Part 1: How Do We Properly Integrate Marxist Epistemology? (Ken Wilber and Corey deVos)
Everyone Is Right
Marxism, also known as “dialectical materialism”, continues to exert a tremendous influence in our society, both in terms of pro-Marxist ideas on the left and anti-Marxist positions on the right.One of the simplest ways to define Marxist epistemology is the following statement: “Examine any alleged state of affairs as related to and distinguished from a total environment, and you will know whether or not the sentence alleging that state of affairs is true.”What are the positive contributions of Marxism that we want to include in a more integral epistemology? What are the unhealthy or negative limitations that we want to avoid?This is a continuation of the previous episode of The Ken Show, where we walked through a dozen major schools of epistemology and took note of their strengths, limitations, and how they fit into a more comprehensive and Integral method of sense-making. If you haven’t watched that episode already, we highly recommend you do so!Why is this important? In an age where legacy media is on the decline and has being largely replaced by social media, we are currently experiencing a total epistemic collapse of historic proportions — resulting in a collective state of aperspectival madness that Ken has been warning us about for decades. The world is broken, and no one can quite agree how, which makes our most pressing social and planetary problems (particularly the truly wicked ones) almost impossible to solve.But don’t worry, this could actually be good news. Our present epistemic breakdown is one of the central life conditions of our time, and Integral metatheory is uniquely positioned to help us piece our fragmented and fallen world back together. While things will almost certainly get worse before they get better, these are precisely the sort of conditions that call integral solutions forward, and the sorts of conversations where those solutions will eventually emerge.
Part 1: What Is Integral Epistemology? (Ken Wilber and Corey deVos)
Everyone Is Right
Listen to the full discussion here:https://integrallife.com/integral-epistemology/How do we know stuff? Like all of the great philosophical quandaries, it’s a fundamentally straightforward question that can lead us into an endlessly branching series of chicken-and-egg meditations on the nature of existence (ontology) versus the nature of knowledge (epistemology). And it’s a topic that is immediately relevant to today’s world, to our understanding of current events, and to our various strategies and processes of sense-making.This is particularly true here in the social media age. It’s always been the case that we’ve had multiple conflicting epistemologies, but until recently we’ve generally lived in a far more curated media space. We’ve relied upon informational referees who would enforce certain epistemologies over others (for better and/or for worse). But civilization itself is now operating on fully postmodern media platforms with no built-in curation or enfoldment mechanisms at all, where everyone with a smart phone can either contribute to, or corrupt, our sense of shared reality.We are now curators of our own informational terrains. Our online media habits quickly become epistemic silos, reinforced with every click by the hidden algorithms of Google, Facebook, Youtube, etc. This has resulted in the total epistemic breakdown we are now in the midst of, giving rise to everything from Flat Earthers to delusional QAnon conspiracies — all products of broken epistemologies. Ironically, it may be the phrase “do your research” that brings about the death of knowledge.This is why this discussion about epistemology is so important. These aren’t just stodgy schools of philosophy to be discussed in lecture halls — all of us are walking around with our own personal epistemologies we use to make sense of the world, whether consciously examined or not. And these personal epistemologies are at least partially informed by these major schools of thinking — often inherited in their general forms, but inconsistently and idiosyncratically assembled — as well as any number of pre-rational forms of sense-making. The hope here is that by better understanding and applying all of these different epistemological lenses we can achieve a far more comprehensive and integral view, while bringing more awareness to our own epistemological assumptions, biases, and blind spots.At its core, our clash of civilizations is a clash of truth-claims — a clash of epistemologies — made all the worse by our current epistemological crisis and collapse. Aperspectival madness, as we like to say.In this fascinating episode of The Ken Show, we take a look at a dozen of the most popular schools of epistemological thought — idealism, pragmatism, empiricism, constructivism, etc. — noting their respective contributions and limitations, and how they can all be pulled together into a more Integral epistemology that can help us take the next step out of the aperspectival madness we are all currently immersed in.Listen to the full discussion here:https://integrallife.com/integral-epistemology/
Thinking Integrally with Corey DeVosAs you know, I’ve been quite taken with the philosophy of Ken Wilber, known as Integral Theory, lately. I interviewed Bryan O’Doherty in Blackbird Ep. 8. Bryan, who is also libertarian, was able to give us a good overview of Integral Theory, along with his political framework of panarchy.Today I’m happy to introduce you to Corey DeVos. Corey is a leader in the Integral community. He hosts the “Everyone is Right” podcast, and he runs Integral Life, Ken Wilber’s website. This is an educational and insightful conversation. Plus, I promise you won’t hear this many references to a podcast host’s genitals on any other show.As a reminder, here’s the color code and quadrants we’ll be talking about throughout this episode. (If you’re listening on a podcast app and there’s no image below, click here to see it, and subscribe to the Substack while you’re at it.)Corey LinksIntegral Life, where Corey is editor-in-chiefJoin Integral Life Practice, to learn to Wake Up, Grow Up, Clean Up, Show UpCheck out Corey’s beautiful woodwork at VisionLogixJoin the Integral Global Facebook group, of which I’m a member (please be polite)Follow Corey on TwitterLearn With MeRenegade UniversityJoin me at Thad Russell’s Renegade University. His postmodernism course is available on replay now. Check out the other offerings to enroll in current and future courses. I think you’ll be particularly interested in what’s coming up in March, a course with CTRL+Pew.Liberty ClassroomI’ve renewed my Basic Membership to Tom Woods’s Liberty Classroom so many times that I finally just sprung for the lifetime Master Membership. I recommend you do the same. You’ll get unlimited access to courses on history, economics, political theory, logic, and even literature taught by liberty-loving professors from colleges and universities around the world. It’s the antidote to the cathedral.Follow MeBe sure you’re following me on Twitter (@jameslj), Flote, and MeWe.If you’re reading this on Substack, you can subscribe to the show on any podcast app simply by searching Blackbird with James Jenneman.If you watch the show on YouTube, switch to Odyssee. This decentralized platform will give you a clear conscience and make me a tiny amount of money (at no cost to you).Become a paying subscriber for bonus episodes, written content, and your very own private podcast feed.(Note: I use affiliate links. By clicking the sponsored links above, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you when you make a purchase. Using my affiliate links is a great way to support the show, and I really appreciate it!) This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at www.blackbirdpodcast.com/subscribe
Unpacking the Integral Enneagram (Lisa Frost and Corey deVos)
Everyone Is Right
What exactly is the Enneagram, and what makes it such a helpful tool when it comes to our ongoing growth and awakening?Watch as Lisa and Corey offer a broad introduction to the Integral Enneagram, as well as to the many Enneagram offerings we currently have available on Integral Life, including:- A self-assessment test that allows you to better discern your own Enneagram type,- A monthly “Harnessing the Power of Your Enneatype” practice session, available to all supporting members of Integral Life,- A series of monthly Enneagram sessions that focus on each of the nine types — a monthly session for Type 1, another monthly session for Type 2, another for Type 3, etc.Click here to learn more: https://integrallife.com/your-enneagram-type-an-introduction/
The Art of Practice: Introducing ILP (with Lisa Frost and Corey deVos)
Everyone Is Right
Join Lisa Frost and me in a new monthly series that will explore how to bring more depth and artistry to our Integral Life Practice — the very best and most effective practices to help you Wake Up, Grow Up, Clean Up, and Show Up in your life, your relationships, and your work in the world.Integral is itself a practice-based theory. “Integral Methodological Pluralism” is just a fancy way of saying, “here are all of the available practices that are available to us — practices that reveal everything we know about life, the universe, and everything. And here’s how to put all of those practices together, so we can better understand our reality, lead better/more fulfilling lives, and leave the universe and everything in better shape than we found it.“In other words, practice is at the very core of integral. How do we grow up? We practice. How do we wake up? We practice. How do we clean up? That’s right, practice baby! How do we show up? Practice, practice practice, practice — and allowing the fruits of our practice to spill over into all four quadrants.These aren’t just conversations about the integral map — they are about living in the integral territory.Watch as Lisa and I take an in-depth look at our new Integral Life Practice platform, which offers a vast collection of self-guided practices as well as calendar of live daily practice sessionss led by skilled practice leaders from around the world, attended every day by a powerful community of like-hearted people who are profoundly committed to their own growth, awakening, and impact.Visit https://integrallife.com/calendar for the full Integral Life Practice session schedule.
Inhabit: Your Ground (with Corey deVos, Ryan Oelke, and Marshall Aeon)
Everyone Is Right
How do we stay centered and grounded, when the ground is constantly being moved from under our feet?With so much bias, polarization, and radicalization taking place all around us, how can we prevent our own views and values from being hijacked and pushed to their extremes?When we are drowning in so much information, misinformation, conflicting narratives, and conspiracy theories, how can we prevent our own informational terrain from becoming distorted by propaganda, partial thinking, and malevolent influences?Watch as Ryan and Corey explore how Integral Practice allows us to more fully inhabit our ground by helping us bring more awareness to the most fundamental dimensions of our own lived territory:- Waking Up to the Absolute Ground of Being, the unmovable mountain at the very center of you, the groundless Ground that can never be taken away from you; - Understanding how the multiple stages of Growing Up allow us to see and enact the world in very different ways, preventing us from getting swept up by unfalsifiable narratives and low-resolution views; - How the practice of Cleaning Up allows us to recognize and reintegrate our own shadows that we might be projecting onto the world around us (lack of control, lack of certainty, suspicion of authority, etc.) as well as the cultural shadows we may have introjected, internalized, and made our own; - How properly identifying and integrating polarities helps prevent us from getting blown by the winds of radicalization that are pushing people toward one extreme pole or another; - How the Integral Sensibility allows us to more fluidly navigate this complex informational terrain with more compassion, discernment, and strategic action; - How the Integral View helps us replenish our optimism while also placing guardrails around disembodied and untenable idealism (“Here’s where I want to go, and I refuse to get in the car until we get there”).We are also joined by our friend Marshall Aeon, who tells us how his own Diamond Approach practice has helped him find the ground he needs to explore the complexity of our world and its many rabbit holes with curiosity, careful discernment, and integrity.We also discuss one of the central polarities and sources of conflict within the integral community — the tension between “orthodox” and “heterodox” sources of information. What is an appropriate balance to strike between “consensus reality” and “conspiracy theory”, both in terms of how we seek out new information and how we enfold that information into our overall view of the world? How can we keep an open mind, but not so open that our brain falls out completely?We hope you enjoy this fascinating discussion with Ryan Oelke, Corey deVos, and Marshall Aeon!
Inhabit: Your Creativity (with Corey deVos and Ryan Oelke)
Everyone Is Right
We live in an infinitely creative universe — and with every passing moment we have the option to actively and consciously participate with that creativity. We can either follow the familiar rhythms of our own habituations and comforts, or we can make a different choice altogether — we can do something new, something unpredictable, something that allows this creative novelty to work through our own nervous system and spill new forms of beauty into the rest of the world.Because we are all artists at the end of the day. We are constantly creating new realities and conjuring new possibilities, both for ourselves and for the rest of the world. Every decision we make is a creative act, whether we are aware of it or not. Sometimes we live our art in unconscious ways, following a path of least resistance as far as we think it will take us. But we are also invited to bring more embodied awareness to our creative expression — harnessing the untamed sounds, colors, and energies of nature and willing them to bend in the service of beauty, meaning, purpose, and connection.This is what Ryan and I explore in this special episode of Inhabit — how to more fully align ourselves with our own deepest source of beauty, inspiration, and creative emergence.Watch as we discuss:- The creative confluence that exists between beauty, evolution, and spirit,- The importance of a 2nd-person perspective to your creative process,- How the neoliberal commodification of art influences and/or limits our own creative expression,- How the integral mindset allows us to increase our enjoyment and enactment of art,- How our immersion in entertainment culture can make us overly critical of art,- The importance of beauty and aesthetics for the healing process,- How work with our own creative blocks and ruts
Inhabit: Your Politics (Corey deVos and Ryan Oelke)
Everyone Is Right
All politics are personal. But does that mean we need to take it so personally?In this episode of Inhabit, Ryan and I explore ways to bring more embodied awareness and skillful discernment to our political lives, overcoming the corrosive and often paralyzing effects that both our cynicism and our idealism can have upon our political decisions and our willingness to engage our most fundamental civic responsibilities.Watch as Ryan and I discuss: - How to remain an idealist when the world constantly refuses to live up to our ideals.- What happens when our mechanisms of enfoldment completely break down, both in our governing systems and in our media platforms.- How lack of enfoldment leads to mistrust, misinformation, false equivalence, epistemic collapse, and aperspectival madness.- How to relate to postmodern media platforms where contradictory truths are no longer enfolded with each other, but instead slide frictionlessly across one other.- How to develop a more anti-fragile sensibility that can begin reducing fragility in the world.- How the left has created a culture of fragility, and the right a culture of resilience — and why both are anti-growth.- Why Trump, and not Hillary, was seen as the transformation candidate in 2016.- Why we need another genuine transformation candidate for 2020 — and who we think that is.Join us in this exceptionally rich and hopeful exploration of our inner political landscapes!
Inhabit: Your Digital Life (with Ryan Oelke and Corey deVos)
Everyone Is Right
How do we better manage the inherent fractures and fragmentations of the digital world while bringing more embodied wisdom and compassion to our online interactions?One of the central dilemmas facing the integral generation is the fact that the integral project is largely taking place via the internet, using platforms like Facebook that are ill suited to healthy integral discourse — a sprawling flatland where misinformation spreads like wildfire, where the loudest voices dominate the discussion, and where narrow views receive more attention than nuanced arguments. Platforms like these are designed from the top down to provoke strong emotional reactions among its users, governed more by extractive social engineering algorithms than by the natural nexus-agency of the communities that convene there.It’s no wonder that we are seeing study after study about the deleterious effects social media is having upon our culture, our lives, and our own sense of happiness and belonging.Which is why Ryan and Corey wanted to take a closer look at this issue, and try to provide some fairly simple perspectives and practices that might help you inhabit and engage your digital life with more skillful authenticity, resilience, and kindness. Watch as they speak to the challenges many people experience around both managing and participating in today’s online communities, and how to overcome the seductive pull toward unhealthy polarization and disembodied reactions.