Thursday, March 15, 2007

Relationship and Exalted Narcissism?

Over at Integral Practice the Blog, Bill Harrison and I kinda get hammered a bit by ebuddha. Before I go any further, let me say how much I welcome this conversation, and that ebuddha's blog is a gift.

He quotes:

"There is a tremendous amount of narcissistic exaltation in all thoughts I've read so far, on integral relationship. This is true, both for myself, and in what I've read from these fellow explorers about integral relationship."

He goes on to say:

" I'm not sure that relationship should - EVER - be put into an integral box. Perhaps in thinking about theory, one can talk about integral relationships, but in the relationship itself - it "simply is". Having 'achievable goals' in an actual, real, relationship, run counter to the spirit of what works in relationship."

Why? Never, ever? Where does that absolutism come from? Is that a fact based on some study or research I haven't heard of, or is this a personal opinion based on an interior (1p) experience or observation of other experiences? Were they integral? How do we know? Are all interior experiences the same? Can one interior experience be better than another? Can one be right and another wrong?

He's right when he says that the ground of relationship is love and acceptance, but only partially, in my opinion. I think the ground is much, much bigger than that, particularly at later stages (see my earlier post).

Doesn't everything we do, including relationship, tetra-arise through the four quadrants and the AQAL model?

Why would I think of my relationship with another the same as my relationship with my child?The needs, lessons, and teachings are completely different, with a whole lot of different responsibilities....and where does the Integral Approach say you HAVE to make things work? At best, the approach gives one a better chance to succeed, but it also includes the possibility of walking away (in the most integral manner possible) should that be necessary. Integral doesn't require you to have one single, specific outcome.....nor does it guarantee an outcome.

Let's talk about divorce. How many integral couples do you know? What's the divorce rate for 2nd tier vs. 1st tier relationships? So when ebuddha talks about divorce not fulfilling our needs, he can only talk about generalities throughout the entire spectrum, and I think any conclusion regarding divorce at later stages must surely be pure speculation.

Again, apple and orange comparisons aren't going to cut it here.

And do we really accept an other no matter what? Sounds like relativism to me.

I think the important distinction here, is that relationship is practice, which consists of a multitude of other other practices. As such, doing conscious relationship is a part of an integral life, and can be approached with an integral perspective and in an integral manner. Nowhere, I think, is it more true that the map is not the territory, but an awareness of that map, and all of it's implications for saying yes to relationship, BE-ing in relationship, and yes, even knowing when it's the right time to support the dissolution of that relationship, are all part and parcel of an integral awareness in, and around, relationship.

For my part, I'm going to continue, consciously, with my partner, to try and create the archetypal model for integral relationship. Narcissistic? From what perspective?
I hope we continue this conversation, because this is all brand new stuff, and we're all learning as we go. Thank you, ebuddha, for the gift of conversation.


Anonymous said...

Hi Gary, once again: were not Sri Aurobindo and the Mother attempting to change the evolutionary 'field' of humanity with their 'goals/design' for their relationship? What would Ebuddha say to this? Keep postin' -- Chris

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure we are so far off, from each other.

I think you have to start with the supposition, which you agree with, is that a relationship has to have a basis of love and acceptance.

What really we are arguing here is, "what makes for a successful relationship"?

Once that is figured out, then you can go on to a successful integral relationship, right?

For the heck of it, I did some googling, and came across one of those trite People style articles on "what a successful relationship is".

Here is that take

I link to that, well, because I lack time right now!

Integral Relationship, would have to be a "higher" version of an already successful well-adjusted relationship, correct?