Excerpts from Kronology (or: My Never-Before-Published Review of Ken Wilber’s Integral Spirituality)

It’s hard to believe it’s been over three years since one of the first times I put the original vision for the Kronology Wheel to paper. In these doodles (originally sent only to Ken Wilber himself as my entire review of his 2006 book Integral Spirituality), I aimed to convey my artistic vision for the Kronos Wheel: a mandala of Time, each date coordinated with a specific location of development in structures, types, experiences, angles, and modes (STEAM) or levels, types, states, quadrants, and lines (AQAL in Wilber V).

The origins of the vision are not theoretical (though I have begun to document the philosophical implications, this is neither my focus nor forté). Instead, Kronology is grounded in an artistic vision: a unity of all space and time, thought and matter, Kosmos and Kronos. The map, which today I call the Kalendar, is an aesthetic interpretation of Oneness from a vantage point incorporating but not limited by STEAM (my acronym for what is essentially the AQAL Framework).

There are many ways to enumerate or illustrate the specific locations on the Kalendar (called kalens), and I have focused on poetry as my first vehicle for exploring the map. The structure is defined by the Kalendar itself: a set of 360 distinct poems which together form a coherent (?) narrative in three volumes. The poem is neither a traditional epic (as in Dante’s Divine Comedy, which, by the way, is probably its closest literary cousin) nor a collection of distinct poems (as most contemporary poets), but a collection of numerous independent kalens within the Kalendar.

The ultimate realization of the poetry is still many years away; however, I will occasionally publish selections from the collection on this blog. The selections included herein will usually (but not exclusively) focus on those kalens representing homophilia/homophobia.

Read along, if you will, and set the songs to your own music. Every poem you see here is only a draft. Your comments and criticism can help me to develop the poem more fully, and every perspective is most welcome, love it or hate it. (The authors of the most helpful comments, naturally, will receive acknowledgment when the book eventually sees publication).

The role of conservative religionists in fighting homophobia

Note: The following post is reprinted from Rising Up: Reflections on Gay Culture, Politics, Spirit, a book available as an inexpensive ebook or a print-on-demand paperback from Lulu.com. It was first blogged on my now-defunct blog Rising Up on January 9, 2006.

I don’t usually write about the antigay messages of conservative religionists. Everyone knows religious traditionalism and antigay bias go hand in hand, so it’s not exactly a man bites dog story.

But it’s nice to be able to occasionally find examples of religious conservatives pointing out another conservative’s antigay bias and offering constructive corrections. While it’s not exactly a heartwarming tale of conservatives losing their bias to soothe my liberal heart, it does speak to the ways that individuals can make a small difference by speaking out.

A popular Roman Church priest tells his parish that he’s gay but celibate and abides by the Roman Church’s teaching. So conservative Roman Church blogger Mark Shea opines:

But as a layman, I am no more interested in the fact that he is a celibate SSA [person with same-sex attraction] guy than I am in knowing whether the guy in the pew next to me made love with his wife last night. It’s not information that concerns me and it’s not information that my kids need to be subjected to in a homily. Priests who use the homily as a chance to engage in True Confessions like this seem to me to be engaging in a none-too-subtle form of narcissism.

There the traditionalists go again—always making the attributes of the previous developmental stage of egocentrism the preeminent bugaboo of our age, and then misinterpreting higher-stage responses from that warped perspective. Shea’s remarks prompted a comment box reply from Courage Man, a conservative Roman Catholic struggling with same-sex attraction:

Assuming the complaint is “Too Much Information,” then the proper analogy to the guy in the pew next to you would be the priest saying he abused himself last night. At the level of personal disclosure and specific information, the priest is doing nothing more than the guy in the pew next to you does by wearing a wedding band or introducing “my wife.”

Excellent point! Now to hear this comment from a typical gay man would be expected, but to hear it from a conservative Roman Catholic is most encouraging. I advocate the approach of combating homophobia in social institutions by using strategies grounded upon divergent rationales. Among religiously conservative institutions, that means arguing against homophobia by challenging bias without necessarily challenging the orthodoxy of the institution.

If a church teaches that homosexual sex is sinful, then religious conservatives can avoid challenging that assumption while focusing on other areas such as combating negative stereotypes and double standards. Persons who self-define as “ex-gay” or “living with SSA” are among those religious traditionalists leading the way in this sort of important transformative work. Their internalized homophobia and alienation from the mainstream gay culture buys them invaluable credibility in the eyes of the leaders of the institutions where change from within is most desperately needed.

A STEAM-based perspective to fighting homophobia within conservative institutions must include and strongly encourage the ameliorative efforts of folks like Courage Man. We must encourage people to take the little steps at correcting bias when they happen upon it in ordinary life. If mainstream gays don’t like where conservative religionists like Courage Man are coming from, that’s our problem, not theirs. Although conservative views of homosexuality may be repugnant to those of us who see the world from a more complete lense, serious change in religious institutions cannot happen without religionists on the inside doing what they can to discourage homophobia given the limitations of their institution’s strictures. Folks like Courage Man who are closer to the belly of the beast are in a far better position to effect positive change than most of the rest of us.

P.S.: April 2007. As careful readers of Until will notice, this blog post used to be distributed as part of a “free sample” of my ebook Rising Up. As of today, I have discontinued offering the free ebook sample on Until. The reasons are too numerous and dry to bother enumerating at this time. Suffice to say that readers who want the content from the sample chapters of my book can (a) spend a few bucks to buy the ebook or book, and/or (b) search the Internet archives (you know where to look for those, don’t you?).

Equanimity, soul retrieval, and the integral ethos

I have stated how I would define a STEAM-based approach to integral here. And I have articulated a vision for a symbolic, ritualistic expression of an integral consciousness. Recently I’ve been wondering if it might also be possible to express the essential integral ethos in a short mantra. Just as mantras such as “equality, liberty, and fraternity” have at times expressed the ethos of previous waves of consciousness, can we sum up integral in a catchphrase or set of most important attributes or defining characteristics? The problem is particularly perplexing because integral by its very definition encompasses so many of the characteristics that have defined previous stages of consciousness and carries them through into its style as attributes of its own nature. It is therefore challenging to articulate the unique characteristics of integral without lapsing into a sort of redundancy (just as you wouldn’t define the sixth grade curriculum by pointing to lessons learned in fourth or fifth grade).

I’ll take a stab at doing so, though only as a thought experiment. I offer some tentative thoughts in that light, and welcome all manner of feedback on the substance and value of the effort. To define the central ethos of integral, I would proceed by looking to the root features of Reality, as best I understand those features, and ask how they are expressing themselves through the integral stage of development. There are other methods of approach that might also be fruitful (for example, introspection or empirical psychological and sociological research into observable behavior and characteristics), but this little thought experiment is looking at the root and going from there to see what we can discover.

The four central tenets of holons are, as I would say for these purposes, Eros (the driving force of Becoming), compassion (the driving force of
rootedness of Being), agency (the masculine style of Being and Becoming), and communion (the feminine style of Being and Becoming). At a minimum, it seems to me, an attempt to concisely define the integral ethos must account for how integral is an expression of Eros and compassion. What unique form do these two drives take when expressed at this particular stage of consciousness evolution?

Let’s begin by considering what’s going on at the integral stage of consciousness in individuals. At this stage, a person’s center of gravity has shifted so that the forms of adaptive intelligence associated with the “integral meme” (to use the Spiral Dynamics term) are so prominent, say, that they guide about 50% of the person’s reactions, perceptions, beliefs, and values. According to Don Beck, common attributes include quality and complexity of decision-making and other cognitive aspects, a quickness of finding solutions, a lack of status motivation, a fearlessness without lack of cautiousness, and curiosity about “just being alive in the expansive universe.” About 25% of the person’s multiple intelligences may reflect first-tier memes, while another 25% may embody higher, mystical, trans-rational stages of awareness.

Although Beck may be correct in saying that integral is characterized by a lack of fear, I would be very careful before using the expression “fearlessness” myself. Because fear in its two primal directions corresponding with Eros and compassion–Phobos and Thanatos–are universal potentialities for all holons. It is more accurate to say that at the integral level of consciousness, old fears (of losing individual immortality, status and success symbols, acceptance by others, etc.) are passing away and new… perhaps deeper, darker, and more terrible fears… are coming into awareness.

Fear manifests as resistance to Being (that is, Thanatos or homophobia, fear of the Same) and resistance to Becoming (that is, Phobos or heterophobia, fear of the Other). In order to see how fear manifests at integral, you must grasp, in a tentative way at least, what integral is, and what it is moving towards. Integral is the adaptive intelligence that is bringing together what has come before it into a coherent whole in which the parts retain their distinctiveness. In other words, relativistic pluralism becomes universal pluralism. Residing in this activity of integration is the mode of Being (you might say, growing Buddhist compassion or homophilia) at the integral wave. And yet there is also an mode of Becoming (you might say, growing Eros or heterophilia), a movement from the integral stage towards the subtle and other trans-rational stages of consciousness. Such stages may broadly be said to describe a deeply felt, embodied, and vital sense of a unity to reality in all its many and diverse energetic forms as they can be understood by using concepts such as stages, types, experiences, angles, and modes. The very rational distinctions of STEAM that made the integral stage of awareness separate from what came before it must be overcome. That which made integral distinctive must die, rise up, and disappear into a higher awareness that is described in various traditions as unity consciousness, transcendence, sacredness, Divinity, or Emptiness.

The guiding spirit of integral, as I see it, must concisely capture the particular movement of this dance of Being and Becoming. You might say that it’s “include” (for compassion) and “transcend” (for Eros). But after reading these phrases over and over again, they start to seem less than fresh. There’s not much zip or zing, at least not to my ears. But here’s a suggestion: equanimity (for compassion) and soul retrieval (for Eros).

Equanimity, “a balanced state of mind characterized by lack of strong attachments,” to express the integral impulse towards Being: overcoming the fears that characterized first-tier ways of Being, reconciling opposites by locating them within a developmental framework or model of reality (stages, the S in STEAM) or some other appropriate tool for bringing coherence to the multiplicity of perspectives on reality (the TEAM in STEAM), sizing up options quickly and moving from paralysis to decisive action, and so forth. The central ethos of these drives can perhaps be characterized by equanimity, “a perfect, unshakable balance of mind, rooted in insight.” (Venerable Nyanaponika Thera). It is an understanding that the apparent conflicts of life originate in faulty or unbalanced perspectives, and that wisdom lies in rising above those partial and unintegrated perspectives. Equanimity includes awareness that knowledge liberates from fear. It includes a notion of “right understanding” without which some traditions say Enlightenment is impossible. Equanimity is going to the very edge of thought, and seeing that the eye of mind can take you no further.

If I choose a Buddhist term for the compassion side of the integral ethos, I choose a term for Eros–soul retrieval–that should resonate to some degree with paganism, shamanism, Judeo-Christian traditions, modern psychotherapeutic traditions, and aspects of the New Age.

If equanimity describes how the integral ethos strives to overcome attachments so that the self, finding greater calmness and harmony, can rest in the fullness of Being, then soul retrieval describes how the integral ethos strives to manifest its total, undivided, and essential nature so that it can dissolve into the emptiness of Becoming. The problem here isn’t merely reconciling opposites through some sort of intellectual exercise, but actually embodying opposites and giving them an expression that is coherent, authentic, and full–whether it’s messy or neat, ugly or beautiful, grotesque or sublime. This work demands, as never before in previous stages of consciousness, liberation from unconsciousness (whether such fetters arise from subconscious shadow or transpersonal realms). It is therefore necessary to reappropriate the wisdom of the shamans that “soul loss is a spiritual illness that causes emotional and physical disease.”Soul retrieval means moving towards a shift in our self sense from personal identity (green or pluralistic relativism) and identity-in-unitas (yellow or universal pluralism) to identity as a soul, or if you prefer, Self (non-self). We human beings exist, I believe, as souls of lightness and darkness and all shades of gray, and that is our true self. Our true nature becomes clear as we uncover the ways that parts of ourselves are split off from our true self, and that is the central task of Becoming at the integral wave.

STEAM is, in part, a systematic way of thinking. Starting with first principles has important benefits, but its first fruits are rather highly abstract. Such is the case with this exercise, which has produced orienting generalizations that must be made more picturesque, concrete, and specific through successive iterations of thought. Turning the abstract into the concrete is, of course, the next stage of the dialectic–going from defining the terms of the subject of the inquiry to actually imagining what the subject looks and feels like–and I expect future posts on this blog will explore this territory. In plain language, it takes time to flesh out a fresh notion. It takes even more effort and time to describe the temperament, personality, and affective structure of that notion. Note that the result of such efforts could eventually give rise to enhanced clarity about the central ethos of integral, though I would not make such a claim at this time, because this un-fleshed-out idea remains quite abstract. Nevertheless, I believe that an approach that begins systematically–for example, in an AQAL approach, based on the core framework of the prime tenets of all holons–contrasts favorably to ad hoc methodologies based on anecdotes, introspection, rationalistic or coherentist reasoning, merely mythopoetic or analogical imagination, or merely subjective efforts to say “this is what integral means to me.” Such efforts may add value in particular contexts, but when they are judged against proven mantras such as “transcend and include” or even, possibly, “equanimity and soul retrieval,” they are revealed to be partial, biased, speculative, and potentially obscurant.

At this point, one might object: Why not call the holonic drive of Eros “equanimity” and the drive of compassion “soul retrieval”? Or, how is it possible to reconcile the rough, emotional, deeply disturbing work of soul retrieval with the calmness, tranquility, and indifference of equanimity? Equanimity and soul retrieval may appear at times to be opposites, perhaps, the two sides of the integral coin, but the challenge before us is to grasp the hidden unity underlying the apparent conflict at the center of this wave of development. The integral ethos–soul retrieval and equanimity–are the storm of Spirit and the eye of the storm, respectively.

On misunderstandings

Many common misunderstandings are the result of clashes between different personality types (Mars and Venus, Aries and Cancer, etc.) Other misunderstandings are the result of clashes of psychological structure, level, or stage. Here’s a quote from Ken Wilber on these latter sorts of misunderstandings (from Excerpt D from the Kosmos trilogy):

Me and my blue interiors belong to the local Lion’s Club; you and your yellow interiors belong to the local Integral Institute. We have already seen that this means that you and I share interior culture up to the level of blue; and thus we can converse within a meaningful “we” up to the blue level of discourse, because the signs and tokens that we exchange will have similar-enough referents up to the blue worldspace (and thus we will share a cultural solidarity up to that point). But greenand yellow symbols, words, and signs will be “all Greek” to me; their referents are literally over my head, and therefore although I can hear their signifiers they have no real meaning for me. I am inside no “we” such that my intersections are internal to the patterns of those phenomenological spaces. I literally cannot see what you are talking about. Your yellow values include a worldcentric or global ecological consciousness; my blue values do not. We live in the same ecosystem, but only one of us has ecological awareness….

 

Me and my blue interior can read the book Spiral Dynamics, and I can memorize the descriptions and definitions of all the major structures and vMemes. I can memorize the words and signifiers that define beige, purple, red, blue, orange, green, yellow, and turquoise. If you ask me to describe turquoise, I might be able to do so perfectly. Does that mean that I am at the turquoise level or structure of development? Not at all. “Structures,” as we were saying, are third-person descriptions (in “it” language) of first-person realities, and therefore I can memorize the descriptions without actually being acquainted with those realities. I have access to these “its” by description, but I only have access to the corresponding “I” realities if I myself transform to those levels, stages, or structures and thus know those realities by acquaintance.

As I wrote in “I blog, therefore I lie,”I have defined the intended audience of this blog in a way to minimize disruptions from cross-meme misunderstandings.

So when a conservative religionist, say, Danielle, tells me that she thinks I’m going to hell because the Bible says God hates queers, I know better than to attempt a discourse that’s “over her head.” Of course, I’m familiar enough with the rote arguments about the Bible and homosexuality that I could take my time to respond as effectively as possible at her level of sophistication. But I choose not to. Thankfully, there are plenty of other people who can regurgitate the same old arguments with Danielle and perhaps help to stretch or raise her consciousness. Growth is possible for Danielle, but it’s not up to me to get her to grow or set the time-frame for her evolution. Heck, she can stay stuck where she is, projecting her hatred of queers onto God and all that, and that really doesn’t disturb me much, just so she isn’t in a position of social or political influence. Then she needs to be countered, and not just by quoting liberal interpretations of the Bible, but countered by effective arguments and strategies at multiple levels.

Living with a STEAM-based practice in the real world involves doing some rather dicey balancing acts. It means realizing that a full, real, embodied awareness of the existence of sexism, heterosexism, and homophobia does not exist in a stable and enduring fashion in the interiors until an individual has reached a pluralistic level of consciousness or higher. With this insight, it’s possible to grow in forgiveness and tolerance even of the intolerant. It’s harder to forgive an anti-gay tirade when you think you’re talking to another Hitler. But if you see Danielle’s tirades as baby-talk, and see her more like a baby than like Hitler, forgiveness and right understanding are easier. Even if the baby needs to be spanked, it still needs love. Of course, telling Danielle that hers is baby-talk probably won’t win her friendship. Anyone got a problem with that? If you’re timid about losing a friend, keep your thoughts to yourself. I don’t care. I didn’t say you have to tell Danielle any of your assessments of her relative level of consciousness, though if you do, you should try to do so with a loving spirit. How would a fundamentalist put it? “Love the immature person, hate the immaturity?”

I don’t worry about whether I hurt a fundamentalist’s feelings. And if they’re hurt, perhaps it will be a spur to growth, who can say. As I wrote earlier on this blog, religious conservatives are not my target audience. I’m more worried about the message that I send to people in a green worldspace if they hear that integral/STEAM is so “evolved” that now they need to tell anti-gay bigots that “everyone’s right,” and that to fight homophobia they should meditate, do nothing, and let Spirit take care of everything. Such a message, based on misunderstandings, would lead to an immediate dismissal of integral thought and practice among the group that is most likely to appropriate a new and higher way of thinking. And that would be a disaster. To avoid such miscommunications, my rhetorical strategy is aimed at reach my target audience (largely those at the pluralistic and integral levels) which isn’t necessarily the person who I am responding to. I’m not talking merely about tailoring my message to the audience that I’m speaking to; I’m talking about talking on point to my intended audience, and resisting efforts by my actual audience to pull me off the message.

So with Danielle and other fundamentalists, it’s possible to devise more effective strategies for containing the harm when they decide to take up political arms to foist their religion-based heterosexism on the rest of us. And it’s possible to choose to refrain from dialogue with unsuitable debate partners, thus avoiding the inevitable cross-meme misunderstandings and the harm and bad karma that may consequently arise. The most compassionate response to potential debate partners pounding on your door with some sort of fundamentalist tract is not to welcome them in. Shoo them away instead! Some things are better left unsaid.

The role of conservative religionists in fighting homophobia

I don’t usually link to the anti-gay writings of conservative religionists because there’s so much homophobia the sheer volume of potential posts would just be crazy. Besides, everyone knows religious traditionalism and anti-gay bias go hand in hand, so it’s not exactly a dog bites man story.

But it’s nice to be able to occasionally find examples of religious conservatives pointing out another conservative’s anti-gay bias, and offering constructive corrections. While it’s not exactly a heartwarming tale of conservatives losing their bias, it does speak to the ways that individuals can make a small difference by speaking out.

A popular Roman Catholic priest tells his parish that he’s gaybut celibate and abides by the Church’s teaching.

So popular Roman Catholic blogger Mark Shea opines:

I think this priest means well… but as a layman, I am no more interested in the fact that he is a celibate SSA guy than I am in knowing whether the guy in the pew next to me made love with his wife last night. It’s not information that concerns me and it’s not information that my kids need to be subjected to in a homily. Priests who use the homily as a chance to engage in True Confessions like this seem to me to be engaging in a none-too-subtle form of narcissism.

This prompts a comment box reply from Courage Man:

… Assuming the complaint is “Too Much Information,” then the proper analogy to the guy in the pew next to you would be the priest saying he abused himself last night. At the level of personal disclosure and specific information, the priest is doing nothing more than the guy in the pew next to you does by wearing a wedding band or introducing “my wife.”

Excellent. Now to hear this latter comment from a gay man would be expected; to hear it from a conservative Catholic is an encouraging sign. I advocate the approach of combatting homophobia in social institutions using strategies grounded upon divergent, even seemingly contradictory, rationales.Among religiously conservative institutions, that means arguing against homophobia by challenging bias without necessarily challenging the orthodoxy of the institution.

If a church teaches that homosexual sex is sinful, religious conservatives can avoid challenging that assumption while focusing on other areas such as combating negative stereotypes and double standards. Persons who self-define as “ex-gay” or “living with Same-Sex Attraction (SSA)” are among those religious traditionalists leading the way in this sort of work.

An integal perspective to combatting homophobia must include and encourage the ameliorative efforts of folks like Courage Man. Little steps at correcting bias when he happens upon it in his life. His views of homosexuality as a sin may be repugnant to those who see the world from a very different lense. But serious change in religious institutions cannot happen without religionists on the inside doing what they can to discourage homophobia given the limitations of their institution’s strictures.

Update: A second example of conservative Christians fighting homophobia in their own ways, these evangelicals writing on the Vindicated blog, who have engaged in an unusually thoughtful exchange about bringing the gospel to gays in new ways. Of course, to engage in bald generalizations, their core theological mindset is strictly of the mythic/rationalist sort typical of people who routinely write things like “God is good and sin is bad, so of course God despises sin, and most people believe this.” Still, there are encouraging signs. At a simplistic level, there’s talk of alternatives to using words like “despise,” because they are perceived as hurtful. There’s frank admission of the hypocrisy of evangelical churches in dealing with gays. And most promising yet: a call to develop a theology that allows for monogamous, committed same-sex relationships as “God’s Plan B.”

Now if only I could believe these were mainstream sentiments among evangelicals and not some sort of liberal fringe. In any case, from my perspective, it’s still shameful homophobic bullshit that has no rightful place in spirituality. But not everyone is there yet. We all start somewhere in the spiral of development, and these mythic/rational-level religionists are still at an immature stage in their thinking about homosexuality. Still, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Why gay men cry while watching Brokeback Mountain

Gay conservative writer Dale Carpenter calls his review of Brokeback Mountain a “dissenting view,” presumably because he’s a conservative in a liberal culture. Supposedly the review has generated some controversy when it’s been published. Carpenter claims that “nobody in the gay community” (except him, one might guess) is “even considering the moral complexity Brokeback Mountain presents.”

What is the moral complexity that Carpenter says is overlooked? He thinks the interests of the families, the wives and children, is being overlooked. He asks whether we should blame Ennis and Jack for their selfish choices, and says that he could not cry for them because of his anger.

I have some minor quibbles with Carpenter’s ideas (for instance, his criticism that the sex in the movie is artificial probably says more about his own experience rather than anything about Jack and Ennis), but overall I think the review is a good attempt to interject some moral complexity into the gay community’s dialogue over this seminal movie.

But why stop there? As long as we’re going to criticize viewers who, in Carpenter’s words, “believe that the only tragedy in the film is the thwarted love of these two men,” then let’s not stop in our consideration of moral complexity until we can go no further.

It’s worth asking where does Carpenter believe the moral complexity stops? Hard to say, though the only thing he finds worthy of mentioning is the hardship imposed by Ennis and Jack on the wives and children. He says his anger towards the men prevented him from feeling the emotional weight of the tragedy at the end. But what about the moral responsibilities of the women, especially Ennis’s wife. She knew, but said nothing, and decided to remain married as long as she did, and later she opted for divorce over, say, marriage counseling. She is no innocent victim of a bad, bad man. She’s a moral agent making her own way in the world in circumstances no less tragic than Ennis. We can have compassion for her plight, but we cannot dismiss her need to take responsibility for her life.

The tragedies of Brokeback Mountain start with the thwarted love between Ennis and Jack, but they do not end there. They go on… to all the moral choices made by the men and their wives… and to the society at large, so pervaded with homophobia and heterosexism that it kills the human spirit and leaves entire families, broken and scarred, in the rubble… and on… and on…

I’ve seen Brokeback Mountain twice, both times with a predominantly gay audience. And the tears of gay men are always flowing freely. More than one friend has told me he’s seen the movie twice and cried more the second time. My own emotive style is more quivery than weepy, and several scenes in the movie made me shake and sigh. I never know what’s going to stir me so viscerally, though it’s rarely what I would expect. I felt little when Ennis discovered the bloody shirt in Jack’s closet, but I clutched my stomach when Jack’s mom asked Ennis to come back. Her pain and loneliness and grief struck me like a ton of bricks. Putting myself in Ennis’s boots, I just wanted to step outside the house and puke.

Let’s applaud Carpenter for criticizing the shallow view “which sees in a multi-layered calamity only a beautiful but doomed gay romance.” And let us question his opinion that gay audiences are so superficial that their tears are merely the signs of compassion for two lovers. How the fuck does he know… or I know… or anyone know… why so many gay men are crying? Isn’t it enough that we are human enough to cry? Gays are not immune to seeing the multi-layered tragedy, even if we see the universal dimensions through our own lense. Very often in life it’s the pain of those most like ourselves that provides the opening to a flow of compassion and healing that is ever deeper and more expansive.