It's the future, Jim, but not as we know it...

There's more to tomorrow than robots, flying cars, and a faster internet.
22C+ is all about Deep Futures, futures that matter. Welcome to futures fantastic, unexpected, profound, but most of all deeply meaningful...

Friday, December 31, 2010

Radical Transparency or Conscious Transparency?

Only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding can lead to these laws, the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart.
Albert Einstein

In my recent post about Julian Assange’s idea of “radical transparency”, I stated that the concept has some degree of power, but that it will not free us from many of the hegemonies which restrict so much free thinking in modern society. I said that this was because our essential problem is not merely about information access, but about the way we are able to perceive reality itself. This mirrors Einstein’s oft-quoted statement that problems cannot be effectively solved at the same level of consciousness at which they are created. I believe that to really achieve radical transparency there is a requirement to begin to transcend ego-based consciousness, and for the broader community to activate Integrated Intelligence, or INI. My perception is that Julian Assange is still working at the same level of consciousness that he is trying to overthrow, so his potential to transform that level, that system is self-limited. 
In this post I will explain in more detail what true radical transparency would look like, if it included an advancement in consciousness as well as access to more information. However, to distinguish what I mean clearly from Assange’s radical transparency, I shall use the term conscious transparency.

Conscious transparency is where individuals are attuned to the genuine thoughts and agendas within themselves, and are able to readily perceive such thoughts and agendas within others. It necessitates a well developed Integrated Intelligence. INI can help us be more honest about who we are and where our motivations come from; and it can help us intuitively sense others’ intentions, and the deeper workings of their psyches. The latter includes information that they may not be conscious of themselves.

Conscious transparency opens the mind to receive information which is truly liberating. I believe that it is far more liberating than knowing what The United States’ attaché in Beijing thinks of Chinese President Hu Jintau, which is the kind of information typically leaked by WikiLeaks.

The Integrated Society
In the rest of this post, I will draw on some of the arguments outlined in my book Integrated Intelligence, and in particular the final chapter “Integrated Intelligence in the Knowledge Economy and Beyond.”

What I am going to do here is what futurists call “visioning”. There’s a particular vision of the future which I have developed called “The Integrated Society”. The Integrated Society is an essentially utopian model of a future society where education systems, business, and culture freely permit the employment of Integrated Intelligence. The greater population are thus able to access Integrated Intelligence in their daily lives, work and study. That is, in The Integrated Society, intuition forms an integral part of the lives of the people.

Needless to say conscious transparency is central to this vision. I like to clearly state that The Integrated Society is utopian, because it is not meant to be practically applied in toto to any society in the present age (though it can be applied to smaller groups, and possibly very small communities). A utopian vision is meant to ferment discussion, and to bring about change incrementally where it is deemed possible and appropriate. It is not meant to be seen as a perfect cure-all to society’s ills, a model that must be forced upon the people whether they like it or not. We all know the terrible cost of such attempts to enforce utopian visions in the past. In China in the late 1950’s, Mao’s Great Leap Forward cost up to 50 million lives alone, as the country collapsed under the weight of a self-generated mass delusion.

Power and Information in the Knowledge Economy
The knowledge economy - which has superseded the industrial economy - has perpetuated many of the latter’s themes: scientism, instrumentalism, secularism, empiricism, and tech­nological determinism. The spiritual components of life, education and society have become increasingly neglected.

Education in the age of globalisation is increasingly about serving the materialistic needs of a technocratic society. This has extended into universities, where even ‘pure’ sciences such as botany and entomology have become driven by “commercial interest and consumer demand”. Instrumental rationality and technoscience have come to dominate society, science, and education.

In The Universal Schoolhouse educator James Moffett argues that corporate greed and political shortsightedness have hijacked education. Personal and spiritual development have been downplayed by governments in the creation of modern curricula, in favour of training for productive employment and social responsibility. Policy makers and business leaders are afraid that the former will subvert the latter two, argues Moffett. Big business has been largely concerned with short-term profits, and since personal development and spiritual wisdom are not seen to build short-term profits, they have become increasingly neglected.

Education in the age of globalisation has become increasingly about serving the materialistic needs of the technocratic society. This has come at the expense of any greater goal related to the meaning or purpose of life. According to an extreme interpretation, children and graduates are products of an education system that turns them into money-focused consumers with reduced capacity to intuit greater meaning or purpose from life or its significant events. Modern life tends to valorise the individual above others and the greater whole. This has, with the aid of industrialisation and neo-liberalism, tended to encourage greed and narcissism.

In greater society there is a similar problem. Deeper needs that lie beyond industry and corporate goals – the social, Gaian, collective human, and cosmic evolutionary – have become disowned. David Loye ( has argued that the neo-liberal vision, emerging from the philosophy of neo-Darwinism and Adam Smith, produces a collective of selfish individuals,

In the first diagram, below, you can see a depiction of the way both spiritual and mundane information are restricted in the knowledge economy. The arrows represent the forces of power and manipulation within the knowledge economy. The inward-pointing arrows indicate the controlling forces of industry, governments and “the world ego”, as it attempts to push away the intuitive input of Spirit. This push occurs because much spiritual information does not serve the needs of the ego, not to mention ego-centred government, industry, society, and media. The outward pointing arrows represent the forces of Spirit or the cosmic evolutionary imperative, which tends to transcend the agendas of the ego.

The first diagram shows that in the knowledge economy, the system boundary tends to sit at the level of industry, with both government and society lying below industry, as servants of the industrial machine. Similarly, in the global economy the interests of nations are heavily influenced or controlled by industry and business, which fall within the boundary of the system. Even in modern China, which is increasingly driving the global economy, government is intimately connected with business. This occurs at all levels, from local government, to the Beijing authorities. When Chinese president Hu Jintau visited Shenzhen, near Hong Kong recently, one of the first things he did was arrange a public hand-shaking photo opportunity with Hong Kong’s richest man, property tycoon Li Ka Shing.

The outer arrows in the first diagram indicate the ‘intelligence’ of the ‘Kosmos’ and Gaia, consistent with the theory of Integrated Intelligence, where the Kosmos has an innate intelligence. The information cannot move into the inner levels of the system, as business (represented by the inner arrows) prioritises values and information which are not inclusive of the intelligence of the Kosmos. The inner levels of the system serve as repelling forces to the trans-rational (spiritual) information of Kosmos. There is no chance for either Julian Assange’s radical transparency, nor my idea of conscious transparency.

The gradation of colour from dark at the centre to lighter hues at the periphery suggests the increased access to information at each level. The “self/ego” is darkest, because the ‘self’ in this model is most ‘in the dark’, with information access restricted by the levels above it. Kosmos is depicted in transparent colour as it retains transparent information – but its data is hidden from the individual by the covert regulating mechanisms of the levels in between.

Potential uses of Integrated Intelligence within this problematique
The key question is asking how conscious transparency can assist us in transcending this broad problem. We can also compare this with the way that Julian Assange’s radical transparency might also help. Remember, the former deals with intuitive and spiritual information, the latter with information contained in computers and other written or spoken forms.

For the citizen of the modern world, personal choices are greatly influenced by the imperatives of globalisation and industry, as well as governments and the policies which they implement. For a more expansive and holistic education and society, where Integrated Intelligence might be valued and employed, the education system needs to expand definitions of what it means to be human and lead a meaningful life. What is required is a movement beyond education as mere training, acquisition of knowledge, and credentialism. Integrated Intelligence and its core operation of integrated perception – the direct experience of the interrelatedness of people, environment and the universe – can help develop a “commitment to the whole”. Wisdom – an end state of Integrated Intelligence – also entails a commitment to something greater than the self.
Numerous questions regarding meaning and purpose were erased by the Western rationalist hegemony – especially in the nineteenth century. As Carl Jung realised, in such circumstances, people turn to entertainment and hedonism for relief, and may suffer neurosis and psychosis. Integrated Intelligence and a spiritual and meaningful school curriculum could potentially be a part of the revival of a more integrated, spiritual and humane education system.

Transpersonal philosopher Jose Ferrer has indicated the importance for transpersonal philosophies to be grounded in practical life. His “partici­patory knowing” is compatible with the transpersonal vision and participatory epistemology of the eighteenth and nineteenth century Romantics, and with conscious transparency. The key point is that Integrated Intelligence may be part of a greater participation by the individual in a society which is able to freely access Integrated Intelligence.

The Integrated Society and its education system
Now, let’s shift our focus to the way information might operate in The Integrated Society, where conscious transparency is prevalent. The second diagram, below, depicts the shift in power relations in that society. There is a shift in the flow of information and power that is entailed when Integrated Intelligence is fully implemented into education, work and culture. Unlike the system shown in the first diagram, the individual is in continual feedback with the intelligence of the Kosmos and all the levels within the system. This would require the greater development of ‘receptivity’ – the relaxed openness to intuitive information, in a state of presence. Each level contains its own drives and imperatives, but ultimately serves the highest order. The arrows show that information and ‘force’ are moving both ways – from Kosmos to individual, and from individual to Kosmos.

To use Rianne Eisler’s terminology, the system in the second diagram is an actualisation hierarchy – not a dominator hierarchy, as in the first diagram. The individual is not forcibly controlled by the hegemonic forces within the system. The outer levels represent ‘attractive’ potential higher levels of consciousness evolution, not the hand of a dominating master.

In the Integrated Society, the individual is consciously centered within fields of consciousness, with the potential of developing more expansive domains of awareness; conscious transparency.

In the second diagram, industry is in dialogue with all those forces above and below it. Consistent with Rianne Eisler’s participator model, the Kosmos is participating with the entire system, not dominating it. Society and nation are situated at the second level of the system, as the integrated society as a whole (employing the intelligence and wisdom gleaned from Kosmos via integrated perception) determines what government and business will do, not the reverse. The use of lighter hues (as opposed to the darker colours in the first diagram) is intended to suggest an integration of intelligence, a fluidity and transparency between the levels, and a free flow of information.

With Assange’s radical transparency, the diagram would be similar in some ways. Radical transparency undermines the power of regulating government and industry. However the outer guiding input of Kosmos/Spirit would be absent, because, as far as I am aware, Assange and the WikiLeaks community do not recognise its existence. This leaves the entire systems as a reconfiguration of the knowledge economy, operating at the same level of awareness. This inevitably leaves the system open to further ‘colonisation’ by the hegemonies of ego-centred individuals and groups, because the ego tends to think and act according to self-interest.

Of course, even in the Integrated Society, the potentiality for spiritual evolution might be compromised by the constrictive forces of ego, and the reactionary forces within each level, including industry. Levels of consciousness are like the self-regulating tendencies of attractor fields in systems theory. These fields are extremely powerful, and tend to restrict the movement of an individual’s consciousness from one field to a higher one. There is always the chance that individuals, or even the entire system, can get “sucked” back down into a lower ego-based system.

Therefore Integrated Intelligence – with its integrated perception and wisdom – and conscious transparency, may assist in the circumvention of the corporate power structures and governments that dominate the present knowledge economy and the globalised world. Integrated Intelligence has a spiritual value structure and helps foster a mystical/spiritual worldview, which may in turn helps override the materialist imperatives of modern culture.

Conversely, Julian Assange’s concept of radical transparency, in itself, is unlikely to have such an effect.

Conscious transparency has the further obvious advantage over radical transparency in that it does not require the mediation of computer hackers and internet giants like Google and Yahoo to drip-feed us the information which might potentially liberate us.


No comments:

Post a Comment