The Name Game: What’s My “Line?”

Today, one of the political boards I frequent took a poll of the group’s ideologies. It ran the gamut from Marxist-Leninist to Anarcho-Communist to Liberation Theology. I really like the diversity of that group, but I couldn’t really find my own label there. I did add one, “Post-Anarchist (Leftist).” I probably think a bit too much about political issues, and labels.

The tagline of my blog – “Integrative Revolutionary Social Ecologist” tries to cover a lot of the territory, but it both says too much and too little. As an exercise in clarity, I’m going to run through the terms and define them. Maybe this will help someone understand me a little better.

Beginning with the last term, “ecologist.” As I said elsewhere before, I see ecology as the broadest scientific horizon for life on earth. Another of the terms I’ve embraced is “naturalist” in the metaphysical sense. I believe that the world of ordinary experience is the real world. The world of extraordinary experience is largely a subjective, imaginary one. However, since the interior world profoundly affects behavior, it cannot be ignored, thus, ecology needs to be “integrative.”

“Integrative” is a term that signifies an attempt to correlate multiple fields and levels of phenomena. Just as ecology integrates the natural systems of the world, integrative methodology integrates the categorical distinctions that we use to map our reality. I have three axes that are crucial. First is a map from interior subjective experience outward to global ecosystem and downwards to interior again, a dynamic of involution and evolution. This map can be usefully divided into eight levels; individual interior (mind), individual exterior (body), interior-exterior interaction (mind-body nexus), interpersonal (relational), intersubjective (cultural/social), social-institutional dynamics, interobjective, and ecosystem. Defining each level would take more time than I have to devote to this short posting.

A second axis of integrative methodology is based in the “social-institutional dynamic” level of the integrative matrix. At this level the intersubjective or “collective interior” confronts the “Interobjective” domains or collective exterior. Social movements are a primary expression of this domain. Within the social-institutional dynamic field, I distinguish eight categories of social struggle; ecological, economic, political, martial (violence), culture/race, religion/irreligion, gender, and sexuality.

The third integrative axis is time or history. Here I’ve done some mapping of the key events within the eight-fold social struggle matrix in terms of the decades from 1955-1975 in US history, and in terms of the midpoints of the past three centuries with an eye to projecting the next midpoint approximately 2050. I plan to publish the analysis of the 1960s at some point, but it significant gaps remain to be researched. The century midpoint analysis has been posted to this blog in a very abbreviated form.

“Revolutionary” is a basic value judgment underlying my methodology. Contemporary social struggles, for example political or economic, cannot be resolved by partial reforms, but require revolutionary shifts to overcome the profound oppressions, repressions, exploitations, and dominations that characterize our world today. In short, an eight-fold revolution is an imperative.

Finally, I modify my ecological methodology to emphasize the “social” struggles, in contrast to ecological approaches that implicitly or explicitly privilege non-human nature. While I do believe that we must preserve, enhance, and enrich the natural world for all species, we can only do this as social animals. Approaches like “Deep Ecology” run the risk of misanthropism.

I realize that I’ve covered an enormous range of thought in just a few short paragraphs. I have posted specific entries on most of the topics covered here and expect to do more in the future, Feel free to start a comment thread and ask me to clarify anything.

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