this is an issue that has come up now and again here at the old forum and at lightmind. i notice that xibalba has brought it up with respect to one of theurg's neologisms. im thinking that the present company are no where near as inflamatory as people were at lightmind and it might do us well to reflect cooly on the topic of kenny bashing -- why we do it, what purpose it serves, etc.

this forum and others have generally divided people into those who admire wilber and those who don't,  and of course there are also those who don't really care one way or the other. generally, here, balder and xibalba have been pro-wilber and have often reacted in defensive of wilber, while jim, myself and theurg have indulged in various degress of kenny bashing. (there are of course other people with views on the maatter, but out of respect, i will limit my comments to those i am best acquainted with.) this is not strictly the case of course. both balder and xibalba have been critical of wilber at times. but i would not say that they fall into the camp of kenny bashers. perhaps jim's criticisms, as cool as they can be, are also not, strictly speaking, instances of kenny bashing.


since xibalba brings the issue up in the case of theurg, i'd like to confront, not xibalba and balder, but my own propensity to indulge in kenny bashing, and to try and get "behind" my motives so as to clarify them somewhat, to my own mind anyways. what follows is a very loose reflection on my own instance.


i have sometimes rationalized my bashing by saying that it has a pedagogical intent. while there is probably a large degree of truth to this interpretation, i have to admit that it is probably not the whole of the story. but in any case let us explore this possible motive. it is true that i often write didactically. in doing so, i may be attempting to move people beyond what i see as a rather circumscribed perspective, that of ken wilber, or to get them to think for themselves.


i may also sense a certain 'attached' form of thinking among some of wilber's admirers. this is to say, i may sense that some of his admirers have difficulty seeing that there are limitations to his presentations, and also inaccuracies. in the attempt to help them break free from the attachment to wilber's thought i may indulge in various rhetorical gambits, bashing as they say. such things though could be said to apply to most any admirer of some thinker or scholar or what have you.


but what other motives might i have? since wilber is not himself present at this forum i wonder about the degree to which i am adressing not so much wilber himself as the the "wilberite," or what theurg calls the "kennilingist."


at lightmind, there were several rather trenchant "wilberites," and if one posted on wilber invariably one encountered them. some admirers of wilber were calm, dialogical and respectful interlocutors. some like were dialogical but could occasionally lose their cool and their respect for the dialog. some again could be downright truculent, rude, and arrogant. some were even bullies. i don't think that there is anything inherently rude or arrogant about a wilberry, but if one was critical of wilber one often did encounter this side of his fan base at lightmind. the problem was exacerbated by the fact that the forum allowed, for several years, for annonimity.


during my stint there, i was witness to the constant ridicule of jim chamberlain at the hands of anonymous wilberries. we will never know who they were, but i think some of us have a pretty good idea who they probably were. it was during this time that i began to move from being merely critical of wilber's ideas to 'bashing' his ideas. we can safely say the intent was largely rhetorical.


due to his calm, even-tempered nature, and his buddhistic self control, jim was less likely to react to (what i perceived as) the brash arrogance of some of the wilberries. i, though, reacted strongly. when i first arrived at the forum there was initially an attempt to 'bully' me -- the newcomer, who dared challenge the acknowedged master, ken wilber -- into submission and silence. at times my interlocutor was anonymous. occassionally, he was not.


in any case, that was one component of my intent to bash: reaction.


I wonder about another component, also: to what extent, i wonder, was, and is, my bashing, my reaction, a kind of "projection," loosely speaking. one might also like to suggest that perhaps i am attempting to "kill" the master (and steal the women) and replace him with myself. there may be something to this as well. but i think that where that kind of thing is concerned, i sense that it may not be so much that i want to become ken wilber as much as that i don't want to become like him. in other words, if there is a kind of "projection" going on, it is likely a negative one, wherein i see something in ken or in his followers that reminds me of something in myself that i don't like. and what could that be? probably a number of things.


for one it is the youthful idealism, with its ebullience and effusiveness; the manic enthusiasm for the subject -- for perennialism, and integralism -- as well as for the coming new age, for the next step in the evolution of consciousness, etc. now there is nothing wrong with optimism in human progress in general, i guess, but i feel it goes a bit too far in the hyperbolic statements of many new age new/paradigm thinkers. there is a certain naivety i feel that seems to go along with it. there is also a certain arrogance or hubris that i may sense that accompanies new age or new paradigm thinking. to a significant degree this applies to a kind of thinking, but it may also apply to people like wilber or cohen themselves.


for example, i remember reacting strongly to a video in which ken talked about various brain waves and their function. in the video his own brain is emitting delta waves, and he speculates that such displays may be characteristic of people who are "lucid in all states." this is of course wilber's definition of enlightenment, so in effect he is suggesting in the video that he is enlightened. i find such speculation unwarranted. i knew a meditation teacher who also exhibited such waves and he would speculate that people who were "deeply attuned to the universe" emitted delta waves. i guess i find such speculation self indulgent. but to return to the issue at hand, at one time several years back i had undergone some kind of kensho experience and my intial response was to react in a megalomanical manner. later i began to feel that this was not the appropriate way to respond. consequently, i react somewhat negatively when i see or hear someone interpreting their experience in what i would call maniacal terms. it reminds me that i can be maniacal myself.


there is one last facet of my negative projection that comes to mind and that concerns ken's self-understanding of his own erudition. my own course of education began autodidactically, but eventually it moved toward an institutional format when i realized that there was no possible way i could give myself an education to the degree that a teacher, better versed than i, was capable of giving me. i am referrring here to a kind of blindness and naivety toward the sometimes more sophmoric accounts that we find in wilber's writings. such a thing is fine, as long as one does not believe that they are anything more than introductory. and as my own education in sanskrit progressed, i began to become increasinly aware of the inadequacies and even inaccuracies in ken's own accounts. and again it was the hyperbolic adulation found among some of ken's admirers that caused me the most consternation. and it reminded me of my own rather naive adulation of ken's accounts of philosophers and mystics like nagarjuna and shankara.


anyway. some thoughts and admissions about my occassional proclivity for kenny bashing. :-)

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I don't bash Wilber the person (much), just kennilingus the religion. And I do so with accurate, critical evaluation of specifics as well as challenging the orienting generalizations with metaphysical bases. And I do so with the intent of furthering an integral postmetaphysical view, so I'm on board with the general project which in my mind includes yet transcends Wilber. Kennilingus is, to reiterate a trademarked catch phrase, true but partial. Or is that trutial? Or partrue?

As for motives beyond that I am unconscious and will leave that to others to project upon my personal failings.

As an aside I attended the Texas integral bash this past weekend in Austin, where salons from Dallas, Austin and Houston participated. I was of course critical since most of it was indeed kennilingus. Feedback I got though noted that while I was a voice of dissent I did so with clarity, precision and genuine desire for broadening the project beyond current limitations. And I'm sure some thought I was just plain green but didn't say so, at least to my face.

And Saturday night we had a dancing and drumming party to DJed music that was a blast. I had a lot of fun just writhing in the "pit" with the others where all our colors washed away into ecstatic bliss.

Ciao Kela


THX for that exposition of being critical to KW. I enjoyed it actually.

At the lightmind, Conrad and Elias had a vicious outlook at KW, and I didn´t like their virulent attacks on him. Conrad called him a virus. Camman, man. Such a cheap bullshit!

What about them these pseudo-jungian new agers, ex-daists dickheads?

worse they had no ideas of the sources KW quote. I also remember that "spiritually pretentious", playing the guru  game Elias calling Habermas a new age philosopher. By bashing  Adi Da, he became himself a squared head guru-inquisitor. ahhhahhah

First of all, I would say I am sympathetic to his approach rather than being a pro-KW. I have followed that dude since his first book. As being a specialist n the psychology domain, as you are in Sanskrit, I  would not find any interest to attack him on some aspects of personality theories. On existential psychology, for example, his so called centauric level, Rollo May did it very well. KW exposed generalities brought from Introductory books at sophomoric level,I would find it unfair to bash him on that because the scope and his intentional wrok  is much broader. So I am rather "indulgent" in a sense. Most of his Foucault reading doesn´t come from an thoroughful analysis, in details, of for example "Madness and civilisation", him going thorugh all the research design, the archives , etc... This is the work of the specialist. I could find perhaps dozen  of mistakes in his exposition fo the foucaldian system of thought if I wished too. 


BTW, what about these so called transpersonalists? Most of them come from the  narrow field of the so called humanistic psychology. There are generally not so sophisticated in freudian and neo-freudian psychoanalysis.Most of ethem have no idea of what KW speaks when he quotes Lenski, Jeffrey Alexander, Bourdieu, Niklas Luhmann, Karl Otto Apel, and no need to bring Jurgen Habermas here either. Psychcologist are poorly informed on other fields, like the spcialist in general. I´ve seen tthat during my several conference  tours arounf the world.

One can wonder why KW would quote Milton Fridman´s microeconomics, the game theory of Von neumann, or marxists like Adorno or Georg Luckas, Althusser, the non-euclidian geometry of Bernhard Riemann, the catecholamines in the synaptic membrane, DNA transcriptase and introns, etc.. and the moffo has the "balls" to even mention  unknown moffos to the anglo-saxon world, the french tehologians of the classical era, Bossuet or Fenelon.

Madness!!! hahahhahah


Add that to his superficial reading of Chandrakirti or Vasubhandu, or else in that voluminous context. The specialists in these domains would of course find serious gaps or aporias.


My sympathy is: how could he have the time and energy to read all that "trash" bring to life a cogent, a coherent, thou partial and superficial somehow, "integral" model.


Otherwise, his dickheadness with brain waves and Nirguna samadhi circus like demonstrations à la Houdini makes me just laugh. I can see the naive boy in him telling his US airforce dad:" look, dad what I can do!".



et voilà c´est la vie.






hi x,

Yes, as Halbfass warns at the end of his paper on experience, "It is easy and tempting to criticize what has been going on in Neo-Hindu thought... by invoking conceptual clarity and historical accuracy. But while such criticism may have correctness and precision on its side, it [runs the risk of becoming] more shallow and parochial than its target." I imagine that much the same could be said for criticisms of spirituality and New Age thinking; the danger is always present.


As for the "he's just a pundit" type of attack (typified by people like Elias and Byorkin Yoghurt), I always thought that that kind of approach was just silly and unfounded.



well that probably not relevant for our friends of this forum but me luuved the burk-ing yoghurt reference. 


yeah the talking school crap of Adi Da.

I always tried to figure out how such a huge mouth babbler like Conrad could ever consciously enter and keep the vigilance through the dream and dreamless states until reawakening in the gross body the day after.




kelamuni said:

hi x,

Yes, as Halbfass warns at the end of his paper on experience, "It is easy and tempting to criticize what has been going on in Neo-Hindu thought... by invoking conceptual clarity and historical accuracy. But while such criticism may have correctness and precision on its side, it [runs the risk of becoming] more shallow and parochial than its target." I imagine that much the same could be said for criticisms of spirituality and New Age thinking; the danger is always present.


As for the "he's just a pundit" type of attack (typified by people like Elias and Byorkin Yoghurt), I always thought that that kind of approach was just silly and unfounded.



On some Integral forums, I have been seen in the past as more of a critic than a supporter of Wilber, but on balance, I would say I am more in favor of his project than I am against it -- though, as Kela noted, I do have some criticisms of it (some of them significant), and I am generally feeling increasingly distanced from the hyperbolic and rather New Age-like marketing and spin that I'm picking up on Integral Life and on advertisements for various Integral events. 

Reflecting on Kela's letter, I recalled something I've noted and occasionally wondered about in the past:  the lack of "recognition" of this forum in the general Integral community.  I notice that it doesn't often appear on other websites' lists of Integral sites, and doesn't often get referenced.  Perhaps it's because this forum's visibility is low, and I haven't made any efforts to contact website administrators to get them to link to this site, but I've also wondered if perhaps this forum isn't viewed with some suspicion or dislike, perhaps because of the often critical reflections and inquiries into KW's work here.

Which is not something I regret; I like this forum as it is and value our discussions here.  And being "marginal" can certainly be an advantage (ain't never been much of a "joiner," preferring space at the margins for more perspective and critical reflection).  But I do wonder how this forum is viewed in the "Integral World" at large, if it is even on the radar.

I'm guessing your increasing dissatisfaction with IL is why you haven't posted to your blog there in some time? In any event, why not post a blog there now and inquire into this very thing? If folks there are aware of this forum and what they think of it?

I not only link to this forum at my blog but reference it frequently. Not that I get a lot of traffic but what amount there is knows about this haven of integral expansion.

 i think visser has a post somewhere where he graphed a spectrum from strong positive to strong negative as far as how people react to integral and wilber....

initially, i was a strong positive because at the time wilber was still an author and pandit and i've moved  to a weak positive over the last decade as wilber has turned salesman and integral guru.......


but i'd vote for trump! as least he's fuckin' honest and not a duplicitous dickwad! opps, wrong thread......

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