There's nothing in that view that says to me I automatically must now think that Emptiness is Masculine and Form is Feminine. The two aren't necessarily bound together in my view. I would disagree with that assessment but at least it strikes me as honest. But to reduce what I've said to the idea of miming is absurd.
My piece argued as a matter of skillful means that I thought when you added up the various points--namely that it was still possible to experientially ground in the underlying truths of these teachings, that our contemporary society is really messed up around sex and can't get over most of its conditioning, and therefore it's probably not best to lead right out the gates with this stuff, that it would be possible to use alternate metaphors which is what language is after all , then I thought the balance of that weighted overall against the teaching.
Others weigh the evidence differently. Or weigh different evidence. But this whole meme your pushing that somehow it's deconstructive and overly worried about sensitivities and not reconstructive in some fashion is from my angle pure nonsense. That's who it goes. Nevertheless, as you might guess, I still find your conclusion problematic even as even you say now it's a matter of "skillful means" and "weighted evidence" which leads you to categorical judgments which cut across all boundaries of context, which I don't think is the case.
Skillful means and weighted evidence lead to provisional, context-bound judgments, which you eschew in favor of universalizing admonitions. Without going into huge detail -- this is really a sit-down, coffee shop kind of discussion -- there is a reason I didn't put much stock in your point about "grounding ourselves in the experience. Given your essay and comment above, it seems clear to me that it is the autonomous, differentiated egoic self that you are speaking about that is using introspection to reflect on experience. It is saying, "I take a breath, I encounter receptivity.
It is by taking a systematic view of reality as a whole that one comes to a view like Wilber did in SES or I did in SG which is "The best story I can tell about reality, however circumscribed by my own perspective as it necessarily must be, is that there are four or X overarching general principles underlying all evolutionary processes, so logically these principles must inhere in me as well -- two are well-described by the concepts of agency and communion, or transcendence and receptivity, or Yang and Yin, and these are like masculine and feminine.
Looking within, I find all of these within me, however psychologically, culturally, and sociologically influenced they are. I think of it as the best indicator of the move from first-tier to second-tier, on the rare occasions I use that tier model at all. Once one's cognition is working within a systematic frame of reference, then the observation about breath and receptivity can be located relative to terms such as "receptivity" and "femininity" without threat to the ego, because it's a more trans-personal or impersonal observation to begin with.
The self becomes closer to the Self. So that is just background context for why your expressed views on this particular topic are, in my judgment, not fully integral. Partly integral, part not. We all have a mix of different influences within us, and different views and ways of being that are complexly defined. It would be like a badge of honor to someone like that. I know you care. This is not a trivial matter as you're a highly respected blogger in this thought space.
If your framework for talking about gender and sexuality is limited to highly autonomous egoic introspection coupled with a high degree of sensivity to PC concerns see the quotes I pulled directly from your essay regarding your desire to avoid terms that are emotionally "loaded" and which "immediately triggers all kinds of reactions" as "controversial," then it's capped developmentally in a basically postmodern frame. Personally I think there are few better ways for Integral perspectives to enter the mainstream discourse than through a discussion of the spiritual practice of deep intimate relationships.
Relationships are the dominant spiritual practice of most people today, not Vipassana or centering prayer or even yoga. I've already said my piece about Deida's model being overly simple for the contexts that most interest me. I even think my model in SG is too simple for some of the contexts which now interest me.
But there are other models and possibilities to innovate more models, and teachers sophisticated enough to use them skillfully with a full acknowledgment of their limits, and with many many caveats. People are hungry for this sort of insight or teaching. People are tired of the postmodern reticence to own masculinity and femininity as positive, affirmative things worth talking about and exploring in a mutual adventure of love or -- as I argue in SG -- homophilia and heterophilia as positive, affirmative things worth talking about and living.
If one cuts off Integral at the knees by poo-pooing all talk of the masculine and the feminine, however carefully and skillfully done, and disseminate this view as authentically Integral, then I think this could do harm. It isn't occupying integral, it's occupying a space criticizing integral from a postmodern frame.
All to avoid entering "controversy," and under what I think is arguably a fig leaf of avoiding "sloppy thinking. I know that is not your intention. But I really thought you definitely were, at least until what you wrote in paragraph 11 of your comment above, which I take as a hopeful sign that at the very least if many integralists ignore your advice and teach masculine and feminine anyway you won't besmirch them.
Not sure how that fits in with your "meh, bah! Finally, I hear your sincerity when you say, "Our contemporary society is really messed up around sex and can't get over most of its conditioning, and therefore it's probably not best to lead right out the gates with this stuff Instead of closeting our integral views, I say lead with them as often as we can muster the courage to do so. Integralists need encouragement to broach difficult topics like gender and sexuality, not fear that if they do so they'll be charged with "sloppy thinking" or not being "grounded in experience" by a leading Integral blogger.
If conflict or disagreement happens, if egos are bruised e. There will be peace after conflict, fuller and more complete Egos, old friendships brought to new levels of authenticity and new friendships as well. Occupy masculine and feminine. Occupy love, even when it means speaking uncomfortable things to people you care deeply for. All the best, Joe.
The only thing I do want to is that I haven't qualified my piece in the comments. You will find the skillful means argument and relative weighing of evidence to be in the post itself. Here's the conclusion of the piece: Using Masculine and Feminine for Consciousness and Embodiment or whatever the preferred polar terms are creates much more confusion and resistance and also can end up incorrectly equating cultural historical patterns with universal traits.
Respectfully, Chris, I think you're still missing that at the end of the day your whole program for affirmative change amounts to nothing more than silencing. Classic green with a hint of red. You can put lipstick on that pig, but After that whole nuanced discussion, you finalize it with 'classic green with a hint of red'?
Have you not read this site? You speak of our mission. What know you of mission using such language? There are a number of assumptions you make that are interfering with mutuality in this discussion, most of which are already of a bygone era, but this is the most egregious. It's embarrassing to see this in print on this site. I'm embarrassed for you. Hi Chris, I think it's a mistake to minimize the importance of masculine and feminine polarities, which are, after all, both interior dimensions and typologies, with the typologies being part of the five aspects of the Integral model.
We ignore these crucial aspects at the risk of being partial. Yes, you could go past them, but I believe this is what Joe talks about when he mentions bypassing. If we don't heal these aspects of our very being, and they do need healing in the vast majority of us, then we tend to project them all over others. At the very least, we need to heal our own inner feminine and masculine in Sacred Union, what I call "oppositional integration.
I would suggest that you think about how masculine and feminine in all their varied and complex forms hence the confusion are universal traits that are distorted by cultural aspects, particularly eastern vs. Your approach to them feels decidedly western. Last from me for now , you suggest "dropping the terms Masculine and Feminine while retaining the teaching of the Polarities in non-gendered language.
What would that look like and how would you do that? I suggest you can't and still succeed, because it appears your perspective rejects masculine and feminine qualities and the polarities contained therein. Am I wrong about that? You do, after all, suggest dropping the terms altogether. I think you're going to hate my book.
One of the problems I see in a lot of the integral community is the desire to just "drop" all of this messy stuff and go the celestial realm and just get to enlightenment a masculine approach, BTW , forgetting about the gross world of dualitywhich we exist in even if we deny itand the underworld which is where the healing takes place. The process of denying the other two realms is "light polarization.
Hi Gary, Thanks for your comment. Again there's a lot going on in this area so I'll try to respond to each point as best as I can. That's how Wilber frames seems to frame them. Other integral folk parse that differently, so I don't think it's right to refer to that view as the integral model as opposed to an integral model. But I didn't question the overall value or place of working with masculine and feminine elements. I think that was a point that got lost in a number of the criticisms of my article. Admittedly that section is nearer the end and was not arguably the central core of the piece but I did include partial reflections on that element.
It might be worth me writing a separate piece to follow up and fill that portion out. My argument is on the specific point of equating masculine with a typological system of ascending, autonomous, and Consciousness and feminine with descending, communal, and Form. So again I'm not bypassing anything or suggesting some non-bodily teaching.
I think the better framework to approach those issues is under the rubric of gender. Rather than typologies and notions of sexual essences and so on. When I talk about the non-gendered polarities I'm talking about the polarities. And that is only one part of the whole story again I think gender exploration is the better frame to deal with these issues than the typologies. I do think gender and polarity explorations are helpful.
I want to emphasize that in contrast to Joe's assertion that I was "only" postmodern. I think combining polarity work in the way I'm about to describe plus gender work incorporates the best of the postmodern elements esp. That's my argument for a post-postmodern approach. I don't expect it to be for everybody. But clearly others disagree and that's cool. But it also should be said that the dominant narrative in integral puts off a bunch of people as well--a fact not taken seriously enough it seems to me.
So to your question as to how it would look. It could look like this. And for the record, of course, anything I share is an idealized and simplified perspective. In actual work of course it won't be so neat and simple. But I think as a general frame, it's still helpful. So let's imagine using a Voice Dialog process around typologies I find that process works reasonably well for polarities. Everybody in the room--male, female, transgendered, gay, straight, bi, whoever--could work with say these polarities: Penetrating Presence Creative Destruction Now the normal route I suppose would be to say the first is Masculine and the second Feminine.
My view is that you can still embody those voices as polarities without the masculine and feminine labels. Also I think it's arguable that you could say Creative Destruction is Masculine think Schumpeter's views on Capitalism, mostly run by men and Penetrating Presence is Feminine. Again that's partly what I think the labels are confusing in this regard because they seem arbitrarily fixated on certain readings when the traditions themselves have reverse ways of reading them. You see this for example with Clare Zammit's work on Feminine Power. As well as Power which Creates that which can be Controlled.
But as soon as we label the one feminine then you get this sense that it's women's power. I know we always say that feminine does not women or masculine means men but read the rest of the site. It's clear that feminine does equal women and masculine does equal men.
And then we get into this story that women are going to be the future salvation or the Feminine is going to save us. When actually what we need is to learn this other sets of poles that have been neglected. And maybe that frame is necessary at a point for certain women that wouldn't otherwise come to those perspectives. And maybe for some men they won't come into this work unless it's labeled Masculine.
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So I want to hold open that there are different ways at different times for different people. I think then when people have had chances to work with polarities, then it will lead into the questions around gender. And just to clarify I do think there are biological as well as social reasons why various spheres were created. So I wouldn't say I would hate your book.
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It wouldn't speak to me. But it might speak to others and I respect that. I think you might consider ways to respond to the critique that by labelling these polarities as masculine and feminine you might be embedding a worldview and making eternal and ahistorical that which is very historical and contingent.
And historical and contingent does not mean arbitrarily so or easily overcome. The effects are real and deep. I agree with you absolutely on that point. The influence of the past still lives within us--this is a point Martin makes in his book I think quite well, particularly around biology and sexual attraction.
But they also can be changed. The model of the Masculine and Feminine as seen as these types only offers I think a view of oppositional integration. I think that's part of it but I also think there's a place to talk about something new which is not simply the reunion or integration. Without again saying the new is so new that it simply obliterates the past. I think there's a sweet spot there that no one in the integral world has yet really explored well. But then again, Juma invented his own vertical-ladder "developmental" scheme of Wilber-worship in which criticism of the master is merely an adolescent stage of rebellion before a return to the uncritical appreciation "at a higher level.
They're merely "stuck" at a primitive stage of development. They're positioned as inferior in discernment to those who return to the Wilberite fold having "transcended and included" the particular critiques of his shoddy scholarship—emerging with a mysterious, transrational authority that is now immune to refutation. We admit the master's failings…. It's the same move of claiming by fiat an unearned superiority which the inferiors cannot understand because of their lower altitude.
The transcendents don't have to provide any justification or argument beyond claiming their superior linear development and "multiperspectival" openness. Critique, which was managed at first through insulation, is now managed by inoculation and dismissed as having been always-already accomplished; tone becomes the new-age discriminator of altitude "gratitude," "second sweetness".
And integralists, "second wave" or no, are never going to outgrow that particular ideological dodge. The fundamental integral way of being in the world is this: I believe I could learn something from anyone I meet! But it's only cosmetic, whereas I could elevate him to a whole new level if only he would listen to me. But in the end the writers at this site aren't particularly different from him in ideological or institutional terms, and they can't transcend what makes him "embarrassing" without ceasing to be Integral.
I think the debate over masculine and feminine categories is useful and I can see both sides. My main concern is that those who criticize the masculine and feminine distinction are almost always the worst offenders. Their actual logic, no matter how much they would deny it, is this: Masculine and feminine ideas are stereotypes that construct limiting social roles.
I agree in many cases. These roles construct a patriarchal society of male privilege. Men create patriarchy because they are inherently more evil and women are inherently morally superior. For many feminists this means that the alternative is matriarchy or gynocracy.
Female superiority is now openly discussed in places like Atlantic Magazine and Harvard Business Review. So there we have it, men and women are basically the same except that men are evil and women are innocent victims. This essentialist assumption necessarily occurs by default because there is no coherent social constructionist theory. To deconstruct this twisted logic we need to understand two things: Farrell compares quality of life indicators for males and females and finds that men are worse off by most things we can measure: This refutes the idea that men have more power and privilege than women.
Instead, Farrell presents an evolutionary theory in which both sexes had limiting gender roles based on survival. The current stage of development offers the opportunity for both sexes to expand their roles for the benefit of all, rather than blaming men. Most feminists are violently opposed to hearing this. The resistance is due to a moral framework that must believe in the theory of patriarchy. Frames rather than facts determine beliefs, as George Lakoff has explained.
The framework of social constructionism denies difference and is hyper-feminine because it takes the feminine principle of connectedness to the extreme of merging identities as in an overbearing mother. In contrast, a healthy feminine can be thought of as connectedness with independent identities. The masculine is defined in terms of independence with connectedness, while the hyper-masculine is an unhealthy extreme of separation and macho, the strict father, according to George Lakoff. There is also room for neutrality in the middle. The polarity of connected and independent is fluid and a matter of degree, it is a fluid dualism like the tai chi of yin and yang.
The extremes are rigid dichotomies of good and evil that follow a logic of separation—even in merging, as explained below. Another layer of duality is biology and culture, as masculine and feminine can be both. Masculine and feminine can be internal and interpersonal. Thus there are many contexts types and degrees of duality. The psychology of the hyper-feminine is explained by Howard S. The problem is when the father is seen as the reason that love is interrupted and then represents the opposite of love. This bond is a kind of primary narcissism, accompanied by projection of darkness onto men.
So merging with the mother attempts to separate the masculine as the source of wrongness. In healthy child development the father facilitates breaking the bond to help the child individuate and grow up. The father represents another exciting possibility to explore the world, and the reality principle that we are independent and must learn to take care of ourselves. The problem begins when fathers are absent physically, since work has been outsource from the home to large organization, or are absent emotionally and exert less influence on child rearing to balance maternal and paternal socialization.
The result of feminized socialization is the undervaluing of the father and glorification of the mother based on the fantasy of the primordial mother. This is much of what is actually driving the worship of the divine feminine as part of an attempt to overthrow the father, patriarchy, and men.
This problem of green politics is not discussed sufficiently in Gravesian theory. Anti-male attitudes are so taken for granted and become much clearer when a contrast to the alternative is made. These images are often anti-female at the same time. American corporate media routinely represent women as cock teases, condescending, competitive, and bitches. In contrast, media in Thailand more often show women who are warm and inviting to men and an inspiration to women as well--music videos on You Tube of Palmy and Nicole Theriault are good examples.
But you have to be open to it and take the time receive it in a meditative state in which you allow yourself to get emotional. More important than theoretical debate is experiences like this that encourage better roles models for women and men that help overcome misandry. Hi David, That's how you read that, huh? I suppose I somewhat get that, though I'm not sure it squares with all that's been written since, including today's article.
Really, the impetus, and it was explicitly stated, came from observing how a number of people seemed to travel through different phases is that better than stages? My own contribution was something of a catharsis and I came to where I came to with it, without ever, not once not once! And to add, there are no final statements.
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I've changed since I wrote that, refined my thinking and relationship around things. You're smart enough, but I don't think you're saying much different than has been said in numerous places here. Of course you're also saying it in a superior, dismissive way. Because you have everything figured out already? You're certainly free to not hang around if this group of people doesn't do it for you.
On the other hand, you might channel that intellect into something that can be a solid contribution. Hi Paul, Thanks for your comment. I agree that it's possible that someone criticizing masculine and feminine could do so in the way you lay out. Though since you mention no one specifically so I'm not sure I know who you mean.
I don't think those criticisms apply to my perspective. I didn't say anything about women being superior to men or vice versa. Critique is a contribution, except to those in a cult. It's amusing to hear the self-proclaimed "second tier" disparage critics for being "dismissive" and "having it all figured out" before they're shown the door "solid contributions" being by definition pro-Wilber and pro-Integral.
There were maybe fifty ways to open that challenge into a dialogic exchange, its polemical edge notwithstanding.
Plenty of skillful means to be had. You closed it down in one move: Whatever axe you have to grind, it's not with me, and I'll not be your proxy. I should have been more clear, as, well, I write this shit in small spaces during a busy day. By contribution, I meant an article, to the site, something that expanded on your ideas. I'll take the hit on that one, lack of clarity our own little in-language! Beams is a cult! So I'll take your invite, assuming good faith: You accused me of setting up a similar stage model. I responded to that.
So ok, grumpy pants I do hate you anonymous types with snarl. Makes me suspect you don't actually have a sack without your identity veiled , let's move on. Hm, actually it's hard, because I can't relate the charges you level to myself. Again, I can't be a proxy for your anger at this 'community' because Ok, I'll try again, because I'm sure something you said relates to me, and not some vague notion of 'integral' people the charges at Joe make more sense because Joe is living and breathing and can respond in kind.
However, am I to toss all the Piaget I studied in my Education degree, toss out all relevant developmental research, theories and the like? Certainly simplistic stage conceptions are a substitute for thinking. But then, you're not talking to me when you say that, and if you are, you're not making any sense, so I don't know how to respond.
Although you'd have a tough time convincing me that Wilber in the full of his work from onward had nothing of value to add to the Great Conversation. I've never met even the most violent of critics who doesn't believe the basic articulation of the four quadrants have value. Nevermind that you can find them in much richer terrain in literature and philosophy throughout history, but as a basic framework, it's hard to argue. You are in no way obligated to include Ken Wilber in your intellectual and existential journey through life.
Makes me wonder why you spend so much time with it though. Do you think he is doing significant damage to the world somehow? That would be giving far to much credit to any traction this work has actually gotten. And those who have traction, real traction, use the work as one of many underlying frameworks of insight, often just bits and parts of it at that.
Not sure where to go next. Maybe you can coach me on the 48 other ways I missed your genius. Or chill the fuck out and have a conversation with the person your having a conversation with. Clearly I'm willing to engage, but not with some angry dude in his underwear posting anonymously about something he hates but can't let go of. So, again, your call. Let's have a real discourse about things without you treating me as a proxy for everything you hate in life.
David - to second Juma's invitation - if you know of a thinker whose ideas improve on, or eclipse Wilber's, I'd really like to know about her. So would all of us. Our allegiance isn't to Wilber, but to furthering knowledge. Articulate, insightful critiques of developmental psychology, Wilber or anything else we discuss on this site are absolutely welcome. I'd like to add a couple philosophical perspectives to the conversation here.
Hard to say where to begin, but maybe first by taking exception to David's final claim: I would disagree with this statement. There's a very worthwhile recent paper by scholars Roland Benedikter and Markus Molz called 'The Rise of Neo-Integrative Worldviews', where they trace the history of this kind of thinking over the past or so years, and provide some context as to why it's on the rise in our increasingly planetary context.
In it they mention Wilber's work at one point, but they also offer an interesting critique given the discussion here. Here's the lead up passage, the critique is in footnote 35, which I'll cite after. I should add that when they use the word integral in the following passage, they don't mean Wilberian AQAL theory, but a movement in thought in general: Nevertheless, in many ways, integral — at least in its contemporary sense — is not synonymous with ideological.
This is because, by contrast with ideologies, the paradigmatic integral approaches of our time claim to be about the whole without totalizing, i. Integral blueprints thus aspire to be worldviews, not paradigms in the sense described above. Does this mean that the integrative project in general is invalid or unworthy in of itself.
I don't think so, in fact I think it's necessary and important. I think Wilber's dealings with his critics over the years has been disappointing to say the least. I was trained in the philosophical tradition where philosophers have public debates, sometimes for years at a time Habermas and Luhmann had a beauty that lasted a decade. Wilber's almost completely fallen down on that score. But really, who cares about Wilber in the end anyway. I'm interested in ideas, so I say let's find what's alive or dead in his thinking and add it to the larger body of work that Molz and Benedikter point to.
That's the main project I'm interested in anyway. Secondly, David, I'd be curious to know where you stand on the notion of development in particular, as it pertains to human consciousness. You mention "staging", but I can't tell if that's just a criticism of how stage-thinking is unethically used in debate, or if it's a wholesale rejection of the notion that human consciousness develops and that to some to degree we can understand the patterns or structuring that this process has so far taken.
If it's the former, I'm in deep agreement, but if you are making the latter claim, I think that's an unearned premise on your part. And I'd be happy to engage in a public debate with you here at Beams on this point if you would like. I would agree to assume no premises on my end, but to earn my support for developmental structuralism via argument and evidence.
And you'd have to earn your refutation of this position in the same manner. But as it stands you're putting forth claims and judgments here based upon a suppressed premise 'developmental theory is bunk' that has not been substantiated by you, only assumed. Here's only one example of why I think this developmental viewpoint is helpful and important.
The former was and is a powerful epistemological method not to be rejected in toto , but as an understanding of the world around us it has shown itself to be simplistic and harmful on many fronts. And this view of human development stretches back to Hegel, he's really the father of this line of thought. For Hegel different philosophies represent different stages of maturity, and each one builds off the last in an unbroken "organic unity". I think there's a lot of merit in this view, and I like I said, I'd be willing to defend that in a formal debate. Anyway, I'll leave it at those two major philosophical axes on which at this point I'm in disagreement with David.
A lot follows from the conclusion we would get to in that debate, and much conversation would have to be put on hold until we did, because it's so fundamental to so much of what may or may not be thought afterwards. Let me know if you're interested David, cheers. They were both bad cops! David, How are exactly are you being chased off? Trevor, TJ, and Juma all invited you to further dialogue.
Also, I have no idea how you're fairly reading TJ or Trev's responses as bad cop in nature. You made some serious charges against us, reasonably you got asked to back those charges up and fill out your meaning, and be willing to enter into dialogue. You haven't yet done any of that. Now you want to act like you are being ganged up on.
You're trying to have it both ways and you can't. You come in and sling some mud and then when you get called out for it, you act like you are being shut down. Nobody's shutting you down but if you come in slinging mud without much, if anything, in the way of evidence, don't be surprised if someone actually calls you on it.
And just to be absolutely clear, and to second a point Juma made, neither he nor I think our of Ken Wilber pieces constitute some kind of architecture to the universe or truth for any and all beings. It was simply a reflection on our own experience--which we had seen reflected in others. If you read the comments to those to pieces, you will see that there were a number of other folk for whom that was a helpful framework, including interestingly Frank Visser, who asked us if he could repost the pieces on his site, which we agreed to.
Frank then wrote his own piece in response, reading his own experience through that lens. Nah, I was just kidding, actually. I have a longer response almost finished. I'm disappointed with this post, though, Chris. Unlike Juma, you have the training to understand what a rhetorical reading is. That you characterize it as merely 'slinging mud' is dishonest, and I think you fully know it is. Trevor did write a long and generous reply, and TJ was very nice. I'll post what I have and be done. There is nothing resembling good faith in you. And you're not nearly as bright as you'd like to believe.
Taking a victim pose is gross considering the edge you bring. Bring it on big boy, but this site doesn't suffer trolls. Call that censorship, identify it with whatever type of 'integral' characteristics you'd like, but it's a line we hold. Otherwise things degenerate into a place that maybe you like to hang out it, with your hate. But good people don't.
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And i'd much rather them leaning in than you. I'm sorry that I've triggered you so much, Juma. That's gone both ways, I think. I respect the open-heartedness that you show in your most recent post, and I know the hate and contraction you express above isn't really you. You have a lot of hate and anger to work out.
You're very intense about guarding group boundaries, with more than a little excess and projection, and you create some of the demons that you see jeering back at you. I have my own issues with breaking into closed groups that exclude. But I don't think you would finally exclude me from the utopia you paint in your post, and I wouldn't exclude you from mine if I actually had access to one. I really mean this: What I have to say about your staging essay isn't about your intentions but the rhetorical structures you express them in, and the blindnesses and pain which those can cause both for you and for others.
Please try to hear it in that spirit. Even if it sounds harsh it's not personal. If you don't see it or don't agree, fine. But I want to de-escalate this thing with you. I've tried to contribute something constructive though critical in the long piece I'm posting and I'd like it to be heard, at least a little. Trevor, I appreciate the length and generosity of your response, and I'd like to return it.
But-- a grandiose debate about the entire history of developmental theory back to Hegel staged by a philosophy PhD? That seems a little much. I think it would be fair to simply focus on Spiral Dynamics and the Integral habit of "linear staging," which often seems like an OCD tic. When I said you can't escape what Perez represents, I meant primarily that Integral has invested so deeply in SD that it appears unable to subject it to critique without a collapse of identity.
After reading the Occupy thread I stand by that. Spiral Dynamics is a core element of your belief system. Although there is a general feeling in some quarters that it has been vulgarly misused, it still seems even less available to serious critique or 'overcoming' than Wilber's writings themselves. Yet it has little academic credibility or purchase, and is mainly promulgated through corporate-style trainings from private institutes.
Why is SD affirmed as central to the Integral project? In particular, why do you promote Beck's version rather than Cowan's, such that the chasm between "first tier" and "second tier" is crucial? The ego game which that creates is very obvious by now. The Occupy thread demonstrated that most integral activists who approached Occupy "read the color" of the groups they worked with, wrung their hands about how to rehabilitate this or that color's status within Integral, or how to influence and direct the color-stage of their group, or claimed their own superior status and how they might take charge "Only turquoise can solve the world crisis," etc.
There was relatively little ability to simply take up a role of service, seeing the other Occupy denizens as peers. This was quite striking to me. Most of what I would say about SD and Wilber's "holons" as ideology has been said well by DG Anderson I actually had embedded hyperlinks to him in my post, but they didn't appear.
I'm sure you know him. And his apparent marginality tempers your notion that there is much of a non-Wilberian integral movement. Especially after all the preliminary hostility, I'm not going to extend this exchange, but Anderson would likely welcome an exchange which would go in the same directions I would, with more expertise: Anderson is good at pointing out that the "senior holon organizing the junior holon" is a picture of class relations under capitalism, and that Wilber's implied political system is incompatible with a "bottom up" movement like Occupy-- or with a rhizomatic philosophy like Deleuze and Guattari's.
We know who's who, and can provide stereotypes for each quite easily. Integralists are mainly located in the professional-managerial class, just as SD is essentially a managerial-class fantasy of ordering the world—cheerfully marching in with their clipboards to direct flows which they did not set in motion but which they believe they own. As Anderson suggests, these are just orienting possibilities to be investigated some of those are mine, not his , but they are more persuasive to me than believing some genuine empirically-derived cognitive anthropology just happens to map so well onto social-class stereotypes and their "proper" organization.
The question for you: The cries of "green" may of course begin here, one of the functions of SD for Wilber being to forestall contact with genuine political sociology and cultural criticism. But that helps to demonstrate the point.
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Continued… The likely ideological motive for developing SD's ladder connects to my objection about Juma's and Chris's ladders. It's a deep habit of mind among Integralists, staging things. The stages of faith. The stages of masculine self-development. The stages of enlightenment. Vertical, simple, linear, each stage higher than those before, as in SD. The security of knowing where you are, what you've accomplished, where you're going, what's your prize at the end. I think the linear-ladder thinking is a very bad mental habit, and never entirely innocent. Juma wants to say that his "staging" was merely personal, idiographic.
Of course, this is not true; it was extended and corroborated with other Wilberians; it had a collective interest; in Integral, such mapping is always social and metaphysical, and borrows its authority from the core ladder. That being said, it's obvious what ideological function is played by labeling criticism of Wilber as a phase of "adolescent rebellion" and the return to Wilber as "maturity.
What should be noted is the totalizing quality of the return: Wilber not only supported the Iraq War but spent years trashing the peace protesters. Does Juma's "nothing but gratitude" include gratitude for Robert Bale's slaughter of children last week? For the thousands of lives lost for no clear gain, a result which was predicted by the people Wilber was sneering at during the opening years of the war?
I'm sure Juma doesn't mean to absolve all of that, of course. This is not about intention or goodwill. But the word choices are revealing that something has taken a deviation of some kind. If the quality of the final synthetic evaluation is only and uniformly positive, certainly it has not acquired more "depth and span. This makes no sense, not least because "every man his own stager" would be the relativistic green nightmare that leaves Integrals in such horror.
The stagings are collective; as they're vetted and acquire a group clinical density they make a claim of authority. And they become disciplinary. What if you're the only one who hasn't come back around to "second sweetness"? Particularly by analogy to the central rhetoric of SD—which constantly generates and relieves so much ego anxiety in integral—they surely carry more rhetorical authority than the merely personal. It's just that they do it under plausible deniability.
Imagine a Wilberite among a group of atheists who all confirmed the discrete stages of passing from Christianity through New Age to atheism, each stage being a clear broadening of maturity; the Wilberite says, "Well, those aren't developmental stages for everyone"; the atheists say, "Oh, these are just personal observations, we're not claiming any developmental authority"; the Wilberite says, "Oh yes you are; you're just denying it after the fact. This is not simple. Juma and Chris have repeatedly linked to these "staging" essays as proof that they are capable of critical distance from Wilber.
But the fact that their "critique" is offered, rhetorically, in an analogue form with Spiral Dynamics--which itself so problematically protects Integralists from facing critique--raises plenty of suspicion. Certainly it is reassuring to the flock that the absorption of critique terminates in pure romantic approval again a few minor differences excepted. It's not so reassuring to those outside who would like better evidence of critical capacity. But then, the "hermeneutic of suspicion," like "green," is a sign of adolescence and not the second sweetness of maturity.
This is all a very familiar rhetoric of circularity and altitude-trumping, albeit more subtle and probably unconscious. But it's doing the same work as the color-coding. So, Trevor, can you explain to me why SD appears to be beyond challenge? Or if it can be challenged, please explain why you haven't challenged it in any serious way here but have let it remain inertially in place. Changing the name to post-postmodern is not a serious address to the problem, and neither is a laissez-faire policy which lets the old school color stuff go on until it becomes grossly objectionable.
Finally, Trevor, you seem to have a dissertation or something about developmental psychology you want bring into this issue. I'm agnostic on the question of adult developmental theory; I haven't been much impressed with what little I've read of Robert Kegan; in general I would be suspicious that external life structures are being internalized and misread as generative e.
Maybe if a developmental theory were branchy and wasp-orchidy I might be persuaded to listen. But SD is not any of that, and so I feel pretty certain that linear-stage "developmental psychology" in integral is patently ideological and offers no vital sociological or psychological insights which are not available through other means. I don't mind learning something about the subject, but Kohlberg or Piaget, or Kegan are not at issue and you can't displace the obvious problems with SD onto the more general question of developmental theory in the abstract. The others are essentially gateway drugs for SD anyway, so far as I can see.
As you know from our off-line conversation, I stand by the integrity of my comments here and respect our differences. I would be happy to reply to your concerns if you relinquish your anonymity. Anonymity fosters just the sort of ad hominem and baseless, evidence-free assertions as you've made regarding me and others. I won't abet trolls and flame throwers. As a meta-comment, notice what happens when Chris reviews a book from a perspective that he calls "orthodox Integral" and ends up dancing around its central claims with the observation that he's "heterodox" and has little or no use for terms such as "masculine," "feminine," or "altitude.
Instead, the conversation winds up going meta fast about the premises of Integral discourse. Inviting you to look at it and learn what you can. You don't have to guess what I think is probably a big cause of the issue; I've already said my piece when I criticized the way Chris framed this book review. Joe, Arguably the primary reason this thread went meta is because you brought another post into the comments on this one.
I don't think it has much to do with my stance--other than I place myself in a distinct position. I got criticized by you and Gary for not adhering to Wilber's point of view on this subject matter. I got criticized David for adhering to other points of view in agreement with Wilber. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. And since you keep " " me, please actually do me the courtesy of actually quoting me correctly.
I said AQAL orthodox. The whole point of Juma and my pieces around Ken was to say that we appreciate his work deeply, we disagree at points, and we think we should go forward. Your repeated incorrect quotations of me on this point--which I've pointed out to you repeatedly now--are subtly shifting the terrain to your position.
If you actually read what I wrote, I think you would find your criticism is quite laughable. Furthermore please stop saying I have little or no use for terms like masculine and feminine--the actual piece you are supposed to be critiquing, which at this point you have so mangled I'm not even sure you read the damn thing, refers to ways in which I think the terms could best be used. My criticism was around the use of masculine and feminine in relation to polarities like Consciousness and Embodiment. I didn't throw out the use of the terms altogether--only in that specific context.
How many times do I have explain that point to you? Hi Chris, I'm puzzled by a few things you say. You also say you've "pointed out to [me] repeatedly" this supposed distortion, but my search of the text on this page shows no such pointing out. If you said it in a private email, I honestly missed that part or don't remember. Give me some credit.
From where I'm standing, you seem to be going out of your way to find evidence that I'm distorting your actual views. I'm not sure why I should stop saying that you "have little or no use for terms like masculine and feminine," because I think all of this discussion is about the context of spirituality and this is not a discussion of, say, Gender Theory or a Women's Studies course, where you don't have an issue. Yes, you have stated that your objection is to the use of the terms to describe polarities. You also wrote above: But, out of deference to your request, in the future, I'll add "in Polarities" or "in the Spiritual Path" to the end of the sentence when I talk about your desire to avoid i.
Is this such a big deal that you get so testy over it? You have repeatedly characterized your critique as some small, trivial detail. I think that step—which again in the span of things is actually quite minimal Let me use poetic language. You disgrace those gods, you banish their spirit, and you reap wrath. The same is also true, by the way, of "the androgynous" and the "the Heterophile" or "the homophile.
You disagree, no matter how much you finesse it Joe, I agreed to disagree a long time ago. What got me fired up was ways in which I think you were and still are distorting what I'm saying. But I'm very happy to let this back and forth go as it's clearly not going anywhere.
One point that I won't agree to disagree on though is that I'm silencing people by saying that i think this is the wrong use of terminology. I made an argument that I think a certain interpretive structure is an unhelpful one. You disagree, Gary disagreed, others disagreed in the original post. You all still hold your views. We didn't delete those comments--they are are still visible on the site. People can read your view, they can read mine and then make up their own minds. I'm not going around shaming people or starting a campaign to silence them.
So stop accusing me of rather dastardly things like silencing people when I'm not. That's a serious charge that you need to withdraw. Wow, what a thread. I wasn't going to chime in, but I thought I might be able to offer a few things as someone who has been very heavily involved in the gender discourses, both through academia, the gay communities, and in the integral world over the last 10 years.
I also have a forthcoming co-edited book that dives into many of these issues that will be published hopefully in the coming year. I think that debates about this stuff are really hard on threads like this, so I'm not sure how generative my offering will be, and I also feel a bit "done" with the debates themselves, so I probably won't return to say or respond to much more, but I thought I'd offer some points nonetheless for what it's worth.
First, Joe, I don't know you well, and we've only been in contact once before, so I'm admittedly coming into this not fully knowing or grasping your stance on all these issues, so I just offer what I can from my own experience and perspective. I think there are points on both sides that can be considered and honored. Having been so at the center of these kinds of debates over the last 5 years especially, I've noticed how these conversations so quickly turn into arguments about semantics that become polemical and endless, which is why I largely don't engage them anymore.
As someone in the gay community, Joe, it somewhat surprises me that you aren't as sensitive to the problems with these kinds of terms and how they can become stereotypes on gender and sexual relationships.
As a bisexual and someone who carries both "masculine" and "feminine" qualities, I've found the use of the terms to often be quite simplistic and unnuanced in the integral world. So I think it is fair for Chris to critique them. That said, I think the terms can be retained in certain ways and contexts, and that it doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing. I often don't use the terms myself, especially in the integral world because of how shaped and ideological I feel they have often become, but I do make reference to them at times when I feel it is skillful as a framework or an artistic expression.
For example, in my recent blog: As if by merely critiquing them and questioning their use we are going to inherently create shadow and bypassing? I think we can equally create shadow by not critiquing them. The word Integral means essential, fundamental or necessary for completion. These four dimensions are shown as four quadrants on the right and are combined into the metaphorical triangle of love. Integral couples co-create and love each other in all these four dimensions at all levels of their being and those that they will develop and grow into in the future.
Instagram Facebook Twitter 0 Items. What is an Integral Relationship? Eight levels of consciousness development from Archaic to Transpersonal as shown on the left side of the graphic on the right click here for more.