Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
“>nexus-agency whose patterns, textures, codes, rules, or flow-patterns can often be specified or described. Those codes represent…the collective requirements of the societal
“>holon in order to recognize its own members and thus reproduce itself in spacetime.”(p. 108, Excerpt D)
In other words, any given social group is only that due to the internality codes that enable it to remain cohesive, and for it’s members to identify themselves within it.
According to Wilber, this occurs through the rules of discourse (the “discursive structures,” or the things that you can, and cannot, officially or legitimately discuss). These become clues as to why and how a social group orients and holds together as it does.
In this, he draws on the extensive work by Foucault on discourses, which is described by Weedon (1987) as:
“ways of constituting knowledge, together with the social practices, forms of subjectivity and power relations which inhere in such knowledges and relations between them. Discourses are more than ways of thinking and producing meaning. They constitute the ‘nature’ of the body, unconscious and conscious mind and emotional life of the subjects they seek to govern.” (p. 108)
Wilber explains how such a social group reproduces itself through defending the boundary of its dominant discourse:
“To the extent that a group of individual ‘I’s’ recognize themselves as a ‘we,’ then to just that extent they defend the boundary of that ‘we’ against both inside and outside disruptions. Here I might point to the work of sociologist Peter Berger on what he calls societal cohesion, nihilation, and therapia.”
Berger described how, to maintain social cohesion, a social group would track and identify risks to its boundaries indicating a threat of annihilation, and thus institute forms of therapia.
“Of course, some of these ‘therapies’ look rather barbaric to outsiders, and some look more healthy, but no collective holon is without them. On the morbid side, some premodern therapies include cannibalism and human sacrifice; some traditional therapies include the Inquisition and burning at the stake; some modern therapies include frontal lobotomies; some
The green worldview’s multiple perspectives give it room for greater compassion, idealism, and involvement, in its healthy form. Such qualities are seen by organizations such as the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Doctors Without Borders. In its unhealthy form green worldviews can lead to extreme relativism, where all beliefs are seen as relative and equally true, which can in turn lead to the nihilism, narcissism, irony, and meaninglessness exhibited by many of today’s intellectuals, academics, and trend-setters. (see: boomeritis)
“>postmoderntherapies include politically correct thought police. On the happier side, therapia that appear to heal have included shamanic voyaging, religious rituals, democratic justice, and multicultural sensitivity… The ‘barbarism’ does not lie in the therapia itself, but in the level of the expansiveness of the boundary being protected—to to .” Wilber, 2004, itallics added.
That last sentence is quite important to make sense of this current moment. Here, Wilber is referring to worldviews that develop through a lifespan, which become increasingly more expansive in terms of one’s capacity to take perspectives. The later the, the more perspectives can be included in one’s sphere of awareness. Therefore, an egocentric worldview includes one’s own perspective or those things that fall into the category of “me and mine”; a sociocentric perspective includes the groups a person self-identifies with and the values or norms of that social circle, be it family, tribe, community, company, congregation, nation, etc.; and a worldcentric worldview includes multiple perspectives of others, including others beyond one’s social group, even to include other people one has never met and even other species; and so forth.
(Note that these — ego-, socio-, and world-centric — are very general terms that Wilber uses, which have been studied in detail by many other developmental psychologists. Other terms to describe them are traditional, universalistic, and pluralistic worldviews [Wilber, 2000; Gebser, 1991; Kegan, 1994] and blue,and green value memes [Beck and Cowen, 2005].)
In summary, any social holon will have a legitimacy crisis if its cohesion is threatened, and it will need to create some type of therapy to restore wholeness; and that therapy will depend on it’s predominant worldview. (Wilber, 2004, p. 113)1. Understanding the dynamics of social groups involves sensing the social discourses and nexus-agencies that hold them as cohesive social holons, and then it can be seen why certain boundaries, when threatened, must be defended.