcome -- namely, a safe landing after a downward-sloping path...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Feminine space

I referenced the book Shadow of Spirit in another thread. I here want to emphasize chapter 19: "Woman and space according to Kristeva and Irigaray" by Phillipa Berry. A few excerpts with comments following.
"One way in which Heidegger’s emphasis upon openness and the clearing has left its mark in the work of Kristeva and Irigaray is through their shared interest in a highly ambiguous spatial category which was used by Plato, but which also has evident affinities with the pre-Socratic thought that so fascinated Heidegger: the category of chora" (255).

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The People's Budget

Building on the last post, instead of splitting the difference between the two bad budget plans of Obama and Ryan, which is not the middle but way right of center, how about the budget plan proposed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus called The People's Budget? Rachel Maddow asks why is this not even being reported in the media? Why is it that it's either the Ryan or Obama plan, or somewhere "in the middle?" She shows that the myth of a liberal media is just that, a myth, because only the real liberal media, like her (and Huff Post or Daily Kos) are even reporting on this proposal. It's being completely ignored and it's the most sensible budget plan out there, one that doesn't cut Medicare but rather military spending, one that doesn't give tax breaks to the rich and corporations but makes them pay their fair share. And one that actually balances the budget in 10 years, unlike either the Ryan or Obama plans.This is where the middle is and what our budget should be, not a starting point for negotiation. This is the end point in real middle America.

This is from the Executive Summary of The People's Budget:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Where is the political middle?

Robert Reich makes clear that in the current US budget debate the middle is not between the Obama and the Ryan plans. Progressives know this is a fallacy but it seems the  other liberals, including Obama, think that negotiation and compromise means finding a middle ground between the two positions, and that this middle represents the independently-minded middle Americans. It does not and it is a grave mistake to engage this type of nonsense.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The New Universe and The Human Future

Balder started an IPS thread on this book by Ellen Abrams and Joel Primack. He kicks off the thread with a review by Matthew Fox, who says:

"I have often said that the most important things in life are metaphors, whether we are speaking of life or death, spirit or sex, love or body. And the universe too is metaphor and accessible by metaphor. All the prophets knew these things. Metaphor carries us on wings larger than despair, self-pity, talk of 'selfish genes,' and pessimism — all of which is so often a cover-up and escape from responsibility.

"Here is one metaphor that they put forth for our understanding:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Struggling with Zizek's Ideology

Jan Jagodzinski has an interesting article in the International Journal of Zizek Studies (4:1, 2010) called "Struggling with Zizek's Ideology." This excerpt addresses some of the issues I've been addressing in the IPS TOE & TFA thread from another angle, or is that (folding, rotating) vesica piscis? Herein we find the embodied and khoronic imagine schemas which require a differential mathematics:

Let's get graphic

A picture is worth  how many words? This looks more like how holons interact to me, which includes but transcends nests and displays multiple venn relations. Funny how its mapped on a 4-quadrant diagram.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Names for holons

In the IPS thread on a theory for anything we've come up with alternative names for types of holons. For example, I call those hegemonic theory of everything holons, like the AQAL diagram, assholons. Balder argues that we can have big picture holons as long as we keep their conditional, interpretative and enactive nature in mind and calls those meta-holons or plurons. I choose to call those khorons, from the root khora, explored in the what "is" the differance thread. A khoron (or core-on) is a hard on for core issues. As I age I get fewer physical hard ons (and someday none) so I need to channel that energy into the subliminal. I'm building my rainbow holon body today (aka The Word) in preparation for infinity (aka Death).

In that light/shadow here's a reminder from Edwards in the religion and politics thread:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The difference with a theory for anything

We are discussing this at IPS in this thread. Mark Edwards, in the first of a series of interviews with Integral Leadership Review, distinguished between a theory of everything and a theory for anything:

“I liked Clifford Geertz's distinction between a 'theory for' - which explicitly refers to the search for an imprecise but also useful form of knowledge and a 'theory of' - which harkens back to the grandiosity of the positivist search for complete explanations and exact predictions. As far as the 'everything' bit goes, I see integral theory as a set of lenses that can help me get a handle on any event rather than every event. By this I mean that I want to bring integral theory to the ordinary events of life rather than trying to fit everything into the theory. Hence, I have referred to my work in the development of an integral holonics as a 'Theory for Anything' as opposed to a 'Theory of Everything'. Although, I still find even the TOA version rather extravagant.... In any event, being aware of such distinctions is an example of how integral theory can gain from post-modern critical analysis of TOEs. The post-modern critiques of overarching theories are very relevant to this whole discussion and theorists working in this area need to be aware of such valid criticism.”

In Edwards' Integral World series called “Through AQAL Eyes” he explores this differentiation. In part two he notes the implications of the holon of everything often depicted in Wilber's diagrams:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Levin on politics

In the IPS thread on religion and politics Balder brought up David Michael Levin's book The Listening Self, which has a section on politics. He scanned the section and stored it at this link.

Balder said:

He's talking about Merleau-Ponty's intertwining in relation to the body politic, schemas, Marcuse, Foucault (whom he praises for his inclusion of the "body" in political thinking, but criticizes for having too narrow a vision of body and not adequately conceiving of the "lived body"), Lacan, Habermas (whose communicative praxis he embraces, but whom he criticizes for too shallow a conception of self).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Introduction to Emptiness

by Guy Newland. Subtitle: As Taught in Tsong-kha-pa's Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path. From the ad at Snow Lion Publications:

"Readers are hard-pressed to find books that can help them understand the central concept in Mahayana Buddhism—the idea that ultimate reality is "emptiness." In clear language, Introduction to Emptiness explains that emptiness is not a mystical sort of "nothingness," but a specific truth that can and must be understood through calm and careful reflection.

"Newland's contemporary examples and vivid anecdotes will help readers understand this core concept as presented in one of the great classic texts of the Tibetan Tradition, Tsong-kha-pa's Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. This new edition includes quintessential points for each chapter.

"Guy Newland is Professor of Religion and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Central Michigan University, where he has taught since 1988. He is a translator and co-editor of the three-volume translation Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, and is the author of several books on Tibetan Buddhism, including Appearance and Reality. "

From an interview with Newland on the book:

Political views are reflected in brain structure


We all know that people at opposite ends of the political spectrum often really can't see eye to eye. Now, a new report published online on April 7th in Current Biology reveals that those differences in political orientation are tied to differences in the very structures of our brains.

Individuals who call themselves liberal tend to have larger anterior cingulate cortexes, while those who call themselves conservative have larger amygdalas. Based on what is known about the functions of those two brain regions, the structural differences are consistent with reports showing a greater ability of liberals to cope with conflicting information and a greater ability of conservatives to recognize a threat, the researchers say.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shadow of Spirit

In my research for the IPS Religion and Politics thread I came upon this interesting and free e-book at Scribd, Shadow of Spirit: Postmodernism and Religion (Routledge 1992). Section two, "Ethics and politics," is particularly relevant to this thread. The blurb on the book:

"By illuminating the striking affinity between the most innovative aspects of postmodern thought and religious or mystical discourse, Shadow of Spirit challenges the long-established assumption that contemporary western thought is committed to nihilism.

"This collection of essays by internationally recognized scholars from the humanities and social sciences explores the implications of the fascination with the ‘sacred’, ‘divine’, or ‘infinite’ which characterizes much contemporary thought. It shows how these concerns have surfaced in the work of Derrida, Levinas, Baudrillard, Lyotard, Kristeva, Irigaray and others. Examining the connection between this postmodern ‘turn’ and the current search for a new discourse of ethics and politics, it also stresses the contribution made by feminist thought to this unexpected intellectual direction."

The following excerpt I found interesting from Section II, "The politics of spirituality, the spirituality of politics" by Geraldine Finn, reminiscent of Derrida's khora:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Religion and politics

In modern democracy we must maintain the separation of church and state, which is of course the rallying cry of atheists everywhere. And for good cause, since fundamental religion would remove the democratic ideal and reinstate a theocracy based not on equality but divine right ruled by a religious caste. On the other hand we've thrown out the baby with the bathwater altogether and consequently our political economy is lacking in the kinds of basic human decency necessary to overcome the inhuman forms of treatment endemic to what we're seeing expressed in budget proposals all across the US; the rich get richer and more powerful which the middle class and the poor bear the brunt of ever-shrinking leftover pie crumbs. To reinject human value back into politics then religion must obviously be of a different kind, we might even say of a postmetaphysical kind, that is bereft of all those things we have grown beyond but still retains our connection with something larger that instills within us humane values toward each other.

In that light I'd like to kick off the thread with excerpts from page 4 of the progressive economics thread, where Arnsperger's (re)turn to religion was requisite in formulating his economic analysis and prescriptions in moving beyond capitalism. Granted it seemed to me that while his economic critique was valid his religious prescriptions tended to fall back into the metaphysical variety. I'll then provide some excerpts of John Caputo's and Catherine Keller's comments on the topic from the Winter 2007 edition of Cross Currents, taken from the 2006 American Academy of Religion convention in Washington DC. (See the IPS discussion for more.)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hi ku ka choo cha cha

I see a ghost on the horizon
calling me to follow.
When I get there
loose rags on a tattered fence.

Looking up it's still out there
taunting, wavering

Friday, April 1, 2011


Oh Goddess of the sea and land, open the door of dreams to me
Hourglass shifting grains of sand, the door without a key
Soundless boundless bitter sea, the moon of man's desire
The deep dark well of memory, it's you that we admire
To thee do we aspire...Goddess

Goddess it is you we call, with our song do we enthrall
Come speak to us in our sacred hall