Commenting on Balder’s blog about the Wilber-Combs Lattice

Commenting on Balder’s blog about the Wilber-Combs Lattice

Posted on Jun 21st, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade

Here is a blog post I commented on:

The Wilber-Combs Lattice and the Pre/Trans Fallacy

Posted on Jun 19th, 2008 by Balder : Kosmonaut Balder

And here is my comment:

Thanks for posting this Balder!  This brings up some important issues I’m interested in.

And thanks Jim for your perspective.  I think you’re right on target.

There is a difference between theory and experience.  And experience can be quite messy.  We don’t experience these coneptual categories because our experience is always a mix of different states and stages… and also a mix of various paradigms and memes that influence our views that are entirely outside of this model.

Even scientifically testing emprical claims is tricky when it comes to all things consciousness-related including divinatory predictions.  For anyone interested in the challenges of consciousness studies, I’d recommend Lynne McTaggart’s books or The Trickster and the Paranormal by George P. Hansen.

God is in the manure.  This is an idea of alchemy.  The figure that represents the alchemical/individuation process is Mercurius and he is a Trickster.  Tricksters are known for breaking the distinctions between things… especially between intellectual distinctions such as prerational and transrational.

Mercurius relates to Hermes.  And Hermes acts as a mediary between the popular distinction of Apollonian and Dionysian.  Wilber’s view (or at least the model that he has created) is very Apollonian.  Whereas, Dionysus is about the transformative experience that can’t be understood or controlled.  Can integral find a way to include and use the Jungian model of the Trickster/mediary to overcome this divide?

Jim, you said:
“Would it be skillful for the physician to tell Lars that he’s not being rational about the situation, and that his belief that Bianca is a real woman is a “prerational” delusion?”

To play “as if” would be an act of the imagination.  The imagination is the realm of the Trickster.  Can pretending that the false is real transform it into a real positive result?  This depends on what is defined as real.  The imagination is about what is metaphorically real and this is just as important as what is rationally real.  Besides, the distinction between the two is never absolute.  So, how do we rationally speak of what is or isn’t skillful means?  In considering this question, I’d agree with what Jim says here:

“I would say that we can only tell in retrospect if we can tell at all if certain manure had the potential to help one develop in a transpersonal direction, and that ultimately we may not be able to tell, because we are talking about an organic rather than a mechanical process.”

And here:

“There is also a sense in which I think the PTF is like a grammatical rule that we learn to apply and then forget about.”

Also, like a grammatical rule, there are many many exceptions to the rule.

Marmalade

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Marmalade : Gaia Child

11 minutes later

Marmalade said

I don’t know how much Philip K. Dick knew about Alchemy, but he was probably aware of it as he studied Gnosticism and was somewhat familiar with Jung’s ideas.  I’ve mentioned before about PKD’s view of God in the garbage.  I’m wondering if he got this idea from Alchemy or if he came up with it on his own.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 1 hour later

Nicole said

Interesting! either is quite possible I guess. the archetype of the Trickster is so very vital and of course by the nature of it very challenging to pin down…

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

2 days later

Marmalade said

I just checked back to Balder’s thread.  No one responded to what I said not even to disagree.  I can assume that it simply went over their heads or they were intentionally dismissing it, but either way its clearly not friendly.  Obviously, I find it frustrating.  Integralists are like any other group of people devoted to a certain way of looking at the world.  I was attracted to integralism because the model provides the potential for seeing multiple perspectives, but I find few integralists live up to that potential.

I could talk in proper integralese, but I don’t find it an inspiring language or at least I don’t find many of the people who speak it to be inspiring.  To me, its just one view among many… true but partial.  However, it seems that many integralists take their model way too seriously as if its objectively true rather than just being a convenient map.  I love maps, but as far as I can tell the integral map shows in detail only a small area.

Why can’t such a view as I present be allowed within the sacred confines of integralism?
Why can’t Apollo acknowledge Hermes?

On an integral discussion board, I noticed a post that fits in here.  The person was asking this question… why do all of the integral sites seem to be losing their momentum, there activity in major decline, some even closing down? 

It seems to me that its the loudest advocates of integralism that are turning off the average person from being interested.  In the beginning, integral was attractive to so many because it had so much potential, but I think many people like me are realizing how little of that potential is actualized within the integral community.  Even the integralists are getting frustrated and closing ranks around a few bulwarks of integral theory such as pre/trans.  The innovative spirit of integral is dead and awaiting a new theorist to resurrect it, but as long as Wilber is around that probably won’t happen.

Many have complained about integralism being elitist.  I don’t think that is quite right, but not entirely false.  I’ve found that the integral boards aren’t very welcoming communities (often a bit aggressive and argumentative), and I’m not entirely sure the reason.  The friendliness and openness of the God Pod is something you’d never find on an integral board… why?  Is it as I’ve conjectured… that integral theory attracts more Intuitive Thinking types (Apollonian intellectuals) who are more interested in ideas than in interpersonal relating?

The reason I’m so frustrated is because I really do like integral theory.  One of my complaints about Gaia was that I felt that I resonated more with the community than the community resonated with me.  I don’t know if that is true for Gaia as a whole, but it definitely seems true of my relationship to the integral crowd within Gaia.

I’m not merely complaining based on this one incident.  I’ve posted comments and started a thread on the Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality Pod, but there wasn’t much of a connection.  And I’ve participated on several other integral boards outside of Gaia.  I’m more interested in integralism than most people, and if this is my experience of integralism then what hope is there for this model fulfilling Wilber’s grand vision?

Basically, I’m trying to decide how I want to relate to the integral community here.  Should I just ignore and avoid them?  Or should I just trudge on assuming that eventually my viewpoint will be aknowledged?  I’m trying to focus my time spent on Gaia anyways, and so I don’t want to waste my efforts on being frustrated with people who don’t appreciate what I contribute.  Maybe I’ll stick to my method of commenting abou the integral discussions from the sidelines of my own blog.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

2 days later

Marmalade said

I just read through Balder’s thread again.  My frustration is not lessened. 

I’ve spent years studying integral and I understand everything they’re saying.  I don’t even directly disagree with what they’re saying.  In fact, I think they’re discussing important truths. 

Nonetheless, I can’t shake the feeling that so much gets left out of the conversation.  I’ve observed many integral discussions over the years, and there is a similarity amongst them all.  The same basic ideas get bandied back and forth, but new ideas are so rarely introduced or if introduced not given much attention.  Integral too often seems like a self-enclosed system.

I am interested in the model as it now exists, but I’m even more interested in how it can continue to evolve.  Restating the same ideas that have been discussed a thousand times before isn’t going to further the discussion.  Integralism needs new blood.

I understand that they’re wary of anything that stands outside of the conventions of integral.  They feel they have to defend themselves against the onslaught of the green meme.  I’m a strong proponent of many of the integral criticisms that are brought against the New Age.  But as it stands the New Age seems to have more potential and vitality for growth than integral does.  The New Age may simply take the best from integral and simply bypass it.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

2 days later

Marmalade said

My sense is that I didn’t get a response in that thread is because Balder (and others) didn’t feel it related to the topic of integral… even though it was in response to what Jim said and Balder responded to Jim. 

To me, this seems a vast failure of imagination, failure of vision even.  From my perspective, Jungian views on alchemy and mytholgy correspond with Integralism.  And if it doesn’t, then Integralism needs to be revamped.  Many other critics of Integralism have brought this up… such as Kazlev and Goddard. 

What do Integralists fear would happen if they opened up the gates to new (and old) ideas?

Why is Wilber the sole standard by which everything in the universe is measured?

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

Centria started a thread (based on her blog) about negative experiences and how we handle them.

Well, this is how I handle it.  I write my thoughts out and let myself vent.  It gives me perspective.  And sometimes it allows me to understand the situation better… which on a good day might lead to a more compassionate attitude.

So, how about my present situation? 

Only a few people commented to Balder’s blog and my comment was a fairly long one.  Balder responded to everyone’s comment except mine.  I perceive that as being the rudest that anyone on Gaia has acted towards me.  His dismissal of my comment obviously was intentional… I just don’t know what the intention was.

This leaves me to interpret it as best as I can.  Unless I ask Balder his reasoning all I have is his silence.  The question is how do I want to respond to this situation.  I don’t feel like asking Balder why he ignored me.  What I feel like doing is dismissing him in return.  He seemed like a decent guy that I might like to know, but this makes me doubt how nice of a guy he is.  Maybe he is nice.  I certainly don’t know the motivations behind his lack of a response.

In Balder’s blog, he has given lengthy responses to Julian.  And Julian has said some of the most confrontational statements I’ve heard on Gaia.  What am I to make of the integral community here?  This is an important question as the fact that many integral people being here is partly why I joined Gaia.  If the integral crowd here isn’t overly friendly, it puts a minor crimp in the reason I joined in the first place.  Fortunately, it turns out that I’ve connected with more non-integral people who seem more open-minded and curious than do the integral proponents around here… which I’m a bit surprised by.

However, I want to focus on this situation with Balder for the moment.  I feel hurt, annoyed, frustrated, even slightly angry.  Balder could’ve given a single sentence reply to just aknowledge my existence… but he didn’t.  I don’t know him and so part of my frustration is not even knowing why he chose to not respond even with a simple courteous comment.  Do I just accept that is just the way it is?  People do things that are unkind all of the time even people who are usually nice.

The thing is I’d never do what Balder did.  NEVER.  I wouldn’t respond to everyone with lengthy replies and ignore one person.  I said nothing to offend him.  There was no good reason for his ignoring my comment.  What kind of person is willing to treat people that way?  I know, I know… I’m blowing it all out of proportion.  But I’m doing so because I really don’t understand.  I was prepared to have Balder disgree with my view, but I didn’t even expect that I’d be simply ignored.  It took me by utter surprise.  Balder seemed like a nice guy and in my worldview that isn’t how nice people act.

Should I be sympathetic and assume the best.  Maybe Balder was having a bad day.  Maybe I offended him in some manner I’m unaware of.  The only thing I can think of is the discussion I had with him about his pod in an earlier blog of mine.  I was telling him how I didn’t join the discussions there because I didn’t feel like I fit in.  Maybe he took it as a personal criticism and is holding a grudge against me.  I just don’t know.  Maybe I just rub him wrong for some odd reason.

I guess its not important.  He isn’t obliged to respond to me whether or not it would be the polite thing to do.  I don’t know how to respond and so I guess I’ll just let it go.  Let go and let God as its been said before.  If I have offended Balder in the past somehow, then I’m sorry.  If I haven’t offended him and he simply doesn’t like me, then I’ll just have to accept that is the way it is.  If he didn’t comment to me for no particular reason at all, then such is life.

This small experience has effected me.  Gaia feels like a less friendly place because of it.  Balder is one of the more active members here.  Its not as if I can avoid him as he often posts in the God Pod.  My two ways of handling negativity is either to avoid it or understand it, but in this case neither seems possible.  So, I just have to try to process it internally.

It just makes me sad.  😦
I don’t like it when I’m sad.

I don’t handle negativity well at all.  If I feel too much of it, I just withdraw from the world.

Oh well… obladi oblada… life goes on…

BTW did I mention that I’m sad?

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

((((((((((Ben)))))))))))))

I’m so sorry you are sad, honey! That does seem intentionally unkind. And I’m so sorry that Gaia feels less friendly because of it. I have noticed this kind of intentional ignoring before, sometimes of me sometimes of others, but not usually in a way that is important. This is very significant.

I doubt you have offended Bruce. I can’t understand why he would treat you in this way. Even unintentionally it doesn’t seem like him. He is so careful to respond to everyone.

Have you been able to let it go or are you still upset? Wish I could make it better…

Are you sure you don’t want to discuss this on the God Pod? Not the thing with Bruce, just the original comment about integralists, like what you say above. Start a thread and we could discuss it in detail. See if Bruce responds at all.

What do you think? I won’t do it myself, if you are not comfortable.
What I can’t figure out is why I didn’t see the notification of your other comments on this blog.  I didn’t see until today that you had posted anything else. So I want to respond to your earlier comments.

I think you have identified a huge problem with the integral movement. Here on Gaia we can have discussions on Integral on the God Pod, but even then they are problematic becaause of polarisation and disaffection.

The Integral Pod  is still on the top 10 most active pods, but it went through some really rough patches and had to reboot. It’s only so active now because they tend to discuss controversies, so they’re not really discussing Integral much. So in a way it also proves your point.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

Thanks for stopping by Nicole.  I know you have your own emotions to process at the moment.  (BTW I’d be curious to hear how you process.  Journalling?  Going for a walk?)

I do feel relatively better.  A venting session like that and some good sleep often does the trick.

I’ve decided it probably isn’t something to be taken personally.  Balder’s lack of response probably had nothing to do with me.  One thing, a blog is like someon’s personal space.  He is interested in integral and he didn’t see my comment as appropriately inegral.  I’ve noticed that integral types have little tolerance for ideas outiside of integral conventions.  I’ve noticed many times an integral person become impatient and frustrated because someone was once again trying to introduce non-integral ideas into an integral discussion.  The feeling I sense from a person when they’re like this is that they feel the person doesn’t understand or respect integral.  Balder started his blog because he wanted to have a discussion about integral (as he understood it, not as I understood it).  He doesn’t want to deal with people like me in his own blog, his own personal space. 

I’m the type of person that integralists see as the greatest threat.  I was raised in the New Age and I’ve been known to defend the New Age against integralists.  I’m interested in Jung and the paranormal, two subjects that integralists have an uneasy relationship with.  I tend towards more of an open view towards ideas and I’m not as willing to classify certain ideas as clearly better than other ideas.  I prefer to see differences as simply differences.  I’m skeptical of the general attitude of integralism that was first modelled by Wilber: Apollonian, masculine, willful, ascetic, confrontational, defensive, rationalistic, idealistic, approval-seeking(from the academia), etc.

And, in spite of all of that, I love integral.  I love the models Wilber has created.  I’ve gained great insight from studying integral.  I appreciate how integral can be applied in practical ways.

Basically, I was totally into integral until I met various people who were even more into it and I was turned off.  One of those people that turned me off was a good friend of mine.  I’d known him for a while and we started an integral group with another guy.  I quickly realized that studying Wilber’s work was like an act of devotion for this guy.  He didn’t want to think analytically about Wilber’s ideas; he didn’t want to consider alternative viewpoints; he wanted to ‘study’ Wilber (somewhat similar to how you study a holy text).

This seems very odd to me as integral attracts very intelligent people.  Integralist remind me of the intelligent types I’ve met on atheist boards.  On those boards, there would be these people who knew what they knew and knew it extremely well, but they lacked humility and openness to new views.  They could talk about the minutiae of some particular school of thought or some particular set of ancient texts.  You meet these kinds of people on integral boards also.  When you join an integral discussion, you realize you’re dealing with people who have lived and breathed integral (ie Wilber’s work) for years if not decades.  Its daunting to face them in a discussion.  But despite their massive knowledge of this one subject, they often know very little of anything else (at least not with any depth).  They have some vague familiarity with other ideas, but those ideas just aren’t important to them.

This isn’t unusual behavior.  This is normal human behavior in fact… which makes it all the more sad.  For some reason, I had higher expectations of integral types because they seemed to have higher expectations of themselves.  Integralism has so much potential.  It is one of the best theories out there.
I realize I can’t expect everyone to be like me.  And, of course, I have my own issues.  But I just wish that online discussions weren’t so challenging.  Why is it so difficult to speak about differing opinions openly (without polarization, judment, and dismissive attitude)?  When I enter a discussion, I try to always give someone a fair hearing (as long as they’re not being rude or something).  As you know, I’ll go far out of my way to understand another person’s perspective, I’ll spend much time trying to see what interests them about a subject.  Or, if I feel confused or uninspired, I’ll just give a quick response to aknowledge them. 

I’m not perfect at this.  I’m sure at one point or another someone felt dismissed by something I said or didn’t say.  In the past, I could get argumentative when I disagreed with someone… which is something I try not to do anymore.

For some reason, it irks me when I run into people who are entirely committed to a single viewpoint.  I probably need to do some shadow work on that one.  Maybe I’m jealous because of my lack of an ability to commit to a single viewpoint, and then I idealize my non-committal nature as being open-mindedness.  Probably so… I rationalize my behavior as much as the next person.

Now, to your question of whether I want to discuss this on the God Pod.  Yeah, probably.  I need to think about how to present it.  I’d be curious to know what you’d think would be the central issue of such a discussion.  Integral’s lack of openness to new ideas?  I could bring up the defensive/critical attitude that Integralists have towards New Agers (and other non-rational metaphysics), but that has been brought up before.

I agree its important.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

I just love synchronicity.

Just today Theurj in Balder’s Pod posted a thread about Integral Ideology.
(and I posted the thread as another thread over in the God Pod.

Either Theurj read my mind or we were both reading the collective mind.

I’d taken that pod off of notification, and the only reason I knew about is because I looked at my friend activity.  I had asked Nickeson to be my friend a while back because I knew him from another integral board.  He has one of the most grounded and even views of integral that I’ve come across.  His comment is my favorite in the thread so far.

Ironically, Balder responded saying he didn’t think any of it applied to him.  Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him, he has inspired me to rant about the problems of integral for several days.

Anyways, that solved my problem of trying to figure out how to start a thread about this.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

4 days later

Marmalade said

To be fair, Balder does seem like an open-minded and self-questioning fellow.  In his post, he did say that “I may be deceiving myself – our shadows are notoriously hard to spot”.  And its to the credit of Integralism that this subject came up in the integral pod.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

4 days later

Marmalade said

Hey Nicole

You might find it interesting that my response to this situation is somewhat typical for an INFP. 

I took Balder’s silence very personally and blew out of proportion, and then I started obsessing over it.  I focused on the interpersonal dimension and conjectured about his motives all the while questioning myself.  My sense of values felt challenged and so I went on a miniature righteous crusade.  And yet I did it all without ever having to directly confront the person who was bothering me in the first place.  🙂

And this was only a minor annoyance.  Just imagine what I’d be like if I really felt like my values had been challenged.  To give you an example, some people conjecture that Osama bin Laden is an INFP.  INFPs might be one of the best types for being a terrorist.  Here is a thread where we discussed this at Globalchatter.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

4 days later

Nicole said

Wow, Ben… I’m glad you found a way to resolve it. Great self-analysis there. You are helping me a lot in my crash course on INFPs. It’s interesting to see you and Alan talk together in the God Pod. You are finding your way very well with him. He likes you and enjoys your discussions. Of course, we talk about you on the phone together at times, so I know this directly and not just by inference. It’s obvious by how much he interacts with you on the God Pod.  You are one of the few in the God Pod who take the time to try to meet him in the very unique space he inhabits… as well as myself of course lol Thanks for that.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

4 days later

Marmalade said

INFPs can have a very odd way of thinking and communicating.  To other people who aren’t INFPs, the odd comments and the constantly shifting tangents seem to have no coherency.  To an INFP, everything is connected. 

What others can’t see is the Introverted Feeling (Fi) of an INFP.  Fi gives the INFP a solid core that brings it all together.  An INFP can jump around a million ideas without needing to hold onto any given single one of them.  This Extraverted Intuition that jumps around in a very non-linear fashion.  As its their favored Extraverted function its how they relate to the world.  But since its not their primary function, they aren’t directly attached to it.  The INFP can get stuck in a single value but rarely in a single thought.

INFPs tend to gather bits and pieces of everything and stick it all together in a loose fashion.  INFPs can be intellectual but not usually in a very systematic way.  We don’t have the patience and focus to study one thing to the exclusion of all else.  So, this means we can our knowledge has breadth without depth if we’re not careful.  Depth is in our values, but that is hard to communicate even to ourselves.

I grew up with an ENTJ dad who taught me how to analyze and so I’m not entirely typical for an INFP.  I’m able to communicate in a more linear fashion, but my mind is always all over the place.

As such, INFPs might have some interest in integral theory because they appreciate any insightful viewpoint.  However, the INFP is forever saying: “Thats true, but….”  And an INFP has less of a problem with seeing two contradictory things as being true simultaneously.  To systematize one’s thoughts as integral theory does would be to destroy the beautiful complexity of life.

So, an INFP might come off as being ‘Green Meme’ to an integralist.  The INFP wants to see multiple perspectives and doesn’t want to judge any of them absolutely.  The integralists call this relativism and consider it inferior.  The INFP would have to alter their way of thinking (or at least communicating) just to fit into the correct view that integralists idealize.  Fortunately, INFPs are independent thinkers who are unlikely to change their ways for anyone.  Unfortunately, INFPs are stubborn who are unlikely to change their ways even for loved ones.

Anyways, its nice that Alan and I can connect as we do.  I know on my end that it isn’t important that I agree with him or even entirely get any given idea of his.  I understand the general way of his thinking.  I also realize that as long as you listen well and  don’t judge INFPs they tend to be easygoing people who just like to play around with ideas.  I can sense where his values are and as a fellow INFP I respect that inner certainty.  I just present my view as my view.  At times I’m left clueless by what he means and so I respond with silly humor.  Most INFPs love silly humor.  Its hard for INFPs to stay serious for too long.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

4 days later

Marmalade said

About this situation, I didn’t really need any responses from anyone else even though its always nice to have a sounding board.  INFP’s have a knack of seeing all sides to a situation on their own if given enough time and if given the space in which to contemplate it.

INFPs get perspective from Ne which means they have to throw out every possible idea they can think of.  Their Fi sorts it all out in terms of relevance, but first it all must be considered.  No rock must be left unturned.

If you just active listen to an INFP while nodding your head (and maybe throwing out a few alternative possibilities), they’ll probably figure it out.  They just need support in their own processing.  INFP’s have a faith in their Fi.  They may not immediately understand, but they assume that it must make sense one way or another.

Though, if their processing fails, they will be strong in their blaming others.  If their Ne can’t help them, then they fall back on their Fi which can tend towards black/white thinking (wrong or right, good or evil).

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

5 days later

Marmalade said

I noticed Balder’s most recent comment in the discussion that started this whole rant of mine.  At the end of his comment, he says:

“This, at least, is the conclusion I come to when I attempt to “think inside the box.”  In other words, I’m not saying this is how things are; rather, I’m looking at the “model” and tracing out its implications (as I see them), to see how well they serve us.”

I’m not sure but that sounds like he may be taking seriously the criticisms of the Integral Ideology thread.  He is being self-conscious of the fact that there is a box he is thinking within.  He explains that he is looking at the implications of the “model” in order “to see how well they serve us.”  This seems to imply that he is considering how worthwhile it might be to think outside of the box.

In an earlier comment, he said this:

“As Jim points out, and as you pointed out also, this topic can get somewhat complex and difficult to sort out, in part because of the nature of the subject but also because Wilber’s language has sometimes been rather vague.”

I am in agreement with him about this.  This is something that both the proponents and critics of Wilber agree upon. 

Wilber is often not very clear and even people who’ve studied him for decades aren’t always sure what Wilber’s position is.  Plus, there is the complaint that its impossible to determine Wilber’s true position because he is always saying that statements he made previously no longer represent him.  He’ll refer to his present position being clearly stated in the notes 7b of such and such book, but of course the notes to his book are somewhere on his site rather than actually in the book itself.

So, if its so confusing, then what good does it do for the average person?  Heck, what good does it do for those who are willing to spend years trying to decipher Wilber?

Nicole : wakingdreamer

5 days later

Nicole said

Ok so my response is in two main parts:

1) I really appreciate your in depth analysis of INFPs. It totally resonates with my observations of him, and a lot of our conversations have a randomness because of that. He tries to be linear because of me but clearly it’s a struggle. 🙂 I can feel his attention and mind jumping all over. And superficiality is a danger for him, one I think at some level he tries to avoid.  Still just beginning to know him so it’s hard to be sure about much. But this really really helps, Ben. Thanks.

 And silliness is so much a part of him. Example: Yesterday, I booked the B and B I will be staying in when I’m in Scotland in early August. We were both amazed to realise it is literally one block from the flat his brother and he share. He kept saying, “But I don’t remember seeing a B and B there” and noticing that I was becoming nervous, began this elaborate story about how it was probably Brigadoon, and that I would end up 300 years in the past… I kept telling him to stop and he kept spinning the story, in sheer delight. It took him …. a long time before he relented and told me that when he walked out to look at it, sure enough, he just had never noticed it. 

It’s also really helpful to know you didn’t really need any feedback. I always give it compulsively, but I did see you were working it through all by yourself and doing a perfect job. This too will help me with him, if I can just remember to bite my tongue when I am tempted to give him advice (something I realised I needed to do almost from the first day by how he reacted to something, doesn’t matter what) all goes much better.

2) Bruce is very thoughtful and I agree that he probably does see these things. Wilber’s frustrating disowning of his previous ideas is very confusing indeed, and one of the many reasons he can only be one of many sources for a balanced Integral perspective.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

5 days later

Marmalade said

I was starting to forget about Balder’s blog, but finally someone responded to what I said.  Jim made some comments which is fitting as I was largely responding to him in my comment.  I’m assuming that either this blog or the Integral Ideology thread brought me to the attention of Jim.  I just wish I had received a response without having to go through all of this hullabaloo.

Jim was friendly towards me in his comment and I appreciated that he brought up Mindell as that is another interest of mine.  But why couldn’t he have responded earlier?  We could’ve spent this whole time discussing how ideas such as Mindell’s relate to Integral models.  At least, the opportunity has now arisen. 

The only problem is that I don’t know how much I feel like participating in Balder’s blog.  I feel turned off from the integral community right now.  For instance, the only integral proponent that responded to the Integral Ideology thread in the God Pod was Albert and he has an aggressive quality about him… which seems fairly typical of many integral proponents.

I was just observing something about integral discussions.  When I bring up criticisms or alternative perspectives, I get a feeling that I’m not quite being treated as an equal or there isn’t precisely a sense of connection.  Its partly that it seems participants in integral discussions have to somehow prove themselves.  I don’t want to prove myself.  I just want to have a friendly conversation.  Also, comments in integral discussions can feel more like lectures or arguments.  They don’t entirely feel inviting.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

5 days later

Marmalade said

Nicole,
“It’s also really helpful to know you didn’t really need any feedback. I always give it compulsively, but I did see you were working it through all by yourself and doing a perfect job. This too will help me with him, if I can just remember to bite my tongue when I am tempted to give him advice (something I realised I needed to do almost from the first day by how he reacted to something, doesn’t matter what) all goes much better.”

I hear you about that difficulty.  You’ve hit upon the difference (and potential conflict) of Fe vs Fi. 

I don’t have a lot of experience with dominant Fe types, but Fe came up a lot in discussions at Globalchatter.  Some INFPs have a very strong reaction to Fe.  To an INFP, it could feel meddlesome or even manipulative. 

I’d like to hear more about your experience of Fi.  I’m sure it must bother you sometimes.  We Fi types aren’t as tactful as Fe types.  We’re not very easygoing when worked up, and we’re not very emotionally expressive except when very relaxed or very worked up.

This blog of mine is an interesting experiment for you to observe.  I used to journal a lot.  But now I’ve started using this blog somewhat like how I used my journal in the past.  This means that I’ve made my personal processing a bit more public.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

6 days later

Marmalade said

I was reading more closely the comments by Tulim in Balder’s blog.  They were amusing.  Tulim’s second comment makes my original comment seem pretty in-the-box.  Tulim had enthusiasm, but I could tell right off that he wasn’t going to get a response from that crowd.  In a different situation, I might’ve asked Tulim some questions just for curiosity’s sake.

Tulim was saying how he was playing with lego’s to try to understand how it could be modelled differently.  Playful imagination… that is one of the things I’ve been thinking about lately.  Integral types seem to lack playful imagination or at least integral discussions seem to.  I admire the ability to wonder.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

6 days later

Marmalade said

In case anyone was wondering, I truly don’t feel bothered by any of this at the moment.  I wish it could’ve turned out differently such as having a nice conversation with Jim.  Now that Jim and I know that we agree on some things, maybe the next time we meet we’ll have the conversation that we didn’t have this time.

I realize that I could’ve responded to this situation differently and by doing so it might’ve turned out differently.  However, possibly no matter what I would’ve tried to do, Balder might simply not have been interested in what I was interested in.  I had expectations that Balder apparently doesn’t share.  Of course, often when I have expectations, I end up disappointed.

All I can say is that I was true to myself.  I responded in my own fashion imperfect as it might’ve been.  I’m not entirely dissatisfied with how it turned out.  The God Pod discussion was fairly interesting.

I hold have any major issues towards Balder or the integral community here on Gaia, but there is now a bad taste in my mouth.  I think I’ll mostly or maybe entirely avoid integral discussions that occur outside of the God Pod.  The God Pod may be the only place where an open discussion of integral can occur.  Thank God for the God Pod.  I hope Jim decides to join in at the God Pod.  Then, life would be good.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

7 days later

Marmalade said

I noticed Balder did respond to Tulim in a very polite manner.  I wouldn’t be surprised if his response was inspired by my comments here.  He probably wanted to avoid another person going off like I did.

It makes me laugh.  He still hasn’t responded to anything I said even though I posted some further comments to Jim.  I very well may never get another response from Balder for the rest of my time here on lovely Gaia.  That is fine.  I’m sure its been a learning experience for the both of us.  🙂

Balder : Kosmonaut

7 days later

Balder said

Hi, Marmalade,

I’m very sorry for the impression you’ve taken from my silence.  I actually appreciated your comments and I believe I said as much on my blog, although I did not say that to you directly, and I can understand why you feel slighted.  Partly my silence is because I’ve actually just got too much going on, in my own life as well as online, and I just have not been able to keep up with all the conversations I’ve got going (I just apologized to Valli in IPS for similar lack of response).  But my lack of response was also because your response seemed more like it was directed to Jim’s first post, which was also not directly related to the topic of my blog, and I felt like if I went down that track, it would take the whole conversation astray from the questions I was wanting to explore.  Please don’t take this as overall closed-mindedness, or a dismissal of your points, however.  I did not intend that at all, and do not believe I am closed to non-Integral perspectives (I have my fingers in a number of pies; Integral is just one of them).

I have noticed that you’ve been commenting on IPS posts over on Nicole’s pod, copying many things over there rather than commenting directly on the original posts, and I have taken that as a reticence on your part to actually engage with me or with the people on my forum.  So, I think that might also have contributed to a “lack of connection” overall – not consciously, but looking at it now, I think that could have played a part in my prioritization of my own attempts to respond to the various posts out there addressed to me.

I have not read all of your comments on this blog here, but I read over enough to see that your feelings have been hurt, and again, I apologize.  I will happily add my comments to your observations on my blog later.

Best wishes,

Balder

P.S.  I just discovered your blog comments today, so they did not influence my response to Tulim. 

Balder : Kosmonaut

8 days later

Balder said

Marmalade,

I just read a few more of your comments.  Honestly, I think a bout of projection was getting the best of you, friend!  You are referring to me and others as “that crowd,” thinking that I would not respond to Tulim because he was playing with Legos and exhibiting playful imagination.  I thought it was delightful!  I do adopt a more academic tone in some of my posts, depending on the subject, but it is just one of my voices, not the whole of it.  Have you read much of my blog, which features fairy tales, stories, original poetry, music, etc?  I’m actually very interested in imagination, and have several blogs on that subject that I’ve been planning for awhile (particularly in relation to TSK and Integral).  I’ve also written papers on the ecology of imagination in children, and have been a teacher of creative writing and imaginative fiction. 

A year or two ago, several of us on the Integral Pod also engaged in an extensive “chain story” about mythical characters from Egypt.  The story actually bogged down towards the end, and some people’s feelings got hurt when others took what they saw as too much liberty in directing the story’s ending, but in the process of it (when it spontaneously arose), it felt like something magical and inspiring was unfolding.  Playful, not great art, but a lot of fun.

I do think there is room for broader, more creative, playful ways of expression in Integral writing and discussion.  I certainly would welcome it. 

Anyway, I hope now that I am aware of your feelings about these issues, and painfully aware that I caused you to feel hurt and disregarded, I hope our interactions can take a turn in a more positive, fruitful direction.

Best wishes,

Balder

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

8 days later

Marmalade said

First off, I know I was projecting.  That goes without saying.  LOL

Secondly, it doesn’t change much about the objective points I made… about my experiences of the Integral community… even if my assessments of you were entirely wrong.

I’ve found many people interested in Integral hard to relate to, but that is just my personal biased perspective.  It just feels like the only discussions that take off in Integral groups are ones that are extremely abstract.  I tried to start a thread about comparative mythology in your pod and it did get some response but never really went anywhere too interesting.  OTOH the Translation/Transformation thread went on and on.  Why are the various obscure meanings of ‘translation’ and ‘transformation’ more interesting to integral types than mythology?

The first Integral group I joined was Lightmind and there were two factors that I disliked.  It felt like there were these cliques, these private conversations going on where I wasn’t welcome.  And everyone was always arguing like a bunch of competing egotists.  The conversations were often interesting, but the place was also often rather annoying.  It wasn’t any specific person, but rather the environment of the whole place.

I’m sorry to have responded the way that I did.  No doubt you’re a multi-faceted person as we all are, and I was only seeing one side of you.  I realize you have to prioritize your time and I empathize with that immensely.  The problem was that I felt you were prioritizing based on your integral view… that was the rub.  To me, my comments were very much related to your blog or at least as much related as were Jim’s comments.  The reason I felt slighted was that you ‘prioritized’ your time in such a way that you lengthily responded to everyone else but me.

Whatever… I’m feeling better now.  I was projecting and you were prioritizing.  Its not important in and of itself.  It was just the situation and it hit me wrong because I’m sensitive to that kind of thing.  I’ve had a couple of experiences recently where I was dealing with people who seemed stuck in a particular view, and so that was where I was coming from.

Try not to take me too seriously.  I rant sometimes, but I don’t generally hold grudges.  I’m glad I ranted in fact.  My opinions on the whole matter of Integral are out in the open for all to see.. including my messy emotions.  I’m glad everything is cleared up now.  Now, doesn’t everyone feel better?  🙂

Okay, for more important things… such as the silly side of my personality.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I love being playful and imaginative when I’m not going off on some serious rant.  I realize Integralists aren’t without humor… although often more of a biting humor (which I see as being more MBTI NT).  There was a fair amount of playfulness at Lightmind, but there is a certain kind of Integralist that sees the world as an ideological battlefield, a certain kind of Integralist who has an air of moral superiority.  To be honest, I really don’t like that kind of Integralist… “No sir, I don’t like it,” says the Mr. Horse from Ren and Stimpy.

I’d love to see more imagination and whatnot in the Integral community.  And I’d love to help contribute to that rather than privately griping in my blog.  So, I’d like to participate in your pod more if I can do so on my own terms.  My interests are wide and do not fit neatly into integral categories.  I love to integrate all that I know, but I don’t follow proper Wilberian protocol. 

I feel my weird sense of humor and wildly roaming imagination is appreciated on the God Pod as people respond to it there.  Your pod is no doubt interesting, but I just don’t see much focus on lighthearted fun and playful creativity.  What I require from a discussion group is that both my serious and silly sides be satisfied simultaneously… because I don’t separate them.  So, I still feel some slight reticence towards the Integral community here.  I want to join in, but I don’t know that I fit in.  Does that make sense?

BTW thanks very much for stopping by and being so kind in response to all my ranting and projecting.  All is well that ends well.

Marmalade

Nicole : wakingdreamer

8 days later

Nicole said

Dear Ben,

This is wonderful to be able to catch up with you at last here. I’m delighted to see you and Bruce have had a chance to sort things out.

Now, let’s try to tackle things in order of how you blogged comments:

1) the sense of not being an equal: I have experienced this feeling of marginalisation very much in the Integral pod, which led me to going away many times from the discussion. i didn’t feel it was at all deliberate and in fact some of the people there try very hard to include people, and this issue and related ones have been discussed extensively there from time to time. it’s just a question of focus and perspective, i suppose…

2) INFP… yes, I’m well aware of the danger of coming across as meddlesome or intrusive and keep an eye on myself about that. I really had to laugh out loud when I got to this part:

We Fi types aren’t as tactful as Fe types.  We’re not very easygoing when worked up, and we’re not very emotionally expressive except when very relaxed or very worked up.

I was just in the middle of one of our webcalls which as usual had fallen into silence as we listened to music and worked on whatever we were doing. Looking at him, and thinking about how true the above can be. It does indeed make it challenging to be in a close long distance friendship like this.

This blog of mine is an interesting experiment for you to observe.  I used to journal a lot.  But now I’ve started using this blog somewhat like how I used my journal in the past.  This means that I’ve made my personal processing a bit more public.

Indeed, I am learning so very much about you in particular (which is fascinating) and INFPs in general, through these blogs and discussions.

3) Tulim and playfulness – you know how delighted I am by play in discussions of all kinds. I had the pleasure of meeting another person who really prioritises play in her life and work, another volunteer in the Children’s Area at the Old Songs Folk festival. We had a blast… and skipping ahead to the end, I do love your weird sense of humour and wildly roaming imagination, as well as the others who share it – Andrew, Eric, Ua, Christopher (sometimes lol) et alia…

(((((((Ben))))))) I do love you so much! This is a wonderful discussion. Seems to have helped you  a lot but it’s also given me a lot.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

8 days later

Marmalade said

We’re not very easygoing when worked up, and we’re not very emotionally expressive except when very relaxed or very worked up.

There is another thing I wanted to mention in relationship to this.  As Intuition is the INFP’s main Extraverted function, this is their preferred way to relate to people.  Ne communicates in terms of abstractions, possibilities, creativity, and silliness.  These modes of expression can be used to communicate their Fi core, but they can also be used to hide and protect it.  For instance, I know that I sometimes use humor as a defense mechanism to ameliorate my cynicism or to distract myself from depression.  Also, Ne can be used to obsess over possibilities as a way of avoiding those inner experiences that can feel so certain.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

9 days later

Nicole said

as a defense mechanism, to hide and protect, to distract, to obsess over possibilities to avoid inner experiences, oh Ben, you have no idea how true these are of him. at times it becomes a barrier that feels insuperable.

one of the things i have found most difficult is his use of humour and distraction when i’m trying to talk seriously about something that is bothering me about the relationship or, sorry, the friendship 🙂 he keeps haring off here there and everywhere and i keep calling him back with a growing sense of frustration and alienation.

anyway, you’ve been able to observe quite a bit of his behaviour and our interaction in the pod. any further insights for the moment?

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

11 days later

Marmalade said

I have only one further insight.  It seems he may be a very strong Introvert.  If that is the case, that could magnify how he uses Ne to protect his internal Fi experience.  A strong Introvert can have more going on inside than outside, and they might not be that trusting to open up completely or quickly.

I understand you’re finding it difficulty which leads to a sense of frustration and alienation.  Of course, that isn’t his intention.  Partly, an INFP uses Ne to test out the waters.  I’m sure he notices your emotional response, and in response he might be even less willing to open up or be serious.

Trust me, Ne being used as humor and distraction is better than some uses of it.  If an INFP becomes irritated and defensive, that Ne will point out every possible failing that they’ve ever noticed in the entire time they’ve known you.  Some INFPs use Fi to keep an internal tally going which can be quite detailed.  INFPs have good memories for interpersonal experience and they will dredge up what you did a year ago even if you’ve forgotten about it.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

12 days later

Nicole said

yes, i did realise that about his reaction to my reaction, so we are both backing off. This week we spoke very little, and now he’s away till Sunday night or Monday, I forget, visiting his brother’s new baby who was born on my birthday. Next week of course I will be out of town, back in town for a week, out of town again and then another week from then I will be in Scotland.

So my feeling is that we will chat briefly on and off and keep it relaxed. I am working hard right now not just with him but with everyone to enjoy the moment and if someone I want to talk to is not available, just enjoy something else. Good discipline for me.

Yikes about the internal tally. 😦 Good to know…

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