A not very coherent, stream-of-consciousness type post:
Although I greatly appreciate the work of Ken Wilber and find it very helpful, I am also disenchanted with many of the attitudes found in the KW flavored integral world, often modeled by him…
For instance, I found this on an aqally flavored blog…
I don’t really care much for politics as it has developed into being not so much about creating a better future for nations and the world, but about self-serving narcissistic pursuits by people who are generally of a far lower level of consciousness than that which is needed for REAL progress.
Hmm…. and that statement is not self-serving, narcissistic and at a lower level of consciousness, not to say arrogant? It is a great example of how, no matter what else we describe, we always also describe ourselves at that very moment.
Here is someone who has read Ken Wilber, and probably gotten a dose of him through Integral Naked, and then relatively mindlessly absorbs it… including the more questionable parts. In this case, isn’t it narcissism to put yourself above politics, as if you are too good and to evolved for it?
KW himself of course does encourage being active in the political life, but his attitudes certainly promote these type of outcomes.
And these include his, to me, strange fascination with the evil green meme. (I understand the reasoning of wanting to nudge people beyond it, but the way it comes out seems to have more to do with his personal issues than choosing a smart and effective strategy.) How he is using models and theories not very well grounded in research as if they are. His labeling of other’s approaches as in the grips of the “myth of the given” when they really don’t seem to be. His weirdly macho attitudes. The way he likes to exaggerate and over-hype different things. (Including the importance of certain models, like his own, and certain practices, like the Big Mind Process.) And much more.
Any of these are part of a fluid response to the world and situations, but here they seem relatively stuck and a fixed pattern. And since he doesn’t seem to quite own up to it, and there may be a taboo against bringing it up to him and within the integral community, these patterns spread and are adopted by many of his followers and the integral community.
Whatever these things say about him, they certainly say something about me and my own hangups, and I can see that. And I can be wrong about much or all of it about him as well.
Also, although the aqal model is easily understood in its basic form (I used a close version of it for myself before reading about his version of it (my version: inner/outer, in a holarchy and an evolution/development context)), I admittedly don’t understand a lot of it… including what I mentioned above: his way of taking on the green meme, his use of the Myth of the Given, and so on.
Even if there is something in what I see as slightly off, I see that these kind of things happen in all groups, communities and traditions, and that is not a reason to throw a great baby out with the bath water.
Our hangups, wounds, knots, blind spots, all of these are an intrinsic part of any human endeavor. In a sense, they are as important as anything else happening. They nudge us to bring more of ourselves and our interactions into awareness.
Advise to myself: Life is messy. Get used to it.
One thought to “Unhealthiness in the aqal world”
Thought it was time to return to your blog after you chastised me for my arrogance some time back. In your observations about my thinking, you were both wrong and right, a feeling that the two of us are probably familiar with. In my opinion, you fell pray to the same surface characteristics that you criticize in another post, but seen in isolation, completely separate from the rest of my writing – and indeed my life, you would’ve had a point.
Everything I hear and say is coloured by me. Everything you hear and say is coloured by you. So I say something and you hear something and you don’t quite know what part of what you hear is yours and what is mine. That’s indeed part of the Mystery you labelled this blog with – and probably THE most frustrating thing about personal evolution – particularly when relating with people we suspect to be further along the path than ourselves. They have hangups too, but the hangups that we see – are they mine or theirs? So confusing!
We cannot communicate without falling into this pattern. We can perhaps withdraw into a cave for the rest of our lives, but that is probably a cop-out? What I have learned in this game is that when I’m less forceful in the way I speak, I tend to be more ambiguous, which in turn gives me less material to work with – as I’m putting less of myself out there. If I throw a *part* of myself out there with fierceness, what a blessing it is to be judged on that. Part of the game is learning to accept that someone takes this tiny part of the totality of me to represent the full totality of me. Because surely, it’s more important for me to learn than to play nice with others, so that neither of us will have to learn?
Every system, every person, will have their flaws. At the end of the day, isn’t that a little bit cool? I have found many even in the Integral community. Interestingly, things I used to see as flaws, I now recognize as just part of the “personality”. On a good day, I can accept a person fully. Maybe on a great day, I can embrace all the arrogant dicks in the integral community, yourself included.
Take care, bro