In his two celebrated works on the 1960s counter-culture — The Making of a Counter-Culture and Where the Wasteland Ends — the late historian Theodore Roszak remarked how the sense of “waiting for something” characterised much of the mood of those times. The popular play Waiting for Godot even seemed to capture that anguished malaise and mood of unfulfilled expectation and anticipation.
“They also serve who only stand and wait” — (John Milton, On His Blindness)
It seems to me that there have been an increasing number of articles of late on the democratic deficit, the crisis of politics and the emergence of what is being called “post-democratic society“. Such problems were anticipated decades ago but nothing was done to address them. However, this current crisis of politics may not be such a bad thing in the long run.
How will we know when we are finally “inside” the integral era? Or, in Jean Gebser’s terms, how will we recognise when the times are fulfilled? For that is how Gebser put it in the first Preface to The Ever-Present Origin, “either time is fulfilled in us — and that would mean the end and death for our present earth and (its) mankind — or we succeed in fulfilling time: and this means integrality and the present, the realization and the reality of origin and presence.”
I was reflecting lately on the observation, which has been made here recently, that if we are entering into a new “integral” era — a new mutation of the structure of consciousness as Jean Gebser suggests — there seems to be little social evidence for it in everyday life, outside “specialist” circles such as the biological and physical sciences, or in literature.
I think the case can be made that it is also happening, autonomously and spontaneously, in general culture.
Today is November 11, and is called “Remembrance Day” here in Canada — (although the whole point of it, actually, is to forget… which is why it’s called “Remembrance” Day). Now that the state and the political classes have taken full ownership of the commemoration, the glorification of “sacrifice” is the theme, while the ineptitude, incompetencies, delusions, and imbecilities of the state and of the political bunglers of past and present who largely brought about the wars (and then failed to win the peace) are carefully tucked away and hidden from scrupulous and inquiring eyes.
On the centenary of economist E.F. Schumacher’s birthdate, The Guardian posted a short audio interview with a few of Schumacher’s admirers about his work and his famous book Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered.
If you have broadband (I don’t, but I suffered the download time) it makes for an interesting listen.
I awoke this snowy morning to this lengthy, but interesting round-table discussion sponsored by The Observer (UK) and reposted on The Guardian website: “Is capitalism broken… and what is the world going to do to fix it?” (The diversity of voices represented in this discussion, and in the pages of The Guardian generally, is one of the reasons I keep returning to The Guardian, and consider this paper the best in the world). Read More…