This never-before published essay by Ken Wilber delves into the intricate dynamics of societal evolution, emphasizing the interplay between technological advancements, cultural worldviews, and governance systems. Through an integral lens, Wilber explores the potential for new and more authentic modes of being and consciousness to emerge, emphasizing the evolutionary Eros that drives social transformation.
Wilber underscores the importance of the Lower-Right quadrant (techno-economic base) as a significant determinant of the average level of consciousness in the Lower Left (cultural beliefs and worldviews). Conversely, he also highlights that the cultural and collective consciousness in the Lower Left is essential to support and sustain the advancements in the Lower Right. The essay touches on the challenges of introducing new governance systems without corresponding shifts in collective consciousness and discusses the concept of “legitimation crisis,” where prevailing worldviews face challenges in maintaining their influence.
Award-winning educator and activist Shakil Choudhury is the author of the outstanding book Deep Diversity: A Compassionate, Scientific Approach to Achieving Racial Justice, and in this potent conversation we learn a lot we perhaps didn’t know about the psychological, emotional, and neurobiological reasons for our ingrained biases, and the systemic bias in the culture at large. How and why do we discriminate? Many of our biases are hidden in the unconscious, which makes it that much harder to bring them into the light so we can begin to understand what’s going on and find ways to move ourselves and society toward justice and equity. Shakil explains that changing societal norms is at the heart of the battle for racial and social justice, as our habitual cultural behaviors tend to be viewed as legitimate, normal, and natural, when actually they may be outdated, off base, offensive, and unjust. Shakil deftly lines us out with specific steps we can take to recognize and change our own behaviors, as well as actions organizational leaders can take to effect change on a broader level.
Shakil contends that educating people to become diversity and equity literate is the first essential step, and the 360-hour program he has designed to this end has proven very effective. Once people see the data, they cannot help understanding the drivers of racial and social injustice more clearly, which leads to the place where real transformation can happen. Shakil’s extraordinarily insightful and illuminating approach is fueled by many years of contemplative practice, and he leaves us with a vision of what we are fighting for—not just what we are fighting against—based on Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of Beloved Community. Small groups of dedicated people have managed to successfully nudge societal norms in the direction of justice in the past, and this conversation and Shakil’s book, Deep Diversity, most certainly contribute a compassionate nudge in the right direction. Bit by bit, recognizing that this is a journey, Shakil conveys both the means and the hope that justice will prevail. Recorded April 26, 2023.
“Can we hold the tension between our common humanity and our differences simultaneously?”
This 32 minute animation – in 4 Acts – describes the backdrop for The Great Simplification – an economic / cultural transition beginning in the not-too-distant future.
We made this movie, originally as a framing ‘teaser’ for the new podcast thegreatsimplification.com, but the project….expanded over time.
Part 1 describes how our species got to this point, and the role of energy in our economies
Part 2 gives an overview of the relationship between energy, technology, money and the environment and how global human society is (currently) akin to a metabolic heat engine
Part 3 gives an overview of individual (and aggregate) human behavior tendencies in a novel modern environment and why these dynamics are relevant to our current challenges
Part 4 describes how people look at the future wearing different popular lenses, but when wearing a ‘systems’ lens, it becomes clear that a Great Simplification is soon approaching.
SOCIETAL VIOLENCE – A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE
ITS PREVENTION – A CARICOM DEVELOPMENTAL IMPERATIVE
(Not a prescription…. mere sensitization and an exhortation)
Keynote Address by H.E. Dr. IzBen C. Williams to National and Regional Leaders and other high-level officials of the Caribbean Community of Nations, attending the Regional Symposium on Violence Prevention as a Public Health Issue, and its related Crime Challenge, at Trinidad’s Hyatt Regency, 17-18 April 2023
Published: March 23, 2023
Commercial actors can contribute positively to health and society, and many do, providing essential products and services. However, a substantial group of commercial actors are escalating avoidable levels of ill health, planetary damage, and inequity — the commercial determinants of health. While policy solutions are available, they are not currently being implemented, and the costs of harm caused by some products and practices are coming at a great cost to individuals and society.
A new Lancet Series on the commercial determinants of health provides recommendations and frameworks to foster a better understanding of the diversity of the commercial world, potential pathways to health harms or benefits, and the need for regulatory action and investment in enterprises that advance health, wellbeing, equity, and society.
Sally J. Goerner is the Director of the Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics (RARE), former Science Advisor to the Capital Institute, and Managing Director of the North Carolina Sustainable Community Fund. With advanced degrees in engineering, systems science, and psychology, Dr. Goerner has lectured worldwide on how the Energy Network Sciences (ENS) create a common-sense narrative on how to achieve socioeconomic vitality by revitalising human networks. Dr. Goerner has authored over 50 articles and 5 books, including ‘After the Clockwork Universe: The Emerging Science and Culture of integral Society’ (1999) and ‘Sustainability as the Cutting Edge of Great Change’ (2007). Over her prolific career, Sally has been on a mission to contribute to a rigorous and unifying framework providing practitioners in different fields the systemic vision required to co-create the reforms we need for a healthy future.
What causes such a society to undergo a comprehensive change of life? The answer is that oligarchy is a cultural system that creates systemic problems by coloring all things. It’s not just economic – it’s political, environmental, agricultural, education. When multiple, interlocking, systemic problems happen at the same time, it creates huge pressure inside the society. In the beginning, nobody knows what to do – they are just casting about focusing on individual problems. Then, some of these people become reformers – heretics from the old system. They will figure out better ways in their area of concern: religion, science, education. Great change happens when the pressures get so large that there is a kind of tipping point. You can see this happening right now. Regular people are so fed up with the old way, that they’re willing to go with something new. That’s the point we’re at right now. You can’t predict whether we’re going to pick up effective reforms or not—after all, demagogues are rising and America elected Trump! Martin Luther had a great line: ‘the mad mob cares not that it be better, only that it be different. And, hence they get bees for flies and then hornets for bees’. My mission in life is to try to build well-informed self-organisation, because if the framework gets in place so that people that are in all different fields can see how their reforms fit together, then we can use its clarity and power to move this society in the right direction.
In an historic final interview, filmmaker and music promoter Aaron Russo goes in depth on the insider-knowledge given to him by a member of the Rockefeller family. Russo was told (prior to 9/11) of plans to stage terror attacks, invade foreign nations, and kickstart a high-tech police state control grid that would track the populations’ every move with implantable R.F.I.D. microchips.
Jeffrey Sachs is a world-renowned economics professor, bestselling author, and global leader in sustainable development. Sachs serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he holds the rank of University Professor. Sachs was the Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University from 2002 to 2016. Prior to Columbia, Sachs spent over twenty years as a professor at Harvard University, including as the Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade. Sachs has authored and edited numerous books, including three New York Times bestsellers: The End of Poverty (2005), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008), and The Price of Civilization (2011). He is the recipient of several international prizes and has advised several governments across the globe. Prof Sachs has also served as the Special Advisor to UN Secretaries-General Kofi Annan, Ban Ki-moon, and António Guterres.
McMurtry’s work offers a contribution to the understanding, as well as to development of standards for the measurement, of human well-being, so that progress and regress may be interpreted in ways that mainstream economic criteria neglect or fail to ascertain, both in theory and in practice. The importance of determining novel standards and indicators is considerable, and widely acknowledged by many academics and politicians (for example, the 2008–2009 Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission created by the French Government), but above all it is important to reconceptualise economic phenomena so as to re-orient them in line with life-based criteria.
First, it has already been highlighted that the type of ‘growth’ conceptualised and pursued in today’s global market has had systemic negative effects upon life at many levels, to the point of making possible the explanation of said implications by means of a cancer-based explanatory model. ‘Real capital’ as ‘life capital’ is both unseen and harmed by standard economic thought (CSC2013, p. 12).
Second, in the wake of the current economic crisis, the same global market has been proven equally unable to attain ‘growth’ on its own life-blind terms, that is, in terms of pecuniary aggrandisement for money investors and/or managers (cf. Crotty, 2000). ‘Real capital’ as sheer ‘money’ is not there either, especially if one considers that the vast meltdowns of the last few decades have been caused by speculative bubbles in exponentially ‘leveraged’ masses of currency without any ‘grounding’ in ‘a medium of exchange and capital’ such as ‘gold, labour, or livestock’ (CSC2013, p. 12).
The system’s inherent rationality, which economics textbooks presuppose, is to be seriously questioned, and that is what McMurtry’s work does, consistent with Castoriadis’ (2005a, p. 129) poignant characterisation of the Socratic role that philosophers are expected to play in genuinely democratic societies: the possibility and the ability to call established institutions and significations into question. Whether he will be listened to, we do not know. However, responding to a cancer diagnosis by avoiding what alone can work is fatal.
To many in politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly, the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?