Check out my review of Ken Wilber's latest book Finding Radical Wholeness

Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Dr. Alexander W. Astin (born May 30, 1932, Washington, D.C.) is the Allan M. Carter Professor Emeritus of Higher Education and Organizational Change, at the University of California, Los Angeles.He is Founding Director of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. He has served as Director of Research for both the American Council on Education and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. He is also the Founding Director of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, an ongoing national study of some twelve million students, 250,000 faculty and staff, and 1,800 higher education institutions.

Reply to

Alexander Astin

Kudos to Joe Corbett. I couldn't agree more with what he is saying [Reply to Astin].

My earlier point about the lower quadrants is that the lower left is basically invisible, so that the values and beliefs that underlie much of our (lower right) political actions and social policies seldom get exposed, much less discussed. The lower left quadrant of the neo-liberal community represents a shared belief system that embraces a dim view of human nature: people are basically greedy, selfish, and motivated by narrow self-interest. And since most of them are also ignorant, it's OK to deceive and manipulate them: "they may not realize it, but it's in their self interest."

This is the world view shared not only by neo-liberals, but also by many who embrace genetic determinism, classical economics, behaviorism, and the like. We need to surface these worldviews and subject them to public discussion and debate.

What's interesting about all of this is that the problem is not just with a particular worldview--is it valid or not? Is it supported by evidence?--but with the simple fact that, by embracing that view, our individual and collective behaviors in the right-hand quadrants are shaped accordingly.

My impression is that such shared belief systems are embraced unconsciously by many individuals, to the point where they would have difficulty rationalizing their actions if they were challenged to explain them. My advocacy for putting much more focus on the (hidden) lower left is basically motivated by a desire to have a more self-aware society.

Alexander W. Astin
Allan M. Cartter Professor Emeritus &
Founding Director
Higher Education Research Institute
University of California, Los Angeles

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