Not going far enough


Initial draft… 

This seems like a simple thing… If we go far enough, we come out on the other side.

And this seems true for radical relativism, realizing all as perfect as is, loving what is, seeing all as pure innocence, seeing how all human actions come from fear, then love, noticing the inherent neutrality of all situations, and much more.

If we go far enough in any of these, see it clearly enough, feel it in our bodies, love it as it is, as what is already more true for us, we come out on the other side. We are free from it, in terms of our actions.

We see any story as just a story, the inherent neutrality of any situation, all as pure innocence, so we are free to use stories as practical tools in daily life. We are free to act in any way that seems appropriate to the situation.

We are free to have an open heart, receptive view, a sense of nurturing fullness, and act from compassion and care, meeting people exactly where they are.

And meeting people where they are, sometimes means tough love. It sometimes means a clear no to what they are doing, in our words and actions, if it harms others.

Quite the contrary from hindering action, as some seem to think, it frees up action. It frees up our range of possibilities, the repertoire of stories we use as practical tools only to guide actions in the world.

So why beat people over the head when they explore radical relativism and the other things mentioned above? Why make it “wrong”, as for instance some in the integral world like to do? At best, it stops people where they are, it prevents people in going far enough in exploring it, which means they don’t come out on the other side.

Why not instead encourage it? Encourage going all the way, exploring it all the way through to the freedom on the other side. The freedom from identification with stories, and instead finding them as tools of practical value only.

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Speaking up for (really) radical relativism


Some of the integral folks like to talk about the shortcomings of “radical relativism”.

But radical relativism, if it is radical enough, is the freedom to use stories in any way that seems appropriate. It is the freedom in seeing the limited value in any story and perspective, and then use whatever one(s) seem most appropriate in any given situation.

If it is a truly radical relativism, we see stories as just tools of practical value, so choose stories with more explanation power, that are more compassionate, more effective in getting things done, more elegant, and so on, and according to what is available to us based on our current insights, experiences and skills.

And the way we hold these stories also depend on the situation. Sometimes, it may seem more appropriate to hold them lightly, freely admitting that they are just tools and that other tools may be more useful in the situation.

Other times, and especially if peoples health and well-being is at stake, and we are up against folks who are in the grips of reactivity and blind beliefs, it may be more appropriate to hold our stories far more strongly. To do what is needed to protect individuals and society, meeting people in our actions and language where they are.

When we are clear, we are anything but door mats. And radical relativism can easily take a strong stand in the world, when needed.

The problem with making “radical relativism” sound suspicious and slightly sinister, as some of the strangely “anti green” folks in the integral world do, is that it may prevent us from going far enough. It may hold people back from going far enough through relativism into the truly radical relativism.

And then we just remain stuck in beliefs. We hold onto a story because we actually think it is true.

And that is just blindness.