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  Against the People
General Thelema Posted by Xnoubis on June 10, 2001 @ 06:42 PM
from the pox-populi dept.
St. Paul spoke up on the Hill of Mars
To the empty-headed Athenians

-- Counter-dedication, Konx Om Pax

The arguments against collectivism can be divided into two tiers.

The first objects to the constraints that the collective places upon the individual. The writings of Ayn Rand and the views of many Libertarians serve as examples.

It is also true, however, that the interests of individuals can constrain or harm the interests of the collective. Unbridled consumerism, for instance, puts a strain on the environment we all share. The pursuits of the wealthy and powerful, if unchecked, disadvantage the masses with ever-growing inequity. For the individualist critic of collectivism, though, these concerns are either non-issues or are to be solved through an even greater focus on self-interest.

The second tier of arguments recognizes that a balance is needed between individual and collective interests, but observes that collective "fair play," empowering everyone to have a voice, is not itself sufficient for the integration and sustainability of the whole. This view recently came to my attention through writings associated with the Spiral Dynamics system (I know, I know: there I go again), particularly discussions on the SD mailing list on the subject of the "Mean Green Meme" (roughly, oppressive collectivism), and Ken Wilbur's insightful (if somewhat lengthy) analysis of "Boomeritis", or the "combination of pluralistic relativism and emotional narcissism."

The key distinction between the two tiers is that, while both value the needs of the individual, only one remains aware of the legitimate concerns of the collective.

The idea of the Open Society attempts to address individualist and collectivist concerns in one framework. But it does not address the issues raised by the second tier, "systems view," argument. What appears to be needed are ways to have our best ideas and solutions come to the fore without ignoring the collectivist critique of the concentration of power into the hands of the few.

Thelema's opposition to collectivism can be (and often is) viewed as parallel to that of Ayn Rand's. But I prefer to see it as inclusive of the objections raised against tyranny, and thus more similar to the second-tier arguments of Wilber and Spiral Dynamics.



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    Re: Against the People
    by cri hoor 217 on Sunday June 10, @08:56PM
    off the top of me ol nogen, i would have to argue-agree; see Ayn(AIN)? Rand(corporation?) is a 60's
    parallel(ME generation) to say: gogo boots! and flower power(the power of the flower is LOVE)...soooo Luv is de la!...Crowley lurken in ye old backround, (knocks on Peace)...Now taken into
    perspective the flood (after the deluge)...of the psy-ca-de-lic EXPLOSION!!! the assassination of
    Kennedy right before; Vietman, a tun of political manuvering shanagins inbetween;;;and New Age,(TM)
    that's trade meditation; and Ken Wilber the new breed of zen scientist; this guy is not a culture jammer! he is a authentic unmisfit! so on my event horizon i see the misfits and the unmisfits joining in one ancient meditation of the future!
    spiraling dynamicaly of course!!!^^^666999666777888ad infinitum babalonbabalonbabalonyaya...

    Re: Against the People
    by cri hoor 217 on Tuesday June 12, @06:18PM
    ...against the people is RIGHT!

    but who ARE the people!

    I'm liberal up the yin yang!
    I'm so liberal that you could call me
    a beatnik thelemite!...but I am a thelemite!

    hit the road Jack, bring on the Howl Allen!
    shall we eat our Naked Lunches yet? William
    see the Book of de la, fits in nicely on
    my book shelf, between these along with Neitzsche
    and mad magizine...divine irreverence!...sorry
    if that is not hip anymore...i never fit in
    but i did perform about 50 Gnostic Masses in the Grand Lodge...old history perhaps, but nevertheless i weighed in...How am i to be worthy to administer the virtue to the Bretheren?!

    Re: Against the People
    by cri hoor 217a on Tuesday June 12, @08:51PM

    [In the Shells.]



    • Re: Against the People
      by Mordecai on Tuesday June 12, @09:58PM
      >(god i'm really a great poet why'd you have to throw me out)

      A friend of mine once had Gregory Corso staying with him for a while. Gregory was a great poet and a very charming, entertaining guy, and you know what? He made a huge mess, and stole my friend's cash and his stash, so my friend threw him out. He was still a great poet though :-)


      • Re: Against the People
        by cri hoor 217 on Wednesday June 13, @12:51AM
        ...my my, anyway i said Mordecai is a good sort
        even if he is a little poo bear like...


    • Re: Against the People
      by cri hoor 217a on Wednesday June 13, @11:41AM
      I can't decide whether it is success or failure to write a parody so accurate that two intelligent people fail to realize it is not the original.


    Re: Against the People
    by Xnoubis on Wednesday June 13, @09:48AM
    I originally intended to link to this message from the Spiral Dynamics mailing list archives in the article, but the archives turned out to be accessible to members only. Now I've gotten permission from the author to quote it in full. It's typical of what I'm referring to as 2nd tier critiques of collectivism, and is a great deal shorter than the Wilbur essay.


    From: "Dr. Don Beck"
    Date: Sat Mar 17, 2001 6:03 pm
    Subject: Re: [spiraldynamics] MGM Revisited


    Argyle:                                    Saturday AM


    I truly appreciate your observations regarding the nature of the vMEME codes and how each expresses itself in the real world. Your questions are most insightful and while you came in "on the tail-end" of the MGM conversation, you raised a number of critical issues that need further clarity.

    The real message of Spiral Dynamics is not about vMEMES per se. Rather, it describes the MASTER vMEME MAKER. .ie the complex, adaptive intelligence that generates vMEMES (value systems, life priorities, and bio-psycho-social-spiritual codes); monitors their strengths/weakness ratios, ebbing and flowing tendencies, and arranges them into compounds, admixtures, and alignments. From the 2nd Tier (yellow) Systemic 7th Level perspective, one must be able to scan over the entire Spiral and strive to (1) facilitate the healthy expression of each vMEME so that all of the awakened vMEMES can be vibrant and robust; and (2) assist the whole Spiral to remain flexible,, adaptive, and open so that if and when vMEMETIC change is naturally inclined to occur, the awakening will be relatively positive. No guarantees, here, since people cannot be until they are and all we can ever do is help folks become what is next for them to become.(This is pure Gravesian in its philosophy, perspective, and systemic prescriptions. Just as he had considerable trouble publishing his works and had to move to the pragmatic world of "business" to get anything in the mainstream, I've attempted a number of such adaptations. Many believe the book The Crucible: Forging South Africa's Future (with South African veteran political commentator Graham Linscott) is even closer to "pure" Graves. My associate Pretra Pieterse is a highly accomplished nonfiction book editor and she plans to turn The Crucible into an available ebook.) Graves' November, l967 piece in the Harvard Business Review "On The Deteriorations in Work Standards" was such an example.

    So, the healthy expression of a vMEME code serves the over all interest of the Spiral (human emergence); the unhealthy blocks that development, attacks the earlier vMEME codes, and claims to be the final state. (The current example can be seen in the Taliban's destruction of the "heresy" Buddha statues.) Both Marxism and unbridled global capitalism have the same effect of pouring acid on the indigenous cultural vMEMES. Ken Wilber uses the expression "transcend but include" to reflect the importance of bringing the past with us. Yet, it is quite natural for those who are moving through the Delta change stage to convince themselves that they have discovered the utopia and pity the future generation for having nothing to think about of note.

    In short, one of the distinguishing characteristics of 2nd Tier systemics is the capacity to sense the whole Spiral "elephant" so one can address issues (blockages) up and down the spine of the Spiral. This is one of the primary reasons we are forming Vital Signs Monitors in various [companies], communities and countries, so we can develop a more refined sense of "allness."

    With that as a background, now to the FS: Sensitive/Egalitarian/Communal (Green) vMEME code. What you call "Active Green" has done wonders; softens the boundaries that have plagued societies for generations; cleans up a lot of the dehumanizing poison; and, at least in the healthy version, welcomes in each vMEME code into the "warm, inner circle."

    Note, in addition, how Wilber describes the positive contributions from Green:

    "the pluralistic relativism of green has nobly enlarged the canon of cultural studies to include many previously marginalized peoples, ideas and narratives. It has acted with sensitive and care in attempting to redress social imbalances and avoid exclusionary practices. It has been responsible for basic initiatives in civil rights and environmental protection. (TOE, page 14)

    In short, the FS "GREEN VMEME" is not under attack by either Beck or Wilber. Case closed. (It should also be noted that an interest in Clare Graves is on the rise thanks to the popularity of the book Spiral Dynamics and the gracious role Ken Wilber has played in introducing these ideas to millions of people.

    He has been careful to give proper credit; always checks with me regarding interpretations; and has helped me foster the Gravesian/Spiral Dynamics message near and far. He is the very first writer to have done this, so I appreciate him greatly. So should the whole Spiral Dynamics community. Professor Graves would have thoroughly enjoyed the give and take with Wilber. And vice versa. I just discovered a major piece that I had written l982 describing Wilber and Graves as parallel systems. It was published by the American Society for Training and Development Journal and we will soon make it available to you.)

    In an early phase, however, Green often knee-jerks negative reactions to DQ-Blue (Nuns with rulers or any authority system) and ER-Orange (greed, materialism, and elite-ism) since, logically, it has arisen to solve the problems that the earlier vMEME(S) created. Just as we are isolating the MGM from the FS System, Green voices do the same thing to DQ:Blue and ER:Orange. You can read them on this list. Blue and Orange are "bad" while only Green is "good." Obviously, these voices will view any criticism of Green to be an attack on their on highly prized system. This is called assimilation and contrast but that is a topic for a later day.

    Yet, and here is a crucial concept, our attempts to isolate the MGM (or Mean Green vMeme) is not an attack on the FS 6th Level at all but upon that version of same that fails to "include" the essential steps and stages of development. What you see is the unholy bonding of the CP-RED (we are victims and have been oppressed by Big Blue and Selfish Orange) with FS egalitarianism that says "we will rescue you because we need you to join with us in attacking evil Blue and divisive Orange). Thusly, it is the RED-GREEN hybrid, devoid of healthy and responsible Blue-Orange, that creates elements of the MGM. The "moral drench of closed-system Blue" can also turn Green into a MAD vMEME DISEASE.

    This idea did not come initially from Ken Wilber but was first suggested in a conversation I had with Dr. Clare W. Graves in the early l980s when we were launching the South African initiative, first called "Strategic Evolution."

    He warned me specifically to plan for a personal attack from the FS system because (1) I was even in South Africa in the first place, thusly "selling out to the "white, racist, apartheid regime" and, (2) I was advocating a different solution than what Green demanded, ie the instant redistribution of power since the only reason for the European-African gaps in development were the result of blatant racism. As I mentioned earlier, an unhealthy expression of Green egalitarianism is to "deconstruct" the Blue/Orange social, economic, and political architecture since it, alone, is the cause of human suffering. After such Green inspired "deconstructionism" in South Africa, the place is in total shambles. The MGM deserves a great deal of the blame which, because of its intellectual arrogance, will never be able to understand the damage it has dumped on the entire African continent. I have tons of evidence to support this observation.

    Graves himself had been haunted by the MGM. I've spoken recently with one of his former students who gave a charming narrative of her relationship with her Professor Graves, and detailed the biting criticism he received from his colleagues because he was, in his long research effort, constructing a hierarchy. Further, when he would go to a meeting of the American Psychological Association that was into group hugs, he refused to take off his shoes, put them around the wall, and sit on the floor. He was often thrown out of the meeting because he was not "sensitive." So, my dear friend bore the scars from the Mean Green Meme. While he did not use memetic language since it had not then been coined, he did use a metaphor that stuck with me:

    "Don, he said, "it is like the painful passing of a kidney stone. Until that part of FS gets beyond us, the flow will not continue. You best watch your backside when you are in South Africa." I got the message but failed to take the advice. I still bear the scars. I valued most highly his gentle counsel.

    The many of you who are on this list from the Wilber background are quite aware that Ken has suffered from the same venom. And, because the MGM claims to be morally superior because of its humanity focus; and is not above throwing racial accusations around to endear itself to those trapped in RED, it becomes a serious menace as it blocks the Spiral emergence. The very steps and stages necessary for upliftment, Blue and Orange, are rejected, often because the Green advocate has personal, unresolved subsystem problems in those domains. This is truly sad as our youth suffer from being ill prepared in their 4Q/8L interior development. No wonder affluent kids with meaningless (translated: devoid of Blue) lives are empty and hollow and why so many in the so-called under classes fail to rise to greater prosperity (translated: trapped by anemic Orange).

    Now to your final question: how can "Yellow subsume responsive and healthy expressions of Green and, at the same time, take on the MGM?" Finally, someone on this list asked the right question. This is precisely what Ken Wilber and I have been talking about for over two years. The strategy should be obvious with those with open minds: (1) Green cannot be fully healthy until the huge RED bulge is unblocked but it will take the positive versions of the Blue and Orange codes to get that done. There is no elevator ride up the existential staircase. I, personally, think this is the reason GWBush was elected since the Spiral (The Prime Directive) sensed the need to fill in this gap. I can think of lots of other people I would rather have in the White House but one deals with the cards that have been dealt. We are attempting to shape the White House Office on Faith-Based Community Initiatives by shifting the thinking away from funding "religious" fragments to enhancing vMEMETIC holons. The LA International Church (www.Dreamcenter.org) in South Central LA is our working case-study. (2) During this period of being out of power the Democrat Party needs to do some serious soul searching since the equations it has embraced to solve the crime, youth violence, and health care problems, while closing entrenched racial divides, simply weren't working. Wilber has, through the Integral Institutes, direct access to many in the Democrat Party so this will provide an opportunity to reframe their political strategies. Maybe it is time for a new party; maybe not.

    (3)By explaining the differences between Healthy FS-Green and MGM, the intent has been to demonstrate, using the Six Conditions for vMEMETIC change, the insight models necessary to support the goals of responsibility over helpless permissiveness. This is actually happening as lots of people are now "seeing the light'" Many are even putting away crystals, having second thoughts about the Clintons, and can now see the Rev Jesse Jackson with greater clarity. While the first wave of Green thinking brought good things, as you so well pointed out, it also trapped many in naive and dangerous back waters. We are focused on draining the Green Swamp so the entire Spiral can, once again, start its Double Helix spin. (Note that the same approach out of "whole Spiral" thinking would be used to release blockages in Purple, Blue, and Orange as well as Green).

    Argyle, perhaps these early morning reflections will help put the whole Green issue into a broader context. There are times, like Kermit the Frog, when "it is hard being Green." The truth is we will need a new and enhanced version of the FS Green vMEME; It will need to be shaped by 2nd Tier thinkers who will constantly reinforce the positive side of "Kermit" while challenging the MGM.

    Don


     
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