Accountability Matters: A Call for Ethics, Empathy, and Equality

Mark Fischler Cognitive, Ethical, Integral Justice Warrior, Moral, Politics, Values, Video, World Affairs 9 Comments

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In this thought-provoking podcast discussion, Mark Fischler and Corey deVos delve into the intricacies of Trump’s legal battles, the pursuit of accountability in politics, and the complexities of maintaining empathy and justice in a polarized society. They explore the significance of the January 6th Capitol insurrection and the ongoing investigation into election interference, as well as the pressing need for society to become more aware of trauma, particularly in cases of sexual abuse and rape. For an Integral Theory audience, this conversation artfully surfaces the pain points and challenges that arise from polarities such as individual rights versus collective well-being, and sensitivity to trauma versus the presumption of innocence.

Mark and Corey touch on the intensifying culture war in America, as evidenced by the internal war within the GOP, and the emergence of dysfunctional identities within broken systems. They address the impact of social media-induced dysmorphia on mental health and the need for integral solutions and exposure to different perspectives to foster acceptance. Furthermore, they discuss the role of the judiciary in upholding democratic principles, focusing on the ethics of Supreme Court Justices and the need for accountability and oversight in their lifetime appointments.

Throughout the conversation, Mark and Corey emphasize the importance of engaging with people from different walks of life and fostering understanding and listening to different perspectives. They call for putting aside the political lens and interacting with people as individuals, highlighting the need for civics education and experiential learning to deepen our appreciation of the moral and philosophical basis behind historical events. This insightful discussion invites listeners to grapple with the complexities of the current political and cultural landscape, while holding onto hope that in the midst of chaos, something new and integral will emerge.

Note: In this discussion, we refer to a phenomenon we call “the era of dysmorphia”, which emphasizes the dissociative effects that social media can have on our identity and sense of self. In the original talk we clarified the difference between “dysphoria” and “dysmorphia”, but due to a camera malfunction, this part had to be edited out of the final video.

The basic idea here is, we can see the relationship between a) biological sex, b) gender as a social construct, and c) identity as personal expression, as three different but related aspects of self that can go through a sequence of fusion (all three are the same) to differentiation (all three are related, but different) to integration (all three are seamlessly harmonized). In the differentiation phase, individuals can sometimes experience feelings of “dysphoria”, a feeling of unease or distress from one’s felt “shape of mind” not fully corresponding to their “shape of body”, allowing them to then recalibrate and reintegrate their mental/emotional bodies with their physical bodies in a healthy way. (The fact that our culture is beginning to learn how to make these differentiations is altogether a very positive step forward, allowing individuals far more range for self-expression.)

However, sometimes this differentiation of mind, body, and cultural conditioning can be difficult to reintegrate, bringing us from a state of “differentiation” to a one of “dissociation” (all three are totally separate, or all three can be reduced to only one) which is often where feelings of severe dysmorphia can afflict individuals. We use this most severe form, “dysmorphia”, to emphasize the overall dissociative and disembodying effects that social media is having upon individuals, particularly adolescents who are already going through a number of rapid differentiations and reintegrations in their emerging identities.

Related Polarities

Here are some of the most critical polarities to consider while listening to this broadcast.

Topics include:

Trump’s Legal Woes
Trump has been accused of reimbursing Michael Cohen for payments made to Stormy Daniels, a porn star that Trump allegedly had sexual relations with, who could have potentially embarrassed Trump before the 2016 presidential election. Alvin Bragg is considering charging Trump with a felony violation of state election laws, which could result in probation. However, there is uncertainty as to whether federal law preempts state law, and the charges may be seen as a technicality rather than a serious crime.

Comparisons to the Bill Clinton Affair
The conversation compares the prosecution of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, and mentions a civil case where E.Jean Carroll sued Trump for rape and defamation. The rape allegedly happened in the 1990s, and Trump denies the allegations. The case is currently happening in Manhattan. The context discusses the tricky topic of type-type rhetoric and the difficulty of proving allegations of sexual assault from years ago.

Supporting Women
The discussion between Corey deVos and Mark Fischler touches upon the issue of supporting women and the impact of assault on one woman affecting all women, while also emphasizing the presumption of innocence. They also discuss the ongoing investigation about interference and obstruction related to the 2020 US presidential election.

Awareness of Trauma
Mark and Corey discuss the need for society to become more aware of trauma, particularly in cases of sexual abuse and rape. It highlights the challenge of remaining sensitive while also acknowledging the existence of false allegations. The speaker shares a personal experience of being falsely accused of sexual assault, emphasizing the trauma and devastation that come with such accusations and highlighting the importance of clear thinking and staying open to facts in cases like Donald Trump’s.

January 6th Capitol Insurrection
The context discusses the significance of the non-peaceful transfer of power on January 6th and its impact on American identity. The speakers argue that those who undermine democratic principles must be held accountable and the rule of law must be respected. Mark and Corey discuss the issue of holding those accountable for attempting to undermine the election, and believes there is evidence pointing towards deliberate efforts to do so.

Internal War Within GOP & Culture War in America
The context discusses the current internal war within the GOP and the intensifying culture war in America. The author notes that the developmental stages of development are pulling away from each other, potentially leading to a warm civil war. The speakers discuss their concerns about the current state of politics, culture, and economics, but also hold onto hope that in the midst of the chaos, something new and integral will emerge. They touch on the importance of reflecting on why certain approaches don’t work, and how acute problems are necessary to bring about change.

Election Interference & Legal Ramifications
One speaker cites an example of a district attorney in Georgia and the pressure on officials to change votes. A recording of President Trump pressuring Georgia’s Secretary of State to “find” 11,800 votes. Further discussion on potential legal ramifications for election interference and related crimes, before moving on to a cultural shift towards ultra MAGA conservatism in Tennessee. Lawmakers in Tennessee and Montana are facing criticism for using the word “insurrection” to justify the expulsion of Democratic lawmakers and the ban of gender affirming care. Critics argue this is part of a larger attempt by conservative movements to push their culture war agenda, and to dilute the impact of the word “insurrection”.

Political Hypocrisy & Value of Rules
Additionally, a recent vote on gun control in Tennessee has been criticized for being undemocratic and partisan. There is a history of politicians protesting on the floor of the House and not being expelled, but a recent incident involving a member being silenced for speaking out has sparked conversations about political hypocrisy and the value of rules versus multiple perspectives.

Social Media Induced Dysmorphia
The loss of dialogue and diversity in politics is a concern for Mark, who sees deliberate efforts to create super majorities in states and extreme views taking hold. He believes that without inclusivity and democracy, our democracy is at risk. Social media’s perverse incentives and sorting algorithms have created a culture of constant conflict and epistemic bubbles leading to social media induced dysmorphia, exacerbated by filters on apps like TikTok and Instagram. This dysmorphia is causing an increase in non-conventional identities.

Dysfunctional Identities within Broken Systems
The emergence of dysfunctional identities within broken systems is a concern. Dysmorphia is a serious issue, and providing gender-affirming care is often the best option for those affected, particularly in the transgendered community where the suicide rate is tragically high. Conversations need to be had about systemic causes of dysmorphia and how to best take care of those affected.

Left vs Right Approach
The left promotes full acceptance and self-expression, but this can lead to illiberal tactics. The issue is particularly complicated for adolescents. The speaker talks about the complexity of gender identity and the need for caution in making decisions around it for children. They also express concern about the impact of social media on mental health and hope for a solution through technology. Finally, they discuss the interplay between extreme positions on the issue.

The Pain Felt by Marginalized Groups
The context discusses the pain felt by marginalized groups including LGBTQ+ individuals due to worsening societal issues. It also mentions the role of social media and the need for integral solutions and exposure to different perspectives for acceptance.

The Woke Movement
The speaker expresses concern that the woke movement is creating a regression from Green to Amber, and that academic institutions may not be producing enough Green thinkers, potentially damaging progress. They also mention the “left-handed dynamic” as a possibility for the increase of woke individuals. Increased acceptance and technological advancements may be contributing to the rise in transgender identities. The “left-handed effect” suggests this trend will plateau and normalize over time.

Justice Clarence Thomas Accepting Gifts
ProPublica investigated Justice Clarence Thomas accepting gifts from a conservative billionaire. Supreme Court Justices, including Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch (recent past Supreme Court Justices on the left Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer had accepted similar gifts), have been criticized for accepting lavish gifts and trips without disclosing them. This raises concerns about the impartiality and ethics of the judiciary. The conversation discusses the potential influence of wealthy donors on Supreme Court judges, particularly in regards to Justice Clarence Thomas and his relationship with billionaire Harlan Crow. The conversation also mentions new accounting rules that would require disclosure of Thomas’ activities, but questions whether they have any real impact. The need for Justices to recuse themselves is emphasized.

Individuals with Higher Levels of Consciousness
Corey and Mark talk about how individuals with a higher level of consciousness would not go on lavish trips because they understand the implications of their actions. Examples of individuals with this level of consciousness are provided.

The Need for Accountability and Oversight
The need for more people in positions of power and politics, particularly in the judiciary, and the lack of oversight in the lifetime appointments of Supreme Court Justices is discussed. Accountability and oversight are essential to maintain democratic institutions and prevent a regression towards social entropy. Lack of accountability can lead to the erosion of stability and hard-won rights.

Civics Education as a Solution
Civics education is suggested as a solution, with an example of a trip to experience historical sites. The importance of understanding the moral and philosophical basis behind historical events is emphasized, particularly in regards to the Civil War and the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

The Need for Interaction Between Different Walks of Life
Engaging with people from different walks of life is highlighted as important for civic participation. Politics has become the primary lens through which people view the world; Corey calls for putting aside this lens and interacting with people as individuals. They also discuss a trip to Europe and meeting people from different backgrounds, emphasizing the importance of understanding and listening to different perspectives.

Inclusivity Across Developmental Stages
It is imperative for those at later developmental stages to be inclusive of those at earlier stages to fully appreciate the range of human wisdom. The speakers encourage embodying curiosity towards all beings, as it allows for more meaningful and full conversations.

Previous Episodes of Integral Justice Warrior

Transform the Police: A More Integral Approach to Law Enforcement

Transform the Police: A More Integral Approach to Law Enforcement

Mark and Corey are joined by Chris Orrey, a retired police lieutenant with over 30 years of service with the Hayward, California Police Department, to discuss the abuse and resulting death of Tyre Nichols, who was severely beaten and ultimately killed by five Memphis police officers after a routine traffic stop. What allowed this tragedy (and others like it) to take place? What sorts of personal, cultural, and institutional transformation are necessary to prevent something like this from occurring again?
Taking Justice Personally

Taking Justice Personally

Mark and Corey offer an intimate sharing of their personal stories, reflecting on some of the most formative experiences in their own lives that influenced their interest and enactment of justice. It is a tender and heartfelt conversation that we hope not only allows you to better understand their own passions and perspectives, but also invites you to reflect in a similar way on the critical fulcrums in your own life, and how these experiences continue to shape your standards of goodness, integrity, and justice.
Abortion, Freedom, and the Sanctity of Life

Abortion, Freedom, and the Sanctity of Life

Watch as Cindy Wigglesworth, Mark Fischler, and Corey deVos take a careful look at the Supreme Court’s deeply controversial decision to overrule Roe vs. Wade, and the subsequent banning of abortion access in dozens of states across the country. How does something like the sanctity of life change from one developmental stage to another? How do integral "metaphysics of wholeness" inform our views? Watch to find out.
Has the Supreme Court Lost Its Way?

Has the Supreme Court Lost Its Way?

Watch as Mark and Corey discuss the legitimacy crisis the Court is now faced with, the dangers of an “originalist” reading of the U.S. Constitution, and the failure of the left to produce a coherent legal theory to steer the Court (and the rest of the country) toward a better, more inclusive, and more stable vision of democracy.
What’s Wrong With Education (And How Can We Fix It?)

What’s Wrong With Education (And How Can We Fix It?)

Broken education produces broken people. How can integral perspectives and practices help our education systems generate more happy, healthy, and wholesome kids? Watch as Mark and Corey take a close look at the many dysfunctions, injustices, and failures we see in our education system — both within the system (how and what kids are being taught) as well as surrounding the system (access to education, funding, etc.).
What Is Integral Justice?

What Is Integral Justice?

Mark and Corey go back to basics by returning to some of the guiding principles running through the series — namely, how to enact justice in all four quadrants in order to support more equal opportunities and more equal outcomes, while reducing suffering for the greatest number of people.
Justice Breyer, Originalism, and the Engine of Enfoldment

Justice Breyer, Originalism, and the Engine of Enfoldment

Mark and Corey take a look at the life, legacy, and retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and what distinguished his judgements and legal philosophy from other Supreme Court Justices. We then examine the legal doctrine of “originalism” — the idea that our founding documents should only be interpreted according to the specific contexts and understandings of the time they were written.
Wicked Problems: Bringing Wisdom and Compassion to Immigration

Wicked Problems: Bringing Wisdom and Compassion to Immigration

Immigration matters have been viewed by many as a "wicked problem" — implying a complexity that has sets of values in tension, something societies have dealt with since the very dawn of civilization itself. Watch as Magdalena, Mark, and Corey offer their own ideas and reflect on the reasons this issue has become one of the central fault lines in the culture wars.
Afghanistan: Meeting at the Crossroads of Complexity, Chaos, and Compassion

Afghanistan: Meeting at the Crossroads of Complexity, Chaos, and Compassion

Magdalena, Mark, and Corey try to bring a bit more wisdom and compassion to the topic of America’s occupation and withdrawal from Afghanistan, while holding a space for all the complexity, chaos, and heartbreak that is flooding our awareness.
The Forgotten People: Restoring Justice for Indigenous Cultures

The Forgotten People: Restoring Justice for Indigenous Cultures

Join Mark, Corey, and special guest Magdalena Smieszek as they take a careful look at the many indignities and injustices that have been inflicted on indigenous populations in North America and around the world over the last several years, decades, and centuries.
Israel/Palestine: Where Do We Go From Here?

Israel/Palestine: Where Do We Go From Here?

Watch as Magdalena, Mark, and corey explore the long and complex history of the region, offer their own thoughts on whether Israel qualifies as an “apartheid state”, and suggest some next step solutions in order to inch ourselves closer to genuine peace, stability, and justice for the men, women, and children on all sides of this seemingly intractable conflict.
What’s Wrong With Policing in America?

What’s Wrong With Policing in America?

Why do we see so many cases of apparent police abuse being recorded so frequently, but punished so rarely? What are some possible solutions that can help create more social trust for our police organizations, and a more peaceful society for all of us? Watch as Mark and Corey take a careful look at the Derek Chauvin verdict — and at the state of policing itself in America — as they offer their own personal views and try to sort through the conflicting narratives surrounding this tragically controversial cultural fault line.
Heartbreak in Boulder: Finding Meaning in the Wake of Tragedy

Heartbreak in Boulder: Finding Meaning in the Wake of Tragedy

On March 22nd, a mass shooting took place at the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado which claimed the lives of 10 people. What follows is a heart-full conversation that invites all of us to bring more awareness to the full spectrum of emotion that is likely moving through all of us right now, a much-needed reminder that the integral heart is big enough for all of this, because it is a heart that is both utterly unbreakable, as well as always-already broken.
From Woke to Awake: An Intersectionality of Perspective

From Woke to Awake: An Intersectionality of Perspective

Mark and Corey have a rich and far-reaching discussion about our present political realities and challenges, dedicating the first half of the discussion to some of the major headlines from the last few weeks, and then exploring ways to elevate “woke culture” into a genuine “post-woke” integral sensibility.
Biden’s First Month, Trump’s Second Impeachment, and Cancelling Cancel Culture

Biden’s First Month, Trump’s Second Impeachment, and Cancelling Cancel Culture

How is the Biden Presidency going so far? Will Donald Trump be convicted in the Senate for his impeachment trial? Now that the political left has regained tentative control of our government, what do we do about “cancel culture” and other illiberal tendencies coming from the left? Watch this latest episode of Integral Justice Warrior as Mark and Corey shine a light upon these three questions.
Insurrection, Censorship, and Madness

Insurrection, Censorship, and Madness

Mark and Corey take an in-depth look at the heart-breaking events at the Capitol, offering their own full-spectrum response to this American travesty. They also discuss the response coming from corporations such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook, who are now beginning to purge their platforms of far-right voices and Q anon supporters. Is censorship ever the right thing to do? If you think you have a simple answer to the question, you might be missing something important.
Supreme Court, Systemic Racism, and Sea Monsters

Supreme Court, Systemic Racism, and Sea Monsters

Mark and Corey discuss the state of Trump’s challenges to the election results (e.g. “The Kraken”), the recent Supreme Court decision around religious liberties in the face of a pandemic, and what it says about Amy Coney Barrett’s future tenure as Supreme Court Justice, and whether Joe Biden’s plans to address racial justice are coming from healthy liberal values and methods of enforcement, or from unhealthy illiberal (woke) values and enforcement.
The Fierce Urgency of Now

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Welcome back to Integral Justice Warrior! Watch as Corey and new co-host Mark Fischler kick off a new season of IJW, exploring how the spirit of integral justice moves through us, and how it has moved through some of the most significant justice warriors throughout history.
The Breakup Episode (IJW Season 1 Review)

The Breakup Episode (IJW Season 1 Review)

Parting is such sweet sorrow! In this final episode of Diane and Corey’s first season of Integral Justice, we take a look at our past year of episodes together — the major themes we explored, the insights we gleaned, and the space we shared with our community.
Welcome to the Party! Celebrating Race as a Mutually-Shared Experience

Welcome to the Party! Celebrating Race as a Mutually-Shared Experience

Integralist Mark Palmer proposes that our conversations all need to be more imbued with joy, with play, and with celebration of our differences.

Mark Fischler

About Mark Fischler

Mark Fischler is a Professor of Criminal justice and current program coordinator for the criminal justice and criminology programs at Plymouth State University. Prior to joining the Plymouth State faculty, he practiced law, representing poor criminal defendants for the New Hampshire Public Defender’s Office. Mark has worked extensively with alternative theoretical models in law, constitutional law, and higher education, and has published on integral applications to teaching, being a lawyer, and legal theory. His focus in the classroom is ethics and criminal procedure, and is well respected for a teaching philosophy that emphasizes recognizing the humanity and dignity of each student. Professor Fischler was awarded the outstanding teaching award at his university in 2014. He currently offers a weekly Spiritual Inquiry class through Satya Yoga Studio.

Corey deVos

About Corey deVos

Corey W. deVos is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.

Notable Replies

  1. As the sense of the equality of all persons, and moral and ethical values, seems to be disappearing from the world as the spiritual apparently becomes less and less relevant, I am becoming increasingly concerned about the direction that the ‘powers that be’ in the world are heading. The WEF seems to want to be able to have complete control over all humans by hacking we “hackable animals”, and the WHO is moving ever close to complete control over all nations with its coming, and past, amendments to the International Health Regulations, and the creation of a ‘pandemic treaty’ that will remove national sovereignty. As well, both the WEF and WHO seem to be trying to eliminate individual human rights in favour of this overarching control over all of humanity.
    Their move seems to be more of a regression into a patriarchal red/amber position, and is as far as one could get from an integral stance.
    It seems to me, therefore, that hoping for some sort of ‘better outcome’ to arise will not happen unless there is significant pushback against the WEF and the WHO.

  2. Yes, I thought it might be Mark F’s thoughts, but I also could imagine some commentary by Mark G. on this particular subject matter, so thought I’d check it out. No big deal.

  3. Yeah, I am still figuring out the protocols here as we continue to experiment with various emerging tools. Maybe I’ll just start crediting Holo with some of the writing :wink:

    One protocol I will continue, though, is that whenever a human being writes a significant piece of copy, I’ll continue to credit their name to the piece.

    I am super curious to know what the idea economy will look like five years from now, as the web gets inundated with artificially generated content. Maybe human-generated ideas will be more valuable than ever, as an ever-more-scarce resource!

  4. Yeah, it just seems in this time of transition, the ethics of transparency are important.

    Big job you have on your hands with all the new stuff.

  5. Human-hand/mind-made objects : Mass/machine-made objects
    Human-made ideas : AI-made ideas

    A Devos wooden AQAL carving : A Home Depot resin garden statue
    A Wilber insight : The holding forth of GPT

    Will we yearn for human-made ideas like we yearn for hand-made crafts?


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