What are we to do when the world seems to disintegrate around us, to fail to live up to what we believe it could be? When it seems the wave we’ve been riding is about to collapse on top of us? That’s the theme that we explore in our July/August 2020 issue. About half of this batch of articles are focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, which we presume has touched all of our readers, wherever you are around the globe. The pandemic has driven home what it means to be positively maladjusted, as our contributors explore from a variety of angles, some more optimistic, some more pessimistic. If you’re trying to avoid mention of the coronavirus, however, don’t worry: we have plenty of other opportunities to be positively maladjusted, too.
In Positive Disintegration and the Pandemic, Laura Stavinoha returns with a bit of hope. Kazimierz Dabrowski suggested that we could apply his theory of positive disintegration to societies just as we apply it to individuals. This, argues Laura, should prompt us to seize the opportunity within this disintegration and remake society at a higher level.
In The Canary in the Coal Mine, returning contributor Foske de Kruijf looks at the imbalances in our lives that have been laid bare by our new routines—imbalances that might have been evident to some sensitive people long before the novel coronavirus emerged. In this reflection, she considers what we might choose to keep when the virus eventually recedes from our lives.
In the meantime, of course, we still need to endure. Lest we suggest that all of the above should be easy, I thought I’d share a glimpse at how things have been rough in one particularly important and relevant part of my life. In The Anti-Creative Funk of Isolation, I offer what I’ve learned about my own creative process as my energy has lagged under social distancing.
As a supplement to that, I wrote up a silly little piece on an interest that I’ve taken up under lockdown: namely, wine tasting. In Bottles of Intellect, Imagination, and Emotion, I share how developing my ability to notice tastes and smells from far-off lands has been a way to briefly escape lockdown, in a way that’s not quite as unhealthy as it might sound.
Stepping away from COVID-19 and back in time, Krystyna Laycraft concludes her two part series with The Positive Disintegration of Maria Sklodowska Curie, Part II: Autonomous Growth. With a deep dive into the dynamisms of organized multilevel disintegration, Krystyna uses the life of this remarkable woman to illustrate just what Dabrowski’s third factor is all about.
We also welcome new contributor Ian Simm, whose piece Friendships of the Good dives into social expectations for friendship for men and boys in the modern United Kingdom. These norms, he argues, are less than ideal, especially for emotionally excitable men. Going all the way back to Ancient Greece, Ian shows us that it hasn’t always been that way—which suggests it doesn’t have to remain so.
Finally, we are delighted to share the first half of our interview with Michael Piechowski, In Search of Exemplars. Many of you will know Dr. Piechowski from his book Living With Intensity and his work with Dr. Dabrowski. If you’re familiar with his biographical profiles of individuals who seem to have reached level IV or V, you’ll especially enjoy our chat.
We’re Taking a Brief Sabbatical
We also have some news: our editorial team has agreed that we need to take a break. Happily, Third Factor has grown enough that we need to step back and reflect on which of many possible projects would be the best place to expend our limited resources. Eunice and I spend the bulk of our time working with our contributors to develop and polish articles or seeking out new people whose stories would fit in our publication. Along the way, we’ve also encountered some projects that are fully worth our time—but which would require more of it than we have left. As both an editor and a contributor, I’d also like to dive into some writing projects, including some that would take a considerable amount of time and energy to research; because of the editing work I do, however, I haven’t been able to work on those thus far. These include some requests from readers, so I hope the results will prove worth it to you.
All of this means, however, that we need to take a break from our regular bimonthly schedule. Therefore, the next issue is tentatively scheduled to be our November/December 2020 issue. This is subject to change: it is possible that, as we shake things up in our routines, we’ll end up with some good content that is ready to be posted earlier, perhaps on time for what would have been the September/October issue. (I have some drafts waiting in the wings which may well show up there, at least as a mini-issue. I make no promises with respect to timing, however, as the main thing that our editorial team needs right now is freedom to pursue these other promising paths.)
So we’ll be calling it a sabbatical. There are enough interesting things for us to explore during this time that I feel confident in saying that at least one of them is likely to materialize. For those of you who support us financially, however, in the event that no issue is in the works by late August, I will pause Patreon deductions and keep them paused until the next issue is published.
In the meantime, we hope all of you enjoy our July/August issue. We’re looking forward to having a stronger, deeper, and better magazine to share with you when we next publish!
All the best,
Editor in Chief