In May of 2003, Integral Naked launched with two dialogues between Ken Wilber and Stuart Davis: “Godhead Gives Good Phenomena” and “Sweet Stigmata Stains the Mattress,” still some of the most popular dialogues on the site. Since then Stu has gone on to become the IN guest host par excellence, interviewing everyone from Alex Grey to Eddie Kowalczyk to Dan Millman. We are happy to once again present the winning team that started the Integral Naked adventure over three years ago.
One thing’s for sure: these two have upped their game. Stu and Ken hit the afterburner 30 seconds in, and never let off. Here’s a taste of what part 1 of this rapid-fire three-part dialogue offers:
--The redefinition of “spiritual.” For many people, spiritual has come to mean sanctimonious, soft-spoken, and dead from the neck down. From an integral view, this is somewhat preposterous. If Spirit created all of manifestation, then who are we to say that only certain parts of it are spiritual? For integral consciousness and integral spirituality, sex, food, money, fame, etc. are not sinful. Partiality is the new sin: the unwillingness to embrace ALL of manifestation as myriad ornaments, expressions, and vehicles of your own Original Face. One can do better or worse at bringing that ultimate understanding to bear on various aspects of the human experience, but no longer is Spirit fractured along the lines of relative prejudice.
--The two axes of enlightenment. Proposed in Ken’s newest book Integral Spirituality, this distinction between horizontal enlightenment and vertical enlightenment holds a key to revolutionizing our understanding of enlightenment in an evolving universe. Horizontal enlightenment is the traditional domain of the great contemplative traditions: the ability to master gross-waking, subtle-dreaming, causal-deep sleep, and nondual-suchness states of consciousness. Vertical enlightenment is grounded in the truths of developmental psychology, which posit that humans grow through stages of greater care and consciousness, from archaic (infrared), to magic (magenta/red), to mythic (amber), to rational (orange), to pluralistic (green), to integral (turquoise), to super-integral (indigo), or stated more simply, from egocentric, to ethnocentric, to worldcentric, to Kosmocentric. Since the great states of consciousness are present at every level of development, one can complete the entire body of meditative training in a given tradition and still retain a fundamentally egocentric or ethnocentric orientation. Because structures of consciousness are evolutionary emergents and not ever-present realities like states of consciousness, an Integral Approach to spirituality would define full Enlightenment as being one with all states and all structures of consciousness at a given time in history.
--Pluralism and the regressive slide. Devoted to worldcentric ideals in which all people are extended equal rights, privileges, dignity, and opportunity, the pluralistic stage fails to notice that this egalitarian stance is the product of at least five major developmental transformations. Instead of promoting a similar path of growth—because it rather completely misunderstands its own genesis—the pluralistic wave grants all people the freedom to engage in every variety of egocentric and ethnocentric impulses, causing a regressive slide that is a serious societal problem. With 70% of the world population at ethnocentric or lower (Nazis or lower), the minority at pluralistic (about 20% in the US) is encouraging precisely those forces in the world that would wipe pluralism off the map if given a chance. Only with an integral view that understands natural growth hierarchies can the noble intentions of pluralism be actualized in a truly sustainable way.
Ken once wrote, “Philosophy, to have any meaning at all, must sizzle with passion, boil your brain, fry your eyeballs, or you're just not doing it right,” and this dialogue is a wonderful example of just that kind of passionate enquiry….