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!


Blogger Chaitanya said...

Hi Alan ! Nice to find your blog. Iam writing to you from India.

Iam not sure i follow what you mean by "Disappointed with integral movement" ? What is the need for a collective movement ? What would the goal of this movement be ? Isn't Integral Yoga more of an invidividual effort at personal change ?

I think we need people inspired personally by Integral yoga, and putting their whole energies in solving world problems such as environmental degradation. Implementing the best principles of Integral yoga in their daily lives whatever the endaevor may be.

Do you mean a new spiritual movement is needed ? Don't we have enough of them already ?


4:49 AM  
Blogger m alan kazlev said...

Hi Chaitanya

Yes, good questions!

I am not talking about the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo as such, which is a very sublime teaching that I also follow (and I agree it would be amazing to integrate this practice with environmental and other issues), but a more intellectual and mostly unrelated movement which has formed around the American philosopher Ken Wilber and his teachings. This has also included other teachings as well under the integral umbrella. If it was just about Wilber only I would have no interest in it at all, because mental-only philosophies don't interest me. But I am inspired by this idea of many teachings converging together in a higher synthesis, and this seems to be what the current "Integral movement" is about. I have been trying to encourage more interest there in Sri Aurobindo, who after all, was the original initiator of the integral spiritual tradition.

Yes we probably already have more than enough spiritual and so-called movements as it is. But I am envisaging something different, a sort of community in which like-minded people can participate as co-creators, rather than having a single charismatic authoritarian leader or teacher and a whole lot of followers.

5:28 AM  
Blogger Chaitanya said...

Thanks for your thoughts. I'll follow with interest your progress on the community aspect. Iam not sure if the community you envisage is virtual global communities communicating through internet or geographically local self-sufficient communities like the ones in Auroville. There is lot of interest these days on the internet on both aspects. I see both movements as complimentary to each other. The virtual communities being "information sharing" of like minded people across the global, contributing to perhaps a sort of awareness (or consciousness) rising phenomenon across the planet. Local communities being the physical manifestations of self-sufficient communities across the globe.

My interest is the ecology of the planet, to learn about it, and work to protect it. I was trying to visualize the environmental movement as mini yoga movement across the globe. I.e, people being aware of themselves as part of larger ecology of the planet, which fits into the ultimate yoga paradigm of realizing the self as part of universal self. Given the urgency of ecological issues, i see this as the immediate yoga movement that people can participate in. So, the next immediate question we get is, how can we get people to this awareness. There is lot of media talk about enviromental issues these days, but will it be enough to stir people up into a larger movement ? I would be very happy if you can address these issues also in your blog. How can this awareness about ecology be brought on large scale ? I was reading Aurobindo's commentary on "Yoga of works" in "synthesis of yoga" the other day, where he talks about sacrifice. I immediately connected this "karma yoga" sacrifice to the sacrifice of our greed and economic growth, towards the higher cause of preserving the ecological integrity. Isn't that fascinating ? Environmental action is a karma yoga in itself ! Anyway, i'll be thinking about how we can instill a sense of urgency on the people about ecological issues. I'll appreciate if you can give your thoughts on this issue too. Thanks !!

10:23 AM  
Blogger ZAK said...

What makes you think that a word or concept-Integral will really be a catalyst for change-positive change- in the world where ideas that enter this realm are always mutilated by the fallen human?

Now think about that?

That doesn’t even happen in medical sciences. Never have I heard of a patient when they take medicine they destroy it rather than letting it heal them.


It’s just another shell, containing the thoughts of shattered dreamers

Until man heals himself from the inside all the external shells from dreamers will only serve to distract us from the real work.

We must seek and find the powerful knowledge of a dharma (science) that really works to restore our inner to its past glory and beyond.

This is so simple and clear:

Greats like Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Chrisna, Nagarjuna, Pantjali, and your hero Sri Aurobindo, (I bet they have ruined his teachings or if not give them time they will) have brought great vehicles that have been mutilated, distorted, and virtually destroyed of any of their original value.

So again what makes you think this nebulous concept could do any better?


Someone gets some real wine to fill up the empty wine cellars of Integral with a science that WORKS!

Wilber and his AQAL, Quadrants, Imp and I-I obviously isn’t the real wine

Something by the way he probably borrowed from the Sufi scientist. His AQAL is the first words phonetically said to Muhammad in the Koran: Chpt.96 AL Alaq (the clot) As the 4 Quadrants may be a very cleverly disguised version of their concept of the 4 worlds.
Read the book of certainty. http://www.fonsvitae.com/bookcert.html


4:17 PM  
Blogger m alan kazlev said...

Hi Chaitanya

I found what you say very inspiring and it seems that we are very much in agreement in our aspirations here.

re the type of community - obviously on-line is easier, but ideally there should eventually be a physical community too.

But even finding like-minded people online is difficult!

My idea in writing my books is to provide a catalyst for these sort of ideas and possibilities

Hi Zak

what you say is also very true, which is why I am interested in going beyond the rational mental level and its limitations, to access the spiritual and transcendent. My idea of an integral spirituality is based on this, not on building mental shells (intellectual dogmas). I use the word "Integral" because Sri Aurobindo used it to define his spiritual path, which is also the path i follow.

6:46 PM  
Blogger ZAK said...

Hi Alan,

Excuse the kind of rough rap in my post, often I try to provoke or challenge

My training is in Sufism from the Indo-Iranian area as well as conventional classical Buddhism, but since reading your works, which by the way are brilliant (and I mean it I) I am going to definitely check out Sri Aurobindo.
So far I do like his idea of the whole being transforming into the divine, or the divine subsuming us (Super mind). In fact Rumi said something similar in different words:
He said every cell must become enlightened or transformed!

Now you know that’s awesome and this idea must be a reality if two of the greatest masters both say it hundreds of years apart, in different lanquages!

Now thats Integral

12:47 PM  
Blogger m alan kazlev said...

Hi Zak

Thanks for the kind words!

I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't read much Sufism, apart from a few writers like Corbin, who I greatly like. What you say certainly does indicate a real compatablity and parallel between Sri Aurobindo and Rumi! If you have further references and quotations, I'd love to incorporate this in one of my books in progress!

7:16 PM  
Blogger ZAK said...

Embarrassed, there is so much in this field, so many schools of thought it would take lifetimes to cover it all

I can’t recall were I read the Rumi statement, I will try to remember.

Any Integral Treatise might be negligent without a solid section on Sufism, so I can suggest the following may provide a round spectrum of Sufi and related topics that might be useful to some of your writing projects.

You of course may know these books.

These first two represent a somewhat westernized Sufi, but not too western, and the other
More Islamic Sufism, without too much Islam. They are not as dense or erudite as Corbin; I remember reading him years ago, awesome writer.

The Sufis: Idries Shah
A must read

Got everything in it!


The Psychology of Sufism: Javad Nurbaksh
Describes the esoteric cosmology of Sufism: Spirit, heart, mind, soul, Lateifs.
Great book


Lex Hixon was a Sufi Sheik, Zen Priest, Hindu yogi, and some kind of Christian

His story may fit in with your Integral book.



The Masters of Wisdom: John G. Bennett

This is an interesting book by a Gurjeff follower that describes the spiritual hierarchy in history (great white brotherhood) demiurge.


The Book of certainty


Cosmology at its best


These may help you

Good luck

8:11 AM  
Blogger clyde said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:21 AM  
Blogger clyde said...

"I am envisaging something different, a sort of community in which like-minded people can participate as co-creators, rather than having a single charismatic authoritarian leader or teacher and a whole lot of followers."

I am disappointed as well. So much Wilber does is right, but because it is locked by him, the collective genius is missing. The fundamental flaw is that it is NOT open.

The only way for it to be open is for its members to truly be humble AND intelligent enough to work together and for one member to not overwhelm the "movement".

It is inevitable for some to have a greater holistic grasp from which to invent from, so leadership is also inevitable.

BTW, loved Wilber (and still do) when I first heard of him and Integralism. He is a great popularizer and synthecizer. But its growth will be limited with AQAL and the rigidity of wilber's creative structure.


10:42 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home