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on 10 August 2009
In October 2006 Wilber published a new book, Integral Spirituality. Here he complements the quadrants with perspectives, from inside and from outside. A person, who is meditating, experiences himself from inside and can not see himself from outside, can not see that he is active on a certain level in the upper left quadrant, and that he knows nothing about the other three. The old wisdom traditions from hinduism, buddhism, Christianity, islam etc. cannot therefore withstand the criticism from modernity, which requires objective evidences, and from postmodernity, which shows that their "eternal truths" partly are formed by the culture, where they are created. The survey the quadrants offer, however, makes it possible to recognize and to incorporate what is best of premodern, modern and postmodern contributions. Without metaphysics, however, for Wilber now replaces perceptions with what goes before, namely perspectives, and asserts that phenomena only exist within the framework of the perspective an observer is able to open up. In this way, there are also "different levels of God".

But precisely for that reason, religion can become "a conveyor belt" from primitive levels to the most developed ones. Provided, though, that both science and religion cease with their confinement to the mythical level, to war-gods or the nice uncle on the cloud etc. Because spirituality, religion, God are found on all levels. Forgetful of his earlier fights against modernity, Wilber now sides with this movement, but so he is threatened with total relativism. He does not seem to realize that, just as the text is corrective in literary interpretations, so the physical world is a corrective against total relativism in the interpretation of the world.
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on 29 December 2006
As with all Wilber's work, he certainly dosn't sit on the fence on any of the issues covered! This book is sure to create as much division as anything else he has written, but if your open to the issues he's exploring, he might just blow your mind.

His AQAL framework (a kind of 'map of everything') is laid out in a really clear and consistent way, and with a 'definitiveness' perhaps not present in his other work. Although, if you are a newcomer to Wilber's work, I think there are better introductions, Kosmic Consciousness gets my personal vote.

There's no 'fluff' or rambling in Integral Spirituality, he lays out the issue and proceeds to nail almost every major point. Some may disagree with some of the finer points of his conclusions, but I think, again, if your open to it, are ready to be challenged, and believe in truth and consistency, this book could really split open your concepts of spirituality.

One of the most important points that Wilber presents is that spirituality and the world's wisdom traditions must take into account the modern scientific, and postmodern pluralistic findings of the Western world. Only then can they truley be taken seriously, and begin to rid themselves of the dogmatic, conformist elements so often associated with spirituality and religion.

Personally, I don't hane any doubt that Wilber is a writer way, way ahead of his time. The question is, are you ready for it?
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on 12 October 2007
It is interesting how the posts on this thread illustrate Wilber's theories exquisitely: the hierarchy of unfolding consciousness, from archaic to magic to mythic to rational, etc.

I am a follower of Osho myself and, whilst I do not disagree with the preceding post, Wilber complements the Source with a mental framework for it, which is *very* necessary in times like these.

I don't know where one would be without it.

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on 13 December 2015
A good book does not need advertisement a good book only need you to read a good book bring peace to your inner
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on 11 December 2011
"Integral Spirituality" is a book by Ken Wilber, an author towards whom many people have a strong love-hate relationship. Small wonder. The book is free-wheeling, wild, and definitely unedited. Sometimes, it's intentionally humorous, even frivolous. Most of the time, it's unintentionally funny.

I actually wanted to post four extended quotations from the book in my review, but Amazon wouldn't let me. Perhaps they feared copyright violation...or maybe the quotes were just too feisty! (Read the first two pages of the chapter "The Conveyor Belt", and you'll get my drift.)

Of course, Wilber's style of writing makes his ideas difficult to grasp except in broad outline. The difficulty is compounded by the exotic editing: endnotes are found only at one of Wilber's innumerable websites, and the reader is constantly referred to Excerpts A-G, another work by the author (at another website, presumably). Wilber has also revised his ideas (known as Integral Theory) several times. I believe his present "post-metaphysical turn" is known as Wilber V, while his magnum opus "Sex, Ecology, Spirituality" (SES) is Wilber IV. Personally, I'm Ashtar Command III.

If you *really* want to grok this outrageous man, the best place to start is probably his work "A brief history of everything" (an incredibly boring book compared to "Integral Spirituality"). Another tip would be Frank Visser's "Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion". Visser later broke with Wilber. He is to Wilber what Simon Magus was to Paul. Or what Trotsky was to Stalin, if you don't like Wilbie. Ken Wilber's infamous posting breaking all relations with Visser would definitely be banned by Amazon, and I'm not talking copyright violation. An incredibly boring critique of Wilberitis can be found in Jeff Meyerhoff's "Bald Ambition" (only the title's funny - Wilber is bald-headed).

So what did I think of "Integral Spirituality"? I admit that the scenery changed so fast, that I didn't have time to think! Is this how non-dual adidam realization feels like? After emerging, I realized that I'm Orange with a slight whiff of Amber (Visser and Meyerhoff are mostly Grey). There are many differences between Wilber V and Ashtar Command III, it seems.

Wilber wants a synthesis of premodern, modern and postmodern. He considers postmodernity to be the latest phase in the evolution of Spirit. His "synthesis" concedes too much ground to postmodernism, however. On this point, I prefer "A brief history of everything" and SES, which was mostly a synthesis of premodern and modern, with postmodernity being very much the whipping boy. I consider postmodernism to be a sign of decay, not of growth. It's a decay caused by the lack of spiritual-scientific synthesis within modernity.

Wilber doesn't seem to understand that postmodernism is connected to "Boomeritis", the narcissistic individualism he rightly condemns. True, Wilber wants to give postmodernism a "social" spin through intersubjectivity, but that doesn't work either. 1000 sub-cultures are, at bottom, no better than 10,000 Boomers crying "me, me, me". Does Wilber really believe that a World Federation can be created on the basis of the present intellectual climate within academe? My hunch is that Wilber has given up on science, and therefore has stopped his work on a scientific-spiritual synthesis. Instead, he wants to conquer the humanities, but in order to do so, he has to masquerade as a savvy, wordly-wise postmodern. But postmodernism is just an intellectual fad, not much different from existentialism, structuralism, neo-structuralism, post-structuralism, Maoid Neo-Marxism and what not. When postmodernism cracks, those adapting to it will crack with it. Frankly, I'm surprised people still believe in the crap!

Wilber's "post-metaphysical turn" simply rehashes the usual contradictions of the subjective idealists, but space doesn't permit me to go into that. (I may post Excerpts Q-X at Facebook, though.) Let me just say: Mr. Wilber, I assure you there's only one dog. Its name is Spot! And yes, Spot actually *is* an energy sink in black matter leading towards the 11th dimension. No kidding you there.

Another problem is Wilber's conception of the Divine as a vast Emptiness, a vast Clearing in which phenomena just arise. This Emptiness is Freedom. Spiritual evolution takes place in this Emptiness, but evolution is a creative sport, somehow existing for its own sake. There is no ultimate "goal" of evolution, just the never-ending, creative play of Spirit. This, of course, is based on Vajrayana ("Tibetan") Buddhism. It's also implicitly antinomian, especially since the post-metaphysical Wilber rejects all Platonic forms and other eternally existing archetypes. What's to stop the Spirit of evolution from becoming the Spirit of EVIL-ution, to evolve more and more bizarre and morbid forms of evil? By what right can a human condemn evil in a system where there is only Freedom-Emptiness and "Creative" Evolution?

Wilber does point out that the Divine can be conceptualized in three different ways, which he calls "I", "You" and "It". The "I" is roughly similar to the Hindu Atman. The "You" is the personal God of Christian theism and other theist or theistic religions. The "It" seems to be a pantheist world-soul, or perhaps the world itself, seen as divine (as in naturalistic pantheism). Wilber does say that all three views of God are equally important, and even criticize those who downplay the theistic "You". In practice, however, Wilber himself also downplays "You", emphasizing "I" and "It". My hunch is that the author wants to have it both ways - on the one hand, he cooperates with Christians such as Father Thomas Keating, but on the other hand, his view of God is really that of an impersonal Emptiness. It's also unclear whether Wilber believes that God *actually does* take three different forms (which I think was Aurobindo's position, but I could be wrong there), or whether the Divine only *appears* to do so, the latter position being fully compatible with Advaita Vedanta, the perennial philosophy, Vajrayana, etc.

"Integral Spirituality" has the sub-title "A startling new role for religion in the modern and postmodern world". However, Wilber's prescriptions at this point are awfully naïve. He points out that virtually all terrorists are "Red" (a form of consciousness, not a political designation), fighting the emerging "Green" and "Turquoise" consciousness. True, as far as it goes, at least if you accept Wilber's colour-coding. He then proposes that the established religions should attempt to convince the "Reds" that one can bee "Green" or "Turquoise" while remaining a Catholic, a Muslim, a Protestant, a Hindu, etc. Also true, as far as it goes - modernist Islam would be better than fundamentalist Islam. What Wilber doesn't see is that the "Red" Muslim fundamentalists would gladly kill "Green" and "Turquoise" Muslims just as much as they dispose of the ditto infidel. To take just one example, ayatollah Khomeini and his so-called Islamic regime in Iran viciously persecuted the PMOI, at the time a modernist-Marxist-Muslim organization. A modernist split from Islam known as Bahai was almost completely extirpated, and so on. The idea of fundamentalist Muslims listening to modernist Muslims, or the idea of fundamentalist Christians listening to Bishop Spong, is naïve. I think Wilber's hero Aurobindo would have had a more old-fashioned, "Amber" solution to the problem of fundamentalism: just drop a bomb on those guys, and let's get it over with!

To sum up, "Integral Spirituality" isn't a very good book for those completely new to Ken Wilber and Integral Theory. Although Wilber's thinking is constantly (creatively?) evolving, the older work "A brief history of everything" and Visser's "Thought as passion" are better places to start. You might also attempt to skim through SES (it's over 800 pages, I know). However, if you have immersed yourself in Wilber's thinking for some time, you're probably man enough for this intellectual roller coaster ride. I admit that it stimulated my thinking as well (yes, really), but in directions very different from those of the author. Yet, I suppose that's how crazy wisdom works. For that reason, I give it four stars.

But hey, Kenneth, there's really just one dog... ;-)
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on 23 August 2007
In recent years Wilber's theories have become, apparently, more and more complex, more and more aimed for a 'sophisticated' intellectual audience. Having left the transpersonal theories of Grof and others far behind him, instead embracing some rather dubious sociological theories which divides people into several different tiers (memes), and rather amusing placing Wilber himself at the top, amongst the 0,7 % of the most advanced humans.

And certainly managing to make spiritual progress look very difficult, getting more and more lost in the intricate webs of what John McLaughlin once called "the murky corridors of your mind".

Furthermore his recent writings have a decisively ethno-centristic undertone in his dismissal of the classical Eastern views on the topic of Enlightenment. Views based on thousands of years exploration of altered states of consciousness. And based on the experiences of thousands of mystics and their existential insights into the Beyond. Something which fits all too well with his support of president Bush and the Iraq war, trying to americanize the world of spirituality too.

Perhaps things are a lot more simple than Wilber and his followers will admit, perhaps the question to be asked is really the old Hendrix-phrase: Are you experienced? Have you gone beyond the everyday mind and opened up to the truth of what/who you are?

But Wilber's real mistake is to think that Truth can ever be figured out by the human mind with all it's limitations.

I find it significant that great Enlightened ones like the Buddha and in recent times Ramana Maharshi and Osho have discouraged all kinds of metaphysical speculations. And when push come to shove that's actually all the clever Wilber has to offer with his quadrants and postmodern hype: some highly hypothetical speculations about the Unknowable.

No doubt Wilber has a very keen intellect, a brilliant mind. What his 'teachings' lack is Heart, openness, humility concerning the role of the intellectual mind and the ability to just open up to the wonders of the world.

Many a simpleton may actually 'know' a lot more than a smart guy like Wilber. And she/he may express that insight in a dance or a song or just in tears of gratitude because Truth makes words seem so utterly inadequate
and gross.
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on 21 July 2014
Found this book to be dry and full of pseudo scientific jargon and presumably "meaningful-to-some" academic theory, and just not at all what I was expecting after reading another book by the same title by Donal Dorr, which by the way was excellent, grounded and not abstract like this book.
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on 22 August 2013
Unless you are into Wilber this is a bit heavy going and must say that whilst I like the concepts and models at the start I have yet to complete the reading of this book. The use of one terminology and then renaming it meant I was losing the thread.
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on 26 July 2014
An excellent work - well worth reading.
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