Posts Tagged ‘Ken Wilber’

Change. Evolve. Change. Evolve. – Richard’s Commentary

April 10, 2014 Leave a comment

We are spiraling toward something…do we know what that something is? Do we have a choice?

Rosemary uses the digital age of recording advances; 1.0, 2.0…she claims:

Each of us is ever evolving into the next version of ourselves – Me 2.0, Me 3.0, etc. Are you making conscious choices about your own evolutionary process or are you reacting to what is happening around you and evolving unconsciously into the next you?

Sometimes I wonder if each of us is truly evolving. Or are some of our fellows content to have things remain just as they are; content with the status quo? Are you evolving consciously or are you content to maintain your position and standing in life? Can you maintain it without changing?

I spent a good part of this past weekend immersed in Integral Theory, as best articulated by Ken Wilber. The specific topic of this Integral Life conference was “The Fourth Turning.” This “Turning” refers to the evolution of Buddhism. To summarize the background, there have been three “turnings” of Buddhism, or evolutions of the movement: there are three current forms or “schools”, namely the Theravada School, the Mahayana School and the Vajrayana School. The first school, or turning, is closely associated with the Buddhism originated by Gautama Buddha about 2600 years ago. About 200 AD the Mahayana School evolved out of and included original Buddhism. And in the 8th Century AD Vajrayana evolved out of and included Mahayana Buddhism.

Integral Life is proposing it is time for a “fourth turning” – a next generation of Buddhism; think of this as a progression from Buddhism 1.0 (Theravada) to Buddhism 2.0 (Mahayana) to Buddhism 3.0 Vajrayana to Buddhism 4.0! (A name or “yana” for this 4.0 was not offered!)

Here is the main point and argument: there has not been a real evolution in religion (any version, any sect, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Judaism, Hinduism…) for at least a thousand years. Perhaps it is time for an advance in spirituality.

I am not writing here to support or deny the specifics of what I heard at the “Fourth Turning Conference.” The specifics while interesting are not my point. The point is to support Rosemary’s premise:

The important aspect of humanity’s interaction with change is that we must be conscious of the choices we are making to bring about change, in ourselves and in the world around us.

Ken Wilber and company are making a conscious effort to define a New Spirituality, to embrace scientific, sociological and psychological advancements and to expand Consciousness and celebrate Humanity. They chose Buddhism because it has demonstrated an ability to evolve over its 2600-year history. And it already offers a high degree of advanced spiritual technology on which to build.

They are making conscious choices; they are looking forward and embracing the past; they are leveraging the advances in all areas of human technology to create a robust Spirituality to help carry humanity forward into its uncertain future.

I welcome and applaud this effort. Yes, we are spiraling toward something; and it can be of our choosing, if we choose to be involved!


MONDAY’S POEM: Sunday Bright

April 7, 2014 Leave a comment

I wrote this poem a number of years ago on a pretty Spring Sunday in Colorado. Yesterday was a pretty Sunday in Maryland. Rosemary and I spent much of the day with Ken Wilber and company watching the “Fourth Turning Conference” – what a treat, what light was brought to bear on the Integral approach to Buddhism, and how Integral Thought might be brought into practice to help expand awareness and evolve structures of consciousness.

From deep thought to bright day; life flows on and is good!

Sunday Bright

New day, new light
Celebrate the Sun’s Day.

New week, new right
Recognize the week’s way.

Travel on, write a song
Synchronize the rhythm long.

Make a wish, keep it real
Offer it as gods’ own grace.

Ask your heart, “how you feel?”
Step on out at your own pace.

Celebrate throughout the week
You know deep down of what we speak!

©2014 Richard W. Bredeson. All rights reserved.

Monday’s Poem: Evolution of Enlightenment?

March 25, 2013 Leave a comment

On Saturday I listened in on the “Guru and Pandit” continuing series of discussions between Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber. As always it is a treat to hear these two expound on their evolving thought with respect to Spirituality and Integral Philosophy. But I was struck by one area of exploration during their latest offering about the evolution of human knowledge and, more generally the evolution of consciousness vis-à-vis Enlightenment. And I’m still pondering the question about whether Enlightenment is relative, therefore evolving, or absolute and therefore a touching on the Ground of all Being, the Absolute, unchanging, fully evolved Truth. This exploration motivated my poem for the week:

Evolution of Enlightenment?

Some would say
We know more today
Than the Buddha did
When he awakened.

Human consciousness
Is evolving, yes?
We are reaching higher stages
Of development.

But what is enlightenment?
Realization of Absolute Truth,
The fully formed, never changing
Ground of Being?

Awakening to the never changing,
Formlessness cannot change.
Buddha is fully evolved.
Question answered; problem solved.

©2013 Richard W. Bredeson. All rights reserved.

Comments on “Numen, Old Men” – Part 3: Integral Spirituality or Muscular Spirituality?

April 20, 2010 2 comments

I have long been enamored with models of human behavior, development, personality, origins, …on and on. From simple typology models, such as Myers-Briggs, to more complex models, including the Enneagram, from spiritual esoteric developments such as the Kabbalah to Jungian archetypal explorations, and on to Ken Wilber and the Integral Model of “a brief history of everything” I’ve studied them and applied them to my own development, understanding, and yes, even (maybe especially) enjoyment.  Most models, of course, are found wanting in one or more respects. They are models, after all, and not the real thing. They can’t be expected to operate perfectly in the real world. This is just like creating climate models and then expecting accurate weather reporting – it just doesn’t happen!

Ken Wilber has created an elegant and complex model of the world, especially of people and their history in the world. I have enjoyed poking into it, with a relatively non-critical eye, to understand it, but not to test it in all it’s “grandeur.” Chapter 5 of Joseph Gelfer’s book: Numen, Old Men: Contemporary Masculine Spiritualities and the Problem of Patriarchy is titled: Integral Spirituality or Muscular Spirituality? and in it he takes a critical look at Wilber’s Integral Model and its perspectives on spirituality and masculinity. And, just as all models have them, Dr. Gelfer finds some serious issues with Wilber’s.

I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter and believe it to be the best argued so far in the book. It is both informative and entertaining at the same time; I laughed out loud at points, often at the expense of Mr. Wilber. For example Dr. Gelfer observes that Wilber runs afoul of his own “pre/trans fallacy” insight. The pre/trans fallacy leads to a confusion of pre-rational and transrational spiritual explorations by elevating “archaic and magical reasoning to the heady heights of Wilberian transrationalism, and scientific rationalists can reduce Wilberian transrationalism to the primeval swamp of archaic and magical pre-rationalism.” Then “Wilber’s whole application of masculine and feminine ‘types’ falls foul of the pre/trans fallacy….Wilber’s simplistic approach to gender, even if we give him credit for removing masculine and feminine one step away from actual men and women (which he does on occasion) is clearly pre-rational.”!

Yes, you could say there are times when Wilber argues out of both sides of his mouth!

There are also some parts of the chapter which elicited a “groan” from me as I read about the extent to which Wilber and some of his followers of the Integral approach have perpetuated the notion that women (the feminine) are some how inferior to men (the masculine)! As an example: “even in the noosphere [the sphere of evolved thought which transcends and includes the biosphere] Wilber says women should not expect complete parity, ‘given the unavoidable aspects of childbearing, a parity in the public/private domain would be around 60-40 male/female'” – yeah, he quotes Wilber here! And Dr. Gelfer then rightly quips: “Dashed are the hopes of many who thought that in the noosphere would be realized more flexible workplace policies.”!

In my mind the main argument here is that Wilber has not dealt very well with masculine/feminine issues and has not modeled the incredible complexity of these notions at all deeply. To rely on two dimensional characterizations of male and female as polar opposite manifestations of humanity is naive. And as elegant and useful as some of Mr. Wilber’s thought is, he fails to probe this area of masculine spirituality much below the surface of the trite characterizations of masculinity/femininity by the evangelical men’s movement.

Tomorrow we take a break from Dr. Gelfer for a comment on this week’s Mystic Message from The Divine Feminine.