Friday, June 20, 2008

Wilberitis

Of course most guru's never claim to be guru's, nor do they claim to be enlightened. Ken Wilber neither "claims" guru-ship nor does he claim enlightenment. Interesting parallel.

It seems it will always be the followers or adherents to any belief system, or
"map of the territory," (since isn't every belief system mapping some aspect of "reality" yet Wilber attempts to map it ALL) that tend to alter the map to conform to political agendas.

Obviously, KW does not invite this to occur, but he will have little control if it does. Marxism was a belief system, or map, that had value at one time, yet communism co-opted it to conform to distorted political interpretations. I think it is somewhat interesting that this potential is often adamantly denied, and radically defended against, even though history attests to the potential for such abusive alterations to belief systems (good grief, just look at religious belief systems).

I will admit that Integral theory has great value as a "map of the territory" and may continue to add to the discourse as long as the map remains a "map."

However, I do tend to agree that since Wilber created the map, he should be cognizant of the potential for abuse particularly in response to the widespread popularity of his complex postmodern model of spiritual integration. Not to identify and speak of the flaws, and vehemently deride those who do, makes me suspect the map maker's purpose. But, although I have read several of KW's works, I'm certainly no expert (yet there does seem to be alot of experts, in relation to the study of this "map," throughout the internet).

I may not see Wilber as a spiritual leader, however, there are those who certainly do see the man in that light and we cannot just sweep under the rug the spiritual implications of what this "map" proclaims in terms of the evolution of consciousness and 'enlightenment' potential.

Could this be the evolution of a bold new intellectualized postmodern "religion." You laugh, but I sense there may be some truth to this. I suppose we will have to wait and see.

I'm re-reading my Wilber books since it appears that any discourse of spirituality will more than likely involve something of Wilber and there's no denying the guy's definitely on to something, not quite sure what though. But lets face it, Spirituality ain't no walk in the park!LOL!

I don't think that I am being pejorative or disparaging in my comments. In fact, I believe I am using the term 'adequate' in a Wilberian sense, For instance, Wilber writes,

"It's not that the earlier worldview was wrong and the new worldview is totally wrong. The earlier one was adequate, the new one is more adequate. If it's not more adequate, then it won't be selected by evolution. it won't catch the currents of the Kosmos; it will go by the wayside, flotsam and jetsam on the shores of what might have been" (theory of eveything, p 61).

Therefore, it does seem that Wilber advocates that there is an inadequacy with those holding to a worldview that is archaic, magic or mythical. However, what about a merging of worldviews? I tend to hold to a little mythic and great deal more magical and a whole lotta rational with a slight merging of the existential. In what ways is my amalgamated worldview "inadequate" in an integral sense? The "integrals" need to categorize and classify such distinctions seems to me a bit overkill.

Yet, Wilber holds that enlightenment is a process of Selection by evolution! So, how does 'Spirit' incorporate into that view? Spirituality with a Darwinian twist. Well, I suppose only the spiritually strong survive...

I understand that the' integral' perspective allows "states" to be accessed in all levels and stages and this is why I used the concept of "interpret" since the integral perspective places heavy emphasis on adequate 'interpretations' (Wilber's quote above) of an 'experience' of higher states and this is based on worldviews. However, as I have stated above, my feeling is that many spiritual 'seekers' do not necessarily hold to any one exclusive worldview and, like me, tend to seek Spirit through a virtual pot potpourri of methods, theories, tools, techniques, and perspectives which actually combine worldviews. However, it appears that this is NOT evolutionary and may result in a repressive view of the transrational state, according to the "integral" viewpoint.

Integral theory seems to claim that one is not "fully enlightened" until one has mastered and evolved through the necessary 'states and all stages' of spiritual evolution. However, For me, the concept of "fully enlightened" is a real brain teaser. What could that mean? Is there a 'partially enlightened'?

Does the integral model of "enlightenment" come in many shapes and sizes based on the worldview of an ego/self? I certainly can understand the idea that a prerational expression or explanation of my experience may not fit the postmodern external world, but would that matter to Spirit? Does Spirit require that a correspondence with Spirit be in postmodern language based on a postmodern interpretation of a transrational experience? Spirit demands "stage" mastery for which to KNOW Spirit, or is it simply required for which to verbalize and behave in a way that others can learn of your correspondence with Spirit? Maybe "evolution" is an external manifestation of ego mind which demands hierarchies for which to accentuate itself as separate from Spirit?

The integral perspective of "fully enlightened" as an emptiness and a fullness is fine with me. Yet, I continue to find little to support the idea that this will not be "adequately" interpreted by a mind that has not evolved sufficiently enough to make such an interpretation. When the transrational experience is apprehended by the ego/self a transformational process will occur regardless of levels, tiers, states or stages. In fact, as many ancient wisdom traditions teach, the attachment to the mind/body organism, no matter what worldview has been incorporated within the ego/self, will be absorbed completely. Anything less than complete detachment from 'ego/self' modes of awareness is NOT enlightenment at all, but merely glimpses of Spirit and an ego at any stage will repress those glimpses through ego ownership.

Therefore, no matter what stage one is at, the ego (that Wilber requires strengthening OF, no less) will drag our glimpses of Spirit into the moat of mind-think games (even and especially postmodern), while a full correspondence with Spirit will have no need for interpretive maps whatsoever. "I AM" does not require mapping. However, Wilber's mapping of the "I AM THAT," seems helpful for the exteriors, but I currently see no need for it with regard to subjective interiors which CANNOT be mapped (however, I'm still looking).

Integral vs Existential Movements

There are some interesting parallels between the Integral movement and the Existential movement (following WWII and generally originating in France), both being esoteric philosophical movements and both deeply misunderstood. (I'm sure someones has made this comparison, but I have yet to stumble upon it)

Both involved art and literature and, although neither originated in the university, both were easily assimilated by the intelligentsia and academia. Both had leaders which were subsumed into a "cult of personality' with Sartre the existential front man and Wilber as "integral's" guru of consciousness.

Both were involved in severe back and forth criticism which tended to highlight the personal idiosyncracies and quirks and for Sartre it was Heidegger and Marcel, while for Wilber it is Thompson, de Quincy and a whole host of others.

"Being and Nothingness" (few have ever, or even can, read and fully understand) was Sartre's magnus opus, while I suppose Wilber's "Sex, Ecology and Sprituality" is his great work (correct me on this one).

And of course, the leaders of both movements, as well as adherents and aspirants, lament the lack of understanding the world has accorded the theories. Sartre was basically repudiated and resigned to history through his "existentialism is a humanism" which attempted to take his obscure theories mainstream and it is the only work he regreted writing.

As I read over "Theory or Everything," for the umpteenth time, it seems that this may be Wilber's downfall in his mundane attempts to reach the common man. However, I have yet to consume "Integral spirituality" and possibly his need to adapt Spirit to sequential/equational formulae may indeed turn many away.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt these two giants have, and will continue to, influence generations to come.

With respect to the holistic perspective, Wilber's integral theory easily transcends and includes existentialism. One then wonders what new and profound thinking will transcend and include integralism, since obviously there can be no end. Or can there?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Christian Non-Duality

If Jesus was crucified and died, but proved that you cannot die by resurrecting, then he proved that there is no sacrifice and no sacrifice will ever need be made.

If you do not die as Christ did NOT die, and death is the ultimate sacrifice we believe can be made, then we may have missed or distorted the message of the resurrection and become fixated on the sacrificial message of the crucifixion and death as ultimate sacrifice.

This may mean that 2000 years of Judeo-Christian preaching has taught the opposite of what the message was really meant to teach: You cannot die (although your belief in a body ends), there is no sacrifice to be made because you are eternal/infinite.

Therefore, we have nothing to fear and can finally live in peace, joy and love to the fullest since we need no longer be concerned with any belief in an ultimate sacrifice. Yeah!!!

Not only did he know he was like God (or is God?), I believe the message was that we are no different than him. There is a sense of non-duality in parts of the biblical message if you choose to interpret it there (which I have done sporadically). The message touches on the paradox of the one and the many. This includes God, the son and the Holy Spirit as One. Christ is the "holy spirit" through the message of Christ Mind which is "within." Jesus gave the message (as did many other eastern and western messengers) and because we worship the messenger we may miss the message 'within.' This seems opposite to the Buddha in which the message takes predominance.

Judeo-Christian ideology seems to focus on the messenger as being beyond our ability to emulate or model, thus the messenger is worshiped as God, which tends to press us more deeply into our own sense of inadequacy and impotence and the belief that we could never attain Christhood. Even though, as I state, his message was that we are God and not, 'I' am God.

"he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do."

The Judeo-Christian dogma has held sway as a controlling factor for many centuries and western life was morally ordered through these beliefs. I saw a poll that indicated that a growing segment of the American populace was indicating a stronger inclination toward 'spirituality' as opposed to 'religion,' and I think someone wrote a book about this and was interviewed on Jon Stewart - I'll have to find it (and I suppose this is related to a certain extent to the Tolle-Oprah factor and of course, Ken Wilber and his minions). It will be interesting to observe the new morality which emerges from this wave or movement, since morality is the foundation of all legal and economic systems (as well as other institutions).

There seems to be some distaste or disdain with eastern dogma over western by many Christians. I feel the two have many similarities and the recognition of those perspectives is the perennial philosophy since the similarities are there for all to see throughout the centuries.

These are shared insights and Integral Theory has aided in extracting these truths.
The problem with the integral map for me is that much of the Judeo-Christian traditions are neglected or ignored as archaic/mythical and not predisposed to our "evolving path" as a collective. Integral seems to focus exclusively on the eastern truths and this may be a part of the backlash many Christians experience to this "idealistic" worldview. (however, the Judeo-Christian worldview is as "idealistic" as the eastern)

However, although I seek out the similarities and look to a merging of eastern/western, I do not simply focus on "advaita" (one can look to the ideas of Buddhist/Hindu/Taoism and Judeo/Christian/Islamic) as that would be too limited in scope. The perennial insights/truths are there in all ideologies and dogma. You must simply separate the wheat from the chaff and this may need to be done individually as the 'church' may continue to be mesmerized by the chaff.

In fact, I do not necessarily agree that the church truly represents the communal aspect above the individual. If you look closely the 'church' is founded on exclusion and any communion of individuals requires 'membership' in a whole that may exemplify separation. The church tends to emphasize communion, but of members or 'believers.' Focusing on the whole and acting from that deeper truth will not require inclusion within any exclusive ideological enclave.

There may be evolving a global church of mind that relies on perennial truths and requires no such membership or inclusion. In fact, various forums on the internet may be a model for such a worldwide inclusive communal dialectic.

I'm no religious historian, but clearly any study of world religions seem to be replete with the strands of Jesus within all the created dogma. Even Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, etc, etc, exposes mythological renditions of Christ that compare equally with the more modern Christian representation of personal salvation (and then, of course, there is Gilgamesh and the whole "ark" thing).

The parallels are staggering and may point to the fact that Jesus NEVER existed except in our own disillusioned collective mind. Somebody needed to transcend the hell that is reality and all religions require that transcendent "being," since any transcendent being must be personified in order to teach unified transcendence.

In our mythological archetypes we teach ourselves how to transcend, since essentially within the universal collective consciousness we have always known the truth, yet fear obstructs our seeking and delays learning. So we cloak the truth in myth in order to hide it from ourselves. Transcendence/salvation can only be known as a past phenomena that allows us to anticipate salvation as a future event. Never NOW, always past and future. Religion encapsulates this fear of the NOW by demanding we study the past as the way to a better future.

Could it be that Jesus is an anthropomorphic myth of the collective conscious which imagines an archetype to teach us the parameters of salvation demanding that such knowledge can only be revealed through sacrifice?