June 12, 2009

An Interview with Daniel Gustav Anderson

Below is a transcript of an interview Erik S. Thornquist conducted with Daniel Gustav Anderson by email between 30 April and 26 May 2009, originally published by Integral World.

Daniel Gustav Anderson is a literary scholar, cultural critic and integral theorist currently teaching literature and cultural history in Washington D.C. Along with Mark Edwards, Steve McIntosh and Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, Anderson is one of the most innovative thinkers to emerge out of the integral movement.

This interview highlights the importance of evolving a much more radical approach to integral thinking, being and doing. Daniel and Erik challenge us to reconceptualize what it means to intentionally explore an ever expansive worldview. Enjoy.
Nonviolence of Nonmetaphysics
An Interview with Daniel Gustav Anderson

Erik: How did you become interested in integral theory?

Daniel: How I came to be interested in integral theory and integral culture is a separate question from how I came to be committed to an integral project. I'll try to address both of them.

The first has to do with everyday life for me. I am an intellectual by trade and a practicing Buddhist. My politics have always been to the left as a matter of conscience. There are other factors but I don't think my life is interesting. I find memoirs rather dull and, as the great American sage Steveland Morris observes, I don't want to bore you with my troubles. The gist of it: my commitment to this project comes from an unwillingness to endure the sufferings of others when that suffering could be avoided. I don't want to see children who should be developing into responsible adults go hungry and not learn to read, for instance. There's something wrong with me that I can't tolerate it, like you can't just sit there and watch your grandmother trip and fall down a flight of stairs with a disinterested attitude. I can't do that, I'm not that cool, so I have to step in and do what I can. This has meant that I have spent most of my adult life learning how to do certain things, and learning what is possible for me to do well. I read a lot. I am slowly losing my hearing, so I will never be a revolutionary piano tuner, but I have found that I can write American English. So, I write American English.

How specifically did I become committed to integral theory? I was teaching English Literature surveys as a lecturer at the University of Idaho. My students were struck by some passages in Matthew Arnold that I had asked them to read, which reminded me of some materials I had been studying on my own in Aurobindo Ghose. I have long been an admirer of Aurobindo's poetic work, and had some notes on a paper regarding some problems in Aurobindo's poetry and also his theories of time and race. So I put all this together in a tidy package and submitted it on a lark to the Integral Review. The editors at that journal did a remarkable thing: they decided to publish it but more importantly they challenged me.
Read More: Here
Also by Daniel Gustav Anderson: New Theses on Integral Micropolitics

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails