Analysis: W. I. Thompson’s “Pacific Shift”

William Irwin Thompson, Ph.D. is a cultural historian, poet, founder of the Lindisfarne Association, and former professor of humanities at MIT and York University. Over the past thirty-odd years I have read most of Dr. Thompson’s books. Although his analyses and descriptions are not entirely compatible with mine, I recommend his writings to anyone desirous of exploring forces and factors in play at this stage of human evolution. No one can deny that his opinions compose a scholarly, provocative, and creative effort to explain and predict the flow of cultural development planet-wide. 

Politics is, in my view, the nervous system of humankind through which all essential impulses involved in the global developmental process interact and flow. So, I see it as fitting that Pacific Shift opens with Dr. Thompson’s vision of politics in a future free of nation-states. Further along he sets forth his perceptions—as of the early 1980s—of a shift in consciousness, and shift of value system, from the Paris-London-New York (Atlantic) industrial culture to the West Coast-Japan-Australia (Pacific) where technology, information, and cooperation are ostensibly more valued than industrial production, consumerism, and competition. 

My view now, in 2010, is that this social philosophy shift (or pressure to shift) toward what others have referred to as “unity-in-diversity”—including innovation over conformity, and spirituality over religiosity—continues to expand its influence and effects. Good. However, as the world has experienced during the past twenty years, the vision of a global culture under “caring stewardship” is proving to be elusive. The much heralded transition has also proved more traumatic than Thompson seems to have hoped for. In fact, the challenge continues to intensify rather than diminish: ecological crises such as floods and oil spills, terrorism that has gained an added “cyber” dimension, financial crashes since 1987, religious fanaticism that is multi-pronged, and extremist political polarization—all of which continues to be exacerbated by population explosion. 

As we have argued in other posts, the challenges facing humanity at this time require more than a shift in consciousness; they require the application of new meta-tools such as those developed by PluribusOne™ Consulting, tools that have proved efficacious in facilitating enhanced perception. Also required is a stepped-up multinational space program to initiate colonization of the Moon, and then Mars. 

Pacific Shift sets forth an elaborately articulated cosmology that includes a set of four “value orientations,” or ideologies: Conservative, Liberal, Radical, and Reactionary. However, in our appraisal, the matrix is incomplete. Despite Thompson’s compelling argument for a “Basic Quaternity” underlying all Being—and, therefore, underlying those four value orientations—the Noetitek™ system reveals a much richer fabric. The perceived Quaternity is no more limiting than the metaphoric assertion of a four-cornered Earth. It is a paradigm that has outlived its usefulness, unless we want to keep repeating the errors of tribes and nations of history. 

The world cannot advance by calling on four-square conceptualizing that reflects the military model of human interaction (the old “zero-sum” game) to serve as platform for universally constructive actions to move us forward. Thompson too saw the need for what he called a “new and surprising” politics. The vision of an ideal world society must be guided by a fifth value orientation, a reconciling or neutralizing value orientation—an orientation that can only be identified by thinking outside of the traditional political box.

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6 Responses to “Analysis: W. I. Thompson’s “Pacific Shift””

  1. Valiant Says:

    What I hear you saying is that Thompson was wrong, that there is no underlying Quaternity. Is that right?

  2. PluribusOne™ Says:

    No, the erudite professor was not wrong. I also perceive an underlying Quaternity. Bucky Fuller expressed that Quaternity in terms of the Tetrahedron. The same Quaternity is expressed in Astrology and elsewhere. There is also an underlying Trinity, an underlying Duality, and an underlying Unity—all expressed through human neurological circuitry.

    But there is much more that fundamentally underlies the Universe and the neurological circuitry of the human form too. Clues to the discovery of the “new” politics lie in the fifth chakra and in our recent discovery that this chakra is associated with the human heart (please read our “Abraca-Chakra” post).

  3. Sara B. Says:

    I’m wondering how you feel about the overall premise of a shift from east to west, from the Atlantic to Pacific, etc. I’m an artist and what I’m experiencing is a shift the other way, from LA to New York City to London. Other artists seem to be seeing this shift of “leading edge” too.

  4. PluribusOne™ Says:

    The leading-edge system of meta-tools I invented that reflects the “Pacific” value system has experienced no definitive pattern with respect to interested parties around the world, a fact directly attributable to the wonderful information-distribution power of WordPress and Google. Yes, there is interest on the West Coast and in Japan, India, and Australia but also in Canada, Africa, Russia, the UK, and several European countries. So my personal sense of the present shifting is that, as a result of the internet, the worldwide-web, and the related information-serving infrastructure, the dominant shift today is more like “from here to everywhere.”

    I have yet to read Thompson’s latest book, Transforming History (2009) which may supply some current large-scale insights related to this question.

  5. Sara B. Says:

    You say a fifth value-orientation needs to be “identified.” Are you saying that it already exists somehow and needs to be discovered or recognized? Or does it have to be invented?

  6. PluribusOne™ Says:

    The fifth value orientation exists now, although it is not as readily visible as the four stated in the post and, therefore, not as widely acknowledged. Yet it is operative and its effects are as tangible as those of any other value orientation, whether it acts independently or in-tandem with another value orientation.

    Sometimes its effects are grand-scale and attributable to a uniquely powerful and identifiable nonviolent individual, or nonmilitary group—Gandhi and Jesus of Nazareth are examples—or to “natural” forces, such as the weather that facilitated the Normandy Invasion by the Allied forces of liberation in WWII. Or in a similar combination with the Liberal orientation, such as in the story of Exodus, with Moses parting the waters of the Red Sea, where the Israelites were liberated and Pharaoh’s army drowned.

    Sometimes the effects are low-profile and far more localized—targeted demonstrations of unusual power on the part of an unidentifiable party. From within the paradigm of the Quaternity, such power may be deemed mystical, or unearthly—“supernatural.” Former Air Force officials have disclosed incidents of UFOs disarming nuclear missiles, among other such encounters with “paranormal” forces of the neutralizing kind. Are they visitors from outer space? Time travelers? Interdimensional entities? Manifestations of the collective unconscious? Pacifist humans using psychokinesis? Whoever they are, these “neutralizers” appear to represent the elusive fifth value orientation.

    Throughout history some individuals have affected the political arena through the use of siddhi/psychic abilities, by effectively overriding or disrupting the intention of an individual or group having a value orientation belonging to the Quaternity. For example, when greedy King Croesus asked the Delphic Oracle whether he should attack Persia, the Oracle supplied a neutral non-answer that Croesus interpreted (incorrectly) in the context of his vanity. The science fiction movie, Minority Report, with its “pre-cogs,” and the crime prevention authority that employed them, indicates the desire for and the emergence of the fifth value orientation.

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