In transit NY to London...
Here are a few of the (mostly naysaying) inner voices that have surfaced as I first contemplated visiting Iran…
- It’s a hopeless green attempt:
- Dialog? Do you really think Ahmedinejad or Khameni will actually listen to anyone from the Great Satan? Won’t you and your idealistic peacenik companions risk a meaningless exercise that legitimizes this anti-Semitic theocratic police state that suppresses dissidents and sponsors terrorism?
- Don’t underestimate the vast gulf between Americans and Iranians, or the huge differences between Western civic freedoms and Iranian censorship and regulation.
- Don’t naïvely underestimate how strongly many streams within Shia and Sunni Islam’s historical narratives inherently validate and reinforce ethnocentrism and even violence.
- It’s a hopeless integral attempt:
- What can Integral perspectives accomplish at a time when both the US and Iran are dominated by militant and polarizing leadership? Life conditions have to change first, don’t they?
- Isn’t Integral theory still just going to function as a head-trip on the street in such a tough neighborhood?
- There's an urgent crisis, and you're going there to plant Redwood seedlings (big trees, maybe, but they take a long time to grow!)
- Believing all the good reasons that everything’s hopeless before it begins is what really sucks:
- Hey, all these naysaying voices reflect valid perspectives, but what’s most not okay is to be paralyzed by the quest to understand more and more adequately, responding to urgent crises only by continually taking meta-perspectives.
- I can surface more complex perspectives with my fellow delegates. I can ask questions and offer an awareness that include and transcend all the usual points of view. I can offer myself into whatever network unfolds.
- I can get a few useful texts translated into Farsi and share them where I can. Maybe thereby I can even plant Integral seeds in the fertile ground of Iranian intellectual ferment.
- Face it, it’s an action inquiry. You can’t know what you learn until you experiment. And then you'll learn the next thing that's there to learn.
- Hey, I just couldn’t take in the daily news in California and keep shaking my head and clucking my tongue. So here I am…