Jorge Ferrer, participatory spirituality, and the comparing mind

Michel Bauwens:

Even back in the days when I was a strong supporter of Ken Wilber, I had difficulties with applying the developmental categorizing to people, feeling very uncomfortable doing so. This feeling of course has become an indignation at the way the Spiral Dynamics colour coding is now used to intimidate people by calling them green, or the race to call oneself ‘turquoise integral’ or whatever. Furthermore, even when not used as a weapon against another, there is a danger of overapplying it to oneself, to be continually self-absorbed by the question of ‘what stage I’m in’.

Giving expression to that feeling is a wonderful quote from Jorge Ferrer, who wrote the milestone book Revisioning Transpersonal Psychology, and who is together with John Heron, one of the founding researchers on participatory or relational, and let’s frankly call it: “P2P” spirituality.

The quote:

integrative and embodied spirituality would effectively undermine the current model of human relations based on comparison, which easily leads to competition, rivalry, envy, jealousy, conflict, and hatred. When individuals develop in harmony with their most genuine vital potentials, human relationships characterized by mutual exchange and enrichment would naturally emerge because people would not need to project their own needs and lacks onto others. More specifically, the turning off of the comparing mind would dismantle the prevalent hierarchical mode of social interaction paradoxically so extended in spiritual circles in which people automatically look upon others as being either superior or inferior, as a whole or in some privileged respect. This model which ultimately leads to inauthentic and unfulfilling relationships, not to mention hubris and spiritual narcissism would naturally pave the way for an I-Thou mode of encounter in which people would experience others as equals in the sense of their being both superior and inferior to themselves in varying skills and areas of endeavor (intellectually, emotionally, artistically, mechanically, interpersonally, and so forth), but with none of those skills being absolutely higher or better than others. It is important to experience human equality from this perspective to avoid trivializing our encounter with others as being merely equal. It also would bring a renewed sense of significance and excitement to our interactions because we would be genuinely open to the fact that not only can everybody learn something important from us, but we can learn from them as well. In sum, an integral development of the person would lead to a horizontalization of love.? We would see others not as rivals or competitors but as unique embodiments of the Mystery, in both its immanent and transcendent dimension, who could offer us something that no one else could offer and to whom we could give something that no one else could give.

Source: Jorge Ferrer et al, link (.doc format)

1 Comment Jorge Ferrer, participatory spirituality, and the comparing mind

  1. Avatarjames

    I like where this idea of a ‘horizontal’ spirituality is leading. Peer 2 Peer is certainly an interesting phenomena and i’m curious to see the unfolding of the tools and communities that it produces. Now we have MySpace and Facebook, plus blogging and wiki tools, exactly what will these evolve into? and how will these structures feedback onto the human psyche to change us?

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