Regarding my recent article, “Through Vulnerability, We Reveal Our Heart’s Most Secret Vocation”, C.F. writes:
Well, the most obvious sign that someone isn’t very highly evolved is that they think they really are highly evolved, and they even brag about it sometimes. That’s a dead giveaway right there, and it makes things very confusing because it’s often hard to tell the difference between such a pretentious dickwad and the way you carry yourself in the world. I’m yet to see you make an honest evidence-based rational argument without resorting to one or another version of the “I’m more highly evolved than you” trump card. And it’s THIS move that will be the death of the Integral movement IMHO. I’m just trying to help you see yourself from the perspective of other people who don’t share the same assumptions about the world.
My response included the following comment:
Trust me, I’m aware of how you see my openness about myself, and I’ve factored it into my awareness. If the Integral movement dies because Joe Perez WRITES A BLOG POST FOR HIS READERS THAT puts a label to the stage of consciousness that’s staring them in the face to help them digest the dissonance they feel towards his writings or better understand where he thinks he’s coming from, then so be it. Then Integral dies.
Of course, Integral isn’t going to die because one person is candid about describing his spiritual journey using developmental language. It’s not like I’m parading around Integral spaces thumping my chest Tarzan style shouting “I’m enlightened!” or something. Nothing of the sort. But it is true that I’ve spoken of my journey as one of evolution into a role with a worldcentric orientation and mission (like in the “Vulnerability” article) and one of 100+ posts on my blog briefly notes my verified test scores on assessments as well as my self-evaluation in five words (“somewhere on the third tier”).
Well, there are hundreds of people assessed at Super-Integral (third-tier levels) and probably many thousands or tens of thousands of people who haven’t been tested and will never be. We’re not all going to stay in the closet because some people who think the arrogance of others is the biggest sin want to enforce a taboo against speaking of development IN INTEGRAL CIRCLES OF ALL PLACES.
You know, I’m sick of closets and if having an ounce of visibility in that regard is upsetting to some people, well that’s just tough. I do think C.F. is right about one thing though: it’s not so important what people say, but what they do and how they show up in the world. If a person makes a spiritual claim, can they — like a good mathematician — “show their work”? Can they, in short, demonstrate the competence of the highest potentials of the evolutionary stage that they think they are at?
So, incidentally, you won’t hear me talking much about “my evolution” here. You’ll see me living authentically and creating spiritual and philosophical artifacts — like Lingua-U and The Kalendar — that demonstrate my capacity for integrating paradigms as divergent as queer theory, shamanism, linguistics, AQAL Integral Theory, clairvoyant channeling, and Aurobindo’s cosmology, and invent new technologies for manipulating the subtle energy of thought and language.
But don’t expect me to silence myself about my own or anyone else’s evolution if I have something to say about it. Unlike some people (Green), I don’t think arrogance is a bugaboo; on the contrary, I think a flatland deconstructive leveling of qualitative distinctions is a serious problem facing many people in their journeys. You would expect their respect for diversity would extend to developmental diversity, but no (they only care about certain kinds of diversity).
The same postmodern (Green) theorist who will tell a queer person to “Tell your story! Speak your truth! Be yourself! Own the labels that empower you!” will tell that same queer person, if he is a spiritual teacher, “Never tell your story, you arrogant-know-it-all! Deny your evolution or you’re a dick-wad! You’re a narcissist! Never talk about development, it’s bad for ‘human relations’ or even ‘the death of Integral’!”
Whatever I say, whatever qualifications I add, whatever my motivations may be no matter how innocuous or noble, they will say I’m bragging. I could try to appease them by keeping my mouth shut, but then they would go after me for my facial expressions or body language. It’s their right to pull people “down” to their level if they want to because they can’t stand when excellence or quality arise in their midst and they must squash it back so nobody else feels threatened or intimidated or bullied or marginalized. But I don’t have to take in their noxious worldview.