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Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism

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Some new Wilber material which some might find of interest:

https://www.integrallife.com/integral-post/toward-fourth-turning-buddhism?page=0,0

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
8/7/14 7:46 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
I'm about halfway through the article. It seems so far to be a pretty clear summary of a lot of Ken's thinking. His stuff is tricky. He can have a way of presenting things that makes it seem like everyone agrees with him and he is just summarizing a bunch of allready given information, rather than presenting his own system, and cherry picking a huge number of sources to support his system. I suspect the truth is somewhere in between those two extremes.

In my own experience, I voraciously read through his material in my late teens. It was great because it exposed me to a lot of different contemplative systems and Western thinkers. What i found when I went to those primary sources was that, in their own contexts, they were a lot more diverse than in Ken's presentation, and I could see the way that by cutting and pasting his own terminology into the quotes he was lifting from the original sources, he could create a greater sense of unity amongst these thinkers, researchers and contemplative traditions than would be seen there in a more direct reading of the primary sources.

That said, when I think of the hilariously profound fundamental flaws of text books all the way up through college level stuff, I have often thought that we'd be a lot better off if something like Ken's theories were made the basis for k-12 education, if for no other reason than that i observe most people who go really deeply into Integral thinking of one kind or another tend to come out the other side with a very well-rounded appreciation for various different disciplines and their inter-relationships once they outgrow the dogmatisms of the initial presentation.

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
8/23/14 9:34 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
An attempt at a brutal summary:
The idea, it would seem, is to keep the number of new elements actually included in any new Turning to an absolute minimum. The three items above are at the top of my list for additions, but there are others which at least deserve consideration
1. Structures and States

So the first point about a possible Fourth (or Fifth) Turning is that, unknown to humans generally, everybody has up to a dozen types of intelligence that appear to have evolved over the centuries to deal with different fundamental issues and problems. These cannot be seen by introspecting or looking within; they are not something we look at, they are something we look through.

And thus any truly comprehensive meditative system would want to be aware of this double development—development occurring in states and development occurring in structures—and thus include both states of consciousness and structures of consciousness in their teachings—the states being how we WAKE UP, and the structures being how we GROW UP. Both, needless to say, are profoundly important.
2. Shadow Work

A few simple psychotherapeutic techniques—such as identifying repressed material, re-owning it, integrating it, then letting it go—would help to handle that nearly 80% of the problems that seem to arise during meditation. But until then, the only advice most meditation teachers have for their students is, "Intensify your efforts!," exactly what is not needed.
3. Meta-theory of Spiritual and Scientific

But whatever meta-theory one adopts, it is clear that any religion of the future will have to have, as part of its dharma, dogma, gospel, or teachings a formal statement on the relation of science and spirituality, and thus a meta-theory of one sort or another would be a likely item in any new Turning.

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/22/15 10:58 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
I'd like to bump this. Did it slip through or is it just not interesting ?

Often people on this forum raise issues with the Dark Night (past, present and potential future). Both of the points below (particularly shadow work) could be a big hint on how to deal with aspects of that ?

Brief summary of the brief summary:

Buddhism is missing an appreciation for structures "up to a dozen types of intelligence that appear to have evolved over the centuries to deal with different fundamental issues and problems. These cannot be seen by introspecting or looking within; they are not something we look at, they are something we look through."

Buddhism shadow work would help to handle that nearly 80% of the problems that seem to arise during meditation. But until then, the only advice most meditation teachers have for their students is, "Intensify your efforts!," exactly what is not needed.

There is a temptation to discuss Wilber or his larger meta theory (Integral Theory) but I'd be keen to hear more about the specific points above.

Thanks


RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/22/15 12:08 PM as a reply to Mark.
I find an holistic approach to inner work/cultivation to be the best for me. 'Shadow' work in the broad sense of developing some kind of rapprochement between the conscious and unconscious psyches seems obviously important in its own right and in what it can offer to specifically spiritual/contemplative cultivation. For me I find it keeps my spirituality grounded in the interpersonal realm and helps to avoid spiritual bypassing. Reciprocally cultivating insights and contemplative states makes it easier to deepen self knowledge and to be more authentic in relationships.

I like the basic idea that because our human nature is multifaceted our cultivation needs to be as well.

An important concept in this context is 'synergy'-- that we can get completely different results by implementing different methods in parrallel than if we just used one method at a time. My unscientific sense of things is this is very much true.

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/22/15 7:50 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
<whistling> Nothing to see here.. redacted due to moronism <whistling>

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/22/15 4:14 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Wait, what's the connection of Ken McLeod to the topic of this thread? Is there a reference to him in Ken Wilber's essay linked in the original post? I haven't read the essay since this was first posted so maybe I forgot. 

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/22/15 7:51 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:
Wait, what's the connection of Ken McLeod to the topic of this thread? Is there a reference to him in Ken Wilber's essay linked in the original post? I haven't read the essay since this was first posted so maybe I forgot. 


My lord, that is a compassionate response. Okay, your first secret moron test as moderator  (like secret shopper, but for dharma) is passed!  Gold star! 


Now I'm just gonna go tiptoe away and delete that entry and paint by numbers somewhere quiet...emoticon


(Bless you and thanks.)

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/23/15 2:35 AM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:
I find an holistic approach to inner work/cultivation to be the best for me. 'Shadow' work in the broad sense of developing some kind of rapprochement between the conscious and unconscious psyches seems obviously important in its own right and in what it can offer to specifically spiritual/contemplative cultivation. For me I find it keeps my spirituality grounded in the interpersonal realm and helps to avoid spiritual bypassing. Reciprocally cultivating insights and contemplative states makes it easier to deepen self knowledge and to be more authentic in relationships.

I like the basic idea that because our human nature is multifaceted our cultivation needs to be as well.

An important concept in this context is 'synergy'-- that we can get completely different results by implementing different methods in parrallel than if we just used one method at a time. My unscientific sense of things is this is very much true.
Hi Jake,

"Spiritual bypassing" is a new phrase and a very good one, thanks! I was reading the accounts of Chuck http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5713925 and it seems like a striking example of this. I guess Chuck would not have an issue with me raising it which is perhaps the issue emoticon

You associate this with the shadow work and I can see that connection. The relation to multiple intelligences/lines seems relevant too. Spiritual bypassing might be avoided by not pushing that one line too far ahead of the others. I like the idea of it being a locomotive that is helping to pull the others higher rather than a runaway train!

Agree that synergy must be beneficial too. A big issue is Sangha. For example Chuck seems to have been isolated during periods when that was probably not helpful.

If we consider DhO as a pragmatic group focused on meditation I'd love to find a similar pragmatic group focused on more holistic approaches. Have you found this ? Would you be up for an offline chat about this ?

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/23/15 6:48 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
@Katy

haha no worries. If you'd like we can delete these posts to preserve the continuity of the thread...?

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/23/15 7:07 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark, I'm hesitant to draw conclusions about other peoples' paths. For one thing personalities differ; for another, stage of life issues are different at different ages and I may well be more like Chuck when I'm in my sixties than I am now; it's so hard to say. 

Another question this discussion opens up is the relationship of the 'yanas', the basic attitudes to practice and the goal. In this case I'm hesitant to say that the yana of renunciation, which traditionally idealizes a more impersonal kind of awakening, is 'less' than a mahayana or vajrayana approach, just because I prefer the latter. 

In response to your other questions, I think that DhO is a space that is diverse enough in intent that it actually does accomodate more holistic approaches. I think there are good historical-social reasons for why Prag Dharma as a movement emphasised insight and technical meditation mastery-- because that was a corrective to a popular meditation culture in the west that poo-poo'd awakening and insight and the value of good technique and clear instruction. I think this movement is also capable of self-correcting and will trend in a more holistic direction with an awareness of synergy as the distance from 'mushroom culture' grows. Prag Dharma will be able to come into its own as a movement that emphasises the realistic possibilities of awakening, while balancing that with an awareness of how 'awakening' can look ery different depending on things like view, methods employed, personality and lifestyle differences, etc. That's my hope anyhow!

You may be able to pin me down for an online chat; I seem to be about as interested in skyping as I am in talking on the phone though (which is to say-- not much) but anything is possible. PM me your email if you want and we can take it from there. 

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/24/15 2:54 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Integral Theory places the Gross, Subtle & Causal bodies in the upper right quadrant. My understanding is that quadrant should relate to the objective. Is there an objective measure of the subtle and/or gross body or is the theory making a leap to keep the symmetry ?

It is nice to match states in the upper left with something in the upper right but I've not heard of objective evidence.  Things like acupuncture make a strong case for the subtle body I guess but the causal seems a huge stretch.

Thanks.

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/25/15 4:15 AM as a reply to . Jake ..
I also feel that the DhO is broad enough to discuss integral and holistic approaches and solutions, and Ken Wilber has been discussed her a number of times before. Sometimes I do find his stuff a bit hard to actually apply in transformative ways, but I am no Integral scholar, though I have definitely found value in his work of the years, and still actually use a modified framework based on his original work in The Spectrum of Consciousness in my core models of development.

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/25/15 5:41 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
I also feel that the DhO is broad enough to discuss integral and holistic approaches and solutions, and Ken Wilber has been discussed her a number of times before. Sometimes I do find his stuff a bit hard to actually apply in transformative ways, but I am no Integral scholar, though I have definitely found value in his work of the years, and still actually use a modified framework based on his original work in The Spectrum of Consciousness in my core models of development.
Hi Daniel,

I agree there are people on DhO interested in holistic approaches. Probably also fair to say that most interest is in the upper left quadrant and on a few lines of development. 

There is a very cheesy book Integral Life Practise that is an attempt to apply IT in a transformative way. Are you familiar with that ? 

Could you you comment on the gross, subtle, causal body and Wilber's association of those with waking, dreaming, deep sleep states ? It does not feel intuitive to put a causal body in the upper right quadrant I would have thought it is subjective i.e. upper left.

Do you use physical exercise with the causal body in mind ?

Thanks!

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/26/15 2:55 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
Integral Theory places the Gross, Subtle & Causal bodies in the upper right quadrant. My understanding is that quadrant should relate to the objective. Is there an objective measure of the subtle and/or gross body or is the theory making a leap to keep the symmetry ?

It is nice to match states in the upper left with something in the upper right but I've not heard of objective evidence.  Things like acupuncture make a strong case for the subtle body I guess but the causal seems a huge stretch.

Thanks.

Not sure if this helps answering your question, but Wilber has this long but very interesting essay: Towards a Comprehensive Theory of Subtle Energies

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/27/15 3:57 AM as a reply to Rodrigo C.
Rodrigo C:
Mark:
Integral Theory places the Gross, Subtle & Causal bodies in the upper right quadrant. My understanding is that quadrant should relate to the objective. Is there an objective measure of the subtle and/or gross body or is the theory making a leap to keep the symmetry ?

It is nice to match states in the upper left with something in the upper right but I've not heard of objective evidence.  Things like acupuncture make a strong case for the subtle body I guess but the causal seems a huge stretch.

Thanks.

Not sure if this helps answering your question, but Wilber has this long but very interesting essay: Towards a Comprehensive Theory of Subtle Energies
Hi Rodrigo,

That helps a lot, thanks. Harold Saxon Burr is mentioned as a researcher into energy fields. Other names are Hiroshi Motoyama (developed a Chakra Instrument ) & William A. Tiller. They seem focused on the subtle body.

The article from Wilber is classic Wilber - it is compelling and simple. I suspect he could argue for various models in an equally convincing manor, the breadth of knowledge and ability for synthesis is astounding.

Perhaps the biggest doubt I have with Wilber is how complete he claims the AQAL model to be. It makes sense that he should argue to stretch it as far as possible. On the other hand it makes sense that it is just a model. There should be points at which it breaks down. I suspect AQAL is a bit like Newtonian physics - it is a good description of things at the human scale. I have real difficulty with the "obvious" conclusions that are drawn based on predictions of the model. But some of them like the physical energies associated with subtle and causal are testable.

He is presenting a post-metaphysics but pulls involution out of the hat and as far as I understand this is related to the concept of eros that is guiding the unfolding of complexity. This still seems to hinge on metaphysics so I'm not sure the "post" is earnt. The article seems to add a lot of clarity and value, perhaps it over reaches in some points which seems inevitable when trying to propose a theory of everything!

After reading the article I think it makes sense that we will find physical activity associated with subtle and causal states. Like we have discovered activity in the brain correlated to thought. So that is a big question somewhat resolved - thanks again.

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/27/15 10:27 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark

Perhaps the biggest doubt I have with Wilber is how complete he claims the AQAL model to be. It makes sense that he should argue to stretch it as far as possible. On the other hand it makes sense that it is just a model. There should be points at which it breaks down. I suspect AQAL is a bit like Newtonian physics - it is a good description of things at the human scale. 
Hi, Mark.

As far as I know, he doesn't claim it to be complete at all. Two things I've seen him saying:

1. AQAL has the 5 elements so far he thinks are essential, but others could be added. Wilber himself added elements to AQAL, his work is considered to have 5 or 6 phases, in each one he has something significant added to his thought.

2. He describes his work as "orienting generalizations", and hope it helps specialists to work with the details in each area of expertise. This is a quote from his "Integral Psychology":
Obviously, such an endeavor, at least at the beginning, has to be car-
ried out at a very high level of abstraction. In coordinating these numer-
ous approaches, we are working with systems of systems of systems, and
such a coordination can only proceed with "orienting generalizations."

These cross-paradigmatic generalizations are meant, first and foremost,
to simply get us in the right ballpark, by throwing our conceptual net as
wide as possible. A logic of inclusion, networking, and wide-net casting
is called for; a logic of nests within nests within nests, each attempting
to legitimately include all that can be included. It is a vision-logic, a logic
not merely of trees but also of forests.

Not that the trees can be ignored. Network-logic is a dialectic of
whole and part. As many details as possible are checked; then a tentative
big picture is assembled; it is checked against further details, and the
big picture readjusted. And so on indefinitely, with ever more details
constantly altering the big picture-and vice versa.

Mark

He is presenting a post-metaphysics but pulls involution out of the hat and as far as I understand this is related to the concept of eros that is guiding the unfolding of complexity. This still seems to hinge on metaphysics so I'm not sure the "post" is earnt. The article seems to add a lot of clarity and value, perhaps it over reaches in some points which seems inevitable when trying to propose a theory of everything!

Yeah, I have a problem with the involution and eros too. But as I understand it, the post-metaphysics has to be seen within his epistemological framework. Any phenomenon has what he calls a "Kosmic address". Algebra, for example, would be an UL Quadrant, Formal-Operational Level in the Cognitive Line. To get there you need an injunction, that is the steps you need to take to see that phenomenon.

So his post-metaphysics is not to be understood as "nothing that resembles metaphysics", but rather "to make a claim you have to provide the injunction, the address". The injunction can be a lot of things, including an argument, a set of knowledges or a physical experiment.

I agree with you that the involution and the eros things are pulled out of the hat in a sense. But I see them as marginal in a probability-based web-of-knowledge. In the margin you have some speculation that you make in order to understand things, but you don't assign them as much "certainty" as the ones in the middle.

So he talks about involution and eros, but overall these things don't play a significant part in his work. So I just consider them as his margin-speculations, things he thinks might be true to make sense of other things, but they are not as backed up.

On the other hand, since his post-metaphysics depends on you being able to access an address (state and stage, for example), it might simply be that I can't yet see what he sees. Not that it excuses him from giving evidence/argument, but it has happened with him and some other philosophers with whom I disagreed at first, but once I understood more, I was forced to agree.

In those case I just choose to give them the benefit of the doubt, given the amout of other things that make sense.

RE: Ken Wilber's Fourth Turning in Buddhism
Answer
4/27/15 1:17 PM as a reply to Rodrigo C.
Rodrigo C:

Hi, Mark.

As far as I know, he doesn't claim it to be complete at all. Two things I've seen him saying:

1. AQAL has the 5 elements so far he thinks are essential, but others could be added. Wilber himself added elements to AQAL, his work is considered to have 5 or 6 phases, in each one he has something significant added to his thought.

2. He describes his work as "orienting generalizations", and hope it helps specialists to work with the details in each area of expertise. This is a quote from his "Integral Psychology":



Hey Rodrigo,

That makes sense and I agree Wilber never says it is finished. It would be great if he would spell out where he sees the problems. But that is probably a lot to ask, I imagine his effort goes into proving what is there.


Yeah, I have a problem with the involution and eros too. But as I understand it, the post-metaphysics has to be seen within his epistemological framework. Any phenomenon has what he calls a "Kosmic address". Algebra, for example, would be an UL Quadrant, Formal-Operational Level in the Cognitive Line. To get there you need an injunction, that is the steps you need to take to see that phenomenon.

So his post-metaphysics is not to be understood as "nothing that resembles metaphysics", but rather "to make a claim you have to provide the injunction, the address". The injunction can be a lot of things, including an argument, a set of knowledges or a physical experiment.

Fascinating stuff. I've never had the occasion to discuss these ideas in any depth so very exciting, thanks.



I agree with you that the involution and the eros things are pulled out of the hat in a sense. But I see them as marginal in a probability-based web-of-knowledge. In the margin you have some speculation that you make in order to understand things, but you don't assign them as much "certainty" as the ones in the middle.

So he talks about involution and eros, but overall these things don't play a significant part in his work. So I just consider them as his margin-speculations, things he thinks might be true to make sense of other things, but they are not as backed up.



That make sense for a lot of the practical aspects for using AQAL in most human endeavours. It probably does have big impacts in terms of extrapolating AQAL toward the limits of what we know. I do love that it seems practical enough to really be used.



On the other hand, since his post-metaphysics depends on you being able to access an address (state and stage, for example), it might simply be that I can't yet see what he sees. Not that it excuses him from giving evidence/argument, but it has happened with him and some other philosophers with whom I disagreed at first, but once I understood more, I was forced to agree.

In those case I just choose to give them the benefit of the doubt, given the amout of other things that make sense.


Yes there is no doubt a lot of truth in that. It has taken me a long time to get comfortable to try applying the model in my everyday life. Still very early days too.

Wilber seems very influenced by the perennial philosophy which seems anthropocentric. He seems to buy into the idea of an absolute that can be experienced by humans and a fundamental truth that is comprehensible by humans. I think history points in the opposite direction - the more we know the more questions we have (the number of PhD is not decreasing...) and the more we discover the less magical human ability appears (we have a brain optimised for conditions that existed maybe 40k years ago...)

I believe the experiences of the absolute are happening but they could be interpreted in the context of an evolving mammal not a direct connection into kosmic consciousness - that just seems to be giving humans way too much of a central place compared to where we are in the big picture of evolution. It does not need to take away from the wonder or desire to explore those experiences or the practical value.

I'm not sure about the 4 quadrants really going all the way down. That seems like a hypothesis without any way to test it. Maybe the 4 quadrant model makes a lot of sense once biological life (something with a learning interior) comes on the scene ? 

I've focused on some doubts but I have a lot of admiration for AQAL and Ken's contribution.