Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Happy New Year!
As the year comes to a close, I am thinking about IPS and the work we do here. One thing I've been thinking about is the relatively small number of people* participating on and actively contributing to the discussions here -- and, in particular, the general lack of participation here by members from the wider Integral community. It seems IPS is either still relatively obscure, or else simply not of interest to that broader community, judging by the membership and participation I've witnessed here over the past couple years.
On the one hand, being an "outsider" to that larger community seems like a good thing (I'm not "on board" with a number of its current trends, for instance). But even more sympathetically, having folks who stand on the outside, at the margins, can itself be useful for a community, and allow for perhaps the manifestation of possibilities and "directions" not available or readily apparent from within the community. At least, that's my present rationalization. :-)
In any event, I'm posting this as a general poll for members here -- regular contributors, sometime-contributors, and lurkers. What would you like to see happen here at IPS in 2012? What could we do differently that might attract sometime-contributors and lurkers to become more active and involved? For new members (we've had 10 join in the last month), what brought you here? For regular contributors, what visions do you hold for our activity or "work" here? What are our "next steps"?
* On a logistical note, we are actually at the limit of our membership here. On the current Ning plan, I am allowed 150 members, which is the number we have now. I am considering paying for a more expensive plan, to accommodate a larger number of people, but at present it is hard to justify that since only a small percentage of the 150 are actively contributing to this site. I will likely purchase the next-level plan if we see a boost in participation in 2012.
And concerning William Connolly, I said I wasn't familiar with him, but it turns out he's actually referenced several times in a lovely essay by Sharon Betcher I'm currently reading (also in Polydoxy).
For people who do not follow this site every day and follow and study all the leads, it can become a daunting task to understand and summarize all the information. There are so many topics and books and papers referenced by the topics, that it is very time consuming and challenging to get to the bottom of it all. But it’s so rich and informative, one wants to get to the bottom or gist of it all.
Being a little lazy or lacking the time for integration and summary, I keep wishing for a summary of the findings of the topic. From this one could decide how far and deep they want to pursue each particular thread or topic, and they would be led or preset for what to look for as they read.
What would be the possibility of say a Wikipedia type of summary of the main topics where a few pages would show the main definitions, ideas, and conclusions within that thread? The main participants would be the ones able to do this. They might find in trying to summarize it that new insights result. After discussion they could update the summary issues and findings or indicate unresolved differences. Or they might write summary articles. I know this puts the demands on them, but would lead new and less involved participants to a quicker and deeper understanding.
This is an interesting suggestion, aside from the obvious additional time, effort, and work on the part of whomever is asigned the task of summerizing after the fact. But it would lift the housekeeping a notch or two, or more, up to the level perhaps of the stellar discussions presented here. Don't know if it's possible to do, given everyone's time limitations, but it is a nice idea.
Thanks, Philip, and Davidu. I think this is an interesting idea as well. Given the already existing demands on my time, I don't think I could do something like this for each discussion, but there are a number of prominent thinkers and streams of thought that are investigated here, and a number of technical terms that are used here frequently, which could perhaps be briefly discussed and defined on the Resources section of the site. An IPS Glossary, for instance, and/or an IPS Wiki. That sounds like a worthy project.
Hi Balder, thanks for those book tips. I’m looking forward to taking a look at both Steve McIntosh and Catherine Keller a little more extensively. What I would be looking for is a thinking, that, on the one hand, recognizes spirit has moved out of its old abode of the church/theologians/religious practices, and is now enacting itself by other means - and doing so, without either collapsing the new into the old, or, for that matter, regarding the old as no longer containing any value.
Where Steve McIntosh is concerned, I would be interested to see to what degree he grants these domains of the good, beautiful and true, autonomy, and to what degree he subsumes them under his system. My desire would be to find that McIntosh shows these domains as speaking spirit in ways that must be partaken of as enactments in their own right. That is, his own thought must approach them with respect as having important content and style that simply cannot be understood/entered into outside of their own enactment. Sorry for my skepticism, but somehow, I doubt he does this in any significant way.
As for Keller, I like the idea of theo-poetics. I’m curious to see what that entails. On the face of it, there is some accord with what others have been saying about Dogen and Proust. Does Keller's theo-poetics reach into our actions in the everyday?
Please bear with my speed – lack of, that is, - I will post more on Bennet and Connolly.
Just a group FYI: Although our number of actively participating members remains fairly small at any one time, I keep getting new membership requests. Three are pending and I haven't been able to admit them because we are at the limit of 150. So, I'm seriously thinking about taking this group to the next tier of service ($20 a month instead of $20 a year). This will give us a number of new features here, and will greatly boost both our storage and membership capacities, so that will be nice. But I may have to accept a small amount of advertising, to offset the cost. I'm not sure about that yet, but it's a possibility, so I wanted to give you a heads up.
If one wants to simple read the posts they do not have to be members. Why join if one only wants to read and not comment? I'm thinking membership should have some responsibilities as well as rights. Like maybe at least one comment per month or membership is suspended? Commentary is easy to track on a member's page.
That's a good point. I actually have deleted long-inactive members in the past to make room for new members, and I could continue to do so, but it's getting a bit tiresome, which is why I posted the "forum full" note over on the right-hand margin of the front page. As you suggest, I could definitely set up rules where membership is contingent on active participation, but it might be hard to manage, so I am weighing the "costs" right now (time vs. money); and, also, I've noticed some valuable contributors here do not participate on a monthly basis, but do have periods of activity throughout the year, so ideally I'd like to continue to allow for that.
Hi Balder, hello all, and best new year wishes to everyone..
For 2012, I'd like to see more of the body included on this site. Or attempts to do this, at least. I like what Balder, Thomas and theurj do, but alongside this - and now and again as a challenge, even, - I hope there can be room for other takes on what is Integral. Conceptions that include more of the body, the everyday, agency. And more especially of actual examples that ground/illustrate through stories existing in the world. I want to locate my lived self among all this theory to a much greater degree so as to clarify and nourish agency.
And apropos of nothing in particular, but relevant to all that goes on here, I like this comment of David McMahan, author of, The Making of Buddhist Modernism, speaking about the changes Buddhism has undergone in time and space throughout it's history:
"I’m not very satisfied [with talk of de-mythologizing/modernising Buddhism] because it kind of implies that you can take all the mythology out of something and you're just left with what it is - it just is what it is, and it's based on fact - and I don't really buy that, so at the end of my section of de-mythologization, I say well, this is really a re-mythologization"