Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber

Don Salmon and Jan MaslowDon Salmon, a clinical psychologist and composer, received a grant from the Infinity Foundation to write a comprehensive study of yoga psychology based on the synthesis of the yoga tradition presented by 20th century Indian philosopher-sage Aurobindo Ghose. Jan Maslow, an educator and organizational consultant, has, with Dr. Salmon, given presentations, classes and workshops in the United States and India on this topic. Both have been studying yoga psychology for more than 25 years.

An Anti-Scientific
Way of Viewing

A Response to David Lane's Latest Posting

Don Salmon

I thought it might be interesting to respond to David Lane’s latest posting, a reply to Frank Visser (The “Revenge” of the Mysterians).

David’s postings on integral world were among those I was referring to (in “Shaving Science”—part 2) when I pointed out an interesting pattern among Integral World authors—starting with a particular view, then finding that view no longer sufficed, and switching to a “view” which is associated with science, but without recognizing that they have actually retained the very same particular view.

Actually, the word “view” is somewhat misleading. I’m not so much talking about a set of ideas, a worldview, or worse, a particular “metaphysic”. It would be more accurate to speak of a ‘way’ of viewing—a “way” which remained essentially unchanged in spite of the seemingly radical shift in “view.”

That is, the way of viewing that developed at the start—with Sikhism, Wilber, Vedanta, etc—is exactly the same way of viewing that is brought to science, whether it’s evolution (which has been Frank’s focus) or neuroscience (a frequent focus for David).

The thing that is most troubling is that it is a way of viewing which is in its most fundamental sense, anti-scientific.

David had a momentary lapse a few months back, in which he, with great trepidation, experienced a letting go of “viewing” (the article on Near-Death experiences).

It’s been very interesting to watch him double back with almost breathtaking speed to, well, one might just say, viewing. And surely, any suggestion regarding this viewing would be met with the same kind of hand-waving in many of David’s postings: “oh no, it’s ‘your’ view of matter that’s the problem, I’m completely open to matter as something mysterious and magical and possessed of all kinds of properties far beyond what those silly anti-materialists and anti-reductionists are always talking about."

And then in the next sentence we find the same viewing! Which makes it at least a little bit more clear why it doesn’t matter whether it’s the Churchlands or Sankhya, if it’s the same viewing! (or for that matter, even if it was some form of nondualism).

Consider the following, and look at how they are viewed—is there a singling out of an experienced phenomenon as an abstraction? Or to put it another way, ignoring relationships... something utterly different from the “matter” of the Sankhyas.... (these are all passages taken from David’s “Revenge” posting—another guide for reflection would be Alan Wallace’s comment: “The perceived exists in relationship to perceiving, and the conceived in relationship to conceiving”—or something along those lines)

“The four forces of the universe”
“limbic system”
“dopamine reward system”
“stress hormones”
Jaak Panksepp
jiggling electrons
consciousness in the “wrong location.”
physical causes
complex nervous systems
Allen Institute

NOTE: this article has been made deliberately somewhat obscure, but every essential idea is already contained in the original “Shaving Science” essay. The obscurity was necessary, I thought, because of the misunderstandings apparent in the subsequent integral world essays commenting on the “Shaving Science” essay.

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