Please support this ministry.
Page 1 2 3 4 5 
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
The teachings of Ken Wilber Login/Join 
posted
We already have a few threads alluding to teachings by Wilber, including the one on Spiral Dynamics and Poetically Speaking. Readers are encouraged to do a search for Ken Wilber using the forum Search tool to find other resources. Perhaps we can bring some of these up again on this thread. I'll have something soon, but others are encouraged to begin.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
It seems that Thomas Keating is quite favorably impressed with Wilber's psychology, and adopted his developmental model for Contemplative Outreach. The world and it's people are locked into mythic membership level of consciousness which leaves us stuck rooting for our team, drinking beer in front of the tv set while believing Michael Moore. Wink The average and the mediocre give way to mental egoic consciousness when spiritual work is effective.
I like Wilber's model and it seems to make sense.mm
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Our teacher introduced Ken Wilber to us when I did my master degree in 1997. Immediately I became interested in his teachings and I found him very difficult to understand. Our teacher asked us to compare Wilber's evolution theory with Marx's. Many of my classmates criticised Wilber for being narrowly concentrated on the development of West. For me it was difficult to make comparison without understanding fully what Wiber said. The intention of our teacher was to integrate Wilber in social science. I don't know in which discipline can Wilber pigeonholed.
 
Posts: 340 | Location: Sweden | Registered: 14 May 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Ken's a complicated guy. He started off as a microbiologist, was a transpersonal psychology guru for many years, has studied philosophy extensively,
and is quite advanced in eastern mystical thought.

Anyone who attempts to categorize the sum total of human knowledge into four grids with an "x" running out in four directions in which we can chart our individual and corporate development is either a genius or a cuckoo. Perhaps a little of both Wink mm
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
I have mixed feelings about Wilber, as I've noted on other threads and have communicated to Thomas Keating. I think Fr. Keating made a mistake in using Wilber's transpersonal psychology to help explain the Christian journey, for, as MM has noted in another thread, Wilber doesn't have a very high regard for Christianity because we never really escape from the infantile realms of "dualism." In discussing this with Fr., he acknowledged that Michael Washburn's shcema would have worked better, and I think he uses Washburn more now.

Wilber has some very good things to say, don't get me wrong, but there's no doubt that he's relying heavily on Eastern sources in articulating his psychology. As this critical article notes, Wilber is a modern apologist and proselytizer on grand scale for ancient oriental mysticism (1990: 284), basically Advaita Vedanta Hindusim and Madhyamika Buddhism, plus any other mystics of any time or place whom he chooses to regard as having similar views. . . Quite so, which is why he uses their terminology in giving expression to his transpersonal psychology. E.g., is it really necessary to use terms like gross, astral/subtle and causal bodies with Westerners, who already know these realities in terms of the body, the psyche, and the spirit? Also, maya (illusion), samsara (living in illusion), karma (consequences), sadhana (spiritual work), satori (spiritual insight), etc. are terms peppering his work, presenting a built-in bias toward the religions which use these terms. It's noteworthy that he was, at one time, an ardent disciple of Adi Da (aka Da Free John, Da Love Ananda, and other terms), who considers himself an incarnation of God. (Learn more about Adi Da). To his credit, Wilber has distanced himself from Adi Da and now openly acknowledges problems with Adi Da's character and development.

With those provisos in mind, I will say that there is a lot in Wilber's teachings that I find valuable, in the same way that I find parts of the teachings in other world religions valuable. Anyone with a serious interest in spirituality needs some familiarity with his writings.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Posted by Brad Nelson (Member # 52) on 21 August, 2004 02:26 PM:

The following is a random thought that isn't directed at anyone in particular. It's not a rebuttal. It's not an accusation. It's a random thought that I didn't know where to put so I thought I'd turn JB's thread into a junk drawer.


I'm not so much interesting in macheteing my way to a non-dual state of mind, although surely such perspectives are useful. I think the most useful and natural thing to do is to learn to live with the indelicate balances and opposites that seem inherent in all things and to find better ways to accommodate � not the ultimate balance � but the ultimate imbalance so that steady states never facilitate steady Police states, if you know what I mean. In an imperfect world we can balance out our differences and achieve some sort of functional decency. With wisdom we can ever-refine that decency. But as soon as we become good enough at it we may be tempted to make the mistake and imagine that we are capable of perfection. We then may think we can be rid of the opposites altogether and in their place institute a Grand Unity. After all, it seems so clearly in sight. From the perspective of one of the opposites it may look like perfection is achievable if only the opposite opposite were removed or one's own opposite refined. (This perspective also presents the alluring possibility of some opposite hallowed middle ground devoid of opposites).

Wherever we are, I think the trick is probably not to require a certain state of affairs � an absolute ideal � to exist in the world before our supposed perfection can be achieved. We can live that ideal where we are and with what we have without requiring that the rest of the world be re-ordered in order to do so. But those who are fighting those who are attempting to re-order the world should not be mistaken for the latter. Freedom is a necessary fight. We must be free first in order to openly disagree�to openly be opposites.

And if we're guided by wisdom and love then this problem gets a whole heck of a lot easier to solve and requires very few words to do so.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by johnboy (Member # 31) on 21 August, 2004 05:23 PM:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Brad Nelson:


1) I'm not so much interesting in macheteing my way to a non-dual state of mind , although surely such perspectives are useful.

2) We then may think we can be rid of the opposites altogether and in their place institute a Grand Unity. After all, it seems so clearly in sight.

3) From the perspective of one of the opposites it may look like perfection is achievable if only the opposite opposite were removed or one's own opposite refined. (This perspective also presents the alluring possibility of some opposite hallowed middle ground devoid of opposites).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

the alluring possibility of some opposite hallowed middle ground devoid of opposites

the coincidentia oppositorum

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by johnboy (Member # 31) on 21 August, 2004 06:02 PM:

Brad, those quotes were so wisdom-filled, I did not want to taint 'em with my reflections in the same post.

I will now proceed to tarnish them below.

Let's consider a few quotes from SEX, ECOLOGY, SPIRITUALITY by Ken Wilber as pertaining to what Wilber calls The Pre/Trans Fallacy . [Brad, this is not to be confused with Sex and the City, starring Ferris Bueller's wife.]

First, consider the importance he gives to his version of this fallacy:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ever since I began writing on the distinctions between prerational (or prepersonal) states of awareness and transrational (or transpersonal) states - what I called the pre/trans fallacy - I have become more convinced than ever that this understanding is absolutely crucial for grasping the nature of higher (or deeper) or truly spiritual states of consciousness.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Whoa!

Next, let's consider the definition:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The essence of the pre/trans fallacy is itself fairly simple: since both prerational states and transrational states are, in their own ways, nonrational, they appear similar or even identical to the untutored eye.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So what?


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the first, all higher and transrational states are reduced to lower and prerational states. Genuine mystical or contemplative experiences, for example, are seen as a regression or throwback to infantile states of narcissism, oceanic adualism, indissociation, and even primitive autism. This is, for example, precisely the route taken by Freud in The Future of an Illusion.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

One can understand what he is driving at, above, but don't swallow it hook, line and sinker just yet. He cites another peril:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On the other hand, if one is sympathetic with higher or mystical states, but one still confuses pre and trans, then one will elevate all prerational states to some sort of transrational glory (the infantile primary narcissism, for example, is seen as an unconscious slumbering in the mystico unio). Jung and his followers, of course, often take this route, and are forced to read a deeply transpersonal and spiritual status into states that are merely indissociated and undifferentiated and actually lacking any sort of integration at all.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wow, in one fell swoop, Wilber has just throughly dissed both Freud and Jung, both unquestionable giants in the history of psychology, their works having profound and pervasive impact on many philosophical and religious journeys of the masses over many, many decades.


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Freud was a reductionist, Jung an elevationist - the two sides of the pre/trans fallacy. And the point is that they are both half right and half wrong. A good deal of neurosis is indeed a fixation/regression to prerational states, states that are not to be glorified. On the other hand, mystical states do indeed exist, beyond (not beneath) rationality, and those states are not to be reduced.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wilber, I am going to contend, may not have been delicate enough in his choice of philosophical-psychological surgical instruments, thus, in part, macheteing his way to a non-dual state of mind, thinking he has rid himself of opposites altogether and in their place instituted a Grand Unity, imagining that, from the perspective of one of the opposites, it looks like perfection is achievable if only the opposite opposite were removed. [One will note my contention was laregly informed by the genius of Mr. Nelson.]

Even then, is whole-psyche integration to be equated with the alchemical coniunctio , the sacred marriage or hieros gamos , the coincidentia oppositorum as if humans could indeed stand on some hallowed middle ground devoid of opposites? Rather, shouldn't the predicates See-er of No Paradox or Consistent Comprehender be univocally applied to the Unnamable One, alone?

Could it be that some are attempting to get to heaven by refusing to stand on the ground? from Michael Washburn's article, "The Pre/Trans Fallacy Reconsidered."

Let's look at this closer.

[ August 21, 2004, 07:23 PM: Message edited by: johnboy ]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by johnboy (Member # 31) on 21 August, 2004 06:35 PM:

Wilber has opened himself up to some rather facile critiques, in part, due to his own oversimplification of the dynamics involved in transpersonal theory.

A most enjoyable read is an essay by Christopher Smith, "Aduality vs. Nonduality: A Case of Semantic Gerrymandering? - A criticism of Ken Wilber's thesis of Nonduality by contrast of Freud's analysis of the phenomena of luminosity." It can be found here . He pretty much defends all of the Freudians that Wilber slighted and his essay, itself, commits Wilber's ptf1 with its cynical reduction of the transegoic to the preegoic , to use a phrase of M. Washburn.

Another great article is that by Michael Washburn, Ph.D. who wrote "The Pre/Trans Fallacy Reconsidered," which can be found here. He pretty much defends all of the Jungians that Wilber slighted:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It is a serious mistake to conflate pre and trans states. It is a fallacy to infer structural identity from phenomenological similarity . But inferring structural identity from phenomenological similarity is only one kind of pre/trans fallacy. There is another kind: inferring structural dissimilarity from phenomenological difference. It is equally a fallacy to argue that pre and trans states, in differing in phenomenologically crucial ways, must for that reason be expressions of two different and widely dissimilar sets of psychic structures, the many phenomenological similarities between pre and trans states notwithstanding. Wilber, it seems, commits just this fallacy--which, following his abbreviation scheme, can be called ptf-3.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In essence, Washburn argues for a spiral dynamic:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Working my way through "The Pre/Trans Fallacy" (1980b), I realized that I disagreed with Wilber's answer to the pre/trans question and that, in general perspective, I sided with Jung. Wilber's challenge to Jung thus helped me clarify my own thinking. Specifically, it led me to the idea of regression in the service of transcendence, which is a kind of regression that, by no means a merely regressive about-face, is the downward loop of a developmental spiral that reconnects the ego with its nonegoic sources on the way to a higher integration with those sources.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

But back to Wilber, who was correct in the following regard, and this may be an underlying dynamic in Brad's lament:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the elevationist position, the transpersonal and transrational mystical union is seen as the ultimate omega point, and since egoic-rationality does indeed tend to deny this higher state, then egoic-rationality is pictured as the low point of human possibilities, as a debasement, as the cause of sin and separation and alienation. When rationality is seen as the anti-omega point, so to speak, as the great Anti-Christ, then anything nonrational gets swept up and indiscriminately glorified as a direct route to the Divine, including much that is infantile and regressive and prerational : anything to get rid of that nasty and skeptical rationality. "I believe because it is absurd" (Tertullian) - there is the battle cry of the elevationist (a strand that runs deeply through Romanticism of any sort).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Washburn writes: "Descenders are those who, having fallen prey to ptf-2, yield to regression in the false belief that, in doing so, they are achieving transcendence.

In the next post, I'll amplify this critique.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by johnboy (Member # 31) on 21 August, 2004 06:49 PM:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To Freud, the state of nonduality is not merely an error in judgment, it is a peculiar phenomenon, deserving of psycho-analytical explanation -indicative of profound dissolution of ego, to a primitive narcissistic state. To Wilber, it is not retreat or dissolution, it is awareness of the highest level of spirit. Could the advanced, complete, stage of human evolution - a mystical oneness with the entire universe - encountered only by masters of mystical arts such as Zen - really be confused with the most primitive, narcissistic stage of human development - experienced by infants?

Ken Wilber swallows oceans whole. Is it fair to ask him to bring back a lobster? Or maybe something smaller, like an oyster's pearl?

Maybe not. Maybe that's even silly. Its perfectly OK to suggest that you can swallow an ocean, but, as monological as Freud and Carl Sagan are, I'm sure they're willing to accept that asking someone to bring back a such proof is going too far... perhaps it's even rude. We accept of course that this is a spiritual trip and that you are limited only to psychic luggage. But, while a fish holon is material and too cumbersome to lug back, what about a holon made of ideas?

You see, there's still room for some good old skepticism, along with the wonder. Why not bring back a theorem? How about a nice, neat explanation of Fermat's last theorem - the one he promised in his footnotes? How about the grand unified theory - unify the weak, strong, electromagnetic and gravitational forces? That one makes good sense too, since it supports the "Oneness" quite nicely. Hey, if your in touch with one-verse, if in fact you make up the universe, a simple theory isn't beyond you, is it?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wilber writes:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"I think the sages are the growing tip of the secret impulse of evolution. I think they are the leading edge of the self-transcending drive that always goes beyond what went before. I think they embody the very drive of the Kosmos toward greater depth and expanding consciousness. I think they are riding the edge of a light beam racing towards a rednezvous with God."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Smith counters:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sages have been on this "racing light beam" for thousands of years. If one considers the continuum from primative shaman, for tens of thousands of years. Yet, while Wilber assures us they are at this very moment racing towards a "rendezvous with God", no But such true revelations are not forthcoming from the mystics. Buddhists don't reveal foundational knowledge, knowledge that is testable, replicable. Not once. Ever. And this is with thousands of years and thousands of spiritual journeys yet. Not one psychic traveler has ever stumbled across a theorem. Coincidence?

What is not coincidence is that where science has offered profound revelations, Wilber and the mystics submit quaint, conflicted and circular generalities. Where science strives to reveal lucid, valid and often insightful laws, mystics offer convoluted koans. Where science profoundly revolutionizes thought, mysticism offers prosaic, bland, and suspiciously timely homilies. Why didn't the mystics warn us of the nature of the solar system first? Why didn't they point out acid rain, or global warming, until they were already openly discussed by science? . Where are the revolutionary ideas really coming from? Where are the revolutionary ideas really coming from? Why does mysticism, which is reported to be in tune with higher modes of thinking, fail so utterly to offer anything of use, just as flawed and disparaged modes of thought, such as the magical and the mythical, also fail?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, assuredly, this cynical take is attacking many strawmystics, HOWEVER --- this shows what one can open oneself up to by yielding to regression and then claiming transcendence, as Wilber, himself warns:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Many of the elevationist movements, alas, are not beyond reason but beneath it. They think they are, and they announce themselves to be, climbing the Mountain of Truth; whereas, it seems to me, they have merely slipped and fallen and are sliding rapidly down it, and the exhilarating rush of skidding uncontrollably down evolution's slope they call "following your bliss." As the earth comes rushing up at them at terminal velocity, they are bold enough to offer this collision course with ground zero as a new paradigm for the coming world transformation, and they feel oh-so-sorry for those who watch their coming crash with the same fascination as one watches a twenty-car pileup on the highway, and they sadly nod as we decline to join in that particular adventure. True spiritual bliss, in infinite measure, lies up that hill, not down it.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by johnboy (Member # 31) on 21 August, 2004 06:55 PM:

It is time to note Washburn's admiration of Wilber, something that I share. Washburn's perspective on a spiraling path of transcendence for individuals is a well nuanced appreciation of Jung over against what I think is Wilber's misconstruction. It also may provide some food for additional synthetic analysis vis a vis this thread at Shalomplace on Spiral Dynamics ?
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Although this chapter is critical of Ken Wilber's thought, it is also a tribute to Wilber.[1] For like almost everyone else devoted to transpersonal theory, I am greatly indebted to Wilber. His work--along with that of Stanislav Grof--clearly led the way during the 1970s and 1980s. Wilber's genius at synthesizing ideas and his particular integration of spirituality and psychology, breathtaking in scope, elevated transpersonal theory to a much higher level. Wilber, along with Grof and Jung, was a primary influence on me when I was first struggling to clarify my own thinking on transpersonal issues. My first book, The Ego and the Dynamic Ground, although critical of Wilber, was very much a product of Wilber's influence, as is evident on almost every page. That book, now out in a second edition (1995), was conceived as a critical response to Wilber's structural-hierarchical perspective. It was written with Wilber in mind as both a formidable intellectual adversary and a towering intellectual role model. Wilber has played a vitally important role in my intellectual development, and I want to begin this chapter--especially because it is a critical chapter--by expressing my appreciation for the immense contribution he has made to transpersonal theory and to my own understanding of transpersonal ideas.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by johnboy (Member # 31) on 21 August, 2004 06:57 PM:

Wilber on Jung:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In my opinion, Jung errs consistently to the opposite side [to the side opposite Freud and ptf-1]. He correctly and very explicitly recognizes the transpersonal or numinous dimension, but he often fuses or confuses it with prepersonal structures.... Thus not only does Jung occasionally end up glorifying certain infantile mythic forms of thought, he also frequently gives a regressive treatment to Spirit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by johnboy (Member # 31) on 21 August, 2004 07:08 PM:

Washburn responds:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
But this, I suggest, is a serious misinterpretation of Jung. For although it is true that Jungian individuation involves a descent--namely, a descending return of the ego to the nonegoic potentials of the deep psyche-- this descent is not a merely regressive U-turn to origins. It is, rather, the first phase of a return-then-ascend, reroot-then-regenerate spiral. It is a retracing of ground that, in submitting the ego to the transformative power of the deep unconscious, leads ultimately to a higher ego-unconscious, whole-psyche integration (the alchemical coniunctio, the sacred marriage or hieros gamos, the coincidentia oppositorum). Jung's theory of individuation is, accordingly, a spiral theory. Wilber, however, having ruled out the possibility of a spiral to transcendence, interprets Jung's account of the ego's return to the collective unconscious as a simple U-turn of regression.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, johnboy's caveat to those enamored of nondualism is the same as that offered to the deconstructionists. There has got to be a re turn, a re construction, a re generation. Integration involves a holistic individuation process with the maintenance of a strong ego thus avoiding many regressive difficulties.


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Although Wilber acknowledges the therapeutic value of regression in the service of the ego , he most definitely does not believe that a return to the pre (or what was pre) is needed in order to ascend to the trans. As we have seen, he believes that movement toward the pre (or what was pre) and movement toward the trans proceed in opposite directions without coinciding at any point. The former movement unfolds in an exclusively descending direction toward lower psychic structures; the latter movement unfolds in an exclusively ascending direction toward higher psychic structures. Wilber rejects the possibility that return to the pre (or to what was pre) is part of movement toward the trans. Any such return, he says in "The Pre/Trans Fallacy" (1980b), would be a mere U-turn to origins forfeiting the gains of previous development. Or, as he puts it in Sex, Ecology, Spirituality (1995), any such return would be a one-way trip on the "regress express" of "retro-Romanticism."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No, this is to be followed by another return, another reconstruction, another regeneration.

[ August 21, 2004, 07:28 PM: Message edited by: johnboy ]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by johnboy (Member # 31) on 21 August, 2004 07:20 PM:

Finally:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In my opinion, there is a middle ground. One does not need to double the number of nonegoic psychic levels to avoid a pre/trans error. Such a doubling is unnecessary and unparsimonious. It is entirely possible that many nonegoic structures--or, to use a term I prefer, nonegoic potentials--have both pre and trans developmental expressions. It is entirely possible that nonegoic potentials such as dynamism, the body, instinctuality, feeling, and the creative imagination express themselves early in life in pre ways and then express themselves later in life--that is, after the ego is mature and has been reconnected with nonegoic potentials--in trans ways. For example, although the primary matrix and spiritual wholeness are by no means the same, they may nonetheless be expressions of a common ultimate ground, what I have called the Dynamic Ground. The primary matrix can be understood as preegoic fusion with this Ground , spiritual wholeness as a higher reunion of the ego with this Ground . Also, for example, although preegoic magico-mythical symbols and transegoic archetypes are by no means the same, they also may have a common source: the creative, autosymbolic imagination. Preegoic symbols can be understood as spontaneous productions of the autosymbolic process forged in response to the prerational, preoperational body-ego, higher transegoic archetypes as spontaneous productions of the autosymbolic process forged in response to the mature ego (once it has embarked upon the path of transcendence). I have mapped these and other pre and trans expressions of nonegoic potentials in The Ego and the Dynamic Ground (1995) and Transpersonal Psychology in Psychoanalytic Perspective (1994).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The lesson is: you CAN go back.

The more important lesson is: you MUST return.

This is true for the apophatic and kataphatic, the nondual and dual, the nonrational and rational, etc etc etc and when I say return, I mean repeatedly recrossing these liminal thresholds.

Truly,
jb

[ August 22, 2004, 12:18 AM: Message edited by: johnboy ]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by johnboy (Member # 31) on 22 August, 2004 12:11 AM:

BTW, Phil has already weighed in on this issue. From an old post:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I, too, have enjoyed Wilber's writings, although I much prefer the transpersonal psychology of Michael Washburn. Wilber's work suggests some sort of terminus in a state of non-personal, non-relational enlightenment and tends to view relational spirituality as but a steppingstone unto that higher state. Of course, his being a Buddhist-type wouldn't have anything to do with that, eh?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you, Phil. Well said.

truly yours,
jb

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by johnboy (Member # 31) on 22 August, 2004 12:17 AM:

re: The Ego and the Dynamic Ground: A Transpersonal Theory of Human Development

Reviewer: George Ochsenfeld (Monee, Illinois USA) - This is the best book on transpersonal psychology I've ever read. It does not require huge metaphysical leaps of faith. The explanations of the difficulties on the spiritual path related to reconnecting to the Dynamic Ground are nothing short of brilliant. It puts mystical experiences, Jungian psychology, and spiritual development into a clear, coherent model which makes perfect sense. I've used Washburn's model in a university level course I've taught on transpersonal psychology and have started a Washburn study group with my friends.

Reviewer: Craig Chalquist (Escondido, CA USA) -

Whatever may be said about the technicality of the alternatives offered here to the usual transpersonal paradigms, Washburn does a fine job of recogizing that our vitality as awakening beings isn't only to be found on the heights of spirit; it also lives in the vales, in the lowlands and places of origin. The problem with verticality worship is that "enlightenment" becomes a goal by which one transcends everything, leaps over everything, instead of working through unresolved conflicts and lingering vulnerabilities.

pax,
jb

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by Phil (Member # 1) on 22 August, 2004 10:56 AM:

I'm wondering if you gents would mind starting a new thread on Ken Wilber's thoughts in the Christian Morality and Theology forum (or wherever else you think it might go). I'd hate to see the discussion of Wilber's work lost in what started out to be a sharing of poetry.

Wilber's work is indeed important. Whether or not one agrees with him on everything, you will eventually bump into his writings when you try to dialogue with people about spiritual transformation. I am currently listening to a tape series he's made on "Kosmic Consciousness." It provides a good summary of his current thinking.
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Thanks for moving that stuff over, JB. Smiler
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
This is a posting from another list that pertains here, in part.

I take Fowler at his word re: his work as descriptive and not prescriptive. Once again,
we encounter the essentialistic-existential chasm. Although Fowler's
work is not prescriptive, still, it would be a real stretch, in my
view, to not recognize its normative nature. If the normative sets
forth certain essentialistic ideals and the descriptive set forth
certain existential realities, it is the prescriptive that sets
forth how to approach the ideal, which is to suggest how we might
close the essentialistic-existential chasm.

The chief concern with taking the descriptive and normative aspects
of developmental psychology and formative spirituality as
prescriptive, as I see it, is the temptation to spiritual narcissism.

Oscar Levant to Gershwin: "Tell me, George, if you had to do it all over again, would you still fall in love with yourself?"

In my understanding of spiritual direction, where one happens to be
on the spiritual journey is deemphasized. Trying to figure it out is
even discouraged or proscribed. It is the church's experience that
the maps of the journey provided by the saints and mystics, for the most part, are of
little or even no use in discerning where one is headed vis a vis
this or that particular spiritual path (and there are diverse
spiritualities, to be sure). The experiences of our fellow
sojourners, both contemporary and classical, do serve to provide such that we can receive consolation and
discernment insofar as we can know that someone has been in this
particular place before and had this type of experience and, well,
usually, no big damn deal. The maps, in other words, mostly work
backwards: "Oh, I see where you are coming from! And I know where
you are headed! But this map provides no clue how you're going to
get there." How we get there, best I can tell, often involves the
Divine pedagogy of suffering and oppression, resulting in
psychological and spiritual upheavals, precipitating metanoia and
conversion, often repeatedly. This isn't to say that many others,
blessed with good formation and a generosity of will, haven't had
rather smooth sailing, it seems.

The temptation to narcissism plays itself out when one takes these
maps and trys to directly manipulate and control where either they
are or others are on the journey. All we are called to do or can do
is to create and nurture an environment conducive to spiritual
growth, that of our own and of others. The journey of a soul to God
is a sovereign prerogative of the Holy Spirit, on one hand, and of
the individual soul, otoh, with an intimacy that commands reverence.
Coercion, however direct or indirect, does violence to such a love
as is freely given and freely received.

There is a lot of pseudo-mysticism, faux-contemplation, radical
apophaticism, charismatic superspiritualism and such in the
spiritual marketplace nowadays, engendered by deep spiritual hungers
and short-circuited by spiritual narcissism. Ken Wilber came up with
his pre-rational/trans-rational fallacy to distinguish between pre-
egoic and trans-egoic states, for example, but Michael Washburn, in
my opinion, rightly noted that Wilber commits his own fallacy in his consideration of Jung. In
many respects, Tony deMello committed the pre/trans fallacy.

Where does one turn, then, to find the prescriptive? Well, there are
many good asceticisms and spiritualities, time-honored and well-established spiritual technologies, prayer and worship disciplines, as well as good catechesis, gurus and masters and directors, but the final measure in Christianity is Jesus what He thought, taught
and wraught (broadly conceived to include the Jesus of Faith and the Historical Jesus).

pax,
johnboy sylvest
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
I am reading (slowly) through The Simple Feeling of Being and really enjoying the parts that
I DO understand and marveling and puzzling over some
of the other ideas. There is, no doubt, a certain level of error in David Hawkins' system as well, but these fellows do make me think and imagine and that cannot be all bad. Thomas Keating has said that it most likely will take religion and psychology a couple of hundred years to catch up to each other.

To the extent that various popular gurus are advancing this process, I see it as a positive development. It's been a few years since I have spoken with Father Keating or heard him speak in person, but it seems to me that he is more simple
in his communication than he was on the older videotapes.

Ken Wilbur is only about fifty. He will most likely become more simple in his approach as he gets older, and he may be around for another 30 years or more. He had the great misfortune to be published at twenty-three, and having to take his spiritual journey in a fishbowl of publicity. Most of us have the luxury of at least a modicum of privacy. Our culture just loves to set celebrities
up on the pedestal and knock them down again. If I write a book myself, I hope that noone reads it until I am long gone. Wink

I'll be greatful for what he is and try not to fuss too much over what he is not. Smiler

caritas,

mm <*))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Just want to add that, for all of the various -isms that come about
from this or that detour on the spiritual journey, whether of an
individual or of distinct groups, it is quite a highwire act to
avoid being highbrow. We've already acknowledged that, when we are
looking at descriptive-normative stage paradigms, they don't always
reveal an explicit prescriptive aspect, but certainly we are not, at
the same time, invoking the so-called naturalistic fallacy and
suggesting that we cannot reason from an is to an ought, from the
given to the normative, from the descriptive to the prescriptive. I
think we are moreso suggesting that developmental dynamics are very
problematical and that any implict prescriptive aspects must be
carefully reasoned out using both deontological and teleological,
both essentialistic and existential, approaches to moral and
pastoral and spiritual theology.

So, this is also to suggest that, if we have a difficult task in
discerning, from descriptive-normative developmental paradigms, just
exactly how it is that we are going to realize our ideal, it is
equally problematical to try to figure how just how and why we, as
individuals or distinct groups, have fallen short of such ideals and
norms. The problem lies in the fact that we fall short because of
both our finitude (we make mistakes) and our sinfulness (we refuse
to cooperate with grace). Where our finitude is concerned, precisely
in transformative dynamics, we don't always know the history of a
given individual's, or even of a group's, formation, de-formation,
in-formation, re-formation or trans-formation.

These dynamics, of course, greatly conspire toward imputing
exculpability whenever we encounter what appears to be a failure to
cooperate with grace or a resistance to undergo conversion
(intellectually, affectively, morally, socio-politically or
religiously). We simply cannot know if an apparent failure to
cooperate with grace or an apparent resistance to conversion has
come about due to deformative processes, failed reformative efforts
or a refusal to cooperate with grace or undergo conversion. That is
why we cannot judge, although the primary reason is that Yeshua
issued an injunction against same and, clearly, one can see why.

How do we thus describe the -isms we encounter while, at the same
time, avoiding judgment or imputing bad will? I think I sometimes
console myself with the notion that at least my judgment wasn't rash
or with the idea that I am merely engaging in discernment of the
fruits of the Spirit (Galations 5:22). Sometimes, I may comfort myself too
readily, I reckon. I appreciate all who catch me in the net when I
fall from the tightrope. Wink

pax,
jb
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
The temptation to narcissism plays itself out when one takes these
maps and trys to directly manipulate and control where either they
are or others are on the journey. All we are called to do or can do
is to create and nurture an environment conducive to spiritual
growth, that of our own and of others.


That's a great point, JB. And there really can be a temptation to locate oneself on a map, note the next points, and try to move oneself there. The mind can even create some of the characteristics, and self-image can become identified with these. So there is a danger in having maps, but, as with almost anything, a good as well.

Cartographers like Wilber, Fowler, etc. can help us to see that there is more than we have likely settled for. Also, if one grows beyond the conventional norm, one will feel kind all sorts of awkwardness; mapmakers can help us to see that we're still in the humansphere (homosphere? hmmm . . . that don't work any more Wink ) and accept our experiences.

IMO, one of the greatest strengths of Wilber v. 4.67 is his integration of human personal growth with communal patterns and even objective, scientific ones. His current teaching on these four quadrants interrelate is very good and has been taken up by the Spiral Dynamics people. Wilber calls this integrative spirituality; well-named, I believe.

I'll be greatful for what he is and try not to fuss too much over what he is not.

Agreed, Michael. I think his teaching is "fair game," however, so long as we can critique it without putting him down. As I noted in a post above, I do see him looking critically at earlier periods in his life and he's certainly updated his teachings through the years. The man is fun to listen to on tape as well; he's got a great sense of humor and seems quite humble. Still, it's helpful to know how his formation has influenced his thinking; that's all I was trying to do.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
I like transpersonal psychology, but it seems to be on the way out, with major centers existing in
Esalen at Big Sur, San Francisco where Ralph Metzner
still teaches, and Boulder, Colorado.I had a therapist intern for about eight months at my wellness community and she was very helpful. Nice Buddhist woman, studying at Naropa. I think the transpersonal approach works for me personaly,
but is not for everyone.

Ralph Metzner was researching L.S.D. with Leary 40 years ago. Leary came up with the "Eight
Circuits of Consciousness, which built on Gurdjieff's ideas. http://deoxy.org/8circuit.htm .
Someone said that he thinks David Hawkins' model comes partly from Maslow (as Phil observed,) and partly from L. Ron Hubbard.

I'm really way out of my depth on this and no doubt will take me a long time to understand it all in my conscious mind - but it's all in there somewhere Smiler

I believe that DNA research will prove someday that a hundred generations of sinful attitudes and behavior has corrupted our genetics and Crosby, Stills and Nash weren't kidding when they sang;

"We are stardust, we are golden,

and we got to get ourselves back to the garden."

caritas,

mm <*))))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
I had a therapist intern for about eight months at my wellness community . . .

Michael, you keep dropping these great little autobiographical snippets in some of your posts. You've really been around, haven't you? A wide range of experiences! We're fortunate to be benefiting from your wisdom, here.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
ROFL.I'm not much, but I'm all I think about. Wink I had this idea hammered into me, "Don't tell me what you think-share your experience." by my sponsor. Guess that's why I do that.

Here are a couple of audio segments you can listen to at sounds true.

One thing he says that has some impact on me is that meditation is the only method that can move a person up 2 developmental stages. Other methods only raised people .5 stages. I'm not sure
if he knows about 12 step programs...

http://store.yahoo.com/soundstruestore/wilberk.htm

caritas,

mm <*))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Ha. Well, thanks. Actually, I'm listening to some of these now. I have his "Cosmic Consciousness" tape series and am in the middle of it.

Meanwhile, check out this critique of his work, which I posted above but have only gotten around to reading. It's very well done, and I'm in agreement with much of it. See what you think.

Sneak preview:
4. The nondual state claimed by oriental quietists, who specialize in the beatific annihilation of significant action, is an impressive state of advanced cardiac arrest, the mystic heart in permanent suspension and stasis in the participatory field of immediate present experience. Or put it the other way round, the perceptual field and its penumbra of tacit infinitude, is in permanent stasis in the mystic heart. The idea that such stasis is the end-state of spiritual development, the apotheosis of human destiny, the full and complete return of the One to the One, the realization of the identity of ineffable formlessness and the infinitude of forms, is simply a pneumatic illusion, the final and most impressive defense against coming fully to terms with embodiment in a bipolar cosmos. Nondual stasis is not the human end-state, just the end of a self-limiting monopolar flight from the Many to the One.

Hee hee! Big Grin

6. This kind of flight from the Many, sustained for a lifetime, results in massive phenomenal incompetence, a total absence of mastery of the realm of manifestation. In Ramana's case it meant that his skills in this respect amounted to no more than the ability to do very simple tasks such as stitching leaf-plates and reading proofs, all the while being cared for by others. This unbalanced development can scarcely be put forward as a model for the end-state of human development. The One and the Many are correlative and interdependent: the seamlessness is here now in the immediate subject-object field of participative perception. To flee the Many to find the One is to start with a false duality in order eventually to overcome it in an inflated way.The end of the flight takes part in the lop-sidedness of its take-off.

Touche'
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
quote:
Crosby, Stills and Nash weren't kidding when they sang;

"We are stardust, we are golden,

and we got to get ourselves back to the garden."
Stopping by in the midst of my hectic schedule.

Here's a little synchronicity for you folks. Friday Night I will be at the Paragon resort in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, from where Phil hails, to attend a CS&N concert.

You asked me tell you where I'm goin' and this I told ya ... ... I'm goin' down to St. Romain's Farm ... Get back to the land and set my soul free.

May your trail dust be stardust, Pilgrim
jb
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
http://207.44.196.94/~wilber/further.html

This is Heron's response to a rebuttal from Wilber (which I haven't found). A few snippets.

Wilber starts off his reply with an elaborate and self-righteous protest about my few pages of sustained and trenchant criticism, and then proceeds to respond with a classic essay in spiritual vulgarity, laced with sardonic abuse, acid mockery and patronising scorn. There is a something quite like hypocrisy at work here, from someone who is a self-appointed spokesperson for what he thinks is the highest spiritual system there is. However that may be, to preach Agape on the upper ramparts of the system, then descend into the battlefield to defend it with pointed malice, does not entitle his pot to comment on my smudgy kettle.

. . .

Is the Atman-project theory stated by someone who is caught up in the Atman-project? In other words, is it stated by a real finite self that is deluded about its separateness, because it is misapplying a real intuition about Spirit? Is the theory itself an example of a self confusing the finite with the infinite? If it is, then to theorize that we make this confusion is itself to make the confusion; and we are in big trouble. If the self that formulates the theory is itself intrinsically deluded, both theory and self have a problem, however real that self.

So the theory can only be stated, and properly understood, by a finite self that doesn�t confuse the finite with the infinite, that is, by a reality-oriented connected-self appropriately applying a real intuition. You�ve got to have a self outside the grip of the Atman-project to grasp the theory of it. But then the theory is inaccurate since it makes no reference to the necessary condition of its utterance, which is that it is stated and grasped by this sort of self.


I love it -- shades of my doctoral project.

To put it quite simply: to understand the theory is to disprove it. If Wilber were to allow a self (or has already in some book allowed a self), well this side of Atman-realization, that is sufficiently project-free and nonseparate that it can grasp the whole sweep of the way the project works, the entire theory tumbles to bits. If our real intuitions can be so fully and properly applied, outside the reach of the misapplied intuitions of divine self-forgetting, as to grasp what the divine self-forgetting is up to, then that�s pretty much the end of the whole nonsense.

LMAO! Big Grin

Wilber cannot afford to be cavalier about this issue. If a fundamental theory in his system does not meet such a basic criterion of intelligibility as internal coherence, he is putting out conceptual vacuity as spiritual wisdom. Of course, he could say that only the Atman-realized could state and comprehend the Atman-project theory. Unfortunately this would render his original book on the theory nonsense, unless he claimed he was Atman-realized when he wrote it. And if he was so realized, then no-one else would be able to understand it if only the realized can.

You just gotta love a well-trained mind like Heron has! Smiler
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Phil,

I need to see this and I'm great-full that you posted it. What happened yesterday was that I was reading Wilber and really enjoying him. I had a real peak which lasted for hours on just a few pages of his book. I was up on cloud nine Smiler

What goes up, must come down, and here you come along and burst my bubble. Frowner Not that others did not try-I'm carrying the book around for a week and getting the comments, "Who's that, another guru? Those guys don't know anything!" But I ignored it for I was happy.

I still believe that I have much to learn from Mr. Wilber, and from the dear people at shalomplace, but we are all I suppose fallible bozos
on the bus...
caritas,

mm <*)))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
but we are all I suppose fallible bozos

Ummm...errr...I refuse to answer that question on grounds that it could tend to incriminate me.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
The selves have to die. A part of that for me is to emphasize spiritual principles and forget about the personalities. It's just that I have spent all my time trying to learn the principles from various personalities. Chogyam Trungpa called this "spiritual materialism."

Wilber's ideas are nothing new. They have been handed down from sages who handed them down to sages. I like the new book since it is dense with spiritual truth. It has been culled and edited from his other 19 books. If I can use 25% of what's in here, and discover the other 75% of no use, I feel I have moved forward just an inch.

bozo.com
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
What goes up, must come down, and here you come along and burst my bubble. [Frown]

Ah well . . . sorry! Frowner But I bet that whatever made you happy before that was good teaching! It's not at all a black and white situation; there's much good in Wilber's teaching, as I've noted, and you must have stumbled onto some of it. Also, his later teachings tend to downplay his Atman Project days of viewing the individual ego as an illusion. He even has high regard now for Jane Loevinger's stages of Ego development, so that's something.

A problem with writers is that we're sort of stuck with our earlier works. There isn't much in mine that I'd disavow, but I'd surely phrase a few things differently. Wink

---

BTW, re. that Atman Project/self point, which was a real slam dunk, imo, I mulled over this in my doctoral dissertation and wrote the following:
Pervasive and insidious though the false self may be, we know
that it is not the whole of our experience of consciousness.(36)
Something within even the worst of our species strains against it,
and would be free of it completely if such a possibility seemed
achievable. Such attainment is the concern of religion and, to a
certain extent, psychology.(37) For purposes of this reflection,
however, we must ask precisely what it is within us that resists and
regrets the false self conditioning?

The response which suggests itself most strongly to me is that
it is the Ego which strains against the false self. Although much of
Egoic energy has become co-opted by the false self system, the Ego
continues to emanate in every moment from its source in Self. As
long as the tiniest spark of emanating Ego remains free, there is an
individual consciousness available to do battle with the false self.
The existence of this "remnant" of Egoic freedom and desire is
implied in every religion, which would equip it with wisdom and
connect it with Power to overcome the disharmony within. Grace
builds on nature; this is a basic Thomistic conviction. Without an
Ego, it would seem that grace would have nothing to work with, much
less any-one to liberate.

God, Self and Ego 1995.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
The human will is such an integral part of our response to God in authentic freedom that it would seem no small wonder that, by design, the ego should be a somewhat tough nut to crack. This also demonstrates the importance of forming virtuous habits because, of all of the faculties, the will is the only one that does not get fatigued or depleted with increased use but, rather, it only grows stronger. Contrast this to affective and intellectual and physical exertions, for instance. Unfortunately, this is true re: vices and bad habits, too.

After all, this is why substance and process addiction is so very much connected to formative, deformative, reformative and transformative spirituality in the first place. God doesn't want us to be wimpy but to have, instead, strong wills. Jesus and Hitler have been compared as two of the strongest willed individuals that ever lived. Jesus was willing , however, while Hitler was willful !

Phil, see if this Father's Day 2004 posting of mine, below, to the listserv for the Institute of Religion in an Age of Science is not saying essentially the same thing re: what we might otherwise call an always resilient vestige or robust remnant of egoic strength, from a slightly different angle:

The nature of subjectivity is no less of a deep question, neither for this laddie's philosophy of mind nor the next lassie's. For me, what would keep it from being a deux ex machina would not be this or that cognitive scientist's apodictic conclusion; rather, it will be this or that individual's root metaphor, by which I mean metaphysics, however implicit or explicit, tacit or expressed. It thus pretty much depends on whether or not one has exited the metaphysical expressway at the turn to the subject, at the turn to experience, at the turn to community, at the critical turn (the turn to praxis), at the linguistic turn, at the hermeneutical turn (the interpretive turn), at the turn to history and so on and so forth.

And I further would say that these foundational stances are deeply analogous even if not completely identical with what you are calling higher order abstracted syntheses. And I would agree that their explanatory adequacy waxes and wanes from one discipline to the next and simply observe that all metaphors, however extendable, eventually collapse.

I mentioned the nondual experiences of self that have been reported primarily in the Eastern traditions, but which also have deep roots such as in the apophatic mysticism of my own Catholicism and which are becoming much more common in the West. I noted how these experiences of self get variously interpreted, ontologically, quite often transcending metaphysical categories and defying articulation due to their ineffability. I just want to point out that those of us who have experienced nonduality are not being coy in our faltering descriptions of same. Instead, what is happening is that, in the nondualistic experience, the "reality mapper" is not being represented in the brain's model. Without self-awareness, an experiencer of no-self cannot render a paradigmatic account of the ontological puzzle the brain has "solved" in the nondual state. With self-awareness (what we were calling self-reflexivity, which begets transitiveness) there is at least a partial return to duality, by definition, and with that a leaving behind of the experience to be reported on, or, at least, it gets reported on with a weak grammar that should not be unexpected for a nondiscursive brain state.

Of course, returning to second order abstractions regarding duality from the nonconceptual realm I discussed, we can still move beyond philosophies of substance, even though Don Gelpi properly criticizes even the Whiteheadian process approach as still too immersed in dualism, essentialism, nominalism and in need of correction by a further turn from experience to community (employing a triadic Piercian metaphysics that amounts to a semiotic realism). My point is that people are making various turns in various ways that transcend the experience of self and, hence, of duality, and that while some of these turns are "only" second order abstractions, some are quite experiential, however ineffable.

Well, let me not oversell my critique, but let me offer some food for thought from Jordi Pigem's The Marriage of Science and Sense :
quote:


We don�t have details about how the cosmos was perceived at the very dawn of human consciousness, but good clues are provided by L�vy-Bruhl�s notion of participation mystique, by our understanding of the participatory nature of perception (Abram 1996) and by our knowledge of the child�s progressive differentiation from the environment (Piaget 1929, Wilber 1986a). From them, we can attribute to a primeval perception of the cosmos very little dualism and very little puzzle-solving capacity. On the other hand, we could argue that if there ever emerges a paradigm that comes as close as possible to solving the really deep puzzles ("what is life?", "what is consciousness?", "how do matter and mind interact?", "what is it all about?") it would also be as close as possible to nonduality (see Loy 1988). It may not be possible to have a paradigm 100% puzzle-solving (there may always be some room for mystery) nor 100% nondualistic (if there is to remain some self-awareness) but we could tentatively situate this "ideal" paradigm around x=95, y=5.
I suppose the reference is to David Loy, another brave pioneer who rode the Cascade mt. range in the back of an Arrajian truck, like other great contemporary mystics?
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
The stuff below contextualizes this analysis of dualism from a more reductionistic perspective and comes from the same IRAS thread, not redacted because there is nothing confidential or sensitive. You can pretty much just scroll to the bold printed schtuff :

Ursula gives us an emergentist account for the inherently dualistic human. It sounds very right-headed to me, especially with its focus on the experience of self. If one task of the human brain is to model reality, and if a complete model of reality includes the brain doing the modeling, then it is to be expected that paradox will be generated, both of the self-referential type and of the infinite set type. The Cartesian Baby is born, who will soon enough open a Cartesian Theater.

This infinite loop of self-referentiality is analogous to what different folks call self-nesting. In the plastic container and storage bin business, self-nesting is a feature designed to conserve space, one container fitting neatly inside the next like so many tupperware containers. In mathematics and logic, the property of self-nesting is known as the Dedekind infinite. In the modeling of physical and chemical systems, also in the modeling of atmospheric conditions, models can be made to self-nest, one-way or two-way, for the purpose of enhancing resolution. This can be thought of as a nesting of different electronic sieves that are variously coarser or finer, much like the self-nesting sieves that are used in mining to separate different types of particles. In computer programming, such as in designing webpage counters, self-nesting finds its way into html code.

Self-nesting in all of the above situations is deeply analogous to the way our brains model reality, which includes treating ourselves, semantically, both transitively (as objects) and self-reflexively (transitiveness being the logical consequence of self-reflexivity). In The Grammar of Consciousness, Milton Dawes doesn't use the term self-nesting, but he describes such nesting as "words about words, feelings about feelings, ideas about ideas, beliefs about beliefs, interpretations of interpretations, opinions about opinions." Sounds like "critical thinking" to me. He points out that this "nesting" that results from self-reflexivity, that further results in transitiveness (which, again, means treating ourselves as objects), is common both to human consciousness and to human language. In other words, consciousness and language share a grammar. Hmmm. I wonder why? This is not at all counterintuitive for anyone who has trained their "thinking about thinking" by following Terry and Ursula's emergentist accounts of human brain evolution. What is counterintuitive, however, and very much so, is a nondualistic account of the human experience of self.

How can one best train one's intuition, or should I say re-train, away from Cartesian dualism? The best place to begin, I believe, is to recognize that, while self-nesting may contradict our intuitions, it need not contradict itself, given the proper axioms, whether of math or of logic. A great essay, which I will quote from, can be found at Peter Suber's website at url = http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/writing/infinity.htm .

Suber writes:
quote:
Properly understood, the idea of a completed infinity is no longer a problem in mathematics or philosophy. It is perfectly intelligible and coherent. Perhaps it cannot be imagined but it can be conceived; it is not reserved for infinite omniscience, but knowable by finite humanity; it may contradict intuition, but it does not contradict itself. To conceive it adequately we need not enumerate or visualize infinitely many objects, but merely understand self-nesting. We have an actual, positive idea of it, or at least with training we can have one; we are not limited to the idea of finitude and its negation. In fact, it is at least as plausible to think that we understand finitude as the negation of infinitude as the other way around. The world of the infinite is not barred to exploration by the equivalent of sea monsters and tempests; it is barred by the equivalent of motion sickness. The world of the infinite is already open for exploration, but to embark we must unlearn our finitistic intuitions which instill fear and confusion by making some consistent and demonstrable results about the infinite literally counter-intuitive. Exploration itself will create an alternative set of intuitions which make us more susceptible to the feeling which Kant called the sublime. Longer acquaintance will confirm Spinoza's conclusion that the secret of joy is to love something infinite.
It is precisely because of the way that our brains evolved that I cannot prove to you a nondualistic account of consciousness over against a dualistic account (or even an eliminativist accout). For the same reason, I cannot prove that other brains exist (over against solipsism), that my brain can indeed map reality (with varying degrees of resolution and over against a radical skepticism), or that reality presents in such a way that it can even be partially mapped (over against an unmitigated nihilism). However, as I discussed with a good friend, recently, one doesn't need to proceed halfway through the first volume of Principia Mathematica with Whitehead and Russell in order to KNOW that 1+1 = 2; one need only do that in order to PROVE that 1 + 1 =2 (using the proper axioms of course). Our brains are open-ended processors that proceed fallibilistically through alternating conjecture and criticism and thus proceed with ever-increasing logical consistency, internal coherence, external congruence, interdisciplinary consilience and hypothetical consonance, longing for an ever-elusive correspondence with reality.

Do we thereby approach, even asymptotically, correspondence with reality? On this issue, we tend to fall out into two camps, one with Chesterton who said that we don't know enough about reality to say that it is unknowable , the other with Haldane who said that reality is not stranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine . I suppose there may be some types of dualism that are coherent and consistent enough. There are others, however, that render the realities they are trying to relate unintelligible. It might be useful to abandon those by retraining our intuitions and more vigorously exercising our imaginations. In the study of consciousness, this won't inevitably lead to a radical reductionism even if we positively eschew an ontological dualism. I thus commend Terry and Ursula's emergentist account(s) for their creative imaginativeness and well-trained intuitions about our novel semiotic capacities that could well have come from nothing but ... ... all the way up, all the way down, all the way back to Drees' "open space" and Ursula's "sacred depths."

And finally, the earlier context of the same thread, for those interested: I really like the Dalai Lama's pithy observation inasmuch as I find much value in many of the various metaphysics of consciousness, as different root metaphors that highlight different aspects of the phenomenon. I have thus issued forth with similar applause, as I did for Ursula and Terry, for David Chalmers, Roger Penrose, John Searle, Ayn Rand & Peikoff, and even others representing perspectives across the spectrum from Dennett to Dembski. I'm not certain, myself, as to whether or not it is mechanics all the way down but remain wide open to all other possibilities that can be compelling in their own right due to their own consistency and coherence, given their own axioms and premises. This is not to deny that some metaphors collapse sooner than others, depending on the task at hand.

While in my own approach, metaphysics doesn't enter in to any formulation of such theological arguments as pertaining to the existence of God, for instance, they can provide some useful analogues for the God-concepts formulated by natural theology and they do foundationally affect the way I approach the normative sciences of logic, aesthetics and ethics, such sciences mediating between phenomenology and metaphysics. Still, what one might do with a soul, however it is conceived, from a pragmatic perspective, I agree is very important. And I go further, in agreeing with Don Gelpi (following Pierce), believing that orthopraxis authenticates orthodoxy, which is to say that, if a doctrine when put into practice, operationally, does not lead to both individual and socio-political transformation (Lonergan's conversions, both secular and religious), then the doctrine is inauthentic.

At the same time, following the Buddha's path, Right Speech is critically important and so I highly value the struggle to attain the most nearly perfect articulation of truth available. Further, to the extent that I also reject the so-called naturalistic fallacy, to me, it is a false dichotomy to elevate the ought over the is, the normative over the given. For me, to hold both truths would involve the deeper level of being open to the self as maybe physical or maybe nonphysical, even though the second case would require the mounting of indirect evidence.

So, overcoming the Cartesian dualism may not be necessary but it may be useful for at least some of us to earnestly attempt to walk a mile in someone's else's hermeneutical moccasins. Also, for some, it may not be possible. However, for many, many others, by their own reports (bolstered by Andy Newberg's scans?), the nondual experience is commonplace, also perduring. To be sure, the experience may be variously interpreted ontologically (or even considered ineffable and transcending metaphysical categories) but the experience of nonduality is reported as indubitable (by millions over the millenia). Ergo, I'm not willing to extrapolate my experiences to make general claims in this regard.

In the meantime, our perspectives remain immersed in paradox, however one chooses to categorize life's contradictions (whether veridical, falsidical, conditional or antinomial), but we hold firmly, nonetheless, to the principle of noncontradiction (along with our rejections of solipsism, radical skepticism and unmitigated nihilism), not because we can prove these positions through formal logic/rational demonstration, but, rather, because pragmatically and empirically our best intuitions re: epistemology work. Problem with intuitions, however, is that our worst ones don't work , sometimes even when run through our best reductio ad absurdum analyses. Moving on can then become a rush to closure, the viral meme that produces both fideism and scientism and other rampant and insidious fundamentalisms. I thus eschew any doctrinal indifferentism or facile syncretisms or false irenicisms between alternate worldviews because both their descriptive and prescriptive takes on reality inform the important things that we do with our hypothetical souls.
pax,
jb
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
The dis-ILLUSION-ment I am experiencing came
from the realization that my big growth spurt of the last five years is over. Wilbur says that no matter what we do, we are only going to grow about two developmental stages.

It's already happened to me. I regularly have the experience of being in a room full of people and
having the knowlwedge that I am relatively awake, and that they are relatively asleep, and the Night of Sense has altered my perceptions.

Sure, I can grow in my cognitive understanding and have an educational experience,
but all I have to look forward to is a long slug through the mud for 20 or 30 years toward divine union, if I have been chosen for it.

In other words, reading Wilber won't jump me
up any more stages. It may help me retain and understand better from whence I have come and where I am heading, but I already woke up from the
Big Sleep and I can be great-full for that Miracle
if I am not a greedy little spiritual piggy. Wink

caritas,

mm <*))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Phil, see if this Father's Day 2004 posting of mine, below, to the listserv for the Institute of Religion in an Age of Science is not saying essentially the same thing re: what we might otherwise call an always resilient vestige or robust remnant of egoic strength, from a slightly different angle:

I think that was all relevant, JB, especially to the discussion on duality/nonduality, a theme that seems to show up on every thread lately. As this is at the crux of some of Wilber's teachings, it's very relevant, and you have provided a substantive philosophical reflection.

Michael wrote: Wilbur says that no matter what we do, we are only going to grow about two developmental stages. . .

I'm not familiar with that part of his teaching. Two stages above what, I wonder?

Let's not forget, here, that Wilber believes in reincarnation. Even though he doesn't present it as part of his teaching, it's surely there in the back of his mind somewhere, along with the rest of his Eastern leanings. So if you don't get through all the stages in this life, you can continue the journey in the next, eventually coming to the realization of the Atman/God-self. In contrast to this Hinduish view of liberation taking many lifetimes, Buddha taught that you could go all the way in one, and Christianity teaches that through faith in Christ, one participates even now in the liberation of the race that he has obtained. That doesn't necessarily translate into higher developmental stages, but it's good enough for me. Wink
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata Page 1 2 3 4 5