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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Joseph DillardDr. Joseph Dillard is a psychotherapist with over forty year's clinical experience treating individual, couple, and family issues. Dr. Dillard also has extensive experience with pain management and meditation training. The creator of Integral Deep Listening (IDL), Dr. Dillard is the author of over ten books on IDL, dreaming, nightmares, and meditation. He lives in Berlin, Germany. See: and his YouTube channel.


Integral Life Practics Starter Kit

Slaves to Groupthink

Problems With Integral Life Practice

Joseph Dillard


ILP, or any yoga or spiritual discipline that you undertake is going to be confronted with the manufactured consent of your guru or teacher, in the form of your compliance with their priorities for your development. That can be no problem if you know what you are buying and the contract is clear and limited, similar to university coursework. However, we often internalize the assumptions of our spiritual teachers and thereby manufacture our own consent; we give ourselves reasons why we need to continue with an approach that is dogmatic or that we have long outgrown. Integral Deep Listening (IDL) is designed to minimize these problems by accessing and interviewing personifications of your own authentic emerging potentials to provide you with objectivity both toward the priorities of external authorities and toward your own. The result is a reduction of addiction to drama, psychological geocentrism, and rationalization, at the negative pole, and an increase in objectivity, transparency, and rationality at the other.

A core teaching I take away from Wilber's life is that balance is more important than transcendence.

Wilber's Integral Life Practice (ILP) represents his attempt to ground interior consciousness in behavioral change in the UR quadrant and healthy interpersonal relationships in the LR quadrant of the human holon. The problem is that goals for practice are set by us, our waking identity, which is stuck, brainwashed, and a prisoner of internalized socio-cultural scripting. This essay attempts to make a case for ILP goal setting in conjunction with the recommendations of interviewed emerging potentials that personify priorities of our life compass.

"Information that is consistent with our pre-existing beliefs is often accepted at face value, whereas evidence that contradicts them is critically scrutinized and discounted. Our beliefs may thus be less responsive than they should to the implications of new information"[1]

Manufacturing consent

How do we find our own authentic path forward, instead of cobbling together other people's paths, other people's truths, internalizing them, and believing that they are our own, genuine expressions of who we are? How do we differentiate our life compass from internalized manufactured consent? “Manufacturing consent” is Noam Chomsky's phrase, and he wrote an important book about how the media uses five propaganda-based filters to support ruling elites. These are

  1. ownership for profit,
  2. advertising,
  3. elite complicity,
  4. attacking alternative narratives,
  5. creating diversionary boogie men.[2]

International networks of ruling elites manufacture our consent in order to maintain their influence and power within any system of governance, democratic or tyrannical, capitalist or socialist, beneficent or malign. Arguing about the relative benefits of this or that system of governance is a distraction to keep us from seeing how our consent is being manufactured, which is required for elites to remain in power in any and all systems. Exceptionalists pour billions of dollars into controlling public perception in order to get us to accept their narratives, their views regarding history, mission, and who we are as collectives and individuals. Such narratives are self-serving, designed to gain our support in achieving their goals, not ours as a civic collective. We can thereby understand the principle that, “Whoever controls the narrative controls the world.” When those in power lose control of the narrative, they lose everything.

We can also see this same principle at work within our family of origin, our place of business, the military and in the choices made by adherents to any ideology. They may be Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, capitalists, or socialists, the traditionally religious, such as Zionists, born again Christians, Salafist Moslems, or adherents of cultish spirituality, such as the New Age positivity of Tony Robbins, the karma of Scientology, and even the 2nd Tier adherents of Wilber's Integral. When we assimilate a narrative it assimilates us; we buy into the ideology, internalize it and presto: those who control the narrative gain our allegiance. They have manufactured our consent. It is this last group, Integral AQAL, that most concerns us here in terms of cultural groupthink capture. If these problems exist for sources as positive and influential as Integral AQAL, how much more likely are they in our other areas of emotional and ideological investment?

How we manufacture our own consent

Manufacturing Consent, Chomsky

Chomsky has described the macrocosmic, socio-cultural predicament of our media-saturated environment. What might be the microcosmic equivalent?

What if we internalize these same five filters and manufacture consent for our own particular agendas, at the expense of the priorities of emerging potentials and our life compass? We would be certain that we are tuned into “right” or “best” priorities when we are merely seeking what “profits” our waking agenda. For example, in supporting Integral AQAL we would be convinced we were supporting transcendent spiritual ideals when we don't know that to be a fact. That might be true, or it could be that we are supporting unrecognized emotional and self-centric motivations.

Regarding Chomsky's second filter, advertising, what if we manufacture narratives for our own benefit, making critical thinking secondary to self-validation? We would filter experience so that what we think, see, experience, and feel validates our self-image rather than any authentic sense of self that wants to be born within us. We would be “advertising” to ourselves the interests and outcomes that appeal to us, whether or not they are in our best interest. In terms of Integral AQAL, we would be framing our world in terms of its world view instead of that taken by our life compass, and we wouldn't realize we were doing so. What if we have a greater commitment to pleasing others than to accessing and following the priorities of our life compass? We will build our lives around attaining and maintaining social status rather than any intrinsic and authentic sense of direction. In that case, integralists would place a priority on validation within the echo chamber of integral groupthink rather than on finding and following their own life compass.

How might the third filter, “elite complicity,” show up? What if we are in collusion with the narratives we tell ourselves, meaning that we only see and hear versions of events that validate our world view and who we think we are? We would live in an echo chamber, surrounded by those people and activities that validate us and our choices. We would prefer

Chompsky's fourth filter is “attacking alternative narratives.” what if we discount and marginalize both external and internal voices that upend our preferred narratives? We would not only live in an echo chamber; we would insulate ourselves from and discriminate against those sources of information that conflict with our manufactured consent. As integralists, we would discount perspectives that disagree with that of integral, not so much on the basis of evidence, but of emotional predisposition disguised as evidence.

Regarding Chomsky's fifth filter, creating diversionary boogiemen, what if we generate fears to divert our attention from how we manufacture our own consent to justify our participation in lies, delusion, and abuse so that we can remain asleep and addicted, sleepwalking our way through life in a living dream? We then live our lives in emotional drama that has nothing to do with our authentic potentials. If this is the case, we are probably completely unaware of such fears, because they are only likely to surface when our cocoon of manufactured consent is threatened, and we do what we can to see that does not happen. Integral Deep Listening (IDL) is one way to surface those fears so that they do not work out of our awareness to keep us from aligning our priorities with those of our life compass.

If we want to rise to the challenges we have created for ourselves in our world, we need to stop getting distracted by allowing ourselves to be hypnotized by the manufactured consent of elites. When we do so, we become like the prisoners in Plato's cave, hypnotized by the shadows on its walls. We have to discipline ourselves not to waste time and energy fighting the elites without first owning and dealing with how our elitist beliefs, preferences, and world views manufacture our own consent. To learn to stop manufacturing consent for our own limited agendas, we require a methodology that will put us in touch with authentic emerging potentials and beyond them, the priorities of our life compass. This is the function of IDL.

Defining your life compass

Most of us are certain we are in touch with our life compass, at least on the big issues, or in our world view. We call might call it our higher self, intuition, dharma, divine will, the still small voice, our heart, “knowingness,” or even genetic wisdom. For IDL, your life compass is none of these. It is a set of priorities that is revealed and clarified by interviewing a number of emerging potentials, represented by dream characters and the personifications of your life issues, and observing their common priorities. These interviewed emerging potentials are perspectives that have definite priorities, many of which are both creative and quite autonomous from your own. By becoming those perspectives you evolve a vision-logic experiential multi-perspectivalism, which is not to be confused with a cognitive multi-perspectivalism like Integral AQAL. While the latter involves conceptual models, the former involves identification with experiential perspectives. The former generates polycentric self-definitions while the latter is constellated around the self or Self, generating a higher order psychological geocentrism. From multiple interviews IDL gleans common themes and priorities. From these we can infer the priorities of our life compass, just as we can infer sunrise from a dawning sky. From this definition we can see that what IDL calls your life compass is very different from spirit guides, dharma, intuition, knowingness, or Wilber's “spiritual intelligence.”

If there is a life compass that is intrinsic, authentic, and reliable as a source for problem solving and finding a life direction that is authentically our own, if there is a reliable subjective source of truth, how is it to be differentiated from groupthink dressed up as personal “knowing?” The issue is important and is getting more critical every year, as the avoidance of anthropogenic ecocide rests increasingly on the authority of a few at the top of the pyramid and, at the bottom, in the intelligence of the daily purchasing decisions made by the rest of us. When everyone aspires to an American way of life we march together off the cliff of resource depletion, species extinction, and global warming. Without access to a life compass by which to evaluate authority, we become clones of manufactured consent. Without access to a life compass we become clones to in-group culture, internalizing it and making our own. We fail to cultivate our own, unique, authentic culture because we lack a methodology by which to do so.

If we find a path that is fulfilling to us it may be because of the amazing adaptability of humanity rather than accessing potentials that are attempting to emerge into our waking experience. It may be because we have completely allowed groupthink to manufacture not only our consent, but our identity. Without an orienting center of gravity, we are at the mercy of internalized manufactured consent, totally unprepared when tragedy strikes. Although finding and following our life compass has the potential for making superior choices and avoiding needless misery, with so many factors rewarding the status quo, why fight the headwinds? The result is that we blunder forward as individuals and as a society, largely pursuing what is not authentic, learning by experience who we are not and what sorts of experiences and relationships we do not want to have. This “pinball learning” eats away at both the quality and quantity of our lives while creating unnecessary suffering. We can certainly see that with the magnificent brilliance of Ken Wilber and the inspired people who gathered around him: Integral Naked, gone. Integral Institute, gone. Integral University, gone.

How we manufacture our consent

In addition to the five filters mentioned above, we use three powerful prepersonal strategies to manufacture our consent. These are drama, self-control, and rationalization. Drama involves the roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer. Almost everywhere you look in personal and business relationships, as well as in the realm of geopolitics and the interior worlds of thoughts and dreams, emotionally driven, prepersonal and pre-rational drama is a pernicious subtext driving events and relationships.[3] Self-control is psychological geocentrism. We have spent most of our lives developing and extending our sense of control over ourselves, our relationships, and our lives, as a pre-rational and rational survival strategy fundamental to prepersonal and personal adaptation. We required psychological geocentrism, the idea that reality revolves around ourselves, our world view, and our priorities, in order to develop and maintain the self-control that our parents, teachers, partners, employers, and government expect, reward, and demand. They punish our lack of it. We identify with our waking sense of who we think we are because doing so has unquestionable survival value. Our waking identity is elitist; it demands that life conform to its expectations and manufactures consent from mind, emotions, family members, friends, and its world view. All of these have to validate our self-image or we use one or more of the five filters to ignore, suppress, repress, or deny them. Rationalization is our ability to justify ourselves, our actions and beliefs. Like Procrustes, the Greek robber who tied people on his bed and stretched or chopped them to fit, we take reality and make it conform to our expectations.[4] Together, these three forces, drama, self-control, and rationalization, create a near impermeable defense against reality. But because reality is bigger than we are, when it succeeds in penetrating our sleepwalking it is seen as the enemy, to be fought, as we normally respond to dream antagonists. Together, these three are responsible for a great deal of life's needless tragedies.

2nd Tier integralists and others within the spiritual elite are not immune; they are as subject to these self-destructive processes as say, deplorable, ethnocentric Trump supporters. They just choose different, more inclusive and transcending varieties of drama, self-centeredness, and excuse-making to manufacture their consent. Getting to 2nd Tier is therefore no ticket out of misery, nor is there any indication that it magically transforms society. We first need to become aware of how we generate suffering and undercut our happiness at any and all developmental levels if we are to not only stop, but find fulfilling paths forward with integrity.

Just as we are generally unaware of the quality of air that we are looking through, the way our socio-cultural context and we ourselves manufacture our consent occurs automatically and out of our awareness, regardless of our level of development. As we shall see below, in the example of Ken Wilber, there will always exist an unknown ground which will trip us up if we do not know how to access, respect, and integrate it.

Our imprisonment by scripting

"Most Americans have no idea that what we are fed by the news media is nothing more than a portrayal of what powerful corporations want us to believe, that what happens to pass as education is as often as not mere propaganda, that what we learn in church may have very little or nothing to do with the truth, that what our parents teach us may be nothing more than an accumulation of their own personal biases, no doubt a rather subtle modification of what they were taught by their parents. And through such a process, governments and nations around the world wield control as to what their citizens, believe, value, and do." -Doug Soderstrom

We grow up scripted into the role expectations of our families and cultures. We are saturated with the prevailing groupthink of our peers at school and at work. Power at all levels, by its nature, generates ideological narratives that manufacture our consent, and awareness of this process is generally understood as a transition into personal autonomy. The ascent from emotional, pre-rational childhood to objectification and reasoning can be viewed as a movement from internalized mass mind groupthink sleepwalking to rational discrimination based on what might be summarized as “Spockian” common sense.[5] Spock is an archetype of orange, mid-personal level, rationality. However, most orange rationality is in the service of vaguely perceived and largely misunderstood prepersonal beliefs, preferences, expectations, scripts, and emotions. We think we are at healthy orange when we are actually manufacturing our consent through the power of intellectual rationalization. While we have learned to use reason in its defense, our center of gravity remains emotional, enmeshed in cognitive distortions and biases.[6] We can see this occurring continuously in the “thinking” of others in the media and on blog posts, but we typically lack the objectivity to see it in ourselves. As we shall see, Wilber appears to be a victim of this common form of blindness, and if he is, you and I probably are as well.

Clearly, most people never make this psychological transition, but remain products of manufactured consent, completely out of their awareness, regardless of how much they meditate or how much they understand and embrace Integral AQAL. Resistance to accessing and following our life compass is intrinsic and deep, because it means going against primal scripting. Breaking free of our delusional world view is difficult; who wants to move away from comfort into cognitive dissonance? When we have spent a lifetime developing our sense of self, outgrowing it is not going to be as simple as sitting down and meditating, or even taking up this or that integral life practice. It is highly ironic that Wilber has himself written a highly perceptive book about exactly this topic, The Atman Project, and still falls prey to its snares. If that is so for him, how much more true is it for you and me?

How we internalize cultural scripts

To a great extent, we do not want to wake up, because it is both uncomfortable and threatening to who we are. To adapt, to fit in, to be successful, we internalize other people's agendas and make manufactured consent our own belief system. Once others have gained our compliance, it is relatively easy to keep our tacit support, because their ideology has become our ideology. Because we identify with some internalized world view, to disagree with it is to question our own identity. For example, most Americans grow up with the assumption that their nation is a democracy. To question this belief is painful because if it is found to be untrue, that awareness threatens our identity as fair, free, and altruistic individuals. Militaries manufacture consent in order to create incentives to obey and kill. When manufactured consent fails, soldiers can develop PTSD or kill themselves. We typically build our identities around familial, national, gender, racial, career, religious, and political affiliations. When any of these come into question we have to re-think our assumptions about who we are. Closer to home, many integralists build their identity around the assumption that since they understand AQAL they must be 2nd Tier teal, if not above. To question this assumption is a threat our sense of self as evolved multi-perspectivalists. A reconsideration of our scripted assumptions and beliefs in turn calls into question the wisdom of the decisions we have made over the course of our lives. Most people have a hard time being objective about that; they tend to fall into remorse, regret, guilt, or shame, aversive emotions that we attempt to avoid, not recognizing that they are all inappropriate reactions to an awareness that we have overestimated our level of development. While entirely understandable, such emotional responses are unnecessary, unproductive, a waste of time, and a betrayal of our identification with prepersonal affective states.

Maintaining control

We use personal competencies, such as logic, argument, data, quantification, and empirical peer validation, as well as the power of consensual structure creation, that is, laws and existing policies, to justify and maintain prepersonal and pre-rational ideologies. We use reason to justify and maintain unrecognized emotional identification with manufactured consent. For example, Ken Wilber uses rational arguments by selective sources to justify pre-rational, prepersonal metaphysical explanations for life, such as “spirit” and “eros,” as well as to make the case for the reasonableness of a 2nd Tier jump in consciousness.[7] He would argue that eros and 2nd Tier world transformation are transpersonal processes, not intellectualized prepersonal ones. Isn't this what every spiritual teacher claims for his methods? The argument typically boils down to, “I had these amazing mystical experiences that demonstrate the true nature of reality, not only for me, but for everyone, and I can cite authorities that agree with me, so trust me.” Epistemologically, this is a criterion of truth called “appeal to authority” combined with personal anecdotal narratives.

Ken Wilber as an example

Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber is a remarkable prodigy. He obviously has extraordinarily high cognitive and communicative aptitudes, vast curiosity, an ability to speed read, and an excellent memory, combined with a rare ability to buck common societal paths intelligent people typically take to security, status, and life satisfaction.

To what can we ascribe his amazing life trajectory and the variety, quantity, and quality of his contributions? Does he have good genes? Is his success a matter of luck or of fate? Is it his karma? Is his success a result of pursing his dharma? Has he followed his conscience? Is networking responsible? Perhaps he has been following his intuition? All of the above? The short answer is, “We don't know,” but we can be sure that multiple factors have combined in unique ways in a person who is quick to see both patterns and opportunities.

As a multi-perspectivalist, Wilber might say, in his own words, that he has found and followed his life compass as a result of mystical experiences that put him in touch with fundamental truths and eternal values. However, he has not accessed his life compass in the sense that it is defined above and used by IDL. We know this by his description of integral life practice, which sets goals based on the priorities of self, our waking identity, not in consultation with interviewed emerging potentials which collectively present the priorities of our life compass. Because Wilber does not mention the important issue of aligning waking priorities with those of interviewed emerging potentials, it seems that either the concept has not occurred to him, is not important, or access to one's life compass is assumed to be a by-product of meditation and other integral life practices. It is also quite possible that he perceives it as another shadow practice and dismisses it on those grounds.[8] If we just implement our waking priorities in each of the areas of integral life practice will we naturally align with our life compass?

Wilber's defense of integral provides a good example of manufactured consent because it advocates for a transpersonal spirituality that purports to be based on emotion, belief, and reason and to then transcend them in a trans-rational synthesis through making a collective jump into a 2nd Tier socio-cultural utopia. If we learn Integral AQAL and take up an Integral Life Practice, we will transform the world. This hasn't happened and does not seem likely. Why not? What happened? Wilber's response has been that we have not yet reached the critical threshold of some 10% of the population at 2nd Tier. Is this a realistic explanation? How likely are society and culture to flip into some advanced state if some percentage of the public achieves 2nd Tier? What does groupthink and manufactured consent have to do with our inability to achieve our collective integral dreams?

Rationalization - our first and favorite line of maintaining control

We typically want to remain in control, to pursue our priorities, not those of some vague, possibly mythological, life compass. Scanning the news, I see where the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has just pronounced that the victims of his government's extrajudicial killings are sent to heaven by agreement by God. There is no decision in our lives that we cannot or will not find some way to rationalize. Does anyone doubt that Wilber, as well as Presidents Obama and Trump, are not highly talented at manufacturing rationalizations to justify their decisions that are actually based on such factors as temperament, internalized cultural biases, and unrecognized and therefore unanalyzed beliefs? We look back on our lives and make sense, even of our misfortunes by telling ourselves rationalizations such as, “If I hadn't been hit by that truck I never would have met my wife,” or “If I hadn't gotten cancer I never would have learned to slow down and enjoy life.” Of course, we can never know about roads not taken and who we would have been if we had been born to different parents in a different country, gone to different educational institutions, hung out with different friends, or responded to different job advertisements. Such “unknown unknowns” are so beyond prediction that we cannot even conceive of them.

We manufacture our own consent largely through rationalization in the form of thoughts that are typically cognitive distortions: “It's all in divine order;” “Life would be meaningless without it/him/her.” “Everybody is doing it;” “I will be punished/rejected if I don't go along;” “It's their fault they misunderstand me,” (One of Wilber's favorites); “My behavior is an expression of what I want, of my own independence and freedom” (when in fact it is compliance with groupthink or internalized scripting, disguised as autonomy, “conscience” or “intuition.”[9] Consequently, we ascribe to non-answer answers, like “dharma,” “karma,” and fate, pre-rational concepts that basically explain life by saying we are where we are “supposed” to be, as if there are no accidents, choices, or free will. A wise default position is to assume that every thought you have is an attempt to rationalize the wisdom of some choice you have made or want to make. This will not be true for every thought, but my making such an assumption you are much less likely to be seduced by your rationalizations. Outgrowing the use of reason to justify pre-rational and prepersonal emotional preferences is a skill not taught at university or in the business world. You will find experts in every field who, like Wilber, use prodigious intellect to rationalize their particular world view. We all do this, and I do too. The challenge is to learn to assume this is what is occurring and to then develop strategies to counteract it.

Access to our life compass requires a methodology

Alignment with the priorities of one's life compass does not seem to be the natural outcome of pursing personal goals in an integral life practice for most people, nor should we expect it to be. This does not imply that important benefits do not follow from following Wilber's integral life practice guidelines, which I view as highly beneficial. Setting personal goals can indeed improve the quality of our lives, particularly if they are wisely chosen. For example, studies, mostly by Transcendental Meditation, have demonstrated numerous important benefits from meditation. But we humans tend to enhance our strengths and ignore our weaknesses; the result is that we become stronger in our strengths and weaker in our weaknesses, which eventually throws the entirety of development off balance, stops it, and causes it to come crashing down in order to address the imbalances.

We all have blind spots, and because we generally ignore our dreams and misinterpret the wake-up calls that our life issues represent, we remain blind to priorities of our life compass. As a result, our growth is pushed in directions that we value, and what we value does not necessarily reflect priorities that are attempting to emerge into our awareness. We typically remain blind to these unless we have a methodology that gives them voice. For example, the “Clean up” portion of Wilber's “Wake Up, Grow up, Clean Up, Show Up” formulation does not address two issues that are important to morality. It doesn't address what out-groups or the global commons considers to be “cleaning up,” and the goals for cleaning up, if they are set by us, based on our waking priorities, may not have anything to do with the priorities of our life compass. Meditation, primarily a process of cultivating clear objectivity, is not designed to access the priorities of our life compass because clarity is primarily about witnessing, not deep listening. If we are not focusing or witnessing when we are meditating, we are pursing a practice that can better be called something other than meditation: contemplation, problem solving, imagery, or trance. We typically meditate not to learn, because when we meditate we are objectifying all information. We meditate for clarity, peace of mind, brain coherence, stress management, or to attain some conception of enlightenment. None of this helps us recognize emerging potentials and shift our priorities to align with them. Those are different life skills that require a different sort of transpersonal yoga.

What our life compass is not

We can certainly give Wilber credit for having vast intellectual competencies, but some have commented on how emotions and prepersonal emotionally-based preferences color and bias his conclusions. Becoming Spockian, in the sense of outgrowing a need to use intellect to support prepersonal emotionally-based beliefs, biases, dogmas, and preferences, appears to be a necessary pre-requisite to integrating the perspectives and judgments of Spock and Dr. McCoy, (who represents emotional, Rousseauean, intuitive, conscience-based world views), in a higher, Captain Kirk style, synthesis.

Star Trek

While I am not much of a fan of Captain Kirk, he is a far sight better than McCoy, whose authentic but reactionary emotions are not much of a foundation for good decision-making. Note that the problem is not a lack of intelligence. There is no doubt that Leonard McCoy is a talented doctor. It appears that there is a good bit of non-integrated McCoy in Wilber, a tip-off that something in addition to finding and following one's life compass has been at work in his approach to life. The implication is that mystical insights, years of deep meditation, and intellectual brilliance do not correlate with the alignment of one's waking priorities with those of one's life compass, nor will it necessarily defuse the power of emotional biases that Wilber would probably call “shadow.”[10]

While we can see how balancing rationality and emotion lead to the higher order synthesis that Wilber calls the “centaur,” Captain Kirk is not a product of life compass, but of good genes, good family, good networking, and good luck, at least as Gene Roddenberry presents him. His example of a centauric balancing of head and heart does not throw much light on accessing our life compass. Nor does the centauric consciousness generated by an integral life practice, as important and necessary as it is, correlate with a breaking free of the dictatorship of our internalized socio-cultural scripting over our own lives. If we become that synthesis and make decisions from a “Captain Kirk” perspective, that is still our waking identity setting goals and priorities. If we follow Wilber's prescription for an Integral Life Practice, who is setting those goals, ourselves or our life compass? If we think we are setting goals in tandem with our life compass, where is our evidence?

How do we know if we are accessing our life compass - or something else?

Integral Deep Listening (IDL) provides evidence of contact with the priorities of our life compass in the form of accessing recommendations of emerging potentials that collectively generate consensus priorities that are quantitatively closer to one's life compass than the above-named alternatives. We receive feedback from subsequent interviews to what extent wake up calls have been heard. Repetitive dreams stop. Nightmares stop. Life issues that used to consume our waking bandwidth become irrelevant or disappear. We move out of drama. Problem solving improves. Relationships become less problematic.

Typically, a student of IDL names three life issues that are currently in the forefront of their concerns, issues which if resolved would result in less worry, confusion, or stress. These can be relationship, work-related, health, or developmental issues, anything that comes to mind. During the interviewing process, dream characters or personifications of a life issue provide feedback for the resolution of these life issues. In addition, alternative life issues are solicited. Does the interviewed perspective have the same life issues you do or different ones? What might happen if you chose to focus on the life issues of the interviewed perspective instead of your own? One can operationalize those alternative priorities, make them part of your integral life practice, and draw your own conclusions.

Differences from ILP and other approaches

Integral Life Practice

This is not the way Wilber's integral life practice is described or normally conducted. Say you decide that you want to do a weekly program of exercises recommended in ILP.[11] You will undoubtedly benefit, but are your chosen priorities in sync with those recommended by interviewed emerging potentials? If they are different, how do you decide which are better? You can perform a test. You can set your own ILP priorities and evaluate your results, then design a practice based on the recommendations of interviewed emerging potentials. Which is more effective? Which brings you more into harmony with your life compass, as defined by a sense of being in the right place at the right time, staying out of drama, of your life going more smoothly, and of an improved ability to make the most of adversity?

Let us say you interview a chimpanzee from a dream, a knife that is a personification of the pain in your back, and a bear that personifies your irritability at your spouse and kids who interrupt you when you are trying to work. Let us further say that while they make different recommendations, they all recommend observing and naming your feelings. IDL hypothesizes that this recommendation is more likely to reflect a priority of your life compass than your priorities or those of only one consulted emerging potential. Of course, you may already have set observing and naming your feelings as a goal, in which case you are receiving important confirmation you are on the right track.[12] This is objectively assessed in several ways. Interview recommendations are operationalized, made falsifiable, tested, and empirically validated by peers. You can decide for yourself, “Do following these priorities, in the context of consulting my common sense and the recommendations of experts, bring my life more closely into alignment with what feels like balance and contact with my life compass when compared to just consulting my common sense and authority?”

A distinct empirical, falsifiable methodology makes IDL interviewing different from other claimants to the title of life compass, such as mystical and near death experiences, synchronicities, dreams, revelations, intuition, dharma, one's “still small voice,” meditation knowingness, or last night's Tarot reading. For it to do so, it requires what IDL calls “triangulation,” which is the use and application of authority, common sense, and interviewed intrasocial perspectives.[13] “Intrasocial” refers to LL quadrant perspectives of indefinite ontology which are phenomenologically accessed and normally invisible. They represent cultures and interpretations of a form of experiential multi-perspectivalism which is distinct from the psychologically geocentric cognitive multi-perspectivalism of Integral AQAL. Due to our addiction to control, a self-centric world view and life practice is our default preference, making interviewed intrasocial perspectives the weak leg of triangulation.

Consequences of non-access to our life compass

His post appeared to me to be a prepersonal dramatic outburst that betrayed Wilber's lack of connection to his life compass

Our lack of awareness of subjective sources of objectivity, and therefore our inability to make use of them, allows others to manufacture our consent, make their priorities our own, and to believe that we are acting out of our own authentic free will and best judgment when we are actually clones of mass mind, largely using our intellect to validate prepersonal emotional drama. Examples are adolescents who assert their individuality by drinking, smoking, getting tattoos and body piercings, and dressing like their peers, all the while fiercely arguing that their actions are expressions of who they are as individuals. Academics generally believe they are stating their own opinions while the long perspective of time shows they were parroting cultural fashion. Journalists defend what they do as an objective expression of facts when objectivity shows that they are printing what their editors demand and suppressing the rest, in order to maintain financial security and status. Our common mimicking of in-group cultural norms is embarrassingly obvious to most everyone but ourselves and those in our mutually-reinforcing collective echo chambers. Similarly, it is generally only with the objectivity that passing years provide that we are able to look back at our life choices and ask ourselves, “What was I thinking? Was I thinking at all?”

Another example is Wilber's famous “Wyatt Earpy” post of June, 2006,[14] something that has been called “an attack on reason and free enquiry.”[15] Wilber justified it as a 2nd Tier statement.[16] He later defended his post as “multilayered,” implying that it was indeed a 2nd Tier statement of an enlightened, transpersonal perspective. If you didn't appreciate it, that would be a sign of your own unenlightened level of development, because you don't recognize how your own shadow elements got hooked by his statement. “…if you can't see that this type of email can come from second tier, then you can't see second tier, I promise you.”[17] (Full disclosure: that would be me. I am definitely 1st Tier, unconvinced that my overall level of development is beyond mid-prepersonal.)

Of course, Wilber's line of argument cannot be defended against, because by definition shadow elements, like defense mechanisms, are out of our awareness, so if we claim we take them into account, we are simply in denial because we don't see what some authority (Wilber, in this case) claims we don't see. Our only option is to call out the injustice of the trap the argument itself creates, as well as its motivation: to shift responsibility for drama, psychological geocentrism, and rationalization onto others.

To point this out is not about bashing Wilber, because to do so is to bash those aspects of ourselves which he represents. While we want to honor and respect those who have great strengths, we need to learn from their weaknesses so that we do not repeat their mistakes in our own lives. This is why those who say, “That was a long time ago,” which is the same rationale used by those who wanted to forget Clinton's failings while President by starting the “Move On” collective, or those who want to ignore the criminality of actions taken by Bush II, Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Trump, are ignoring important wake-up calls. The approach of South Africa, with its Truth and Reconciliation Committees, is a far better approach. Full disclosures are made, defendants face their accusers, public statements of wrong-doing are made, actions of responsibility and remediation are made, and efforts at closure undertaken. In short, transparency and accountability are expected and required.

A core teaching I take away from Wilber's life is that balance is more important than transcendence. This is because a pyramid can grow no higher than the width and stability of its base. When various developmental lines, such as cognitive, spiritual excellence, proprioceptive, and various auxiliary lines, far outstrip affective or moral lines, wake up calls accumulate to force us to attend to what we have neglected.[18] What is generally ignored and repressed is the cybernetic feedback of our emerging potentials, because we do not interview multiple alternative perspectives such as dream characters and the personifications of life issues in order to disclose the priorities of our life compass. If Ken Wilber can be blindsided, despite intellectual brilliance, shadow work, and decades of non-dual meditation, so can you and me. If Wilber can miss or overlook something so critical and basic, so can we. Chances are, we probably are out of touch with our life compass, but lack the objectivity to see it, just as Wilber did.

His post appeared to me to be a prepersonal dramatic outburst that betrayed Wilber's lack of connection to his life compass. Not only did Wilber embarrass himself by abusing and insulting his critics, but apparently his remarks were endorsed by some seventy percent of the 200 people who gave their feedback before he released it. That would be 140 Integralists who apparently thought what Wilber wrote was “fair and balanced” and supportive of the integral cause. This is itself an excellent example of how none of us are immune to manufactured consent.

Another core teaching I take away from Wilber's Earpy post is that anyone can use their common sense and seek the objectivity of trusted authorities and still miss by a mile the priorities of their life compass. While consulting our emerging potentials does not ensure that we will access the priorities of our life compass, much less that we will act on them, it does provide us with one or more perspective that has little or no investment in our life issue. For instance, if Wilber had interviewed a car from a dream he had the night before, or his deceased dog, or a dementor from Harry Potter, he would access perspectives that are relatively non-invested in issues that are important to him or those he consulted regarding the wisdom of his post. The fact such perspectives are imaginary, totally unrelated, and irrational, is a plus, because that totally throws off our waking tendency to do drama, exercise self-control, and rationalize. As a result, Wilber would have increased his odds of accessing a broader perspective than the one that he ended up with. This is the value of triangulation, and to do it requires learning to interview your emerging potentials.[19] It also assumes that we want a broader perspective. The ugly truth is that for the most part, we don't. Typically, we would rather keep our world view, biases, and misconceptions than have them seriously challenged. We know this from the resistance normally encountered to such interviewing. Our excuses essentially boil down to rationalizations to protect the manufacturing of consent by our waking sense of who we are.

Limitations of Integral

Although Wilber has earned the respect of a number of notable intellectuals who have built on his ideas and applied them to their own areas of expertise in important and beneficial ways, he has not succeeded in creating a groundswell, whether in academia, science, or the broad lower, middle, or upper classes of the world. His various attempts at creating collective movements, such as the Integral Institute, Integral Naked, Integral University, the Multiplex have dissolved and been forgotten. Individuals with amazing talents and high motivation were first attracted and then, disillusioned, fell away. The lives of many of those who have purportedly attained to 2nd Tier consciousness are less than advertised when closely examined. What are we to make of Wilber's dismissal of his critics, his use of biased, selective data, and his emotionally-based vitriol? As far as human nature and morality are concerned, 2nd Tier doesn't look much different from 1st Tier. Brilliance in this or that developmental line is not tetra-mesh from level to level, even if we identify with one or more lines (normally the cognitive and self-system lines) and then imagine that we have advanced in level far beyond where we actually are.[20] We have seen how Integral life practices, when determined by our waking goals, do not necessarily align with the priorities of interviewed emerging potentials, which collectively point toward the priorities of our life compass.[21]

Avoiding self-generated disasters

With regard to Wilber's post, human inadequacies and imbalances are to be expected, taken into account, and dealt with as part of the amazing variety of personality. We shrug our shoulders and remind ourselves that there is no correlation between the quality of one's ideas or service to the world and the quality of their character. If there was, would any of us be above condemnation? Typically, we avoid the trap Wilber laid for himself by demonstrating authority and trustworthiness in areas where it exists and making no claims regarding areas where we are not authorities or are outright incompetent. When we become aware of our limitations and failures we own them and make amends. We direct people to other sources in those areas in which we are weak, and seek the feedback from other perspectives that disagree with our own. Like Wilber and other gurus, we put ourselves out on a limb and saw it off when we confuse superiority in cognitive and mystical aptitudes or in various auxiliary lines, such as charisma, wealth accumulation, friends with status, or professional accomplishment, with overall development. When we confuse cognitive multi-perspectivalism with being multi-perspectival, and therefore not needing the input of critics, we doom ourselves to dogmatism. This is how integralists become convinced that they are 2nd Tier when they are not.[22] It will be of great service to this process of redirection if we learn to recognize and bypass drama, stop personalizing so as to outgrow our psychological geocentrism, and start assuming that our thoughts function primarily as rationalizations for unrecognized emotional prejudices.

If Wilber had known IDL and had consulted with various personifications of the life issues that gave rise to his post, he would have practiced triangulation. He would have compared his common sense, that is, the waking perspective that caused him to write the post in the first place, with the feedback of the majority of integralists, who served as an objective authoritative (in that these people understood integral AQAL) sounding board, and compared those sources of guidance with a third source: interviewed emerging potentials. Based on some forty years of experience, it is highly likely that this third source would have caught him up short, leading him to reconsider his common sense and the positive judgment of some seventy percent of those he consulted. Those interviewed perspectives would have provided an objectivity missing from his common sense, which was seduced by prepersonal drama, as well as missing from the many integral true believers, captured by groupthink, who told him to go for it. Wilber appears to have realized his mistake based on his several follow-up posts which attempted to defend his decision and shift responsibility for it onto misperception by his audience of his intentions. The entire sordid episode is highly instructive of how even the most intelligent of meditators can and will trip themselves up if they don't learn to triangulate.[23]

Our advantage today is that the remarks of sages, gurus, experts, and pandits are available to one and all, not shrouded by time, multiple reinterpretations, mythology, or idealization. You can read what Wilber wrote and decide for yourself. If you come to the conclusion that his post is not “fair and balanced,” and is in fact reflective of an imbalanced world view that is driven by pre-rational and prepersonal emotional investments, the consequence is that Wilber has undermined his own credibility and authority by this post. That would be trivial or even meaningless if it were not symptomatic, part of a recurring pattern of dismissal of critics that continues to this day.

Wilber's apparent lack of objectivity is merely symptomatic of our own. Something similar can be observed in the rationalizations of progressives defending the latest liberal clone politician, in some integralists defending Integral AQAL, and of course plutocrats and their governmental, media, and corporate bots defending capitalism, various forms of exploitation, and denying anthropocentric ecocide. It is not so much that ideologies do not have their purposes and strengths; the problem is that when we defend this or that ideology we become victims of manufactured consent. Our “reasons” are essentially rationalizations for largely non-recognized or admitted emotional predispositions, polemic apologies for some profit center or, more basically, to maintain our illusion of self-control. To gain the objectivity to see beyond our particular world view we require not simply reliable authorities and common sense; we require intrasocial feedback. Otherwise, our agendas continue to be controlled by manufactured consent even while we remain convinced we are acting as free agents, based on principled, reasoned beliefs.

Integral Deep Listening

IDL as a form of transpersonal, experiential multi-perspectivalism

Integral is a cognitive multi-perspectivalism, which is distinct from an experiential multi-perspectivalism, which is what IDL is. Cognitive multi-perspectivalisms provide a conceptual grasp of multiple world views by a psychologically geocentric self. Experiential multi-perspectivalisms include and transcend cognitive multi-perspectivalisms because they involve multiple discrete identifications with multiple discrete world views, Experiential multi-perspectivalisms are more inclusive varieties of vision-logic, on the cusp of the transpersonal. As such, they are transpersonal in that they are forms of mergence or oneness with this or that broader perspective. Some of these perspectives will personify prepersonal emotions, but still provide perspectives that include and transcend one's own regarding those prepersonal emotions. For example, reactive anger might be personified as an attacking panther. When interviewed, the panther typically not only explains its reactivity but creates a balanced environment for itself, which is a metaphor for it integration into the overall self-system, something the dreamer has been unable to accomplish. Other interviewed perspectives will personify personal rationality, but do so in ways that are broader and more inclusive than one's own reasoning. For example, concern for knees giving out due to running might be personified by a carpet worn out in only one area, where people line up and stand. The carpet, when interviewed, recommends it be turned so the wear patterns occur on a relatively unused stretch of the same carpet. As an analogy, it recommends switching from running to the elliptical trainer to provide cardiovascular exercise and a smooth transition from years of running. Still others will personify and therefore provide, through identification, experiences of nature, devotional, formless, and non-dual transpersonal perspectives. Identification with any element, for instance spit or sawdust may disclose a sense of deep natural harmony, an experience of the sacredness of all life, objective detachment from suffering, preferences, and expectations, or a pervasive sense of the interplay of sensory experience and no identity whatsoever.

Normally, the self organizes reality so as to maintain and enhance its control. With IDL interviewing, reality is organized and constellated around multiple equally valid perspectives, which may or may not be useful and helpful. This may include but transcends conceptual or cognitive multi-perspectivalism, like Integral AQAL, which organizes world views into a comprehensive, vision-logic world view, but it doesn't have to. Children and criminals can practice and grow into experiential multi-perspectivalism. This is because it emphasizes actual immersion in this or that alternative locus of identity, which generates experiential multi-perspectivalism. Therefore, it is an exception to the AQAL dictum that the cognitive line leads developmentally. While that is true for the development of the self, that is, psychological geocentrism, the work of prepersonal and personal stages of development, one can access experiential multi-perspectivalism at any stage of development regardless of the development of the cognitive line. While the development of the cognitive line will determine how the experience is perceived and integrated into the self, both prepersonal and transpersonal development proceed independent of the development of the cognitive line, as is seen in fetal and early childhood maturation and in the impact of mystical and near death experiences in individuals regardless of their level of development.

Although it contains the pluralism of vision-logic, experiential multi-perspectivalism is also not egalitarian, in that it discriminates among values, concepts, forms, and behaviors. It does not present the transpersonal as some all-loving, all-wise, non-discriminating oneness. These are genuine transpersonal competencies, demonstrating that IDL and other experiential multi-perspectivalisms are authentic expressions of the transpersonal, just as meditation is. However, as noted above, experiential multiperspectivalism is not meditation, and discloses the transpersonal in ways that are distinct from meditation. Therefore, when these two are combined in an ILP, development occurs faster than if one only does one or the other.[24]

While the phenomenological foundation of IDL gives all perspectives an equal hearing, that does not mean that all recommendations are of equal value. IDL uses triangulation to evaluate them and sort through which ones are most likely to bear fruit as part of an ILP. In this regard, IDL ends up supervising one's integral life practice. The goals you choose to work on are subjected to the judgement of various interviewed emerging potentials, in a cybernetic, self-correcting process. You end up wasting less time on disciplines that may sound good or feel good but which are not continuing to get you unstuck or wake you up.

Limitations of ILP

Let us say that you decide on an integral life practice that includes a spiritual practice (some approach to meditation Wilber advocates), a shadow practice (you do his 3-2-1 shadow work), a mental practice (you grok AQAL and work at eliminating your emotional and logical cognitive distortions), various physical practices (exercise, nutrition along lines advocated by Wilber), as well as interpersonal practices he recommends (good communication, social altruism, moral action). What is the result? You feel good; you also feel validated because you are following a balanced approach to self-development that feels right to you. You are doing what Ken Wilber advocates and probably does himself, so perhaps you will achieve results comparable to those Ken Wilber has achieved. So think about that for a minute. Did Wilber achieve his results based on following an integral life practice such as mentioned above? Well, yes and no. Secondly, are you sure you want to use a method that may get you to a similar place to where this approach has gotten Wilber? Do you want his deficits along with his strengths? You really want to change places? If you follow the ILP, which will certainly overload you, unless you are terminally obsessive-compulsive, and still do not move into 2nd Tier utopia, why not? Clearly, you just haven't done enough or followed the directions. You did Downward Dog without sufficient focus. You just need to double down and be more obedient, compliant, a better true believer. Try harder at attaining 2nd Tier. Take on more ILP practices. Then you will succeed. Have you noticed how every meditation guru uses some variety of these rationalizations to shift responsibility from the inadequacies of their own methodology and their own understanding when their students have trouble with the methods they teach? The best counter-argument to this is a close look at the life of the teacher themselves. Just how in touch with their own life compass are they? Just how balanced is their own life and discernment?

While an ILP is highly recommended, it is normally directed by you. You set goals that are determined by your present level of development, your scripting, your drama, degree of psychological geocentrism, and your investment in prepersonal emotional agendas. Therefore, your ability to set goals that are truly beneficial are limited. Your development becomes a prisoner of your own internalized groupthink, which becomes your waking sense of who you are. That is one reason why ILP is a blunderbuss approach, meaning that it shoots at multiple targets at once, depleting and wasting energy in an attempt to cover all bases. In contrast, IDL puts you in touch with priorities that make sense and are much more likely to reflect those of your life compass rather than internalized groupthink or cultural norms represented by the recommendations of this or that authority. Maybe you don't need to focus so much on knowledge in your ILP; perhaps your IDL interviewing provides you with repeated recommendations that you focus on your anger, impulse control and addictions to the internet and pills. The result of such feedback is that you can focus your energies and times on those aspects of an ILP that are most likely to pay off by aligning your priorities with those of your life compass. This speeds the process of getting unstuck and taking your development to the next level.

How IDL addresses drama, psychological geocentrism, and rationalization

This is why IDL recommends triangulation, to objectify the blind spots that gurus and pandits, you and I, are too subjectively enmeshed in to resolve, no matter what our ILP is or how much we do it. IDL addresses drama by identifying it in the three realms of relationships, thought, and dreaming and pursuing a yoga of catching and minimizing it.[25] It addresses psychological geocentrism through the practice of character interviewing, which repeatedly objectifies and thins identity.[26] It addresses rationalization by teaching identification of emotional, logical, and perceptual cognitive distortions as well as cognitive biases.[27] IDL not only recommends but insists on both skepticism and consensus validation of its claims. Its claims are subject to triangulation and truth criterion just as are all other empirically verifiable approaches.

IDL creates relatively little cognitive dissonance because it reveals paths forward that feel authentic and therefore do not stir up inner resistance, which goal setting and disciplines like those advocated by ILP often do. You have to manufacture your own consent before you can successfully challenge consent that others manufactured and you internalized and which now defines who you think you are. There are several reasons why IDL interviewing works where conscience, intuition, psychic perception, and various other approaches to interviewing, mostly involving role play, are less effective.

  • IDL interviewing accesses perspectives about which we have few predetermined expectations, such as walls, tooth brushes, avocados, and clouds.
  • IDL encourages you to predict what your interpretations will be in order to both get your expectations and preferences out of the way and to serve as a simple “pre-test” by which you can compare your predictions of what would come out of the interview with what actually was said.
  • IDL interviewing is thoroughly phenomenological, in that it even tables assumptions about the etiology of interviewed characters, refusing to categorize them either as self-aspects or as objective realities from some other dimension. Instead it suspends their reality in a state of indefinite ontology.[28]
  • Recommendations are written for later review, and those chosen by the subject are operationalized so they can be subjected to objective verification.
  • IDL makes no distinctions between sentient and non-sentient, sacred and secular, animate and inanimate, real and imaginary perspectives, treating all with equivalent respect.
  • IDL interviews dreams, nightmares, PTSD waking nightmares, waking life issues, mystical and near death experiences, mythological, religious, fictional, and historical themes, and current world events. The result is that from the point of view of interviewed perspectives, dream and waking realities are similar in important respects. This is why Integral Deep Listening is a dream yoga: it is focused on waking up in all states, without resorting to typical epistemological and ontological distinctions.[29]
  • Its structured interviewing methodology is designed to develop identification with the perspective of the interviewed element, allow it to interpret itself, provide opportunities for its transformation, if it so desires, generate concrete recommendations, amplify its priorities, and justify its legitimacy and relevance.
  • By identifying with various interviewed perspectives, in-groups are broadened, empathy increased, and psychological geocentrism is replaced by a polycentric experiencing of life.
  • Because the perspectives IDL accesses are based on a rational methodology, it claims to provide trans-rational approaches to pre-rational material, such as fantasy, at a level of experiential multi-perspectivalism, or vision-logic.
  • IDL accesses, on occasion, perspectives that amplify oneness with nature, the sacred, and the formless, or nature, saintly, and sage mysticism. As such, it provides repeatable access to experiences that expose students to the ever-present nature and reality of the transpersonal. This is different from the sporadic and unreliable access provided by hallucinogens, meditation, shamanism, or various other forms of transcendence.
  • As mentioned above, IDL is designed to access emerging potentials that together point toward values, behaviors, and perspectives that reflect unborn possibilities that are attempting to be heard and find expression. The result is that IDL interviewing over time aligns waking priorities with those of one's life compass.

A fuller explanation of the similarities and differences can be found at IntegralDeepListening.Com.[30]


[1] Thomas Gilovich, How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life

[2] Herman, E. S., & Chomsky, N. (1988). Manufacturing Consent The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York Pantheon Books. Noam Chompsky is probably the leading public intellectual in the world today.

For how these three roles create each other to manufacture our consent, see See Dillard, J., (2010), Escaping Drama in the Three Realms: Relationships, Thinking, Dreaming. Berlin: Deep Listening Press.

[3] "I'm an expert in homo sapiens behavior. They can rationalize anything. Take war. They'll bankrupt their economies, sacrifice the best of their young, unleash a bloodbath that impresses even me, at the expense of providing shelter, food, and medicine for their own people." - Mario Acevedo, The Undead Kama Sutra

[4] “The ultimate tyranny in a society is not control by martial laws, it is control by the psychological manipulation of consciousness. This way, those who exist within this society do not even realize they are in prison.”Joe Martino. This is the premise of Orwell's 1984. What needs to be added is how internalized scripting, conscience and intuition internalizes this manipulation as our identity, and therefore intrinsic to our self-sense, so that by validating manufactured consent we validate ourselves, and by denouncing it we denounce ourselves.

[5] A review of some of these can be found at Dillard, J., The Kohlberg-Wilber Fallacy Part 1: Why your level of moral judgment does not predict your morality. IntegralWorld.Net.

[6] Wilber's claim/belief that we are on the cusp of a societal utopia due to some 5% of the population already at 2nd Tier appears to have its origination in the “Maharishi Effect,”in which it is claimed that when 1% of the individuals in a given area practice Transcendental Meditation that multiple measurable positive changes in the living conditions in an area would be noted. These included measures such as a decrease in crime, violence, familial conflict, suicides, depression, etc. With the introduction of the TM-Sidhi program in 1976, Maharishi proposed that the square root of one percent of the population practicing the TM-Sidhi program, together at the same time and in the same place, would increase "life-supporting trends”. This was referred to as the “Extended Maharishi Effect.”("Maharishi Effect Research on the Maharishi Effect". Maharishi University of Management.) Andrews, J. Ken Wilber on Meditation. If the sources of Wilber's claim of a collective jump to 2nd Tier are questionable, that undermines the credibility of the claim itself.

[7] KW: “Charles Alexander [1950-1998] has been an important voice in transpersonal developmental psychology for many years, beginning with his doctoral dissertation at Harvard (1982) on ego development and personality changes in prison inmates practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM). I have always appreciated his work, and I especially appreciate the wealth of research and empirical findings he always brings to the task." (The Eye of Spirit, p 207)

"Moreover, unlike most of the meditation teachers this country, Alexander and his colleagues have been taking standard tests of the various developmental lines (including Loevinger's ego development, Kohlberg's moral development, tests of capacity for intimacy, altruism, and so on) and applying them to populations of meditators, with extremely significant and telling results. The importance of this line of research is simply incalculable." (The Eye of Spirit, p 208)

"So far, much of the work in this area [the effect of meditation on the lines of development] has been done by Alexander and his associates, yet another reason that I find their contributions so significant...”(The Eye of Spirit, p 221)

"Alexander's work has been instrumental in gathering a great deal of research data that unequivocally supports this conclusion, and I urge those interested to consult his published accounts." The Eye of Spirit, p 222

"[A]nd I mention Skip Alexander who was a real genius and a real pioneer in this, and I still recommend looking into his work." (Kosmic Consciousness, CD 7, track 4, 0:23)

But in an endnote that is associated with the first quotation, KW warns that:

“[T]his is not to overlook what appear to be some valid criticisms of some of the TM research [performed by Skip Alexander and his colleagues], including occasional bias in the researchers, inadequate methodology, and obliviousness to negative effects on practitioners. But even when those inadequacies are taken into account, what's left of the research is still quite impressive.”(The Eye of Spirit, p 354)

Andrews, J.: “…How can KW be cognizant of these "inadequacies" yet continue to consider the research as "still quite impressive"? Aren't these "valid criticisms" ("occasional bias in the researchers, inadequate methodology, and obliviousness to negative effects on practioners”) sufficiently disturbing to reject Alexander's TM research? By the way, “what's left of the research”after subtracting “occasional bias in the researchers, inadequate methodology, and obliviousness to negative effects on practitioners”? How many more “inadequacies”would KW tolerate before he finally rejects the TM research performed by Skip Alexander and his colleagues?

Also, did KW deliberately avoid identifying Skip Alexander as having been Professor and Associate Chairman of the Department of Psychology at Maharishi International University (MIU, now Maharishi University of Management)? Was KW concerned that Alexander's affiliation with MIU might cause his readers and listeners to suspect that Alexander's studies were tainted TM advocacy research that could not be trusted?

British psychologist Susan Blackmore has identified: “a persistent problem in meditation research. Much of the research is now done by members of the TM organization, often at their own Maharishi International University (MIU) [now Maharishi University of Management] in Fairfield, Iowa. Most of it is published in their own publications, where it is not subject to the normal peer review system of scientific journals. A strong motivation to 'prove' the efficacy of TM could bias the findings.”(“Is Meditation Good For You?,”pages 31-32) Andrews, J. Ken Wilber on Meditation. (Excerpted from Dillard, J. (2017) Healing Integral. Berlin: Deep Listening Press. fn)

[8] Similarities and differences from shadow therapies, including Wilber's 3-2-1 ILP Shadow practice are discussed at Problematic aspects of Wilber's shadow work, IntegralWorld.Net and Integral Shadow 3-2-1 process, DreamYoga.Com

[9] Problems with intuition become obvious as soon as you question it. People tend to feel personally insulted, as if you are questioning them. If this is the case, “intuition”is a way of saying, “This is me.”“This is who I think I am, and if you question my intuition, you are threatening me.”Therefore, appeals to intuition for such people is their way of saying, “Don't question me on this. My opinion/belief on this is not subject to debate because I know.”If you ask these people how they know their intuition is accurate, you get a tautology - because they do; because of their intuition. They cannot defend their position with reason or evidence that is not anecdotal and therefore want any questioning of their intuition to be off limits. While we can have genuine knowingness or what is generally called “intuition,”an important subtext is what we are attempting to accomplish when we rely on it. We are placing ourselves and our arguments beyond the realm of authentication and therefore accountability. Since there is therefore no way of knowing if our intuitive-based claim is true or false, it can have no standing as truth, no matter how strongly a person may feel otherwise or how accurate it is. This in no way undercuts injunctive methodologies, as Wilber well outlines in 1984 in Eye to Eye. Injunctive methods, such as IDL, provide a methodology by which to prove or disprove truth claims. When and if claims of intuition do as well, they are legitimate for the individual, but it is dangerous and unwise to generalize from those experiences.

[10] For a critique of the concept of Shadow and why it is problematic, see Dillard, J., The Shadow, Carl Jung, and Integral Deep Listening. IntegralWorld.Net.

[11]Wilber, K., et. al. Integral Life Practice: A 21st-Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening, 2008. Integral Books.

[12] The important caveat here is that you need to be in role during these recommendations to access relatively objective recommendations. Otherwise, you simply validate your own waking priorities and think you are accessing something more objective. This is what people generally do with “God's will,”reading whatever their agenda is into scripture, or picking out evidence and instances that validate their preferences while ignoring or minimizing the rest. Never underestimate your ability to rationalize, even when it comes to recommendations from interviewed emerging potentials.

[13] See Dillard, J., Triangulation: A Superior Approach to Problem Solving. IntegralDeepListening.Com

[14] Wilber, K., What We Are, What We See. KenWilber.Com

[15] Visser, F. The Wild West Wilber Report. IntegralWorld.Net

[16] “Before I posted it, I sent out the first draft of the blog to about 200 people, both inside and outside of I-I (and to a lot of DAs). The response to that first draft, which was edgier than the final draft, was about 70-30. That is, 70% were strongly in favor of posting it, and 30% were strongly against it. Virtually all of them, however, agreed with the 3 or 4 major points the blog was making, but 30% felt that it was disastrous to send it out in that form (too many feathers ruffled).”Wilber, K., What We Are, What We See. KenWilber.Com This is impressive, because of what it says about 70% of the judgment of those associated with Integral who supported it.

[17] Wilber, K., What We Are, What We See. KenWilber.Com

[18] Wilber defines the moral line following Kohlberg. However, this involves moral judgment, not moral behavior. For a discussion of the distinction and why it is important, see Dillard, J., The Kohlberg-Wilber Fallacy Part 2: Why your level of moral judgment does not predict your morality.

[19] To take the process for a test drive, go to Integral deep listening sociometry desktop at

[20] This is a fundamental and profound self-deception among integralists. For example, you can be transpersonal in the self-system line but if you are not in the cognitive line you will think you are enlightened when you are not. This is a common description of children and pre-rational people of all cultures who have mystical experiences. Similarly, you can be highly developed in your cognitive and self-system line but if your empathy only extends to your in-groups, how morally developed are you? See Dillard, J., Aperspectival Madness: Why and How AQAL grossly overestimates your level of development. IntegralWorld.Net

[21] This is not to imply that all interviewed perspectives or their recommendations are useful, accurate, or helpful. Some are simply surrogates of our waking stuckness. Others are angry about their repression and have little to say other than “LISTEN TO ME!”They are similar to neglected children who offer no transformational insights but want to be respected and cared for based on their intrinsic value. Such respect is so pervasive a theme in interviews that it is assumed to be a characteristic of life compass.

[22] We can be 2nd Tier in cognitive multi-perspectivalism, that is, in our ability to understand Integral AQAL, which is itself a vision-logic aptitude on the cognitive line, and still be stuck at mid-prepersonal. Similarly, we can espouse 2nd Tier values and be at a much lower overall level of development. It is not unusual to be convinced that because our cognitive and value lines are highly developed that we are 2nd Tier. This is because we typically identify with our thoughts and values. However, both of these are interior quadrant competencies. They do not involve exterior quadrant behavior and interaction, and issues like addiction, morality, and justice. One can be highly developed in the cognitive, spiritual intelligence, and various auxiliary lines and not have the correlative exterior quadrant competencies required for tetramesh to higher levels of development. This is reality for the vast majority of humanity.

[23] For the complete series of posts related to this matter, see Visser, F. The Wild West Wilber Report. IntegralWorld.Net

[24] For the relationship between IDL interviewing and meditation, as well as the IDL approach to meditation, see Meditation. DreamYoga.Com

[25] See Dillard, J., (2010), Escaping Drama in the Three Realms: Relationships, Thinking, Dreaming. Berlin: Deep Listening Press.

[26] While Wilber's dialectic of turning proximal selves into distal selves is similar, in that proximal selves include and transcend distal selves, IDL emphasizes identification with radically “other”perspectives, with the consequence that identity not only expands, but thins. See IntegralDeepListening.Com.

[27] See Dillard, J. (2010), Waking Up. Berlin: Deep Listening Press

[28] IDL does not claim to not make assumptions or to be a system of belief. Instead, it attempts to be overt and transparent about those assumptions it does make, such as that a phenomenological approach is beneficial. By doing so, its assumptions are less likely to act as intervening variables that deceive us regarding the results we accomplish.

[29] See DreamYoga.Com


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