I just don’t know who realizes that I’m serious.
But serious nonetheless.
If this video speaks to you, please speak back to me here.
I just don’t know who realizes that I’m serious.
But serious nonetheless.
If this video speaks to you, please speak back to me here.
I had a great talk with Bonnitta Roy a couple months ago, and finally got through editing the audio and publishing it on InfiniteConversations.fm.
It took me a while because I actually felt really deeply challenged by the conversation. You’ll hear why. We get into some pretty deep territory concerning the underlying causes of the pain we feel (or I’ve felt, anyway) taking part in organizations and social networks that seem not to have our best interests in mind. There is a need to identify an objective oppressive entity (an “It”), rather than focus on one’s own empowerment in cooperation with others (a “we”)—and Bonnitta’s manifesto is all about energizing participation rather than victimhood. I admit I’d been subtly, but significantly, playing the victim all this time.
But going from It to We has been what my recent life is all about. It’s the heart of A Theory of Everybody, which is participation, co-creation, active collaboration.
So I titled the podcast, Making the Move from It to We: a Manifesto for Open Participatory Organizations.
Here’s the episode description.
How can organizations support our authentic and meaningful engagement in work we actually care about? How can we value openness, participation, reputation, legitimacy, connectivity, and abundance in the way we work together? How can we can organize in ways that liberate rather than stifle our creative spirit?
Social philosopher Bonnitta Roy thinks we need a new kind of organization to meet these challenges. She calls it the Open Participatory Organization. And her Manifesto is the point of departure for this conversation—an example of the kind of work Bonnitta does in real time with people and organizations around the world.
To learn more about Bonnitta and her work, visit appassociates.net.
I’m still very new to podcasting‚ and I can’t say I’m really happy with my voice or interviewing skills yet. But overall, I think the conversation turned out really well. Bonnitta was wonderful and fun to talk to—and I look forward to doing it again.
Every perspective is “true, but partial.” This is a truism of integral thought.
And it’s true enough, incontestable really…just like the idea that “all lives matters” is true enough. Who can argue with it on face value?
But here’s my question: Who is asserting “true, but partial,” in what context, to what end? What is the practical, intended effect of this utterance? What less palatable truth is being avoided?
How often is the meta-perspective “true, but partial” deployed as a means of dismissing, deemphasizing, or delegitimizing certain very specific truths, while implying that only the meta-perspective (and he, usually a he, who holds it) is truly true?
If the issues being discussed entail some very specific, concrete truths pertaining to economic exploitation, environmental destruction, institutionalized racism, or the like, then claiming that any strong perspectives on these issues are “true, but partial” (because they focus on the exterior, systemic dimensions, and may not represent an ideal, comprehensive and balanced meta-perspective) is equivalent to saying “all lives matter,” when what really matters—what’s actually urgent and important in the moment, what ethically needs to be emphasized and prioritized and made the starting point for any integral discussion—is precisely the opposite, or the particular, that black lives matter, for example.
Which is, needless to say, partial; but necessary to say: TRUE.
RAGE. SPEARS of rage. All the intimate madness of your rage.
Goddess, sing the wasted scraps of this lover’s wandering mind,
the disembodied, decomposing bundles of sensation flickering
in the compost heap of your heart—rotting countless moments of pure life,
encrypted feasts for the bacteria & worms of a crazed age…
This lurching, Ambiguous Beast that picks its teeth with Zeus’ bolts;
that digests the souls of men with quantum efficiency; that rumbles—
grinding and chewing and salivating—stumbling toward the light.
O Mad Muse—tell how the gods reverse-engineered the name of love
and christened the essence, and the city of the essence, with a new name;
and tell of the war that broke out, like a black swarm over ineffable fields,
overwhelming the sturdiest structures, scrambling the simplest feelings,
with dumb devotion, dispatching even the already dead.
And goddess, sing the quiet carnage in the shadow of that great city,
vultures circling in emptiness—and carrion banshee that you are, scream the race
to split the nanosecond and (put it plainly, goddess) blow the fucker up.
On shores of Ilium, a lone tent ripples in the night—
while the Beast’s hot breath pushes into the sea, over the incoming frequencies,
through sky of newborn flesh, and the jeweled city pulsating beyond
its ramparts—multifaceted, strange, like a crystal sphere or glass eye
in shattered space; and the lover’s breath whispering, cursing the night, cursing
the harsh heart that created time and space and love
and the ultimatum of the word, as I cry you down, gathering my weaponry,
to enter into battle.
I think this will be the epigraph at the beginning of my book.
“It’s the Ekumen’s custom, and there are reasons for it. Though in fact I begin to wonder if I’ve ever understood the reasons. I thought it was for your sake that I came alone, so obviously alone, so vulnerable, that I could in myself post no threat, change no balance: not an invasion, but a mere messenger-boy. But there’s more to it than that. Alone, I cannot change your world. But I can be changed by it. Alone, I must listen, as well as speak. Alone, the relationship I finally make, if I make one, is not impersonal and not only political: it is individual, it is personal, it is both more and less than political. Not We and They; not I and It; but I and Thou. Not political, not pragmatic, but mystical. In a certain sense the Ekumen is not a body politic, but a body mystic. It considers beginnings to be extremely important. Beginnings, and means. Its doctrine is just the reverse of the doctrine that the end justifies the means. It proceeds, therefore, by subtle ways, and slow ones, and queer, risky ones; rather as evolution does, which is in certain senses its model….”
—from The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin
I’m passing along an important PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. This is intended for anyone who struggles with political agendas, cultural (or religious) ideologies, and/or intellectual frameworks in their personal or professional life, but who finds they can’t live without them all the same.
It concerns a revolutionary new “container” technology, which I refer to simply as “Your Box.” Recently, there has been a rash of reports of serious injuries caused by malfunctioning, yet apparently self-aware and self-containing Boxes—though to be fair, many continue to swear by their benefits and ascribe these incidents to user error. Don’t worry, if you’re the owner a Box such as the one I discuss in this video, it’s most likely not being recalled…yet.
But, there is an investigation underway, and further tests are being performed; so make sure you sign up for updates to be notified if the status of your box changes. You can sign up at my official website: www.LittleSpiritualMachines.com
Please share this critical information with all your friends and loved ones. The mind you save, or soul you rescue, may be your own.
You have a box problem. Admit it. You can’t live without your box. You are inside your box and your box is inside you. And yet, the deeper you go into your box, the more you find yourself outside it…gazing in. You can never really pull yourself away. That’s what makes it such a vexing problem: it’s neither quite an addiction nor a choice. You do things for your box and your box does things for you, whether you like it or not.
It’s not necessarily a bad problem to have. For a simple nanocomposite hypercube, your box boasts an array of life-improving features. For example, it’s capable of containing all other boxes, including boxes that are bigger than it. It’s compatible with any shape or size box. It holds solids, liquids, plasmas, and most spiritual substrates (phenomena and noumena alike). And it’s recyclable; it can be composted in specialized facilities. And since you’re always in the market for a newer, faster, awesomer, more stylish box: your box comes in any color you like, as long as it’s brown.
Fortunately, your box can be personalized. You can choose to have your name inscribed alongside a custom logo—designed by cutting-edge AI—which you can then license for a monthly fee to represent your personal brand. Your box is optimized for maximum privacy, transparency, and paradox. If you look closely, you’ll see a unique cryptological number stamped in tiny lettering on every unit. This is required by international trade agreements, which admittedly makes your box an object of conspiracy. But that randomly generated key, when combined with a password you’ve hopefully memorized, lets you authenticate that your box is mathematically your own.
Needless to say, you need a strong password…and don’t lose it. To be safe, you can share your password with a friend—however, do recall that the warning label on the packaging indicated that even your closest friends may not be able to precisely fathom the infinite interiority of your box—nor, to be fair, you of theirs. As well, it’s important to note that while some box owners manage to keep multiple personality types and dispersed hyperobjects stored safely together in the same box, this does void the warranty.
As always, your best bet is to become an educated consumer. That’s why your box came with both a “quick-start” guide and a far more comprehensive user manual, which sadly nobody reads. There’s also a legal sheet of terms and conditions, which you agree to by default, where it states in no uncertain terms: The manufacturer is not responsible for uses of this box that alter consciousness in a way that critique the box’s proto-consciousness of itself, etc., etc. All instructions and disclaimers are translated into other languages, including French, Russian, Arabic, and a couple systems of intuitive gibberish. According to a popular blog that aggregates buzz and rumors relating to your box’s corporate parent company, translations of these materials into Japanese, Mandarin, and Korean are currently in development. The blog fails to report, though, that these translations will contain slightly different usage instructions, suggesting that the latest model box theoretically can contain not only Einsteinian space, but also a limited number of speculative trans-quantum hyperspatial meta-dimensions, and thus might be compatible with some post-capitalist applications. The manufacturer will begin testing these features in the Asian market, of course.
The main problem you have with your box is the same one everyone has with their box. It’s that—no matter how hard you try—you cannot think outside it. This is by design, and the manufacturer is aware of the issue. (You’ll only waste your time by calling customer service.) Although your box encourages you to think “outside the box,” as the cliché would have it, the newest box technology is so sophisticated that it will contain your thinking even when you think you’re thinking beyond it and would like to think you’ve gone meta-box. The software engine accomplishes this using a chaotic gestalt of predictive algorithms—trade secrets, to be sure—which automatically update via network effect as new thinking patterns and cognitive structures emerge. On this basis, you will not receive a refund if you wish to return your box. Your box cannot be returned.
Do NOT try to destroy your box.
Do NOT use your box underwater or shower with it.
Do NOT lend your box without notating the date and time of your transaction, and with whom.
Do NOT attempt to bury your box, unless someone has died inside it. (Then of course it can be used for ritual purposes.)
Do NOT absentmindedly leave your box unattended in an airport.
Do NOT attempt to have sexual relations with your box, unless you’ve ordered the special attachment (at additional cost).
Do NOT indulge in overzealous fanaticism in the name of your box, unless you’ve read the Asian-language market instructions and understand them thoroughly.
DO treat your box with the consideration with which you would expect to be treated yourself.
DO exercise and meditate with your box regularly.
DO talk to your box.
DO fill out the warranty & registration card and return it to the manufacturer within 30 days of purchase.
DO consider buying a few shares of Hyperbox Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: HBTI, currently trading, bullishly, at $333/share)
DO subscribe to Box Quarterly Magazine and the Journal of International Box Studies, and join the online community at BoxLife.com; and don’t forget to update your address on file if you’ve recently moved or expired.
DO expect your box to self-deconstruct after its expiration date, or even before.
DO open the box in which your box shipped before contacting customer support.
And finally, always remember these three rules:
1. You get out of your box what you put into it.
2. Any box is mostly empty space.
3. Your box is only as good as you are.
Editors Note: I uploaded a new profile picture of myself to Facebook. The comments on the photo—combined with other considerations, raised in other discussion threads—became the germ for the piece that follows. This is rough first draft (intended to be read aloud), which will probably be edited before final publication in the book.
Since a few of you have remarked that with my long hair and beatific countenance, I resemble Jesus—which of course must mean the White Jesus, the European Jesus, not the historical Jesus who was probably brown or black and so much braver than I—but since I nonetheless feel messianic sometimes, usually after a good cup of coffee and a joint, I thought I’d write my own gospel, in the form of a poem, one apposite to my life and to the times.
The title of the poem refers to recent conversations I’ve been party to. In fact, they’re conversations that have taken place at parties, late at night, intoxicated, appropriately ebullient, but also in more formal settings, specifically, the Integral Theory conference in July 2015, just a couple weeks ago. I trust my colleagues in the mystery will receive these words in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood and jolly good fun.
The poem begins, in a profound voice:
For I am here to be consumed.
[Watch the video version if you dare.]
That would be myself as Jesus talking, because as we know, the body of Christ is, and always was meant to be, an object of consumption. That’s what the Eucharist, the holiest of Catholic (in the original sense of the word, meaning whole and all-inclusive) sacraments, is all about—metaphorically, and yet in some theological sense literally, eating the body and drinking the blood of the offspring of the Divine, with the faith that we can, in some sense, become what we consume, and thus, in some miraculous yet not un-pedestrian sense, become (and please note the preposition of the proposition here) as God.
So, again, the poem begins: I am here to be consumed.
And that’s a horrible, scary, embarrassing, ridiculous thing to say. Because ultimately, it’s to say: I am here to become you. If you consume me, I become you. Aristotle said it: the mind becomes its object. So I could also say: I’m here for you (as mind) to become (as object) me. Which is really just the ickiest thing one human being could say to another. Not I am here to love you, to serve you, to believe you—or believe in you—but to become and/or be become by you. I don’t want to say this; everything in me resists it. It makes feel naked and nervous, like visiting a nude beach for the first time. But, since it’s the word of someone mistaken for (if only in jest) or pretending to be (if only poetically) as God, it must be said…and I want say it.
(And (parenthetically) shouldn’t we note that I might be touching upon a problem with the whole notion of pretending—the more one pretends to, the bigger one’s imagination becomes. It’s a political problem. To pretend to the Throne—well, that could get one killed!)
So, not even one line into the poem (which I’m realizing I should probably make a haiku to keep this short and digestible, and as it were, consumer-friendly) and suddenly we’re talking about power. To pretend to power—the Will to Power—this is the original sin. It’s why Nietzsche called himself the Anti-Christ. That sinner commits the ultimate sin who kills sin itself, for original sin has always already killed Being itself. And what greater power is there than to be? To participate in the isness of the Miracle itself. There is only one greater power I’m aware of, which is to obliterate Being—to consume it. And this power is yours. If I give my poetry to you, I give you the power, essentially, to destroy me—to snuff out the atomic candlelight (though it will eternally return) of my I am.
I trust you with this power.
So again, I begin: I’m here to be consumed.
As in a well-tended campfire, or thermonuclear reactor far from the precarious rumbles of the shore. But conscious consumption requires that we ask the critical questions. What am I, really? Who made me, under what conditions? Where are my non-human stakeholders? What’s in my cryptocurrency portfolio? What’s my racial, social, sexual, and intellectual nutritional profile?
Does it include the majesty of Sandra Bland, who was certainly descended from an African queen—her spirit animal an endangered lioness, roaming the Savannah—and who died because she was tired of censoring herself from telling some jackal of the system to fuck off? Proving one may not be free to make even a little roar in the United States of America…
Does it include a stand of towering Redwoods? Standing reserved, enframed, in flames —a thousand rings, a thousand revolutions—cut down by the million. Does it include the quivering intimacy of 1000 lifetimes to come?
Does it include Franz Kafka—who died of consumption, i.e., TB? Who got a free trial he never signed up for? Who could never escape the Matrix of his critique of pure Reason, the extractive logic of abstraction and distraction? And who, despite knowing that he could never escape the Matrix, was required to the tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but….
I still pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States and Stages of 7 dimensions of developmental levels and 3 tiers down my cheek; 108 scribbled lines of thought, of flight, of LSD-infused cracks in the Kosmos snorted, smoked, injected, imbibed—embodied in the corpses of 108 billion deaths.
And we quickly realize, my beloved friends, as you might have suspected all along, that the end is contained in the beginning. Because as we know, everything in this world needs to be paid for. That’s the bottom line of our time, is it not? We live in an age of exponentially profligate consumption. Buying, selling, producing, disposing of—burning and burying our shame. We are consuming the Earth; we are consuming each other in fractally subdividing quanta of time, attention, and labor; and in the most painful ways spiritually, yet ecstatically materially—our most exquisite, transubstantial S&M—we are consuming ourselves.
And not we, but our children and grandchildren, and if they get to exist, our great-grandchildren—will pay dearly.
For as we know, in a system of debt-based consumption requiring infinite growth, everything must ultimately be paid for with something that doesn’t yet exist. And so we must continue to consciously co-create: the produce, subsume, commodify, integrate, annihilate.
In fact, I might go so far to say that we owe it to each other to consume each other…and be consumed by. To burn the precious fuel of our primordial awareness. To become the ashes of our self-immolating God.
Perhaps this why I find myself throwing up flames. Why I’m scared to say anything at all….
Because the questions keep arising:
What do we get for our sacrifice?
What’s it really all worth?
How many fucks would you give to take it all back? To undo it all? To start over, from the beginning….
To say what you meant.
And admit it: the Word was always a lie.
And wait a minute: What exactly is your plan?
And the answer I’m afraid of, whispered like smoke, the answer to my post-capitalist, post-petitionary prayers is…precisely no answer at all. Nothing but the fire. Which is nothing but a metaphor for the light of consciousness, which is itself a meta-metaphor for the impossibility of naming the all-devouring God of our imagination, consuming itself in infinite eyes and ears and mouths and massacres and talking anuses and and random suicides and corporate manifestos and bleeding love letters destined to get lost in the US mail.
Which would seem to be the end of the beginning of this poem….
But a couple weeks after the conference, I was walking in my neighborhood, a beautiful summery day, and a tidbit of wisdom occurred to me, a recommended Integral Life Practice:
Assume that everybody, in every situation, is just trying to wake you up.
And then I wrote this haiku, but not really, it was just an excuse. But for what it’s worth, I’ll recite in the most authentically affected voice I can muster—a little sacrificial offering for the temple of your kindness, listening to me.
Here to be consumed.
To be you and become as
Nothing but the fire.
—The Gospel according to Marco V Morelli