Sunday, November 12, 2006

My new essay - Integral Esotericism

I've been referring to my essay in progress for a while now. It's gone through a number of name changes in the process of writing it. The final title I decided on is Integral Esotericism: A new Integral paradigm in theory and practice. Part 1 has just appeared on Integral World. If you don't want to wait for all eight installments I can send you the whole thing in either Open Office or Word Document format.

In a sense this essay continues the previous one, and hopefully concludes my critique of current Wilberian Integral theory and the mainstream Integral movement, while proposing an alternative approach. But it is also in a sense an independent work, since my ideas have continued to evolve and develop since I finished the first essay.

Consistency-wise, this second essay is nowhere as good as it could have been, but I submitted it because I just got sick of constantly adding to, revising, and rewriting it. One needs to bring things to a closure so one can start on new projects.

As a result (and much like my Kheper website as a whole), Integral Esotericism contains layers of development, a sort of archeological or stratigraphic succession of ideas, with the newer ideas plastered on top of older ones, and the sections of older ideas only incompletely revised and updated. The result has a sort of patchwork or collage-like feel.

I now want to turn my attention to writing books; although these books will still incorporate a lot of my previous internet published material. The advantage of a hard copy book is that it can reach many more people than the internet can (but also, vice versa!) and it has a permanence about it that helps ground that thoughtform in the physical world. I already have an outline for a book on my website but after working in these two long essays my ideas have again changed so I will probably end up either writing other books first, or else dividing the material I already have among or into several books. When the books are written the material will also form the basis for the integral theory on the website. Ideally book and website should supplement each other; Shambhalla does this quite well with Wilber's books and essays.


Blogger Luminous Filament said...

The extraordinary thing about Aurobindo is that he experienced first and did write later. His all the writings are supported by his years and years of yoga practices where he experimented and re-examined again and again and then he found support or identical quotes in ancient Indian treatise which are still complex and very difficult for people to understand. For instance the parts of the Veda which are still sound Greek and Latin to most of the scholars of the Veda but when you read Aurobindo with the help of his new Nirukta, the Mantra becomes much easier to understand. Once he mentioned in a letter to a friend that he wants to make a new Nirukta but unfortunately he could not complete the work in his life time. Without that special connotations and explanations of the Vedic words it is difficult to bring home the real sense of his very deep esoteric writings.
Furthermore, he declared to one of his nearest disciples that almost by the end of 1910 his mind stopped thinking. He was acting and working on the intuitive guidance from within. He had made his intuition enlightened by so many special yogic practices. Now the question is whether one can decode the deeper meanings of Aurobindo's writings without deep study of his Vedic interpretations and essays on the secret of the Veda and can one use his intellectual mind and mental faculties to enter into Aurobindo's real sense of the theme?

4:27 AM  
Blogger ebuddha said...

Hey Alan,

"Cultic" is a pretty strong expression, isn't it? I've definitely had my disagreements with Wilber - and kept documenting the incorrect arguments, bad judgments, and hostility in those infamous posts.

But "cultic?" There is a specific operational definition that is available here. For example, the BITE model.

Of the these 4, really, the one that could be thought of as being utilized by Wilber, is the T - Thought Control.

Even this though, is bound up with the fact that Wilber IS a mapmaker, and so has attachment to his maps.

But being a Philosophy control freak, doesn't have much to do with being a cult controller.

1:27 PM  
Blogger m alan kazlev said...

hi Ebuddha

To clarify, when i say "cultic" i mean an uncritical and worshipful acceptance of the teachings of a charismatic leader. It does not have to be a Jim Jones type thing; indeed suicide cults and even behaviour-control cults in general would seem to be extremely rare, and it is only their notoriety and the fear stirred up by the mass media, established religions (just as cultic minbd you!), and so on that makes them so prominant in people's minds.

See Len Oakes, Prophetic Charisma, for some examples of what i mean by cultic, and a cultic leader (charismatic prophet, a category to which Wilber himself qualifies). Note that I do not necessarily agree with all of Oakes' psychological explanations of narcissism, the charismatic moment, and the charismatic personality. I would instead explain these things in terms of what Sri Aurobindo calls the Intermediate Zone. This is not to deny what Oakes says, but only that it can at best be a minor and partial explanation.

Thanks for posting that interesting link.

To go through the categories they give and apply them to KW and his following. Thought Control I agree definitely. But also Emotional Control. A couple of the Earpy blog posts show fear of persecution and shadow projection; see the appropriate footnotes in part 2-xii of my essay on Integral World. Very much the idea of the Persecuted Elect, which i would explain in terms of paranoia due to KW's hypersensitivity to criticism. Scapegoating of critics and rivals (e.g. CIIS, and now Visser's Integral World), the idea of Wilber's own group as a special sanctuary, etc etc.

Information Control. There is the I-I ingroup, a lot of secrecy as Frank has pointed out in several posts; in contrast to science and academia which is always transparent and publically accessible and accountable.

Behaviour Control, none there, KW is faultless in that area. So KW / I-I would score 3 out of 4, but always at a pretty benign level.

In short I rate KW / I-I as

o No Behaviour Control
o Mild Information Control
o Moderate Thought Control
o Mild Emotional Control

4:13 PM  
Blogger Anand said...

The problem with eclecticism is that when carried to an extreme, the linearity that is integral to communication is lost. That is, unless you use effective metaphors and analogies.
Still, I commend your efforts and wish you well.

9:47 PM  
Blogger margaret "saraswati" said...

Impressed with your index of topics - not finding many bloggers who are engaging the spiritual, intellectual and yogic demensions of integral practices (these conversations still tend to be in print).

10:47 PM  
Blogger Tusar N Mohapatra said...

Is their any consonance between the colour codes used by Ken and the significance The Mother attributes to various colours?

10:35 PM  
Blogger m alan kazlev said...

Tusar said:
Is their any consonance between the colour codes used by Ken and the significance The Mother attributes to various colours?

Hi Tusar.

No, none. The Spiral Dynamics system used by Wilber and Beck is based on an arbitrary choice of colours developed by Beck's former co-worker Chris Cowan as a purely mnemonic device. Cowan strongly argues that Wilber and Beck have misinterpreted the Spiral Dynamics system with their "integral" spiral dynamics. (see links at the bottom of the Ken Wilber Wikipedia page, and on Frank Visser's Wilber critics page, for more on this)

The Mother in contrast speaks from her own profound occult experiences and supramental realisations.

2:25 PM  

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