According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans see “dysfunctional government” as the country’s biggest challenge.1 And there is wide agreement that our government has become dysfunctional as a result of hyper-partisan political polarization. While polarization has many causes, the root of the problem is found in our country’s simmering cultural values war that is enmeshed […]
Perched on a narrow stretch of the Big Sur Pacific coastline, Esalen Institute is about as far away as you can get from the Washington DC and still be in the same country—geographically, but also politically, culturally, and institutionally. Yet, for a few days in the first week of October, those distances were bridged, and […]
This past week I was at The Esalen Center for Theory and Research on California’s legendary Big Sur coast. I came to Esalen to participate in an event I’ve been helping to plan for close to a year: The Conclave on Political Polarization. Since December 2013, The Institute for Cultural Evolution (“ICE”) has been working […]
So far ICE has been funded by generous philanthropic contributions from our friends and associates. But now that we have officially become a 501c3 nonprofit, we are ready to try raising funds for our polarization campaign through the new medium of crowdfunding. Rather than just asking for contributions, we are tying our Indiegogo project to […]
For years, Republicans made hay by appealing to “family values.” Liberal Democrats were often at a disadvantage because many of them did not in fact adhere to such values, as Jonathan Haidt has made clear in The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (2011). Haidt (pronounced “hite”) is a liberal […]
Over the last few days ICE’s partners and board members had a very productive strategic planning retreat. Carter and I, together with Elizabeth Debold, Michael Zimmerman, John Mackey and Jeff Salzman, made good progress in our thinking about ICE’s polarization campaign. Among other things, we narrowed down the conception of our “synthesis platform.” Instead of […]
As I picked my jaw up off the floor after hearing Rep. Todd Akin’s now infamous statement that women’s uteruses have the magical power to resist impregnation in the case of rape, I wondered, “Where could he have gotten that idea?” Laura Helmuth, writing for Salon.com’s XXfactor, noted that his “statement was a crystallization of Akin’s worldview: […]
For many years, the idea of cultural evolution was very important to me. As a teenager, I watched on TV while civil rights workers were beaten beause they demanded equal rights for blacks in the American south and elsewhere. My understanding was that those stirring and dangerous efforts represented a change in how people thought […]
The idea of forming a nonprofit think tank focused on influencing the American electorate through the insights of integral philosophy began in the summer of 2011. As I was putting the finishing touches on my last book, Evolution’s Purpose, I realized that this emerging understanding we are now calling the “evolutionary perspective” (among other labels) […]
At the 2012 Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech was well received by an energized audience. But at least one particular point of his speech was embraced with an extra sense of joy, laughter, enthusiasm and even a standing ovation. “Barack Obama” he exclaimed, invoking the name of the president with a certain measured […]
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The core insight of the developmental approach to politics is that what most see as a flatland battle of political ideologies is better explained as a three dimensional interdependent ecosystem of cultural worldviews emerging in a dialectical relationship with each other.
In this excellent article, Katherine Epstein gets the diagnosis right, but the prescription wrong:
Ralph Waldo Emerson on the polarity of Conservatism (Preserve what's right) and Progressivism (Fix what's wrong):
5. Implement “backpack funding” to honor the preferences of chronically homeless people.
To find out more, read the full issue position here:
4. Strike a “grand bargain” between local communities and service resistant chronically homeless people.