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Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

Last post 06-08-2008, 10:06 AM by adastra. 16 replies.
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  •  09-01-2006, 11:07 AM 6339

    Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

    Hey everyone,

    I was chatting with a friend recently, and the following occurred to me. I'd love to know what y'all think.

    Ken's work certainly accounts for vision logic. And you need vision logic to really understand what some of the concepts he uses are (the lower quadrants, for instance, aperspectival madness, or vision-logic itself). But the way he connects the various conceptual elements of his theory seems kinda formal operational. What he's really talking about are rules, not systems. [They're just sometimes the rules that govern or arise from systems.]

    This is in no way meant to be a criticism of him. It's still pretty friggin' brilliant. But the AQAL map is basically just the rules under which things operate, and it's described in terms of one object at a time.

    When I thought this up, it was in terms of analogy to "hard" science. Conop science is cooking. It's saying "when you put these things together in this way, that happens." It can only really predict that what happened last time will happen again. Formop science is Gallileo and Newton and such. It gets to the laws which govern what happens, and is better able to extrapolate into the future. Vision-logic science is modern systems theory, neuroscience, meteorology, evolutionary biology, chaos theory, etc. It gets into what happens when the circumstances are too complicated for the rules to be easy to understand, what the limits are of predictability, and what patters will govern the unpredictable. Vision logic science takes a closer look at the stuff that makes formop scientists shrug and say "That stuff is basically the same principles at work, it's just messier," and they discover that there are new principles in the mess.

    So for a long time you have con-op consciousness studies. "If you do this, you'll have this experience" kinda stuff. Then some people start integrating various traditions and get at some of the rules at work. Ken is probably the greatest of these, and AQAL seems very comparable to Newton's three laws - simple, clean, and absolutely fundamental to explaining a whole lot of worldy phenomena. And then someday there might be folks looking at the messy parts of consciousness studies and finding patterns in the mess. I think the big messy area left for Integral theory is how the surface structure arises out of the deep structure that Ken describes. How do the orienting generalizations manifest in actual stuff? How do particular myths arise out of the framework of mythic thinking? How does the next rung of the ladder find solutions to the problems of this rung? How do individual consciousnesses combine to create a dominant mode of discourse? What actually causes growth in a given line? So far, the answer seems to be "well, they just do," which is exactly the standard form-op response to a vis-log question.

    I want to end by repeating that this is not meant to at all demean Ken's work. The fact that AQAL isn't the greatest map that ever will be doesn't change the fact that it's by far the best game in town yet. But Ken's a tall guy, and we get to stand on his shoulders to look at what might come about tomorrow.

    In the future, there will be robots!

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  •  09-01-2006, 12:44 PM 6350 in reply to 6339

    Re: Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

    Hi Yotam,

    Could be an interesting debate: what genius is Wilber the equivalent of? The old 'Einstein of consciousness studies' quote (which works much better when reversed by the way Wink [;)]) probably originates from the days when Ken was 'only' working on consciousness. To compare his current meta-theory  (which is literaly about everything) to UR-only theories of Newton or Einstein, or to LR theories [certified genius position still vacant here?] is something I don't really see. Shouldn't Wilber be compared to earlier map-makers?

    I think that Newton, by the way, far exceeded the conop level. I mean, just for inventing differential calculus alone... ravingly brilliant. I do agree that science as a whole was at orange at the time, of course.

    Not many people are considered a legendary genius in their own time. Living legends to me are Wilber, Prince... any others?


    Peter

    "All nations should be like Amsterdam" -- Ken Wilber
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  •  09-01-2006, 7:28 PM 6433 in reply to 6350

    • KoolsFools is not online. Last active: 10-28-2007, 10:28 AM KoolsFools
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    Re: Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

    Maybe Prince is the Ken Wilber of gender-bending pop music.

     

     

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  •  09-02-2006, 4:14 AM 6476 in reply to 6433

    Re: Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

    It's gender-transcending. That happens when you hit second-tier, they say. Being man enough to wear pink, that kind of stuff Wink [;)]

    Actualy, there are some similarities; both are extremely prolific, often misunderstood by lesser gods, workaholics, and both of them brilliantly lash out to critics from time to time....

    The differences are more obvious, though...

    Peter

    "All nations should be like Amsterdam" -- Ken Wilber
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  •  09-06-2006, 5:23 PM 6997 in reply to 6350

    Re: Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

    kessels:


    To compare his current meta-theory  (which is literaly about everything) to UR-only theories of Newton or Einstein, or to LR theories [certified genius position still vacant here?] is something I don't really see. Shouldn't Wilber be compared to earlier map-makers?

    In terms of what Ken is studying, he's certainly more of an Aristotle than a Newton. I wasn't trying to make a point about the subject matter of Integral Theory, which is Kosmic material, much of it visible only with vision-logic. What I was saying is that the type of information he presents and the way he presents it, rather than the subject of the information he presents, are more formal operational than vision-logic-y. Ken describes the rules by which the Kosmos functions, when seen with vision logic. But he's still talking about rules [like Newton, though that isn't really the point] instead of dynamic rule-systems. Thie idea is that the Twenty Tennets are to holons as Newton's laws of motions are to solid bodies or as Boyle's law is to gas or as Ohm's law is to resistors.

    When I first read your respons I was exhausted beyond lucidity, and was tempted to reply with "Picasso would be a living legend, but he's dead." I would hate for that gem to lost to history.

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  •  09-07-2006, 5:18 AM 7030 in reply to 6997

    Re: Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

    Hi Yotam,

    Actualy, I wanted to include Picasso as well!  I think he was already considered a legend when he was alive, and justly so. Dead living legends... why not. Smile [:)] People like Vincent van Gogh, on the other hand, barely could make a living out of their work, apparently because their work was too far ahead of their time. The point I want to make with that, is that some geniuses succeed in making their work accessible to a wider audience in their own time, and I consider Wilber to be one of these people. I guess that's somehow related to what you were saying, but not the same...

    I think I see your point, now that you explained that it's about the Twenty Tennets.

    What we need to do now, is to construct a myth (just like the one that says Newton got his idea about gravity when an apple landed on his head), and a definition of 'Wilber' as a unit for something.

    It would be funky if we could say that such-and-such practice increases your level of consciousness by 2.5 Wilber in the cognitive line. I'm open to other ideas, though.

    Peter



    "All nations should be like Amsterdam" -- Ken Wilber
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  •  09-07-2006, 9:25 AM 7042 in reply to 7030

    Re: Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

    I think the groundwork is already laid out for us in the divisions between Wilber-I through Wilber-V materials. If Integral Sprituality is 5 Wilber text, and The Spectrum of Consciousness is a 1 Wilber text, perhaps Wilbers measure the integrality of something. Examples of the Wilber in use:

    • With the advent of his Critical Theory, Kant's work jumped from a 0.2 W average to somewhere around 2.4 W, dipping slightly toward the end of his life.
    • Unfortunately, due to his severe LR absolutism, I'm afraid Marx never peaked above 2W, though his works tend to have a rhetorical force of about 6N.
    • Kosmic Address = Altitude + Perspective.

              Integrality = Breadth * Unity * KA

             BHOE would be something like (131 viewpoints * [unity factor of 1.2 Whiteheads] * (5p + 8L) = 768 vp*Wh*p + 1257.6 vp*Wh*L = 4W, which should lead to a conversion factor between Whithead-viewpoint perpsective-levels and Wilbers. Sound right to you?

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  •  09-07-2006, 11:23 AM 7058 in reply to 7042

    Re: Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

    Brilliant idea, Yotam, I'm proud of you. Anything that would put Richard Dawkins in the microWilber range works for me.

    Now, since altitudes and perspectives can be added, they must have the same unit. Also, viewpoints are a bit like post points: they have no unit at all. So we can simplify your evaluation of BHOE to: 4W = 2025.6 Wh * p.

    or:

    W = 506.4 * p * Wh

    which clearly shows that while Whitehead wasn't too shabby himself, Wilber is the shit.

    To get Wilber completely on par with Sir Isaac Newton, we'll have the queen (as in 'God save the') to knight Ken.

    If it turned out that Newton had a dog named Ken, I would be ecstatic.



    "All nations should be like Amsterdam" -- Ken Wilber
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  •  09-07-2006, 2:35 PM 7135 in reply to 7058

    Re: Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

    Oh my! I had forgotten all about THAT Isaac. It makes my choice of analogy slightly more degrading, which is unfortunate.

    Your continued work in comparing Wilbers to Whiteheads is excellent. Now please allow me to tear it apart.

    I'm unsure about adding perspectives to levels. It's particularly problematic when the perspective, instead of just 5p is 3p x 1p x 1-p, for instance. We may somply condense something like that to 3p, though, seeing as that is the depth required to recognize such a perspective, but then it might be wiser to reduce KA to level, which must be higher than the number corresponding to the perspective. This would bring 1 W down to 314.4 Wh * p. I find this somewhat unsatsifactory, however, as so much of the information in KA is lost. If we assume that it was originally presented with a typo, and in fact is altitude*perspective, we get 1572 Wh * p L = 1 W. Another possibility is that KA is in fact a vector in the product space of Levels and Perspectives. This would let us avoid reducing Perspectives to a scalar, but it would be rather nasty to work with.

    You then go ahead and treat viewpoints as a non-unit, which I find a bit troublesome. If Ken had written BHOE without bothering to read any other books, and just spat his own viewpoint, it would be much less noteworthy. I'm not sure how to go about incorporating that properly, but you may have some insight there.

    We also have the problem that I misused Whiteheads in my original analysis. I had imagined a Whitehead to be the unity of a text, corresponding somehow to how well focused on its point it is. By that standard, a value of 1 should be unattainable, and I should have divided by the number of Whiteheads, instead of multiplying. Excuse my error. We would now have

    8*131/(1.2*4) = 218.3 L vp / Wh = 1W.

    But, of course, let's recall that this is based entirely on my own estimate of the #vp and Wh of BHOE, which, to be frank, may give a +/- of as much as 40 L vp / Wh.

    We need Ralph's take on this subject.

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  •  11-06-2006, 9:04 AM 13997 in reply to 7135

    B Allan Wallace is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

    I was just alerted to an interesting presentation on Google video (sponsored by Google itself) of B. Allan Wallace, the ex-Buddhist monk who wants to revolutionize science by studying the subjective as well as the objective, the phenomonal as well as the physical, and the first person perspective as well as the third person perspective, all in a "Dogma-free" way.  The lecture is mostly going to be preaching to the converted here, but may be just nice to hear something Integral framed in a way that Green and Orange can embrace (and not in Wilberese :-) .  It may be something that you can offer friends that won't make their eyes roll too far into their heads!

    Toward a First Revolution in the Mind Sciences

    Oh, and towards the end, there are a couple of audience questions that are interesting, and one even mentions Ken Wilber...

    Peace, Love, and Bicycles
    Turtle
    who has no idea what Yotam is talking about up there...  Whoosh!  Way over my head :-)
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  •  03-07-2007, 10:49 AM 20188 in reply to 6339

    Re: Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

     I thought I would bump this thread since I quoted it today here, and I believe Yotam's original post is brilliant and deserves to be read.

    Pelle

    http://integraleurope.org
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  •  03-13-2007, 3:31 AM 20557 in reply to 20188

    • ats is not online. Last active: 08-07-2008, 5:45 AM ats
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    Re: Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

    KW takes the entire universe of knowledge, and through association and some interpretation, has found how they all fit together.  It's almost con-op cutting and pasting, but with formal-op and post-formal op necessary to put the pieces together.  I complained that AQAL was just too static.  It is merely a mirror of today's fractured, dysfunctional world, and does not forecast what that ideal, utopian society can look like.  I have come to realize that KW has made the ice pick.  It's now up to YOU to create that masterpiece ice sculpture.  KW doesn't seem to be in the business of being the visionary, unlike Don Beck.  It might be to KW's credit and discipline to refrain from extrapolative speculation (with the exception of his historical fiction novels) for the sake of professional integrity.  It also opens the door to YOU.  Gives new meaning to the phrase, "Ask me for directions, and I'll tell you where to go!"
    myspace.com/zentaimusic
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  •  01-11-2008, 2:24 AM 36201 in reply to 20557

    Re: Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

    The correlation between the twenty tenets/true Kosmic law (dharma?) and Newton's physical laws/quantum physical depth is very interesting. My only point of contention might be that Ken most likely knows that his tenents are NOT laws; it is likely Ken understands in better awareness the non-duality of it all than Newton understood the "quantum mechanics of it all," so to speak.

    But when I see Ken Wilber publish research he has actually done on consciousness, then maybe this question should be considered. Ken Wilber is a philosopher, "synthesizer", not a researcher; I have never seen a "study" done by him (I would love to, however, if they exist). Now... the authors who Ken points to so often, the Becks, Loevingers, etc... maybe one of them... Again, the reissue of Transformation of Consciousness should show us Ken's legitimacy in this area. Before then, it seems more accurate to say that he has blazed a trail through his/His own consciousness and has been eloquent to have brought us along and show us some of the deep structures that live beneath all surfaces.

    [I guess you could say that "studies" doesn't necessarily need-only to apply to research, and could just mean soaking in all that information and, well, studying it... at which point language/definitional natures has once again rendered my argument domain-errorful. But again, we didn't know Newton was a genius for those physical laws until centuries of science proved all of them so amazingly correct (until of course, the big limitation was gradually discovered)... There certainly has not been enough real research into AQAL and the many other areas of Ken's thoughts on Consciousness to call them amazingly correct, even within their own apparent limitations.]

    tim.
    "identity which is not convulsive ceases to exist" ---breton

    Nine Ways Not to Talk about God
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  •  06-04-2008, 6:26 AM 54348 in reply to 6339

    • ikarma is not online. Last active: 07-17-2008, 11:15 PM ikarma
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    Re: Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

    I am the Sponge Bob Square Pants of Underwater Lovemaking!

    Sorry, but I couldn't resist injecting a little mirth into this thread.


    Peace & Prosperity

    Paul Williams
    http://Paul.ikarma.com
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  •  06-04-2008, 9:22 AM 54364 in reply to 54348

    Re: Ken Wilber is the Newton of Consciousness Studies?

    ikarma:

    I am the Sponge Bob Square Pants of Underwater Lovemaking!

    Sorry, but I couldn't resist injecting a little mirth into this thread.



    Hey, pleased to meet you!  I'm the Wile E. Coyote of Enlightenment.  Smile [:)]

    r.thor

    Wile E. Coyote's Gravity Lessons : (source)



    I am seeking meaningful work.

    bio: http://aqalicious.gaia.com/

    I spend most of my "forum time" these days on The Integral Pod: http://pods.gaia.com/ii/

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