Thursday, November 30, 2006

An Apology to Ken Wilber

I've never met Ken Wilber, but I've talked to him on the phone a few times, and I consider him a friend. More than that, Ken's writing has had a major impact on my own transformation . I would not have the awareness, such as it is, I have today if I had never found Ken's writing.

I know a lot of people, all around the world, who could say the same thing about Ken and his work. I owe him a debt of gratitude far bigger than I could ever repay, and yet somehow, I doubt Ken would say I owed him anything.

So when I wrote an article a few days ago on what I'm seeing as contradictions in Ken's languaging, and yes, even some integral historical revisionism, I was, and am, unapologetic for what I described. My concern for revisionism being used by someone I love is colored by the repulsive revisionist tactics I've seen the present U.S. adminstration use. That there are apparently problems at I-I is obvious: We all have them, including me, and the organizations I work with, some of them my doing. I remain concerned about what I described in that blog: for Ken, and us all.

So where's the apology in all this?

My apology is to Ken for the graphic I created for the article, that has now been pulled. As a former newspaper editorial cartoonist, I used extreme graphics and images to make a point. The image I used was, I think, cruel and unecessary to make my point.

Ken, I apologize for the graphic.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Transcending the Ego

I got my ass kicked by my bloated ego this week. It reared it's ugly head and went after someone else's bloated ego, and almost caused a problem that could have torn apart some really important work. I finally refused to play anymore, and found a way to move in a different direction, but there will probably have to be some serious repair work somewhere down the road if I'm to have any kind of relationship with them.

All of this got me thinking more about ego. Our egos can be our friend or they can be our enemy. I speak of ego as if it were another, but we have met the enemy, and he is us. I am my ego, and my ego is me. Ego is one of the fiercest of all the warriors and will fight to the death when attacked.

The trick, I think, isn't getting rid of, or squelching, the ego, it's learning to work with it in healthy, as opposed to pathological, ways. Ego reality and agenda are very strong, and mine was in serious shadow, and, fortunately, I'm doing enough shadow work (3-2-1 Shadow Work Process, private therapy) to know my shadow when I don't see it. It may take me a little while, but I can recognize when I go into "ego mode," and then I know what I need to do to let go.

I'm working on seeing at the moment it arises.

This got me thinking about how ego affects our transformation and structure stages. Can someone who's at higher levels of development have a huge ego? Obviously, yes. But if they allow that ego to be the boss, then while they may be still be operating from a higher stage, it's not in a healthy way.....and if lower stages of development have unhealthy aspects, why wouldn't higher stages, as well? Ken Wilber reminds us that there is nothing linear about overall development.

An unhealthy, or even pathogical, display of ego is in the self-system, and has failed to integrate, caught up in infantile wishes and never satisfactorily moves past earlier stages, and can show up as fixation: "I want to be right."

Ego is a basic indredient of our essential make up. From time to time it will reign supreme anyway, regardless of any attempts to diffuse its tryanny. When you are lit up like a hundred watt lightbulb, don't deny it. Smile and tell the truth about it.

Digitally enhanced photo by Gary Stamper

Monday, November 27, 2006

HUH?

"Integral Institute is now searching for a CEO, which will be the first time we have officially filled the office of CEO since our inception. In other words, this is the chance to be the first CEO in the history of the first truly integral organization in history." (source)

What happened to Steve Frazee, and isn't he still listed as the CEO of Integral Institute on this page on Integral Institute's website as of this writing? First, ITP became ILP in a bit of revisionist history in Integral Spirituality (see pg 201, IS, and A Theory of Everything), and now this? Wha 'sup?

So, in the last couple of weeks, Gail Taylor, Community Director, and Steve Frazee, the CEO, have both resigned from I-I. What's going on, there? I constantly hear, "you have no idea what's going on at I-I." Duh, you think? I wonder how that happens?

And how did I-I go from not being second tier to a truly integral organization within a year? Am I mistaken (possibly), but wasn't I-I listed as Turquoise in the Culture by Altitude column of the September issue of Holons? Not anymore.

I can only imagine how difficult it must be at I-I at this time, but let me be perfectly clear: I-I is coming under fire from a lot of places, and I'm concerned that this stuff just gives critics more ammunition.

What's an Amber person to believe, anymore?

Digital Pinnochio by Gary Stamper

A Reality Check for Integral Salons

From Ken Wilber's blog:

"We have Integral University just beginning; we have Integral Seminars and Integral Training; we have twenty-three Integral Centers—from Integral Medicine to Integral Business to Integral Sustainability to Integral Politics to Integral Education to Integral Law to Integral Art to Integral Consciousness Studies; we have Integral Coaching and Consulting, just beginning; we have Integral Spiritual Center, with thirty of the world’s absolutely finest spiritual teachers, coming together semiannually to change the very face of religion itself; we have Integral Naked expanding into new markets, including Hollywood and beyond; to name a few. All of these will come together in the first Annual Integral Conference. And we have just created our membership magazine, The Integralist: A Journal of Both/And, to give expression to all of that.

What's missing here? Nothing. There is more to integral emergence than meets the eye.

"Integral Cognition"

A great post from David Jon on Zaadz. Thanks to ebuddha for pointing it out.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Carrying Water

There is a Zen saying, "Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water." What’s the difference? The tasks are the same. The need is the same. What about the frame of mind? Who is chopping? Who is carrying water?

There have been some major moves forward this week in creating an International Integral Salon Organization, and in creating a relationship between some of the salons that have already solidly emerged and Integral Institute. The Salon leadership Council, a self-selected group of experienced salon leaders from around the world, is now beginning the process of inviting some other "mega" salons, and their leaders, to join us in what can no longer be stopped.

The salons are roaring, their voices uniting, and these voices are being heard and are making a difference in their communities. Together, we can make a difference in the world.

As a co-founder of one of these mega-salons, It has been my privilege and honor to serve in the development of our local salon, and I consider it my highest cause and purpose to play a role in the development of an international organization of salons.

Venita, Tom, Jake, and Elle, all played significant roles in helping create the container in which all of this arises. Now, as we attempt to partner with Integral Institute, we each carry the container which holds the water.......and we must remain mindful that while the container is important, it's the water that counts.

It's time for us all to work together and carry water.

Digital Image by Gary Stamper

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Holacratic Proposal to Integral Institute about Integral Salons

This week, the London, Seattle, NY, and Sydney Integral Salons got to sit down with Integral Institute and talk about salon organization. Facilitated by Brian Robertson, the salons presented two almost identical proposals to I-I on how to more effectively communicate and partner with each other.

I think one of the reasons Brian was brought in to facilitate was because SeattleIntegral offered a Holacratic Proposal. Holacracy is the system I-I, and SeattleIntegral, are using as governing principles, and holacratic proposals must be considered by the governing organization. I also believe, to their credit, I-I was ready and eager to listen to this growing community of salons that have tetra-emerged on their own.

In this conference call it was proposed, and accepted, by the Salon Leadership Council and I-I, that the proposals be forwarded to I-I's leadership for their approval.

This could well be the start of an entirely new relationship between salons and Integral Institute. It is critcal that this relationship be a partnership.

Seattles' proposal starts out:

"A proposal from the Integral Salon Leaders Council, wherein we provide a new direction, and a shared vision for relationship and support between integral salons, what Ken calls “crucibles of consciousness struggling to be born,” and Integral Institute. "

To read the entire proposal, go here.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

New Salons "Discovered?"

I would have posted this as a comment on Ken's blog, but there doesn't seem to be a place to do that, so I'm responding to a blog by Clint (Fuhs) on Integrale Perspecktiven.
I'm amazed that, 4 years down the road of heavy involvement with Integral salons and the integral salon communities, that I was totally unaware of this huge integral salon of about 200 people in Europe, called Integrales Forum. In addition, I just found out last night that there's also a salon in Spain of about 200 people, as well. How could we be so unaware of what each other is doing and have missed these salons?

Video here.

Happy Integratefullness Day!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful EthnoCentric holiday. It embodies everything good about traditional amber (Blue in SDi terms) and will, no doubt, continue to serve the mainstream (amber to orange) populace for generations to come.

Many of us will gather 'round our family tables for traditional meals and time, with parents, siblings, husbands, wives, significant others, children, friends, extended family members, and more...and, yet...what about those of us who find ourselves looking at the world, and our universe, through more complex lenses? "Thanksgiving," my personal favorite holiday, as special as it is, seems, well....partial.

First, Thanksgiving is pretty much a national holiday, rising up out of the first North American settlers' celebration of being in a new country. Tres' EthnoCentic! But, the idea behind Thanksgiving is bigger than that. It's all about gratitude.

So, in a larger context, with a larger purpose, I'd like to propose that we start thinking about a day of gratitude that could be shared with the entire world, separate from location, ethnocentricity, race, creed, politics, religion, level of development, whatever, and that we consider calling this day of gratitude "Integratefullness Day," or Gratitude Day: a combination of an integral perspective, gratitude, and the fullness from which it arises.

Integratefullness = Integrate + Grateful + Fullness.

It's probably not for everyone, but it doesn't mean we can't build an awareness around it and carry it in our hearts.

Today, and every day, I am grateful to so many for so much.

First, my immediate family, my Mom and Dad, my sister Sooz, and my unbelievably loving daughters, Morgan and Tanya, their husbands, and my three grandkids (with another on the way!!!), who I love more than words can ever say......
Anyaa.......
Tom, Venita, Jake, Elle, Anita, Blaine, Nina, and new Core group members Susan and Chris: What we are building together!....
Everyone at SeattleIntegral: What a rich, diverse, and wonderful group you are.....
Ken, for kicking me in the butt and changing my life.....
Everyone at Integral Institute for what you're doing......
An emerging consciousness.....
The three hundred or so people who visit this blog every week, reading, even when I struggle to find my voice.....

....and for this huge, unbound, and limitless heart space I find myself holding and sharing.....even if you piss me off (smile...), I still hold a place in there for you.

Happy Integratefullness Day!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A New Day For Integral Salons

An account of the conversation between Integral Institute and Integral Salon Leaders from all over the world that might change the course of how we interact together.

Video here.

I promise these will get better, and I also promise I won't stop writing.

There is a problem with my password verification between YouTube and the recently purchased "Blogger" so you'll have to follow the link.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Positive Aspects of Anger, Part 2

I am often so frustrated at Integral Institutes' seemingly inability to see some things that seem so obvious to me. Case in point, creating a space where integral salons can come together, learn from one another (and learn from the many gifts of Integral Institute), and continue the evolutionary unfolding of new and existing salons.

This is anger, pure and simple, born out of frustration of I-I not seeming to learn from it's mistakes, and not learning from those who have actually gone, and continue to go, before: successful integral salons.

As I promised in my original post on anger, this is the second post on how anger can be an inspiration, and become a way for us to actually increase our awareness around the things that make us angry. In particular, this is about how my anger may result in what I hope will be a productive and, hopefully, evolutionary suggestion on how I-I relates to salons.

I've written a proposal called "A Holacratic Proposal to Integral Institute." In this proposal I'm calling for a new direction and a shared vision for relationship and support between integral salons, what Ken calls "crucibles of consciousness struggling to be born," and Integral Institute.

The problem to date, in my opinion, is that I-I has been using a "top-down" approach in creating a salon organization without regard to what is already emerging. While a "top-down" approach can work with strategies of information processing, this is not possible with organic systems, such as integral salons.

While I-I has been struggling with their organization, we have been struggling with ours. Cities like Seattle, New York, London, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Sydney, Frankfurt, and others, already have robust salons well along the way in their evolution.

Tomorrow evening, salon leaders from all over the world, will be discussing this proposal, and a similar one from iNYCS, with leaders from Integral Institute to see if we can come to an agreement on how to do this. It's the first time Integral Institute has sat down with us to, hopefully, ask us what we want.We want to be listened to.

Anything else just pisses me off.

I-I logo representation and iSalons logo by gary Stamper


Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Brief Laugh about Irony and anger...I think....

I'm stting here absolutely amazed.... I write a couple of blogs about anger, and suddenly Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity start showing up in my Google AdSense listings at the top (they seem to be gone several hours later). AdSense picks up on your subject matter and provides relative linking.......lol!

I know......this is not second tier.... but sometimes it's all about transcend and include, baby!


Ahhhh.... that little piece of being pissed off felt really good!

"Transcend this" image by Gary Stamper available as a bumper sticker here

Postive Aspects of Anger, Part 1

This blog is, and always has been, a journal first, and a blog second. It's mostly about trying to figure out how to live a life, my life, in an integral manner. In the previous post, I promised to give some examples of how anger can be used in a positive way. This first personal example of anger acting in a positive way is related to an earlier post. I got quite a lot of comments on that post, and comments that I value, so I'm taking the position that I was being as authentic, and genuine, in that post as am capable of being at my current level of development. I suggest you go back and read it it before continuing.

(pause....)

Now that you've refreshed your memory on that post, I can continue this story. I was contacted again by this old girlfriend, with the suggstion that we get together. Had I completely let go of those old feelings? Nope! But....I was able to look at it without attachment, and without expectations, and still....This was a person who had meant something deep to me at one time.

We set up a time to meet.

Long story short, she backed out at the last minute (a familiar pattern) and over three almost incoherent emails, demonstrated her inability to relate to me in any meaningful manner, whatsover.

Long story short, again: I was angry, but not because she had cancelled, but rather, that I had allowed myself to get pulled into these familiar patterns, once again. I was also sad for her because she was either unable or unwilling to see what was going on, or worse, was a conscious participant in this game.

This time, I emailed her telling her that I only wanted people (friends, lovers, whatever) in my life who are able to come from an authentic place, and that I wasn't gong to allow this behavior in my life. I received one more email from her and I haven't, and won't, respond.

The point is, that I used my anger to break off a negative aspect in my life, which then became a postive aspect through my action. My anger, and my compassion for her, allowed me to choose not to continue in this pathological behavior, and made it possible for me to make that conscious decision to walk away.

I am sad for her, but I feel good about my choice.

A New Perspective on Anger

I just finished my second therapy session last night. You're probably thinking, "Gary, you're obviously nuts, why would you be in therapy?" The reason I'm there is because I'm being completely serious, and sincere, about my evolving consciousness, and private therapy is one more way to look at the things about me I'm not seeing. It's part of my intention to try to live and embody an integral life....not a lifestyle, but an integral life.

Wilber sez that our shadows are the single most important thing about us inhibiting our growth and transformation. So, if I'm to be truly committed to consciously facilitating my own evolution, I have no choice but to try and reveal, and face, my shadows.

BIG MIND has a strong shadow component that allows us to safely confront our shadows by asking the various archetypes within us for permission to confront these shadow elements, and to let go of them. I can't recommend this process strongly enough. This is a process that has the power to change the world. Get to a seminar, get a DVD, the ILP Home study Kit (Big Mind is a module within it), or download it off Integral Naked, but get it.

Back to my therapist: He asked what I get a angry about , and, of course, I replied, I don't get angry (Hoo-boy, some shadow there!). Turns out we meant different things. When I think of anger, I think about the person who blows up with their anger, who completely loses it, loses control, strikes out, breaks things, or people. It's ugly, it's explosive, and it's violent. We all know people who do that. That's not me! I don't act like that!

But I do get pissed-off!

Using that definition, I don't get angry. I was viewing anger as an attack, rather than an attempt at contact. My therapist has correctly pointed out that anger is attached to aliveness and creativity, and that to repress it is to deaden those areas of ourselves. But I've discovered I'm not deadening or supressing my anger, I'm just calling it "being pissed-off."

I'm also seeing my anger is showing up as a way of saying, "I don't want any barriers between us," rather than an expression of wanting to hurt someone, and in that sense, my anger is healthy. It is healthy because it inspires a desire to want to change things rather than to break or destroy them.

Our anger can be a call for our passions to "come alive" with conscious awareness, energy, and implementation, and can give birth to new ways of looking at how to live, and love, in meaningful, productive, and sacred ways. Many of us have the capacity to choose that path as a result of the things that anger us.

I'm going to give a couple of examples of how anger can do that over one or two upcoming posts. I know when I can have an impact on the things that make me angry, and when I can't. When I can't, I can recognize and accept my anger, knowing I can't change things, and be willing to make a conscious decision to walk away. letting go of my anger. I also know when I might be able to make a meaningful difference, and harvest my anger to a useful, higher purpose, letting my anger, and my passion, drive me to effect those changes.

For the video blog on this subject, click here

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why No ILP or ITP?

At our ITP/ILP meeting (Integral Transformative Practice and Integral Life Practice) last night, we had about 10 people attend. Our reservation for a room had been messed up, so we retired to a small meeting room to meditate and dialogue.

SeattleIntegral, the second-largest integral salon in the world (I know....you've heard it before...), has hit a milestone of 150 members this week, and yet, we only have 10 people show up for the ITP/ILP group.

I've been pondering why, out of a group this large, we only have 10-12 members show up on a regular basis. Does this mean that only a small group of people actually have an ITP/ILP? Well, I think it depends on how you define those practices. By Integral Institute's current measurement, the ILP Home Study Kit is the embodiement of the highest practive available anywhere on the planet.*

Can you truly claim to live an integral life, or embody integral, if you're not doing Integral practices that touch on each quadrant? If, like me, you favor one quadrant, and most people do, there's a tendency to remain "stuck" in the safety of that quadrant. One of the things an integral practice should do, is balance you out. It doesn't mean you have to be a superb weightlifter (upper right quadrant activity) for example, but that you're doing something in that quadrant to balance out the tendency to be too much in your head (okay, I gave away my favorite quadrant).

Now, in fairness, we have several other smaller sub-groups of SeattleIntegral that meet specific needs: Couple of study groups, and spiritual, leadership, psychology, and Meetup. groups....but....read what Ken Wilber says in Integral Spirituality, "The Myth of the Given Lives On," appendix III, page 300:

"Not supplementing is no longer something that is without its effects and consequences. Not supplementing - not making one's spiritual practice into an integral spiritual practice - can slowly kill you, more or less literally, or worse: figuratively, because what kills you is the the soul struggling to be reborn into today's integral age, struggling to be born into it's own highest estate of Freedom and Fullness,** struggling to acknoweldge the the Spirit that that embraces the the entire Kosmos whole, with love and charity, valor and compassion, care and consciousness, interiority and identity, radiance and luminosity, ecstacy and clarity, all at once, and once and for all."

What Wilber is talking about, spirit, could easily be any other, and all other, practices.....and without balancing those practices, heart, mind, body, and spirit, you have to stop and ask yourself, "is it integral, or am I not quite there, yet?

*That's too bad, because , as good as it is, and it is very, very good, it is by definition, a solitary practice. i.e., "Home Study Kit." Murphy and Leonard's ITP is, at this point, and in my opinion, more integral than the I-I's ILP. Why? Because ITP does include group practices. There's an entire chapter called "The Magic of Community," something sorely lacking in the ILP Home Study Kit.....so far. It's not that the ILP creators aren't aware of the lower left community aspect, so it's hard to understand why they left the lower right structures out. I think they may have just run out of time. New ILP study groups, like SeattleIntegral, are exploring the community aspects of an ILP.

**"Freedom and Fullness" are the elements of enlightenment: see pg 243, Integral Spirituality, Integral Post-Metaphysics.

Logo image by Gary Stamper

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Poem I Can Finally Let Go Of....

I still think of you often,
but it doesn't hurt anymore....
except for that dull ache
that just won't seem
to go away.
No, it doesn't hurt anymore....
even when the radio plays
"Your Body Is A Wonderland."
My Buddha nature
has accepted
and transcended....
I am unattached....
still.....
But it doesn't hurt anymore
Is my mantra.
I repeat it over
and over....
and over ....
Breathe.....

Saturday, November 11, 2006

BG MIND - The Awakening of Everyone

The Awakening of Everyone

Today I'll be immersed in 6 hours of BIG MIND with Genpo Roshi sponsored by SeattleIntegral. One of the great things about being producing these events is that I get to see people that I might not ordinarily have an oppoetunity to do so. We have over 70 people registered for the event, and I get to introduce him. Life is good.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More on "Where Do You Stand On God?"

I've come to realize that there's an even more serious problem in "The New Atheism" approach to denying a Mythic God (The original post is here) that causes some real damage: The problem is that this new atheism doesn't only deny a mythic God, something that higher levels of spiritual consciousness wouldn't deny, but that this new atheism also denies any sort of spiritual approach altogether.

Quoting Ken Wilber in Integral Spirituality, page 193, while "the religious myths simply are not empirically real....one must move from myth to reason to trans-reason in order to plumb the depths of spiritual realities. That is, one must allow the line of of spiritual intelligence to continue its growth from amber into higher levels, and, conversely, forcing the myths to remain as they are is the surest way to keep mythic believers frozen at that level and slip into a pernicious Level/Line Fallacy."

He continues, "But in order for the higher levels in the spiritual line to be recognized and allowed, the spiritual line itself needs to be recognized and honored."

In other words, because of the New Atheists' refusal to recognize stage/structure states of development, they are also committing a Level/Lines Fallacy, trapping all who might want to reach for higher levels of spirituality at the mythic level. They fail to realize that the human heart senses domains of existence that science can never define, explain, or fill.

Ironically, proponents of Intelligent Design, trying to have science prove mythic-level poetry, makes them guilty of the LLF as well, and they become the unwitting partners of the New Athiests.

Cartoon by Gary Larsen

Monday, November 06, 2006

An Integral Look at First-Tier Politics

Normally, I wouldn't pick on first tier perspectives precisely because they are first tier, but I'm going to make an exception here because a very good friend of mine claims to be an Integral Conservative.

I don't even know what that means, and he hasn't done a good job of defining it. Is an integral conservative an integrally informed person with conservative leanings? Hell, I'm that! I'm fiscally conservative and socially liberal. "Let's see...where are those weapons of mass destruction? Not under here...."...
he can't be a conservative about Integral. That would mean he's trying to conserve an integral approach that is still emerging, so there's nothing to conserve, yet.

The very term, Integral Conservative, is an integral oxymoron. The very idea of being "conservative," or liberal, for that matter, stems from a particular quadrant and a developmental level (IMHO). A self view of being a conservative stems from an interior view of the upper left quadrant (I could go on about this, and mercifully won't), and indicates a typology stemming from that quadrant, and cannot, therefore, be integral by itself.

But enough about setting the stage. In a post by my friend called Get Real, America, he claims that the failures, or inaction, of Republicans over last 6 years can de solved by electing more Republicans. The problem here is obvious: never accept responsibility for anything. Let's see....you literally control all three of the branches of government, and still can't get anything done?

In another post, called The March of Educational Folly, he says, "This year the liberals have done a masterful job building a narrative about the Bush folly in Iraq. Maybe it will get them control of Congress on Tuesday." Again, this is all about shifting blame and responsibility. "It's not my fault," is the getting-old-real-quick-ploy this adminstration uses over and over again. The problem with this statement is that liberals aren't much better than conservatives, and certainly cannot lay claim to doing anything "masterfully." Quite the contrary, they have bungled everything, including their own message.

Again, most conservatives, and my friend, accept no responsibility for any of this. An exception is Richard Perle, famed neo-con and co-author of the Iraq War plan, who just said, "this administration is a dysfunctional disaster." Add to that the new issue of The American Conservative, that asks, "Who killed Conservatism?" This is not a rant against conservatives. Quite the contrary, it is a plea for the return of conservatism in all its glory.

Conservatives (and liberals for their complicity) have only themselves to blame for the failed and tragic actions of this administration. The Plan For New American Century is a monumental failure....it just doesn't work!
My friend goes on to say, "But it is liberal follies, not Bush follies, that really threaten us."

I'm not going to argue this point, because the response is clear enough to anyone who is interested in reading this blog. What I will add, is that, according to my friend, everything is the fault of liberals, so I suggest that his worldview doesn't allow him to see any further than his developmental ideologies and altitude, and that is not an integral perspective.

So what is an Integral Conservative? Well, I posit it will take at least 50 years before any aspect of integral could be considered conservative, and then only by those would oppose new integral concepts in favor of existing concepts, and who would wish to preserve the status quo....whatever that might eventually be, and by that act alone, would cease to be integral.

What I'm left with is that, today, an Integral Conservative is a person who cognitively gets some of this stuff, but cannot possibly embody it. From my friends writings, I can't even accuse him of using integral concepts to forward his own first tier causes. It just isn't there. He sees the only thing he can see.

For more reading on the concept of Integral Conservatism:
Integral Options
Integral Visioning
Integral Multiplex

Friday, November 03, 2006

Where Do You Stand on God?

I've done some more thinking about this post from an integral perspective and have added some edits below. They are in blue, just like this.

Holons, Integral Institute's new monthly newsletter, is broken down in a really interesting way: Articles are listed by quadrants, altitude, and culture (althought the "culture" part is almost exclusively western, particularly American...I'm sure it will get more integral as time goes by). All in all, it's a great first step in providing second tier perspectives on a wide variety of subjects.

The section on "culture by altitude" particularly caught my attention, largely due to Sam Harris' new book, "Letter to a Christian Nation," and it's relegation to an orange altitude. One of the problems I see with the Holons quote is that there is just a short paragraph of a pop-up blurb that claims that Harris has a "kind of violence in his rational reductionism, which doesn't get resolved until trans-rational and integral stages," without explaining why. The only link takes you directly to the Random House website which is basically a commercial for the book. In my humble opinion, this is less than satisfying. I want to know why the editors have taken this position, not just that they have.

Much more richness on this subject is contained in the November issue of Wired magazine, in an article entitled, "The New Atheism," by Gary Wolf. This article, featuring inteviews with Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), Sam Harris (The End of Faith), and Daniel Dennet (Breaking The Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon)...., is described thusly: "A band of intellectual brothers is mounting a crusade against belief in God. Are they winning converts, or merely preaching to the choir? These three, a "holy trinity of rationalism," eventually call us out to join them in an uncompromising (key word) war against faith. This is the mean orange meme, a double irony in that Dawkins coined the word "meme," and that this is extremism in opposition to extremism: sort of a "fundamentalist" rationalism.

All of these guys are partially right, and when you look at a lot of religion over the centuries, and even today, maybe a lot right. Still today, a lot of damage and cruelty is done in many of its forms, from the Catholic Church's stand on birth control to Islamic suicide bombers to the religious right in America (just think stem cell research), and even fundamentalist patriarchical Buddhism. These are not problems just for the New Atheists, but for humankind in terms of untold suffering, but also problems for people with a more evolved spirituality. It's still only partially right.

The point I want to make is that rejection of extreme fundamentalism shouldn't, and doesn't, logically lead to atheism.

What Dennett, Harris, and Hawkins don't get, or at least take into consideration, is the concept of an evolving God along with evolving structure-states and levels of development, which, quite simply, solves their problem by giving them someplace to go. Yes, that's right.....the conveyor belt from Integral Spirituality. What I don't get, is (these are smart guys....a lot smarter than I am) why don't they get it? Same answer....structure/stages (Okay... I get it).

....Spirituality......not just for religion anymore........

Quoting author Wolf, "The New Atheists have castigated fundamentalism and branded even the mildest religious liberals as enablers of a vengeful mob. Everybody who does not join them is an ally of the Taliban. But, so far, their provocation has failed to take hold. Given all the religious trauma in the world, I take this as good news. Even those of us who sympathize intellectually have good reasons to wish that the New Atheists continue to seem absurd. If we reject their polemics, if we continue to have respectful conversations even about things we find ridiculous, this doesn't necessarily mean we've lost our convictions or our sanity. It simply reflects our deepest, democratic values. Or, you might say, our bedrock faith: the faith that no matter how confident we are in our beliefs, there's always a chance we could turn out to be wrong."

That's green-emergent-to-teal speaking, but it can be taken a lot further. Just as slavery, once deemed okay by religion, was abolished, we have a lot of work to do. Better than throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Now that's depth.

Link: http://www.kenwilber.com/blog/trackback/191