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
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?