Talking About Blue Magic

integralMagic-logo-smallThe Secret Fourth Step of Initiation into the Integral Identity and Worldview

In various discussions that we have, it’s hard enough to talk about things, do we really need to take a meta-perspective in which we talk about the hidden structures of consciousness which govern the ways that we talk about things?

Not at all, if you are not inclined towards such talk and the requisite homework it entails in Integral Theory and the domains of knowledge (structuralism, psychology, systems theory, etc.) which fall into your reading list if you start taking an Integral approach.

But let’s say you really have no choice. This means that you have found that your former worldview is Green (a.k.a. postmodern or First-Tier) and you have outgrown it. In order for you to maintain some semblance of psychological equilibrium, you must discover the new identity which is emerging within you. You have read some books or followed online discussions or spoken to friends and learned a secret: you are probably Teal (a.k.a. Yellow vMEME, Integral consciousness, Strategist ego-maturity, etc.) You’re pretty sure that’s not just wishful thinking or your worst nightmare coming true.

What do you do about it? You create a To Do List. Continue reading “Talking About Blue Magic”

Thelema and Integral Theory: A Missing Link

True Will is Unique Gift is (the Triune) God’s Will

With this formula, the central tenets of Thelema, Integral Theory, and Catholic mysticism can be put into harmonious juxtaposition. My True Will expresses My Unique Gift, which makes visible the invisible activity of God’s Will.

Thelema understands that the evolved soul is capable of a higher morality which must follow the course of its self-realization into a fulfilling sense of mission, not merely obedience to a rigid moralism. It speaks of the Will, which we call Unique Will.

Integral Theory understands that there is a Unique Gift which we have to give, a flowering of the Unique Self, which is our enlightened awareness, knowledgeable of our lack of separation with All-That-Is. The Unique Will is the Will of the Unique Self.

Catholic mysticism recognizes above all the reality of God as Trinity, the Holy Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer in Whose Will the will of the believer is inspired, freed from its baggage of crude egoism, and maintained in the face of difficulties.

Continue reading “Thelema and Integral Theory: A Missing Link”

These Two Forms Of Spiritual Bypass Aren’t A Bad Thing

Spiritual bypass isn’t necessarily such a bad thing, says Mark Forman, in “A New Way to Approach Spiritual Bypass”. The article reexamines a familiar idea in Integral circles, that of spiritual bypassing, and offers new “second-generation” applications of Integral theory.

Forman builds on John Welwood’s definition: “[Spiritual bypassing is] a widespread tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks.” To this, he gives four distinct types of bypass. Two of these are not so good (i.e., problematic bypass and narcissistic bypass), but two aren’t necessarily negative:

Expectable Bypass: Built into every stage of development is some capacity to objectively confront reality as it is and another tendency to add subjective elements of fantasy to it – to project or imagine what we would like life to be like[[i]]. This tension might be irreducible, since I would argue that humans require some reality and some fantasy even through to the very highest stages of growth. Whatever the case, we can expect that people will bypass certain hard truths or difficult challenges as a regular matter of stage capacity and as a normal part of development. It is entirely expectable. Our position clinically should be that everyone will do this from time-to-time, and that our challenges to clients showing this tendency should be deliberate and focused, not automatic. Such bypassing might not be a problem at all, but just a natural psychological tendency at work.

States-Driven Bypass: When a person has a powerful spiritual opening, or takes up an intensive spiritual practice, they often engage in a different type of bypass. They are likely to experience deep altered states and be so compelled by the states themselves that they will minimize many important aspects of life (such as money, relationship, sexuality, and so forth) in order to pursue a maximal ability to experience further states. This might be best likened to a biological drive, like hunger or thirst, which can capture and significantly alter an individual’s life trajectory. This drive will likely run its course in months or years – depending on what depth of states and insights are eventually attained – but this path is not pathological in-and-of-itself. We have to understand this as a unique clinical situation when we see it and support the client appropriately. This category of bypass is most related to the states element of Integral Theory.

Read the full article at the CIT Integral website.

Mark Forman, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist with over a decade’s experience working with individuals, couples, children, and families.

A Challenge To Frank Visser

apple-and-orangeI enjoyed reading Frank Visser’s reply in “What Would Wilber Do?” to my earlier post called “Properly Integral: A Response To Frank Visser’s Three Disappointments”, after I got over a bit of frustration at having my arguments characterized to make me look as ridiculous as possible. It’s all a fair part of the blogging game and done in good fun.

Visser begins by once again bemoaning the lack of engagement with criticism he sees with critics by the integral community and especially by Ken Wilber, citing the example of Jeff Meyerhoff’s book. Since I have previously discussed this issue and note that he didn’t specifically reply to my points regarding Ken’s many responses to critics, willingness to change, and so forth, I am tempted to move on. He continues to repeat the canard that Wilber doesn’t engage with critics regardless of how many times this is pointed out to be incorrect in so many ways, the ways that really count.

There are other responses in Visser’s article which I am not going to take on directly because I think the answers suggest themselves to the discerning reader. To respond would only take the discussion in the direction of “Didn’t Wilber say a few inaccurate things over the course of more than twenty books, and why doesn’t this bother you as much as it bothers me and should bother everyone?” and “Doesn’t the fact that I’m subscribed to a bunch of opt-in E-mail lists that I personally joined prove that Integral thought is, in fact, overly marketed in the whole wide culture throughout all media markets everywhere in the world?” and “Doesn’t the fact that Wilber once wrote that Spirit offers a ‘spiritual explanation’ mean exactly that he thinks it is actually a ‘scientific explanation as these signifiers are understood by the orange vMEME’ too, and therefore his philosophy as a whole is bunk?”

Continue reading “A Challenge To Frank Visser”

Properly Integral: A Response To Frank Visser’s Three Disappointments

I read Frank Visser’s “Reaching Out to the World” with appreciation and, at times, exasperation, particularly the conclusion in which he instructs the reader as to the “proper” way of approaching Integral philosophy. Here are my initial reactions, for what they’re worth.

Reading Visser’s essay, which he calls a new chapter of his decade-old book Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion, helps me to know Wilber better and see the Integral community and its detractors more clearly. That is a huge gift. I wish Frank nothing but good tidings for the future of his projects, especially Integral World.

For those who don’t know who he is, Visser is an intellectual biographer of Wilber’s who over time became one of his greatest detractors. After all these years, Frank admits that he is “disappointed”, actually a kind of “triple disappointment.” He regrets (1) that Wilber’s understanding of science was not “that deep”, that (2) Wilber did not respond to online critics who contributed to his website (which was formerly called The World of Ken Wilber, BTW), and that (3) the Integral community didn’t seem to mind.

All three of these disappointments color Frank’s new chapter, which is really sort of an old chapter for those of us who have been paying at least a little attention over the past decade. Let’s take a look at each of them.

The First Disappointment

I guess Visser’s critique of Wilber’s take on neo-Darwinism is almost supposed to be self-evidently true, a knock down by a giant of a 98-pound weakling in a grotesquely mismatched prize fight. But it doesn’t really convince. These two paragraphs are the crux of Visser’s argument, beginning with a Wilber quote:

In Integral Spirituality (2006) he [Ken Wilber] states:

That drive—Eros by any other name—seems a perfectly realistic conclusion, given the facts of evolution as we understand them. Let’s just say there is plenty of room for a Kosmos of Eros.[33]

This can be considered the core of Wilber’s philosophy—more central than holons, heaps, or artifacts; quadrants, levels, lines, states and all that jazz—not only the process of biological evolution, but the cosmos as a whole, is governed by a mysterious spiritual Force. Apparently, for Wilber, there is no other way to explain nature’s complexities. He is inspired in this respect by A.N. Whitehead’s process philosophy, which postulates an immanent divine force in evolution.[34]

While I have defended similar notions in the past, and have even criticized Wilber for misrepresenting the esoteric view of evolution[35] which postulates a divine upward drive towards complexity, after years of studying the field of biological evolution I would no longer hold that view. On the contrary, I discovered that science has offered many plausible explanations for the existence of cosmological and biological complexity. This makes the postulation of a spiritual Eros in the Kosmos rather premature. So instead of challenging Wilber from the perennialist position, which I did in my earlier writings, over the years I have challenged him on Integral World from the naturalistic position of science.[36] Let’s really get post-metaphysical. Let’s get physical![37] Though Wilber may be strong in the fields of mind and culture, his coverage of the domains of life and matter leaves much to be desired. This casts grave doubts on Wilber’s claim for a Theory of Everything.

How about that! If you hadn’t been paying attention, when Wilber opposed metaphysics Visser was for it, but later apparently Ken sort of came around and acknowledged that his work had one metaphysical premise, and just then Visser coincidentally turns around and becomes anti-metaphysical. Well, okay, fine. They’re both permitted to evolve, aren’t they?

I would ask you to notice two things about the Wilber quote chosen by Visser. First, that Wilber describes Eros as a “perfectly realistic conclusion”. Second, Wilber says that “there is plenty of room” for Eros in his philosophy. Wilber nowhere invokes Spirit as an “explanation” for the universe.

Continue reading “Properly Integral: A Response To Frank Visser’s Three Disappointments”

Alethic Coaching: A Course in Critical Realism

Noting that Roy Bhaskar died peacefully at his home so recently, Gary Hawke publicizes five hours of video created earlier this year during the Introduction to Critical Realism project. The project was intended to introduce the three main stages of Critical Realism, established through the Institute of Education.

The videos are currently offered free at the Alethic Coaching website. Hawke introduces them as follows:

At the heart of Alethic Coaching are two powerful truth questioning philosophies, Integral Theory, and Critical Realism. A quick search on YouTube will offer you many links to videos about Integral Theory, but very little about Critical Realism, and I felt that I wanted to change that. I also wanted to address the difficulty that is presupposed in reading Roy’s work. Having spend many hours with Roy listening to him speak, I knew that if I could get a recording of him talking about the stages of Critical Realism it would help the reader.

At the beginning of 2014 I began to develop a project with the founder of Critical Realism, Roy Bhaskar, in which we would hold a number of live video stream classroom events; which would be recorded with the aim of posting out on YouTube.

In May 2014, Roy and I held our first planned event, which was transposed into a video format that could be up loaded to YouTube.

Because the project was an experiment of both the web streaming software and whether it was possible to offer an introduction to Critical Realism over the web, it was decided to offer the event for free.

However, the recordings do take more than one watch and at times can become challenging. For those new to Critical Realism I would recommend, looking though the post “How to Learn Critical Realism” where you will find a comprehensive reading list. I am very excited to have been able to get Critical Realism onto YouTube, and I am please that you are now able to spend time in the company of Roy Bhaskar, as he takes you through his powerful philosophy.

There is now just over 5 hours of teaching, within this series of videos Roy will take you through the three main stages of Critical Realisms, Basic (or Original) Critical Realism, Dialectical Critical Realism, and The Philosophy of metaReality.

Visit Alethic Coaching to view the videos on Critical Realism.

Meet Ken Wilber at Success 3.0

Ken-WilberAs you may know, I will soon be visiting Boulder, Colorado to attend the Success 3.0 Summit which is bringing together key thought leaders together to explore the impact that can be made by collaborating together and redefining success.

Among the folks who I am most looking forward to seeing is my friend Ken Wilber.  Owing to his health, I’m not sure whether he will appear by video or in-person, but either way is good. His bio as it appears on the site:

According to Jack Crittenden Ph.D., author of Beyond Individualism, “the twenty-first century literally has three choices: Aristotle, Nietzsche, or Ken Wilber.” If you haven’t already heard of him, Ken Wilber is one of the most important philosophers in the world today. He is the most widely translated academic writer in America, with 25 books translated into some 30 foreign languages. Ken Wilber currently lives in Denver, Colorado, and is still active as a philosopher, author, and teacher, with all of his major publications still in print.

Tony Schwartz, the president, founder, and CEO of The Energy Project, and the author of What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America, has referred to Wilber as “the most comprehensive philosophical thinker of our times.” Roger Walsh M.D., Ph.D., the well-known professor of Psychiatry, Philosophy and Anthropology at UCI’s College of Medicine, believes “Ken Wilber is one of the greatest philosophers of this century and arguably the greatest theoretical psychologist of all time.” And in commenting on the scope and impact of Ken Wilber’s philosophy Mitchell Kapor, founder of Lotus Development, and the co-founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation, mentions that “After reading Wilber, it is impossible to imagine looking at the world the same way again”.

What makes Ken Wilber especially relevant in today’s world is that he is the originator of arguably the first truly comprehensive or integrative philosophy, aptly named “Integral Theory”. As Wilber himself puts it: “I’d like to think of it as one of the first believable world philosophies…” Incorporating cultural studies, anthropology, systems theory, developmental psychology, biology, and spirituality — it has been applied in fields as diverse as ecology, sustainability, psychotherapy, psychiatry, education, business, medicine, politics, sports and art.

Wilber explains the need for an Integral Approach in the following way: In our current post-modern world, we possess an abundance of methodologies and practices belonging to a multitude of fields and knowledge traditions. What is utterly lacking however, is a coherent organization, and coordination, of all these various practices, as well as, their respective data-sets. What is needed is an approach that moves beyond this indiscriminate eclectic-pluralism, to an “Integral Methodological Pluralism”, aimed at enriching and deepening every field through an understanding of exactly how and where each one fits in relation to all the others.

Continue reading “Meet Ken Wilber at Success 3.0”

Ram Dass on Unconditional Love (and a Teaching on Postmodernism)

The power of unconditional love is truly amazing. If you’ve ever been pulled over by a state trooper, you’ll be struck by this tale from spiritual guru Ram Dass:

pulled-overSo I started out on the New York thruway. I was just galumphing along in such a high state that I was hanging out with various forms of the Divine. I was doing my mantra, which I usually am doing one way or another, to remember that this isn’t the only game in town. So I’m holding onto the steering wheel and I’m keeping enough consciousness to keep the car on the road. At another part I’m singing to Krishna, who is blue, is radiant, plays the flute, is the seducer of the Beloved, all of whom we are, back into the merging with God, back into the formless. I am in ecstasy hanging out with blue Krishna, driving along the New York freeway, when I noticed in my rear view mirror a blue flashing light.

Now, there is enough of me down, so I knew it was a state trooper. I pulled over the car, and this man got out of the car and he came up to the window. I opened the window and he said, “may I see your license and registration?” I was in such a state that when I looked at him, I saw that it was Krishna who had come to give me darshan. How would Krishna come in 1970? Why not as a state trooper? Christ came as a carpenter.

Unfortunately, this piece was posted on Facebook with a graphic saying “Everybody is the Guru”. This is not the point of Dass, unless I am mistaken and I don’t think I am! His point is that everybody is the divine being, the Krishna or the Christ. A guru is a teacher who, regardless of whether he is regarded as divine by others, leads people to enlightenment or divinity.

Read the whole thing.

Dass is a guru, a wonderful writer and enlightened soul, and his story is splendidly more illuminative of divine truths than the average person’s. Unfortunately, Dass’s writing was advertised on Facebook with the meme “Everyone is the Guru”

It’s not the best in spiritual teaching that claims “Everyone is the Guru”, to say the least. It’s a fallacy, or better yet it’s a meme which is part of the postmodern pulverizing of value hierarchies. In terms of Integral Theory, it’s the Green meme. But pulverize the distinction between gurus and everyone else and you obscure the light which leads to the realization that “Everyone is Divine”. That is tragic whenever it happens in postmodern thinking, which is not at the front line of consciousness.

On the other hand, the message that unconditional love can transform one’s encounter with a state trooper into a blissful mystical union is gorgeous.

Brett Thomas: Integral Must Find the Simplicity on the Other Side of Complexity

Integral Should Be More Like Apple (Credit: Brett Thomas)

See Brett Thomas’s “Integral Should Be More Like Apple.” Money quote:

Those of us who are enthusiastic advocates for applied Integral Theory can be a lot like the early mp3 player manufacturers.

We often speak of the technical capabilities of this new “technology.” But rather than talk about transfer rates, megabits per second, and miniaturization, we speak of quadrants, lines, levels, states and types. We rave about remarkable innovations such as integral methodological pluralism. We are enthusiastic advocates things for second-order adaptive change methodologies that move sentient holons out of gamma traps, through flex states into new alpha configurations.

As integral enthusiasts, like the early mp3 manufacturers, we sometimes naively believe that consumers care about those things.
Its not that Steve Jobs didn’t care about the technology as much as his peers. Clearly, he possessed a deep and nuanced understanding of the technology that he intended to use to transform his industry (and other industries, as we have now seen).

What set Jobs apart was his understanding of what consumers cared about.

The people who would really benefit from an iPod didn’t care about file compression, transfer rates, or IDE miniaturization. They cared about music.

Read the whole thing.

What do people who don’t give a hoot about quadrants levels, lines, states, and types care really about? I’m talking especially about Americans, but generally: themselves.

Core Integral: Ken Wilber talks about Vision Logic, Illumined Mind, Intuitive Mind, and Overmind

Ken Wilber (from KenWilber.com)

In a free audio posted on the Core Integral site, Ken Wilber addresses some tough questions from advanced students of Integral Theory.

The first question is from Kiernan who asks,

My question is about the higher structures in the cognitive line. Could you describe how you use Vision Logic, Illumined Mind, Intuitive Mind, Overmind and Supermind in your day-to-day life, what does the experience of each look and feel like? And what did the move to each higher cognitive structure involve, how did you make the moves?

Ken Wilber’s response begins in this way:

Vision Logic is thinking wholes, Illumined Mind is sseeing wholes, Intuitive Mind is feeling wholes, Overmind is witnessing wholes, and Supermind is being whole.

Vision Logic, thinking wholes, feels just like thinking. What anyone would recognize when they think about thinking. But it thinks holistically. It thinks from one whole to the next. It doesn’t see individual ideas, but networked ideas, holistic ideas, big pictures, things that are hooked together intrinsically. And it still has a type of gross orientation to some degree. Nonetheless it is opening itself up as well into third-tier or more transpersonal aspects. But it is essentially thinking whole and in terms of wholes.

Illumined Mind is seeing wholes. That’s just actually an immediate perception so it’s not thinking from one whole to the next whole, it’s an immediate seeing of total wholes. And these just come into the horizon and it’s a total grasping, a total embracing. It’s seeing all the individual parts together in a single whole. And moment to moment, it moves from total whole to the next total whole to the next total whole. It’s very immediate and direct, as is Intuitive Mind, which is feeling whole.

I’m just giving very simplified versions.

Feeling whole is an immediate presence. It presents itself as a feeling awareness, but it is holistic. The thing that makes it somewhat different than the two preceding ones in terms of being more holistic is that it is actually feeling the connections. Instead of just thinking something or seeing something from a distsance in a third-person stance, it’s feeling it directly and immediately. It’s an immediate holistic presence that presents itself from moment to moment to moment from one felt wholeness to the next felt wholeness to the next. This feeling of whole is sunk in transpersonal awareness so it’s starting to include not just gross elements but definitely subtle elements. It’s an interesting type of cognition because it’s one of the first that’s anchored in an enduring subtle apprehension. It’s starting to see wholeness from the subtle domain. And yet because it transcends and includes it’s anchored in gross perception as well.

Overmind is where the witness becomes a permanent subject so it’s witnessing wholes and the Witness at this point is somehow, somewhat different from the Witness as a state at lower stages. The Witness as a state can be experienced at any structure, at any structure-stage. But here when the Witness becomes the permanent subject, absolute subjectivity, what it witnesses is whole. It is witnessing gross, subtle, and causal wholeness. That’s what makes the Overmind so interesting and so deeply holistic is that it is a permanent ongoing witnessing. It is a permanent ongoing radical subjectivity. It’s the subject that cannot be made an object, and yet what it is seeing, what it is primarily looking for, is gestalts. Holistic patterns. And these include patterns in gross, subtle, and causal domain.

The Overmind itself is anchored in the causal domain and so it sees from that perspective, and it sees a causal gestalt, subtle gestalt, and gross gestalts. And the gestalt nature is simply determined by the nature of what’s happening at any particular moment. So the gross wholes, subtle wholes, and causal wholes are simply those that present themselves from any of the quadrants at that particular moment that the Witness is witnessing. That just depends on where you are, what’s happening, outside and inside, and so on. But the difference here is that the Witness is being aware of gross and subtle and causal occasions, whereas the Witness as a peak experience can happen at red. And the it’s only aware of gross occasions. Red isn’t seeing anything in the subtle or causal domain. But here it is aware of all three.

And then Supermind is being whole. That is where suchness knows itself. Suchness is self-aware. That means with anything that enters the field of awareness is self-liberating, it’s self-cognizant, moment to moment to moment. That’s the ultimate state of cognition. And it discloses every single individual phenomenon in the entire world is self-manifesting, self-arising, self-knowing, and self-liberating. And that’s just all Supermind sees. It includes Big Mind, but it also has an awareness of all the earlier structures all the way down so it is the ultimate holistic viewpoint.

As the interview continues, Wilber explains how he uses these domains in everyday life to “spiritually hang out” and “check AQAL Theory” as well as how he moved from one to the other. He also answers the question of what he thinks is higher than Overmind, notes how his views compare to Sri Aurobindo’s, and where worldviews fit in.

Listen to the whole audio at the Core Integral Blog.