Wilber has a new (premium) offering on Integral Life - an excerpt from his forthcoming book, The Religion of Tomorrow:

Supermind and the Primordial Avoidance

An excerpt:

"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

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I did quite a bit of research on the gnostic influence in Dzogchen. See this post for one example.

No worries - we seem to be talking across one another's lines of intention and curiosity.




theurj said:

I don't see how some of the excerpts Balder provided from Wilber's writing on Supermind could be any more clear or obvious:

"You, and in the deepest sense you alone, become responsible for the entire planet and all of its beings."

Not meaning you and I, because less than 0.1% of the world population is at cross-paradigmatic stage. Supermind is 4 stages above that, so we're talking Wilber himself and maybe a few others.

"Supermind directly knows all of existence in all of its levels and dimensions by acquaintance, by identity, by being, and not merely by description, by naming, by describing [....] ultimate reality of the entire show is fully present here and now."

As Balder pointed out this is the metaphysics of presence par excellence. This stage makes for full present awareness and participation is ALL that is, is not yet and ever was. Sounds more that a bit god-like to me. Btw, I don't think there is any such god with these powers either.

LP at FB is trying to make the case that Wilber is not being literal here; it's probably more metaphoric and/or for political or other purposes. I'm not buying that apology.

Hi, Ambo, I appreciate your caution here.  I don't know what Ken is thinking, of course, and didn't intend in my comment to come across as fixed and decided on this as I may have sounded.  On the FB forum, we've talked a bit about my assertion that KW has made the "Adi Da move" and is also stepping into a guru role, and some there, perhaps like you, don't find such a claim convincing.  I don't intend it in a strong way, in any event -- meaning I don't mean Wilber is exactly or strongly doing either of those things.  Adi Da's "move" involved more than simply asserting he was at the highest level of development ever attained in human history; it involved ways he leveraged that in a community in which everyone was under his direct authority and influence.  And Ken isn't really putting himself forward as an official spiritual teacher or guide.  It's safer to say that Ken is doing things that strike me, in some ways, as Adi Da-like, and more guru-like than pandit-like.  

In the full excerpt (if you haven't listened to it), Wilber doesn't come out and say that he is one of the most developed humans in the existence of humanity.  Rather, he speaks as if from the Supermind stage, giving a phenomenological description of it, and I related this to his comments not too long ago about how he personally experiences and uses the highest several transpersonal stages of development, including Supermind, plus his comments that only a few people have ever attained this stage in human history, plus the recent Superhuman program...

So, yes, I was connecting some dots ... and feeling some concerns arise in response to the picture that emerges.  But it is, at this point, just a picture -- meaning, I'm not aware of Ken having done anything egregious based on these particular Supermind claims.  I believe you've read some of my comments earlier in this thread about why these things at least raise some red flags for me.

Hi Bruce - great. I follow you and thanks for clarifying a little in what ways he might be enacting similarly to Adi Da. What you are saying makes sense to me. I thought and think that the comparison with Adi Da was a poignant way to approach this possible shift that Ken may be at least partly inhabiting. I like that the example points to a risk present for all quite great minds and people, and even with some of this here crowd may be included.

I have liked what roger Walsh has said about some of the risks of development and even integral stages in his talk at, I think, the 2nd integral theory conference.

Etc :)

Very good. Thanks.



Balder said:

Hi, Ambo, I appreciate your caution here.  I don't know what Ken is thinking, of course, and didn't intend in my comment to come across as fixed and decided on this as I may have sounded.  On the FB forum, we've talked a bit about my assertion that KW has made the "Adi Da move" and is also stepping into a guru role, and some there, perhaps like you, don't find such a claim convincing.  I don't intend it in a strong way, in any event -- meaning I don't mean Wilber is exactly or strongly doing either of those things.  Adi Da's "move" involved more than simply asserting he was at the highest level of development ever attained in human history; it involved ways he leveraged that in a community in which everyone was under his direct authority and influence.  And Ken isn't really putting himself forward as an official spiritual teacher or guide.  It's safer to say that Ken is doing things that strike me, in some ways, as Adi Da-like, and more guru-like than pandit-like.  

In the full excerpt (if you haven't listened to it), Wilber doesn't come out and say that he is one of the most developed humans in the existence of humanity.  Rather, he speaks as if from the Supermind stage, giving a phenomenological description of it, and I related this to his comments not too long ago about how he personally experiences and uses the highest several transpersonal stages of development, including Supermind, plus his comments that only a few people have ever attained this stage in human history, plus the recent Superhuman program...

So, yes, I was connecting some dots ... and feeling some concerns arise in response to the picture that emerges.  But it is, at this point, just a picture -- meaning, I'm not aware of Ken having done anything egregious based on these particular Supermind claims.  I believe you've read some of my comments earlier in this thread about why these things at least raise some red flags for me.

I think it's very important that this not turn out to be a debate about whether Wilber is a nice man or not. I'm sure he is as much as any man might be a nice guy. I am sure he is even a benevolent philosopher king, and is enacting the bodhisattva vow in the way he thinks it should be enacted. But this is all besides the point, IMO. This is about specific claims spanning decades about what is the nature of reality; and how Wilber consistently get many aspects of reality plain wrong according to myriad and diverse other sources. Whether this be erroneous views on evolution; endorsements of idiotic gurus; privileging the dharmic traditions over western theism; claims to privileged access to reality; the dismissal of the MOM and over concern for the less damaging MGM, etc. 

None of this is say that he isn't a spiritual genius and an intellectual giant. The truth is , his work is so expansive that it's impossible for anyone to be right about everything when one is covering that much ground. The truth is humans have created hundreds and thousands if not millions of ideas surrounding spiritually as to why we exist on a rock in the middle of no where. Christianity alone has over 30,000 explanations for why that is; let alone how many the Indian continent came up with. Add today the internets proclivity to allow all individuals to have a shot at personal theological ideas. The explanations are staggering in number. 

This may be why the 1% are so myopically driven; money and power are at least easily agreeable and tangible ; as is assuring the survival of ones own clique. 

To me, because of the previously mentioned facts, the most important question always comes down to the age old philosophical question of how should we live? Should we live under various theocracies because some people think they have hit the bulls-eye of the question of reality? Should we live in a way that is consistent with scientific ideas about how the universe is, and how it works, and what is our place in it? Should civilization create structures of politics that have a clear demarcation between scientific world views and theological ones? Should the civilization's politics be based on the principles of logic and reason via scientific understanding; yet allow a multiplicity of religious and spiritual belief? How do we keep the multiplicity of religious and spiritual belief from overpowering the secular scientific civilization? Could the scientific secular civilization be more sympathetic to explanations of the human condition from the religious spiritual communities? 

I only have one main opinion here: until a religious spiritual worldview abandons all claims of ethnicity, race, gender, geographic location, etc., then it ought not, IMO, be considered a viable replacement to modern secular scientific based civilizations. This isn't to say that these civilizations need not have to change; they do, first and foremost they must come to terms with thermodynamic realities; and secondly, not enforce homogeneousness via imperial proxy. Differences matter; see the most recent Chris Hedges essay. The tendency of the 1% to protect themselves from the horror of existence at the expense of the 99% needs to be consistently challenged, IMO.

I don't think it's becoming a debate about Ken's niceness, at least in this thread.  The discussion here is about Supermind -- what it means, what its implications are, what its status is as a structure-stage, how to relate to Wilber's apparent claim to have reached this stage himself, etc. 

andrew said:

I think it's very important that this not turn out to be a debate about whether Wilber is a nice man or not. I'm sure he is as much as any man might be a nice guy. I am sure he is even a benevolent philosopher king, and is enacting the bodhisattva vow in the way he thinks it should be enacted. But this is all besides the point, IMO. This is about specific claims spanning decades about what is the nature of reality; and how Wilber consistently get many aspects of reality plain wrong according to myriad and diverse other sources. Whether this be erroneous views on evolution; endorsements of idiotic gurus; privileging the dharmic traditions over western theism; claims to privileged access to reality; the dismissal of the MOM and over concern for the less damaging MGM, etc. 

None of this is say that he isn't a spiritual genius and an intellectual giant. The truth is , his work is so expansive that it's impossible for anyone to be right about everything when one is covering that much ground. The truth is humans have created hundreds and thousands if not millions of ideas surrounding spiritually as to why we exist on a rock in the middle of no where. Christianity alone has over 30,000 explanations for why that is; let alone how many the Indian continent came up with. Add today the internets proclivity to allow all individuals to have a shot at personal theological ideas. The explanations are staggering in number. 

This may be why the 1% are so myopically driven; money and power are at least easily agreeable and tangible ; as is assuring the survival of ones own clique. 

Okay, fair enough! I don't know how accurately one can assess this particular claim if it isn't analyzed in a broader context. Wilber has a rather idiosyncratic take on evolution that allows him to assert this particular idea. In general, the scientific evolutionary community is not all that sympathetic to Wilber's take on science. Second, I don't see how this isn't an endorsement of the dharmic traditions privileging over every other of the millions of spiritual beliefs held on this planet. As you know, even Rajiv M. is suggesting Wilber is colonizing western theism with Hindu dharma. Certainly, though, Wilber is not the first or last to say that Jesus was teaching the Dharma. It is a view that I don't find all that credible or tenable. Third, whether constant consciousness can usher in a new stage of human civilization in the way that is being premised here is something that we should all be skeptical of , and, should be verifiable /falsifiable. Lastly, i've already mentioned the coincidental soteriological resemblance to Buddhist ontology here; that meditation is the primary key to the advancement of global civilization. 

Of course, anything is possible, but I would like to see more evidence rather than any one group claiming this independently of all others. But hey, I now get messages left on my private cell number telling to 'FUCK-OFF''!, for no apparent reason. But that's just the type of world we live in now, isn't it?

Hi - I have read through this thread again and am now appreciating and understanding more the ways you, B, t, Andrew, Joseph, and DM have critiqued the possible implications of the supermind theory. Though he is speaking of such a total wholeness, that includes everything, always, already, etc, in so much detail, I hear it as 'theory.'

In this post I just want to say how I am hearing this, in my common vernacular, which may not be substantially different from what you folks have said.

Just to start, is it accurate to say that as he is writing and reading his writing, it is theory? I get that he is trying to refer to what is infinitely greater than theory, yet to us listeners, it may be theory of big mind, non-duality, and supermind. I hear it as theory.

Another word that also comes to me is "idealistic" or "idealism". I hear what he is 'describing', and I would guess 'positing', is an ideal. I suppose I think of it as an "ideal" because I don't believe certainly he dwells as such, though may have tastes of it, hints of it, mental phenomenological state/structures that point to and slide him for times into it; and I actually doubt that anyone does or anyone can. I think that it could be aspirational and inspirational, yet still questionably so.

I suppose also that because of my typically mainstreamish human kosmic addresses I can't imagine anyone dwelling in this way. To me it sounds impossible in human flesh. Almost a fairy tale, almost certainly an ideal. Godlike. From how I see the world, he is not superminding, and that understates my conclusion.

I still haven't heard enough to know that he is *claiming* to be consciously manifesting supermind as an ongoing kosmic address/non-address, yet I can connect dots so that we might imagine that he is somehow co-creating the aura or illusion of it. He doesn't seem to be clarifying that he does not claim such dwelling or condition, does he? He doesn't seem to disabuse some people of an easily entered illusion that he is supermind manifest? Maybe he should.

Maybe, though there is something about being up at the seams/no-seams of it, that make such a disabusing declaration counterproductive, counter-sacralizing. I don't have a clue.

Obviously, I hardly know how to speak of this, how to select exactly appropriate words, without falling under the spell of his definitions. If I even could reproduce correct enough words.

I simply wanted at this time to state this substantial current of doubt and non-belief.





Balder said:

I welcome new writing by Ken, but as usual of late, I have mixed feelings about it.  Part of my reservation about the above offering has to do with Wilber making the Adi Da move: claiming to be one of the most highly evolved and spiritually realized beings in the history of the universe (in the company of only a couple others, possibly including Adi Da). He doesn't say this directly in the clip itself, but putting this together with some of his other recent comments, it is what he means to imply. He's definitely moving from his pandit role into the guru role now.

That aside, let's focus on the content of this excerpt. Some of the writing in it is really very beautiful and evocative, and I got a feeling of 'transmission' from it as I have from a few other texts -- allowing me to drop effortlessly into a sense of open, uncontracted, decentered suchness or presence. I appreciate it for this 'pointing out' quality (though his recycling of over-familiar Zen and Advaita images -- big blue pancake, Harding-esque headlessness, etc -- did not speak to me).

For those who don't have an Integral Life membership and can't listen to the clip, here's a very brief summary: he is describing the nature of Supermind, which he argues is the highest vertical structure to evolve yet. It is similar in quality to the states of Big Mind or nonduality, in that it involves a sense of union with all beings in the universe, but the latter are generally limited by the horizons of the structure-stage at which these states are realized. An Amber or Orange or Green realizer will feel 'union' as filtered primarily by their structure-stage of development. For Supermind, which as the highest stage radically includes all other structures within it, nondual realization allows you to empathically feel all beings as they are in themselves -- from their own structure-stage -- so that you basically, simultaneously, see and feel 'as' the deer, the 'ape,' the 'insect,' the 'tribal human,' etc. Supermind is aware of "the total painting" of the universe at once, in its fullness and in every tiny detail and perspective, not leaving the slighted edge or schnibble (as my son would say) out...

And this is where his discussion of primordial avoidance comes in: Maya, contraction, dissatisfactory existence, begins when awareness, for whatever reason, pulls away from some aspect of the "total painting," no matter how small. Then the game of division, of self-and-other, begins.

Hey Ambo, for the moment, I'd be just as interested in hearing about what you think about life, the universe, etc., and why and what experiences have led you to the views that you hold. I have a general idea of the main posters views here and why they identify with an Integral stage alongside their particular nuanced stances within it. 

But on the Supermind stage: it's probably just me but I'm not seeing any boots on the ground utility or efficacy along these lines. How is it helping to solve the energy problems surrounding the 2nd law of thermodynamics etc. ? Secondly, given the massive scope of unverifiable spiritual claims throughout history and Wilber's own concern for scientific verification along spiritual lines: where is the demonstrable verification/falsification ability along these lines? I'm not getting that Wilber is positing this view as speculative metaphysics.

Hi Andrew - the point you make about verifiability makes sense to me, depending on if, what, and how ken is claiming supermind for him'self.' Your other point about what help is it to the world seems to be also an interesting and valid question.

I think I'll mostly hold off on trying to answer this first question about my personal relationship to "integral". I might possibly be able to articulate something that is more than just my feeling more at home around serious conversations when they include and integrate much more than the usual. The idea of transcending draws me too, though I am a host for ambivalences of all sorts.

I think of myself mostly as first tier. My pluralistic relativistic accountings for what go on and seem to go on identify me plenty as green. I also seem quite wed to orange logic and forms of rationality and I get uncomfortable with mental leaps that don't seem sufficiently rational or grounded, and especially when strong declarations are made in the absence of the declarers substantial self-awareness. Though I don't display so much of it here or on ILC, I feel plenty of angry, ready-to-be oppositional energy and fight in me. Along some lines I am quite conventional and feel plenty concerned about what people think of me. In my everyday life I am replete with ebbing and flowing of strong emotional charges, including aggressions of the active and passive sorts. I am in some ways, and have been moreso in the past, quite fixated on survival themes for myself and as more general strategy. I seem to have a quite deep alertness around something like annihilation. So first tier spectrum is flourishing in me.

To all that I have said regarding my sense of predominantly first tier self and enaction, I ought also to mention that I am not just those first tier and conventional tendencies.

My capacities cognitively and meta-cognitively may seem more integral than other more active aspects and lines of me. I suppose there is some truth to saying that cognition as a line does lead other lines in big ways. In terms of moral centricities, I still seem largely self-centered, though there are momentary waftings of a care for others and rarely the world. I seem to be a strange mix - well, daah, aren't we all.

I don't really know when or how I would know that I was other than fairly conventional and first tier. I did take cook-greuters assessment as part of a SCTI-map weekend intensive some years ago and apparently my responses did drop me in the integral bin, probably early stage, if I remember rightly. I don't find that assessment or 'information' very useful for me or even particularly convincing. My aptitude for language and my moderate knowledge of integral theory would of course help me to score ok. But I know the messiness, non-linearity, and other neurotic and borderline predispositions that course and bubble through me in daily life.

I didn't hold off very well - this nattering got away from me in a quasi-maudlin sort of way, A.

Nevermind the nattering Ambo:) Yeah, this is all very much a messy affair; I'm not convinced that we can package the complexities of existence into neat little packages, but I'm appreciative of the effort, even if it ends up being somewhat misguided. What i like about academics--notwithstanding my feelings on their complicity with neoliberalism in recent years-- is how they argue in thought without recourse to accusing others of being less. Or put another way, the best arguments are thoughtful and respectful without the need to belittle others. This doesn't mean we can't and shouldn't criticize and deal with various pathologies; but I don't get that that is the intention of SDI . 

Anyway, I hope the ole bod is holding up and that you're back in the water soon:)

Visser has said that Wilber is very strong when it comes to the upper left ; now I would think Ken is super-strong! 

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