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".
Zakariyya Ishaq is a writer who has just completed his first book on the subject of spiritual cosmology. An original new theory he feels can rival any:
THE ELLIPSE: THE FALL AND RISE OF THE HUMAN SOUL: SECRETS OF THE COSMOS
. In addition to being a writer he is a musician, computer professional, and community activist. He is a Graduate of Devry University in Digital Electronic Technology. Ishaq has been a mystical seeker of enlightenment for 30 years, a member of 3 Sufi Orders: and has studied formally and informally Buddhism, Vedanta Cosmology, Cabala, Taoism, Sufism, Integral Philosophy, and various other mystic esoteric and exoteric schools of thought.
Spirituality and development
There is no doubt that generally healthy development which includes mental health, is a prerequisite for proper spiritual development. This doesn't guarantee anyone successes in the pursuit of the goal of spiritual development-enlightenment, but nevertheless as one teaching master said: “It is difficult enough in assisting in unraveling the knots in the mind of the ordinary disciple, than for one to have to tackle the increased problems of the mentally unhealthy is very challenging”.
This by no means includes, or excludes any one from successful spiritual development it is just that these are the general parameters of success in theory, that is though always transcended in possibility by the miraculous, which in a sense obeys higher laws.
Development or healthy development includes more than mental health, and involves taking into the heart an understanding of moral sense, which transcends the mental apparatus, and therefore is only a beginning or a possibility of spiritual growth. The Lines of development in many of the theories of development that exist today reflect an ever expanded understanding of this, that all aspects of life are interconnected to something universal therefore have merit in the great scheme of things, the very essence of the Integral philosophy.
This though is not in itself Spiritual, a notion by the way I must say agrees with Ken Wilber. He makes this point very astutely in an interview with Andrew Cohen in WIE.
[ by the way it's nice to agree with Wilber for a change, or him to agree with me!]
Nevertheless let no one misunderstand me, healthy development although has no direct connection to metaphysics is an extremely positive condition to be in, and it does have a powerful indirect connection to metaphysics; that is through the karmic law: people healthily developed generally will refrain from negative activity thereby gaining great favor with the cosmos.
This issue is important in terms of coming to grips with the mysterious power of faith and the pursuit of knowledge, enlightenment, and spiritual fulfillment, whose reality is not fully understood by the psychologist whom have formulated these theories of development. The intervention of the motivation of spirituality is meagerly understood by psychologist and only in a negative sense by theorists of a Freudian modernist/ postmodernist bend who claim that such motivations are rooted in displaced primal needs and not anything inherently lofty. The positive developementalist I am sorry to say are equally as ignorant in their understanding of the spiritual phenomena. They in fact can't, and never will completely understand it unless they themselves experience it.
Ken Wilber and other Integral spiritualists, and many modern mystics as well as some transpersonal psychologist have tried to bring this together to get a grasp on this, though they still have in my view a way to go. Though as I have critiqued them I on the other hand have to praise them for opening up of the pursuit of unified knowledge to indeed see its practical value in developing and guiding humans. The jury is still out on the usefulness of this area of knowledge.
In terms of healthy development in any era it is understood conclusively that the number of humans who go from developmental “perfection” to spirituality without the intervention in their consciousness of a path, or faith, is fewer than 100 in any era. In fact this phenomenon is so rare as to render it a non phenomenon. Even Buddha himself couldn't do such a thing or any of the great metaphysicians we know of in history. Many of us have though seen such rare people, and have been blessed to know the person: someone who may or may have been exposed to doctrinal formulas but transcend any of it nonetheless with a moral beauty, and sense that is above and beyond any perfect master or at least equivalent too without even having to be exposed to concepts like god, Dharma, or religion.
The concept of growth based on a hierarchy of needs by Abraham Maslow may be referring to this group, because his outline of needs when they stretch to the spiritual level don't really make much sense out of context of not describing the spiritual seeker- at the transcendence level, or not an ordinary developmental process. This is the basic problem with these lines of development schemes of these psychologist, they don't have an unconventional “spiritual" line that counteracts or transcends the conventional, that these idealist like Wilber arbitrarily mixes spiritual lines with ordinary lines of development, a very imprecise and highly unscientific, process. They are throwing spirituality in with the human psychic apparatus, and also neglecting any understanding or description of the high energy that exists in genuine spiritual motivated people. There is no proof anywhere that “healthy development has a connection with spirituality, Maslow is describing a freak, in his scheme, in which no one alive replicates, save possibly [to save his theory, those “hidden saints” I speak of. But their rarity really argues against this.
Ordinary “healthy development has nothing directly to do with spirituality! The huge amount of evidence backs this up, in that the developmental apparatus of the human is a natural growth process outside of metaphysics and spirituality. People develop generally healthy all the time, and never go anywhere spirituality at all! This is documented! The reality is that most of the developmental structures in man are not disturbed or corrupted enough to prohibit in theory “healthy development” save the specter of environmental disturbances; but on the other hand something is in man that naturally disturbs or disrupts the perception of reality as well as balance outside of development one way or the other. And that is the great mystery of the unfolding of the dynamic consciousness of humans.
The problem with “Healthy development” is that as I have pointed out in other essays, is that it is not spiritual or metaphysical by its very nature. It is certainly a positive, good and useful phenomenon for the human organism, but the theories that try to connect these two phenomena together- that is development and spirituality haven't even come close to connecting them, because the connection probably doesn't exist. To cross the Rubicon of development to mystical motivation is a huge energy shift in the consciousness of the human, something not remotely understood by the theoretical psychologist, transpersonal psychologist, and modernist philosophers, for the simple reason they don't remotely understand or in many cases even accept the reality of mis-development, something I will deal with more precisely in the next part of this essay.
The unusual small group of “natural saints” I speak about above are certainly in the fold of “healthy development” but even there it is hard to see the connection between the two with the obvious saintliness of the types of rare people, practically because these people [whom the developmental theorist probably don't even know exist, to be able to examine them]. Wilber may be close to this idea with some of his color coded notions of higher tiers, but the level of these rare people must be very high.
It is therefore reasonable to postulate that some degree of healthy development is a prerequisite for spiritual growth, but the other side of the coin is that healthy development does not include in its lines of development spirituality at all. There is certainly a “spiritual” line of development mixed deep in man's soul that intersects mysteriously with his psyche, the problem with this idea is that this “line of development” is not natural to the psyche; it is in fact an unnatural phenomenon, not at all built into man's “natural” lines of development. That is in fact one reason for the general failure of metaphysics as relates to the human problems of this worlds life. A different dimension in a great sense has to be crossed for spirituality to come in the mix. Saying that this line of development though is not natural is saying it is not natural to the psychic human apparatus of development; it certainly has its source in the higher realm of the soul and spirit, that does I guess render it some degree on “naturalness”
Where healthy development might have a dog in the fight is in judging [indeed Freud's postulate that spirituality is a displaced need] the motivation behind the quest for spiritual truth by the aspirant. But there the badly motivated: one really wants power; one really wants wealth- one really wants fame not true spiritual growth grows out of mis-development not development, and also metaphysicians have always recognized this phenomena, it is hardly a new idea of Sigmund Freud, however obvious his genious. Therefore if we reject Freud's idea of the [displaced emotional] motivation behind spirituality then we still have a deeply unresolved mystery on our hands; what is the source of the motivation of spirituality?
The motivation to spirituality is a “disturbance” in the consciousness of the person. It is a reaction not particularly to anything developmental positive or “normal” but is in fact a reaction to misdevelopement, a concept unfortunately hardly understood, or even studied by the developmental theorist, whom seems to have been thrown off the scent of this very important side of the coin by the intricate but questionable ideas of Sigmund Freud.
This is not to say that there is not a huge industry of theoretical and transpersonal psychologist and philosophers who claim to understand misdevelopement but obviously this “understanding” has not led to genuine useful therapeutic methodologies for the many instances of “misdevelopement” in our world or a true understanding from the standpoint of the transpersonal theorists, and philosophers of the nature of spirituality not referring to the fact that they know where human pathologies come from: bad parents, from an ontological perspective. From the metaphysical perspective they are entirely lost for they have no intelligent acceptance of the devil before their faces- that is misdevelopement.
Their ideas of misdevelopement exist out of a vacuum for them, as if the obvious and manifold worldly examples of misdevelopement come out of nowhere, as if magic. Certainly they understand the superficial rudiments of misdevelopement: bad parents; bad environment; bad experiences... etcetera-this is well understood, but what is not accepted by these thinkers is that misdevelopement has become am established “normal” and accepted condition of “evolution” genetic breeding, or trained behavior, to them there is no possibility of a higher more fundamental source of the etymology of this evolved existential misdevelopement in man.
And with all these modern and post modern schemes of lines of development, theories of everything, and supposed psychological therapeutic developmental theories it is clear without a shadow of a doubt we are not succeeding in dealing with misdevelopement, on the level of understanding it's etymology, or dealing with it through therapeutic methodologies.
Spirituality and Misdevelopement
Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Moses, the Mythical Chrisna, all began their spiritual quests based on their response to misdevelopement, trying through this difficult unraveling of the human psychology to get the human organism not only on a track to counter mis-development- by way of the exoteric law of metaphysics [their fundamental vehicle to unraveling mis-development] but by the higher esoteric law of universality. This is a great clue in my opinion in unraveling the mystery of spirituality.
The clue here is that we must understand that there is without a doubt something that has destabilized the human mind or knocked it off its inherent nature that sooner or later- to understand this- may finally bring metaphysics outside of it's elitist role and inside of the hearts and minds of all humans on all levels of development to accelerate our return to our true nature, metaphysically speaking. Since “healthy” development has great limitations save within the context of the karmic law it behooves us to try to see the reality of the universal law that holds humans in the bondage of misdevelopement, in order to create within the science or cosmic law an easier, more scientific, specific methodology that directly deals with the inner elements of the soul that controls this phenomena. It is at this time questionable that a methodology of this sort is possible, but I personally think it is, but this like everything has to be earned and learned legitimately and it has to be based on truth, not wish fulfillment.
All the myths of the spiritual heroes of all the faiths are replete with this notion of misdevelopement being the catalyst of spiritual motivation. Certainly in our myths we rarely if ever hear of people gliding into the nirvana of developmental perfection without the intervention of a unique understanding that something is uniquely wrong with the condition we have evolved to, therefore powerful methodologies of action must be partaken in order to heal the two elements of the fallen human being.
Those two elements as mentioned above are the exoteric law [which is relative to time and place and deal with misdevelopement] and the esoteric law, which is universal, and deals with the ultimate healthy development which is known as enlightenment.
The culture of all metaphysics has mis-development as its center of concern
Misdevelopement is very common in western psychology as well: Freudian, Jung, Pavlov, as all religions are based on it.
It is only the ego and arrogance of modernism, and post-modernism that rejects the notion [because it is associated with religion, as they see it] that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with us, we are only evolving out of barbarity, and we are civilized and evolving to a higher tier where we wont rape and rob half the earth and build nuclear weapons of mass destruction, as well as destroy the environment and concentrate on capital gain for the elite, and not the preservation and action of human values that put human beings first. With this mentality these individuals, [whom are responsible for the condition of this world, by their deeds, and any philosophical sophistry to hide this wont fool the universe!} In essence they are blind to their own selves, they do not look at their own actions, and that entails the denial that they are HIGHLY mis-developed, and it is their actions that testify to this All the modernist and postmodern gibberish that has been passed down to this generation that gives them an excuse for their immoral actions, and makes them not see and forget about their obvious misdeveloped secondary natures that include deeds and actions no better than ravaging wolves, and devils of the worst sort.
Even on a level of therapeutic psychology Freud even knew there was something innately wrong, as did Jung with human nature and in fact in his comprehensive theory of healthy development and his antithetical notions on neuroses [misdevelopement] exemplified a perfect roadmap for trying to understand the psychic self. Though the content of his ideas have been generally discredited, his methodology of deciphering mis-development as well as healthy development stands as a replica of action and theory even to today.
True metaphysics uses the same formula as for example Buddha expresses the idea of getting to the root of ones problems, seeing that they are based on something. As all forms of genuine metaphysics postulates similar views on misdevelopement and healthy development and eventually high consciousness. Indeed like so many new agers and their borrowing so readily misunderstood cosmic ideas, this notion is not about duality or yin yang, it is existential energy based reality that transcends these cosmic reflections.
That's all metaphysics and its lower reflection- religion is ALL about, that is correcting misdevelopement, and getting people back into a stream of healthy development. Though metaphysics goes a step further and not only tries to acquire the balanced state, but also the advanced” enlightenment” stage.
Misdevelopement began with the fall of man, and then has evolved to what I call: balanced corruption. [Ellipse]
This balanced corruption is a form of development, since development is only movement towards a regularized condition of some sort that one develops to via the world [environment] they are brought up in, and then becomes “stabilized” in this bad condition.
This is certainly misdevelopement of a huge and unique situation in which I contend is the sole reason for the very existence of spirituality and metaphysics. There is nothing “natural” about spirituality or metaphysics in fact their existence is solely because of mis-development, as for example is conclusively proven and understood by the metaphysical universal doctrine expounded best by Buddha: “when over the river discard the boat” this simple idea is a huge refutation of all the postmodern spiritual theorists with all their doctrines of evolution being something sacred, or that spirituality or metaphysics is in any way divine or some kind of existential process.
As psychotherapy would not exist if their weren't neurotics; metaphysics, or any kind of religion or spirituality would not exist if their were not extreme forms of misdevelopement that have pervaded the consciousness of the human species for quite a long time, and rendered his condition one of relative to extreme suffering existentially. This misdevelopement is not an original condition of the human; in fact it is entirely a reflection or firm proof that there is something that has corrupted his very nature; the misdevelopement is an effect not a cause.
All this and the inherent problems with the human as it relates to this dynamic problem of the self, is all reflective in these counter-forces that meet somewhere in our endeavor to correct ourselves, and at the same time grow. It is not anything symmetrical in that the ordinary growth of the human organism-that which the developementalist label 'development' has no direct connection to metaphysics or spirituality- energetically, therefore the other dynamic of metaphysics- that has its own [guidance] outside of the human growth developmental phenomena, and source of intelligent being that deals with this on a level that obviously transcends human growth or development. Or one could look at it as if metaphysics[ whose phenomena, is sourced intelligently in the soul] is usurping the normal development apparatus of the human, or intervening in it, in order to correct something that plaques man- that is above and beyond his existential creative, and developmental aspect as a holistic organism of the universe. In understanding this one can clearly see the problems of these two dynamics, and why this process is so difficult to succeed.
The formula is like this:
Development is the natural condition of any organism; Misdevelopement is the unnatural condition of an organism.
Since misdevelopement is an unnatural condition, therefore something has come into existence to rectify this imbalance, and that thing for humans is metaphysics, and spirituality. The source of this Metaphysics is in the human soul, not any sky god anywhere. Additionally something in our history began this imbalance or corruption, which is an energetic subtle structural phenomena.
Healthy development doesn't need anything, so why would it produce anyththing metaphysical or spiritual?
It wont and cant, only from the standpoint that in fact the healthily developed human cant get away from the reality that on another level they are still as misdeveloped as your average thief, only they have to see it, even as yet they are “normal” and happy, as Buddha was as a Prince.
Additionally this is only understood by most of the developementalist from the psychic level of being, not the spiritual [soul] level that is the source of the antidote- metaphysics- as the salve to healing man as a holistic being.
It is a shame that the greatest thinkers of today only deal with the problem of misdevelopement by engaging the symptoms of it, not trying to understanding its source, thereby coming to grips with it. There are so many theories of development, and there will be more to come, and more mixing and matching schemes by thinkers to give us more TOE theories that attempt to find the solution at least in theory to the problems we face as human beings. But this will be an ongoing fruitless process that in the end will produce very little, but more mental number crunching and very little practical devices and methodologies to assist in the healing of the human species. They are merely moving in circles describing similar ordinary psychic processes using different terminology basically for the same things.
UNTIL we realize that our problems may originate in another realm, beyond that of mind and body, and that the problems we face with our mind and body are only a reflection of that origination, and the key to tracking this is in the study of misdevelopement, the motivating factor in the spiritual quest.