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Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

Last post 10-10-2006, 12:39 PM by maryw. 80 replies.
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  •  08-30-2006, 11:27 PM 6106 in reply to 5983

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    Well, you all were right -- the rest of the chapter addressed some of my concerns.  I was thinking of attempting to draw up a list of Orange and Green Christian writers and leaders, so I was particularly happy to find Wilber had done just that at the end of the chapter. 

    I had been thinking of listing Marcus Borg among the Green authors, for a couple reasons, but now that I reflect on it, Wilber's classification of him as predominantly Orange makes sense.  Perhaps he's ORANGE on the way to Green.  I noticed that Wilber doesn't label Panikkar, maybe for political reasons -- I-I is reaching out to him -- but I expect he's safely in Green, and likely in Yellow or Indigo, judging by both the sophistication of his writing and the hints of his nondual spiritual experience that appear throughout his works.  (Whatever "altitude" he occupies, he's quite brilliant, and an important apologist for the role of religion in conveying humankind upward along the comsotheandric spectrum.)

    I was particularly impressed by Wilber's analysis of the "built-in," hidden pathology at the heart of the differentiation of the Big 3.  His thesis strikes me as right on the money, and seems to neatly explain why science has been prone to scientism.


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  08-30-2006, 11:51 PM 6110 in reply to 6094

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    Chris:

    I think it would be a lot harder than you make it sound!

    I don't think there is much that can be done on a diocesan level, which is fine, because bishops aren't exactly known for being open to new ideas, anyway.  There are things that can be done at the parish level, but it depends on the pastor.  I've heard of some Catholic parishes that offer instruction in Zen meditation, and others where Centering Prayer is rejected as dangerous.

    One thing that I've been thinking about, though, is how this idea can be used, for example, by parents in raising their kids.  One problem progressive Christians have had is passing on the faith in a way that is compelling to their children.  Understanding the stages through which children grow might be helpful in overcoming this problem.  And I've already mentioned how this is relevant for educators.

    In the Catholic Church, this has long been acknowledged:

    Whoever teaches must become "all things to all men" (I Cor 9:22), to win everyone to Christ... Above all, teachers must not imagine that a single kind of soul has been entrusted to them, and that consequently it is lawful to teach and form equally all the faithful in true piety with one and the same method! Let them realize that some are in Christ as newborn babes, others as adolescents, and still others as adults in full command of their powers.... Those who are called to the ministry of preaching must suit their words to the maturity and understanding of their hearers, as they hand on the teaching of the mysteries of faith and the rules of moral conduct.

    That's from the preface to the Roman Catechism (from the Council of Trent!).

    The problem is that, in the experience of many people, growing past amber is strongly discouraged.  Because the mythic level faith cannot survive a comprehensive exercise of rationality, people remain at a prerational level.  More specifically, one of the characteristics of the amber altitude/conventional level faith (according to James Fowler's scheme) is a tendency to not question one's faith.  Now, it seems to me there are two things that can happen here: one can be encouraged to ask questions, in which case one might very well grow out of that stage.  Or, one can be discouraged from asking questions, in which case one might very well get stuck.

    So the most important task, I think, is identifying what kinds of things happen at what levels to stop people from developing.

    PP


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  •  08-31-2006, 12:13 AM 6112 in reply to 6106

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    Bruce,

    I don't think I would identify Borg as orange.  Spong definitely belongs at orange.  I would say the Jesus Seminar, of which Borg was a member, in general was very orange.  But I get the impression from Borg -- and I've read at least five or six of his books -- that he has fully grasped what is wrong with modernism (as well as what is right with it).  He's one of the only bible scholars who takes mystical experiences seriously, so he has an appreciation for transrational states.  It's mostly a hunch, but I'd put him at green.  I wonder how much of his work Wilber has actually read?

    And I agree with your assessment of Panikkar.  How do you know "I-I is reaching out to him"?  I'd love to see that happen.

    PP


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  •  08-31-2006, 5:46 AM 6117 in reply to 6110

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    PP -

    I didn't say it would be easy, just that it seemed to me that it could be simple.  When looking for leaders in the Church who can cause the shift, while it would be nice to find them in the clergy, it is more likely that it will be interested lay people who will bring the beginnings of change.  Plus, to be most effective, it will be people like you who are well versed in the catechism and can quote it; that likely will have a greater validity for those people.

    Chris


    One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. --Andre Gide

    Hope is as hollow as fear. --Lao-tzu
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  •  08-31-2006, 7:26 AM 6131 in reply to 6117

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    I'm going to back track a few posts to PP and mightily support as, let's call it

    Tenet number one of an orange spirituality: Both allow and encourage- and support- rational level questioning.

    You know, I do not even think this would be all that hard, because in the same way that Piaget discovered and demonstrated that children naturally develop myths (and magic) of all of the same contours, it is the same with rationality or formal deductive reasoning. There are absolutely definable contours to such a level.

    Now, for me, I think there is a very strong twofold problem here. There's more to it than this but there are two very definite and powerful strains against this. The first is just what PP said. The mythic structure can not and will not survive formal deductive reasoning. This, quite frankly, scares the B'Jesus out of everyone (to put it in mildly Christian terms). Since my/our only understanding of Spirit is the LLF-amber is the whole of Spirituality, or the whole of God-you really are robbing us of Ultimate Concern. Or, I am afraid I will be robbed of it forever. Or, quite frankly you are killing God.  As has been said . . . .

    Now, I find that wholly weak in faith! Do we really think and believe that God can not standup to formal deductive reasoning? Seriously. How faithful are you? How well do you really know God? You really think we can "kill" him? Pardon my enthusiasm but

    NO!

    The idea that "God is Dead" is ABSURD! These naturally arising questions are God,  calling you to come to know Him better! Or unfolding in you to do the same. (At which point, "Him" may begin to have a little less importance . . .) How's about having some faith!

    Okay, before I go sermon on y'all . . .

    So not only support and encourage the questions, but learn to anticipate them so that you (Church leadership) can adequately guide someone at this stage/station-because the questions do have recognizable contours as well as answers (or directions or whatever) which are, I think, pretty definable.(With obviously much broader contours and definitions than amber.)

    Tenet number two would be-this is your spirituality, and you have a right to nurture and seek for it however you may choose, need, or see fit. I the Bishop (or whoever) am no longer in charge of it or own it. It is yours as well as your responsibility.

    Tenet number three. The authority relationship also has to change here from something like master and commander and/or final authoritative ruler (also owner of my spirituality -or owner of God on earth!) to mutually beneficial exchange. Teacher and guide, based upon my genuine knowledge and expertise, not my position, role or title alone. But I can and will also earn those things  (with a whole new set of structures an qualifications for that IMO; the "shortage of priests" would be over with this IMO also.)  as well as your respect (and even devotion). I am having trouble finding the right words here at the moment but at rational, all men are created equal, but it may indeed be in my benefit to learn from you becasue your genuine merit in a certain area is worthy of such. i.e. your authority is your knowledge, experience and expertise but 1.) I have the right to question it (this is healthy and even necessary and keeps us both safe) and 2.) as a teacher (or whatever) I do need to continually prove it to you that I am in this position for a reason. I need to continually prove to you my value. Trust and respect is earned, not already made (and you'll go to Hell if you "disobey"). Or in short, trust and respect need to stand up to my formal deductive reasoing as well. 

    Just to clarify a little bit more, what I mean by continually earned is basically the same principals that we see in, say, free marketing. The consumer has a right to go somewhere else if your services are not up to his/her desired standards, or if he/she realizes by meansof reason and evidence that he/she is being screwed -and marketers or merchants know this. The merchant or marketer has to continually prove that they have the best products or services and have both earned and deserve your patronage and trust. (I think the move from "faith" to "trust" is an important step forward here. Trust is earned and is based upon experience and evidence. Fatih still plays a part, but can not be the end all.) It is the principals of freedom, individuality, responsibility and choice behind this I am interested in.

    The last thing I want to throw out here for now is one thing that is related to all three -the recognition, availability and realization of states.

    To just offer a short summary,

    The "leap of faith" to allow those questions has a much easier time of getting through if you in any, way shape or form truly realize or have experienced through states that . . . God ain't goin' nowhere. God is already beyond any level of reasoning, so why not get ourselves closer and a little more grown up in our understanding? (In the Christian faith, prayer is the primary injunction, but it is not widely understood as such. I think there definitely needs to be a widespread re-education of just what this injunction is and, not only how to perform it properly, but recognize that it can be performed improperly -so uselessly and to no real benefit-as well as properly or for true results and the most benefit.)

    Owning you own spirituality is something that can and will come of states as well. And the same with authority or guidance and teaching. IMO, right now, the qualifications for priesthood are sorely lacking and just do not in any way, shape or form include this area. State realization (or even peak experience) should be a prerequisite and the many levels of natural hierarchy can be qualified by this as well. (I mean, how’s about at the very least having taken even one small trip to the Bahamas before being given final and ultimate authority to tell people all about it? Could you imagine what the world might be having a fully realized pope! Some of the Gnostics used to use this as their code and creed –the most realized person available at whatever time, was the leader.) Also, this is the great supplier of "proof."

    Lastly, this would obviously have to include not only a all out recognition of states, but the broadening of their contours past amber/mythic. Right now, I believe amber puts too narrow and constrained contours on this (as well as miracles, visions, sainthood) and as such it stifles genuine realization (or recognition of such) and that is a major part of a lot of these problems.

    Okay, all for now.

     


    I wish I could have writte this with my cool, black -I+I- pen! . . . but now the INK is running out! Drat.
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  •  08-31-2006, 7:47 AM 6132 in reply to 6091

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    cahacker:

    I too am not surprised to see you surface this topic again.  I danced with you on it the last time you brought it up on the last incarnation of the forum.  I'm inclined to pull a Wilber and call your contribution 'true but partial.'  I believe, and I'm not taking the time to go back and look, that this was part of the prior discussion. 

    I agree that an individual grows through a series of pre-existing stages; this growth is not an evolution of consciousness.  However, I think that evolution is occuring at the leading edge.  Growth implies a pre-existing path - your seed-sapling-tree metaphor.  Evolution implies chaotic trial and error, and that is what I believe and think is happening at the leading ege.  Perhaps a piece of ground we can both share?

    Hi again Chris   Smile [:)]

    I'm only too happy to share that piece of ground, and I'm not one for putting up fences!  In any case,  I don't want to interrupt the flow of this thread - I can always start a separate thread to discuss this if the mood takes me.  Just two quick points though:

    - No metaphor ever fits perfectly, I do realise.  Get too picky and you spoil the fun - I mean, I enjoyed Wilber's humour in his comment that everytime someone has sex they create a new bunch of Nazis.  That makes his point well even though its not exactly true as he puts it.  In the same way, 'growth' isn't an exact fit for what the theory is saying either.

    - Your point is a good one, Chris, but - for one thing, although 'evolution' implies chaotic trial and error, so does 'growth', doesn't it?   'Chaotic trial and error' sums up my own progress so far as a human being pretty well, and the term 'growth' always seemed an OK way to describe that process before... And then, although Wilber likes to use 'evolution', he employs it in rather a special sense - he means the 'unfolding' of Spirit which has been 'folded' through Involution.  This 'Evolution/Involution' pairing would mystify those not familiar with his theories, and the term 'evolution' as used by Dawkins and the whole scientific world has nothing to do with any notion of 'unfolding'.  Seems to me that there is potential for confusion here in a context where integral can only benefit from building bridges with the wider intellectual and scientific community.   

    But I'll shut up on this for now.

    Good wishes, David

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  •  08-31-2006, 7:57 AM 6135 in reply to 6112

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    Hi, PP,

    I've read three books by Borg, so I'm less confident in how I would classify him, but I'm glad to hear that you agree with my first intuition.  There is a sensitivity to both religious/spiritual pluralism (not just in terms of 'belief,' but also to a plurality of transformative/soteriological spiritualities) in his works that sets him apart, in my opinion, from other modernist Bible scholars I've read.  I trust Wilber's grasp of SDi to be better than mine, and I know he is very widely read, but perhaps he was off in his evaluation of Borg.  Not that it's that important.  Whatever he is, he does represent a post-amber approach to Christianity that many people today find compelling.  (I've noticed he also supports a move to panentheism in Christianity, which puts him somewhat in line with the Integral vision for this tradition.)

    About I-I reaching out to Panikkar, I gathered that from a series of blogs by Rollie.  Did you read them?  Here's one: http://multiplex.integralinstitute.org/Public/cs/blogs/integral_spiritual_center_news/archive/2006/07/08/1129.aspx

    Timelody,

    Interesting work you're doing there!  Have you read many books by Orange writers -- Spong, or the Jesus Seminar folks, for instance?  They both encourage questioning of sacred cows, but sometimes in a way that is too stringent and shocking for amber folks.  Perhaps there are some 'transitional' works out there that would help.  Or perhaps you are beginning to compose such a transitional book!

    Looking at your list of tenets, I think we could also frame "Orange" and the other memes in terms of our relationship to God.  How does our relationship to Him change as we grow and mature?  As Magical Cloud-dwelling hero, as a Just, Omnipotent Monarch, as a divine Principle, as a sacred Friend, as a Lover, as apophatic Presence?  Can these different images -- and the names for Him that exist in the Abrahamic traditions -- be used to map a memetic cartography of human visions of God, or to encourage growth upwards towards greater understanding of the Absolute Being towards which they point?

    Best wishes,

    Balder


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  08-31-2006, 12:27 PM 6172 in reply to 6135

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    You know Bruce, I think you are right here. A "transitional" frame is what is truly essential and it is also not something orange could either see or value all the way on its own. (i.e. can't really see this from orange . . . just kind of want to change everything to orange and orange alone. The structure is the subject and can't see itself. However, above, the structure is now object. Very interesting!)

    The idea of naturally arising "contours" was inspired by Wilber (and Piaget) but really just struck me just this morning. It's so unbelievably clear. There are fundamental questions and issues that are going to arise, and they then need to be dealt with, tended to and answered from and within that level or appropriate to that level. And again, this is what orange alone can't see. Naturally arising fundamental contours will arise and emerge again at green and yellow as well! But the "first tiers" are all rather stage or station-centric.

    Wow. And, it would not be hard to simply look at all of the works that have arose in these stages to date and find the pattern that connects -the fundamental contours, work something out and go from there towards, literally, an effective framework of guidance.

    More later.

    I wish I could have writte this with my cool, black -I+I- pen! . . . but now the INK is running out! Drat.
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  •  09-01-2006, 11:56 AM 6342 in reply to 5542

    • maryw is not online. Last active: 10-20-2006, 12:22 PM maryw
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    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    PrickliestPear:
    I think a more realistic application for this idea is in religious education.  For example, I teach religion in a Catholic school.  I know my students are going to graduate and, especially if they go to university, will likely experience the "brutal choice" between amber faith and orange non-faith Wilber talks about.  So I try to impress on them the fact that the amber-level faith they've been taught is not the whole story, so when it's trashed by their professors they don't retreat into an amber fortress, or abandon religion entirely.  They know there is something more sophisticated available.  But there's only so much you can explain to seventeen year-olds...

    I was in Catholic school from first through twelfth grades, Pear, and I was graced to come across teachers like you! Big Smile [:D] Thank you for all you do. I did abandon religion for a time, but returned, in part because I recalled what I learned from those dedicated, kick-ass Catholic school teachers.

    With gratitude,

    Mary


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    There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

    ~Rumi
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  •  09-01-2006, 6:38 PM 6422 in reply to 6135

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    Bruce:

    I think it's also important to be careful about identifying someone's level based solely on their published work -- even if you've read all of his books, one has to recognise that Borg is writing about a very specific topic, and he is writing for a popular audience.  So as far as we know, he could be at indigo or higher!  I'm not saying that it's impossible to say what level someone is at, but one has to be careful.

    Your point that Spong and the Jesus Seminar are "too stringent and shocking for amber folks" is, in my opinion, a clear indicator that they are basically orange, with maybe a twist of green.  Spong in particular has often taken a highly antagonistic, even contemptuous tone towards anyone who hasn't yet grown out of the amber stage.  (I should point out, though, that he's actually a very warm person in real life.  I met him a few years ago, and I liked him a lot.)

    Oh, and thanks for the link.  That's very interesting about Panikkar.


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  •  09-01-2006, 7:06 PM 6431 in reply to 6342

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    Mary:

    Wow, thanks for the kind words!  When I first started teacher's college I imagined that I would be a teacher for a short time, and then move on to bigger and better things.  But after I got into the classroom, I couldn't imagine myself doing anything else.  Now that I've been at it for a while, though, I realise that I may not have the stamina to do this until I retire.  As one of my colleagues put it, "the days of the 30-year teaching career are over."  But there aren't too many professions where you can have this kind of an impact on the lives of others, and I'm quite humbled to be a part of it.


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  •  09-03-2006, 6:57 AM 6608 in reply to 5425

    • JaneMc is not online. Last active: 10-20-2006, 11:54 AM JaneMc
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    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    Chapter 9….The Conveyor Belt.

     

    So now we have the articulation of the LLF….the level/line fallacy.  I am very appreciative of this work.  Sometimes when I have been reading this book, indeed, living my life, I have felt like a person who had just a temporal stroke with some sort of aphasic component….able to think wordless thoughts, but somehow unable to carve them out, articulate them, let alone present them coherently. It is a great relief that Ken has this wonderful ability.

     

    I have never suffered from the LLF…..I think I can say this quite honestly. At the same time, I have suffered because of it….and I have been very confused because of it too, not knowing that other people were afflicted with it--not understanding why some people might be spouting ‘preposterous gibberish’ while insisting on obsessive compulsive ritualistic behaviour  on the one hand, while on the other hand, some other people might be espousing cold, clinical, heartless views of this magnificent mystery that enfolds us, and treating me like an insane person, or a silly child for taking exception to their views.

     

    All of us together could probably write a fine and funny book about hitting the pressure cooker lid, at various stages. Grade 3 with Reverend Downer religious education, Grade 5 the mutiny on our father on a Sunday morning at the Presbyterian church…..Grade 8 when I lost all my friends for telling them that ‘not only did  I ‘think’ I was right, ‘if I didn’t think I was right, I would change what I thought so I would think I was right again’—the recognition of free-flow adaptable thinking by me, met by “she is such a snob, so full of her self, she thinks she knows it all”…..alas….. By high school, I would run into the dogma walls, and I would see so many of my peers cowering behind them.  That is probably when the split became most noticeable.  There were the few ones who smoke marijuana and read Carlos Castenada and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and hitchhiked out west for the summer,  and then the others who belonged to the pinstripers at the hospital, who helped out with Sunday School, and boy scouts who seemed to do well at school without the compulsion to generate a single original thought of their own or indeed make any attempt at weaving the whole picture together, or so it seemed at the time.

     

    And through university, this got worse.  I remember reading the university calendar in the back of a pick up truck traveling through the Rocky Mountains….. Deciding what courses I wanted to take, most of them in the department of religion along with some science prerequisites for medicine…..and I remember getting to my religion studies to be met by what I interpreted to be the ‘pentacostal gleam’ of the believers,  breathless in their love of Jesus—but, scratch too hard and I might find them strident and adamant about the dogma, like black holes void of rational cognition….and later I remember entering into medical school, where I was met by the opposite of the ‘gleam’,  ‘an dullness’-----‘a glazing over’ at any attempt to bridge the mystery of science and spirit……this was most pronounced of course on the psychiatric ward, where I always identified secretly with the schizophrenics and manic patients…..and would watch the needles of Haldol get injected to bring about the ‘scientific normalization’….....like the treasure troves of the mythic religions being spray painted with graffiti or blacked out entirely….with no recognition of the beauty of the open secret…..  or so it seemed at the time.  I remember feeling very lonely all around.

     

    So, back to the chapter 9--- the questions, the ultimate questions are embedded deep into the matrix of our being:  Who am I really?  How did I get here?  These questions are asked with the background voice that says, “yep, yep, I know it is impossible, you can’t get something from nothing, oh, please, don’t go on about ‘always’, ‘forever’, that is ridiculous, ‘infinity’ and ‘eternity’  the math of zeros, blah, blah blah, I want the straight goods….besides the universe is only 13.8 billion years old, put that in your pipe and smoke it!” This voice in the background is like elevator music—you sometimes don’t even know it is there until you get it pointed out.

     

    How long did the background voice lurk before our brave ancestors tried to sculpt the words that would give these thoughts a scaffolding to rest upon, and thus to begin our long reflection? When and how did these ultimate questions arrive mostly formed in our human consciousness?  Certainly these questions, by their very presence, pulled all of the magnificent pre-rational religions out of the sky and into the matrix of our lives.  An amazing brailling out of spirit, humans have been trying to invent words and syntax, the deepest desire to express the inexpressible……There is no doubt, as an archive of human development, the pre-rational religions are a ‘treasure’.  I believe that they are much more than that too.  I am not sure I agree with Ken when he writes: “Trying, as do proponents of intelligent design do, to have science prove mythic level poetry is preposterous.” I am not sure exactly what he is referring to, yet at the same time, the archetypical expressions that are found universally as early protypical ‘best answers’ for the ultimate questions, these often have some deep, deep intuitive sense to them, and stand up to scientific scrutiny.  For instance,  I have often marveled at the discovery of mathematical constants and formulas. These are also deeply imbedded in the design, just as we are…..  Like Pi, what an amazing number, a simple little fraction 22/7, yet holds the relationship between a radius and a circumference……and that it got discovered! this is amazing!…. And the thing is Pi was not ‘invented’ by humans, it was ‘discovered’.  It was a ‘given’. (this may fly in the face of the ‘myth of the given’, but still, it the Truth)…… likewise all the formulas, E=mc2, is another given.  F=ma…..another given.  There are ‘givens’ in the matrix of  the underlying order of things.  Here is another amazing fact: last year a friend of mine who is an archeologist working on the Labrador coast dropped into visit me.  “the oldest rock in the world has been discovered north of Nain.  It is 4.1 billion years old. (I might have the numbers off a bit).  The thing is that the oldest DNA has been discovered there too….3.8 billion years old!”  I thought about this, about the molecular stew of the earth, baking up DNA almost as quickly as a blink of an eternal eye, just as the molten lava hardened up!…..this is a ‘given’ too…..  The thing is, the universe is yearning and learning to see itself….and it does this, most intimately, and acutely through us.

     

    So quaking in the face of this awesome mystery, our ancestors did their best to ‘see’ what was before them.  So with this in mind,  what was it that took them on the twists and turns of so many horrifying and sordid paths?  And why do these sordid paths persist up to the present, manifesting in 9/11, or  sexually-perverted clergy molesting young children, or the stifling of young minds asking the imperative and ultimate questions, or all of the other manifestations if this spiritual retardation that seem so far in contrast, and unnecessary, and counter-productive  to the marvelous and exciting adventure that we are all on together and have been on together since the beginning of time.

     

    I am thinking of the explanation that Ken gives for this LLF, the amazing fork in the road. Rather than ‘being taken’, rather than holding the ambiguity, rather than realizing that “the heart of the divine lies in paradox”, rather than learning how to stay present with the discomfort of ‘I don’t know’, this fork in the road split the human pilgrimage up into two camps, each left to trundle down separate, mutually-hostile, dissociated paths.  One path has rational modern science with its sleek technological advances, material abundance, and sadly the spiritual poverty(line denial). The other path has prerational, mythic religions, and all of the treasure trove of ‘ultimate questions’, but also the political mayhem and nonsensical gibberish that is generated when the world must be seen through a non-scientific, tunnel-visioned viewfinder, and anyone glancing outside this blinkered horizon does so at risk of going to hell(level fixation).

     

    So what keeps any of us from learning to hold ambiguity like a sacred question that cannot be answered yet, but which any of us can readily intuit holds the holy grail? What keeps us from learning to stay in uncomfortable places with no answers in sight?  What keeps us preferring inane and silly answers, or living in cardboard cut out versions of our full embodied lives, rather than engaging the birth right that is ours in blink of an eye?   Amazing grace! What does it take to wake up?

     

    It comes down to FEAR.  We are frightened. Paralyzed in our fear.  Frozen in it. Fear. If we are some distance down the fork of the amber mythic road, we are frightened that God will send us to hell for being the one with little faith if we even so much as ask the bridging questions to science, “oh ye, of little faith—banishment to hell”.  If we are down the fork of scientific revelation, we are frightened of looking silly, of being derided by our colleagues for asking the bridging questions to spirit..….. “oh ye, of little reason---banishment to hell on earth, or at least a psychiatric ward…’…..

     

    Shining a brave light on this, I love how Ken writes: “ When science is honest, it is thoroughly agnostic and thoroughly quiet on those unltimate questions….But the human heart is not. …men and women need an Ultimate because in truth they intuit an ultimate, and simple honesty requests acknowledging the yearning in your own heart.”

    I am reminded of another of my sister’s songs:

    “The chances that get thrown away,

    Come right back again,

    For the heart remembers all

    And will not give in.”

     

    So somehow, we need to calmly learn to stay at the fork in the road, we need to learn to “take the fork and keep it, incubate it, stay present with it.....love it until yours arms break.” We need to learn to teach our children that they too can stay present with this fork in the road.  And we need to learn to welcome back with love and joy those pilgrims who find there way back from either of the divergent paths they have been stumbling down.

     

    I don’t know if I agree with Ken when he says that it is anyone’s ‘right’ to stop at any station or stage of development along the way.  There is no denying that people will do what they do, and there may be little effect to be had on this, but I don’t believe there is any inherent ‘right’ to stay blind, or to be half-baked, or to pretend that being spiritual or scientifically retarded is a “right”---I think we can do better than this..and I think as it is, this massive retardation is wrecking the joint, turning our 'wonder world into a waste world' .……I think we all have the ‘responsibility’ to take this adventure to the limit---It is the quest we are all on without exception, whoever we are, whatever our lives look.  We are all going to learn to live consciously in this Great Heart of paradox, or die trying,  and from what I can tell, the Kosmos is not going to take 'No' for an answer……


    The fabric of my life is the cloth with which it is my responsibility to polish the lens of my own perception
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  •  09-04-2006, 1:01 PM 6729 in reply to 6608

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    JaneMc:

    I don’t know if I agree with Ken when he says that it is anyone’s ‘right’ to stop at any station or stage of development along the way.  There is no denying that people will do what they do, and there may be little effect to be had on this, but I don’t believe there is any inherent ‘right’ to stay blind, or to be half-baked, or to pretend that being spiritual or scientifically retarded is a “right”---I think we can do better than this..and I think as it is, this massive retardation is wrecking the joint, turning our 'wonder world into a waste world' .……I think we all have the ‘responsibility’ to take this adventure to the limit---It is the quest we are all on without exception, whoever we are, whatever our lives look.  We are all going to learn to live consciously in this Great Heart of paradox, or die trying,  and from what I can tell, the Kosmos is not going to take 'No' for an answer……

     

    Excellent post, Jane.  I'd like to focus a little on your words here...  That's quite a crux in Wilber, isn't it?   His insistence that people have the right to be at whatever level of consciousness they happen to be.

     

    In a way, I'm more taken by it than almost any other thought of his.  Its beautiful.  One definition of love which is often used is:  the unconditional acceptance of another exactly as they are.... And how wonderful it is to be so accepted!   In itself, that changes us: Carl Rogers founded a whole school of psychotherapy just on that one fact, that being accepted as we are can heal us, nothing else is needed.  And how many relationships fail because the partners can't accept each other, and introduce agendas for change....

     

    Like me, Wilber is a fan of Gestalt therapy, whose genius Fritz Perls adopted the mantra: 'you are not in this world to fulfil other people's expectations'.  A no-brainer, but something I too forget:  recently, one of my sons, Adam, who is very bright, decided not to go to University but to become a car mechanic.  He begins work tomorrow.  When he told me, I had to reflect on those immediate visceral reactions of disappointment and frustration, and then relax as I became aware that I'd just always assumed that Adam would follow in my own footsteps through academia...and that those had been MY expectations.   Not his.  I just know how this young man, who loves nothing better than tinkering with engines on the drive, will be in his element in that job, and that he'll thrive because of his love of the practical.  

     

    So Wilber too consistently asks that we honour others for who and where they are.  Red may want to dominate us, Blue to get us in order, Orange to exploit us, Green to join us up.  But Integral is to be about compassionate awareness and acceptance.

     

    That's one side of the story.  Its not so simple though.  In practice, Integral is devoted to change. Changing the Kosmos!    Partly, yes, through helping people like us who WANT to change.  But also, more subtly, by seeking to 'facilitate' change in people who have no intention of changing at all.  This comes out in the idea of healthy and unhealthy levels of consciousness, 'pathologies'.  There is healthy and unhealthy Red, healthy and unhealthy Blue, Boomeritis is Green which has caught a nasty Red infection, etc....  The definitions of what is healthy and unhealthy consciousness seem to be vague and hard to pin down.  If I'm narcissistic yet Green, for example, this seems to be unacceptable and therefore unhealthy, even though one could draw a psychograph which would simply indicate that I was highly developed in some lines and poorly developed in others.   How does that translate into a notion of 'health'?  Isn't the idea of pathology in this context simply a veiled value judgement, masquerading as a value-neutral diagnosis?    Substitute two people in a relationship, and suddenly love is out of the window since narcissism needs to be 'cured', in other words, changed.

    Good wishes

     

    ~ David

     

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  •  09-05-2006, 3:59 AM 6796 in reply to 6729

    • JaneMc is not online. Last active: 10-20-2006, 11:54 AM JaneMc
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    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    David, Thank you…...  As I was thinking further on this, I reminded me of an old doctor friend of mine who in a curmudgeonly way has often wheezed: “If people have not suffered enough, well, dammit, it is their God-given right to suffer some more.” In a way, this is sort of the same as saying people have a ‘right’ to stop at any particular stage.

     

     I remember a dream I had once, that I was on a narrow ledge, scaling a cliff, and suddenly a tsunami came along through the narrow gorge of the valley, and I was holding on for dear life, with my fingernails on the cliffs edge and the forces of the water tugging at every fiber of my being, trying to drag me away. The wave passed and I was left, hanging on the cliff , bunched up in a ball, filled with stress and fear and not sure how much longer I could hold on, eyes clenched shut, barely breathing….a gentle voice said, ‘put your feet down on the ground and open your eyes’. Instantly, I realized that I was now in my kitchen, clinging in a fetal position to the kitchen counter….I relaxed, put my feet on the ground, I stood up….I woke up.

     

    Does anyone have the ‘right to stay bunched up in a horrible ball pain and fear and stress?’  Another of my favourite saying that my curmudgeonly surgeon grandfather used to say was, “God gave you pain to keep your hand out of the fire and your finger out of your eye.”   I guess I have the ‘right’ to stick my hand in the fire, and my finger in my eyeIndifferent [:|]…..but clearly this has been discouraged in the strongest possible way by ‘the powers that be’…… to the extent of being a mute point.

     

    Does a perfectly healthy child have the right to stop developing at any stage, let’s say, for instance refusing to toilet train?……this is really almost unimaginable.  Why would anyone choose to continue making unnecessary messes, either for themselves to clean up, or for others?  This is not to say that children don’t learn basic necessary skills with varying degrees of ease or difficulty, and that parents don’t need often limitless patience to allow the continuous unfolding…..but still the‘right’ to just stop at some stage along the way!— It seems rather that it is a ‘responsibility’, an ‘a priori’ imperative to learn to care for one’s self—“a given” so to speak.

     

    This analogy of various developmental stages holds on the left quadrants as well.  Although a young fellow who insists on blowing up buildings may ‘be doing that best he can given his limited perspective’, yet the pain inflicted on both himself and others would indicate that it is not his ‘right’ to stay at this ‘station’ of development.  This is an extreme example, but being a fundamentalist ‘anything’ and being caught in self-inflicted suffering, and spreading that suffering all around—well, it is not good enough!

     

    I am thinking also of times in the delivery room, when a birth mother looks at me and says “I quit, I can’t do this any more!” and this happens often enough. Saying she has a ‘right’ to quit—well, this is clearly ridiculous…..

     

    Anyway, I am pretty sure we agree about all this. 

     

    I guess what I am thinking is, that it seems to be the usual emphasis is to go on and on about ‘rights’ and I am tired of it and, well,  I think this emphasis(kind of an American thing) is for the most part ‘ridiculous’. As well,  the mess we have been making in the meantime on the world scene, on the environmental scene, the pure damage to this magnificent world, it is not a ‘right’ to behave like this….., At the same time I recognize that perhaps the mess is ‘the best we could do’ in this transition period of birthing a new way of being, along with the pain, suffering and insistence on futile and inane and ridiculous rights….…..  Still, it is time for the integral human species to develop a new vision, a  vision  where we enter consciously into a new role of co-creators in this unfolding universe, where we accept that any inherent right are balanced by our  inherent ‘responsibility’.  For instance, it is my responsibility to ‘do my own work’, to resonate from my highest place of being, to keep growing, to care for others and for the natural world in such a way that this magnificent adventure is supported and nurtured and celebrated.  And if I find myself inadvertently stuck on the metaphorical delivery table, empty of hope and depleted of energy, that is when I need you and the rest of the motely crew……and sometimes my need might be so great, I don’t even know what it is, or that I am suffering……ah yes! the human condition….

     

    I have to get my boys up for their first day back at school....time to make a mess of breakfast burritos……

    Beautiful day to all!

    Jane    


    The fabric of my life is the cloth with which it is my responsibility to polish the lens of my own perception
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  •  09-05-2006, 4:55 AM 6798 in reply to 6796

    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch. 9: The Conveyor Belt

    Hi Jane,

    I think I understand what you're saying, but I'd like to add a few perspectives.

    It is clear from developmental studies, that the first stages of growth happen pretty much automatically. This means that the vast majority of people grow into the conventional stages (Blue and Orange), without any conscious action on their part. This answers the question if children have the right not to grow into conventional stages: well, they can't! The thought probably won't even occur to them.

    A minority of people move into post-conventional, which starts at Green. This is the first stage at which people would probably like to grow any further, since growing means moving further away from conventional, and conventional people don't like that idea by default.

    Growing beyond Green requires work, although there are some exceptions. It's a conscious effort, and by saying that people don't have a right to refuse to do that, you're implying that you have a right to make them do it. I'm sure that's not what you mean? What you can do, is encourage others to grow, and having a conveyor belt in place would be great for that. The decision of others to be on that conveyor belt or not, is not yours to make, I think.

    This work is not an easy task
    But this is the work we must do 4 Revelation 2 come 2 pass
    This work is the kind that turns ur back on the Ruling Class
    By putting them in their place just like the past

    -- Prince, The Work, Pt. 1


    Peter
    Punch a higher floor
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