Saturday, December 24, 2016

Integral and me

I just came upon this again and am re-reading it: Marco V Morelli's "Integral and me." I relate to a lot of it, like the following excerpts. Thank you Marco for voicing some of my own thoughts and feelings:

"I tried to avoid identifying or associating with integral altogether—a term which, even before my departure from I-I, I had grown to regard with irritation."

"I felt that something wanted to come through, but that it couldn’t live in the integral box I had built around myself. The Integral Revolution was a dud. [...] I no longer felt the need or desire to identify with or be part of any kind of integral anything."

"I was tired of spending the best of my waking hours, and the cream of my youth, studying post-representational phenomenologies with professors who confessed to be merely spinning their wheels, going nowhere and accomplishing nothing. I had reached a limit of what the discourse could reveal to me, and craved a more intimate and immediate relationship with the world: less philosophy and more reality."

"The question was, how to get the ideas out there most effectively? And here, looking back, is where I believe we erred. We turned Integral Theory into something too much like a product—some kind of proprietary software for the mind, which one could buy into, and in so doing solve the big questions of life and the universe. [...] In our marketing, we used adverbs such as “staggeringly” and “literally” to modify the grandiose adjectives attributed to the theory. [...] But it resulted in a message which, while in many ways exciting and inspiring, in other ways merely recapitulated the dominant logic of the consumer paradigm. [...] But our message was off-putting to many more who I would consider just as evolved, but looking for a more grounded, egalitarian, less self-aggrandizing kind of approach."

"I think it caused us to put our faith in a kind of dogma (a cognitively sophisticated, high-level dogma, to be sure) in place of actual thinking and critical inquiry. This seems to be what happens when one puts more energy into promoting an idea—which requires constantly reiterating a pre-established story or narrative, (which one easily becomes defensive around)—rather than questioning one’s ideas within the context of a broader intellectual debate."

"If I really care about you as a person, and am not merely interested in enrolling you in my integral community, then identifying you as “integral” is not going to be my priority. Rather, I want to know what you’re actually doing in the world—what you stand for, how you struggle—what your real experience is, how your mind works, and how you feel life. I shouldn’t just be trying to get you on my email list. I should want to know your story, the quality of your presence, your energetic flux. And, most importantly, I should want to know if we can work together, be friends and allies, peers and equals—learn from each other’s example. Not merely aggregate you to my larger project that remains, at some level, a capitalistic game."

"What I’d really love to see in a future MetaIntegral conference is a much stronger focus on social justice and especially the role of activism, art and engaged spirituality in facing our global crisis more directly. Overall, I didn’t feel a very powerful sense of focused urgency in the conference—and that was a shame. It was a smorgasbord of interesting (sometimes very interesting) ideas and reports from the field, but never reached the level of hardcore collaborative problem-solving and strategic action in a coordinated way. For example, I’d love to see a conference where every presentation focused on some aspect of enacting an “integral revolution”—inquiring into what that might really mean in the present moment, in the most concrete social and political terms, as well as in consciousness and culture."

"Personally, I prefer being an outsider to any particular theoretical framework at the same time that I welcome a diversity of metatheories in the field. I enjoy being conversant with Integral Theory, friendly with it—yet I don’t want to identify with or evangelize it anymore; nor am I working on developing it as an explicit system of thought, a community, or a movement. Yet I’m supportive of such efforts, generally speaking. The downside of occupying such a position might be that, as an outsider, I fail to have the kind of impact I could have as an insider, being part of a coherent, theoretically grounded community working together for a larger purpose. At the same time, my outsider status might serve the function—in a wider cultural ecosystem—of exploring areas of inquiry and creativity that would otherwise be ignored, but open a pathless path into the future for certain minds."

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