Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Integral Ideology

When psychoanalysis was criticized, critics were labelled "sexually repressed".

When Marxism was criticized, people were told they had the wrong "class consciousness".

When Integralism is criticized, we are diagnosed as being infected with the "Mean Green Meme".

Can't anyone see the circularity in these closed, ideological systems?

Isn't this type of thinking incredibly... boring?


Anonymous Bob D. said...

Yes. I see it. On the other side of the fence is the notion that "If you resonate with my ideas, if you like me, then you are Integral, Second Tier, one of us, the few, the proud..."

I'm particularly annoyed with how this attitude has affected/infected the Integral Art scene. "This week on Integral Naked: Avant-garde HIp Hop great 'Aqualicious' performs his new hit single 'Second Tier Bitch'."

9:05 AM  
Blogger David Jon Peckinpaugh said...


You're kidding right? That's not actually on IN is it?

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Bob D. said...

Heh heh. Yeah, I'm totally kidding. But I wouldn't be shocked to see something similar pop up on the IN site one day. By the way, I was a long-time member of IN and got a lot out of it. I especially enjoyed the IN Forum over the years. I think Wilber's latest rant has activated the critic in me, although I consider myself a big fan of his work.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous mu said...

boring snoring...

if I only 10 minutes of internet time before I died I'd be looking at the Multiplex and enjoying the grooves it is laying down for future web-surfers. not reading this tittle-tattle about wilber...

some watch
some moan
some DO!

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's interested me most about this recent Wilber debate is that it’s brought up the question of progress and development and whether or not evolutionary biologists would support Ken Wilber’s understanding of evolution.

I look forward to more information about this. I stumbled on an audio clip of Stephen Jay Gould ( who, as I understood him, didn’t think that evolution is synonymous with progress. Was he a lone wolf in this regard, or do most scientists belief that evolution is a progressive movement?

These are important questions. Especially since Ken Wilber’s theories imply that evolution is progressive. I hope that will provide more information on this topic and expand on the questions brought up in Jim Chamberlain’s recent piece.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Luke said...

Anon., from my understanding Gould argued that evolution was not progressive (i.e. A will always become B will always become C) but was contingent. I think that he put this most eloquently in Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History. But he also pointed out the tendency to believe in progress or the tendency towards complexity because of the "left wall", so to speak, of minimum complexity needed for life. It followed from that new species could not arise that are simpler than the minimum complexity (this is in Full House).

There are many lively debates written back and forth between Dawkins and Gould, for all their apparent antagonism, that did not descend to ad hominem attacks. The primary difference, and the part that complicates all matters related to progress is what is better and for whom?

3:00 AM  
Anonymous Luke said...

To clarify, Dawkins' argument for progress and Gould's argument against it are really a matter of definition. Gould attacked a particular progress: "tendency for life to increase in anatomical complexity, or neurological elaboration, or size and flexibility of behavioral repertoire, or any criterion obviously concocted (if we would only be honest and introspective enough about our motives) to place Homo sapiens atop a supposed heap".

Dawkins' argues in favor of a different progress: "a tendency for lineages to improve cumulatively their adaptive fit to their particular way of life, by increasing the numbers of features which combine together in adaptive complexes". (These quotes I actually pulled from Dawkins' review of Full House). Most biologists probably agree with both. I'm not sure where that leaves us.

3:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke, I’ll have to pick up 'Full House' and 'Wonderful Life.' I recall in Gould’s interview that he sees evolution as a bush (rather than a tree) with humans a mere twig hanging on the bush, and that while there is development along that twig--looking at the bush as a whole, there isn’t necessarily progress or development going on. This is still somewhat confusing to me but fascinating, especially because it has so many implications, politically and otherwise. Didn’t eugenics come from a misunderstanding of evolution and progress?

So Dawkins was equating progress with ‘improved’ features of an organism that helps it survive better? However, aren’t these ‘improved’ features constantly in flux based on what’s happening in the environment? So it would seem that no feature could be nailed down as an improvement or progress necessarily.

I’ve googled this topic (evolution and progress) and there’s not too much information out there, which is surprising.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gould, of course, is one of the greats, but I was unimpressed by his book on complexity (the english edition was something like Radiant Life - Full House was the title of the american edition) Gould's two basic arguments against increasing complexity as a feature of evolution are that i) bacteria are the predominant form of life in the universe in terms of success, proliferation, diversity, quantity, etc. And that the median level for complexity in the universe will stay at the bacterium level. This argument has never done much for me and the Koestler/Wilber distinction of depth and span actually require less complex forms of life to be more common. and ii) based on his baseball analogy that boundary conditions affect normal distribution patterns, Gould actually seems to put forward an argument in support of increasing complexity even when he's trying to show the opposite! By this i mean that the beginning of life is a boundary conition, so we would expect in a normal distribution that the average level of complexity to increase simply because that average has to move away from the initial boundary condition (i.e. the year life begins) and get further from it as the years progress). This means that an evolution towards higher complexity is actually a statistical prediction of his model. I read the book twice and finished with more arguments in favour of the propostion of evolution towards complexity tahn i had at the beginning. I am still not convinvced however that there is an inbuild "drive" towards more complex and integrative forms of life any more than I believe there is an inbuild "drive" towards blind chance. Regarding the selection mechanisms for evolution operating through Chance or through Telos (e.g.) both are rather unsophisticated views. Both positions might actually be a lot closer to each other than they think. Wilber is hunting around after a compromise and that's what his Kosmic habits ideas are about. But it's still not well worked out and Wilber lapses into a rather simplistic description of the Eros drive option.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Jon Howard said...

Frank's point is Popper's also. I met the same circular fingers-in-your-ears, hands-over-your-eyes defence in the fundamentalist Christianity of my family. If you agreed with them then God had opened your mind to the truth, if you had criticisms then Satan had closed your mind. It's just heads I win, tails you lose...

Yet this is no big surprise with Ken. Look at his history. One cult leader, defended to the hilt, after another. Just like the supposed 'injunctive procedures', verified by those 'adequate' to the task in religious communities. It's nothing more than group-think, overtly preached expectation and circular self-supporting argument. Y'know, "did you see the big light with the flashing red cone?", "No, I didn't", "Well, go back to the mat until you do then we'll talk". That isn't science it's just dogma going around and around.

Ultimately, what Ken has done is build his map on a big, ethereal, undefined 'ghosty' at both the top, middle and bottom while bleating about quadrant absolutism - which is rich when the UL is the only one that shows the all encompassing ghosty to be there, entirely experientially, in some post-rational subjective leap of faith. Well, tough titty for Wilber. What he’s now faced with are people on all sides basically saying that this isn’t good enough, and for a myriad of reasons, and none of them can be contained by crying ‘foul’ if they don’t do the Integral shuffle.

It’s actually quite tragic as this will be the period in which his ideas crash and burn and I think they’ll take him with them. Nobody should see their kids butchered, but Wilber only has himself to blame for the agony he has coming. He should have modelled himself on someone other than Adi Da as that shit doesn’t fly when you apply real academic vigour and don’t just join the cult.

BTW - have any of you read Antonio Damasio’s The Feeling Of What Happens? I think he’s really onto something. It is the bedrock to which neuroscience is going to leap to as it is primarily about THE BODY. Seems like James was heading in the right direction after all :)

2:50 PM  
Blogger Pissed Off Old Man said...

Both evolution and intelligent design might be both right. The intelligent design folk put forward irreducible complexity of some systems to justify intelligent design.

Basically they point to massive jumps in some biological systems that cannot be explained by evolution, its an odd bit of logic which basically says that if evolution cant explain its flaws then it disproves the entire concept of evolution and therefore it must be intelligent.

It’s a BS argument because basing a theory on the failure of the opposing theory isn't really a theory .

But wait it gets better !

Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed in off-the-cuff comments in November that the universe was made by an "intelligent project" and criticized those who in the name of science say its creation was without direction or order. So it’s a very odd debate almost exclusively American in nature, if the pope doesn’t see a problem with evolution why do so many American Christians adopt such a dogmatic point of view.

Its similar to the "end of times" or "rapture" debate. People pick things they like then fit the evidence around it, almost 25% of Americans believe we in the end of times described in Revelations. Problem is Paul didn’t right a book to put on the shelf for 2000 years, he wrote it for those times and there is just as much evidence to show that its nor referring to these times . But geeze try and have that debate with right wing Christian, these folk start pounding the table.

Wilber is a Integral Fundmentalist where small crimes are allowed for what elite believe to be the greater good.

The fact that my grand daughter was nearly destroyed by Andrew Cohen matters little in the big picture of things.

Cohen, Daida and Beck might serve the greater good so their crimes are brushed under the carpet.

Wilber takes the very worst of aspect of things and bends their truth to his needs. Those who question his motives are scum sucking bottom dwellers (Becks term for the What Enlightenment folk).

There is a fraud going on here and its for power and profit not enlightenment.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


My sense is that you are on to an important point regarding SD's circular logic and defense. In this area, I would rate Karl Popper more than a match for any of Wilbur's justifications.

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well i have only seen posturing and defensiveness here.For those interested in Wilber it may be best to just read his books and if you don't agree or find anything useful in it then keep on keeping on.
I found this enlightening :-)
mu said...
boring snoring...

if I only 10 minutes of internet time before I died I'd be looking at the Multiplex and enjoying the grooves it is laying down for future web-surfers. not reading this tittle-tattle about wilber...

some watch
some moan
some DO!

9:37 AM  

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