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March 06, 2008

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"What if we took literally everything that all the various cultures have to tell us about human potential – about spiritual growth, psychological growth, social growth – and put it all on the table? What if we attempted to find the critically essential keys to human growth, based on the sum total of human knowledge now open to us?
What if we attempted, based on extensive cross-cultural study, to use all of the world's great traditions to create a composite map, a comprehensive map, an all-inclusive or integral map that included the best elements from all of them?"

An all inclusive map - what a formula for life! We'd never have to think again. Just follow the map. Do I detect a desire in Ken Wilbur to create the ultimate belief system to unite mankind?

Err...what happened to the notion of spiritual independence tagged to the churchless main heading? This is a doozy of a post today Brian.


Regarding Wilber, the less said the better.

He praised eccentric Franklin Jones (Da Free John) to the sky and endorsed the narcissist Andrew Cohen. With such a flawed judgement, I will never read his books.

To know more about him, you may read Stripping the Gurus by Geoffrey D Falk.
http://www.strippingthegurus.com/index.html#stgtoc

Deepak is definitely a man after my own heart. And well informed. In just a few words my man Deepak has nailed it again.

No doubt Wilber is a smart dude, but all (and I mean quite alot) his "integral" talk (literary) amounts to zip in the end. But it does sell his books.

Ole Ken talks a damn good rap, but behind all that fancy transpersonal hype, he's kinda full of shit. I know him. So I know he woiuldn't mind if I say this. I have spoken at length with him in person back during his DA days and I did rather like him as a person and an acquaintance, but to be honest, spiritually he did not impress me. But then I guess when it really comes down to it, I'm one hard guy to impress.


Franklin Jones' "The Knee of Listening" remains high on 'must read' spiritual reading lists. This writing is one of the facets of Da Bubba's controversial life that shines. (at least the earlier editions do) I remember being highly impressed by his profound insight when I read it about 35 years ago. Not that you guys need to go out and read another book. Or maybe you do. There's something about Wilber that doesn't ring true for me, but he is pretty clever. That's my spiritual reading review for the night. Good night.

TAO,
You are in the "been there, seen everything" crowd. I have never been to anyone. Only read them. However, after reading them, I was glad I didn't meet them.

However, I regret not meeting U G Krishnamurthy who died exactly a year ago.

"Other than this little message, my previous post will be my last and final comment here in this forum."
Posted by: tAo

"Suuure ... How many times have we heard that one from you by now? The poor fellow cannot help himself ..."
Posted by: the elephant

* * * * *

just shows to go -- you can't keep a good (ego)maniac down.

Regarding Wilber's personality and background, I don't think about that when I'm reading what he's written. I focus on how much sense his ideas make.

Similarly, Einstein wasn't a saint. Yet his theories of general and special relativity stand on their own merits. I can see why, since Wilber is writing about spirituality in large part, rather than material science, people would question the validity of what he says more closely.

Still, it seems to me that a person's theories and ideas can be separated from their life history and egocentricity. I'm reading a chapter in his book where Wilber talks about owning the "I."

Rings true to me. I think it's better to say "I feel Wilber is full of shit because..." rather than "Wilber is a jerk because..." The second statement externalizes a reaction to him, while the first puts the responsibility for the reaction where it belongs: on us.

Wilber is writing on areas beyond science and that requires a keen sense of judgement. So his track record counts. He was wrong on previous occasions. So he loses my trust there. Track record and personality does count in the arena of spirituality not science.

Imo, Wilber is clearly one of the most interesting thinkers from the West in recent times, on matters of 'mysticism' etc. It's kind of undeniable, isn't it?

To 'diss' him kind of limits what direction we listen from on these kind of matters, imo. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar? Prabhpada? C'mon guys, see the mote in your own eyes before criticising willy nilly any source YOU don't appreciate?

To Deepak - Who DO you listen to, that hasn't ever made a judgement of error? I personally don't know of ANYBODY who hasn't made errors?

Re ADI DA, he clearly is also one of the most prominent thinkers in the West, and is without doubt (imo) 'Enlightened'.

I would rather learn at the feet of Adi Da than a THOUSAND Gurinders, for example, even though Gurinder may have a much more civilised person-ality.

The relative knowledge of spiritual experiences and concepts is what interests me.

Several commenters (poohbear, deepak) imply that Ken Wilber should be judged by "guru" standards. I don't see him this way at all. Maybe he came across as a guru-wannabe in earlier works, but there is little or nothing of that in the book I'm reading now.

Question is, if a person's ideas are to be judged by their personality, what criteria do we use? Is there a perfect human being that is the benchmark we judge other people against? If so, who is that person?

Wilber lays out some believable theories, based on research, about the stages of human development. But just as a basketball coach doesn't have to be able to play like a professional to understand the game, someone who studies spirituality doesn't have to be a saint.

Also, the fact that Wilber's ideas have changed over time doesn't bother me at all. It's a strength, not a weakness, to change your mind.

Btw, in case there was some misinterpretation or misundertanding, I was not "dissing" Ken Wilber.

For sure Ken is a very knowledgeable, articulate and highly intelligent guy, and a certainly a deep thinker, and he has much insight. I've read most of his books (excpet for his new one), and on some things he clearly makes a significant degree of sense. But he is also admittedly very much on an predominently intellectual plane.

I also agree with Brian in that I too don't care that Ken once praised Franklin Jones/Adi Da. Da is not to be easily dismissed. In fact, I actually met Ken while we were both visiting Da at Da's Sanctuary near Clearlake, Califonia. And regardless of what some folks may think about the various contoversies and scandals surrounding him, Da is clearly no lightweight.

And I also like Ken intellectually as well as personally. And I also don't see him as being on a typical guru trip either, although he does have his group of admirers. But so what? I think he has contributed a great deal to the over-all issue and discussion of enlightenment. So I think I will take Brian's suggestion and go read Ken's new book.


Brian,

So you say that you are now reading Wilber's "Integral Spirituality".

Have you also read his "Integral Vison"?

If so, how would you compare or differentiate the two, and which one would you recommend over the other?

If not, do you also plan to read "Integral Vision"?

Thanks in advance.


Manjeet,

If you think u i am a cultist, you are wrong.

I am as much (if not more) an independent thinker as the rest of you. However, when somebody makes a value judgement, I can do the same for him.

FYI, I have never endorsed Prabhupad or Sri Sri Ravishankar or even Gurinder. So there is no mote or beam in my eye.

However, I will never learn at the feet of an eccentric like Franklin Jones, Andrew Cohen or for that matter Ken Wilber. I would much rather visit a bitch at the nearest red-light area. AIDS is better than Guru delusion any day.

AIDS is better than Guru delusion any day.

Posted by: Deepak Kamat

I'm sorry Deepak, but I find this statement truly offensive. Not the prostitue part, nor with your criticism of guru-delusion, but with your statement about AIDS. Unless you have it of course. But if you don't, that's not cool dude...|

Atleast, Aids kills. These Gurus don't kill you. They don't allow you to live either.

tAo, I haven't read "Integral Vision." Perusing it on Amazon, it sounds like it covers much the same ground as "Integral Spirituality," though perhaps with cooler graphics. I might get it eventually; will finish "Integral Spirituality" first.

I think Ken is full of it.
All these pseudo-frameworks and mindmaps.
Utter bollocks.

He looks full of himself too, as far as his utube interviews go, for what i am not quite sure, his thinking is neither profound or clear. Perhaps my opinion will change.

There is a reason why the list that Ken Wilber mentions above is often not thought of as spiritual, but let me first clarify something. Those things are not necessarily spiritual or not spiritual. They just ARE! The way that Ken Wilber puts it is putting a value on those items and that scale is called "spirituality".

But, there is a reason (or reasons) why those on the list are often not through of as spiritual. It's because human beings can have a propensity for abuse: misuse of sex, misuse of finances, misuse of power, etc. Has anyone read « Shoes Outside the Door » which is on the 1980s fiasco at the San Francisco Zen Center where the very corrupt Baker Roshi (zen roshi) was found to be sexually abusive, financially abusive, and manipulating of power? Just because one is a roshi doesn't mean that they can't be abusive.

And so, the caution here is to realise that while all those things mentioned in Ken Wilber's list are not necessarily aspiritual, the possibility for abuse when one is in power and has wealth (BECAUSE we live in human societies AS human beings) means we need to be cautious. Yes, you can have all those things and be spiritual but...the temptations to be abusive in those situations in order to gain that kind of status is huge, and not everyone, not even Baker Roshi, can handle the lure of financial, sexual abusiveness when the power is there.

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