Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Posts Tagged ‘politics’

From Knowledge to Wisdom: Assessment and Prospects after Three Decades

Nicholas Maxwell

Abstract: We are in a state of impending crisis. And the fault lies in part with academia. For two centuries or so, academia has been devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and technological know-how. This has enormously increased our power to act which has, in turn, brought us both all the great benefits of the modern world and the crises we now face. Modern science and technology have made possible modern industry and agriculture, the explosive growth of the world’s population, global warming, modern armaments and the lethal character of modern warfare, destruction of natural habitats and rapid extinction of species, immense inequalities of wealth and power across the globe, pollution of earth, sea and air, even the aids epidemic (aids being spread by modern travel). All these global problems have arisen because some of us have acquired unprecedented powers to act without acquiring the capacity to act wisely. We urgently need to bring about a revolution in universities so that the basic intellectual aim becomes, not knowledge merely, but rather wisdom – wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. This is an argument I have propounded during the last three decades in six books, over thirty papers, and countless lectures delivered in universities and conferences all over the UK, Europe and north America. Despite all this effort, the argument has, by and large, been ignored. What is really surprising is that philosophers have paid no attention, despite the fact that that this body of work claims to solve the profoundly important philosophical problem: What kind of inquiry best helps us make progress towards as good a world as possible? There are, nevertheless, indications that some scientists and university administrators are beginning to become aware of the urgent need for science, and universities, to change. This is prompted, partly by growing awareness of the seriousness of environmental problems, especially global warming, and partly by a concern to improve the relationship between science and the public. So far, however, these changes have been small-scale, scattered and piecemeal. What we require is for academics and non-academics alike to wake up to the urgent need for change so that we may come to possess what we so strikingly and disastrously lack at present: a kind of inquiry rationally devoted to helping humanity make progress towards as good a world as possible.

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“Sweet Science:” A Proposal for Integral Macropolitics

Daniel Gustav Anderson

Abstract: This treatise proposes the practice of becoming-responsible as a basis for integral micropolitics, defined as taking active responsibility for the well-being of the totality of living beings without exception, for the sake of that well-being alone. After reviewing two extant integral models for political action and interaction, demonstrating some of the limitations inherent in them, some ways are outlined in which the characteristic features of becoming-responsible—including critical clarity, compassion, competence, and consciousness—can be expressed in the realm of public concern; first, theoretically, drawing on a model proposed by poet and artist William Blake, and second, also historically, reflecting on an experiment in radical democracy in Chile (1970-1973), such that both examples critique and advance the claims and methods of mainstream integral theory as well as the alternative approach elaborated in this essay.

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The Politics of Terrorism: Power, Legitimacy, and Violence

Richard A. Couto

Abstract: This paper examines and juxtaposes discourses about terrorism, violence, and political leadership. It presents generalizations about terrorism—a form of political violence by, for, and against the state—and politics and violence based on the theories of Max Weber and Hannah Arendt. The stark contrasts drawn from these theories include power as non-violent strength (Arendt) versus power as violence-dependent (Weber) and the struggle for legitimacy between different agents (states and individuals) as well as terrorism by, for, and against the state. This reframing of power leads to judging a lack of power where there is violence, and the presence of power where one observes non-violence. An examination of political and criminal violence leads to questions about deliberate and purposeful violence, indirect and structural violence that has political consequences, and their relationship to terrorism.

It expands the application of terrorism to include indirect structural violence by indicating its relationship to direct violence, not only in traditionally-viewed terrorist action but in the ignored terror of, for example, inner cities. Terrorism has many forms by many actors. To synthesize the results of these lines of reasoning leads to a conclusion with considerable implications for politics and for political leadership. The politics of terrorism suggest a central counter-terrorist approach: de-politicizing the violence of terrorists whenever possible and using the authority and power of the state to institutionalize it as criminal violence. This, in turn, also means politicizing other forms of violence, such as capital punishment, and their indirect and structural forms, such as the inner city.

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An Approach to Integral Consciousness and Politics: An Interview with Steve McIntosh

Russ Volckmann

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