INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
SEE MORE ESSAYS WRITTEN BY MARTIN ERDMANN
is a German writer, poet, retired lecturer of Heidelberg University. He completed studies of English, French, and of legal science, both at the University of Heidelberg. He wrote several books in German focusing on the illusion of the I or Ego. As a cofounder of the German Spiritual Emergence Network (S. E. N) he provided counseling to people undergoing spiritual crises. For several years now he has conducted seminars on Advaita-Vedanta. (email: email@example.com Homepage: www.satsa.de
Ken Wilber's Blind Spot
A Giant deluded in his Seeing,
Dazed by The Simple Feeling of Being
The Simple Feeling of Being, Embracing Your True Nature, presents, so the foreword, Wilber's “mystical core that permeates both his life and work.” The essay will delve into the Wilberian core to have it disclosed as two strangely contradictory ego-theories. In one of the theories Ken Wilber presents himself as a Nice Guy who, so the preface again, “gently takes our hand and walks us into the vastness that is our own true Self.” In the other ego-theory Ken Wilber acts as a strikingly Rough Neck, here displayed in a singular spelling to befit Ken Wilber's singular enterprise. It is a fantastic undertaking, which has been contrived to support the ego-crushing design of Rude Boy Andrew, who slaps his devotees in the face. This, so Rough Neck, will show them their Original face, which is their own true Self. What we find here is a mystifying ego-fog clouding the reader's vision, which the ensuing exposition wishes to unveil. As the fog lifts, a truly uniting core begins to reveal itself beyond ego. Wilberians look up to Ken Wilber as a Giant, who is the world's greatest integral pioneer. A so-called Giant Wilber may BE, but, so concludes the essay: He is a Giant who does not SEE.
Table of Contents
- The myth of an ego
- Starving the Ego
- The Self contracted as an Ego
- A Wilberian Anger
- Not a magic potion to be imbibed
- Ken Wilber's self-contraction
- A Wilberian Emptiness
- Rejoicing in a dreamt-up freedom
- Whirling and swirling for all eternity
- Nice Guy Wilber and Rough Neck Wilber joyously holding hands
- The punching psychotherapist
- Ken smiling his Rough Neck smile
- Two opposed ego-theories integrally united
- The Simple Illusion of Being
- Ken Wilber's sacred shadow for Wilberians not to be touched
- A Wilberian God that cannot be seen: Meister Eckhart aborted
- Ramana Maharshi distorted
- Wilber's timeless time floating through awareness
- A passed on neurosis mistaken for a bouquet of new roses
- A boozed up enlightenment
- No-thing united with some-thing
- A Giant denuded
- Wilber & Adi Da deluded
- A prerational Ken Wilber
- The jargon and the psychobabble
- All one in the All
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1. The myth of an ego
Alluding to the great confusion existing in a mainstream psychological literature Wilber writes: “The problem is that the word 'ego' is used in a thousand different ways by different theorists.” (2000: 240) The bewilderment, so I would like to argue, stems from a misconception, which has not been seen in the different ego-theories, Wilber's theories included. Our theorists believe that there is something like the ego to be found. In The Real Cause of Andrew Cohen's Dilemma Part II I argued that the unreal I or ego as such does not exist. It is not the I, which composes these lines. I write these lines. We talk of the I or the ego in terms of a linguistic convention only for our exploration to be conducted. What we call the unreal I or ego is only a frame of mind, a state of consciousness of the real I, which has gone astray.
Our psychologists wish to build their theories on the conception of an ego that exists. So everyone wants to have the right definition of the ego now. This way they are all looking for something that cannot be found. Thus they are engaged in a metaphysical project without noticing it. Ken Wilber caught up in the same dilemma adds his own ever new notions of an ego, which for him has a real existence. The ensuing exposition deals with two of Wilber's ego-theories which stand in blatant contrast to each other. I would like to give a brief outline here, to which we shall return later.
In his work One Taste Wilber presents an ego-theory, which proclaims that you must not try to destroy the ego. When you do this, it is the ego, which attempts to demolish the ego. This way the ego affirms itself, the result being a strengthening, a fortification of the ego. In his forword in Cohen's Living Enlightenment, to fervently support Rude Boy Andrew in his ego-crushing design, Wilber advocates an ego-theory, which sees the ego as an inimical object that must be destroyed. Wilber does not see that the two ego-theories are diametrically opposed to each other. So they find themselves cordially united in Wilber's The Simple Feeling of Being, Embracing Your True Nature. For our exploration to be conducted I would first like to give my own view of the ego to then return to Wilber's disparate theories.
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2. Starving the Ego
As an ego we are craving for something, which we want to have for our personal gratification. We desire to have social prestige, money, a sex partner. Preoccupied with the objects of our desire we are afraid the other person might get what we wish to have for ourselves. When the rivaling party gets the woman, the job we wanted to have for ourselves, we get angry. Is there no chance to ever have for ourselves what the other person has for him or herself we become sad, depressed maybe. So we have an ego fed by our feelings of anxiety, anger, grief, an ego nourished by all the other emotions we indulge in.
Emotions arise in our subconscious mind. You do not consciously decide to be anxious, angry or sad. If you do not believe this, I would like to ask you to make a conscious effort to be real worried now. Go ahead to be real angry now. Watch the anger rising in your mind. Observe how you are totally overtaken by your anger. You see it does not work.
Now look at the opposite situation, at an incident in your life where you are totally angry. Think now of not being angry. That is what I ask you to do now. Again you see it does not work. In trying to get rid of your anger, you think of the anger you do not want to have, which makes things even worse. The very desire not to be angry increases your anger.
You cannot consciously annihilate, demolish your feelings of anger, fear, and grief. You might convince yourself that you managed to uproot, to eradicate all these unpleasant feelings. But this is an illusion you cherish. You think you have abandoned these negative emotions. In reality you have just suppressed them. So they keep on exerting themselves in your subconscious mind, quite deviously now, because you are no longer aware of your negative feelings.
We cannot eradicate our anger. The attempt to wipe out our anger increases it. We have to move into the opposite direction. We must accept our anger, feel our anger; we must sink into it, become one with it. The anger is an emotion divorced from our true nature, from pure consciousness, which we see as pure Emptiness when realized. When we become one with our anger, it dissolves. The same applies to envy, to fear, to grief, to all the other emotions we indulge in.
In our satsangs, conducted here in Germany near the city of Heidelberg, we first assign a name to the emotion we experience. This is a first step we take, which enables us to feel the emotion as such. Let us say the prevailing emotion, which we experience, is anger. So it will be classified as anger. After a while it may happen that the emotion of anger makes room for the underlying emotion of fear, which rises to the surface of our consciousness. So what we experience now will be called fear. The fear we perceive then gives way to a feeling of sadness, which begins to rise in our consciousness. So this feeling will be named sadness now.
After having witnessed these emotions for some time we drop the labels of language. What we experience we do not classify it any more as anger, fright, grief, as some other emotion with a name tag stuck on to it. We just experience the emotional state as such, sink into it, become one with it.
When consciousness becomes one with the nameless emotional state, it can happen that the emotional state itself disappears. Now the ego lives on these emotions of rage, anxiety, anguish. With all the emotions gone the ego or unreal I dwindles away. What lights up is the real I, which is blissful consciousness seen as pure Emptiness.
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3. The Self contracted as an Ego
As the unreal I one is identified as this particular person one believes to be, as this Greek persona or mask, who believes to be intelligent, dumb, honest, mischievous. This is a way of distinguishing oneself from all other people one comes in contact with.
Let us say a person you respect, admire walks up to you and tells you: You are a big fool. In a process, which happens subconsciously, you turn the You into an I. So you say to yourself now: I am a big fool to feel angry, depressed maybe. Twenty minutes later another person whom you highly esteem says to you: You are a great guy really. The big fool is forgotten, while you say to yourself: I am a great guy. The anger, the sadness you experienced a while ago has disappeared, suppressed maybe. So you are not consciously aware of it. So you feel elated now.
We see, our emotions depend on the whim and mood of the people surrounding us, on the social standards they believe in to project them onto our consciousness. So we find ourselves restricted, restrained in our feelings, our actions. When you say this, they think you are great. When you do that they say you are a damn fool. We want to be respected, be loved by other people. So we adjust our actions, our thoughts to the rules and standards of the society we live in. Thus the free flow of life becomes subdued, suppressed.
When the unreal I or ego is gone I am nobody. So there is nobody depending on the whims of society, nobody to have any of these confining emotions of anger, grief, elation. The walls of our self-constructed prisons have disappeared. Life is flowing freely, abundantly now. It is a blissful state. As a rule the beatific state lasts only for some time. Then the craving to be somebody emerges to make itself felt.
Seen in its depth the unreal I or ego is nothing but the craving to be somebody, to be this particular person, who is respected, despised, admired. What we do now is to feel the craving, to become consciously aware of it. The emotions of anger, fear, grief have fallen out of pure consciousness. On a deeper level it is the craving to be somebody, which has become divorced from pure consciousness. When we are consciously aware of our craving, when we truly feel it, sink into it, consciousness becomes one with it. So the craving to be somebody disappears. The true I, seen as pure Emptiness, lights up again.
In most cases, however, the craving to be somebody is so powerful that the practitioner becomes engulfed by it. Then the unreal I or ego, which sees itself as somebody, returns. It is a feeling, which is experienced as a self-contraction. When the real I was there, there was no self-contraction. There was only pure Emptiness to be seen. In Emptiness there was nobody to be confined, constrained. The Emptiness of the real I or Self is the free flow of life, which as an unreal I or ego goes into a state of self-contraction. There is nothing but the real I, which is either in a self-contracted or in a not self-contracted state. When it is in a self-contracted state we call it the unreal I or ego. It always remains the real I, which It is.
When we are identified as this particular person, as this persona or mask, we are in a state of self-contraction. Someone who has always been identified as this particular person, has always been in a state of self-contraction. That is why he has never experienced the self-contraction as such. For the self-contraction to be sensed as such it must have dissolved in between.
Were the whole world a blue sky, you would not see the sky. The blue sky can only be seen in opposition to the earth underneath, to a white cloud moving across the blue sky. The blue sky can only be perceived as contrasted with what it is not. Likewise someone who has always been in a state of self-contraction, does not experience the self-contraction as such. It can only be experienced in opposition to what it is not. That is the not self-contracted state, which is pure Emptiness.
When Emptiness is seen, the self-contracted state has disappeared. This is so, because Emptiness is the not self-contracted state. The real I seen as Emptiness can either be in a self-contracted or not self-contracted state. The two states are mutually exclusive. So It cannot be in both states at the same time. When you no longer see Emptiness, when the self-contracted state has returned, you can see the self-contraction as such. You see it as such as contrasted with the Emptiness, which you have seen.
Let us take a guy, called Peter, who like the vast majority of people, has all his life been in the self-contracted state. Peter is a generally happy person. Now one day he feels real tense, uptight. You ask Peter whether he feels self-contracted. Peter tells you that he does not understand what you are talking about. All he can say is that he feels tense and strained.
The next day Peter feels relaxed, happy again. Again you ask him whether he feels self-contracted. Again Peter tells you that he does not know what you are talking about. All he can say is that he does not feel tense any more, that he feels relaxed now.
Although he feels relaxed, Peter is in a self- contracted state. This is the case, because he believes to be this particular person, who sees himself as intelligent, respected, beloved. This is the unreal I or ego, which is the self-contracted state. This can only be seen when the persona has disappeared in between for true Emptiness to light up.
For Emptiness to flash forth into consciousness we must not try to destroy the ego. We must move into the opposite direction. We must not try to erase our emotions of anger, fear, and grief. We must feel these emotions, which go with the ego. At a deeper level we must feel the ego as what it really is. This is the craving to be an ego, which we must deeply feel. This is what makes the ego disappear.
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4. A Wilberian Anger
I do not say that it is easy. The first step is to feel the emotion, which afflicts, besieges us. Already at this stage the practitioner may run into difficulties. These stem from the following predicament. As human beings we naturally want to feel happy. Now it can be quite unpleasant to feel these emotions of anger, anxiety, grief. That is why these emotions do not want to be felt. For this reason they project themselves into a stream of thoughts, which cover up the underlying emotion.
Let us take the emotion of anger, for example. As long as we indulge in our thoughts we do not really feel our anger. When we are totally aware of our anger, there are no thoughts. You either feel your anger or you engage in the flow of thoughts.
So to be liberated from the flow of thoughts, we have to feel the anger, from which our thoughts spring. The anger feeds on our thoughts, our thoughts feed on our anger. When you only feel your anger, you deprive it of its life-blood, which is the flow of thoughts. So the anger dwindles away, starves from deprivation.
Now the problem is this. The stronger the anger is, the more strenuously we hold on to our thoughts, to cover up the underlying anger. Lost in the stream of thoughts we imagine an incessant flow of phenomena, of events, which will take us away from the unpleasant feeling of anger.
"...using his Zen sword of prajna to cut off the heads of critics..."
Let us take Ken Wilber for example. In "What We Are, That We See", Part I we see Ken Wilber masquerading as sheriff Wyatt Earp, who is out to save the Wild West from gangsters and evildoers. So Wilber wants to liberate his followers now from this gang of critics who are polluting an integral environment. Wilber writes:
"Oh, wait a minute, I forgot to include a violent metaphor. Let me think. Let me think really hard. Okay, Wyatt has got to go back to work now, back to the real world of real problems, problems that beg for integral care and consciousness... protecting the good and the true and the beautiful, while slaying partial-ass pervs, ripping their eyes out and pissing in their eye-sockets."
Then Wilber has Wyatt Earp appear as the great Zen master,
"using his Zen sword of prajna to cut off the heads of critics... and then rip their eyes out and piss in their eye-sockets, and slay the..."
We see a Ken Wilber who flies into a violent rage, which projects itself into these glaring reveries. All this time Wilber is not really aware of his own anger. He does not perceive his own wrath, as it is covered up by the monstrous thoughts he indulges in. So while engaging in his horrifying phantasy he imagines himself heroically wielding his Zen sword of prajna, which stands for the power of wisdom, of discernment. So he vividly sees himself liberating his undiscerning critics from ignorance.
Prajna or wisdom calls for a control of our anger and resentment, so that we can act as perceptively, as prudently as the interaction with our fellowmen requires. Wilber overwhelmed by his own anger, finds himself in an unwise, in an undiscerning state of mind. Yet he sees himself as a venerable Zen master making use of his Zen sword of prajna to liberate his critics from the ignorance, which has befallen them.
Wilber then proclaims that his "posting was phrased rudely on purpose: to separate the green from the yellow", as remarked by Visser in "Not So Fast, Cowbow". Thus he wants to make us believe that he employed his sword of prajna to sever the ties between the higher yellow and the lower green, so that, unimpeded by the lower green, the higher yellow will shine more brightly, to move up to turquoise maybe in his multicolored hierarchical scheme. Actually Wilber's Zen sword of pranja is a device unconsciously employed to keep this violent rage hidden from the eyes of his critics, from his own eyes really.
In cases of such violent rage the angry emotion can hardly rise to the surface of consciousness. It finds itself covered up by an incessant flow of thoughts nourishing the illusion of strength and power. So the underlying emotion of fear, the deeper feeling of grief, which emerges when one sees oneself as weak, as impotent, cannot rise to the surface of consciousness. In such a case it will be good to engage in some meditative practice first, like “centering prayer, vipassana, prayer of the heart, zikr, zazen, yoga”, as mentioned by Wilber in the reprinted chapter of One Taste on the dissolution of the ego (2004: 23), which will be dealt with in this essay.
In Ken Wilber on Meditation: A Baffling Babbling of Unending Nonsense, June 2013 Jim Andrews argues that Ken Wilber's key claims as to the growth accelerating effects of meditation are biased so that they do not stand up to a scientific scrutiny. The subject is delicate. At least the diverse forms of meditation cannot be as easily integrated into A Theory of Everything, 2000, as Ken Wilber would like to have it.
One thing the different methods of meditation can do is to take the practitioner away from the flow of thoughts. When the stream of thoughts has subsided, when relative peace has been established, one can (re)turn to the emotional state, which had been covered up by the incessant flow of thoughts.
In Wilber's case this would be the anger, from which his blood-thirsty thoughts have sprung. With an appropriate method of meditation it would be a lot easier now for Ken Wilber to stay with the unpleasant emotion, to sink into it, to become one with it, to see it dissolve maybe.
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5. Not a magic potion to be imbibed
Now feeling one's emotions is not a magic potion to be imbibed for pure consciousness to light up. The problem is that these emotions want to live on, want to survive. That is why these emotional blocks are quite resistant at times. The mere act of turning our attention towards them does not always dissolve them. At times the flow of attention glides round them to leave the emotional block intact. The sad news is that the block remains intact, the good news is that we feel the blockade as such. So we feel at least something. In other cases we do not even feel the emotional impediment.
Emotions are sensed in the solar plexus, round the belly, in the region of the chest, the heart, up the throat may be. An emotion not felt becomes pressed into the head region, where it is experienced as tension, as a headache in the more severe case. In the head you do not feel anger, fear or grief. You feel a tension, a headache, which is an emotion repressed.
If we do not feel the emotion, it remains repressed. In this case we have to look into the reasons preventing us from experiencing the emotion. We must investigate the reasons lying in our biography maybe. It is a process of exploration, of analysis we go into. This, however, must be handled with due reservation. We analyze only as much as is absolutely necessary.
When the emotion dissolves in the stream of consciousness, no analyzing, investigating is necessary. We have become liberated from the emotional block by consciously being aware of our anger.
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6. Ken Wilber's self-contraction
For these emotional blocks to be dissolved you must see the ego for what it is, what Wilber does not do. He writes: “You will notice that the separate self sense (or ego) simply arises in consciousness as everything else.” (2004: 21) This is a mistaken view of the ego embraced by Ken Wilber. What arises in consciousness are our thoughts, which come and go. The unreal I or ego does not come and go. It is an egoic state of consciousness of the real I. So the ego does not rise in consciousness like our thoughts do. For this the ego, after it has arisen, would have to disappear again. A disappearance of the ego means blissful Emptiness. The egoic frame of mind does not mean that ecstatic Emptiness flashes forth into consciousness in between states of self-contraction. In an egoic state of consciousness there is no blissful emptiness lighting up in intervals to disappear again.
The ego is not an object like our thoughts are. So there is no ego which rises in consciousness to dwindle away again. The ego as such does not exist. There is only the real I, which went astray in an egoic state of consciousness. This is what Wilber does not see. So he confuses the ego with an object that rises in our mind like our thoughts do.
The ego, continues Wilber, is a self-contraction. The statement, taken by itself, is correct. The problem is that Wilber, with his manifold theories of an ego, does not know what the ego is. He is not aware of the self-contraction as such, when he says: “You can actually feel the self-contraction, just like you can feel your legs, or feel a table, or feel a rock, or feel your feet. The self-contraction is a feeling of tension often localized behind the eyes, and anchored in a slight muscle tension throughout the body mind. It is an effort of contracting in the face of the whole world. It is a subtle whole-body tension. Simply notice this tension.” (2004: 21)
As I tried to show in above exposition, you do not feel the self-contraction, as long as you have not made the experience of the real I, which is the not self-contracted state. You do not feel the self-contraction, because it is the normal state you are in. It is a contraction which accompanies you throughout your waking consciousness. So there is nothing to compare it with. To see the self-contraction it must have disappeared in between in the not self-contracted state of the real I. Then you can, after the experience of the real I has vanished, see the self-contraction as such.
Wilber confuses “a feeling of tension often localized behind the eyes”, further “a slight muscle tension” with the sense of self-contraction. The self-contraction is there, as long as the egoic state of consciousness endures. The muscle tension comes and goes. We experience it temporarily, while in an egoic state of consciousness.
The feeling of tension localized behind the eyes, mentioned by Wilber, shows an emotion, which has been repressed. It is an emotion not felt where it can be sensed, that is round the solar plexus, heart, lungs, and throat. The unfelt emotion is pressed up into the head. It has frozen into a tension, which we feel behind the eyes. When more deeply frozen we experience it as a headache, as I mentioned above.
The muscle tension Wilber refers to is felt as long as the tension endures. You feel it as long as it is there. When it is gone, it is gone, with nothing left to be felt. What you experience is a tension, which is relative as compared to a state, in which the tension was not there. Should the newly arisen tension endure, it becomes the regular, the normal state of awareness, which accompanies you throughout your daily activities. Having become accustomed to the tension, you do not feel it any more.
The self-contraction as such is a form of inner tension. It is the fundamental, the primordial tension, from which all other tension springs. You do not feel the self-contraction as such, while immersed in the egoic state of consciousness. Sunk in your ego you do not sense it, as it is always there. You only become aware of it, when it has vanished in between, when the not self-contracted state of the real I has opened up, has become transparent for a while, to then dim out again, buried once more under the flow of emotions and thoughts.
A person, who has always been in an egoic frame of mind, is not aware of the self-contraction as such. For him the self-contraction is a term void of meaning. So there is nothing to be witnessed, to be observed.
What we are all acquainted with is the experience of muscle tension, which Wilber alludes to. So this is something we can start from in order to consider this tension in the light of Wilber's exposition now. Wilber stated that you can feel the muscle tension “just like you can feel... a table, or feel a rock... ”
Let us take the table. Here the American language is misleading. You say: I feel the table, I feel tense, I feel angry. In my native German tongue it is: Ich fühle den Tisch, ich fühle mich verspannt, ich fühle mich wütend. Literally translated into English this would be: I feel the table, I feel myself tense. I feel myself angry. So the German language does something, which the American language neglects to do. It denotes that feeling the table is different from feeling tense, from feeling angry. It tells you that the feeling of a muscle tension has something to do with yourself. The table you feel, is an object, which does not have anything to do with the emotional state you are in. The muscle tension you feel is not an object like the table is. It has to do with your own state of mind.
So the German language distinguishes between feeling a table and feeling tense, which the American language does not do. The American language suggests that one feeling is like the other. So we have “a feeling = a feeling”. The German language makes a distinction between the two ways of feeling. In the German language it is “a feeling ≠ a feeling”.
To feel the table you have to place your hand on the tabletop. To feel tense, to feel angry you do not have to place your hand anywhere. It is a feeling which has to do with yourself. You are not an object to yourself like the table is. The feeling is not conveyed to you through the sense of touch, or through any other sense, as in the case of the table. You have the immediate experience of feeling tense, of feeling angry.
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7. A Wilberian Emptiness
Now every normal American in his right mind will not be mislead by the linguistic connotations of the language he speaks. He just knows that feeling a table is not like feeling tense. Ken Wilber does not see this. The question is: Why does he not see this? The answer is: He does not see this, because he is not in his right mind.
“And so the practice... ” continues Wilber, to then give his readers a practice born from his own imagination. “When you rest in the Witness, or rest in I-I, or rest in Emptiness”, he says. “Simply notice the self-contraction.” (2004: 22)
This does not answer the question as to how Emptiness can be realized. Now for Wilber the question does not even exist. You are already in Emptiness. So just “rest in Emptiness”, he says, in which you “simply notice the self-contraction.”
This is not true Emptiness. It is a Wilberian Emptiness. Real Emptiness is seen as emptied of everything, so also of all self-contraction. Emptiness and self-contraction are mutually exclusive. In the Wilberian “Emptiness... you notice the self-contraction.” It is a self-contraction, which is equal to the ego. So it is an ego, which is present while you are in Emptiness. What Ken Wilber experiences is not true Emptiness, in which the unreal I or ego has dissolved. For Wilber the ego is still there. So there is no Emptiness, which has been realized.
Ken Wilber continues to say: “Rest in the Witness and feel the self-contraction. When you feel the self-contraction you are already free of ityou are already looking at it, instead of identifying with it. You are looking at it from the position of the Witness, which is always already free from all objects in any case.” (2004: 22)
Let us leave the question of self-contraction aside for a while. Let us take instead a feeling we are all acquainted with, which is the feeling of anger. We have seen that the feeling can be so powerful that we are overwhelmed by it. For this the Wlberian anger, into which we looked more closely, served as an example. In a case of such violent anger the feeling as such is not witnessed. The Witness, which is pure consciousness, has been inundated by the feeling of rage.
In case of a more moderate feeling of anger, the angry feeling can be witnessed. The real I, which is pure consciousness, has not become overflown by the feeling. Some of the witnessing faculty of pure consciousness has not been overshadowed. It has remained untouched. So It can witness the feeling of anger as such.
“You are not your feelings”, says Wilber, “for you are aware of them." (2004: 4) The statement taken by itself is correct. You are not this muscle tension, not this anger, this fear or grief. You are the Witness, you are pure consciousness free from all emotional and physical states. We must not forget, however, that this is only a mental abstraction so far. It is a mere intellectual understanding, which does not make our anger disappear.
For the fury to dissolve you must engage in a method, which is altogether different from Ken Wilber's approach. You must feel your rage, your fury, you must sink into it, become one with it. So the fury which has separated from pure consciousness, can flow back into its own pure source. So it can dissolve.
By repeating I am the Witness, I am not this anger, you do not make the feeling of anger disappear. The unpleasant feeling does not dissolve this way. It becomes suppressed instead. So it sinks back into the subconscious ground, from which it has arisen. The attempt at dissolving our rage by focusing on the Witness is an undertaking, which defeats its own purpose. Unrecognized the feeling will continue to unfold itself from the subconscious ground of our being.
Undetected it will proliferate more deviously now, as exemplified by Ken Wilber himself. In What We Are, That We See, Part I we witness Wilber masquerading as Sheriff Wyatt Earp, who is out to save the Wild West from gangsters and evildoers. While ripping his critics eyes out, Wilber sees himself personified first as Wyatt Earp, then as the Zen master, who uses his Zen sword of prajna to liberate his critics from ignorance. This is how Ken Wilber visualizes himself. We see him besieged by an undissolved rage covered up by his own glaring reveries.
In Wilber's theory there is “a feeling of tension often localized behind the eyes”, there is “a slight muscle tension”, which for him is the self-contraction, the ego. It is a self-contraction, of which “you are already free... because you are looking at it from the position of the Witness, who is already free from all objects in any case”, says Wilber.
Wilber does not deal with his emotions of anger, fear, and grief. In his own theory he has no reason to do so. For him it is all very easy, for whatever feeling arises in your mind you are already free from it. This is so, because you are looking at your emotion, you are witnessing it. You are not the feeling you look at. You are the Witness which observes the emotion. So you are free from the emotion, says Wilber.
You do not have to do anything. Just realize that you are the Witness and not the feeling. It just takes this realization to have all tension, to have all self-contraction, all ego disappear. Just witness the self-contraction. So the self-contraction, the ego evaporates for blissful Emptiness to light up in consciousness.
“Rest as the Witness, and feel the self-contractionjust as you can feel the chair under you, and feel the earth, and feel the clouds floating by in the sky” (2004: 22), says Wilber.
For Wilber this self-contraction is a muscle tension, which you can feel “just as you can feel the chair under you”. The muscle tension unlike the chair has to do with yourself. It is not an object like the chair is, like the earth is, like the clouds are. As objects chair, earth and clouds are separated, removed from yourself. The muscle tension is not. It describes the physical, the emotional state you are in. So you do not feel the muscle tension just as you “feel the chair under you and feel the earth, and feel the clouds floating by in the sky.”
Ken Wilber, however, proclaims: “As the Witness you are free of the self-contraction”, just as you are free of chair, earth and clouds. You are free of the self-contraction, of all tension and emotions, and being free of it all, you are already in Freedom.
“Rest in that Freedom, Openness, Emptiness, Release”, says Wilber. “Feel the self-contraction and let it be, just as you let all other sensations be. You don't try to get rid of the clouds, the trees or the egojust let them all be, and relax in the space of Freedom that you are.” (2004: 23)
For Wilber the self-contraction, the ego, the clouds, the trees are all objects. As you let the clouds, the tress be what they are, you let the self-contraction, the ego be what it is. This way you are free of trees, clouds, ego, and self- contraction. “So you can relax in the space of Freedom that you are”, says Wilber.
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8. Rejoicing in a dreamt-up freedom
While you relax in that space of Freedom you will, so Wilber, make a discovery, which is quite new to you. “From that space of Freedomand at some hidden pointyou may notice”, proclaims Wilber, “that the feeling of Freedom has no inside and outside, no center and surround.” (2004: 23)
Now no one in his right mind will say that the feeling of Freedom or any other feeling has an inside and outside. Only something which extends in space can have an inside and an outside, a center and a surround. What extends in space are objects, like a box, for example. Feelings, unlike a box, do not extend in space. There is no feeling three feet long, two feet wide, and one foot high. Freedom is not like a box. It is not like a store-house, in which you can store an object and take it out again.
By its very nature Freedom has no inside and no outside. Ken Wilber does not realize this. For him in an ordinary state of consciousness everything is an object, so also Freedom is. So for him there is a “space of Freedom”, which has “an inside and an outside” like a box, a suit-case, a container. It has a surround and a center like the trees have and the clouds floating by.
This is so in an ordinary state of consciousness. Now Wilber does not want to see his readers stuck with an experience of Freedom, which has an inside and an outside; for Wilber, you must know, is not an ordinary human being. In The Simple Feeling of Being we hear, that “Wilber's efforts are nothing short of a profound manifestation of the bodhisattva vow to liberate all human beings.” (2004: ix)
So bodhisattva Wilber in his compassion wants to guide his readers beyond an ordinary state to take them to a non-ordinary state of freedom, which has no inside and outside. Also Ken Wilber does not want to relish alone in the illustrious feeling of being a bodhisattva. He wishes his readers to partake in the exalted state he is in. He writes:
No matter that lesser motivations will dog your path, no matter that anger and envy, shame and pity, pride and prejudice will remind you daily how much more you can always grow: still, and still, under it all, around it all, above it all.
A constant cloud of caring will rain on your every parade. And you will be driven, in the best sense of the word, by this ruthless taskmaster, but only because you, eons ago, made a secret promise to let this motivation rule you until all souls are set free in the ocean of infinity. (2004: 128)
So the readers themselvesthe integral, not the integer readers I mean may feel like real bodhisattvas, like these divine beings now, who, worthy of nirvana, remain on the human plane to guide all mankind to ultimate liberation.
What a heavenly, angelic feeling that is. And they truly love Ken Wilber for it, for it was him who opened the gateway for this beatific feeling to flow in.
It is an excitement which they do not want to relish in alone. So they may go out now to tell their friends that with all the anger and envy in their hearts they too are true bodhisattvas, who eons ago made a secret promise to have all souls set free in the ocean of infinity.
An eon is a long time, so not only their friends, they themselves do not remember the solemn oath they made to liberate all mankind. So Ken Wilber reminded them of the glorious mission they had vowed to fulfill for the sake of their brothers and sisters.
In other religious creeds, like in Catholicism, for example, there is a select number of high priests only guiding their non pastoral followers into a promised heaven or paradise. In the Wilberian myth also followers are destined to act as a kind of priest, as a bodhisattvc priest so to speak. None of them is, however, as highly blessed as Ken Wilber is. So Ken Wilber remains for Wilberians the one and only venerable master. Thus they have good reason to look up to him, also physically speaking. He stands six foot six in his socks.
What matters for them is the fact that no one carries so much compassion, so much true love in his heart as Ken Wilber does. So to partake in Ken Wilber's compassion let us return to the subject of Freedom.
We heard that Ken in his kindheartedness wishes to unveil for his readers a Freedom, which has no inside and no outside. So he wants his readers to partake in the Freedom he himself abides in, in this exalted state of Freedom with no center and no surround.
Now this elevated experience of Freedom is not an end in itself. It is a means to have the ultimate truth realized as envisaged by bodhisattva Wilber. When you truly see Freedom as something which has no inside and outside, you will realize that all other objects do not have an inside and an outside.
The object of Freedom has no center and no surround, has no extension in space. So all other objects do not extend in space. What has no extension does not exist as an object. The subject exists only relative to an object, which you see. With no object there is no subject left. “This is the world of One Taste”, says Ken Wilber, “with no inside and no outside, no subject and no object, no in here versus out there.“
When true Emptiness lights up you continue to discern a world of objects through your sense perception as interpreted by your mind. There is much to suggest that you are more clear-sighted, more discerning now than you have ever been in your unenlightened state. You definitely have not become blind to the world you live in.
Nagarjuna in his Mulamadhyamakakarika in Chapter XXIV states:
18. Whatever is dependently co-arisen
That is explained to be emptiness (1995 b: 69)
He wants to say that in an enlightened state of consciousness you continue to see the wall as a wall. As compared to the unenlightened state you see it, however, dependently co-arisen. Were the whole world a white wall you would not see the wall. Your seeing of the wall is dependent on your seeing of the floor and vice versa. The wall exists for you only as opposed to the floor, as distinguished from all other objects, which are not the wall. You see that the wall, that all other objects have a relative existence only, as has been pointed out in the context of self-contraction above. In an absolute, in an ontological sense the wall has no existence. Ontologically speaking the wall, the whole world of sensual perception, in the Mulamadhyamakakarika is “explained to be emptiness.”
This is a new vision of the world, which cannot be scientifically validated. It cannot be scientifically rejected either. Quantum theory describes matter and energy in the universe in terms of single indivisible units called quanta. The idea of solid matter with a definite spatial extension has dissolved. The vision of a world, which is ontologically emptiness, can in a post-Newtonian physics no longer be scientifically rejected.
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9. Whirling and swirling for all eternity
Ken Wilber neglects to make the proper distinction between a conventional and an ontological view of the world. Thus he introduces the reader to a world of “One Taste with no inside and no outside, no subject and no object, no in here versus out there.”
Without here and there we have no space. Without space there is no time. So it is all “without beginning and without end, without ways and without means, without path and without goal.” This, so Wilber, is the true revelation, which will unfold itself once you have realized that Freedom has no inside and no outside, no surround and no center. “And this, as Ramana stated, is the final truth” (2004: 23), says Wilber.
Unlike Wilber Ramana was in his right mind. So he did not try to release the seeker from a freedom which has an inside and an outside. Ramana's truth did not spring from the bodhisattva's source. It did not arise from the Wilberian sauce imbibed by the credulous reader.
It is a sauce from which Wilber's One Taste arises to be relished in by the trusting reader. Now the reader may not experience instant bliss, while reading these lines in The Simple Feeling of Being. This does not create any difficulties for him, if he is a true reader of Wilber's work. For him there is no reason to feel perturbed. For the believing reader things remain as simple as portrayed in The Simple Feeling of Being.
What he has already obtained from reading these simple lines is a taste of One Taste. All he has to do now is to sink more deeply into Wilber's writing, while seeing himself as the Witness. So he will realize that he is already free of all ego, free of all separate self-sense.
When you read these lines in The Simple Feeling of Being and simply feel that you are the Witness, that you are not this separate self-sense, not this ego, then, I daresay, you are pretty close to realizing Wilber's One Taste. At least you are high up in Wilber's colorful scheme. The green meme you have left behind. You have surpassed yellow even, to become established in turquoise and beyond in third tiers maybe.
If this sounds great to you, then you are a genuine Wilberian reader, whose heart and soul have joyously opened up for Ken's wisdom to flow in on the path, which the bodhisattva in his compassion has laid out for you. So you will not have to wait long for a profound realization to flash forth into consciousness, which Ken Wilber portrayed for you in this flow of verses. Martin will add his own lines commingling with Ken's enchanting rhymes. So let us hear Ken first, who wishes to illustrate for you the state of One Taste, which he himself has realized. So he jubilantly chants:
And then the wind will be your breath
The stars will be the neurons in your brain
The sun will be the taste of the morning
The earth will be the way your body feels
Now we hear Martin chant:
What a windy breathing that will be
When your brainy neurons like stars you will see
A morning taste like One Taste it will be
With a muddy earth not muddy in One Taste you feel
Here is Ken again chanting:
The Heart will open to the All
The Kosmos will rush into your soul
You will arise as countless galaxies
And swirl for all eternity. (2004: 24)
So as galaxies you will swirl for all eternity
What an endless whirling and twirling that will be.
Wow! Wau! Wow!
That was German and English thrown into one heap
For the reader in a Genglish so to speak
Gleefully in Ken's poetry to
peep, peep, peep
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10. Nice Guy Wilber and Rough Neck Wilber joyously holding hands
For the Ken Wilber of One Taste it is easy for the ego to disappear. It is so effortless, for you are not this self-contraction, you are not this ego. You are already the timeless Witness residing in blissful Emptiness.
For the ego of Living Enlightenment it is quite the opposite. Here it is not effortless, not painless at all. It is quite an ordeal you have to go through, with a Rude Boy like Andrew in your face, who has come to “roast your ass in a screaming second and fry your ego before you knew what hit it.” When hit in your face, then of course you will know what hit you. Yes, it was Andrew's slapping hand that was in your face to have you see your own Original Face. This is what you will realize, when you are out for an enlightenment as envisaged by Ken Wilber in his profound reveries.
So you will know that Andrew has come to “undo your self-contracting fear and sizzle your well-honed defenses.” Wilber continues
I promise you, find yourself a Rude Boy or a Nasty Girl, the ones who make you uncomfortable in their presence, who scare you witless, who will turn on you in a second and hold you up for ridicule, who will make you wish you were never born, who will offer you not sweet comfort but abject terror, not saccharine solace but scorching angst, for then, just then, you might very well be on the path to your own Original Face.
It is a vision, which Wilber more clearly reveals in the following paragraph (2004: 130), from which I will quote line by line, with my own comments added. He writes:
Most of us prefer our spiritual teachers to be of the Nice-Guy variety. Soft, comforting, non-threatening, a source of succor for a worn and weary soul, a safe harbor in the samsaric storm. There is nothing wrong with that, of course; spirituality comes in all sorts of flavors, and I have known some awfully Nice Guys.
We also know an awfully Nice Guy. That is Ken Wilber himself. I mean the Wilber of One Taste, who consolingly whispers
Rest as the Witness and feel the self-contractionjust as you can feel the chair under you, and feel the earth, and feel the clouds floating by in the sky. (2004: 22).
There is no scorching angst here, no abject terror, no Wilberian hell you have to go through. All you have to do is to feel the self-contraction like you feel chair, earth, and clouds. You have just to feel it in a Freedom, which has no inside and outside. So
You will arise as countless galaxies, and swirl for all eternity”. (2004: 24)
Isn't this soft and comforting, a true source of succor for the trusting reader... Isn't he a Nice Guy, our Wilber of One Taste?
Let us turn to the Wilber of Living Enlightenment again, who grimly denounces the comforting, consoling approach, which the Wilber of One Taste smilingly embraces. It is an approach, which he decries as an ill-conceived enterprise with its indulgence in these tender, gentle dreams. So he wants to throw off the shackles, shake the reader from her slumber to see her truly wake up. So we hear Ken Wilber shout:
If the flavor tends toward Enlightenment instead of consolation, if it drifts away from soothing dreams toward actually waking up, if it rumbles toward a God realization and not egoic fortification, then that demands a brutal, shocking death: a literal death of your separate self
This is the Ken Wilber, who fervently supports Rude Boy Andrew in his ego-crushing design. Engagingly, enticingly identified with Rude Boy Andrew, Ken Wilber, so it seems, has become symbiotically involved in Andrew's slaughtering enterprise. So the Nice Guy of One Taste has himself become a Rude Boy. So we see him as the Rude Boy of Living Enlightenment now.
The dissolution of the ego, which for Nice Guy Ken is soft, comforting, non-threatening is a painful, frightening, horrifying dissolution for Rude Boy Ken. To have him distinguished from Rude Boy Andrew let us call him a Rough Neck, here displayed in a singular spelling to befit Ken Wilber's singular enterprise.
Now the terrifying extinction of the ego shares a common ground with the soothing dissolution of the ego. What it has in common with the ego's sweet dissolution, is the wondrous outcome, to which the horrifying undertaking will take you. So we hear Rough Neck proclaim that “a literal death of your separate self, a painful, frightening, horrifying dissolution” amounts to “a miraculous extinction”, which “you will “actually witness
As you expand into the boundless, formless, radical Truth that will pervade your every cell and drench your being to the core and expand what you thought was your self until it embraces the distant galaxies.
In One Taste a witnessing of the separate self brings about a wondrous dissolution of the ego. In living enlightenment a horrifying slaughter leads to a miraculous extinction of the ego. Neither in the soothing nor in the horrifying approach Wilber shows how the extinction of the ego is brought about to have blissful enlightenment flash forth into consciousness. It just happens wondrously so. So the chapter in living enlightenment ends in the culminating phrase:
Your real Self is glorious Spirit in this and every moment, and it takes a very, very Rude Boy to point that out and to stay in your face until you recognize your own Original Face, shining even here and now.” (2004: 131)
Rude Boy Andrew stays in your face, while punching in your face. So you will miraculously recognize your Own Original Face. Rough Neck does not tell how you get from a punching in your face to a recognition of your Original Face. It just happens miraculously in living enlightenment, so in One Taste, where from repeating 'I am the Witness' you attain to a realization of your Original Face.
No matter whether Nice Guy gently strokes your face or Rude Boy brutally strikes in your face, you always wake up to the stunning recognition of your Original Face.
So Rough Neck and Nice Guy in their disparate approaches joyously join hands in The Simple Feeling of Being. In One Taste you recognize that there is “no subject and no object, no in here versus out there”. In Living Enlightenment you realize that all is “boundless, formless”. In One Taste you see that “the stars will be the neurons in your brain”, in Living Enlightenment you experience “a radical Truth that will pervade your every cell.” In One Taste “you will arise as countless galaxies“, in Living Enlightenment you will see “your self... embrace the distant galaxies”. So both the Nice Guy and the Rough Neck approach will magically take you to the glorious realization of your real Self.
Nice Guy cannot tell how the easy, the soothing witnessing of your feelings will take you to the wondrous realization of your original nature. Rough Neck cannot tell how the torturing ordeal will lead to the stunning recognition of your Original Face. It again happens miraculously so.
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11. The punching psychotherapist
Let us look at the Rough Neck approach more closely. It is the Rough Guy path as portrayed by Ken in Living Enlightenment. There we hear of the ego, which is a "building to be blown up", a pig that must be "slaughtered" for "a brutal, shocking death" to occur. This is a task, so Wilber, to be accomplished by "Rude Boy" Andrew, "who acts with uncompromising integrity, an integrity that shows compassion to your real Self and a very big stick to your ego." In his uncompromising integrity we see him hit and slap his disciples in the face to have them recognize their own Original Face.
So in this approach there is some real agony you have to put up with. There is some real distress you have to endure, but it is worth the trouble, for "if you can stand the heat", says Wilber, "you will "enter the real kitchen of your own soul, where you will find nothing other than the radiant God of the entire cosmos."(2004: 131) So you will be highly rewarded for the excruciating ordeal you went through. This is Wilber's message in Living Enlightenment.
Let us imagine someone goes to a psychotherapist to free himself from his anger, his inner violence. Now the psychotherapist tells him: I have so many clients coming to see me these days that I cannot handle the job alone. For this I have my assistants. They will hit, slap and punch you to drive these obstructing emotions out of your mind, your heart and your soul. Wherever these restraining feelings may reside, my assistants will drive them out by hitting and punching you. This is the true way to become released from these restricting emotions.
It is a rough treatment you have to undergo, I must concede, but, my dear friend, it is truly rewarding. Once you have gone through the ordeal you will be free from all these unpleasant feelings. You will lead a most agreeable life forever afterwards in recompense for the trouble you went through.
Now no psychotherapist in his right mind will apply the punching method to free human beings from their egoic distress. But that is exactly what Andrew Cohen does to liberate his disciples from the egoic afflictions they are in. It is a strategy employed by Andrew, which is in tune with Wilber's ego-theory as presented in the forword in Cohen's Living Enlightenment.
Cohen firmly believes in Wilber's theory of an inimical ego that must be wiped out, as has been portrayed in The Real Cause of Andrew Cohen's Dilemma, Part I. While hitting and slapping his disciples he sees the obstructing obstacle disappear for the glorious road to open up, which leads to blessed self-liberation. An imperial road that is, on which his disciples march triumphantly ahead to see themselves followed by a less evolved mankind on their way to blissful enlightenment.
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12. Ken smiling his Rough Neck smile
“Thank God”, says Wilber in Living Enlightenment,
“In fact, virtually every criticism I have heard of Andrew is a variation on, “He's very rude, don't you think?” And I smile the biggest smile you can imagine. (italics added) If it weren't for the Rude Boys and Nasty Girls of God Realization, Spirit would be a rare visitor in this strange land.” (2002: xvii)
Ken smiling his Rough Neck smile
It looks like there is an undissolved anger in Ken Wilber, who, with his big smile, relishes in the crude acts undertaken by Rude Boy. In his imagination he also revels in ripping his critics' eyes out, in pissing in their eye-sockets. Wilber wants to make us believe that these acts are meant as a “violent metaphor” only, as he states in What We Are, That We See, Part I. He did not really mean to engage in this unique manoeuver. His “pissing into eye-sockets” must be seen in a metaphorical, in a figurative sense only.
Now Wilber does not show what figure or symbol his pissing stands for to be seen in a metaphorical sense. So his pissing remains the crude act of pissing, with no metaphorical use to embellish it.
Andrew smiling his Rude Boy smile
This does not mean that pissing as such could not be used in a metaphorical sense, as intended by Ken Wilber. For example someone could say: Ken Wilber seems to be piss-proud, while pissing into his critics' eye-sockets. So to deflate his false pride I will take the piss out of Mr. Wilber. In this case our piss represents a real metaphor symbolizing a false pride.
Ken Wilber proclaims that he just skillfully devised his pissing perversity to serve a higher purpose, which is separating the more sublime yellow from the cruder green, as stated in Not So Fast, Cowbow. Here someone could say: Don't Piss on My Leg, and Tell Me It's Raining, Mr. Wilber. I won't be fooled by your tricks. I can very well tell the difference between rain and warm pee. Here we have another metaphorical use of pissing, now symbolizing a claim a person has made in an attempt at deception that you have seen through. In case you read this, Mr. Wilber, may I kindly suggest that you meditate on this metaphor for a while. This may help you to remember what a real metaphor is.
Ken and Andrew tenderly hugging their pets. Lucky pets they are,
because they do not have an inimical ego to be destroyed.
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13. Two opposed ego-theories integrally united
Let us look more closely at Ken Wilber's ego-theories now to view them in the light of the preceding exposition. In Wilber's comprehensive oeuvre there is a large variety of definitions of the ego to be found. These can be broadly assigned to three major lines of classifications, which stand in contrast to each other.
In two of the three lines the ego must dissolve (1, 2), in the third line it must be retained (3). In one of the two lines (1) the ego, to be dissolved, must be destroyed, annihilated, as shown by Wilber in his preface in Living Enlightenment. (2002: xiiixviii) In the other of the two lines (2), portrayed in One Taste, trying to annihilate the ego prevents the ego from dissolving. The very attempt to demolish the ego leads to a strengthening, a fortification of the ego. (1999: 273276) This essay will deal with the two opposed ego theories (1, 2), which have already been considered in above exposition.
In a third line (3), upheld in One Taste, we find an ego, which must be transcended. “The notion of transcending the ego does not”, however, “mean to destroy the ego”, says Wilber. “To loosen that ego is to become a psychotic, not a sage.” (1999: 299/230) So what in the two ego-theories (1, 2), which will be dealt with in this essay, leads to your inner transformation, liberation, in the third classification of the ego (3) turns you into a psychotic. It is a view of the ego, which will not be the subject of this essay. For the sake of a brief overview, however, it will be briefly depicted here.
In his Journals, running under the title of One Taste, Ken Wilber elaborates on the “great yogis, saints, and sagesfrom Moses to Christ to Padmasambhava”, who “rattled the world on its own terms”, who “shook the world to its very foundations... These great movers and shakers were not small egos; they were, in the very best sense of the term, big egos” (1999: 298/299), says Ken Wilber.
So here we find an ego, which is to be nurtured, enhanced. So this ego (3) stands in stark contrast to the two opposing ego-theories, in which the ego must be dissolved. (1, 2) Simply put, the third line (3) means: The greater the ego the better. The two disparate ego lines dealt with in this essay (1, 2) mean: The smaller the ego the better.
As stated above there are a large variety of ego classifications given by Wilber. Now the subject of this essay is not an examination of the host of ego concepts to be found in Wilber's oeuvre. For the interested reader I will merely give in the Appendix below a partial overview of ego-theories as portrayed by Wilber himself. Not all of these theories can be easily assigned to one of the three overarching lines of ego classifications as delineated above. These were given in terms of a broad, a loose generalization only, to find some cohesion within the bewildering number of ego types as espoused by Ken Wilber.
Let us turn to Wilber's ego-theory in Living Enlightenment now (1), which upholds an ego that must be fried, slaughtered, demolished. (2002: xiiixviii) We have an ego here, which tries to destroy the ego. This does not dissolve the ego. The ego, in order to destroy the ego, must remain the ego, which it is. Otherwise there will be no ego to destroy the ego. Thus the attempt to annihilate the ego affirms the ego. It increases, enhances the ego, which we wanted to destroy.
Rough Neck, however, affirms that “on the other side of death lies Spirit, only on the other side of egoic slaughter lies the Good and the True and the Beautiful.” Rough Neck appears as the Scholar now, who has the Good and the True and the Beautiful neatly lined up on the upper and lower, the left and right quadrants of his integral scheme. These are his Four Quadrants delineated as both an individual and collective consciousness with intentional, behavioral, social, and cultural divisions. Divisions these are, which are not divided. They are, so Wilber, accurately united in “all quadrants, all levels”, methodically integrated in his all-inclusive AQAL scheme, shining out as the Good, the True and the Beautiful. This is the ultimate Truth outshining all other Truth. This is the Spirit of Wilber's integral scheme gloriously revealing itself to the devoted Andrewite, but only after Rude Boy Andrew has truly roasted his ass.
Then, after all the necessary roasting and toasting has been accomplished by Rude Boy Andrew, we shall see the ego-ass go up in the flames of a heavenly enlightenment, which is the Good, the True and the Beautiful. This is Wilber's luminous integral scheme, in the light of which the ego will dissolve. So Wilber continues:
You will come in due course to realize “that your true glory lies where you cease to exist, as the illustrious Sri Ramana Maharshi constantly reminded us.”
Ramana did not say: I will hit, slap and punch you in the face. So you will see your Original Face arise from the Good, the True and the Beautiful of an integral AQAL scheme.
Ramana introduced a method of self-inquiry, in which the seeker asks himself: Who am I? It is a question, which begins with an understanding that we are not what we think we are, that we are not our body, our mind, our thoughts and emotions.
Now this is not where the method of self-inquiry stops. This is where it truly begins with the question “Who am I” destined to cut through the artificial structures imposed upon the mind by society, by thoughts and systems scholarly devised like Ken Wilber's AQAL scheme.
The question is meant to cut through the Wilberian and other constructions of the mind to take you to the focal point, which YOU ARE. It is like the radius of a circle, which leads from the periphery to the central point, which has no extension in space. It is an ideal point like your true core is, in which the search culminates and dissolves. This is your Original Face nowhere to be found in the relative world of phenomena. This is what YOU ARE as truly seen by Ramana Maharshi.
Above exposition was not meant to give Ramana's method of self-inquiry priority over all other methods of self-liberation. The approach, which seems to be appropriate for the more highly evolved seeker only, has, so I deem, its own drawbacks. I merely wanted to demonstrate that Ramana's method does not have anything to do with the horrifying egoic slaughter as designed by Wilber & Cohen. While inserting Ramana into his Rough Neck approach Wilber implies that Ramana Maharshi, who “constantly reminded you that your true glory lies on the other side of your death”, is in line with his integral Rough Neck theory, which advocates a terrifying death, with the glory of the Good, the True and the Beautiful lying on the other side of your death.
Thus Wilber falsely leans on Ramana to fervently support Rude Boy in his approach, to back up the Wilberian hell the seeker must go through. It is a hell born from his own imagination, to which he refers when he asks: “And who will show you that?” His answer is: “Not the Nice Guys and not the Good Girls. They don't want to hurt your feelings. They don't want to upset you. They are here to whisper sweet nothings in your ear”.
The Nice Guy, which Rough Neck rejects, perfectly matches the Nice Guy Ken, who whispers sweet nothings in your ear while infusing you with the idea that you are not the emotions you feel, not the separate self or ego, instilling in your mind the sweet assumption that you are the Witness, who is already established in the saccharine experience of Freedom and Emptiness.
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14. The Simple Illusion of Being
It is a message embraced in the preface of The Simple Feeling of Being, which has been composed by Mark Palmer, Sean Hargens, Vipassana Esbjörn, Adam Leonard.
Wilberians they are who, devoted to Master Wilber and his message, speak with one voice while joyously cantillating
Prepare to surrender your mind and allow the poetic waves to wash you into your own contemplative heart. Flow with the illuminated awareness of a contemporary master to where you already are in this moment
So Wilber “points out” for the reader an aspect of his or her awareness or consciousness; the Witness; or the true nature of one's Mind. In these passages, he gently takes our hand and walks us into the vastness that is our own true Self.
For the Wilberian reader there is only the Nice Guy Ken, never the Rough Neck Ken, also when he takes his reader into the Wilberian hell, the horrifying ordeal the Andrewites have to go through in the Sangha of Foxhollow.
Reading in these lines of the Simple Feeling of Being is for them like watching a horror movie when you have this prickly sensation of goose-bumps on your skin. It is this tingling feeling which overcomes our Wilberian readers who partake in the hell of the Foxhollow Sangha while cozily, comfortably sitting in an armchair in the peace and quiet of their home sweet home.
These horror scenarios sell well. This applies to a heightened degree to a scenario designed in a Wilberian fashion. “In these passages”, so we hear, “it is as if Wilber gently takes our hand and walks us into the vastness that is our own true Self”. So with this tingling feeling of goose-bumps on our skin we feel tenderly taken care of by Nice Guy Ken and his message. His words invite and draw us, they coax and bid us.
His words beckon us beyond... our busy minds, to that still point that is vast emptiness and simply Spirit:
Is this not obvious? Aren't you already aware of existing? Don't you already feel the simple Feeling of Being? Don't you already possess this immediate gateway to ultimate Spirit, which is nothing other than the simple Feeling of Being? You have this simple Feeling now, don't you? And you have it now, don't you? And now, yes?
And don't you already realize that this Feeling is Spirit itself? Godhead itself? Emptiness itself? Spirit does not pop into existence: it is the only thing that is constant in your experienceand that is the simple Feeling of Being itself, a subtle, constant, background awareness that, if you look very closely, very carefully, you will realize you have had ever since the Big Bang and beforenot because you existed way back then, but because you truly exist prior to time, in this timeless moment, whose feeling is the simple Feeling of Being: now, and now, and always and forever now. You feel the simple Feeling of Being? Who is not already enlightened? (2000: xii)
It is all sooo simple in The Simple Feeling of Being. Wilber says:
“You are not your feelings, for you are aware of them... Rest as the Witness, and feel the self-contractionjust as you can feel the chair under you.”
So you are, he keeps on humming, free of all emotions, of all self-contraction, of all ego. Thus, so he warbles on, a Freedom reveals itself to you, which has no inside and no outside. So it does not extend in space. So you realize that all objects have no spatial extension. Thus all space, all objects disappear. With the objects the subject vanishes. With no space left there is no more time. So the timeless experience of One Taste lights up in your heart, while you will arise as countless galaxies whirling for all eternity. So the Wilberians, who wrote the preface of The Simple Feeling of Being, ask the reader
You feel the simple Feeling of Being? Who is not already enlightened?” (2000: xii)
I feel the simple feeling of Being, says the Wilberian reader now, so I am already enlightened. Together with his Master he indulges in these enlightened reveries, because he confuses the finger pointing to the moon with the moon.
Truth is beyond words. Truth can be likened to the moon shining in the sky. Words can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the bright moon in the sky. The finger, however, is not the moon. When you stare at the finger you will not see the moon. To see the moon you must look beyond the finger.
It is good to occasionally recollect that you are already blissful Emptiness. You must not forget, however, that this is only a verbal assumption so far. To truly realize Emptiness you must also move into the opposite direction. You must become aware of the emotions of anger, fear, grief. You must become one with the emotions, sink into the feeling, which obstructs the experience of Emptiness. So it can dissolve for true Emptiness to light up in consciousness.
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15. Ken Wilber's sacred shadow, for Wilberians not to be touched
The emotions not seen in ourselves project themselves onto other people. "What We Are, That We See" in the people we meet in our daily lives. This is the unseen shadow reflected onto our dialog partner, onto the reviewer, the critic of the work we have accomplished.
So, referring to his critics, Wilber writes in above essay.
The thing they hate most, they secretly possess. It's a shadow law of mathematical precision. We use it in the 3-2-1 shadow work at I-I (integral institute)
Wilber then continues to write about a critic.
His anger laces every word, acidly, unrelentingly, eating away at the reader, as it surely must its author... Oh the arrogance, the anger, these... rants and uber-mega-projections.
This is Wilber's own angry shadow, which he has suppressed. So we can see it “acidly, unrelentingly, eating away” at its author, to be projected first onto individual critics, then onto the site of Integral Word. So we hear him shout
This draught of deep resentiment, it is certainly a draught that flows freely at the site of Integral World... A world of bubbling and boiling resentment, sealed in a website, delivered to your door, all in a neat bundle.
The criticism on Integral World, which Ken Wilber loathes, is restrained and moderate as compared to Wilber's own angry insults. Ken Wilber does not see this. It looks like he himself has not gone through the shadow work which he so emphatically recommends to his followers. So he goes on
I find all of this disingenuous, all the way down. The whole kit and caboodle of recent criticism just reeks of Nietzschean resentiment... in plain English, resentment, deep and long and ugly resentment. It wears thin, these things of so little substance, hurled with such force, driven with such envy, spiked with such anger, seasoned with such bitterness, laced with such self-aggrandizement.
We then hear Wilber
Perhaps I should mention that I am at the center of the vanguard of the greatest social transformation in the history of humankind.
As the pioneer of the greatest social transformation he feels established in The Simple Feeling of Being, which is Emptiness itself, Spirit itself, which witnesses everything. Thus these petty emotions of being special, of competing with others, these base feelings of envy, of anger, fear, grief do not get to him.
These Things float by as clouds in the sky, with effortless ease in the all-inclusive Presence that is witnessing this screen, and this room, and this world, arise in luminous clarity and radiant splendor... and that is why it all rolls off the back so easily, when all is said and done, for all are textures of your very own Self, alone in the Alone
Ken Wilber is like a human duck who keeps his duck's head safely above the surface to witness the water roll off his back. So he does not see his duck's feet kicking frantically underneath the water. So he continues
I am not objects in nature, not feelings in the body, not thoughts in the mind, for I can Witness them all. I am that Witnessa vast, spacious, empty, clear, pure, transparent Openness that impartially notices all that arises, as a mirror spontaneously reflects all its objects. (2004: 7, taken from Boomeritis)
What the mirror spontaneously reflects is the shadow which he projected onto Integral World, onto his critics. Wilber imagines to be beyond all feelings, emotions. He does not realize that The Simple Feeling of Being is also a feeling. So he thinks of himself as being beyond all feelings, while indulging in a feeling, when he writes
You can already feel some of this Great Liberation in that, as you rest in the ease of witnessing this moment, you already feel that you are free from the suffocating restriction of mere objects, mere feelings, mere thoughtsthey all come and go, but you are the vast, free, empty, open Witness of them all, untouched by their torments and tortures. (2004: 7, 8)
As you rest in the Witness you feel that you are free frommere feelings, he affirms. He does not see that the feeling of being free is also a feeling. While feeling free from mere feelings Wilber indulges in a feeling. The Simple Feeling of Being reveals itself as a vicious circle. So the Wilberians relish in The Simple Feeling of Being to feel free from all feeling, free from the “suffocating constrictions” of life, untouched by their “torments and tortures”. They hold on to a feeling to be released from all feeling circling around in the vicious circle born from their master's imagination.
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16. A Wilberian God that cannot be seen: Meister Eckhart aborted
The Emptiness Ken Wilber speaks of is an Emptiness to be felt. This is a Wilberian Emptiness. It is not true Emptiness, which is not to be felt, but to be seen.
This is what Ken Wilber has not realized. So he writes (with italics added):
In trying to contact the Witness (or I-I), people imagine that they will see something. But you don't see anything, you simply rest as the Witness of all that arises... you are the pure and empty Seer, not anything that can be seen. (2004: 21)
The Witness... is simply the Seer of all objects that arise, and it is felt only as a great background sense of Freedom and Release from all objects. (2004: 21, taken from One Taste)
This vast emptiness... can be felt, but not known; it is... the pure Self that sees but can never be seen. (2004: 3, taken from One Taste)
That very Witness is Spirit within, looking out on a world that it created. It sees but cannot be seen. (2004: 4, taken from "The Deconstruction of the World trade Center")
For Wilber it is Emptiness, Spirit, the Witness, the Seer, the pure Self, which sees and knows, but can never be seen or known. It can only be felt. So he continues
The certainty lies in the pure self-felt Consciousness to which objects appear, not in objects themselves. You will never, never, never see God, because God is the Seer, not any finite, mortal object, bounded object that can be seen. (2004: 7, taken from Boomeritis)
God is not an object. So IT does not see itself as an object. IT sees itself though. IT sees itself as what IT IS. This is what YOU ARE. So in a realized state of consciousness you see yourself as the God who YOU ARE. Here is Meister Eckhart's most famous single quote, which says
"The Eye with which I see God is the same Eye with which God sees me."
This is equal to saying: “The Eye with which God sees me is the same Eye with which I see God.” God's eye is my own eye. While God sees me he sees himself. While I see God I see myself.
These are Meister Eckhart's words round which his sermons are built. So this quote is greatly cited by representatives of eastern traditions and Christian mysticism as a point of contact between the two traditions. In The Eye of Spirit Wilber writes
As I right now rest in this simple, ever-present Witness, I am face to face with Spirit. I am with God to-day, and always, in this simple, ever-present, witnessing state. Eckhart said that “God is closer to me than I am to myself”, because God and I are one in the ever-present Witness, which is the nature of intrinsic Spirit itself, which is exactly what I am in the state of my I AMness. When I am not an object, I am God. (1998 b: 291)
When I am one with God, God sees itself through me, while I see myself through God. For Wilber, however, there is a God, which you will never, never, never see. So Wilber cannot see himself as one with God. For him there is merely a God that can be felt. It is an egoic feeling, flowing into a wishful thinking, in which he imagines himself to have realized a state of Oneness with God.
Edith Zundel, who is a German professor of psychology, writes
As far as Wilber is concerned, the thinking and the experiences of the great philosophers and mystics are anything but 'dry theory'. The Germans appeal to him in particularhe has read everything worth reading from Meister Eckhart to Kant to Schelling to Hegel to Habermas. Today he admits: 'When I write I actually have the European reader in mind, and particularly the German reader.'
Treya Wilber once described Wilber's way of writing as follows: “He reads a bit of this and a bit of that, speaks to this person and that and in between he sits around lost in thoughthe doesn't give you the impression that there is anything systematic about it. And then comes a day that his whole being says 'Book!' He fetches a glass of milk from the refrigerator at five o'clock in the morning, sits down and writes and writes until ten o'clock in the evening, scarcely stopping to eat or drink. That goes on for weeks and months until the rough version of the book is there. Then he just needs to polish it.' It seems to be some kind of euphoria, almost like a volcanic explosion.”
We hear first a bit of reading this, then a bit of reading that, then comes a day that his whole being says 'Book!', what then happens, seems like a volcanic explosion. I ask myself: First a bit of this, then a bit of that, is this the way he read Meister Eckhart, before the volcano exploded?
We do not have any photos of Meister Eckhart. I include a photo of Ramakrishna instead. It is the same old message of a God that can be seen. So we hear his disciple Vivekananda, who said: “I crept near him and asked the question, which I had asked so often. 'Have you seen God, sir?' 'Yes, I see Him', he answered, 'just as I see you, only in a much intenser sense.'” (2012: 12) “He also said: 'I will put you in the way of seeing Him too.'” (2012: 8)
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17. Ramana Maharshi distorted
In The Simple Feeling of Being Wilber asks
So who is this real Seer? Who or what is the observing Self? Ramana Maharshi called this Witness the I-I, because it is aware of the individual I or Self, but cannot itself be seen... This Seer sees the ego, and sees the body, and sees the natural world. All of those parade by “in front” of this Seer. But the Seer itself cannot be seen. (2004: 14, taken from A Brief History of Everything)
I see God just as I see you,
only in a much intenser sense.
After Wilber's impassionate repetition of a Seer that cannot be seen, here a dispassionate analysis again. The ego as such, as has been shown in “The Real Cause of Andrew Cohen's Dilemma Part II“, does not exist. I write these words, not the I or the ego writes these lines. The ego is a mere linguistic convention we adhere to for our investigation to be conducted. What we call the ego is in reality an illusory state of consciousness, in which the Self or real I has gone astray.
For Ramana there is no ego separate from the Self. Ramana unlike Wilber, as shown below, also speaks of a Self, of a God who can be seen. The seeing of the Self and the ego are mutually exclusive. So the Self can only be seen, when the ego has dissolved or temporarily receded. For this let us look at these quotes now taken from The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi, who states
He who has completely lost the ego, sees the Self, has found God. (1997: 74) When the creature sees and knows himself without attributes, that is knowledge of the Creator, for the Creator appears as no other than the Self. (1997: 85)
So one sees the Witness, sees the Self, sees God, which is in contradiction to Wilber's assertion that Ramana Maharshi speaks of a Self that cannot itself be seen.
In an egoic state of consciousness man sees himself as intelligent, dumb, mischievous. This is the persona or mask identified with these human qualities. A man, who sees himself without attributes, has lost his ego, as Ramana states.
Thus for Ramana there is no ego parading by in front of the Self. This is a parade born from Wilber's parading imagination projected onto Ramana, whom he uses to euphorically back up his integral scheme. Ramana then quotes from The Song Celestial of the Bhagavad Gita.
15. He who sees the Supreme Lord dwelling alike in all beings, perishing not as they perish, he it is who sees aright.
16. By devotion alone, without 'otherness', Oh Arjuna, can I be known and seen and in essence entered, Oh Parantapa. (1997: 102)
30. He who is steadfast in yoga and looks on everything impartially, sees the Self dwelling in all beings, and all beings in the Self. (1997: 103)
Let us now hear the great sage Shankaracharya speak
A liberated being is one who sees himself as single and the witness both within and without the world of things moving and unmoving, as the substratum of all. (1997: 155)
Being experienced as the “I”, it shines as the true form of the Self, the direct experience, of the great texts. (1997: 159)
He who experiences Being, the Self, sees himself, as the Self which he is. This is the message of the great texts, with the exclusion of Ken Wilber's great text. For him
This pure Witness... is the Seer, not anything that can be seen. As you rest in this witnessing, all that you sense is just a vast Emptiness, a vast Freedom, a vast Expansea transparent opening or clearing in which all these little subjects and objects arise. Those subjects and objects can definitely be seen, but the witness of them cannot be seen. (2004: 15, taken from A Brief History of Everything, italics added)
For Ken Wilber God, Emptiness, Being cannot be seen. You are this Being, you are God, says Wilber, but God you will never see. For Bodhisattva Wilber this is an absolute truth, which he repeats unwaveringly.
Ken Wilber greatly leans on Meister Eckhart and Ramana Maharshi in his integral scheme, to have western and eastern mysticism neatly integrated in A Theory of Everything, 2000. A God, who can be seen, is the mystical core of an eastern and a western mysticism. A God, who cannot be seen, but only felt, is the mystical core of Wilber's writing, so of The Simple Feeling of Being. With a God, a Witness, a Self, an I-I that cannot be seen Wilber misrepresents both eastern and western mystical traditions to have the two misrepresentations integrated in A Theory of Everything, his all-inclusive integral scheme.
Jeff Meyerhoff in "Six Criticisms of Wilber's Integral Theory", May 2006 writes
The validity of Wilber's system is based on the idea that he has culled the orienting generalizations from the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and mysticism. The criterion of an orienting generalization is that experts in a particular field assume its truth or rely on it and don't debate it. The fact of agreement is essential. Wilber refers to these orienting generalizations as “already-agreed-upon” knowledge. But, short of some facts and laws in the natural sciences, all knowledge can be debated, even the concept of knowledge.
“You will never, never, never see God”, (2004: 7, taken from Boomeritis) reiterates Wilber. What Wilber basically says, is this: I, Ken Wilber cannot see God, so nobody else can. This is not an orienting generalization in terms of an “already agreed upon knowledge”. It is a generalization, which must not be agreed upon, because it is beyond all agreement. Thus it is not an orienting generalization. It is a Wilberian generalization, which means an absolute truth.
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18. Wilber's timeless time floating through awareness
Feelings, emotions are the life-blood of the ego. The ego, as portrayed above (3), is the craving to be an ego. It is the primal urge, from which all our yearning, all our wishes stem. Our emotions project themselves into our thinking, which is a wishful thinking.
You always feel something, you always indulge in an emotion, while in an egoic state of consciousness. So you feel something, when you read The Simple Feeling of Being. Now Ken Wilber tells you that it is the Simple Feeling of Being which you feel. This is an idea he reiterates to have it sink deeply into the reader's heart and soul.
Is this not obvious?, ask the Wilberians now in their foreword.
Aren't you already aware of existing? Don't you already feel the simple Feeling of Being? (2004: xi)
The reader does not doubt that he exists. So he agrees that he is already aware of existing. So he is persuaded that he already feels the simple feeling of Being.
To conclude their preface the Wilberians ask
You feel the simple Feeling of Being? Who is not already enlightened? (2004: xii)
This is a mere rhetorical question. The reader knows by now: I am aware that I exist. So I feel the simple of feeling of Being. So I am already enlightened. While you feel the simple feeling of Being, continues Nice Guy Wilber now
You disappear from being merely behind your eyes, and you become the All, you directly and actually feel that your basic identity is everything that is arising moment to moment (just as previously you felt that your identity was with this finite, partial, separate, mortal coil of flesh you call a body). Inside and outside have become One Taste. I tell you it can happen just as that. (2004: 9, taken from Boomeritis)
So we hear Master Wilber speak. Let us look into the matter more closely now. In the unenlightened state you felt identified with your body, which is separate from the surrounding world. In Wilber's enlightened state you feel that your basic identity is everything, is the All. This is not a seeing, it is a mere feeling you cherish. Before it was the feeling to be separate from the world you sustained. Now it is the feeling to be one with the All you uphold. No matter whether you feel united with or separate from the All, it is a feeling you indulge in.
When we set out on the spiritual path we learn that the identification with the body, with the mind is an illusory state. It is the state of the ego, the separate self, which must be overcome. As we relish in The Simple Feeling of Being, we feel one with the All. So we feel that we have overcome the illusion of the ego, of a self separate from the world. In reality we have become the victim of a deeper illusion now, which makes us believe that we have overcome the illusion of being a separate self.
Our feelings, our emotions, which go with the ego, project themselves into a wishful thinking. In the unenlightened state you were identified with your body. You think that this is your true identity. So you feel separate from the world. In the truly enlightened state you are no longer identified with the body. So you do not feel separate from the world any more. You truly see that you are the All, that the All is you. So you can say: I see myself as the All, which I AM.
You always see yourself. In the unenlightened state you see yourself as what you are not. This is an illusory identity, which is seen as separate from the world. In the enlightened state you see yourself as what you truly are. This is your true identity which is seen as one with the All.
True seeing is bliss. It is a pure feeling, which flows unrestrained, abundantly. In the identified state of the ego, in the self-contracted state, the free flow of pure feeling becomes constricted, restrained as a mere emotion or feeling.
For the bliss of emptiness to be experienced, emptiness must be seen. For Wilber there is no seeing of emptiness. For him there is only an emptiness to be felt. So for him there is no pure feeling. There are only egoic feelings, emotions, which are bliss diminished, reduced.
The power of pure feeling becomes curtailed, hedged in the more you wander from a state of joy and wonder to a state of sadness and grief. There is only this one pure feeling, which is the real I or Self. As the real I it flows inexhaustibly, abundantly. As the unreal I or ego pure feeling becomes reduced to a state of mere emotions. While in an emotional state there is always a feeling of lack. So you never feel truly fulfilled.
To compensate for the lack of fulfillment your emotions project themselves in a wishful thinking, in the manifold illusions you indulge in. Our Wilberians, following in Master Wilber's footsteps, indulge in a particular kind of illusion, which tells them that they have overcome the restrictions of the separate unenlightened state.
So they feel enlightened now, one with the All. It is a dreamt up enlightenment born from Wilber's wishful thinking. For this I will quote one paragraph only taken from his comprehensive One Taste, (1999: 113), portrayed in a language impassionately flowing, with my own dispassionate comments added again. Ken Wilber writes
I-I do not move through time, time moves through me. Just as clouds float through the sky, time floats through the open space of my primordial awareness, and I-I remains untouched by time and space and their complaints... I-I live in eternity and inhabit infinity... free of time and space.
Time cannot float like clouds do. When I say cloud I have a mental concept of a cloud. The concept refers to an object in real life, which consists of a collection of droplets of water. The object cloud floats through the air, because it is lighter than air. The mental concept of a cloud, which refers to the object, is not light or heavy. It is a mental notion, which does not float or move.
Time is nothing but a self-created mental concept. So there is nothing to be found in the world of objects. Thus time does not float or move like our clouds do.
Let us say you were engaged in a conversation with a friend, which captivated your attention. Then you look at your watch. Wow, you say, three hours gone by. For me it feels like half an hour really. Time passed so quickly. While you were immersed in the conversation with your friend you did not see any time going by, passing or floating through your awareness. When we say time passes it is meant as a metaphorical use of passing employed in the context of time.
In the Wyatt Earp episode Wilber had a real picture of himself pissing in his critics eye-sockets. He confused this with a metaphorical use of pissing. Wilber, who has a problem with the concept of a metaphor, now confounds a metaphorical use of time with an object existing in real life. So he indulges in a dreamt up object of time, which floats through his awareness like clouds float through the sky. A clouded vision that is, which this exposition tries to unveil. So let us look into the matter more closely.
In a normal, unenlightened state of consciousness we do not see time float, fly or flow. Time, however, is a psychological reality for us which so far we cannot escape. We are immersed in time, engulfed by a sense of the past, of the future. In an enlightened state the psychological grip of time, of a past, of a future has disappeared. It has dissolved as part of a psychological makeup, which itself has evaporated.
You live in an eternal presence now, which is a timeless state. You keep on having thoughts of the past, of the future. Let us say there is a business project you want to realize. For this you must make use of information you received in the past to apply it to what you want to accomplish in the future. So you continue to make use of the concepts of past and future, which have not dwindled away.
Now I ask you: The thought of the past, of the future, when do you have it? This is a rhetorical question really, for whatever thought it may be, you have it in the presence. When else should you have it? A past thought is gone. A future thought has not yet turned up. So the thought of the past, of the future, which you entertain, you have it now.
It is easy to see this. Again there is the finger, which points to the moon, but is not the moon. One can easily grasp what has been said. This does not mean that one has realized IT.
In an egoic state of consciousness, we become lost in our thoughts of the past, of the future. Pure consciousness, pure emptiness, has become overshadowed by a deceptive past, by an illusory future. We indulge in a thought up, in a dreamt up past or future. So we become drowned in the incessant stream of thoughts flooding through our consciousness, circling around an imaginary past, a made-up future. In an enlightened state the illusory past or future has evaporated. You do not only understand that all thinking occurs in the presence. You see the thought as a thought which you have in the presence.
For you there is no point to start from, no point to move to. These time-bound spots, dots or blots belong to an imagined past, an unreal future. There is only an enlightened presence, which is a timeless state. Wilber says:
Time floats through the open space of my primordial awareness... I-I live in eternity and inhabit infinity... free of time and space.
He lives in an eternity which is a timeless state, while he sees time float through his awareness. You cannot have it both. Eternity and time are mutually exclusive. So we see a dreamt up eternity. In The Eye of Spirit Wilber writes
When we rest as the ever-present Witness we are not in time. (1998 b: 291)
Then he continues to say
Resting in simple witnessing awareness, I notice that time floats by in front of me, or through me, like clouds float through the sky.
Here Wilber sees time float again. “And that is exactly”, so he continues why
I can be aware of time, in my simple Presentness, in my I AM as pure and simple witness of the Kosmos, I am timeless.
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19. A passed on neurosis mistaken for a bouquet of new roses
While being in a liberated state of timelessness Wilber wants to have the experience of time.
So in his One Taste he states
I-I remains untouched by time and space and their complaints (1999: 113), untouched by their torments and tortures.” (2004: 8)
In his timeless state he wishes to have a time, which has become released from the complaints, the torments of time. Indulging in time, in a dreamt up past and future is the breeding ground of our complaints. Whenever you worry about something you worry about a past or a future event. Liberated from the atrocities of time is the presence, which is timelessness. Wilber imagines a time floating through timelessness. So he clings to the atrocities of time to be released from its depravities in a state of timelessness.
It is a prefabricated timelessness cooked up in a wishful thinking, which holds on to the problems of life to be liberated from them. So he tries to solve an unsolvable problem. Thus he is caught up in an inner conflict. This is a neurosis, which he passes on to his followers wrapped up in his rose-colored writing. The Wilberian reader, lost in Wilber's flowery style, sees the transmitted neurosis as a bouquet of new roses, which he devotedly accepts. Wilber continues
Eternity does not mean living forever in timea rather horrible notion but living in the timeless moment, prior to time and its turmoils altogether.
In an enlightened state you live in timelessness, which is not prior to time. If it were prior to time, time would arise from eternity. Time does not emerge from timelessness though. The enlightened one has looked through the illusion of time, as a self-created thought of the past, of the future overshadowing a timeless awareness. So he lives in an eternal presence. This is not prior of time. It is beyond time.
Wilber also speaks of “living in the timeless moment”. A moment has a beginning and an end, a past and a future. So a moment, however brief it may be, implies a duration in time. When you live in the moment you live in time. The enlightened one does not live in this or that moment. He lives in a timeless state.
It is a state which Wilber believes he has realized. So he imagines to be free from all time. In reality he has sunk into time, lost in an imaginary past, in an illusory future.
You can WATCH THE VIDEO of a two-hour talk given on Friday November 1, 2013, in the Boulder-based Integral Living Room. Here Ken Wilber, who addresses an integral audience, emphatically declares:
(39: 10) You are the architects of the future and again that is not just a personal philosophy. That is an empirical tested scientific reality.
(41: 27) Do not think that this is some form of braggadocio to see yourself at the leading edge. It is simply a description of the facts.
(41: 40) You wouldn't be here if it weren't for this... There is a group of people who is at the leading edge and that is how evolution works.
(42: 48) It is almost impossible to overestimate the profound changes that will occur when this happens. There has been nothing like this in history.
We also hear Wilber say
I am at the center of the vanguard of the greatest social transformation in the history of humankind.
This is what Wilber modestly declares. He knows very well that it is the Wilberians who are at the center, while he himself is the center of the vanguard of this unheard-of social transformation. He also affirms that this is not some form of braggadocio. It is not just a personal philosophy. It is an empirical tested scientific reality. So we see him immersed, drowned in his reveries of a ground-breaking future to emerge. It is a dreamt up future born from his own mental fabrication of an empirically tested scientific reality. While lost in his dream he imagines himself to be a liberated bodhisattva free from all time-bound circumstances.
This is "The Strange Case of Ken Wilber", so the headline of Geoffrey Falk's Chapter X in Norman Einstein. (2009) It is a title which alludes to the Einstein of Consciousness as Wilber is adoringly called by Wilberians.
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20. A boozed up enlightenment
Wilber continues in his One Taste writing
Infinity does not mean a really big space, it means completely spaceless. As the Witness, I-I am spaceless; simply because the Witness is free of time and space. And that is why I drink vodka in New York and get drunk in L. A.
For Wilber, who confuses time and timelessness, there is time in timelessness. Now he confounds space and spacelessness. In spacelessness there is no New York, no L. A., no vodka, no one to get drunk. In Wilber's spacelessness all these phenomena live on. They continue to exist, however, without the spatial restrictions, the circumscribed boundaries of this world. Everything is interwoven, commingled, with no distinctions to be made. Thus one place is where the other is and vice versa. So you can drink vodka in New York, while you get drunk in L. A.
According to Nagarjuna, ontologically speaking, the body-mind Ken Wilber, vodka, New York, L. A. are Emptiness. Seen this way they do not exist as such. Conventionally speaking, perceived by a sensual perception as interpreted by the mind, they do exist as such. When you drink vodka in one place you do not get drunk in another location. Also for the enlightened one these conventional distinctions live on. They must continue to exist. To adequately orientate himself on this planet also an Einstein of Consciousness must take account of the categories of time and space.
These distinctions have been wiped out, when you lie in bed at night immersed in sweet dreams, or when you get drunk in a waking state of consciousness. Wilber is not asleep, nor is he drunk on vodka. He is boozed up on his One Taste, while he writes this. So in his intoxicated writer's vision he sees himself staggering through the streets of L. A., while he drinks vodka in New York. He continues to write:
So this morning I went jogging, and nothing moved at all, except the scenery in the movie of my life.
There is not only the scenery of the movie of his life. There are movies playing in his life's movie, so the horror film of the Wilberian hell with Rude Boy as the leading man in the spectacle. We can also see the wellness film of One Taste with Wilber playing the part of Nice Guy, who gently takes his followers by the hand.
Wilber lives in an egoic state of consciousness which feeds on emotions. These flow into a wishful thinking, which projects itself onto his One Taste. What we find is a thought up enlightenment relished in by Wilber and Wilberians in their wishful dreams.
^ Table of Contents
21. No-thing united with some-thing
We can see how Wilber's wishful thinking flows into other parts of his comprehensive oeuvre, so into The Marriage of Sense and Soul: Integrating Science and Religion. Here Wilber builds on a spiritual practice, which will lead to “kensho or satori” (1998 c: 172), to the experience of Emptiness. These are, according to Wilber, the “data” of spiritual science, now defined as “transcendental data” (1998 c: 73).
Data have a mental content, however subtle this content may be. The transcendental data, though, are devoid of all content, because they stand for Emptiness, for the Great Void, which, to use Wilber's own words, is “transverbal; it is not of the mind but of no-mind;... is... a contemplative flash of truth in the soul”, which “cannot be... verbally passed on.” (1995 a: 320)
So there is nothing in the world that these data could possibly relate to. Thus the concept of transcendental data is a contradiction in terms. They are data that do not exist, so they cannot be integrated with the data of a sensory science that do exist. Wilber, however, desires his transcendental data to exist. So for him the transcendental data do exist. That is why his sensory science, which is some-thing and the Emptiness of his religion, which is no-thing, become united, in his most intimate embrace.
Ken Wilber is like someone, let us call him Mr. Drip Feed, who on a windy day runs around fervently to grasp the wind, which blows through the hair he does not have. He finally holds the wind in his hands in an intimate embrace. So he sees his ardent enterprise crowned with success. I looks like a windy accomplishment, what he has achieved
In A critical appraisal of Ken Wilber's marriage of science and religion I tried to show that Ken Wilber in a circular line of reasoning selects his definitions in advance to produce the results desired. Ken Wilber wishes to see his integrating endeavor realized. So it has been realized. His grand vision of “bringing science and religion together in a most intimate embrace” (1998 c: 25) has been accomplished. He is totally persuaded that an Emptiness, which is no-thing, has been united with a Sensory Science, which is some-thing. Yes, in his exalted view Emptiness, which is no-thing, has been perfectly integrated into A Theory of Every-thing.
For Wilber Emptiness cannot be seen, it can only be felt. So Wilber feels that no-thing has been united with some-thing, has been thoroughly integrated in A Theory of Everything. From a rational perspective this is an absurd conclusion which he propagates. For Wilber there is no problem, because he indulges in a pre-rational mode of consciousness. He wishes to have A Theory of Every-thing for an Emptiness to be included, which is no-thing,. So, after extensive elaborations on the subject, no-thing has eventually been integrated in A Theory of Every-thing.
This is a triumphant feeling he thrives on. So he feels a “Kosmos” now that “hangs together... unified as a uni-verse, as one song” (1996: 24) So we hear a Ken Wilber singing the praise of his deeply felt Theory of Everything.
We do not want to merely indulge in our feelings, we want to employ our faculty of reasoning. We do not wish to relish in a pre-rational mode of consciousness, we want to solemnly partake in a rational state of awareness.
From a rational perspective now we can easily see that A Theory of Everything is a contradiction in terms. For this we do not have to go into Gödel's incompleteness theorems. The argument is quite simple, not in terms of a simple feeling of being, but in terms of a simple reflection on the nature of linguistic concepts.
All notions of our language are, so we can easily recognize, of a relative nature. With nobody small Wilber is not tall. This also applies to more abstract concepts, which can only be seen in opposition to what they are not.
Thus a conceptual theory can only be conceived of as contrasted with what the theory is not, which would be a different theory. With only one theory in the world, there would be no theory at all. Now Wilber's theory pretends to be A Theory of Everything, with nothing left out. So there is nothing left to be included in a different theory. Leaving no room for another theory, his one theory cannot be conceived of as a theory. So his Theory of Everything dissolves.
In his Bald Ambition (2010) Jeff Meyerhoff in Chapter 10: Psychological Analysis of Wilber's Beliefs asks himself why Wilber so fervently holds on to his Theory of Everything. For this he looks into Wilber's life story to discover that Wilber as a child did not get the love and care he needed. This, so Meyerhoff, caused an inner split. Wilber then tried to create an unbroken, an all-inclusive Theory of Everything to heal the inner split.
Andy Smith in Contextualizing Ken, A Review of Jeff Meyerhoff's Bald Ambition comments
Meyerhoff... digs into what information is publicly available about Wilber's early lifequite a bit more, it turns out, than I would have thought. A central theme he believes runs through it all is 'loss 'and fragmentation'. As an Army brat, Wilber had to move frequently, uprooting relationships with peers. His father was gone much of the time, and his father's parents he never knew. He quotes passages from Wilber suggesting that the latter was somewhat alienated and lonely as a child. From out of all thisa childhood that tens of millions of American kids today would probably have little trouble identifying withMeyerhoff concludes that Wilber had a deep psychological need to create a system of thought that unified what he saw as a divided and fragmented world.”
I would like to present my own assessment of the matter, for a discussion to be opened up on Integral World maybe. In this I would like to distinguish between the eye of flesh, the eye of mind, and the eye of contemplation. The eye of flesh sees an object, the eye of mind thinks of a concept assigned to the object perceived. The eye of contemplation sees Emptiness, not to be confounded with Wilber's eye of contemplation, which can only feel Emptiness.
For Emptiness to be seen the grasping faculty of the mind must be released. This does not mean that you have to stop reflecting, pondering on theories and ideas. On the contrary, the faculty of mind can be used quite freely now, because you are no longer bound by it. You have given up all attachment to ideas for a deeper love to arise, which is the love of Emptiness, of the Absolute to be seen.
Wilber quite tenaciously holds on to the eye of mind, which prevents the eye of contemplation from opening up. So he does not see Emptiness. There is a great longing in him though to see the Absolute. This triggers off an inner psychological process, which remains unseen. An unconscious mechanism is set off, in which the Absolute projects itself onto the world of ideas, which Wilber dearly loves. Thus in an unconscious process arises his beloved Theory of Everything dressed up as an Absolute Theory. So we have an Absolute Theory shining out as a substitute for the real Absolute, which is not seen.
What we find in Wilber is, in spite of it all, a highly developed cognitive ability with transrational channels opened up. It is a transrational state of awareness. Seen more deeply, however, it is grounded in a wishful thinking, which stems from a prerational mode of consciousness, round a level 2 magic, a level 3 mythic, I would say.
So we have a Ken Wilber, who has accessed high transrational realms, which thrive on a prerational state of consciousness. Where shall we locate Wilber now on his own hierarchical scheme. What states, stages, levels, overlapping waves could we assign to him? The picture of a whirlpool presents itself to the mind, with higher and lower currents flowing into each other. Wiber's integral theory with its conflicting ego-theories can also be seen as a whirlpool. So we have a whirlpool whirling in a whirlpool.
We heard Ken in his One Taste poetry chant:
The Heart will open to the All
The Kosmos will rush into your soul
You will arise as countless galaxies
And swirl for all eternity. (2004: 24)
So where shall we locate Wilber now with his swirling galaxies on his whirling hierarchical scheme? I leave this for the reader to sort out.
There is another point, which I would like to raise. According to Wilber with the development of higher stages of evolution narcissism progressively decreases. Wilber's grandiose claims reveal a high degree of narcissism I would say. So he is either on a lower stage of development or his theory is wrong.
For Wilber there is no problem. Cohen and himself, if not egoless, have at least attained to a state of highly decreased narcissism. This Wilber must affirm to be in line with his integral scheme. What else can an integrally lined up Wilber do?
Let us for the fun of it google "Wilber decreasing narcissism". What do we find there? First entry says: Ken Wilber, greatest American philosopher. The text begins like this:
Ken Wilber Corner
The greatest American philosopher of all time is Ken Wilber, one cool dude from Boulder CO who teaches the cutting edge of spirituality. He's called an "intellectual samurai" for the way he swings the sword of knowledge cutting thru the crud.
We had a closer look at another sword, which is Wilber's Zen sword of prajna cutting through the heads of the Integral World crud. In above entry we then read
Deepak Chopra says, on the back cover of Wilber's The Marriage of Sense and Soul:
"I regard him as my mentor. He is a source of inspiration and insight to all of us. Read everything he writes -- it will change your life."
When you read everything he writes you will become fully acquainted with his Theory of Everything. This will sure change your life, even strikingly so. It is a life transforming process you become engaged in. In the ongoing process you are invited to question Wilber's ideas, to hold a deviant viewpoint, provided you are what you are expected to be, that is an integral reader of Wilber's integral theory. Only this way you have the right taste for Wilber's One Taste to open up for you, when you have read his twenty plus books. Being an integral Wilberian now “will change your life”, as Deepak Chopra rightly stated.
I presented a shorter version of my critical appraisal of Ken Wilber's marriage of science and religion to Anthony Freeman, former managing editor of the Journal of Consciousness Studies. In a week it was accepted as a proficient scientific appraisal of Wilber's work. Six weeks later, due to Ken Wilber's intervention, it was rejected as “not worthy of the Journal of Consciousness Studies.” In a rebuttal I was disqualified as an “unknown author taking on a giant to get press.”
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22. A Giant Denuded
A Giant Ken Wilber truly is in the eyes of his Wilberians. In A Tribute to Ken Wilber, Celebrating the Life and Work of the World's Greatest Integral Pioneer, November 16th, 2013, we read
They say we are all standing on the shoulders of giants. At this year's What Next conference, we were excited to celebrate one of the biggest and most important giants around: the one and only Ken Wilber. This was our chance to say thank you for all the truth, goodness, and beauty that Ken continues to bring into the world. Ken's work has ignited the hearts and minds of so many, and we are honored to walk this path with him.
Wilberians see Ken as a Giant reverently called Big Brain, the Einstein of Consciousness. Referring to Wilber's article What We Are, That We See, Part I Geoffrey Falk in Norman Einstein (2009: 92), "Bald Narcissism", gives an extensive list of Giant Wilber's valuations of his Non-Wilberian critics. Here is a partial list only, in which Wilber defines his detractors as
lunatic and cacophonous ... so deranged as to be laughable
He then warbles on
suck my dick ... level of scholarship is so mediocre ... worthless ... you morons ... can frankly just eat my dust and bite my ass ... criticism so absolutely loopy you just stare in disbelief for minutes, pie-eyed, slack-jawed, say whaaaaaat? ...
In the field of transpersonal psychology, we are constantly having to deal as delicately and as gently as we can with the prepersonal trends, because they give the entire field a “flaky” or “goofy” reputation. We are not against prepersonal beliefs, we just have trouble when we ourselves are asked to embrace the beliefs as if they were transpersonal. (1991: 268)
The reader will have noticed, in the second paragraph we hear Nice Guy Ken again raising his voice. I did not want to neglect him. After all Wilber had the Nice Guy approach of One Taste (1999: 273-276) reprinted twice, first in The Essential Ken Wilber (1998 a: 135139), then in The Simple Feeling of Being (2004: 2124). So he wishes to see his One Taste sink more deeply, to be tasted more sweetly in the integral vision of the reader. For this the critics are delicately, gently taken care of. This is different for Rough Neck. For him these critics wind up as
Numb-nut young Turks and no-nut old Turks, many of whom have studied [my] work for up to 3 full hours...
The one and only Ken Wilber. To see more go
to INTEGRALNAKED. Ken is waiting for you
I say you must not study Wilber's work for three hours. It may be enough to study his work for three minutes only. For this let us have another look at two of his titles.
In the very title of The Simple Feeling of Being, 2004, the reader is not guided to see Being, which is blissful Emptiness. He is invited to indulge in a simple feeling of Being. This enhances the illusionary egoic state. What we find here is a feeling approach, which stirs up the reader's emotions. This way the ego is not transcended for a trans-rational state of awareness to light up. The Simple Feeling of Being, 2004, compiled from Wilber's earlier works, feeds the reader's emotions. So the ego becomes inflated, blown up. This way the reader regresses to a pre-rational state of consciousness while indulging in his trans-rational fantasies.
Let us turn to the title of A Theory of Everything now, which purports to include everything. So A Theory of Everything must include itself as A Theory of Everything. This is like a single hand, which wants to be a clapsing of hands. This leaves us with a hand clapsing by itself in solitude. We can take the image of the clapsing hand as a Zen koan standing for the ego in its futile attempt to embrace itself, to eradicate itself. So you are invited to meditate on this Zen koan now until the three minters are over.
With a single hand clapsing by itself we have the Simple Feeling of Being running through Wilber's oeuvre like a rosy colored thread. This may be enough for you to put the complete oeuvre aside after a three minute contemplation only.
^ Table of Contents
23. Wilber & Adi Da deluded
"I am as certain of this Man as I am of my own hand."
Let us turn to the controversial Guru Franklin Jones now, here named Adi Da (also known as Bubba Free John, Da Free John, Da Love-Ananda, Da Kalki, Da Avadhoota and Da Avabhasa among others)
Ken Wilber writes in his review of The Dawn Horse Testament:
I am as certain of this Man as I am of anything I have writtenin fact, as certain as I am of my own hand (which apparently claps by itself in solitude when it comes to this Great Issue)."
Here is Martin's response: A hand, which claps by itself in solitude, is a weird hand, which in its solitude might like to do some other creepy things, like ripping other people's eyes out. I am as certain of this hand as I am of this Man.
Ken Wilber then states:
“Read this Man, Listen to this Man, Hear this Man, then See Him. And then, I think, you will stand Smiling.”
The Chinese way of reading columns of characters is from right to left. So let us do it the Chinese way for a change. Before we Hear this Man, Read this Man, before perusing the sixty plus books he has written we shall See Him. A person's eyes, the way he looks is the first impression we have. So it is an impression which may count. That is why we want to look into Adi Da's eyes first. Three seconds will be enough. In a prior investigation we looked for three minutes into two of Wilber's titles to put the complete oeuvre aside. This is not a three minute exploration now, it is a three second examination only.
You have looked into Adi Da's eyes now? So you have Seen Him. Now ask yourself: What have I seen while Seeing Him? You will have to answer the question for yourself, as Ken Wilber has answered the question for himself to share the result of his Seeing with you.
He writes: “Read this Man... then See Him. And then, I think, you will stand Smiling." We hear Ken stands smiling while Seeing Him. So you may stand smiling now. You may also stand shivering, shivering with excitement (1) or shivering with fear and cold (2). In case (1) you may rush to devour his books. In case (2) you may run away from them. In this case you are firmly decided to keep the fellow at a safe distance. Seen this way it does not take you three minutes, it takes you three seconds only to put the complete oeuvre aside. This must not prevent you from having a look into his books at a later date. Maybe there are after all some valuable insights, some true revelations to be found in his writing.
Here is my own assessment of what I see in the photo included in this essay. So this is a personal impression now, which I gained from looking into Master Da's eyes.
What I see is a highly sensitive human being, very intelligent, artistically minded, with deep insight into other people's psyche, also endowed with great will-power.
Conventionally speaking one could say here is someone with both a very high Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and very high Emotional Quotient (EQ). Gifted with a fortunate left hemispheric (intellectual) and right hemispheric (intuitve) intelligence this person possesses a high potential to be successful in a variety of domains, as an artist, a scientist, a writer, a salesman, a guru.
Going with these wonderful assets I see a narcissistic energy, which is altogether destructive. Narcissism and destructiveness are two features, which are closely allied in a person's psyche. A narcissist endowed with Adi Da's sensitivity may say to himself:
I want you to serve my own interests, if you don't I will take advantage of you once you get close to me. So it will be best for you to comply right away with my personal inclinations. If you don't, you will have to pay a high price. I will show you. After all I can do to you whatever I like.
Looking at you is for me like looking through you. It just takes me a few seconds to know how you tick on the surface, a little longer to know how you tick more deeply. It is great fun looking through you, to see the way you think and act.
For me it is possible to predict what you will think and do while in my presence, not a hundred percent, but pretty close to it. There are still some surprises waiting for me. This makes the matter more enticing.
The disciples who stayed with me for some time I truly know them, down to the bottom of their souls, almost. With you who just arrived in this sacred community there may be some surprises. Oh, these little unexpected, these unforeseen things I love them. They are like eye-openers for me. Oh, yes, there is always a little challenge, and I know how to handle it, I know how to handle you, and I love you for it.
You see this love in my eyes. Oh, you do not see my thoughts like I see yours. So you do not see the deeper nature of this love, you just see this love, which draws you to me, closer and closer until you become one with me. And then I have a real ball. Now I shall have a great good time with you really, and we will laugh a lot, while you play all those wonderful games I have devised for you. Oh yes, just come closer, still closer, I am always here waiting for you, in this special love I feel for you.
Good to know how you tick, how you feel about issues which are of interest to me. Good to see how you are wired. Oh yes, I know how things stand with you. Right now, I know you are still sticking to your guns, just wait a while and you will be off your rocker, and you will never know what I know.
Oh, we will have a real ball together, yes, we will have a great good time really, the two of us. There will be so much laughter, so much fun. It is a divine game, with the cherished Providence working though me. I am a vehicle in the hands of this beloved Providence, it is truly divine. I love it, and this love flows out to you, yes, and it draws you towards me, closer, ever more closer.
It is a Transmission, in which you will feel Me as part of you, and we will be breathing together, you and Me, it will be like one breath, going in and going out. And we will not only be breathing together. We will be drinking together, and there are all these other nice things we will do together. I love to think of it, and in this love my heart goes out to you. You can see it in my eyes.
In Adi Da: Raging Alcoholic or Out of Control Alcoholic we read
At least 80% of the "sacred teaching" was delivered drunk... He commonly drank two fifths of bourban a day. This was not considered scandalous, but a sign of his nearly superhuman powers to keep functioning with that much alcohol in his system... Da often said that drinking was actually necessary, not just for himself, but for devotees, to overcome the "resistance" in themselves and the world to the Divine Process Da was bringing through his own body, and into their bodies.
In Geoffrey Falk's "The Strange Case of Ken Wilber" we read
One woman says that repeated group lesbian sexual acts, involving dildos, took place under [Adi Da's] command as late as 1982. Another woman says she has sustained permanent cervical damage as a result of participation in similar incidents.
Google "Adi Da abuse" and you will read about further abusive relationships engaged in by Adi Da. In Wikipedia we read
Adi Da and his organization were sued by Beverly O'Mahoney, then wife of the Adidam president, for fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, and assault and battery (among other things); the suit sought $5 million in damages... The O'Mahoney suit was dismissed the next year... Several threatened suits in subsequent years were settled with payments and confidentiality agreements, negatively impacting member morale and bleeding the organization financially.
A narcissistic energy tends to exert itself as a destructive energy. This narcissism with its special facades, its peculiar masks and disguises must be seen. Otherwise it cannot ebb, dwindle away to eventually disappear. As long as the fatal energy is not seen, one holds on to it. So one keeps on feeding, nourishing it. When the crippling energy is not seen in one's own nature, it will not be seen, detected in other people's psyche. It will appear distorted in the light of the contorted view one has of oneself.
A well known proverb says: Birds of a feather flock together. Like will to like. Two destructive persons are like birds of a feather, which are drawn to each other. When the relationship serves the narcissistic persons' mutual interests the bond becomes fortified, enhanced, glorified may be.
Other things may happen. For example the person with a destructive energy may get into contact with somebody, who is generally kindhearted but critical of him or his work. Then the unseen destructive energy may project itself onto the other individual. The destructive person in his projected vision may now see the other individual as someone one who is out to destroy him or his work.
"Ken Wilber: Master Da is the first Western-born Avatar...
Master Da is the single strongest influence on my own work.
In "A Short Appreciation of the Teaching of Bubba Free John" Wilber writes
Founded as the ultimate Condition of which all arising is but a modification, Bubba Free John stands as simple Presence for all who would have recourse to him. The times at which such Enlightened Ones have appeared are very rare; please make use of the works and presence of Bubba Free John to whatever degree you are capable.
Ken Wilber also states with my comments added (text underlined by Wilber)
The Teaching itself is, in its scope, its eloquence, its simplicity, and its ecstatic fund of transcendent insight, probably unparalleled in the entire field of spiritual literature. More extraordinarily, the Teaching itself, like a very few other truly brilliant spiritual works, carries the graceful ability to liberate and awaken simply through hearing the argument.
An argument gives evidence or reasons for accepting a particular conclusion. In a speech built on arguments the reader or listener is invited to argue for himself. He is to arrive at his own conclusions. So he has to make up his own mind whether he wants to accept the argument as conclusive, convincing or reject it as inconclusive, unconvincing.
Ken Wilber himself is a disciple of Adi Da. So he knows that he must not argue with the Master and “The Teaching”, which “carries the graceful ability to liberate and awaken ”simply through hearing the argument.”
This Teaching is not built on arguments. It is a belief system which the disciple must unquestionably accept to be a true follower of Adi Da. By introducing the concept of argument Wilber wants to reconcile Adi Da's teaching, which is not built on arguments, with a science, which is grounded in arguments. He also states
Master Da is the single strongest influence on my own work... I am as certain of this Man as I am of my own hand.
The Simple Hearing of Adi Da is like The Simple Feeling of Being presented by Wilber. As a reader you are not invited to question the simple feeling, which Ken Wilber presents to you. You are supposed to just listen, to let Wilber's speech sink in more deeply, to be tasted more sweetly in your heart. This is the way to awaken to the One Taste, the triumphant state, which Ken wants to reveal to you.
A disciple of Adi Da is not invited to argue, to question the master and the ideas presented to him. He is invited to simply Hear Him, to hear the argument, which is no argument, to let The Teaching sink ever more deeply into his heart and soul.
I think there are clear insights, true revelations to be found in Adi Da's work, which, taken by themselves, can be of considerable value for the reader. There is, however, in Adi's oeuvre another kind of revelation, which can be quite confusing for the reader of his work. Here is an example. Adi Da writes in The Knee of Listening
I remember once for a period of days I was aware of a world that appeared to survive in our moon. It was a superphysical or astral world where beings were sent off to birth on the Earth or other worlds, and then their bodies were enjoyed cannibalistically by the older generation on the moon, or they were forced to work as physical and mental slaves.
Geoffrey Falk comments in "Bald Narcissism":
So you have to ask yourself: Do you believe that there are B-movie-like “cannibal masters/slaves” on the astral counterpart to our moon?
Wilber, at least, seems... to have no doubt, overall:
"I am as certain of this Man as I am of anything I have written."
That statement may be more understandable if one considers the following:
It is possible to look at [Wilber's] early but seminal book The Atman Project and see how his idea of successive stages of psycho-spiritual development grew out of Da's seven stages of life thesis (Kazlev, Ken Wilber and Adi Da, 2003)
Wilber built his early successive stages on Da's seven stages of life. The cannibal masters/slaves on the astral counterpart of the moon, however, can hardly be integrated into his integral scheme. Also there is no evidence for our masters/slaves scenario, scientific or otherwise.
One could think of a personal projection on the part of Adi Da. He may have projected his desire for a master/slave community onto the population of an astral moon. One may argue that the disciple has been drawn into a symbiotic union with Master Da who feeds on his vital energy. The psychic vampirism is then projected onto a physical cannibalism of his astral vision.
Now there are a lot of weird things going on in the psychic astral worlds. So maybe these cannibal masters/slaves scenarios exist after all. I did a lot of soul travelling while I was in Eckankar, with two wonderful masters guiding me. First it was Darwin Gross, then Paul Twitchell, who had already left this planet earth. With the master called the Mahanta we traveled through the lower psychic world, through the higher, subtler manifested realms, to enter the uncreated God worlds, which are pure levels of consciousness. We were always told not to dabble in the psychic. It is a rule, which, as an unexperienced traveler, I observed while passing through the lower astral worlds. So I have no experience with master/slave cannibalism and the like.
I also mean a serious spiritual teacher will leave these psychic scenarios out of his teaching. They serve in no way the disciple's spiritual realization. They are prone to create mere confusion instead in the hearts and minds of followers. Ken Wilber then turning to a focal point of Adi Da's oeuvre writes
According to Bubba Free John... the World is a Mystery; your own being is a Mystery. You have always looked for God, and you have never seen Him or found Himbut that very not-seeing is itself God. And since you have always not seen God, you have always intuited Him. That very Mystery through which you have always moved is Truth itself.
In "The Fire Must Have Its Way" Adi Da states
Now what have you learned in your whole life? Have you learned to feel perfectly? To feel absolutely? Did you ever go through a period of study, in which you learned to feel to infinity, to feel absolute Divinity?
Here we have Wilber's God now, who can never, never, never be seen, who can only be felt in The Simple Feeling of Being. In 1980 Wilber had composed a forword in Adi Da's Scientific Proof of the Existence of God Will Soon Be Announced by the White House. God, the Divine is transrational. A scientific proof rests on arguments which are of a rational nature. The Divine is beyond all argument. So there is no way to have It scientifically validated.
This is the prevailing view espoused by philosophy in a postmetaphysical age. It is a general consensus, which is not shared by Adi Da & Wilber. They proclaim that the scientific verification of God's existence has undeniably been given by Adi Da. This is a fact, which will soon be announced by the White House they say. With the White House's endorsement Adi Da & Wilber see themselves now firmly backed up in their conviction that the God they feel truly exists. Commenting on Adi Da's The Dawn Horse Testament Wilber writes
This is not merely my personal opinion; this is a perfectly obvious fact, available to anyone of intelligence, sensitivity, and integrity: The Dawn Horse Testament is the most ecstatic, most profound, most complete, most radical, and most comprehensive single spiritual text ever to be penned and confessed by the Human Transcendental Spirit. That seems an objective fact.
Wilber projected his longing for the Absolute onto his Theory of Everything. Now we hear that Adi Da composed the most complete, most comprehensive single spiritual text. So it is Adi Da now who has presented an all-inclusive, an all-encompassing spiritual Teaching.
This is for Wilber an objective fact. It is not a relative truth as seen from his own perspective. It is an absolute truth. Thus Wilber advocates an absolute teaching, which is beyond all doubt. So Wilber's longing for the Absolute, which is not seen, has not only been projected onto his own work. It has also been projected onto Adi Da's oeuvre, which for Wilber incorporates an absolute truth.
Wilber was fully aware of the abusive acts Adi Da was involved in. In private he admitted that Adi Da is a fuck up along moral lines. In public he proclaimed that Adi Da is one of the greatest living Realizers of all time along spiritual lines of development.
In Norman Einstein ("The Strange Case of Ken Wilber") Geoffrey Falk writes
As late as 1998 Wilber was again still publicly defending Adi Da, even after having reportedly given the more negative evaluations in private at least two years earlier. Most likely, what he then means is that Da is a “fuck-up” along moral lines or the like, but is still the “greatest living Realizer” along spiritual lines of development. As little chance as there is of the latter idea being true, it would at least partially avoid charges of hypocrisy against kw, for saying one thing publicly but another privately.
Of course, that would still not settle the question as to how “surrendering completely,” even in a “mature” way, to an admitted “problematic [i.e., Jonestown-like], damn fool, fuck-up” (kw's words, all), could possibly be a good idea... Such behaviors could only have a psychological, never merely a “logical,” basis and explanation.
Wilber, at a time, when he was no longer able to deny the abusive acts committed by Adi Da, made ambiguous statements like this one, in "An Update on the Case of Adi Da" (1998):
For those individuals who realize full well the extremely risky nature of the adventure, but who feel a strong pull toward complete and total surrender of their lives to a spiritual Master, I can certainly recommend Adi Dawith all the caveats of which I have written.
In the meantime, I affirm all of the extremes of my statements about Da: He is one of the greatest spiritual Realizers of all time, in my opinion, and yet other aspects of his personality lag far behind those extraordinary heights. By all means look to him for utterly profound revelations, unequalled in many ways; yet step into his community at your own risk.
So Wilber continues to affirm that Adi Da is one of the greatest spiritual Realizers of all time, which shows itself in Adi Da's writing, which, so we heard Wilber, reveals an objective truth, beyond all doubt. In his dealings with his disciples, however, he lags far behind those extraordinary heights. So Wilber separates Da's writing from his interaction with his students now. This way he misrepresents the way the spiritual realizer sees his own writing. In Adidam Ruchiradam we read
All members of the Ruchira Sannyasin Order of Adidam Ruchiradam... are, by Vow, Called and Expected (by Me) to be uniquely exemplary in all the disciplines and practices of the only-by-Me Revealed and Given Reality-Way of Adidam, and to demonstrate that total practice of the Reality-Way of Adidam in the context of the life-discipline of perpetual retreat... .
In his writing Adi Da elaborates on these “disciplines and practices”, which bear their blessed fruit through Him only as their divine center. So we read in "Searchless beholding of Avatar Adi Da Samraj"
The Way I have Revealed and Given is not any form of seeking.
The Way I have Revealed and Given is, most fundamentally, a matter of merely Beholding Me.
To merely Behold Me is to be constantly engaged in devotional resort to Me.
Merely Beholding Me is the fundamental (and always primary) practice of the only-by-Me Revealed and Given Way of Adidam Ruchiradam.
The Way of Adidam Ruchiradam is searchless Beholding of Me...
Searchless Beholding of Me is a Spiritual matter...
Adidam Ruchiradam is a relationship (to Me) in which I Spiritually Transmit Myself to you, and you receive (and respond to) My Divine Spiritual Self-Transmission (or Ruchira Shaktipat).
Adi Da is not the greatest living spiritual Re-alizer, he is the greatest living spiritual Me-alizer. His written and oral teaching is inseparably connected with the blessed Me in the form of the incarnated divine Avatar he pretends to be. Thus Wilber who tries to dissever the Teaching and the Man gets involved in a major contradiction. He says consecrate yourself to his Teaching but do not devote yourself to the Man. In your inner life stay away from Him, while dedicating yourself to his Teaching.
Adi Da presented a writing, in which the Me and the Teaching belong together. They are like two sides of a coin. While separating them Wilber separates the inseparable. This is the first contradiction, in which we find entangled a row of further incongruities.
First Wilber says stay away from Adi Da as a man, while you dedicate yourself to his teaching. Then he says: “By all means look to him for utterly profound revelations, unequalled in many ways.“ So while staying away from him you shall go to him for these unequaled revelations to occur.
He adds: “Yet step into his community at your own risk.” You will ask: “For what reason shall I take the risk... ” Wilber answers: “You shall take risk, because he is one of the greatest spiritual Realizers of all time.” Now you may say: “Realizer or not, I do not want to entrust myself to someone who is a sexual maniac, a near alcoholic and a drug addict.” Wilber answers: “You shall give yourself to one of the greatest spiritual Realizers of all time, for the simple reason that he is one of the greatest spiritual Realizers of all time.” Then he states: “Devote yourself solely to his writing while keeping yourself at a safe distance from him.”
These statements are all contradictory. There is a Wilber who says go to Adi Da and a Wilber who says do not go to Adi Da. So he says: Go to him, keep away from him, yet go to him. It is like saying plus equals minus, which equals plus.
Geoffrey Falk writes in Stripping the Gurus ("Da Avatar, Da Bomb, Da Bum")
Wilber closed his aforementioned... admonitions regarding Da... sequestered in Fiji, by that point... with the relative caution that, until the day when the “World Teacher consents to enter the World,” one might just keep a “safe distance” as a student of Da's writings, rather than as a resident of his community.
We see Geoffrey Falk refers to the Wilber who says that the student shall not go to Adi Da. The reason Wilber gives in this context is the following. The student shall not go to him, because Adi Da, when he enters the World, will come to her to enter into a deeply felt relationship with her. For this she must, of course, open up to the divine Avatar as portrayed by Adi Da in his poem
You must be open Up,
Up to Me...
for I Am Infinitely Above
You must be open Up to Me,
like a waiting cup of love,
that is between Me and below,
to Melt down
in My Force,
By this Melting,
I am permitted to Descend
into your selfless body-mind.
The head and heart,
the whole breathing form
experience My Transmission
felt in every kind of manner
in the body-mind . . .
In Adi Da Samraj-Realized or/and Deluded? we read about a woman Adi Da had sex with. We hear
DFJ [Da Free John] gave her herpes and told her it was prasad [spiritual food] from the Guru to help her work through her bad cunt karma... He also gave it to a lot of other women, and you can't really say it was by accident. He knew he was contagious but he had sex anyway because he could just explain it as a form of blessing for the women he gave it to... DFJ made another friend of mine give three guys oral sex, one after the other, and then he had sex with her himself. She was molested as a child and had some sexual hang-ups, so this really traumatized her, making her do this group thing.
So the divine Avatar says to the female disciple: I am permitted to Descend into your selfless body-mind. While you open Up to Me, like a waiting cup of love, the body will experience My Transmission by Descent, which will be felt in the body-mind as the Divine Process Da is bringing through his own body into your body. This is a Divine Process through which Adi Da brings herpes into your body as a spiritual food from the Guru. This will help you work through a bad cunt karma.
In another testimony, on leavingsiddayoga.net, we read
In front of me, my wife was being sexually prepared for the guru. I coped with my violently irrational feelings going into emotional numbness. Happily, I did not have to witness my teacher bedding my wife. We were all asked to leave the room. I was sent to a different building where I sat for several hours in the dark, dealing with the emotional hurricane that had been unleashed in me. Finally, I got a handle on my feelings. I realized that one of my greatest attachments was to my wife, and that the guru was doing radical surgery on me for that. I had asked him, indirectly but loudly and clearly, to help me in my struggle for enlightenment. That night he was doing just that... This traumatic episode left both [me and my wife] raw for several months, but it also proved a valuable initiation."
In "Adi Da: Raging Alcoholic or Out of Control Alcoholic?" we read
It was proposed by Da and others in the community that inebriants like alcohol were an important and even sacred part of the spiritual process, and had to be understood in that context.
Wilber says, keep at a safe distance from Da until he enters the World. Then Wilber, who was very well aware of the abusive acts committed by Adi Da, implicitly states, he will come to bestow upon all true seekers the prasad of alcohol and other inebriants, so that they may overcome their resistance to the Divine Process. He will also share out his blessed Prasad, to let women dissolve their bad cunt karma. He will also enter the World to help men in their struggle for enlightenment. For this they have to break with all attachments. So when the avatar comes the true seeker has to make sure that his wife is present, provided that he himself is deeply attached to her, while she is open to Him like a waiting cup of love. It is an elevated state of mind she must be in, to allow what is below to melt down, so that He in this Melting is permitted to Descend into her selfless body-mind.
Seen from a rational level of consciousness all this is an absurdity. For Wilber it makes sense, because it appeases, pacifies his wishful thinking. In his prerational state of consciousness he holds on to Adi Da as one of the greatest spiritual Realizers of all time. He is so much addicted to the idea that he does not see the absurdity of his arguments, which try to defend his position. It is a prerational state of consciousness, which was laid out to send so many seekers to Adi Da. There were these young people especially who trusted the highly acclaimed Wilber in his rapturous praise of Adi Da. Geoffrey Falk writes:
Obviously, any sincere seeker reading such ecstatic praise from the most highly respected “genius” in consciousness studies might be inclined to experience for himself the teachings of such a unique, “greatest living” (Wilber's words) Adept. Indeed, had I come across those endorsements in my own (teenage years, at the time) search, and been aware of and unduly awed by Wilber's status in the consciousness-studies community, I myself might well have foolishly taken such exaggerations seriously enough to experience Adi Da's community discipline first-hand.
So one has every reason to bring to light the ill-conceived teaching, to undeceive the deceived, to safeguard them from becoming entangled in Da's surviving church organization, in other groupings of a similar caliber. This is seeing things from a rational standpoint. It is a view which is not espoused by Wilber who indulges in his prerational fantasies. He does not try to see the world as it is. He wishes to see the world in the light of his reveries, his dreamt up images. Here it is an image of Adi Da he upholds as one of the greatest spiritual Realizers of all time.
There is no evidence, there are no reasons to validate the lofty claim. For a prerational mode of consciousness this is to no avail. Reasons do not count. For a prerational consciousness things are not as they are. They are as one wants to see them in one's own wishful thinking.
For Wilber Adi Da is one of the greatest spiritual Realizers of all time, because he wants to see him as such. Adi Da is the greatest living Adept, because he is the greatest living Adept. So the matter has been settled for Wilber. There is no way to argue with him. Arguments stem from a rational mode of consciousness, which is not embraced by Wilber.
The reasons he gives to support his view are no reasons. They are so absurd, contradictory as to be laughable from a rational point of view. For Wilber this does not count. He is wedded to his own wishful thinking, guided by his personal preferences, predilections. It is a pull so powerful that all reason is stamped out, erased. All the enslavement, debauchery, which Adi Da inflicted upon his disciples is of no importance. All these arguments brought up against Wilber are for him barren, empty, vain. For Wilber Da is one of the greatest spiritual Realizers of all time, because he is one of the greatest spiritual Realizers of all time. His teaching reveals an objective truth, because it reveals an objective truth. It is beyond doubt, because it is beyond doubt. Finish.
^ Table of Contents
24. A prerational Ken Wilber
I am not a psychological reductionist. So I do not want to say that Wilber's psychological structure has now been revealed, displayed. Wilber is a complex human being expressing himself on subtle levels of cognition. There are no dry and dead ideas to be found in his writing. The true insights to which he attains are made alive in a clear, colorful writing. His own love for ideas shines through at all times. So I can understand that people have a great good time reading him.
What this exposition tries to explore is not the manifold facets of Wilber's personality and work. It wants to look into the deeper ground from which his writing stems. It is a context to be explored, in which Wilber as a human being cannot be left out. We cannot leave Wilber out, because he himself wanted to be included as a person in his work. So to do justice to Wilber he must be enclosed in the oeuvre which we explore.
Let us have a look at Grace and Grit, which will show how Wilber wanted to be included in his work. The oeuvre portrays
A five year journey... of Ken Wilber and his wife, Treya Killam Wilber, through Treya's illness, treatment, and finally death.” It is “a love story that brings the perennial wisdom of the ages to life.”
So says the cover of the book. Ken Wilber in "A Note to the Reader" writes:
This book is two things. One, is that story. But two, it is an introduction to the perennial philosophy, or the world's great wisdom traditions. Because, in the final analysis the two are inseparable.
So Wilber himself sees his life story and the narrative of his integral theory intertwined. Wilber goes on to say
Woven into the following narrative are explanations of the great wisdom traditions (from Christianity to Hinduism to Buddhism), the nature of meditation, the relation of psychotherapy to spirituality, and the nature of health and healing. Indeed the main purpose of this book is to provide an accessible introduction to just those topics.
This does not mean that you have to read the instructive parts, the purpose for which the book has been written. Wilber says
If you hit one of these explanatory sectionswhich occupy about one third of the book, and which are very obviousand all you are interested in at the moment is following Treya's story, feel free to fast-forward through these sections and pick up the story again.” (1991: 2)
The explanatory sections, which occupy one third of the exposition, are the main purpose of the book. They are obvious, quite simply to be seen. So they can be directly distinguished from Wilber's personal story. You can leave all the explanatory sections out to read the personal story only. This you can do because the two parts of the book can be separated. It is like having two books in one. Wilber, however, wants to see the separable parts as inseparable. So he writes "The two are inseparable."
They are inseparable, because Wilber in his wishful thinking wants to see it that way. It is a prerational mode of consciousness, in which things are not what they are, they are as one wants to see them. The two parts of Wilber's book can be separated from each other, quite obviously so, as affirmed by Wilber himself. For him they are inseparable though, because he wants to see his integral theory intertwined with the story of his life. He wants to see it embedded in the hardship, the personal ordeal his wife Treya had to go through. This is the way he wanted to have his integral theory spread around the world. It sold a million copies eventually. How much would it have sold with only the main purpose for which it had been written?
Anyhow we see Wilber as a person wishes to be included in his integral theory. Thus in assessing his theory we must not leave him out as the human being he is. When speaking of himself personally, so we can see, he presents himself as someone who is candid, direct, who is quite open as far as his weak spots, his inner vulnerability is concerned. So he writes
In my case, when I become afraid, when fear overcomes me, my ordinary lightness of outlook, which generously might be referred to as wit, degenerates into sarcasm and snideness, a biting bitterness towards those around menot because I am snide by nature, but because I am afraid.” (1991: 152)
Does this mean that Ken Wilber is ready to really look into his weak spots, to do the shadow work he so emphatically recommends to his readers? Or does he merely display an openness, as part of a conduct esteemed in groups, which deal with (trans)personal psychological issues? Wilber is revered as the leading figure in transpersonal psychology, as a highly evolved being, who has experienced One Taste, without interruption, for several weeks in a row. When someone so highly esteemed shows a weak spot, a personal vulnerability, this increases his authenticity, enhances the reverence his followers extend to him. A giant he is, and how direct, how honest and frank he is, how simple in his simple feeling of being, thinks the Wilberian now. It is something special when the special one shows a human weakness. Of course, to remain special the weakness can be displayed in rare instances, in well allotted portions only.
In real life there seems to be no shadow for Wilber to work with. There are no apparent wounds, no weak spots, there is no personal vulnerability to be seen. The shadow has sunk back into the subconscious ground of his being, so in What We Are, That We See, Part I, where Ken Wilber projects the unobserved shadow onto his detractors. Referring to this Wyatt Earp episode Meyerhoff comments
In June of 2006 Ken Wilber posted a blog entry in which he appeared to have a spontaneous, raging outburst at critics of his integral theory. (He later said that the piece and its insults were well-considered.) The abrasiveness of the piece forced people to react one way or another, and he later wrote that a purpose of the piece was to separate the integral wheat from the integral (world) chaff. Those who got the Kosmic 'joke' demonstrated a higher consciousness from those who missed it and by missing it gave evidence of their lower consciousness.” (2010: 250/251, Bald Ambition, Chapter 10: Psychological Analysis of Wilber's Beliefs , April 2007)
The Wyatt Earp episode, so says Wilber, was only a Kosmic joke. Those who got it belong to the integral wheat, those who missed the Kosmic joke belong to the integral chaff. The piece was deliberately contrived to separate the higher from the lower, the trans-rational from the pre-rational of his integral scheme.
Wilber pretends he was not hurt. He did not let off steam. It was just a Kosmic Joke he enacted. Let us imagine Wilber walks up to one of his detractors to spit into his eyes. A Kosmic Joke again? Where is the limit to the Kosmic Joke he proclaims?
Seen from a rational standpoint his display of a Kosmic Joke is a joke, for Wilber was quite obviously hurt. He was driven to blow off his pent up anger. There was a necessity for him to act the way he did. So one could ask oneself: Did Wilber invent a Kosmic Joke as a face-saver, to keep up his countenance in the eyes of his readers, his Wilberian followers?
The question arises when one considers the episode from a rational standpoint. Wilber in his wishful thinking acts from as prerational mode of consciousness though. Here you do not ask yourself: What is the world like? The question does not come up, because it does not exist as such. The world is not as it is. It is as you want to see it.
Wilber wants to see the episode embedded in a word, which is free of all shadow, in which nothing hurts. So the Wyatt Earp episode is a Kosmic Joke in his own eyes. Who does not see it as a Kosmic joke does not belong to the trans-rational wheat. He belongs to the prerational chaff. So he can be safely ignored, dismissed, like the real chaff, which is thrown away to be blown by the wind.
In reality it is the other way round. Who believes in the crap, the baloney Wilber comes up with, got stuck in a prerational mode of consciousness. So Wilber has fallen prey to the pre/trans fallacacy which he so ingeniously elaborated on in his oeuvre.
In his Introduction to Sex, Ecology, Spirituality (SES) Wilber writes:
“It is a brief history of cosmos, bios, psyche, theosa tale told by an idiot, it goes without saying, but a tale that, precisely in signifying Nothing, signifies the All.” (1995 a: viii)
Wilber in his own scientific approach wishes to unite Emptiness, which is no-thing, with the world, which is some-thing. So there is no-thing to unite the world with. This means that his tail signifies No-thing, which does not signify the All. It signifies No-thing, which signifies no-thing at All. So just replace the by at, and you get it right.
“In SES”, says Wilber in One Taste,
“I was trying to pull together dozens of disciplines in all four quadrants, and this was a seemingly unending nightmare... It was by far the most difficult voluntary thing I have ever done.” (1999: 122/123)
His nightmarish undertaking shows that his Kosmic joke, the tale told by an idiot, was quite a serious affair, which makes his Kosmic joke a perplexing joke, a Wilberian joke so to speak.
The chilling endeavor of SES is highlighted in the second to last paragraph of the oeuvre by way of the crowning statement that he
“has clearly demonstrated that evolution stops for nobody, that each stage passes into a larger tomorrow. And if today is rationality, tomorrow is transrationality, and there is not a single scientific argument in the world that can disagree with that, and every argument in favor of it.”
“Science (from Latin scientia, meaning 'knowledge') is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe”, says Wikipedia. So science refers to knowledge that can be rationally explained. The transrational cannot be rationally explained for the mere fact of being beyond the rational. So there is not “every argument in favor” of Wilber's scientific approach, as he believes. There is not a single argument in favor of it.
The monumental opus ends in these lines:
“And so there we stand now, at rationality, poised on the edge of transrational perception, a scientia visionis that is bringing here and there, but ever and ever more clearly, to all sorts of places, powerful glimmers of a true Descent of the all-pervading World Soul.” (1995 a: 524)
Wilber's scientia visionis is a visionary science, a vision-logic born from his wishful thinking, in which the rational and the transrational have become united. He wants to see this as an absolute truth, which cannot be questioned. So it is beyond all doubt. That is why every scientific argument is in favor of it. This is Wilber's pre-rational perspective, the deeper ground from which his Theory of Everything stems.
The powerful glimmers of the all-pervading World Soul, of which he speaks, can, so we remember, never, never, never be seen. They can only be felt. In his yearning for the Absolute he has the Absolute, which is not seen, projected onto A Theory of Everything, which has been incorporated in SES now, as an absolute theory, with every argument in favor of it.
^ Table of Contents
25. The jargon and the psychobabble
Let us return to A Tribute to Ken Wilber to partake in the ongoing celebrations of the one and only Ken Wilber.
We hear again
We are all standing on the shoulders of giants. Everything we do in this moment rests upon everything that we've inherited from the previous moment. We are reaching out to ourselves through centuries of accumulated ambition, innovation, and illumination, stretching through the muck and glory of human history. This is how our collective knowledge and wisdom continues to grow and expand from generation to generationpassed on from giant to giant, each picking up where the previous left off, while adding a new unique piece to the puzzle. This year we are excited to celebrate one of the biggest and most important giants around: the one and only Ken Wilber... .
There is, so we hear, a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD NOW AVAILABLE. You are invited to "Download this collection to your computer for just
Featuring over 4 hours of stunning high-definition video, this first volume of the Life Footnotes collection is your very best chance to get to know the life and work of Ken Wilber. Experience Ken like you never have before... how his thinking has evolved over the decades.
Here is Jim Chamberlain's view now of how Wilber's thinking has evolved over the decades.
In "Sorry, It's Just Over Your Head" Chamberlain writes
Wilber in 1983: The underlying impulse that we are going to change the world is archaic and narcissistic. The stance that we have the only way or the best way is arrogant and narcissistic. If you feel that you have the best or only way that the poor ignorant folks must rise up to, you are arrogant and narcissistic.
Wilber in June, 2006: We have the best way, we are in the elite 2%, we are above the herd, we will change the world...
The herd mentality that Wilber should concern himself with is the herd mentality he encourages in his young followers, the groupthink, the in-group versus out-group dynamic, the loading of the language with jargon and psychobabble, the arrogance, narcissism, and grandiosity.
^ Table of Contents
26. All one in the All
I have nothing to add. So I would like to finish this exposition, with Ken Wilber's own words. They are one of the highlights of his writing taken from What We Are, That We See.
So we hear Ken Wilber again who in his exalted state of awareness chants
Things float by as clouds in the sky, with effortless ease in the all-inclusive Presence that is witnessing this screen... and this world, arise in luminous clarity and radiant splendor... and that is why it all rolls off the back so easily, when all is said and done, for all are textures of your very own Self, alone in the Alone.
So I say good-bye to Ken Wilber, a farewell also to Wyatt Earp, who
Rides on, undaunted and unfazed... into the sunset of integral peace and harmony, in a relationship with his horse that is slightly questionable, but otherwise, he seems a pretty fine chap... .
So we see Wyatt Earp with his horse ride on into the sunset, while I myself stroll on in the morning sun, wow, wau, wow, a Genglish dog, which does not bite. So we are both nice chaps after all, disintegrally united, myself and a Ken Wilber, who is so tall with the small, all one in the All. You can see him smiling.
Here is a brief survey of the ego-theories given by Wilber himself in a footnote 7 of Integral Psychology (2000: 240), with my own comments added.
Wilber writes: “In The Atman Project [see references] I gave the following names and dates for the ego: early ego (ages 4-7), middle ego (7-12), and late ego (12-21).” Here we do not find the ego of Living Enlightenment that is to be crushed. We have an ego instead that evolves through consecutive stages of our lives, with names of early, middle, late assigned to it.
“Those names and dates are still acceptable”, continues Wilber, “but the problem is that the word 'ego' is used in a thousand different ways by different the orists, which make it very difficult to assign a definition. Psychological literature speaks of “early ego nuclei, the body ego, the impulsive ego, the mental ego, the mature ego, the synthesizing ego, the analytic ego, and so on.”
To give his own definitions of ego Wilber continues: “I generally use the term 'ego' in three different ways, reflecting common uses in the literature.” So what follows are not the classifications used in The Atman Project. This is a new conceptualization now, expressing itself in three different ways, but only generally so. At times there are other classifications employed by Wilber to reflect the uses in the literature, which are the common uses only.
Now the three different ways, in which Wilber uses the term ego, are these: “(I) The ego”, he says, “is the sense of self or 'I-ness' at any of the personal (or frontal) stages, from the material ego to the bodyego to the rational ego; (2) the ego is more narrowly the personal self that is based on formal-rational-reflexive capacities, which I also call 'the mature ego'; (3) the ego is the separate-self sense or self-contraction in general, body to mind to soul.”
These classifications are not always in line with The Atman Project. “What The Atman Project called the early ego I now also call the self-concept (or the conceptual self; fulcrum-3)”, writes Wilber. “The middle ego (fulcrum 4) I often call the persona or the membership-self (in The Atman Project, I used 'membership self' to mean the very beginning of socialization, but since that socialization does not really become paramount until the rule/role mind, I now use 'membership' and 'mythic membership' to refer... ” So it goes on in our footnote 7, the italics added showing what Wilber often calls, also calls, now calls the ego, with Wilber's own uses of ego applied, neglected or rejected by Wilber himself, who introduces ever new notions of an ego into his all-inclusive integral scheme. So you never know what definition will be next, which does not perturb Ken Wilber, who firmly believes that everything has found its proper place in A Theory of Everything.
All literature is listed by date of publication at the end for quick reference
Wilber, Ken, The Atman Project, A Transpersonal View of Human Development, Quest Books, 1980
Wilber, Ken, Grace and Grit, Gill & Macmillan, 1991
Wilber, Ken, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, The Spirit of Evolution, Shamballa, Boston & London, 1995 a
Nagarjuna, Mulamadhyamakakarika, The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way, Translation and Commentary by Jay L. Garfield, Oxford University Press, 1995 b
Da Adi, The Knee of Listening: The Early-Life Ordeal and the Radical Spiritual Realization of the Divine World Teacher, Middletown, CA, The Dawn Horse Press, 1995 c
Wilber Ken, A Brief History of Everything, Gill & Macmillan, 1996.
Ramana Maharshi, The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi, edited by Arthur Osborne, Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, 1997
Wilber, Ken, The Essential Ken Wilber, Shamballa, Boston & London, 1998 a
Wilber, Ken, The Eye of Spirit, Shamballa, Boston & London, 1998 b
Wilber, Ken, The Marriage of Sense and Soul, Integrating Science and Religion, Random House, 1998 c
Wilber, Ken, One Taste, The Journals of Ken Wilber, Shamballa, Boston & London, 1999
Wilber, Ken, Integral Psychology, Consciousness, Spirit, Psychoolgy, Therapy, Integral Books, Boston & London, 2007, Shamballa, Boston & London, 2000
Wilber, Ken, The Simple Feeling of Being, Embracing Your True Nature, Shamballa, Boston & London, 2004
Falk, Geoffrey, Norman Einstein, The Dis-Integration of Ken Wilber, Million Monkeys Press, 2009
Meyerhoff Jeff, Bald Ambition: A Critique of Ken Wilber's Theory of Everything, Inside the Curtain Press, 2010
Vivekananda, Swami Vivekanada on himself, Advaita Ashram, Eight Reprint, 2012