Friday, January 27, 2012

INTEGRALES FORUM - A Statement on Sexual Ethics

The INTEGRALES FORUM issued a statement a little while back on their choice not to work with Marc Gafni any longer. They had reservations about working with Gafni in the first place, but were persuaded (I have heard coerced by some) by Ken Wilber to work with him. But like Integral Life, they have chosen to sever ties with Gafni. Ken Wilber applauds their decision in a note he allowed them to post on their site.

Integral blogger Joe Perez called their statement sexual fascism - but one of the members of the Integrales Forum offered his own response to Perez. For once, an argument about Gafni in which I am not involved.

For what it's worth, I also applaud the statement by IF - they have shown the highest integral ethics and the moral spine to make their position public.

Here is the post from Integrales Forum (including their original statement, dated in September of last year):

Ken Wilber's response to the IF statement from January

My statement asked that each and every person—and organization—search their conscience and come to their own decision about Marc and CWS.  I am deeply gratified that that individuals connected with IF have done exactly that, and although we came to somewhat different conclusions, I deeply respect and honor the decision reached by IF and its members.  This is exactly the type of personal decision that I hoped individuals would indeed come to.  The fact that they did shows a strong Integral ethics and conscience that bodes well for the future of Integral.  Allow me to congratulate all the members of IF for reaching this deeply ethical conclusion.  I am very proud of each and every one of you.

-- All love, Ken Wilber 2012-01-17

Postscript 1: Ken Wilber agreed to publish this statement.

Postscript 2: We (the IF board) are aware, that our statement is not a statement for all IF members, but is rather a reflection of our own position. We respect and honor if people come to different conclusions and decisions. Nevertheless, our statement is also the result of ten years of co-creation of and within the integral movement, as well as the continual discussion with a lot of people. That is why we would like to thank all the participants here, who further integral theory and practice, inside and outside of the IF. In this way we understand the congratulation by Ken Wilber as including all, even if we are not of the same opinion, and are very grateful for it.

-- The IF board 2012-01-17

Integrales Forum Statement Concerning Further Cooperation with Marc Gafni

After renewed allegations were presented against the spiritual teacher Marc Gafni in the fall of 2011, Ken Wilber took a three month period of time for reflection in order to state his own opinion in the matter. This statement (end of December) is now available [link]. In the statement Ken Wilber explains his further support and cooperation with Marc Gafni in the continuing development of the Center for World Spirituality (CWS) which was founded and is being led by Marc. At the same time Ken Wilber noted that this is his own personal decision and each and every individual should develop his own responsible position with respect to the situation. All members of the board of Integral Forum, including the working group for Integral Spirituality, have done just that. 

After intensive discussions with members of the Integral Forum, partners, friends and also critics of Marc Gafni, we have come to a different decision than Ken Wilber. Until further notice, IF as an organization as well as individual members of the board will not take part in CWS and IF will not work together with Marc Gafni as a spiritual teacher. The main reason for our decision is our conviction that the leader of such an organization as CWS should exhibit a high degree of integrational capabilities in order to bring different religious and spiritual movements and personalities of the world together.

In a current statement, Marc Gafni confirmed that he does not exclude the possibility of sexual relationships with students of his circle in the future. 

"Let me state formally that if in the future I enter into a monogamous commitment, then I will honor it and live in it to the fullest. If that is the right path for me then I will enter into it with full delight and even ecstasy. If I do not enter into that path, and choose to love from a different place, then I will enter into that path with full delight and even ecstasy. If that is the case then it is not impossible that at some point I will date women who are in my circle. If that feels uncomfortable to someone in principle that it might not be wise to join my circle of teaching."

We do not see this position as commensurate with the expectations for someone in such a prominent role as the leader of CWS, particularly in view of the many years of critical discussions with respect to his person and behavior [link]. Against the background of the existing spectrum of cultural values, Marc Gafni polarizes people and opinions and for this reason does not meet the criteria we expect in a personality with the ability to lead and integrate such a meaningful global project. 

This polarization could also be seen within IF in view of the reaction to the most recent events. Many of us still hold him in high esteem as before, others view him very critically as a person. We are however unanimously of the same opinion that Marc Gafni, as author and integral thinker for the further development of the integral theory with concepts such as the unique self, provides an important contribution and we will continue to provide access to his contributions in our media.

The subject of world spirituality remains on our agenda. We will further promote this within the framework of the School for Integral Spirituality (SIS) in connection with the development of principles and ethical basics of this school. 

Our wish is that a constructive and responsible interaction with differences of opinion concerning theory, individuals, methods, and paths will lead to the realization of a truly integral and integrative spirituality. 

Integrales Forum, January 2012 

Michael Habecker, Sonja Student, Dennis Wittrock, Hilde Weckmann, Rolf Lutterbeck, Erich Carl Derks, Stefan Schoch und Helmut Dörmann
IF Board and working group School for Integral Spirituality (SIS) in the IF

A Statement of IF concerning Marc Gafni

Since its foundation, Integrales Forum has made an effort to develop an independent integral perspective in the German speaking countries, while also continuously looking for contact with the American integral scene around Ken Wilber. During the past years, several occasions for fruitful contact and cooperation have emerged, including with Marc Gafni, who together with co-teacher Diane Hamilton offered a contribution at the IF conference 2010 in Berlin and was a main contributor at this year's annual conference in Nuremberg. 

A few years before this cooperation there were indications of Marc's ethical misconduct in connection with female students. At the time, this lead to a break between Marc and the Integral Institute. In this context Ken Wilber composed a critical text, which we have published in German language in the „Integrale Bibliothek“(integral library), which has now been incorporated in the general website of the Integral Forum. A few years later, Marc was officially rehabilitated by Integral Life (the CEO  Robb Smith). This was the basis for the ensuing cooperation between Integrales Forum and Marc, after thoroughly checking the reasons for the rehabilitation, which had been supported by many teachers. Now (September 2011), new accusations of misconduct have been made against Marc, which we from Integrales Forum take very seriously and which have shaken the trust which we had shown in him after his rehabilitation. We have entered a new process of information and clarification. We will bring this process of clarification to a temporary conclusion from our side by the middle of October at the latest, and then make a statement. During this time we will put our cooperation with Marc as a spiritual teacher and in the context of the project of world spirituality on halt. 

The IF aims to contribute to a more integral understanding in a variety of fields, including business, education, ecology, politics, etc. This also includes the very sensitive field of spirituality that we want to help evolve from an integral perspective with the help of many other spiritual teachers. We will continue working on the subjects such as world spirituality, a new concept of self and an evolutionary-integral understanding of love. In this, we will also take into account  Marc's contributions, such as the ones we are publishing in the new edition of our magazine Integrale Perspektiven and the Online Journal. We’ve started this public discussion about spiritual standards already last year with our position paper (also discussing the role of spiritual teachers) and we will definitely continue to deepen it in the future. 

The Integrales Forum Board and the DIA-Team:
Dennis Wittrock, Sonja Student, Hilde Weckmann, Michael Habecker, Rolf Lutterbeck

September 15th, 2011
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