Friday, April 28, 2006

Mystics agree, scholars disagree?

Read this in John Horgan's informative and entertaining "Rational Mysticism":

"This upsurge in scientific and scholarly interest has not brought about consensus on mystical matters. Quite the contrary. Scholars disagree about the causes of mystical experiences, the best means of inducing them, their relation to mental illness and morality, and their metaphysical significance. Some experts maintain that psychology and even physics must be completely revamped to account for mysticism's supernatural implications. Others believe that mainstream, materialistic science is quite adequate to explain mystical phenomena. Similarly, scholars disagree about whether mystical visions affirm or undermine conventional religious faith."

Let this sink in: "not brought consensus on mystical matters. Quite the contrary."

What would the integral response be to this situation. Everyone is (partially) right?

On the one hand we have this inconclusive state of affairs in scholarship. On the other hand we have the integral view of four basic stages of mystical development c.q. states of consciousness, which basically hasn't changed over the past quarter of a century.

How and where do these views connect? Has the integral view become a religious faith in its own right now, which has to be defended and promoted, even marketed?

Or is it a view which potentially could stir up the field of mystical scholarship? But then, it has to open itself to the opinions of other scholars, even as to its own validity.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Defending Critics

In the past I vigorously defending Ken against his critics; in the last few years I seem to be defending his critics against Ken - by posting their essays in the Reading Room of Integral World.

What has happened? Have I changed? Has Ken changed? Probably both.

In fact, there never has been a general climate in which a Wilber debate can flourish. But recently the cultic overtones have become stronger and stronger.

It is still very much a one-man-show, in this community of the like-minded. Sometimes, it feels like a celebrity show.

More and more, celebrating one's own integral ideas in a safe environment has become the general practice in the integral scene.

Having phone calls on integral theory within the Integral Institute is not my idea of an interesting discussion.

Inviting specialists, critics and even sceptics to the table would be a good start.

An Integral University which will teach integral concepts to students will turn it into a religious school only, not a true university - which is fine, there are many of these religious institutions.

But integral philosophy has a greater potential than that.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wilber Watcher

I've been a Wilber Watcher since about 1982, when I stumbled on "No Boundary" in a bookshop in Amsterdam, on the day there was a huge demonstration against nuclear weapons being stationed in the Netherlands.

About high time I started my own blog - never been an early adopter, that is.

Back in the nineties I remember the Internet on the horizon, attracting all the wrong sorts of people, me being in the book industry.

then, around 1997, I started to get interested, started the website, and was caught.

A few years later, I found a job in that field, and have worked for Intel and Nokia before settling on being the webmaster of

The Wilber website has since then been renamed as, and carries a huge Reading Room full of essays, mostly critical, related to the writings of Ken Wilber.

so, that's about it, for a starter...