Looking Up

Jessie Mannisto / May 1, 2020

Editor-in-Chief Jessie Mannisto introduces Issue 12: Upward, our May/June 2020 release.

Dear Readers,

In our last issue, we tried to reflect on ourselves. In this issue, we try to build on that reflection by aiming upward.  Even if we’re not there yet, we can see it off in the distance.  We’re striving toward a place where we escape from the boxes we’ve trapped ourselves in.  We’re checking whether we still need the crutches we’ve been using.  And we’re sharing stories of people who have inspired us with their progress.

To kick off the issue, we talk to Scott Barry Kaufman about some ideas from his new book, Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization.  Though his book is about Abraham Maslow, Kaufman also knows a lot about Kazimierz Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration, and he’s a noted expert and original thinker on gifted education and twice-exceptionality.  In our interview, Transcending Labels, he offers some thoughts on places we might want to reflect and reconsider our ideas as we pursue reintegration at a higher level.

In a take that complements Dr. Kaufman’s take, Benita Jeanelle returns with a story of how embracing the label “gifted” didn’t quite work out the way she’d hoped.  In Is the Sky Blue Because It’s Gifted?, she shares how and why she founded a Gifted Adults Meetup—and how it made clear to her what she was really searching for.

Now, most people I know who use the word “gifted” are ambivalent about it; they just don’t know any other word for what they’re trying to say.  For some, importantly, the word functions as a psychological life preserver in rough seas.  Still, the more the Third Factor team talks to people about this word, the more its shortcomings become clear.  In When the G-Word Gets in the Way, I (Jessie Mannisto) discuss some of these issues.

But the path to change and growth can’t simply be taught; it can only be lived and worked out along the way.  In The Bumpy Journey to Better, new contributor Selena Ng chronicles her journey from first recognizing herself in the pages of Living With Intensity through her struggle to bridge the gap between what is and what ought to be.  As she looks back on this process, she gets a different perspective on that “ought,” and how she might bring it about.

The journey, of course, is never an easy.  In To the Far Side of the Earth and Back, Part II of his saga of disintegration and reintegration as an expat, Maxwell Olin Massa returns from China to face a string of crises.  Ultimately, his intellectual drive puts him face to face with his mortality, with a surprising effect on his overexcitability.

To complement our memoirs of growth, we’ve also got a bit of biography, as Krystyna Laycraft returns with Part I of her profile of Marie Curie.  In The Positive Disintegration of Maria Sklodowska Curie, Laycraft describes the Dabrowskian developmental potential that the renowned scientist showed in her childhood and adolescence. As she tries to make sense of the challenges of life under the rule of the Russian empire and the challenges that her family faces, we see what it looks like to grow toward a higher path.

As we reflect on the process of growth, though, it’s good to remember that it’s not a competition.  Unfortunately, argues Roland Persson, the globalized culture we live in so strongly encourages us to compete—in work and in life in general—that we risk physiological damage.  In Challenging the Culture of Competition, Dr. Persson criticizes the notion that competition leads to excellence and offers advice on minimizing the harms of this view.

Call for Articles

Though we already have a full slate for our July/August issue, it’s not too early to pitch articles for the rest of 2020.  Here are some of the themes we’re considering putting together through mid-2021:

  • The Creative Experience
  • Intellectual Alienation
  • Balancing Intellect and Emotion
  • Spirituality and Reintegration
  • Relationships
  • Careers or Missions

Do any of these resonate with you?  If so, we’d love to hear from you.  (Please also review our guidelines on writing for us.)  We’ll decide on the topics for the issues to be published in September and November based on the responses we get to those possibilities from potential contributors.

Travel Status / Funding Update

Finally, we’d like to update those of you who so generously contributed to our GoFundMe to get us to a conference that was supposed to take place this spring but which, of course, has been postponed for a year because of the pandemic.  I’ll be following up with all of the contributors directly to offer a choice between a refund and letting us shift your donation to another big project we’re about to launch.

That’s all the news for this issue, so go ahead and scroll back up and click on some of those articles.

I hope all of you are safe, secure, and healthy in these bizarre times, and thank you for being part of our community.

All the best,
Jessie Mannisto
Editor in Chief

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