Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Wilber has a new (premium) offering on Integral Life - an excerpt from his forthcoming book, The Religion of Tomorrow:
"Supermind is the epitome of freedom and responsibility. You, and in the deepest sense you alone, become responsible for the entire planet and all of its beings. Immanuel Kant beautifully defined a “cosmopolitan” as one who feels that, “when anyone anywhere suffers, I suffer” – a profound world-centric awareness. And the ultimate cosmopolitanism is when one feels that, when anyone or anything anywhere suffers, I suffer, because I am them.
Supermind is that type of all-inclusive, all-pervading, all-embracing responsibility. And it starts with being able to hold the entire Kosmos in your awareness without shutting out so much as a single item. Absolutely everything entering your field of awareness, with no exceptions whatsoever, is fully and totally embraced, saturated with love, radiating from the infinity of your own heart-space, streaming from the radical fullness of your very own being, and reaching out to each and every thing and event, in each and every direction in the known ends of the Kosmos itself. There is simply nothing anywhere, at any time, on the outside of this awareness. It is “one without a second.” And having no outside, it has no inside either, but simply is.
To contract at all in the face of this undivided wholeness awareness, this total painting of all that is existing in this timeless all-inclusive present, is to set in motion the self-contraction, the separate self-sense that latches onto the relative, finite, conventional small self – a necessary functional entity for this manifest world created by the True Self itself, along with the rest of creation – but latches onto that small self, or “I”, as if it were itself the True Self, or “I-I”, thus setting in motion the entire train of events known as ignorance, illusion, Maya, deception, the fallen world, the world of the lie. This is transmitted in each and every lower structure present, and the radically enlightened nature of Supermind becomes lost and obscured in wave after wave of avoidance.
And that avoidance rests on this, what we might call “primordial avoidance” – the very first subtle looking away. If we go back to the single, indivisible, total painting notion, there is some element, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, that for whatever reason I don’t want to look at, to be aware of, to notice, to allow into my awareness – that single, primary turning away, looking away, moving away. That primordial avoidance sets in motion the events that are, at this level, the dominant cause of the world of Maya, illusion, ignorance, deception. And every level, top to bottom, is infected with this delusion."
–Ken Wilber, Supermind and the Primordial Avoidance
Joseph, yes, that is exactly my concern -- which, on the other discussion, I related to Petersen and Jaruzel's concept of "argumentum ad Wilberiam."
From the paper I linked earlier:
Ontotheology in Its Place: Such ominous accusations seem, however, to judge the activity solely by its abuses. Religion exists to foster human attempts to live in relationship with what vastly outclasses us. Religion acknowledges the obvious: such relationships have to engage human cognitive and affective capacities. If Westphal et al advise us to abandon ontotheological projects, other theologians down through the ages try to respect Divine Otherness while insisting both that there is a place for ontotheology and that ontotheology can be kept in its place.
Metaphor, Myth, and Multiple Ontotheologies: For a contemporary example, take John Hick’s theory of religious pluralism. In An Interpretation of Religion, Hick adopts a broadly Kantian picture, according to which the Real in Itself is not cognitively accessible to humans. The Real is trans-categorial in that it cannot be housed by the conceptual cubby-holes that the human mind invents. Nevertheless, Hick recognizes, the human race has responded to encounters with the Real in Itself by evolving a variety of complex religious practices--practices that eventually include not only authoritative narratives but also philosophical theology. Thomson’s Heidegger allows a given ontotheology full sway for a time and a season, while warning that its epoch will come to an end. Hick counters: the plurality of the world’s great religions shows that many competing ontotheologies are in play at the same time. Hick does not conclude that ontotheology is intrinsically pernicious. Instead, he issues twin cautions. First, Hick declares that the transcendence of the Real means that no ontotheological statements can be literally true. Ontotheological statements can be at most mythologically or metaphorically true, and that only insofar as they make a positive contribution to the wider religious praxis of producing saints. Second, if ontotheology is fine in its place, what is not alright is insisting that one religion (say, Christianity) is superior to others because its ontotheology is literally true while the others are literally false. The ontotheologies of the world’s great religions are all mythologically or metaphorically true, to the extent that the world’s great religions are equally successful in fostering growth from self-centeredness to altruism in their devotees.
From a conversation at the Yahoo Adult Development forum on Wilber. (You might have to be a member of it to access this. Click on "show message history.")
"Michael Lamport Commons wrote: We agree Judy, That is why he is transitional to metasystematic. He is at step5 in Sara's and my scheme. He as smashed together the elements and is making some hits and lots of overgeneralizations . MLC"
So can Wilber be at stage Supermind when at the time of that writing (2009) he was only transitioning to metasystematic? I don't see in his writing since then that he has further developed in Commons' scheme.
Another conversation at that group on states and stages.
And this one:
"Wilber's ontological scheme, described below. It is not even paradigmatic. It is a comparison of systems, metasystematic, but not too carefully done. MLC"
From Sidebar G: "Actual stages CANNOT be skipped" (10).
A wiki page on Aurobindo's Integral Supermind 'haunting':)
It just has to be true…….It kind of reminds me of Neo receiving his downloads! "Hey, I know kung-fu."
Wow, many at the FB discussion on this topic take for granted that there is a Supermind stage when there is zero evidence for it. As Thompson (and many others) makes clear, phenomenological experience of such things is not verifiable evidence in itself of what such experiences claim to be.
I was also surprised and a little concerned at how easily it is accepted as a real, existing stage.
I suppose it's easy when one sees the absolute and the relative realms as being of "radically different orders," since the laws of the latter do not apply to the former. How that's postmetaphysical is beyond me, of course, since I'm not enlightened. And apparently mean and green to boot.
It may be that Wilber will go down as one of the greatest contortionists in human history! Trying to squeeze this into post metaphysics the way he does is almost painful; when it appears to me that a more congruent post metaphysics would lead to post metaphysical nonduality-or something like that. Anyway, to argue, for a moment, from an alternative metaphysics: Wilber certainly likes to put god in his place! A mere mirage, phantasm of the eastern dharmic traditions subtle mind while declaring god is ultimately in its most expansive expression : one and the same thing as a human being. Buddhism in western drag that colonizes all spiritual traditions.
Okay, anyway, how many people are claiming that they can maintain waking consciousness 24/7? Is this one person claiming this or is there a group of people claiming they have this ability? If the latter, should they not present themselves to a university so that there could be some empirical testing done on this group with these claims? I mean, if there are 20 people claiming this then we should be able to do some controlled experiments to see if this group is consistent in observations while sleeping and such.
BTW, I read through the sidebar/excerpt posted earlier and agree that it is one of the most comprehensive maps of spiritual experiences I've ever come across. In this regard Wilber is a spiritual genius, no doubt about that in my mind; but a new stage of human civilization where people are claiming superconsciousness 27/7 ought to be something that could be tested and verified /falsified. I suspect that because this is a post metaphysical superconsciousness that there will be no concomitant display of outward siddhis?
There's some pretty twisted contortion going on at the FB thread on defending the Lingam on this. Like leader, like follower.
This is a highly strange dynamic for sure. On one hand there is a claim to an inward exalted state that has no outward corresponding ability that would help back up the interior claim. On the other hand, in our modern culture, any such claims should be immediately explored empirically for validation/falsification ( as much as that is possible) . Surely there would be a university in India that would eat this up and volunteer to do empirical research along this line? But, okay, let's suppose that happened and it was verified that these claims were true. What would that mean in the real world geopolitically and energetically? Are Putin and Xi going to prostrate themselves to the new spiritual philosopher kings? And furthermore, who gets to claim this? Does Jeb Bush get to claim Integral cosmic consciousness? Can anyone claim this ? Oh, it gives me a headache:( alas, being a rare hated breed of liberal theist that I am. And again, does not (spiritual evolution) realize that we need an energy solution to the 'black tar' issue. Can this exalted state at least solve that one?
Until there is a scientific reason to think these states confer more than just a subjective joy-ride or psycho-therapeutic benefits, all claims of privileged access to reality or wisdom, etc.. are a prime example of the epistemic fallacy.
What can be scientifically proven? Perhaps that experiencing these states makes one feel better or improves certain kinds of cognitive functioning, or has certain health benefits. BUT making ontological claims of having privileged access to reality is unwarranted from the scientific point of view. This then becomes New-Age territory, which is why very few in business, science or academia will touch it with a 10' pole.
Therapists, however, are drawn to this stuff precisely because experiencing these states can bring positive psychological and health benefits.