Ken Wilber Offers His Final Statement on Marc Gafni

The following is a repost of an article first published on Integral Options on December 26, 2011.

When the latest Marc Gafni thing blew up in September, Ken Wilber eventually issued a tepid statement of support and said he would make a final statement at a later date. Part of the reason Wilber was drawn into it was because Robb Smith, Diane Hamilton, and several other people all made a public break with Gafni. Integral Life ended its affiliation with Gafni’s Center for World Spirituality and several teachers stopped working with him.

Well, for Wilber, the date of his final statement came a week or so ago.

Final Ken Wilber Statement Dec. 2011, Marc Gafni / Center for World Spirituality
Dec 25, 2011

The board of directors of the Center for World Spirituality recently made a public statement, conveying their support for Marc Gafni as a leader and teacher in the Center.

Earlier, in a post on the Integral Life website, I have commented on the situation that developed several months ago in the blogosphere.

I acknowledged in that post that Marc, like most great spiritual teachers and pundits, has great gifts as well as human complexity. I pointed out that everyone must make up their own mind as to whether they want to work with Marc, or to be his student.

I am writing to share that, for myself, I have made up my mind. I am rejoining the Wisdom Council of the Center for World Spirituality, to which I invited many of my colleagues to participate.

I look forward to future work with Marc in articulating and evolving the contours of a World Spirituality based on Integral Principles.

Some of my reasons for wanting to work with Marc are contained in letters I co-wrote with Sally Kempton in 2008. However, there is one piece I want to add. I am not working with Marc despite this last blogosphere explosion but rather because of his reaction to it.

You can read the whole statement at the CWS site (free registration required).

That last paragraph makes the whole statement more than a little suspect to me – Wilber did not co-write those previous letters, he gave Kempton and Gafni permission to use his name. So I suspect the same is true this time, but that really does not matter – he signed off on it.

The “Wisdom Council” of the CWS, which seems to have a lot of different names than it did several months ago, has also issued a statement of support for Gafni.

Gafni also issued his final statement on this issue, in which he still denies having done anything unethical or otherwise wrong – as is always the case, he blames the accusers for making false accusations and misrepresentations of the “truth.”

For example:

What I will say here is that a great deal of distortion, misinformation, behind-the-scenes manipulation, and outright untruth appeared in many of the statements and comments posted in some blogs. Active behind the scenes were some of the same folks who, over the years, have supported the ongoing dissemination of false complaints, interpretations and characterizations of my actions. (See Mariana Caplan’s article on False Complaints which gives some of the background.) Others used this particular circumstance to accomplish their own “political” ends, always of course under the fig leaf of more virtuous motivations. Shadow can never admit of itself so it always pleads other motives.

And this on the assumed conspiracy he feels has been working against him all these years, and how the internet makes it easy to spread what he considers false information without accountability:

Most of us are aware by now of how Internet discourse operates. As Jurgen Habermaas, Lee Segal, and other discerning readers of culture have noted, the blogosphere is a place where anyone can say anything, with no professional or ethical accountability required. As a result, devastating accusations are routinely and carelessly thrown about. Often, as in this case, no attempt is made to hear all sides, or even to check facts. As Ken Wilber has pointed out, there is often gross confusion between facts and interpretation of facts. Too often, as a way of propagating slander without being held responsible, the identity of someone posting comments on a blog is hidden under a cloak of anonymity or a pseudonym. It is all too easy for one person to post under a number of pseudonyms to create the impression that his or her opinion is widely shared. This has been the case in many of the blogposts that appear on the web about my personal life. Even when blogging is not anonymous or pseudonymous, the writer’s personal agendas in all four quadrants remain effectively hidden. In short, the blogosphere makes unchallenged character assassination far too easy.
You can read the whole statement at the link above.

As has been the case in all of the previous episodes, Gafni has found a way to spread enough accusations of conspiracies and other nonsense to convince those who did not have any investment in checking the facts to side with him.

It appears to me that these folks (who often claim to be “integral” and not working from a postmodern, relativistic “mean green meme”), are willing to accept that truth has different versions and ethics are all situational, which is the only way I see that Gafni can still be endorsed as a trustworthy teacher.

But at least the truth of so many women (and men) who have been injured by Gafni is out there for others to read and consider before entering into any kind of relationship with him.

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