An Interview With Haim Hacerim
February 11, 2007 09:12
Part One on Integral Naked
Part Two on Integral Naked
A translation of A Brief History of Everything has recently been published in Hebrew, and in preparation for this exciting event Ken was interviewed by Carmel Vaisman for Haim Hacerim, what some have loosely called the “What Is Enlightenment?” of Israel. This marks Ken's debut with the Israeli press, and stands as a wonderful introduction to the overall Integral Vision, a brilliant 50,000-foot view over the ever-emerging integral landscape. This conversation is useful for introductory listeners still getting a feel for the Integral Vision, as well as more advanced students who might enjoy being occasionally reminded of how simple the whole thing really is!
Part One Topics Include:
-The Integral Approach as a type of super-holism, in contrast to the majority of holistic approaches which—to be brutally honest—simply aren’t holistic enough.
-A concise explanation of 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-person approaches to knowledge, and the different methods that are used to verify those approaches.
-A brief examination of systems theory as a “holistic science” which often claims itself to be a “theory of everything,” yet cannot account for 1st- and 2nd-person realities, as any truly integral theory of everything could and would do.
-The intrinsic value and simultaneous limitation of focusing on a given specialization within the human knowledge quest, and the dangers that occur when one specialization oversteps its bounds and attempts to speak for another.
-Ken’s own personal motivations behind his career as an integral theorist and writer: was he explicitly searching for something beyond the deconstructed wasteland of postmodernism, or was he simply expressing his own spiritual deepening through writing?
-Ken’s response to much of the criticism he has received from postmodernists, feminists, and eco-philosophers—many of whom distrust the very notion of hierarchy in any form, often because natural growth hierarchies (or holarchies) and social dominator hierarchies are disastrously confused and conflated. Indeed, the former is actually the cure for the latter.
-This dialogue is a wonderful example and reminder of the fact that the integral wave is truly a worldwide phenomenon, at home in all lands, understood in all tongues, and one of the finest ways for our human family to know itself ever more intimately. We’d love to have you join us….
Part Two Topics Include:
Here Carmel and Ken take their integral exploration several steps deeper, touching not only on the theory of an Integral Approach, but how it can be practically applied to some very real-world issues.
-Ken has been known for “integrating Freud and Buddha”—what exactly does that mean? Using a simple developmental model spanning egocentric (me) to ethnocentric (us) to worldcentric (all of us) to Kosmocentric (all sentient beings), Freud primarily addresses how the world can look from level 1 (egocentric) and Buddha, or any contemplative master, primarily addresses how the world can look from level 4 (Kosmocentric). Both are real, both are important, both must be included in any truly integral approach.
-For all its elegance and apparently comprehensive nature, why hasn’t Ken’s work on an AQAL-Integral framework been adopted more in academia? As Ken explains, the vast majority of academia worldwide is currently going through the dying gasps of the postmodern reign, and when the dust finally settles, integral can be seen for what it really is: the logical next step in the human knowledge quest. Furthermore, integral already is having an enormous impact in academia, as evidenced by the formation of Integral University, with 23 separate colleges, several thousand pages of original integrally-informed material, online degrees through JFKU and Fielding, and all because professors the world over have been applying an integral approach in their work for years.
-How stages of development affect interpretation of the Torah, and why the belief in being “the chosen people” with “special and complete knowledge of reality” is common to the same stage of development across all major religions, East and West.
-The incorrect perception—common in Israel at least—that Ken is primarily associated with oft-controversial figures such as Andrew Cohen or Marc Gafni. That couldn't be farther from the truth, the most obvious reason being that Integral Spiritual Center is filled with thirty of the finest and most well-respected spiritual teachers in the world, including Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi, Father Thomas Keating, Sally Kempton, among many others—and Andrew, of course, is also a frequent guest on Integral Naked. Ken goes on to explain that he was among the first to publicly stand up and criticize Marc Gafni for his sexual improprieties, remove him from Integral Institute, and that women centrally involved in bringing these issues to light considered Ken utterly trustworthy. What went so terribly wrong? The Buddha in Marc was real, but the Freud was not integrated—his very bright light cast some very sharp shadows, to the detriment of all.
-The importance of an Integral Life Practice: integrating Body, Mind, and Spirit is not enough. The Shadow can follow you all the way to enlightenment and back, which is why the Shadow module is the fourth core pillar of an Integral Life Practice.
This is a fantastic dialogue exploring not only what integral is, but why it matters, and what it can do to help us navigate an ever-more-complex world….