Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Disappointments with the integral movement

Nothing much to report

I'm working on several books.

Still doing my "theta" meditation

Posted a somewhat acerbic comment on Open Integral, but it didn't come up for some reason (sometimes there's a 12 or whowever many hour delay before a post appears).

I fear that Edward Berge (see his original post in the above link) is correct, Open Integral looks like going the way of the dodo. The reasons why are stated in my comment.

But basically Open Integral's problem is that

o it couldn't get beyond Wilberian commentary (ho hum)
o there is no spiritual consensus, so it remains at the mental level
o some of the most dynamic people in the Integral (sensu lato) community chose not to get involved, or else were felt that the environment there is unsatisfactory

It is necessary for the Integral movement (actually it's not uniform enough to be a movement) to be recreated anew. We've had Sri Aurobindo who laid the spiritual foundation and set forward (in my biased approasal) the most profound philosophical and esoteric teachings ever. We've had Ken Wilber the master populariser who has been succesful in getting ideas accepted in the on-line community. But now we need co-creation through the work of many spiritually strong individuals. Not followers who would shine in the light of another, but leaders who are strong and mature to work with others of like mind and of duifferent mind, for a larger and broader and deeper and higher future.

Two and a half years ago, i was enraptured by reading the ideals on the Wilber Integral University site, and thought that this was it (they just had to dump their Wilber worship, or if that was impractical, at least add worship of dozens of other teachers who are equal and greater than Ken). But all I found was cultism and worship of one man, and my dissilusionment was great.

Then after Earpy I thought that Wilber's controversial actions would galvanise the larger integral community into action, to establish something greater. Perhaps Open Integral was to be the seed. But it seems that this is going nowhere (although it may still reinvent itself)

Another possibility is Arina / Integral Review, which seems to be the best Integral academic forum around. Perhaps this can be the nucleus for a new integral vision. Having just participated in an online forum there, I've found the people involved to be both sincere and enthusiastic.

But for me now, the goal is to get these books written!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Initial impressions reading Jean Gebser

I've started reading Jean Gebser's Ever Present Origin - actually it isn't the sort of book one can read from cover to cover so i'm reading it in bits. Very intriguing but also very heavy and difficult to read; very much that "old world" style of writing. Blavatsky, Jung, and Aurobindo are the same (as are most 18th and 19th century authors), it makes for very tiring reading; although if you read only small selections here and there you tune in to a lot of wisdom.

I had heard about Gebser through Wilber, but unfortunately I have to say that once again this is an example of how Wilber (without meaning to, i'm sure) totally misinterprets (or Wilberises; i.e. makes them out to be earlier predecessors of his own views) the people he cites and refers too. Gebser in fact is dead against the sort of linear, perspictival, evolutionary-progress-orientated approach championed by Wilber, contrast Wilber's AQAL cosmology (see Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, or Integral Psychology, or other such books), the Wilber-Beck Spiral Dynamics, etc etc, with pp.36-41 of Ever Present Origin (Ohio University Press). A better approach to Gebser is through William Irwin Thompson; both have a visionary multidisciplinary renaissance man type approach. Gebser also reminds me of Steiner in the description of his Magical, Mythic, and Mental structures of consciousness. But unlike Steiner and Wilber these are not "sequential", as mentioned, Gebser rejects that sort of interpretation; "archetypal" might be a better word; all the structures are archetypal, as indicated by the table of correspondences in the back of the book.

So this has really deepened my appreciation of teh range of persoectives that constitute the Integral movement and Integral philosophy. Whitehead, who I haven't read, and Teilhard who I have, a bit, are two evolutionary theologians who are also representative of the "Integral Paradigm". More about this in my book in progress of the same name.