Neo-Integrative Worldviews

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* Article: The rise of neo-integrative worldviews Towards a rational spirituality for the coming planetary civilization? By Roland Benedikter and Markus Molz.



"This chapter provides an introductory overview of contemporary developments in the field of worldviews related to neo-integrative efforts. The current constellation in the European-Western hemisphere is witnessing a significant increase in ‘spiritually’ informed paradigms that claim to be at the same time ‘rational’. Though these paradigms sometimes deploy ambiguous concepts of ‘spirituality’ and ‘rationality’, have very diverse features, are not infrequently opposed to each other and are of varying quality, their common core aspiration can be said to be, in the majority of cases, integrative, inclusive and integral. These terms imply an attempt to reconcile spirituality and rationality, transcendence and secularism, as well as ‘realism’ and ‘nominalism’, with the goal of building a more balanced worldview at the heart of Western civilization than the ones we have had so far, which have by and large been biased either towards secular nominalism, on the one hand, or religious transcendentalism on the other. To put the current attempts at and developments toward integrative worldviews into perspective, this text first lists some of the most important features of the current worldview constellation in the Western hemisphere; second, problematizes some of the paradigmatic attempts towards integrative, inclusive or integral thought of the present, including some transitional movements between the late 1960s and today; and third, outlines a view of some of the currently most influential tendencies and trajectories towards integral worldviews, i.e. towards the conciliation of rationality and spirituality. The result of our critical investigation of this topic is that, if deployed appropriately, i.e. in full accordance with the rules set by contemporary academic scrutiny, integrative worldviews may provide at least potentially useful ‘layers of stratification’ (Thomas Fararo) as tools complementary to the ones we have in mainstream science and culture, in order to facilitate the build up of a more balanced civilizational paradigm appropriate to the needs of the upcoming first ‘planetary civilization’ (Michiko Kaku, Jennifer Gidley). Adapted to the bigger picture of the pressing questions of today, neo-integrative worldviews may potentially contribute (self-)critical blueprints for dealing inclusively with some of the most important challenges of our time."


Four Challenges for Neo-Integrative Worldviews

Roland Benedikter et al. :

"As seen through the lens of the majority of recent attempts at a neo-integrative worldview, these challenges consist, in more detail, of the following.

(1) A ‘philosophical’ mood that is leading to a specific contemporary cultural psychology of proto-integral transition. This psychology can be described as, so to speak, Immanuel Kant’s ‘antinomy of pure reason’ pushed into extreme forms of ‘unifying diversity’ under contemporary radically pluralistic conditions: if everything can be judged from very different viewpoints that are in principle equally valid and legitimated (as in Kant’s law of perfect antinomy), and therefore if everything becomes indistinguishable as it is impossible to decide between the paradigmatically available benchmarks, because everything is equally valid and legitimate, then a proto-integrative or even pre-integral situation is already factually created. This is because, within this situation, a balance between conflicting viewpoints becomes necessary to save the principle of equality, and thus the system as such.

This is a core mood within the present zeitgeist, which precisely denotes that this zeitgeist is already moving beyond postmodernism– which stipulated that no integrative picture whatsoever was possible anywhere beyond Kant’s antinomy.

In fact, the zeitgeist of the present is already moving beyond this verdict.

(2) A rapidly growing insight into the intense intertwinement of the societal ‘software’ factors of political, cultural, spiritual and religious typologies of discourse which are synchronically present in mature modern societies. This consists, more generally, in a new multi-dimensionality– or ‘constituent patchwork mind-set’ – in the public application of their respective system logics. The specific contemporary challenge further consists in:

(3) The growing impact of the societal ‘hardware’ factors of demography and technology on the (structurally differentiated) rationality of ‘open’52 Western societies on micro-, meso- and macro-levels alike. This is meant in the sense that, while the discourse of demography is unleashing increasing effects on the on-going hybridization of public discourses and identities53 due to its capacity to ‘neutralize’ opposing patterns of cultural and religious confrontation, the discourse of technological progress is characterized by an increasing dichotomy, if not by a new constitutive dialectics, between ‘old mechanistic technologies’ and ‘new liberation technologies’.54 This dichotomy seems, at least to a certain extent, to be in process of shaping the role of technology in postindustrial societies, especially when compared with its social role and impact in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Among other aspects, unlike their predecessors, contemporary liberation technologies are trying to contribute to the development of an open-source society within and beyond the current mediatic attention economy, dedicated to more integrative and balanced development, production, distribution and application of technological knowledge for– and in the service of– the large majority of citizens, instead of privileging the elites.

(4) Taken together, the specific combination of these software and hardware factors of contemporary paradigm development seems to be creating, as one result of their hitherto unprecedented intertwinement, a new structural pluri-dimensionality of what has been called the sphere of ‘public reason’ (according to the connotations of this term established by German philosopher Jürgen Habermas56). This new pluri-dimensionality is not predominantly occasional (or contextual); it is beginning to create de facto not only ontological but also systemic effects. Among other things, the public reason of Western societies, in contrast to the 1980s and 1990s, today privileges plurality, decentralization and diversity at all levels of social organization and action, while protecting some core principles of coherence such as justice, individual and collective rights and equal access to the features of the system as integrative features for all citizens. Simplifying a little, we could say that the public reason of the West is today concerned with the acceptance of radical pluralism in all its forms and stages of development while still, as a consequence, adhering to the principles established by the French Revolution: freedom, equality, fraternity. The alleged maturity of this public reason does not reside in one aspect or the other, but precisely in its capacity to combine both. Doubtless this capacity is still not integral in the full sense, but its trajectory is certainly towards becoming integral."

The macro-ideological and sociocultural battles typical of our epoch

Markus Molz et al. :

The macro-ideological and sociocultural battles typical of our epoch, which form their historical background and context. Some of those battles are listed below.

First, there is growing competition between different models of modernity on a Western and on a global scale alike. It seems we are beginning tolive in an epoch of ‘contested modernities’.

This new notion describes a striking new competitiveness between differing, sometimes opposed, meso- and macro-concepts of what the good life (individually and collectively) can be in its basic blueprints and in principle, and which societal forms of organization are the most appropriate to achieve it. The competition is currently taking place mainly between Western and newly arising Eastern powers such as China. The latter have their own concepts of modernity and the good society, which are not concordant with their Western counterparts. Many of the Eastern powers are particularly keen to develop their own cultural models and modes of integrative worldviews, which are in most cases not in accordance with Western democratic values. Martin Jacques, co-founder of the British think-tank Demos and Research Fellow at the London School of Economics, rightly argues that China will emerge over the next half-century as the world’s leading power. Its continued development will be one of the forces that shape the century. But it will not be just any old superpower. It has its own distinctive combination of attributes that differ significantly from those in modern Western societies. This means that the twenty-first century will be one of ‘contested modernities’.

Or to put it into our perspective: China will promote its own ideals and concepts of integration, integral, inclusion and holistic. As core concepts of Chinese history, integration and inclusion are traditionally strongly related to national unity and to stability and peace; Western concepts such as human rights or the constitutional state do not play any significant role. Thus, if Jacques is right, the coming epoch will not only be one of ‘competing modernities’ but also of ‘competing concepts of integral’– with a presumably strong impact on the overall development and self-interpretation of integral worldviews and paradigms.

This is because it seems likely that no concept of integrative worldview could remain completely untouched by such an overall development, at least not in the medium- and long-term– because paradigms are an effect of changing socio-political and cultural environments at least as much as they influence or even co-‘create’ them. Simultaneously, there are signs that such a competition between different concepts of modernity (including that of late postmodernity) may be increasingly taking place also within the ‘Western’62 cultural and political hemisphere itself, particularly between the societal macro-blueprints of the USA (weak state, strong individual) and Continental Europe (welfare state).63 The currently growing competition between different models of democratic modernity within the West is likely to have profound effects on the future interpretation and hermeneutics of what an appropriate integrative worldview within, and beyond, modernity may look like, and how it may be best implemented, enacted and continuously enhanced through its singular (political, economic, technological, organizational, demographic) dimensions.

In this constellation, the very concepts of integration and/or integrative worldview as commonly deployed in approaches deriving for the most part from variants of the forma mentis of ‘the West’, are in growing internationaland intercultural– dispute.

Second, at stake in this dispute is the concept of integration or integral as opposed to various non-liberal interpretations of inclusion as preferred by non-Western approaches. While integration tends to be seen as a ‘strong’ term, inclusion is regarded as a ‘weaker’ and thus more flexible concept, capable of being applied more easily also in non-Western settings. Thus, the tendency towards contested modernities seems to be producing a growing dichotomy within the terminological span of integration versus inclusion– i.e. within the inner dialectics of the core term itself, thus modifying these dialectics by creating new oppositions, if not contradictions. That is also due in part to the fact that integration has all too often been used, especially in the (two) Bush era(s) 1989–93 and 2001–9, as a terminological and conceptual tool of domination, exercised by the ‘only superpower’ and the ‘last nation state’, the USA, together with its ally Europe, over the rest of the world by means of a programmatic ‘civilizational unitarism’ or ‘one-sided universalism’.

Therefore, a lot of mistrust has been accumulated, which yet has to be overcome in a sustainable way if the term integrative is to assume a new, progressive meaning in the greater cultural and paradigmatic context of the post-Bush era.

Third, the multiplication of options in relation to what democratization may mean that has been taking place since 1989/91 has contributed to the rise of a new complexity of socio-political utopia that embraces the concept of integrative. For example, most of the blueprints for what integration can mean are not culturally concordant among the semi-, proto and pre-democracies and the failed states that have arisen all over the world, especially in the East of Europe and in the global South. While most of the currently discussed concepts of integration in these countries are democratic in a very broad sense, many of them are dealing with different concepts of what exactly democracy can and should mean in the burgeoning multi-polar world at home and abroad.

Fourth, at the same time, the civilizational, cultural and social patterns of the West67 seem paradoxically to be still de facto presiding (consciously or unconsciously) over the internationally increasingly multi-layered ideas and paradigm developments regarding integration, and thus indirectly also over the core features of the general process of globalization itself. Again, in this constellation, many of the current attempts at integrative worldviews aspire to remain ‘Western’ in their historical formament is, as well as in their basic methodological and theoretical gestures in a rather explicit sense. This is producing specific contradictions within the increasingly numerous attempts at contextualization of current integrative mind-sets within worldwide settings. The discussion about how to introduce appropriate elements of cultural diversity into the concept of integral itself beyond the question of competing modernities is still in its very early stages, but will have to assume a much bigger pro-active role than it has been assigned so far.

Fifth, there remains a striking inverse social gradient in integrative mindsets in relation to social status, social class and income stratification. This observation is valid for the West and the East– as well as for most other parts of the world– to a similar extent. In dealing with this problem (which remains largely unaddressed), we should not underestimate the social constructedness of the integrative mind-set itself. This is because basically all the forerunners of today’s integrative worldviews from the 1970s to the 2000s have pointed out that affinity to integrative worldviews is not independent of wealth, and thus of the level reached, individually and collectively, on the ‘Maslow pyramid’ in a given historical and cultural setting. Again, this relation seems to be true mainly for the first world, as (to mention just one example) the research carried out by Ronald Inglehart and others on ‘post-materialistic’ trends in Western civilization in the past four decades has demonstrated impressively.

But it is increasingly a phenomenon that characterizes the situation of integrative thought in developing countries too: integral thinking remains something for those who are better off. Summing up, the relation between social status and concern about integrative worldviews cannot be denied, not even in relation to our own time; everybody who would like to hide it under the table is going in the wrong direction. Nevertheless, we believe that the present trend towards integrative worldviews must be attributed to more than relative status and wealth: there seems to be in addition a structural necessity arising out of objectively developing social complexity that is not necessarily tied to status and wealth as such, but rather to pluralism and decentralization, and thus is not necessarily a derivative of social stratification.

In many ways these five problem factors, taken together, are currently describing more complex trajectories than those we have experienced so far."

Historical Development of Integrative Theorizing: three stages

Roland Benedikter et al. :

"We have to consider integrative emancipatory frameworks originating from different cultures, contexts and disciplines. We divide these into three categories:

  • first, those stemming from the first half of the twentieth century;
  • second, those of the phase of transition between the 1960s and the twenty-first century; and
  • third, twenty-first century approaches.

(1) The first half of the twentieth century gave birth to the pioneers of modern integrative worldviews, who laid the foundations for the basic idea of integrative worldviews within (and not against) evolving modernity.

(2) The second half of the twentieth century– and especially the period from the 1960s to the 1990s– can be considered a phase of transition, which brought about symptoms of the renewal of a renovated integrative intuition, manifested inter alia in the trend towards post-materialism in the 1980s and 1990s and in the ambiguous rise of a postmodern spirituality in the 1990s.

(3) Finally, the twenty-first century(presumably starting with the great political and cultural change of 1989/91) seems to be generating a new generation of integrative thought, which is still struggling to rise fully to the challenges of our time at the level of given problems and their comparatively increased complexity. Most representatives of this new generation of integrative thought and action seem to conceive themselves as part of a paradigm shift beyond classical modernity (including its latest stage of ‘postmodernity’), and as closely related with the emerging paradigm stage of a mature modernity."

Concordant features of the early attempts at experimental integrative paradigm building

"We are of the opinion that such different thinkers as

  1. Vladimir Solovyov (1853–1900),
  2. Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925),
  3. Aurobindo Ghose (1872–1950),
  4. Max Scheler (1874–1928),
  5. Jacques Maritain (1882–1973),
  6. Pitirim Sorokin (1889–1968),
  7. Thomé F. Fang(1899–1977),
  8. Jean Gebser (1905–73) and
  9. Herbert Witzenmann (1905–88)

addressed, in the context of their times, and as well as they could in their given environments, the great questions of freedom and community, value and purpose, knowledge and action in an integrative way– questions that were (and are) otherwise often diluted, concealed or forgotten by the hyper-specialized discourses that dominate the academy, as well as by the over-simplified discourses that dominate the mass media and the political arena. With the exception of Solovyov, these authors all developed the core of their work in the first half of the twentieth century.


Steiner, Aurobindo, Maritain, Sorokin, Gebser and the other members of the first generation of modern integrative thinkers brought forward– in many cases independently of each other– core issues of continuing relevance for the establishment of contemporary inclusive and emancipatory frameworks.

These included:

(1) The need for a more encompassing cognitive position, endowed, however, with a broadened meaning of rationality that encompasses and reconnects the objective and subjective realms, reason and intuition, across different types and levels of knowledge.

(2) The horizon of a cosmopolitan society beyond the oppositional logics of social, ethnic or national identities,89 and the need to take into account different cultures and worldviews in order to understand the coalescing aspects of their spiritual positions, and thus to contribute to a meta-rational understanding of how they can peacefully co-exist.

(3) A humanism attentive to and caring for the unique trajectories of each individual human being, able to withstand the oppressive forces arising from the disconnected dominance of political, economic or religious interests at odds with the flourishing of these trajectories according to their singular potential.

(4) An approach crossing all manner of boundaries (cultural, linguistic, social, disciplinary, etc.), finding inspiration and insight everywhere, engaging in intra-human as well as subjective exploration, and capable, on this basis, of grasping and shaping connective patterns between rationality and spirituality. In these respects, there are strong resonances between all the early integral authors mentioned.


The emerging ‘late postmodern spirituality’ or academic ‘negative spirituality’ at the end of the decades of transition in the 1990s was characterized by three main features:

(1) It stemmed from and arose out of radically secular academic thought by the sheer logics of its own development towards (self-)deconstruction, and thus without being ‘added’ artificially to existing patterns of academic reflection, but as an immanently logical consequence of the patterns of advanced secular thought itself.

(2) It had a negative, indirect, passive, and theory-driven (speculative) character.

(3) It aspired, at the peak of its influence and in its final developmental stage at the end of the 1990s, to be transformed into a more direct, positive, active and practice-driven (empirical) spiritual experience of ‘living nothingness’, without succeeding in this aspiration.

With this development of a postmodern rational (because self-conscious and self-observant) spirituality, though unfulfilled and unfinished, the integrative developments in the decades of transition from the 1960s to the 1990s came to a peak, and at the same time in many respects, to an end. Something new had to be located if the latent integrative intuitions of the times were to be soundly elaborated, developed and concretized. A further step had to be taken beyond the threshold of what late postmodern thought was capable of problematizing and approaching at the intersection of secularism and transcendence, and of nominalism and realism, but was never able to integrate sufficiently. The necessity for such a next paradigm step was in the air as the new, twenty-first century dawned. Viewed overall, for philosophical and spiritual reasons alike, the late postmodern mind, although already ‘proto-spiritual’ in some of its trajectories, turned out to be limited in its scope, its cognitive capacities and its boundaries of validity and legitimacy. Thus one crucial question arose: what could come after postmodernism?"

Integrative worldviews compatible with the Western Enlightenment and mature modernity

Markus Molz et al. :

"There were basically three choices for serious younger scholars at the start of the twenty-first century:

  • first, to engage on either side in the paradigm wars, i.e. to choose either the modernist or the postmodernist viewpoint, and to then engage in a fierce battle against the other viewpoint for the rest of their lives;
  • second, to leave philosophy of science, spirituality and religion to a few specialists, and turn towards applied research or some specialist niche while actively ignoring its foundations and embeddedness in ontology and axiology; or,
  • third, to invent something new, a third way, or a critically integrative position.

The first two options appealed to many philosophers, researchers and activists of the post-9/11 ‘neoconservative turn’ in academia, if not from conviction then from need.

The third option attracted a number of bright newcomers coming from quite different contexts across the globe. They aimed to transcend the existing constraints and to leave behind either or thinking regarding paradigms in theory and practice alike, as well as to engage actively with the ambiguous heritage of postmodernism and to push it one step further towards a sound, critically integrated new paradigm for a world that turned out to be more complex and contradictory than that of the decades that preceded it. Thus in the twenty-first century a second generation of integrative theory and practice arose.


Among the current leading thinkers (whom we here again select arbitrarily in a necessarily eclectic and incomplete manner) are

  1. Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar (1921–90),
  2. Enrique Dussel (1934–),
  3. Basarab Nicolescu (1942–),
  4. Johannes Heinrichs (1942–),
  5. Roy Bhaskar (1944–) and
  6. Ken Wilber (1949–).

Other representatives of neo-integrative thought from a de facto (much) larger sample include

  1. Fred Dallmayr (1928–),
  2. Paul Ehrlich (1932–),
  3. Kensei Hiwaki (1945–),
  4. Michael Opielka (1956–),
  5. Harald Walach (1957–),
  6. Jaap Sijmons (1959–),
  7. Niko Kohls (1972–) and
  8. Nikolaus von Stillfried (1976–).


"Each of these approaches originally arose from a specific trajectory, in philosophy (Bhaskar, Dussel), psychology (Wilber, Walach, Kohls, Stillfried), physics (Nicolescu), geographically bound spiritual traditions (Sarkar), secularized Western theology (Heinrichs), postmodern sociology (Opielka), or applied ecology (Ehrlich). Each of them has a specific emphasis, from methodological (Nicolescu) to historical (Dussel) to practical (Sarkar) issues, and each of them is trying to advance a specific type of a theoretical project, from under labouring (emphasized by Bhaskar) to overarching (emphasized by Wilber) to transcending (emphasized by Nicolescu) to self-critical (Dussel, but most of the others as well). However, there are no clear-cut distinctions between most contemporary avant-garde integral thinkers. In fact, it is remarkable that each approach has something to say about more or less all of these aspects. Multi-disciplinarity and a broad range of cognitive and practical interests are their core attributes."

From the conclusion

"Most of the current neo-integrative attempts depart from materialistic science to move towards a more encompassing approach through an explicit inclusion of spirituality, however conceived and related to the ambivalent existence of the person, and to the concrete dialectics of the social and material world. In these respects, many of them have some resonance with traditional worldviews, while in most cases relativizing their mythic content, and trying to introduce a comparatively heightened awareness of global history and cultural diversity. On the other hand, with regard to the remnants of postmodern relativism on the verge of nihilism, they re-assert the validity of ontological realism and of trans-contextual values, but without falling prey to the potential ‘neoconservative’ return of a modernist observer-free, objectivist epistemology and its corresponding trend to re-specialization, manifest over the last few years in international academia. Third, contemporary integrative approaches also differ decisively from certain fundamentalist, ‘occultist’ or ‘New Age’ ideas of an alleged ‘new spirituality’. This is because they do not aspire to be anti-intellectual, irrational, dogmatic, otherworldly or sedative (as the occultist and New Age approaches are in the main).

On the contrary, in a highly reflexive and differentiated manner, they are taking up the challenges of complexity and inclusion that have become apparent in the wake of:

  • first, the increasingly intense confluence of the cultures of East and West, North and South in global transactions, based on the break-up of the traditional structures of a global history of domination and exploitation;
  • second, the Copernican, Freudian and Einsteinian revolutions of pre-modern and modern worldviews, and the postmodern deconstructive critiques of grand narratives; and
  • third, the unsustainable path towards the destruction of society and nature along which humanity is heading today.

As we can see today, there are resonances between the various strands and streams of these timely neo-integrative efforts, as well as shared interests, complementary emphases and distinct potential for mutually beneficial critique. But even when considered together, neo-integral approaches still defend a minority position in the ever more fragmented landscape of hundreds of sub-disciplines, ostensible paradigm wars and intellectually supported clashes of civilizations. Accordingly, many of these current attempts are facing common threats.

These include the threats of:

  • first, ignorance or active rejection and discreditation by the academic mainstream, secluding them at the ‘margins of the system’;
  • second, self-closure– conceptually and organizationally– arising from a number of factors, ranging from the demanding nature of the task of establishing an infrastructure and community for one’s own specific stream to the risk of self-contradictory fossilization inside each approach due to the formation of rigid identifications; and
  • third, running out of time and having insufficient impact on society because the integrative, emancipatory alternatives remain scattered, weak and unnoticed in the multimedia attention economy.

One promising prospect, however, is that of synergetically developed strength, impact and visibility through cross-connections, mutual critique and recognition of a common vocation to make a timely intervention in the on-going global crises. Thus, the next step in the evolution of these frameworks, if they want to be true to their own foundational integrative principles, has to embrace transcendence of self-closure and the active encouragement of dialogue across approaches, movements and streams.

One crucial question for most current approaches committed productively– in one way or the other– to the ‘deep change’ of the present is: how can a new, overarching socio-cultural paradigm for the age of globalization– a paradigm that embraces multi-layered inclusivity and is capable of replacing the often repressive societal ‘unitarism’ of the previous era– be forged? The pre-Obama conservative concept of a ‘united’ society– as well as of a ‘unified’ West– mixed up political, economic, cultural and religious logics and discourses to the point, on the one hand, of mutual exploitation, manipulation and oppression, and on the other of the ‘dissolution’ of ideological and material interests in a thicket of highly non-transparent goals and actions. This wild, largely unstructured and undifferentiated mix, often– especially in the Bush era – centred around atavistic biblico-Christian belief structures of a rather undifferentiated kind, has often been misinterpreted as a timely form of ‘integrative worldview’ or ‘new integralism’. Given that this misinterpretation has for a number of years shadowed many of the liberal and progressive aspirations of the streams of neo-integrative thought we have been discussing to a specifically differentiated integration– i.e. an integration that takes place only on the basis of, and after, fully achieved differentiation– this question seems to be of decisive importance for the coming years. It thus becomes necessary to point out publicly the liberal and progressive character of the neo-integrative paradigm attempts. The question is: how can the regressive concept of an integrative society that has dominated the past decade be best replaced by a progressive concept of it? The answer is not easy.

It clear,

  • in the first place, that such a progressive concept must embrace a paradigm pattern capable of integrating the still academically dominant remnants of deconstructive postmodern nominalism with a ‘new mature’ modern realism. In order to move beyond the ‘bellicose idealism’ of the Bush years and achieve a more balanced cultural and civilizational self-concept of ‘the West’, apt for the inclusion not only of secular societal logics but also of the growing number of progressive spiritually informed discourses, which are increasingly influencing the present age of a global return of religion (and which are at the heart of Obama’s own inspiration as well), it will be necessary to promote a full appreciation of the postmodernist self-critique and deconstruction of unitarian aspirations of any kind, and then integrate them with the constructive traits of a realistic approach towards an inclusive ‘metaReality’.
  • Second, the search for a systemic inclusion of nominalism and realism has actually been under way in progressive socio-political and academic circles in Europe and the USA since the last years of the neoconservative epoch, but so far with rather mixed results. It has led, in the past few years of global transition, on the one hand to the emergence of various movements rooted in explicitly multi-dimensional philosophies that have tried (and are trying) to think of emancipation as no longer a battle for supremacy between differing worldviews (some of them conceived as wrong, and the others as right), but rather as an effort towards active complementarity between differing viewpoints. These innovative paradigm formations have tried (and continue to try) to integrate the radical postmodern nominalism and (de-)constructivism that dominated the decades between the 1960s and the 1990s with a sound, empirically based ‘rational and transcendental logicism’. This effort may appear, at least at first glance, difficult and in many cases contradictory, and there are indeed several core problems that are still unresolved. But it could be that, from our point of view, it is precisely this effort that will pave the way for an appropriate step forward beyond the identification of the integrative worldview with aspects of the heritage of neoconservative unitarism.
  • Third, in contrast, the search for explicitly inclusive innovation also led, during the Bush years, to the resurgence of an increasing number of ‘neo-essentialist’ movements, which have tried (and are trying) to revitalize certain paradigmatic patterns of value-centredness in the direction of a return towards unitarian worldviews that dominated the right-wing movements the USA in the 1980s and 1990s. These movements have tried (and are trying) to merge politics, religion, economics and culture into a grand unity of discourse and societal logic– and thus have contributed to the creation of regressive paradigm tendencies that are still at work today to some extent. Last but not least, the search produced as a further dimension a mix of these two tendencies: it spawned allegedly integral movements that, at a relatively early stage of their development, turned into– in most cases unconsciously– de facto neoconservative, hierarchic and partially authoritarian and cultic paradigm currents."