Monday, October 15, 2007

Essay published, and Kosmos

Phew, finally finished a few days ago my latest essay, Redefining Integral, which has just appeared on Frank Visser's Integral World website (based on my earlier blog post to Integral Praxis of basically the same name, but with heaps more stuff). It should be a seminal essay in the field, and I feel it is my best essay on the Integral Movement so far

Unfortunately, in the version I sent Frank for Integral World, there was an error that came about through my originally too glib overview of the integral journal Kosmos and not taking the time to review their website in more detail.

Because Don Beck's spiral dynamics diagram features prominently, and because there are one or two essays there which are inspired by a more traditional integral theory (the journal itself was founded in 2000, before the larger integral movement really took off), in my essay I classified Kosmos as Integral strictu senso (Wilber-Beck-inspired Integral, with stages, quadrants, etc). I was then informed (after the essay had appeared on the Integral World site) that Kosmos is also closely associated with many individuals from the wider Integral movement; for example Ervin Laszlo (Club of Budapest) and Ashok Gangadean (World Wisdom Council). There is also material by Brian Swimme ("Great Story", “Global Mindshift”), Elizabeth Sahtouris (also on the World Wisdom Council), and in the coming issue Jorge Ferrer (California Institute of Integral Studies). All this authors seem to be dismissed as “postmodern” / “green” by the Integral Movement stricto sensu (Wilber, while being very gracious about it, still considers Ferrer's approach to be “green” meme, while Swimme is listed as a Conscious Evolutionist rather than an Integralist in the WIE issue no. 35 on different interpretations and schools of Evolutionism) All in all, Kosmos falls within the category of the Larger Integral Movement, and indeed seems to be one of the forerunners in the field, with an admirable emphasis on global activism, through their association with the United Nations.

There is more that could be said, but I'll save it for my book in progress A New Heaven and a New Earth

Fortunately, my article has since been corrected (I wrote to Frank about it, and he updated the page straight away, thanks Frank!). But all this raises the problem of how one can accurately convey and present a global movement and paradigm shift. Up until now, I have tended to work on my own, my only connection with the wider integral community being with certain forums and individuals (because there isn't time to contact everyone, but also I admit I was being lazy), it is easy for errors and superficial perceptions to sneak in. In that way at least I feel for Wilber, he's one guy but he's trying single-handedly to explain the world; it can't be done.

So this has shown me that the time has come for me to get more involved in the larger integral / mind shift community, not just on Zaadz, Open Integral, Integral World, and Integral Praxis, admirable as those forums may be, but other groups, forums, organisations, and journals as well.

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Blogger Spread said...

Hi Alan,
I assume that you are the person who posted material at If not, please ignore this message. If you are, I did not know how else to contact you so I have resorted to commenting on your blog.
I applaud your prolific efforts. But I do take issue with your substituting speculation for fact in your fourth paragraph about Alice A. Bailey:
None of this voluminous material, incidentally, has anything to do with authentic Tibetan Buddhism, although there was quite a bit of Theosophy and folksy Christianity in it. Clearly we have here an example of a channelled communication, incorporating elements from the medium's subconscious; but also, as in the case of Jane Robert's "Seth", one cannot discount the possibility of psychic symbiosis with an elevated entity expressing itself through her subconscious.
Had you bothered to read Bailey, A. A., The unfinished autobiography, you would have seen your concerns addressed:
This work of the Tibetan has greatly intrigued people and psychologists everywhere. They dispute as to what is the cause of the phenomenon, and argue that what I write probably comes from my subconscious. I have been told that Jung takes the position that the Tibetan is my personified higher self and Alice A. Bailey is the lower self. Some of these days (if I ever have the pleasure of meeting him) I will ask him how my personified higher self can send me parcels all the way from India, for that is what He has done.

[Page 165] A few years ago a very dear friend and a man who had stood very closely with Foster and me since the inception of our work—Mr. Henry Carpenter—went out to India to try and reach the Masters at Shigatze, a small, native town in the Himalayas, just over the Tibetan frontier. He made this effort three times in spite of my telling him that he could find the Master right here in New York if he took the proper steps and the time was ripe. He felt he would like to tell the Masters, much to my amusement, that I was having too tough a time and that They had better do something about it. As he was a personal friend of Lord Reading, once Viceroy of India, he was given every facility to reach his destination but the Dalai Lama refused permission for him to cross the frontier. During his second trip to India when at Gyantse (the furthest point he could reach near the frontier) he heard a great hubbub in the compound of the dak bungalow. He went to find out what it was and found a lama, seated on a donkey, just entering the compound. He was attended by four lamas and all the natives in the compound were surrounding them and bowing. Through his interpreter, Mr. Carpenter made inquiries and was told that the lama was the abbot of a monastery across the Tibetan frontier and that he had come down especially to speak to Mr. Carpenter.

The abbot told him that he was interested in the work that we were doing and asked after me. He inquired about the Arcane School and gave him two large bundles of incense for me. Later, Mr. Carpenter saw General Laden Lha at Darjeeling. The General is a Tibetan, educated in Great Britain at public school and university and was in charge of the secret service on the Tibetan frontier. He is now dead but was a great and good man. Mr. Carpenter told him of his experience with this lama and told him that he was the abbot of a certain [Page 166] lamaserie. The General flatly denied the possibility of this. He said the abbot was a very great and holy man and that he had never been known to come down across the frontier or visit an Occidental. When, however, Mr. Carpenter returned the following year, General Laden Lha admitted that he had made a mistake; that the abbot had been down to see him.

There is a club in the City of New York that is called the [Page 209] Nobility Club. One day a member of the club asked me to go down and hear the Grand Duke Alexander speak. He was a son of one of the Czars of Russia and brother-in-law of the late Czar Nicholas.

On the way back to the hotel the Grand Duke suddenly turned to me and said, "Mrs. Bailey, if I were to tell you that I also know the Tibetan would it mean anything to you?" "Yes, sir," I said, "it would mean a great deal." "Well, now," replied the Grand Duke, "you understand the triangle, you, Foster and me."

In closing, I would appreciate it if you would replace your incorrect speculation with the facts.

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