I am writing in support of Marc Gafni. I am a therapist and a political psychologist. Normally I work behind the scenes but, in light of recent public assault on Marc Gafni, I feel morally obligated to call out the irresponsible attacks that are not only harmful to Marc but also are destructive to the Integral community.
I have functioned as Marc’s therapist over the last several years, which places me in a unique position to know his consciousness, his strengths and limitations. While intellectually brilliant, Marc is committed to ongoing psychological work as part of his life practice, which he approaches with genuine humility. While others have known him longer, I know him well.
In light of the recent spate of attacks, let me just say that Marc is psychologically sound, a significantly empathic and ethical person whose character bears no resemblance to the projections described on the web. Marc’s goodness, commitment to transformation, and core integrity are, based on my work with him, beyond question. To even need to say this is almost inappropriate, but given the memes that have expressed themselves in the blogosphere, the self-evident may need to be stated.
To really understand Marc is to realize that he is somewhat of a mutant. What I mean is that he is gifted in very specific and important ways that are unusual and rare. Those gifts need to be protected even as Marc continues to model what I believe all leaders should do – to continue to do ongoing work with foundational issues. What is unusual about Marc are his larger than life gifts as well as his profound humility. Marc has specifically said that he is willing to meet and work with anyone who might have an issue with him. I have seen him make that offer and have seen those who are willing to dialogue as well as those who have refused, preferring to attack him rather than look at their own self responsibility and personal dynamics.
While he can be fiery and is quick to speak, he also pauses and listens. And when he listens you can see him taking in the feelings of another; he slows down, his face relaxes, showing his pain, and he turns to meet the other in their difference. This is part of his integrity. Since first meeting Marc he has worked to expand his understanding of his own responsibilities in leading people into the work of forming an integral global consciousness.
To understand the projections on the web, to borrow Ken Wilber’s thinking, all four quadrants need to be taken into account, including and especially the cultural, political lower quadrants on both the right and left side. In order to fully understand the false complaints against Marc of ten years ago we need to examine the political complexity within Integral and the organizing force within the new age community that helped catalyze these events (see Clint Fuhs 2008 Integral Institute report). We can understand and meet this attack by recognizing it as, in part, a mythic/archetypal phenomenon and respond to it in relation to group dynamics.
From this frame it is possible to contain and redirect such scapegoating energies. In other words, we need to catch our collective breath and show enough humility to not resort to the type of black and white thinking that currently dominates our political world. It is not surprising that we too would internalize and act out such chaotic dynamics.
The current attack on his person is unwarranted and obligates the Integral community to do its own soul searching. It is my hope that we can turn our attention toward our own shadow, much as Marc has shown me he is willing to do. As William Stafford writes: “the darkness around us is deep.”
Peter T. Dunlap Ph.D.
Clinical and Political Psychology