November 15, 2006

The original Integral tradition

(posted by alan kazlev) Posted in Integral Thinkers 4 Comments »
Tusar has asked why there has been no discussion of Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine here. An excellent question. I might also add of course Synthesis of Yoga, where the word “integral” almost on every second page. And I might add, why no discussion here of Teilhard de Chardin, one of the most influential “integral” thinkers of the 20th century?
What about Rudolf Steiner; the greatest integral teacher of the Western theosophical-occult tradition? And what about Edward Haskell who’s “co-action compass” serves as an alternative to AQAL, and I believe a superior alternative, as I argue in my current essay appearing on Integral World. Perhaps the answer here lies in the fact that the Integral movement at present is still in its infancy. Much of the movement is still limited to Wilberanity, and hence to things that Wilber is interested in, like postmodernism and Buddhism.
Fair enough, one has to start somewhere. And Wilber’s charisma and eloquence did help popularise the theme of the Integral, a theme that was first taught under that name by Sri Aurobindo. But it seems like everyone has forgotten the Master, and prefers to focus on the much more limited ideas of the student (a student who does not even understand the teacher, as Rod Hemsell and I have both shown). I believe that unless the integral movement can transcend its Wilberian limitaions, it will just be another footnote in the history of the New Age movement.
Andy Smith Says: November 14th, 2006 at 5:44 pm Alan, though I found your articles on Aurobindo quite valuable, I still find no answers in them to some very basic questions:
1. What is the evidence for these higher levels of existence that you claim distinguish Aurobindo’s system from Wilber’s? ...
2. What is the evidence for the “divinization of matter”? That sounds like a scientifically testable hypothesis, so why hasn’t some Aurobindonian attempted to demonstrate it?...
4. Is there a meditative approach? In previous dialogue with you, I came away with the impression that Aurobindo’s system, at least your understanding and use of it, does not require or involve meditation, but simply a process of absorbing his ideas. I understand this absorption is not, or not completely, an intellectual process, but how can a non-intellectual process even occur except through meditation? Can you describe it in any more detail?
Many years ago, I attended several sessions, I guess you could call them, conducted by Haridas Chaudhuri (I stopped going because of his early and I think sudden and unexpected death). I found him to be a very pleasant, temperate, humble and balanced man, certainly as far from someone like Da or Cohen as one could imagine, but he came across to me as more of a scholar than a mystic. I remember at a memorial service, which I attended, one of his students emphasized his great debating ability, which would certainly be appropriate praise for an academic, but which I found a little odd for an alleged master...
alan kazlev Says: November 14th, 2006 at 11:42 pm There also seems to be a selective bias of interest as well. As Tusar has pointed out, why is there no interest in The Life Divine? Why not look at that as well, if Wilber’s Integral Spirituality is being studied and critiqued? Look it’s fantastic that IS can be studied, and that we have this forum! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking you guys! You’re doing a great job! It’s just that I’m trying to broaden things out a bit, make the whole forum more, well, Integral!

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