Saturday, December 16, 2006

Intellectually rigorous thinkers need not all be scholars

joe perez Says: December 15th, 2006 at 11:42 am Marko: Rather than responding quickly to you, let me take your remarks as an invitation for me to spend more time digesting the thinkers you mention at Integral World. I have read some of their writings, but not enough to have formed the conclusion as you have that they have successfully attacked ideas at the “root, core, base, heart of the matter.” Furthermore, these thinkers often approach Integral Theory from a perspective that really is outside my level of strong interest or expertise.
If I viewed Integral as primarily a content-full body of dogmas about human nature rather than a meta-framework in itself agnostic regarding the nature of the liquids that can be poured into its wineskins (or if I were employed full-time as an integral theorist!), then I would probably place a high priority on understanding every possible theoretical dispute and articulating cogent responses to them. Fortunately, I see such preoccupations with theory as largely unnecessary to my own life and work. I think it’s great there are forums such as the AQAL Journal and ARINA for substantive scholarly discussions and less formal forums such as Integral World and the blogosphere for airing ideas that are less fleshed out or not well suited for an academic audience.
Intellectually rigorous thinkers need not all be scholars, nor take it upon themselves to settle every theoretical dispute imaginable! Even if it takes me weeks or months to get around, say, to reading and evaluating whether or not Andy’s ideas about social holons completely discredit Wilber’s AQAL model, by keeping tabs on the serious literature I can benefit from the collective wisdom of scholars whose specialties allow them to delve into these matters with greater thoroughness than any non-specialist is able. If someone offers a criticism of Integral that is wholly and irredeemably damning (and I’ve seen none), then that’s the sort of thing that does tend to get noticed, get talked about, and set the agenda for further research or analysis.
In conclusion, as a matter of just continuing to do research on Integral, I will spend more time at Integral World and perhaps will post more thoughts about what I find there on my blog or elsewhere. But it’s difficult for me to articulate why I am not looking forward to this research work. It’s also difficult to express without pushing people’s buttons or causing offense.
But basically I feel that a person’s writing often does allow a sort of window into their heart and soul, and their shadows. And my impression of the writing at Integral World at this admittedly quite subjective and emotional perspective is that it usually doesn’t connect with me. I see very little heart and soul, lots of unacknowledged shadow, and lots of egos spinning intellectual boobytraps and masculinist marking of territory. These thinkers often turn around and project onto Wilber many of their disowned attributes (and so far as I know, they may very well be right about Wilber, but that’s entirely besides the point). In short, while I am sure I have much to learn by spending more time at Integral World, I don’t think these are the lessons in Wilber’s “blunders” necessarily intended by the writers there.

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