Integral World Forum

The Integral/Holistic
Paradigm

A Larger Definition

Integral Esotericism - Part Three

Alan Kazlev

3-i. Why we need an Integral/Holistic Metaparadigm

In Towards a Larger Definition of the Integral 1-v the problem of defining "Integral" in the spiritual-philosophical sense of the word was mentioned. As readers of these essays would probably already be aware, currently in the general New Consciousness and New Age movement(s) there are a number of totally incompatible definitions of "Integral". For example there is Integral in the Ken Wilber and Don Beck definition of Integral Theory, which includes the AQAL paradigm, spiral dynamics, organisation, following, which constitutes the "Integral movement" and "Integral philosophy"in the Wilberian sense. There is also Integral in the context of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother's yoga and spiritual teaching, called Integral Yoga. There is Integral in the sense of historians of ideas like Jean Gebser and William Irwin Thompson. There are the diverse presentations at the California Institute of Integral Studies; for example people like Chaudhuri, McDermot, Tarnas, Ferrer, etc. There are also other less well known but still equally valid and authentic interpretations, as defined on many personal websites, for example. Then there are philosophers and teachers who don't use the word "integral" at all, but who still fit the broad guidelines of what defines "integral" - a synthesis of different theories, an inclusion of different perspectives, an evolutionary and spiritual transformation.

However, a synonymous, or nearly synonymous term, would be Wholistic / Holistic (sect. 2-viii) - pertaining to the whole, in a harmonious manner. "Wholistic" or "Holistic", is used in a popular New Age and New Paradigm context, and its various meanings, interpretations, and applications (cosmological, social, healing, etc), which for the sake of brevity haven't been touched upon here, and it is clear that a lot needs to be included here.

The Holistic approach as we have seen is commonly used in the New Age movement, and indeed the Integral Movement is simply the more intellectual and yogic development of the New Age movement There are however some differences of nuance - Holism emphasises the whole - both theoretically and practically - as a complete organism or interacting totality, Integralism emphasies either the theoretical bringing together of the different elements in a single larger perspective (Gebser) or community of diverse viewpoints (Wilber) or the transformation of the entire being (Sri Aurobindo).

There is no reason why it is not possible to reconcile all of the these, and all other possible, definitions of "integral" and "holistic" into a larger framework, in the context of "apples and oranges" that are reconciled in a higher unity. I use the neologism "Integral/Holistic Metaparadigm" as the name for an overall approach that encompasses all the other integral paths. "Integral" refers to the use of the word by Sri Aurobindo, Gebser, Chaudhuri, W. I. Thompson, Tarnas, Wilber, and all others who identify with and use the term in a spiritual, integrative, and/or transformative, context. "Holistic" both in the sense of the cosmos and all entities in it as organic, interrelated wholes, and concerning the necessity of social and paradigm reform, and need to break away from the old mechanistic and exploitative approach to the Earth, to other beings. And "Meta-paradigm" because this is not just a paradigm, but a paradigm about paradigms, it is whole new and more encompassing presentation. It is neither simply "theory" nor "yoga", but an "Integral Way"[1]. Such a meta-paradigm could serve as a framework "for everything", not a theory of everything, because it isn't a theory, but a larger perspective that includes everything.

3-ii. A New Definition of "Integral"

Conventionally, the Integral movement is generally interpreted as a modern / contemporary movement, a mostly Western intellectual / philosophical / New Age and largely but not solely Wilberian[2] tendency towards a grand intellectual synthesis with (especially in the case of the Wilberian paradigm and Transpersonal Psychology) some Eastern spirituality. Here however I use Integral with a greater emphasis on the Aurobindonian paradigm, and in this manner suggest a wider and deeper and also more pragmatic definition, with emphasis on the spiritual and transformative, rather than merely theoretical and abstractionist. This however should in no way deny the applicability of other philosophical, spiritual and esoteric ideas and practical techniques; in fact the more inclusive this meta-paradigm is, the more "integrative", "holistic", and "integral" it is as well..

One possible definition of an Integral/Holistic Metaparadigm might be:

A social and spiritual movement for individual, collective, and global transformation, which uses theoretical integralism as a preliminary framework for a practical transformation orientated to greater synergy and ultimately to the divinisation of the world.

As I wrote on my blog Integral Transformation, such a transformative integralism should be one in which "the mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and divine, the individual and collective, the exoteric and esoteric, the secular and the sacred, the scientific and the occult, in fact all dichotomies, can and should be incorporated." Nothing less than all of the above, all of it, can be considered truly and comprehensively integral and integrative. And it is this wideness and depth and height that the integral movement should aspire for, not just in theory, bit in practice as well, the practice being transformative (because it is integral) rather than simply a one-sided development of a single faculty that ignores the rest, or (as in most conventional spiritualities) a one-sided liberation that confers freedom and transcendence on the individual, but leaves the world unchanged. And the practice should be moral and spiritual, that is, it should move towards the greatest good for all beings, the greatest creativity, the greatest synergy, and the greatest divinity.

Expanding the short definition then, Integral begins with three aspects

  • Theoretical, in that it holistically incorporates and integrates all previous fields and areas of knowledge and practice. This can be called the Integrative aspect because it integrates all other interpretations and fields of understanding (Wilberian and post-Wilberian Integral Theory is the best known example here)
  • Pragmatic or Practical, in that the above theory is taken as a framework for a holistic practical approach to lifestyle, society, education, art, and technology. This can be called the Holistic because it understands things as a harmonious totality and acts accordingly (New Age/New Paradigm, Alternative movement, etc). All these pragmatic aspects moreover are Integrally Moral (Progressive/Evolutionary), in that these practical developments are directed towards a progressive evolution to the goal of the greatest good, creativity, synergy, and benefit for all beings (Haskell's Unified Science might be one example here).
  • Spiritual or Yogic or Transformative - by which the entire individual and eventually the larger collectivity is transformed and ultimately divinisied. This can be called the Integral because it involves a complete transformation and transmutation of all the essential aspects of one's being and of the world as a whole (best represented by Aurobindonian Integral Yoga; which I refer to as the Integral Transformation)

An ideal or hypothetical complete integral approach would include all these aspects - integral-theoretical, integral-holistic, moral-progressive-evolutionary, and integral-transformative, as different aspects or facets of the same process, as well as various insights and subsets of each. It would also incorporate theory, action, and transformation on the individual (or egoic), the interpersonal (or interactive), the collective, the cosmic, and the universal-infinite scales.

More often unfortunately in the integral movement these categories and divisions are only partially considered, or sometimes not at all. In this case, "integral" is defined not as a comprehensive theoretical and practical insight into and transformation of everything, but rather as a unified approach to a particular field or category, with or without the use of the word "integral" itself to designate this.

3-iii. Some examples of Integral/Holistic philosophies and teachings

For a philosophy, worldview, movement, spiritual tradition, or teaching, to be considered "integral" it would have to satisfy or include at least one of the categories or aspects mentioned in the preceding section. Let us see how some of the current movements compare (note that the following assessment is very provisional and subjective, the reader may come to totally different conclusions).

Wilberism can be mentioned first, not because it represents the most "integral" approach, but because Wilber and his books, his followers, organisation (the Integral Institute), forums (Integral Naked), and websites, have in the last five or ten years popularised the term "integral", and thus created the "integral movement". For this reason, despite my strong criticism of Wilber, I still acknowledge his important role as catalyst and focus for a whole new movement, even if the movement itself has grown beyond the limits proscribed by the Wilberian paradigm. In terms of books sold, number of worshipful devotees (see TLDI 2-x) and other followers, and organisational marketing and PR, the Wilberian faction remains by far the majority element of the Integral movement as a whole.

Central to Wilber's own thought and his integral movement as a whole is the "AQAL" diagram, a sort of mandala or glyph or mental representation of reality. Drawing diagrams is very popular among "big picture" synthesisers and integral and esoteric philosophers, as can be seen in the work of Max Theon, H..P. Blavatsky, Annie Besant and C.W.Leadbeater, Alice Bailey, Max Heindel, Radhasoami, Edward Haskell, Arthur M. Young, Huston Smith, and I would engage in a little vanity by adding myself to this list as well. These ontological maps should not be seen as accurate representations of reality, but rather as metaphysical diagrams (and although Wilber now rejects "metaphysics", his entire current worldview, consisting of quadrants, levels, holons, and transcendent Spirit, is highly metaphysical, using the word in the original academic rather than the colloquial sense). Such diagrams may be useful to those exploring higher states of consciousness, or seeking to understand Reality as a whole. Wilber deserves credit for coming up with such a popular mental diagram as AQAL; unfortunately he himself, and many (although not all) of his followers, have made the mistake of somehow thinking that this mental diagram really does accurately represent reality. The AQAL system is even used as the foundation of Wilber's "Integral University". In sect 4-ii I use a critique of Wilber's AQAL diagram as a starting point for what is here suggested is a much more effective approach to integral theory.

In recent years Wilber has become more "post-modernist"[3] and anti-metaphysical in orientation; this latter development is referred to as Wilber-V, in contrast to his more popular and more easily accessible preceding stage of Wilber-IV. Most people who are fans of Wilber seem to relate to him very much at his Wilber-IV level, as a spiritual philosopher; and thus they tend to misinterpret the current more secular and even more intellectually Wilber-V phase.

From the very start Wilber's understanding was, and still remains a very theoretical and quasi-academic approach. In fact his work - especially Wilber-IV and V - is the theoretical approach par excellence; probably the largest intellectual synthesis ever, a vast but flawed[4] monolith. In terms of the definitions given in sect 3-ii it is integral only in the first, theoretical, category; although there is some practical application of the Wilber-IV (AQAL) stage, in business and management, perhaps due to management consultant Don Beck's influence (see sect. 6-v). Unfortunately Wilber's recent ("Earpy" and following) antics have seriously damaged claims to Moral or Spiritual Integralism in either himself or his organisation, the latter because of the way it sycophantically went along with him, although there has been some individual dissatisfaction.

By post-Wilberian I mean those individuals who, formerly associated in some way with Wilber or his Integral Institute organisation, and/or fans of his work, have broken away from him due to limitations of his philosophy and/or concerns over his personality and the nature of his organisation. This is a very broad and rather amorphous category, which includes everyone from former followers turned critics such as Wilber-scholar and author Frank Visser, to those who have developed their own versions of intellectual Integral theory such as Andrew P. Smith and Eliot Benjamin, to completely non-Wilberian developments such as the socio-political commentaries of Ray Harris, the Integral Art of Matthew Dallman, and Michel Bauwens' reports on the emerging Peer to Peer participatory networked society. Many post-Wilberians of the theoretical bent however retain a rather academic and exoteric approach. As do the Wilberians, they use the term "Integral" to define their philosophy and methodology. Perhaps the most important post-Wilberian forums at the time of writing is Visser's Integral World website (formerly mostly pro-Wilber, now critical of him[5]) and the recently established (in June 2006) Open Integral blog. It is indicative of the strong role that the internet is playing in the development of the global noosphere and evolution of the collective consciousness that the Wilberians and post-Wilberians have their primary focus online.

I would not consider strong critics like David Lane, Geoff Falk or Jeff Meyerhoff to be post-Wilberians, because, although familiar with Wilber's work, none of them actually were Wilberians to begin with. For a similar reason, I would not consider myself post-Wilberian, my interest in developments in the Wilberian and post-Wilberian field and my definition of my own work as "integral" notwithstanding.

Apart from post-Wilberians and critics, Wilber and his Integral Institute's other big rival is the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program at the California Institute of Integral Studies[6]. Memetically (sensu Dawkins and Transhumanism, not Beck and Wilber) the PCC program stands in pretty much a David and Goliath relationship with the Wilberian juggernaut. But the faculty here, and for that matter at the CIIS as a whole, certainly qualifies as presenting the Integral on the theoretical level, with elements of pragmatic (ecological philosophy, eco-feminism etc) , moral (consider the participatory philosophy of Tarnas and Ferrer), and some spiritual, but nothing systematic. They can also be included within the general New Paradigm movement.

It might be suggested that the more respectable aspects of New Age sensu lato[7], which is the same as the New Paradigm movement that began in the early 1980s with the books of Fritjof Capra and Marilyn Ferguson[8] is weak on theory (mostly a simplistic holistic approach) and spirituality (non-integral Eastern spirituality is preferred), but strong on practice and morality (healing society and healing the Earth). Visionary "New Age' teachers (regardless of whether or not they would use that term) such as David Spangler and William Irwin Thompson represent important contemporary voices in the wider (non-Wilberian/post-Wilberian) Integral/Holistic movement.

David Spangler is one of the founders of the New Age, and one of the early formative members of the Findhorn community. A whole generation of spirituals and esotericists, including myself, were influenced by his early seminal writings such as Revelation: Birth of a New Age, and Laws of Manifestation. Subsequently, disillusioned with New Age commercialism and glamour[9], Spangler has distanced himself from his early work, and is now involved in the very practical "Incarnational Spirituality" of the Lorian Association. Very much in keeping with the theme of physical or bodily transformation (sect 7-vii), Incarnational Spirituality rejects the conventional otherworldly emphasis solely with the transpersonal and transcendent, and looks at ways in which our everyday existence can be experienced as spiritual or sacred.

Spangler's associate and fellow-traveler William Irwin Thompson, whose influences include Marshall McLuhan, Jean Gebser, Sri Aurobindo, and Alfred North Whitehead, is a social philosopher, cultural critic, poet, and cultural historian who adopts a unique eclectic, highly creative and synthesising interpretation of both ancient mythology, contemporary esotericism, and politics and society today. He is critical of Wilber's excessively masculinist approach and "obsessive textbook mappings". In 1972, Thompson founded the Lindisfarne Association, a New Age retreat, think tank, and group of scientists, poets, and religious scholars who met in order to discuss and to participate in the emerging planetary consciousness, inspired by Jean Gebser's idea of an integral stage of consciousness, and Teilhard de Chardin's concept of the noosphere.

Unified Science (Edward Haskell et al) presents the basis for an Integral Morality in terms of a "coaction compass" or "coaction cardioid" (fig 7), by which the nine possible interactions between two entities can be shown graphically as a cybernetic diagram. I bought the book (Full Circle[10]) second-hand more than a quarter of a century ago and the simple diagram that is at the heart of this work has exerted a huge influence on me ever since. Like Wilber's AQAL diagram, it constitutes a sort of metaphysical map of physical reality; a glyph to be meditated upon. But whereas AQAL constitutes a static mandala, the coaction compass is a dynamic, evolutionary mandala. Written and then going out of print long before "Integral" became a buzz word, Full Circle and the Unified Science system is "integral" in both the Theoretical (although not in as much detail as Wilber), Practical (with implications in society, politics, and education) and especially Moral dimensions. Unfortunately the initiative has been defunct for many years, and in any case their work is currently looking quite dated, especially in view of developments of modern science. But I believe that no truly universal integral theory can afford to ignore the important insights and implications of this simple diagram.

Theosophy and its off-shoots (included under contemporary Western esotericism - see sect 2-v) are very much integral, theory-wise (constituting attempts at universal explanations of spiritual and occult knowledge), with more esotericism and less (or no) academic emphasis in comparison to Wilber. They also have a strong integral moral orientation, but (from my superficial observations) little in the way of either practical social or spiritual transformation. There are also some intriguing parallels between Wilber and H. P. Blavatsky (the founder of the Theosophical movement and hence much of contemporary Western esotericism) and their respective organisations, and in a later essay will suggest that they are part of the same larger Integral/Holistic evolution of ideas; Blavatsky being the original esoteric initiative, and Wilber the contemporary materialistic-exoteric initiative

Anthroposophy, the movement established by Rudolf Steiner after he broke with Theosophy, is not only much more theoretically integral (integrative) than Theosophy (Steiner was a true universalist, who, it seems from his lectures, could talk about physics, agriculture, biology, history, art, literature, psychology, education, politics, philosophy, religion, and a thousand other diverse topics with ease, even though his explanations of some of them, such as the history of the Earth or Hindu or Buddhist concepts of liberation, were nothing but absurd), but also has practical applications in Education (Waldorf schools), Agriculture (Biodynamics), Dance, Art, and even Town Planning[11] Add to that the high moral principles of a better harmony with the Earth[12] . The spiritual element is there as well, but there does not seem to be much of systematic development; although reference is made to thinking "michaelically" and achieving a balance between the luciferic (otherworldiness) and ahrimanic (too much materialism) polarities (equivalent to the "System B" and "System A" of Stan Gooch's socio- and psychological correspondences - sect. 4-iii).

Integral Yoga and the integral philosophy and spiritual path as taught by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo includes both highly developed esoteric and spiritual theory, even if it lacks the secular attention to details that the Wilberians and post-Wilberians are concerned with, the practical aspect in all fields of life (including the establishment of a universal city, Auroville), the moral initiative for the Supramental transformation, and a yoga that takes up and transforms all faculties of the being, not just one.

Thus, beginning with Wilber's purely mental perspective (especially his AQAL diagram - sect 4-ii), and ending with Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, and including everything in between, we can arrive at a universal integral/holistic metaparadigm.

3-iv. Comparison of different Integral systems of thought

Sri Aurobindo and other teachings

Although a purely intellectual practice, the comparison of different Integrative/Holistic/Integral teachings and systems of thought is of some usefulness in showing the development of different common themes. The Indian academic Shishir Kumar Maitra, whose books and essays first popularised the teachings of Sri Aurobindo among philosophical circles both in India and abroad, argued, in contrast to other students of Sri Aurobindo, that western philosophical thought is essential if one is to understand the voluminous writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother[13], and provided comparisons of Sri Aurobindo and Bergson, Goethe, Nicolai Hartmann, Hegel, Plato, Plotinus, Spengler, and Whitehead.

Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin make an interesting pair, since in terms of general evolutionary cosmology they are very similar. For example Sri Aurobindo's stages of matter, life, and mind are very like the the sequence of geosphere, biosphere, and noosphere described by Russian geochemist Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky and French Jesiut paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and his future state of Supramental Transformation has intriguing parallels with Teilhard's "Omega Point". A number of authors have pointed out the striking similarities between the two visionary thinkers[14].

Some of the themes taught by the faculty of the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program at the California Institute of Integral Studies might also be applicable here. Mention might be made also of Robert McDermott who has studied both Rudolph Steiner and Sri Aurobindo;

While Joseph Vrinte, a Dutch psychologist, student of Sri Aurobindo, and author of several books on integral and transpersonal psychology, has written several books comparing Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga psychology with Abraham Maslow's Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology, as well as with Ken Wilber's Integral theory.[15]

In TLDI 1-iv, I confess I treated Vrinte's comparative thesis on Sri Aurobindo and Ken Wilber very poorly, and I would like to apologise here to Dr Vrinte for the wrong done. For while indeed the intellectual perspective cannot convey the spiritual revelation or transmission beyond the purely mental, that does not mean that the mental approach should be summarily dismissed. In the larger, integrative, perspective, all approaches and methodologies have validity and should be honoured. Dr Vrinti's book constitutes a ground-breaking academic comparison between Sri Aurobindo and Wilber that is certainly worthy of addition to the Integral Corpus. It is not a mystical and revelatory work to be sure, and hence it belongs to the "exoteric" rather than the "esoteric" sphere, but that doesn't make it any the less valuable to those who wish to pursue this path of study

Interestingly, even arguing only from the intellectual perspective, Vrinte considers Wilber's opus Sex, Ecology, Spirituality to be a second tier work; in comparison to Sri Aurobindo's thoroughly "3rd tier" writings (such as The Life Divine etc)[16] He also observes that Wilber when discussing his integral practice makes no mention of Aurobindonian spiritual methods: "aspiration for and faith in the divine, self-opening, equality and Grace or the paths of karma and bhakti"[17]. This is in keeping with my own critique of Wilber as overly intellectual and lacking in the heart-centered aspect. (see e.g. TLDI 2-vii, and this essay sect. 4-vi)

However few students or followers of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo's teachings are interested in the sort of comparative study Vrinte makes, perhaps due to the highly abstract intellectual nature of this methodology, which does not sit well with contemplative spiritual praxis. This would presumably be the reason why Vrinte's opus did not receive much of a reception among Aurobindonians (which is not to say it was ignored[18]) although strangely the work of the equally if not more intellectual S. K. Maitra is very highly regarded.

And because Vrinte comes out in favour of Sri Aurobindo as the greater philosopher, Wilber's followers have shown very little, or absolutely no interest, whatsoever[19], the only exception being Frank Visser, who in any case is now a Wilber critic. Thus what should have been an important comparative work is relegated to a few library shelves, ignored by the devotees of the two great integral teachers it compares.

REFERENCES

[1] In this context, "Way" is a play on words, it can refer to a generic way of doing things, or to Way, a la Taoism, both a spiritual path and the Reality that path leads to. A little googling revealed the Taoist "Integral Way Society" http://www.integralwaysociety.org/) and "Integral Way" as a translation for Tao (Infinichi Institute of Master NiTo) http://www.longevity-center.com/infinichi/infinichi2.html ; The Integral Way refers to the approach to healing at the Sri Aurobindo International Institute for Integral Health http://www.sriaurobindosociety.org.in/activity/inthealth.htm ; and The Integrative or Integral Way, http://thegreatlearning.tripod.com/integrative_way.htm part of "Great Mother Buddhism" which is included in the teachings of Han Marie Stiekema. I had never heard of any these groups before coming up with "Integral Way"; the word just came into my head without me asking when I was working on this essay.

[2] Although Wilber, like many, including David Spangler who practically co-founded the New Age through his work at Findhorn, doesn't identify himself with the New Age, aspects of his teachings such as the holistic cosmos (in his case, many holons), poor scholarship, and the theme of a progressive evolution to higher collective consciousness, are very much typically New Age characteristics.

[3] For Wilber's take on postmodernism, see Integral Psychology ch.13 For his misinterpretation of academic postmodernism, see Meyerhoff http://www.integralworld.net/meyerhoff-ba-7.html

[4] See Jeff Meyerhoff, Bald Ambition; A Critique of Ken Wilber's Theory of Everything http://www.integralworld.net/meyerhoff-ba-toc.html for a comprehensive and point-by-point refutation of Wilber's work. For a shorter coverage of the same themes see Meyerhoff, "Six Criticisms of Wilber's Integral Theory" http://www.integralworld.net/meyerhoff4.html

[5] A lot of Wilber's problems here come from his inability to handle simple "peer review" criticism of his ideas by other workers in the field of integral theory without getting hugely defensive and paranoid about it. This simple flaw in his personality may well spell the end of his movement as a forum for free inquiry (if it ever was one) rather than cultic worship. See the comments on "Spiritual Naricissism" by V. Gunnar Larsson http://www.integralworld.net/larsson.html , including parallels with Freud, who had a similar authoritarian attitude and defensiveness when faced with criticism.

[6] On the bad feeling between the two, see "Do Critics Misrepresent My Position? - A Test Case from a Recent Academic Journal" http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/misc/critics_03.cfm/ ; "Response to Ken Wilber" - Robert McDermott's reply to Wilber http://www.integralworld.net/mcdermott.html ; "Response to McDermott" - http://www.integralworld.net/mcdermott2.html - Wilber's reply to McDermott ; "Critics Do. Critics Don't - A Response to Ken Wilber" http://deepspirit.com/sys-tmpl/replytowilbercontd3/ - de Quincey's counter-reply to Wilber. This whole situation seems to have come about because Wilber chose to attack a number of eco-philosopher and eco-feminist scholars on the CIIS faculty in his book Sex, Ecology, Spirituality (note the choice of title). See also Michel Bauwens recollections: "I was also privy, since I was in regular email contact back then, to Wilber's private denunciations of institutes like the California Institute of Integral Studies and the Naropa Institute, schools that I had monitored, visited, and have many highly qualitative teachers and researchers. It's not that he said that they were imperfect, no, they were 'cesspools' and one would have to stay at all cost away from them. This aggressiveness I personally found disturbing. I started to notice how easily Ken praised works that favorably use his work, he did it with my own magazine Wave, which he highly praised in a note even though he could not possibly read the Dutch-language it was written in, while being so aggressive with those who disagree." "The Cult of Ken Wilber" http://www.kheper.net/topics/Wilber/Cult_of_Ken_Wilber.html The similarity with Wilber's more recent attack on Visser's Integral World website and on Visser in person (see "What We Are, That We See: Response to Some Recent Criticism in a Wild West Fashion" http://www.kenwilber.com/blog/show/46 and "Take the Visser Site as Alternatives to KW, But Never as the Views of KW" http://www.kenwilber.com/blog/show/86 ) is uncanny.

[7] See also sect. 2-vii. Wouter Hanegraaff, New Age Religion and Western Culture, gives a comprehensive academic overview of the New Age movement. Hanegraaff divides the movement in the New Age sensu stricto (New Age in the restricted sense, incorporating a millenarian view of history and the coming Aquarian Age, New Age or End of History (consider e.g. The Mayan Calander (mis)interpretations of Jose Arguelles); and the New Age sensu lato (holistic healing, lifestyle, holism, create your own reality, the various themes discussed in Marilyn Ferguson's Aquarian Conspiracy etc)

[8] See Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy JP Tarcher, Los Angeles 1980 and Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point: Science, Society and the Rising Culture Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982. Theodore Roszak, The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society and its Youthful Opposition, (Anchor Books, 1969). could also be mentioned although this pertains to an earlier period., Nevertheless the New Age and New Paradigm movements only developed the way they did because the groundwork hd already bene laid by the Counterculture movement of the 60s and early 70s. Similarly, Wilber's success would have been impossible without the foundation of the 70s New Paradigm movement that he dismisses as "Mean Green Meme"

[9] This devolution of much of the New Age into "commercially-driven fads, identity politics, mystical glamour, atavistic spiritualisms, and uncritical guru reverence" (see Wikipedia bio http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Spangler) was a main theme of Spangler's book, Reimagination of the World: A Critique of the New Age, Science, and Popular Culture, (Bear & Company,1991), co-authored with William Irwin Thompson.

[10] Edward Haskell (ed.) Full Circle - The Moral Force of Unified Science Gordon and Breach, New York 1972 http://www.synearth.net/Haskell/FC/FC.htm on-line edition

[11] Walter Burley Griffin, who designed Canberra, did so on Anthroposophical grounds. See Steven Guth, "Canberra & the Griffins. a Theosophical view" ( 2002) - online at http://www.kheper.net/ecognosis/essays/Canberra and "Canberra, it's Geomantic realities" New Dawn no.94 Jan/Feb 2006, and online http://www.kheper.net/ecognosis/essays/Canberra

[12] Kees Zoeteman. Gaiasophy: The Wisdom of the Living Earth - an Approach to Ecology: Rudolf Steiner Press

[13] Maitra's most important work, Meeting of East and West in Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy, written strictly from an academic philosophical point of view, and published in 1956, provides a comprehensive introduction to Sri Aurobindo's philosophy in the context of mainstream academic philosophy

[14] R.C. Zaehner, Evolution in religion: a study in Sri Aurobindo and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Clarendon Press, Oxford, (1971); K. D.Sethna, (1973) Teilhard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo - a focus on fundamentals, Bharatiya Vidya Prakasan, Varanasi and The spirituality of the future : a search apropos of R. C. Zaehner's study in Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin. Rutherford, [N.J.] London, Fairleigh Dickerson University Press; Associated University Presses (1981), and Beatrice Bruteau, Evolution toward divinity: Teilhard de Chardin and the Hindu traditions. Wheaton, Ill., Theosophical Publishing House. (1974). I have mentioned a few points and included some quotations at The Evolution of Consciousness - Teilhard and Sri Aurobindo compared http://www.kheper.net/topics/Aurobindo/Teilhard_and_SriAurobindo.htm which i originally wrote some years back.

[15] See The Concept of Personality in Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga Psychology and A. Maslow's Humanistic/Transpersonal Psychology, South Asia Books; 1994, The Quest for the Inner Man: Transpersonal Psychology and Integral Sadhana, Motilal Banarsidass, 1996, and his largest and perhaps most ambitious work, The Perennial Quest for a Psychology with a Soul : An inquiry into the relevance of Sri Aurobindo's metaphysical yoga psychology in the context of Ken Wilber's integral psychology, Motilal Banarsidass, 2002 - for a review of the latter see http://www.scimednet.org/library/reviewsN84+/N84Vrinte_psy.htm Reviewed by Julian Candy

[16] The Perennial Quest for a Psychology with a Soul. p. 402. It would be interesting to see what he would have to say regarding Wilber's current "post-metaphysical" phase.

[17] Ibid, p 455

[18] Vrinte's books are available in the Auroville library, .and at least one member of the Auroconf mail list has read and used The Perennial Quest for papers he has written and a class he teaches, and comments that Vrinte leans rather favorably in Sri Aurobindo's direction, and gives Wilber only a point or two.

[19] Visser tells me (in an email dated 24 Jul 2006) that Vrinte "sent a copy to Boulder years back, but got no response at all."