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Ken Wilber's Website

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#1 Casanova

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 12:17 AM

For those of you who still have an open mind, I offer Ken Wilber's website.
Ken Wilber's Website
Wilber is working on a post-postmodernist system. Yes, system. Postmodernism hates all systems, except it's own system.
The Integral system of Wilber, incorporates the best aspects (?) of post-modernism, within a larger framework.
Of all the "foundational" anchoring systems I have seen, Wilber's is the best, by far, and the most inclusive, and compassionate. Science, and Religion, can both work together in Wilber's framework.

Wilber is correct in his assertion that downloading the totality of human consciousness into a machine/computer is ludicrous, and that the most that can be downloaded is a skimmed off surface layer of human consciousness.
AI research will continue to flounder, as it has in the last 20 years, ( where is Hal?) until it broadens it's understanding of the immense depth, and height, of human conciousness, and not just a narrow flatland, materialistic, version of consciousness.

I am not as optimistic as Wilber, that the excessive damage done to Western culture, by lunatic fringe feminism, and nihilistic post modernism can be repaired and return us to sanity, and lost greatness.

But without hope, there is nothing; so I applaud Wilbers's efforts to salvage what greatness remains in the post-modernist rubble.

The sad results of plularism:
Almost all the best movies, ever made, worldwide, were made before 1965, when the Me generation began it's barbaric onslaught.
The best music ever is still Classical Music, and much of it is over 150 years old.
The results of pluralism, in my opinion, is the creation of a kind of United Nations mush, of mediocrity. It's everywhere, now.
As Chricton said somewhere; the global village will end up being a global homoginzation of mediocrity.
The Japanese film indistry made some of the world's greatest films, in the 1950s, before the global village took over, and they have gone downhill ever since. The same applies to Europe.

But what is the alternative? It could be, as I believe, that the best in art has already been created, and that from here on, (post 1970s) it's all downhill for humanity.
Maybe the reason we are seriously considering human/machine merger, is because we have already died as a species. We have been the walking dead for thirty years, with the word "Post-Modernism" etched onto our collective tombstone.

I hope I am wrong, and that Wilber is correct in his optimistic view that we can still pull ourselves out of the mud.

Edited by Casanova, 04 July 2003 - 12:22 AM.

#2 kevin

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 04:46 AM

Thanks for the website. There sure is loads of material there with some good basic philosophy for a neophyte such as myself. In his Sidebar E: of Boomeritis he talks about 'cartesian duality' and how we all view the world as subjects perceiving objects, that there is something inside that perceives the external. Though many have tried to explain self-awareness, there is currently no adequate theory that can explain it's existence scientifically. Even if there was, explaining how fundamental particles of physics can gather together to produce complex beings will likely remain the purview of mysticism for a much longer time than the production of conciousness.

In the abscence of proof that there is 'no god' I will abstain from such proclamations and subscribe to a more Buddhist perspective which says that attachment is the enemy of the sense of completeness. It makes a backwards kind of sense to me that only in giving up all attachment can we come to a sense of peace that I liken to breaking over a cliff waterfall and endlessly free falling through a cloud that for some reason shines with it's own light...

Pretty imagery eh.. ? :)

Ken Wilber is certainly an optimist... his ideas will certainly be promulgated on as people really enjoy listening to positive thinkers.. [":)]
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#3 ocsrazor

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 05:51 AM


In my opinion, Ken Wilber is not a particularly good thinker and there is nothing really interesting or novel in his writing. His optimism is nice, but he is excessively wordy, very superficial, and does not grasp many of the scientific concepts he talks about in his books. In particular, he does not understand complex and emergent systems. He also does not understand the relationship of science and religion in the development of human culture.I agree with him that integration of the sciences and spirituality needs to take place, but he is way off on the methodology (we need to move forward, his ideas are a step back).

The idea of lost greatness is rather silly. The reason you don't see further development in music, literature, etc. is that the state space of possible ideas in each has been nearly fully explored. Finding novelty in each becomes exponentially harder, because the possible unexplored areas becomes smaller as the space of possibility is explored. This process occurs in all developmental systems and drives those systems to explore new spaces. This is what is now occurring to humanity - we are about to open vast new spaces of experience and human ability, not stagnate in some misguided statist attempt to return to the 18th century.


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#4 Lothar

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Posted 07 July 2003 - 07:54 AM

KEN WILBER is some tragic case, in a way, Casanova,

and all his 'optimism' covers only the dark sides of his works. (By the way: neither optimism nor pessimism is the right approach to REALITY.) Far instance, if you read through his famous and main book 'Sex, Ecology, Spirituality' you'll never find some adäquat discussion of the problem of death. An 'integral' perspective, which does not deal with this fundamental topic, is use- and worthless or in fact - like Peter stated it - superficial. This is not by coincidence because if you regard his fundamental positions in all of his other works you will see that he is - more or less or let's say: implicit - a follower of the concept of reincarnation, clinging to various kinds of eastern mystics and traditional buddhist philosophies. All his searching for spiritual enlightenment has to be regarded in front of this background, because 'accepting death' is very different whether you have some back door like reincarnation or you have not in the context of modern, secular and rational philosophies. But there is one famous indian philosopher and mystic, named SRI AUROBINDO - died in 1950 and perhaps you have heared about the city of 'Auroville' in South India? - WILBER likes to refer to very much but it seems, that he has never read him correctly. This SRI AUROBINDO had criticed the traditional indian and spiritual philosophies fundamentally which led him to a totally different view on the law of carma, the concept of reincarnation and above all to a different view on matter. So as a central consequence you can find reflections about the problem of conquerring death and some early concepts of 'physical immortality' in the works of SRI AUROBINDO and some followers because he did not regard matter any longer in the traditional kind of dualistic philosophies. (But AUROBINDO is NOT my 'most loved guru' I mentioned shortly ago... ;-) )

The tragedy of KEN WILBER lies in his permanent criticising and analysing of the mixture of 'pre-rational' and 'trans-rational' orientations in all kinds of aspects - an analytic distinction which in fact leads very far - but in my interpretation he himself is falling backward to a pre-rational attitude in the main problem of death by clinging to spiritual concepts of yesterday, which also don't fit to the social conditions of modern societies. How can he become 'TRANSrational' if he's not reaching at least the state of rationality in one of the most important aspects of life!?? On the other hand, the concept of 'physical immortality' would be the exact expression of a REALLY integral and transrational (or transpersonal) perspective because you could integrate traditional religiousness and the CRITIC of traditional religion under modern rational conditions. Only such an integration would generate a new synthesis and open space for new visions which really would encourage peoples hearts and minds. So, until WILBER and his followers don't reflect the existential problems in the context of the development of traditional religions correctly they don't will encourage anyone for anything, especially not the most educated people in the modern western world which are forming the élites and leading classes of society.

PS: Feminism is dead, nihilism is not a philosophy but more an individual attitude and no one besides some very small academic areas cares ever about something like 'postmodernism'. (In fact: GEORGE BUSH and most of his opponents have not yet reached even a modern state of time!) And don't forget: people in EVERY century had to die until now and therefore produced all the catastrophies from which you can read in the books of history. Your 'in-earlier-days-everything-was-great'-perspective sounds very strange to me or in terms of KEN WILBER 'pre-rational'. Pure projection, may be because of some lucky childhood (?). You can regard all the cultural highlights of the past as simple compensations in vast seas of human suffering, where the ordinary man could not reach only the age of 40 and 'immortality' was just a religious concept for after death-life or an ambivalent metapher for some geniusses like MOZART, ambivalent, because in the traditional sight such a judgement is rather blasphemic. Or in an 'optimistic' view you can judge the cultural highlights of the past as very extraordinary anticipations of maybe some upcoming centuries of glory.

Finally... Peters explanation about the closing of possibilities is very sophisticated but I think he is perfectly right. Perhaps you have ever heard about ROBERT MUSILS great novel 'The man without qualities', which has been written especially in the twenties and thirties? Since ten years, since I have read this book, it's my main example that the development of modern literature is in fact finished and we 'now' have to look for some new forms of expression in the area of art or language. Or, from a readers perspective: you can go to a library and can begin to read every great book which has been written since - let's say - DANTE (and I mean REALLY great books!). I don't know exactly whether you would need just decades or even centuries but only reading the novels of some one and only gigant like BALZAC will need you YEARS! And the greatness of great literature lies just in all of the aspects which transcendends the historical conditions, so we will need some NEW BALZAC only if the 'Comédie humaine' would fundamentally change. The medium of the 20th century is doubtless the film-medium, and we will see what the new medium in the 21th century will be. But nearly no master piece of film after 1965??? See just the following sentence below the line but only far instance because what about the works of COPPOLA, FELLINI, TARKOVSKI, TRUFFAUT, ALDOMOVAR, KUBRICK and so on after 65?? (And may be you haven't seen 'Hero' yet... ;-) )

Greetings from Berlin, Germany!
'New York, Tokio, Kioto, Triest... BERLIN!' (Peter Falk in the film 'Wings of desire' by Wim Wenders, 1987)

#5 hughbristic

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 02:22 PM

Moved subthread to Naturalistic Spirituality & Increasing Complexity at http://www.imminst.o...2&t=1389&hl=&s=


#6 Casanova

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 09:12 PM

The reason you don't see further development in music, literature, etc. is that the state space of possible ideas in each has been nearly fully explored.


You forget about the the interweaving of systems, and yet you pretend to be knowledgeable about system theory.

It is not that the state of all possible ideas in each has been fully explored. It is that Western society began quickly evolving towards the kind of Late Capitalism that we have today. Values modified; attitides modified, purpose, and meaning modified, until we reached a stage where nothing is sacred, human beings are nothing but machines, altruism is merely chemicals in the head, making money is the center of existence, etc.
It is these changes that are responsible for the end of what I call Fine Art, not your silly notion about closure.
The Western world is heading straight towards Brave New World. So of course there has to be an end to "greatness" in the Arts, as well as in all other walks of life, with the exception of technologically, of course, or rather the technologies of human engineering.

There is still an infinity of possibilites in the pre-postmodernistic novel form, and in the Classical Music form. All it takes is a society to honeslty care, and understand, these art traditions, to begin creating new art in those styles. In the USA, education up to 12 grade is a joke. unless your lucky enough to have very rich parents who can send you to a top private school.
A bad pre-college/university educationial system, and a souless, vacuum-centered form of Late Capitlaism, is creating your, "closure." It is closing the minds of the citizenery to "greatness."
It could be planned that way; I hope not.
A dumb populace is easy to control, and a populace that thinks only about trivial nonsense, and that is satisfied with a junky, and very low-brow, pop culture, is a populace that is easily controlled by giant corporations.

Wilber is not a hack. It is obvious that either you havent read enough of his books, read them poorly, or that you can't grasp what he is saying.

Wilber was studying to be a biologist, So he has been exposed to the scientific method, by professors. He is very well informed about systems theory.
Wilber does not trash systems theory, in fact he even salutes it. But, he correctly places it where it belongs.
You seem to be making a fetish of system theory, which is exactly Wilber's criticism of flatland thinkers.

So, I would call you a flathead. Sorry about that,, but I get a bit pissed at persons who are uniformed, such as you.
Read Wilber carefully, and read his latest introductions, to understand how his ideas have expanded.

Also, to another poster; read my post carefully. I said "almost" all movies, not all movies.

My arguement is that the percentage of junk in pop culture has escalted out of control. There has always been junk in pop culture, but since about 1965, the ratio of junk, to quality, has risen.
One reason is that the style of business began changing in the 1950s, and 1960s, into a horrible form of ultra dead-soul, money-making. What idealism was mixed in with money-making, say in the movie industry, totally died in the new corporate business world.
Read some books on the old Hollywood movie studio system, in comparison to the new Hollywood Hollywood system, which began in the 1960s.
It's hard to beleive, but there was some idealism mixed in with all that money-grubbing. The horror of today is that idealism, even a pinch of it, is totally gone from todays cold-blooded corporations.
We are certainly headed toward Brave New World, and most corporation leaders don't care.


During the frenzied transition from the old Hollywood, to the new Hollywood, there was a period of maverick movie making, but if you look at most of it, is is extremely cynical, and nihilistic. It also pitched the old idealism into the ditch, but in a different way than the corporate finance suits.
Both sides contributed to the death of the Old Hollywood.

Edited by Casanova, 19 July 2003 - 09:23 PM.

#7 jroseland

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 10:21 AM

Oddly enough Ken used to be my neighbor, I lived in this fancy flat in downtown Denver and he lived in the penthouse, I once unwittingly walked up to his rooftop terrace...


About Postmodernism, I think it's The Worst Idea Ever...
So there’s this philosopher that I’m really not a fan of who you probably have never heard of, Jacques Derrida, who is one of the great unseen architects (and intellectual vandals) of modern society.

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