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March 14, 2008


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So much balancing to keep the Churchless ideology intact?. I hope this non-dogma does not become another dogma.

Anyway, I am now satisfied that you have criticised Ken Wilber. Though I must admit that I never read Wilber. I only read Falk's criticisms and your posts. I felt that was more than enough for me.

Deepak, I don't worry much about getting unbalanced. My "ideology" focuses on openness and flexibility.

If I like a book, I like it. If I don't, I don't. Reading more, or considering it more, I might not like it as much. Or, the opposite.

Consistency is only a virtue when it is honestly real. To stick with a belief, or non-belief, just for the sake of believing or not-believing -- that doesn't make sense to me.

I enjoy knowing that at any moment I could change completely, as a new experience alters my understanding.

To me this is what being "churchless" is all about -- drinking in experience with as little filtering as possible, and flowing with whatever effect is produced in you.

I agree.

So I have heard: any hack can make simple things appear complex; genius lies in making the complex appear simple.

Here's a question I have about Ken Wilber and others. For one thing, it seems to be a largely egoistic trip to imagine we are able to know it all. Regardless of how much meditation, integral visioning, praying, (whatever else) one does, so many "gurus" or "intellectuals" keep forgetting that what often they're placing at the centre of their own understandings is...THEMSELVES! That's a total egoistical trip.

If anyone has read « Grace and Grit », we have a lot to learn from Treya. Treya never claimed to know it all, to be able to figure it all, to 'whatever' it all. My impression from the book, however, is that she was able to actually be able to be deeply enlightened by not actually claiming to be able to know it all, integrate it all, and 'whatever' it all. Rather, going in the total opposite of the ego trip is "Don't know" mind. Treya realised that she is unable to know it all and integrate it all, and still can be deeply enlightened by accepting the "Don't know" mind.

I don't know too much about Ken Wilber,...but...some of my questions:
a) is it possible that Ken Wilber has lost it so far that he is now primarily on an ego trip?

b) the death of Treya Killam Wilber has perhaps unfortunately (for Ken) meant that he no longer has someone close to him to balance out some of his tendencies and so he has gone off the deep end of narcissism and egotistical attitude?

c) anyone who has read « Grace and Grit » might wonder if actually Ken has forgotten his promise to Treya Killam Wilber, a promise that was exchanged in Treya's last few days. Treya asked Ken is he would come find her when she is gone. Ken promises. Ken's own take on this, as explained in the book, is that Treya has become the larger universe and has realised how she is one with the whole. Is it that Ken has now lost his way and instead he is the centre?

Sykes, I have the same impression of Ken Wilber: that he has convinced himself that his Integral philosophy really is a "theory of everything" which points to ultimate reality. So somehow he's managed to figure out divine truths that have eluded lesser sages since the dawn of recorded history.

When I read his books, I also have a feeling that Wilber has become way too centered on himself, rather than the cosmos. I have a subscription to EnlightenNext, but I don't think I'll renew. Every issue is largely filled with worship at the Church of Ken Wilber, which gets pretty annoying.

Hi, I invite you to read this article:



Best wishes,

Your "critique"of Ken Wilber shows that you don't understand him or his philosophy at all. You are obviously doing a lot of projecting, and I'm sure Wilber would have a good laugh about your comments, which are obviously coming from your own ego and lack of insight. He's well aware of the world's mystical and spiritual traditions, and doesn't need you to tell him where errors. Maybe you should pay more attention when (or if) you read anymore of his books.

Mike, you didn't mention what, specifically, you disagreed with in this blog post. Saying that I'm "projecting" and "coming from my own ego" doesn't say anything -- which also is what I feel Wilber does a lot.

I've written a book about Plotinus, who is one of Wilber's heroes. I know that Wilber misinterprets Plotinus (2nd century Greek philosopher). As noted in this post, Wilber also gets many other aspects of his supposedly "integral philosophy" wrong.

I stand by what I said: Wilber does a good job of selling his ideas to people who are looking for a guru-figure they can bow down to, but otherwise his credentials are way overrated.

For instance, in paragraph 3 of your "critique", you say Wilber's complex theories reflect more of what goes on inside his head than how the universe actually works.  Come on!  First, you're assuming you know everything that is going on inside his head - even if you have read every one of his books (which I seriously doubt)- and that you know how the universe works.  Talk about Ego-tripping!  I think maybe you need to crank up the inner critic a little to realize what you are "actually" thinking (yes, projecting).
Then, in paragraph 4, you say his writings seem disconnected from the "living, breathing world."  Again - come on! You have really read everything he has written, and understand it all?  If you haven't, then I say again, more projecting of your own psychic processes.  Maybe you need a more simple approach to understanding mystical states and experiences, like the writings of Lao-tzu, for instance, who you quote, and probably believe you understand - Mysticism 101 - which speaks to a lot of people due to it's simplicity of articulation, and which spoke to me the first time I read the Tao teh Ching, which may have been the first book on Eastern philosophy that I read some 25 years ago.  Some people need that, some need more elaboration and articulation, and I think that is exactly what Wilber has done (I read Spectrum of Consciousness long before anyone knew who Ken Wilber was on any kind of popular level). 
And I think Wilber would agree, as he has stated in many of his books, that the "Word (Tao) which can be spoken is not the eternal Word (Tao)".  He is well aware of that, and knows that whatever he says regarding his own experiences of this realm - mystical, philosophical or spiritual - cannot be contained in a book, no matter how elaborate.  And I know from his early writings that he knew all about the ego and it's incessant machinations, and didn't seem interested in the limelight, and probably actively sought NOT to be in the limelight - at least that is my impression. 
In his early books, he says again and again that the map is not the territory, no matter how elaborate and articulated it may be, and backs it up with the writings of others.  He uses the metaphor of the finger pointing at the moon.  The maps, the writings, are like the finger; they point the "way", but cannot give you the experience of the moon.  You have to actually go there, directly, experientially, to know it in a solid sense. 
You go on to say that what he writes gives you a discordant feeling and that there is an "intuitive clue" that something is wrong.  Is an exposition on truth, or reality, a totally harmonious and beautiful affair, with no harshness, no edges involved?  And can you tell me, sir, what intuition means to you?  There is a specific, distinct meaning for intuition, and the intuitive faculty (buddhic), and Wilber presents this view in his writings, which can be found in Hindu, Buddhist and Theosophical literature. 
Then you go on to present a long quotation by Wilber of an articulation of the mystical, nondual state of consciousness (nirvana, satori, oneness with the Tao), and make a crude comment about his stream of consciousness, and that it should have been edited out of his book.  Perhaps you could give us a more beautiful, enlightened explanation of this ultimate state.  If not, then you have no right to give any opinion on what is known by those who have directly experienced this for themselves.
You also don't seem to understand his sense of humor.  He wrote a book called A Brief History Of Everything.  Do you believe he actually believed that?!  Satire, man.  It's in his early books, and throughout Sex, Ecology and Spirituality - but you have to read closely and follow the flow of ideas to "get it".
You say that Wilber's take on Plotinus is wrong and that you know exactly what he "really" means.  Could you provide specific examples in Wilber's writings, and show the translation you have of Plotinus, and your interpretation of Plotinus' words?  Fair is fair, after all.  You need proof to back up a claim like that.
I would suggest checking out an article that shows how Wilber's ideas and beliefs can be twisted and misinterpreted, with specific examples that show a lack of understanding of what he "actually" means and specifically states.  It's called Intersubjective Musings: A Response to Christian de Quincey's "The Promise of Integralism"  You can also find a long article called Do Critics Misrepresent My Position? where he answers their accusations and misunderstandings.    wilber.shambhala.com/html/watch/042301_intro.cfm

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