Re: Ken Wilber and the Integral Institute
Posted by: notanantiGnostic ()
Date: March 21, 2009 10:07PM

Good work guys. I like this proactive approach. Now if any ex students, perspective students or current students of Ken Wilber have concerns they will have a place to get information and voice concerns.

The Cult of Ken Wilber?!
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 22, 2009 12:25AM

Just found this article on Wilber, haven't read it yet but the word "cult" attached to him really got my attention!

[[url=]The Cult of Ken Wilber[/url]]

Re: Ken Wilber
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 22, 2009 07:42AM

A chapter on Ken Wilber has been added to the book "Stripping The Gurus" in an appendix:

[[url=]Bald Narcissism: The Dis-Integration of Ken Wilber[/url]]

Re: Ken Wilber
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 23, 2009 12:35AM

From the cult of Ken Wilber


Finally, there was a personal incident. In short, I had sent Ken, whom I considered a friend by then, since I had visited him and interviewed him for four hours, a draft of an essay on the new world of work, which clearly stated that it was inspired by his work, specifically mentioned a series of consultants working in his spirit, then went on to describe the four quadrants, and apply them creatively to my own domain, with notes and references and all.

I got back a letter which threatened me with 'exclusion from the network' and even legal consequences for 'intellectual theft'. But how could that be, how could an essay mentioning him, using his method, of which I had send him a draft!!, be constructed as theft, and deserve threats of legal action??? I was deeply hurt, baffled, and entered into an email conversation which did not solve anything fundamentally. Though I got some kind of excuse in the end, he said that he was under pressure and that his 'advisers' had told him to react in that way, he also managed to say that "I didn't understand all his theory". Note that this has become Ken's standard argument against everybody. Only a close circle, who seemingly work in secret around him and do not publish their papers yet, are said to fully understand him. It has been promised that these will be published by the Integral Institute for its online university project.

Ever try reading the One Taste diaries?

I found a discarded copy on the street, and took it home, deciding it would be better to do that than for some impressionable young person to pick it up.

I read a few chunks. Wilber glamorizes his life. Throughout OT, he refers to all the conversations and encounters he has with scathing, brilliant people.

Kenny makes it seem that being spiritual means becoming a glamorous person, desirable, on the go, hip, with life full of other glamorous brilliant people.

A book like this would be thrilling to a bright, isolated teenager or young person, wanting to get a sense of belonging. Ken gives you a feeling that you are about to join an elite club, if you get involved with his public persona.

Its a much more sophisticated version of the way Carlos Castaneda seduced legions of people to get bonded and emotionally invested in his fictitious, mythologized, larger than life public persona.

So Kenny makes himself a point of connection, and by extension, his theories too. People cant stand to apply actual critical thinking to Kennys theories because to do that would dissolve not just the theory but the mystique of the public persona, the myth of Ken himself.

He's also meat and drink for people who want to be spiritual but also want to indulge anger--an emotion one actually has to question if one is really to practice insight.

But Ken has found a way to indulge anger and make it seem compatible with his allegation of some exalted state of development. He does it vicariously by having associated with a series of people who have abused power and by periodically engaging in outbursts such as the Wyatt Earpy episode.

Re: Ken Wilber
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 23, 2009 12:43AM


Here is a modest excerpt--Dash has a great photograph from Zimbardos Prison Experiment as an illustration. His blog has additional great articles on a variety of topics.


Dash wrote:

(I was once a giddy fan of Wilber myself and when I took the first Integral theory course I was very excited to be able to actually ask Wilber a question on a conference call. Being drunk with integral, as Matt Dallman puts it, is a very powerful thing.)

It is very interesting that so many persons describe their early encounter with Wilberian Integralism as if it were an intoxicant--they use terms like 'giddy' 'drunk' 'fired up'

Scott Parker also mentions something else--the sense of superiority he felt.

Years ago, I read something by a person who wrote that science fiction, at least that from certain authors, can have a mood altering effect.

Its worth asking whether Wilber's material, or at least some of his more famous books have a mood altering effect.

Wilber may not consciously intend to write mood enhancing, intoxicating material, but some books,written by persons with powerful unconscious agendas, may have a fascinating impact, because the authors, pressued by unconscious material, insert all kinds of unconscious derivatives that speak powerfully and subliminally to readers who unknowingly have issues similar to the issues that unconsciously drove the author's act of creation--and drive that author's public career.

A text of this kind is like a waking dream, with conscious and unconscious material that set up a vibe.

The fascination produced by such a text comes because it speaks to something unconscious in us. But a text of this kind can tease us but it cannot wake us up. Once we wake up, the text remains interesting but loses its fascination factor.

The process of science and philosophy requires a state of mind that is alert and interested but not in this state of intoxicated, enthralled fascination.

***One reason why the language of academia is so calm and mannered is to ensure that people stay awake and lucid and AVOID the kind of verbal intoxciation that is incompatible with creating science and philosophy.

I remember getting very interested by General Systems Theory when in graduate school. It gave me a comprehensive understanding of things. But I dont recall feeling that my appreciation for GTS made me superior to those who preferred other frameworks. It was a tool that fit my hand. A carpenter doenst think he or she is superior because a particular tool works best.

In grad school we discussed the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) in very great detail, and other models of psychological development. But never at any time did the instructors encourage us to get 'fired up' or go into states of partisan loyalty concerning this material.

The instructors were appeciative and interested, but they did not act like 'fans' and never encouraged us to act that way.

I learned that science is a matter of interest, comraderie and good craftsmanship, but never included animosity, fan mentality or the slightist hint of elitism.

A sense of intoxication and a feeling of mastery, a feeling of belonging, shared with others who believe in 'The System', an urge to proslytize, a sense of superiority in relation to those who dont share one's beliefs that The System is salvation:

all this is characteristic of conversion to a mass movement, rather than the emotions felt by scientists or philosophers who are pleased to have found a helpful new set of tools.

Dash and Scott describe the deep discomfort they both felt when they eventually came to question Wilberism and feared the loss of the comfort they'd gained from the Wilberian material.

It might be helpful for those who feel puzzled why they became drawn to, even fascinated by Wilberian material to do the following:

Be a detective and look carefully and curiously at what your life was like and what your state of mind and emotion were in just before and at the time you got fascinated with the Wilber material.

Were you in a painful state of depression or anxiety? Were you isolated, with people who didnt quite share your aspirations? Were you overwhelmed by the complexity of information taught at the university level and desperately seeking mastery?

(I remember that one very painful thing in either the freshman year or first year of graduate school is finding yourself surrounded for the first time by persons as intelligent as yourself and suddenly fearing you may not have what it takes--a painful state of mind, and one where one becomes desperate to regain some kind of stability--ASAP.)

IMO, power and mastery, and suppression of vulnerability may be unconscious but very important elements in Wilber's life and that he has unconsciously created writings which evoke feelings of power, mastery and supression of vulnerabilty, makign them appealing to anyone who wishs to feel that way--and that means these will appeal to a lot of people.

There may be an unintegrated strand of youthfulness in Wilber, what Jung termed 'Puer Aeternus' that may also make Ken and his output unconsciously intoxicating to young persons, especially those who are full of fire and who fear that traditional religoius and academic communities are forcing them to stifle their fiery, angry energy.
They may be attracted to Ken because he has created a social scene where you get to have your cake and eat it too--feel spiritual and highly developed, yet have permission to blast off and use foul, abusive language and claim that only inferior persons would be offended.

It may be that part of the pain of questioning Wilber's system is losign that sense of verbally induced certainty/mastery, losing that verbally induced feeling of power and instead, returning to a state of emotional vulnerablity that you were in before encoutnering the Wilber material--and that the mood enhancing nature of the Wiilber material temporarily suppressed that vulnerabilty.

Finally, (personal hunch) there seems to be something about Wilber's public personality and the narrative he has crafted and gives to the public about his own life that may be a part of the fascination.

Hard Core Wilberians have become just as invested in Wilber's version of his life story and in Wilber's personality as they are in his system. In this, he resembles Carlos Castaneda, another person who wrote intoxicating material with elements filched from academic sources then used in an anti-scientific manner.

No other scientific concept or philosophy has required that we get invested in the personality of the scientist or philosopher in question.

Wilber has not been content to create a body of writing. He has also encouraged and created an entire social scene around himself, not just an intellectual system--via the internet.

No scientific theory or philosophy that has academic recognition has ever required that we belong to a social scene.

But that social scene may be part of the appeal---it gives a sense of belonging, and that can be very hard to give up. But one loses kinship to the Wilber tribe as soon as one dares to become adult and autonomous in relation to his system and its social taboos.

IMO, Wilber's actual fascination is not with ideas or spirituality but with power.

He may also have some kind of unconscious fascination with power and distaste for human vulnerablity.

For it is very interesting that, despite his avid interest in science, Ken Wilber never made use of the findings of social psychologists such as Stanley Milgram (Obedience to Authority experiment) or Philip Zimbardo (The Stanford Prison Experiment) in his own study of cult leaders.

Wilber only seems interested in science when he can appropriate elements from it to support his fantasy of personal development into an invulnerable super-person, impervious to temptation.

What may make social psychology useless for Wilberian purposes is that findings from social psychology demonstrate that no matter how intelligent we are, we remain vulernable to social influence and can be corrupted by power imbalance. Even Stanford University students regressed into ghastly cruelty and abject submission to cruelty, when isolated (Zimbardo's Prison Experiment)

Wilber seems unable to see the relevance of Zimbardo's findings to his own work,despite having partipated in a seminar with Zimbardo in the 1980s, material from which was published in the book, 'Spiritual Choices, The Problem of Recognizing AUthentic Paths to Inner Transformation', edited by Dick Anthony, Bruce EckerKen Wilber, Paragon House, 1987. (Dr Zimbardo is listed on page 27 in footnote #9 a footnote as one of the participants.)

Yet depsite his being listed in that one footnote as a seminar participant, Philip Zimbardo's Prison Experiment findings were never discussed in the book--a very puzzling omission, for the purpose of that seminar was to assemble a team of top experts to discuss and find ways to distinguish between helpful tranformative new religious movements and potentially hazardous new religious movements.

Its as if one were to discuss Brothers Karamazov and omit any mention of hating one's father.

By contrast, a conscious and alert scientist not in thrall to an unconscious personal agenda would see the relevance of Zimbardo's findings and discuss them.

My hunch is that Wilber and possibly the other two editors could not face the relevance of Zimbardo's work because the outcome of the Prison Experiment findings demonstrated that even intelligent educated students, were vulnerable to social isolation, power imbalance and human vulnerability.

The Prison Experiment is probably painfully subversive for anyone who cherishes dreams of a grand system and set of spiritual exercises that would supposedly create super-evolved color coded persons who would be impervious to temptation.

Zimbardo's Prison
Experiment warns that Ken's hopes of becoming highly evolved, superhuman and invulnerable are a dead end dream, and that his grand project of beocoming an invulnerable human being is futile--sad news, indeed.

I suspect that because Wilber remains mostly unconscious, his work, though fascinating and cognitively stimulating, may keep his fans unconscious in relation to their own power issues because Wilber remains unconscous about his own power issues. And this may affect why Wilber keeps associating with teachers who reportedly have had difficulty using power responsibly. (eg Andrew Cohen)

IMO, Ken Wilber has loyalists because he has found a way to write about science and philosophy in a way that makes people get high and hopeful and then get addicted to him because he has made them feel good.

True science and philosophy cannot be practiced when one is clnging to hope, inspiration--one can only create true science and philosophy by NOT being in the state of mind that Wilber and his followers prize.

Re: Ken Wilber
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 23, 2009 12:46AM

Note: Scott Parkers essay, Winning the Integral Game, referred to above, by Dash, can be read, here


Frank Visser, who had been a devoted scholar of Wilber's work and had published a book on Wilbers work entitled Thought As Passion, decided it was time to create
a forum for Integral Studies that was non authoritarian and based on participatory peer to peer relations.

He thus created the to meet this need.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/23/2009 12:50AM by corboy.

Re: Ken Wilber
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 23, 2009 02:20AM

Note: Scott Parkers essay, Winning the Integral Game, referred to above, by Dash, can be read, here:

An excellent essay. Thanks.

Re: Ken Wilber
Posted by: notanantiGnostic ()
Date: March 23, 2009 08:06AM

Anyone heard about Robert Bruce? The only reason I ask is that he has an advertisement on the front page for Q Link which I guess is just some product that they both endorse. []

Robert Bruce, Like Timothy Freke appears to be a safe spiritual teacher but I wonder about the degree to which they have had associations to Ken Wilber. My feeling so far is that they are both ok, this is business for them and in order for them to promote themselves they need to do all they can. I am sure a lot of people have had associations with Ken Wilber who are fine.

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