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.

Views: 435

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I miss Frank in the same way I miss my pre internet brain. There is a certain loss there. Ah, yes, sweeping arpeggios, pedalling, some atonal apocalypse now like drones towards the end. Very nice! thx. I've actually not heard that one, at least I can't remember. The poet jwcurry was the biggest Zappa fan i've ever met. We saw Frank 3 times together and john had hundreds of his Lps. I think john has eschewed the internet. analogue print only. I have a FostexB16 reel to reel still kicking around.  I hope I get a chance to fool around with it a bit this winter. Although a pro sound engineer I know swears the analog digital thing is now a myth. I think earlier this year, too, Neil Young was promoting a new digital format that he says is pristine. 

Having missed most of the conversation after two days "in the woods", I picked up on this apparent response to my light pass over level-appropriate forms of humour:

My scheme focuses on the moral line. So if something is funny to just you and me but is at someone else's expense it falls well short of integral humor.

Two ideas are entangled here -- and not necessarily problematically. 

First is "funny to just you & me" -- which represents a level of humor itself. A level which is valid but does not describe higher reaches of humor. 

But the second, the relation of morality to humor, is thorny.  The ethical-use-of-humor AND the ethics-of-humor are often divergent.  Comedians often require moral strength and a keen awareness of their social responsibility in order to risk "jokes" which are obviously going to be offensive to a great many people.  This is part of their ethical task.  And it must be carefully balanced against other ethical tasks. 

Ethics must be based primarily on what is good for people -- which, in many cases, is not the same what pleases or displeases them when they encounter it.  Not upsetting people is by no means the standard of ethical action. 

So in looking toward a 2nd Tier / MOA humor we have

(a) humor which structurally reaches that level

(b) the ethics of humorists

(c) general ethics in terms of not upsetting people

(d) general ethics which are ambivalent about upsetting people

(e) pragmatic & character-building etiquette relative to specific 2nd Tier contexts

All together this must be our investigation.  For the simple "balancing of ethics & humor" is certainly not enough... although it offers us a way in...

Layman, hope you had a nice time in the woods. How I miss those late summer/early fall days in the N'west.

You bring up many important perspectives. Yes, we have to include the evolutionary or even revolutionary role humor can sometimes play -- broadly speaking. However, other perspectives need to be considered as well.

Consent, for example. I have  witnessed a couple of different enactions of "guru theater" in which the guru/rinpoche/roshi has made nationalistic jokes about students. I hypothesize that it's the stock-in-trade of many an international crazy-wisdom guru. The intention was clearly to awaken or cultivate awareness of cultural attachments, cultural pride, etc. But these people had given the guru consent -- they had agreed to play the role of student while the guru played the role of teacher. Usually there was an awareness that things could get "offensive" ahead of time as well.

I think such things have their role in various kinds of teachings, though I agree with Adyashanti that nine times out of ten crazy wisdom is just crazy. Probably these gurus cross a line where they begin enjoying themselves in these "teachings" a little too much. I haven't heard one make fun of his own country or culture yet, for example. But still, their students have given their consent, and that's an important distinction -- there are contexts where people have given their consent to play the role of student and give someone else the role of teacher and contexts where no such agreement has been reached.

We also have to delineate the nature of these character- and culture-building pragmatics or telos. People will have different ideas about this. Again, an agreement about this needs to be reached as well. The pragmatic or evolutionary context has to be agreed upon, including omega points or lack thereof and shared values, as well as who gets to play the role of crazy-wisdom guru. We have to be careful about this especially if the context is spiritual pluralism.

We also need to remember that many people from Infrared to Clear Light will have the conviction that they have the Holy Wisdom and that the ends will justify the means. I imagine that Cortez and his men, for example, made some jokes at the Indians' expense before they lopped their heads off. The conviction "I am right" or "we are right" is not enough to engage in crazy wisdom. Many people up and down the spiral will have it. So the conviction "I am right" or "we are right" is not enough to justify crazy wisdom without consent.

And crazy wisdom shouldn't be necessary if someone really is so enlightened or evolved. There should be other methods available to a truly wise person. One with less collateral damage, one that's more constructive, one that's more instructive. If we have a culture where crazy-wisdom humor isn't allowed without consent, crazy-wisdom humor can't be taken up by all the people or groups of people who merely think they are right but in actual fact aren't in a position to guru people. Hardly anyone who thinks they are the wisest among us actually has the wisdom and ethical development to carry off crazy wisdom. I would say most of the gurus themselves haven't had this altitude. I do think crazy wisdom needs to be reexamined in light of the WC Lattice, by the way.

Also, online there is the issue of anonymity. Comedians like Bill Maher or Lenny Bruce will make their jokes -- and suffer the consequences if they go too far or miscalculate. Anonymous posters on the internet suffer few or no consequences if they are wrong, callous, or get carried away. The last people who should be empowered on the internet for crazy wisdom are anonymous posters. Those people need to play it more straight than anyone else, not less, even though mistakes may not get back to them in their personal or professional lives. Allowing people to be crazy-wisdom gurus without consent is problematic, but allowing anonymous posters to be crazy-wisdom gurus without consent is even more problematic, particularly in a context of spiritual pluralism.

Andrew, I'm glad you liked that Frank song. Unfortunately, I never got to see him live. I once had a chance, but I didn't appreciate him quite enough at that time to take a long drive to see him, and my girlfriend appreciated him even less. (I had mostly a few of his 60s albums at the time.)

In any case, thank you for letting me know about J. W. Curry. I hadn't heard of him. I will check out his poems. That's also interesting about Neil saying he has a new digital format he likes. If I recall correctly, he was pretty critical about digital formats in the beginning, so if he's found one he likes that probably means something.

I think the difference between analog and digital may be immense. There is something more human about analog, it seems to me. There are too many other variables in play for me to be sure (different times of my life, different places, different states of mind), but I think the difference may be quite significant. The youth of today may be missing out on something important.

Anyway, back on topic -- here are some similar tones from the same album. Again the great Vinnie Colaiuta on drums.


Andrew, what are your memories of Frank's tones in concert?

Ah, David, man, those days were a heady mix of trans-rational ecstasies, and pre-rational debauchery! Needless to say they were days meant for being single, so i did as I pleased. Franks tone live was very gritty and biting from what I remember. He mostly played an SG, i think. One of those shows had a young Steve Vai to his right, and Reggie White to his left and they traded solos all night. I'm more rhythmically oriented so I've always been in amazement of players who can be creative on soloing over long periods of time without being repetitive. Hey, recently, I stumbled across all my HIFI VCR tapes with all the 2 track masters of stuff that I was working on 25 years ago and they sound fantastic. I also found a lot of tapes from bands that I was in so I've found quite a catalogue of my playing and writing. I will have to find some time to convert them to digital. I have ADAT's and DAT machines, too, so it shouldn't be that hard; more a matter of time. I also found all my old Fostex R8 tapes but that machine no longer works so I can't hear the couple of albums worth of material I have on them. I goofed around with garageband after I stopped playing in 2001 but I never really clicked with anything digitally. Nothing i really liked, anyway. Also, my playing went downhill pretty fast as I just committed to working a straight job; which I still do. 

Anyway, hey, why not skip the crazy gurus and go right to the source!  It was humans who wanted kings anyway! Ask and it shall be given unto you freely; to hell with the intermediaries! A heart without guile helps, too. Which is why I make a terrible capitalist. The downside though, is Bud was right when he said , 'it's hard for a poor man to be generous'. Cheers. though!


First of all -- I know you are more of a participant here than Integral Life but we are putting together an anthology of short submissions by people who have a feeling for "integral level online community".  It would be great if you thought about contributing anything you are inspired to share.

Next of all -- I agree about the context of consent.  Robin Williams & Russell Peters were comedians who had a very positive effect on crowds by mocking national and racial differences.  It not only challenges our identities but it dissolves tensions by bringing them to the surface.  Most Western racism today is carried on by people who prefer not to think about race!  

And yet the setting of "comedy" has ethical significance in producing such an effect.  Without consent you may be merely antagonizing and distressing people -- or at least reminding them uncharitably of their existing distress.

Under conditions of Spiritual Pluralism people have choices and carry multiple interpretations.  That means we expect teachers to either be "interesting options" or "sensitive pluralists".  Both require that we can get a sense of their context up front.  I used to refer to a pretend guru (Sri Buff Striding) who advertised himself as a cult leader. That guaranteed a certain type of student.

An issue with Adi Da was the tendency of his "church" to tidy up his character.  But often it was the craziest and most difficult aspects would not only increase his popularity and edginess but also prepare people better for what they will meet in person. 

I wouldn't not go so far as to say the 9/10 of crazy wisdom is just crazy -- since "normal" is a pretty limiting and toxic situation in many dimensions of contemporary society.  But I might go 50/50 on it!  

Adi Da make fun of Caucasians, Americans, modern people... even gurus.  Gurdjieff mocked Russians, Armenians, Patriarchs -- as well as patriotically defending them at times.  I have a broad tolerance for that kind of play and the expectation that some degree of provocation, humor and self-indulgence should be anticipated by all students (although it clearly becomes useless and goes to far in many cases).  

My observation of Guru Dynamics makes it seem as though pleasing the human biases of the teacher, including letting them indulge themselves to some degree, serves a functional purpose.  It has a role to play in dharma-transmission.  And I think this might be better understood in some cultures others than our own.  But again people have to not only anticipate that but also know what kind of indulgence a particular character likes... and also have the personal integrity AND social context to opt out without too much hassle.

So consent must include not only the premise of being offended but also some degree indulgence on the part of the transmitter.  A comedian, even in a comedy context, is often going to offend and not be funny.  His work is a gamble.  He is trying to splice his feelings together with an objective function but it is always an experiment.

I think the end does justify the means. That is not itself problematic. But people (even, as you say, those who rise very high on certain lines) have a limited concept of which mechanisms provide which outcomes.  If you stand back from your "crazy wisdom" and find only broken, distressed people then -- your means did not produce the end.

Layman, thank you for the invitation. I will give that some thought and see if anything comes up. 

Well, perhaps the end can or may justify the means. I think that remains to be shown to a large degree. One question that interests me is, do all of Adi Da's ex students, for example, speak about their relationship with him as a net positive? Was he as careful with his non donors as he was with his donors? Often these groups have scapegoats, I believe, or those that don't count as much. I'm interested in taking those people into consideration for an overall estimation.

But online, I don't see much of a place for it. Most of us haven't met each other. Projections are rampant, misunderstandings the norm. In a context of inter-faith dialogue or contemplation it is questionable at all times because people will have different paths. Also individuals will be at different stages in their path and will have many things that are unique to their path. They will have needs not apparent to online participants. These are reasons for caution, the Platinum Rule, and the Hippocratic Oath -- first do no harm.

Andrew, sounds like you have a lot of great tapes and equipment. I once heard Dweezil say that Frank's tones were very difficult, even impossible, to replicate because Frank modified his guitars so much. He had such a great sound, didn't he. 

Bless you with your guileless heart! Yes, I think you're quite right -- no need for intermediaries. 



The idea that end justifies the means always requires that we demonstrate that the end is achieved. Clearly a failed-end does NOT justify any means.  As for Adi Da's ex-students we must assume that they span the gamut (sic) in their evaluation of whether or not it was a net positive...

As for online communication there seems to be little use for many forms of "provocation".  Although it is only once a specific context is entered that either "workable" or "unworkable" becomes relevant.  Certainly we want to encourage "no harm" contexts!

Reply to Discussion


What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.

Notice to Visitors

At the moment, this site is at full membership capacity and we are not admitting new members.  We are still getting new membership applications, however, so I am considering upgrading to the next level, which will allow for more members to join.  In the meantime, all discussions are open for viewing and we hope you will read and enjoy the content here.

© 2022   Created by Balder.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service