Friday, August 04, 2006

The Return of Indistinction

After a long hiatus and much thought on the matter, I have decided to pick back up this pen (or keyboard).

I ended with preliminary thoughts on Otto Rank. The key piece of Rank that I was focused on was his assertion that perhaps some elements of our primal-ness should remain. He criticized traditional Freudian psychotheraphy for seeking only to integrate the unconscious into the conscious mind. For Integral fans out there, that's the 3-2-1 Shadow Process. Now, clearly a lot of that type of traditional psychotherapeudic integration needs to occur. But maybe not all of it. Maybe some of us need not be domesticated--if not joined with a deeper critical social-political construct (say from the Frankfurt School) then this traditional psychotherapy integration can easily play into the hands of social unconsciousness--the paradox of Catch 22: how much does it matter (and what does it mean) to be sane in an insane word/circumstance?

I've been working on both Freudian and Rankian therapies in the interim. Particulary the latter. I'm working on touching into a part of me more primal, more ferocious, more artistic, not as concerned (within limits) of playing nice, at least within the context of writing.

Being critical concretely is very difficult for me as an adopted person. Because if I reject someone else's views/attitudes I simultaneously relive my own rejection and fear that I will be hurting the other in the same way (repeating the rejection). I've come to realize that I'm projecting way too much in the way of how sensitive I am to rejection onto others. So that (mostly) takes care of #2. Leaving only the first, which is just my cross and I have to learn to bear and not run from it.

In that vein I plan to be focused in what I write here from now on. And directly engage on occassion with specific individuals, though I want to make clear this isn't open-season, just a little more edge than previously shown.

So here goes the first installment.....

The main reason I stepped away was, frankly, disappointment (even disgust at times) with the level of discourse among so-called integral bloggers and even the anti-integral bloggers. Myself most of all. I was looking for more engagement, for my words to spark my debate and critical thought, but it just never happened---not really. Especially on topics like terrorism, the future of Islam, Iran, Iraq, etc.

Now a couple of caveats:

1. People can blog about whatever, and just because someone is labeled integral doesn't mean they have to be a super-nerdy, policy wonk like myself. Blogging that is more autobiographical, commentary on life events, poetic-artistic, etc. Fine, if you're not into it, not into it. I'm assuming that if someone takes the time (and is dorky enough--like myself) to refer in some sense or other to their work as integral, then basically they are. Or close enough.

2. The theoretical debates that do occur around integral essentially boil down to pro-Ken, anti-Ken debate. And not, to my mind, very subtle debate at that--in the moments when it's not feces-launching. Theoeretical debate is fine, to a point. Needs to happen, but have a sense of humor about it. We're not feeding the poor here or preventing AIDS for God's sake.

To me, it's mostly cart before the horse. The debate is basically abstract, pro or con. Did Ken mis-quote a page number? Does that mean he's making it all up? Or someone else will chime in, collectives have four quadrants", "no collectives don't".....And when asked how to prove such statements, it seems the answer too much is "because so and so said so...." or "because I say so." Or my favorite, "because so and so said so, [and it's cool to be anti whatever is dominant], then it must be wrong."

All of which is not really putting the ideas to the test, which is why some have (rightly) criticized much of this discourse as "bubble-headed".

It is true that at some point we choose mental constructs for deeper reasons, often un-spoken, even unspeakable ones. The interior dimensions are strange and ever-mysterious---how is there interior form? How does empty consciousness accrete patterns? How is it we gravtitate to one or more sets over others?

Lost in food fights over shadows in forums, is this key idea---what Peirce called an abduction (to complete the triad with inductions and deductions). Abduction brings emotion, desire, committment, and embodiment to the notion of mental yoga. And I think deep and profound reflection could occur for many of us by starting at this point and revealing our choices instead of immediately falling back into offensive/defensive positioning vis a vis any particular system--or being "non-systemic" which is just another system anyway.

We're going to have them, they are relative truths, and ultimately all of them send out their IOU promissary note to whoever, so again, a little lightness so that our seriousness may actually be serious instead of grim-faced bug-up-the-you-know-what-edness.

I think the fact that this kind of exchange doesn't occur more frequently speaks to the fact that for too many too much of the time, all "this" is about posturing, one-upmanship, and our own psychodramas. And I say that not as a way to say, my ideas can't be criticized or whatever. Not as a shield for me or a weapon against others. Nor that I'm immune from it myself. Just as a sad admission.

I'm a big-believer in the idea that when the tug-of-war is going on, instead of constant heaving and pulling to try and bring the other side over, give it a good enough shake to make sure the other side is stuck, is going to fight back and isn't going anywhere, and then just drop the rope and watch them fall on their faces....and let the dead bury the dead (intellectually that is).

Otherwise its just (nerdy) drama for drama's sake, in my mind. And I'm just completely un-interested in all that.

But I digress....

I was hoping for something else through this the first time round, through the contacts made, that I realize just isn't going to happen, isn't fair to judge by, and does nothing but create unfulfilled desires/needs. There are other means and ways much better suited to those exploits. And even the original pursuit was fine, if uninformed. Now I can do this without that added baggage, and I can see what is already here and worthwhile.

Because people are doing good things. Catallaxis, from my buddy Dan, is in my mind the gold-standard of the kind of integral blogging I have in mind. Focused, in-depth, passionate, deeply embedded and immersed, using integral concepts when necessary for further illumination but not using them as a crutch or excuse.

When it comes to the more political-social analysis there is the yellow re-capturing the healthy orange crowd (colmar). Rightly criticize undigested deconstructist elements in so-called integralists. Fine, needs to happen, but even that to me is still reactive.

I'm more into trying to create a big-picture, an ideal, a guiding frame. If colors be the language, what C-mar is doing is yellow. It's cleaning what is already there. Call mine, if you like more turquoise/indigo---attempting to show and even stitch together the injunctions and contours of a worldspace where these issues are dissolved, don't arise in the first place.

There has always been an idea floated around in my circle of a turquoise tribe. Half-jokingly, half-beautifully. And that is what I was projecting, consciously or otherwise, onto this the last time. Many people through life circumstance and their own process in this aren't freed up in that way, and even if some are, this isn't the right format for it anyway.

When I just sit with that intention, the dreamy quality of it, then I'm more at ease with just this writing and letting it be. No longer focused on praise/criticism or even whether anyone even reads it.


At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Daniel O'Connor said...

Well, I found the source the recent traffic surge to Catallaxis ;-)

Chris, your very generous assessment is quite a compliment, particularly coming from you.

As for your return to blogging, I'm sure I'm not the only one rejoicing at this news.

Drop me an email some time (as I don't have your address).



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