Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
You may say it's just good-natured ribbing or an endearment or a funny joke, but I certainly don't buy that. I've been reading this forum since its inception, and I know your attitudes. Any attempt to explain this away as something nice and friendly would surely be gaslighting, and it certainly isn't more clever than the name calling I heard in high school. And have you thought how this might affect Bruce's reputation as an expert in inter-faith communication and world spirituality? Have you noticed how he doesn't call people names, aside from friendly jest? And why is it only Wilber that you've singled out for this friendly, respectful treatment? Why don't you call Bruce Blowj** or Derrida Derriere or Chomsky Chumpsky? I'm sure Bruce wouldn't like to be called Blowj** for seven years straight, so why would Wilber or anyone who likes him or anyone who simply wants to have a mature discussion?
You've been riddling the Facebook forum with these names as well. "Lingam" is obviously a euphemism for "dick," and you write that and the "Cult of Kennilingus" in the Fourth Turning thread. I can't imagine anyone thinks this is cool or clever, especially repeated so many times. I know one person from the Wilber camp who said he was going to leave because of the tone in that group; I imagine Bruce talked him into staying. But I'm sure there are many more who wouldn't even stop in as a result, who would simply roll their eyes and go somewhere else for a mature, integral discussion. It doesn't affect me, but it tends to distract from the discussion, and I am pretty sure it keeps some people away. It's just not very pluralistic or integral or friendly to persist in that kind of name calling -- year after year. At the very least I think you might consider confining that kind of affect and name calling to this forum and letting the Facebook forum try to develop a more mature mode of discourse.
The Christmas Wiki defines "kennilingus" as "humorous and quasi-offensive". That means it both is and is not pejorative -- depending on how specifically we understand its area of application.
As for the word "false" -- it must not, I think, be taken in the mathematical sense of "proven to be nonfunctional". We should not worry too much about proving its falsity -- but about exploring its qualities and typical behavior relative to other forms of reasoning. This, after all, is the integrative double-necessity: that we both critique & validate. Those who are temperamentally inclined to validation often undervalue the importance of the complaint that certain forms of obvious reasoning are not obvious at all. But then again the critics spend less of their time dealing with the fact that "false" is always phenomenologically valid from some perspectives.
Lakoff is not a metatheorist, not exactly. But does he present insights which depend upon a post-pluralistic cognition -- and which have ethical and pragmatic implications for the upward movement of the whole spiral in the contemporary epoch? Probably.
It our job to both utilize/connect and distinguish-between people who are (a) approximating the general state of metatheory as we know it today (b) providing tools and tentacles by which metatheory and its originating ethos may flourish.
To accuse Wilber of false reason has a dash of hyperbole in it.
To mistake the notion of "false reason" for a reduction to the eye of flesh is an incomplete evaluation. The issue is not merely that our concepts and their relationships arise embedded (as conservatives demonstrate) in life-contexts rather than (as liberals anticipate) a free universal mechanism. It is, instead, that our logic must be examined for places in which they predictably fail to indicate what they are apparently indicating. The eyes of flesh, mind & spirit are all capable of encountering "optical illusions". And just because something is confessed by the denizens of a particular perspective does not mean that it accurately (in their own experience) describes to other people what that perspective involves.
Why don't you call Bruce Blowj** or Derrida Derriere or Chomsky Chumpsky? I'm sure Bruce wouldn't like to be called Blowj** for seven years straight, so why would Wilber or anyone who likes him or anyone who simply wants to have a mature discussion?
My offer to discuss it with you, Edwyrd, remains open. I would just ask you to please treat people with more respect and please not color both forums with names like "Lingam" and "Kennilingus." Otherwise it would seem that you simply move from active-aggression to passive-aggression and then back to active-aggression. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would appreciate a discussion without name calling. If you simply must continue with it, I think using that kind of language and affect here but not on Facebook is a reasonable compromise.
Ok, I'll try to give it up for the sake of the easily offended. It's a hard habit so it might be difficult.
Thanks for doing that Edward. I was completely mindful of the off-topic trajectory of the thread, btw.
Good morning David,
I am going to lay out my criticisms of Wilber and IT here as this seems like as good a time or place as any.
- I've already mentioned that I consider it silliness and hubris for any one individual or group to try and claim ownership of a stage of human civilization. As an example , Sir Isaac Newton was one of the great forefathers of the scientific paradigm, but I don't see that he tried to say that he owned the scientific worldview.
-I disagree strongly that evolution as it has come to be known by scientists needs love/eros to explain its most hidden workings. I have no problem with anyone believing that as a personal matter of faith, but not as science. Why not just call oneself a theistic evolutionist? That, it seems to me, is showing deference to both fields of enquiry.
- I find Ken's take on Christianity particularly weak. To colour code ___ out of the universe is a funny kind of gambit to me. I have more to say here but I'll leave it at one sentence.
- that Ken seems to espouse as integral the third way neoliberal policies of the ruling elite is closer to blindness than truth, imo. This worldwide takeover of the commons and the commodification of everything is a spiritual malady that isn't going to be solved by patronizing this system. The system, is also by the day becoming more and more unjust . It needs strong voices to speak against it; not collaborate with it. I can see CC as a move in the right direction as long as it speaks out strongly against the neoliberal status quo.
- IT has too much male agency. Where are the woman being book reviewed, etc.? IT looks like the mythic patriarchy Ken's always railing against.
- that people are not intelligent enough to understand his absolute truth and take on things borders on offensive. See the end of I.S. Really smart people do really bad things all the time. I.Q. in and of itself is no guarantee of anything; least of all a just society .
- did I mention that LP is a dweeb? Damn , I'm not supposed to say things like that!
Hi, Andrew. I'll respond to a few of the IT questions.
Andrew: "I've already mentioned that I consider it silliness and hubris for any one individual or group to try and claim ownership of a stage of human civilization. As an example , Sir Isaac Newton was one of the great forefathers of the scientific paradigm, but I don't see that he tried to say that he owned the scientific worldview."
Has anyone really tried to claim ownership of a stage of human civilization? I don't see that anyone has. I think some people have taken responsibility for it, but that is a different thing than claiming ownership. They also haven't taken responsibility in an exclusive way; rather they have encouraged people to take the ball and run with it. This is like most other memes, epistemes, or movements.
Andrew: "I disagree strongly that evolution as it has come to be known by scientists needs love/eros to explain its most hidden workings. I have no problem with anyone believing that as a personal matter of faith, but not as science. Why not just call oneself a theistic evolutionist? That, it seems to me, is showing deference to both fields of enquiry."
I think Wilber does recognize this distinction. For example, he describes evolutionary spirituality (including eros/agape) as a "myth" in Excerpt A:
"Here is a myth that is sometimes useful in suggesting notions that cannot be grasped dualistically or conceptually in any event: As Spirit throws itself outward (that’s called involution) to create this particular universe with this particular Big Bang, it leaves traces or echoes of its Kosmic exhalation. These traces constitute little in the way of actual contents or forms or entities or levels, but rather a vast morphogenetic field that exerts a gentle pull (or Agape) toward higher, wider, deeper occasions, a pull that shows up in manifest or actual occasions as the Eros in the agency of all holons. . . .
As I said, this is a useful myth.
* * * *
Within that myth, we can summarize. The postulated list of involutionary givens seems to include:
(1) Eros. Eros basically is derived from one fact: Spirit creates the entire manifest world and every holon in it; in fact, every holon is Spirit-in-itself playing at being Other (e.g., the great nest of morphogenetic potential often summarized as matter, body, mind, soul, and spirit is actually Spirit-as-matter, Spirit-as-body, Spirit-as-mind, Spirit-as-soul, and Spirit-as-spirit). . . . "
Andrew: "I find Ken's take on Christianity particularly weak."
I would also be interested in hearing more on Ken's take on integral Christianity. I think that project did get a boost with Wilber V, but he seems to bring in Christian mystics rather than talk about it himself. I think part of his reluctance may be that he wants to be taken seriously by scientists and academics, so he needs to be careful about his use of the word "God" and his treatment of religion in general. He has said he doesn't talk so much about such things as the Second Face of Spirit for this reason.
Andrew: "That Ken seems to espouse as integral the third way neoliberal policies of the ruling elite is closer to blindness than truth, imo."
First of all, I have a pretty progressive interpretation or application of integral in the political-economic sphere myself. I like the integral idea because I think it would be more effective, but my own views tend to be on the progressive side. I don't always agree with progressives or liberals, but my views on democracy and economics, for example, are on the progressive side, but not what I would call radically progressive. I am not someone who rants about tearing down the entire system and building something else, that is. I don't see that things like anarcho-syndicalism are a viable option at this point, for example, and I think to think so drains power from reform movements. I'm all for something radically different, but I just haven't seen a compelling alternative to some kind of hybrid capitalist/socialist system, which is what we have already in North America, Europe, and a few other places to one degree or another, only we all need one that distributes profits fairly, truly represents the public interest, etc.
I think people jump to conclusions about Wilber's own political beliefs and at the same time overrate the importance of them, even if his views are what they say they are. He has actually been very careful about his comments; he hasn't wanted to alienate progressives, just move them into integral. That has basically been my take. He has basically just argued for an integration of interior- and exterior-causation perspectives, for example, without taking a stand on many specific issues. But even if he has argued for a brand of integral that leans on the conservative side (when I feel the U.S., for example, is leaning too much to the conservative side already on issues like the drug war, campaign finance, etc.), I don't see why that should matter too much or have implications on the theory. IT can be used to promote a progressive agenda, and it could probably be used to promote a conservative agenda as well, or something in between. But I think its flexibility is a strength there because the situation will differ from country to country, from region to region in some cases, and also from issue to issue.
Two streams come together.
One stream is very sensitive to what I have called (as a demonstration of borderline good taste) the "OLEG problem" - our tendency to express authentic wisdom in styles that undercut it, primitive styles, separative styles, etc.
The other stream affirms the absolute necessity to keep a ribald, aggressive, humorous, critical attitude in play.
No one, I am sure, denies the importance of both streams. The question is -- does any given instance become "too much" of one and not enough of the other?
It is not a homogeneous situation. Some words have more cleverness, more humor than others. Some start to quickly sound petulant or needlessly snippy. Others actually have an interesting, possibly useful shape and might as well be normalized even though they might trigger subtle alarms for people who have certain social sensitivities.
Clearly we are moving into a culture where a lot of stuff that previously sounded boorishly sexual or disdainful is commonplace speech. Fuck, for example, is no longer an extraordinary words reserved for passion and violence. It is not a mainstream word used causally in many walks of life. So we must be open to these sensibility shifts... but at the same time remember that we are not in an arbitrary environment. We are working to create some mutual edification and whatever fails to do that is "bad etiquette".
So a conversation must go on between the people who are untroubled by putatively pejorative terminology and those who are aware that different styles have different effects -- even counterproductive effects.
Thanks for considering my positions David:) I'll only focus on the 2nd point of evolution for the moment. Ken has a way of making these presumed scientific myths sound like religion. I went to the I.L. life link and it is classic Wilber with wonderful prose waxing rather philosophically about science; and making science sound like religion. In and of it self I guess I don't have a problem with it, but it gets bundled in this packaging especially in the case of A.C.; and then it just starts to sound like fetishism. I can understand why that narrative might be appealing to some , but right from the get go it was not my thing. This particular criticism in no way makes me think that civilization is not on the cusp of an Integral age. I might add that taking that particular myth/narrative and imposing it on Christianity is an absolute non-sequitar to me personally. I've given it years to percolate , too, gone to the sermons, listened, contemplated, and nope! That's definitely NOT it for me! And I don't see that I am just being obtuse and difficult here. At this point I enjoy Ferrer more:)
But just call me OLEG! lol Anyway, in the spirit of the Ryder Cup I invite all those Euro Integralites to come over here and show up all these know it all american IT theorists! Raw raw raw!
What the evolutionary spirituality myth does is set things like Buddhist compassion or Christian love in a four-quadrant evolutionary context. So Christian evolutionary love would include, for example, evolving our social system to points of greater fairness and equity; it would include evolving our individuals and cultures as well because in a democracy the people produce and elect their leaders (without a more evolved electorate you can't have more evolved leaders, so you can't have more evolved policy). I often wonder how anti-developmentalists and anti-evolutionaries plan to improve our social systems. Often they're the same people ranting how much we need to change our systems. How, pray tell, will we do that in a democracy without a more evolved electorate? How will we do that unless more adults take responsibility for their continued cognitive and moral development?
The words "evolution" and "evolve" aren't essential. We could say there is a kind of love or compassion in each quadrant as well. But the idea of evolution, if understood broadly (including eros and agape, agency and communion, etc.), can tie everything together in a coherent story. It looks better than other available meta-narratives to me, or a lack of a meta-narrative. It basically situates ideas of love or compassion in a wider context, one that understands the connections between culture, systems, biology, psychology, and so forth when it comes to quality of life and transcendence. Pieire Teilhard de Chardin is one Christian who liked this sort of thing. There are others, of course. But I don't think it adds anything essentially new to the teachings of Jesus. He was all about feeding the hungry and helping those in need. All an AQAL evolutionary view would do is clarify all the different forms of that kind of love, lest we leave one out or overemphasize some at the expense of others.
Nationalism rears its head in the integral forums again. It seems to play a larger-than-ideal role sometimes. It's hard to tell how much resistance there sometimes is because Wilber is an "American," but I think it is occasionally a factor. Surely the dynamic would be different had he come from British Columbia or East of England or New South Wales. Individuals of each country and culture need to take responsibility for their own social indoctrination, biases, and prejudices, wouldn't you say, Andrew? It will differ from country to country, region to region in some cases, but most people will probably have a more-than-ideal amount of tribalism and nationalism, so it is one thing each of us has to examine. What do you think that would mean for you as a Canadian?
Hey David, I've had a long streak of idealist transcendentalism within me so it's not hard for me to see religion as myth. Personal experience and intuition is another matter altogether , but as i've aged I'm more prone to being amenable to interpretive lenses. Perhaps an anecdote might help? Quite some time ago I was fortunate to see the blind blues guitarist Jeff Healy in a small club. I was fortunate to be able to speak with him briefly after the show and mentioned that he sang really well that evening. He was totally appreciative of someone complimenting him on a lesser aspect of his talent ( this is analogous to Wilber's writing style that I've always been appreciative of), the thing is though, although Jeff was a fantastic bluesman he was by no means my favourite guitarist. i mean, listen to Metheny at his best and it's hard not to feel transported ( this is analogous to many other good IT theorists who i've come to appreciate). You know, if I see a dozen musicians in a room and they are practicing polyrhythms; i don't look down upon the one or two that can't do them ( say play straight eights with the right hand and quarter note triplets with the left) I don't see them as lesser musicians as most of the time they all have other stronger capabilities. That is my way of referencing a kind of top down structure that I've perceived within the integral community. I know am not the first person that feels this way. Make of it what you will:)
Anyway, on your first point about society: there is one thing that I feel hasn't changed on this planet since antiquity. That is the consistent rising of a small percentage to the top of any given society that rules in the way THEY want. Yes, there have been times when they were defeated ( the French Revolution, etc) and times when they ruled smartly with consideration to others ( say Roosevelt's New Deal) , but most of the time they simply take care of themselves at the expense of most everyone else . I've previously granted many times that in the last 50 years they have managed to set up a trickle down system that has given a large percentage of certain countries a decent standard of living. But these rulers are now at a threshold of growth, resources, and energy supply , and they seem to be in complete denial as far as their behaviour. What is it going to take to wake them up?
Yes, Islam of the sane moderate healthy kind should be marching on masse ( millions) to speak against terrorism. So, also, should Jewish people ( be marching against its states hardliners) . As should moderate Christians speak out against Christian Zionism, etc.
I am cool with moderate amounts of tribalism and nationalism, as long as they are juxtaposed to egalitarianism and a sense of goodwill towards others. But there are limits to the last part. Those who are more culpable when it comes to destructive behaviour should be held accountable ( justice).
I don't know what is going to wake them up. Cultural disapproval is a start, psychedelics could help, spiritual practice, moral development (a big thing missing in the education system).
The "top down" structure goes both ways, doesn't it. It is just as much of a factor in "egalitarian" postmodernism. I don't see Jorge saying he is higher than Ken less than vice versa, for example.
Anyway, I think we should make more of an effort to stay on topic. What do you think of the tone of this guitar solo?