5/16/2006

Sex, 'Enlightenment,' and a Whole Lot of Pain

Upon reading via ebuddha's and Vomiting Confetti's blogs, the letter from Ken Wilber, concerning Marc Gafni, I felt compelled to add my own claims and disclaimer here. In past blog posts, I've lauded Gafni's writing considerably, and like I wouldn't claim Picasso can't paint because he so horribly used women, I'm not about to take back my high opinion of Gafni's books or the videos and dialogs. I will say that it deeply deeply saddens me that his behavior is vastly different from his abilities.

I've been called to defend my postings about Gafni's books before, based on the previous allegations against him on a Jewish community website. The allegations I read 2 years ago were shrouded in gossip and thinly covered in envy, making them difficult to take seriously. Sadly, after a heads up from Jean this evening, I found that the site now includes first hand accounts of women, who were abused by Gafni, 2 of them as teens. The stories certainly have a chilling ring of truth, but if The Awareness Center wishes people to take any of their claims seriously, they should present their site and claims with some actual credibility instead of it being nearly lost in one exceedingly long page of 'he said, she said.'

On Tuesday, May 9, 2006, 3 women from the Israeli community of Bayit Chadash, lead by Marc Gafni, went to the police with allegations of sexual misconduct. On May 15, 2006, Marc Gafni replied with a letter of remorse (scroll all the way to the bottom). My heart goes out to all, who have been victimized sexually, as well as having some compassion (and this is a really hard statement for me to make) for the perpetrators, who turn out almost always to have at some time been victims themselves. Frankly, I'm reeling from the implications that someone I've considered to be an intellectual hero hasn't taken his own advice. For all his beautiful talk about the feminine principle, he, like so many, has repeatedly trampled right on over it.

From Integral Options:
Having just now read Gafni's statement, I think any anger being expressed is justified. It's all about him, much as Wilber's statement was all about Wilber and Gafni. Neither response paid necessary respect to the women who were damaged by Gafni's actions. They'll get their day in court, but who is going to get them the best therapists available to guide their recovery? Who is going to set up a committee of the finest psychologists available to make sure their treatment is effective?

Well said. Toward an integral approach to all this, I will offer that it also bothers me not only that sexual assault, misconduct, and harassment happen, but that we as a society act so deeply shocked when they do. I'm certainly not suggesting that it's ok that 'boys will be boys' but rather that we are so in denial of how most human beings act and the prevalence of such egoic behavior, that our self righteous indignance serves no one. I have never asked a woman if she has at some time been sexually harassed or intimidated by some authority figure in her life and received an answer of no.

We crave political and spiritual leaders, who are dynamic and charismatic. As followers we want to be swayed, carried away with feelings of righteous enthusiasm, yet we are surprised when the stories of these leaders come out and the good they have accomplished is forever tainted by the fact that they are not to be trusted. No scandal reeks like a guy, who can't keep it in his pants. Just ask Bill Clinton. It is time that men learn to take responsibility for their own erections.

6 comments:

Paul S. said...

here here! which is why i'm calling for us to evolve beyond genitalia!

http://www.paulsalamone.com/ilp/2006/05/day-106-what-gafni-can-learn-from.html

kate said...

. . . this is actually a reason for my hesitancy for getting involved with II . . . Cohen, now Gafni . . . there is a male arrogancy that is actually encouraged and I've been around that vibe, and I know where it leads . . . I blogged about my own experiences at Kripalu with Amrit Desai . . . 'Shram Living . . . and may I say that as horrific as it was and as evil as it felt, it most certainly cured me of guru-ism . . . .

victoria said...

Paul, can't we get justice without boredom? ;-)

Kate, I just read your post about Kripalu, and I'm still reeling. My heart goes out to the vulnerable hopeful 22 year old you were/are, whose trust was so turned upside down.

Much more later...

Zen Unbound said...

A nice post but I have to object to the wrap up. Clinton's work and sexual dalliance weren't connected -- though we Americans seem to think we own our presidents, body and soul. Also, Clinton & Monica's hookup was fully consentual. There was no coersion.

Gafni is close to being, if not truly being, a sociopath. His actions are an abuse of power. This is a horse's pitoot of a different color.

While there are plenty of men whose brains are subservient to their peckers, please, please don't paint all us guys with so wide a brush stroke to suppose we are all fully out of control. We're not.

The Zero Boss said...

Well said, Victoria.

It's not that men are "out of control", ZU. Many of us are still growing up. And the dangerous thing is, we're afraid to admit it.

victoria said...

Sorry to take so long to reply. At last (at very long last...) I am back online.

ZU, thanks for your input. Yes, Clinton's affair was consentual, but the issue to people, who were outraged, was that he lied, causing the big long drama for slow news days. I would agree with your assertion that sexual predators have serious mental disorders, that Clinton is not a sexual predator, and I agree with your statement, "we Americans seem to think we own our presidents, body and soul." Unfortunately, Clinton's initial denial of the affair was a failure to take responsibility for his actions (and erections) that, unfortunately, gave the right far too much fuel.

While I'm hardly a devotee of either the democrats or the republicans, I've always been a Clinton fan, and it saddens me that his impulsiveness overshadowed his accomplishments. In my heart of hearts and in my left brain, I firmly believe that Clinton's inability to keep it in his pants inadvertently led us to war with Iraq. That might sound over simplistic to many people, but the religious right would never have gained the ground it has had that scandal never taken place, and they have been instrumental in supporting those, who got us in our current mess.

I don't for one minute lump all guys together, but I am disturbed that even the most aware and conscious men can, without awareness, blame women for attracting them, and that is why I said, "It is time that take responsibility for their erections."

Jay, thanks! Your comment takes guts to say. Thanks for putting it here.