Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What is integral critical theory?

The above article was shortly followed at Integral World by “What is integral critical theory” by Joe Corbett. He too recognized the foundations of critical theory in the Frankfurt School, which in turn was strongly influenced by Marx and Weber. He notes that critical theory's raison d'etre is “human emancipation from oppression,” hence why I chose this particular forum (town hall). As Anderson notes, one must take their 'enlightenment' into the world and help others. Otherwise it is so much narcissism selling product under the guise of emancipation. Moreover, Corbett indicates that a main premise of critical theory, a la Marx, is that the socio-economic sphere must be transformed first for the vast majority of people to even approximate anything vaguely resembling personal liberation. Even Kennilingam recognized as much in Excerpt A.

Here are a few excerpts:

“There is plenty in the AQAL model as Ken Wilber has articulated it to criticize as not being integral, not least of which is his systematic exclusion of the category of justice as being on equal footing with 'the big three' of truth, beauty, and goodness....don't expect Ken and the inner integral circle to address what is most needed in today's world of global crisis, as the aperspectival analysis of the integral map coming out of the corporate spiritually of Wilber Inc. these days is clearly more interested in working with power and money rather than challenging it in the name of justice and human emancipation.

“During these times of the greatest social inequality since the early days of industrialism and the Gilded Age, tax breaks are given to the rich, bailouts are given to the fat-cat Wall Street perpetrators of financial ruin, jobs are outsourced, and homes are foreclosed on while at the very same time cutbacks in the social-safety-net are proposed for those most vulnerable in society, even as military budgets remain untouched, unchallenged, and are even expanded. This is the logic of the day, a day ruled by an oligarchy of corporate-military-politicians and their neoliberal free market policies of unfettered global investment capital backed by imperialist military strength. These are the relations of production that Marx would be talking about today, and that Eisenhower talked about in his farewell speech. They are also the special moneyed interests that FDR spoke of as his opponents when he proposed the progressive New Deal legislation. They have been and remain today the undeclared enemies of freedom and democracy within a context of social equality, i.e. the American Dream.

“The structural development of capitalism into a military-police machine of corporate democracy with longstanding amoral and immoral tendencies --- a 'me first' (red), 'we're the best' (blue), and 'just the facts ma'am' (orange) complex of moral development --- must become the target of critical inquiry, and lead to a countervailing moral imperative for action against and/or reform of the current social relations of production that are currently based on a red-blue-orange foundation of development. The other option is to remain silent and watch as the conditions of development for a higher level of civilization in the future are eroded by the corporate-media and the vested interests of power and money as they attempt to hold on to their privileges amid the encroaching development (and degradation) of the forces of production.

“Ultimately, the proper use of integral critical theory is not to talk about it, but to do it, to engage in the practice of critique of the cultural and social forces of domination and oppression in both their overt (gross) and covert (subtle) forms for the purpose of liberating the bodies and minds of people who can then achieve spiritual communion by engaging in equitable and sustainable political and economic activity. Only then will we have the collective capacity to finally move beyond the corporate-state, to even greater frontiers of the human imagination, soul, and spirit.”

1 comment:

  1. Another of Corbett's IW articles is "Social transformation."* A few select quotes that resonate with Rifkin:

    "In this article I will give a critique of the social institutions of capitalism and the injustice it generates by using all four quadrants, and then I will suggest possible transition strategies as well as future social-system scenarios that can be facilitated by and generated out of an AQAL analysis.

    "An eco-tech energy macro-foundation (UR) would create more equity between humans and nature, and possibly save our collective lives in the process, because it would be more difficult to exploit human labor itself using renewable energy sources, as they must be decentralized for them to work effectively. Empowering labor with decentralized energy technologies can be a first step towards restoring balance with nature, as well as reducing alienated and exploited labor based on a highly centralized and unequal organization of tyrannical capitalist institutions that are made possible by a fossil fuel energy foundation.

    "The institutions of a political-economy based on a decentralized eco-tech energy foundation would likewise need to be radically transformed from a centralized oligarchy of political, industrial, financial, and military elites to an eco-socialist set of social relations (LR), based on decentralized local communities linked to larger provincial, state, regional, national, and global institutions that keep the collective social and natural environmental interests, rather than only (or even primarily) private power/profit interests, at the center of their efforts. This in turn would provide the context for local and global cultures to be based not on a corporate-consumer model of greed and envy, but on a compassionate socialist-democratic model of humanistic solidarity and soulful community (LL) in harmony and balance with both nature and other human beings.

    "As for the structure of the self, serving as a micro-foundation at the other end of the human reality matrix (UL)....with fossil fuel addiction broken and the hyper-images and hegemonic representations of corporate-media tamed by decentralized eco-socialist institutions, values, and beliefs....a contemplative creativity (genius) of voluntary self-sacrifice (altruism) could emerge from a self that is no longer alienated, exploited, oppressed, and media-manipulated, and that is culturally and socially supported by enlightened (democratic-socialist and spiritual, green and yellow) values, beliefs, and institutions.

    "So how can we actually get from here to there?... We must begin with the LR quadrant, with the social relations and institutions of society and the inequities (injustices) and pathologies they generate."

    * http://www.integralworld.net/corbett1.html


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