Monday, October 03, 2011

Open Letter to Joe Perez on Attacking Tami Simon

This letter is in response to Joe Perez's post this morning attacking Tami Simon for making a public statement to explain to me (and others) why she canceled publication of Marc Gafni's book.

Note: this picture of Joe is from his Facebook profile picture album. It probably should be a white hat, since Joe is riding in to save Marc Gafni's reputation and the future of the integral enterprise. Don't heroes always wear white hats?

Anyway, this is a slightly edited version of the comment I left on his post.
Dear Joe,

You have the facts very wrong in blaming Tami Simon for Gafni's problems. She canceled publication of his book, nothing more. And she did so because she only agreed to take him on as an author on the agreement that he would not be sleeping with students or involved in any more scandals - which he swore to her would not happen. And then it did. He lied to her and she chose not to be associated with someone who consistently acts in ways to derail his success and that of those associated with him. She honestly answered my questions about the situation and allowed me to post her comments (I cannot speak for her motivations, but I suspect she allowed me to share her comments in order to avoid a whisper campaign about the reasons the book had been pulled, which had somehow already been leaked prior to my post).

Integral Life (and Robb Smith) had been in the process of ending its relationship with Gafni for at least a year, long before this latest situation with Gafni's lies. Diane Hamilton had distanced herself from Gafni well before any of this happened, as had several other integral teachers. Tami Simon had nothing to do with Robb's decision to break ties with Gafni. The schism in the integral world rests solely on Gafni's actions, not on anything Tami Simon did - and it's exceedingly sad that you have been manipulated by Gafni into posting such a reckless attack on her character.

And for the record, the letter in support of Gafni attributed to Ken Wilber and Sally Kempton was written by Kempton and Gafni, not Wilber, he only allowed them to use his name. The same is true for the letter attributed to Robb Smith and Ken Wilber. I suspect Smith would prefer that letter be removed. But Gafni persuaded Wilber to add his name to it. If you will recall, that "letter" was originally a post at Integral Life written by Smith. Gafni has "reframed" it to look different than its original intention.

I know you are an intelligent and, I believe, compassionate man (despite the many and varied personal attacks you have made on me and now on Tami Simon), so I am saddened to see you fall under Ganfi's seductions (he seduces men, too, just not sexually). The issue has always been Gafni's need for power and control and the destructive ways he goes about getting it and keeping it. You seemed to see it clearly in some of what you have written above, but then you ignore your own observations to make claims for Gafni that sound hollow. How can a teacher on Unique Self be believed when he, as you rightly say, cannot even be trusted to stand in his own unique self without resorting to "distortions and evasions"?

Further, you have (I think) unwittingly become Gafni's pawn in his usual format of attack when he is caught up in one of his repeated abuses of power and position - he attacks the character of those who have called him out on his actions (he did it to Luke Ford and Vicki Polin, as well as to the women he was involved with in Israel, his three ex-wives, and any woman who has spoken against him publicly) - in this case he has you attacking Tami Simon on his behalf, as well as intensifying the attacks you have already made on my character. 

He read you perfectly. He saw in you a desire for position as the premier integral blog, which in his mind, and apparently yours, requires taking me and IOC down. He played you. He made me the enemy and then, by extension and association, made Tami Simon your target as well. This is his usual method - obscure the facts by attacking the messengers.

And finally, on a personal note, thanking me for the "courageous blog post which brought the entire matter into the light," while you have done nothing but attack me and malign my character, is more than a little disingenuous. And for the record, intellectual property "theft" requires that I use material without attribution, which has never happened. I know you were running that attack long before Gafni got to you (and I suspect one of your own readers was spot on when he suggested it was part of your effort to be the #1, go-to integral blog, which requires discrediting me and IOC), but since then you seem to really be attached to that one method of discrediting me. But you purposely use the most inflammatory language you can find to totally misrepresent the truth.

I'm saddened to see you on the wrong side of this story. 


Federico said...

Joe is another psycho-sexually troubled man.

In a world that makes sense (not this one) he would not be writing a blog representing Integral thought.

However, we still live in post-modern times. His blog and his post-modern ideas will, because of that, be popular.

Where the hell is Ken?

At this point, and even before, he should stand up and separate bullshit from truth, and shut up the voices that need to be shut up, or at least, to suggest them to shut up.

He indirectly enables this whole circus.

And yet, the people decide.

I did decide.

I'm not Integral, neither I am Second Tier :o)

Integral is not Integral. Doesn't have integrity.

I am also so disappointed by it.

As I published in Integral Life,
I bow to Tami Simons in deep respect.

Integriry at best.

Also to you dear William.

All best.


MartyC said...

You guys are a wacky bunch. I'm posting my comment from over at Perez's site, so have at. If you're true to form, you'll make a snide comment, then over generalizations, some claims with no backing data, and then express a sniffy self-righteousness backed by nothing more than your own contention that you are righteous. Or just not say anything, but if you bother, I'm predicting the former points, as you are all adorably consistent.

(comment from Perez site)

Hi Joe,

A heartfelt thanks for this post. I’m a little rummy after a long day with clients, but wanted to post my deep appreciation for what you’ve done here, for several reasons. The most limited and personal is that I love Marc and his teachings, and hate to see him get run through the meat grinder the way he has, as I would hate to see any loved one abused.

Then up a scale, I think you’ve substantially, and perhaps irreversibly, up-leveled (I think that’s a nerd term) the discourse both on this particular situation, and as far as I can tell, in the Integral community in general. You’ve offered a nuanced, multi-quadrant perspective (I think you left out neurobiology, but were otherwise pretty comprehensive), involving both the objective facts and your subjective perspective, and then engaged a confrontation of the statement-without-context problem (Marc uses the term, “context lie”) as exhibited by many like Tami Simon (and Bill Harryman) that is both loving, compassionate, data driven, and in-your-face. It seems to me that all this is a huge example, totally aside from the content, of what Integral discourse around community (and other) conflict should look like.

(continued below)

MartyC said...

(continued from above)

Also, at this scale, it seems to me you have offered permanent (and the internet’s looking pretty permanent) contrast to the debased discourse that has gone on these last weeks, most notably (but not exclusively) on Harryman’s blog. You force out into the public eye those, like Simon and Robb Smith (and John Dupuy by implication), who have pissed on the hedges and then, presumably, assumed they wouldn’t have to explain themselves for their behavior and logic. They may have very important things to say to defend their position–now let’s hear them say them openly and directly, in the eye of the community and broader public. Your open letter is going to be very hard to dodge. Harryman tries in his anemic comment on this post, and doesn’t seem to realize–something both sad and instructive–that he’s tying the knots in his own noose. You may be right that over a beer there may be human contact with him, but I think his service to this debate is that he is clearly, and distinctly, serving as exemplar of a Green victim-victimizer narrative, which is hard pressed to stand in integrity (to the non-zealot) next to an Integrally informed communication like your own. There’s no point in thinking that anyone so committed to his position will listen when you present or ask for evidence–as he and his Attaboy Squad have amply demonstrated–but the unavoidable contrast between the toxic Green and the Integral stances will help, seems to me, to make them distinct enough that future readers and researches won’t be so confused about which is which, in general and specific to Marc.

Which points to what seems to me the most significant level of all this (and of my appreciation for your post), and which you touch on when you suggest the game-changing quality of Marc’s teachings: it would be a high crime if his work was submerged under all this current bull shit. Wilber has pointed out many times the structural reality that cultures pull members up to their center of gravity, and pull down those who try to move beyond that center, and I have not seen his detractors at pains in trying to make this distinction between the speaker and the speech. There’s something mundanely ugly about this phenomenon, and about the cluelessness of his “Marc-as-predator” detractors that there’s no difference between the two, and therefore, conveniently, smearing the message for the messenger. I think your post is part of what’s going to keep this from occlusion of his teaching from happening, which beyond the value I cited above, has a deep value in the defense of the potential that Marc’s teaching has in really making life better for people, in big, profound, and visceral ways. Not because of Marc per se, anymore than (on a good day) the value of my clinical work is rooted in my Marty-ness. Rather, as my wife said elsewhere, the “God-having-a-Marc-experience” is very potent and powerful in what it wants the Frail-vessel-Marc to be doing and saying, and to try to fuck up that communication by conflating the man (who, to be clear, doesn’t have a lot to apologize for in my estimation) with the message is to be committing a pretty profound crime. And I can only hope those doing it are motivated by confusion and not malice.

So for all those reasons, Joe, a really deep and heartfelt appreciation. Props, as the kids would say.

Much love,

Anonymous said...

It took “MartyC” nearly a thousand words posted in two comments to say what he could have said in three words in a single comment:

Blah, blah, blah.

Yosef Blau said...

It is a serious mistake for Marc Gafni's defenders to ignore a history of sexual impropriaties that goes back over twenty five years. If they would review the comments of earlier supporters who later acknowledged that they had been taken they would find echoes of their experiences with Gafni. He spends hours being charming and describing his difficult childhood and the vengeful people who have worked to destroy him. Only "apparantly" controlling he offers to help write the statement in his defence.
Any individual who has changed his name, his address and his affiliations so many times is trying to escape those who know him well. It makes little sense to claim that all the women and the rabbis and other spiritual leaders are all lying and only he is telling the truth.