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June 06, 2010


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Brian, thanks for pulling the veil off and exposing the ugly truth about these two holy-than-thou wannabees.

i think i mentioned once that i met both of these jokers, wilber and cohen (but separately).

i met ken wilber at an elite gathering of da free john disciples and admirers at da's hot springs sanctuary near clear lake, ca. that was way back in the days (mid-80s) when wilber was publicly promoting ole adi da as the great avatar. i guess ken finally decided to follow in da's footsteps and become a holy worshipful guru himself.

and i met that fraud cohen at one of his satsangs when he was just starting out back in the early 90s. and all i can say is that i was not impressed. actually, he was one heell of a jerk. just awful. i am sure that all the horror stories about him are all true.

but at least wilber is fairly brilliant intellectually. cohen isn't even fit to be a clown, much less a guru. so i can't see why wilber would ever want to have anything to do with that fraud cohen. ken must really be getting desperate after that big seizure he had. but maybe its a razzel and dazzle 'dynamic duo' sort of thing.

Hey Brian, all I can say is that a lot of "non-dual" modern writers (Tony Parsons, Jeff Foster, Gilbert Schultz spring to mind) tend to really dislike Wilber and Cohen.

Both of these guys probably manage to eke out a very comfortable lifestyle for themselves. I find Cohen's voice to be somewhat irritating. Wilber comes off as a politician - the words flow endlessly and nothing gets said.

On the other hand, I am fairly certain that either of them would dismiss me, and anything that I might have to say, as irrelevant.

They would be correct, of course.

Ya this is pretty laughable stuff.I can understand trying to penetrate the prose of a Wei Wu Wei to find the simple message of your own illumination...but goddddd !Don't ask these chaps directions to the local market.

Dunno Cohen, but agree Wilber has never struck a chord with me, it just seems like confused new age gibberish - and i am by no means convinced there's much intellectual thought at all, let alone any other.

I think Wilber is what puts me most of new-age thought, which often comes from the new-world, since its ppl trying to push horizons, but without the substance.

Instead, take the genius of Richard Feynman instead who insisted on simplicity and trying to explain even the most complex aspects of the universe.

No - ppl like feynman or gellman are real american gurus, not cohen or wilbur, not by any stretch of their imaginations.

As you know I think Cohen needs to get some therapy.

However, having known Ken Wilber pesonally since the early 1980s (we first ran into each other in Asilomar at a Transpersonal psychology conference), I can attest to the fact that he is a helluva nice guy and just downright sweet and engaging.

I met him for dinner back in the 1980s in S.F. at Gaylords with his new wife (then), Treya, and they were just wonderful. A joy to be with.

Later, when his wife found out she had cancer, we met in Del Mar for breakfast.... and I brought up the issue of Da Free John (this was the 1980s) to Ken, as I had in several letters.

Wilber admitted that Da was a "fuck-up" (his words), but he just didn't seem to get how much of a f-up Da was to those around him....

In any case, the reason I am mentioning all this is that it truly saddens me to see somebody as bright and engaging as Ken get aligned (once again) with a guru like Andrew Cohen.

It sounds simplistic, but Ken is just green when it comes to gurus.

I think he would have been better off if he had gone to India early on (he didn't) and saw a slew of gurus first in action....

In any case, while I have become a harsh critic of many of Ken's ideas, I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

He is a wonderful person, even if I find his alliances and much of his philosophy (partricularly on evolution) to be balderdash.

One of Ken's ideas that I think really plays out well is his notion of pre-trans fallacy.

Ironically, he seems to have a pre-trans confusion when it comes to gurus.

Nice post, Brian.

Love the skepticism you bring to the plate.

What is this "Da Free John" issue. Sounds interesting for conversation. Thanks for a reply. Roger

Roger, or anyone interested. Here is a bio on Da Free John:



My PC is filtering the link you submitted. Is there a short descrption of Da Free John?
Was this a guru figure? Thanks, Roger

Roger, Wikipedia should be more acceptable to your PC. Check out the Adi Da article (the guy went by various names).

Thanks Brian,

From the wikipedia summary, I'm guessing that Ken Wilber had some devotion to the "Da Free John" person. Apparently, David Lane mentioned that issue with Ken many years ago. Therefore, i'm guessing Ken had some experience with a guru mentality (fuck-up) long before Andrew Cohen came along. Does this sound correct?
As usual, this is no big deal, just interesting conversation. Roger

3 steps to becoming a guru

1. Babble on about nonduality without specifics
2. Ensist that you alone have made such a realization
3. When questioned simply deny your questioner has understood your teachings.

Hey George, great advice! I'm gonna try it on my husband.

Green Dave ? I have to say I share that with him having spent the better part of 20 years with the RSSB ones.

Hi Bryan, glad to hear you're enlightened, you are in good company. Welcome to the unfold LOL.

Right Ken and Cohen are a pair of bookends. Ken does not need Cohen but Cohen needs Ken. In fact I wrote about Ken in my book as his past life in Germany was so obvious to me that I could not resist. He's been mindfully intellectualizing for lifetimes. It's who he is.

I don't know who Cohen is except a fraud.


PS: I've gone back to Buddhism.

David, thanks for sharing your impression of Ken Wilber. Yes, he seems more appealing than Andrew Cohen, who appears to be an abusive "guru." But it bothers me that WIlber supports Cohen wholeheartedly. Maybe he is just a trusting guy who has difficulty seeing through the B.S. of people like Adi Da and Andrew Cohen.

Bullshit = Brian

I have no personal, face-to-face experience with either Wilber or Cohen. However, I will say that Wilber's ideas and writings make very much sense to me, in a completely rational and experiential way. I read his stuff and think, "yep, that's the way I see it too. Just different words." And let me be extremely clear - I am not one to put anyone on any kind of pedestal. I hear everything with realistic trust and skepticism. So, while there are some things I've heard him say that I am not totally on board with, I must say that I think this criticism does seem to miss the point. I don't know much about them as people and don't necessarily care that much. But I do very much resonate with what they say and I hope my perspective on this can be something to consider.

I know both of these beings very well and the above comments are insightful to the danger of looking for the truth outside oneself from any one other then a best friend or person of wisdom. Such a person is as humble and intelligent as the Dalai Lama, and always empowers each individual toward direct access to love. The teachers that lean toward superiority, and aggression are entirely to similar to alpha chimp males, who are compelled to dominate all those around them. Thank god we are passing out of this difficult stage of our collective childhood/adolescence.

What would this "truth" be, that is inside(?) from a friend or person of wisdom? How does one become empowered towards direct access to love? How is love being defined here? I would like to thank god, but what exactly is god in absolute terms?

Great post. I'll respond to the last question asked, "what exactly is god in absolute terms?" Let's define "absolute": definite, unconditional, categorical, unquestionable, incontrovertible, etc. As a metaphysical theologian (without a church), I like M. Scott Peck's definition of God as consciousness and Joseph Campbell's definition of it as energy, and generally combine the two concepts simply as consciousness and energy, which does not conflict or negate with any religion's God, nor any mystic's Spirit. I contend this energy and consciousness, by whatever name, does not need or asked to be worshiped or thanked. But when/if we do, what we are projecting is an aspect of love, which contributes to the expansion of our own consciousness as well that of the aggregate's.

Jane, I like how you view "God." And your thought, "by whatever name."

Consciousness and energy... probably no need to add "God" to the equation. But if people feel like it, why not? Our thoughts are real.

Albeit a different sort of reality than the world that exists outside our thoughts. Still real, though.


Thanks for your comment. How would you interpret consciousness and energy? Is there an absolute consciousness and energy, beyond time and space?

>"So there isn't a way to prove that Integral philosophy is right or wrong."

Odd statement. You mean you don't think that good nutrition, exercise and sleep is right? That is part of an "integral philosophy." Certainly, aspects of Wilber's work may be wrong but it is such a sweeping generalization to even consider Holism or Integral anything as being right or wrong in entirety, which is what your statement suggests.

Jan, I think you missed the point of the two paragraphs that you partially quoted in your comment.

That point is...

Wilber takes a whole bunch of ideas, tosses them together, and claims this as some sort of "integral philosophy." The ideas aren't original. Like, good nutrition, exercising, and getting enough sleep.

Wow. I can read about this in the Life section of our newspaper. All Wilber has done is make up some categories that reflect how his mind works, and dump various ideas, facts, theories, and what-not into those categories.

There isn't any evidence that his conceptual framework reflects reality, or even reflects anything outside of his own mind.

Ken Wilber has erected just another of countless "Towers of Babel". Only a towering ego could keep trying long before a more humble perspective would would have realized the folly.

Don McKee

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