Thursday, September 22, 2011

John Dupuy - My Opinion on the Marc Gafni Situation

I may not be involved with the Boulder version of Integral anymore, but I have not abandoned the people to whom I promised support in the efforts to expose Marc Gafni's manipulations and lies. So here is the latest.

Integral Recovery expert and psychotherapist John Dupuy has offered (on his Integral Life blog) the most compassionate, honest, and psychologically accurate perspectives on the Marc Gafni situation from anyone in the Integral community. If there were more leaders like Dupuy in the community, more of us would have remained involved.

But then there is Robb Smith, CEO of Integral Life, who made this comment on his Facebook page:
I gave Marc a chance many said I should not have. It was probably a mistake to give him leadership authority, but I wanted first hand experience of his character. I read all the material that he presented in his defense and it was convincing. It took me about a year to figure out how he put it all together, and that's when I started to make the separation.
Really, it only took you a year? And yet Gafni kept teaching for two more years - often highlighted as a leader and featured speaker - with no warning to members or his students that he had lied about the Israel situation, that he manufactured the "evidence" that he claimed cleared him? Where is the leadership in that?

I want to believe you are coming from the best interest of the community Robb, but then you reveal how you really weren't stepping up. I'm struggling to understand your actions . . . .

Anyway, here is John's statement:

My Opinion on the Marc Gafni Situation

Posted September 22nd, 2011 by john dupuy in Spiritual Leadership

This is a post that I wrote about 3 days ago, concerning Marc Gafni and the latest debacle. As a courtesy, I sent this post to Marc, saying that I am posting this and quoted the biblical reference Proverbs 27:6: Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. I immediately received a call from Marc, in which he threatened me with legal action and an internet campaign to discredit my character based on all of the personal information that he has found out about me during our years of friendship. To which I say good luck on the legal action and stay posted for the character assassination, which is either going to be very boring or very creative.

In the last few days I have consulted with many friends and colleagues over the nature of this post, to include Ken Wilber and Sally Kempton, and I have decided that I will not be silenced. Ultimately, what influenced my decision to post this was the realization that came out during a conversation with Sally Kempton, myself and my wife, Pam - and that is, I think I owe this to the younger generations of our world-wide Integral community. As this latest sexual scandal emerged with Marc, I have heard from many people who are very hurt by Marc's actions and generally feeling very disillusioned with our Integral spiritual teachers and role models. Based on that, I am posting this. I do this after much reflection and prayer, with sadness and clarity. I still hold out the hand of friendship to Marc but as a real friend, and not as an enabler. And let me be clear, it is not we who are speaking about this who are causing this problem, it is Marc's behaviors and choices that has brought this on. As I teach to my recovery students, the truth hurts, but it doesn't kill, and ultimately, lies kill. So with much love to Marc and all those concerned, and to our worldwide Integral family.
That is the introduction to the post. The threat of lawsuits and character assassination is normal operating procedure for Gafni. A senior student of Marc's named MartyC is currently doing his best to attack me and discredit me wherever he can on the web, so Hey John, join the club! 

Here is the most important passage from John's statement - he confirms and restates what many of us have been saying for years:
It appears to be all part of a single pattern, starting long before Israel, and continuing into the present. As I have struggled with this latest debacle and scandal, I have experienced myriad emotions, from being heartsick, feeling helpless, to being righteously pissed. As I write this, I feel sadness, as I am very loyal to my family and friends. But I believe that Marc has behaved in a way that is unworthy of the position of leadership and authority that he has been granted in our Integral circles. His behaviors, his absolute incapacity to own anything, and his incredible ability to manipulate and play the victim, are simply beyond the pale and unacceptable. I believe Marc is in panic mode right now and his behaviors have caused catastrophic events in his life: losing a major publishing deal, losing his connection as a major personality and teacher at Integral Life, and the questioning by people around the world about his fitness to be a leader in the world spirituality arena. Yet Marc continues to play the victim and spin new angles and even new dharmas to justify his very unwise and dysfunctional behaviors.

In my work with addicts, over the years, I have become very used to seeing lives ruined by addictive acting out. It’s kind of par for the course in the disease of addiction. I have also seen many lives come back from the brink of death and complete dishonor. Not only have I seen lives come back, but I have seen them come back with renewed strength, compassion, devotion, and humility. But it ain’t easy and it takes a lot of work. The first step is to admit that you have a problem and take responsibility. I don’t see this with Marc. Marc is always the victim and always the martyr.

As I have sat with this, talked and emailed with my friends and colleagues in the Integral movement from around the world, I have realized a deep pattern of dysfunction, manipulation, and narcissism in Marc’s case. These are three words that, interestingly enough, characterize the disease of addiction. I had hoped against hope that Marc would learn from his past mistakes and sense of calling, as he brought forth his important teachings of the Unique Self and World Spirituality, and that this would keep his dysfunctional and apparently compulsive behaviors in check. That has obviously not happened. He has hurt his family, his friends, his supporters and our Integral community.
He concludes with this statement, which is both loving and hopeful:
I offer this in the spirit of personal sadness as well as hope that Marc can repent and heal. And I hope that we all can grow up a little bit, though we may have been hurt and disillusioned by the behaviors of our role models and spiritual teachers in the past—that we will not use this as an opportunity to become cynical but that we will challenge ourselves to become those leaders that we had wished we had. God help us all.
But I have already become cynical. So I guess I am one of the lost ones.

Perhaps the only thing that might change my perspective is a direct, video statement from Ken Wilber himself. I'd like to hear an apology for allowing Marc back into the Integral limelight, and for his comments comparing Gafni's accusers to neo-Nazis (the letter was attributed to Sally Kempton and Ken Wilber - it used to be featured on Gafni's blog, but is now gone):
The evidence makes it abundantly clear that the horrendous claims made about Marc on what can only be described as Internet vendetta or hate sites hidden beneath the fig leaf of victim advocacy, are without a shred of truth. To even need say this is in some sense offensive. It is somewhat like a Jewish person needing to deny anti–Semitic claims on a neo–Nazi site.
I was asked to post that letter last summer on the comments section of a post I wrote critical of Gafni being featured at the Integral Theory Conference.There is still a letter on Gafni's site attributed to Robb Smith and Ken Wilber (used to only be Robb) - I wonder if that will also come down?

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