Saturday, January 9, 2010

TRANSFORMING HUMAN SYSTEMS: ORIGINARY MUSINGS



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BOOK PROPOSAL
My doctoral research focused on the intersection of law and consciousness. In my work I tried to articulate a kind of attractor basin [1] meant to orient human consciousness so as to remake the world into one that embraces global democracy, economic justice, and civil society. This is in contrast to a world that suffers, at present, from the deleterious effects of empire-driven policies and those actions of corporate capitalism that have caused such misery for people worldwide. [2] The remaking of the world is no utopian pipe-dream but rather a bottom-up phenomenon that is already underway.[3] Using a relational/ participatory frame [4] of consciousness, networks of problem-solving cultural creatives from diverse backgrounds are working to ameliorate and ultimately supplant harsh socioeconomic, political, and environmental policies. These actors are transforming the world by attuning human systems to a more human scale, one that is capable of meeting the needs and concerns of people and the planet more readily and more equitably.[5]

A major block to effective change in human systems is the undue influence wielded by what has been called corpocracy (or corporatocracy).[6] The aim of my research is to suggest human system alternatives to those de facto inhumane systems established and preserved by corpocracy.[7] From the stance of a worldview that embraces a new consciousness of integral values, the avaricious consumerist/materialist, Cartesian frame-of-reference (i.e., the top-down status quo values and agenda of an entrenched, global corpocracy) would no longer be viable. Indeed, the timeworn notion of an insular sovereignty – with institutions that serve immediate self-interests of power elites governing each nation-state or a cartel of powerful nation-states – has become anachronistic, all but bankrupt, and increasingly dangerous in the 21st century.

According to my doctoral research, at some point in pre-history there occurred a crack in a formerly all-pervasive originary [8] custom that was in symbiotic balance with the nature-centered consciousness of primal peoples. Recovering something of the values that we have lost from originary custom may lead us back to becoming more Earth-centered, more grounded and thus more egalitarian. Such values result from an awareness coming to be known as ecopsychology.[9] To this end it is helpful to review participatory field research among primal societies wherein researchers have been able to immerse themselves in originary custom, a simpler way bereft of law as it is commonly conceived of in modern, industrialized societies.[10} Such heuristic immersions reveal invaluable instances of “linking back” to human values uncontaminated by modernist deformities.[11]

A worldview informed by integral consciousness [12] would see politics, culture, and spirituality evolving via a transformative unfolding that draws on wider epistemologies and integral values of the heart, i.e., the moral and spiritual dimensions of empathy for each other, for all living things, and for all life-sustaining qualities of our environment. Accordingly, an integral jurisprudence (that includes yet transcends the hard-won liberal gains of ages past) might offer the world a democratic global authority [13] that is not based on violence, oppression, and environmental destruction (viz., corporate globalism).

One major tool for precipitating such a consciousness shift is the language we use. I believe that we must learn to question the presumptions that invisibly inhere in everyday dualistic/mechanistic think-speak via a relational/participatory frame. By changing the epistemological framing and contextualizing the language, one can ultimately affect the substantive content. This essential skill of critical thinking can help to remake the world. It does so by orienting human consciousness to participate in genuine discourse on issues of global democracy, economic justice, and civil society.

What results is transformative institution-building based upon 1) envisioning and founding improved emancipatory and regulatory human systems that give impetus to what is being referred to as global governance [14] structured and nurtured in large measure by 2) reconfiguring the notion of national sovereignty in accordance with what has been dubbed “evolutionary idealism” [15] and/or via a model known as “disaggregated sovereignty”.[16] In sum, the ultimate goal would be to establish many “living” community environments [17] under the umbrella of a de facto world federation.

The fragmentation of our mental-rational world calls for healing. By revisiting originary custom, humanity can re-discover values it discarded when it veered onto the path of an acculturated custom that led to its civilizational project. In this sense, engaging the harmonizing powers of shamanic guidance is arguably not a retro-romantic reversion but rather an upsurgence of integral consciousness steeped in heuristic, process-oriented, polymorphic experience.[18] Again, recovering something of what we have lost may lead us to what we can become.[19] What we can become is also a symbiotic function of how we frame our language and think and act from a relational/participatory frame of consciousness. Drawing primarily on the work of theorists referred to herein, I propose weaving the values of originary custom and integral consciousness, into a work meant as a kind of new “Guide for the Perplexed.”[20]

Ultimately, the Cartesian frame can be understood as simply a small part of a much bigger frame – one that delights in wholeness, justness, fairness and a humanitas that is deeply rooted in the wisdom of nature and a worldview less identified to itself, more nuanced. That is, a holistic, integral worldview includes-yet-circumscribes the non-holistic, Cartesian frame that is a part within a more capacious frame of consciousness with a much higher order of complexity – a complexity founded upon a simpler way that is being intuited by more and more people.[21] How to develop and articulate all of the above into an attractor basin for human consciousness that can be apprehended and accessed – and thus practiced and learned – is the goal of my research, my life’s work, and the heart of this book proposal.

Significance of the Book
My book seeks to demonstrate how consensual (or consensus) reality acts as an ontological anchor of consciousness that dominates human perceptions and guides one’s worldview via a particular culture trance. The result, I contend, is that many in the developed world overwhelmingly suffer a psychological disconnect from their true, natural state and wholeness-of-being. I refer to this disconnect as dissociation. Consequently, human systems have come to reflect the malignancy of a corpocracy, that – in the name of neo-liberal, “free market” capitalism – has subtly traded democratic values and the ideals of liberty for rank, neo-conservative materialism based on a petro-dollar enforced via the militarism of over 800 US bases overseas. My research would propose a way out of our shared ontological nightmare via a rejection of consensual reality and culture trance in favor of an embrace of “living” communities that, e.g., include the home-schooling of children to combat falsities in consciousness and culture.

How My Book Project Relates to the Publishing Strategy of _______
The impression is that _______ publishes books that conform to academic standards but are stylistically accessible and generally written with the non-academic in mind. It is my intention to re-work my dissertation in such a way as to appeal to the educated layman. A review of _______’s authors page indicates a congruency between the type of subject matter published by ________ and the panarchistic/eco-minded/libertarian aspects of that which is being proposed herein. My book exhorts the reader to “beware the dark side” of modern mass societies and global development. It bemoans the demise of the traditional multicelluar polity, advocating development that is attuned to the innate dignity of common people and their democratic hopes – rather than one that is subservient to the dictates and agenda of a global corpocracy. This is a rugged individualism that trades dependency on specialists for the sharing of skill sets from a knowledge bank within one’s own locale. It is a melding of traditional living into an informed, self-reliant and thus a transformational society. Originary values infused into human systems that are supported by a new consciousness transcending linguistic presumptions, may present the most valuable experiential lesson of the century, thus making this a book project worthy of publication and deserving of broad dissemination.

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FOOTNOTES

1. A converging ensemble of “information” fields or states of being/becoming, akin to David Bohm’s “quantum potential” (Bohm, 1952) or to Rupert Sheldrake’s “morphogenetic field” (Sheldrake, 2005).

2. Johnson, 2007; Johnson 2004; Johnson, 2000; Perkins, 2007; Perkins, 2004.

3. Mare, 2000; Global Ecovillage Network, n.d.; Gaia Trust,. n.d.; Trainer, 2000

4. A frame wherein the consciousness knows itself to be inside and part of the total complex reality, related to all other parts, and knowing that all other parts are similarly inside and part of the complexity, and are related to other parts. Out of such a consciousness a person thinks and articulates from this relational/participatory perspective (E.g., Participatory Action Research; also see, Berman, 2000; Abram, 1996, Clastres, 1989; Gebser, 1985; Bateson, 1972).

5. Schumacher, 1973; Papworth, 1995; 2006; Sale, 2000; Kohr, 1957/1978

6. De facto rule by mega-corporations in conjunction with international banking, corporate-owned media, and the enabling collusion of a militarist government and/or a network of such governments (Perkins, 2004; 2007; Johnson, 2000; 2004; 2007; Hartmann, 2002; 2006; Bakan, 2004; Drutman, 2004; Nader, 2004; Kelly, 2001, 2003; Raskin, 2003; Derber, 1998, 2000; Edwards, 1995); Cf. the military-industrial complex.

7. E.g., the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, a debilitated United Nations, etc.

8. “Originary” is a term borrowed from integral theorist Jean Gebser (1985), appearing in his index and synonymous with primal/ primordial phenomena; original does not carry the requisite sense of timelessness freed from a spatially-bound reality; Gebser refers to “originary” as being, by its nature, “spiritual.” (Gebser, 1985, p.39)

9. Roszak, et al., 1995

10. E.g., Clastres, 1989

11. E.g., Liedloff, 1986

12. McIntosh, 2007

13. E.g., The Earth Charter – a global initiative that began in the 1990s that is a kind of Declaration of Interdependence or international Bill of Rights that is steeped in integral values whose inclusive ethical vision recognizes that environmental protection, human rights, equitable human development, and peace are interdependent and indivisble. The Earth Charter was drafted in coordination with a legally binding, hard law treaty designed to provide a legal framework for all environmental development law and policy. This hard law treaty is called the International Covenant on Environment and Development. It is being prepared by the Commission on Environmental Law at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN brings together 82 states, 111 government agencies, more than 800 non-governmental organizations, some 10,000 scientists, and experts from 181 countries into a unique worldwide partnership. Earth Charter Initiative. (n.d.). Earth Charter Initiative. The Earth Charter International Secretariat. Retrieved on April 11, 2009, from http://www.earthcharter.org/.

14. Global governance helps by regulating interdependent relations via a complex of formal and informal institutions, mechanisms, relationships, and processes between and among states, markets, citizens and organizations, both inter- and non-governmental. It is in this way that collective interests on the global plane are articulated, rights and obligations are established, and differences are mediated. The literature indicates that a niche for global governance is especially crucial to develop as the international system reshapes itself in the 21st century. (Thakur & Weiss, n.d.; Glogov.org, n.d.)

15. Litfin, 2001

16. Slaughter, 2004

17. A “living” environment is a place that engages in a life of satisfying simplicity with maximum self-sufficiency and minimum use of money, where real food is grown, and where people have access to nature and to holistic healing programs. 18. Mindell, A., 1993; 2007

19. Megre, 2005

20. Schumacher, 1973

21. Ray & Anderson, 2000; Trainer, 2000

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REFERENCES
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Bakan, J. (2004) The corporation: The pathological pursuit of profit and power. New York: Free Press.

Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an ecology of mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Berman, M. (2000). Wandering god: A study in nomadic spirituality. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Bohm, D. (1952). “A Suggested Interpretation of the Quantum Theory in Terms of ‘Hidden’ Variables, I and II,” Physical Review, Vol. 85: pp.166-193.

Clastres, P. (1989). Society against the state: Essays in political anthropology. NY: Zone Books.

Derber, C. (1998, 2000). Corporation nation: How corporations are taking over our lives and what we can do about it. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.

Drutman, L. & Cray, C. (2004) The people’s business: Controlling corporations and restoring democracy. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Edwards, D. (1995). Burning all illusions. Boston: South End Press.

Gaia Trust.(n.d.). Retrieved on September 26, 2009, from http://www.gaia.org/gaia
Gebser, J. (1985). The ever-present origin. (Barstad, N., & Mickunas, A., Trans.) Athens, OH: Ohio University Press. (Original work published 1949, 1953).

Global Ecovillage Network. (n.d.). Retrieved on Sept. 26, 2009, from http://gen.ecovillage.org/regions/index.html

Glogov.org. (n.d.). Working Papers Series. Retrieved Sept. 12, 2007 from http://glogov.org/front_content.php?idcat=68.

Hartmann, T. (2006). Screwed: The undeclared war against the middle class – and what we can do about it. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Hartmann, T. (2002). Unequal protection: The rise of corporate dominance and the theft of human rights. Emmaus, PA: Rodale.

Johnson, C. (2000). Blowback: The costs and consequences of American empire; (2004). The sorrows of empire: Militarism, secrecy, and the end of the republic; (2007). Nemesis: The last days of the American republic (American empire project) NY: Metropolitan.

Kelly, M. (2001, 2003). The divine right of capital: Dethroning the corporate aristocracy. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Kohr, L. (1957, 1978). The breakdown of nations. E.P. Dutton:NY.

Liedloff, J. (1986). The continuum concept: In search of happiness lost. Perseus Press.

Litfin, K. (2001, April 6-11) Secularism, sovereignty and the challenge of global ecology: Towards a new story. Paper presented in a workshop at the 2001 “Global Ecological Crisis and the Nation-State: Sovereignty, Economy, Ecology,” Joint Sessions of Workshops of the European Consortium on Political Research, Grenoble, France.

Mare, E.C. (2000). A concise history of the global ecovillage movement. Retrieved on September 26, 2009, from http://www.villagedesign.org/vdi_writings/Concise%20History%20Ecovillage.doc

McIntosh, S. (2007). Integral consciousness and the future of evolution: How the integral worldview is transforming politics, culture and spirituality. St Paul, MN: Paragon House.

Megre, V. (2005). Anastasia. (Book 1 of The Ringing Cedars Series, Eight vols., Sharashkin, L., Ed.; Woodsworth, J. Trans.) Columbia, Missouri: Ringing Cedars Press.

Mindell, A. (2007). Earth-based psychology: Path awareness from the teachings of Don Juan, Richard Feynman, and Lao Tse. Portland, OR: Lao Tse Press.

Mindell, A. (1993). The Shaman’s Body: A new shamanism for transforming health, relationships, and the community. San Francisco: HarperCollins.

Nader, R. (2004). The good fight: Declare your independence and close the democracy gap. New York: Regan Books.

Papworth, J. (2006). Village democracy.

Papworth, J. (1995). Small is powerful: The future as if people really mattered.

Perkins, J. (2004). Confessions of an economic hit man. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Perkins, J. (2007). The secret history of the American empire: Economic hit men, jackals, and the truth about global corruption. New York: Dutton.

Raskin, J. (2003). Overruling democracy: The Supreme Court vs. the American people. NY: Routledge.

Ray, P., & Anderson, S. R. (2000). The cultural creatives: How 50 million people are changing the world. New York: Harmony Books.

Roszak, T., Gomes, M. E., & Kanner, A. D., (Eds.). (1995). Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, healing the mind. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.

Sale, K. (2000). Dwellers in the land: The bio-regional vision; Schumacher, E.F.. (1973). Small is beautiful: Economics as if people mattered.

Schumacher, E.F. (1977). A guide for the perplexed. New York: Harper & Row.

Sheldrake, R. (2005). Morphic fileds and morphic resonance: An introduction. Retrieved Oct., 14, 2007 from http://www.sheldrake.org/papers/Morphic/morphic_intro.html.

Slaughter, A. (2004, Spring). Disaggregated sovereignty: Towards the public accountability of global government networks,” Government and Opposition, Vol. 39 Issue 2, p. 159.

Thakur, R. & Weiss, T.G. (n.d.). The UN and global governance: An idea and its prospects. Retrieved Oct. 18, 2007 from http://www.unhistory.org/publications/globalgov.html.

Trainer, T. (July 2000). Where are we, where do we want to be, how do we get there? Democracy & Nature, Vol. 6, No. 2

1 comment:

faridea said...

Having browsed your academically oriented styled writing, its not surprising perhaps to find not many people commenting. However being a general victim of the "unwholesomeness of human beings" I commend your efforts in portraying actual current affairs of human society and its perceived underlying problems. Even if I think its too much to ask each individual to become as it were "whole", its gratifying to see individuals recognizing that there are deeply rooted underlying problems in society that need to be addressed. In this respect I think religion plays an important role although many would disagree I'm sure. However I hope more and more people would persevere in endeavors such as yours.