01. Editorial Introduction to the Special Issue, by Tom Murray, Bruce Alderman, and Layman Pascal

  1. Editorial Introduction to the Special Issue, by Tom Murray , Bruce Alderman , and Layman Pascal (special issue editors)

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Hey @Tom_Murray, @rbruce11, and @pretendtomeditate ~ I’ve read this editorial introduction, and a big chunk of Tom’s long essay, and intend to continue reading the other pieces, feeling out what resonates and what I might like to reply to, but I just want to say that it’s wonderful to see the wealth of care-ful thought that’s obviously gone into this issue of IR. There are multiple essays I’m particularly interested in, and I will take my time to absorb them, and re-emit what I will.

I have been away from the “integral” space for a few years now, so this really is for me a “review,” and I probably have a lot of catching up to do with the state of thought in the IPMS mutation (if you agree with that word). It’s a real honor to play some role in enabling discussions of all your contributors’ work. I hope this turns into a thriving or, as one might post-metaphysically say, generative zone of engagement, for everyone involved.

I also want to acknowledge the intertangled history of the forums in various tech-spaces we’ve all been involved with over the years—Infinite Conversations wouldn’t exist without the precedents going back to Zaadz (which you refer to in your Introduction), where I remember a certain user “@balder” who had the cleverest punny Zen koan of a handle, playing on a certain bald-pated philosopher we all admired in common, in our different (more complex than at first appeared) ways. I was still working on the inside of the Death Star (aka I-I) at the time, where my first role when I arrived in Boulder, CO in 2003 was moderator of the Integral Naked forum. Zaadz was about to become the cool new social network in our corner of the Web. That was just before Facebook. What a long strange trip it still is…

So, welcome (back); and sincerely, thanks for entrusting your literary & philosophical labors of love to our mutant little community of discourse here. I hope it turns out to be a fruitful fit. And I am curious how some of the other members here—who may have deep scientific, philosophical, spiritual, or literary backgrounds, but little familiarity with integral metatheory—will take (and/or not take) to the language of integral post-metaphysical spirituality, and conversely, how your own novel thinking, and engagements with other key integrative thinkers (e.g., Bhaskar), will influence the emerging creative productions in this space.

Time will tell, I suppose. I would love for the discussions on this issue to useful, worthwhile, and really interesting to anyone with a passion for the questions you all are asking about the nature of reality and the meaning of our unfolding experience in the world, in and out of time.


Thank you for the warm welcome, Marco. I hope you enjoy the special issue and I look forward to some good conversations with you and others here, if anything resonates. I’ve been wondering if, by the relative silence thus far in this discussion space, there might be a language or cultural issue, at least for regular participants here. Us contributors to this issue are arriving to the IC party, after all, as members of a culture that may not be very familiar to most here … so it might take a little time to break the ice and get things warmed up. But I’m hoping that can happen.

The party metaphor reminds me of the first time I met you and Layman Pascal in person, at an after-conference gathering one evening at the ITC in Sonoma several years ago. I had met Bonnitta Roy previously, but it was at one of the after-conference parties at this ITC that I got to talk to her for the first time in any depth. And Michael Schwartz and Tom were there too. Now we are all gathered here again … so this is a little more entanglement to add to the dialogical spaces and paths that we’ve traversed before …

I’m not sure if I ever knew you were there on Integral Naked as the primary moderator, but I’m glad you remember @balder’s first forays into online discussion spaces, and I’m pleased to realize that this (re-)gathering here is indeed a kind of homecoming. (You may or may not recall Iconosostacles from Integral Naked … that was Layman Pascal …)

As for “IPMS mutation” … that’s definitely a suitable description, for me. I think whatever views and perspectives have grown and developed at IPS, they are a kind of mutation … a branching from the Wilberian tree that has since been busy cross-pollinating and finding its own form. There’s a definite debt to Wilber’s work, and still a circling return to it, but with roots now in many other streams.

Now that the IR issue has brought the IPS contributors here to IC, and me back to IC (I remember posting here when it first opened), I’m looking forward to whatever else may unfold…

Thank you again for hosting this space…


I might speak for the lot of us IC folks, so as not to let the silence seem like a form of subtle violence. I am very pleased with the decision to introduce the Integral Review “special issue” and to allow weaving to occur. Such weavings take time; we sit at our techno-looms (some of us literally weaving, as our Geoff-of-all-trades @Geoffreyjen_Edwards may be working on a scarf as he reads this!), extracting strands of thought from online readings, then we make valiant attempts to form a coherent response, to create a piece that ties and weaves the read material into the larger arc of infinite conversations.

I will also (very briefly) speak for some IC folks who have had an issue with the integral scene (whether through personal experience or questioning/critiquing at a distance), who take issue with some of the top-heavy intellectuality. We do not have to go into any of the integral debate (please!), just simply wish to inform you that most are familiar with the integral culture and language, most are accepting and appreciative of the integral groundwork, and most would include such language while at the same time transcend the language to appreciate the ever-growing. ever-pulsating tapestry. I look forward to sharing what we have learned and seeing what arises.

I observed and read from a distance a few entries into the Integral Post-Metaphysical Spirituality website (particularly when we made deep-dives into the Spheres reading group). I also observe that we all have our own frequented forums, our chosen foamy formations. How do we best shoot a threaded line into the other’s bubble without popping it? How do we continue the exchanges, sending threaded lines back and forth to create some sort of woven connection between our different spheres? We are busy individuals, not a one of us sitting on hands or twiddling thumbs. Yet even if hands are tied, there will always be a hand reaching from above to pull us up from the muck if we were ever to get lost…or, if you wish to get a response from one of your pieces or seek answers to questions, as you semi-mused here, someone will respond!

I am personally interested in the Deep Dialogue segment, along with each and every one of the essays and writings collected in this special issue. The Deep Dialogue experiment (hope to expand on this sometime soon) seems to be to be the connecting thread to this special issue. It demonstrates our desire to connect online, to seek out the depths in conversation. There is hope in online discourse and recorded discussions + follow-up comments in a forum + one-on-ones + interviews… there is a way to weave it all together.

The simple fact that the editorial crew decided to seek out “follow-up” conversation appeals to me. This is what is missing from discourse; this is what is missing from the online world. Perhaps it is available to those with the privilege to be a part of certain circles, but this is something different. This is a request for open conversation, available to anyone. I find this experiment admirable and seeking out a certain sort of creativity. I personally do not belong to any special profession, any (in)famous circles…just a fella in a strange land (Kentucky), eating online orts. I am an advocate for the everyday person, for the grounded responses outside of certain groupings of mind and kin. Perhaps I wish for us all to expand our circles, to include everyone and everything in our thoughts as we reflect upon the pieces produced here and elsewhere.


Thank you, @Douggins , for reaching out here and helping to make an initial connection. I like the weaving metaphor and use it a lot too … especially with my interest in Latour’s braids and networks, and Sloterdijk’s foams, and a ‘prepositional’ sensibility in general. I regret that I was not able to join in the Spheres discussions earlier. I introduced Marco to Sloterdijk back during the ITC after-conference gathering that I mentioned, and I had really wanted to participate in the deep dives he eventually set up here, but unfortunately the meeting times usually conflicted with my work schedule and I just didn’t have the opportunity.

I’m not sure I can speak for all contributors to the Integral Review special issue, but maybe for many of them: we are satellites whose trajectories have been influenced by passing near Planet Wilber, but we are not (or no longer) strictly Wilberians. At the least, I think you won’t find the language of the pieces to be exclusively “AQAL” – most of the work being done by contributors is multiply-sourced, and multiply-branching…

I definitely resonate with what you say about dialogue and open access and engagement; on IPS many of us have long been interested in the cultivation of free, open, P2P dialogical spaces, where high-quality discussion – both academic and experiential – is welcome, without the usual “access barriers” that one might find in typical academic or traditional practice circles.

With the special issue serving as an initial ‘meeting point,’ I’m looking forward to whatever it is that we can share with, and learn from, each other.

Best wishes,


P.S. As a Kentuckian, I imagine you as a relative neighbor to an old ‘spiritual attractor’ for me: the Abbey of Gethsemani. I’m no longer Catholic, but Thomas Merton was an early hero of mine…


Hi Bruce, thanks for the reply and good to see you again.

I had a great time at those parties at the Integral Theory conference in 2015; the whole event was really stellar, I thought. It was also good to confirm the existence of the multiple personalities (my first time meeting Bonnitta, too, and Jeremy Johnson) who I had previously only experienced in the virtual. And that was a great conversation we had in that suite where everyone (including Michael and a few others) were present.

I seem to remember we were doing some kind of thought experiment that involved the consciousness of a beer bottle—and I was very interested in “letting beer be” and letting the bottle speak from its own subject position, or to that effect; and then Layman showed up with some kind of mutated multi-quadratic framework that he tried to impose on the beer, and I was like, dude, you’re spoiling my gelassenheit…and then Bonnitta stepped in; I actually had a weird micro-mystical inversion of consciousness experience with that bottle.

I would just give it some time. It’s not a very big party or community here, if you haven’t noticed :wink: — but the participation is intensive and goes deep, and has been growing at its own (sometimes ‘achronic’) pace, and I think will pick up as we stoke the fire and get the word out.

Ah, yes. And we still have one volume to go! (Which I think we may do this fall.) And there is also this possibility:

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It’s a shame there likely won’t be another US-based ITC for awhile, so such a re-gathering isn’t in the cards for the foreseeable future. But I enjoyed it quite a lot as well.

Is “Deep Observation” an actual published text, or an essay? I just Googled it but couldn’t find it.

Have you guys read, or considered reading and discussing. Sloterdijk’s “You Must Change Your Life”?


We have indeed…though I think I want to finish Spheres before moving onto YMCYL.

I will let Doug answer about “Deep Observation.”

Personally I think a talk on Sloterdijk’s “Human Zoo” essay would also be really interesting. I think developing an idea of how humanism could be included in any trans- or post-humanism (incl. spiritual evolutionary theory) we may be conceiving, would be an important topic.


It is a short essay available in What Happened in the 20th Century?: Towards a Critique of Extremist Reason The collection of lectures, addresses, essays, etc. ranges from mid-1990’s to the 2010’s writings…some essay are more miss than hit. The two current reviews on Amazon are a decent taste of what lies beneath the covers.
The Deep Observation Cafe has not been set on the calendar. Would you have interest in attending? We meet on Tuesdays at noon MDT and would graciously invite your deep observations.

I had free time to begin both Foams and You Must Change Your Life…I would consider YMCYL as a great “supplemental read” if and when we explore Foams.

From a comment made in a separate Foams thread :

In an attempt to foresee our future Foams discussions, the theme of the implicit made explicit through “revolution, rotation and invasion,” seep from the Prologue and into the Introduction. This repetition is also a central theme in You Must Change Your Life (which, takes some of the ideas fleshed out in Foams as a given. This one is highly recommended and a surprisingly explicit piece of work…I was a both thankful and disappointed that he provides direct definitions and shares his intentions and conclusions within each chapter).