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Re: Theos-World Bringing Power to Planning Research

Sep 30, 2009 10:19 AM
by Drpsionic

And the thought of an academic having any idea how power really works is  
absurd to say the least.
Chuck the Heretic  

In a message dated 9/30/2009 10:13:32 A.M. Central Daylight Time, writes:

I wonder...

About Bent Flyvbjerg:
"Flyvbjerg has worked as a  consultant to government, regulators, 
corporations, banks, national audit  offices, the EU Commission, and the United 
Nations. He has been adviser to the  UK, Dutch, and Danish governments in 
formulating national policies for  infrastructure, environment, transportation, and 

_ ( 
_ ( 

I find it a bit difficult to  grasp how this relates to TS ideas and  Adyar?

H. P. Blavatsky  said:
..."your vaunted progress and civilization are no better than a host  of 
will-o'-the-..."your vaunted progress and civilization are no better than a 
host  of will

The same can with a certain kind of truth be said  of the present globe and 
its sad tendencies in the area of what most people in  their minds tend to 


H. P. Blavatsky  said:
"ENQUIRER. Then let us begin with the first. What means would you  resort 
to, in order to promote such a feeling of brotherhood among races that  are 
known to be of the most diversified religions, customs, beliefs, and modes  
of thought?

THEOSOPHIST. Allow me to add that which you seem unwilling  to express. Of 
course we know that with the exception of two remnants of  racesâthe Parsees 
and the Jewsâevery nation is divided, not merely against all  other 
nations, but even against itself. This is found most prominently among  the 
so-called civilized Christian nations. Hence your wonder, and the reason  why our 
first object appears to you a Utopia. Is it not so?

ENQUIRER.  Well, yes; but what have you to say against it?

THEOSOPHIST. Nothing  against the fact; but much about the necessity of 
removing the causes which  make Universal Brotherhood a Utopia at present. "

"ENQUIRER.  What are, in your view, these causes?

THEOSOPHIST. First and foremost,  the natural selfishness of human nature. 
This selfishness, instead of being  eradicated, is daily strengthened and 
stimulated into a ferocious and  irresistible feeling by the present religious 
education, which tends not only  to encourage, but positively to justify 
it. People's ideas about right and  wrong have been entirely perverted by the 
literal acceptance of the Jewish  Bible. All the unselfishness of the 
altruistic teachings of Jesus has become  merely a theoretical subject for pulpit 
oratory; while the precepts of  practical selfishness taught in the Mosaic 
Bible_, against which Christ so  vainly preached, have become ingrained into 
the innermost life of the Western  nations. "An eye for an eye and a tooth 
for a tooth" has come to be the first  maxim of your law. Now, I state openly 
and fearlessly, that the perversity of  this doctrine and of so many others 
>Theosophy alone< can eradicate. "  (Arrows added to empahsize italics).
_ ( _http://www.phx-http://wwwhttp://wwhtt_ 

Capitalism and greed interfers  all over the globe these days. This is the 
real state of things.
To conquer  this greed we need other educational systems and an accept of 
that Science  already operates in Paradigm, which daily have a tendency of 
shifting away  from Capitalism and greed, as well as the terrible idea of 
human made laws and  sentences within "so-called" democracies or other political 

H.  P. Blavatsky said:
"ENQUIRER. But how does Theosophy explain the common  origin of man?

THEOSOPHIST. By teaching that the root of all nature,  objective and 
subjective, and everything else in the universe, visible and  invisible, is, was, 
and ever will be one absolute essence, from which all  starts, and into 
which everything returns. This is Aryan philosophy, fully  represented only by 
the Vedantins, and the Buddhist system. With this object  in view, it is the 
duty of all Theosophists to promote in every practical way,  and in all 
countries, the spread of non-sectarian education.  "
"ENQUIRER. How? Do you expect that your doctrines could ever  take hold of 
the uneducated masses, when they are so abstruse and difficult  that 
well-educated people can hardly understand them?

THEOSOPHIST. You  forget one thing, which is that your much-boasted modern 
education is  precisely that which makes it difficult for you to understand 
Theosophy. Your  mind is so full of intellectual subtleties and 
preconceptions that your  natural intuition and perception of the truth cannot act. It 
does not require  metaphysics or education to make a man understand the broad 
truths of Karma  and Reincarnation. Look at the millions of poor and 
uneducated Buddhists and  Hindoos, to whom Karma and re-incarnation are solid 
realities, simply because  their minds have never been cramped and distorted by 
being forced into an  unnatural groove. They have never had the innate human 
sense of justice  perverted in them by being told to believe that their 
sins would be forgiven  because another man had been put to death for their 
sakes. And the Buddhists,  note well, live up to their beliefs without a murmur 
against Karma, or what  they regard as a just punishment; whereas the 
Christian populace neither lives  up to its moral ideal, nor accepts its lot 
contentedly. Hence murmuring, and  dissatisfaction, and the intensity of the 
struggle for existence in Western  lands.

ENQUIRER. But this contentedness, which you praise so much,  would do away 
with all motive for exertion and bring progress to a  stand-still.

THEOSOPHIST. And we, Theosophists, say that your vaunted  progress and 
civilization are no better than a host of will-o'-the-THEOSOPHIST. And we, 
Theosophists, say that your vaunted  progress and civilization are no better than 
a host of will-o'-the-<WBR>wisps,  flickering over a marsh which exhales a 
poisonous and deadly miasma. This,  because we see selfishness, crime, 
immorality, and all the evils imaginable,  pouncing upon unfortunate mankind from 
this Pandora's box which you call an  age of progress, and increasing pari 
pass_u with the growth of your material  civilization. At such a price, 
better the inertia an

M. Sufilight

----- Original Message  ----- 
From: Govert Schuller 
To: _ ( _theos-talk@yahoogrotheos-t_ 
( _ 
Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2009  9:54 PM
Subject: Theos-World Bringing Power to Planning  Research

Dear all,

Just found (and immersed myself into) the  work of a social scientist, Bent 
Flyvbjerg, with both a pragmatic hands-on  attitude and a grounding in 
post-modern philosophy of power.

His  research is quite impactful in the the field of organizational 
planning,  especially urban development, and on a more theoretical level. His  
'best-seller' is "Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and  
How it Can Succeed Again."

_ ( 

His relevance to us is  twofold:

1) His research might help to understand some of the processes  going on 
with the development of the roads and high-ways possibly on and  around Adyar, 
and based on that understanding, to be more effective in having  our voice 

2) His research is eminently applicable to the TS and  that on any level. 
He beliefs in the values of democratic participation and  transparency, but 
sees the need of an analysis of power as it is actually  yielded and the 
relations it engenders. One of his main concerns is the  relation between 
rationality and power regardless of the often fine sounding  norms and ideals an 
organization might trumpet. 

He caught my attention  because of the term 'phronetic planning research,' 
which is how he calls his  method. Pronesis is one of Aristotle's 
'intellectual virtues,' meaning  prudence, or applied wisdom (Sophia: with Sophia 
being knowledge about the  eternal laws of our being and Phronesis being the 
skill to live virtuously in  an ever changing context), or savoir vivre, or 
situational, circumspective,  deliberative, interpretative, authentic, temporal 
care of our Dasein  (be-ing-t/here)He

The last string of terms comes from Heidegger,  who did an in-depth, 
sustained phenomenological deconstruction of Aristotole's  philosophy including 
the virtue of phronesis. According to some Division B of  Heidegger's opus 
magnum "Being and Time" is one long phenomenological  'un-packing' of human 
phronetic action seen as situational, circumspective,  deliberative, 
interpretative, authentic, temporal care of our  Dasein.

The first article is about how he got engaged in his field of  research and 
is very enlightening, especially regarding his  methodology.

The second article is a longer, more abstract venture into  a philosophical 
and pragmatic underpinning of his methodology.  

Bringing Power to Planning Research: One Researcher's Praxis  Story
By Bent Flyvbjerg, Aalborg University,  Denmark

This article provides an answer to what has been  calle_d the biggest 
problem in theorizing and
understanding planning, namely  the ambivalence about power found among 
researchers, theorists,  and students. The author narrates how he came to 
work with issues of
power.  He then gives an example of how the methodology he developed for 
power  studies,
called "phronetic planning research," may be employed in practice.  
Phronetic planning
research follows the tradition of power studies running  from Machiavelli 
and Nietzsche to
Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu. It  focuses on four value-rational 
questions: (1) Where
are we going with  planning? (2) Who gains and who loses, and by which 
mechanisms of
power?  (3) Is this development desirable? (4) What should be done? These 
questions  are
exemplified for a specific instance of Scandinavian urban planning. The  
author finds that the
questions, and their answers, make a difference to  planning in practice. 
They make planning
research matter.

_ ( 
_http://flyvbjerg.http://flhttp://flyvbjerghttp://fly_ ( 

Phronetic Planning Research:  Theoretical and Methodological Reflections
By Bent Flyvbjerg, Aalborg  University, Denmark

ABSTRACT This article presents the theoretical and  methodological 
considerations behind a
research method which the author  calls 'phronetic planning research'. Such 
research sets out to
answer four  questions of power and values for specific instances of 
planning: (1) Where  are we
going with planning? (2) Who gains and who loses, and by which  mechanisms 
of power? (3) Is
this development desirable? (4) What, if  anything, should we do about it? 
A central task of
phronetic planning  research is to provide concrete examples and detailed 
narratives of the  ways
in which power and values work in planning and with what consequences  to 
whom, and to
suggest how relations of power and values could be changed  to work with 
other consequences.
Insofar as planning situations become  clear, they are clarified by 
detailed stories of who is doing
what to whom.  Clarifications of that kind are a p_rincipal concern for 
phronetic planning  research
and provide the main link to praxis.

_ ( 
_http://flyvbjerg.http://flhttp://flyvbjehttp://fl_ ( _

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