I’ve been absent from The Chrysalis for some time. What time I’ve had lately has been spent glued to the German news websites, as I follow political and social developments there (and also found, to my chagrin, that I have unlearned much of my German — or else the German language has changed). There has been, once again, an ominous upsurge of nativism and tribalism in that country as there has been in other jurisdictions, representing a serious challenge to principles of universality.
Still, I have also been pursuing this question of the post-modern “the Dream Society”, as previously discussed in the pages of The Chrysalis, and which, by happy coincidence, has been the ongoing theme, too, of the “subjectivity of nations” on the Aurobindo website. In fact, one posting on “the rise of the subjective age” and the role of Germany in that was published there even as I was immersed in the news from Deutsche Welle.
So, today I want to discuss such matters of nativism or retribalisation, their connection to “the Dream Society”, and altogether in the context of Jean Gebser’s “irruption” and the correlative breakdown of the mental-rational (or perspectival) consciousness structure, as well as Aurobindo’s musings on the “subjectivity of nations”
This quite remarkable statement from Aurobindo about an “Age of Subjectivism” is so pertinent and relevant to what we’ve been discussing about “the Dream Society” and how our “inside” has now become our “outside” (with an attendant “collapse of reality”) that I feel it’s important to reblog it here (thanks to IW for pointing it out).
As both Gebser and Aurobindo point out, this “irruption” (as Gebser calls it) comes as an incipient form of manifestation of the new consciousness, but with attendant perils and dangers as well (the “vitalistic and psychistic”, ie what is called “creeping fascism”). Gebser equally warned against confusing these with the authentically “spiritual”, which is often exactly what is happening.
We tend to conceive of the idea of a subjective life as belonging to an individual in his self-growth and self-finding; we do not generally consider the nation as a subjective existence of its own. Sri Aurobindo introduces the concept of the nation-soul. When we first look at the nation from the viewpoint of what is unique to each nation, we again focus first on the surface phenomena, the habits, customs, traditions, economic model, political arrangement. Yet Sri Aurobindo observes that there is a deeper subjective reality for the nation that identifies the nation as something unique with its own qualities and sense of purpose, and as we move into the subjective age, more and more nations are trying to identify what it is that makes them special and bonds their people together in a deeper way than the superficial material and vital organisation of the communal life.
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‘Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.’ — Samuel Huntington
The hegemonic power of the 21st century will be the one that wins control of the Global Brain. Combined with Samuel Huntington’s formula for the exercise of power, and justified by the metaphysics of “perception is reality”, you begin, perhaps, to see the problem I also see in Rolf Jensen’s plans for “The Dream Society”, and for what Algis Mikunas describes as “technocratic shamanism”.
This is one of the scenarios in which the prospective emergence of “integral consciousness” may be abortive. Others, of course, may be climate catastrophe or a global nuclear war, in which case all questions about the hegemonic power become rather moot. Death would be the hegemon.
There are four questions I’ll want to be pursuing for the next little while in connection with my last few posts on Rolf Jensen’s The Dream Society.
First, just how far along has this Brave New World — or “theme park world” in Jensen’s terms — of the Dream Society come to being made effectually real? (You can read a view of that here, “Welcome to the Dream Society“).
Second, how does this Dream Society relate to Howard Bloom’s concept of The Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century? That is to say, how is Bloom’s “mass mind” (or hive mind) related to Jensen’s “retribalisation” (or re-collectivisation) theme and the Dream Society “market” as being, effectively, the Jungian “collective unconscious” (or “the Shadow”)? This re-collectivisation or re-tribalisation is already evident in events like authoritarian populism, nationalism, racism, fascism, “brand cults”, etc, and the disintegration of the individual.
Thirdly, what is the meaning of “Dream Society” and “Global Brain” in relation to William Blake’s “city of the imagination”, Golgonooza — the “spiritual fourfold” city?
And fourthly, is Dream Society and Global Brain truly the “final form of society” (in Jensen’s estimation), or merely the last dying, decadent or disintegrative phase — the chrysalis stage if you will — of late capitalist society and of what Philip Slater calls “Control Culture” — therefore, something only preparatory for a metamorphosis towards “Integral Culture” or integral consciousness?
But to assess the real meaning of Dream Society or Global Brain in that sense, we need to also understand something of the meaning of Blake’s “fourfold vision” and of his “four Zoas”, who “reside in the Human Brain”, and how they might manifest also in this Global Brain/Dream Society.
I may have hit a wall of incomprehension — or perhaps even incredulity — in my previous posts and commentaries on the meaning of “The Dream Society”, and how the logic of this Dream Society is now playing out in all the strange and surreal events of the present, inclusive of the Trump phenomenon. So, I’ll redouble my efforts here to try to clarify what I mean in saying that the “market”, as now presently imagined, has become the manifest domain of the Jungian “collective unconscious”, and that this “Dream Society” can’t even be comprehended except in those terms. If, in the past, the so-called “real economy” trafficked in “real estate”, we might say that the market of the Dream Society trafficks in “irreal estate”. And if some indigenous cultures sometimes speak of “the White Man’s Dreaming”, then that dreaming is what is now made explicit and manifest in The Dream Society.
Things get only stranger and stranger as I delve deeper into Rolf Jensen’s imagination of “The Dream Society”. Just how strange and weird it is can’t be adequately described, perhaps, unless you dive into the book yourself. I would never have paid it even a second thought had it not been my suspicion a few days ago that it also had something to do with “the collapse of reality”, or with the meaning of “post-rational” or “post-truth”.
So, today I’m going to try to describe and perhaps partially explain what looms monstrously large in the background of this “Dream Society” — something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on two years ago when I first read it, but which accounts for why I was very uneasy about it in the first place. I call it Jensen’s “market mysticism”.
For the last few posts, we’ve been probing for the meaning of the phrase “the collapse of reality”, and how this “collapse of reality” might also relate to Rolf Jensen’s influential bestseller The Dream Society: How The Coming Shift From Information to Imagination Will Transform Your Business, (and to an apparent spin-off of that called “marketing 3.0” or “spiritual branding”). We’ve also made note of the paradox and ambiguity in the phrase “collapse of reality” (and attendant “chaos” or “chaotic transition”), for in many respects it could be equally said of what is happening in quantum physics and even history.
So before I continue with my critique of The Dream Society and its contribution to the collapse of reality, I want to speak to this other aspect of the collapse of reality, as also being an aspect of what Jean Gebser called the paradoxical “double-movement” of our times — a time of disintegration coincident with a new integration. Therein lies the paradox and the double-meaning of the phrase “collapse of reality” or the irony and ambiguity resident in Karl Marx’s observation (explored by Marshall Berman in a book by that title available online) that “all that is solid melts into air”.