Biden's First Month, Trump's Second Impeachment, and Cancelling Cancel Culture

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How is the Biden Presidency going so far? Will Donald Trump be convicted in the Senate for his impeachment trial? Now that the political left has regained tentative control of our government, what do we do about “cancel culture” and other illiberal tendencies coming from the left? Watch this latest episode of Integral Justice Warrior as Mark and Corey shine a light upon these three questions.

Just finished the part about cancel culture, which is very interesting. One thing that occurred to me is not only about this episode. As a European I find it a bit sad that when you give an historical overview, the examples seem always to come from European culture. Even though American culture is obviously influenced by for example native American cultures and African cultures, and there will also be interesting examples to be found there. Is there a topic or podcast where this is discussed?

When I was listening to Corey explaining the origin of our concept of privacy, I was actually in my private toilet doing my private business. :sweat_smile: I hesitated to use my ability for free speech to share this, but it just was too funny. I am presuming I am not the only one who is multitasking in this way.

I’m not a member and so couldn’t watch the full discussion. The short video available ended right before they got to talking about the political left. But I wonder about a historical approach. In the United States, there is so much historical disinfo, historical revisionism, and historical amnesia. I can’t speak for the experience of people in other countries. Still, there is some shared history to consider.

There is a long history of cancel culture in the West, but particularly in the United States: colonialism, slavery, genocide, patriarchy, theocracy, racism, Jim Crow, sundown towns, race wars, English only laws, internment camps, eugenics, McCarthyism, corporate blacklisting, COINTELPRO, torture prisons, class war, labor busting, book burnings, CIA coups, propaganda programs, voter suppression, militarized policing, mass incarceration, and on and on.

Also, it’s never acknowledged the mass cancelling of the political left. Most Americans are to the left not only of the Republicans but also of the DNC elite and corporate media. On top of that, there is actually more recent attacks on leftist academics that never gets acknowledged because it doesn’t fit mainstream frames of the ruling paradigm. Large swaths of the left are so canceled as to be treated as not existing.

Maybe even more I’d love to hear the part about privacy and its origins. In reading a book about the ancient world, Susan P. Mattern’s The Prince of Medicine, I was amazed by the description of Roman life. Everything they did was as a social activity, including going to the bathroom, but much else as well: eating, working, going to the doctor, etc. Privacy was almost entirely non-existent, even for the elite.

Then again, that has been true for most humans in most societies, even in the United States prior to the 20th century of mass urbanization followed by suburbanization. Stephanie Coontz talks about that in The Way We Never Were. There didn’t used to be much respect for personal space, to say the least. From historical accounts, I know that on the frontier this was partly influenced by Native American practice where walking in unannounced was considered normal practice among those on friendly terms.

This was also part of cultural and legal carryovers from feudalism. In early America, there was still protection of the commons. It didn’t matter what land someone owned on paper, they could only effectively control land by exlcuding others by fencing in property, which was difficult and expensive at the time. Any open land was available to the public for use. Private land was a limited concept. Even corporate charters were initially only given to public projects, not private businesses.

In some rural communities, a more communal way of living persisted even into the mid-20th century. Joe Bageant, in both Deer Hunting with Jesus and Rainbow Pie, discusses his childhood home in West Virginia that still had large kinship networks built on subsistence family farming and a barter economy. Bageant lived in a white community. But interestingly, the majority of blacks weren’t urbanized until the 1960s or 1970s.

While talking of weak and broken families, it’s typically used as rhetoric to dismiss poor rural whites and poor urban blacks. Yet this is largely the middle-to-upper class bias of those who have embraced hyper-individualistic society and so can’t perceive what older social networks look like. From Poor Reason, Stephen Steinberg wrote:

In her 1973 study All Our Kin, Carol Stack showed how poor single mothers develop a domestic network consisting of that indispensable grandmother, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, cousins, and a patchwork of neighbors and friends who provide mutual assistance with childrearing and the other exigencies of life. By comparison , the prototypical nuclear family, sequestered in a suburban house, surrounded by hedges and cut off from neighbors, removed from the pulsating vitality of poor urban neighborhoods, looks rather bleak. As a black friend once commented , “I didn’t know that blacks had weak families until I got to college.”

It’s strange how the nuclear family has become so normalized. Like Bageant, my mother grew up surrounded by kin, though not like his small rural community. But she left her family behind to raise her own kids in a nuclear family. This has much to do with the rise of private identity and private space.

It was the Quakers, in early America, who first pushed the more extreme version of each individual having a separate, personal, and private relationship with God. That led them to constuct the nuclear family as separate from the community where each family member was also considered separate in having their own private room (Barry Levy, Quakers and the American Family; & Arthur W. Calhoun, The American Family in the Colonial Period).

The very concept of ‘privacy’ is built on a view of mind, self, and personal space in terms of a metaphorical container with an inside and outside. Julian Jaynes argues that was a new social construct that emerged after the collapse of Bronze Age civilization, whereas prior to that the dominant view was of the bundled mind, extended self, and communal space. It was in the Axial Age when the first appears writings on privacy. So, the enclosure of identity preceded enclosure of the commons by a couple of millennia.

I also find the relatively recent “Cancel Culture” points and counterpoints to be extremely myopic.

Conservatism literally means keeping the status quo and returning to the “God Old Days” of either 1980’s or 1950’s in White Christian Heterosexual Middle Class USA.
Conservativism is the original cancel culture movement and goes to extremes to make it illegal or difficult to live as other than what they believe US culture should be.
The examples are overwhelming. It was actually illegal to be LGBT and serve in the Military until “don’t ask, don’t tell” came along. It was impossible to have top secret clearance as well or have executive positions in most corporations. There was a reprieve from this for many years, but the Trump administration returned to an attempt to cancel LGBT culture through executive actions.
Indeed, any alternative lifestyle is viewed negatively by American Conservatism. Single parent families are openly stated as bad for America and legislated against in tax code and Labor laws.
One just has to listen to AM talk radio during any 15 minute time period on any day between 1990 and today to hear diatribes calling to cancel alternative cultures. Starting in 2016 with the election of Trump this active cancel culture efforts of conservatism moved from legal methods to extralegal methods, violence, vigilantism and finally an attempt to violently overthrow the results of a Democratic Election. To this day the planning continues in conservative communities to violently cancel culture. Formerly Alt-Right concepts are now redefined as mainstream conservatism, and conservatives who disagree with the extremism of the past four years are now ironically labelled RINO. We can call this cancel culture as well. Conservatism of 1950 to 2015 that was compromising, peaceful, logically consistent and ethical has been cancelled by conservatism that is uncompromising, violent, logically inconsistent and unethical.
It really is difficult for me to empathize why these two cultures should not be cancelled.
First the culture that forced myself and several generations of people to wear masks throughout childhood and into adulthood, pretending to conform to societal capitalist militarism in daily life while “Alt” culture was only tolerated in the shadows. Then the violent extremism that seeks to replace it and make the United States a place where only one culture is allowed.

It’s just really hard for me to see the current cancel culture claimed by conservativism as other than holding an uncompromising position then claiming victim status when their culture is by definition and actions actively attempting even to the point of violence and revolution to cancel other culture.

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I’m more of a left-winger. I’m not much of a fan of either liberal identity politics or right-wing identity politics. Nor do I support “political correctness” and “cancel culture.” But let’s be realistic and let’s be informed. If we go back to the Cold War, we should remember that often the liberal class in the corporate media and corrporatist politics were among the most strident Cold Warriors in siding with the right and silencing the left. It’s never been easy to be on the left in Amerian society, not then and not now.

Cancel culture is Bill O’Reilly repeatedly calling Dr. George Tiller a “baby killer” until one of O’Reilly’s viewers acted by killing Dr. Tiller. Cancel culture is Alex Jones rantng about the Pizzagate conspiracy about a cabal of pedophiles until one of his listeners shows up at the Pizza restaurant wth a gun. Or when Jones used harassment in trying to silence the parents of the students killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Cancel culture is right-wingers driving vehicles into crowds of left-wingers. Cancel culture is the constant shootings, hate crimes, and terrorism mostly committed by the political right. And the political left is disproportiionately the target of violence. One study found that the police were more likely to use violence against peaceful leftist protesters than against peaceful rightist protesters.

Also, cancel culture is when Donald Trump, Fox News hacks, etc constantly go on about how anyone who disagrees with them should be fired. Cancel culture is Jordan Peterson’s habit of suing people who are critical of him. Cancel culture is when David Graeber couldn’t find work in any US university. Cancel culture is when professors are fired for supporting Palestinians or being critical of Israel.

Did you know there is still a US law on the book that makes belonging to the communist party illegal? It hasn’t been enforced in a long time, but Trump when president suggested it should be used again. Also, think of COINTELPRO that was used to destroy leftist groups in the past. Technically, COINTELPRO is illegal; and yet that hasn’t stopped the government from using COINTELPRO tactics since 9/11.

And corporate media supposedly as a left-wing bias. Really!?! Give me a break.

Using Free Speech Rhetoric to Silence Opponents
Right-Wing Political Correctness, Censorship, and Silencing
Framing Free Speech
Anarchists Not In Universities
Corporate-Ruled MSM & DNC Is Left-Wing, Says Corporatist Right-Wingers

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Here is a less well known example of “cancel culture”. We know how the political right obsesses over xenophobia, anti-immigrant politics, and targeting minorities. It’s an old history that goes back to early America. But it has often taken forms we don’t think about because the education system and news media rarely talks about it.

Benjamin Franklin complained about the Palatine Germans, the majority of Pennsylvanians at the time, who not only were questionable in their whiteness (with darker skin and hair) but, even worse, they refused to assimilate. The Pennsylvanian government had to print all public notices in both English and German.

German-Americans, in general, were still resisting assimilation into the 20th century. And, indeed, this went hand in hand with anti-German sentiments, particularly in the world war era. They were the single largest and influential ethnic population, larger than even Anglo-Americans, which is what made them such a threat.

German populations weren’t necessarily perceived as being the same race as the English. In early criminal records into the 20th century, as with blacks, Germans and Italians and Jews were listed in their own separate categories. This was probably influenced by German-Americans, in particular, having their own separate communities.

Across the United States, there were millions of citzens who spoke German as a first or second language. There was a large industry of newspapers, magazines, and books written in the German language. In areas where they were the majority, German-Amercan ministers and public school teachers spoke in German.

Then, even before World War I, there was a growing backlash from anti-immigrant and anti-ethnic groups like the Klan. English only laws were passed in numerous states that prohibited using any other language. Then, with the world wars, mass hysteria led to German-Americans being terrorized and put into internment camps.

In fear of violence and prejudice, those of German ancestry stopped speaking German, lost their accents, eliminated all trace of their culture, anglicized their names, etc. A generation of German-Americans grew not knowing their own ancestry. Also, all the streets, buildings, and foods with German names were mostly changed as well.

All traces of German-American ethnicty, culture, language, and identity were erased from the public mind and all evidence was eliminated. It was a legally-enforced and often violently-enforced assimilation. And most of that happened in livng memory. t wasn’t merely a culture of canceling but a canceling of culture through forced assmilation into cultural homogenization and hegemony.

About “cancel culture” in general, here are some articles of possible interest:

If Americans Grappled Honestly With Their History, Would Any Monuments Be Left Standing?
Talk about cancel culture. Bill would censor slavery text in Missouri classrooms
Tom Cotton’s war on the 1619 Project is the real ‘cancel culture’
Hollywood Blacklist? Cancel Culture? Accountability!
The Real Cancel Culture: Pro-Israel Blacklists
Panic Over ‘Cancel Culture’ Is Another Example of Right-Wing Projection

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Indeed, and an Integral approach in my opinion as well as by definition has to include a full picture, not just the relatively recent Green iteration of Cancel Culture.

An aspect of this I would like to point out is that responding to cancel culture also has an issue of antifragility. As an example, I am a male who has lived in hypermasculine social and work environments. In this example, I have the choice to decide if any social censure against toxic masculinity is valid or invalid and the degree to which I choose to respond to it internally and externally. Then, making a decision for myself what is the best way for me to address it. Very rarely to never is the best way for me to accept helpless victim status. Or on a more flippant note, if Hollywood Movies or TV programs are not entertaining to me and show a negative image regarding masculinity (in this example), I just won’t pay to watch them.

So to the question:
“What do we do about “cancel culture” and other liberal tendencies coming from the left?”
Here are my suggestions:

  • Recognize this is not a left / right issue or even a “Green” issue but that this is merely the most recent iteration of something that has been going on for a very long time by the group holding social, economic and political power at the time.
  • Approach the discussion from a position of personal empowerment, not victimhood or fragility
  • From this position of personal power, determine which aspects of cancel culture trigger the biggest emotional response. This is likely an opportunity for shadow work (cleaning up, 3-2-1, etc).
  • After cleaning up, address remaining unresolved conflicts using methods of self empowerment, mediation, reconciliation or conflict resolution that have a established track records of success.


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In the last part of the episode Corey argues that the idea of free speech developed alongside the concept of privacy. And that the latter started only about 300 years ago when rich people started building private toilets. He also said things have been going downhill since we stopped looking each other in the eye when shitting together. This last was said half jokingly. I find his very interesting, just like the points you raise about he concepts of privacy and family in “non-western” cultures.

I see also a link between these 2 concepts and some aspects of reading and writing, like writing a diary or a novel. I see some connections with the orange meme as well. I could also see the need for privacy arise as a reaction to religious violence such as the inquisition and the canceling of other cultures and religions.

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Yeah, free speech and private speech are closely linked. That reminds me of Lev Vygotsky’s theory on the development of private speech, somewhat similar to some ideas Jaynes’ and others have had.

I hadn’t thought about private toilets being so recent. It’s interesting the thought about looking people in the eye while shitting. In general, we look each other in the eye less, such as reading someone’s words on a page/screen as opposed to looking at someone while they speak.

That is why many philologists and similar thinkers (Dodds, Ong, McLuhan, etc) saw it as pivotal when humans changed from an oral culture to a literary culture. In the recent book on WEIRD culture, Joseph Henrich argues that the act of reading alters neurocognitive development and functioning.

Yet the full impact of literacy took a long time to develop. Into the Middle Ages, books didn’t include the typical spacing and punctuation we are used to. They had to read the text out loud to understand what they were reading. Only later did people learn to read silently with a private inner voice.

This happened alongside the Protestant Reformation. Two major practices that were promoted were widespread literacy and personal/private reading of the Bible. Also, there was the related private contemplation and prayer, along with listening for the small quiet voice of God.

All of this supported the development of indvidualism. And the essence of individualism is a private sense of self, separate from other selves and the external world. This is what Jaynes describes as a metaphorically-constructed inner space where we narratize personal experence.

I knew about the lack of punctuation in the middle ages, but I didn’t know that the solution was to read he words out loud. That is indeed significant. Reading all this I see also the modern concepts of money and games (board games, card games*) as supporting the development of individualism or resulting from it. Do you agree that all of this is also linked with orange values?
(*some games have more a red flavor similar to individualism)

Here is the bit from David Abram’s The Spell of the Sensuous (as quoted here):

*“It is important to realize that the now common experience of “silent” reading is a late development in the story of the alphabet, emerging only during the Middle Ages, when spaces were first inserted between the words in a written manuscript (along with various forms of punctuation), enabling readers to distinguish the words of a written sentence without necessarily sounding them out audibly. Before this innovation, to read was necessarily to read aloud, or at the very least to mumble quietly; after the twelfth century it became increasingly possible to internalize the sounds, to listen inwardly to phantom words (or the inward echo of words once uttered).”

I came across an account of of someone who could read silently during the early Middle Ages. It was so rare that he would perform this feat publicly and audiences would be amazed. At the time, it seemed like a magic trick. Oral tribal people often expressed similar awe when missionaries and anthropologists read out of books. That is probably because the very experience of an inner voice was so rare that silent reading seemed incomprehensible.

Yet the basic foundations of individuality were in place by the Axial Age. Religious practices like Buddhist meditation seem partly about developing an experience of inner mental space or a movement in that direction. Think of the Stoic’s notion of inner liberty. That puts individuality or at least proto-individuality as part of blue vmeme. That is when writing took hold as a literary tradition. Then following the Axial Age, there were the early Christians who were the first to use bound books.

Silent reading is an advancement for having an inner voice. But reading in general and a phonetic alphabet in particular seems even more key to developing an inner mental space. There has to first be a space in which to hear a voice. That leaves the question of what would an inner mental space be like without an inner voice? Maybe that is why early religious practices sometimes involved trying to hear God as a small quiet voice, as an attempt to attain the inner voice, which was hard if not impossible to do before punctuation.

One could note that voice-hearing has always been more common among the illiterate. In the ancient world, it was typically those least exposed to literary culture, such as young women and rural shepherds, who often became oracles and prophets. The Jaynesian bicameral mind lingered on in certain populations. Even into the modern era, it was the illiterate like Harriet Tubman who still exhibited strong voice-hearing.

There is a reason, though, why one might associate much of this with orange. Literary culture had been around for millennia by the time modern mind took hold. But widespread literacy did not become common until the Protestant Reformation. It might be unsurprising that the Protestant Reformation followed not only the moveable type printing press but also punctuation. Starting with the English Peasants’ Revolt, there can be discerned a new independence of mind where even some peasants came to think of themselves as equals to aristocrats and monarchs.

That is what would later incite certain strains of Enlightenment thought and the revolution of the mind. There suddenly was this idea that all humans, including women and non-whites and the poor, had minds just the same as rich white men. But in a sense, maybe prior to that most people did not have private ‘minds’ as individualized inner mental space. Even though, the foundations of individuality came earlier, the strongest expressions of individuality required not only literacy but a new kind of silent reading that Protestants emphasized.

I’m not sure what to think of games, some of which have ancient origins. They seem to have arose out of the period of time when the voices of gods, spirits, and ancestors were becoming less common and harder to hear. So, people increasingly turned to divination tools to discern divine will or fate. Only later did these develop into games. Money, particularly as part of intercultural trade, is a more interesting link to early mindsets of individuality or proto-individuality.

Here is further explanation of how individuality or proto-individuality began in the blue vmeme. Julian Jaynes theorizes about the changes in the late Bronze Age. An earlier communal mentality of external voice-hearing is what he called the bicameral mind. It could be thought of as the animistic mentality of tribes having been adapted to the early small city-states.

The rise of large, complex empires with greater populations strained the capacity of the culture that supported the bicameral mind. What began to replace it was new rule-oriented societies with much more sociopolitical hierarchy, formal authority figures, standing armies, etc. Before that, the city-states had become advanced but never had much complex structure to them and didn’t have written laws.

Jaynes speculates that is because a common voice-hearing tradition of shared knowledge and norms was enough to maintain social order without any need to violently enforce it. Those blue vmeme written rules and laws were the beginning of the breakdown of the communal identity and set the stage for individualized and interiorized ‘consciousness’.

The new external structures were holding individuals together, rather than coherence being maintained within a shared communal identity and visceral voice-hearing. Those blue vmeme people may have not been individuals as we now understand it, but they were beginning to act more like individuals that had to be controlled by external systems.

The later egoic mind that we moderns so prized develped it’s first rigid egoic boundares with blue vmeme. The bicameral mind had maintained the collectivity, fluidity, and expansive bundled mind that was a variation on tribal animism. The blue vmeme was the first divergence away from that and so the first step toward developing individuality. The ego-mind is, first and foremost, built on rules/laws.

One thing to understand is that prior to the late Bronze Age there were no brutal authoritarian societies as became so common later. People didn’t need to be controlled through written rules and laws that were violently enforced with police forces, legal systems, and standing armies. Such things simply did not exist earlier. Identity was so communal and communities so tight-knit that people couldn’t imagine a separate individual self to act contrary to social norms.

Authoritarianism as violent totalitarianism is the flipside of egoic individuality. The rigidity of social structure matched the rigidity of the ego-mind. But it’s important to keep in mind that the bicameral mind wasn’t necessarily simplistic. The early Egyptian kingdoms were basically small city-states or rather loose coalitions of farmers who, in the off-season and without slavery, built vast pyramids. Slavery was unnecessary prior to the collapse of the bicameral mind.

I had a related thought. Before there can be an individual egoic self, there has to develop the very concept and experience of selves. That is what begins with the bundled/animistic/bicameral mind. It’s an experience of the world alive with voices, minds, and beings.

There is a relevant speculation about the capacity to understand the interiority of mental space. We aren’t born with a theory of mind but must learn and develop it. One suggestion is that we construct a theory of mind about others before we do so for ourselves. This would mean we introject/internalize a self.

This would fit Jaynes theory of the bicameral mind. Even though archaic societies didn’t have individual egoic selves, they did experience individual voice-selves in the external/communal world, that of gods, spirits, and ancestors. These selves were more expansive and fluid in being able to speak variously.

These animistic or bicameral voices maybe were basically the first theory of mind. Then all that humans needed was something to cause the creation of a container metaphor of mind. That might’ve first begun with the worship of statues and skulls where, through rituals, voices could be contained. This created the metaphorical substrate that the egoic mind could later build upon.

Those archaic societies were seeking to trap voices in order to maintain them for longer. So, for example, when a god-king died, those who heard his voice could continue hearing it as an externalized memory. Turning his skull into an idol helped ensure the continuance of the living memory.

Writing later became an even better technology for trapping voices. Many of the ancient religious texts were the recording on paper the last of those who strongly and powerfully heard bicameral voices. But once trapped on paper and even better bound in a book, they could be endlessly invoked long after living memory was gone.

Then what was needed was further improvements on inculcating an internal experience. The invention of a phonetic alphabet and then punctuation were great breakthroughs. The trapped voice phenomenon could then not only be carried in a skull or a book but in an inner mental space.

The downside of this internalizing of psychic energy is that the world became dead, empty, and voiceless. This is the nostalgia and Cartesian anxiety that has haunted us ever since, having taken hold millennia prior to Descartes. We now have a clear sense of an egoic theory of mind, but did so by destroying the larger theory of mind upon which all of early human society had been built.

This loss began with the first brutal totalitarian states of the blue vmeme in the late Bronze Age. They had their rules, laws, and legal systems to alleviate some of that anxiety and uncertainty. We carried those forward into the present, but as the psychic energy further withdrew from the world we’ve come to rely more and more upon mechanisms of social control.

That is the cause of the rise of police states, heavy surveillance, McCarthyism, cancel culture, etc. We are basically pushing to the furthest extreme what first emerged about three millennia ago. The traces of the animistic/bicameral mind have persisted over most of history, but those traces get weaker and weaker across the centuries.

The more individualistic we become, the more we require external social control to maintain social order. There is no way of getting around that. Yet the response of many modern people is to push ever greater demands of individuality. All that ends up doing is creating the inevitable backlash of the next wave of authoriarianism. The fact of the matter is individualism by itself is incapable of maintaining social order and, instead, weakens it.

What makes this so problematic is so few humans comprehend the dynamic going on. The secret link between individualism and authoritarianism goes almost entirely unrecognized. But it’s not hard to see. Go to a standard example like the Nazis who highly prized and idollized the heroic individual. By the way, the Nazis were heavily dependent on addictive stimulants, something I see key to building and maintaining rigid egoic boundaries.

This might also explain the weird phenomenon in the United States of authoritarian ‘libertarians’ like the Koch brothers. They are the single biggest funding source of libertarian organizations and ideology. Yet the Kochs also have been one of the main backers of the highly authoritarian New Right that has pushed the US toward something akin to neo-fascism.

Maybe this is no accident, if my line of thought is correct. Even trace libertarianism back to its origins. Latin Liberty in the Roman Empire simply meant having the legal status of owning oneself, as opposed to being owned by someone else, in a society where much of the population were slaves. Liberty, opposite of Germanic freedom, didn’t require collective non-oppression. Individuality is a script, with folk psychology as a narratized self, according to Daniel D. Hutto.

We modern humans don’t understand our own psyche and the lingering archaic authorization of the repressed bicameral mind. Because of this, there is the repeated return of the repressed by way of authoritarianism. We are psychologically, ideologically, and rhetorically defenseless against the demagogues who now how to wield this power.

This would be the major stumbling block to the possibility of integral development. We are far from coming to terms with the deepest layers of the psyche, the ground of our being. Even in the intergral community, there is almost no appreciation for this aspect. We take the egoic mind for granted and don’t realize what a flimsy structure it is.

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I am not convinced this statement of you is correct:
“The more individualistic we become, the more we require external social control to maintain social order. There is no way of getting around that.”

Maybe it is just the word “require” that I don’t agree with.

With the development of consciousness along the stages, there is a lot of room for self control, this goes much beyond just the internalization of external controls.

It also depends what you mean by social order. Can you explain?

The self, as I understand it, is always a social construct. That is because humans are inherently social creatures. Egoic individuality is built upon but never eliminates the social. In some ways, it’s an interiorizing and internalizing of the social in creating a relationship between aspects of self, as modeled on observed and experienced relationships in the social world.

In this sense, ‘require’ just means the individual is inseparable from the social, maybe in the way of holarchy, if one prefers. The point is there was no self-control prior to a self being internalized, but humans first develop a concept of self as social other. It’s in imagining an inner mind to another self that we can begin to imagine into existence an inner mind within us. So, self-control carries the essence of its origins in the social world.

That is to say no human is born with an individual self but must develop it and, in most societies in the past, an individual self was never necessary to be developed at all. It’s a recent cultural invention and social construction. There is nothing essential and inevitable about the egoic mind within human nature. It’s one possibilty of selfhood among many.

Such is the line of thought within this theory. But it’s not limited to Julian Jaynes. Some earlier philologists made similar observations in studying ancient texts: E.R. Dodds, Walter J. Ong, etc. Also, David Hume and Friedrich Nietzsche argued for a similar bundled self. The earliest known articulation about the bundled mind is from Buddhism.

As for social order as part of identity and worldview/weltanschauung, it is closely related to memeplexes, reality tunnels, lifeworld/lebenswelt, cognized enrivironment, mazeway, etc; or Louis Althusser’s use of ‘ideology’. One could throw in 4E: Embodied, Embedded, Enacted, Extended. It’s about a holistic self-world.

By the way, many have differentiated between individualism and individuation. We moderns don’t lack individualism of the kind I speak of secretly linked to authoritarianism. Yet, some claim, a different kind of self is possible through individuation. The problem is, as with ‘integral’, there is plenty of disagreement.

Self, Other, & World
“…just order themselves.”

For sake of dialogue, how do you think the self emerges? How might self-control develop and operate? The question is what is being controlled by whom. Even in the bicameral mind, there is a self or selves that are in a sense controlled. But the control operates by way of the archaic authorization of voice-hearing (gods, god-kings, spirits, ancestors, etc)

There are those like Lev Vygotsky, the founder of Soviet psychology, who had theories about how the individual self arises out of the social self. So, about self-control, it depends on what kind of self we are talking about. There are lots of interesting theories like those so far described. And I can imagine how some of these theories overlap with integral thought, including but not limited to Spiral Dynamics.

I’m not sure which integral theorists might’ve discussed such things. I recall that Ken Wilber had a brief note about Julian Jaynes. And William Irwin Thompson discusses him in more detail, critically in an early book and favorably in a later book. I’d think the philological work would be particularly of interest for some integralists like Thompson, but I’m not sure he is familiar with any of it.

Related to that kind of thing is Marshall McLuhan’s work. His ideas resonate with that of the Jaynes, Ong, Snell, etc. He is famous for the assertion that the medium is the message. That is about how changes in media technology have a direct affect on mind, identity, and behavior. That might be a useful frame to consider. The perception and expression of control would be strongly shaped by how our sense of reality is mediated.

Self-control, in the egoic sense, requires the self to be divided into two parts, the controller and the controlled. Then we would also be in the territory of Iain McGilchrist. Like Jaynes, he theorized about how the brain hemispheres relate. Of those mentioned, he is one of the most well known, after McLuhan. McGilchrist, I’m sure, would have much to say about “cancel culture.” Although seemingly more liberal, he had a decent conversation with Jordan Peterson.

I was looking back at the writings of William Irwin Thompson. It’s in Self and Society where he covers Jaynes. And he also brings up McLuhan, Dodds, Snell, and Havelock.