Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two Outstanding Posters - Douglas J Tataryn, Ph.D. (Bio-Emotive Integral Therapy) & Nuno Matos, M.Sc. (Applying AQAL to study Overtraining) #itc2010

Here are the abstracts of the two best posters I saw tonight (there are many abstracts for posters I did not see, so these are my "best of" selections).
Douglas J Tataryn, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba. Bio-Emotive Integral Therapy: You Can’t Transcend And Include What You Haven’t Differentiated!

Data from clinical clients was collected over three years using a Focusing-type process in which subjective distress from a stressful inter-personal encounter was localized to a specific area of the body and single words that might describe the experience of the encounter were spoken out loud and tested for “resonance” or physiological reaction. Words that most resonated, often eliciting strong emotional reactions, and did not “reduce” to any other words were collected and collated across clients and over time. These words, called core feelings, were integrated with aspects of extant theories of emotions, and became the foundation a new theory and clinical intervention called Bio-Emotive Integral Therapy, which appears to be more nuanced, internally and externally consistent, and transformative than previous theories. From this perspective there are 1) four basic emotions – anger, fear, happy, and sad, and 2) two types of emotionally-relevant feelings; inter-personal feelings and core feelings. Inter-personal feelings assess and summarize, in single words, the emotionally salient dimensions of an inter-personal interaction, such as feeling rejected or dismissed. Inter-personal feelings elicit one or more of 18 core feelings, such as feeling alone or insignificant, which in turn elicits an emotional reaction in the body. Each of the three aspects of emotional experience must be articulated for complete emotional integration to take place. From this perspective, most of Western civilization is alexithymic, a fact reflected in the high levels of mental health challenges (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance abuse) and stress-related disorders endemic to the population. This assertion is consistent with Tataryn’s (2010) contention that emotional intelligence per se does not arise as a Line of Development until Spiral Dynamics Green. Individuals who do not fully differentiate and integrate the emotional system will inevitably have to deal with unresolved emotional material appearing as shadow at later developmental stages.

Dr. Tataryn received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1991 from the University of Arizona, minoring in statistics and research methodology. He is presently in full-time private practice (clinical, research, life-coaching, corporate psychology) and is an adjunct professor with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba. He was previously a research professor with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, a clinical psychologist with the Manitoba Cancer Treatment and Research Centre, and post-doctoral fellow of the National Cancer Institute of Canada. Dr. Tataryn's research and clinical focus has been on understanding the central role of emotional processes in psychological well-being and the development of chronic diseases. He is published in psychology, health services research, and research methodology. Dr. Tataryn is a long-time meditator (30+ years) and conducts seminars in areas such as the Bio-Emotive Integral Framework, integral theory, sports psychology, and the integration of psychology and spirituality.
I would like to know more about this and how to use it as a therapeutic intervention. It seems a very useful technique based on his brief demonstration tonight.

And speaking of sports psychology . . .
Nuno Matos, M.Sc., Doctoral Candidate, School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, UK. Applying AQAL to study Overtraining in Young Athletes – A Preliminary Work.

This work is the result of a PhD research project investigating overtraining (OT) in young athletes. The project was done from a 3rd person perspective, looking at 1st, 2nd and 3rd person perspectives in athletes. My PhD challenged the epistemology of Sports Science and attempted to integrate the 3 disciplines: physiology, psychology and sociology. The result was a much more complete understanding of the problem that sheds light from theory into practice, aiming to really tackle all the people involved, from athletes, to coaches, to parents, to social infrastructures and to the Sports Science community itself. My ultimate attempt is to develop AQAL in sports science, giving birth to Integral Sports.

Nuno Matos was born in Portugal, but has lived in Exeter, England for the past 6 years. Nuno has completed his MSc in Sport and Health Sciences and is currently finishing doctoral studies investigating Overtraining and Burnout in Athletes. Nuno has swam at national and international levels for Portugal, practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and has surfed since the age of 12. Nuno has a deep interest in both philosophy and spirituality.
As a personal trainer, I was drawn to this one - cool research he has going on here. The idea of an integral sports model is intriguing, especially in training athletes.

Panel: What is the Relationship Between Integral Psychotherapy and Transpersonal Psychotherapy? (Part I) #itc2010

More fun stuff - I wish I could have seen more of the psychology stuff. This is part one of two posts on this panel - too much for one post.
Panel: What is the Relationship Between Integral Psychotherapy and Transpersonal Psychotherapy? Ray Greenleaf, Elliott Ingersoll, Janet Lewis, Andre Marquis, Joanne Rubin, Douglas Tatyryn, Jefferey Jessum
We were joined by a special guest, someone who has seen the evolution of transpersonal psychology into integral psychology, and has guided the process in some ways, Roger Walsh.

There's no abstract for this, but the topic should speak for itself.

Please note:
IP = Integral Psychotherapy or psychology
TP = Transpersonal psychology
IT = Integral theory

Roger kicked off the panel with a brief series of remarks:
  • Socio-economic forces are stacked against us in a big way - HMOs/drug companies are dictating the terms of the game - drugs & cheap, brief therapies
  • These therapies are not more effective - all therapies are equally effective when offered by skilled therapists
  • Spiritual practice is not how it reads in the books - we do not go into the woods, meditate a bit, and become enlightened - it's messier than that, and IP/TP offer guidance with that
  • The integral model brings the quadrants together in a way traditional models do not - when we consider things like lifestyle factors in depression, and that fish oil, exercise, and so many other things are effective, it's important to add these perspectives as options
  • The IP/TP models tend to encourage therapists to do their own work - shadow work, contemplation, etc - which makes them better at their jobs and improves outcomes
The discussion was kind of all over the place, so it's hard to present any one person's perspective, since that is not how it was organized. Nor is it really possible to present any series of comments or a conversation.

[Everything here is my best effort at a paraphrase.]

Andre made some good points, at various times that add up to a valid and useful critique of IP and Wilber's model in general - so I will just list some of them:
  • Wilber makes ontological statements about reality that are difficult to make - from the experience of interior states to the nature of reality - these are philosophically challenging
  • I can honor a client's claims about transpersonal experience without alienating the field - we do not need to make declarative statements about reality
  • I avoided superpersonal / transpersonal stuff in my book - in North Texas, where I work, transpersonal issues are not relevant - maybe spiritual issues, but not transpersonal
  • ~ He left Adi Da because of Nietzsche
  • ~ Nietzsche said that spiritual systems devalue this life but seeking something more
  • ~ Andre feels that Ken is guilty of this devaluing
  • ~ His main practice is hunting and fishing now - how many people experience or live in nonduality? Not many, and he can transcend himself in nature while fishing
  • He prefers an embedded / embodied practice - interpersonal, intersubjective
  • Nietzsche offers a "perpetual self overcoming" - what better practice is there?
Andre was probably the person on the panel who I most identified with - my sense of spiritual practice involves "we space" - the intersubjective space of relationship, especially with my girlfriend.

Joanne replied to some of Andre's points about Wilber:
  • Training in states of consciousness can verify Wilber's claims - her point seemed to echo Wilber's Marriage of Sense and Soul in suggesting that we take an injunction (Wilber's claims about ultimate reality) and test them (follow the injunction, the practice), then compare outcomes.
In general, I agree with that methodology - but I disagree with the privileging of nonduality, or of meditation as the singular path to getting there. I think this poses problems for people who are not inclined in that way, such as me. I can meditate the rest of my life, and I doubt I will experience any semblance of the loss of self and feeling of unitive consciousness I experience in an intersubjective embrace with my girlfriend.

Jeff commented a bit on this as well:
  • Different validity claims have their place - but translating them (as from subjective to objective) poses certain problems that are hard to surmount with our current framework
  • Integral theory as scaffolding
  • TP as a modality within the framework of IT
Moving on . . . .

Elliott is a cool guy (is it wrong to have a man-crush on him? None of the pictures online do him justice), who had a lot of interesting things to say.
  • Ontological assumptions in journal articles often go unchallenged. Example: depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain - not true. We don't even know what a chemical balance would look like, let alone imbalance. It's all "word magic" - creating illusions of certainty.
  • But if you posit a transpersonal or an integral etiology, the editors are all over it. Depression is a very integrally amenable illness with a variety of causes (quadrants, levels, states, stages, etc) and treatments. TP does not really offer this diversity of cause or treatment.
I think this is important - and it related to what Andre was saying about transpersonal states - if Ken says it, then like magic, it is assumed to be true. Many of Ken's ontological statements have gone unchallenged in the integral community, which is why yesterday's panel on critics was so useful.

More from Elliott:
  • "Systems of Modern Psychology: A Critical Sketch" - recommended book
  • The APA (American Psychological Association), ACA (American Counseling Association), and other "bodies" of psychology (boards, journals, etc) all decide what is real within their domains. They dictate the ontological truth. There is no division in the APA for transpersonal psychology.
Ray commented directly on this:
  • If IP becomes another division of the APA, the risk is the loss of its unique way of working with clients.
Doug replied to this:
  • As long as the people writing our textbooks are first tier, IP/TP will only be individual models among many many. Unless we write the books, IP in particular will not be seen as a meta-theory, an overarching map.
Moving on to a new topic, sort of . . . Jeff made this useful comment:
  • Theory is good. But his passion is practice. CBT is useful, as is holotropic breathwork, and other techniques
  • CBT can deconstruct a personality as well as any other method - different modalities can all be useful
  • The "kosmic address" of the client and the therapist are both important in choosing the modality and in creating the relationship
  • IP vs TP - maps can help with acceptance - IP has more potential for acceptance because of its mapping and meta-theory - a Trojan Horse approach
  • Integral is a perspective he uses with clients to bring resources to them - Are there therapies/techniques that are distinctly transpersonal?
  • Many techniques have been developed to attain transpersonal states/awareness
  • "Revisioning Transpersonal Psychology" - a more participatory approach, in answer to Doug (and to Andre)
  • So far, integral has been more about taking perspectives, more individually focused
[That is a great book, by the way.]

More to come in part two, later tonight. Now I must go see some of the posters.

William Varey - Health In, Of and For: The Ethics of Delineating ‘Health’ and ‘Unhealth’ #itc2010

[UPDATED since first posted.]

I was really looking forward to this one, having read the paper in detail beforehand - and the presentation was only marginally related to the paper. Excellent and a little esoteric, even for me.
William Varey, Doctoral Candidate, Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy, Murdoch University: Health In, Of and For: The Ethics of Delineating ‘Health’ and ‘Unhealth’.

In enacting a desire for human wellbeing different perspectives on health and wellness arise. An integral epistemology highlights distinctions in these perspectives. This allows for appreciation of their respective contributions in the wider discourse of care. This paper examines over 120 historical, contemporary and evolutionary conceptions of health, wellness, illness and disease. Their relationships in scalar levels of health from individuals, to society, in ecologies and for humanity are specifically examined. This leads to a question for discussion: “What are the ethics of determining the health and unhealth in, of and for different structures of consciousness?”

Will Varey, MLM is conducting research into the psychological capacity of human social systems using integral theory and psychological panarchy models. He is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy University Integral Theory Certificate Program and is a doctoral candidate in Murdoch University’s, Faculty of Sustainability, Environmental and Life Sciences.
More to come on this - Will has allowed me to site from the article - which has some cool charts & graphs worthy of sharing, so come back soon.

Quick note - I see some of what he talks about in my work as a personal trainer. I work with the bodies of my clients, in general, but my real work is with their minds, their intentions, their blockages, and their cultural context/beliefs - "unhealth" happens when the I, the We, and the It are fragmented and/or not harmonized - for most people, those three are totally fragmented.

* * * * *

UPDATE: New Information added from original posting . . . .

Let's begin with the phraseology in the title of the article and presentation: health in, health of, and health for - what do these mean:
  • Health in: examines the inherent elements of the philosophy’s own self-definition and the results of an examination to discover if these are present or absent with consistency in all situations of contingency.
  • Health of: discusses the acceptability of the universal implementation of the philosophy and the envisioned reality of the effect of this, if enacted to the extent of the vision of the philosophy.
  • Health for: empathizes with the emotional or emotively felt impacts of the philosophy for those to whom it extends care, being members of its community, and all those it desires to extend care and concern for.
Here is how he unpacks this rather dense set of statements:
In terms of the health in, of and for - these are self-assessments with reference to the philosophy’s own maturity of meanings, and as that philosophical meaning is a private language unique to the philosophy, only the philosophy through its adherents can assess itself. The determining of this meta-health assessment is then a statement ‘by’ a philosophical system, for itself, being a process of coherence in self-reflection. It is an examination for coherency, not for moral relevancy. However, another ethical issue remains. The meta-ethical inquiry proposed in the use of the health in, of and for inquiry is primarily to align the coherence of the health ethic (in definition, condition and objects of extension) by a philosophy for itself. This leaves unanswered the applied ethical conundrum of the delineation of health by one philosophy for another philosophy.
So I am still a bit confused. Maybe this will help - it's an important statement that appears on page 5 of the paper:
This paper is, however, not primarily concerned with the many virtues of the applications of an Integral philosophy to human health, healing or healthcare, or the applications of all the other philosophies of human knowing on health and healing. It is instead concerned with the discovery of a means to discern the health of each health philosophy, in and for itself.
[Emphasis added.] That helps - it also helps to know that the paper was written in 2nd person plural - from "we space" - a community of caring.

OK, then, now let me go back to some of the patterns he identifies in the talk, that are probably in the paper, as well, but not as clearly indicated.
  • Health object - IT - body, mind, culture, city, nation, planet, and so on - anything we see as an object and determine its health or unhealth
  • Health condition - I - illness, sickness, health, disease, and so on - all of the ways we can experience health or unhealth
  • Health definition - WE - physical, psychological, sociological, spiritual - each of the ways we can define types of health
So then we have conceptions of health, which will look more familiar to most people:
  • Bio-psycho health - Socrates gave a great definition
  • Psycho-social health (Kelly, 2006)
  • Enviro-spiritual health (Honari, 1999)
  • Physio-socio-spiritual health (Osho, 2002)
I would also add bio-psycho-social health,which is the currently most used model in mental health. And then one step further, bio-psycho-social-spiritual, which is gaining traction, especially in in-patient treatment facilities such as Sierra Tucson.

Now let's move to some definitions of health:
  • Health as integration in evolution - proximate self integration
  • Health as coherence in expansion - coherence = I, We, It integration
  • Health as orientation in inclusion - orientation = eros/agape dance
  • And then we have orientations in meta-health:
    • Presence of absence
    • Absence of presence
    • Presence of presence (is this health?)
    • Absence of absence
    The next thing he presented was an Architecture of Balance in Grace:
    The application of a three-fold test of the integration, coherency and orientation of a philosophy involves examining the presence or absence of each of the constituent elements identified in the dynamics of their combinations. This generates in this inquiry a basic set of twelve potential discontinuities. From those discontinuities, or absences in partialness, their contributions in wholeness are derived. From this characterization, the components of the meta-ethical considerations of health create a conceptual architecture for the composition of an Integral Meta-Ethic, being an ethic that accords with and holds an Integral ethic in ways consistent with its forms of knowing. The necessary structural elements of that form would then be (expressed firstly as their absences):

    1. Loss of Agape (Phobos)
    2. Loss of Eros (Thanatos)
    3. Non-Association of Beautiful
    4. Non-Association of Good
    5. Non-Association of True
    6. Non-Association of the Beautiful-Good
    7. Non-Association of the Good-True
    8. Non-Association of the Beautiful-True
    9. Non-Integration of the Prior
    10. Non-Anticipation of the Subsequent
    11. Privileging of the Self
    12. Exclusion of the Non-Self

    These meta-ethical qualities relate to the principles of integration within the depth of complexity attained, the inclusion in its span of care held, and the implication of the enactments undertaken. Rather than being features of the Integral philosophy, they are qualities of its enactment, being a test of an applied ethic in terms of an aesthetic. (p. 17-18 of the paper)
    More clarity - these are his three main concerns of contemporary health ethics:
    a). when we know we are ill and are told we are well ~ phenomenological oppression
    b). when someone is told they are ill, when they are in fact well ~ social suppression
    c). when we believe we are well and are in fact ill ~ physical negation
    Important question: What does an Integral ethic of health look like?
    In answering this question, useful distinctions can be made between:

    a) an Integral ethic;
    b) an Integral view of ethics;
    c) the ethics of Integral practice,
    d) the ethical canons of an Integral philosophy.
    If you are, like me, still a little unclear on all of this - here is something I found quite useful, and maybe you will too. This is the appendix to the paper, which he gave us as a handout:

    Appendix: 12 Integral Ethics, Unethics and Expressions of Grace
    This meta-ethical inquiry into the ethic of an integral philosophy examines the presences and absences within the conjunction of the three meta-ethical qualities of integration, coherence and orientation. Each resultant ethic is explained using an ethical slogan as an abstract principle (Ethic), a description of the presence of that in absence (Unethic) and the reversal of this as its presence in an enactment of grace (Grace).

    1. Acceleration without Integration:
    Description: The attempt to embody an attainment without integration of the elements needed for its embodiment, with the effect that an attempted enactment of sufficiency, will create the circumstances for the attraction of deficiency.
    Ethic in Grace: Include and Ascend
    2. Elevation as Resolution:
    Description: The solution to the tension of the elevation of the higher being a fixation on the partialness of the lower, with the effect that although a deficiency is alleviated, the existential question giving rise to its causation will remain forever unanswered.
    Ethic in Grace: Embrace and Allow
    3. Carelessness of Mindfulness:
    Description: To engage in performance in accordance with a commonly held virtue without any prior regard, with the effect conscious intention is misplaced, misconceived or entirely absent, leading to a claim the effects were unforeseeable, because they were unforeseen.
    Ethic in Grace: Intend As
    4. Expression without Communion:
    Description: The privileging of a personal experience held only in private language creating a solitary realization, with the effect of the truth not having a community of validity, being that there is a sense of isolated superiority.
    Ethic in Grace: Walk With
    5. State without Assimilation:
    Description: The attainment of a transcendent experience by the disassociation of the somatic-self with one’s reality, with the effect that there is subsequently a failed individual integration into one’s own embodiment, notwithstanding the validity of the experience had.
    Ethic in Grace: Ground In
    6. Irrealism of Reality:
    Description: The holding of an abstraction of reality derived without grounded participative inquiry, with the effect the truth gained is only confirmable through one’s own self-assertion.
    Ethic in Grace: Engage Through
    7. Assertion without Injunction:
    Description: The attribution of a belief held from a personal experience as being universal, without reference to a range of contexts outside one’s experience, with the effect those not holding that limited belief as a widely held and common truth, are made other.
    Ethic in Grace: Ask to Know
    8. Enactment without Endpoint:
    Description: The exertion in a practice without reference to the desired intention or any guidance given on action, with the effect of perfecting oneself in a delusion of pointlessness.
    Ethic in Grace: Do to Be
    9. Rejection of the Proximate:
    Description: The preclusion in acceptance of prior selves (in self and others) in a denial of the humility of development, with the effect of unwriting the historicity of the integrative self.
    Ethic in Grace: Own as Was
    10. Dismissal of the Ultimate:
    Description: The identification of self with the ultimate attainment in rejection of an intuition of non-completion, with the effect that the present self is seen as being at the end of all paths.
    Ethic in Grace: Be the Unyet
    11. Communion as Solitary Union:
    Description: The seeking of the union of the self with the One, in exclusion of the relation of the self with the All, with the effect of negating collective contributions in extreme solipsism.
    Ethic in Grace: Infiniteness in Compassion
    12. Partialness as Exclusion:
    Description: The structuring of an ethical attainment that denies other ethics, with the effect that even in extension by universalism, the expression of that grace is unattainable for some.
    Ethic in Grace: Respect All Wisdoms
    When I read this, I was like, "This is the handbook to being a good therapist, to being with a clients." Very cool. If I understood little else that Will said, this was enough.

    Zachary Stein & Katie Heikkinen: Developmental Differences in the Understanding of Integral Theory and Practice #itc2010

    There is no abstract for this presentation, unfortunately - you can read the paper at the ITC site, as a PDF, but I could not even copy the introductory paragraphs due to text protection - which is understandable in that this paper is probably slated for publication someplace.

    Zachary Stein & Katie Heikkinen: Developmental Differences in the Understanding of Integral Theory and Practice - Preliminary Results from the iTEACH Project

    The paper is titled: On the Development of Reasoning in the Domain of Integral Theory and Practice: Some Preliminary Findings

    They've published papers at Integral Review (see this one and this one for starters), and see their paper from the 2008 ITC as a prelude to this year's paper. Also be sure to check out their website, Developmental Testing Services, Inc.

    The are working with the Lectical Integral Model Assessment (LIMA) - in a joint project between the JFKU Integral Theory department and the Integral Research Center (at Harvard, I believe). The LIMA is built around the Lectical Assessment System (LAS), "a domain general measure of conceptual complexity and development."

    This is the very cool kind of research we need more of in the integral community.
    [SIDE NOTE: There seems to be a very distinct split here between academic presentations, with people who are seriously testing the AQAL model in all its forms and approaches, and on the other side, a more generalized personal growth and spirituality-based type of presentation. I think both are needed, but in the general community of academia, Integral Theory is largely seen as New Age and easily dismissed. Research projects such as this one, and some of the others being presented here are crucial to shifting that perception so that IT may be taken more serious in academia.]
    There's no way to do this presentation justice with a short blog post - I encourage anyone interested in psychometrics to go read their paper. Essentially, they used 47 students and faculty at JFKU as a study base, and assessed them in a variety of ways, most of which are lexical (language based).

    They sought to develop a snapshot of this particular group in terms of how they conceptualized and operationalized integral theory and practice, correlated with their developmental stage (their model offers 1 through 14 as stages, with 4 sub-stages in each larger stage). In their sample, ranges of stages were from 10:4 t0 12:3 (corresponding roughly to Robert Kegan's 3rd (10), 4th (11) and 5th (12) order thinking).
    Sex: 26 male, 21 female
    Education: BA, 20, Post-graduate, 27
    Ages: 23-65 (mean, 41.8)
    Years of integral study: 1-18 (mean, 3.5)
    Years of ILP: 0-30 (mean, 4.3)
    Some interesting findings from their study:
    • As thinking became more complex, the use of altitude colors did not also become more complex, but remained static.
    • Worldview did change, however, becoming more complex and nuanced.
    • No correlation between age, education, meditation practice, Wilber books read, or years of ILP in terms of phase score attainment
    Only one positive correlation noted:
    • Frequency of mindful sex was positively correlated with higher phase score
    • ~ Chance of specious finding is high in this type of study
    • ~ Interesting, might need further study
    Findings & Suggestions:
    • Altitude colors are problematic in that they seem too static
    • Quadrant conceptualization is more homogeneous, and easier to grasp
    • Levels and Lines are more challenging, possibly as a result of the many different systems and conceptualizations available
    This might offer new avenues for course design in integral education programs.

    They want to get a more diverse sample in the future - including younger subjects and those not in an integral education program - those who have learned through self study.

    And if they need subjects for the conscious sex study, I'd volunteer.

    Bonnitta Roy - AQAL 2210: A Tentative Cartology of the Future; Or How do We Get from AQAL to A-perspectival? #itc2010

    I'm looking forward to this talk - very interesting concept, and a very important topic. This is first up on my schedule today.
    Bonnitta Roy, Associate Editor, Integral-Review: AQAL 2210: A Tentative Cartology of the Future; Or How do We Get from AQAL to A-perspectival?

    As early as 1946 Gebser predicted that Integral consciousness would render all the previous structures of cognition transparent. Today we have the AQAL map which identifies eight native perspectives. Can “super integrative” perspectives that go beyond these emerge in the future? Gebser also predicted that the new consciousness would go beyond perspectival thinking, altogether, into the realm of the A-perspectival, which entails space and time freedom, transparency, spirituality, and dynamics of the whole. So How do We Get from AQAL to A-perspectival—from perspectives delimitated across boundaries, to a realm of unbounded wholeness?

    Bonnitta Roy was awarded the ITC 2008 honorary achievement award for integral theory. She is a Graduate Institute guest faculty for the master’s class in Conscious Evolution and is a founder of Alderlore—a living experiment to teach insight and energy awareness. She is currently developing
    Here is the rest of her abstract, from the paper:
    Writing in No Boundary, Wilber tells us:
    The ultimate metaphysical secret, if we dare state it so simply, is that there are no boundaries in the universe. Boundaries are illusions, products not of reality but of the way we map and edit reality. And while it is fine to map out the territory, it is fatal to confuse the two.
    Integral theory is tricky. In many respects, it is a liberation theory – whether it addresses personal, spiritual or social concerns. At its best, integral theory enables us to dis-embed from limited perspectival frameworks, and open up into more integrated views. However, at its worst, integral theory is absorbed as a metaphysical reality, as a fixed and static limitation on how we perceive, what we can perceive, and how reality arises. When Wilber writes that AQAL is a map of the prison, the integral community should immediately understand that there is no prison except for the map. A-perspectivity is the unconditioned situation of living/being without the map. If we can learn to operate from that unconditioned place, then we can create new maps through which new worlds might arise with greater degrees of freedom and open-up our choice field. If we operate from that unconditioned place we will avoid the mistakes of misplaced concreteness that weld ideas into the bars and barriers of our self-imposed prisons. If we operate from that unconditioned place we will have transmuted the prisons of our selves into the playgrounds of spirit. We will, in other words, enter into the ever-present process of enacting our future.
    [Post-presentation.] WOW! Her presentation blew my little brain - I wish more people had been here to hear her speak - please go read her paper. If you thought AQAL's 8 zones/perspectives, imagine 20 zones and perspectives, and see the lists below.

    She presented so clearly on such a complex topic. This needs to sit with me before I think I can even begin to write about it. Here is one more section from the introduction of her paper:
    Although each section describes a different kind of shift, there are key elements that weave throughout, which formulate the overriding prescriptions:

    1 . The shift from structural thinking to generative process thinking.
    2 . Generative processes do not exist in space and time rather, processes generate spatial and temporal frameworks
    3 . The ontological shift from linear time-based befores and afters to onto-genetically generated posterior events from anterior sources.
    4 . The de-objectification of phenomena
    5 . The a-local subject which is simultaneously no-where and everywhere.
    6 . The resolution of opposites. Polar opposites are unified as dynamic fields, and dualistic pairs are re-conceptualized into generative orders.
    7 . New ontology of wholes and parts toward entangled structures in generative orders.

    These are key elements in an emergent future AQAL map. This paper is not of sufficient length to deal with them individually, but the careful reader will be able to identify them in each of the following three sections.

    In a recent key note speech at Integral Spiritual Experience, Lama Surya Das quipped about the twofold path of Buddha-hood as “swooping while climbing.” In this paper, the path toward aperspectivity is threefold: climbing, diving, and swooping. Section I is the climbing session. It considers some recent work to be written from a methodological perspective that is more than cross-disciplinary, and may represent entirely new methodological approaches, which I call Super-integrative Methodologies. By looking at what these Super-methodologies might tackle in the future, four new hori-zones are hypothesized for a future AQAL map. Section I is the climbing session because here tremendous effort is involved where we are dealing with increasing degrees of complexity, meta-systematic thinking, and the need for new kinds of language. Section II is the “diving session” where the reader is asked to dive into an entirely new kind of thinking about ontological priors. Section II requires a paradigm shift from thinking in terms of dualistic pairs, toward conceptualizing prior wholes from which the dualistic pairs have “parsed themselves out.” This new kind of thinking I term “onto-logics” for reasons that will be explained later. Section III is the swooping section. It entails a shift from thinking, reasoning, and conceptualizing toward a kind of direct insight into the nature of being-becoming. Section III attempts to situate intuitions of phenomena such as co-dependent origins, spontaneous arisings, nonduality, and kosmocentricity with fundamental insight into openspace, and degrees of freedom, in other words, the view from which the aperspectival world flows.
    Here are some zone charts from the paper (on the zones):

    A few exemplars of the zones:

    9: Jason Brown
    10: Enrique Dussel
    11: Evan Thompson
    12: Bruno Latour

    13: Amit Goswami
    16: Ervin Laszlo
    14: Tsongkapa
    15: Gorampa

    17: Nondual, a-local subject, non-separateness
    18: kosmoscentric, non-discriminating awareness
    19: co-dependent arising, temporal freedom of simultaneity
    20: equanimity of existence & nonexistence, reconciling figure and ground

    More to come on this as let it all sink in and go back through my notes.

    Upaya Dharma Podcasts - Mindsight: The Psychology and Neuroscience of Awareness (Pts 7-9 of 9)

    Here are the final three installments of the series, which has been phenomenal.

    Mindsight: The Psychology and Neuroscience of Awareness (Pt 7 of 9)

    Speakers: Roshi Joan Halifax & Dan Siegel
    Recorded: Saturday Jul 10, 2010

    Roshi Joan talks about the concept of mindfulness in the Buddhist context. She says that mindfulness or focused attention is not enough, you also need “mindsight” or insight in wisdom. She asks that as we secularize things, how do we not exclude dimensions that have been found in the wisdom traditions and have profound value. Dan explains the next 2 Domains of Integration, which are memory and narrative integration.

    * * * *

    Mindsight: The Psychology and Neuroscience of Awareness (Pt 8 of 9)

    Speakers: Roshi Joan Halifax & Dan Siegel
    Recorded: Saturday Jul 10, 2010

    Participants are given the opportunity to ask Roshi and Dan questions. One brings up an important question about how caregivers can care for themselves. Dan and Roshi talk about the importance of maintaining the difference between “self” and “other.” It’s because of the pain of the world that we need to be laughing or the pain wins.

    * * * *

    Mindsight: The Psychology and Neuroscience of Awareness (Pt 9 of 9)

    Speakers: Roshi Joan Halifax & Dan Siegel
    Recorded: Sunday Jul 11, 2010

    Dan reviews the remaining Domains of Integration (State, Interpersonal, Temporal, Transporational Integration). Dan then gives detailed case examples that relate to each of the Domains.

    Critiques of AQAL at ITC 2010 #itc2010

    Hi folks, John Wagnon here, filling in for Bill Harryman who was otherwise occupied as a panel member at ITC this afternoon.

    The Critiques of AQAL panel was memorable and important. In short, this was an important step toward the broadening of the integral theory community beyond an attachment to Wilber's theories alone and into an appreciation of the ways in which Wilber's offerings fail to serve - an awareness that there are more integral voices in the world and that if we truly want to include and benefit from all perspectives, there are many excluded perspectives that deserve our attention. The panelists were all very diplomatic and respectful (as I would think it would be smart to do in a room of Wilber-philes like me), and yet were very clear about the problems they saw in the current state of Wilber's theories, or at least in their perception and understanding of it. I also felt this was a good opportunity for the critics themselves to begin to reintegrate with the integral community and maybe to lighten the load of the critical burdens they've been carrying for years. I look forward to a broader conversation about our ideas and practices in the integral community.

    I have the great privilege and responsibility of attempting to describe this event to you. I also have the ability and privilege to interject my own opinions, and I will. I don't necessarily think I'm right, but I had some strong responses during the event that I felt I had to set down here. Please criticize them and dispute them. In the interest of an open dialogue on Wilber's contributions, I'd love to engage in further discussion of these ideas.

    The panelists gave an overview of their history and what they felt was the most important issue with AQAL and Wilber's endeavor - or at least the most important issue they felt could be addressed in a panel format.

    Frank Visser, joking that he promised to be frank with us, also promised not to dwell on the past (which is good because some critics seem to fixate on past rudeness on Ken's part). Frank described how taken he was with Ken's work, his history of attempting to contact Ken, acquiring his fax number and firing off a missive, only to be shocked by the very long reply he received. Eventually after a last 90's Wilber conference, Frank secured a visit with Ken which resulted in later visits and conversations, and eventually his book, Thought as Passion, now translated into several languages including an upcoming edition in Chinese.

    Frank then moved on to describe what he called a "rough ride" over the last 10 years. Frank founded in the interest of having an open intellectual debate on Wilber's ideas. In the words of a German idiom, Frank wanted to "only tease the one that you love." He noted briefly that Wilber did not seem to be pleased with this. Frank didn't really dwell on it much (as he promised) but on his site is a record of the often acrimonious and disrespectful (on both sides) "debate" that contributors to had with and about Ken. As someone who is not an expert on the dialogue Frank has enabled on his site, I have a little familiarity with this history and I think as, with all respect to all parties, that Wilber was rude to these people on some occasions and in return they seem (to my eye) to fixate on Ken's social failings, whatever they are, as a failing of the theory. Frank, thankfully, did not review this history on the panel and I'm grateful to him. I think its high time to bury the hatchet and really listen to what these people have to say, just as much as it is high time for critics (and I count myself a critic of Wilberian integral theory - as well as a scholar and practitioner of it) to learn to differentiate between critiques of the theory and critiques of the man and his associated institutions. Those kinds of critiques have value, but we have to understand them in their own sphere so we can understand how they interact.

    Frank said he was looking forward to what he called Phase II of integral theory, one which is more scientific and logical and less religious and psychospiritual as he believes phase I is/was. He looks forward to integral theory embracing the "shadow side" of itself which he regards as very cool/cold as in the cold gaze of critical thinking. We should go back to sources, compare them, evaluate whether the theory adequately represents and accounts for them.
    Personally I was struck by Frank's sincerity and his apparent desire for a constructive conversation. Some of the criticism on seems to be outright vicious, to me, and yet is always bracketed as "critique with love". its a very strange sort of love, but observing Frank Visser at this panel - as well as some of the other participants - I believe it more. Perhaps this is something about the culture of Continental critical theory in which tearing your opponents to shreds can be an act of love. I can understand that in the metaphorical sense, however its harder to allow for that when attempting to digest some of the critical papers that are available on the internet. They don't seem like constructive criticism. I can easily allow that Ken may have invited this through his own behavior, and I find myself much more tolerant of these individuals viewpoints after their performance on this panel.

    Unexpectedly Frank seemed to get a little choked up as he worked his way deeper into his critical voice. It could have been totally coincidental, but I wonder what his emotions were. Was he relieved to finally be able to have his say within the integral community and be heard with a respectful ear? Did he have pent up anger for his treatment by Wilber and others? I don't know. I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt and choose to believe it was meaningless coincidence.

    Jeff Meyerhoff introduced himself by describing how he began reading SES in the 90's and was immediately struck by how *wrong* he thought Wilber was. He continued to read Wilber and continued to think wrong, wrong, wrong, and so he began writing about his objections on These eventually became Bald Ambition, his book of critiques of Wilber and his work.

    Jeff offered several example criticisms. How do you determine what is the true part of a particular perspective? In Wilber-IV, Ken describes AQAL as a set of orienting generalizations based on "already agreed upon perspectives". However, Jeff reported that when he began to investigate these foundational theories Ken built upon, there was no such consensus.
    For awhile, Jeff felt he had the offical role of "the bad critic" which I guess means that when Wilber complained of a critic who is getting his work wrong, etc., he meant Jeff. Jeff felt that Wilber, after Jeff's critique, dropped this "orienting generalization" language without another word. He replaced it with his 8 methods. So Jeff, looked into them. He looked into phenomenology and again found that there was enormous disagreement in the field - and in social sciences in general - how do you judge this field of knowledge?

    Further how do you judge health/un-health? Who is doing the judging? Ken? What qualifications do you need to expound upon what healthy development, translation, etc. actually is?
    Jeff also felt there was far too much emphasis on progress and growth, when death and decline are also everywhere (imho, Wilber does account for this with Thanatos, but he doesn't talk about this much, which I suppose is the point.)

    My impression of Jeff is one of sincere appreciation for Wilber's work and also someone who takes a sincerely critical position by habit, to the point that he (as he is self-aware of) later cannot resist criticizing the other critics and defending Wilber. I will certainly read Jeff's rhetoric with a very different eye and ear after experiencing his demeanor first hand.

    Sarah Ross was once a part of the original Integral University (which imploded for some reason I don't understand - eventually reincarnating as the JFK and Fielding programs). However she saw behavior and social dynamics in the original I-I that she felt were unhealthy or inadequate or wrong. She wrote a public letter of intervention to highlight these problems and soon found herself quietly removed form the rolls of Integral University. She reported that she was dismayed by recent reports she has received that these dynamics are still present in II, and I-Life (and maybe by extension JFK and ITC). She didn't really go into what these problems were, which again I am grateful for. Whatever bad blood exists between them should have little to do with the strengths and weaknesses of the theory (although it is fair to ask whether applications of a theory have good results - I'm not sure one can claim the dynamics she referred to were an actual consequence of integral theory.)

    To me, and I don't know Sarah Ross at all, Sarah seemed to hold a great deal of resentment over the way she was treated. Perhaps this is justified, I don't know.

    Sarah launched into her critical questions. Is AQAL really a theory? How explanatory is it? What does it help you do? To her AQAL is not a theory, but a map, model, description, etc. and is static. It doesn't describe how change occurs, etc. She exhorted us to be critical of our own thinking. She confessed that she hasn't kept up with Wilber's work and complained that there isn't one book she can read to find out what his theory actually is. (I would actually dispute this - in my experience reading Wilber's latest book is always sufficient to understand the theory. If you miss three books, just read the latest. He always repeats and recapitulates the theory). Sarah believes this is actually a process of a theorist working out his theory in public and that no theory of anything actually happening is offered. Lazlo, by contrast, describes how and why things happen. (I can't help but wonder if this isn't a misunderstanding of what meta-theory actually is and does).

    Sarah went on to failings she finds in the AQAL map. She believes that all the variables of AQAL are formal stage variables. That the map is a simplistic early systems matrix - that any early systems thinker could create such a matrix. And that it is full of category errors. (I agree with a later questioner on the panel that I don't really see the significance of this other than Sarah believes that any adequate meta-theory must operate at higher and more complex levels of abstraction. It isn't immediately obvious to me that this is true).

    Regarding the category errors, Sarah offered, for example, that the Quadrant Map is about a single holon. She then asks why do we need lines, states, & types which are about an individual's consciousness? (I think she has a point here, AQAL claims to be a theory of everything but it has a very obvious psychological focus - at the same time, I think ken is clear in his theory that its about not a single holon but about any and all holons at whatever holarchical level there is. To my eye there was a pattern to some of the critiques offered that, to someone who has made a somewhat critical study of Wilber's work like most of the JFK/Fielding students, for instance - these criticisms are fairly clear, obvious, and also relatively small. I do agree that AQAL has an overly psychological focus. So "theory of everything" is more than a little bit of hyperbole - that doesn't bother me that much. I think its clearly *not* an adequate theory of everything. I think that's a fair criticism, but I think its easily reframed. Perhaps Wilber won't do this - but I think that hs more to do with Wilber personally than the value of the theory.) Sarah also offered that AQAL makes scale errors, that social holons were not adequately taken into account (but of course in Wilber-V of the excerpts, they are taken into account, maybe in response to Mark Edwards criticisms and work.)

    Finally, she said that in her own work she only introduces quadrants in order to blur them and felt that the distinctions and categories in AQAL were far too rigid and taken too literally. (Again I don't know about this - to me its always been clear that the theory must be held lightly - as Wilber himself exhorts one to do.) Sarah implored us to not swallow a theory hook, line, & sinker. Use it. See if it works. Criticize it. How does it serve you? Watch how you have to blur the lines and elements in practice. (I think any serious integral practitioner would simply be nodding along with this).

    She left us with the assertions that quadrants had no fundamental reality - they were not reality at all - they were simply constructs.

    Again, I felt like Sarah seemed resentful toward Ken and how she perceived the integral community using and believing the theory. I think it detracted from her critiques, many of which seemed to be common sense things that, in my experience, the integral community of scholar-practitioners is already doing. The good thing about this, to me, is that there is a lot of coherence and basic agreement between Sarah's prescriptions for integral and what I think is actually happening. But I also think there's some understanding that's going to have to be built with the critical community so we can avoid over focusing on things that really aren't that neglected or misunderstood.

    Bonnita Roy started by confessing that she felt she was a bit out of her league among the "big guns" and wondered how she would outdo them. So she said she started with a thought experiment. She said, "Lets assume Wilber is writing complete nonsense" and she had to conclude that it was a very strange sort of nonsense because it does seem to offer great value, which is something that nonsense really doesn't do. For example, she highlighted the common language that Wilber had established, and which enables the conversations we are having at ITC and elsewhere. She felt that this language was an enormous gift to us and one of the great values of his work.

    She bracketed her statements by saying she identifies as a process philosopher, not as a Wilber critic.

    She recalled how excited she was when the excerpts came out and how eagerly she read them because she was excited about bringing more process philosophy into the integral community. She felt that, sadly, Wilber had moved away from that since. Still, she felt that she was profoundly disinterested in contextualizing the criticism as regarding Ken the man or AQAL as *his theory*. She finds it far more interesting to address what *we* are going to do about it. The responsibility is ours, not Wilber's. That being said, she has 2 main critiques of Wilber's work. 1) is a fundamental Achilles heel, and 2) is more complex and probably not a good topic for a panel.
    To describe the first, though, she said it's a big problem that AQAL has taken a developmental model from psychology and exported it into AQAL as an evolutionary process. She feels this is a big problem.

    Transcend and include, in her opinion, works because of the persistent self that exists in the west. In other cultures, indigenous cultures for instance, this persistent self does not seem to exist. They change their names, they think of themselves as different beings etc. (I wonder to what extent does it matter how we conceptualize ourselves vs how we may really be?) She feels that transcend & include has been exported to claim that consciousness itself has an algorithmic transcend & include dynamic. Evolution isn't like that. T & I never produces an evolutionary tree of species for example. Early forms are not foundational to later forms, the pre-Cambrian extinction for instance wiped out species that are not foundational to humanity (again I call attention to Wilber's use of Thanatos, its always been obvious to me that the evolution he theorizes is never a guaranteed thing and that death, disaster, and devolution is always possible.) She says for instance that she doesn't T&I her dog. She can't possibly include an ethnocentric worldview - its anathema to her (what about preserve & negate I wonder - and in my experience, under stress, its easy for seemingly advanced humans to regress to ethnocentricity, or even to just indulge ethnocentricity in unexpected ways if you aren't careful).

    Zak Stein, who I count as a friend or at least a friendly acquaintance (shameless name drop), described his primary criticisms as "Laudable Liabilities". He began with a general comment that in the integral community we need far better exegesis and hermeneutic practice around Wilber's work. He feels the level of discourse around it is pretty superficial and shallow. He exhorted us to approach any serious thinker's work with a Hermeneutics of Respect & Rigor, not suspicion.

    Zak turned to address his opinions on why Wilber doesn't get any play in the academy. He felt that this state of affairs was regrettable but also valuable. That there are some endeavors that you just can't do justice to within the academy and that perhaps Wilber's project was one of these.

    So, on to the Laudable Liabilities: He began with what he called "The Engineered Popularity of the Movement". He offered that there is a long history of public intellectuals and that they have a valuable place outside academia. Wilber really couldn't have created his work in academia. If you want to create large-scale social change, you don't go to academia. So taking it to the public is actually a good tactic - however Zak shared his skepticism and caution regarding the slip from Engineered Popularity into outright Advertising.

    Zak also felt that Wilber's attachment to "Growth to Goodness" was problematic. That there was no such thing. That some less developed people were very good and some highly developed people were not only not good but were actually dangerous. The Darth Vader move always being possible, as Ken says.

    Zak reviewed some Habermas from his "Knowledge and Human Interests". Habermas highlighted 3 spheres: Science, Hermeneutics, and Liberation from Bondage (psychoanalysis for instance) but Zak thinks Wilber added a 4th: "A reasonable discourse on salvation," and that this arena is just a nonstarter in the academy. This is regrettable for the academy but it's good for popularity and that in turn is good because Wilber's work supports a broad and inclusive worldview shared by many people that is progressive.

    The last of the critics was Markus, from Luxemborg, who wondered why he was there. He resonated with Frank's story and felt Wilber saved him from giving up on psychology (although I think Frank actually did give up on psychology and perhaps because of Wilber? Am I remembering that story rightly?). Markus has studied lots of integrative frameworks and various meta-theories and communities, which all, he feels, have similar features. We all think we will save the world, that our theory covers evervything, and we ignore each other. So he wants to know how can we build bridges between these communities (I say yes! lets do this! So I want to know who these other communities are?) He thinks the invitation to critics is a great step, but he also says that a panel is not really a dialogue. He wants the invert and pervert the panel structure badly - but he promised to restrain himself. He thinks he less interested in a particular theory than in how we build theories. His primary meta-cricism is the lack of a dialogical space around AQAL.

    AQAL claims to be based on all-inclusiveness and he feels this creates all kinds of problems because critics can never by an outside perspective. They are always co-opted by the theory. So the first order of business is to create a valid ground of the position of the critic. He claims that "all inclusiveness is simply not achieveable" (He stated this as if it were indisputably true, but I can't help but wonder what he meant by this? Why does he think this is true?)

    He also points out there is much more in integral theory than just 5 elements. Wilber's model shows up with a wide range of lenses. But there is much more that is not included. Wilber is creating problems by claiming there is consensus when there is none. But if he said that orienting generalizations are the way meta-theorists work that would be better - but he doesn't do that. Which leads to his last opening critique, which is that Wilber is not transparent. He doesn't describe his theory by clearly marking What is hypothesis? What is evidence? Theory? speculations? conclusions? etc? (I've actually noted this as well. Wilber seems very reluctant to admit that he is changing his theory based on some criticism or another. He just changes it and moves on without drawing much attention to the change. On the one hand I'd like to see that greater transparency as well. On the other, perhaps we should be happy that he ocassionally listens to these critiques even if he doesn't seem to admit it.)

    Well, that's the opening volley! There's much, much more and I'll follow up with the ensuing dialogue and Q&A tomorrow.

    In summary I'd like to recap that I'm very grateful to ITC and to these individuals for creating this panel. It took some courage to come here and tell a bunch of Wilber groupies that our idol has clay feet. I think it speaks well of them and of the ITC organizers like Mark Forman and Sean Esbjorn-Hargins, that they embraced this opportunity to create a broader and deeper conversation on Wilber's contributions to integral theory. I'm looking forward to engaging these ideas in the coming weeks and months. I sincerely hope we do this again at ITC 2012 and that hopefully we'll have taken steps to flesh out, rebut, accept, and resolve these and other criticisms by then.

    More tomorrow!

    Friday, July 30, 2010

    Keynote: Robert Kegan, Ph.D. - Is There Life After ‘Self- Authorship’? Thoughts on the ‘Self-Transforming’ Mind #itc2010

    Robert Kegan just finished his keynote address, and he is actually staying to answer questions and have a conversation. This man is truly amazing - I've been a fan of his books for years. He earned a standing ovation following his main talk.

    Unfortunately, I am too wiped out to stay for the Q&A, so I'll blog the Keynote and if anyone feels moved to share what he talked about after I left, please leave a note in the comments - thanks.
    Robert Kegan, Ph.D., Harvard Graduate School of Education: Is There Life After ‘Self- Authorship’?: Thoughts on the ‘Self-Transforming’ Mind.

    Robert Kegan has spent a lifetime studying the development of adult meaning-making. His theory of an evolving succession of increasingly encompassing “personal epistemologies” has influenced theory and practice in multiple disciplines on every continent. People have often requested that he give a talk addressed entirely to what he has learned about the highest stage in his model, “Stage 5” or “the self-transforming mind.” In this talk, for the first time, he responds to this request. Is it really possible to grow beyond the self-possession and psychological independence of “the self-authoring mind”? Why would one want to? What does it cost us? How much does the world need it? As a self-described “student of [his] own research subjects,” Kegan will tell us what he has learned from them over the years about the further reaches of adult development.

    Robert Kegan, is the Meehan Professor of Adult Learning and Professional Development at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. The recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, his thirty years of research and writing on adult development have contributed to the recognition that ongoing psychological development is at once possible and necessary to meet the demands of modern life. His seminal books, The Evolving Self, In Over Our Heads, and (with Lisa Lahey) Immunity to Change have been published in several languages throughout the world. He can be reached at
    For those unfamiliar with Kegan's theory, here is a brief outline of his developmental stages:

    Stage 0: Incorporative stage

    • Subject: reflexes
    • Object: nothing

    Stage 1: Impulsive stage

    • Subject: impulses, perceptions
    • Object: reflexes

    Stage 2: Imperial stage

    • Subject: needs, interests, desires
    • Object: impulses, perceptions

    Stage 3: Interpersonal stage

    • Subject: interpersonal relationships, mutuality
    • Object: needs, interests, desires

    Stage 4: Institutional stage

    • Subject: authorship, identity, ideology
    • Object: interpersonal relationships, mutuality

    Stage 5: Inter-individual stage

    • Subject: "the interpenetrability of self-systems"
    • Object: authorship, identity, ideology
    As mentioned tonight, perhaps the most common transformation occurring right now is from 3rd order to 4th order mind. However, when we consider that only about 5% of the population in the US can do 5th order thinking, that is still 10 million people - only in the US.

    Kegan walked us through some "beads" in a mosaic, beginning with a traditional image from Gestalt psychology, and an image from MC Escher.

    Almost everyone has seen this image at some point.

    Both of these images require our minds to shift perspective, but in different ways.

    The first one is either/or, we see either the old woman or we see the young woman - with some training we can see both at the same time. It's a static image.

    In the Escher image (The Encounter), it's a both/and experience - it's in motion. It requires a different type of perceptual ability than the first one, a higher order.

    From there he led us through a sentence completion exercise (each person in a pair says a word, alternating, that constructs a sentence, until someone ends it with punctuation). This was a good lesson in "interpersonal relationships and mutuality" - the sentence never goes where we think it should or want it to. We are in an interpersonal dance of mutuality with the other person.

    A little later, he have the image of a glass tube, round, with openings at both ends. Then he turned it around, it really is two openings connected by a glass tube. Think about.

    Then think about two people in conflict. They are not having a conflict - the conflict has them. And example of 5th order thought - what we need more of in the world today.

    Kegan talked for a bit about Obama as an example of someone transforming the self-authoring mind (4th order). He gave some examples that you will never hear on Fox News - and I suspect that part of why liberals feel cheated is that they elected him as a liberal, but he is governing from thew middle. As an example, when it became clear that he would get NO votes from the GOP for health care reform, and once he had his party lined up, he could have gone much further and made the bill much more liberal - but in fact, significant portions of it are EXACTLY what the GOP had lobbied for in the past. He did not need to do that.

    Moving on from there, he talked about the public conversation project in which an equal number of pro-choice and pro-life women began to have monthly meetings that lasted over six years. When their story came out in the media, a reporter asked them if they had found some common ground. The all answered, NO, without hesitation. "Well, then surely there must have been something?" Well, yeah, the experience was extraordinary. "So what was it?" We love each other.

    It was not about merging or overlapping their very different circles to find common ground, it was about creating a bigger circle that could contain both of their circles.

    Finally, he asked WHY are we living longer? Not how, which is medicine and science, but WHY?

    We have in general outlived our reproductive years, more so than any other species on earth. There is no good evolutionary advantage in this.

    Perhaps we are living longer because we need more time to grow into higher order thinking. We are constantly engaged in a race to the top (empathy, kindness, compassion) and a race to the bottom (killing, starving, stealing). Maybe we are living longer so that we can "find our way out of hell."

    There is a scene in Gandhi where a man confesses that he is going to hell for killing a child, and does not want Gandhi's death on him as well (Gandhi is engaged in a hunger strike). Gandhi asks why he killed the Muslim boy, and the man (who is Hindu) tells him it was because they killed his son. Gandhi tells him he knows how can find his way out of hell.

    To do so, he must find a boy whose parents have been killed in the wars. He must take the boy in and raise him as his own. BUT . . . the boy must be Muslim, and he must raise him as a Muslim while remaining himself a Hindu. The man looks shocked, terrified, the falls to his knees and kisses Ghandi's feet.

    This is the 5th order thinking that can save our planet, save us as a species, help us find our way out of hell.

    Integral Masculinity Panel: Are Deida & Farrell Integral? Mark Forman, Bert Parlee, Diane Hamilton, Pelle Billing, Gilles Herrada & Me #itc2010

    Wow, that was fun. And that comes from someone with social anxiety who watched the room fill up and became increasingly terrified.

    I had no idea so many people would attend, but then Diane Hamilton and Bert Parlee fall into the category of integral rock stars, so I should have guessed that might happen. And, Luke Fullager was missed - as he was unable to make the trip from Australia.

    We really didn't talk that much about Deida and Farrell, aside from using them as touchstones for various issues. The general consensus is that they are not AQAL-integral, but that they are perhaps working from an integral perspective. In fact, Diane called David before the conference and asked him - his response was, "Of course I am not integral, integral is a map." He basically went on to say that he helps people untie spiritual and sexual knots in their lives - that is his mission.

    OK now, time to be brutally honest.

    When I am in situation such as that (feeling anxious and a bit overwhelmed), I try to be as present in the moment as humanly possible, which means I end up with very little recall of what happened. There is a way that I have learned to get out of the way and let whatever is going to come out, to come out . . . which maybe takes my short-term memory offline or something.

    So, in reality, Sean and Mark should have asked someone else to do this session.

    We began with a question from Mark on "Do we need an integral masculinity, and if so, what does that look like?" From there we were off - as I said, I have very little memory for what happened or what was said. But I'll take a stab at it.

    Diane made a good point in observing that we had a woman on the panel (her), but that the women's panel felt no need to have a man on theirs. That says a lot about where men are in our development of masculine identity - it's almost like we feel we need a woman's perspective so that we don't piss anyone off, especially feminists.

    We talked a little about mentoring - this is a topic I like. Pelle and I agreed that mentoring is good and often important, in that boys do not learn to be men in a vacuum. My perspective is that we do not need to TEACH boys how to be men, but rather, we need to create a safe space for them to discover their own sense of what it means to be a man.

    We also talked about how to respond to the feminist attacks on men as dominaters and oppressors. Bert used some humor and an audience poll (I think it was on this question) to suggest that there is a little more openness to talk about the feminine shadow than their used to be, and that it may part of our community. I suggested that we not take a stand on this issue, but that we take a stance, that we remain open and fluid to the criticisms rather than become defensive or go on the offensive,

    Gilles - whom I had never met before, or even heard of, but is someone I quite like and feel a kindred sense with - brought a gay man's perspective to the panel, which was excellent - he also brought humor. He talked about being ostracized by the "boy's club" for not being a good athlete and all of that when he was young, so that he learned a great deal about masculinity and agency from powerful women. It turned out that many of the guys in the room, mostly younger, had also had the influence of a strong woman in their lives. As someone who through his teen years in a household of women, with a weak mother, that's interesting to me.

    One of Farrell's ideas that we did touch on was the "expendable male," with both Bert (I believe) and Pelle making good points. This is one area where a lot of men resonate with Farrell. We are seen historically as oppressors of women, which is only partly true (there was no choice in gender roles and actions until about the 1,600s or so), but we were dying in wars, in the fields, or whatever to support families, or to pay taxes, or whatever.

    We made the income, women made the home and the babies. Women were freed from making babies with birth control (a point Gilles made very well), and from there they had many more options to explore their roles, while men still made the income. This is a main point of Farrell, as well.

    In the audience Q&A portion, a young man asked about integral role models, and where we should look. Pelle made the excellent point that working with peers to tease out what our ideal might look like is a good way to go about it. My sense is that we do not one or two role models - what we need is a willingness to figure out how it works best for each of us to manifest our unique masculinity in an "integral" way, whatever that means. We might want to try on traits of various people we admire and assemble an integrated perspective that is our own.

    All in all, that was a blast - I hope the attendees had a good time as well.