Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Like Hegel, Sri Aurobindo characterizes this evolution as Providential

Imperialism. Rosa Luxemburg demonstrated early in the Twentieth Century that, under empire, the world became consumed without margins, nondual in an unusual sense, under a global regime. The task of capital in this phase was to integrate control over its imperial members socially and subjectively. Thus, post-Hegelian and positivist synthesis is explored (Aurobindo, Gebser67), but on the terms of Spirit rather than the literal cannon.68

The critical question is whether this attempt is an ideological cipher or mimicry for European force, as I suggest it is in important ways for Aurobindo (Anderson, 2006), or if it is a redoubling of spiritual and intellectual force against this hegemony, as I think it usually is in the tradition of Marxist and post-Marxist critique. This question remains a live one; my intention here is only to frame it for further inquiry in order to show that what we call integral critique at the time of capital’s explicitly imperial period responded directly in form and content to the conditions of an imperial regime.

This still very much matters because imperialism carries on, if in different forms and by different means than it was implemented during the Scramble for Africa (see Chile, 1973 or Iraq, 2003), and the residual forms of the early integral response (such as Aurobindo’s Providential theory of evolution) remain in the writings of key integralists as functioning ideologies or residuals.

66 Capitalism is understood here not as a set of values or a static structure but as a dynamic kind of regime best described as a very large and aggregated machine that, with some intelligence but with or without responsibility, functions by constantly breaking down and consuming bits of itself as fuel and as raw materials (Deleuze & Guattari, 1983)—in short, reinventing itself in fits and starts (see Thesis Seven).
67 I find the origin of integral theory as an intellectual movement in Aurobindo’s post-Hegelian positivism (Anderson, 2006); Hampson (2007), in a useful counterbalance to my position, cites Gebser’s positivist, post-Hegelian synthetic work as the foundational gesture of integral theory. Both positions have merit, and broadly speaking, do not contradict, insofar as both Aurobindo and Gebser were working from largely the same intellectual milieu the Hegelian and post-Hegelian idealism Wilber (2000a) praises as a "lost opportunity" (pp. 523-537) and in the context of Empire’s transformations. Such is the ambivalence of the post-colonial situation.
68 Integral praxis has arisen under the aegis of private property, as a response to it—in some cases critical and oppositional, in some apparently so but not actually, in others still positively and explicitly supportive of the regime at hand. Since this is the case, if integralists are to have a complete understanding of our collective project, we need to develop the theoretic tools for understanding how our ideas circulate as commodities and as flecks of ideology—that is, by whom and how our work is deployed, under what terms, and under whose control. The Marxist tradition provides means for explicating all this ready-made and, in my view, already postformal if not always already-integral or responsible. Toward this end, one of the implicit purposes of the present inquiry is the continued patriation of Marxist and post-Marxist inquiry into integral discourse that I began in Anderson (2006).
Anderson: New Theses on Integral Micropolitics
INTEGRAL REVIEW December 2008 Vol. 4, No. 2 9:35 PM

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