Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Is Religion So Heavenly Minded That It's No Earthly Good?

I was sent a link to this article recently: Occupy Integral!  written by Terry Patten and Marco V Morelli found in the Beams and Struts (an Integral) blog.  I was particularly drawn to a video within the blog by a Troy Wiley: Integral Zeitgeist. The video references The Zeitgeist Movement and The Zeitgeist Movies, written, directed and produced by one Peter Joseph. These movies heavily referenced The Venus Project  started by Jacque Fresco (futurist and self-educated structural designer). I then watched PBS NOW: Fixing the Future and thereafter 2012: Time for Change with Daniel Pinchbeck who writes the Reality Sandwich blog. I am presently reading James Morrow's (a favorite author of mine) This Is How The World Ends (a dark apocalyptic Dr. Strangelove meets Alice in Wonderland meets The Book of Job post-modern satire) and Evolution's Edge: The Coming Collapse And Transformation Of Our World by Graeme Taylor. Lastly, I watched Crash Course  by Chris Martenson. All these movies, videos, articles and books deal with where we are headed as a species and a planet and our options for changing course.

These movies, videos, articles and books present, discuss and debate varying degrees of Dystopian and Utopian prospects for humanity's planetary future. The secondary subject matter includes sustainability, spirituality, religion, politics, economics, science (soft and hard), and technology. As to where the black hatted demons lie and the white shirted saviors arise are anybody's guess but there are those within these presentations who feel sure that they know exactly where it is that they're lurking.

Peter Joseph and Jacque Fresco believe religion, politics and especially the monetary system (ie: the Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank) are to blame and the way out is to be found in and through what they call a resource-based economy, which includes emphasis on science, design engineering and especially technology (increased automation and robotics).  The Zeitgeist Movies (for more see the Wikipedia article) are a series of three independently produced non-commercial movies with a planned fourth (and others?) in production: Zeitgeist: The Movie released in 2007, Zeitgeist Addendum released in 2008, ZEITGEIST: MOVING FORWARD released in 2011 and Zeitgeist: Beyond the Pale planned to be released in late 2012.   Because these movies are creatively edited they are both compelling and yet have many flaws being filled with many half-truths, bold exaggeration, and spurious theories. I can see where the clicked in generation and children who lived through September 11th addicted to social networking, texting and video games and taught to be afraid and yet (oxymoronically) ambivalent toward who the terrorists are, and when, and where they will strike next the would be drawn to such a movie with all the bombs going off in the beginning. These movies for all their faults are worth watching, thinking about, discussing and debating. There are a plethora of refutations on the internet and on YouTube most of them by Christians who have a problem with the first movie and it's (I believe, somewhat misguided) attack on theistic religion. Here is one of the more thought provoking Zeitgeist video rebuttals. Others, such as the Zeitgeist Movement Exposed blog, see the Zeitgeist Movement at as a cult and/or thinly veiled communism.  I believe this is a stretch and an attempt to discredit by default but you can decide for yourself.

In connection to the Zeitgeist movement and films what I found most interesting and worth viewing first and foremost is Troy Wiley's vlog: Integral Zeitgeist. If you have no interest or time to check out any of the links in this post except one, I am of the opinion that you should view and ponder upon this one, especially if you are familiar with and/or interested in Ken Wilber's Integral paradigm and/or Clare Grave's and Don Beck's Spiral Dynamics.  As good as this vlog post is it left me wanting more detail and discussion.

Can and will we find a real world approach to humanity's, very real and very scary, progressively detrimental cancerous evolutionary trajectory that is both a holistically balanced (Wilber's four quadrant approach: see below) and fully sustainable antithesis to this present cultural trend?  I believe with Troy Wiley that (so-called) second-tier yellow Integralists are mostly stuck in first quadrant subjective roles while the majority of our western cultures are bound to the fourth quadrant inter-objective sphere with emphasis on top down hierarchical patriarchal dominance in political realms and aggressive unsustainable social-darwinistic non-zero-sum game economics.  In other words these are the dark shadow imbalanced ego qualities that rule both the cutting edges of first and second tier culture.  This is a big reason I have refrained from much Integral debate and discussion on and offline. Although I am fascinated with and in  agreement with much of Integral Theory, I have neither the time nor the money to enroll and engage in workshops that do wonders for boosting people's spiritual egos and quite possibly little else.
So where do we go from here? How do we, not only get in touch with our better angels, but have them objectively and completely take control of the helm of the ship and move us upward toward evolution's greater more sustainable edge? Are our eggs in the wrong basket? How do we tetra-shift to the next greatest levels of our best selves?  Sting comments in Pinchbeck's 2012: Time for Change, that crisis can be a catalyst for positive evolutionary change and that sometimes things must get seemingly worse before they get better? Birth is a painful crisis for an embryo who's environment has become unsustainable. Systems theory shows that these moments of disequilibrium can and do sometimes bring about sudden macro-evolutionary jumps ahead in development or they bring about further disintegration and dissolution.  Is there a technological singularity and will we reach it, as Ray Kurzweil thinks we will, before we destroy ourselves and our environment?   Can we live without money?  Will AI and automated robotics meet our every need in the future or will technology rear it's ugly head as it does in so many dystopian sci fi scenarios? 
What are your thoughts??? 

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