If the co-evolutionary dance between the Pluralistic worldview movement in the LL cultural holon and the Information Age in the LR social holon is evolving to the next level, that of an Integral worldview movement in the LL cultural holon, the question arises: What is the equivalent Socio-Techno-Economic Age in the LR social holon?
There are many indicators that suggest that this next age is already unfolding, as information technologies and networks evolve into convergent technologies, networks, and systems. Terminologies like convergence media appliances, virtual reality, immersive environments, avatars, embedded technologies, and augmented realities are swirling around in the information soup. Entertainment streams across multiple delivery platforms into our theaters, homes, cars, computer screens, phones, gaming consoles, and even through digital walls in the architectural and social spaces around us. The movie Avatar immerses us in its world through immersive IMAX 3D technology telling us a story about becoming technologically immersed in another body and reality. Gamers take on virtual personas and play each other in living rooms and on cell phones across the globe. On other technology fronts, human and natural realities are converging as well, from genetic modification to hybrid and nanotechnologies. We ride around in hybrid vehicles, eat genetically modified foods, wear nanotech clothing, attend virtual concerts, purchase goods and services in a virtual economy, and communicate with each other through phones that are also computers, radios, televisions, and global positioning devices.
One of the first observers of the convergence trend in media technologies was MIT political scientist Ithiel de Sola Pool who noted an emerging media convergence process that he called the “convergence of modes” in which the lines between media platforms are blurred and “the one-to-one relationship between a medium and its use” is eroded (Pool, 1983, p.23).
American media scholar Henry Jenkins extended this work through his observations of a co-evolutionary trend between convergence media socio-techno-economic forces (LR) and what he calls convergence culture (LL), noting that “convergence does not occur through media appliances, however sophisticated they become. Convergence occurs within the brains of the individual consumers and through their social interactions with others” (Jenkins, 2008, p.3). This new convergence culture is made up of individuals and social networks that engage with and integrate dispersed media content into meaningful wholes. Jenkins notes that this co-evolving techno-cultural movement appears to be ushering in an “…era of media convergence, collective intelligence, and participatory culture” (Jenkins, 2008, p.170).
Another hallmark of this Convergence Age is the increased capacity for embodied “perspective-taking.” Whereas the Information Age gave us a multitude of information and information sources, the Convergence Age portends to offer us the capacity to take on a multitude of perceptions and worldviews, one of the essential qualities of the Integral perspective.
Both Pool and Jenkins note that the capacity to navigate this rapidly evolving and convergent environment is incredibly complex and challenging. If this trend is indeed the co-evolutionary movement in an Integral-Convergence Age, then the Integral worldview would be the most appropriate level of consciousness for fully comprehending and mastering this unfolding era.
One of the coming major tipping points in the emergence of this Convergence Age will most likely be the widespread disbursement of high speed and high bandwidth communication networks advanced enough to fully handle immersive, embedded, and virtual realties. While this technology already exists, its widespread dispersion is dependent on various political and financial constraints…so this tipping point in the technological and communication domains can occur very soon or take many years to actually reach its evolutionary moment. Google’s recent announcement of their intention to bring this type of widespread and advanced networking technology to the world is an indicator that there is indeed movement toward this particular tipping point.
Wilber notes that as we evolve up the evolutionary ladder, greater depth and span also brings greater challenges and potential dangers (Wilber, 2003). This new Convergence Age also ushers in the potential threat of nano-viruses, genetic mutation, the erosion of direct human contact social structures, and many other new challenges.
Many of these threats come from the potential misuse of these higher technologies by individuals and cultures operating at a lower worldview. History is full of horrific examples of this mismatch between consciousness and technology, from the holocaust to the potential for nuclear terrorism. The complex and often push and pull co-evolution of consciousness and technology is interestingly reflected in the film Avatar, which appears to be a convergence technology movie with a Pluralistic worldview center-of-gravity, telling a story about the use and abuse of convergence technologies by a dysfunctional mythic-rational human culture against an idyllic (Pre/Trans) magic-mythic alien culture.
As with all evolutionary movements, there is great challenge and also great potential. As one nanotechnology futurist website proclaims… “We are approaching an evolutionary event horizon, where the organic and the synthetic, the virtual and the ‘real’, are merging together into an operational ecology, an existence morphology for which there is no precedent in the history of which we are currently aware” (http://www.historianofthefuture.com/).
Henry Jenkins (2008). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: NYU Press.
Ithiel de Sola Pool (1983). Technologies of Freedom: On Free Speech in an Electronic Age. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Ken Wilber (2003). Volume 2 of the Kosmos Trilogy: Excerpts A, B, C, D, and G. Available at: http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/index.cfm/
*Originally published at Integral Life
Integral Cinema Project lead researcher Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D. has been selected to present preliminary research findings and theories on the the application of Integral Theory to cinematic media theory and practice at the 2010 Integral Theory Conference.
The Integral Theory Conference 2010. July 29 through August 1, 2010. Pleasant Hill, California.
"A new perspective on whole-part relationships is taking shape around the concept of the holon - a term coined by Arthur Koestler to designate that which is simultaneously a whole in its own right and a part of a larger whole. An atom is a whole in itself. When it is also part of a molecule it becomes a holon, or a whole-part. The molecule that is also part of a cell is a holon, as is the cell that is part of an organ, and so on. This hierarchy of relationships from the atom to the organism is known as a holarchy. The concepts of holon and holarchy are fundamental to understanding the healthy function of complex living systems, which requires that each of their whole-parts maintain its own identity and boundaries even as it functions as part of the larger whole."
(The Post-Corporate World by David C. Korten)
*Adapted from Wikipedia.
One of the ways to deepen the practice of seeking, receiving, and following divine guidance is to unpack our constructs of the Divine Source.
Integral Theory has a great practice to help open our perceptions of Source. It is called the The Three Faces of Spirit and can be found at:
In addition to the five elements of integral theory, which comprise the basic foundation of the AQAL model, there is an another more advanced aspect that is important to mention. This aspect is less of a new element and more of a complexification of the first one (the quadrants). Each of the perspectives associated with the four quadrants can be studied through two major methodological families, namely from either the inside (i.e., a first-person perspective) or the outside (i.e., a third-person perspective). This results in eight distinct zones of human inquiry and research. These eight zones comprise what integral theory calls integral methodological pluralism (IMP), which includes such approaches as phenomenology (an exploration of first-person subjective realities), ethnomethodology (an exploration of second-person intersubjective realities), and empiricism (an exploration of third-person empirical realities). The above figure includes all eight zones and their respective labels.
Integral methodological pluralism operates according to three principles: inclusion (consult multiple perspectives and methods impartially), enfoldment (prioritize the importance of findings generated from these perspectives), and enactment (recognize that phenomenon are disclosed to subjects through their activity of knowing it). As a result of these commitments, integral theory emphasizes the dynamic quality of realities as being enacted through a subject using a particular method to study an object. That object can be a first-, second-, or third-person reality. For example, we can study first-person psychological realities as an object of investigation just as easily as we can study third-person biological realities.
- Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, Ph.D. (2009). AN OVERVIEW OF INTEGRAL THEORY: An All-Inclusive Framework for the 21st Century. Integral Institute, Resource Paper No. 1, March 2009, pp.16-17.