June 1, 2023: Integrative-Self Disorder and Integrative-Civil Disorder

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Jesus on the cross, just before dying according to Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34.

I am proposing it is the misbelief and mismeasure in a fully and fulltime integrated being and beingness that is at the heart of trouble for individuals and civilization. Ironically, it may be that the application of this misbelief and mismeasure, based on a not-bad idea of coming to grips with the myriad of life’s manifestations and their tides, is what allows for segregation, via a caste system of better or worse individuals and civilizations. Inadvertently, we may have founded the template of a real individual and civil disorder.

There is nothing new in the notion that each of us comprises more than one thing or that civilizations can be quite disparate. Yet, somehow, it has come to pass that individuals as well as the collective believe there is an “alpha” who governs the apparently disparate parts of us by shaping a kind of cohesion for better or worse.

That individual alpha running the show could be called the self or the Self (not universally accepted as many neurologists do not accept agency or freewill). The self is different than the Self: the former is like self-recognition (think the mirror test), the latter is seen as an integration of the disparate parts of ourselves—the angels and the devils. But that integration is expected to be nearly flawless—once there, always there.

Civilization is also run by alphas of one kind or another. Democratic principles are typically considered good, but in need of alphas—those who know best—to direct, not lead, the people. Two heads may be better than one, but too many cooks spoil the broth.

In any case, something, not everything appears to be running the show. Ergo, we cannot have everyone be spoiling the broth. Hence the faceoff between so-called democratic principles and authoritarianism we are all a part of—as were our ancestors.

Individuation and civilization work together, and not always well. Being better is a temporal and spatial position, a kind of here-today and gone-tomorrow proposition. To expect a fully and fulltime integrative being—one who has conquered all the peaks and valleys of life—to be the one we can all be or at least we can all follow, is a bit of nonsense. Such a hierarchical org chart within and between us and our civilizations is asking for authoritarianism, even when we sing the praises of the power of the people. The power of the people is, what, to lie in the tall grass waiting to pounce on any perceived weakness? Well, certainly the French people pounced on King Louis XVI. As an example, that was not the first-time people and authority tangled and obviously it was not the last time.

None of the above means there are not gradations of being lost and that we do not need to pay attention. It is one thing to have crazy people among us or to be the crazy one—crazy people are, after all, people. It is another thing entirely to grant them power to legislate, to adjudicate, to enforce the laws, to be the intimacy guide—to hold court like a living God. We are all called to make daily judgments—life is like that. But we can strive to do so humbly, without rancor, to be sure as we can that crazy does not spread, and to notice we are not always right anyway, though we may be in a position to enforce our craziness. This call to judgment is a practice, not a supreme attainment coming from a supreme being or beings on an all-the-time basis. The real reason for a democracy? We are like our sense-detectors: it is the collection of information from different sources, different timeframes, different spatial positions that helps make better decisions. We have such different senses and inputs. We are each other’s additional sense-detectors. No one sense-detector, not the heart, not the mind, not any one of the five senses, not anyone of us is the only source all the time.

So why did Jesus, one of the most celebrated individuals representing both an integrative-self and an integrative-civility, “lose it” as he was dying by crucifixion? Though not personally an institutionally religious person, I am thinking there are a couple of very powerful lessons in the legacy of Jesus, real or storied, that speak volumes about us as individuals and as folks attempting to be civil: One was a call for us to abandon the crucifixion syndrome—it is not required we do it to ourselves or to others. Another was that we are not one thing embodied, even if one thing runs through everything. We lose it. It does not mean we are lost, or fakes, or need to be abandoned, though we apparently like to foist those scarlet labels onto others, perhaps so others will not notice it on ourselves (keep ‘em on the defensive?). In other words, we may think thriving and entrance to the promised land is based on how well we practice defense mechanisms—how well we keep us from ourselves and each other. If so, we better hope that “hey, I was protecting myself and others” is indeed, a good defense. In the meantime, we could stop and reconsider the application and practice of attainment? It does look in need of some tweaks.

For one, I think I need to join attainment anonymous. “Hello, I’m Travis and I have not had any attainment misbeliefs since—oh crap, I just had one.”

Next month? Perhaps intimacy disorder, the mother of defense mechanisms? That should be lots of fun.

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