Thinking Outside the Box: Worlds, Gender, & Games

My friend Jude brought up some thought-provoking thoughts (from Facebook):

Think outside the box” – the synonym for this is “lateral thinking”. I understand the latter but I do not understand the former. I remember I used to understand it though. I do think laterally a lot but I really don’t know where that “box” is. Maybe I have thought outside it so long, it no longer exists to me..hehehe..smh.. I want to re-understand it though.

The following are my comments.

—-

Here is how I would think about it.

Essentially, a box is the world or rather a world… or if you prefer a worldvew, what I’d call a reality tunnel. So, it isn’t necessarily the same as lateral for that would imply a relationship, a lateral relationship between the worldview and the thinking. Thinking outside of the box implies relationship to the worldview is being excluded. With no relationahip anchoring your thinking to the worldview, your thinking is unmoored and you can potentially lose your bearings.

Also, this can be analyzed mythologicaly. A box has a feminine gender, in fact is a term for female genitalia. A box has space within in which one can be enclosed, but it also has space without. When you were born, you literally began thinking outside the ‘box’.

In Indo-European mythology, the box and the square are feminine and maternal. They represent what enlcloses, what embraces and protects us, and also what sets the boundaries for relationships and society.

This relates to two things (board games and card games) which relate to a third thing (the Trickster).

The square of a board game sets the boundaries in which play happens. Likewise, the mother creates the space for play and the child plays. The Trickster is the child who plays, but he also tests boundaries and breaks rules.

Playing cards (originating from Tarot) are in the shape of the Golden Rectangle or what is known as the Golden Door. The door is part of what encloses for it can be closed, but it can also be opened.

Walking through an open door, you enter a new space, possibly even stepping outside of the box you were in. You might not even recognize the box you ere in until you are outside it. So, if you don’t see a box, it probably means you haven’t yet stepped outside to gain perspective. When you are in the game of play, still on the board, you’re drawn in for your life is at stake, this life that you know. A world is always real while you’re in it.

Games have always related to luck and divination, doorways from our world to other worlds. To truly think outside of the box is to open yourself to new visions, new realities even. The ancients saw the wold ruled by the Fates and by fickle gods. No player controls the game in which you play. No one knows what is at the end of the game, what is on the other side of the door.

Chutes and Ladders originated as an ancient Hindu game called Snakes and Ladders. The game is a model of reality with levels that the players ascend. The players are at the mercy of luck, but if you play long enough all get to the end. It teaches the patient theology of Hinduism. When you reach the end, you win by escaping the game and hence metaphorically escaping the world.

The feminine and masculine, the mother and child are opposites that create tension. Thinking outside the box necessitates a box outside of which to think.

—-

Let me stick with mythology and extend my thoughts.

The earliest known civilization was in Iraq where comes from the story of Gilgamesh. One thing that always stood out to me is that Gilgamesh’s friend Enkidu was originally a wild man. He only became ‘civilized’ through the wiles of a temple prostitute. That gives a new spin to the so-called oldest profession.

The feminine is a civilizing force. This is true in mythology, but some see it as being true in society in general. A book I’ve been perusing is about American violence (Violent Land: Single Men and Social Disorder from the Frontier to the Inner City by David T. Courtwright). The main reason given for the greater violence in the American South had to do with the cultures created during early immigration.

The Northern colonies (specifically New England and Pennsylvania) attracted whole families and even whole communities to immigrate as a group and settle together. So, they brought community and hence the social structures of civilization with them.

The Southern colonies tended to attract more single men. Also, much of the early Westward expansion into the frontier began in these Southern colonies, especially from Virginia. These settlers developed a very violent society of dueling and vigilante justice. It was a long time for religion to be established on the frontier because single men weren’t drawn to attend church.

A church or temple is a box, with or without temple prostitutes. Any structure of civilization is a box. All of civilization is a box… or else a set of boxes, some overlapping, others exclusive.

—-

The whole world itself is a box or rather a mansion with many rooms.

Any form and this world of form is archetypally feminine. Brahma’s power is infinite potential, but only Saraswati can give birth to form, each and every form, as she takes on that form and gives it substance, gives it life. The Gnostics, of course, would say this is Sophia who fell into the world. But that is the mythologically masculine view to see form as fallen, to see the world as a place of darkness and sin.

A paternalistic God rules from above, above us all, not with us. Was the Goddess fallen or was she cast out? If cast out, who did this? The ancient Israelites, like most ancient people, saw God and Goddess as married. Monotheism originated in Egypt, but the difference was that Egyptian monotheism was a part of a henotheistic tradition where (similar to Hindusim today) all deities weren’t always seen as clearly distinct, sometimes even as expressions of the same divinity.

I became particularly interested in the Egyptian religion when reading Christ in Egypt by D.M. Murdock. In a large section, she went into great detail about Isis. Isis worship was one of the most popular deities in Rome. Murdock argues that Isis was the precursor of Christian Mother Mary. Egyptian Meri means beloved which at first was an epithet for a God but over time became associated directly with Isis and may have become a name for her. The two words were often seen associated, both as Meri-Isis and Isis-Meri.

It was through Isis that this concept of beloved became widespread. Before that time, deities were worshipped with submission. A new type of love came to the forefront, a love of equals, the divine came down onto the level of humanity, the common folk even. The divine was no longer far away in heaven but here on earth (or, as Philip K. Dick would so charmingly describe it, “God in the garbage”). This was part of a long shift during the Axial Age which ended with religions such as Christianity.

—-

To return to the original topic of thinking outside the box, this brings up a number of thoughts.

First, what does the civilizing process mean on the personal level? As a male of the species, what does this mean in relation to the feminine and the maternal? If you feel like you are in no box, then does that mean you aren’t being contained, encompassed, embraced by the feminine/maternal? If you are or identify as a single male, can you internalize the stereotypical/archetypal feminine mode of social interrelationship without fear of loss of self, without fear of deadening conformity?

Second, what does this all mean in this age of complexity and in this world of multicultural globalism? There is no single society that encompasses any of us or necessarily even a single religion or single ethnicity. We find ourselves in many boxes which can create a possibly deceiving experience of being in no box. How do we recognize the box(es) we may be in? What does the possibility even mean to be in a box in an age of instability and uncertainty? Has the world fundamentally changed since the time the ancient mythologies were written?

I don’t know if this relates to Jude’s experience. But from my perspective, I feel like there are always boxes we are in. I feel very sensitized to that which contains us and structures our lives. I’ve wondered for a long time if it is possible to think outside of the box… or do we just jump out of one box and into another? Boxes are like stories. It seems like there is always a story being told, a story we are playing out in our heads, in our lives, and in our relationships. The box is a stage on which the story plays out.

—-

In his most recent comment, Jude tried to explain his view:

Yes, I also think the feminine is a civilizing force in as much as it is for understanding. The receptacle accepts and from that, “training”.

That’s why it is lateral thinking: the ability to think ACROSS boxes. Like the Ghanaian box, the American box, the science box etc.

For me, as a bona fide liminal, I do not respect boxes. On my own, I’m looking for truth, coherence, correspondence, relevance not social or contextual acceptability. To market to the world is a different thing: I need a box otherwise it makes no sense and it won’t be accepted.

My point is not that there are no boxes. I, me, do not recognize them

I say he tried to explain for I don’t know that I understand. I do at least understand the ability of thinking across boxes. That seems like a fair way of describing lateral thinking.

Even so, it still doesn’t get at my own view. There aren’t just boxes next to boxes. Rather, there are boxes within boxes within boxes, maybe all the way down or all the way up as the case may be.

—-

Here is what I see as the key difference.

Jude sees the boxes (worldviews, reality tunnels, etc) as external things, external to himself, separate from and not essential to his personal reality. But to me the most basic box is humanity collectively and our humanity individually. We can’t escape the box that we are (and, in his own way, Jude would agree with this general notion). More importantly, who we are is tied up with what the world is. We aren’t separate from the world. We can’t step outside of the world.

To be in liminal space says nothing about that space being outside a box. I suspect that misses the point of the liminal which is simply that you can’t be certain about where you are or aren’t, what you may or may not be within. The liminal as related to the Trickster is yet another archetypal/mythological box. It may be a more spacious and flexible box, but still a box. Every archetype is a box, shades and shapes the world accordingly.

What does it even mean to not recognize the ‘world’ you exist within? Does ‘reality’ care if you respect it? Where would the hypothetical non-box position be located that is objectively above all boxes, i.e., all subjective and intersubjective worldviews?

I’m not actually arguing that one can’t hypothetically get outside of all boxes. I’m not arguing for or against that because I’m not sure what it would mean. As a statement, it doesn’t seem to make ‘sense’. I might even argue that to make such a claim is to forfeit making sense… which is fine as far as that goes. Even if you could get outside of all boxes, it’s not clear to me how you would know this was true for you would have no context or persepctive to know anything for certain, much less communicate what you think you know.

When people speak of thinking outside of the box, I never got the sense that they meant thinking outside of all boxes, just thinking outside a specific box. To think outside all boxes would be the mythological correlate to the God of heaven being above and separate from the Goddess of earth. But like yin and yang, how can they be separate?

—-

None of this is intended to discredit Jude’s personal experience. I’m not holding myself above Jude in challenging his claim, but he is holding himself above the boxes of others, the boxes of the world. At times, I can also hold myself above certain other boxes. It just never occurred to me that it could be possible to hold myself above all boxes.

Jude’s perspective isn’t necessarily wrong, refusing to be part of the herd. Maybe it is wise to hold oneself above, at least in attitude. I do think when possible that it good to strive to be above average on the self-awareness scale. The problem is if you’re self-deluded you generally don’t recognize your own self-delusion. That is just human nature, for all of us.

I find myself being more of a Buddhist perspective of “no escape”. For Buddhists, there is no escape for the ego is essentially the one and only box. However, only the ego is likely to make any claims about not being in a box. Ken Wilber has noted that it is easy to fall into the Pre/Trans Fallacy. He emphasizes that the shift in human development is transcend and include, not transcend and exclude.

I’m pretty sure that like me Jude isn’t an Enlightened Master. It is as a normal ego-bound mortal that I wonder about his claim of being in no boxes. Still, I completely support Jude’s desire to not be trapped in any boxes. More power to him.

Integral, the Paleolithic, and the Liminal

Integral, the Paleolithic, and the Liminal

Posted on Jul 1st, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade
This is an extension to my previous blog post about Fictional Worlds and Fictional Drugs and a partial response to Balder’s blog The Wilber-Combs Lattice and the Pre/Trans Fallacy.

In my previous blog post, I mentioned Paul Shepard.  His theories are ones that I come back to every now and again even though its been quite a number of years since I’ve read one of his books.  It conflicts with the more optimistic vision of most Integralists.  However, I see potential truth in both of them.  Shepard sees that a misdevelopment occurred in humanity’s early development.  Wilber doesn’t see this early misdevelopment, but rather places the blame of misdevelopment on later stages such as his theory of Mean Green Meme.

I’ve heard of one theory that could bring the two together.  It was brought up in a discussion on Wilber’s site.  The person was speculating that maybe Spiral Dynamics should be seen as descriptive instead of prescriptive.  It is an accurate model describing how social development has occurred so far (in Western societies and non-Western societies influenced by Western culture).  But this doesn’t mean that development couldn’t have happened differently nor does it mean that Spiral Dynamics represents the best possible outcome of development.  These are the types of thoughts that came to me when I first studied Wilber.  It seems an obvious possibility, but it rarely comes up in discussion and I haven’t yet seen it in a book about Integralism.

This seems to bungle up the workings of Wilber’s aesthetically elegant model.  If we can’t be sure that the development model we have is optimal, then it undercuts other theories such as the pre/trans fallacy.  How can we be sure that we have it right?  From one perspective, the model is prescriptive, but maybe from another perspective it could be proscriptive.  So, is their a larger context in which to place this all?  Is their a perspective of perspectives that transcends and includes both idealism and pessimism? 

I must admit that I’ve been more interested in the potential of a Theory For Anything (TFA) and less interested in a Theory Of Everything (TOE).  But I don’t know what a TFA would look like.  I reference back to Jung’s archetypes and personality types because it seems to give something closer to a morally neutral perspective and less hierarchical.  I especially find personality types insightful because it clearly shows how often differences are just differences.  This fits in with my criticism of Wilber’s model and those attracted to it being more Apollonian (MBTI NT?).

All of this interesting enough, but my mind has been focused on another set of ideas.  I’ve just started the book The Trickster and the Paranormal by George P. Hansen (here is the author’s blog and here is an article by the author about skepticism).  This book brings some important questions to rationality.  I can’t summarize this authors views at the moment, but let me pull out some quotes and ideas to give a sense of where he is coming from.

Okay… many philosophers have considered the mind to be binary and this goes back to the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Anaximander.  From this tradition, we get Aristotelian logic with its binary opposition (a or not a) and its “the law of the excluded middle”.  And one end of the binary opposition is usually privileged.  We enter a different perspective with the liminal (introduced by Van Gennep and further elucidated by Victor Turner). “When a structure is subverted or deconstructed, there is a reversal of the positions of privilege or a blurring or collapse of the line dividing the pair.” (p. 62)  This liminal between is the space that post-modernists see as empty, but which earlier anthropologists saw as being where the paranormal and supernatural can be properly placed. 

“Deconstruction calls attention to ambiguity and uncertainty, and at its core, it is about the problem of representationin all forms.” (p. 76)  

“Like magic, the problem of meaning is banished from the consciusness of science.  Deconstructionism raises the issue overtly.  It points out that meaning is neither neutral nor transparent.  It asserts that language precedes science and thus has primacy over it.” (p. 377) 

“The Issue of power again leads back to Max Weber.  Weber’s discussion of authority was about power and domination.  He identified three types of authorrity: charismatic, traditional, and bureaucratic.  Pure charisma, the most fundamental, involves supernatural power.  The other types are rationalized forms of it.  One need only recall Weber’s insight that the process of rationaliziaion calls for the elimination of magic form the world (in actuality, elimination of the conscious awareness  of magic by cultural elites).  With the process of disenchantment virtually complete in the academy, deconstructionists (and everyone else) display an almost complete amnesia as to the primitive foundations of their school of thought.  Neary all have forgotten the taboo areas, the liminal regions, those betwixt and between categories, the anomalous, the supernatural.” (pp 377-378)

In this, we can see the questioning of dualistic models.  This is where the questioning can also be turned to Wilber’s pre/trans fallacy.  I don’t fully understand the implications as of yet, but it opens up some space for further discussion about experiences that may not be dualistic nor either pre or trans.  If all it does is bring up more unanswered questions, then that is fine by me.  I’m looking more for a model of questions than a model of answers.

What I’m trying to figure out is how can we step outside of Wilber’s models to see them objectively.  To the extent that we commit ourselves to a model, we can’t see it clearly.  This is a problem because we can’t understand a model either if we look at it entirely detached.  Does the liminal provide a space where we don’t get stuck too far in either direction?

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Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 11 hours later

Marmalade said

Prerational and Transrational Spirituality: The Difference Is?

That old discussion on the Integral Pod hit upon something that is on my mind.  I think that its easy for the rational to be confused with the transrational when someone is trying to differentiate their experience from the prerational.  This reminds me of the analysis of the theory of the Mean Green Meme.  Here is what I said in the Integral Ideology thread in the God Pod:

“Jim linked to an article about the Mean Green Meme.  In that article, Todorovic looked to the statistics to see if it supported this hypoethesis.  According to this view, the criticisms of Green Meme are more likely to come from Blue and Orange than from Second Tier Yellow.  She explains that the supposed Second Tier criticism is actually First Tier criticism masking as Yellow which she calls Yellow False Positive.”

Many people are attracted to Integralism because its a very rational model.  It does give room for the non-rational, but still its primarily rational.  I don’t know if a transrational model is possible.  So, if we become too identified with the model, we by necessity become stuck in the rational.  Where does this leave the transrational?  Can the the term ‘transrational’ within a rational model be anything more than a placeholder for the unknown, a finger pointing at the moon?

The nonrational is another category I’m interested in.  There may be some states that are neither specifically prerational nor transrational.  How does Integralism deal with this possibility?  So far in my research, I’d say it doesn’t to any great extent.  I’ve done some web searches about Integralism and Wilber using terms such as ‘paranormal’, ‘supernatural’, and ‘liminal’… but not much came up in the results.

My sense is that Wilberian Integralism hasn’t yet fully come to terms with the nonrational.  Even the category of the transrational feels somehow inadequate.  I think part of the problem is the medium.  Rational language and linear modelling are inherently limited.  I suppose poetry and art more capable of expressing the transrational and nonrational than any Integral theory ever will be able to do.  This is why I’ve been thinking about how can the imaginative and playful be emphasized more within Integral theory.  And in general I’ve been wondering how the rational and nonrational can be experienced without conflict, without either trying to supplant the other.

Balder : Kosmonaut

about 19 hours later

Balder said

Hi, Marmalade,
An interesting post!  Thanks for your reflections here – they resonate with a number of my own interests and concerns.
Was the person who was suggesting that Spiral Dynamics might be better understood as descriptive than prescriptive possibly me?  I don’t expect I’m the only person to have thought of this or discussed it, but this is something I explored on the Integral Multiplex (and possibly also the I-I pod) a number of months ago.  My suggestion was that typical descriptions of Orange, for example, often appear to presuppose elements that might be better regarded as historical accidents rather than developmental necessities, and that there may be a wide number of “ways forward” as Amber societies mature – that, while there are social and cultural constraints that might work to encourage development in a particular direction, there still may be a wide degree of freedom in how a post-Amber society takes form (wider than conventional descriptions of Orange appear to allow for).  I was using these two particular levels just as an example; the suggestion would apply across the board.  Though conceivably, the lower levels are likely harder to shift, just because they have greater historical force behind them.
I agree with you that possibilities such as this do have the potential to “bungle up” the pre/trans fallacy – or, rather, the application of the pre/trans fallacy.  But I do think that it would still be a valid tool.  Because even if a particular trajectory isn’t the only available one, it would still be possible to distinguish – and also to potentially confuse – earlier and later stages of that trajectory.
You wrote:  I must admit that I’ve been more interested in the potential of a Theory For Anything (TFA) and less interested in a Theory Of Everything (TOE).  But I don’t know what a TFA would look like.
This is an interesting idea and I’d like to hear more about what you mean here.  I relate it to another “vision” with which I’m involved – the Time-Space-Knowledge vision, which I have practiced for a number of years and which I’ve also explored in relation to Integral Theory.  Where it differs primarily from Integral is that is more a visionary mode of inquiry and “engagement” with experience than a “map” of the world.  With Integral Methodological Pluralism, we get more into the territory of active exploration and engagement (and begin moving away from strictly “mapping” the world or various worldviews).  This is why I became interested in exploring Integral in relation to TSK, because TSK already has this open-ended, inquiry-centered orientation.  Starting with basic “elements” of reality (time, space, and knowledge), without taking any of them for granted or at face value, it opens various ways to explore the nature and dynamics of our world, ultimately with an interest in the potential of transformative vision.  It is a “way” that invites intimate engagement with reality through radical questioning and inquiry, and so in that sense serves (for me) more as a theory for everything rather than a static representation of everything.
Concerning your discussion of George P. Hansen’s perspectives on models and rationality, I am also interested in these questions.  If you’re interested, I have a paper online which looks at some of them from the points of view of Integral and TSK.  Here is a link to the relevant section of the paper:
TSK and Instrumental Knowledge.
Best wishes,
Balder

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 19 hours later

Nicole said

Bruce and Ben, thanks, I tend to side more and more with Ben in these discussions. I guess it’s because he is so darned persuasive! Or something.

I’d really like to hear your take on TSK, Ben, as I have been meaning to dig into it, but this week will not be my chance…

Ben, does this discussion here help? http://multiplex.integralinstitute.org/Public/cs/forums/50052/ShowThread.aspx

or what about this application here? http://www.quantumintegralcenter.com/articles.cfm?mode=display&article=4

this looks like a good article: http://www.integralworld.net/chamberlain3.html

Balder : Kosmonaut

about 22 hours later

Balder said

Bruce and Ben, thanks, I tend to side more and more with Ben in these discussions.

Gee, thanks, Nicole!

Seriously, I assume you mean side with Ben against any number of others, since I’ve only had a couple conversations with him so far…

And for the record, I appreciate his perspective as well.

Best wishes,

B.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 23 hours later

Marmalade said

Balder, so far we seem to agree on some things.  Its hard for me to say what I agree or disagree with at the moment.  I’m presently in exploratory mode and it will take me a while to get my bearings… if ever.  😉  There is so much out there about Integralism that I can feel lost and confused sometimes.

“Was the person who was suggesting that Spiral Dynamics might be better understood as descriptive than prescriptive possibly me?”

It might’ve been.  I can’t remember when it was that I noticed those ideas.  Would you mind linking to your comments from there?

I’ll be getting back to this blog soon… maybe this evening.  For right now, I’ve been reading through and formulate a response to Julian’s blog post about Christianity. 

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

1 day later

Marmalade said

I can’t speak for Nicole, but my guess is that her agreement is partly with my view of personality types.  It seems to me that certain types have more of a preference for certain kinds of thinking such as NTs preference for rationality.  From this, I conclude that some differences are just differences.  Nicole and I have been discussing typology quite a bit lately and she seems to find it helpful.

BTW there is a particular theorist within the typology field who interests me the most.  Her name is Lenore Thomson.  She wrote the book Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual, and there is a wiki about her work.  Her view of typology touches upon my own thoughts about a TFA.  Basically, a TFA to me is a perspective of perspectives.  Some relevant pages from the wiki:

Rhetorical Stances

Beyond Personality

Philosophical Exegesis

Marmalade : Gaia Child

1 day later

Marmalade said

Here is the first thread I started at Open Source Integral.

TFA and Perspective of Perspectives

Discussion didn’t really get going in the thread and I never came to any conclusions.  I was just throwing around ideas and possibilities.  And that is still what I’m doing.  I gave up on the idea of a TFA, but I’m glad its come up again in this discussion.  It seems some kind of TFA should be possible.  I probably should first figure out what purpose a TFA should serve.

Balder, I looked at your paper.  I’m curious about it, but it will take me a while to process it.  Its a nice addition to Wilber’s models.  Time and space also come up in explanations of typological function-attitudes, but typology is less abstract in how it speaks about them.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

Yes, Ben, your ideas on typology but so many more, actually. Funny since in many ways we are so different, but I had a long chat with Centria (Kathy) last night on the phone, and of course you were one of the people who came up, since we both think you’re so interesting and intelligent. I was saying that to me you have felt like a soul brother, and she said she saw that energy in some of our blog discussions, like the Rilke ones…

And yes, Bruce, I can see you appreciate Ben as well. Good! I appreciate you too, very much, I hope you know. For example what you offered in balance in that very immoderate Mod Pod discussion lol.

Ben, I will wait to hear more about your thoughts on TSK, it does seem very intriguing for you.

Perspective of perspectives eh? :):) Yes, that’s my Ben… 

Balder : Kosmonaut

1 day later

Balder said

Hi, Ben,

Thanks for introducing me to Lenore Thompson.  Her work seems very promising and interesting to me.  The typological system I’ve studied the most is the Enneagram.  A thought that has occurred to me from time to time is that Integral needs to better integrate typology.  It does explicitly include it – AQAL (or AQALALASAT) stands for all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types – but I have noticed that, in typical discussions in Integral circles, the only types that get much mention are masculine / feminine.  I have also found that frequently, when people are “assessing” or categorizing each other, they will go very quickly to labels which describe level or altitude, apparently not considering that there may be different typological expressions of the same level.  In my case, I have looked at this through the Enneagram, talking about how certain features of a 9 or a 3, for instance, might give the impression of a level, but that actually it’s just more of an overall mode of interaction that can be expressed at any number of levels.

If you haven’t already, and if you’re interested, I think you should write something on Lenore’s work to introduce it to the Integral community.

Personally, I have doubts that a type model is sufficient in itself, and would not expect it to work well as a theory for anything.  I don’t think everything can be reduced to or explained in terms of horizontal types.  But I do think that it is a very valuable lens you can adopt – one of several different perspectives on perspectives that AQAL incorporates.

Best wishes,

Balder

Marmalade : Gaia Child

1 day later

Marmalade said

I find it difficult to speak about any particular thing using only one model.  It often leads to making exaggerated claims.  We need multiple models in order to fine-tune our ability to discern differences and to discern their potential meanings.

I was feeling challenged to speak clearly in one of Julian’s blogs.  Rational can mean so many things to so many people even within the Integral community.  There is this idea that if someone is being rational they must either be orange or second tier, but nobody at green could be rational.   

Why do some people seem to think that second tier is just a more complex version of orange with green being a temporary irrational blip in development?  And why do so many equate rationality with a materialistic worldview?  Why do people who idealize rationality feel such a strong need to deny anything spooky?  How would someone act if they were well-developed in orange and yet had come to be centered in green?  Or, considering someone who is a more intellectual type (ie NT), how would they think rationally if they were strongly green? 

I’ve noticed too that the only type that gets much Integral discussion is gender.  Here is something I said about it in another thread at OSI:

There is the matter of whether a type is used consciously or not and this relates to development, and there is a specific order that each type will likely develop each function. This is highly theoretical and I don’t know what research has been done on it. Another theory presents how each function itself develops which is equivalent to saying that each function represents a separate line of development. There is some correlation of MBTI with models of psychological development.

For instance, how the Judging functions(Thinking and Feeling) have much similarity with Gilligan’s work on gender differences and the hierarchy of development that either gender will tend to follow. Typology brings a slightly different slant to this. Statistics have shown that their is a slight preference of males for Thnking and females for Feeling. Also, Thinking males tend to have stronger Thinking preferences than Thinking females, and Feeling females tend to have stronger preference for Feeling than Feeling males.

However, this gender preference is only around 60-70%, and that leaves a good portion that doesn’t fit the social expectations. David Deidda recognizes that gender patterns are only general. He says that his advice for men doesn’t apply to less masculine men and does apply to more masculine women. As a Feeling guy, I don’t entirely resonate with his advice.

———-

Here is something Wilber said about gender in

“Based mostly on work by Carol Gilligan and Deborah Tannen, the idea is that the typical male orientation tends to be more agentic, autonomous, abstract, and independent, based on rights and justice; whereas the female orientation tends to be more permeable, relational, and feelingful, based on care and responsibility.”

That makes me wonder.  A tendency towards the abstract is considered more masculine and I’ve heard people make this observation before.  But the MBTI research has shown no correlation between abstract cognition and gender.  My theory on this is that there are different types of abstraction.  An NF appears less abstract because their way of abstracting is less structured as they aren’t Thinking types.  So, the definition of abstract used in gender studies is probably NT biased… maybe because most scientific researchers are NTs (?).

Anyways, you’re probably right that a type model couldn’t be a TFA.  But it could be a decent model of a Theory Of Theorizing (TOT).  Typology gets at the intricacies of our cognitive and perceptual biases.  For instance, personality research has shown that certain types and traits are most prevalent in certain professional fields.  That is partly the basis of my suspicion that Integralism has a personality bias.  Different types of personalities will tend to be attracted to different types of theories, and some types of personalities won’t like abstract theorizing whatsoever.  And none of it necessarily has anything to do with what developmental stage they’re at.

I’ll start a thread about Lenore Thomson soon, but not today.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

2 days later

Marmalade said

Hey Balder, I noticed you started a thread about AQAL and TSK at the II Multiplex.
And another thread of yours about TSK.
I noticed you’ve blogged about TSK.
And so has Davidu.
Ronpurser has some videos about TSK on youtube.

Also, is this the thread you were referring to earlier about Spiral Dynamics?

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

Ben, when you put it like this, it does seem very odd! supposedly so advanced and not really dealing with personality types, and generalising in such limited ways about men and women…

Balder : Kosmonaut

2 days later

Balder said

Hi, Ben,

Thanks for collecting all of those links together.  Yes, I’ve talked about TSK (by itself and in relation to Integral) on a number of forums online.  I also have a TSK pod here on Gaia.  I am also friends with both Davidu and Ron Purser.  A small world!

And yes, that thread on Spiral Dynamics is exactly the one I was thinking of.

Best wishes,

B.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

2 days later

Marmalade said

Nicole,

Integral has such a focus on development that types can get short shrift.  I think Wilber was trying to remedy that with his further developments of the quadrant model, but I’m still uncertain what I think of the quadrants.  The quadrants are useful, and the same probably goes for other similar models.  In some ways, quadrants seems more of a convenient way to categorize things than necessarily an accurate representation of fundamental structures.

It might be helpful to compare certain aspects of integralism and typology.  Wilber uses internal and external as categories, but in some ways it feels like a crude division.  OTOH Introversion and Extraversion are attempts to explain how the human brain actually processes information.  And yet there seems a basic conception that both systems are getting at.  Introversion/Extraversion is likely the most accepted and understood traits in all of personality research.  It touches upon something fundamental to human experience.  I get the sense that Wilber is trying to get at this same human experience but coming at it from a standpoint that emphasizes objectivity (ie categorization).

I don’t know if that makes sense.  Its just something that has been on my mind for a long time.

For whatever reason, I have a bit more interest in types than in developmental lines and stages.  Types can speak more to our immediate experience… whereas development speaks more to potential future experience.  As long as someone is moderately intelligent and aware, they can grasp the fundamentals of a system such as MBTI.  But a system such as Spiral Dynamics is only meaningful to someone who is already fairly developed.  I think Spiral Dynamics requires more abstract thinking to understand it than does MBTI.  MBTI has its complex abstract theorizing, but it has been honed for the purposes of therapeutic insight and so has been designed in a very user-friendly fashion. 

So…  MBTI is a system that can be understood by all of the types it describes.  Spiral Dynamics can’t be understood by all of the vmemes that it describes.  That isn’t a weakness of Spiral Dynamics, just a challenge of any developmental model.  MBTI is also a developmental model, but in its most basic form the developmental aspects aren’t directly emphasized.

I’d love to see someone attempt to create an integral theory of types similar to how Wilber has created an integral theory of development.

Balder,

Your welcome.  I like collecting links.  Its a hobby of mine.  🙂

BTW I don’t think it was your Spiral Dynamics thread where I saw these criticisms/questions being brought up.  If I remember correctly, it was an older thread.  Anyways, I was happy to read your comments about this.  I haven’t yet read through the whole thread, but I plan on doing so.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

Yes, yes, Ben, I agree totally.

While I was looking for more useful links I found this about Haridas_Chaudhuri

Are you and Bruce familiar with him?

Balder : Kosmonaut

2 days later

Balder said

Yes, I’m familiar with him.  His integralism is rooted more in Aurobindo’s model, which was initially one of Wilber’s big influences as well.  Wilber ended up going in other directions, though recently he has returned to Aurobindo, using a number of Aurobindo’s stages of consciousness as the highest levels of his model of development. 

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

2 days later

Marmalade said

Nope, never heard of him.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

I just commented on Julian’s blog The Transformative Power of Development: A Three-Part Distinction:

Balder, I appreciated what you said here:
“If rationality begins with 3p, and transratonality begins at 5p (or expanded 4p), then it just isn’t correct to call a temporary state experience at a rational level (3p) transrational.  Because transrational is a structural designation, not a state designation.”

I’m starting to understand the importance of separating states and stages.  So, if transrational is a structural designation, then does that mean the pre/trans fallacy doesn’t apply to stage designations?  If transrational isn’t the correct label for a temporary stte, then what is?

Even though I didn’t mention it in my comment, I was thinking about the category of the nonrational.  I was considering that it might be appropriate to speak of rational and nonrational in terms of states.  But if states are differentiated from stages, then pre/trans doesn’t apply.  This makes sense to me. 

My understanding of the nonrational is that it isn’t specifically developmental in Wilber’s sense, but it does relate to the process of development as the liminal is inherent to initiation rituals.  States aren’t static even if they aren’t dynamic in terms of linear development.  Maybe states follow more of a cyclical pattern.  This could help to show the connection between the theories of Grof and Wilber.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

interesting! but i am being called away … back later or tomorrow

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

Leaving?  You just got here!  Called away… sounds mysterious.

Oh well… I hope the rest of your day goes well.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

ah, just family. i urgently was required to watch a Nicholas Cage movie, light and funny. not much punishment there lol. and then to bed.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

I see.  Just spending some quality time with family and Nicholas Cage.
What movie was it?
I’m watching some Outer Limits episodes right now.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

cool! It was um… hang on… LOL! I remember the second part of the title – Book of Secrets – anyway you will find the whole title somewhere else – i know i mentioned it earlier to you. you see the depredations of old age, Ben. 🙂

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

You have depredations?
Sounds horrible.
Is that a medical condition?
You probably should see a doctor about that.
I hope they find a cure for it before I get old.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

LOLOL!

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

Access_public Access: Public 29 Comments Print Post this!views (346)  

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…