Integral Review

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

Posts Tagged ‘Roland Benedikter’

Was sind, und wie wirken Grundüberzeugungen in unserer Zeit? Über „Paradigmen“ und „Paradigmenveränderungen“ in der heutigen politischen und sozialen Sphäre – und die Folgen. Ein Gespräch mit Roland Benedikter, Stanford Universität. English summary included. What are basic assumptions, and which effects do they have in our time? On “paradigms” and “paradigm change” in the contemporary political and social domain, and the consequences. A conversation with Roland Benedikter, Stanford University.


English Summary: This talk clarifies what is meant by the pervasive but seldom-precise use of the term “paradigm change.” While it appears that this term is often (unwillingly) misused particularly by integral and progressive intellectuals and civil society groups as an instrument of predicting future cultural change, it is argued that it should rather be used as a tool of analysis of the past and the present of basic cultural and scientific convictions that dominate their times. In fact, a “paradigm” is defined as a collective bias (or, to use a more technical explanation, a “knowledge-constituting collective prejudice”) on certain issues. It defines the validity of what is meant to be true, and what to be false, and what can be accepted as valid, and what not, in a given society at a given time for a given period. A “paradigm” is always functioning (a) as a “constitutive paradox” because its claim is to define what is true and what not, but at the same time it is continuously replaced by new paradigms that coin different definitions – thus contradicting the very essence of “paradigm” as such; and (b) by incubation periods, i.e., by phases where different claims on what is valid coexist or even form hybrids among them. In the end, “paradigms” are something irrational and in most cases un- or half-conscious cultural formations; but they seem to exist in every period of cultural development. This talk explains the mechanisms of how dominating cultural biases become “paradigms” in order to rule temporarily over the academic and political correctness of their times; and how and to which extent the one-sided “paradigm fetishism” of the epoch of “postmodernity” is currently coming at its end, with new, more integrative and integral blueprints arising that are in their majority trying to balance the prevailing “paradigmatic” nominalism with new, empirical forms of neo-essentialism and neo-substantialism. Specifically, integral approaches try to create a paradigm for our time that connects deconstructivism and substantialism (realism).


Weltanschauung und Politik in den heutigen USA. Barack Obama und der „neue Kulturkampf“ um die Führung der anglo-amerikanischen Weltmacht

Roland Benedikter

The relationship between Worldviews and Politics in the USA today. Barack Obama and the “new cultural battle” for political supremacy in the US

English Summary: This article provides an analysis of the current relationship between Politics, Culture and Worldviews in the USA under Barack Obama. The present “great Obama divide” of US domestic politics consists in the division between institutional and contextual (cultural and worldview) politics. Obama has induced their current opposition when he ran for the US Presidency by profiling himself as a “cultural” candidate “against the system”. One result is that by becoming part of the system after being elected, Obama has lost some of his initial “revolutionary” appeal; a second effect is that the opposition is now trying to turn the tables by mobilizing the contextual political sphere against Obama’s control of the institutional power. In fact, the Republicans, rather than concentrating on traditional ways of regaining power focus on launching a new “worldview” battle against Obama in the hope to use the pre-political sphere to eventually regain the institutional political majority. The overall result is a general climate of “worldview mobilization” in the USA, and an increased influence of cultural and worldview philosophies onto the institutionalized mechanisms of politics. Pre-political movements like the conservative “inverting the myth – inverting the paradigm” movement or the “tea party” movement are the expression of attempts towards a new “cultural battle” for “the soul of the USA,” which has to be understood in its basic mechanisms, if the “Obama constellation” shall be understood. This article sketches some core elements of Obama’s worldview that are in play in this game, and it argues that many actions of Obama on the field of foreign politics are (and will be) to a noticeable extent co-oriented toward influencing the domestic “worldview battle.”


Drei Avantgarde-Strömungen des heutigen US-Geisteslebens – und ihre Beziehung zu Europa

Roland Benedikter

Zusammenfassung: Die heutigen USA gelten vielen als Vorreiter auf dem Weg zur integrativen Erneuerung von Wissenschafts- und Erkenntnisparadigmen. Dies vor allem im Bereich der traditionellen Kern- und Grundlagen-Wissenschaft der neuzeitlichen Universität: der Philosophie und der historisch aus ihr erwachsenen Psychologien. Seit einigen Jahren ist in den USA in der Tat eine Entwicklung im Gang, welche die Einseitigkeiten des nominalistisch-subjektivistischen Paradigmas der „Postmoderne“, welches aus ideengeschichtlicher Sicht die Epoche zwischen 1979 und 2001 geprägt hat, um einen neuen geistigen Objektivismus ausgleichen und beide zu einem neuen, „subjektiv-objektiven“ Paradigma integrieren will. Diese Entwicklung findet ihren Ausdruck in drei exemplarischen Avantgarde-Strömungen, die im vorliegenden Beitragvorgestellt sowie auf Charakteristiken und Wechselbeziehungen untersucht werden. Dabei erweist sich, dass die heutige ideengeschichtliche Avantgarde der USA in Kernterminologie, historischer Kontinuität und Ausrichtung stark pazifisch-asiatisch, aber noch zu wenig atlantisch-europäisch geprägt ist. Das scheint mit ein Grund dafür zu sein, warum diese Avantgarde-Ansätze trotz ihres hochwertigen Anregungs- und Innovations-Potentials im Hinblick auf ein ganzheitlichen Wissenschafts-Paradigma für das 21. Jahrhundert noch unübersehbare Schwierigkeiten haben, den atlantisch-europäisch geprägten Hauptstrom des Geistes-, Kultur- und politisch-sozialen Lebens ihrer Gesellschaft zu erreichen. Es zeigt sich, dass der innere Ausgleich zwischen pazifischen und atlantischen Ideen-Einflüssen eine der zentralen Herausforderungen für diese Avantgarde-Strömungen, aber darüber hinaus im Spiegelverhältnis auch für das europäische Kultur- und Gesellschafts-Paradigma sowie für die Entwicklung der integralen Bewegungen auf Weltebene insgesamt ist.

Three avant-garde currents within the contemporary intellectual life in the United States – and in their relationship to Europe

Abstract: Many intellectuals consider the U.S. of today a forerunner for an integrative renewal of scientific and cognitive paradigms, particularly in the field of philosophy and psychology. Indeed, since a few years there have been tendencies which try to compensate the onesidedness of the nominalistic-subjectivistic paradigm of “postmodernism”—which from a historical point of view characterized the period between 1979 and 2001—by a new kind of intellectual objectivism, and to integrate both into a new, “subjective-objective” paradigm. This trend is represented by three exemplary avant-garde currents which are examined in their characteristics and correlations. It turns out that the basic terminology, historical continuity and orientation of these intellectual-historical avant-garde currents in the U.S. are characterized by Pacific-Asian influences rather than by Atlantic-European ones. This seems to explain at least in part, why in spite of their high-quality innovation potential these avant-garde approaches, in view of a holistic science paradigm for the 21st century, still have problems to reach the mainstream of the intellectual, cultural and politico-social life of their society. It becomes apparent that the harmony of Pacific and Atlantic influences of ideas and intellectual traditions poses a central challenge to these three avant-garde currents, but also to the European cultural and social paradigm, as well as to the development of integral currents worldwide.

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