Crowd Sourcing a Witch Hunt: An Eight-Step Guide to Internet Abuse
by Marc Gafni
I am greatly saddened by the necessity of writing this post. Recently, Stephen Dinan called for a boycott against a film, RiseUP, based on my original role in inspiring and galvanizing the movie. In his post, he refers to articles written against me in the last several months. The articles are part of a smear campaign that Dinan and his posse have catalyzed against me for the last five months. If necessary, at the right time, I will do a line-by-line refutation of the major deceptions in Dinan’s article.
In future posts, both in this forum and in others that are now being created I will address, in a direct and personal way, all of the key claims and actors, past and future, in the smear campaign. I have been silent for ten years, thinking that the dignity of silence, forgiveness and moving on to new creativity and contribution would cause the agony of these false attacks to fade away. By their own admission, the perpetrators of the (false) attacks against me ten years ago were shocked that I survived their attempted social murder. Sorry for the trouble folks. I know it is annoying to have to try it again and again. Sadly, they have – and this is well documented – spent much of their energy in the last eight years seeking avenues to complete the deed.
My commitment to integrity and intimacy no longer allows me to be silent. As of this post my decade of silence is over. I will respond fully via video posts, email records, as well as other forms of documentation and analysis to any and all false claims.
I stand fully against sexual harassment in all of its expressions. I stand fully against any form of victim shaming.
I also stand against all forms of name rape. Name rape often happens via false accusations which hijack the victim narrative to hide their own malice. And let me add that you cannot make false accusations and then ask not to be challenged by labeling any challenger a victim-shamer. This is a weirdly inverted form of the old adage, where the son kills his parents and then throws himself at the mercy of the court because he is an orphan. That just not okay in any way.
I also stand against the new form of cyber-bullying which is the orchestrated smear campaign.
For now, however, I want to focus specifically on the meta issues which underlie Stephen’s article, because they are more fundamental.
By his own admission in private emails, and in conversations with his colleagues, Stephen has been a key figure in an organized campaign to destroy my good name. In this, he has deployed the classic playbook of the Big Lie propaganda campaign, and adds to it some new virtual techniques.
To say it simply, Stephen is, in my best understanding, a self-styled jihadist. This phrase in regard to Stephen was coined not by myself, but by Barbara Marx Hubbard’s daughter after interacting with him in my regard. You can read Barbara’s relevant description of these sad events here.
By jihad, I mean holy war, launched by those with who are so fanatically persuaded of their righteousness that they move to destroy all who they deem infidel or heretic.
Stephen is not following the precepts of a particular fundamentalist religion. Far more insidiously, he is self-appointed. He and those attracted to, or aligned with, his vibration of jihadic consciousness are driven to save the world from demonic forces and evil. Conveniently, those that they deem evil or demonic are usually also those who arouse in them the kind of rage and grenvy – greed and envy –that is the source of malice.
Malice is a core feature of reality, which we recognize in the political, business and religious worlds but somehow we sometimes forget that it exists in the New Age Spiritual world as well. Malice is aroused, as Rene Girard reminds us, by those whose essence makes us feel somehow small, those who are professional competitors in some visceral way, as well as those who perhaps play Mozart to their Salieri, or Othello to their Iago.
Like all those engaged in various forms of jihad, Stephen is convinced of his righteousness. He has cast me as the infidel who must be both excommunicated (i.e. “don’t talk to him”) and, for the sake of the good, destroyed. In this distorted internal scenario, Stephen seems to be the self-appointed jihadist protector, protecting the purity of the helpless victims. Key to this process of course is to hide all of your own more base ulterior motives – be they financial, psychological or professional – under the fig leaf of the protector mantle. Let us state this clearly and fearlessly: this is a regressive meme that threatens the very soul of public culture.
Crowd Sourcing a Witch Hunt: An Eight-Step Guide to Internet Abuse
Here’s how such a cyber-jihad campaign is done:
1) You dredge up old stories—some outright false, some merely distorted—and make contact with your target’s old enemies (such as an angry ex-wife, ex-students and professional rivals with axes to grind and hidden agendas) in order to get them to support your campaign.
2) Using loaded words like ‘sociopath’ and/or ‘pedophile’ without any evidence as to their accuracy, you begin seeding a series of false or distorted allegations about your target around the web.
3) You might even go so far as to claim, as Stephen’s closest allies have, that this so-called sociopath has occult or demonic powers. The claim that I am demonic, made both in private conversation and in public posts, has been a major theme of Stephen’s campaign. Psychologists tell me that only such a disassociated projection allows one to make sense of the extremity of the smear campaign. I do not know. Such explanation is beyond the realm of my expertise. However, I do know that the ascription of demonic powers to me allows anyone who associates with me to be said to be under some kind of malevolent spell, and anyone who wants to hear my side of the story is warned that they might be affected by my ‘demonic’ energy.
(For those interested in further sources on this see René Girard’s critical work on scapegoating. See also Wilhelm Reich’s work on the Murder of Eros.)
4) You set up a system where there is no possibility of fact checking and no possibility of transformation. In terms of fact checking, I have invited a fair process of fact checking many times. Such a process would require all parties to take responsibility, including especially responsibility for the results of organizing and leveling false complaints.
I have also invited any individual who feels hurt to engage with me in a mediated process of resolution and transformation. I am not only open but very much want to learn if there is a way that someone feels genuine hurt, for which I owe an apology. Let’s have a genuine conversation in a mediated context and see transformation and healing.
But if you are organizing a cyber-jihad campaign you must endeavor to make sure that there is not a possibility of fact checking, mutual responsibility or resolution. That would defeat the entire goal of the jihad: the destruction of the infidel. Because the infidel is in some sense demonic, no true transformation or resolution is ever possible. The infidel must be killed.
5) You must hide your malice. After all, as Milan Kundera reminds us, Malice must never admit of itself so it must always plead other motives. What are the motives that malice pleads? The perpetrator claims to be rescuing future victims or pretends to be a victim. This is famously referred to in Karpman’s “drama triangle”, or the victim triangle.
The other motives pleaded are that of being a protector. So the next step in the smear campaign playbook is to enroll a group of your friends and colleagues, by telling them that you are protecting ‘future victims’. You establish credibility by pointing to personal testimonials, none of which have been cross-checked for facts—just as, in the old witch trials, unreliable personal testimony was used to ‘prove’ that someone was a witch.
Remember again: Malice must never admit of itself so it must always plead other motives.
It is a shockingly accurate description of the approach that Dinan and his two colleagues have taken in organizing this smear campaign.
6) The next step is to crowd-source your witch hunt. In a short time, using the tools of social media, you form an internet mob. The mob generates likes, tweets, posts, blogs and the like. Credible information no longer matters. In the outpouring of vituperation, it is nearly impossible to tell that most of the statements made about the object of attack are grossly untrue; He or She has become an object. Accuracy and integrity no longer matter much when attacking an object.
You have almost all the key elements necessary to have a contemporary Trial by Internet – the modern form of a Salem Witch Trial. Just one more step is necessary. Victim Voices.
7) A key move in such a campaign is to hide behind what are ostensibly “victim voices”. You gather first person testimonies with emotionally evocative power to front your cause. It is not dis-similar to the mafia using an ostensibly kosher business to cover up for the criminal rackets of murder and extortion. Evocative first person testimonies shift attention from the true ulterior motives of the smear organizers.
First person testimonies are powerful because they evoke emotional resonance. That is why these kind of personal testimonies were so central in the European witch trials that tortured and burned –according to some estimates – tens of thousands of women at the stake.
But of course anyone who is truly involved with working with victims, knows that first testimonies are by themselves not reliable. Just ask any African American family who has a family ancestor that was lynched because a posse of white women claimed that he was sexually in appropriate with them, and they will tell you that first person testimonies can be organized for the sake of murder. Once the horrific demonizing meme of the perpetrating black person with occult powers was set into play, then dozens of white women came out of the woodwork to testify.
That is why, in a rational society, we have evolved post-witch-trials and post-lynch-mobs. We gather evidence, we check for social ties that bind the ostensible victims and look for evidence of collusion and aligning of testimony between the “victims”. We might investigate the influences behind the scenes that are pulling the strings, and check for subtle signs that there is social and psychological pressure or reward at play, influencing the narratives etc.
In the regressive meme of Trial by Internet, however, none of these checks are in place.
The facts of the first person testimonies are never checked or cross-checked. The idea is to create a virtual mob of victim voices, which is orchestrated and manipulated from behind the scenes. In an internet age this is relatively easy to do.
8) Deploying the strategy of the Big Lie: Where there is smoke there is fire
Is it not true that where there is smoke there is fire?
How does it happen that there are multiple accusations against one person? Indeed after closely researching the literature and interviewing a dozen people who are experts in the field, it turns out that the nature of the Big Lie is that it always generates multiple accusations. This lends a veneer of credibility to the smear campaign. This is how the principle of ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ is deployed to support to the Big Lie strategy. However, even slightly more careful scrutiny reveals that the accusers virtually always know each other and have close social, political or communal bonds. They emerge from the same network or have been drawn into the same network via the internet because they all represent disgruntled or offended ex partners, ex business associates, ex lovers, ex wives, ex students and the like. They enter into a kind of group-think in which subtle or not so subtle social reward and pressure move to align their stories and foster collusion, which is easily revealed once a process of cross-checking information and fact-checking is begun.
Let me give you a simple example of how these dynamics emerge. A leader/ teacher/ television personality/ corporate head etc. can work with tens of thousands of people over many years. 95% of the people may have had wonderful experiences. But they are the silent majority. They are living their lives productively, balanced and healthy. There will also often be five or ten percent that respond negatively to any kind of strong personality. They may also be dis-satisfied with their lives, or have any number of interior at issues at play, which are triggered by their meeting with the leader figure. Some amount of triggered folks is particularly probable if the leader is doing work that is edgy or provocative, or that demands a lot for people. If the leader him or herself is not pallid, but is, in his or her own ways edgy, demanding and provocative then it is even more likely to have a small percent of disaffected folks. Usually those people are from the “ex” society, made up of ex partners, ex lovers, ex colleagues or ex students.
As long as there is no crisis of any kind, these voices are in right proportion to the majority of people having positive experiences. But once there is a crisis or trauma in the system – say, for example, the president of a hospital is sued – then victims begin to appear from all periods of the person’s life. Sometimes those victims are real. The powerful person has a genuine shadow side, which for example, could be that he consistently sexually harasses women. If the evidence is checked and that turns out to be true then we must deal with it appropriately.
It is important however to realize that just as often as these stories are true, they are just as often not true. Precisely however because these stories are sometimes true, and because we have seen so many of them in the media over the past two decades, there is a confirmation bias; that is to say, a tendency to believe them.
However they are just as often not true as they are true.
A good friend of mine in South America was sued about a decade back. She had run mental health clinics there for several decades with thousands of employees. When the suit happened, the overwhelming majority of her former employees rallied to her support. But because she is a strong and often demanding figure who calls people out on their stuff, over the decades she has accumulated several dozen enemies. These are former colleagues, staff she has fired, jealous competitors, angry ex lovers and the like. A face group group formed called “victims of Janet”. People reading superficially might assume, that there must some truth to the claims. After all, where there is smoke there is fire. But more accurately, in this case, where there is smoke there is a smoke bomb.
How did this happen. When her crisis – being sued in a very public case- hit the press, the persons pressing the suit – which was based on false claims, organized several dozen victims to speak against her. That is the source of the smoke bomb. They found people who had worked for her at different stages of her career over many decades. This was easy to do through the Internet. It would have been impossible in a pre-internet age. These victims then attempted –via internet attacks to – hijack the narrative of her life. They attempted to them claim that there was a pattern. Of course one of the first lessons of cognitive behavioral therapy is false pattern recognition. You create the illusion of a pattern by mobilizing a horde of victims sharing their public testimony, which to the sloppy and glancing eye of the internet consumer, might seem to evoke a pattern. Careful fact checking often eviscerates the initial seductive mirage of a pattern.
Where There Is Smoke There Is An Ember
This does not mean that the leader is without responsibility. It might also be true that where there is smoke there is an ember. The leader may well have made genuine mistakes. It is however malice that fans an ember into a fire. It is however malice that attempts to turn mistakes, which take place in the normal arc of human relations, into wildly exaggerated and demonized pathology, which is termed evil, and according to the self appointed jihadist, must be eradicated at all costs. Malice fans an ember into a fire.
The ostensible victims have been in touch, sometimes for a decade or more, aligning their stories. There is a kind of group think victim consciousness which takes over. By participating the victim voices receive many social benefits and potentially avoid social censure within their communities.
Of course all of this is subtle and hidden. Particularly if your playground is the internet you can easily hide all of the back stories that belie the integrity of the victim voice. You can avoid all forms of genuine fact checking, both at the level of deeds-what actually happened, and at the level of motives.
On the surface, in a plethora of internet posts, all you see are brave victims risking reprisal who are breaking the silence. When the stories are carefully checked and turn out to be true according to genuine standards of inquiry, then we have travesty of integrity and intimacy that must be righted. When the stories are not true however, which is no less often the case, then we have no less of a travesty of integrity and intimacy that also must righted. The latter is precisely the case in the crowd sourced witch hunt of Dinan and his colleagues.
It is unbelievably painful to me that a group of spiritual teachers and growth movement professionals, who do not know me personally, but who have business relationships or financial ties with Stephen, have been persuaded to lend their names to this campaign without cross-checking the information being purveyed. I am certain however that once all the facts are known, the moral and formal liability of having taken such a stand will become self-evident.
It has also been most disheartening but not as unexpected to see people who have been colleagues who have close ties to Stephen, jump on Stephen’s bandwagon, some from fear, and some from self interest.
I do not know Stephen personally. I have never had a conversation with him, other then a passing hello at a public event. At several points, leaders in the Center have strongly urged Stephen to sit with me, our staff and team and carefully cross check facts and information before acting. They have also strongly urged me to sit with Stephen. Stephen has consistently refused.
I remain open to meeting Stephen directly – face to face, in a facilitated context whose intent is to create truth and reconciliation. That would require people being willing to admit having borne false witness, made false complaints and more. Everyone in the system—including myself—would need to hear each other and own their own responsibility for their part in the contribution system that led to this very moment. This is a context in which neither myself or my colleagues nor Stephen and his colleagues would be “on trial”; rather, it would be a place to give up being right and seek genuine transformation and peace. We could model this for ourselves and for the larger culture.
My colleagues at the Center for Integral Wisdom have responded directly to the smear campaign. Until this point we have only circulated our response to our own community and lists. But in light of Stephen’s rehashing of the same old canards again and again, we are sharing our public response. Following the Board of the Center’s public statement are 55 blog post by Center leaders.
I invite the reader to read each of them. They are short and wise and to the point. In reading them I hope you will actually get a direct sense of the quality of my life, relationships, and the work that we are doing at the Center for Integral Wisdom.
We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love. Outrageous love is not tepid or lukewarm. It is a fire that both warms and inspires even as it fierce and demanding. For the sake of goodness, truth and beauty, for the sake of my partners, my children and the many people with whom I am deeply in love, I will at the appropriate time respond in depth to every single false claim. I want to do so in a way which seeks not to destroy but to create, not to tear down but to build up, not merely to shout against the darkness but to add light.
Statement from the Center for Integral Wisdom
In response to the current attacks on Dr. Marc Gafni, The Center for Integral Wisdom has released the following statement:
Dr. Marc Gafni is under attack from certain quarters of the religious and spirituality worlds. Based on our careful review of extensive documentary evidence, numerous professional evaluations, and our collective experiences with Dr. Gafni, we fully trust that the claims of sexual harassment and abuse are false.
The Center for Integral Wisdom takes the strongest possible stance against all forms of sexual harassment and abuse. Before any of us became formally affiliated with the Center, we, collectively, carefully reviewed these allegations. We concluded, and reaffirm now, that the claims against Dr. Gafni are either untrue or significantly distorted.
Furthermore, all of us have extensive professional and personal experiences of the most positive nature with Dr. Gafni, regularly observing his goodness, integrity and kindness.
Over the years, Dr. Gafni has offered many times to engage in a professionally facilitated dialogue with the parties involved in making and disseminating these claims. However, these parties have not been willing to meet for mediated resolution in which all parties take responsibility for their part in the contribution system that created these conflicts.
Instead, over many years they have aligned with each other, coordinating their stories and efforts, avoiding forums which would allow for discerning fact checking and mutual responsibility. Given our common desire for peace in the world, it is more then unfortunate that there has not been the opportunity to engage in a productive process of resolution. The agenda of the parties has been to create public campaigns of character assassination intended to discredit Dr. Gafni in his professional and personal life.
If you would like a deeper sense of Marc, his collaborative work and character, the Center’s work, as well as a substantive refutation of the core negative stories on the web, you might want to read some of the posts below, as well as the Facts section on Marc’s personal website, WhoIsMarcGafni.com. You might also want to peruse the extensive material on the Center for Integral Wisdom website, or just read one of Marc’s books. In the next few weeks and months, Marc and other leaders at the Center will be sharing more specific information, as well as reflections on the larger issues at stake in this conversation.
Please see below for fifty-five blog posts from Center leaders that deal with these issues directly. We would urge any reader interested in deeper understanding and truth to read these posts with care, discernment and an open heart.
You can access the 55+ posts by clicking here.
Also read this beautiful analysis by Dr. Clint Fuhs titled: Anatomy of a Smear: The Internet Trial of Marc Gafni
 Where there is smoke there is an ember. In most of these stories there is a pattern of behavior that takes place over many years. Beware however of the common mistake of false pattern recognition. The ostensible pattern needs to be properly interpreted. If the issues at play are sexual, the pattern of interaction over many years may be primarily post conventional, with all of the messiness that sometimes implies or the pattern might be predatory. The difference is everything. To ascertain the distinction, there is all sorts of objective evidence that needs to be reviewed. That review is called fair process or integrity.
by Barbara Marx Hubbard
One of the most dangerous problems we face in the world is extremism on behalf of belief. In many cases, extremists convince themselves that another faith or political system or individual is ‘evil’, and that they are justified in destroying them by any means necessary. We see this tendency, with tragic consequences, in the political sphere. We are now seeing it the so-called spiritual world. People who claim to be apostles of higher consciousness see no problem with trying to destroy others without due process, open dialogue, non-violent communication or the possibility of resolving differences with compassion, forgiveness and healing. Even more problematically they often hide their hidden agendas under the veneer of victim advocacy. The spiritual world is not exempt from malice. Malice, as Milan Kundera reminds us, “must never admit of itself so it must always plead other motives”.
This kind of behavior is terrorism. Violence of this sort is very hard to respond to creatively without becoming a terrorist yourself. Yet we have to say NO! to terrorism of any kind, including our own.
With this in mind I am called forth by my sense of justice to stand against the recent extremist process of cyber-attacks, initiated by a leader in the evolutionary spiritual community against Marc Gafni and the Center for Integral Wisdom. Using his marketing skills and a carefully orchestrated cyber campaign, my former colleague Stephen Dinan has written a series of letters, blogs and articles filled with factual distortions, subtle and gross smears about Gafni, turning the same attack process against anyone who stands with Marc or considers working with him.
Stephen runs a lucrative online network, The Shift, which creates profits and fame for dozens of teachers. Many of these teachers depend on him for a major part of their livelihood. Most of the teachers who have signed onto Dinan’s petition against Marc have business ties of one form or another, or outright financial dependency on Stephen. Many of them have signed without knowing Marc personally, based solely on untrue claims. None of the claims are new. They are recycled versions of old claims that Marc has responded to in depth and that have been professionally reviewed by many conscious people of great integrity. You are welcome to read the Facts section of Marc’s personal website to see much of this material.
The fact is, Stephen has refused even to have a conversation with Marc, and has set out to destroy the reputation and ability to teach of a remarkable spiritual, social and evolutionary innovator.
I along with leaders of the Center for Integral Wisdom are fully opposed to any form of sexual harassment or abuse. At the same time, I equally stand against false accusations to try and destroy a person’s integrity and ability to function in the world. Those of us who know the truth of who Marc is are speaking out, for the sake of a new force in evolution, that is just as important for our world as the force we call democracy. This is about the evolution of our public culture. Those who first supported democracy were often killed for their courage. In the emergence of a fully empowered evolutionary movement, the integrity of our means and methods around conflict is crucial. The evolutionary movement for social change needs to be based on the fundamental principles of modern justice, not on regressive memes which conduct trials by internet with no opportunity whatsoever for dialogue, fact checking, due process, or non-violent communication.
I attended two Center for Integral Wisdom board meetings with about seventy five highly conscious men and women, leaders in business, spirit, and education who were in attendance. As Warren Farrell said at the end of one meeting, “Marc is the only leader I have ever seen with so much personal depth, presence, and teaching ability who is able to step aside and create space for everyone to shine.”
In 2016, I became the Co-Chair of CIW, an office formally handed over to me by John Mackey, whose four-year term was complete.
Many CIW board members are working actively on evolutionary projects with Marc. These include numerous books, online courses, media projects, radio shows, podcasts, and partnered initiatives—all of which focus on furthering the vision of the center, which is to influence the “source code of culture” toward ethical evolution.
Marc is author of eleven books, including two of the most powerful that I have read. First is Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment, which includes a foreword and afterword by Ken Wilber. This seminal work affirms the unique creative self within everyone and offers guidance to fully realize it. Another is his scholarly, two-volume work, Radical Kabbalah, which reveals the origins in Jewish mysticism of the modern concept that free spiritually-motivated human beings embody the Divine. Marc has also authored The Mystery of Love, which speaks for the spiritual significance of Eros as force for evolution, genius and life itself.
He has written at least three unpublished seminal works which I have read that are only now being published and is deep in the middle of the next set of writings.
In Marc’s words, the goal of the center is to create “a genuine unique self symphony, in which each unique self brings their own unique gifts to create a new evolutionary we space.”
I would urge everyone to read the response to the smear campaign by the board of the directors of the Center for Integral Wisdom and especially the fifty plus blogs by Center leaders that follow it. You will feel the quality of the conversation at the Center, which is why I was honored to succeed John Mackey as co-chair of the board.
As an elder of that movement, and as a life-long advocate for the conscious evolution of humanity, I am compelled to speak up for the integrity of our means and methods to resolve conflict.
How did this well-organized attack on Marc Gafni happen?
This is a complex question; one which will be taken up directly in the future. But, here is what I personally know.
My work with Stephen deepened during a beautiful event sponsored by myself and the Shift Network. Called “Birth 2012” to celebrate the new era of evolution.
For many years, I had been describing and teaching about a coming global shift, instigated by the crisis we are facing on Earth. I know that in evolution, crisis precedes transformation.
The question for me and other evolutionaries has been how to respond to a crisis of global magnitude, one which may possibly lead to the extinction of our species. The answer is by deepening our commitment to furthering the 13.8 billion years of evolution that’s driven us toward higher consciousness, freedom, and order. The was the deeper purpose of Birth 2012.
During Birth 2012 leaders and small groups from around the world were connected in cyber-space as we celebrated this multi-media global television event at the Agape Spiritual Center in Los Angeles.
I continued to teach about and call for a full scale Planetary Awakening in the year 2020 seeing it as a critical date.
In August 2015, I invited Marc to be on a Skype call about 2020 with my friend, Ervin Lazlo, scientist and author of over 50 books. Marc, Ervin and I had a deep and delightful conversation. I asked Marc to write up a statement of our intention. Read it here and you will I am sure be as moved as we all were: “A New Coalition Is Forming to Catalyze the Evolution of Consciousness”. Marc knew nothing about Stephen Dinan’s interest in 2020 at that time. It was a wonderful conversation. I asked Marc to post it on the Center’s site and asked Ervin and my staff to post it on our sites.
Stephen told me he was furious. I called Marc and asked Marc to remove the post. He did so immediately. This is when the process of attack against Marc by Stephen began to reveal itself.
The next step happened on September 18, 2015. I had completed a student retreat at the Shift campus in Petaluma. Stephen announced his passion for 2020 — a new campaign for International Peace Day . He said wanted me to work under him again.
I replied that I would “be his partner, but not work directly under him and the Shift”, simply because I wanted to partner with others who were already working toward this date, with many kinds of events and celebrations.
“No,” he said very severely. I HAVE THE STRUCTURE. YOU WILL FAIL. YOU MUST DO IT UNDER ME.” His intense demand for control reminded me of how he behaved during Birth 2012, whenever I wanted to bring any other distinguished person in to work directly with me.
Stephen was treating me with obvious disrespect—demonstrating a not so subtle sexism, ageism, and bullying.
I mildly said that I would be his partner, but not work under him.
As I had promised, I began to introduce people to Stephen who were interested in the 2020 possibilities. I also tried to set up a conversation for Stephen to get to know Marc. He adamantly refused even to talk with Marc. I was shocked at the virulence of his refusal to communicate. He said, “I must not under any circumstances have anything to do with him.” He then told me that it would ruin my career to work with Marc. (He did not mention that he would be the person to try and ruin my career.) He handed me a stack of old attack material against Marc.
I told Stephen in subsequent conversations that there was extensive information that refuted these claims but he refused to meet or to check any of the evidence available that countered the false claims. I implored him to meet Marc and the many powerful and conscious women around him. He refused. Later I would realize that by that time he had already set his course to destroy Marc.
I myself have personally read several hundred pages of compelling information that has been meticulously gathered over the years. It is apparent that Marc has suffered injustice in many ways. I also know that he has always been and is now available to meet in mediated contexts with any individual, check evidence, take mutual responsibility, and create peace.
Stephen then gave me the number of Marc’s former wife, Chaya Lester, in Israel as well as Rabbi David Ingber in New York City. It was clear that Stephen, Chaya, and Ingber were all in touch and connected as early as this past September. Ingber and Chaya who were involved in the attack on Marc a decade ago, were central figures in the current smear campaign.
I called them both. Ingber was highly antagonistic to Marc. Chaya told me during the conversation that she might be open to the possibility of reconciliation, but then later apparently plunged again into the smear campaign against her former husband, continuing a decade of attacking Marc. In depth response to these quarters will come I am sure at the right time and place. But for now I will say that I have read a private letter circulated about Marc in 2008 which Chaya co-authored. The level of demonization is truly astonishing and ridiculous to anyone who knows Marc. The letters is so laced with virulence and so filled with “facts” that are factually untrue that the malicious intent to destroy, having nothing to do with protecting any victims, is obviously revealed.
Meanwhile, a personally offensive element of the attack began. Stephen contacted Steven Hassan, a self-published ex-cult member who calls himself “America’s leading Cult Expert.” Stephen asked Hassan to get in touch with my daughter about an “intensive intervention.” Stephen tried to frighten my daughter to persuade her to hire Hassan (at a cost of $10,000) to protect her mother from Marc.
Stephen, Hassan and my daughter exchanged emails for several days. In the email exchange the outline of the smear campaign was clear. Marc was to be “stopped in his tracks”. The “world” would be saved from Marc. Stephen would organize a NY Times article to be the center of the campaign. The virulence of the tone was truly frightening.
My daughter forwarded me these emails from Stephen in mid October, at the same time that Marc heard from the NY times columnist who contacted Marc to do the article that was apparently intended to initiate the smear campaign. My daughter wrote me that she was being taken advantage of and manipulated by Stephen, and that Stephen’s motivation was not to protect me but to destroy Marc. She was deeply offended by what she called an action of Jihad extremism. My daughter said to me: “If anyone tried to do this to my daughter, I would have called the police! “
Subsequently, Stephen also told me directly that he was contacting the New York Times to do an article about Marc. I was dismayed and realized that he is actually trying to destroy Marc and everything Marc had built.
The Times article was published on Christmas Day—December 25, 2015—a sad day to launch the next round of attacks. This article was the first in a line of many articles, some published by the Huffington Post, others in other forums re-cycling the same old material. The attacks ignored all the material Marc had already provided which refuted the claims.
None of the key writers in the smear campaign, who appeared suddenly out of no where, and who seem to have been recruited, knew Marc. Some of them hung up on Marc’s staff who attempted to call and create dialogue or fact checking. They made many blatantly false claims about Marc. Marc was regularly referred to as a child rapist, statutory rapist, pedophile, wanted in Israel for sexual harassment and the like. Not one of these is true. False claims were written both on his Wikipedia page and all over the internet. But none of the writers who were contacted were interested in facts or any form of alternative perspective.
Let me say it clearly. I and dozens of other powerful conscious women and men who work with Marc regularly are certain that Marc is neither a sexual harasser or a sexually abusive person in any way. Quite the opposite. He is deeply considerate, honoring and graceful, even in times of the most intense pressure, which would crack a lesser person. I have witnessed this myself, as have many others, countless times.
Is Marc strong, driving, larger then life, sometimes challenging in his demands on himself and everyone around him. Yes he is. He is a big person in every way and those of us who interact with him regularly, know that he is also one of the best people we know.
There were almost a hundred attack articles, Tweets and blogs during this period orchestrated behind the scenes. Virtually all attempts to correct facts were ignored or mocked.
Meanwhile, Stephen began to call my colleagues and warn them about my relationship with Marc. They called me after talking to Stephen saying outright that if I worked with Marc they would no longer hire me or fund my projects. He called my staff and board of directors, telling them of the danger of my friendship with Marc and recommending they disassociate from me. He insisted that my staff and board keep his ‘intervention’ secret, not telling me about his conversations with them. Several of them did resign. He called people who had invited me to speak at key events with Marc, warning them to disinvite me because of my friendship with Marc.
One of the claims made by the smear campaign is that people who speak out, risk “reprisal” from some supposedly powerful force massed to defend Marc. The fact is that in the ten years these people have been agitating against Marc, there has never been any form of threat or attack from Marc or his friends. All the reprisals have come from Stephen, Ingber, and their group of activists claiming to ‘protect’ others against Marc. Their reprisals have been directed at many prominent persons, including myself, who stand by Marc. Marc’s friends and supporters have been subjected to outright and behind-the-scenes attacks, resulting in everything from ridicule to loss of funding, dismissal from professional associations, jobs, and conference centers. People have been dropped from the Shift Network and from publishers—simply because they are known to stand up for Marc.
A public example of the attacks instigated by the smear campaign, is the way that former CIW Board Co-Chair John Mackey’s company, Whole Foods, has been subjected to smear attacks because he is not willing to speak falsely against Marc. The posts attack Mackey for associating “with pedophile Marc Gafni”. There is not one word of truth in this statement yet so many spiritual leaders have stood by or joined in without any true fact checking. This is not acceptable and that is why I am speaking out on these issues.
Most recently, Stephen has crafted a cyber-attack on me, sent to all my thousands of Shift Network students saying my life would be ruined, warning them that my teaching will be destroyed by working with Marc. Perhaps he is referring to my eight books, and all of the organizations I have helped found—The World Future Society, The Association for Global New Thought, and Evolutionary Leaders. Or perhaps he was concerned about the remarkable campaign in which my name was placed, along with Geraldine Ferraro, for nomination for the Vice Presidency on the Democratic ticket in 1984, where we proposed a Peace Room and an Office for the Future to scan for, map, connect, and communicate what was working in the world. I wouldn’t mention any of this except to reveal the extent of his malice to destroy my long life of service because I choose to work with one good evolutionary teacher and friend, after 86 years of dedication to seeking the next steps toward a positive future for all.
He refuses to give me access to my students’ emails, so I could respond to his criticism and his claims directly. I want everyone to understand the depth of the problem here. I teach for Stephen and yet I have no access to the emails of my own students. So when Stephen attacks me I cannot respond and explain my position to my own students.
As I said, We are speaking for a new force in evolution itself that needs to be activated in society. This is my life-work, and this letter is an expression of that force. True evolutionary movements cannot be destroyed. Like those who first supported democracy we will not be destroyed nor will our community. We will be encouraged and reinforced by our participation in the vast citizen movement for positive change; one that does not at this time directly attempt to change existing government, but seeks to offer a “better design” that articulates common goals and matches needs with resources for the good of the greater community, as advocated so many years ago by one of my great teachers, Buckminster Fuller.
As of this week, Stephen went after the movie RISE UP, which is still in its fund-raising stage. This remarkable and important film focuses on new, more humane and environmentally-concerned visions of success. Stephen is stoking fear in some of its extraordinary cast of business and thought leaders, attempting to persuade them to drop out of the film, by concerning them that their own reputations will be attacked and by sharing the mis-information that has been spread in the smear campaign.
As I finish this letter, I want to summarize some of my thoughts.
I want you all to know that I am dedicated to working with Marc, to teaching and writing with him. Of course I recognize that like all of us has imperfections and faults.
Marc is a scholar and an advocate of spiritual/evolutionary potential for humanity, deeply imbued with the ability to communicate and inspire the evolutionary impulse. He honors and motivates people to fulfill the love and power they can each embody. There are many of us who work with him throughout the world who can attest to this experience with gratitude and deep appreciation.
I have spoken with colleagues in his teaching communities in Europe and the United States. I have worked with members of his staff and find that he is deeply admired and loved by people he has worked with for years. His gift for friendship and collaboration is a blessing in the lives of countless people.
This deliberate effort to separate us, to destroy one another is especially dangerous, activating a process of rejection without dialogue. This is a movement profoundly against the future we are all working toward.
What is needed now is not angry rejection and negativity, splitting Marc off as the Other in order to purify ourselves, but a new degree of connectivity among us that can shift the system forward toward greater complexity, freedom and synergistic order.
In the name of calling out the Shadow, Stephen and others have done exactly the opposite of what Carl Jung famously advocated. Jung described how each of us projects our undigested Shadow onto individuals and groups who serve as ‘hooks’ that reflect our own unacknowledged inner conflicts. What is the woundedness at play here that needs healing?
I am expressing my sadness over this situation and the loss of Stephen Dinan whom I considered to be a very good friend and dear colleague.
Let us seek a higher level resolution commensurate with what is being taught on Shift network such as peacekeeping, non violent communication, sacred democracy and transformation.
In conclusion I would like quote something that Marc wrote: “I want to conclude with my impossible dream: What if the result of this explosion was the seeking of a higher clarification? What if over time, all the parties could sit together, fact check, and seek genuine truth and reconciliation? Some of the key actors in this story are the same people who demand that Israel sit and negotiate with the Palestinians. I understand that demand, despite the terrorism, killing of each others’ children, and countless atrocities. Yes, Israel and Palestine must make peace. How can we demand that they make peace if we cannot, in far different circumstance, even make peace between ourselves? I am ready and willing.”
With profound determination to protect and promote humane, just, and fair behavior, and the development of Sacred Democracy,
Barbara Marx Hubbard
Also read this beautiful analysis by Dr. Clint Fuhs titled: Anatomy of a Smear: The Internet Trial of Marc Gafni
We are delighted to have just completed our 6th annual board meeting of the Center for Integral Wisdom. The meeting took place over three days in Mill Valley, CA.
It was particularly gratifying to have the participation of all of of the leading partners in the Center for the last six years.
The theme of the meeting was “Integrity and Intimacy”. Fifty leaders of the Center participated. There were over thirty distinct talks reporting on all the key projects and initiatives of the Center. Each project involves the articulation, writing or recording of a distinct meme of evolutionary thinking on topics ranging from economics, identity, medicine, education, relationships, and conflict, to the evolution of public culture. Many board leaders felt that this was one of the most powerful and poignant weekends of their life.
One of the topics that was emergent in the Center’s vision was a new commitment to the evolution of public culture. There was much conversation about an upcoming symposium the Center is hosting, entitled “Sociopaths, Scapegoats and the Madness of Crowds: Anatomy of a Smear Campaign – On the Evolution of Public Culture.”
The Center renewed its commitment to the core principles of fairness, justice, fact checking and restorative justice, which are core to the evolution of consciousness and culture.
Part of the annual agenda of the board is always to appreciate the outgoing board team which is completing their terms, and to welcome the new leadership team — both professionally and in terms of the board leadership who are beginning their tenure.
It was particularly special to thank John Mackey for his outstanding service as board co-chair. As is the tradition for outgoing board chairs when they conclude their terms of service, John gave his closing talk to the the board and welcomed Barbara Marx Hubbard as the new board co-chair who gave her first opening talk. This passing of the baton that takes place whenever a leader terms out and a new leader begins their term is a particularly moving moment of partnership and community. Both John’s and Barbara’s talks, which were about the nature of genuine integrity, were particularly powerful.
We look forward to our best year ever. We are fully committed to evolving the source code of culture and consciousness. We are fully committed to the evolution of love.
Barbara Marx Hubbard and Marc Gafni in Dialogue during her Evolutionary Testament Webinar
We are excited to share with you the recording of this exciting webinar from Barbara Marx Hubbard’s online course about her newest book The Evolutionary Testament of Co-Creation: The Promise Will Be Kept. CIW-Founder Marc Gafni was invited as a guest speaker.
In this webinar, you will learn:
- Why God is not only the infinity of power but also the infinity of intimacy
- How YOU are God’s or evolution’s unique intimacy
- Why God (or reality or the universe) needs YOUR service
- How evolution creates newness through joining separate parts into a larger whole
- Why your birthday is the day when God decided that She couldn’t do without you
- How to Become the New Human by joining genius as Unique Selves
- What happens in the “tomb of metamorphosis”
- How Sacred Text Study can be recovered as an essential part of our Evolutionary Spirituality Practices
Within a lively Question and Answer section, Barbara and Marc express their desire to work together more deeply for the sake of the Planetary Awakening and the Unique Self Symphony coming alive. They are inviting a small group of about 25 people to Barbara’s Center in Berkeley for a Sacred Retreat on Evolutionary Spirituality in May 2016.
If you are interested, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch and listen to the webinar here:
The Three Levels of Sacred Text Study
- Hach’na’ah = Submission: A total surrender to the text, where we read the text as if it was written directly by God to us. This is the way fundamentalists read sacred text as the only valid way. In Evolutionary Spirituality we recover Stage 1 as an important but not exclusive practice.
- Havdalah = Separation: Here we take a step back and separate from the text to analyze it. We look at the historic context. We compare it to other pieces. We ask ourselves: “What might that mean?” This level is the scientific way of reading the text.
- Hamtaka = Sweetness: This level transcends and includes the first two. The reader penetrates the text while simultaneously fully receiving the text. In the non-dual merger between the reader and text, new revelation is born. This is the way of the evolutionary mystic.
Read more about Sacred Text Study here.
In this interview with Larry Michel, Daniel Schmachtenberger (CIW Scholar) talks about a new trajectory for humanity. Some of the best environment scientists who are deep in the metrics of how the biosphere is changing and how the life support systems of the planet are changing are deeply concerned about the sustainability of our species on this planet.
Watch this interview with Daniel to get a systems view of the root causes of our global issues and a vision for our emerging civilization.
Daniel Schmachtenberger, CIW Scholar, is the Founder of The Emergence Project and the previous think tank that lead to its formation — Strategic Global Solutions. His background in systems science, human behavior, and activism brought him to focus on the global systems that interconnect and drive our major global challenges.
He has spent much of the last decade studying the etiology, scope, magnitude, timelines, and interconnectedness of major issues; inventorying global resources and solutions; doing detailedcomparative analysis of economic and comparative analysis of economic and governance systems; and developing comprehensive systems solutions, adequate to the issues and realistically achievable.
Daniel has expertise as a social science, a social engineer and evolutionary philosopher and strategist. His aim is to develop an integrated set of technologies and processes capable of organizing and supporting a distributed and continually updating comprehensive critical path management system for humanity’s total evolution. He is working to repurpose and synthesize relevant state-of-the-art systems for information management, complexity processing, mathematical forecasting, and other data science tools into an integrated set of functions capable of global resource allocation planning and strategy. His aim is the shortest path to a fundamentally redesigned world-system that makes possible and supports the highest quality of life for all life, now and ongoingly. Specifically, his focus is on the development of new systems of economics and governance that intrinsically incentivize life-enhancing behaviors at all levels of agency, supporting distributed and spontaneous problem solving and conscious participation in our global evolution.
We would like to introduce you to what we think is an important step forward in the evolution of human awareness and compassion. It’s a group that has proposed a White House Council on Boys and Men to President Obama. Headed by Warren Farrell the group has written a proposal that outlines the many reasons why this Council is needed.
Dr. Warren Farrell & The Center for Integral Wisdom
Dr. Warren Farrell, the Vice President of CIW for Gender Issues, is the author of books published in 17 languages, including international best-sellers The Myth of Male Power and Why Men Are the Way they Are. Farrell, Ken Wilber and Marc Gafni have done numerous interviews together. Farrell, Gafni and John Gray are co-authoring Beyond Mars and Venus. Dr. Farrell’s popular and profound talk Why Love is Such a Mess, delivered at the Integral Spiritual Experience 2, shows how the real transition to gender liberation is the transition from Stage I survival to Stage II discovery of fulfillment—fulfillment that neither sex had in the past.
The Back Story
When Dr. Warren Farrell received a call from the White House in 2009 to be an adviser to the White House Council on Women and Girls given his background on the Board of the National Organization for Women in NYC, he quickly consented. But he added there was also a need for a White House Council on Boys and Men.
The commission is working to bring a group of boys, girls, men and women to Iowa and New Hampshire. The hope is to personally tell the legislators about the hardships that are being faced. We need your help to make this happen.
Watch the coalition members speaking to the candidates
Daniel Schmachtenberger is the Founder of the Emergence Project and has recently come on board with the Center for Integral Wisdom as a scholar.
At the CIW board meeting in March 2015 in Texas, Daniel gave a fantastic talk about his outrageous dream: that one day, the sentence “We live in a world of outrageous pain” is no longer true.
Listen to his talk below and join him in his outrageous dream.
Here are some key points he makes during the talk:
- The universe is unprecedented; every emergence of evolution is unprecedented.
- Our stakeholders are all sentient beings now and forever.
- We need to become conscious agents for symbiosis, organization, synergy, and the advance of novelty and uniqueness.
- Trying to solve a problem – without recognizing how it is interconnected with all the other problems – externalizes harm to something else that matters.
- What would I be without the rest of the universe?
- Daniel’s Unique Gift: His inability to accept unnecessary suffering
- Daniel’s outrageous dream: One day the sentence “We live in a world of outrageous pain” is no longer true.
- We live in a world of outrageous pain – not because of duality, but because of collective insanity.
- Evolution does a kind of iterative evolution and then discrete jumps. These jumps happen both when they can and when they have to.
- When the kind of consciousness that can externalize harm has the technology representing an existential risk for all of us, that consciousness has to shift.
- Earth is a tiny spaceship floating through space.
- How do we trigger the emergence of a self-organizing, effectively self-governing, self-evolving global civilization so that we are not solving problems that we are still structurally causing, inducing and incentivizing?
- How can we make obsolete the basis of all of our problems by not conditioning harm-causing, dysfunctional human behavior in the first place?
- We can translate all our global problems to groups of humans doing particular activities that are causing them, and we can look at what conditioned these patterns of behavior in those people.
- There are determinants of behavior in all quadrants (internal/external, individual/collective).
- We need to optimize for all life, for all things that matter, simultaneously; as not in conflict with each other but rather, symbiotic with each other.
- Reconciling paradox is part of an Integral consciousness. How do we get from either/or to both/and?
- All of it matters, and all the things that matter are not mutually exclusive; they are mutually supportive to each other.
- When we value the scarcity of things we artificially manufacture the scarcity of things.
- How can we condition omni-considerate, integrally developed behavior in everybody, intrinsically, as a basis for self-governance?
- Nothing less than that is adequate to what we want to do. So, that’s our task.
Marc Gafni then frames this conversation in relation to the Center. While CIW invests major efforts in reweaving the narrative of existence–which is mainly about interiors–Daniel and the Emergence Project emphasize the systemic, structural questions–thus mainly exteriors. Long mutual conversations resulted in the choice at CIW to bring those two perspectives and projects together in synergy.