An Apology as A Former Marc Gafni Defender

In 2011, I became friends with Dr. Marc Gafni, currently the head of the Center for Integral Wisdom. I visited him and listened to him extensively discuss the allegations of various parties (mostly women alleging emotional or sexual abuse), and learned that he had an archive of private materials in his defense. I perused the private materials and, after some deliberation, came to see matters much as he did, as a misplaced and unsubstantiated vendetta.

In all of my deliberations, I relied mainly upon public information and his private archives, except for one scandal. It was the scandal that brought Marc and I together, actually. Tami Simon, the head of Sounds True, cancelled Marc’s book deal, alleging that Marc had been inappropriately involved with two persons, one a student. Marc expressed regret about some of his behavior, such as asking for privacy/secrecy from the women, but not all of his behavior. I interviewed the two women and attempted to interview Tami. When Tami refused an interview, I posted a blog post with my interview questions for her. I really didn’t feel I had enough information to judge Tami, but I did feel that Marc’s behavior while problematic was not an obstacle to his continued involvement in the Integral community.

In 2012 and 2013, I collaborated with Marc on a variety of projects, the most important being my work to help ensure that the website for Your Unique Self got off the ground. For over a year I was an independent contractor for the Center for World Spirituality (which would later be renamed CIW).

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Release Date Announced for The Black Stone

black-stone-front-cover

I am pleased to announce that Tangent Publishers, an imprint of Integral Publishers, has announced its intention to release The Black Stone (the first book in The Kalendar Series) on May 1, 2016.

Woo-hoo!

At long last, you will soon be able to read my first book since 2007’s Soulfully Gaya peek at a New Magic which is arising in our midst. Stay tuned.

For more information about the book, visit the home page for The Kalendar Series.

George Monbiot’s “Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems”: A Review

George Monbiot‘s article, “Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems”, is a good summary of the Left’s problems with liberal economics, and one which indicts the Left too for not having come up with a better alternative. It helps to elevate the word “neoliberalism” into one which is simultaneously a centerpiece of Left-wing social theory and also boogeyman — one which, as the headline says explicitly, is “at the root of all our problems.” The diagnosis is wide, but flatland — only the Lower quadrants get a look.

The challenge for an Integral economics is substantial, particularly when popular sentiment among integrally informed folk these days seems to be all about simply adopting whatever the Left is doing. To meet the challenge Integral thinkers must give more than one side of the story. While honoring the prophetic streak in writers like Monbiot, we need to show the fuller picture revealed by a post-Green meme lens and demonstrate the utility of a more Integral economics. When the Left’s critique of neoliberalism is combined with everything good about liberal economics, we can arrive at a more realistic vision with pragmatic steps to move us forward. As Hillary Clinton recently lectured Bernie Sanders, it’s easy to offer a diagnosis; it’s harder to build solutions.

Monbiot concludes: “A coherent alternative [to neoliberalism] has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century.” There are currently programs in existence which seem to be pursuing creative approaches, but none have reached the place where governments can create policy alternatives. In my view, Integral economic thinkers ought to be part of the task of envisioning alternatives to our economic status quo and we should bring many insights obscured to flatland economic systems. But we need at least as much energy devoted to reforming liberal economics so it works better and more equitably, extolling its virtues and accomplishments, and resisting the effort by writers like Monbiot to proclaim the death of liberalism as a failed God.

Announcing a New Facebook Group: “Integral Agape”

On April 14, I created Integral Agape, a new Facebook Group located at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1098302913523392/

Here is the group’s description:

In Integral philosophy, we distinguish between Eros and Agape. Eros is the force driving creation to reach higher and higher. Agape is the transcendent force reaching down and including lower levels. Both of these drives are necessary and important … and they manifest up and down the Spiral of existence at every level.

This group is focused on Agape: the self-immanent, descending current of evolution. In politics, this take the form of a focus on preserving what needs to be preserved, maintaining healthy values, and conserving valuable traditions. We are not defenders of the status quo, but we believe progress needs the attention of an integrally-informed consciousness in order to move ahead responsibly and deliberately.

We focus on what we do not to exclude Eros, but to ensure the integrity of the Spiral in which the Ascending and Descending currents meet. In that sense, our “conservative” ethos is married with a “progressive” spirit.

And here is my post today:

Yesterday on Integral Global, Theo Horesh asked: “Whether or not we want to support the Sanders campaign, the question remains as to whether the most inclusive mass movements will be supported or subverted by integral thinkers.”

I didn’t write a long response. But I pointed to something else I wrote earlier yesterday which expressed my vision of Integral Politics as a sort of Integral Methodological Pluralism in the political sphere, serving as a universal donor of wisdom to every first-tier political meme as it is embodied in particular parties and institutions. I concurred with him that green/socialist political movements have a ways to grow before entering maturity and having their full impact on the USA in particular, and I opined that the Integral movement needs to support their emergence. But support and subvert are not necessarily opposed! I said that the Green Meme will wreak havoc if left to its own devices (so will any first-tier meme), and needs to be subverted to avoid potentially catastrophic missteps, and to protect the health of other valid political memes (values and real people and institutions) up and down the Spiral.

I think what Theo was asking for is best handled really in a sort of Integral Progressive movement, much like there are also Integral Christian and Integral Buddhist scenes. I said, “Let the IPs choose the best way to move progressive issues forward — e.g., support Sanders or Clinton? — and let the Integral Conservatives or whatever they call themselves (though they are seemingly not to be found at this Facebook Integral-themed group) choose the best way to advance conservative causes in an integral direction. One group represents the impulse to Eros and the other to Agape, and let them each check the others’ Phobos and Thanatos. Nothing like this has ever been done in any other political movement, though in a sense it could be seen just as an expression of the emergence of ‘wings’ in the Integral political scene. The idea that the Integral movement — uniquely charged with protecting the entire Spiral — should *only* align itself with ‘progressive’ political causes, indeed those affiliated and endorsed by only one first-tier meme, Green — is frankly a bit frightening. It may answer the challenge of the hour, but it is short-sighted in the extreme. It is the perfect recipe for a nightmare scenario. Let Green do Green well. Let the post-Green memes do what only they can do.”

It was in writing these words that I realized that lo and behold *I* was one of the Integral Conservatives that I was talking about! In conversations on Facebook since last fall, I had been consistently saying and liking things that were closer to the political mainstream (Hillary Clinton as opposed to Bernie Sanders, Democratic Party as opposed to Radical Left, conventional reality vs. conspiracy theories, etc.) It seemed that 90% of my Facebook friends were all drifting farther away from the mainstream and into this new-fangled radicalism. Well good luck and God bless with that, but I’m ready for something different. The majority of people on Integral Global and similar groups sometimes seem to want nothing more than Green philosophy and spirituality with a few sprinkles on top, rebranded as “Integral”. Every day it’s the same thing: more Wilber bashing, more rabid anti-capitalism, more Hillary derangement syndrome, more conspiracy theories, more calls for Revolution!(CC NC-ND), and more silence about how much this is really in tune with the fuller, expansive spirit of Integral. I don’t think they’re all bad Integralists (not by a long shot), and I certainly don’t think they’re bad people, but they’re out of touch. I just think it might be an appropriate time to let the spirit of Agape run wild.

If you feel a kinship to our purpose, you are warmly invited to join Integral Agape.

New Zodiac Sign No. 5: The Viper

The fifth Animwaa of the Bear-Yak Zodiac is the Great Viper, Eimiqua, Visionary Companion, and Most Dangerous of the Fierce Friends.

5. The Viper

Correspondences

Army: The Fierce Friends

Role: Visionary Companion

Constellation: B

Enneagram: No. 1, The Perfect Foe

Kalendar: ││┆│, ││┆╎

Old Zodiac: Capricorn 28° – Aquarius 4°

Dates: Jan. 18 AM – Jan. 24 PM

Complement: Emu

Description

The Great Viper’s loyalty to the Great Bear’s cause was very much in doubt at the start of the War of the Zodiacs, but in time he proved himself a true member of the Fierce Friends. The power of the Ro was strong among the reptiles, and they divided when the time came to choose between the Second Wave Zodiac and the Third Wave Zodiac. The reptiles, like the rodents and some other animals, were maligned at the start of the War. Their loyalties were divided between the Ro and Bei, and reformation movements spread which not only divided species, but even families. The most wicked and corrupt reptiles affiliated with Aries-Pisces; the Reformed Reptiles, led by the Great Viper, chose the Bear-Yak.

Kalen met Eimiqua, the Great Viper, at a perilous time in his adolescence. The creature curled on his spine and spoke to him of a desire to know his own place in the Kosmos. He bit Kalen who began to hallucinate. He envisioned the Viper as the shape of Kosmos itself, a magnificent Spiral shown with nine glowing orbs. Eimiqua knew only of seven, and he bade Kalen to describe all nine of the orbs. Kalen described only seven orbs, but gave clues regarding the other two orbs. The Hanimwaa stated that if the Great Viper led the reptiles in the War of the Zodiacs, he would see the other two orbs as well and his knowledge of them would be unsurpassed among the creatures of night vision. Eimiqua shed his skin and joined the Fierce Friends.

Viper was called “Visionary Companion” because of his ability to offer candid advice about future events which was highly accurate, strategic, and unsettling. He also roused primal instincts of aliveness and sensuality in those whom he influenced. His mere presence could call attention to levels of raw energy that were otherwise unnoticed. As the War of the Zodiacs emerged, Eimiqua traveled in the world of reptiles gaining support for a new alliance, and he was instrumental in bringing Gecko and Frog to the battle. His ability to shed skin often accompanied his own changes or heart or mind.

The Great Viper was the only Animwaa tasked by the Great Bear to work to defeat both Capricorn and Aquarius. Although Viper was not present at the Battle of Red Cliffs, he once encountered and fought the Sea-Goat in a manner which gave Kalen valuable information. Later his battle with Aquarius, with other reptiles at his side, gave fire to the Third Wave’s cause.

Linked to the last few degrees of the third decan of Capricorn, Eimiqua shared two character traits with the Sea-Goat Monster: restlessness and practicality. A greater influence is the first four degrees of the first decan of Aquarius, which bring about the traits of individuality and complexity. These traits are reflected in the choices made by Viper in his notable forays with the old Zodiac.