This never-before published by Ken Wilber delves into the intricate dynamics of societal evolution, emphasizing the interplay between technological advancements, cultural worldviews, and governance systems. Through an AQAL lens, Wilber explores the potential for new and more authentic modes of being and consciousness to emerge, emphasizing the evolutionary Eros that drives societal transformation.
Wilber underscores the importance of the Lower-Right quadrant (techno-economic base) as a significant determinant of the average level of consciousness in the Lower Left (cultural beliefs and worldviews). Conversely, he also highlights that the cultural and collective consciousness in the Lower Left is essential to support and sustain the advancements in the Lower Right. The essay touches on the challenges of introducing new governance systems without corresponding shifts in collective consciousness and discusses the concept of “legitimation crisis,” where prevailing worldviews face challenges in maintaining their influence.
This is quite good and opens up many channels for fruitful discussion. My own theorizing runs parallel, although I favor the language of systems theory. Ken’s language of AQAL tetra-mesh serves essentially the same purpose.
The disjuncture between base and superstructure in the grand sweep of world history was amply documented by the great social historian Fernand Braudel and others in the Annales school. Braudel’s analysis is generally that politics, economic systems, and cultures run on three quite different time scales. Day-to-day politics, like regime changes, are highly volatile and short-term. Economic systems tend to run in nested cycles of a few years, to a decade or so, to at most about a century. Culture, by contrast, changes glacially, locking in languages, values, and practices over thousands of years or more. Ken speaks to all of that in his essay.
When Ken speaks of “tipping points” I can’t help but reflect on recent news and consider the potential for “tipping-back points”. The US seems hell-bent to get back to amber, and I’m not just pointing fingers either to the right or to the left. Plenty of that to go around.