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INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber



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Brad ReynoldsBrad Reynolds did graduate work at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) before leaving to study under Ken Wilber for a decade, and published two books reviewing Wilber's work: Embracing Reality: The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber (Tarcher, 2004) and Where's Wilber At?: Ken Wilber's Integral Vision in the New Millennium (Paragon House, 2006). He is currently working on Growing In God: Seven Stages of Life from Birth to Enlightenment: An Integral Interpretation (forthcoming from Paragon House) that reviews Adi Da Samraj's “Seven Stages of Life” with Ken Wilber integral psychology and “spectrum of consciousness.”
SEE MORE ESSAYS WRITTEN BY BRAD REYNOLDS

Part One | Part Two | Part Three

Real Integral
vs. Fake Integral

Transcending-Yet-Including the
Knowledge of Science, Part One

Brad Reynolds

Due to fortuitous circumstances—or random chance?—I have completed these essays in time to post them on Ken Wilber’s seventieth birthday, January 31, 2019 (b. 1949). Happy birthday Ken! These essays intend to honor Mr. Wilber’s Integral Vision, or my interpretation of it, since he has inspired many of us to expand our worldview beyond the current dominant worldview of modern science, specifically scientific materialism. My thanks go to Frank Visser for assisting in this endeavor, although I am critical of his reliance on scientism on an integral website; Frank has shown courage and fairness in allowing me to present my view. These essays are in three parts, Part I-III. May they inspire further investigation by using all the “Eyes of Knowing” in acquiring a full-spectrum view of our sacred Reality.

"All things are not ultimately made of subatomic particles; all things, including subatomic particles, are ultimately made of God."
—Ken Wilber, Eye to Eye
Integral Philosophy is intended for those with “eyes” to see into all the domains of knowledge acquisition, thus transcending but still including the knowledge of science.

During the past couple of decades, I have witnessed (with great interest) the growth of the website “integralworld.net” since its inception, but for the past few years (in particular) it seems it should more accurately be called “modern-world.net” or “modern-science-world.net,” not integral world, for it's certainly not integral.[1] Or at least the main “priesthood,” or principle writers and defenders: Frank Visser (founder) and David Christopher Lane (main contributor), are not integral. They are intelligent, well-researched and articulate writers, but they promote a modern-orange scientific worldview, one loudly trumpeting science, not the Integral Vision. Yes, there are other writers who post their essays (including myself) that are integrally-oriented, but I notice we are quickly countered and “shot down” with a rebuttal essay by either Visser or Lane (often both), usually within days. These two are the “big guns” at “Integral World,” taking on any newcomers, not giving anyone much space to have their own ideas without having to mount an immediate defense. David Lane seems to be the new “Wyatt Earp,” the fastest mind in town, for he can throw in some spiritual jargon too (having visited India many times and practices Shabd Yoga) thus appearing to be “more integral” but he really isn't. They consistently try to drag everyone back down to earth, so to speak, in eloquent defenses of science being the superior worldview. Usually they present spirituality as being a farce or sideshow that is distracting us from the more profound truths uncovered by science.

Nonetheless, I do enjoy their essays for they're informative and cite interesting sources, and, like I say, they're both articulate and convincing in their point of view which honors science above all other methods of knowledge acquisition. Unfortunately, however, sometimes I feel they're almost bullying people who don't think like them; I realize they think it's a debate (or “to 'n' fro,” in Lane's words), but whatever it is, it's definitely not integral. Why do I believe this? Because they only “see” (or understand) with the “Eye of Flesh” (or the physical or pre-rational realms of matter and energy) supplemented heavily with the “Eye of Mind” (or the mental and rational domains), yet their “Eye of Spirit” (or the transpersonal or transcendental spiritual vision) remains closed or barely open, from what I see.

Sure, both men might confess some interest in spirituality and yoga (especially Lane), yet it's usually done in an attempt to defraud or expose (Lane's forte) the illusions of seeing the universe with the “Eye of Spirit” (or with Transcendental Insight). In other words, these two writers are not genuinely integral because their vision only encompasses the “Eye of Flesh” (using the five senses), particularly the “Eye of Mind” (best used by science). (See more on the “Three Eyes of Knowing” below.) In integral terms, I believe Visser-Lane often make the pre/trans fallacy, and they should know better; yet, in this case, they're more often confusing the rational with the trans-rational (or transpersonal) domains of knowledge: the ratio/trans fallacy? In addition, they often reduce transpersonal spirituality (and psychic states) down to mythic religious beliefs (as “religionists”), for that view is easier to critique, thus overall they're promoting a pre/trans fallacy. If you don't agree (or “see”) that the transpersonal domain of Spirit-God really exists, that the universe is arising from and as an expression of One Divine Reality, then I suppose that's the logical conclusion, but it's not the integral perspective. I hope to illuminate some other fallacies they make as well, if possible.

Strawman Integral

Most often this “priesthood” (or the dominant theorists) of “Integral” World take aim at integral theorist-philosopher Ken Wilber (who is integral) attempting to poke holes in his theories (even make fun of him), apparently wanting to drag down his entire corpus because he errs in certain specifics (especially with Visser's harsh critiques of Wilber's views on biological evolution). Although they bring up some valid points, at times, most often their plan of attack is to jump all over several statements Wilber has made when he's not at his best.[2] Worse, they often misrepresent Wilber's overall body of work since they lack clarity in the Eye of Spirit (one of Wilber's forte), therefore, they construct a “strawman” they can then burn in effigy (granted, Visser does this more often than Lane, who usually does not go directly after Wilber, or at least recently). To be clear, the definition of a “Strawman” = “to give the impression of refuting an opponent's argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent.”[3] Granted, Wilber's theories aren't perfect, and have some errors—hard not to by proposing a grand “Theory of Everything”—yet that is no reason to misinterpret his intentions or his overall vision and philosophy. This is certainly true if a theorist's position inadequately “sees” (or understands) with the Eye of Spirit, a fully valid mode of knowledge acquisition embraced by the integral perspective (i.e., if transpersonal truths are not reduced to mythic “religionist” views).

Either a person sees the Integral Vision, or you don't. No harm, for it's a developmental process and so requires many areas (and years) of adequate concentration and serious ego-transcending meditation (and disciplined spiritual practice). But please: do not claim to be integral—that is, integrating the physical, mental, and spiritual domains of existence—when your preference is for the physical-mental realms (or the domain of science). I am not going to write this essay simply to defend Ken Wilber by sprinkling his quotes throughout—though having published two books reviewing his work, I could (and might).[4] Nor am I going to get into a tit-for-tat volley with what Visser-Lane have to say in response, for I'd prefer we each have our say and let the readers decide for themselves. I will, however, rely on some recent comments both writers have made on some Integral World essays posted in late 2018 (mostly responding to Steve Taylor's essays criticizing scientific materialism). Consequently, I'm going to offer my interpretation of the Integral Vision and why it is so important to include (and integrate) the Eye of Spirit more gracefully in our discussions.

Three Eyes of Knowing: Flesh-Mind-Spirit

To do so, I would like to lean on Wilber's metaphor of the “Three Eyes” of knowledge acquisition, as first presented in Eye to Eye (1983, 1990, 2001). In short, as Wilber clarified since nearly the beginning of his career, the “Three Eyes of Knowing”—also known as “epistemological pluralism”—can be summarized as follows:

  1. Eye of Flesh or the Eye of Nature-Body (gross-physical empiricism) = Physiosphere/Biosphere = apprehends physical, sensory events and phenomena (usually with the five senses or instruments of extension, e.g., microscopes, telescopes, particle accelerators, etc).
  2. Eye of Mind or the Eye of Science-Mind (subtle-mental rationalism) = Noosphere = apprehends images, desires, linguistic-verbal concepts, symbolic ideas, etc. (usually done with science, philosophy, and mathematics, etc.).
  3. Eye of Spirit or the Eye of Contemplation (subtle-causal mysticism) = Theosphere = apprehends spiritual experiences or noumena and states of the (subtle) soul and (causal) spirit.[5]

    * Eye of Heart = the Integral Vision as a whole from the nondual perspective of Enlightenment (or God-Realization) integrating all “three eyes” of knowledge accumulation and their transcendence (not specifically included in Wilber's “Three Eyes of Knowing”).
Eye to Eye, Ken Wilber

This, of course, is a simplified version of the “Great Chain of Being” or the entire “spectrum of different modes of knowing, each of which discloses a different type of world (a different worldspace [worldview], with different objects, different subjects, different modes of spacetime, different motivations, and so on),”[6] as Wilber explains. This means Wilber's integral theory does in fact enthusiastically embrace rational science while maintaining a healthy respect (and inclusion) for trans-rational spiritual-mysticism too. Indeed, this major feature is what is so attractive about the Integral Vision, despite Visser suggesting otherwise. Wilber believes science is best seen as being only one of several valid modes of knowing, yet if acknowledged this approach can peacefully coexist with the spiritual-mystical modes of knowing.

This is what the Integral Vision is all about: by integrating the various forms of pre-rational, rational, and trans-rational knowledge into a more comprehensive—integral and inclusive—model of reality, the Kosmos becomes a radiant expression of Divine Spirit, yet still measured via the tools of science and the beauties of the senses. This is why Wilber has gone to the trouble to integrate-yet-differentiate the physiosphere, biosphere, noosphere, and theosphere, as well as the premodern, modern, and postmodern perspectives—basically Integral Theory 101. I believe this metaphor of different “Eyes of Knowing” sheds some light on Visser's and Lane's preference for a scientific worldview without adequately seeing or knowing the transpersonal truths gained with the Eye of Spirit.

This is what the Integral Vision is all about: by integrating the various forms of pre-rational, rational, and trans-rational knowledge into a more comprehensive—integral and inclusive—model of reality, the Kosmos becomes a radiant expression of Divine Spirit, yet still measured via the tools of science and the beauties of the senses.

The priesthood of Integral World, however, is not comfortable with this integral, semi-spiritual stance, since they're constantly elevating science to superior status. Yet, as Wilber persistently points out, to do so is to commit a category error: “It is my feeling that the most important thing a transcendental or comprehensive paradigm can do is try to avoid the category errors: confusing the eye of flesh with the eye of mind with the eye of contemplation.”[7] Wilber summarizes what constitutes a genuine Integral Vision:

My eventual conclusion will be that an overall transcendental paradigm—or any comprehensive investigative paradigm—should use and integrate all three eyes, and so it is necessary, at the start, to delineate the respective roles of each. If they are not delineated, then our “comprehensive paradigm” can be opened to scientism, to mentalism, or to spiritualism, each based on category error, each deadly in effect.[8]

This type of integral approach accords with what Jean Gebser was also pointing to, the pioneering philosopher who helped define “integral” as a new structure of consciousness, one which transcends-yet-includes the mental-rational structure of science. Gebser (who rightfully influenced Wilber), in his flowery translated German below (which Wilber helps simplify), points to the necessity of integrating all “eyes of knowing” (i.e., the structures of consciousness) or ways of seeing the world in order to be truly whole as a human being:

By integration we mean fully completed and realized wholeness—the bringing about of an integrum, i.e., the re-establishment of the inviolate and pristine state of origin [“Eye of Spirit:] by incorporating the wealth of subsequent achievement [structures of consciousness]. The concretion of everything that has unfolded in time and coalesced in a spatial array is the integral attempt to reconstitute the “magnitude” of man from his constituent aspects, so that he can consciously integrate himself with the whole.[9]

Science, in other words, must concede to its proper and appropriate place in our quest to know truth, and not contribute to further fragmentation or “unknowing,” for as Jordan Peterson once remarked: “You don't have to extend the analysis [e.g., of Darwinian evolution] beyond the domain of its utility.”[10] That is, don't commit category errors. As we'll see below, Gebser was very critical of elevating the rational mentality of science to being anything more than just a limited (if effective) perspective on how we know (or “see”) the world-universe-self. This is real integral, not fake integral.

The Integral Approach, as Wilber summarizes, wants to include the Eye of Physicality plus the Eye of Reason but also what's revealed from the Eye of Meditative-Contemplation (initiated by actual transpersonal self-transcendence). In other words, a genuine “Integral” Approach transcends-yet-includes the knowledge of science—not to reject nor diminish it; but, in fact, highly value it. This approach integrates science into a wider and deeper (or higher and grander) science—a “mandalic science,” or even “geist-science,” perhaps even a “spiritual science” or “gnostic science,”[11] in Wilber's words—yet it does so by also putting science in its proper place by acknowledging its limitations and liabilities. Nevertheless, this integral approach to human knowledge allows (and admits) that the Eye of Spirit ultimately gives us the clearest, most real, thus most accurate vision regarding the truth of reality—and our place in the Divine Kosmos. As the Integral Vision mentioned decades ago (via Wilber's opening quote to this essay): all things, all holons, including subatomic particles, including all matter-energy, is most fundamentally God (or God's Spirit),[12] nothing less, nothing more.

Evolving Through the Eyes of Knowing

The Evolutionary Story itself evolves or “unfolds” through the Three Eyes of Knowing in a progressive manner, if seen rightly, as Ken Wilber and integral theorists have long maintained. It's really a beautiful, interactive process where we “see” or discover how we're all interrelated, from atoms to apes to Atman, alive in the great Web of Life as our living Universe Story. From the Big Bang (our origin moment) to the “creation” or evolution of atoms, molecules, stars, and galaxy systems (with the generation of heavy elements), all necessary for the origin of life on Earth, every living thing has evolved together over eons of time. This is what the Eye of Flesh, the Eye of the Nature-Body, shows us, also known (in integral terms) as the Physio-Biosphere. We have had to look closely, however, to find the evidence but fossils (fossilized cells, plants, and animals) show us our evolutionary history. Observing the Web of Nature during our evolutionary development has taught us, and all creatures, how to survive, adapt, and thrive. Every species everywhere is a genius at survival otherwise they wouldn't be here. Our eyes of awareness show how this incredible blue pearl of a planet, Earth or Gaia (the “goddess” of life systems), is rare and unique, thus essential for our future survival. We have only to open our eyes and look to see this is so. The Eye of the Flesh-Body is able to see our entire evolutionary history, especially when coupled with the Eye of Mind (or science).

The Eye of Mind has its own evolutionary history too, which is more difficult to see (since it involves interiors), but many scientists and philosophers have speculated on this developmental process for centuries. The Eye of Mind emerges with the Noosphere, as Teilhard de Chardin, Wilber (and others) have pointed out, but it became most significant once human beings (anatomically modern Homo sapiens sapiens), and their highly-developed triune brains, entered the changes of history (ca. 120,000-50,000 BP). This is when, as Julian Huxley put it, “evolution becomes conscious of itself.” With the development of the Noosphere (or Eye of Mind) we started to speak, to use symbols, create art, and advance our technologies—everything that makes us decidedly human (“doubly wise”)—which eventually led us to develop the methods of scientific inquiry, an attempt to transcend mere subjectivity by bringing some objectivity to our conclusions and observations. The Eye of Science, as a subset of the Eye of Mind, is a great advancement indeed, yet if used in isolation it's detrimental to our overall (holistic) health. Understanding our evolutionary story emphasizes this truth, which is why the Integral Vision uses “evolution” not just to measure the diversity of species, but to instruct us in Life Philosophy, not merely to reconstruct our past with artifacts, relics, and DNA.

Ultimately, we discover our consciousness itself is the very Source-Energy generating all of creation or the Kosmos.

Arising from the Eye of Mind, perhaps concurrently with it, is the Eye of Spirit (also known as the Theosphere). The findings or knowledge acquisition gained from the Eye of Spirit are even more difficult to detect, for they are much more subtle (and even more interior). But their universal deep structures are abundantly evident in the surface structures or culturally-variant forms of human history (traced, for example, by the Perennial Philosophy). To make these readings more difficult to track, of course, is the fact the Eye of Spirit also has its own graded holarchy (hierarchy) of development, making it even harder to spot unless adequately trained. Again, this is another reason why the genuine Integral Vision, which tracks all Three Eyes of Knowing in all domains of existence, is so useful and vital for a truer understanding of our full-spectrum existence. The Eye of Spirit, most basically, can be subdivided into the Eye of Soul (psychic and subtle states) with “Spirit” itself representing the causal domain, or the transcendent “emptiness” of all forms revealing our ever-present naked awareness or Witness Consciousness (often associated with Atman). Ultimately, we discover our consciousness itself is the very Source-Energy generating all of creation or the Kosmos.

Brilliantly, and to his great credit, Wilber has meticulously followed these currents of wisdom by integrating them into a model outlining our overall progressive psychological development.[13] Seeing with the Eye of Spirit is included with Integral Theory, where at its “highest” state-stage of development it's seeing with the Eye of Enlightenment (a condition of knowing honored throughout human history, regardless of culture of century). To be truly integral we cannot dispense with this invaluable method of knowledge acquisition simply because science may have difficulty tracking it. This is why, unfortunately, I can only conclude the “priesthood” (or primary advocates) at IntegralWorld.net are not integral. They are not seeing the real Integral Vision.

Seeing with the Eye of Spirit

To begin with, I see the priesthood at so-called Integral World—since science is their religion (as Steve Taylor noted)—commit the fallacy of seeing the Divine as an object, as something that “intervenes” in Nature as if it's an objective force (or power). But God is not an object, nor has any substantiality (kind of like light), so is not detectable by the measurements or mathematics of science (unlike light). The Divine is the subjective source or ultimate interior of the entire Kosmos, including the interior of energy that makes up “matter” (as one physicist put it: “All of material creation is condensed light”[14]). God is (but not limited to) the entire universe; or rather the entire universe is a manifestation of God, yet this Divine Reality of Conscious Light (the “luminous emptiness” of shunyata) simultaneously (and paradoxically) transcends all conditions, all processes of physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, etc. Simply, God transcends-yet-includes all of Creation or the Kosmos; this perspective is the fundamental foundation of the Integral Vision, especially as Ken Wilber has presented it over the years. Understanding this is seeing with the Eye of Spirit (i.e., when speaking metaphorically or in linguistic-symbolic terms).

The Eye of Spirit, Ken Wilber

The difficulty is this understanding (or vision) cannot be rationally argued as philosophy, codified in a mathematical formula, published in a scientific journal, etc.—the Eye of Spirit is only seen in ego-transcending revelation and realization (the highest expression is known as Enlightenment or “En-Light-enment”). This natural manifesting activity of the Divine as being and becoming the Kosmos (in its multidimensional glory) is what Wilber has symbolically called “Eros” (using the ancient Greek term poetically suggesting God is Love); we could just as well use Logos or Nous (ancient Greek words that refer more to “Consciousness”), as did the writers of the New Testament or Plotinus, respectively. In any case, it is a profound paradox which is adequately grasped only by opening the Eye of Spirit, a reference to self-transcending awakening. From his earliest works onward, Wilber has clearly seen this Integral Vision and eloquently articulated the nature of its “notorious paradox,” as this one later example shows:

Spirit is not merely or even especially the summit of the scale of evolution, or some sort of Divine omega point (although that is part of the story). Spirit is pre-eminently the empty Ground, or groundless Emptiness, fully present at each and every stage of evolution, as the openness in which the particular stage unfolds, as well as the substance of that which is unfolded. Spirit transcends and includes the world: transcends, in the sense that it is prior to the world, prior to the Big Bang, prior to any manifestation; includes, in the sense that the world is not other to Spirit, form is not other to Emptiness. Manifestation is not “apart from” Spirit but an activity of Spirit: the evolving Kosmos is Spirit-in-action.[15]

Nowhere do I see Visser or Lane adequately grasp or appreciate this point of view (especially Visser), which lies at the heart of being integral. This spiritual understanding of our world, of our universe, is not scientific, i.e., it cannot be seen with the Eye of Flesh (via the senses or their extensions) nor merely with the Eye of the Mind (via rationality, science, or even philosophy). This is why we must engage (and practice) the Eye of Contemplation, do the yogas, honor (and serve) the genuine God-Realized Gurus and s, and learn to include-yet-transcend our born limitations of culture and century.

The Two Truths Fallacy

Next, Visser-Lane have a tendency to defend “matter” as if it is “stuff” or actually physical—although Lane is clever enough to point out “It is never 'just' stuff” (energy maybe, but transcendental spirit? Probably not, as science says). Nonetheless, they do persistently act as if the physical world measured by science is the best way of obtaining real knowledge. Yes, science is an unprecedented way of obtaining useful (and practical) knowledge about the relative world of ever-changing conditions that's been created since the Big Bang or the Origin moment of our current universe. Science measures and unlocks “hidden secrets” undetectable with just the five senses alone (or even with common sense), either here on Earth or in outer space. Yet science remains ignorant about the Absolute or Ultimate Source-Condition of our multidimensional Kosmos (including all spheres of interiors and exteriors). Science cannot objectively probe our innermost consciousness and the pranas (or energies) of our heart like we can subjectively, let alone like advanced Yogis or Sages do. This fact must also be taken into account, a principle premise of the Integral Vision.

To help clarify these various Eyes of Knowing, Wilber has borrowed from Buddhism's (and Nagarjuna's) “two truths doctrine,” a common feature in the Perennial Philosophy, to help explain why we want to avoid this confusion or “two truths fallacy”:

  1. There are the “truths” of the relative world that are very useful for us primates called humans during our temporary lifetime and struggle for survival; but
  2. there is also the Absolute Truth of all beings and reality, in any universe, in any possible spacetime scenario, in all states of awareness (during life and after death), which is the “Ground” and “Goal” (in Wilber's words) of our whole universe.

This understanding includes the differentiation (yet integration) of the Absolute One with the relative Many. Only the Eye of Spirit reveals this Truth, as the advanced-tip Saints, Sages, and Siddhas demonstrate for us in person. Only this wisdom-knowledge liberates us from the inevitability of death and all the temporary ever-changing conditions of the shifting relative world. For those who truly see the Integral Vision, both truths are necessary for our holistic well-being… since, well, both are true.

Simply, Real God transcends-yet-includes all of Creation or the Kosmos; this perspective is the fundamental foundation of the Integral Vision, especially as Ken Wilber has presented it over the years.

The Integral Vision, consequently, fully and readily acknowledges that science is extremely useful in observing and measuring the physical world and energy exchanges, in understanding biological and cosmic evolution, in advancing medical knowledge of the human body and brain, etc., in creating amazing technologies. However, from these insightful discoveries, the power of scientism is also capable of great destruction and nearly immeasurable harm (as modern world history and environmental degradation proves). Science, in other words, can be either good or bad, positive or negative, depending on how knowledgeable we are in the wisdom of Spirit, the areas (or domains) that science can't touch. In fact, of all the spiritually-oriented philosophers of the past half of century or more, no one has supported the authenticity of science better than transpersonal psychologist Ken Wilber. Indeed, when most “New Age” paradigms have been mostly critical of science and its deadening materialism, Wilber has championed loudly for its proper inclusion in our spiritual paradigms. Consequently, unlike Visser incorrectly asserts: “Wilber's enchanted view of evolution is New Agey through and through”; he is wrong, for Wilber's vision is fully integral by not only seeing with the Eye of Flesh (physical reality) in addition to using the Eye of Mind (science studying physical reality), but by seeing with the transpersonal “Third Eye” of Spirit.

Gebser, as another example (among many), was fervent in his claim that material-based scientific rationality was a deficient form of the mental structure, since it has gone too far in claiming its superiority over all other worldviews. He was very critical of people who claimed to know better (via science) yet were actually distorting a genuine (and more true) understanding of the human psyche:

Here we can discern the tragic aspect of the deficient mental structure (and there will be further instances): Reason, reversing itself metabolistically to an exaggerated rationalism, becomes a kind of inferior plaything of the psyche [e.g., Visser's recent critique of the Trinity], neither noticing nor even suspecting the connection. Although the convinced rationalist will be unwilling to admit it, there is after all the rational distorted image of the speculatio animae: the speculatio rationis, a kind of shadow-boxing before a mirror whose reflection occurs against the blind surface. This negative link to the psyche, usurping the place of genuine mental relation, destroys the very thing achieved by the authentic relation: the ability to gain insight into the psyche.[16]

By being integral, however, we learn how to appreciate science without elevating it to superior status within the spectrum of knowing. Most important, one learns to see (or know) the Divine Nature of the universe (and of all universes) by accessing the modes of knowing that transcend the physical eyes of science. To be truly integral, therefore, is to avoid the fallacy of excluding one truth to the elevation of another (whether relative or Absolute). Our Integral Vision has access to all domains of knowledge acquisition—as a cognitive process of epistemological pluralism. Yet, we also need to learn how to surrender all the seeking-desires of the ego-mind to finally discover the truly superior knowledge of “Divine Ignorance” (as the mystics claim), our only domain of true peace and happiness—the Divine Domain—which is, by the way, always already the case embracing all of reality (and all possible realities).

If you don't see (or know) with the Eye of Spirit, or see with an awakened mind-heart (the Eye of Heart), then a phrase like “Spirit-in-action” seems repulsive to the Eye of Science, such as it is with the armchair scientists of Visser-Lane at IntegralWorld.net. In this case, Integral Philosophy is intended for those with “eyes” to see into all the domains of knowledge acquisition, thus transcending but still including the knowledge of science. This is the integral posture we seek by integrating science into a larger (more benign) spiritual worldview.

The Asana of Science

The Asana of Science, Adi Da Samraj

Interestingly, in David Lane's recent essay explaining why to him “a spiritual perspective needs science to make sense of the world,” he tips his hat to “Adi Da's clever phrase” the “asana of science,”[17] for Lane prefers to emphasize it is “a 'matter' of focus” when using science to look for physical causes and correlations. Perhaps he should take the time to more thoroughly study Adi Da's 1980 discourse, for it's extremely insightful regarding these perplexing matters. For one, Adi Da asserts:

Science is a pose, an asana. Apart from the specific enterprise for which this asana, or pose, of science was invented, it does not represent the disposition wherein one is Divinely Enlightened, Free, Happy, totally associated with all the factors of one's existence.[18]

Contrary to popular (or conventional) belief, the Spiritual Teacher (and Siddha-Guru) Adi Da Samraj was quite adept at appreciating science while also criticizing its limitations and dangers. Mostly, Adi Da, like other Adepts, recognizes that science is only able to see a limited perspective on the universe, even though it is quite effective in practical matters. Hence, for example, the Spiritual Master has noted: “Science Is a Method, Not a Philosophy,”[19] for although its practical method is effective, overall it is not a very good (or adequate) philosophy for human life and our happiness. The Awakened Avatar continues:

Science is a dehumanizing adventure when made into an absolute philosophical point of view, because it chooses a reality independent of human existence as the subject of its investigation, makes that reality the force that defines human existence, and makes the physical universe senior to, or more real than one's essential being and the subtler dimensions in which one participates constantly.
Science excludes the subtle dimensions of energy, the dimensions of [etheric-subtle] psyche, and the [causal] dimensions of essential being, or the [nondual] living consciousness. But all these conditions are your true Condition…. You exist simultaneously in many dimensions. You fluidly move attention through those dimensions…. Real intelligence must be fiercely capable of investigating every aspect of existence, including the very process of knowledge that is called “science.”[20]

To begin with, Adi Da points out an obvious, but often overlooked, consideration about the scientific method: “This process of acquiring [scientific] knowledge is concerned not with transforming the viewer but learning about the so-called objective, or natural, world independent of the viewer.”[21] He points out that the activity of science is based on the conventional (non-esoteric) view of human existence: there is an objective, or natural world apart from yourself “out there.” It presumes an independent “I” or self, which feels itself separate from the world (even if it mentally understands it is composed mostly of atoms and empty space). Science assumes the “real world” is the physical world, as Visser-Lane maintain, but that the world of the psyche, or “inner world” is “unreal,” or only caused by sophisticated brain chemistry and quantum potentials, etc. But when seen with the Eye of Spirit (or contemplative-meditation), the real world, the pluridimensional Kosmos, is actually known to be psycho-physical: an existence composed of physical “matter-energy” (condensed light) full of objects-holons intertwined (or “tetra-meshed”) with the inner human psyche or the subtle-etheric spirit breath of life, “all the way up, all the way down,” as the wisest of our ancient ancestors have long understood, without the benefit of science.

When most “New Age” paradigms have been mostly critical of science and its deadening materialism, Ken Wilber has championed loudly for its proper inclusion in our spiritual paradigms.

The “philosophy” of science, in other words, is built to pursue knowledge about the external world, rather than participate in the total world. Science, as Adi Da emphasizes, “does not presume reality to be the total human condition.” It discards psychic possibilities as being anything other than brain chemistry or personal projections, thus, overall, as Nietzsche famously declared (in describing our modern understanding): “God is dead!” But, as the Enlightened Siddhas have universally revealed and long taught (in Adi Da's words): “In Truth, the condition of your existence includes more than the so-called external world.”[22] Since this is the actuality of our full-spectrum existence, then science can be dehumanizing with its lack of psychic depth, leaving out much of our actual experience (and condition). This is what Wilber (and many others) are referring to as “flatland,” or the reductionistic tendency of “scientific materialism” (as Whitehead named it). Science may provide us with many marvels about the functions of the gross-material world, which can be very useful (if applied properly), as we've suggested. However, at its best, science only leaves you with a few epiphanies of “mysteries” solved (or that were undetectable with our five senses), but it will never leave you with the ecstatic Wonder of seeing the entire psycho-physical display of God's Radiant Spiritual Light, the reality of our Divine Condition Itself, in truth, right here and now. Only the fully opened Eye of Spirit reveals such ecstatic (and cosmic-world-self- transcending) Divine Wonders.

Nevertheless, Adi Da is not just critical of science (similar to other Adepts, such as Vivekananda, Paramahansa Yogananda, Aurobindo, et al), for he openly acknowledges the positive contributions made by the scientific method. Therefore, he advises, “scientific activity is not inherently evil, but it does become an evil or destructive force if it is permitted to dominate one's worldview and to remain unaccountable to one's total realization of existence.”[23] However, this critique does not necessarily imply, according to Adi Da, a regressive resort to traditional mysticism or premodern religious beliefs as a solution (an error Visser-Lane consistently make). From the truly Enlightened (or God-Realized) perspective, the Avatar points out: “If the domains of religion, Spirituality, mysticism, and magic are not held accountable to actual literal processes, they can develop all kinds of illusions and create views that are purely imaginary, suggestive, or archetypal.”[24]

Indeed, it is these earlier quasi-mystical (but still unenlightened) stages of life, including traditional religious views and metaphysics, which I believe people like Visser-Lane are actually trying to criticize and dispense with in their essays and well-reasoned perspective. However, they're going about it the wrong way. They do so by making the classic pre/trans fallacy (or ratio/trans fallacy) by not adequately differentiating the unenlightened (and magical-mythic) views from the more enlightened transpersonal perspectives. This requires actively using and speaking about the “hierarchy of religious experience” (in Wilber's words), the higher state-stages in the “spectrum of consciousness” (in all “four quadrants:”), or better, to more effectively understand the progressive unfolding of the “Seven Stages of Life” from birth to Divine Enlightenment (such as presented in Adi Da's developmental model of human growth). Unfortunately (from my view), by not adequately differentiating the Three Eyes of Knowing, by not actively (or genuinely) engaging the full spectrum of consciousness, by conflating the two truths doctrine, and other contentious fallacies, the priesthood at “Integral” World not only falls short of God-Realized Enlightenment, they're not even truly integral.

[Please see Part Two for a further critique of integralworld.net by focusing on Frank Visser's condemnation of Ken Wilber using “Eros” (and the Eye of Spirit) to advance our views on understanding evolution.]

NOTES

[1] In fact, I recommend this website should not only be renamed but they should change their icon of using Ken Wilber's face, for it's false advertising since it is NOT about “Integral Culture, Spirituality…” etc., let alone is NOT supportive of Mr. Wilber's views. Thus, to be fair, I suggest an update of this site's intentions; either that or become more integral and promote genuine integral thinking.

[2] I can already hear their rebuttal already: “Wilber said these things in print, so he must believe them!” Yet Visser often uses obscure quotes, like from letters Wilber has written and posted on the Internet.

[3] See: Wikipedia, “Straw man” category.

[4] See: Brad Reynolds, Embracing Reality: The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber (2012, Kindle version: Paragon House) and Where's Wilber At? Ken Wilber's Integral Vision in the New Millennium (2011, Kindle version: Paragon House).

[5] See: Ken Wilber, The Eye of Spirit (1997), p. 32.

[6] Ken Wilber, The Eye of Spirit (1997), p. 84 [emphasis added].

[7] Ken Wilber, Eye to Eye (1983, 1990), p. 36.

[8] Ken Wilber, Eye to Eye (1983, 1990), p. 31.

[9] Jean Gebser, The Ever-Present Origin (1949, 1985), p. 99.

[10] Jordan Peterson, "Transcendental Goalsetting and the Power of Fear in the Hero's Journey," posted 2-12-1018, Eindbazen Podcast #87.

[11] See: Ken Wilber, "The Problem of Proof" essay in Eye to Eye (1983, 2001) for his excellent introduction to difficulty in tracing the "footprints" of the higher realms in the lower realms, nonetheless, the integral philosopher concludes (p. 70):

"This makes a 'spiritual science' or genuinely 'transcendental science' doubly difficult. For unlike sensibilia or intelligibilia, transcendelia cannot be easily or adequately described in mental terms or maps. Spiritual data themselves are transmental and transconceptual, and thus they resist, even defy, conceptual, rational, theoretical mapping and codification."

[12] See opening quote: “All things are not ultimately made of subatomic particles; all things, including subatomic particles, are ultimately made of God.” Ken Wilber, Eye to Eye (1990), p. 167.

[13] See: Ken Wilber, The Atman Project (1980, 1999), Transformations of Consciousness (1986, 1999), Integral Psychology (2000), and The Religion of Tomorrow (2017).

[14] Arthur Zajonc, Catching the Light (1993), p. 54; I will use Zajonc's excellent book to support some of my statements, which could be replicated with others sources, but my time is limited.

[15] Ken Wilber, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality (1995), p. 583, 1n. [emphasis added].

[16] Jean Gebser, The Ever-Present Origin (1949, 1985), p. 97.

[17] See: Adi Da Samraj, The Asana of Science CD (2015). In this recording from 1980, Avatar Adi Da Samraj speaks about the false presumptions upon which the conventional scientific point of view is based.

[18] Adi Da Samraj, The Asana of Science CD (1980, 2015).

[19] See: Adi Da Samraj, Science Is a Method, Not a Philosophy CD (2010), and Science and the Myth of Materialism CD (2003).

[20] Adi Da Samraj, The Asana of Science CD (1980, 2015).

[21] Adi Da Samraj, The Asana of Science CD (1980, 2015) [italics added].

[22] Adi Da Samraj, The Asana of Science CD (1980, 2015).

[23] Adi Da Samraj, The Asana of Science CD (1980, 2015).

[24] Adi Da Samraj, The Asana of Science CD (1980, 2015).







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