Friday, August 11, 2006

Speedlinking 8/11/06

Happy Friday! At 3:51am, Tucson time, it is a balmy, sticky 80 degrees. Alas, we still have slightly more than two months of hellish heat to go before the temps cool down a bit.

Okay, enough with the whining.

~ A lesson in impermanence from Will of thinkBuddha -- I think I might have reacted less well than to get a pastry and coffee.

~ Cool pictures from Dave at Via Negativa of Micrathena gracilis, a rather freaky looking spider.

~ A very good post from Nagarjuna over at Naked Reflections. He advocates for universal healthcare, but he makes the argument personal -- and therefore more crucial to us all.

~ CJ Smith of Indistinctunion responds to a post by Matthew Dallman with a Spiral-based look at the "war on terror."

~ ebuddha of Integral Practice likes the way Washington Monthly looked at colleges for their ranking system. He suggests it may be apporaching an integral model.

~ Matthew Dallman writes on THE PROBLEMS WITH LIBERALISM, AND THE WORLD TODAY. He writes:
an enormous issue for Americans is this: to what extent should our humanitarian concerns be secondary to our national interests? This is a moral question; perhaps the preeminent geopolitical one of our time.
MD essentially points to the problems we face in generating first tier responses to second tier problems (see the Spiral Dynamics links on the sidebar for an explanation). The post-modern, relativistic "sensitive self" (liberalism) is incapable of dealing with egoic, authoritarian values systems (Islamofascists). On the other hand, our own version of authoritarian rationalism (conservatism) seldom rises above the level of bombing them into oblivion, a tactic that no longer works against a non-nation enemy (witness Viet Nam and now Iraq and Lebanon). We need new solutions to new problems, an exploration I started last night and will continue in the coming days and weeks.

~ My friend Alex at Zaadz posted a nice parable from Tolstoy -- check it out.

~ Jay (aka The Zero Boss) posted his Sugar Rush, which is worth mentioning for the nearly nekkid picture of Heidi Klum.

~ Colmar took issue with my comment that the liberal Dems voted against Lieberman less than they voted for Lamont. He paints Lamont as old money, even throwing out some red herring about his uncle or something. Lamont is the Steve Forbes of the Dems, and few conservatives were castigating Forbes for spending his own money. That said, I think the Democratic party is in its death throes. This race simply shows that it has a little nostalgic 1970s-era kick left in it before it dies.

~ Umguy at ideological putty responds to the book tag meme. Nice list.

And now for other stuff:

~ Bush wants to create retroactive protection for his administration from prosecution for war crimes. So why do you think they might need this protection if they haven't done anything wrong, as they claim?

~ Tim Grieve thinks the conservatives wasted no time in politicizing the terrorist plot. (Click through the ad.)

~ New Scientist Space has the top ten weirdest cosmology theories -- these are actually serious theories with important people behind them.

And the Picture of the Day comes from Shakespeare's Sister, via Dependable Renegade:

And that's a wrap.


MD said...

Hi Bill,

I appreciate your morning links, and have stopped by quite a few recent days to check things out.

To your comment above: having studied SD for seven years now, I certainly know its ideas pretty well, as do you and many others. But I'm finding it more and more shallow and unsuccessful at it aims, which I take are towards clarifying problems and understanding root dynamics. Of course the real proof of the pudding is whether it, or anything like it, actually suggest new solutions.

I don't think SD does, though I hold out hope that maybe it will in the hands of foreign policy experts.

I mentioned my lack of faith in this "colorization" method of SD. Your comment demonstrates my complaint: after you are finished colorizing conservatism, liberalism, fascism, etc, you end with this:

"We need new solutions to new problems".

Now, I grant you lots of good faith, and I know your writing exceeds this short paragraph many, many times over. I'm not taking this as your final word on anything. Don't misunderstand. Yet if SD reveals that "we need new solutions to new problems", then that is exactly where things stood before colorization. That sort of colorization meets categorization leading to lack of delivery of anything substantial is a microcosm of the entire SD project, and frankly most applications of Wilberian thought both serious and nonserious.

And, besides, the struggles today are hardly new, at the root. Plenty of new clothes and window dressings, but that's about it.

Now, let me hone in a bit. You say, "The post-modern, relativistic "sensitive self" (liberalism) is incapable of dealing with egoic, authoritarian values systems (Islamofascists)."

I know this is SD scripture chapter and verse, but how about for the purposes of discussion, we shine a skeptical light on its validity, rather than just assuming its true (an assumption, it bears noting, that underpins all of SD , because no one has seen any studies verifying its accuracy).

Developmentalism (my shorthand for everything SD and everything Wilber) is one way of looking at WWIV, and, specifically, American attitudes towards impending war.

Why can't it be that most people simply don't understand how geopolitics works?

Why can't it be that most people simply don't understand leadership at the level of world government?

Why can't it be that the fact that "war is hell" in and of itself makes most people recoil at its prospect? (I mean, it's not like people only recently starting hating war; anyone think that ancient Greek mothers, for example, relished their sons never coming home from war?)

Why can't it be that the grab for power, land, and political control is seen as a timeless human dynamic that, when it coalesces through history given various factors, must be fought in the same way its always fought -- cold-blooded, focused, undeterred?

I'll stop here, but my feeling, stronger by the day, that the various levels found in SD, Wilber, Foucault are simply not instructive, and have no real bearing on wars fought by humans -- situations that, through history, don't exactly have the reputation of being clean, linear, rational, or predictable.

I mean, can anyone point to a proposal to deal with Islamofascism forwarded as a result of an SD/Wilberian analysis that doesn't suffer from pie-in-the-sky naivete or head-in-the-sand ignorance?

william harryman said...


You raise valid concerns, and to the best of my knowledge, there is no working developmentalist theory for dealing with Islamofascism. But I do know that Beck and several others in the Middle East are trying. The problem in large part is that governments don't want to think in those ways -- it's beyond their range of knowledge.

None of the leaders involved are remotely second tier, if there is such a thing, and that makes things that much tougher. Yes, war is hell. Yes, people recoil at its prospect. Yes, when war is waged it is always brutal and those involved seek to destroy the other. Yes, the issues are largely the same as before SD came into being.

None of that negates the possibility of understanding the dynamics involved through the developmentalist lens in such a way that we might find ways to avoid war in the first place -- or end those currently waged with less bloodshed.

Why can't it be that most people simply don't understand how geopolitics works?
This is the reality -- so why can't it be that SD or Gravesian theory or Kegan or whatever can allow us to begin to understand what is happening in terms of values systems, core beliefs and so on? And why can't that new understanding, if it comes, allow us to solve some of these problems?

I don't pretend to know the answers, but I do have faith that somewhere within one of the integral theories lies the key to unlock the door.