July 26, 2006

Alan's elan: take to the twin avatars

Towards a Larger Definition ofthe Integral: An Aurobindonian vision and a critique of the Wilberian paradigm PART FOUR: WHERE TO NOW FOR THE INTEGRAL MOVEMENT?
M. Alan Kazlev Integral World
Wilberian theory...does represent part of the intellectual new paradigm integral movement and many people have indeed found it useful and helpful, even in spite of its failings in the field of scholarship and consistency and its inbuilt materialism (sect 2-ii). Wilber himself I saw (as I had for some quarter of a century) as a gentleman scholar, a kindred spirit and fellow traveler in the grand journey of conceptual understanding of this vast and wonderful universe of ours.
Wilber's emotional overreaction to any criticism of his ideas, his unprovoked ad hominem attack against Frank Visser for no other reason than that Visser hosts a website that is dedicated to peer review of Wilber's work, and his “three cards” in-group/outgroup cultic rationalisation (sect 2-xii), have forced me to make a complete reassessment of the man and his work.
By the force of his intellect and personality, and the glowing praise of his students and fans, Wilber is inadvertently creating, or perhaps rather allowing to form around him – as much a victim to it as everyone else – an authoritarian cult in which no independent intellectual or spiritual discourse is questioning is allowed (sect. 2-xii). I passionately believe that in every single way this development represents the exact opposite of what the integral movement should be, and indeed what the new paradigm and new consciousness movement should stand for.
As an authoritarian approach that discourages peer review and encourages cultic acceptance cannot be in any way relevant to the work of Integral transformation, the Integral Movement should have nothing any longer to do with Wilber, or with his organisation. In other words,
let's give the Integral Movement a fresh start.
A movement needs a central focus, a magnetic and charismatic powerhouse. One reason why the faculty of the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, including such prominent thinkers as Richard Tarnas and Jorge Ferrer (participatory inquiry), Stanislav Grof (Transpersonal psychology), and Robert McDermott (interdisciplinary, including Sri Aurobindo and Rudolph Steiner), has not been able to form the nucleus of a new or alternative integral movement is that there is no charismatic focus such as Wilber; or rather, the daimon or Attractor behind him (sect 2-xiii), provides.
The same goes for other authentic writers and teachers in this field. This is in no way to criticise their value as thinkers or as spiritual philosophers, only to point out that a movement can only form if there is a specific impetus behind it. I would suggest that this impetus is already there in the teachings, personality, and spiritual presence of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, as the founders of integral yoga and initiators of the integral spiritual transformation of the Earth.
Note that both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are mentioned here. This is to avoid the tendency by masculinist and abstractionist thinkers to approach Sri Aurobindo alone on a purely mental level, while ignoring the Mother. A reason for their discomfort may be because her pragmatic and accessible teachings are threatening to the mental ego. For this reason, a true integral initiative has to include twin avatars, not just one.

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