Human Development and Global Crises: Closing Remarks From an ITC Debate [video]

They let me have the final word to close out the human development debate at the Integral Theory Conference. Here is the footage from those few minutes. I got serious and took it to the big picture.

The current post-national constellation is in the midst of a compounding global meta-crisis, wherein the problems we need to solve outstrip our capabilities. Echoing Habermas (1984; 1987) and Wilber (1995), I argue that viable solutions must entail the promotion of organic and authentic learning processes. We must find ways to foster the development of individuals who are capable of navigating the complexity of this historical moment. The ever-expanding testing industry is one face of the current technocratic response to this problem. The other face is an ever-expanding branch of the biomedical technologies industry that focuses on the “enhancement” of psychological functioning (see, Stein, della Chiesa, Hinton, & Fischer, 2013). There is a pressing need for usable knowledge about how to affect the transformation of human capabilities. A sprawling set of markets is springing up around this need. If market mechanisms dominate the available supply of educational options we may face not only the tyranny of a standardized testing industrial complex but also a brave new world characterized by large-scale strategic alterations of the human nervous system.

Here I express my hope that we developmentalists might be in a position to affect the trajectory of our society‘s response to the crises it faces. This includes shaping the future of institutionalized applications of psychological measurement. It also involves engaging in research about how development is best fostered without resorting to coercive biomedical intervention. And, I think, we also need to weigh in on the normative and philosophical issues at the heart of human development, clarifying which potentials are preferable and ethically vetting the means we are willing to employ to achieve them. But the complex context in which we make our efforts works against us….

(Thanks to Clint Fuhs, the man next to me at the table. And thanks to Tohper Hunt for ripping and posting this video. The full video can be purchased through the Meta-Integral Foundation).