August 17, 2006

I have become a strong Aurobindo polemicist of late - Alan Kazlev

Marko Rinck Says: August 16th, 2006 at 2:56 pm I consider Wilber’s not including meta-physical ontological levels of being into his theory a missed chance in being truly integral. And because of that I support the essays Alan is writing, although I would not want integral to be composed of only Aurobindo, of course. I like Wilber’s theories very much, but on the transpersonal level there is so much more out there, then what he integrates; Buddhism, Plotinus, some yoga, a little Kasmir shaivism, Ramana Maharshi (but where is the great Nisargadatta?), some Aurobindo, some Christian mystics, that’s about it. Take for instance Sufism, a mayor and very rich transpersonal developmental oriented movement. It includes both the personal (the lataif, pearl etc) and impersonal spiritual realms, where Wilber only includes the impersonal.
It has what Wilber lately calls both vertical and horizontal development; ruh or spirit and nafs or soul/self which both have there developmental path. Spirit from the lataif all the way to the Absolute and self roughly from animal like self, via blaming self towards secure self, contented self and pure, angelic self. Sufi theory includes states, stages and adds a third called station. That is when a stage becomes permanently availble. And had this terminology long before Wilber. Also the Sufi’s have the three perpectives of God Wilber has been speaking about; I, you and it perspectives. And I could go on and on. So including Sufi theory and brilliant and very wide (span) and deep theorists like Ibn Arabi or even modern Sufis like Idries Shah would be very enriching for the transpersonal parts of Integral theory.
I guess the problem lies in lack of time, which is why Integral Theory cannot be a one man show like it seems to be with Wilber and - more importantly - centralizing Buddhism and its emptiness doctrine which automaticly decides which theories are and which are not included (or stripped a lot like f.i. Aurobindo) when they are not congruent with Buddhism. For me that is not what integral means and also not what Wilber tells us he believes integral means.
alan kazlev Says: August 16th, 2006 at 3:25 pm [Edward wrote: August 16th, 2006 at 6:18 am You’re right Tusar, I’m not interested in Aurobindo or other “metaphysical” systems as Wilber defines them. And it’s not that I’m unfamiliar with them. ]
And I have already deconstructed Wilber and his so-called post-metaphysics in part 2 of my essay on Integral World, and refuted his understanding of Sri Aurobindo in the first section of part 3. So unless any Wilberians can comprehensively refute my arguments (and I am open to any such discussion), in adopting a superior attitude to all the world’s spiritual and esoteric traditions they have to be open to the possibility that they are building a house on foundations of sand...
[I studied a hermetic and qabalistic tradition for about 10 years before being initiated into an Order. I was an initiate of this Order for another 5 years and attained a fairly high degree of initiation. So I’m aware of kabbalistic (or as we used it, qabalistic) levels of ontology. I just no longer accept that worldview as my own.]
That’s interesting Edward! I have to admit I am surprised but also very impressed to hear that!
Hermetic Kabbalah/Qabalah (I guess you mean a Golden Dawn inspired approach, or some offshoot e.g. O.T.O. or more specifically the A.A.) is a highly practical system that uses very ideosyncratic approach, highly formalised thoughtforms and so on (the same with Tantra, Tibetan Buddhism etc btw, all these systems are very similar). These systems of occultism, especially in Gnosticism, Merkavah, Hermetic Kabbalah, Magick, etc, are based on the idea of getting past guardians, ascending to inner worlds etc. But according to the Mother all these experiences are 90% subjective:
“So then, the entry into the vital [= astral], for instance, is often described: there are passages where beings are stationed to stop you from entering (all those things are much talked about in all books of occultism). Well, I know from experience (not a passing one: an experience I learned repeatedly) that that opposition or ill will is ninety percent psychological, in the sense that if you don’t anticipate it or don’t fear it, or if there is nothing in you that’s afraid of the unknown and none of those movements of apprehension and so on, it’s like a shadow in a picture, or a projected image: it has no concrete reality”
So it’s not surprising that you made the transition to Wilberism, since the Wilberian dismissal of what he calls “metaphysics” actually fits in well with the arbitrary nature of these worldviews and experiences. It might also be suggested that the highly intellectualised Wilberian system with all its waves and states and stages, is at least superfically a lot like Hermetic Kabbalistic cosmology with all its subdivisions.
Wilber however made a mistake that most occultists don’t. He thinks that (apart from the actual experience which he tries to artificially abstarct, see Ferrer Revisioning Transpersonal Theory for the refutation of this) it is all culturally determined (mind you, teher are some occultists who do adopt this view, but most acknowledge the validity of supra-physical realities). But just because our experience is mostly subjective, that doesn’t mean that these ontological realities in themselves are! As the Mother says a little later in that same talk
“There are worlds, there are beings, there are powers, they have their own existence, but what I mean is that the form their relationships with the human consciousness take depends on that human consciousness.”
This is why I argue that Wilber is a physicalist, he is unable to conceive of ontological levels, entities, forces, and soon taht are totally supra-physical. And I don’t mean the Absolute Reality (which is neither physical nor supra-physical nor both nor neither, as Nagarjuna showed long ago). I mean other (supra-physical) ontological worlds or realities...
[Tusar wrote:August 16th, 2006 at 8:04 amSo, better rename the blog as Closed Integral, if you are so hostile to Sri Aurobindo and that too without studying anything about him
Edward wrote:August 16th, 2006 at 9:40 am Just because I don’t have an interest in studying Aurobindo doesn’t mean I’m closed to his ideas or his relevant and valuable insights. Nor does it mean this forum is closed to them. It’s just not my interest to accept his view in toto or to study him in depth.]
Indeed, this forum is open to all ideas and insights (and if ever it became otherwise, I would leave pretty quick!). No-one has censored me for example. So I for one will keep posting Aurobindonian and other insights here! And I certainly won’t condem anyone for not being interested in Sri Aurobindo, or for that matter for not being interested in any other spiritual or integral teaching. Everyone has to follow their own path, their own Inner Guide.
[…Aurobindo’s views are welcome here but expect them to be questioned.]
Questioning is good, but they have to be valid arguments! I myself don’t consider any of Wilber’s “post-metaphysics” to be valid for reasons explained in my essay on Integral World. Others may and have a right to disagree, but then the burden of proof is on them to show why Wilber’s critique of all spiritual teachers and teachings that preceeded him should be taken seriously.
[And by all means continue to question mine.]
And mine as well.
On reading Sri Aurobindo: It is my experience (others may differ) that Sri Aurobindo cannot be understood or appreciated by merely reading him intellectually (and again, this is my criticism of Wilber’s approach). It is necessary to go behind the words, to use the words as gateways for the Soul. I find reading even a few sentences or paragraphs from The Synthesis of Yoga to be extremely powerful. But if you try to read him like you would Wilber, or Heidegger, or another philosopher, you’ll just get the surface meaning. This is fine if the subject is a purely mental philosophy (as it may be here) but it is not the whole picture. It is necessary to contact the spiritual transmission behind that. And that goes for every spiritual teaching - Lao-tze, Plotinus, Kshemaraja, everyone.
It is also very interesting, as Edward pointed out, that Roland Benedikter has discovered a spiritual tendency in the later thoughts of a number of senior postmodernist thinkers. Benedikter is a big admirer of Sri Aurobindo as well.
alan kazlev Says: August 16th, 2006 at 10:56 pm [Marko says: I consider Wilber’s not including meta-physical ontological levels of being into his theory a missed chance in being truly integral. And because of that I support the. essays Alan is writing, although I would not want integral to be composed of only Aurobindo, of course.]
Hi Marko, I admit I have become a strong Aurobindo polemicist of late, but that is only because there needs to be a counter-balance to Wilberism, and I feel that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother best fit the bill. I’m writing another essay which I’ll probably post on my blog giving all the reasons for my preachiness.
However, I certainly agree with you Marko that integral shouldn’t just mean Aurobindo. Integral has to go beyond any one teacher, but include them all. The reason I am using Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as my primary reference points is because they have, to my understanding, the most integral and all-encompassing system of all. i.e. they are the only ones I know of who talk about the practicalities of the integral divine (in their terminology supramental) transformation and the divinisation of matter itself and the world as a whole, as opposed to individual dibvinisation and liberation, or even an individual divinisation of the body that leaves the rest of the world unchanged.
I concede however that my knowledge of various traditions are limited, so if anyone can point me to another teaching that says the same I will certainly add it as another primary refernce point in my essay in progress.

No comments:

Post a Comment