The recent video (above) created by the partnership between Fashion designer Diane von Furstenburg and Google using Google’s new Google Glass augmented reality glasses, suggests that this emerging convergence technology has the potential to transform how movies are made. This transformation appears to not just be about the extreme portability and non-intrusive nature of the technology, which are in themselves great advances, but this new wearable camera may very well bring us into the realm of experiencing a much more powerful subjective lens experience…bringing the subjective eye-line closer into alignment. Time will tell…but this tech looks to be full of potential in both the personal and professional movie-making and viewing space.
In addition to the potential shift in the movie making and viewing experience, there is the added dimension here of how having technology closer to our being, both physically and perceptually will effect our consciousness. The convergence of human and technology spaces has been and continues to be a topic of both inspiration and trepidation…are we evolving into a new form…the transhuman….and heading toward a new age marked by a profound techno-human shift that Ray Kurzweil calls the Singularity…or are we creating further distance and disassociation between our selves, each other and the world…for me, I see this movement as an advance like all other advances, filled with both potential blessings and challenges…for now…this looks like fun…
There is an extensive body of research that suggests that there are distinct evolutionary stages of individual and collective human consciousness, and that these stages co-evolve with developmental stages of techno-economic system growth. One of the scales used for these correlated stages was put forth by American philosopher and psycho-social researcher Ken Wilber. This scale correlates the Mythic, Rational, Pluralistic, and Integral stages of human and cultural consciousness with the techno-economic stages of the Agricultural, Industrial, Informational, and now the emerging Convergence Age.
As individual humans in all spheres (science, technology, art, philosophy, etc.) evolve through the various stages of consciousness, their created works reflect these stages and act as catalysts for the evolution of the consciousness of other individuals and their cultures and societies. Along this co-evolutionary path, there have been and continue to be certain individuals who are major contributors to this process, including Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare, Rene Descartes, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Sigmund Freud, among many others.
Since the recent passing of Steve Jobs, there have been many who have commented on his profound influence on our world, and on his possible ranking with some of these other evolutionary-influencing individuals. I believe they are correct in this assessment, because the technological devices that Steve Jobs helped to create and share with the world are, on the most basic level, powerful and elegant convergence devices.
The writings of Ken Wilber have been a lightening rod in the transpersonal movement from early on, being both heralded as foundational theory and attacked for being too linear, hierarchical, complex, etc. Recently I have found myself straddling across two realms of the transpersonal movement, and the demarcation point appears to be pre-SES (“Sex, Ecology, Spirituality”) Wilber and post-SES Wilber influenced. The pre-SES realm of the transpersonal movement focuses on Wilber’s early works as foundational to the movement and continues to hold this early work as representational of Wilber’s theories in general while not seriously taking into account Wilber’s post-SES works as being essential to transpersonal theory. This dimension of the transpersonal movement I am calling Transpersonal 1.0, or pre-Integral Theory Wilber. With the publication of SES, Wilber shifted his theories away from his previous works in essential ways; instead of primarily addressing patterns and structures of psychology, spirituality, and consciousness Wilber moved into the development of a “Theory of Everything” attempting to integrate all dimensions of human perception and experience. At this stage, many perceive that a rift grew between the transpersonal movement and Wilber (and his followers).
To be fair, many contend that Wilber himself contributed to this rift by separating himself from the transpersonal movement and attempting to form a new approach based on his Integral Theory. The common perception is that Wilber’s reasoning for this was that the transpersonal movement was stuck in a limited worldview. In Wilber’s post-SES model or Integral Theory, he places a major emphasis on altitudes of consciousness and the corresponding worldviews. From this perspective, we can see that the transpersonal movement was born out of the pluralistic worldview, and for the most part, transpersonal 1.0 was and is essentially stuck in this worldview. One of the problems with this is that while being born in the pluralistic structure of consciousness, the transpersonal movement is attempting to explore realms beyond this structure. Wilber’s post-SES work introduces a perspective from the next evolutionary structure of consciousness, the Integral structure, which is a stage closer to the transpersonal waves of development.
Now, after several years of two fairly separate movements, the transpersonal and the integral, there appears to be some loosening of the boundaries. It seems that many transpersonalists are integrating Wilber’s post-SES model into transpersonal theory and many Integralists are reintegrating the transpersonal dimensions into their work. This emerging integrated movement is what I am calling Transpersonal 2.0, and to put it in post-SES terms…I would say that Transpersonal 1.0 is looking at the transpersonal waves of experience and development from the more limited perspective of the pluralistic wave (stage, worldview); Wilber’s post-SES Integral Theory introduces us to the missing stage of development between the pluralistic and the transpersonal, namely the Integral; and Transpersonal 2.0, as I am applying it, looks at the transpersonal waves from the closer worldview perspective of the Integral wave and brings the other structures of consciousness into greater perspective. To shack this out a little further, it seems to me that through a post-SES, Transpersonal 2.0 lens we could say that transpersonal studies is basically the theoretical and practical exploration of transpersonal (trans-egoic, non-ordinary, mystical, etc.) states and stages of development.
Okay, so how is this definition different than the one held by the Transpersonal 1.0 movement. Well, on the surface it is the same, but when we go deeper I believe there are some subtle differences. One of these differences is that those operating out of the Transpersonal 1.0 perspective tend to have a conscious or unconscious resistance to structure, since the pluralistic level of consciousness tends to be anti-hierarchical. When we cross the bridge into Transpersonal 2.0 we can accept holarchical structures, that is, we can more easily accept and work with structured stages of increasing depth and complexity without falling into the hierarchical judgment trap (thinking this stage is better or worse than another; or throwing the stage-structure baby out with the bathwater entirely). Understanding that development occurs through a process of transcend and include, each stage both transcends and includes the previous stage, we see that every stage is a whole that is part of another whole, or a holon that is part of a holarchy. So in keeping with this spirit I have to remind us that Transpersonal 1.0 is not inferior to Transpersonal 2.0, it is a stage that is transcended and included… Every stage has its blessings and its challenges; and every station on the path must be passed through on the journey…
A new form of opera emerged recently. For this year’s production of the Barber of Seville, the Florida Grand Opera company blazed new territory by using an animated digital screen backdrop for their production, adding depth, movement, and cinematic immersion to classic opera. This animated digital backdrop added evolving background environments replete with changes in location, light, and weather. It also added shadow characters that interacted with the live actors on stage, from groups of musicians and soldiers to a lone alley cat. Beyond these dimensions, the animated background also appeared to add greater symbolic and thematic depth to the relatively simple story of the Barber of Seville. Then, in the final moments of the opera, something even more wondrous occurred. The actors climbed up the steps of the central set piece and in the digital background, giant animated wings unfolded and began to flap. The juxtaposition between the animated backdrop and the live action actors and set pieces created the effect of flying to the heavens. The audience let out a collective gasp and for a few brief moments the stage was transcended and the audience, actors, and set pieces soared.
This convergence of opera with digital cinematic elements created a new multi-dimensional form of entertainment that could be called “trans-opera.” The birth of this new opera-cinematic hybrid is the work of French Director Renaud Doucet and Canadian Production Designer Andre Barbe, with the technical help of Miami’s Lava Studios. The impetus for the birth of this new approach came out of current financial constraints, and from these limits an artistic phoenix has risen. I feel honored to have personally witnessed this event.
I am one of the many faces of the recent and current healthcare and financial crisis. It all began when I became ill after having lost my health insurance. I ended up going into major debt paying for my own care, which led to financial ruin and near-homeless. I experienced first-hand the profound tetra-enmeshed nature of the healthcare and financial crisis in our country…feeling and perceiving loss, isolation, and pain on the physical, emotional, communal, and systemic levels of experience. During this whole process I felt a strange kind of connection between the inner and the outer as my own personal health and financial crisis appeared to be reflected in the greater culture and society. I could not help but feel that this was all part of a tetra-evolutionary process. On the individual level, besides my outer physical healing work throughout all this, I have also been attempting to process this whole experience on the using various inner Integral Life Practices, including Shadow work to uncover my own personal Shadow patterns that contributed to this situation. Concurrent with this individual inner-outer work, I have also been attempting to reflect on the collective and social dimensions of my experience by exploring the current healthcare debate from an Integral perspective, using various Integral lenses.
Looking at the issue from Integral Theory’s Big Three of I-We-It or 1st-2nd-3rd Person dimension-perspectives, it seems to me that within the boiling healthcare debate-soup there are 1st Person (1p), 2nd Person (2p), and 3rd Person (3p) competing healthcare reform approaches:
- Individual-Freedom-oriented (1p) free-market “private” healthcare approaches;
- Social-Systemic-oriented (3p) government-run “public” healthcare approaches; and
- Collective-Community-oriented (2p) co-operative/non-profit “semi-public/private” healthcare approaches.
The private (1p) approaches appear to be most heavily associated with the conservative and mythic value meme (vMeme) political camps; The semi-public/private (2p) approaches associated with the centrist and rational vMeme political camps; and public (3p) approaches associated with the progressive and pluralistic vMeme political camps. In between these centers-of-gravity there appears to be varying degrees of attempted integration from those who are on the borders (between mythic/rational and rational/pluralistic vMemes).
Within this debate there also appears to be a fundamental question of whether healthcare is an “inalienable right” or “a privilege.” I believe this question is rooted in the central duality of our country’s doctrines which attempt to include equal measures of individual freedoms and certain socially-protected “inalienable” equal rights. Many of the 1p or private approaches to healthcare appear to champion freedom (individual and market) while forsaking some level of equality (degree of healthcare depends on economic class) and inalienable rights (degree of health is often directly related to an individual’s capacity to pursue the inalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and Happiness). Alternatively, many of the 3p or public healthcare approaches appear to sacrifice some degree of freedom (individual and market) in exchange for healthcare equality and inalienable rights, and most of the 2p or semi-public/private approaches seem to sacrifice some degree of both freedom and equality.
Then we have the issues of cost and quality. The private (1p) healthcare approaches tend to cost more for the individual person or group directly and cost less in taxation, while offering a relatively high degree of quality for those who can afford it and often a poor degree of quality for those who cannot afford it. The public (3p) approaches appear to cost the individual or group less in direct costs and more in taxation, while offering a more moderate degree of quality to a greater and more equal population. The semi-public/private (2p) approaches generally seem to offer a moderate degree of both cost and quality.
I believe this type of public/private/semi- (1p-2p-3p) tension can also be observed in our approaches to education. While our system is far from perfect, we seem to have achieved some degree of integration between the three perspectives by simultaneously offering public (3p) education, private (1p) education, and semi- public/private (2p) education (charter schools, home-schooling, etc). I think education is a good correlation to healthcare because both education and health affect an individual’s ability to pursue the inalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and Happiness.
In light of our country’s dual aspiration of individual freedom and socially-protected inalienable equal rights, I believe that a 100% private or a 100% public healthcare system is untenable and fundamentally incongruent with the aspirations and doctrines of our republic. While the nuts and bolts of our education system still needs a lot of work, I believe the 3-tiered structure that has evolved is inherently natural to our country’s ideals and current vMeme structures. Using this model, here is one possible scenario for an Integral “Big Three” approach to healthcare reform…
Basic Healthcare System Design:
- Public Healthcare: Expansion of Medicaid and Medicare into a full-blown public healthcare system for those who cannot afford private care.
- Private Healthcare: Strike a healthy balance of regulation and freedom for the Private Healthcare system (i.e.: Stronger patient rights; allow competition across state-lines; insurance pooling system; and balanced tort-reform).
- Semi-Public/Private Healthcare: Regulatory support and incentives for Cooperative, Charter, and Non-Profit healthcare groups.
Obviously within this kind of three-tiered (1p-2p-3p) system there are a lot of complicated details that would have to be worked out, but I do believe a more Integral approach, like the basic template of the above three perspectives and the inherent dual aspirations of our system, can help a great deal. For example, with this awareness in mind, it seems to me that the notion of requiring all citizens to buy health insurance may go against the individual freedoms doctrines of our country. Interestingly, it seems that with the above proposed three-tier healthcare system, this requirement would be unnecessary, since the public system would be a free system for those who cannot afford private or semi-private/public healthcare.
So here it is…my own personal attempt to jump into the healthcare debate. I toss these words into the healthcare tetra-evolutionary soup with my prayers for vertical transformation for myself, for those in similar and worse situations, and for the greater system in which we live and co-create and co-evolve…
*Originally published at Integral Life
While this year’s Oscar Ceremony was as long as always and had many misfires in terms of style and substance, I was touched by several great and small moments and flourishes throughout the ceremony, including:
- Kathryn Bigelow becoming the first woman to receive the Best Director Academy Award;
- Geoffrey Fletcher becoming the first African-American writer to receive an Academy Award;
- Mo’Nique becoming the fifth African-American actress to win an Academy Award;
- Sandra Bullock transcending previous constructs to win the Best Actress Academy Award;
- The heart-felt and heart-warming honoring of each of the actors and actresses competing for the top Awards by their peers;
- The Hurt Locker, a small independent film with masterful execution in all creative and technical areas, winning the Best Picture Academy Award;
- And a gentle and gracious atmosphere that seemed to pervade the whole event.
- “What a Joke” – Their truth is not my truth – Mythic/Blue
- “It is Premature” – He has not done anything “concrete” yet – Rational/Orange
- “What an affirmation” – He has brought hope and ushered in a climate more conducive to peace – Relativistic/Green
- The Integral Response = AH SO…
While all of these shows are excellent transpersonal television journeys, I believe Eli Stone must be singled out as one of televisions transpersonal masterpieces. The reason I believe Eli Stone deserves this mantle, is that it not only explores a transpersonal topic with great depth, grace, wit, and integrity, it also has the capacity to give the viewing audience a powerful experience of higher and illusive states of being. How often does a TV show induce a deep sense of grace, hope and faith in the face of life’s haunting mysteries? This is very rare…so I say, BRAVO to the creators of Eli Stone! But I also have to give a big BOO to the network (ABC) who never gave the show the chance it deserved and canceled this gem of television enlightentainment.