A Conscious Christmas

Note: Originally published December 25, 2010.

Having a conscious Christmas begins with noticing what it is you are keeping and what it is you are leaving behind. Developing a deep and holy relationship to Christmas means appreciating everything about the holiday that is Good, True, and Beautiful… and leaving behind that which isn’t.

I was raised in a Catholic Latino family and am fortunate to have many positive Christmas memories. Today brings to mind thoughts of family, warm fireplaces, delicious meals, and stories of togetherness. I also think of Seattle’s streets come alive with lights and song, ringing bells, and childrens’ laughter amid the gray skies of winter.

In our largely secular and ethnocentric culture, this is one of the few times when it seems that everyone embraces spirituality and espouses world-centric ideals. Once a year, suddenly it’s cool for even the most scrooge-like souls to give handouts to strangers and speak of the universal brotherhood and sisterhood of all people. If you go around wishing every stranger you meet “peace on earth and good will to all,” nobody will look at you funny.

The Principle of Incarnation

As we all know, today is a Christian religious celebration. Theologically, it’s all about the Incarnation, the truth that the Divine becomes human. Today, we recognize that there is no separation between humanity and God. The holiness of Spirit is not merely born within Jesus, but within all manifest reality, in every snowflake and every wisp of chimney smoke.

Continue reading “A Conscious Christmas”

Designing the iPod of Spirituality

Nest

I love this article about the 5 chief lessons Tony Fadell, formerly of Apple, learned about introducing new products. Now he’s invented the “iPod of thermostats.” If Brett Thomas is correct about integral needing to become more like Apple to reach its next breakthrough moment, and I think he is, then World Spirituality (by whatever name) can benefit from learning all of these lessons.

LESSON #1 Reintroduce a product //Apple is credited with creating new markets, but that oversimplifies the feat. What Apple really did was let people interact differently with products they already knew. That’s why Fadell saw so much promise in thermostats: 10 million are sold every year, but only 11% of users actively program them to save energy. “People treat it like a light switch, adjusting it manually 1,500 times a year,” Fadell says. “What we’re doing is making them think, Yes, there’s got to be a better way.”

LESSON #2 Build up slowly //Fadell has plans for a full thermostat ecosystem–multifunction, iOS-like software upgrades, connecting with lots of devices. But for now, he’s just offering the ability to control it from any laptop or mobile device. That’s because Apple taught him to go slow: Let people understand and buy into the device, then build a world around them step by step. “If we’d come out with the iPhone of home-energy management, people would just get confused,” he says.

LESSON #3 Design for one function // The thermostat, like the iPod, is controlled by one large circular dial–and not just because people like whirling their fingers. “You have to think, What are people going to do with the device 99% of the time? Make sure every detail supports that main interaction,” Fadell explains. “The iPod is about scrolling through long lists with one hand, and a thermostat is about dialing the temperature up or down.”

LESSON #4 The experience starts in the box //The iPod was exciting before you even turned it on, thanks to what Fadell calls the “unboxing experience”–the compact, comprehensive packaging. His thermostat’s unboxing is built with that in mind. It comes with a custom-manufactured screwdriver, and a level indicator is built into the back casing so customers know if the unit hangs straight on the wall. “This isn’t cheap,” Fadell says. “But when you take it out of the box, you want it to be easy to install–at all costs.”

LESSON #5 Make it a status symbol //The iPod’s earphones were designed to give it an “iconic design language,” Fadell says–a symbol of hipness, intended to be shown off. He similarly designed the thermostat to be a badge–a “jewel on the wall,” he says. “It’s a symbol of a green home. You’ve never seen a kid go up to a thermostat and go, ‘Whoa, cool!’ But kids who see ours do that. And if they’re interested now, they’ll be even more so in 20 years when they become homebuyers.”

via Fast Company.

Those of us engaged in World Spirituality are really co-inventing the “iPod of Spirituality,” a product that lets people interact differently with spirituality as they have previously known it. We are making it programmable, so it adjusts to our unique station in life, allowing it to regulate our life and “save our soul” and “heal the planet.”

To expand the Operating System metaphor of Ken Wilber’s, we are upgrading the product that lets people connect with lots of different domains of life — art, science, religion, health, politics, culture — making it more flexible, flowing, and mobile. Our task is letting people understand the new vision of spirituality and win their buy in to its capabilities. Then, we “build a world around them step by step.”

Apple designed the iPod for just one function: playing great music that you can take with you wherever you go. Now the World Spirituality movement must reach inside itself to identify that special function that will become its defining characteristic. Is it its capacity for interdisciplinary meta-theorizing of academic discourse? Is it its capacity for training leaders to be more flexible and creative in their decision-making, or resolving conflict and driving productivity within organizations? Is it its capacity to upgrade theology to an Integral Theory of Religion within religious institutions?

Of course, all of these are possibilities and there is a role for each one. But my answer is to say that the core function of World Spirituality is to provide the platform or foundation for charting a path of self-realization from the conventional self to the radically self-realized person, and then to the ultimately trans-personal Self. In short, it’s a way of being in the world as who you truly are, giving people a roadmap to finding themselves, clarifying their values, facing and healing their shadows, and eventually losing themselves again in the bliss of identity with the driving force of evolution itself: Love. It’s that simple and elegant.

Something like this is the Next Chapter of Integral, I imagine; at least in the form that is shaping up in the World Spirituality community. I can’t wait for the next iteration of World Spirituality to come into public focus, one which helps to “democratize enlightenment,” as Marc Gafni puts it. But we don’t need to wait for the latest and greatest Integral book to be released. This is our moment. The world needs us to be more fully ourselves right now, more connected and plugged-in to the divine spirit which moves within us all.

Does the God Particle’s Existence Prove that God Exists?

God Particle
A Reuters reporter finds scientists scoffing at the notion that the Higgs ought to be called the “God particle,” but it’s not like they don’t understand why others do so. Reuters writes:

“Calling it the ‘God particle’ is completely inappropriate,” said the German physicist, who divides his time between CERN and teaching at London’s Imperial College.

“It’s not doing justice to the Higgs and what we think its role in the universe is. It has nothing to do with God.”

The Higgs boson is being hunted so determinedly because it would be the manifestation of an invisible field – the Higgs field – thought to permeate the entire universe.

The field was posited in the 1960s by British scientist Peter Higgs as the way that matter obtained mass after the universe was created in the Big Bang.

As such, according to the theory, it was the agent that made the stars, planets – and life – possible by giving mass to most elementary particles, the building blocks of the universe; hence the nickname “God particle.”

“Without it, or something like it, particles would just have remained whizzing around the universe at the speed of light,” said Pippa Wells, another Atlas researcher.

via The Higgs boson: What has God got to do with it?.

The term “God particle” is not so much a misnomer as it is an oversimplification. In terms of Integral Theory, the Higgs — if proven to exist — can be mapped to the Upper-Right Quadrant close to the central axis point. So in an entire Theory of Everything, at least in this version of one, Higgs is one small piece of the picture, like atoms and electrons.

But “God particle” captures our imagination in a way that the term “Higgs boson” does not. The existence of an elementary all-pervasive invisible field is just too close to God in the religious imagination to not notice. But the worldview in which the Higgs boson truly exist occupies only one level of consciousness — a highly rational, analytical mind capable of understanding the scientific mindset — and at this level the term “God” is virtually without meaning because it’s not scientific. (Hence the scoffing of scientists.)

Mystics don’t need a “God particle” to prove God. Its existence does nothing to confirm or deny the existence of a unity of all things, because such unity does not take the form of a cognitive experience but of a trans-rational experience of identity with a Supreme Reality that is all-encompassing. That is, it is an experienced unity of the self with the Unique Self, which is the unqualified True Self as seen from a particular perspective.

And when that experience is nondual, it’s not an experience of an invisible particle, but of a Reality that is seen and unseen, felt and unfelt, known and unknown. It is not a Unified Theory of Reality, but just the way things are.

Stanley Siegel Defends Casual Sex: “It Deepens One’s Self-Knowledge.”

Intelligent Lust
Is there such a thing as intelligent lust? Stanley Siegel, LCSW writes in Psychology Today:

The truth is,  long-term relationships or marriage do not guarantee a satisfying emotional life or sexual intimacy. Everyone knows someone stuck in a barren marriage, whose members have lost their autonomy and in which sex has disappeared. Brandon’s assertion that people do not belong together forever is correct, but too many of us fear facing that truth or consider alternatives to that permanence.

There are times when casual sex actually deepens one’s self-knowledge. With intelligence and clarity of purpose, casual sex is more than instant gratification. By openly exploring our fantasies and true desires with different partners in a way that may not possible in a committed relationship, we can transcend our inhibitions.  With each new encounter we can discover buried parts of ourselves and in time experience the totality of who we are. We can even experience profound, revelatory moments that unravel our past and show us things we never knew about ourselves. We can satisfy unmet needs by embracing those aspects of our sexuality that are deeply meaningful and we can choose to let go of those that no longer have importance.

Upon turning sixty-five, I recognize that casual sex has often been as intimate for me as were the two long-term relationships I have had. Unencumbered by a complex commitment, the freedom found in casual sex allowed me to move beyond self-consciousness and achieve a level of honesty and authenticity for myself, and my partner, in a way previously unknown to me. With each new experience, the process of discovering and sharing specific sexual interests required verbal and non-verbal communication that was intensely focused and rapidly telegraphed.  And self-disclosure and vulnerability were as necessary a part of these exchanges as they were in a committed relationship.

via In Defense of Casual Sex.

On the whole, I think this psychologist is correct about the ability for sexual relationships at different levels of depth/intimacy to contribute to one’s psychological integration. But I don’t think what he’s written is so much a defense of casual sex as it is a defense of conscious sex.

Conscious sex can definitely be intelligent eroticism, leaving aside the matter of whether it’s a one night stand or a marriage of many decades. By attending to the desire that arises unbidden, one can befriend the Eros which is the force of evolution in the universe and consummate its aims or sublimate them into a higher form.

But the length and quality of intimacy, love, and commitment of the sex partners is an important consideration, even if it isn’t the only factor to be aware of.

Hayao Miyazaki Fans Break Twitter Record by Casting Magical Spell in Unison

Hayao
Social media has the potential to revolutionize … witchcraft? io0 reports:

Back in August, the earth-shatteringly important topic that is Beyoncé’s baby broke the world record for the most tweets per second (TPS). The singer’s pregnancy reveal accrued a stunning 8,868 TPS.

via Hayao Miyazaki fans break Twitter record by casting magical spell in unison. As silly as this sounds, it does raise the possibility for coordinating mass spiritual exercises in unison. And now we know the record to beat: 8,868.

Fisking Andrew Sullivan’s “Imagine Newt’s Finger On The Button.”

Andrew Sullivan

I have a love / hate relationship with Andrew Sullivan. I read his blog daily and enjoy almost everything he says more than any other political pundit, but sometimes his blindness is just too annoying to stay silent about.

From my perspective, he so often pays attention to all the right things, but he often draws conclusions that are frustratingly askew. For example, today on The Dish, he comments on Newt Gingrich’s foreign policy, writing:

Larison dissects Gingrich’s foreign policy:

Many Republicans flatter Gingrich by treating him as one of the party’s intellectuals, but Gingrich frequently shows that he is unable or unwilling to make crucial distinctions in his treatment of international problems. He complains on his campaign website that “we currently view Iraq, Afghanistan, and the many other danger spots of the globe as if they are isolated, independent situations,” and that America “lacks a unified grand strategy for defeating radical Islamism.” But these conflicts are largely separate from one another, and there is no such thing as a monolithic, global, radical Islamism that can be addressed by one strategy. No conflicts around the world can be properly understood except by focusing on local circumstances, but for Gingrich, the ideological emphasis on a unified global threat takes priority over proper analysis.

Which makes him the perfect antithesis of conservatism. Conservatism is concerned with reality, which it understands shifts with culture, history, region and all the immense complexities of human life. When a conservative approaches a problem like Jihadist violent Islam, he will seek first a grasp of its divisions, analyze the most effective way of defusing and disarming and fighting it, ensure that a strategy in one part of the world is not necessarily salient to another, grapple with unintended consequences, and so on. What Gingrich does is the opposite. What he always longs for is the absolute, eternal principle, the clarifying concept, the rhetorical rallying cry that speaks to the ideological gut rather than the reality-based frontal cortex. And Gingrich’s notion of foreign policy – making John Bolton his secretary of state – is essentially a policy of open hostility to the entire world, including allies who differ, and a maximalist military solution to most problems.

via The Daily Beast.

Now I am probably just as alarmed by Gingrich’s inadequate handling of foreign policy as Sullivan, but look closely and you’ll see that every one of his points is wrong. It’s not that we don’t both hope and pray that Newt never gets anywhere near the White House, it’s moreso that I have a “meta” perspective on his philosophy and he doesn’t have one on mine. He’s a reconstructed Burkean conservative who doesn’t quite grasp postmodernism. I’m a postmodern thinker who reconstructs conservatism and progressive ideologies through an evolutionary theory.

Let me fisk his post sentence by sentence so you can see what I’m talking about. Sullivan writes:

Which makes him [Newt Gingrich] the perfect antithesis of conservatism. Conservatism is concerned with reality, which it understands shifts with culture, history, region and all the immense complexities of human life.

No. Andrew is entitled to redefine “conservative” in his writings in a way that the vast majority of self-identified conservatives can’t recognize, but that’s just the sort of illegitimate, pseudo-metaphysical move with language that would send shivers up an ordinary language philosopher’s spine.

Newt Gingrich’s fixation with moral absolutes and ethnocentric triumphalism is very much in line with the mainstream traditionalist worldview as it is defined by developmental researchers looking at value systems from an evolutionary perspective.

In Spiral Dynamics terms, Gingrich is a Truth Force thinker; in Ken Wilber’s philosophy, a blue altitude thinker; in Steve McIntosh’s thought, he has a traditional consciousness. I prefer to suggest that Gingrich — like the vast majority of conservative thinkers in the mainstream — share values consistent with the Diplomat and Expert structures of ego-development identified by Susanne Cook-Greuter. (Basically, Beck, Wilber, McIntosh, Cook-Greuter, and many other developmental researchers who have looked at political worldviews are talking about the same thing.) What this perspective tells us is that conservative thinkers like Gingrich are very much concerned with reality, but they see reality through the black and white lense of their cognitive and moral developmental structures.

The point being: Gingrich is the “true” conservative because most conservatives today share his basic structure of values development. Andrew is the outlier, a thinker who emphasizes conservative values (more Agape rather than Eros, in Wilberian terms) but who is not located intellectually at anywhere near the same coordinates as the typical Red State thinker.

Also, Andrew is wildly mistaken about Gingrich not being concerned with reality. All political philosophers (even postmodern ones in an odd way) are concerned with reality, it’s just that they see reality in different ways. How Sullivan misses this is beyond me unless he is just cynically taking a stand he doesn’t quite believe in because that’s what his readers expect pundits to do.

Sullivan continues:

When a conservative approaches a problem like Jihadist violent Islam, he will seek first a grasp of its divisions, analyze the most effective way of defusing and disarming and fighting it, ensure that a strategy in one part of the world is not necessarily salient to another, grapple with unintended consequences, and so on.

No, conservatives don’t approach problems like that. The rare conservative who has attained a high enough degree of cognitive flexibility and sophistication does so, provided that she or he has not developed so high as to be more concerned with understanding politics in even more subtle ways (even articulating genuinely mystical appreciation for politics).

For example, at the higher levels of political sensibility they may see that Jihadist Islam is actually a face of human nature which is not distinct from our own face, and that our ego’s efforts to partition reality into good and evil is just another defense mechanism against our realization of unity with all beings. I am the Jihadist. You are the Jihadist. Everyone in the world is the Jihadist. Now … what sort of political action makes sense from THAT all-inclusive, world-centric perspective?

Sullivan continues:

What Gingrich does is the opposite. What he always longs for is the absolute, eternal principle, the clarifying concept, the rhetorical rallying cry that speaks to the ideological gut rather than the reality-based frontal cortex.

Not really. What Gingrich does is long for the absolute truth in an ideological prism constructed with, as I put it recently,

a worldview consonant with what Susanne Cook-Greuter terms the Diplomat stage, a station of life with a language of simple statements of fact, referring to concrete realities seen from a single aspect. It’s a world where the most important thing is having the right beliefs and sticking up for them right or wrong and being “best equipped” to enforce those beliefs with the authority of the state.

That’s not looking to an “ideological gut” (i.e., a purely emotive, non-cognitive place in contrast to Andrew’s superior powers of cognition), it’s looking to a genuinely cognitive facility with limited capacity for agility, one akin to a hierarchical stage of intellectual and/or moral development that most of us passed through in early adolescence, according to psychological researchers following in the tradition of Maslow, Piaget, and Gilligan.

Sullivan continues:

And Gingrich’s notion of foreign policy – making John Bolton his secretary of state – is essentially a policy of open hostility to the entire world, including allies who differ, and a maximalist military solution to most problems.

Hardly. Sullivan misreads Gingrich as being “openly hostile” to the world, when actually it’s better to say that Gingrich is “openly assertive” of American power and that he doesn’t really see or care much about “the world.”

His consciousness has evolved with heightened sensitivity to perceived threats to order, and his default mode is frequently responsive to those threats in ways that many of us can’t quite grasp because we are so differently constituted. In other words, Gingrich’s moral capacities are just a notch more elevated than a self-important, rebellious teenage boy. Gingrich is a good defender of his home turf, as he defines it, but that’s not so much hostility towards the world as obliviousness.

Conclusion

Andrew Sullivan may be one of our great political commentators writing today, one whose insights I gain value from daily, but sometimes his blindness to his own embedded position in a flatland discourse gets so annoying I just have to express my frustration. To him, everyone but him is basically wrong. He, more than most pundits today, has seen his thought evolve over time; and yet he never turns his eyes to the fact of development itself. In this sense, reading Andrew Sullivan is a bit like watching a train wreck.

To me, following Wilber, everyone has a piece of the truth as seen from their unique perspective. It seems to never occur to Sullivan that conservatism as an ideology exists at multiple structures of values development as a perfectly valid type of expression, and it is perfectly natural to expect Gingrich’s lower level of conservatism to co-exist with Sullivan’s higher level.

There are still higher levels than Sullivan’s, though the higher up on the rungs of political values development one climbs, according to the psychological research such as Robert Kegan of Harvard’s Education School and Ken Wilber’s Integral Politics, the more the distinctions between conservative and liberal become blurred, the more problems appear in need of solution that never before mattered (such as the problem of how to encourage the development of rich interiority in a mass populace and how to use public policy to bring people up the spiral of development). At more evolved stations of life, development itself is increaasingly prized and the goal if politics is redefined in terms of universal care, compassion, love, and justice.

Sullivan doesn’t get this critique not because he hasn’t heard it (I know I’m not the only developmentally informed writer on politics who has tried to bend his ear), but because … I don’t know why. I blog about how frustrated I am about Andrew Sullivan’s thought every couple of years or so and send him an E-mail about it, but he always ignores it. I’ve asked him to do an “Ask Andrew Anything” segment on his view of developmentally-informed political thought such as Ken Wilber’s, and he ignored it.

Ken Wilber once wrote that for a person to grasp that their thought and entire self is developmentally constructed is a big deal. Upon this realization, one must consequently re-examine all one’s beliefs in light of this knowledge and change more than 5% of one’s entire belief system about reality, and this is simply too much for many people to cope with. They instead go into denial. I guess maybe Andrew Sullivan is just not willing to open a can of worms that would make everything he has written to date remarkably partial and limited, or risk the embarrassment of not having a cogent response to a “fringe” view.

Either that, or I’m very wrong (from his perspective), and one of these days he’s going to explain why … and I’ll be so bowled over I’ll just have to change my mind.

Do You Recognize Your True Self in Video Games and Other Forms of Pop Culture?

Spider Man

On Your-Critic.com, K. Cox discusses how her feminist perspective makes it difficult to enjoy mainstream entertainment, including video games, because she doesn’t identify with the characters:

The ability never to be alienated by the games we play or by the people who play them is the very core of privilege.  Bust out that p-word and gamers get riotous, but there’s no way around it.  Despite all of the crap that’s been handed to me over the last three decades, I have privilege by the metric ton.  I’m as white as white can be, identify perfectly well with the sex and gender I was born with, and have almost exclusively heterosexual attractions.  In those senses, I’m pretty thoroughly represented in game worlds, plots, narratives, and characters.  Further, I have two good hands, two good eyes, and two good ears — so I’m pretty thoroughly catered to in terms of game mechanics, audio-visual design, and control schemes.  For a number of my friends and peers?  The layers of crap to deal with just never end.

The golden days of everyone being able to “just play a game,” if any such days exist, are ahead of us still, not lying dormant in some sepia-tinted past.  They are the same as the golden days of all our other pop culture and pop art: lying in a society that’s come to terms with understanding sex, gender, race, and a whole lot more.

via “Your Critic is in Another Castle: The Golden Days”.

I don’t dismiss her perspective in the least, because I too as a sexual minority have seen the world through similar perspectives (i.e., not finding myself identified with the dominant heterosexual characters in mainstream pop culture). At the same time, my experience today with a more integrated and evolutionary perspective is remarkably different. I can both criticize mainstream culture’s shortcomings and also enjoy it at the same time.

Cox concludes her reflection on a complex note. She sounds nostalgic, wishing for “golden days” in which pop culture understands socio-cultural complexities, but she realizes that if a more enlightened world exists it must be through cultural evolution.

And yet I wonder how her failure to enjoy pop culture, rooted in a core non-acceptance of what is and a refusal to identify with a larger sense of Self which can overcome resentments,  is impeding her ability to create new forms of culture that overcome the past.

From a standpoint of being part of an emerging revolution in the world’s spirituality, I want for all people to see that they can identify with their True Self — that unqualified personal essence that is all that is real, and of which there is only one — only partially in varying degrees in all forms of culture.

Truly if we are to be Who We Truly Are it is necessary to create new forms of culture that come ever closer to allowing all of us to find simple enjoyments in ordinary life. We must evolve … so our culture reflects not only the image of who we are (man, woman, straight, gay, black, white), but our essence.

Stewart K. Lundy: The Gatekeepers of Religion and Poetry are the Same

Gate Keeper

Is the critic’s knowledge false? Stewart K. Lundy writes:

The ?gate keepers? of religion and of poetry are one and the same.  The pedantic critic is blind, leading others into a pit of his own creation. The pedant (since he cannot see) ensures that no one else can see. The critic gouges out the eyes of the other. Similarly, Jesus condemned the false knowledge of the Pharisees: ?But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.?

Followers soften the ferocious words of the ones they follow into palatable household sayings ? comfortable, no longer feral, no longer dangerous, no longer potent.  Civilized critics attempt to tame the God/Beast in the poet, saint, or prophet. It is the domestication of the saints which gnaws at the heart of this household idolatry. Their vitiated words may be present in a home, but their spirit is long absent.  No longer appalled, we are encouraged. By making these words ordinary and robbing them of all strangeness, we are robbed of actually encountering those words at all.

Brilliant. The critic’s taming words are not so much false knowledge, I think, but a circumscribed knowledge. Knowledge as a tool or instrument, like a whip on a beast of burden.

Theirs is the implement of the Expert (in Susanne Cook-Greuter’s terminology) and the archetype of the Analyst. By putting the tool down, we can truly encounter the words of poetry and religion with a fierce immediacy.

Passing through the gates of knowledge, past language, we encounter of our own True Self.

Why I Don’t Dig John Horgan’s Blog on SciAm: “Why I Don’t Dig Buddhism.”

John Horgan

Here’s a thoughtful, if flawed, essay from a critic of all religion and meditation from the standpoint of scientism, embodied in the view of John Horgan:

Those who emphasize Buddhism’s compatibility with science usually downplay or disavow its supernatural elements (and even the Dalai Lama has doubts about reincarnation, a philosopher who discussed the issue with him once told me). The mystical philosopher Ken Wilber, when I interviewed him, compared meditation to a scientific instrument such as a microscope or telescope, through which you can glimpse spiritual truth. This analogy is bogus. Anyone can peer through a telescope and see the moons of Jupiter, or squint through a microscope and see cells divide. But ask 10 meditators what they see, feel or learn and you will get 10 different answers…

via Scientific American Blog Network.

So since meditators disagree with what meditation reveals and since Horgan tried a few Zen sittings and didn’t immediately find total enlightenment, he doesn’t dig Buddhism. That’s valid up to a point, as an expression of opinion, like saying he doesn’t dig hip-hop music or popcorn ice cream. I’m not going to quibble with preferences. But a genuinely holistic spirituality calls us to move beyond statements of opinion into knowledge encountered in the trans-rational field in which opinion arises.

Company to Job Applicants: Virgos and Scorpios Need Not Apply

Virgo

A university in the Chinese city of Wuhuan has recently been noticed to use the astrological sign of job applicants to discriminate. Virgos and Scorpios are simply too picky, they say. The UK Telegraph notes:

A Chinese firm has decided Scorpios and Virgos are too moody and critical, telling job seekers with those star signs they need not apply. Capricorns, Pisces and Libras, on the other hand, are welcome.

The unusual requirements are part of a job ad posted at a university in the central city of Wuhuan by an English language training company, and have generated a storm of online controversy since they were uncovered this week.

“We don’t want Scorpios or Virgos, and Capricorns, Pisces and Libras will be prioritised,” the job spec reads, according to the Chutian Metropolis Daily, a local newspaper in Wuhan.

The report quoted a woman in charge at the unnamed firm as saying she had done research and found Scorpios had strong personalities and were moody, while Virgos were hugely critical and did not stay in one job for long.

To this, one could react as Lynn Hayes of Beliefnet’s Astrological Musings did: by refuting the astrological basis for the company’s distinctions. She correctly notes that one’s Sun sign is not the best predictor of one’s future job performance, and Virgos and Scorpios are quite capable of working as teachers.

However, in the great tradition of integral thinkers who try to find truth in every possible location, however partial, I want to acknowledge that I am a Virgo and would definitely be too picky to work at a university that discriminates on the basis of birth date.