Sex, Ecology, Spirituality (Ken Wilber's Integral Theory) Dec 28, 2015 12:58:47 GMT -5 by Heron faeruss, mystery, and 2 more like this
Post by Heron on Dec 28, 2015 12:58:47 GMT -5
This post has a certain reason to be: I'm currently studying a book, that has many interesting concepts and ideas in it. It's mainly philosophical-psychological-omnilogical... it deals with many things at once, mostly, but not only, related to human' s individual and collective psyche, delving into different school of psychology, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, spirituality, religion, and so on.
I had already started it in the past, but I have the intention of starting from scratch, using my old notes as an aid, and writing down my own understanding of it.
I thought to share my studies of the book in the forum for a couple of reasons: one, is that even if some of his ideas might be controversial, they are as well thought provoking. Ken Wilber is a really intelligent and lucid man, and I'm sure that, even if you won't agree with him, his intelligence transpires in each word he writes. Another one is that, since the content of the book is really interesting, but the book itself is really, really long (around 800 pages), almost nobody would want to read the book shortly. There are various introductory books to his thought (A Theory of Everything, A Brief History of Everything, The Integral Vision) in some cases with updates to the meat presented in this book, but certain ideas are written extensively and precisely only in this one.
So, I'm going to post a sort of reader's digest of the book "Sex, Ecology, Spirituality."
If you want to read a bio about Ken Wilber, there is this free chapter from "Thought as Passion" (from Frank Visser, once a scholar of Ken Wilber and now a critic) that I find the best one I've read so far. Plus, if you're interested, there is an introductory reading from a scholar named Sean Bjorn Hargens that gives an overview of the integral theory as it is now.
Ken Wilber's Bio - Thought as Passion
An Overview of the Integral Theory
This is the shortest video introduction about integral theory I've found:
So, I hope you will find this interesting!
The book starts out by stating
It is flat-out strange that something - that anything - is happening at all. There was nothing, then a Big Bang, then here we all are. This is extremely weird.
He cites Schelling, ' why is there something rather than nothing?', and goes on stating that there are generally two types of answer to the question.
The first he calls the philosophy of oops or don't ask, connected to scientific positivism and materialism, which means that nothing is really going on in the universe on a deep and profound level. The universe has no meaning or aim, and if it has one, it can't be known at all. The question itself is considered infantile to start with. Ken Wilber disagrees with this approach by stating "I think the answer these "modern" and "mature disciplines" give (...) is about as infantile response as the human condition could possibly offer."
The second answer is something else is going on, which is the approach the book wants to delve into. "Behind the happenstance drama is a deeper or higher or wider pattern, or order, or intelligence."
He then goes on to describe what the book will be about, describing briefly all the major areas the book will treat.
The book is about a 'possible deeper order' of things. "It is about evolution, and religion, and, in a sense, everything in between."
The book is about holons, a meter to measure the whole universe that he will describe at length in the next chapters, in the physical cosmos (matter)and in the biosphere (life), that he will treat in the first chapters. With the concept of holons, he will start bridging many different disciplines that are only apparently completely unrelated to each other, finding the ways they co-exist in all possible ways.
The middle chapters he will treat the emergence of the mind (noosphere) and the manifestation as "psychic holons." in human history and existence.
The last chapters deal with the Divine Domain, theos and telos, and how it is related to the noosphere, biosphere and physiosphere. "And here, I think, some surprises await us."
He then explains that the book is the first of a trilogy that he programmed, Kosmos Trilogy (the second book is only coming out in 2016, eleven years after this first one), stating that many questions and points made in this first book will be treated at large in the next books, the volume, he says, is a broad overview and introduction to the topics that will be treated in the next ones.
He explains that, because of this breadth of topics the book is going to treat, the book is built around orienting generalizations. Certain topics will be mentioned without taking in account the discussions in the field, taking in account mostly the broad agreements in the field (apart from his own work), and the original thinkers that brought up first certain questions.
"My point is that if we take these types of largely-agreed-upon orienting generalizations (...) and if we string these generalizations together, we will arrive at some astonishing and often profound conclusions (...) the beads of knowledge are already accepted: it is only necessary to provide the thread to string them together into a necklace."
He then adds that this broad orienting map is not final. Because of this, the book is composed not only of orienting generalizations, but also of "a thousand hypotheses." Nonetheless, "I suppose many readers will insist on calling what i am doing "metaphysics," but if metaphysics means thought without evidence, there is not a metaphysical sentence in this book."
To finish, he warns that since the book treats the place of men and women in the cosmos as well, the book will be filled with many hot topics. From ecological crisis, to post-modernism, and liberation of the sexes, race, classes and creed.
After making some suggestions on how to approach the book, the book finishes with this sentence:
'What follows then, is a cheerful parable of your being and your becoming, an apologue of that emptiness which forever issues forth, unfolding and enfolding, evolving and involving, creating worlds and dissolving them, with each and every breath you take. This is a chronicle of what you have done, a tale of what you have seen, a measure of what we all might be yet to come.'