Monday, June 12, 2006

What we write, is how we are.....

I'm really late in posting this, but I've been a little busy! If you're one of the few integrally informed people who haven't read Ken's blog, heard or read the uproar and the responses in the blogosphere, and then his explanation, you should do it now. Otherwise you won't understand what the hell I'm talkin' about.

I was not one of the 200, or so, people who were asked what they thought about the blog before it was published, and I don't have a problem with that. However, had I been asked, I would have fallen in the 30% that thought it was over the top.

I was not offended by the original post. I was, however, disappointed by the explanation, as it seemed to be a little too clever, too cute, and slightly manipulative. But hey! That's just an opinion, and I don't take that too seriously, either!

It's not the criticism of the critics. Ken's responses to those critics is perfectly valid. I've been to a lot of the "anti-Wilber" sites, and while there is occasionally a good point worth pursuing, most of the criticism is wrapped up in narcissism of the worst kind.

However, it's the "how" the message that was delivered is bothersome to me. Oh, I know, the point is "how" it was delivered is supposed to be irrelevant, and I'm to examine why it might bother me, providing an opportunity for self-reflection and growth. So what I'm seeing for myself is that I am uncomfortable about the "how," and here's a couple of reasons why:

  • It's not the way I would have handled it. Anyone who has been around integral very long knows that even people at the same stages can have differing perspectives. This is partly cultural, and I'm not particularly fond of the "suck my dick" language, but I recognize my aversion for what it is, and it's clearly not shadow. The point is, you can disagree with the delivery without having shadow elements. If someone says the disagreement requires introspection and shadow work, they are being shallow, and, well......partial. Maybe it does...maybe it doesn't! It is up to the individual to take responsibility for this, but to say disagreement constitutes a need for shadow work?
  • It will be misinterpreted by the very people it's aimed at as permission to act in kind, and the level of discourse will not benefit. The same people who used "skillful means" as a weapon to silence their critics may now think they have tacit permission to go off on others, claiming a higher purpose.
  • Some are saying the the blog, and now the response, is aimed at particular audiences. It has also created what appears to be a certain smugness from some who seem to be saying, "I get it, I'm second-tier, and here's your opportunity to be as advanced as I am." It seems prudent to point out that narcissistic tendencies aren't just limited to green (transcended and included), and it might be worthwhile for some to closely look at if, and why, they might have this smugness.
It's been said that the pathologies of second-tier have yet to manifest, but when they they do, they will carry more compexity, and create even bigger problems than we have today, and that, eventually, the path to solving those problems will push us into even greater levels of complex thinking.

I appreciate what Ken was trying to do, here, hell, he's profoundly changed my life, but my personal opinion is that it was not the best way to approach this. My closing thought is to urge caution and introspection: If this was a clever test, what makes you think it's over? What makes you think that what we're doing right now, in this moment, and in the moments to come, how we've responded, how we will respond, isn't part of a larger test?

"Things are not as they seem. Nor are they otherwise." -- from the Lankavatara Sutra

"Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer." -- Mark Twain

(thanks for the quotes, Jake!)


kari said...

I'm not sure why I am commenting on this...

Gary said:
"But hey! That's just an opinion, and I don't take that too seriously, either!"

This is really how I try live every minute, Gary!! Good point.

The original post didn't bother me either really, and yeah, I'm already examining limiting beliefs and blocked energy. Will this series of exchanges help? Possibly. Would it have helped no matter what he wrote? Probably. Will it help the people who aren't already in some sort of exploration? We shall see. Let's hope so...

I may read all this again (mainly because I have immense amounts of "free-time") to get a sense of what the hell just went down, but I wonder - was the blog concerned with the health of all the levels? Or just 2nd tier? How helpful is that? Possibly very helpful; I have no idea. I tend to be an optimist about these things.

Gary you are truly a sensitive person - please keep it up. :)

I have questions, none of which are very important:
Why do some people need a test? Are those really orange people? Why don't we watch what we say and think every moment for the sake of self/all (depending on your perspective)?

I don't claim to know much about anything, and maybe this is the weak willed soft spoken new agey compassion coming out, but sometimes less is more.

And I don't take your opinion too seriously, or Ken's, or anyone's if possible.;-)

Gary Stamper said...

LOL! Knowing not to take my opinions too seriously is perhaps one of the wisest comments I've read in the past few days! Thanks for being here, Kari!

John Vajra Clifford said...

Hi Gary,

I appreciate your perspective and especially the valid question of whose shadows are in play here. I posted a longer repsonse on Seattle Integral email list.

Zen Unbound said...

We all come in a cultural container, many of the elements of which are arbitrary. This has little to do with spiritual growth, I think -- though eventually being radically accepting does

I think your suggestion is likely to be right: the test ain't over. But being made a lab rat is not OK. I think that authenticity surely has whollop and juice and violating our expectation of authenticity disrupts trust.

Also, by having insiders to the test and lab-rat outsiders an "US and THEM" situation is necessarly created. Who is going to assess this test? It there any openness to the possiblity that it failed? Or, because it was developed by Ken does that necessarily mean that his "piece of art" brought people's shadows or character flaws in sharp relief and that, perhaps, something meaningful was learned?

Gary Stamper said...

I find the thought of unwittingly being made a lab rat unsettling, as well. "because it was developed by Ken does that necessarily mean that his "piece of art" brought people's shadows or character flaws in sharp relief and that, perhaps, something meaningful was learned?" is also a great observation. I'm concerned that we're stepping in the dog(ma) poop....okay.....Shit!!