Integral Ecology

12 January 2011

Wednesday


Food webs are basic structures of ecology, with the latter understood in specifically biological sense.

On the Extension of Concepts and Ecology sensu stricto

In this forum I have had occasion to attempt the extension of some familiar concepts, as in order to achieve an understanding of the most abstract, general, and comprehensive features of the world and our experience of the world we must transcend the strictly parochial and particular origins of our ideas in limited and local circumstances and re-define our concepts without reference to anything specific or particular. I count this as part of the Copernican Revolution, which usually takes the form of seeking non-anthropocentric formulations of ideas with anthropocentric origins. In this spirit I have suggested that a conception of integral history can be drawn out of traditional historiography. (I have further formulations in the same spirit that I plan to make available in the fullness of time.)

Since man does not live by bread alone, the bio-ecological structures of human experience involve more factors than the food web illustrated above.

In the same spirit of what I have called integral history I would now like to introduce the idea of integral ecology as an extension, expansion, extrapolation, and generalization of ecology as the term is usually understood and employed. Firstly, I want to briefly consider what ecology has meant heretofore. What is ecology in its initially narrow meaning? What is ecology sensu stricto? There has been some lack of precision in the definition of ecology, so these definitions have lacked the formal exactitude that one might expect (or hope) from the biological sciences. Nevertheless, there have been enlightening even if not formal definitions of ecology.

Another biologically specific conception of ecology.

Ecology, unlike traditional history, is not a specifically anthropocentric concept. On the contrary, a narrow definition of ecology is admirably non-anthropocentric. For example, here is the first sentence of What is Ecology?:

“Ecology is concerned with the relationships between plants and animals and the environment in which they live.”

What is Ecology? D. F. Owen, Oxford University Press, 1974, p. 1

This definition is biologically specific and not anthropocentric, so the primary task of extending and expanding our conception of ecology is not one of disposing with anthropocentric prejudices but of formulating a definition of ecology that is not specifically biological.

A generalization of ecological thinking to cosmology: galactic ecology.

A somewhat more comprehensive definition of ecology can be found at the Biology Online website:

(1) Ecological science: the science concerned with the interactions of living organisms with each other and with their environment, also called bionomics.

(2) A branch of biology that deals with the distribution, abundance and interactions of living organisms at the level of communities, populations, and ecosystems, as well as at the global scale.

(2) The system within the environment as it relates to organisms living in it.

(3) A branch of sociology that deals with the relations of human beings with their physical and social environment, also called as human ecology.

This definition of ecology includes the extended sense of ecology employed by Bronfrenbrenner, which we will consider in more detail below because Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory represents an extant generalization of ecology.

Most intriguingly among the traditional definitions of ecology, there is Ernst Haeckel’s definition of ecology as the science of the struggle for existence. (There is a wonderful discussion of this in The Science of the Struggle for Existence: On the Foundations of Ecology by Gregory J. Cooper, one volume in the series Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology; all of the volumes of this series are of the greatest interest.) Here is Haeckel’s definition of the discipline he himself founded:

“By ecology we mean the body of knowledge concerning the economy of nature — the investigation of the total relations of the animal both to its inorganic and to its organic environment; including, above all, its friendly and inimical relations with those animals and plants with which it comes directly or indirectly into contract — in a word, ecology is the study of all those complex interrelations referred to by Darwin as the conditions of the struggle for existence.”

Haeckel was the one who introduced the concept of ecology, so his definition is of particular interest. While it is expressed in a nineteenth century idiom that is redolent of the idea of “Nature, red in tooth and claw” (as Tennyson saw it), Haeckel’s definition of ecology will prove suggestive in a formulation of battlespace in terms of integral ecology. Although Haeckel’s intriguing definition of ecology was not Bronfenbrenner’s point of departure for a generalization of ecology, I mention it here because I will return to it below.

Introducing the Concept of Integral Ecology

In its most common signification, ecology is narrowly biological in conception. The reference to the inorganic context of life is there only because life always occurs in an inorganic context. Life is the focus. Bronfenbrenner’s exposition of bio-ecology, or ecological systems theory, represents a significant generalization of the concept of ecology, and this generalization requires that we arrive at an abstract conception of ecology in order to understand its relevance to non-specifically biological subject matter. What is the implied abstract conception of ecology? I call the implied conception integral ecology.

The extension of the idea of ecology already pursued to date has been formulated in the context of the fields of social work and psychotherapy by Urie Bronfenbrenner, especially in his book The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design (Cambridge, MA., 1979). This is a systematic exposition of what he calls ecological systems theory, which systematically places individuals within progressively more comprehensive and inter-related social structures.

Bronfenbrenner formulated the following bioecological categories:

The Micro-system: The setting in which the individual lives.

The Meso-system: Relations between microsystems or connections between contexts.

The Exosystem: Links between a social setting in which the individual does not have an active role and the individual’s immediate context.

The Macrosystem: The culture in which individuals live.

The Chronosystem: The patterning of environmental events and transitions over the life course, as well as sociohistorical circumstances.

Since I already have a conception of integral history that accounts for “events and transitions over the life course,” I would eliminate the category of chronosystem from the subdivisions of bio-ecology, leave open the litany of bio-ecological categories for the possibility of yet more comprehensive formulations (e.g., larger social constructs than cultures, such as civilizations), and further articulate integral history by formulating its subdivisions on a similar plan, something like this:

Micro-temporality: The temporal setting in which the individual lives.

Meso-temporality: Relations between micro-temporalities or connections between temporal contexts.

Exo-temporality: Links between a temporal setting in which the individual does not have an active role and the individual’s immediate temporal context.

The Macro-temporality: The historical era in which individuals live.

The Integral temporality: The whole of integral history in which the individual temporalities are embedded.

This in turn suggests a further extrapolation of bio-ecological categories in place of Bronfenbrenner’s chronosystem:

Integral system: Ultimately, the integral system as the furthest extrapolation of bio-ecology is co-extensive with integral ecology. This is the master category and the most comprehensive form of bio-ecological thought, just as integral history is the master category of history and the most comprehensive form of historical thought.

With this revision in mind, I would lay out Bronfenbrenner’s schema of bio-ecological categories as follows:

The Micro-system

The Meso-system

The Exosystem

The Macrosystem

The Integral System

As I noted above, Bronfenbrenner does not take as his point of departure Haeckel’s definition of ecology as the science of the struggle for existence, and then proceed to extend and expand this definition. I would like to suggest re-thinking Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological systems theory in terms of Haeckel’s definition, because in this case bio-ecology becomes an extension and expansion of the struggle for existence. When we think of ecology from and point of view of its extrapolation to a completely comprehensive conception of integral ecology, Haeckel’s definition remains valid — even at its most comprehensive level of integral ecology, ecology is still about the struggle for existence — and so we see in retrospect that Haeckel himself had a highly abstract and comprehensive conception of ecology. This suggests the possibility of the application of integral of ecology to human struggles in the form of war.

From Battlefield to Battlespace

The earliest known battles of human history, which followed upon the emergence of settled agricultural societies, literally took place in open fields; there was, from the beginnings of conflict organized under the auspices of civilization, a field of battle, so that the term battlefield was literal. Over time, and with the increasing sophistication and complexity of civilization, battle also became more sophisticated and complex.

The war chariot was a game-changing weapons system of early human history, but optimal use of chariots required a flat and level battlefield.

Col. T. N. Dupuy wrote of the physical terrain of battle in early warfare:

“The phalanx and its individual units were capable of limited maneuvers in combat formation. In battle the invariable deployment was a long, solid line with narrow intervals through which the psiloi — light troops — could pass. Battle was waged — usually by mutual accord — on the flattest ground available, since movement over rough ground created gaps that could be fatal to the cohesion of the formation.”

The Evolution of Weapons and Warfare, Colonel T. N. Dupuy, Indianapolis and New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1980, p. 11

This is attested in ancient sources, as, for example, in Book 7 of The Histories Herodotus quotes the Persian Mardonius as saying to his king:

“…the Greeks are pugnacious enough, and start fights on the spur of the moment without sense or judgement to justify them. When they declare war on each other, they go off together to the smoothest and levelest bit of ground they can find, and have their battle on it — with the result the even the victors never get off without heavy losses, and as for the losers — well, they’re wiped out.”

The chariot also experienced its optimal operations on flat, level ground, and while there was, as Dupuy notes, a social consensus to fight battles on wide, level fields — not unlike the parade ground upon which such soldiers would have been drilled — there were also instances in antiquity of armies denying flat, level ground to forces that required such conditions for optimal operationality. The perpetually open flank of a battle fought in wide and open country also established norms for the order of battle that were impracticable in forests, jungles, mountains, and other forms of difficult terrain that would figure more prominently in the later history of war.

The efficacy of the phalanx formation in battle demanded a high degree of drill so that the whole column could move as one. This worked best on flat and level ground, making the battlefield (understood literally) its optimal theater of operations.

When, after the Industrial Revolution, war was also industrialized, and the world experienced its first great industrialized war with the First World War (the “proof of concept” of industrialized war), battles could be fought for months at a time over multiple and distinct kinds of terrain, and could involve resources that had little to do with the literal physical space in which combat occurred (for example, with the introduction of radio, the electro-magnetic spectrum became increasingly important). In response to this growing complexity of the battlefield, contemporary theory of war employs formulations in terms of battlespace rather than battlefield. The formulation of the idea of battlespace is a conceptual innovation that reflects the systematic exploitation of the nexus of science and technology that characterizes institutions after the Industrial Revolution. A fully articulated doctrine of battlespace is a conceptual improvement over the continued use of “battlefield,” but can go beyond battlespace to the yet more comprehensive conception of battle ecology.

From Battlespace to Battle Ecology

We can employ the concepts of integral ecology to bring more analytical clarity to the contemporary concept of battlespace. I suggest that the very idea of battlespace is unnecessarily limiting, not least because it is a spatial concept, and we can formulate a much more comprehensive concept. The integral ecology surrogate for battlespace (or, rather, the more comprehensive conceptual infrastructure within which the concept of battlespace can be located) is what I will call battlespace ecology.

The DOD defines battlespace as follows:

“The environment, factors, and conditions that must be understood to successfully apply combat power, protect the force, or complete the mission. This includes the air, land, sea, space, and the included enemy and friendly forces; facilities; weather; terrain; the electromagnetic spectrum; and the information environment within the operational areas and areas of interest.”

The DOD further defines battlespace awareness as follows:

“Knowledge and understanding of the operational area’s environment, factors, and conditions, to include the status of friendly and adversary forces, neutrals and noncombatants, weather and terrain, that enables timely, relevant, comprehensive, and accurate assessments, in order to successfully apply combat power, protect the force, and/or complete the mission.”

The Marine Corps’ Marine Corps Operations MCDP 1-0 (Forward by J. L. Jones, General, United States Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps, 2001) defines battlespace as follows:

“Battlespace is the environment, factors, and conditions that must be understood to successfully apply combat power, protect the force, and accomplish the mission. This includes the air, land, sea, space, and enemy and friendly forces, infrastructure, weather, and terrain within the assigned AO and the commander’s area of interest. Battlespace is conceptual—a higher commander does not assign it. Commanders determine their own battlespace based on their mission, the enemy, and their concept of operations and force protection. They use their experience and understanding of the situation and mission to visualize and adapt their battlespace as the situation or mission changes. The battlespace is not fixed in size or position. It varies over time, and depends on the environment, the commander’s mission, and friendly and enemy actions. Battlespace is normally comprised of an AO, area of influence, and area of interest.”

In the above, “AO” stands for “area of operations.”

The concept of battlespace and knowledge of the battlespace (which latter is the formal surrogate of the intuitive experience, i.e., the lived experience of the battlespace) as defined above is clearly a more comprehensive conception than the traditional concept of battlefield, yet its formulation in spatial terms implies conceptual limitations, even if we allow for abstract spaces such as intelligence and the electro-magnetic spectrum.

The Marine Corps definition is admirably comprehensive, but it can be given further conceptual rigor and can be assimilated to a comprehensive conceptual infrastructure by placing battlespace within battle ecology. In battle ecology, the individual items mentioned in the definition — “air, land, sea, space, and enemy and friendly forces, infrastructure, weather, and terrain” — can be treated as concrete or abstract spaces that find their place within a comprehensive ecology.

Bronfenbrenner pioneered a comprehensive conception of ecology, and while most of his formulations are embedded within therapeutic concerns, the imperative of arriving at an absolutely general conception applicable to all experience is implicit throughout Bronfenbrenner’s text. Here is Bronfenbrenner in a passage that is as applicable to battlespace as to psychodynamic structures, in criticism of the tradition he inherited and which he sought to transcend:

“…even when the environment is described, it is in terms of a static structure that makes no allowance for the evolving processes of interaction through which the behavior of participants in the system is instigated, sustained, and developed.”

Urie Bronfenbrenner, The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design, Chapter 2, “Basic Concepts,” p. 17

While the Marine Corps definition given above does allow that battlespace is not fixed and varies over time, the greater generality and comprehensivity of battle ecology systematically integrates the changing factors of the battlespace into the personal temporality of the soliders within the battlespace, the temporality of history in which these events are embedded, and all levels of temporality between subjective time-consciousness and objective history.

This graphic focuses on the role of the individual soldier and his lived experience of battle.

The concept of battle ecology (or, if you prefer, battlespace ecology) can be formulated in parallel with the formulations of Bronfenbrunner’s bio-ecology, specifically:

Micro-battlespace: The setting in which the individual solider fights. This is the point at which Clausewitz began: the duel.

Meso-battlespace: Relations between micro-battlespaces or connections between battlespace contexts.

Exo-battlespace: Links between battlespace settings in which the individual soldier does not have an active role (other theaters of operations) and the individual soldier’s immediate context.

Macro-battlespace: The strategic and tactical culture in which individual soldiers fight.

Integral battlespace: Ultimately, the integral battlespace is the furthest extrapolation of battlespace ecology. This is the master category and the most comprehensive form of military thought, just as integral history is the master category of history and the most comprehensive form of historical thought.

The specifically temporal aspects of battlespace ecology can also be formulated in parallel to the formulations of integral temporality above:

Micro-battlespace temporality: The temporal setting in which the soldier fights. (This is what Husserl called subjective time-consciousness, and forms the basis of all lived experience.)

Meso-battlespace temporality: Relations between micro-battlespace temporalities or connections between temporal contexts of the battlespace. (If we accept Husserl’s treatment of internal time consciousness as characterizing micro-battlespace temporality, then meso-battlespace temporality embodies what Husserl called inter-subjectivity.)

Exo-battlespace temporality: Links between temporal battlespace settings in which the individual soldier does not have an active combat role and the individual soldier’s immediate temporal battlespace context.

The Macro-temporality: The historical era in which individuals live.

The Integral temporality: The whole of integral history in which the individual temporalities are embedded, which is not a specifically military concept (nor specifically strategic or diplomatic, etc.), but which is the same integral temporality I have been developing in several posts to this forum — i.e., the most comprehensive and abstract conception of time, beginning with the individual’s subjective time-consciousness, coincides with integral history.

One important lesson of this last conception — that of integral temporality as the ultimate setting of less comprehensive temporalities in which battlespace ecology is contextualized — is that any specific and particular conceptual inquiry, when pursued to the farthest reaches of abstraction, generality, and formality converges with other specific and particular inquiries that also have this purified conception as the natural teleology, if you will, of intellectual inquiry. The further lesson of this observation, in turn, is that all specific, particular, concrete, empirical, and peculiar conceptions ultimately have abstract and general ideas as the conceptual setting that gives them meaning. In other words, there is a conceptual ecology also that obeys many of the same principles of conceptual extrapolation as formulated above.

The distinct microsystems of battle ecology are interrelated at the level of the mesosystem; in traditional terminology, distinct tactical initiatives are unified within battle operations.

One immediate benefit of formulating military campaigns in terms of integral ecology is a clarification of the relative roles of tactics, operations, and strategy. Tactics always take place on the level of microsystems. Any particular operation is the coordination of relevant microsystems, so that the mesosystematic level of battle ecology could also be called the infra-operational level (or the intra-operational level). The relation between different operations takes place at the exosystematic level of battle ecology, so this could also be called the inter-operational level. Strategy takes place on the level of the macrosystem. Grand strategy involves the coordination of macrosystems specific to distinct areas of human endeavor, and its proper setting is integral history taken whole.

This diagram focuses on the micro-systems of battle ecology, which micro-systems are the abstract spaces of battlespace.

With this delineation of tactics, operations, and strategy within battle ecology in mind, the concept of battle ecology can be translated into more traditional military terminology as follows:

Tactical Environment (the micro-battlespace): The setting in which the individual solider fights. This is the point at which Clausewitz began: the duel.

Intra-Operational Environment (the meso-battlespace): Relations between micro-battlespace or connections between battlespace contexts.

Inter-Operational Environment (the exo-battlespace): Links between battlespace settings in which the individual soldier does not have an active role (other theaters of operations) and the individual soldier’s immediate context.

Strategic Environment (the macro-battlespace): The strategic and tactical culture in which individual soldiers fight.

Grand Strategy (the integral battlespace): Ultimately, the integral battlespace is the furthest extrapolation of battlespace ecology. This is the master category and the most comprehensive form of military thought, just as integral history is the master category of history and the most comprehensive form of historical thought.

The idea of integral ecology as here first formulated is, in virtue of its comprehensive definition, not specific to an exposition of battlespace ecology. Battle ecology is a special case of integral ecology, just as the bio-ecology of individuals, families, and communities in their social setting (the occasion for Bronfenbrenner’s formulations of ecology in an extended sense) is also a special case of integral ecology. Moreover, as both being special cases of integral ecology, both battle ecology and bio-ecology find their place within the more comprehensive conceptual structure of integral ecology. In other words, in Bronfenbrenner’s words, both are macrosystems that stand in relation to each other within integral ecology.

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6 Responses to “Integral Ecology”

  1. I appreciate your endeavor to refine our conceptualization of ecology in such a way as to provide an abstraction that can offers a pragmatic guide to action within the sphere of “battle” (including everything from tactics to grand strategy).

    One question I have for you on this endeavor is this:

    Do you fundamentally believe strategy (or for that matter, broadly speaking “existence” in its ontological sense) is an art or a science?

    I find that too much expending of effort in trying to “systematize” pulls one away from thinking artistically. While all art is to an extent embedded within in its cultural context (and, as you ably articulate in your posts on paradigms- even its “civilizational” context), there still seems something almost imperceptibly transcendent about great art.

    It is this oddity that probably gave rise to (and still offers sustenance to) Platonic “Ideas.”

    Consequently, despite the apparent flux of existence that we seem more aware of now in a post- Copernican era, there remains something that still drives us towards a notion of absolute fixity at some level, even if thousands of layers of understanding removed from our present knowledge. Yet that opens the door to a need to think creatively almost as much if not more so than systematically.

    To that end, I recently completed an excellent book by former diplomat Charles Hill, “Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order.” It is an excellent book that argues that great literature offers an indispensable guide to how to think about diplomatic and strategic issues, though it can never offer specific recommendations.

    Here is a link to reviews:

    http://www.amazon.com/Grand-Strategies-Literature-Statecraft-World/dp/030016386X

    At the end of the day, I do not think Nietzsche and Plato (or, more controversially, Nietzsche and Christ) are necessarily incompatible. A synthesis awaits that is both systematic and free flowing. It will allow for the reality of ceaseless motion even as it retains the necessity of teleological coherence and ultimate (i.e., transcendent) ends.

    It seems maybe only art can accomplish this at present, so perhaps, it is time to think of all within the context of aesthetics…?

    • geopolicraticus said

      Dear Mr. Lawson,

      Thanks for your detailed comment. I’m really pleased that you read this, as I have been working on these ideas for some time, and I’ve been putting off other posts until I had the opportunity to give an exposition of the concept of integral ecology.

      Is strategy an art or a science? I think this is more in the mind of the strategist than in the facts of strategy. There are strategists who have a keen intuitive insight into how power functions and are able to implement this insight even if they are not able to formulate their understanding in words. There are also strategists who approach their subject systematically and scientifically, and they can formulate their understanding of power and how it is to be used with great clarity.

      Obviously, the greatest strategist is going to have both an intuitive knack, i.e., a talent for strategy (and keep in mind in this context that I maintain that even things like objectivity can be a talent), and will also make the effort to achieve intellectual clarity regarding his intuitions. This combination is, I believe, exactly what Clausewitz was writing about in the famous passage in On War where he describes military genius.

      While I think that this account is approximately correct, it doesn’t really answer your question, because you could say that one great strategist, even after he have achieved the intellectual clarification of his intuition, will still approach strategy as an art, whereas a talented strategist who is primarily a scientific thinker will, despite his intuitions, still plan his strategy primarily as a rational, systematic enterprise. We can even produce examples of these types: Patton was the intuitive strategist, while Montgomery was the rational, systematic strategist. They clashed spectacularly in North Africa and Sicily. George B. McClellan falls in the same tradition as Montgomery, though even more risk-averse, while Nathan Bedford Forrest falls in the same tradition as Patton (both were southerners), and is perhaps the better exemplification of strategic insight. Grant is more difficult to categorize, like Montgomery a careful and systematic planner, but also capable of taking the initiative.

      I will continue to think about your interesting comments, and hopefully I will benefit from it in the composition of my upcoming post on strategic thinking.

      And here, in turn, is a question for you: you write that “only art can accomplish this [synthesis] at present.” May I take this to imply that, at some time in the future, this synthesis might also be achieved by science, or by some rational form of thought other than science (e.g., philosophy)? Are we in an intellectual situation in which we simply don’t have the conceptual infrastructure that would make it possible of us to make our strategic thought fully explicit, but if we continue to develop out conceptual infrastructure, we may get there some day? This is a Kantian position, such that the shortcomings of theory are to be put to insufficient theory, to which insufficiency the proper response is more theory?

      While I’m at it, here’s another question: do you think that creative and imaginative thinking plays any less of a role in science and philosophy than it does in art and literature? Hilbert is supposed to have said, of a young student who chose poetry over mathematics, that the student hadn’t had enough imagination to become a mathematician.

      I have heard of the book you mention. I read a review of it, but haven’t read the book itself.

      Best wishes,

      Nick

  2. As I thought about it, I realized I had blogged on a similar theme before.

    “Once more we return to the need for transcendence. I see two options for man in order to avoid a longterm forgetting of his soul:

    1) to rembrace a faith in the transcendent, in a simplified form- God or
    2) strive unto the breaking point to embody the Nietzschean Ubermensch without false sentimentality

    One is quite frightening, yields towards chaos, and is fundamentally ephemeral, but at least attains some individual teleological coherence. The other can ring in hope in a deep and profound way, as opposed to a superficial and empty way that very nearly undermines the word’s meaning.

    Of course, we can continue along the present trend, forgetting our humanity and our soul as we embrace the mind numbing opium of material comfort and elongated corporeal life without purpose.”

    I am wondering if the choice need be so stark…

    • geopolicraticus said

      Dear Mr. Lawson,

      Indulge me while I tell a story. I had a friend, with whom I have not spoken in several years, who, like me, was very much a Nietzschean. We used to have wide-ranging conversations that covered every imaginable topic. We both returned often to the ideas of Nietzsche as a kind of intellectual touchstone that we had in common. Because despite our enjoyable conversations, we had great differences. For example, he was a Heideggerian, and I can’t stomach reading Heidegger.

      In one of our conversations that turned to Nietzsche, I remember how we discussed the ideals that are implicit in Nietzsche, and most centrally we discussed the possibility of life without ressentiment. When I reflected on this conversation later, I realized that the two of us, getting together and discussing how we could be better Nietzscheans, constituted an experience perfectly parallel to Christians getting together to discuss how they can become better Christians. While the ideal is different in each case, the human experience of the pursuit of an ideal is the same.

      So much for my story. But my story suggests this question: how broadly may we construe the transcendent? If the transcendent is the striving after an ideal, then it is equally present among Nietzscheans and Christians.

      And every ideal comes at the expense of others. Kierkegaaard said that we must become narrower in order to realize ourselves more fully. I believe the same holds for societies: societies must become narrower in order to realize themselves. In this process of narrowing in pursuit of an ideal, other ideals are neglected. Other ideals may be actively extirpated. An ideal Christian society would come at a high cost; an ideal Nietzschean society would come at a high cost. Because the cost is ultimately so high, we have converged on the idea of a pluralistic society in which distinct ideals can be pursued by distinct peoples.

      If one holds that the ideal can be pursued and the transcendent grasped within the context of a pluralistic society, then, no, the choice is not that stark. If, on the contrary, the very presence of a countervailing ideal represents an affront to a given ideal, so much so that the countervailing ideal must be extirpated in the service of the given ideal, then, yes, the choice is that stark.

      The historical record shows that pluralistic societies are also disproportionately wealthy societies, in which “the mind numbing opium of material comfort and elongated corporeal life without purpose” are vividly present. This is not only true of North America and Western Europe today, it was also true of Holland in its Golden Age and the cosmopolitan centers of the Roman Empire. Such societies are often the target of moral condemnation for their absence of social ideals, but this allows the pursuit of diverse ideals by different individuals. Is this enough, or is this inadequate?

      Best wishes,

      Nick

  3. Treenut Pummanee said

    Dear Sir,

    I would like to ask for your permission to use one of your figure in this book for my publication. Could you please give me your email address and suggestion about that. Thank you very much.
    Sincerely,
    Treenut

    • geopolicraticus said

      Dear Sir,

      The final three images on the page above are images I created. The other images are ones that I found and to which I claim no rights.

      Sincerely,

      Nick

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