INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
HUGH MARTIN is listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World. He has appeared on numerous talk shows, led seminars at many colleges and corporations, and spoken at numerous professional conferences and colloquia. Mr. Martin is president of the FINRA-registered securities brokerage firm, Hugh Martin Securities, and of the SEC-registered investment advisory firm, Hugh Martin & Co. Hugh is also president and co-founder of the life planning and counseling firm, Whole Life Counseling. AMALIA KAYE MARTIN ('Kaye') is an early-education specialist, a gifted natural medicine practitioner, and an instructor in nutrition and natural medicine at Baumann College.
“THE HUMAN ODYSSEY”
A Book Review by Nestor of Sandy Pylos
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The Human Odyssey can be a bit difficult to get into. It presents a ton of new information, and does so from a radically new perspective. For example, as I began to dig into the book, I was confronted with a bold-face warning in the opening preface: Do not even attempt to read this book cover-to-cover. There is just too much information to absorb. What book begins by asking you not to read it? As it turns out, the authors suggest three alternative ways the book should be read: Read for Fun, Read for Insights, or Read for Understanding. I have a very busy life, and I don't need another burden, so I opted for the first alternative: Read for Fun.
I took the authors at their word, and literally leafed through the book, pausing only for sections that easily caught my attention mostly cartoons, illustrations, and their captions. According to the authors, these alone will convey what the book is about. To test this out, I've devised a little tour, and I'd like you to accompany me. Let's see if we can sift through the entire book in no more than 60 minutes, get the gist of the authors' message, and have 'fun' in the process. (In actuality, it took me just 58 minutes to do what follows.)
This tour will lead you along the path that I took myself. I will browse through the book, pausing for each cartoon or illustration that strikes me as especially interesting. In each section, I will take a few representative examples, describe the cartoon or illustration that is presented (in italics), then add some comments and questions* of my own (in regular type). Then, for each section, I will list a few other pictures I think are especially worth your attention. (*My comments will be mainly in the form of questions because, like the authors, I want you come up with your own interpretations, not 'rely on the experts.')
My comments and questions will follow the general flow of the book: The book is about human development. The thesis is that human development (or personal growth) occurs through the interaction of four related features, called Domains: Dimensions, Participants, Processes, and Pathfinders. Each Domain contains seven or more sub-features, called Sectors. All the Domains and Sectors work together through eight different Systems to produce human growth. (Don't worry. All this will be explained as we go along.)
The various Domains, Sectors, and Systems constitute the Main Division of the book. Before this Main Division, there are three preparatory sections: Preliminaries, an Introduction to Human Development, and an Overview of the entire model. After the Main Division, there are three concluding sections: a set of Resources for further study, the Conclusion per se, and a Gallery with some more marvelous cartoons and graphics that illustrate key points from the book. We'll start with the preparatory sections, then the Main Division, then the concluding sections.
(Note: I refer to the sections of the book by their letter-numbers (i.e. D-1). Page numbers are only approximate, because this book comes in various editions each of which has slightly different content and page numbers. All references refer to the Quickstart Version of the book (~170 pages). If you are reading the Introductory Version (~300 pages), add the sections in [brackets].)
Now let's hop aboard for the Guided Tour! Follow along in your book as we go
PROLOGUE: Reprieve From Death, pages 1-4. How Hugh's close scrape with death early in life attuned him to the Meaning of Life and motivated him to write this book.
PRELIMINARIES. What you need to know to make sense of this book: What the book contains, how it's put together, how you should read it.
PL, page 13. The Life Journey: Little Billy in the Forest. From their family campsite, Little Billy is sent off to gather kindling. Once in the forest, Billy quickly forgets his mission and launches into a series of adventures. (In his own mind, he enters the Enchanted World and begins a Hero's Journey.) As he is about to return, he remembers his mission, and gathers a few sticks for Mom. What adventures has Billy engaged in? What has he discovered? What fearsome challenges has his active imagination concocted? How big is Billy's Enchanted World? How limited and restricted is his Ordinary Reality? How can the 'Billies' of this world be encouraged to retain their independence and express their imagination even as they mature into a world of practical reality?
INTRODUCTION. The field of human development: Its immense breadth, depth, and meaning. The Growth Mentality: How we can avail ourselves of all the growth that we have the potential for.
IN, page 20. Human Development: The Great Tree of Life.
[IN, page 24. Human Development: George Carlin. Comic George Carlin muses on how much better it would be if our lives progressed in reverse: First death ('get that over with'). Then the old-age home. Then retirement ('gold watch'). Then career. Then college and high school ('drugs, alcohol, party'). Then grade school ('no responsibilities'). Then babyhood. Then womb ('nine months floating'). Then conception ('finish it off with an orgasm'). So, according to Carlin, what do people normally think of as the stages of life? Is there more to life than just these stages? For most people, does life actually become less fun as the years pass by? How can we make our lives better as we grow older?]
[IN1b, page 29. Human Development: Uncle Andy, Still Has Tail.]
[IN1c, page 31. Human Development: Finding Life's Meaning. Auggie and Opus are out on a hilltop at night contemplating the stars. They begin a cosmological discussion: How did the universe come to be? Is there a God? Is life just a cosmic accident? If so, how can life have meaning? Auggie drifts off to sleep, just as it begins to sprinkle. To protect Auggie, Opus rests Auggie's head on Opus's own pillow, covers Auggie with Opus's own jacket, and holds an umbrella over Auggie, just as the downpour begins. Opus concludes that the meaning of life is not found, but made through random acts of kindness like these. Does Auggie believe in God? Does Opus? Can life have meaning and purpose apart from the existence of some Divine Being? Do random acts of kindness from one human being to another imbue life with meaning? Have you found such meaning in your own life? How can you enrich your own life (and the lives of others) with more gestures of compassion and kindness?]
[IN1c, page 31. Woody Allen: On the Meaning(lessness) of Life.]
[IN2, page 35. The Growth Mentality: Dorothy's Black-&-White Kansas; Dorothy's Color-Filled Oz.]
[IN2, page 36. The Growth Mentality: Creative or Droid? At a fork in the road, one path leads toward a verdant landscape of Truth, Justice, Wisdom. The other path leads toward a bleak, dry terrain with a glitzy neon sign that proclaims '99¢ Burgers.' A huge crowd lines up on the path leading to the burgers. The other path is deserted. When life brings you moments of truth, do you choose a higher, more ennobling purpose? Or do you just follow the herd toward cheap, degrading, mass-produced pleasures? In what ways are you a Creative? In what ways are you a Droid?]
OVERVIEW. A comparative overview: The ADAPT Model (from Ken Wilber) and the Life Journey Archetype (from Joseph Campbell). Thumbnail descriptions of each Domain and Sector from both perspectives.
OV, page 21. Overview: ADAPT & The Life Journey.
OV, page 21. Oprah: 60 Is the New 40.
OV, page 23. Joseph Campbell: The Labyrinth of the Human Soul.
OV1, pages 26-27. The Domains: ADAPT & the Life Journey Compared.
OV2, pages 30-49. The Sectors: ADAPT & the Life Journey Compared. (items with page numbers only)
DIMENSIONS. The various areas of our life where growth takes place. The various features of that growth. Includes: Stages, Transitions, Developmental Sequence, Realms, Arenas, Impediments. This is the Map of our Life Journey.
D, page 50. Dimensions: Maps.
D1, page 55. Stages: Whale Island.
D1a-d, pages 58, 60, 62, 64. Stages of Life Passages.
D1b, page 60. Stages of Middle Childhood: Linus and His Blanket. Charlie Brown asks Linus if the kids at school tease him about his security blanket. Linus demonstrates why they don't: When Charlie tosses up a piece of candy, Linus snaps it down with a thunderous 'whack!' of his blanket. When you first entered school, did kids make fun of you for acting like a baby? How did you have to change to become more accepted? How can we defend our childlike qualities from conformist social pressures? How can we stay Creatives in a world of Droids?
D2, page 67. Transitions: Ghost Ship Passing Through the Arch.
D2a-d, pages 70, 72, 74, 76. Transitions of Life Passages.
D2c, page 74. Transitions of Young Adulthood: Graduation Diploma. At graduation, college students line up in gowns to receive their diplomas. Back in the line, one student is reading the news headlines: 'Lousy job market.' The dean is actually handing out some piece of paper other than a diploma, explaining it as 'your best chance for a lucrative future.' A student who has just passed through the line looks at what he has just received, and realizes with surprise that he has been given a lottery ticket! What makes graduation from college such a big challenge? How do young people feel when they first realize they must now support themselves? What other tough challenges do young adults face, as they head out into the world? What were your biggest challenges when you first set out on your own? Were you adequately prepared for those challenges?
D1+2, page 79. Developmental Sequence: The Ascending Spiral.
[DD1+2b, pages 102-103. Developmental Sequence: Static vs. Dynamic Cultures.]
D3a, page 84. Life Passages: Busy Town.
D3b, page 86. Psyche Passages: Picking Frank's Brain.
D3d, page 90. Spirit Passages: Starry Night.
D4a, page 97. Arenas of Life Passages: Wheel of Life.
[D7, pages 128 & 130. Impediments: Steeple Chase vs. Maximum Security Prison.]
PARTICIPANTS. The various aspects of Identity or Self that partake in the growth process. Includes: The Self System, Individual & Collective Selves, Personality Types, Shadow Self. These are the Voyagers of our Life Journey.
P, page 99. Participants: Troll City.
P1, page 103. The Self System: Calvin's Observed Self. Calvin is captivated by the faces he is making in the mirror everything from mockery, to boredom, to fear, to anger, to just plain goofy. In what ways is Calvin experimenting with the 'face' he presents to the world? How is he trying out different identities? Who is the real Calvin?: The funny faces that appear in the mirror? Or the zany little boy who is making the faces? What 'face' do you present to the world? What are you really like on the inside?
P2b, page 106. Montage of Collective Participants. This montage shows the many kinds of groups we can identify with: Couples, families, teams, work groups, etc. Which groups do you identify with most? For what groups would you be most willing to sacrifice your individual needs? For which group would you be willing to fast (give up eating) for a whole day? For which group would you be willing to dedicate a year of your life? What group (if any) would you be willing to die for?
[P3b, page 146. Personality Types: Enneagram Dinner Table. Around the dinner table sit nine guests, each of a different Enneagram Type. They are all part of the same situation, yet each reacts quite differently, depending on their type. Type #1 passes judgment. Type #2 just wants to feel needed. And so forth. Are these nine people true to their type? What makes #1 a Reformer? What makes #2 a Helper? And so forth. What types are the people in your own life? Which type is your partner, your parents, your associates at work? Which type are you? If you're particular type, does that dictate how you must behave? Or is it still possible for you to improve, to grow, to act independently of your type?]
[P4, page 148-151. Shadow Self: The Beast Within, Inner Saboteur, Gremlin. Any that strike your fancy.[
PROCESSES. All the methods and techniques we use to grow and develop. Either General Processes (available to everyone in any situation) or Specific Processes (available only to certain people at certain Stages). These are the Sailing Ships of our Life Journey.
PPR, page 108. Processes: The Sailing Whale.
PPR1, page 112. Transition Cycle: Little Eric's Growth. Little Eric, a happy baby, grows older and begins to toddle. He's a bit fearful, as he first stands erect on wobbly legs. But he's reassured by his dad's firm hand and the secure confidence that all will turn out well. How did Eric feel about himself as a baby? How does he feel about making the big transition to toddler? How did you feel when you first started to walk? (Or to speak your first real words? Or to first ride a bike? Or to add your first numbers?) What tough transition are you facing now in your life? Do you feel up to the challenge?
[PPR5a, page 167. Collective Growth: The Office vs. The West Wing. The staff members of two TV shows are shown side-by-side: The Office and The West Wing. Both groups are in similar situations, but the dynamics are totally different. Which group changes over time? Which one remains basically static? Which group is composed mainly of odd and quirky caricatures? Which group contains mostly engaging and inspiring real people? In your own workplace (or even in your own family), do people treat each other like caricatures, or like real people? Are you yourself treated as a caricature? Do you feel more comfortable with depth and complexity of real people? Or are you more at ease with the simplicity and humor of caricatures?]
[PPR5b-2, page 170. Collective Growth: Generation Cycles in American History.]
PR, page 122-128. Specific Processes. Any that strike your fancy.
PR22, page 118. Specific Processes: Planning Ahead. A herd of lemmings is plunging mindlessly into the sea. One lemming toward the back of the pack has a life preserver around his waist, so he won't drown with the rest. He glances at us with a knowing look, as if we are in on his stratagem. Who are the 'lemmings' of your life? What mishap or catastrophe do they not see coming? What could they do to prepare themselves? When are you yourself a lemming a conformist follower? When do you depart from the crowd and put on your own 'life preserver?' How does it feel when you think for yourself and act in accordance with your own best judgment?
PR2, page 121. Specific Processes: Green Eggs & Ham.
PR1-35, page 129. Specific Processes in Pogo-Fenokee Swamp. Pogo's swamp is abuzz with activity. Albert the Alligator is taking a bath, while the owl is fishing in his tub. Pogo is writing a letter for the sourpuss porcupine. And so forth. What crazy life situations can you find in this very active diorama? How is each situation a joke, or a play on words, or an odd take on a familiar situation? What does each situation tell us about the animal creature that's in it? In which situations is the creature taking on a challenge and starting to grow? Where is your own Pogo-Fenokee Swamp? What life situations are you immersed in? Are they helping you (or forcing you) to grow?
PATHFINDERS. The people and other resources that help us move along our path of growth. Includes: Parents, Authorities, Partner, Counselors, Mentors, Spiritual Guides. These are the Navigator & Captain of our Life Journey.
PF, page 130. Pathfinders: Navigating the Labyrinth. Shadowy figures are wandering around in a very complex labyrinth some groping toward a dead end, others trapped within four brick walls. Through the maze runs a winding path, which eventually opens to a blue sky beyond. On the path, a few figures walk steadily and confidently toward that liberating destination. How did the shadowy figures become so trapped, so lost? How do the confident figures manage to remain on the true path? How labyrinthine is the maze of your own interior? Where do you tend to lose the path? Who can help you keep on track? Where do you hope to be, when you come out to the blue sky at the far end?
PF1-12, pages 136-147. Pathfinders. Any that strike your fancy.
PF5, page 139. Long-Term Partners: Class Reunion. In the movie Pride & Prejudice, Darcy and Lizzie contemplate each other from afar, wondering if a relationship is possible between two such different people. After a series of destabilizing occurrences, they both relinquish their character flaws, and are ready for a happy marriage. What forces Darcy to change his haughty pride? What causes Lizzie to overcome her negative prejudices? What changes are necessary before you yourself are ready for your culminating relationship? Do you have that relationship now? Is it everything you hoped it would be?
PF6a, page 141. Counselor: Halloween Group Therapy. A group of Halloween characters gather for group therapy and share their feelings. The Ghost is 'not the man I used to be.' The Witch 'curses everything.' The Jack-o-Lantern 'feels hollow inside.' And so forth. How is each Halloween character typical of a particular personality disorder? Why do kids choose to be particular characters at Halloween? If you were still young enough, which Halloween character would you choose? How does your choice of character reflect what you think of yourself?
[PF8, page 218. Mentors: Dead Poet's Society.]
SYSTEMS. The mechanisms by which all the Dimensions, Participants, Processes, and Pathfinders work together to produce Growth. These are the Shipping Systems of our Life Journey.
S, page 149. Systems: Calvin's Nefarious Waterbomb System. Calvin, with his co-conspirator Hobbes, concocts a scheme for bombing Susie with water balloons. His System consists of a treetop fort, a target toward which Susie will be enticed, and the water balloons themselves. Calvin is consumed with malicious glee. Hobbes muses that 'idle hands are the devil's workshop.' What is Calvin's System intended to accomplish? What does a System of Growth accomplish? How are the two Systems comparable? What are the real-world Systems in your own life? Does your real-world System ever expand its function to become a System of Growth? Is there a way that Calvin's water-bomb System actually helps him grow as a person?
[S4, page 243. Rachel's Restoration Growth. As a baby, Little Rachel was neglected and abused. Later, as an unhappy toddler, Rachel attempted to disown the Unhappy Baby within her resulting in a pernicious Shadow Self that haunted her later in life. Now she must revisit those painful early experiences, then resolve them in order to resume a happy, normal life. How could Rachel's parents (or relations) have helped her avoid those early traumatic experiences? Once those experiences occurred, who could have helped Rachel make sense of them, to limit their devastating effect? What early traumas were part of your own life? How do they affect your present attitudes and behaviors? How can you embark on your own Restoration Growth?]
[RESOURCES. Books and other resources you can use to continue on the path of your own Personal Evolution, pages 248-259.]
Appx C4, pages 266-269. Growth Centers. Descriptions of the several types of Growth Center you might consider visiting: Meditation Centers, Alternative Universities, Human Potential Growth Centers, etc. Which particular Growth Center would you like to visit? What type of program or workshop might you like to attend? How do you hope it might change you?
CONCLUSION. Follow the Thread: Ways to get the essence of this book by following just one component. The ADAPT Gallery: Cartoons and illustrations that shed further light on key concepts from the book.
CL, page 159. Conclusion: The Medieval Labyrinth.
CL16, page 161. Forget Everything You've Learned: Your Golden Compass. When you've absorbed and internalized all the Processes and Pathfinders you've experienced throughout life, you develop your own Internal Navigator the Golden Compass that tells you which path to take, and how far you can go. Who are some of the Pathfinders who have had a big effect on your life? Your parents? Some favorite teacher? Your beloved partner? Your therapist? Do you still need their guidance, or can you now take care of yourself? How does it feel to become truly independent and self-sufficient? Where will you go, now that you are free to chart your own course?
ADAPT Gallery, page 162-166. Any of the cartoons & illustrations that appeal to you.
[PF3, page 274. Holistic Growth Situation: Coloring Easter Eggs. Daddy gathers the kids around the dining room table to color Easter eggs. The kids are full of amusing questions and astute observations: 'Who colors jellybeans?' 'Let's mail an egg to Grandma.' 'Jeffrey mixed raw eggs with these cooked eggs.' When kids color Easter eggs, what are some of the things they're learning? About food? About color? About organization? About working together? What family experiences like these did you have in your own early life? How are those experiences echoed in your present-day life? How can you turn the ordinary, humdrum activities of your daily life into exciting learning experiences?]
The Life Journey, page 166. The Human Odyssey vs. A Dog's Odyssey. Snoopy, the World War I flying ace, is shot down over France and must find his way home to Tipperary, Ireland. To get there, he must trudge through town and countryside, ford rushing streams, climb precipitous mountains, cross barren deserts, and navigate darkened paths at night until he finally reaches his destination, spent and exhausted. In Snoopy's estimation, his Dog's Odyssey was every bit as challenging as The Human Odyssey of this book! Has your Human Odyssey been an ordeal, or an adventure? Are you richer, and wiser, for having gone through it? Are you eager to continue your discoveries of life's untapped potential? What step will you take next?
EPILOGUE: Life's Big Wake-up Call, pages 167-168. The lessons to be learned from Hugh's harrowing story.
Publication History “The Human Odyssey”
- The Human Odyssey, Our Journey of Life from Infancy to Eternity
- Ken Wilber, Joseph Campbell & the Meaning of Life