Read "Climbing the Stairway to Heaven", my 7-part review of Wilber's The Religion of Tomorrow (2017).
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".
SEE MORE ESSAYS WRITTEN BY BRAD REYNOLDS
Brad 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.”
Seeing with ALL
Eyes of Knowing
Your vision will become clear
only when you can look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams;
who looks inside, awakes.
od cannot be proven, only doubtedeither that or be realized to be the Source or “Creator” and Condition or “Sustainer” or “Suchness” of the whole universe or Kosmos (including all possible universes). You are That! This has been the universal message of all Adepts in the Global Wisdom Tradition of humankind. Indeed, this realization or knowledge is inherent in our own psycho-biological structure of being human, i.e., if someone pursues and activates the further evolution of consciousness. That is, God-Realization is not simply an opinion or perspective, but a vision and understanding of Reality available for anyone and everyone to see and know for themselves. However, the proper effort (or sacrifice of self) must be made… it doesn't come easy since it is hidden (or esoteric), and, therefore, must be evolved or grown into via stages of development. The Integral Vision understands and models this truth.
“God”painting by Alex Grey
Doubt is the general mood of science (and scientists in general) or those who use the verbal mindthe “Eye of Mind”to try and bring some certainty and knowledge (beyond opinion) to our view of existence. Scientists doubt everything, including their own “theories,” which forms the basis of the scientific method: doubt, investigation, theory, confirmation, more doubt, and so on. Doubt can also be characterized as an adolescent attitude, one that resists authority or a more mature understanding of our human potential because scientists want to be right regardless if they are unsure what is correct. Yet, as much as science knows, even with all of its technological gadgets and marvelous machines, theories and penetrating insights, it fails to make humans happy or free. Science, therefore, is limited in its scope of knowledge for it lacks genuine wisdom. We need both knowledge and wisdomthat is being integral.
Since science relies only on empirical and theoretical knowledge verified through experiments and measurements of the physical world, then those who believe in science (to find all the answers) will always doubt the existence of God or Spirit (or “Eros”). They doubt (or deny) the ultimate Transcendent-yet-Immanent condition of Reality because it is non-material (or spiritual) and can't be measured. For them, sadly, God is dead. Thus, science has made atheism (or at least agnosticism) popular, the preferred mood of the modern mind: it's best to doubt or deny what you know not.
Yet, as the Awakened Adepts of human history, our wisest women and men, regardless of culture or century, have all affirmed: God can in fact be “known” or realized to be real and actual, not an illusion of the mind or cultural religious inheritance. Any person can do this if adequately trained. However, all these Adepts also maintain, in order for this truth to be actualized (or realized) the ego-I, the verbal mind, or our sense of being a separate entity or solitary self must be thoroughly transcendedsurrendered or “sacrificed” (in ego-death)into the radiant Presence of Existence itself, for That, in fact, is the Real God or Reality as It IS. God is not elsewhere, not outside us, or even inside us, or “up there” or beyond the physical (i.e., metaphysical), as many archaic traditional religions teach. Rather we are in God, arising within the Divine Domain here and now, IF we realize That and see It rightly.
Most religions, however, preach the dogma of archaic and magical-mythic thinking, a form of egoic cultism, and thus fail to reveal the Real God that IS Reality or what is “always already the case.” This false traditional “God” (of the Bible and books) is mostly what science, as an inquisitive method of inquiry and knowledge, is reacting to and dismissing, but such a mythic view is untrue to begin with. True religion, on the other hand, is innate within us, if we evolve to realize it as such, instead of doubting, wondering, questioning endlessly. The situation, I believe, is precisely as the American-born Adept-Avatar Adi Da Samraj perfectly describes:
God is simply Reality. God is the Process of Existence altogether, and God ultimately transcends the Process and the manifestations of all manifest existence….
The Divine is Realized only through ecstasy, or self-transcendence, beyond knowledge and doubt. The Living God may be neither doubted nor known, but only Realized. God may only be loved.
This, my friends, is the universal message of the Perennial Philosophy. It will be the principle thesis of my essays as I critique some of the postings and worldviews presented here on “Integral World” promoting scientific materialism by scrubbing Spirit (or “Eros”) from evolution or the creative development of the Kosmos. I am going to support the view that uses transpersonal vision-logic or integral thinkingexercising ALL the Eyes of Knowingover that of flatland reductionism. I will maintain God is real, therefore, the Divine or Real God, not the mythic deity, MUST be included in any genuine Integral Metatheory or Theory of Everything. And, God can only be adequately “seen” (or known) via the Eye of Spirit, not with the Eye of Nature or the Eye of Mind (to use integral terms).
The Science of Doubt
o do science a person must separate themselves, or their point of view, from the continuum of existence to gain an “objective” (or consensual) perspective on things by focusing on certain specifics and details. As a consequence, we have the so-called mind-body problem, as many philosophers and psychologists (and others, even scientists) have noted, for the non-physical mind (res cogitans) seems separated from the physical body and biological nature (res extensa). This is how we can study (and know) about “things” (holons). However, additionally, both body and mind tend to feel separated from the heart (where God most readily resides). This view generates a stark dualism that has created havoc on Earth.
Therefore, the “Eye of Science” (or Eye of Mind) is fated to always maintain boundaries of separation in order to enact its method of “objective” reasoning, thus eliminating human subjective feelings and wisdom. Whereas, in fact, knowledge of God as Spirit reveals a prior unity and absolute interconnectedness with all things (holons) and processes of energy. This is realized, ultimately, in the heart (the source of consciousness), the feeling of Being, not the mind. We must use the whole body-mind to know (or realize) God or True Reality, as the Adepts teach.
Hence, science will never know about God, for God cannot be proven or even argued with logical (or mind-based) “proofs” of its existence to convince the doubting ego-mind, as many theologians attempt to do. God can only be doubted or realized to be true, not proven. Only the Eye of Spirit (via satori) proves the existence of God beyond doubt. This understanding must be integrated into any genuine metatheory of human existence. The truth of God transcends the verbal mind, simple as that; it cannot be published, measured, or quantified; this fully frustrates the rational mind and thus is adamantly denied by science.
To realize the truth of “God”the Divine Nature of Realityis a subjective awakening, one that even goes beyond an empirical (sense-based) experience, per se, since “an experience” is the province of the subjective self. This makes God a profound paradox, for It cannot be known, proven, or acquired by “I,” but only tacitly understood or realized to be true when “I” is transcended (or surrendered). As integral philosopher Ken Wilber once said: “We might say that scientific reasoning (it-rationality) cannot grasp God because God is not an empirical object.” Such a condition absolutely confounds science and the scientific method, and those who believe in science; it's therefore easiest to deny God altogether or not deal with It at all.
Overall, this is fine, since science is still able to provide important and useful information about our world, and so should be used as a method of knowledge acquisition, but not as an overall philosophy of life. Science should refrain from making absolute claims to ultimate truths, which is what scientism tends to do (claiming only science reveals truth). But this is a performative contradiction. The ultimate truth of our existence is the province of Real God (or Reality), the True Self, not the relative self (that dies or is reborn). We always already inhere in this Divine Reality, for God is not something gained, only realized to be the case.
When the relative self awakens to this Nondual Truth, true peace and unbounded love is known, and then we change our lives for the better and become a kinder, gentler humanity. In this case, the best science can do is be an effective mode of inquiryand a quite successful one tooyet, overall, science is only “true but partial” (the integral motto). Thus, science must be put in its proper place and not be cultically hailed as the know-all of everything. Only “True Religion,” the potential for God-Realization in everyone, will wake us up from our ills and destructive habits. This is, among other things, what the true Integral Vision sees and knows, without a doubt.
To BE Integral: Use ALL the Eyes of Knowledge
he main purpose of being INTEGRAL or using integral vision-logic and philosophy, as Ken Wilber and others suggest, is in accessing all our “eyes of knowing” or methods of knowledge acquisitionusing the five senses and practical knowledge to theorems and calculations to meditation and compassion, et aland then unite or integrate them together into one vision of Reality as a whole, each providing evidence from its own realm of existence. To do otherwise is to commit a “category error” (as Wilber has consistently explained), which is the tendency of one mode of knowing to claim authority over another, while each can only provide data from their own domain of knowledge. To be integral, therefore, we must use the Eyes of Nature, Mind, and Spirit together (including their subdivisions) as a unity to gain a truer and more holistic (or more whole) vision and understanding of our existence, purpose, and possibilities. And, yes, this involves the evolution of consciousness, or spiritual evolution, far beyond the reach of biological evolution by itself. Biology gives us the resources (from our past evolutionary inheritance); transpersonal spirituality offers a direction for the future.
“Seeing With the Mystic Eye”
painting by Alex Grey
painting by Alex Grey
Once Real God, the Transcendent-Immanent Truth of Realitynot the mythic God/dess (or gods and goddesses) of cultic archaic religionsis realized, then science finds its proper role in the scheme of human existence and society, and will stop acting like it knows it all… or will sooner or later almost know it all. Otherwise, people get caught in endless mental-verbal debates based in doubt and the search for knowledge arguing for one perspective over another, lost in a maze of information where nothing is finalized or agreed to be true. This is the activity of the separated self, or ego, that doubts its highest potentials.
This seems to be where the modern/postmodern world stands today: struggling in a haze of fragmentation, doubting the truth of the Divine Reality, ridiculing the authentic Adepts and Spiritual Masters (or confusing them with cultic totem-masters and charlatans), unsure how to escape or righten this quagmire of uncertainty. All the while our planet, the ONLY oasis of life as far as we can see, burns and becomes toxic threatening our own existence. Worst of all, it seems governments and invested corporations and other interests will fight to the death to prove they are right, killing (or displacing) any who stand in the way or think they are wrong. Human history is plagued with murderous assaults and endless wars brought about by a self in doubt who needs to be transcended for an authentic realization of God as our Divine Condition to take place. The Integral Vision attempts a more holistic healing beyond dualism and doubt. Only this approach provides the conditions for realizing Love and Bliss and Happiness (for that is Real God), instead of hiding from our true nature in ignorance, fear, and doubt, corrupting our chances for further evolutionary growth until we Wake Up!
This is precisely why the Integral Vision is so vitally important and necessary in today's world. We must learn to not only understand our past traditions of magical-mythic thinking, seeing their “good news” and “bad news,” as well as to properly use the knowledge gained by reason and science, but we must also be woke to the transpersonal reality of the Transcendental Divine Truth of existence as Spirit and Consciousness. For God is actually (and factually) real as Reality itself, the Source and Condition of every possible thing or process (including the genetic “mutations” of evolution). Evolution as Spirit-in-action arises within “God,” or the Divine Reality of existence (our reality), as the Integral Vision maintains. Yet, as mentioned, it cannot be proven other than by realizing it is true through self-transcendence; nothing more, nothing less. To be integral, in other words, is when God (or “Eros”) is known to be real and authentic (not a “God Delusion”), not doubted or dismissed. Such a stance or perspective demands to be included in any genuine “Theory of Everything” (or T.O.E.), as Ken Wilber, for one, has attempted to do.
One of the best ways to do this, the Integral Vision insists, is to exercise ALL the Eyes of Knowing, including using science and spirituality each supporting one another and supplying what the other is missing (or weak on). There really is no other way that will heal the divisions and doubts of our current world situation. Only Spirit transcends-and-includes Nature and Mind to liberate the Heart. Then all things and relations are seen more clearly as an Integral Vision, not merely a scientific measurement. This is the premise and thesis of my essays, and, I maintain, is a primary one of Wilber's overall Integral Vision as well.
This is why I have become dismayed, at times, that a website titled “Integral World” seems to be top-heavy in critiques of the Integral Vision, while justifiably pointing out errors of certain theorists. Yet, its main writers (or “priesthood”), those who post the most essays, deny the existence of Eros and Spirit and God altogether. They doubt it because science doubts it (and has no proof). However, such doubts and denial of Spirit is NOT being truly integral, for such views have succumbed to the reductionism and doubt of the scientific mind… which needs to be integrated, not elevated to superior status (which is what I see happening on this website too often).
When seeing integrally, even myths are true but partial (when understood as archetypes); reason and science are also true but partial (when understood as a method of inquiry); even spirituality is true but partial (if only based on subtle visionary mystical experiences); for only Divine Enlightenment (or real God-Realization) transcends-and-embraces everything! As Wilber once so masterfully (and paradoxically) put it: “The Godhead completely transcends all worlds and thus completely includes all worlds. It is the final within, leading to a final beyonda beyond that, confined to absolutely nothing, embraces absolutely everything.” Together, then, we may embrace a more holistic Integral Vision by opening and using ALL the Eyes of Knowledge in order to shine a brighter light on our future and how we may live a more true, beautiful and good life.
Brad's selected IntegralWorld essays
Real Integral vs. Fake Integral: Transcending-Yet-Including the Knowledge of Science, Part I, Part 2, Part 3, January 2019
The Miracle of "Matter": Seeing with Integral Vision, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, March 2019
Integral Evolution: A Neo-Perennial Philosophy, November 2019
Integral Visions: Seeing with ALL Eyes of Knowing, February 2020
Partially True, Partially False: The Clash and Convergence of Ken Wilber & Frank Visser, Part 1Introduction, February 2020
Partially True, Partially False: The Clash and Convergence of Ken Wilber & Frank Visser, Part 2Evolution Errors (forthcoming)
Brad Reynolds: Integral Art & Studies
 Adi Da Samraj [Da Free John], Scientific Proof of the Existence of God Will Soon Be Announced by the White House (1980), p. 23.
 See: Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy (1945. 2009); Fritjof Schuon, The Transcendent Unity of Religions (1957, 1984); Psychology & The Perennial Philosophy (2013) edited by Samuel Bendeck Sotillos, among many other books.
 Ken Wilber, The Marriage of Sense and Soul (1998), p. 86.
 See: Ken Wilber, Eye to Eye (1984, 1990, 2001); The Eye of Spirit (1997, 2001).
 Ken Wilber, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality (1995), p. 302.