Do you like this website?
Please support Integral World!
INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber



powered by TinyLetter
Today is:
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
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 Three

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.

Surfing with the High Priest of “Integral” World

The Eye of Spirit is never meant to explain the “what” and “how” of the relative world, but the “why” it arises in the first place.

Now, let's turn to the “High Priest” at Integral World, David Christopher Lane, who seems to have the responsibility to either support or dismiss nearly anyone who posts an essay, by adding either reader comments or an essay critiquing someone's views. Obviously, Lane is a bright professor who has been working with this material for a long time (he came to my attention in the early 1980s), thus he's very adept at presenting his perspective. Nevertheless, as a philosopher-scientist he is not truly integral or very enlightened (i.e., God-Realized). Doubt itself is his calling card, as his forte is to pull the curtain back on Yogis and Spiritual Gurus, which is useful to a degree, but deluding in many cases as well. In fact, he takes glee in his “unknowing” as a way to deflect being pinned down to any point of view. “I ultimately don't know,” he stated at the end of a recent essay, “And in my unknowingness, I like to explore how much more I don't know.” A cute (or clever) pose, perhaps, yet most of the time he certainly acts like he knows (and knows better).

Lane is actually the most aggressive of the two, for Frank Visser is actually more like his “devotee” (or protégé), for if memory serves me correctly Lane helped convert Visser to more fully embrace science at the expense of accepting transpersonal realities (but I don't really know for sure). What I do know is Lane is extremely prolific, having self-published dozens of books (some of them I own), and can write with a felicity that is quite impressive; he has posted more essays on Integral World than any other contributor, thus he's “top gun,” so to speak. He uses his long-time practice of Shabd Yoga (and Kashmir Shaivism[1]), and his many trips to India, to prove he understands the parameters of transpersonal understanding all in order to dismiss them and drag us back down to the superior view of science (even if science has yet to discover the truths it does not yet know). In other words, it's next to impossible to refute Professor Lane, which is why he has become, in my mind, the “High Priest” of Integral World. If you (as a writer) do not pass through his gates, you are in for a smack down (to use cool surfing terms, another area of Lane's expertise). A surfer “mystical agnostic materialist,” he tells us, but I have yet to see much appreciation for the genuinely mystical—i.e., the real Eye of Spirit (not fake mythical-religionist views). In this case, again, I do not see the “priesthood” at Integral World as being integral, but rather, they are committed scientists (certainly not mystics).

Personally, I enjoy Lane's insights, especially regarding the wonders of science and new technologies (such as virtual reality, etc.); I admire his knowledge of the wide variety of sources supporting his views; I particularly enjoy his writing skills; yet, nonetheless, I do not consider him integral. This shows that just because someone practices yoga and meditation does not mean they clearly see with the Eye of Spirit. I often get the feeling people like Lane use their knowledge of yogic practices, plus their strong criticisms of the Guru-devotee relationship, as a means of avoiding authentic ego-transcending spiritual life. Maybe I'm wrong, since he's a sincere professor, but it seems Lane (like Visser) is more interested in attacking and criticizing the Integral Vision than providing adequate support. Therefore, I maintain they should rename their website since it's really not representing an “Integral” World; more like “Science World.”

To begin with, in his recent essays Lane criticizes “religionists” in their understanding of matter—“The Magical Mystery Tour of Matter: It Is Never 'Just' Stuff” and “Understanding Matter: Why a Spiritual Perspective Needs Science to Make Sense of the World”—which is basically a valid critique directed toward mythic-oriented “religionists” (or people who believe in their religious traditions over the facts of science). But this has nothing to do with Enlightened Understanding or genuinely seeing with the transpersonal Eye of Spirit. Nor does it have much to do with a genuine Integral Vision. To make matters worse, Lane proposes his own more “enlightened” perspective, but he really just presents a ball of materialistic confusion grounded in the Eye of Mind (based on measurements done with the Eye of Flesh). Usually both Visser-Lane are critiquing “prepersonal” magic-mythic views more than they are addressing authentic transpersonal insights. As I suggested in the previous “Real Integral vs. Fake Integral Parts I-II,” they are committing the pre/trans fallacy (or ratio/trans fallacy), therefore disqualifying them from being truly integral. Unfortunately, Visser-Lane are unrelenting in their critiques of transpersonal spiritual perspectives.

In Visser's-Lane's late 2018 postings, they were motivated by essays written by Steve Taylor (author of the recent book Spiritual Science, 2018), who is attempting to be integral, but from what I see he is more “green” (postmodern pluralism) in his attempts to critique “orange” modern science. Plus, he too often makes the pre/trans fallacy himself by overlooking the developmental scale of transpersonal domains, since he is attempting to rescue the premodern worldview of primal peoples as being co-equal to spiritually-advanced Yogas and Enlightened Sages. He also endorses Michael Washburn's “recaptured goodness” model in favor of Wilber's “growth-to-goodness” model, from what I've seen (but I haven't studied him closely[2]). Consequently, Taylor becomes an easy target for someone with Lane's high-powered shooting skills.

Nonetheless, I do see Taylor attempting to see with the Eye of Spirit, such as when he says, “spirit or mind is most fundamental,” etc. (yet to equate “spirit” and “mind” is a pre/trans conflation in itself depending on the exact definitions). But then he fails to differentiate the various levels or stages (state-stages) in the hierarchy of mysticism; hence he should study Wilber (and the Siddha-Sages) more closely. In other words, Taylor is ripe for criticism by theorists like Visser-Lane. For example, Taylor's use of both “panpsychism” and “panspiritism” are still unenlightened (for they're mostly psychic or mind-based). It is correct, however, that “consciousness is most fundamental” (from the transpersonal-transcendental perspective), however, we do not realize this with philosophy or ideas or arguments, but only with ego-death (total self-transcendence). This is only realized when the Eye of Spirit opens all the way—though we may see glimpses or have “tastes” along the way before the “One Taste” of Divine Enlightenment fully dawns, when “God” (or Buddha-Nature) is realized to be Consciousness “Mind” Itself. Ken Wilber has long understood this psychological topic of developmental evolution, for example:

Specifically, through various gnostic disciplines, the translations of the egoic level were superseded, the death of the ego was accepted, and transformation into superconsciousness began, a transformation intense enough that, if completed, resulted in either disclosure of or actual union with God. This is precisely why Buddha introduced the conception of anatta, which means “no ego” or “ego death,” and made it the fundamental tenet of his system. Likewise Christ said he who does not hate his own psyche, or ego, cannot be a true disciple. And the exact symbolic meaning of Christ's crucifixion was the crucifixion or death of the separate self, in all forms, followed by the Resurrection of ultimate unity consciousness (I and the Father are One) and the Ascension to radical release in and as Godhead.[3]
The mystic union [Divine Enlightenment] demands not the Death of the ego, but the death of the ego—the death and transcendence, the death and release, of the ego-mind in order to discover the higher Life and Unity of Spirit.[4]

Nowhere, unfortunately, on Integral World, especially as expressed by its “priesthood” (of Visser and Lane) do I see such sophisticated integral theories being posted or discussed. Why? Mostly because their Eye of Spirit is not adequately awakened or opened. Yet, it is only by accessing all three Eyes of Knowing do we actually know anything (or Nothingness).

The Magical Mystery of David Christopher Lane

Ironically, in a bid to act as if he possesses the wisdom of Divine Ignorance[5], Lane humorously confesses “I ultimately don't know,” which seems a fairly true statement since he prefers the doubting mind of science—a perspective that is only satisfied with future discoveries of science. Yet, this is nothing but seeking and avoiding the truths that are necessary to satisfy—and Enlighten—most people. Such a doubting attitude, one satisfied with “ignorance” or not-knowing might be fine for Lane himself, but this has nothing to do with Real Truth. The truth of life in this universe is not simply one of intriguing mysteries and the marvels of new inventions, but overall is actually quite terrible and deadly, for everything changes, everything passes, everyone dies.

Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour, 1967

Only spiritual awareness, and religious strength, helps us to navigate the tragedies of life and death, the questions of the mind and wounded heart. Sooner or later we all die; our loved ones die; people betray us; natural disasters hit out of the blue; accidents can kill our children before a parent dies; health issues can be crippling; war can destroy nearly everything we hold dear; economic or job loss can be crushing; sooner or later we lose every thing and every person we love—true spirituality, which transcends the ever-changing conditions of our temporary existence is dedicated to discovering the deeper truths that transcend death and all possible changes. It's literally a matter of life and death (wherever your focus is). This is what the sacred esoteric traditions are addressing, something science has no pronouncements on. This is why we need more than the Eye of Flesh (that dies with the body), more than what's seen with the Eye of Mind (which might, in part, survive death, temporarily, but who really knows?). Even genuine mysticism has stages (or state-stages) of growth; something the priesthood at Integral World seems to totally gloss over.

Only the Eye of Spirit, or the wisdom arising from transpersonal knowledge gained by contemplative-meditation, reveals the deeper truths—and even the Ultimate Truth—of existence. Only this liberates us from the limitations of our decaying lifetime for it imparts to us the Wisdom of That Which IS Eternal. Only this way, as the ancient Adepts (not scientists) tell us, do we mortals become immortal (via knowing our True Self).[6] As the ancient Greek philosopher Plato long ago pointed out, the true purpose of philosophy is to prepare for death, not discover more scientific marvels.[7] Indeed, it is a matter of focus (as Lane suggests, but in a totally different context). However, unfortunately, about this type of important “stuff,” science has no clue!

Sooner or later, no matter how good and benign life may be in our current circumstances, we must face these truths (“facts”) of life and death. That is what the knowledge gained from the Eye of Spirit imparts to us: awakening the heart to God-Realization and giving us true peace of mind. Even then, we must actively participate in a process of spiritual growth and self-transcendence after the first taste of Enlightenment (which itself is very rare). Hence, we never want to dismiss, or exclude this wisdom-method from our integral worldview and models.

Of course, Lane maintains his view, that of modern science, is actually better than God-Realization for only science provides the proper way of viewing the world. And if science does not know it now, it probably will in the future, according to Lane. We just must be patient, he maintains: “I suggest that we simply don't know the ultimate reason of why the cosmos is as we find it (especially in light of such concepts as multiple universes, holographic projections, and computer simulated models, ad infinitum), and as explorers we should keep on seeking.” I maintain, however, in conjunction with philosophers like Wilber, Plato, the Rishis of the Upanishads, et al, that we can in fact know the “ultimate reason” why we exist, but science cannot measure it or reveal it to us. If we wait for science, we will die (again) ignorant of our True Divine Condition, and thus miss this sacred, precious opportunity we have been blessed with by being born human. All seeking (of the ego-mind) finally dissolves in Divine Awakening to our True Self-Condition—so why keep exploring-seeking forever when we can be fully satisfied with discovering our True Home and Divine Condition? Which philosophy or “point of view” are you willing to bet your life on?

Professor Lane, unfortunately, does not see clearly with the Eye of Spirit; he underestimates and underappreciates the transpersonal wisdom gained from this invaluable mode of knowledge acquisition. I simply do not see the evidence in his essays or expressed beliefs (or books), thus David Lane really is not very integral. Yet, since the professor is so adept with words and ideas, he's become a beacon to the Eye of Mind (on IntegralWorld.net). Hence, he doesn't actively support writers on Integral World who profess a more transpersonal worldview, but rather tries to drag them back down to his own level-stage of seeing the world. Yet, to propagate such unenlightened ideas as being integral actually does harm in our current world, for we need to further evolve the newly emerging Integral Age (beyond the Modern Age). Instead, as bearers of the true Integral Vision we want to promote and support seeing with all “eyes” of knowledge acquisition, especially the Eye of Spirit. Only by awakening to the full-spectrum of our existence (body-mind-soul-spirit-cosmos) are we truly integral.

Closing the Eye of Spirit

Critically, David Lane (in his late 2018 essays) makes the error of implying that the Eye of Spirit sees physical matter as being “one-dimensional, flat, grey, and completely devoid of mystery.” Actually, he claims “religionists” feel this way, but that is a caricature, thus making it easier for Lane to thrill us with his “Magical Mystery Tour of Matter” (to borrow from The Beatles, who, by the way, would not ascribe to Lane's materialist views). According to Lane, if you see like him, science can provide the “magic” and “mystery” we need to be enthralled and enchanted with our world. Such idealism is enthusiastic, and a common feature of “Omega-minded” Westerners wishing to make our physical world (“this world”) the “holy of holies” (thus dispensing with that boring flatland materialism project). The error is, however, that this dull-grey view is not the Enlightened View that actually sees and recognizes so-called “matter” (which is condensed energy-light) to be Living Spirit (the Shakti-radiance of formless Shiva, or Prakriti-Purusha, to use Hindu religious metaphors).

Only spiritual wisdom makes us truly Happy; only genuine Enlightenment liberates the self in its journey through life leading to the realms (or possibilities) awaiting us after death—something science is fully incapable of doing effectively.

This view, however, is not known with science or the Eye of Mind, under any conditions, but is only known or realized in God-Realization, or with the mystical depths of awakened consciousness (in the higher Stages of Life). Then “matter” isn't just the mysteriousness “magic” discovered by science, but is the blissful play of the Absolute One Divine Reality that is always already the case, ever-present, ever-Divine, the “breaking” (or fracturing) of Indivisible Absolute Light (what religionists call “God”). This can be known by any human being who awakens his or her consciousness to its greatest potential. This is what the Eye of Spirit sees (or knows) when opened and clear (see my next series of essays). Science, quite simply, doesn't know, though it provides intriguing clues (if read correctly). So to lead us away from the Nondual Mystery of God in favor of science actually does us more harm than good. This is exactly why we need a genuine Integral Vision to counter such misguided views.

In this case, being the expert he is, Lane dishes up his clever play of words and ideas, yet generally creates a ball of confusion for those who are attempting to become more integral—since for him only science provides the kind of “mysteries” we need to feel good about life or our human condition. To confirm this point of view, Lane tells us his life philosophy is to remain in a perpetual state of “unknowing,” for he loves the possibility of discovering something new. That's fine in the relative world of changing conditions and as intellectual entertainment, but it is a poor method for gaining true spiritual wisdom with the Eye of Spirit, which is what enriches human life beyond mere knowledge itself. Only spiritual wisdom makes us truly Happy; only genuine Enlightenment liberates the self in its journey through life leading to the realms (or possibilities) awaiting us after death—something science is fully incapable of doing effectively. This is precisely why we need to open and see with all Three Eyes of Knowing: to use the Eye of Flesh, to activate the Eye of Mind, and to awaken the Eye of Spirit. Only such an all-inclusive approach is truly integral, anything less, although its knowledge might be interesting and practically useful (as science proves), even explanatory in many instances, it is still inadequate for a full and holistic expression of human life and our most noble potential and possibilities.

“Spirit-First” Agendas

As another example, after accurately explaining what science does: “We can experiment, test, compete varying hypothesis with each other, and make real-time and real-space predictions,” Lane then regresses to mythic explanations as an example of a “spiritual” perspective: “Now it could well be that King Neptune in his divine chicanery likes to trick humans… etc.” Well, that's one way to dispense with traditional metaphysics, but not a very good one, let alone it commits the classic pre/trans fallacy (in spades!). I almost get the sense he's mocking the entire suggestion of any possible “spiritual” explanations altogether. But like I pointed out above (in Parts I-II), tracking ocean currents, or the relative conditions of Nature, is not what genuine transpersonal spirituality is about. Lane is missing the point (or intent) altogether.

After complaining about how Steve Taylor made an “unnecessary leap” by “confusing science's spotlight with an overarching metaphysics,” he then makes a different category error when science is compared to a “spirit-first agenda” versus the practicality of science that has “revealed much more about how the universe at large works and our place within it than philosophies or religions which have a 'panspiritism' ['spirit pervades all'] purview.” It is true, the Eye of Flesh-Mind reveals practical (scientific) information and facts about the relative world—that is the Integral Vision—but it has little to say, for example, about dreaming or the archetypal patterns of the human psyche, let alone about God or the True Self. (Granted, modern psychology, such as transpersonal psychology, does probe these interiors, but so does myth.) These are different categories of knowledge acquisition, plain and simple. Thus, it promotes a total confusion about what the so-called “spirit-first” perspective does, for in understanding real Spirit or the “force” (energy) of Absolute God it does not necessarily reveal structural information about the relative world, although at times it might. Spirit-first philosophies do, however, reveal the practical matters about the Good Life, about morals and ethics, compassion and tolerance, for example, intangibles that are hard for science to put a measuring stick on… let alone, again, its total lack about accessing Ultimate Knowledge and Divine Wisdom. So why not just be integral and use all the methods and modes of human knowing? This is what the genuine Integral Vision does!

“Spirit-first” really means “most fundamental,” not that you have séances to figure out which way the wind blows.

Sure, I can quickly agree with Lane regarding statements such as: “Anyone interested in the paranormal, spirituality, or 'beyond matter' would be wise to take a physicalist approach first,” yet this is a semantic confusion of what true “spirituality” is about. Transpersonal psychology, for one, has attempted to differentiate these subtle differences in a much more sophisticated manner than Lane is doing here. Lane totally overlooks Wilber's contributions when he collapses the entire hierarchy of religious experience (or the “spectrum of mysticism”)—psychic, subtle, causal, nondual state-stages—down to the psychic (low subtle) level, at best. Truly, this is an error arising from not clearly seeing (or differentiating) with the Eye of Spirit. Lane acts as if Enlightenment is similar to paranormal experiences, which it certainly isn't. However, honestly, I suspect Lane intellectually knows better and has stated otherwise elsewhere; I am just commenting on recent postings and the general tendency I see in Lane's “science-first” approach.

By doing so, Lane is not properly distinguishing the psychic-subtle dimension (or energies) from the constant (causal) Witness consciousness (or True Self) from the Nondual Spirit-Godhead when he suggests: “The real problem… is that we haven't fully explored or exhausted the physicalist world enough and instead we invoke spirits of the gaps like causations in our desire to bring back god or purpose into the proceedings.” Wow! What a slap to anyone who has a more sophisticated understanding of Spirit than mere mythic and archaic belief systems. Nonetheless, as Wilber has suggested, if we are sensitive enough (i.e., have developed adequate modes of perception) we will probably find that subtle energies, even the causal domain, may in fact leave “footprints” or traces (or correlates) of their activities in the physical world. Obviously, our modern-day sciences have not developed to this degree of sophistication. The Integral Vision, however, encourages our sciences to do just that: to reach beyond, yet include, the physicalist approach.

But the “real problem,” in Lane's case, is generating a mass of confusion on a supposedly integral website. This comes from conflating the Eyes of Flesh and Mind with the revelation-knowledge gained from the Eye of Spirit. Yet, in full Lane-style, he evokes Wilber's pre/trans fallacy as if he's integral, but he is not, so fails in the attempt. Thus Lane (in a mocking tone) tell us: “We don't want to unnecessarily commit a Wilberian pre/trans fallacy in our hopes for a teleological drive behind evolution or that Eros has an overall place for our liberation.” Yet, it is Lane who is committing the pre/trans fallacy for he really seems to believe the spiritual view assumes “something [is] 'beyond matter',” whereas (as Wilber clarifies) it is better to see it as interior to matter, for matter-energy is actually the exterior form of Spirit. To make such comments (and proposed philosophy) is a complete misunderstanding of the Integral Vision. The Eye of Spirit is never meant to explain the “what” and “how” of the relative world, but the “why” it arises in the first place. It's a disingenuous argument meant to confuse people and turn them away from any “spirit-first agenda.” But this is bogus—and certainly not integral. “Spirit-first” really means “most fundamental,” not that you have séances to figure out which way the wind blows.

The whole point of the Integral Vision is to use physical sciences to gather its realm of worthwhile knowledge, but to see deeper (and beyond) physical explanations in a psycho-physical Kosmos where we may also know and understand the real and all-embracing (or Ultimate) Truth. Lane fails to guide us in this direction. Sadly, I can only conclude his Eye of Spirit is not very active (for he even sees “spirit” through the Eye of Mind), therefore the High Priest of Integral World is not truly integral, unfortunately. At best, perhaps Professor Lane can be seen as “quasi-integral,” but what's the point? Let us hope someday he turns he formidable writing skills to embracing and promoting the Real Integral Vision.

Missing the Spectrum of Mysticism

Let me clarify a premise that is fundamental to the Integral Vision, something Ken Wilber has provided since his first writings: the Eye of Spirit is a metaphor only, for it does not have a single vision or only one way of seeing (or understanding), but rather shows a spectrum of consciousness, a spectrum of insights (and samadhis, e.g., from savikalpa to nirvakalpa to sahaj)—a hierarchy (or holarchy) of mysticism. Wilber, obviously, has highlighted and clarified this “hierarchy of religious experiences,” especially since he shifted to his evolutionary phase of writing (Phase-2), and it remains the backbone of his Integral Vision ever since.[8] Only by understanding and including this wisdom-knowledge does a person become truly integral. Unfortunately, I see no evidence (or very little) that Visser-Lane understands or appreciates the various state-stages (or levels) of mystical understanding (and self-transcendence) altogether. By not differentiating the state-stages of consciousness development (the higher Stages of Life) we miss a vital component of the Integral Vision. It's so much easier to critique mythic believers than genuine mystics (a classic pre/trans fallacy).

The Laughing Man, 1984
The Laughing Man, 1984

In fact, my guess is Lane rejects the “concept” of a hierarchy of mysticism (yet it's not just an intellectual concept) since he believes the “idea” used by Wilber was inspired by Adi Da's “Seven Stages of Life” model which appeared in the late 1970s, about the same time Wilber debuted his full-spectrum model with The Atman Project (1980) and Up from Eden (1981)—entering into Wilber/Phase-2. For example, back in 1984 Lane and Wilber debated in The Laughing Man magazine about who exactly influenced Wilber in his transition to Phase-2, with Lane asserting: “There is a significant difference between No Boundary [Phase-1] ontological schema and Atman Project's [Phase-2], and this is not merely due to the insights of Aurobindo or Vajrayana, but most clearly to [Adi Da's] books…. [Wilber] also incorporates [Adi Da's] 'gross, subtle, causal' framework, a brilliant reworking of the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and Advaita Vedanta.” Yet, Wilber counters by saying:

While I agree absolutely that Master Da is the Primal Adept, nevertheless it is simply not true that the major influence in switching from the No Boundary model to the Atman Project model was Master Da. In the Atman Project, I explicitly list the developmental stages of over two dozen theorists, all of whom were instrumental in my own formulations, and while Master Da was indeed included, the most influential (at that time) were Aurobindo and Vajrayana. Had I been following Master Da as closely as you [Lane] surmise, I would have given seven or so stages of growth, whereas I gave over twenty stages… The real influence of Master Da's ideas can better be seen in Up from Eden, where I explicitly mention Master Da (along with Christ, Krishna) as being the Divine Person as World Event. Master Da is the single strongest influence on my own at this time, and has been for the past several years, and will continue to be so, but this is no reason to falsify the historical record.[9]

Obviously, times have changed and Wilber has modified his assessment of Adi Da's influence, etc., as Lane has also published negative reviews on Adi Da, but that is not the issue here. The issue is whether David Lane is sincerely integral. Even back then he was contentious with Wilber (stating “Wilber's work will remain just theory, armchair speculation”), preferring his own understanding of Shabd Yoga and the cosmology of the Sant Mat saints; nonetheless, Lane concludes: “To my mind there is no better transpersonal theorist in the world today than Ken Wilber. He has been the greatest influence in my life.” Again, times and opinions have changed during the following decades. One went on to become a world-famous integral philosopher, influencing thousands (if not millions), including business leaders, politicians (including a President and Vice President of the United States), educators, religious leaders, and countless others in the development of their spiritual life; the other became a loud critic teaching at a community college (Mt. San Antonio College). Just sayin'. Thus, this will probably be what Lane will highlight and complain about, for he's reactive over these issues and has been for years. But this misses my point, so I will not continue the discussion along these lines (nor argue in rebuttal essays).

Indeed, I suspect Lane's counterattack will revolve around the fact that I am a devotee of Adi Da Samraj (and happy to be one—see my previous essays on this site). But I do not accept Wilber's and/or Adi Da's developmental models because they are intellectually appealing to me or answer my seeking questions. Rather, for me, I agree with them because of my own personal experience (such as satori and Satsang in the company of Adi Da's Divine Spiritual Presence, plus other peak experiences), for this is what confirms their authenticity. There is a spectrum of mystical experiences but all are undone (or released) in the unique “non-experience” of Nirvanic God-Realization where self is dissolved in God Only (only known through satori). There is Only Consciousness; Consciousness is all there IS. I hope to publish some books detailing my reasons and observations on why this is so, and why I have a spiritual relationship with Avatar Adi Da—so stay tuned.

Nonetheless, overall, this is precisely why these types of transpersonal topics are not really open to mind-based debate or argument, for these samadhi states must be verified in actual experiences before any real (or authentic) discussions can begin. A person must walk the walk before they can talk the talk. Simply, a person's Eye of Spirit must be open to become adequate (adequatio) to the discussion. For now I only encourage others to investigate for yourself: do the injunctions, gather the data, confirm with your peers—like a spiritual scientist willing to do the experiments! Then discover it is the Eye of Heart, the Enlightened Mind, that sees the most—that Eros-in-evolution is the movement or unfolding of Divine Love. Or ask whether IntegralWorld.net holds the deeper truths. Only you, the reader, can decide for sure.

By looking for such evolutionary vision is how we recognize a genuine integral thinker—yet I claim nowhere is this vision/understanding visible with the “priesthood” or principal authorities at so-called “Integral World,” disappointedly. Again, I can only conclude: Integral World is not truly integral; they're scientific only. Like I mentioned (in Part I), hardly anyone can have an opinion posted on Integral World without going through the “top guns” monitoring the website, especially avoiding the keen eye of Wyatt Lane. Nice guys who are experts at tripping up any theorist who doesn't believe science is the final and best arbitrator of what constitutes True Knowledge or not. Just ask Steve Taylor, for one. Thus, unfortunately, I feel it's necessary (even critical) to push back and ask these “priests” to give the rest of us some space to speak our minds, and express our more integral views, without immediate counter-attacks and mocking condensation. That would be my hope.

The Way Out (Is The Way In)

A better approach would be to improve upon Wilber's groundbreaking start by not trying to tear down the entire edifice.

I assume both Frank Visser and David Lane, after reading these essays, may be shocked (and dismayed) over their content since I'm critical of their views and even assert they're not integral (though good scientists). No one likes to be criticized; I hope I have done so fairly based on what they have presented lately on “Integral”World.net. They will probably comb through my essays looking for any slight misstatement, inaccuracy, or inconsistency instead of trying to absorb the overall communication. They have every right to refute my claims and show, once again, how theirs is the superior worldview. This is what “big guns” do: shoot down any perceived threat or harm.

But it doesn't have to be like this; I wish it wasn't like this. I am defending the Integral Vision, or my version of it, after personally working with Ken Wilber for nearly a decade (I first met him in 1982). Yet, since thousands of readers visit this website, I figure someone has got to tell or point out some of its fallacies. Overall, it's an intelligent website, packed full of info, but the main “priesthood” is simply not very integral. I do like these guys, and respect their love of science and how articulate they can be; but I have stood by for years watching them trash the Integral Vision, especially Ken Wilber, and distort the deeper spiritual truths of the Kosmos. So I have to speak up—a Shout from the Heart—to encourage everyone, particularly Visser-Lane, to broaden their scope of investigation, to more genuinely support the Integral Vision and earn the name of their website.

I believe part of Visser's reaction to Wilber's views came soon after he had published a book (the well-researched Thought as Passion, 2003) honoring Ken Wilber; but then Wilber withdrew his support and went in another direction (with I-I or his Integral Institute). Thus, Frank was hurt by Wilber, shocked at some of his new directions (and exaggerated hyperbole), and at one point flipped him the finger (in a clever [and funny] cloud graphic). I know, for I too was wounded by Wilber's response to my two published books (2004, 2006) supporting his work. Both Visser and I gave years and countless hours of dedication and love to Wilber's Vision, only to be rejected and shunned in silence once our work entered the world. It wasn't very graceful.

Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion, Frank Visser Embracing Reality, Brad Reynolds Where's Wilber At?, Brad Reynolds

But the Integral Vision is greater than any one man, even the groundbreaking genius of Ken Wilber. Although the integral pandit has outlined many of the Integral Vision's principle parameters he still errors in some serious subjects, including transpersonal ones, in my opinion. Yet, since a major component of the Integral Vision is to suggest all views are “true but partial,” then there's no reason not to assume the same principle applies to Ken Wilber's work as well. But let's not throw out its many great advantages and leading insights over a few distortions; in other words (crudely), let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Truly, Wilber is doing the best he can, like all of us, but he's human too, so fallible. A better approach would be to improve upon Wilber's groundbreaking start by not trying to tear down the entire edifice because we've become tired of (or disgusted with) its possible inaccuracies. For one, I encourage everyone to go read and study Wilber's earlier writings (Phases 1-3), prior to AQAL, for they are extremely rich with integral thinking, yet are unburdened with his project of convincing everyone AQAL is the best thing in the history of the world (Phases 4-5).

For me, the “Three Eyes of Knowledge Acquisition” (Flesh, Mind, Spirit) are not personal opinions, or clever metaphors, but are actual modes of acquiring real knowledge about our full-spectrum existence, i.e., if we become adequate to their corresponding domains. This includes engaging integral life practices, i.e., exercising the body in Nature, exercising the emotions, mind, and spiritual wisdom, exercising the physical, subtle, causal “bodies” (or “sheaths”) of the whole human being.[10] It includes understanding all the eras of human history, the premodern, modern, and postmodern leading to an Integral Age (and beyond). It includes not only studying at universities, but at ashrams and sanghas; it includes not only thinking about things, but also learning how to drop all thoughts in the silent stillness of mediation. It includes healing the psyche to transform us into the butterfly of higher consciousness. It includes not only using the mind (science's forte), but also opening the heart (spirituality's forte). This is being integral.

Overall, I wish to extend an open invitation for everyone to become more integral, more evolved in Eros and Love, or in seeing with a bright conscious awareness revealed by further opening the Eye of Spirit. We all have the opportunity to further evolve our consciousness, since we are all sentient beings. Let us not delay, for the whole Earth (and all Earthkind) depends on it. I invite all of us (me too), including the Integral World “priesthood” (or its fierce advocates), to more genuinely exercise the Eye of Spirit, the Heart of Enlightened (Divine-Seeing) Love. We simply can't use the Eye of Mind alone to guide our way out, for we must also activate the interiors seen with the Eye of Spirit by going within to brighten our awareness. Science, as we know, fails to provide such a comprehensive or integral approach.

Getting Clear: Open the Eye of Spirit

In these essays, I have focused on the Eye of Spirit because this vision (gained only in the higher Stages of Life) explains Eros as Spirit-in-action, or evolution in a divinely-realized manner. The Eye of Heart, truly, is able to integrate all the levels and domains of existence, while still allowing utter transcendence of all relative conditions in the Absolute Unconditional Supreme Being or Consciousness Itself (or God, in other words). Most important, the Eye of Spirit can be cultivated and grown (or increased) by any and every individual who dedicates himself or herself to this Awakening, for it's inherent (or innate and inalienable) as human beings, the deepest, most interior depths of our own conscious awareness. This means actively doing the yogas, practicing real meditation (beyond mindfulness), engaging in actual Divine Communion or receiving the descent of the Spirit-Current (Shaktipat) into your body-mind-life. Spirit-baptism is needed for authentic transformative spiritual growth, not just reading books and studying philosophies. As the Sages have always advised, to become more integral we must become devotees of the heart in opening the Eye of Spirit (as well as exercising the Eye of Flesh and the Eye of Mind as supplementary practices).

As the Sages have always advised, to become more integral we must become devotees of the heart in opening the Eye of Spirit, as well as exercising the Eye of Flesh and the Eye of Mind as supplementary practices.

This is the true Call of all real esoteric religious systems and Yogas; it is the demand given out by all Adepts or Enlightened Gurus since humanity has walked the face of the Earth. We must all come to intimately know God, in person, for ourselves, not simply through the mediation of myths and religious beliefs. And if you believe some of today's spiritual teachings, you will find it is also the same claim made by extraterrestrial beings or subtle angelic types (such as via the Urantia book). On that topic I'm not sure, but I am convinced that the world's sacred literature—the “Divine Library” expressing a “Perennial Philosophy”—unanimously claims that God-Realization or Divine Enlightenment is the highest purpose of human life. It is the only way to transcend the finality of death and to embody the fullest human values while alive. Go seriously study the cross-cultural Great Wisdom Tradition of universal humankind balanced by integral life practices or genuine sadhana and see for yourself! How could all of our wisest ancestors from every major world religion and spiritual philosophies, from ancient to modern, regardless of culture or century, be wrong? They are not.

Without getting into details here, they all urge us to evolve our own consciousness, to see more clearly with the Eye of Spirit (as Wilber's metaphor proclaims). Hence, there's no need for endless debate, for our vision and understanding will converge, ultimately, in the Prior Unity of the Love-Bliss of Real God. This is a miracle, a divine miracle (see my next series of essays). Yet we still must grow or evolve into this state (or realization) even though it is always already the case. This is the real message and intent of Ken Wilber's work, not to simply criticize science or have us believe in spiritual ideas or complicated philosophies or become “enchanted” with evolutionary possibilities.

So if my criticisms seem to strike discord, in the short term, they truly are intended to serve in uniting and encouraging us all, including the folks at IntegralWorld.net, to become more integral: to embrace all forms of knowing and Unknowing. Enlightenment is the Way; Real God is the Truth. Nothing erases that, even science, although most people have no clue, while many others simply doubt it, yet all deeply intuit its truth at times. Nevertheless, what is true is true: True dat! Happiness and Love in God-Realization is our true evolutionary destiny. Any view that suggests otherwise is “missing the mark” (or “sin,” the original meaning of the Greek hamartia).

So let's relax our reactions to falling short of knowing it all. Rather, let's stand on the shoulders of science and spirituality, each tempering the other to gain a truly Integral and Enlightened Vision of the Marvelous Wonder of existence by seeing and experiencing this Miraculous Kosmos we live within. This allows us to access and realize, presently, and, in the end, the Divine Conscious Light of Real Godhead—Spirit-in-Action-in-Silence—which is always already the case. Can you feel-know It now? If so, then evolution itself becomes moot, only a stepping stone, as we realize this Divine Truth here and now and forever hereafter. It is our birthright to know this Truth since God loves us as us—Eros-in-action! May all beings be blessed with such integral, loving, enlightened visions. Open all your Eyes!

Notes

[1] I am not going to get into a discussion over the intricacies of advanced yogas, or their semantics, which Lane likes to do, for a person does not need to be intellectually sophisticated in these matters to be truly integral.

[2] See: Ken Wilber, Chapter 6: “The Recaptured God: The Retro-Romantic Agenda and Its Fatal Flaw” in The Eye of Spirit (1997), for Wilber's review and critique of Washburn's developmental model.

[3] Ken Wilber, Up from Eden (1981), p. 257.

[4] Ken Wilber, Eye to Eye (1983, 1990), p. 251.

[5]As David Lane should know (since he has studied Adi Da Samraj), the phrase “Divine Ignorancer" means, “we do not know what anything is” (i.e., we can know about things but their essence remains a mystery, except through the prior unity of transcendental understanding). In other words, we do not want to live in a perpetual state of plain ignorance (or “not knowing”) or simply knowing about things (like science does). We don't want to remain in the prepersonal slumber of Eden, the so-called “bliss of ignorance,” or even the personal mental-rational state of thinking we know something, but rather evolve to the transpersonal bliss of transcendence (which is what “Divine Ignorance” is referring to).

[6] See: as only one example, from the Katha Upanishad: “When all the ties [knots] of the heart are severed here on earth, then the mortal becomes immortal. This much alone is the teaching.” (2.3.15)

[7] See: Plato, Phaedo, V.67E: "It is true, the real philosophers train for dying, and to be dead is for them less terrible than for all other men…. This and nothing else is the philosopher's concern, the release and separation of soul from body."

[8] See: Ken Wilber, from The Atman Project (1980) to The Religion of Tomorrow (2017).

[9] All quotes by David Lane and Ken Wilber are from letters to the editor in The Laughing Man magazine, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1984, pp. 2-3.

[10] See, for example: Integral Life Practice: A 21st-Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening (2008) by Ken Wilber, Terry Patten, Adam Leonard, and Marco Morelli.

[11]See: A Brief History of Everything (1996), p. 280, for Wilber always recognized this truth as well: “We do not find Spirit or Emptiness by reaching some evolutionary Omega point in time, but rather by stepping off the cycle of time and evolution altogether (or ceasing to contract into it).”





Comments containing links will be moderated first, to avoid spam.

Comment Form is loading comments...