Friday, August 08, 2008

We are educated in ideology but we are born into doxa

Integral Ideology An Ideological Genealogy of Integral Theory and Practice Richard Carlson HOME Notes

[1] The classic definition of ideology is given by Louis Althusser, I'd like to emphasis the first definition.
Ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence
Ideology is omnipresent, trans-historical, and immutable in form: it is inescapable and inevitable.
Ideology has a material existence. That is, it has a material existence within an apparatus and its practices. An ideology reaches a material existence through the practice, ideas, and actions of individuals.
Ideology describes and makes possible systems and structures that allow us to have a self. They allow us to exist as subjects.
Ideology makes possible all practice.
[2] I refer to Pierre Bourdieu's ideas on how social fields are constituted. Bourdieu's believed that what he refers to as doxa differs from Althussers ideology in that whereas an individual is educated into the ideology of state apparatus, doxa permeates the cultural unconscious through language, symbols, experience, feelings, opinions, and norming behavior. "We are educated in ideology but we are born into doxa.” (Mendoza 2007),
[2a] Nomos: Bourdieu defines nomos as the fundamental organizing laws of experience that govern practices and knowledge within a field. (Munjal para 2)
[2b] Doxa: A society's, unquestioned beliefs, tacit assumption, from which self-evident truths are constructed which could otherwise be called opinions
“Habitus: The concept of habit or habitus is used by Bourdieu to refer to daily practices of individuals, groups, societies and nations. It includes the totality of learned habits, bodily skills, styles, tastes, and other non-discursive knowledges that are often 'taken for granted' for a specific group. He sees habitus as the key to social reproduction because it is central to generating and regulating the practices that make up social life. Habitus thus, helps to define both the place of the self, and by implication, of the other.
[3] I use the definition given to False Consciousness by Herbert Marcuse in his book One Dimensional Man. Marcuse, argues “that the ideology of advanced industrial society produces false needs, false consciousness and one-dimensional mass consciousness; outlines categories such as liberation, technology, culture and democracy as dialectical ones, dialectic of liberation: liberation from the existing, false society could be achieved because the material conditions have reached a level where an immediate jump into the realm of freedom would be possible, but ideological manipulations forestall radical social change” (Marcuse 1964)
[4] I use Derrida's definition of a transcendental signified; an external point of reference (God, Self, Metaphysical) upon which one may build a concept of philosophy. A "transcendental signified" is a signified which transcends all signifiers, and is a meaning which transcends all signs. A "transcendental signified" is also a signified concept or thought which transcends any single signifier, but which is implied by all determinations of meaning. (Derrida 1974),
[5] Ken Wilber often cites Habermas as an eminent philosopher who champions progressive values of the Enlightenment which he believes aligns with his own views on cultural evolution. But critiques of Habermas's work are numerous and well argued. Here is an excellent summary of critiques of Habermas which relate to themes examined here:
“Ironically, there are two modernistic yet sociological grounds that Habermas fails to incorporate or appreciate in his analysis: gender and racial inequality. We may ask: Is Habermas' theorizing built on a conception of the world in which, surreptitiously, essentialist characteristics (e.g., 'middle class' 'white' 'males') dominate? It is a fact that the entire 'project of modernity' and associated discourses of rationality and progress have historically sided with men over women (Stanley and Pateman, 1991). The enlightenment philosophizing was a language-based project that presumed women in an inferior position to that of men. Whilst Stanley and Pateman (1991) do acknowledge that Habermas' notion of emancipation is influential for feminists seeking a normative theory of consciousness and liberation, they reserve judgment on Habermas' theory of communicative action. They see it as gender blind, thereby perpetuating an enlightenment tradition of malestreaming mainstream analysis by reconstituting the project of modernity. On the other hand, feminist philosopher Selya Benhabib (1986) has found in Habermas certain valuable elements that can provide the basis for a wide-ranging normative critique of contemporary society Secondly, to compound the adverse androcentric effects of the 'project of modernity', one could raise the question of eurocentricism. According to Gilroy (1992) European culture was heterogeneous during and after the enlightenment. He claims social theory can no longer understand and interpret the project of the enlightenment without understanding the periphery: that is, the world beyond Europe. For example, the legacies of slavery, colonialism and imperialism must serve as a challenge to the over-ambitiousness of universalist hopes and aspirations for social life, including Habermas' own grand theory. The central tenets of the 'project of modernity' are the ideals of rationality and progress which Habermas (1981) attempts to formalize as practical achievements. Yet these ideals must be put into a darker context, a context expressed by James Joyce's remark that “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” As the predecessors at the Frankfurt school in 1949 saw, and as Adorno and Horkheimer and Zygmunt Bauman (1989) powerfully narrate, the Holocaust provides a devastating critique of enlightenment legacy and thought and highlights the danger of slipping into a barbarism anticipated by Nietzchean nightmares. For example, on one level, Hitler's regime in Germany merely refined and perfected 19th century techniques of social discipline. But, on yet another level, Hitler's regime was a deliberate throwback to an archaic 'society of blood', a society of savagery and a society with a lust for domination, control and power; a society which raises further disturbing questions about the enlightenment project. More recently, there have been periodic episodes of inhumanity which have ranged from genocide in Rwanda to 'ethnic cleansing' in the former states of Yugoslavia. A spectacular recent example might be the terrorist events of September 11 and their aftermath in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Recent history suggests that it is difficult to implement Habermas' (1984) universalized narratives of communicative action in a world with so many differences between states, cultures and ideologies. It seems it is difficult to provide a modern solution to characteristically postmodern problems: for example, diversity of fundamentalist beliefs and consequent actions based on impassioned beliefs. Inspired by the dreams of reason, the ideal of communicative action is a slender reed with which to overcome the powerful forces of dehumanization increasingly evident all around us.(Powell and Moody 2003)”
[6] The current view in Biology which relates development of the genotype to evolution of phenotype is Evo-Devo, an excellent overview of Evo-Devo is found in an article and book review written by Israel Rosenfield and Edward Ziff.
“Surprising discoveries in the 1980s have begun to tell us how an embryo develops into a mature animal, and these discoveries have radically altered our views of evolution and of the relation of human beings to all other animals. The new field of study in which these breakthroughs have been made is called Evo Devo, short for evolution and development, "development" referring to both how an embryo grows and how the newborn infant matures into an adult... In 1894, the English biologist William Bateson challenged Darwin's view that evolution was gradual. He published Materials for the Study of Variation, a catalog of abnormalities he had observed in insects and animals in which one body part was replaced with another. He described, for example, a mutant fly with a leg instead of an antenna on its head, and mutant frogs and humans with extra vertebrae. The abnormalities Bateson discovered resisted explanation for much of the twentieth century. But in the late 1970s, studies by Edward Lewis at the California Institute of Technology, Christiana Nüsslein-Vollhard and Eric Wieschaus in Germany, and others began to reveal that the abnormalities were caused by mutations of a special set of genes in fruit fly embryos that controlled development of the fly's body and the distribution of its attached appendages. Very similar genes, exercising similar controls, were subsequently found in nematodes, flies, fish, mice, and human beings. What they and others discovered were genes that regulate the development of the embryo and exert control over other genes by mechanisms analogous to that of the repressor molecule studied by Monod and Jacob. Eight of these controlling genes, called Hox genes, are found in virtually all animals—worms, mice, and human beings—and they have existed for more than half a billion years. Fruit flies and worms have only one set of eight Hox genes; fish and mammals (including mice, elephants, and humans) have four sets. Each set of Hox genes in fish and mammals is remarkably similar to the eight Hox genes found in fruit flies and worms. This discovery showed that very similar genes control both embryological and later development in virtually all insects and animals... While Carroll argues—a claim that is at the heart of Evo Devo—that embryological development gives us the deepest clues to the mechanisms of evolution, Kirschner and Gerhart move beyond embryology to show that metabolic and physiological processes are also critical to evolutionary change. Their approach, which they call the theory of "facilitated variation," attempts to show how the regulation of genes inside the embryo, as described by Carroll, is part of a larger set of processes that allow organisms to experiment with evolution in a tightly controlled way. According to this theory, the mutations, or variations, needed to drive evolutionary change can occur with little disruption either to the basic organization of an organism or to the core processes that make its cells function.” (Rosenfield Ziff 2006)
[7] Wilber adopts the holon as his central building block of evolution a term he adopted from Arthur Koestler. What follows is a short selection from an exhaustive list that Koestler gives in The Ghost in the Machine:
“Organisms and societies are multi-leveled hierarchies of semi-autonomous sub-wholes branching into sub-wholes into sub-wholes of a lower order, and so on. The term holon has been introduced to refer to these intermediary entities which, relative to their subordinates in the hierarchy functions as self-contained wholes; relative to their superordinates as dependent parts Hierarchies are dissectible into their constituent branches on which holons forms their nodes The number of levels which a hierarchy comprises is called its depth and the number of holons its span. Holons are governed by fixed sets of rules and display more or less flexible strategies. The rules and conduct of a social holon are not reducible to the rules of conduct of its member. Consciousness appears as an emergent quality in phylogeny and ontogeny, which, from primitive beginnings, evolves towards more complex and precise states. It is the highest manifestation of the integrative tendency to extract order out of disorder and information out of noise Phylogeny and ontogeny are developmental hierarchies in which the tree branches along the axis of time the different levels represent different stages of development and the holons reflect intermediate structures." (Koestler 1967)
Born in Budapest Koestler who is not associated with Integral Theory other than his holon citation, was a resistance fighter against Franco in Spain and was to be executed in prison except for intervention of the British Foreign Service. His profoundly anti-communist novel Darkness at Noon of 1941 won him the Nobel prize. His primary interest however, seems to be in the paranormal and he founded an Institute for Paranormal Research, whose endowment after his death by suicide went to Edinburgh University.
His trilogy of the History of Science is a gem, because his approach is not of an academic, but of one of the worlds great storytellers. However, his concluding Utopian vision in his final book of the trilogy, The Act of Creation, which envisages that the “new society” could all begin by pouring some LSD like substance into drinking water, first in the Cantons of Switzerland and then gradually in other places until the whole world is turned on to the new consciousness is disappointing, as it is reductive.
Recently it has come to light that in addition to being a Nobel prize winning author Koestler was something of a serial rapist as well (Barwick1998) Unfortunately, misogyny and insanity have been all too often associated with philosophy and theory. This was the case with Schopenhauer and Nietzsche.
Both men contribute to Integral Theory, Schopenhauer was the first Western philosopher to systematically incorporate Indian philosophy into European theory. His theory of the will became the will to power of Nietzsche 's Overman, which to varying degrees is the historical predecessor of both Sri Aurobindo' Superman and Wilber's 2^nd tiered man. (The first reference in literature however, to trans-personal or super-humanity was Dante in Paradiso who refers to Beatrice as "transhumana")
Another examples of philosophical insanity is Louis Althusser who murdered his wife during a time while he was undergoing psycho-analysis with Jacques Lacan.
[8] Although I have not found specific critiques akin to this one, of the soundness of integrating Recapitulation theories into Integral Theory itself, Steven Taylor critiques the accuracy of the parallels Wilber draws between individual development and species evolution. "Primal Spirituality and the onto/phylo fallacy"
[9] Purser continues with a quote from Gebser who viewed the deficient function of spatiality in the mental mutation as:
“The over-emphasis on space and spatiality that increases with every century since 1500 is at once the greatness as well as the weakness of perspectival man. His over-emphasis on "objectivitely" external, a consequence of an excessively visual orientation, leads not only to rationalization and haptification but to an unavoidable hypertrophy of the "I," which is in confrontation with the external world. …what we may call an ego-hypertrophy: the "I" must be increasingly emphasized, indeed over-emphasized in order for it to be adequate the ever-expanding discovery of space" (Gebser, 1984, p.22).
“The new structure of consciousness to which we are transitioning demands new means, new processes, and new methods. It should be repeated that this ushering in of the new in no way indicates or dictates a discarding of what has come before, far from it. We must keep in mind that it is the activity and presence of the past that distinguishes Gebser's approach from others. Supercession does not mean invalidating; replacement in this context intimates an intensification rather than a nullification. Nevertheless, the inevitability of this transition should be recognized as well. This particular term best illustrates this new way of understanding. Eteology is then a new form of statement.” (Mahood Jr para 39)
“What is necessary today to turn the tide of our situation are not new philosophemes like the phenomenological, ontological, or existential, but eteologemes. Eteology must replace philosophy just as philosophy once replaced the myths..... Eteology, then, is neither a mere ontology, that is, theory of being, nor is it a theory of existence. The dualistic question of being versus non-being which is commensurate only with the mental structure is superseded by eteology, together with the secularized question as to being, whose content—or more exactly whose vacuity—is nothing more than existence." (Gebser 1984 p361, 362)
Another important term in Gebser is Synairesis. Synairesis fullfils the aperspectival integrative perception of systasis and system. The synairectic perception is a precondition of diaphany:
“Synairetic perception, or "verition," occurs on the basis of the integration of archaic presentiment, magical attunement (or what Gebser calls "symbiosis"), mythical symbolization, and mental-rational systematization in the integrative act of arational systasis. Here it is important to remember that all structures are co-present (and co-active) in us and hence need not be invoked through historical imagination.[“26] (Feurstein in Mahood Jr) 7:37 AM

No comments:

Post a Comment