A critique of Strategic-Instrumental Rationality

Excerpted from JOE CORBETT:

“In his theory of communicative action, Jurgen Habermas spoke of ‘the grammars of the forms of life’, the human socio-cultural expressions of these emergent quantum-archetypal forms, which are the aesthetic-expressive (beauty), moral-communal (goodness), instrumental-technical (truth), and strategic-political (justice) forms of rationality that constitute human psychological, cultural, and social existence.

Strategic-instrumental rationality is singled out in Habermas as a special case of the alliance of rationalities within modernity that have created a dominant and colonizing form of social existence characterized by the imperatives of science, capital, and the modern military-police-state: objectivity, productivity, efficiency, and control. In the world of Ken Wilber, this is precisely the one-dimensional flatland that exiled the interiors of individual and collective consciousness, the reductionist scientific, economic, and political materialism of modernity [What is Critical Integral Theory?]. What this hegemony of secular modernity has left us is a hollowed-out interior world, a wasteland of psychological and cultural shallowness, and hence the annihilation of the only thing that is capable of giving human beings meaning, purpose and direction in life.

As an exemplar of the quotidian discursive-practices of an enlightened modernity freed from the chains of superstition, strategic-instrumental rationality has now become its opposite in the iron cage of scientific and technical materialism, disenchanting the exterior world of its magical-mysterious interiors, and enslaving us all to its imperatives of an efficient organization of society for the sole purpose of profitability. Whatever it takes to win and succeed at this game, including the destruction of nature and human communities, is the mantra of this new social darwinian regimen, and whoever does not chime to its chant will be tossed to the dustbin of history as any practicing lawyer, businessperson, or politician will attest. Reward for greed, ruthlessness, and fanaticism (preferably free market, religious, national) is the new world order of the day, the destruction of all for the benefit of the few. These are the conditions that make it ripe for modernity to be a breeding ground for well-adjusted and successful psychopaths, particularly of the Ayn Randian sort, and apparently with the stamp of approval from none other than Ken Wilber [Ken Wilber (Philosopher-King]) .

In the end, what strategic-instrumentalism has proffered on humanity is an endless narcissistic consumerism of free market trickle-downism and militaristic patriotism to make any president of the United States the proud corporate representative he is certain to be, bought and paid for with the approval of the supreme court of the land. Only the Machiavellian intrigue of medieval courtesans could be more exemplary of the strategic manipulations and grabs for power as capitalist elites in current times, all of whom are an outgrowth of the ‘third way’ consensus forged in the wake of the Reagan-Thatcher backlash to the liberal-left of the 1960s. ”

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