This past Monday I hosted another Integral Meetup. Our local hero Gilles Herrada presented a preview of his (then) upcoming presentation at the Integral Theory Conference. If you don’t know Gilles, aside from being a former leader of the Meetup with me, he is the recently published author of The Missing Myth: A New Vision on Same Sex Love, a book that asks questions such as: “If homosexual behavior is an aberration from the standpoint of reproduction, why is it widespread among humans, primates, and a myriad of other animal species, and why has it been favored by evolution?” Gilles is a brilliant thinker and researcher, so I was excited to get his take on gender and how it relates to Integral Philosophy and how all of this influences our minds creation of the experience that we call reality.
Gilles presentation went deep into the history of humanity, even looking at our closest primate relatives for clues about what traits, characteristics and behaviors we may have inherited vs. what is more likely to be a development that arose with culture. Gilles, as always, has done his research and he shared some interesting insights into the roots of our relationship with sex and gender. The really interesting points, that I wish we had a bit more time to discuss, came out at the end. Here Gilles brought into question humanities attachment to polarity as a concept and began to explore how this limits our ability to conceptualize gender, which is usually not so simple. Gilles showed us a brilliant slide challenging how we often think of polarity as a simple case of two opposites. He used the example of “light” and “dark”. Obviously opposites right? Darkness is the absence of light we tend to say. Well, what if you then take a look at what light is. It is a vast spectrum, only a small portion of which is visible to the human eye. What does the rest of it look like? Darkness. Might a similar spectrum of complexity underly many other concepts that we tend to discuss as a polarity? (such as gender)
This is an especially potent concept in the land of Integral Philosophy, where “types” is one of the 5 pillars of AQAL theory. When attempting to understand and then growing and transforming the self we quite often talk about how masculine and feminine interact. Rarely do I hear people talking about the vast spectrum that lies between. If they do, there isn’t a whole lot of elegant terminology to use. On a subtler level, one is compelled to consider how such widely accepted concepts impact our subconscious filters that limit what we sensory input we do and do not acknowledge as real. That comment hits at a rabbit hole I don’t have the space to get into here , but it is a topic that comes up often for me. Bit of a sneak peek into one area; a good friend an colleague is working on a book on just this topic. I’m not going to give away the working title or the concept just yet, but expect more from this space in the coming year. This is an area ripe for exploration.
In case you missed it. Here’s the writeup that went out for this Meetup. Stay tuned for an announcement about next months Meetup (Monday August 19th) where we will be gathering to discuss the reality of trying to maintain a regular meditation practice. Anyone who has tried knows that the benefits are HUGE….but so are the hurdles. Should be a great night. Here’s the writeup from Gilles presentation:
THE GENDER WAR: NO (INTEGRAL) END IN SIGHT (?)
What is gender? Does an integral worldview offer an increased understanding of gender and sexual roles?
Does it help us to answer questions such as
Is gender binary or a spectrum?
How tied to gender are our sexual roles?
Where do our ideas about gender come from?
Has integral theory added anything to our understanding of gender at all? If not, why not?
Join us July 15th at 7pm at One Spirit Learning Alliance as our very own Gilles Herrada gives us a preview of his upcoming Integral Theory Conference presentation on this topic. From Gilles:
Why has integral failed to offer a compelling solution to the gender issue? I believe the problem resides in the fact that the integral worldview remains tethered to the symbolic/mythic framework of the Axial Age and its so-called perennial philosophies. Despite their great wisdom, Axial/perennial philosophies are the primary cause of our confusion regarding gender and sexual roles. And it is only when axial philosophies and their genderized vision of the Kosmos are put into a historical perspective that a truly integral approach to gender and sexual roles becomes possible.
Head on over to Meetup.com to RSVP and for details on this and future events: meetup.com/kenwilber-58/
What were you like at 12? Did you take control of the information that enters your mind and the values that you assign it?
This little man does. And he can explain the political and social turmoil happening in Egypt better than most of the adults I have heard.
This is a prime example of how the access to information that the internet provides is a game changer.
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“Often times when things sound worse ’tis truly that your hearing has improved.”
I woke up one morning, long before the alarm, to the feeling of these words repeating in my head. I grabbed a pad of paper I kept near the bed, wrote them down, and then fell back asleep.
Have you ever known a “film expert” who doesn’t seem to enjoy watching movies as much as the rest of us? Ever known a musician who is critical of every band she hears? They notice the flaws in everything. Imagine what happens when they try to make their own movie or album. Do you think that they could silence their inner critic long enough to create something? Is ignorance really bliss?
Have you felt that at times your life is getting better while at others it seems to stagnate or just get worse? Do you have good moments and bad moments? Of course you do. We all do. The reasons for this are many. The world is a tumultuous place. Most things are out of your control. Some are not. You can have some impact on your circumstances. Most of the time this is what we focus on. How can I change my life?! I am all for making big changes. Growth and transformation are my bread and butter as a life coach. But there is something else I always work on with my clients.
There is one thing that is not bound to circumstance but is incredibly maleable. Rarely do we acknowledge just how much it changes our experience of the world.
Most of us know that when we are in a good mood things roll off of our back. We can see the light in everything. When we are in a bad enough mood even the smallest comment might shake us at the roots. Have you also noticed that this process happens in cycles? Good day. Bad day. Good mood. Bad mood. We all cycle through various states of being; more resilient/less resilient, more flexible/less flexible, more positive/less positive. People talk about a lot of different reasons ranging from hormones to how much sleep we have gotten to the time of the month. “Upper Limiting” is another concept worth understanding that I will likely talk about in the future. (The famous coach Gay Hendricks quite literally wrote the book on that)
What I am talking about here is something a bit subtler. This isn’t about self-sabotage. This isn’t about how a night of drinking makes you feel depressed the next day (it can). What I am talking about and what the phrase I woke up hearing refers to is a natural bi-product of being self aware. When we are self aware, we are self critical. At any given time we have the ability to look at anything we are doing and judge it according to the highest standards that we hold. Right now I am writing this article and I am feeling ok about it. I am not as deeply into a flow state as I’d like. The words are coming out comprehensible, but they are far from the most poetic thing I have ever written. I am doing my best, but I am also being my own critic.
When I read this in the future I will have a new judgement of it that I necessarily can not have now. Why? Because I, and therefore my perspective, will have changed. How often do you acknowledge changes in your perspective?
What would happen if I were to take a writing course tomorrow and then come back to what I have written? Might I hate something I love today? Might I see a better way to say this very sentence right here? I might. Does it mean that what I wrote got worse or did my perspective simply change?
Why is this helpful to be prepared for?
Engaging our critical abilities can be an asset or a curse. Seeing flaws in what we have done can hurt. It can take the wind out of our sails. Paradoxically, it is also a sign of progress. When you look back at something you made yesterday or last decade and you see a million ways that it could have been better do you feel a bit ashamed of what you did? Or do you well up with inspiration and immediately want to create the greatest thing you can in this moment right now? Do you realize that you have improved?
In my experience with myself, my friends and with my coaching clients I notice a tendency to feel defeated by the limits of past efforts. Listening back to a recording of that song you wrote while in high school often makes us laugh at how silly we once were. Rarely does it inspire us with how aware we now are. This doesn’t only happen when looking back at past efforts. With anything we do our ability and our awareness are constantly surpassing one another in a game of leap frog. Get a little better on the guitar? You will suddenly think you sound amazing! Hone your ears a little more….now that same ability falls short. And the cycle continues! This happens in seconds. We can suddenly become critical of what we are creating while we are creating it. If we fail to see the opportunity in our perspective we might just quit.
Here’s the issue.
It is my experience that those who fail and, more importantly, those who quit, tend to let their increasing critical ability defeat them instead of letting their increasing ability to perform and be critical inspire them. What about you? Which side of the equation do you tend to focus on? Do you remember how much improvement you have already made each time you see room for more growth? Do you recognize that you are seeing a flaw you hadn’t seen while you were first working….so you can now do better? Or does your ability to be self critical always take center stage and make you feel defeated because you “never get it perfect”?
Sometimes, when things sound worse to you, they haven’t changed at all, but your perspective, your ability to see both the beauty and the flaws has changed. If you are not gentle with yourself, if you are not aware that your perspective evolves, you might get lost in judgement and fail to honor the growth that is happening on both sides of the equation.
This post is from a series called Insights that are inspired by the work I do with my clients as a Life Coach.
If you are ready to live with more joy, more passion and more purpose then I would love to be of service. Contact me to find out how my Life and Career Coaching Program can kickstart your journey.
Known as the rebel Porsche customizer this man epitomizes passion in craftsmanship.
His creations are understated perfection in vintage Porsches.
Oh, he also designs clothes and makes films and lives in an amazing home.
Bearded, tattooed, dreadlocked, autodidact genius. This man drips with integrity.
This man is AMAZING!