Idea Seed Banks, the “Nous Arc,” and the “Great Library”What do we need to give “our children” so they can prosper and grow into their highest potential—even though we don’t know what kind of challenges they will face in their lives?

That’s the real question underlying this beautiful talk by our Academic Director Zak Stein.

Watch and listen to this fascinating thought experiment:

What would be a “seed bank” of ideas that—if preserved—would allow us to recreate civilization from the ground up, in case humanity survived some sort of an apocalypse?

Playing off of Noah’s Arc, Zak calls it the “Nous Arc.”

Engaging in this thought experiment a bunch of questions arise:

  • Who gets to decide what should be in there?
  • What should be the content of this “Great Library?” or in other words:
  • How can we assure that we give the next generation everything they need?

The Need for Meta-Theories

In order to engage these questions, we need Meta-Theories. What are Meta-Theories?

While theories take the world as data, Meta-Theories take theories as data. Meta-Theories norm the norms of discourse.

Listen to this exciting 20-minute talk and learn:

  • What a new legitimate model of teacherly authority and intergenerational transmission could be
  • How our image of the ideal human looks like that we can teach into
  • Why we need a theory of Cosmos and Self
  • Which educational environments we need to create—in contrast to the informational environments that are stressful for most nervous systems

Enjoy the talk:


From an unedited draft of the forthcoming book Towards a New Politics of Evolutionary Love
by Dr. Marc Gafni & Dr. Zachary Stein

Dixit-Motiwala-unsplashThe core structural principle from Integral Meta-Theory involved in the formation of a Unique Self Symphony is the scientific principle of self-organization. The idea of self-organization is according to many the single most important scientific idea to emerge in the last sixty years. It exists at every level of reality and across all four quadrants. While many scientific accounts focus only on self-organization in systems and structures in biology or cybernetics (i.e., Lower-Right reductionism), there is a whole history of work in psychology and social theory dedicated to modeling how minds and cultures are complex dynamical systems, that evolve and self-organize in remarkable ways.

Multiple scientific fields, when held in an Integral embrace, tell us that self-organization is a basic principle of reality at all levels. Most forms of evolutionary emergence are a function of this ubiquitous tendency of all life and matter toward self-organization. This leads to the idea of an inherently creative cosmos, always evolving and organizing at higher and higher levels. Throughout the evolution of the world it appears that self-organization is often catalyzed via the leveraging of uniqueness. When you look at the emergence of complex processes in nature that display remarkable forms of self-organization, such as an ecosystem like swamp or rainforest, they are always complex symbiotic systems in which there are an endless number of unique niches.

This is why one of the core ideas behind the new politics of outrageous love is enabling self-organization at the level of human culture. So we must ask, what enables self-organization at the level of human culture? The answers is clear and in keeping with both the best of what we know about evolutionary theory and the best of our ideas for political and personal Enlightenment: the catalyst of self-organization in human socio–cultural systems is the Unique Self. Paradoxically, this means that the “shape” every human needs to assume in order to contribute to the creation of a healthy social organism is unique. Strange as it may sound, a just and healthy society needs to “socially engineer” for uniqueness, especially the institutions that shape human personalities and self-understandings: schools, news media, entertainment industries, computer technologies industries, etc. The whole social system would be like an incubator for uniqueness.

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Summer Festival of Love, marc gafni, dr. marc gafni, gafni, love, summer festival, center for integral wisdom

From Zak’s Blog:

Finally, after years of work, my doctoral dissertation turned book is printed and for sale!

Here it is on Amazon. Some of it can be viewed via Google Books.

Social Justice and Educational Measurement is part philosophy of education and part historical-critical narrative of standardized testing practices in the United States. It represents years of reseach and collaborations with some of the greatest minds in the field of education. The book seeks to provide valuable frameworks and practices for teachers, students, and parents, as well as educational activists, scholars, and policy makers.

Here are some blog posts where I excerpt various sections of the book:

- Rawls on Civil Disobedience

The Inefficiency of Inrustice

- Democratic Schools and The Future of Testing

Read more…

Academic Director of CIW, Dr. Zachery Stein has been interviewed by PatternDynamics founder, Tim Winton.

“Zak and Tim discuss complexity, how to see it, how to manage it, and the power of values aligned with a ‘systems view’ in creating a more generative humanity. Zak is Chair of the Education Program at Meridian University. He received his Bachelor’s from Hampshire College, and his Master’s and Doctorate from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Zak co-founded Lectica, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to promoting social justice through the reform of large-scale standardized testing, where he worked for over a a decade. Zak’s publications have bridged topics in the philosophy of education, neuroscience, developmental psychology, and psychometrics. He has recently completed a forthcoming book: Social Justice and Educational Measurement: John Rawls, the History of Testing, and the Future of Education (Routledge 2016).”

In the recording, Tim and Zak discuss the following:

[Read more...]

The goal of an “integral psychology” is to honor and embrace every legitimate aspect of human consciousness by embracing what is true in each of them. This portal on the Center for Integral Wisdom multi-plex presents an integrative view of consciousness, psychology, and therapy.

The rise of an Integral Psychology is one of the greatest invitations of the century. It draws on pre-modern, modern, and postmodern psychological models to find patterns which are healing, transformational, and integrated in a model that includes mind, soul, and spirit.

The psychological models also include interior and exterior distinctions, levels or structures of consciousness, typologies, and states of consciousness. Integral Psychology is the understanding that we have this great new source of wisdom in the world which emerged.

There has been a huge contribution to thought in the past couple hundred years with Freud but also with our new understanding of the human mind which says that we hold in our conscious selves what we make unconscious, including the early drivers (wounds) that shape our personality and deconstruct the vital eros within us.

Integral Psychology offers maps, each of which offer a set of healings or techniques to return the human being to fuller human existence, a more effective being and becoming.

Each of the 11 or 12 major schools of psychology has a somewhat different map of existence, of the human mind, and distinct suggestions for what the best method is for transformation. What Integral psychology seeks to do is to recognize what is true in each of these seemingly exclusive models. Specifically, it recognizes that each of them is true but partial.

Each school of psychology speaks to and addresses a different level of human existence or consciousness. All of them are healing and need to be integrated into the healing wisdom of humanity.

In trying to evolve a global ethic for a global civilization, we need to integrate them into a seamless psychological model that includes all the elements of mind, soul, and spirit. Likewise all the interior and exterior dimensions must be included.

Finding the best practices of all the schools of psychology is one of the great invitations of this century.

In the Integral Psychology portal you find media, essays, and blogs on Unique Self & Psychology, Unique Shadow, Integral Psychology, and much more. Enjoy!

Whose Measures, Whose Future?

The post-modern world is overrun with measures and standards. And although we may not realize it, much of the anomie and injustice of the post-modern lifeworld is a result of the proliferation of measures and standards. Today we do not face the pathology of the “one-dimensional man” who is distorted to fit into one or a few abstract standards (although in some places and institutions, we still face that). The post-modern condition involves the fragmentation humanity, a multi-perspectival personality, refracted through a prism of standardized differentiations and mass-customizations…. Here is more footage from the ITC. The whole video can be purchased through the Meta-Integral Foundation.

I’ve placed the relevant excerpts from the paper below: Stein, Z. (in review). Desperate measures: the global crises of measurement and their meta-theoretical solutions. Paper prepared for the 4th Biannual Integral Theory Conference, Sonoma, CA. July 2015. [pdf] [pdf_slides]

Global Crises of Measurement: Whose Measures, Whose Future?

To help gain an overview the situation with regards to post-modern planetary measurement infrastructures, I’ll follow a common trope in critical meta-theory, from Habermas (1973) and Bhaskar (1993) to Harvey (2014), and talk in terms of a series of crises. What follow are best understood as crisis because they are systemic, endemic, and signal a need for deep structural transformation (in the strictly Wilberian (1995; 1999; 2006) sense of the term, as a need for vertical structural transcendence and reorganization). All of these crises are interconnected, ricocheting between the system and the lifeworld, and around the quadrants and planes of social being. I cannot detail each of the six crises here due to limitations of space, so I offer only overviews and allusions.

Economic crisis: poverty, inequality, and econometrics

It has been known for some time that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is a simplistic misrepresentation of the health of any national economy; it is also a poor index of cultural modernity, human rights violations, and democracy (Sen, 1982). Yet GDP continues to be discussed in a serious manner and continues to drive national economic agendas. Similarly, most representations of profit, the so-called bottom line, are also gross simplifications of what makes a company valuable. In both cases a simplistic quantitative index is use in summary, and in place of richer qualitative analysis, or even just a more complex quantitative analysis with multiple parameters.

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Zak Stein