Hear ye!  Hear ye!  The annual meeting of the Oleg Linetsky is the Enemy of God Society (the OLEGs) is now in session:

The first order of business is to be absolutely crystal clear that this is not all about Mr. Linetsky.  He is clever enough to be interesting and foolish enough to be even more interesting but he is only a symbol.  If "he" were to read that last sentence he might seize upon the world symbol and denounce us all as merely abstract symbol users who are not open to the experiential and phenomenological truth.  That is the kind of "Oleg" that our society was formed in Vienna in 1608 to combat. 

Our society is devoted to teasing apart (or else faux-brutally & absurdly hacking apart) the DEPTH OF THE MESSAGE from the SHALLOWNESS OF THE MESSENGER'S STYLE.  An "Oleg" -- of any gender, race, etc. -- is someone who frequently attempts to communicate their highest philosophy and spiritual wisdom in a manner that unnecessary exaggerates division. 

The most famous Oleg of all time is the one who invented the idea: "Jesus loves you and if you do not accept that unthinkingly you will be tortured in Hell forever". But there are many more.  The community of spiritual practitioners and progressive thinkers are surrounded by and riddled with Olegs.

An Oleg might say: "I'm dealing with reality -- you're just doing philosophy" with no sense of the irony that this is an overtly philosophical statement. 

An Oleg might say: "You guys are absolutists but I know that EVERYTHING is relative!".

An Oleg might say: "I understand that everyone must be loved, embraced and validated -- but YOU don't!" 

An Oleg understands that there are levels of being and experience -- but does not accept that there are important levels of communication and style.  They have a lumpen and covertly narcissistic view of REAL wisdom.

As we all know from previous meetings, the problem with Olegs is not their "content".  They have fine things to say.  The problem is that their style opposes and undermines their content, reinforcing egotism, creating needless cultural division, rejecting everyone who does not agree with them on their own terms and in their own terms.  But the notable thing about an Oleg is that when he or she is confronted about this they act as though the content of their message was being rejected (usually for some unfathomable reason). 

An Oleg is a like a person screaming Buddhist secrets at strangers on the sidewalk.  If you ask them to quiet down they think (or pretend to think) that you are "one of those dupes, intellectuals, corruptoids" who reject holy truth in favor of a self-limiting lie. 

This happens frequently in real life (i.e. on sidewalks) and is usually noticed only by those who have both a taste for real wisdom, which causes them to listen, and a taste of the wisdom of a more nuanced presentation.  But it happens even more in all attempted online forums devoted higher philosophical or spiritual investigation.  It happens often enough that we might want to devote some time to exploring it -- for it will certain afflict the leading edge going forward. 

So consider this thread a place to either share stories about Olegs in your life OR speculate about the structure and implications of this "enlightened content with unconsciously divisive and primitive style".

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Oh Layman, your such a friggin' trouble maker ! Albeit one who makes some very good points:) When I used to live on the streets I would try to give money away and the reactions were quite incredible and funny! Humans are strange creatures indeed! 


Here's why that's a terrific and topical post you just made.  It is the exact opposite of what an Oleg would do for it deploys superficial divisiveness (such a friggin' trouble maker) in a manner that reinforces underlying good humor and mutuality.  Those who propose goodness on the surface but give the strong implication of division represent a fascinating and sometimes troubling phenomenon. 

Of course it is relatively easy (and good for us personally) to overlook style in order to validate content.  But for the community and the future it is equally important to figure out exactly what's going on with odd styles.  Over at the Integral Life forum there are periodic phases in which people run about accusing each other of being narcissistic and non-integral!  What could be more narcissistic and non-integral than that... lousy bunch of Olegs!

We are strange creatures indeed.


This is definitely a wily, trouble-making post.  I agree with many of the points but the package is a bit over-the-top (though less so, actually, than one or two previous posts addressed to Oleg himself).

The Integral Life forum is one of the strangest, most neurotic integral forums I've participated on.  I still stop by from time to time to read posts by you or Brandon or a few others, but otherwise ... ain't nobody got time for that!

That's why I gave up completely on IL a long time ago. Speaking of which, I'm guessing Brian McConnell is one of those OLEGs on IL, since he accused both me and Rifkin of being 'not integral' in the FB IPS forum. Apparently Balder told him otherwise and he's shut up since then, no doubt now thinking that Balder is also not integral.

I haven't read much of the posts related to Oleg in the past few weeks; and, in very briefly looking at the first two pages of the transcription of his talk (posted here recently), I realized it's polarizing and off - to the extent that I didn't read past page two.

But, I'd like to say two things in short: first, there may be more, a lot more, to the historical, flesh-and-bone Oleg than meets this PMS Eye's construct; and, second, I met Oleg in real time, face to face. And - content, style and online communicative exchanges aside - I felt a kindness, a depth and openess to his presence. Just sayin - for all you PMS internet players, scavengers, and dignitaries... :O)  

"The Integral Life forum is one of the strangest, most neurotic integral forums I've participated on. "

I concur.  In my opinion, this is because the site administrators refuse to moderate it.  It's an act of omission that gives another insight into the (mis)management of the Integral brand.  As I wrote in the IPS Facebook group(6/7):

The "Integral Brand" went down the shitter once they began to lend their likeness to various "commodifications" that were too close in form to the dominant cultural pathology. When you move from analysis and critique into application you must chart a course between the Scylla (sea monster) of trying to change things as an outsider and the Charybdis (whirlpool) of making too many accommodations and getting co-opted.

As to why this is, my guess would be that there's nobody left at the helm.  Scylla ate them already.

Either that, or Ken's been lashed to the mast, and the rest of the crew has wax in their ears, but that's another tale ....


Balder said:

This is definitely a wily, trouble-making post.  I agree with many of the points but the package is a bit over-the-top (though less so, actually, than one or two previous posts addressed to Oleg himself).

The Integral Life forum is one of the strangest, most neurotic integral forums I've participated on.  I still stop by from time to time to read posts by you or Brandon or a few others, but otherwise ... ain't nobody got time for that!

My experience with IL, which is pretty old and possibly no longer accurate, was that it was over-moderated in that if you weren't completely down with the kennilingus catechism then you weren't 'integral' and therefore shunned and likely banned. From LP's comments that seems to still be the case. And that trend has been going on since the very beginning of I-I. My recent FB encounter with Brian seems to confirm that.

As to the commodification of kennlingus, I couldn't agree more. Hence threads like integral global capitalismprogressive economics and integral anti-capitalism.

This thread is playful-provocative because it builds upon my progressively exaggerated response to the communication style of the flesh-and-blood Oleg -- but the point (there and here) is to explore ways to tease the real person, the real wisdom, apart from the mode of exchange. No one is always an "Oleg".  Not even Oleg!  So hopefully we keep this thing about "modes" in mind. 

Is Integral Life a hotbed of neurotic Olegs?  Is Brian McConnell one of them?  Yes and no.  We are all Olegs sometimes -- more or less.  And every forum has its good phases and murky phases.  I've had some great exchanges with Brian and also seem him Oleg-ing people.  Our intellectual goal must be under the patterns, origins and consequences of the "style" of wisdom-communication in contradistinction to the content.  And our emotional goal must be simultaneously robust in our judgement and vulnerably, warmly, humorously available in our hearts.

I'm not sure that missing moderation is the problem at the IL site but I think that represents the intuition that there is a structural deficiency in the organization of the site.  I have periodically laid out suggestions for changes to the "LR" dimensions of the site in order to correct these problem and amplify self-governing, inviting, integrative community.  However the time, energy, concerns and uptake rate of the site "creators" is limited in various ways.

Thanks to Joseph for reminding us of Adi Da's dictum that "if you go with the flow you go down the drain".  Gurdjieff would agree.  One of the main difficulties in forums generally is that you either get an excessively narrow flavor or an excessively anarchic flavor.  And the main failure in responding to this seems to be the overconcentration of speculation in the personal and communal dimensions at the expense of thinking about specific structural modifications.

But now we are off topic! 

Theurj -- what else did you observe about Brian-as-Oleg besides his tendency to accuse others of being "not integral"?

My interaction with Brian at FB IPS was brief and limited to a few posts per above. I've had no other experience with him so cannot attest to his other OLEG, or any non-OLEG, moments.

That is a shame.  But let us work with the accusation of "non-integral".  It is certainly fair to posit that people are, or are embodying, more or less integrative understandings at any given moment but there is also this definite feeling that it is almost anti-integral to invoke to "non-integral" claim.

I am reminded of a discussion I recently watched between former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, economist Niall Ferguson, philosopher Nassim Taleb and the woman who runs Pepsi-Cola.  She kept mentioning that (implied: unlike them) she is a DOER not a THINKER.  Of course she is presenting her thoughts but has done so in a manner that pre-invalidates the thoughts of others by invoking an unnecessary dichotomy. 


(a) neglects both their possible doing (of which she knows next to nothing)

(b) privileges her own thinking by reducing their thinking to "mere" thinking

(c) treats them not as people but as examples of a class of dismissable entities

So she is an Oleg in this moment -- regardless of the valid points she is trying to make. And likewise the accuser of "you are not-integral" is defining and reacting in a manner that seems to represent a stark alternative to the effort-of-integration. 

For all of us it is easier to expound the attitude connected with the current state of our integrative awareness than it is to make the effort of expanding our integration to include, absorb, validate and validly critique the viewpoints of others.  We do not always have the energy of "angle" to pull this off.  And sometimes we relish the fight and childish pleasures of denouncing & dismissal.  But all the same this is precisely where higher level individuals have the opportunity to grow as a community.  And is painful to see this opportunity squandered through regressive overlays upon the style of communication.

labeling someone

Like all pathology, Olegs might have been appropriate in early phases of culture.  When I hear people respond to critiques of their communication and comprehensiveness with a doubling-down on the assertion of their state-change or developmental experience... perhaps I am hearing what is appropriate for a barbarian village environment or primitive kingdom.  However now it stands out painfully as a mismatch between the content and style.  

The phenomenon is widespread in general society.  It is a cliche that "white males" find a difficulty involved in having their constructive critiques (of, say, feminine psychology or a particular racial manifestation) rebuffed with the claim that they are merely expressing their structural bias.  Everyone is quite aware of political parties openly accusing each other of their own crimes (although, this is admittedly more common from Republicans).  There is even the cartoonish image of someone shouting, "Stop yelling!" or "Don't fucking swear!"

So the absurdity and pain is common but it doesn't really become an OLEG until it shows up in developmental affairs -- where the possibility of comparing the complexity of the message/messenger with the complexity of the messaging/message-assumptions.

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