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The World Social Forum is an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and interlinking of effective action, by groups and movements of civil society opposed to neo-liberalism, and committed to building a planetary society directed towards fruitful relationships among Humankind and between it and the Earth.

Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Another Production Is Possible (1)



As we come to the culmination of our "Western" integral polity, thereby serving to release its particular genius, we are in for a surprise. For we (2) have come to the conclusion that the proverbial "West" is a misnomer. It is really the "North-west" in over-simplified guise, including, most especially, the USA and Western Europe. For us then, the authentic West is closer to in fact the American Soul, in Needleman's terms, both indigenous and exogenous, and to that extent, for us, includes the African and the Indian, the European and the American, of all the Americas.

For our example of integral effect, therefore, we turn to Brazil, and to one of its best known cities, Curitiba. Ironically, in that overall, integral respect (see quotation above), we would see the World Social Forum, based in Porto Alegre, another city in southern Brazil, as a "South-western" phenomenon, to be compared and contrasted with, say, the "North-western" Washington Consensus.


Our initial Grounding, within the American Soul, drew in particular on what got left out of conventional, Anglo-Saxon "Western" wisdom, and that was the American Indian. For Needleman, for the American Indian, nature is the world. We do not understand the Indian's relationship to nature, he says, perhaps because – even with all the knowledge science brings us – we simply do not understand nature itself. Perhaps it is from the Indian that we confront the fact that we do not understand the earth – and what the earth really needs from us.

Integral Western Polity

Figure 18.1 Integral Western Polity

Moreover, when it comes to our Emergence, we need to take note of the fact, in terms of Louis Herman's Future Primal, that all our dominant institutions, from the global marketplace to the factory model of industrial production, were constructed on the basis of a radically constricted understanding of the place of the human in the cosmos. We urgently need a new vision of politics and economics that is attuned to our larger reality. As we evolve a newly integral form of politics, drawing indeed on our wilderness heritage, or grounding, we need to take heed of such a big, cosmic picture, set against, in addition, direct democracy, face-to-face discussion, and our overall individuation. This is a far cry from politics as we know it.

For our integral navigation, subsequent to our grounding within the fully-fledged soul of America, and a newly emergent primal future, we reconstitute, via French anthropologist and philosopher of science Latour, our conventional bicameral politics (as per the British House of Commons and House of Lords, or the American Congress and Senate) as now a House of Nature and a House of Society. Each of these, moreover, and navigationally so to speak, will take both of the above matters into account, through naturally and socially accommodating perplexity and engaging in consultation, on the one hand, and by arranging things in order, via institutionalization and progressive hierarchization, on the other.

The actualization, and ultimate effecting of all of this (see Figure 18.1), from such soulful grounding and primal emergence, through thereafter natural and social navigation, is illustrated through the case of Curitiba.

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