Finding Meaning When it is a Scarce Resource

Mary Simon and I were reflecting on why we are reading a book on integral philosophy and spirituality in the Salon, as well as why we believe the Salon is so important. Jurgens Habermas, an important contemporary philosopher, has said that in the time of Socrates, reason was a “scarce resource,” but in our times, MEANING is a “scarce resource!” It became very clear to us that we are all engaging in this process in part to bring more meaning, more zest to our lives and to bring a little more hope and light to a world that sorely needs it.

Time For A Rethink  - Finding Meaning when it is a scare resource

In traditional culture and society, meaning is attached to mythic stories, mythic religion, and mythic representations of reality. Modernity and the scientific method rejected all forms of myth and in the process, mostly unintentionally, disappeared meaning from modern life, except for the meaning that science could give to life. Post modernity went further and discredited the objectivity of science, so meaning took another hit. Meaning thus became a scarce resource until the dawning of Integral consciousness. Integral consciousness embraces a dramatic new scientific story of evolution and the Big Bang that allows us to make meaning of our world and our Universe again. This is very good news!

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Why Psychotherapy Is Undervalued in Integral

Shadow Work and meditation are methodologies in Ken Wilber‘s quadrant I, and shadow work is also a methodology in quadrants 2 and 3 (His AQAL map). Both meditation and shadow work help maximize the function of the human brain, and both methodologies deal with “stuck” places in the brain and in human consciousness. Integral Life Practice recognizes the importance of 3-2-1 shadow work as a methodology that was not available to most of humanity prior to the last century. However, neither was psychotherapy.

individual vs. relationalThe difference between psychotherapy and shadow work is that shadow work is primarily done by the individual – by HIM OR HERSELF – while psychotherapy is always RELATIONAL. With psychotherapy, you recognize that you need someone else to help you with your growth process; that at some places in your growth process towards more adult functioning and integral consciousness, you CAN’T DO IT ON YOUR OWN!

This, we believe, is a shadow of integral. It is too often hyper-individual reflecting the masculine bias of most of its proponents for intra-psychic methodologies and downplays or undervalues the relational or feminine component of what is often required to transcend and include in quadrants 1 and 2; that is, a quadrant 1 and 2 inter-psychic methodology, integral psychotherapy.

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Duty to Die: Concern for Others vs Prolonging Your Days

When Richard Lamm floated his “duty to die” remarks many years ago when he was Governor of Colorado, they went over like a lead balloon. At the time, I didn’t think much of them either. While I’m still not sure we have a duty to die, I think Colorado should enact Right to Die legislation similar to what currently exists in Oregon and Vermont.

I am an elder who recently celebrated his 74th birthday, and I am deeply grateful to have gotten this far in life reasonably healthy. That could change tomorrow. I have no desire to eat up my family’s resources lingering in a nursing home with a fatal illness.

right to die legislationMy right to die, and yours, is very different from what is traditionally considered suicide. Suicide is taking one’s life in despair or desperation in isolation.

The right to die is a right most often of elders who have a fatal illness, and who choose to die relationally and consciously, hopefully in the company of others, with their blessing and consent.

Maybe, just maybe, Lamm was right. Maybe we do have a duty to die at some point, rather than continue to devour the resources of a family and the planet, when our concern for others becomes more important than extending the days of our lives with the latest prolongations that medicine has to offer.

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker