A Critique of Ken Wilber - updated
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” - George Orwell, Animal Farm
Ken Wilber is the New Age answer to Richard Dawkins. Both are biologists who want to be philosophers instead of the philosophers. Both are in love with Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. Both want their own discipline to be the answer to all the riddles of the universe; both therefore ends in two versions of reductionism (Social Darwinism – in Wilber´s case: some kind of evolutionary psychologism). And, both are in that degree marked by not being educated philosophers.
This article is part one of my two last texts on The Matrix Conspiracy. Part two is called: A Critique of the Simulation Theory and the Rise of Digital Totalitarianism. The connection between the two will be explained in the following.
This article is divided into four parts:
1) Introduction to Wilber´s Integral Theory
2) Wilber´s Nonsense-Language
3) Wilber´s response to Critics
4) Latest Updates
1) Introduction to Wilber´s Integral Theory
Ken Wilber has sought to bring together the world´s far-ranging spiritual teachings, philosophies, and scientific truths into one coherent and all-embracing vision: the integral theory. The theory is based on evolutionism, which not must be confused with evolutionary biology. Evolutionism is a newer European ideology which was rising in the wake of the scientific revolution, and the following obsession with progress. Darwin´s concept of evolution was now attached to all kinds of other things, which hadn´t anything to do with Darwin, for example history, culture and technology, and, in Wilber´s case: consciousness. Culture, and consciousness, were now seen as developing from lower stages to higher stages in style with Darwin´s “monkey-theory”. Evolutionism could in that context be characterized as a “monkey-faith”.
Besides this, Wilber´s theory is based on a “dialectic of progress”, which is forming the background for the concept of integrality. The progress of evolution integrates oppositions, or shadow aspects, which are seen as “unfortunate, but necessary” steps in the evolution towards higher states. In that way his system can be used to justify anything. This was also the problem with Hegel´s and Marx´s dialectics, which formed the backgrounds for Communism and Nazism.
There is absolutely nothing new in Wilber´s system. And here we come to something central. Wilber is building upon the works of others. His system precisely “suggests the synthesis of all human knowledge and experience”. This seems to stem from Wilber´s own ability of lexical memory, which reminds about autism. Note, that I don´t claim that Wilber is an autist! I use the word in order to illustrate what´s going on with this guy. There is namely a striking contrast between his lexical memory, and his scientific and philosophical naivety. Add to this his inability to deal with critics (I will return to this).
Wilber´s lexical memory is a central part of his image, which he himself actively seeks to maintain. The first time I heard about Wilber, was when I visited my cousin in Los Angeles. At that time, I had just finished my philosophy studies, and my cousin therefore wanted to introduce me to this “greatest philosopher of all time”: Ken Wilber. This is the typical way, Wilberians talk about their master. They are confusing his lexical memory (his ability of remembering and categorizing knowledge), with the ability of deep thinking. Because Wilber is not thinking for himself!
The late philosopher, Robert Todd Carroll, was also introduced to him in this way. I quote from Carrol´s newsletter:
I have had several requests to do an article on Ken Wilber. In an earlier newsletter (#4), I stated that after reading an interview with Mr. Wilber, which I found unintelligible, I doubted that it would be in this lifetime that I would get around to reading him. But things have changed. I've been reading Dean Radin's The Conscious Universe (in preparation for my new course Critical Thinking about the Paranormal and the Occult) and Radin claims that Ken Wilber is the greatest philosopher of science alive today. (Radin has a penchant for exaggeration.) I also met a gentleman on the golf course who, once he found out I teach philosophy, told me about this philosophy book he was reading that he thought was just great and really resonated with him. It was Ken Wilber's A Brief History of Everything. I bought a copy.
The Foreword is written by media guru Tony Schwartz, who tells us that in 1986 he set out on his own "search for wisdom" and found Ken Wilber to be "far and away the most cogent and penetrating voice in the recent emergence of uniquely American wisdom." Schwartz also reminds us that Wilber published his first philosophy book when he was only twenty-three years old. He had dropped out of graduate school (where he was studying biochemistry) and became a Hegelian of sorts, weaving Freud, Buddha, Aurobindo and others into the unfolding stages of Spirit in the Kosmos. I think Schwartz is partly correct in his assessment of Wilber's popularity: He appeals to "those of us grappling to find wisdom in our everyday lives, but bewildered by the array of potential paths to truth that so often seem to contradict one another." Wilber's appeal will be greater, however, if you are also philosophically and scientifically untutored.
The announcement of Ken Wilber as the greatest philosopher alive is coming from people who obviously not are philosophers, hereunder Wilber himself. But it is at the same time people who often are highly educated within scientific fields (mostly psychologists and biologists), and who therefore must have just a tiny understanding of philosophy of science (the field which discriminates between what is science and what is not science). Apparently not. Taken the enormous influence of Wilber´s theories in popular culture (mainly through the internet) into consideration, all this indicates an enormous problem.
So, Wilber is building upon the works of others. It is a part of the integral theory. I would say that it is bordering to a kind of “multi plagiarism”. If you went into a closer examination of Wilber´s work, you would discover that there isn´t very much he has thought out himself. In that way you could say that he is basking in the works of others. But Wilber, and his fans, of course doesn´t see it this way. They see him as the one who unites different kinds of works.
As an example of what Wilber does, I will use his book, Up From Eden - A Transpersonal View of Human Evolution. The book is simply a pseudoscientific shipwreck. The pseudoscience is of course especially eye catching since Wilber is a science fetichist. His whole premise is that his account is science and that it is supported by evidence. But the pages are so filled with circular arguments, extrapolations, selective thinking, contradictions, quotations out of context, etc., etc., that I gave up counting.
Now, if you take the foreword to the new edition (1996): here Wilber writes that he since the first edition has refined and fine tuned the categories given in Eden, and expanded the “quadrants of analysis”. But:
“the essential framework is given here, and is still valid as ever, I believe. In fact, recent research, evidence, and theory have, if anything, substantially increased the validity of Eden and its central conclusions.”
How have they increased the validity? The evidence others have found within their respective scientific fields is taken as evidence for his own theory (an example is Piaget´s 4 stages of cognitive development in children). All theories which have something to do with “developmental stages” or “growth from lower to higher”, are taken as support for Wilber´s theory. Hereafter he brings them together. But eventually evidence within one field of research of course doesn´t bring evidence to Wilber´s system, just because he includes them. But that´s how Wilber sees it. He simply takes at lot of researchers, who have done great work within a certain scientific field, includes them in his own work, parrots them, and then believes that this must give his own work scientific validation.
Wilber´s theory of evolution is for example made on the background of extrapolations from a lot of single cases to the whole of humanity. For example: he sees human evolution as a growth from infant to adult (which he finds validation of in one researcher), from subconscious to conscious (which he finds validation of in another researcher), etc. In that way he continues: from sleep to awake, from pathology to healthy, from normal consciousness to super-consciousness. Even kundalini awakening (which is highly individual), is extrapolated to the whole of humanity, meaning that kundalini was sleeping in the first humans, but today it is awakening. All based on what others have said within different fields. His huge philosophical and scientific naivety is therefore that he believes this is a valid way of doing science (or philosophy for that matter).
In his book Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts – The Mystical Tradition of Ancient Egypt, the philosopher and cultural historian, Jeremy Naydler, is describing the blind side of evolutionism, which believes that since the Egyptians belonged to an earlier historical phase, they couldn´t be advanced. In that connection he mentions psychology and its approach to historical development. He writes:
Twentieth-century psychological approaches to historical development, such as those initiated by Freud and Jung, have also tended to conform to the evolutionary paradigm and the idea of progress in its earliest Baconian form, in which history is viewed as a maturation from the childhood of the ancients to the adulthood of the moderns. Freud´s theory of individual psychological development incorporated the Baconian-Frazerian idea that it recapitulates human history – from the “childhood” (magical phase) of humanity, through an “adolescence” (religious phase), to its “adulthood” (scientific phase). For Freud the modern child, still thinking animistically, presents a picture of the peoples of the past; only those modern adults who have fully adapted themselves to the scientific worldview could be regarded as mature human beings. Furthermore, the magical rites and spells of the earlier phase are characterized as corresponding psychologically to the obsessional notions and protective formulas of modern neurotics. This adds an interesting psychological twist to the idea of progress: namely, that the steady advance of humanity has been from psychopathology to true sanity (i.e., acceptance of the scientific worldview). Thus, in the late 1970s, Julian Jaynes would contend that in antiquity human consciousness was essentially schizophrenic and that Egyptian civilization was controlled and directed by hallucinated “bicameral voices.” A similarly unflattering of the position of the ancient Egyptians in the unfolding of the historical process is given by the transpersonal psychologist Ken Wilber, who dismisses the whole society as mad (page 37).
Well, it is not surprising, Wilber does this, because he is not thinking for himself, he is just building upon Julian Jaynes, whom he quotes frequently. In his notes, Naydler writes that Wilber´s account of Egyptian religion is “remarkably ill informed” (page 358).
Philosophers like Jeremy Naydler and Algis Uždavinys have shown quite another picture of ”human evolution”, namely that the ancients was far more philosophical developed than today, where philosophy has been distorted and forgotten.
So, Wilber is building upon the works of others. Since his lexical memory is a part of the integral theory, he is quite proud about that this is what he does, but ignorant about that others could view this “method” in quite another way. In that way he involuntarily exposes himself as someone who borders to a plagiarist. In the preface he writes:
In each major field (mythology, anthropology, psychology, etc.) I have selected one of or two “guides” and have used their quotations to the exclusion of others. Thus, in mythology I selected Joseph Campbell – when I came to a point in the narrative that demanded a supporting quote, I would try to find one from Campbell first, even though for “academical reasons” I could have given any of a dozen quotes from other authorities. In the same way, for existential anthropology, I selected Becker and Brown; for “eras,” Jean Gebser, for biological evolution, L.L. Whyte; for psychological evolution, Erich Neumann. I hope I have enabled the reader to find the following chapters to be four or five voices speaking in harmony, telling the story of humankind´s growth, and not just a jumble of massive quotations from innumerable sources (most of the sources are simply listed in the Bibliography).
He is listing 444 works! I think this is quite revealing for how important his lexical memory is for his reputation. But it also shows the lack of basic insight in scientific method, and an almost childish need for bragging. Add to this that when talking about all these “authorities”, he doesn´t discriminate between philosophy and science, and between science and pseudoscience. For example, he lists the pseudohistorical work, A Course in Miracles, among his “authorities” (number 3 in the list). So much for the great philosopher of science!
But this also reveals another serious problem for the future. The internet allows that everything can be published, and all kinds of rumors can flourish uncontradicted. It is typical for New Agers that they write their works as it they were scientific works. Today you can also buy yourself to PHDs, doctor titles, etc. And it all comes from USA (see my articles Bridge Between Science and Spirituality, and A Critique of Diploma Mills).
In connection with Wilber´s list, I would suggest that you asked each of these authorities - whom Wilber claims to be “speaking in harmony, telling the story of humankind´s growth” - if they would agree with, that they are a part of Wilber´s theory of history. Not enough with that these authorities don´t validate Wilber´s system, they are also being distorted by being put into his system, which therefore becomes a source of misguiding. Wilber simply uses different kinds of “authorities” in order to put himself on the top of a piedestal. It´s all about Wilber. He hasn´t done any thinking himself, except memorizing and categorizing different kinds of knowledge. You can find the same thing in a book on history of ideas.
It is clear that it is relativism/subjectivism, that lies behind this. I know his fans now will protest, but I will explain what it consists in below (I will end this article with a quote from Joseph Campbell, which shows quite another opinion of evolutionism. Also see the below updates about how Wilber uncritically is parroting Michael Crichton´s climate change denial).
In typical New Age style, Wilber is reducing everything to psychology. Wilber´s model of “the evolution of consciousness” is simply a psychological model, and therefore a monumental example of psychological reductionism (psychologism).
I´m still looking for all these adult, mature, awake and spiritual enlightened people which we, according to Wilber, must be able to see everywhere today. But his own Wyatt Earp episode (described below) is certainly not a role model.
So, Wilber´s work is based on the works of others. This is a part of his lexical memory capacity. When it comes to the part of thinking for himself he is lost, or rather: he is simply exchanging other peoples´ concepts with his own concepts. This seems to be the "secret" behind Wilber´s method. It is not directly plagiarism, but it is close to. The Wyatt Earp episode a striking example of this “autistic” inability to think outside his preconceived concepts.
2) Wilber´s nonsense-language
In my article A critique of Ken Wilber and his Integral Method, I show how Ken Wilber´s integral method belongs to a group of large New Age systems, which have emerged in the wake of Theosophy, and which therefore exposes totalitarian and fascistic tendencies.
Ken Wilber´s philosophy is an example of disguised nonsense, as it exists in cultish surroundings. What I have noticed in certain critics of Wilber, is that they fall into the trap and are accepting using Wilber´s nonsense language, whereby they unintended are sanctioning it. This won´t happen in my critique.
Discovering an Integral Civic Consciousness in a Global Age, is a Free eBook by John Bunzl (download it here). The Ken Wilber website Integrallife.com presents the book with the following words:
In an age of global crisis, why does the idea of global governance remain a such a taboo topic? Here John Bunzl posits a civic line of development, suggesting only those possessing a worldcentric level of civic awareness can fully comprehend global problems and the need for binding global governance.
Ok, not so much nonsense so far. But here is the abstract from the book:
This article asks why, in an age of global crisis, global governance still remains a low priority for the integral community. It posits a civic line of development, suggesting only those possessing a worldcentric level of civic awareness can fully comprehend global problems and the need for binding global governance. I argue that modern (orange altitude), postmodern (green altitude), and even low vision-logic (teal altitude) worldviews still see global problems nationcentrically rather than worldcentrically. I explore this limitation in light of destructive international competition; a key and potentially catastrophic phenomenon that, it is argued, shows why only a worldcentric, late vision-logic (turquoise altitude) civic consciousness can disclose solutions to the global crisis. Ways in which green and teal altitude split off these realities are suggested, providing clues to how turquoise civic consciousness may be accessed and how the integral community may thus play a fuller, more effective role in global transformation.
And here is the beginning to the introduction:
Civics entails the rights and duties of citizenship and the role citizens have in establishing, shaping, and overseeing government at any level (Altinay, 2010). Civics is founded on citizens’ perception that governance is actually necessary; that it is functionally required to solve societal, environmental or economic problems at a particular level, be it local, national, or global. If, for example, a citizen could not perceive national-scale problems, or mistook them as being of a merely local nature, she would see no need for national governance at all. Her civic consciousness would be merely local or ethnocentric. Such a citizen would recognize only their local authority or tribe as functionally required and would likely see any higher levels of government as superfluous, wasteful and suspicious.
Ok, so far so good. But now a little disguised nonsense is slowly introduced:
Those at orange altitude or higher, on the other hand, recognize national government to be required in addition to local governance. Their depth of civic consciousness thus has two levels. Yet, in an age when our problems are increasingly global and threaten our civilized survival, it is notable that very few citizens see any need for a third level, that being global governance. Indeed, for the vast majority of people, including those up to teal altitude, civic consciousness remains, as I will be arguing, at best nationcentric. The emphasis on global civics indicates that global problems must first be perceived as such; a worldcentric perception that indicates that merely technical solutions or national (or local) politics cannot suffice. Instead, a vertical transformation toward a form of binding global governance is necessary.
And now - full speed disguised nonsense:
I distinguish the civic from the political line of development in the Lower-Right (LR) quadrant by noting that civics is fundamentally about the perception, by citizens, of a need for governance. Politics, on the other hand, is what happens after governance (or formal government) has been established. Civics, in that sense, is prior to politics. The Civic Holarchy. Like all lines of development, the proposed civic line tetra-evolves and manifests in all four quadrants. Civic holons are most obvious in the LR quadrant, in what I will be referring to as “the civic holarchy.” This is the holarchy of our institutions of governance that has evolved and bonded together human societies from the earliest hunter-gatherer bands, through to Middle-Age city and small-states, and up to present-day institutions of national and global governance (Wilber, 2000; Wright, 2001).
It begins good, but just a few lines further it develops into nonsense. You might say that there must have been an explanation of the used terms. No. But then the Wilber devotees must use another language when speaking to outsiders. No. They speak this language to everyone they meet. I talk out of experience here. And if you don´t understand it it´s because you are on a lower level than them. It is as if they are thinking: “Ok, now I will show this philosopher how to think by giving him a full lecture in my Ken Wilber language.” Well, I´m an educated philosopher with competence to evaluate philosophy-students on University level, and if someone came with a paper like this it would have been rejected at once.
The book is nonsense but not patent nonsense, it is disguised nonsense. This is because it sounds incredible clever and logical, and it is possible to learn to speak and understand it. But the characteristic Wilber jargon is nonsense. You really didn´t have to write a book filled with so much disguised nonsense in order to say with a few words: only people with a higher spiritual consciousness can lead globally. The problem is that when you mix all this with the Ken Wilber nonsense system, it becomes an ideology with a goal: The Ken Wilber movement (the Global Integral Life Community) wants world governance, and only Ken Wilber supporters have a consciousness so high developed, that it is them that must be the rulers. Attending Wilberian meetings is like attending Leninistic meetings in the counterculture.
There is something incredible naive over this approach. Wilber, and his disciples, are simply introducing a totalitarian ideology, and are directly saying that this ideology must take over the world. Haven´t they learned anything from history? In his new book, The Religion of Tomorrow: A Vision for the Future of the Great Traditions - More Inclusive, More Comprehensive, More Complete, Wilber is continuing this approach with unchanged force (the new religion is of course a Ken Wilber sanctioned religion). A serious problem is that he more and more is focusing on management theory, where I know, by experience, that he is very popular (about management theory, see my articles: Management Theory and the Self-help Industry, Self-help and the Mythology of Authenticity and, A Critique of Coaching). This can also turn out to be a serious problem in the future. In my booklet, A Critique of the Simulation Theory and the Rise of Digital Totalitarianism, I show how management theorists from the Singularity University, and commissioned by Google, are having world-wide political influence, and directly are coming with anti-democratic view-points. Digital totalitarianism (and transhumanism) would fit perfectly with Wilber´s system. It would indeed be a way of getting Wilber´s system implanted world-wide (I will return to this in the updates).
The peculiar contrast between Wilber´s lexical knowledge, and his philosophical/scientific/social naivity, could explain why he directly is suggesting totalitarian world governance. A bit more frightening is if he is complete conscious about it. And it is incredible that so many science-educated people are unable to see it.
I have insider knowledge of what I without hesitation will call the Ken Wilber Cult. Besides having had many discussions with Wilber devotees, my cousin (a management theorist) is a Ken Wilber fan, though with bad experiences from attending insider meetings. He has told me about those. As the American Clinical Psychologist and Cult researcher Margaret Thaler Singer says, then a typical trait of a cult is that the newcomers have to learn a kind of groupthink and a language, a jargon, and that outsiders are lesser beings.
I have never been a member or supporter but I have attended meetings. You feel like Alice in Wonderland when she attends The Mad Tea Party. If you are speaking English rather than “expert” jargon, the Wilber supporters respond to you as though you were ignorant or simpleminded. Plain English is, like at The Mad Tea Party, not spoken. As Alice declared: “The Hatter´s remark seemed to have no sort of meaning in it, and yet it was certainly English.” It wasn´t Alice´s fault, and it´s not yours (see my Pop Culture File on Alice in Wonderland). Strategists play what Ludwig Wittgenstein called bewitching language games. The Wilber jargon is not the patent nonsense which Alan Sokal, in his famous Hoax, exposed many postmodernists to be speaking (see my article The Sokal Hoax) – rather it is disguised nonsense. Both the Wingmakers Project and the Human Design System (both, like Ken Wilber, inspired by Theosophy) have in the same way developed their own jargon (see my articles Time Travel and the Fascism of the Wingmakers Project, and A Critique of the Human Design System).
In his article The Rise and Fall of Ken Wilber Mark Manson reports from a Ken Wilber weekend seminar:
Major global and social issues were often only referred to in passing as descriptors for a certain level of consciousness development with the overarching implication being that “they” are not as highly developed as “we” are. We’re “second-tier” thinkers. We’re going to change the world… as soon as we’re done talking about how awesome and “second-tier” we are.
So, what about the great enlightened masters, there must certainly be room for them as the coming world leaders. No. This Wilber himself has demonstrated in his view of “lines of development” in relation to the great enlightened master Ramana Maharshi, whom, in Wilber´s eyes, can´t be considered as an “integral” master, because he was a cripple. Wilber directly says, that they don´t want sages, who are crippled, in his system. His reason is, that a future world teacher – that is: an integral master, a master that fits into Wilber´s system – has developed “both the gross body, the subtle body, and the causal body.” Pure fascism from a man who on pictures doesn´t hesitate to promote himself shirt less, so we can see his weight-trained torso.
One should be aware, that Wilber directly is saying, that the concept of Enlightenment, as traditional understood, is not valid anymore. Enlightenment shall from now on, only be understood in the way that Wilber has defined it. In A Brief History of Everything (the 20th Anniversary edition – 2017) there is an afterword with a dialogue between Lena Wachowski (the director of the Matrix movie [!]) and Ken Wilber. Wilber is talking about the mindfulness trend (which I´m not that fond of either – see my article Mindfulness and the Loss of Philosophy). In the following I quote a passage, where Wilber also reveals that he is in for transhumanism; a view that can´t contain any traditional concept of enlightenment:
Ken Wilber […] We have people who are pushing meditation and mindfulness as a cure for all of the world´s problems, but those practices will not necessarily move you from ethnocentric to worldcentric to integral levels of development, and so you remain a fundamentally broken soul, even if traditionally “Enlightened.” This is truly sad.
Lena Wachowski: You´ve dealt with this in several subsequent books, if people are interested.
Ken Wilber: Yes, books such as The Fourth Turning, a short Ebook from Shambhala; a practice manual called Integral Meditation: Mindfulness as a Path to Grow Up, Wake Up, and Show Up in Your Life, which combines mindfulness with the stages of Growing Up for a more complete and integrated approach to Enlightenment; Integral Spirituality, which covers many theoretical issues; and a longer, more serious book called The Religion of Tomorrow, which goes into the details of what any spirituality that wants to gain respect of the modern and postmodern world must do to produce a truly complete, balanced, and up-to-date spiritual practice, involving practices for Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, and Showing Up. This is the first time in history that we humans have the chance to really Awaken to all of our fundamental potentials, capacities, and higher dimensions – it´s a truly revolutionary time! And if you combine the coming technological Singularity in the exterior quadrants (the achievement of machine superintelligence) with the coming consciousness and culture Singularity in the interior quadrants (this drive toward higher, more whole, more unified, more integral levels of consciousness and culture), then we truly have a world revolutionary transformation heading our way – a type of “double Singularity” (if we don´t kill ourselves first, which, of course, is a distinct possibility) […] (page 328).
Wilber is collaborating with the enlightened [?] American master, Andrew Cohen, towards a, so-called, new form of enlightenment, which they call Evolutionary Enlightenment (Besides his fans, Wilber is several times indicating that he himself is an enlightened being). In a blurb for Cohen´s book Evolutionary Enlightenment: A New Path to Spiritual Awakening (2011), Wilber writes:
In Evolutionary Enlightenment, Andrew Cohen has given us a completely new, important, even profound work on the nature of spiritual enlightenment in today´s world. Enlightenment is still viewed as a nondual realization…But in our time, the relative domain of Form has discovered itself to be evolving, and a truly non-dual realization is thus a not-twoness of Timeless Being and a truly Evolving Becoming. More than an intellectual discussion, this is a book of practice, of actually how to realize this new Evolutionary Enlightenment. It is truly one of the most significant books on spirituality written in the postmodern world.
Wilber of course only writes this blurb, since Cohen is building his teaching on Wilber´s system. Wilber´s redefinition of enlightenment sounds like China´s appointment of the next Dalai Lama.
Cohen conducts frequent public discourses with Wilber, and he credits him with helping him form the theoretical framework of his teachings. According to Cohen and Wilber, "enlightenment" does not refer to an unchanging state, but has to be in accord with an ongoing evolution of humanity, which is the "Authentic Self." According to Cohen, individuals need to recognize that their own spiritual transformation is essential for cultural evolution. To achieve that, in Cohen's view, an individual should strive to realize his or her true self as being "one with the timeless Ground of all Being and with the evolutionary impulse that is driving the entire cosmos."
According to Wilber, evolutionary enlightenment means "the realization of oneness with all states and all stages that have evolved so far and that are in existence at any given time." Cohen believes that individuals need to transcend egoism to express the "Authentic Self." Through identifying the evolutionary impulse as their own Authentic Self, individuals can transcend ego, and find a deeper self-sense without relying on asceticism or solitude.
Cohen's ideas are in that way co-inspired by Wilber's Integral Theory, offering an integral vision of the integral evolution of matter and consciousness. According to this theory, human development parallels the evolution of all being.
It is no surprise that Cohen is insisting on "flawless behavior" as the manifestation of "Evolutionary Enlightenment", aiming at an impersonal enlightenment which transcends the personal. But the teaching-style led also to "physical force, verbal abuse, and intense psychological pressure against students."
There have been numerous critics of Cohen. From books such as American Guru and Mother of God, to well supported blogs such as What Enlightenment? and EnlightenNixt.
Some of Cohen's former followers, including his mother, Luna Tarlo, have viewed him as a manipulative spiritual teacher. Tarlo wrote a critical book, called Mother of God, about her experience as one of his disciples. In a Psychology Today, article, published in 1998 entitled "Crimes of the Soul", Tarlo recounted how she became a disciple of her son who told her "to give way to him or their relationship would end" and forbade her "to express an opinion on anything". Tarlo said she "knew if I seriously objected to anything, I'd be kicked out" and stated that her son, formerly the "sweetest, sensitive kid, had changed into an unrecognizable tyrant."
André van der Braak's Enlightenment Blues: My Years with an American Guru alleges that Cohen demanded large sums of money and extreme and unquestioning devotion from his students.
American Guru: A Story of Love, Betrayal and Healing, by William Yenner and other former Cohen student contributors (foreword by Stephen Batchelor), allege authoritarianism, financial manipulation, physical and psychological abuse in Cohen's community, and discusses the challenges of healing after leaving the community.
In 2016, over 200 of Cohen's former students signed an online petition titled "Stop Andrew Cohen teaching again", including detailed explanations of why they believe him to be unfit to teach others.
So, this is what an enlightened master will look like in the future, after the concept have been redefined to fit Wilber´s system.
In the same way as the Wingmakers Project and the Human Design System, the most disturbing in the Ken Wilber Movement, is the use of meditation as propaganda tool. When you use meditative exercises in combination with the introduction of an ideology the exercises will work as a kind of hypnosis where the ideology is implanted into the meditator, whose critical faculties now are shut down. Note that it doesn´t matter if they call the meditations they use for Buddhist meditation, Christian, Jewish, or any other cultural meditation tradition. When it is combined with an introduction to a certain ideology, in this case Ken Wilber´s system, it will function as hypnosis. I have explained such ideological persuasion techniques in my articles Hypnosis, hypnotherapy and the Art of Self-deception, and especially in The Devastating New Age Turn within Psychotherapy.
The worst place on Integrallife.com is where Ken Wilber himself is presenting a meditation technique called Having no Head: a Pointing-Out-Exercise. The pointing-out instruction (which Wilber´s exercise is plagiating) is coming from the highest meditation practice in Tibetan Buddhism called Dzogchen. Only a fully enlightened master can do this. The website say:
“Keep an open mind,” we like to say, “but not so open your brain slides out.” But what happens when you open your mind so fully that you end up temporarily misplacing your entire head? Well that’s enlightenment, baby! [wauw, they know what they are talking about, right] In this short 8-minute pointing-out meditation, Ken [Wilber] offers a brief but profound taste of your already-enlightened nature, revealing an ever-present consciousness that has been with you since the beginning of time.
Anyone with spiritual knowledge know that you are not presenting a pointing-out exercise in this careless way to anybody. It´s as simple as that. Again, it seems like Wilber is saying something just because he remembers it. Dzogchen can only be practiced by students who are very close to enlightenment already, and a Dzogchen master is able to say whether you are ready or not with one look. They simply don´t teach this to anyone. They do it theoretically, yes, but not in practice. A Pointing-Out instruction in practice (a look, a word, a touch on the shoulder or on the head) to someone unprepared could end in psychosis.
The way meditation is used in a true spiritual practice can be shown in a very simple quote by the Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna:
I have no view of my own. My critical arguments are simply reduction to absurdity of the views ignorance has created.
In the following I have copied and pasted an introduction to a video by Ken Wilber about how to start your integral life. Click here. The main mistake, besides all the other mistakes I have mentioned in this article, is very shortly said that he instructs us in What we shall think in accordance with Wilber´s system, and not how we can think for ourselves.
The introduction sounds:
We’ve heard a lot from Ken over the years about the Integral model (quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types). And we’ve all likely experienced for ourselves the enormous clarity [sic] and understanding integral thought can bring to our lives, our inner-worlds, and the many nested realities we find ourselves in. But this video isn’t just about the edifice of “integral thought”. It’s also about the kind of thinking that can produce something like the Integral model in the first place.
Watch as Ken offers an in-depth summary of the three integrative principles, nonexclusion, enfoldment, and enactment, which he uncovered while putting together his Integral Methodological Pluralism framework — a robust meta-paradigmatic scaffolding that seeks to honor, include, and integrate multiple paradigms and methodologies and practices across all domains of human knowing.
Although these three principles are intended to help thought leaders [sic] make their particular fields of knowledge more expansive, comprehensive, and complete, they can also be taken more generally by the rest of us as three essential qualities of the integral mind, and can be used as an ongoing micro-practice to help us see more fully, communicate more skillfully, and discover the best and most effective solutions to whatever problems we happen to be facing.
These three regulative principles—nonexclusion, enfoldment, enactment—are principles that were reverse engineered, if you will, from the fact that numerous different and seemingly “conflicting” paradigms are already being competently practiced all over the world; and thus the question is not, and never has been, which is right and which is wrong, but how can all of them already be arising in a Kosmos?
These three principles are some of the items that need to be already operating in the universe in order for so many paradigms to already be arising, and the only really interesting question is how can all of those extraordinary practices already be arising in any universe? -Ken Wilber, The Many Ways We Touch
[Wilber has in this way introduced, not only a totalitarian ideology in normal sense, but an ideology which supposedly also should be able cover the whole of the Universe, and other universes, if such exists, which they apparently do according to Wilber (the theory of the multiverse). Wilber does the usual trick of introducing relativism in the same way as totalitarian systems always has done: it relativizes all views within the system, except the system itself. Note that Wilber apparently is against relativism and reductionism, without realizing his own hypocrisy and gaslightning. Here we can talk about megalomania which wants something (see my article The Difference Between Philosophical Edication and Ideological Education]
What are the three principles of integral thinking then?
The video starts:
Principle 1: Nonexclusion — “Everyone is right” [also the critiques of Wilber´s system? The Wilber devotees I have spoken to have patronizing said yes. Also the critiques are included in his system]
Nonexclusion means that we can accept the valid truth claims (i.e., the truth claims that pass the validity tests for their own paradigms in their own fields, whether in hermeneutics, spirituality, science, etc.) insofar as they make statements about the existence of their own enacted and disclosed phenomena, but not when they make statements about the existence of phenomena enacted by other paradigms. That is, one paradigm can competently pass judgments within its own worldspace, but not on those spaces enacted (and only seen) by other paradigms. -KW
[note how the system already now has attained the role as a fatherly authority and superior judge on all the kinds of truths which anyone might claim. It is really like a father talking to his children. All these truths are now functioning as marionettes in Wilber´s hands].
Principle 2: Enfoldment — “Some are more right than others” [could that maybe also be the critiques of Wilber´s system? Again the answer is a patronizing yes as long as they remember that they only are first tier thinkers, while Wilber devotees are second tier thinkers].
Everybody can be right because some views are more right than others. None are wrong [relativism in a nutshell, though not in the version of being equally true (this is why Wilber obvious thinks that he isn´t a relativist). But there are different versions of relativism, for example in the version that no views are wrong, but some views are more “interesting/fascinating/aesthetical” than others]; some are simply more inclusive, more encompassing, more holistic, more integrative, more depthed, more transcending-and-including—endlessly. But the fact that molecules are more inclusive than atoms does not mean that we can get rid of atoms, or that atoms can be jettisoned, or that atoms have no real truths to offer just as they are. To be a partial truth is still to be a truth. -KW [at truth within Wilber´s integral totalitarian truth. Disguised self-contradictory nonsense. It continues below]
The nonexclusion principle goes a long way in helping us to integrate a plurality or multiplicity of paradigms (and thus develop a metatheory that is true to the phenomena enacted by the social practices of an integral methodological pluralism). But even within nonexclusion, numerous conflicts arise, and how to integrate those becomes a pressing issue. This is where the second integrative principle, that of unfoldment, can be of help. -KW
Principle 3: Enactment — “If you want to know this, do that”
Most “paradigm clashes” are usually deemed “incommensurable”—meaning there is no way for the two paradigms to fit together—but this is so only because people focus on the phenomena, not the practices. But if we realize that phenomena are enacted, brought forth, and disclosed by practices, then we realize that what appeared to be “conflicting phenomena” or experiences are simply different (and fully compatible) experiences brought forth by different practices. Adopt the different practices, and you will see the same phenomena that the adherents of the supposedly “incommensurable” paradigm are seeing. Hence, the “incommensurability” is not insurmountable, or even a significant barrier, to any sort of integral embrace. -KW
All quotes by Ken Wilber: The Many Ways We Touch: Three Principles Helpful for Any Integrative Approach
3) Wilber´s response to criticism
Ken Wilber has tried to make an evolutionary theory of everything. But any theory of everything implicates the so-called nondual bias. Nondual bias arises when you describe something as nondual, while forgetting that you can´t describe anything without implying the negation of it.
Ken Wilber calls his theory integral, claiming that criticism already is included in it, and just makes it stronger (his “dialectic of progress” allows this).
But Wilber is also known to get almost childishly angry over critique. So, in his view there are apparently honest criticism and dishonest criticism. Honest criticism is the form of criticism which makes his system stronger. I just wonder what that kind of critique is? A Wilber-sanctioned form of critique?
In his article What We Are, That We See. Part I: Response to Some Recent Criticism in a Wild West Fashion, he is getting really angry over critique, and is imaging himself as Wyatt Earp constantly facing challengers. It seems like he is identifying his nonsense-intellectual system with the nondual truth itself. He does not seem to realize that a system can´t be nondual, since it always will be facing the negation of it. So, if someone dares to criticize it, it is as if he believes that the critic had criticized this nondual truth itself.
Wilber seems to require that if critics should be taken seriously, they must accept his system in advance, and thereby accept their roles as first-tier thinkers (on a lower mental state than Wilber is; that is: without Wilber´s “autistic” lexical memory). According to Wilber you can have discussions about elements within his system, which thereby contribute to the growth of his system, but the system itself is unquestionable true. In fact, Wilber can only take a critic seriously if he/she somehow is a supporter of his system, or said in another way: the unknown truth a critic might come up with, can only be accepted as truths if they are fitting into Wilber´s idiosyncratic beliefs. Somewhere in the article, which is lesser filled (though not completely as you will see) with emotional attacks on critics and exaggerated thoughts about his own intellectual brilliance, he writes:
Any honest criticism that I find I take seriously, at least long enough to see if there are any important truths that I might be missing. There is an old saying, “You do not understand your opponent’s ideas until you can argue them better than he can”—and I take that seriously. Some critics are fantastic in the number of new truths you can learn from them; and some critics are just worthless—I mean Meyerhoff is adolescent postmodernism 101 with an attitude; I’ve already gone over his ideas 10 times more acutely than he has, and I did so years ago. This is why such critics keep saying things like, “Well, um, gosh, I guess Wilber in his latest writings has started to move in the direction I recommend, but, um, I’m gonna attack his old ideas that he held a decade ago cuz I really want to get noticed. If I take down Wyatt Earp, I’ll make a name for myself overnight.” But please notice that the reason that “my recent writings” (although the ones you critics are referring to have actually been out there now for over FIVE and sometimes TEN fucking years, you morons)—but the reason they have “moved in this direction” is that a decade ago I began reading the people that these critics just discovered, I fully got what they were saying (I can explain them a hell of a lot better than the critics’ loopy writings have), and I immediately INCORPORATED their important perspectives and truths into my work, which was one of the reasons for moving from wilber-4 to wilber-5.
But in general, good criticism shows me new areas that I can include. I FUCKING LIVE FOR GREAT CRITICISM, IT MEANS MORE TRUTH FOR A MORE INTEGRAL MODEL.
In short, it’s just ridiculous to say that I try to hide from this criticism, I live on it! Every new truth I find, I rejoice. That’s why it went from wilber-1 all the way to wilber-5. This is what second tier does automatically anyway, it takes new truths wherever it finds them and weaves them into larger tapestries. It can’t help doing so! If I find one, I am ecstatic! So mark this well: Only a first-tier mentality would even think that one would run away from good criticism. But then these folks…. Okay, I won’t even take a shot at that one, too easy.
It is incredible isn´t it? Apparently he is completely without self-reflection. This is also the surrealistic kind of discussion you are getting involved in if you talk with Wilber´s disciples. That he in this article writes so childish (the above quote is light in comparison with the rest of the article), and hereafter not is deleting it as a moment of lost control, could also be because that this writing style also is something he can find justification of in his system (if he should decide to delete it I have saved it in the Internet Archive - click here). In order to justify his own contradictions (if he actually has any self-reflection) Wilber is, besides his “dialectic of progress,” much into what is called crazy wisdom (see my article What is Spiritual Placebo).
Wilber´s article is a part of his “Wyatt Earp series”, and written in a “Wild West fashion”. So, if critics, like me, might think that Wilber in this article is going too far into a use of emotional language (unacceptable in philosophy), then this could because they don´t understand that this is an integral part of his “crazy wisdom”. Wilber is sometimes talking about shadow projections, but such are also being justified as elements in his system. So, just like Hegel, Wilber´s historicist evolutionary theory of everything can be used to justify just about anything as steps upwards on the evolutionary ladder, which in itself can´t be questioned. It has developed into a totalitarian ideology. An ideology is characterized by that it doesn´t accept critique (see my article The Difference between Philosophical Education and Ideological Education).
I guess it is the thought about that also criticism (and also all thoughts which anyone in the future will come up with) already is a part of Wilber´s system, that make his followers believe it is so brilliant. Wilber has already philosophized everything, not only in this Universe, but also in all other Universes, the Multiverse as he calls it. But in reality it is just a ultra-light version of Hegelian dialectics, which is the philosophy behind both Communism and Nazism. It is Orwellian doublethink.
Fundamental speech is an act of creating. And unspeaking is uncreating. If we turn to Tolkien´s philosophy, you can say that the two sides of the One Ring are ideology and will to power. Gandalf will not utter the words on the Ring in the Black Speech of Mordor in the Shire, but only at the Council of Elrond in Rivendell, and even in that safe and holy place the words summon something of the presence of their Hellish source: “Ash nazg durbatuluk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatuluk agh burzun-ishi krimpatul.” (One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them).
So the power of deception, which is over others´ minds (symbolized by the invisibility given by the Ring), is an essential complement to the power over others´ bodies and lives and actions, which is also given by the Ring. Wilber´s Ring-system is the wish for total power over all. You don´t learn how to think for yourself in Wilber´s Ring-system, as you do in philosophy, you learn how to speak Wilber´s nonsense-language, and to repeat his ideas, like the Sophists taught. And people can only be accepted if they fit into the preconceived dogmas of the system. Wilber´s disciples can´t deny that this is precisely what they do and what they are taught. We have seen it a lot of times before. Machiavelli and Hitler both understood that principle. But we haven´t seen it in the disguise of New Age spirituality.
The Ring cuts us off from community, and contact. We are alone with the Eye. There is no room for two I´s. there is no We in the I, no room for an Other in the One Ring. In the false nonduality of the Ring-system, there is no room for the negation. It is not a means to any further end. It is Nietzsche´s “will to power” as itself the end. Machiavelli taught that the end justified the means; Nietzsche taught that the means (power) justified the end.
Evolutionary models like Wilber´s are comparatively easy to invent. Large New Age systems such as The WingMakers Project and The Human Design System, have made their own evolutionary models. Even the American futurist and transhumanist Ray Kurzweil has his own “6 Epochs of Technological Evolution”, where he believes (and actually desires) that the 6 epoch is when humans are melting together with machines and are migrating out into space.
So, all this raises a question about the constant celebration of Wilber as “The Smartest Man on Earth,” “The Brilliant scientist,” “The Einstein of Consciousness,” “The Greatest Philosopher in History.”, etc., etc., etc. Even his critics often refer to him as a “giant” or “fallen giant” as for example Mark Manson (read his account). This shows a peculiarity within New Age, where a myth can live outside the real world, as for example quantum mysticism. Let me emphasize: Ken Wilber is not a giant, not before or after his “fall”. If he was, why is it he isn´t mentioned with a word on philosophical institutions around the world? (forget conspiracy theories as explanation). Well, maybe because he isn´t the great philosopher he constantly is being claimed to be. Wilber is building upon the works of others, and have an ability of remembering and quoting these works, often by exchanging their concepts with his own invented concepts. His fans will believe that this is Wilber´s own insight.
There is for example no trace of philosophical argumentation in his work. It is all endless re-explanations of his model, supplied with the above-mentioned ability, and it is developing into pseudoscientific nonsense since you can´t bring different works together in this way. And his reaction to the critique, which arised when his work began to get awareness outside the closed New Age circle, exposes this lack of ability for philosophical argumentation.
It is also a question whether Hegel´s and Marx´s work can be categorized as philosophy, and not a historical model (Hegel) or economical model (Marx). Wilber is just re-inventing old trends in historicism, nothing more. The same is seen in other large New Age systems. The account of Wilber as a giant comes from insiders, or former insiders. Outsiders have another perception of Wilber, especially people who are educated within the fields Wilber is claimed to be the greatest expert in ever.
What I especially would like to hear more of, is philosophers´ opinions of Wilber´s work. This would be interesting, since Wilber is characterized as a philosopher. This is something which is more and more emphasized, perhaps due to the scientific critique. The critique mostly comes from different branches of science, whether it is the natural or human sciences. Such critique contains the explanatory style of the single branches, but lacks philosophical argumentation.
Evolutionism (historicism) is a newer, strictly European, ideology, beginning with the scientific revolution. It is a linear view of life (vertical or horizontal), which is in opposition to all earlier views of life, which are cyclic. It focuses on the up-cycles and denies, or are explaining away, the down-cycles. Wilber´s “dialectic of progress” doesn´t add a bit to this fact.
Where Kurzweil is talking about the “evolution of technology”, Wilber is talking about “the evolution of consciousness”. But the concept of “the evolution of consciousness” is wrong, when you look at the original wisdom traditions. Here, consciousness doesn´t evolve, it wakes up. And that´s purely an individual thing. Consciousness doesn´t evolve from something, or towards something. It is. The traditional view is, that consciousness is transcendent in relation to all laws, whether physical laws or historical laws, or any other law (don´t get confused about that Wilber sometimes also can say this, because his main thesis is “the evolution of consciousness”). Consciousness is a negation. If consciousness should evolve, you would need to reduce it to physical or historical laws. In both cases you end in reductionisms such a physicalism, historicism, or psychologisim. Wilber ends in the same kind of historicism as Hegel, Marx, Oswald Spengler and Auguste Comte (in my online booklet Philosophy of Mind, I have suggested a double-aspect theory of consciousness. I have developed this further in my text series on scientism critique:
Richard Dawkins and The Rise of Atheist Scientism (Scientism Critique: Part 1).
Rupert Sheldrake and the Rise of Neo-Lysenkoism (Scientism Critique: Part 2)
Gregg Braden and the Rise of New Age Scientism (Scientism Critique: Part 3)
If you read the Rupert Sheldrake text you´ll get further information about Wilber´s inspirational sources in counterculture and Neo-Lysenkoism. There is, as this booklet also give a sense of, no doubt about the Stalinistic tendencies in Wilber´s totalitarian system. A Stalinistic system can of course not allow any spiritual concept of "enlightenment". Enlightenment must therefore be re-defined (because it is a great propaganda tool).
The concept of "The Evolution of Consciousness" is a way of re-defining enlightened consciousness. I have described it in the above texts. If you accept the concept of enlightened consciousness, you can´t at the same time accept the concept of the evolution of consciousness. They are logically incompatible.
Besides what already explained, let me give another example, which I also gave in the Sheldrake text. The concept of “The Evolution of Consciousness”, try to say that the mystical experience of enlightenment can be understood, if you see it as part of an evolutionary tendency, which is planted in Man towards higher consciousness. Against that theory you could then say, that if you look at it from the point of enlightened consciousness, then the enlightened consciousness, which the evolution theory claims we are developing towards, has always been present: it is, as I have explained in the above texts, a continuum. The question then pops up, whether we at all can talk about evolution. In the concept of evolution lies that we speak about some kind of growing degree of complexity, where you all the time look back to earlier, primitive states, where the end goal still hasn´t been accomplished. This would imply the absurdity (if you actually believe in the enlightened consciousness) that Buddha and Jesus were on a low level of enlightenment, if they at all could be said to be enlightened. In fact, it implies that you not at all can talk about earlier enlightened beings. And isn´t this precisely what Wilber claims? At least, that is what his theory implies. Also take the example of how he can put Ramana Maharshi on a list of "lower" enlightened beings.
It therefore seems like New Age is eliminating the traditional concept of enlightenment, and altogether any meaningful concept of spirituality, since spirituality must imply an absolute truth. In the Danish New Age magazine, Nyt Aspekt, the editor, Steen Landsy, wrote in his newsletter for April 2020:
The wise says, that the development moves from religious to atheist/non-religious and further on to non-dogmatic spiritual. From this group comes the future´s spiritual interested people.
Landsy is, as you might sense, a Ken Wilber admirer. There is some further rhetoric trickery in the quote, namely that former times spiritual people are labeled "dogmatic", while the future´s spiritual people aren´t. Anyone who hereafter seek for help in tradition can therefore be labelled as dogmatic.
The New Age idea of “the evolution of consciousness” (or spiritual evolution) seems to have originated in Theosophy, probably with Helena Blavatsky (and developed further by Alice Bailey). Mircea Eliade suggested that Blavatsky´s theory of “spiritual evolution” contradicts the entire spirit of Eastern tradition, which is "precisely an anti-evolutionist conception of the spiritual life". Also remember what a true enlightened master, Krishnamurti, wrote in his “The Core of the Teachings”:
[…] Freedom is without motive; freedom is not at the end of the evolution of man but lies in the first step of his existence […] There is no psychological evolution.
Evolutionism is rooted in the Western mind in a degree that it is almost impossible for us to see life in any other way than as line towards constant progress. But the Indian culture, for example, has, with its Yuga teachings, another view. Let me finish with a quote from the mythologist Joseph Campbell (whom Wilber is quoting out of context), who in his book Myths of Light, has described the Yuga ages. He writes of the present Yuga, the Kali Yuga, which interestingly enough also is called the Age of the One:
Finally, of course, there comes the Age of the One, when the cow is on only a single leg. This is our unfortunate time, the age of the mixture of castes, when nobody knows his own true nature. And the worst of it is that people won´t read the scriptures, and when they do they don´t understand them. This is the age of deterioration. And if – from the traditional perspective – you want to have any proof of the deterioration, just look at everything that we call progress: it is an exteriorization of life; the machines are taking over. And everything that we in the West consider to be evidence of progress, is, in terms of this ancient tradition, evidence of decline. So the world is getting worse (page 58).
4) Latest Updates
Related Ebooks by me:
Evolutionism – The Red Thread in The Matrix Conspiracy
The Tragic New Age Confusion of Eastern Enlightenment and Western Idealism (in this ebook, I mention Wilber in relation with the Neo-Advaita movement, and how he is a part of the tragic confusion. I here explain Timothy Conway´s three-fold model of nondual reality, and how people like Wilber confuses the levels).
Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien (a complete counter-philosophy to everything Ken Wilber stands for).
The Nine Gates of Middle-earth (continuing the concepts developed in Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien. In the last part of this booklet, I write that there existed a distinctively American form of Platonism, fostered by the Concord School of Philosophy. The Concord School of Philosophy was a lyceum-like series of summer lectures and discussions of philosophy in Concord, Massachusetts from 1879 to 1888.
Starting the Concord School of Philosophy had long been a goal of founder Amos Bronson Alcott and others in the Transcendental movement. The school was based partly on Plato's Academy. Many of the school's lectures and readings focused on reminiscences of the Transcendentalists: Ralph Waldo Emerson attended some of the school's meetings before his death, and was commemorated after; readings from Henry David Thoreau's then-unpublished journals were among the most popular events. The school can be said to belong to the so-called Traditionalist School, a school which Wilber only has contempt towards.
This school is fascinating in the way that it, precisely like Plato´s academy, was spoiled by sophists (evolutionists), and eventually was closed as a result. In his brilliant book "American Gurus – From Transcendentalism to New Age Religion", Arthur Versluis writes:
Broadly speaking, there were two primary streams of thought that emerged from American Transcendentalism and, in particular, from Emerson and Alcott. One was the development of distinctively American forms of Platonism, fostered by the Concord School and its consistent inclusion of Platonic subjects. The other was what became known as “New Thought,” later becoming New Age, which Catherine Albanese termed “American metaphysical religion.” The New Age will be part of the context for our final chapters in this book, whereas we must turn now to consider a very different creature, American Platonism as it engaged in battle with materialism and evolutionism (page 55).
Related articles by me:
A Critique of Ken Wilber and his Integral Method
New Age Magazine: "Donald Trump - a Gift" (in this article I show an example of how the Wilber inspired concept of "The Evolution of Consciousness" is being used to justify Trump as being a positive and welcomed step on the evolutionary ladder (and how Trump critics even are being condemned as being ignorant). I also show an example of how the same ideology is being used to justify egoism. All in the name of spirituality. In the article I also explain the central thought distortions at play in this kind of New Age evolutionism (Wilber has published a book called, Trump and the Post-Truth World. This book is just one more re-explanation of his integral model (there is no surprises), and I simply got tired of being bombarded with its numerous prejudices, it´s categorizing all people in lower and higher states of mind, etc., etc., until reality finally disappears. The above article can be seen as a critic of this book as well).
Critical articles by others:
Wilber is Losing it (Wilber has apparently made a test in order to “separate the 1st-Tier people from the 2nd Tier”. It should be clear by now, that what Wilber considers to be "2nd Tier thinking" is the ability of practising the same lexical memory as himself. It seems like a television competition in knowledge and ability to repeat what Wilber has said. Now, if we take the chakra system, then it is very common in New Age for the crown or third eye energies to open without embodiment or the processing of the first three chakras. Many new agers end up with a top-down awakening because they became interested in spiritual pursuits, started attending classes, doing drugs, reading literature, and finding gurus and other teachers who showed them how to seek outside themselves. This externalization of spiritual pursuits leads to advanced work without the basics of spiritual work being done. In new age there even exists a contempt for tradition and preparatory work. Due to evolutionism, we live in a culture where we want to be advanced – more awakened, more spiritual, and above everyone who surround us yesterday. When we go through this spiritual kindergarten, where spirituality is a commodity and has a materialistic nature, we look for what can separate us from one another. This spiritual materialism allows us to consume endless books, gurus, and teachers that center around the upper chakras and participate in the competitive spirituality that is so pervasive in the modern spiritual community. Ken Wilber, and his community, is, despite their claim of integrality, extremely marked by this spiritual immaturity. Again, it is almost surrealistic strange how Wilber, this apparently eloquent guy, at the same time is capable of creating such a childish competitive spirituality-system. But there might be a another thought behind it – see my article, The Conspiracy of the Third Eye).
Ken Wilber a climate denier? Say it ain’t so (this article reveals how Wilber, due to a conversation with Michael Crichton, suddenly sounds like a climate change denier. As mentioned, it seems like he just parrots Michael Crichton.
You can listen here (from around 5 minutes in) to Wilber talk about “my friend Michael Crichton” including Wilber’s retelling of the conspiracy theory about scientists covering up evidence. “We don’t know if we’re getting all of the facts”, he tells his audience. A more extensive revelation of his denialism is found in another discussion with Crichton, but it seems to be for members of his Integral Institute only and not easily accessible. As the article says:
What would it take for Ken Wilber to embrace the science? It would mean the collapse of his life’s work. It would mean his most profound insights into the human condition and the nature of the cosmos don’t amount to a hill of beans. Ken Wilber would no longer be Ken Wilber.
In the face of this life-threatening reality Wilber, like many others, has taken the way out for the faint-hearted. He has decided to disbelieve the scientists; in other words, he has opted to reject the spirit of the Enlightenment that made the modern world.
I suggest that you read this article about Michael Crichton´s climate denial.
Transhumanism is therefore a solution for Wilber, and as showed above, he goes fully in for it. So do his fans. Read for example this thesis. It is called:
INTEGRAL TRANSHUMANISM: THE HOLISTIC LEAP FORWARD By MICHAEL TENNISON
On the thesis´s front page it says:
A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF ARTS in the Bioethics Program.
The Thesis was written under the direction of Nancy King, J.D., Professor in the Bioethics Program, Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy Faculty Member. No philosophers involved, and yet the thesis must be characterized as “philosophy”.
Aren´t people learning anything from history? No, because history is on a lower stage than now – according to evolutionism.
Check this article, The World According to Wilber, where Wilber says:
“My sense is that in twenty years we’re going to hit a second tier tipping point. It will be slow but as people start paying attention to interior degrees of development, they’ll see that it explains a whole lot of world circumstances that didn’t make sense before.”
“At some point we are going to have brain-computer linkages. It may even get to the point where we can tell from brain-scanning what a person’s mindspace is. So we will be able to certifiably say that ‘this person is orange, this person is green, this person is turquoise.’ It would come with a certain amount of authority and people would trust it. We’ve had a century of looking at our educational system as producing higher levels of consciousness, and I think it will take a century for people to get used to that. But once that happens it’s just second nature that people will take into account the developmental altitude of another human being.”
“In order for this moment to come into being, it has to feel the previous moment. In order for any creativity to happen at all it has to add a bit of novelty. I think that happens in all four quadrants.”
“Wherever there is an ‘other’ there is fear – that’s the individual self. If you’re identified with the larger whole, pain still happens but suffering is lessened as you’re not identified with it.”
“Democracy in its present form, one body/one vote, will be seen to future generations as primitive. Right now, Mother Teresa and Jack the Ripper would get the same say. What would happen if we stopped giving physical bodies a vote, but instead give a vote for each conscious perspective a person could take?”
As an answer to this, I will suggest that you read part two of this discussion of The Matrix Conspiracy: A Critique of the Simulation Theory and the Rise of Digital Totalitarianism. Here I reveal how anti-democratic management theorists coming from the Singularity University, are steering politicians all over the world, and how China leads a central role in a coming change of humans into cyborgs; the change which is called The Singularity.