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In this thought-provoking podcast discussion, Mark Fischler and Corey deVos delve into the intricacies of Trump’s legal battles, the pursuit of accountability in politics, and the complexities of maintaining empathy and justice in a polarized society. They explore the significance of the January 6th Capitol insurrection and the ongoing investigation into election interference, as well as the pressing need for society to become more aware of trauma, particularly in cases of sexual abuse and rape. For an Integral Theory audience, this conversation artfully surfaces the pain points and challenges that arise from polarities such as individual rights versus collective well-being, and sensitivity to trauma versus the presumption of innocence.
Mark and Corey touch on the intensifying culture war in America, as evidenced by the internal war within the GOP, and the emergence of dysfunctional identities within broken systems. They address the impact of social media-induced dysmorphia on mental health and the need for integral solutions and exposure to different perspectives to foster acceptance. Furthermore, they discuss the role of the judiciary in upholding democratic principles, focusing on the ethics of Supreme Court Justices and the need for accountability and oversight in their lifetime appointments.
Throughout the conversation, Mark and Corey emphasize the importance of engaging with people from different walks of life and fostering understanding and listening to different perspectives. They call for putting aside the political lens and interacting with people as individuals, highlighting the need for civics education and experiential learning to deepen our appreciation of the moral and philosophical basis behind historical events. This insightful discussion invites listeners to grapple with the complexities of the current political and cultural landscape, while holding onto hope that in the midst of chaos, something new and integral will emerge.
Note: In this discussion, we refer to a phenomenon we call “the era of dysmorphia”, which emphasizes the dissociative effects that social media can have on our identity and sense of self. In the original talk we clarified the difference between “dysphoria” and “dysmorphia”, but due to a camera malfunction, this part had to be edited out of the final video.
The basic idea here is, we can see the relationship between a) biological sex, b) gender as a social construct, and c) identity as personal expression, as three different but related aspects of self that can go through a sequence of fusion (all three are the same) to differentiation (all three are related, but different) to integration (all three are seamlessly harmonized). In the differentiation phase, individuals can sometimes experience feelings of “dysphoria”, a feeling of unease or distress from one’s felt “shape of mind” not fully corresponding to their “shape of body”, allowing them to then recalibrate and reintegrate their mental/emotional bodies with their physical bodies in a healthy way. (The fact that our culture is beginning to learn how to make these differentiations is altogether a very positive step forward, allowing individuals far more range for self-expression.)
However, sometimes this differentiation of mind, body, and cultural conditioning can be difficult to reintegrate, bringing us from a state of “differentiation” to a one of “dissociation” (all three are totally separate, or all three can be reduced to only one) which is often where feelings of severe dysmorphia can afflict individuals. We use this most severe form, “dysmorphia”, to emphasize the overall dissociative and disembodying effects that social media is having upon individuals, particularly adolescents who are already going through a number of rapid differentiations and reintegrations in their emerging identities.
Here are some of the most critical polarities to consider while listening to this broadcast.
Trump’s Legal Woes
Trump has been accused of reimbursing Michael Cohen for payments made to Stormy Daniels, a porn star that Trump allegedly had sexual relations with, who could have potentially embarrassed Trump before the 2016 presidential election. Alvin Bragg is considering charging Trump with a felony violation of state election laws, which could result in probation. However, there is uncertainty as to whether federal law preempts state law, and the charges may be seen as a technicality rather than a serious crime.
Comparisons to the Bill Clinton Affair
The conversation compares the prosecution of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, and mentions a civil case where E.Jean Carroll sued Trump for rape and defamation. The rape allegedly happened in the 1990s, and Trump denies the allegations. The case is currently happening in Manhattan. The context discusses the tricky topic of type-type rhetoric and the difficulty of proving allegations of sexual assault from years ago.
The discussion between Corey deVos and Mark Fischler touches upon the issue of supporting women and the impact of assault on one woman affecting all women, while also emphasizing the presumption of innocence. They also discuss the ongoing investigation about interference and obstruction related to the 2020 US presidential election.
Awareness of Trauma
Mark and Corey discuss the need for society to become more aware of trauma, particularly in cases of sexual abuse and rape. It highlights the challenge of remaining sensitive while also acknowledging the existence of false allegations. The speaker shares a personal experience of being falsely accused of sexual assault, emphasizing the trauma and devastation that come with such accusations and highlighting the importance of clear thinking and staying open to facts in cases like Donald Trump’s.
January 6th Capitol Insurrection
The context discusses the significance of the non-peaceful transfer of power on January 6th and its impact on American identity. The speakers argue that those who undermine democratic principles must be held accountable and the rule of law must be respected. Mark and Corey discuss the issue of holding those accountable for attempting to undermine the election, and believes there is evidence pointing towards deliberate efforts to do so.
Internal War Within GOP & Culture War in America
The context discusses the current internal war within the GOP and the intensifying culture war in America. The author notes that the developmental stages of development are pulling away from each other, potentially leading to a warm civil war. The speakers discuss their concerns about the current state of politics, culture, and economics, but also hold onto hope that in the midst of the chaos, something new and integral will emerge. They touch on the importance of reflecting on why certain approaches don’t work, and how acute problems are necessary to bring about change.
Election Interference & Legal Ramifications
One speaker cites an example of a district attorney in Georgia and the pressure on officials to change votes. A recording of President Trump pressuring Georgia’s Secretary of State to “find” 11,800 votes. Further discussion on potential legal ramifications for election interference and related crimes, before moving on to a cultural shift towards ultra MAGA conservatism in Tennessee. Lawmakers in Tennessee and Montana are facing criticism for using the word “insurrection” to justify the expulsion of Democratic lawmakers and the ban of gender affirming care. Critics argue this is part of a larger attempt by conservative movements to push their culture war agenda, and to dilute the impact of the word “insurrection”.
Political Hypocrisy & Value of Rules
Additionally, a recent vote on gun control in Tennessee has been criticized for being undemocratic and partisan. There is a history of politicians protesting on the floor of the House and not being expelled, but a recent incident involving a member being silenced for speaking out has sparked conversations about political hypocrisy and the value of rules versus multiple perspectives.
Social Media Induced Dysmorphia
The loss of dialogue and diversity in politics is a concern for Mark, who sees deliberate efforts to create super majorities in states and extreme views taking hold. He believes that without inclusivity and democracy, our democracy is at risk. Social media’s perverse incentives and sorting algorithms have created a culture of constant conflict and epistemic bubbles leading to social media induced dysmorphia, exacerbated by filters on apps like TikTok and Instagram. This dysmorphia is causing an increase in non-conventional identities.
Dysfunctional Identities within Broken Systems
The emergence of dysfunctional identities within broken systems is a concern. Dysmorphia is a serious issue, and providing gender-affirming care is often the best option for those affected, particularly in the transgendered community where the suicide rate is tragically high. Conversations need to be had about systemic causes of dysmorphia and how to best take care of those affected.
Left vs Right Approach
The left promotes full acceptance and self-expression, but this can lead to illiberal tactics. The issue is particularly complicated for adolescents. The speaker talks about the complexity of gender identity and the need for caution in making decisions around it for children. They also express concern about the impact of social media on mental health and hope for a solution through technology. Finally, they discuss the interplay between extreme positions on the issue.
The Pain Felt by Marginalized Groups
The context discusses the pain felt by marginalized groups including LGBTQ+ individuals due to worsening societal issues. It also mentions the role of social media and the need for integral solutions and exposure to different perspectives for acceptance.
The Woke Movement
The speaker expresses concern that the woke movement is creating a regression from Green to Amber, and that academic institutions may not be producing enough Green thinkers, potentially damaging progress. They also mention the “left-handed dynamic” as a possibility for the increase of woke individuals. Increased acceptance and technological advancements may be contributing to the rise in transgender identities. The “left-handed effect” suggests this trend will plateau and normalize over time.
Justice Clarence Thomas Accepting Gifts
ProPublica investigated Justice Clarence Thomas accepting gifts from a conservative billionaire. Supreme Court Justices, including Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch (recent past Supreme Court Justices on the left Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer had accepted similar gifts), have been criticized for accepting lavish gifts and trips without disclosing them. This raises concerns about the impartiality and ethics of the judiciary. The conversation discusses the potential influence of wealthy donors on Supreme Court judges, particularly in regards to Justice Clarence Thomas and his relationship with billionaire Harlan Crow. The conversation also mentions new accounting rules that would require disclosure of Thomas’ activities, but questions whether they have any real impact. The need for Justices to recuse themselves is emphasized.
Individuals with Higher Levels of Consciousness
Corey and Mark talk about how individuals with a higher level of consciousness would not go on lavish trips because they understand the implications of their actions. Examples of individuals with this level of consciousness are provided.
The Need for Accountability and Oversight
The need for more people in positions of power and politics, particularly in the judiciary, and the lack of oversight in the lifetime appointments of Supreme Court Justices is discussed. Accountability and oversight are essential to maintain democratic institutions and prevent a regression towards social entropy. Lack of accountability can lead to the erosion of stability and hard-won rights.
Civics Education as a Solution
Civics education is suggested as a solution, with an example of a trip to experience historical sites. The importance of understanding the moral and philosophical basis behind historical events is emphasized, particularly in regards to the Civil War and the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.
The Need for Interaction Between Different Walks of Life
Engaging with people from different walks of life is highlighted as important for civic participation. Politics has become the primary lens through which people view the world; Corey calls for putting aside this lens and interacting with people as individuals. They also discuss a trip to Europe and meeting people from different backgrounds, emphasizing the importance of understanding and listening to different perspectives.
Inclusivity Across Developmental Stages
It is imperative for those at later developmental stages to be inclusive of those at earlier stages to fully appreciate the range of human wisdom. The speakers encourage embodying curiosity towards all beings, as it allows for more meaningful and full conversations.
Previous Episodes of Integral Justice Warrior
From Socrates to Social Media: Renewing Our Commitment to Free Speech
Peace, Love, and Politics: A Campaign to Transform America
Transform the Police: A More Integral Approach to Law Enforcement
Taking Justice Personally
Abortion, Freedom, and the Sanctity of Life
Has the Supreme Court Lost Its Way?
What’s Wrong With Education (And How Can We Fix It?)
What Is Integral Justice?
Justice Breyer, Originalism, and the Engine of Enfoldment
Wicked Problems: Bringing Wisdom and Compassion to Immigration
Afghanistan: Meeting at the Crossroads of Complexity, Chaos, and Compassion
The Forgotten People: Restoring Justice for Indigenous Cultures
Israel/Palestine: Where Do We Go From Here?
What’s Wrong With Policing in America?
Heartbreak in Boulder: Finding Meaning in the Wake of Tragedy
From Woke to Awake: An Intersectionality of Perspective
Biden’s First Month, Trump’s Second Impeachment, and Cancelling Cancel Culture
Insurrection, Censorship, and Madness
Supreme Court, Systemic Racism, and Sea Monsters
The Fierce Urgency of Now
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About Mark Fischler
Mark Fischler is a Professor of Criminal justice and current program coordinator for the criminal justice and criminology programs at Plymouth State University. Prior to joining the Plymouth State faculty, he practiced law, representing poor criminal defendants for the New Hampshire Public Defender’s Office. Mark has worked extensively with alternative theoretical models in law, constitutional law, and higher education, and has published on integral applications to teaching, being a lawyer, and legal theory. His focus in the classroom is ethics and criminal procedure, and is well respected for a teaching philosophy that emphasizes recognizing the humanity and dignity of each student. Professor Fischler was awarded the outstanding teaching award at his university in 2014. He currently offers a weekly Spiritual Inquiry class through Satya Yoga Studio.
About Corey deVos
Corey W. deVos is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of KenWilber.com. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.