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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Zakariyya Ishaq is a writer who has just completed his first book on the subject of spiritual cosmology. An original new theory he feels can rival any: THE ELLIPSE: THE FALL AND RISE OF THE HUMAN SOUL: SECRETS OF THE COSMOS. In addition to being a writer he is a musician, computer professional, and community activist. He is a Graduate of Devry University in Digital Electronic Technology. Ishaq has been a mystical seeker of enlightenment for 30 years, a member of 3 Sufi Orders: and has studied formally and informally Buddhism, Vedanta Cosmology, Cabala, Taoism, Sufism, Integral Philosophy, and various other mystic esoteric and exoteric schools of thought.
Cowboy Ken Wilber
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Part 1. The Nobility of Ken Wilber - THE GOOD
Even if some of the criticism of Wilberism is true, then a greater truth still transcends this.
I learned early that nothing is all bad, nor is there anything all good, not a particularly profound discovery, but it approaches profundity only when you know this for a certainty of sight.
What is good, and what is bad, as Ken Wilber points out in many of his wisdoms?
It all depends on perspective.
The torrential rain in the south has brought the Indians immense wealth, but the settlers in the north destruction. So where then is good, and where is evil?
All we know is that to understand the true nature of goodness is to understand the nature of acceptance.
We must learn to accept each others foibles, in order to see the good, and the bad, in order to transcend it.
In the case of Ken Wilber:
It is Wilber's boldness in challenging the established order and his ability to inspire in people the need to think that ultimately makes Ken Wilber a formidable man.
His boldness in bringing to our consciousness independent thought, and the desire for divine knowledge, precise knowledge, useful knowledge, scientific knowledge and to grasp for a closer, more adept science of metaphysics to help humans, and make our sojourn easier, is to me a form of guidance, based on love.
It doesn't matter ultimately if Ken Wilber doesn't have all his t's crossed, and I's dotted, and he certainly doesn't, but who amongst his critics[ and they all are worthy people] have done what he has done, in spirit. To bring together people of knowledge and seek truth, the whole truth, the truth that will bring us to the final path of world wide liberation, and salvation based not on not faith alone, or wishful thinking, but real knowledge, real science, real metaphysics. He has raised the bar! It is a challenge to us all.
We know Ken Wilber is not complete in his methods, but he is one of the foremost who has caused the race to begin. Indeed if it is not him, or one of his close companions who brings us all the way home, then we know that he helped begin the race to the end point, the point of seeking divine knowledge, merging scientism with metaphysics, and attempting real scientific mystical methodology, and most important because he challenged the universe in this epoch, and that alone in the final analysis is the key to his great contribution. So whoever if anyone besides himself, he passes the baton on to, that person will know who started his race, Ken Wilber did!
On another level a level perhaps as vital in beginning the last sprint, is Wilber's unique ability to bring various people of all creeds, viewpoints, and races together in hope, sharing and the grace of unity that is a beacon of light to the world. These people don't come together to just sing songs, and pat each other on the back, in new age self indulgence but in the pursuit of genuine knowledge that they insist be workable and observable to human perception.
Wilber's influence on I don't know, thousands of people influencing then to pursue a spiritual path alone may be enough to redeem him from what ever negativity may come from some of Ken Wilber's antics, as we critics see them. Of course the old Quranic maxim: "Follow up not charity with injury" can apply here even though Wilber obviously has sincere intent behind his program, and if he is doing any degree of injury to some then I think it is without intent.
We who criticize Wilber, can't just dismiss this mans unique contributions, despite our differences with him. We must only criticize him in the best spirit, the spirit that says: we love, honor and respect you and your followers Ken Wilber, and want the best for you and them, as human beings. We feel this way because you are like us, pursuing the noblest thing a human can pursue, that is truth and the unity of the human race, and we have to take our hats of to that. bow to that, for if we don't, then we loose ourselves in the worst sense, the sense of selfishness, rather than the sense of selflessness, and if that happens then we are truly lost, and our criticism is just vanity.
But if by the spirit of genuine love, respect, and the search for truth and intent to raise humanity, we take it upon ourselves to judge your work in an objective spirit, then we in turn Ken Wilber put ourselves at that same alter of judgment that we dare impose on you.
But we accept this, because we are warriors too, maybe not at the forefront like you, but at the foundation of truth, always ready to defend our own truths, as you are ready to defend yours.
If our criticism is genuine, and I believe it is, for the people here are as noble as you, then my friend, my companion in the search for truth, it is never to degrade you, or to dismiss you, or to marginalize you.
Indeed none of those. For it is to exalt you; and to keep reminding you that we are in this together.
For we men and woman of knowledge ultimately know that the greatest enemy of the human race is separation.
And we also know that our greatest friend is integration
That is ultimately doing this thing together:
Together in the greatest pursuit of wisdom and knowledge the world has ever known, that is all of us, your critics, you, and many others, who tread this challenging path to the truth of our being.
We truly as a race may be at the forefront of enfolding the greatest mysteries of our self: in this challenging era and I believe that we will be successful without doubt, if we can learn to do it together, in spirit.
So Ken Wilber as I criticize you in the spirit of the objective search for truth and being, I in the same breath, salute you, as my brother and comrade in arms in the noble search for truth, and the pursuit of happiness and perfection for all sentiment beings.
Together we rise
Separate we fall
Part 2. Theory - The Bad
1. Problems with Metaphysics
“There are two kinds of sages: One made by the world and one made by god [reality]”
If Ken Wilber deems it necessary to improve metaphysics he has to understand that it has to be done on the terms of metaphysics, not his own understanding of philosophy, scientism, and his own cosmology.
Something that obviously has been around for millennium and seemingly has a source of divine origin and its own puzzles that must be solved not his own that are generated from his conceptions.
Does Wilber really think he could come along and tell the divine guidance agency of the universe that its metaphysics is wanting and needs improvement, because a group of modern scientist don't like it!
Many of us are frustrated with religion and metaphysics in its failure to succeed more in this challenging world. We all want an easier way to truth or salvation, but can we afford to eschew truth and let wishful thinking and egotism be our guide rather than reality?
I myself am not a cheering fan of metaphysics as it stands, recognizing that it has a questionable track record in dealing with the problems of humankind.
I am not criticizing Wilber from the standpoint of a “defender of the faith” mentality that wants to keep the purity of metaphysics intact against the foibles of Ken Wilber and his like. No I would and am all for legitimate enquiry in to the integrity of anything if it is sincere including metaphysics; that is if one comes up with the goods. A theory is a theory; we all have the right to commentary but not dogmatic assertions that our theory is better than any others, or any more than a theory. And in my view Ken has fallen very short with AQAL, IMP, post metaphysics, perspective enlightenment, evolutionary enlightenment, all ideas that have produced zero improvement on the effect of metaphysics on the condition of humankind in my view at this point. That being the case I nevertheless unlike many commentators on Wilber's work, defend his penchant for defining mystical terms in his own way, sometimes slightly different to very different than the traditional understanding. I don't agree with all his re-interpretations of mystical phraseology, but have no problem with people interpreting things in their own light.
I am not a fundamentalist mystic. Far be it from me to defend obsolete anachronisms that have no longer any effect or relevance to our present world. Certainly we are not bound, unless we have an obligation to a faith, to be tied to anything because it's traditional. But just like Wilber criticizes people for critiquing his work- without understanding it, and insisting that they read a hefty amount of his work before commenting[ something I think is absurd by the way] shouldn't he on the other hand understand traditional metaphysics thoroughly before trying to change it? I of course unlike him wouldn't require he read every metaphysical treatise in history
That being said I nevertheless think we need to bring something to the table that bears substance.
Indeed we may need something new, some new spirit, new blood in the mix, something more effective than the past. And certainly Wilber should be commended for having courage in challenging the established order and attempting to suggest some improvements. But in this very solemn field of truth don't we need to be effective not just theoretical sophistry, making hay with people only because they are ignorant.
Metaphysicians have always understood that change has to come in the field of metaphysics from within it not in abstruse science as is understood or any other realms of thought, because they believe that the source of its origin is in charge of its integrity, not random whimsical desires of people who want to do things based on their own ego, without knowledge or guidance and have no conception of hierarchy or genuine evolutionary intelligence, that deals with shaping metaphysics to the epochal intelligence of humans. Scientific mysticism has somewhat denied this revelatory aspect of metaphysics and has bought into random scientism that rejects revelatory hierarchy. Buddha called this Dharma. The western metaphysicians call it “god” that's fine but in reality it is the same thing: it is how the universe works, in relationship to metaphysics and to us.
This phenomenon is “god” simply because it ALWAYS works the same way. It will always do the same thing the same way, given the same circumstances. That's called truth, or reality. It will only change when a different element comes in the mix. What lies behind these phenomenal propositions is the certainty that this cause and effect, light and power reality will always operate the same way. And as for scientism its real power is in the fact that all phenomenon's' [save the divine] in theory is moved by the reality of science. In other words nobody dies of nothing, disease pathology [dark science] has to operate or you wouldn't die. As life is always surrounded by a similar science. A child despite the beliefs of some, will always come into existence on a science sex [light science, to some] this is a transcendent law or nature; it is not the only one, but the one that tells us that there are not in life any miracles, just unseen methodologies.
Wilber has a perfect right not to buy into this idea of inherited knowledge and to create out of a vacuum his own Dharma based on Ken Wilber's shifting philosophy. I wish him luck. He is going to need it, and so is anyone buying into his ideas I believe!
Does he know anything about the subtle sciences that are lurking behind the reality of this universe as it relates to metaphysics or true Dharma? That in fact rules it that exists far outside anything mystic scientism or just scientism will most likely ever understand or perceive? By mystic scientism I refer to those interested form primarily a mystical viewpoint [a category I put Wilber in] who ardently desire some kind of merging of the two areas of thought: scientism, and metaphysics/religion. .He has to understand though that he is not just dealing with metaphysics, he is dealing simultaneously with it as it relates to the universe, and as it relates to humans.
The scientific mystics have I think sort of surrendered to scientism in order to make some kind of connection between the two by rejecting the aspect of mysticism that accept the reality of “faith”. Not faith in a dogma, like religious “mythic” literalist but faith in the reality that one doesn't know the truth entirely at a certain point but in time will.
And faith that the method over time will bring results. However impatient, and frustrated we get, we nevertheless have to hold fast to this” faith” for if not we will fall into error most likely.
As is written
Faith to an esoteric has always been based on this simple premise. That understanding that one doesn't know the truth all the time and acknowledging ones limitations is strength not a weakness. It supports him in truth, and eventually will pay off big. So a Wilber type will convince himself, as he has in Wilber 1, Wilber 2, Wilber 3, Wilber 4, and now Wilber 5 that he has the truth, as he was so convinced of this in each incarnation of Wilber. Doesn't he at this point get the message? Doesn't he see what is going on? When is he going to realize that he doesn't have the truth, and never had it, in any of the Wilber incarnations, as it is doubtful he has it now? He has some truth, don't we all!
The faith is only in that the method does work if ever the aspirant can practice it perfect enough over a period of time and understand it in relationship to himself, and to the universe, because it doesn't work in a vacuum, something Wilber understands, himself, so how is he going to change it out of a vacuum, something he himself concedes that nothing exists in a vacuum, so how can he change it without comprehensive knowledge of himself, and the universe.
Two great teachers taught us these two primary lessons. The Prophet Muhammad when he said “He who knows himself [Atman] knows his lord” Buddha said “Know the Dharma” [universal Law].The metaphysics works with these two dynamics to change the person, but that all depends on the practice of the individual, and his understanding. He or she practices the law until it becomes an alchemical process bringing inner change. This is so because the science of metaphysics is a science of light amongst sciences of darkness. Sciences of darkness are the laws that made it necessary for us to have to practice metaphysics in the first place to heal ourselves. They are the sciences that create mis-development...
Wilberism and the modern scientific mystics have associated this aspect of metaphysics with fundamentalist religious concepts of authority thereby allowing it to reject any respect for this occult system of revelatory authority that has existed for millennium and is in charge of this science. This is a hierarchy also, just like the elemental hierarchies in his holonic system. Only these are humanoid holons [at least in appearance] not cells and genes one could put were they please.
One has to get in tune with that intelligence in order to really have any idea of how to improve it for humans. Or at least get in tune with himself that which Buddha did.
We are not going to create out of a vacuum any new guidance apparatus that facilitates the human quest for salvation unless we get in tune with the source of the original guidance that propelled the science of metaphysics in the first place.
This is so because it knows the intricacies of the dark and light sciences that rule this affair as well as the changing cosmos.
We will all change when the cosmos changes in the macrocosm, as well we can change ourselves but only through effort and metaphysics ultimately, that's because all metaphysics truly does is accelerate for a microcosm what is already in motion.
In theory though it can be done through other processes like scientism, or intellectual philosophy but it's doubtful because scientism and philosophy both have an incomplete processes of truth finding, it is too flawed. Scientism is too flatland, as Wilber accepts, even at the same time cow towing to its commands, Philosophy is too undisciplined, too subjectively egotistical.
I know all the Wilberian scientific mystics, who want all this proof, as if their system has any “ proof” don't really believe in this kind of “god” or Dharma, an intelligent one that they cant perceive so it doesn't exist, as if their perception determines reality.
One might ask these individuals at what point does your intellect demand to know everything at once? They will say: WHEN WE POSSESS REASON.
Indeed these types want “god” and Dharma now! They want him in the flesh as soon as they develop into what they think is reason.
That which lies behind metaphysics is just not going to cater to our whims and desires based on wishful thinking or delusions of scientific chauvinism that are not based on experiential knowledge. Science itself can understand this if it finally backs away from its arrogance and accepts the reality that it may be something that exists outside of its own realm of perception. It does accept that emotionalism will not do in terms of dealing with truth and reality; however it masks itself behind the ego of itself. Wilber even to a degree gives lips service to this, but always wants to define what is right by his own ideas not the ideas of objective truth. This is the realm of opinion, it will never stop, until we begin to deal in the realm of truth, then opinion wont matter.
Wilber worries so much about science confirming the integrity of mysticism he aught to worry about he himself confirming his own supposed knowledge that he claims to possess that every three months he alters fundamentally for example the 4 Quadrants, and now we have the 8 perspectives or IMP as he calls it is now at the head of [his] wisdom. One might ask, what is the next incarnation of Wilberism, or what will Wilber 6 bring us?
3. Evolutionary intelligence and the process of enlightenment
In my opinion this is actually the door Wilber is trying to break down, not “evolutionary enlightenment but evolutionary intelligence. This is his road to change but it is a process based on knowledge and nearness to “god” in the sense that this activity is one of a reformer of the metaphysical exoteric law. This law is not necessarily a change in a Sharia type system, or an alteration or upgrade of the Ten Commandments, but an epochal shift or rearrangement of even science for instance to fit the needs of the times.
Idries Shah the estimable Sufi Master who wrote the seminal modern Sufi book, “The Sufis” said in that book, that Sufism was evolutionary. He said, Sufism was evolutionary, not god, or enlightenment or the Dharma. Anything in this world is subject to change, not because the nature of its self alone, but equally the nature of the world it is in.
The world produces change because of its inherent nature. But that inclination to change [evolve] is not transcendent, it is only particular to this world, or this dimension, others are not so inclined, therefore change itself is not really the important thing. The important thing in this regard is understanding what change is dependant on.
The way Buddha's statements on change has been misinterpreted is because people don't understand that Buddha was referring to this world being incessantly subject to change, the nature of the infinite amount of other worlds are not at all like this one. For example in Buddha's philosophy the world of Nirvana obviously is not subject to the same phenomena as this world [evolution] or it wouldn't be Nirvana, which means cessation.
The idea of transcendence and the concept of the divine, or God is all about understanding the constant that lies behind ALL phenomena in every occasion in all worlds, levels, and dimensions. Remember the “cessation” concept is only relative to the dynamics of this world.
And what does that mean, and more important, why is it important?
If evolution had anything to do with enlightenment, then it would contradict Buddha's prescription.
Cessation means that some phenomena has stopped, therefore the human organism consequently is enlightened existentially via the reality of the cessation of that phenomena.
Buddha's prescription is a “negative” enlightenment. In other words it is a passive prescription, Enlightenment will naturally occur at the cessation or elimination of something.
The Sufi idea of enlightenment is a “positive' enlightenment in that “Insani Kamil” Completed person, is a subtle acquisition or re- acquisition of something.
These two technical definitions of enlightenment mean in the case of Buddha:
something that has dissolved, or something that has gone away, stopped its cycle of existence in the human consciousness, or passed away. Now we all know that nothing in being goes out of existence. So what in the world could Buddha be referring to?
We have a hint in that we know this thing didn't become erased, because we know that nothing in existence ever goes out of existence.
Therefore it is only delusion that can be erased, because it never really existed, in the first place!
Now the traditional Buddhist might say one of two things: The birth and death cycle stops [cliché] number 1. Or cliché number 2: suffering stops.
The problem here is that we are going for the whole enchilada, Real physics! No longer do we want abstracts. Now that's REAL post- metaphysics!
Both these designations are at best mere approximations of what Buddha meant.
The cycle of life and death revolves around one thing: that is the cycle of yin / yang, or balance or struggle between the yin yang phenomena in the transcendent natures that are not created... When the yin yang struggle stops, then the hermaphrodite [holistic self] is produced by the [cessation/Nirvana] of the nature.
There are 6 transcendent natures that reside and are constantly struggling to unite or stop the yin yang struggle, to produce the Nirvanic holistic self.
So Buddha is referring to this as cessation, or Nirvana.
The struggle of the male and female polarities in all the 6 natures in humans are the reason on one level [of two] why we are not enlightened. The cessation or Nirvana of all six natures [retiring the struggle, or the uniting of male/female] is the existential condition of inner Nirvana in the human that is enlightenment. So we see in Buddhist thought , it is the absence of something that produces enlightenment, in a sense, but nothing is erased it alchemizes to a hermaphrodite, or united nature, in other words the nature remains, but the inner struggle stops.
Sufism a more holistic path than Buddhism outwardly, has a similar negative aspect of its theosophy as Buddhism does, but the elements that cessate are called, symbolically the seven men, or nafs[souls[ that become at rest when they settle down and end their internal struggle,. This is the developmental aspect of Sufism.
At the last of these seven men becoming balanced the poetic Quranic verse utters:
'O soul at rest, return well pleased, well pleasing This poetic reference only means the nafs is no longer struggling, producing inner conflict thereby illusion.
In addition to this “negative” aspect of enlightenment the Sufis as the terminology “Insani Kamil” [Completed soul] illustrates this is the acquisition of something, and that something, becomes accessible to humans because of the balanced souls, that reach rest, as the natures in Buddhism reach Nirvana.
What becomes open to the human is the perfect configuration [completed self] of the Atman [soul] of the human.
Though technically, completion relates to the final expansion [resurrection] of the essence [one of the three structures in the Atman (soul)]. Granted this aspect of spirituality does have an evolutionary aspect to it, but particularly unrelated directly to the enlightenment process.
Evolutionary intelligence we can prove its a reality, as for evolutionary enlightenment it is a very imprecise description of reality in my opinion, and mystics besides Wilber and Andrew Cohen, who have popularized as a fad this concept, I hasten to say not a one of these theorist I believe can or have come up with the goods that evolution has anything to do with enlightenment, beyond abstruse ideas on one hand to new age platitudes that hardly anyone can utilize for anything practical in my view. Its nothing wrong with a theory of evolutionary enlightenment, but it is that, only a theory, an unproven postulate.
All this “evolution” these individuals are referring to is evolutionary intelligence, not enlightenment. Enlightenment has nothing to do with evolving [only in the sense of change and development] as I explained in Wilber 5 and metaphysics. But even a child can be shown the evolution of intelligence as an existential observable reality.
All one has to do is look at history, and the slow evolution of our standards ethics, morals, and intelligence.
When Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen sit and enjoy their regular indulgence in self congratulatory back slapping in the magazine “What is Enlightenment” and show us their evolutionary eloquence and wisdom as I am sure their loyalist suck up every word as if they are listening to a modern version of Avicenna and Ibn Arabi in dialogue, rather than these two who always seen to on one hand get Wilber's AQAL in the conversation and eventually Cohen's evolutionary enlightenment equally in the mix, naturally each guy supporting the others evolutionary pet peeve, they always push this idea[evolutionary enlightenment] as if the words themselves have power, but no, true power lies in the hearts of people, in their hearts where intelligence always transmutes to epochal wisdom, and this is evolutionary intelligence at work..
Part 3: I-I Theory and practice - The Ugly
“When you are still fragmented lacking certainty, what difference does it make what your decisions are?”
1. AQAL, IMP, and Psychology
Ironically this is what Wilber's AQAL is probably best suited for, theoretical psychology with the aim of developing a legitimate therapeutic formulae for the field, since it is one of worst in this regard; clinical psychology and psychiatry have evolved to nothing but adjutants to the pharmaceutical industry.
Wilber's LOD'S minus the states and stages [that are not applicable to AQAL because they are sourced in the higher realms not the realm of the body and mind, were AQAL resides].may be an excellent starting point in developing a theory of the psychic structure of the human organism, with the hope of finally getting a grasp, beyond the drug therapy, on some true therapeutic psychology. Then we could hopefully stop giving kids Prozac. And grown ups for that matter also.
Wilber should understand that his application of AQAL on another level makes very little sense in that even if he has garnished legitimately his” orientating generalizations” it would behoove him to research the intricacies of this theory, within the general map because that way some real science can be gotten out of this theory. Again Wilber's rush to acquire something that isn't there, is an impediment to truth, and the real useful application of his theories.
Jeff Meyerhoff in his book: Bald Ambition has proven that Wilber is very imprecise in this theoretical field of orientating generalizations. What if some of these conclusions are wrong? Or what if some or all of the disparate theories are not precisely describing reality, then what happens to Wilber's map?
Does it fall down like a house of cards?
When do we get to test this theory that includes in it numerous other theories? What shall we test first?
Anyway my idea is that AQAL may indeed have some relevance to the bio-psychic structure we call the mind, or the mind body reality.
Wilber need not feel this is a downgrade from his lofty perch- that is transmuting AQAL-IMP from a post- metaphysical theory, to a genuine very well needed post- psychological model, because if this world needs one thing in its condition it is such a theory, that is a TOE of the psychic apparatus, beyond Freud and his sex crazed neurotics of the 20th century, or the crass Behaviorism of Pavlov and Skinner. This may be the evolutionary intelligence in action, since there is no doubt that one of the greatest veils to truth, peace, and unity as well as metaphysical enlightenment are the psychological pathologies that pervade our civilization. AQAL and IMP then can be primarily geared towards this area of science rather than metaphysics. This is true because Wilber's AQAL, IMP, and the rest have much more to do with psychology than metaphysics, which as I stated in Wilber 5 and metaphysics, has very little relationship to metaphysics. Indeed the strength in Wilber's ideas are in the theoretical psychology realm, not metaphysics in my opinion, of course after much more research.
The great work of Hugh and Kaye Martin and their powerful ideas on human developmental processes along with a Ken Wilber AQAL-IMP psycho-spiritual methodological pluralism would be an awesome arrangement of knowledge that together are at least an endeavor to quantify both of theirs substantial perceptions into the psych-spiritual Quadrant theory with the possibility of a groundbreaking movement in this field.
To research seriously these psychological theoretical developmental postulates with the hope of finally realistically brining psychology out of the realm of almost entirely an art, that only has a relationship to science through the pharmaceutical industries, would truly be groundbreaking, and eventually bring AQAL some substance.
2. Wilber 1, Wilber 2. Wilber 3. Wilber 4, Wilber 5…
Almost like the Rocky movie series, every few years a new incarnation arises out of the Colorado mountains, as if a commandment from the lord upon high.
I wonder at Wilber 9, will he grow Whiskers, and declare himself feline, and end all this spiritual intrigue.
No what we have is Wilber's thoughts and beliefs moving as fast as a freight train going down the Grand Canyon almost approaching the speed of light!
Wilber has not proven the veracity of his philosophy in any of the Wilber appearances. Nor the exigency of his ideas. Hasn't it occurred to any of his followers or to him that if any of these incarnations would have been truth they might have remained a while with us?
This though is not as bad as it looks, because from another “perspective” as Wilber might put it, this could be looked at as progress or at least change, even though people might wonder if he ever is going to get something REAL for people to get a hold of and touch, and feel something tangible.
Recognizing the fact that this field of spiritual psychology-metaphysics must have a time to work, and therefore we have to consider that any new ideas must be given time to succeed. That would be fine, but Wilber has radically changed his fundamental ideas and have given his followers very little fundamental stability in approach that they can grab onto and take hold and do something with.
When he does settle on something, all of a sudden another incarnation of Wilber will like lightening coming down from heaven, make its way down the mountain to the subservient followers.
Isn't this kind of strange?
Now a guy like yours truly who has been around the block a couple of times in life and has seen the BEST of con men in action, and knows one when I see one from 100 miles away, doesn't think Wilber is deliberately a con man like some of these abusive Gurus, or fake preachers or anything like it. Though it does seem he wants to touch this kind of “toughness” if you will, in that he always seems to attach himself to religionists who are without doubt con men and woman of epochal proportions practicing high levels of fraud.
This may be because he feels his vulnerability, like we all do, and therefore at times needs to associate with the tough guys who make us feel tough, and therefore can forgot our feminine vulnerability for awhile when we are hanging around these tough guys fleecing the stupid, the innocent, and the ignorant.
Wilber doesn't know or realize that these guys most likely aren't' tough guys at all, for deep down they are as afraid and terrified as he is, that's why they need to fleece those people they have around then 24 hours a day and convince them that he is the greatest, and they cant do without him.
This thankfully is not serial killer pathology, just ordinary human frailty by a human being who deeply wants to give some truthful succor to those he loves and cares for, and to the rest of humanity. This certainly is a noble emotion. But unfortunately truth requires itself for progress not emotionalism, or intent alone
That may also be the reason Wilber became Wyatt Earp the gunslinger all of a sudden in response to his critics last year. Ironically at first I thought at the time that Wilber was doing a cool thing, that being a gunslinger. Being a REAL one myself, I could appreciate this newcomer to the fold that is until I read further what Wilber wrote about, for example Frank Visser, his “friend” and realized Wilber was no legitimate gunslinger.
Wilber is what we REAL gunslingers call a back shooter! You know the guy in the John Wayne western usually Lee Van Cleef ugly who when the hero turns his back to wink at the heroine: BANG! The dirty dog gets off a good shot in the heroes backside. Indeed Wilber's gunslinging was classic back shooting, in that he wanted to hurt people not use searing verbal prowess like Cyrano De Bergerac to scold his critics based on intellectual superiority, parody, or the truth of his position not the kind of cruel personal invective he indulged in out of inner anger. Who can criticize this humanity; I can only highlight it, not assuming I would do better but bringing Ken Wilber back to his true self.
Anyway to end this indulgence in Freudian analysis. I will end with this.
We are all scared, psychologically fragile at times, so we all could understand this humanity we see here. It doesn't have to be that bad, just human beings being human, something we all can understand.
And all we can do when some of our people, and even ourselves are in the grip of self deception is to keep holding up that mirror so they can see themselves without hitting them on the head too hard with it, thereby breaking the mirror and shattering their vision in all kinds of pieces.
On the other issue, I think Wilber owes his friend Frank Visser a public apology, and others like Jeff Meyerhoff, a brilliant young man, who worked hard to offer legitimate objective criticism to your ideas. This should be done for the Wyatt Earp episode.
On the other hand the critics should understand Wilber was under great pressure in this case and although his actions were not justified, they should forgive him, if at all possible.
3. Fundamentalist Integral
I am not saying Wilber is of a fundamentalist mentality, but some elements of Wilber's “Integral Philosophy” borders on the same mentality that the fundamentalist literalists of exoteric religion exhibit. This is unequivocally proven by Wilber's stubborn refusal to denounce a genocidal war in Iraq that any self respecting human with any degree of morality, or common moral sense would recognize as an evil depraved act on the level of Nazi like endeavor. But no, Wilber's dogmatic Integral notions that since the Iraqi strongman Sadam Hussein is evil we shouldn't denounce the war, in mean green meme fashion. This mentality in my view it's just like the fundamentalist Evangelical in that they have to support the “People of god” in the Middle East conflict because the bible they believe tells them to. Or their philosophy of the chosen people transcends basic morality so the Palestinian people have to be sacrificed for the comfort, vanity, and selfishness of “god's chosen” people. What's the difference between Wilber's dogma and theirs?
Wilber's sacrifices to his fundamentalist dogmatic Integral philosophy in this case are the Iraqi, primarily children [over a million dead, since the sanctions, and the wars] It is so vital for Wilber's “Integral' to be maintained at all costs that basic fundamental morality and ethical sense has to be waylaid at his alter of “Integral” purity. We must consider and ignore the screeching green meme that wants to denounce the slaughter in Iraq because Saddam is evil. So to be integral we can't take sides! I think we are talking about taking the side of the innocent Iraqi's as well as the young soldiers from Iraq and the west that are dying for what? Do they put Integral dogma above their lives?
Wilber is under the impression that this issue is a Liberal/ Conservative typical western political dichotomy. If Mr. Wilber did more research before he expressed these thoughts it seems to me, he would have found out that numerous conservatives, in fact most conservatives, save the most loyal republican sycophants, denounce the Iraq slaughter, and it transcends the typical liberal / Conservative political polarity.
4. The mean Green Meme
Why do Wilber and his loyalist [who buy into this unscientific idea] have such contempt for what he calls the “mean green meme” so much, something by the way one of the founders of Spiral Dynamics, Chris Cowan denounces as a questionable idea based on no legitimate science!
What exactly in western history has this mean green meme done that upsets Ken Wilber and the I-I mentality so much.
Let's examine some possibilities:
What has this Mean Green Meme done?
Well first it was responsible for the abolition of slavery in the west.
Responsible for the civil rights movement in the west.
The woman suffrage movement in the early 20th century, as well as the woman's rights movement in later times.
Responsible for the eradication of child labor exploitation as well as factory sweat shop abuse in the early industrialized work place before the union movement.
Responsible for the Vietnam War protests, the poverty and civil rights movement of the early 60's and other humanistic altruistic movements.
Responsible for the environmental movement as well.
Now anyone recognizes the ability of humans to overreact to stimuli like slavery, genocide, oppression, and being worked to death and sometimes an overreaction to these stimuli just might cause an overreaction from the people experiencing these stimuli[right]. And certainly abuses from the reactions to acute oppression can go too far, but we must understand that humans are humans, and the same thing that caused oppression may
cause an overreaction to it, in some, and that to is understandable under the circumstances.
Would if these Mean Green Meme believers were an abused child worker in a sweat shop, or a child sex slave in Cambodia, or a female who couldn't vote, or a black sharecropper in Georgia, or 19 year old kid in Vietnam, or Iraq, or a poor white kid in Appalachia, or a native American victim of genocide. Would Ken Wilber and the Mean Green Meme fanatics feel the same way they feel about the mean green meme?
This must be in my view eliminated from the culture of I-I and integrated into the useful concepts that realize life's ironies on all levels, without singling out a particular group.
5. Developmental models and Tier /Caste systems
“So these are the highest levels in all the Western models, and therefore many people think that if they are doing spiritual work, they must be second tier. But actually, if you look at the descriptions in any of these models, second tier isn't really spiritual. Take, for example, the yellow and turquoise levels in Spiral Dynamics—neither of them is what we would really recognize as non-dual or mystical or transpersonal or translational. What they call yellow is actually entirely secular, and its descriptions of the world are very systemic—everything is interrelated—but it's just an ecological worldview without any unmanifest or unborn or even spiritual kind of dimension. At turquoise, people say things like, “The earth is a single organism with one consciousness.” Now this starts to sound spiritual, and in a certain way I suppose it is, but it's not a direct experience. It's still just an idea. - Wilber in What Is Enlightenment?
Of course they are not spiritual they are psychological models, and you are arbitrarily putting the spiritual systems like Sri Aurobindo's together with these in Integral Spirituality, and have created a developmental model that really needs a lot of work! This model lacks in my view any scientific or metaphysical reality behind it, And this is the vaunted Post Metaphysical model of development. Well if the psychological models aren't spiritual then how can Wilber create this model mixing and call it valid metaphysics, or science, or a real map.
Of course it is valid that balanced psychological stages can be vehicles to the higher spiritual stages, but there is no direct connection to these stages in my view but through metaphysics not “healthy” development. This doesn't have to be decided here, that's the point Wilber has no real research to legitimize these Frankenstein models he creates that his followers look at and assume is science.
Wilber has to demonstrate in these models the connection directly between psychological balance and metaphysics; he has to put the metaphysical [not stages] methodological theories at the forefront of this model between the psychological models and spiritual levels.
In the case of Wilber's so often mentioned tier system's that revolve around these developmental models of his, there seems to be serious problems how he applies these theories.
Ken Wilber's attempt to utilize Spiral Dynamics, and his 2nd 3rd tier formulations may bring to the consciousness of his students and the general society who often times lazily buys into popular ideas like this, a strange case of a new kind of caste system in the west! As if the west with its myriad problems with racism, oligarchy, and elitism, need something like this pervading it's spiritual lore.
Not to mention the questionable wisdom in formulating caste system ideologies in a society heavily challenged in the past with problems with elitism, and oligarchy that still plague are culture. Granted this hasn't [thankfully] taken on too much of the cultures attention, save in Wilber's Integral environment so far, but whose to say this idea wont blossom into the mainstream and effect it, and allow the profane another excuse to abuse the “lower tiers” Of course now the “lower tiers” are called all kinds of pejoratives that allow people to look down on others, and justify it with concepts like this.
Obviously the people formulating this idea don't have the intention to use it this way [at least I hope not] but this begs the notion that when we do emphasis concepts like this we should be careful to warn people about their potential abuse.
Indeed the 15 and 16th century German, and English “scientist” and religionist eagerly concocted false ideas of the superiority of the white race in order to justify the inhuman treatment of black and brown people. This was justified in the head of the intellectuals of that time by this pseudo science. Does Wilberism recognize the potential harm what amounts to a new caste system formulation can have on society? Or a “new” idea that can give bigots an excuse to oppress.
Wilber often times talks about the higher tiers ruling the world. He claims the higher tiers are above and beyond the lower tiers and understand their needs. This sounds kind of familiar to me. Indeed sounds like an elitist scheme that has no good reason to be emphasized systematically in any kind of spiritual language, and can only end in very bad results for civilization, in my view.
Certainly there is a level system that involves humans, that even religious lore testifies to, but at the same time it warns people to number 1) don't emphasis this in any systematic way, and 2) the elite are the elite because they don't want to or see themselves as elite among other noteworthy virtues.
But to turn a developmental system into a tier system. I don't think Aurobindo did this with his system, the Sufis certainly never used their developmental system of the seven men in this fashion either, and certainly not the yogis in the Chakras.
Yet with this spiral dynamics inspired based developmental system we have the phenomena of Wilber turning this into a tier system, or more precisely overemphasizing the tier aspect of it. Wilber will say “I didn't do that it was intrinsic in the idea”. But some people might say you are using it as a tool to separate people, in an elitist arrangement that involves “right to rule mentalities” To program people with this concept is problematic in my view. Those concentrating on this should be reminded that this concentration if anything may exclude one from being in the higher tiers, and may ironically relegate one to the bottom tiers.
We also know that the lowest form of human consciousness will use this idea to further their elitist schemes that has led to horrible consequences for humanity in the past.
Granted this should never stop us from doing and saying things that are truthful as we see it, but Wilber's tier system seems so unscientific, that I wonder what's the use in using it this way.
Undoubtedly Wilber's intention is not to produce this negative reaction, but in this field of thought I believe we need to be cautious.
As for the caste system approach Wilberian ideas are leading to, we don't need this emphasized in any spiritual language at all. Wilber the guy who always is talking about other peoples shadows, needs to watch for his own lurking behind this obsession with tiers, and levels of development. Also this emphasis on separation of people is problematic in a spiritual environment in my view. Our world is too littered with excuses for people to perform abuse on others. The I-I should immediately begin a program to deemphasize this notion of tier systems.