Monday, June 26, 2006

Is Wyatt Earpy a First-Tier Uber-Guru?

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Just when I thought the whole Wilber thing had died down and things were getting back to normal, Mathew Dallman posts a link to a blogger who shreds the last Wyatt Earp post so thoroughly as to make me rethink my "forgive and move on" approach.

The main conclusion this blogger draws is that KW has revisioned himself as a god-like figure, but that he uses his brilliance to create plausible deniability throughout his posts by quoting others making those claims. He doesn't just state these observations of Wilber, however, he breaks down KW's last post in detail to support his position.

I'm curious to hear what others think of this post. Please go have a read and come back to let me know how you feel about it. Does he have a point? Has Wilber's ego become so inflated that his shadow is seeping out all over the place, or is this a carefully crafted message meant to create converts and loyalty among his followers? Is this what a god-complex looks like at second tier, or is Wilber displaying first tier memes writ large?

This post is the most serious critique I have seen so far in the Earp fiasco, and I look forward to seeing what the rest of you think.

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Anonymous said...

These articles offer another way to examine people who are ‘fascinators’—the author calls this a process of creating reality tunnels. (Genuine Dharma practice would liberates us from reality tunnels.

IMO problems come up when someone claims to be teaching genuine Dharma and the result is to beguile us to enter and then become inmates of a reality tunnel that operates like a Roach Motel—partly because once you’re inside the person who built the tunnel keeps changing the layout so that you cant figure it out or remember the exit.)

And Tim has a six part critique of KW starting here:

This article might offer some hints on how transmission work. See if it matches up with what you’ve observed in your explorations.

Unknown said...

I absolutely agree with the posts you cite critical of what Wilber is doing.

There is nothing all that new here in what Wilber is doing -- probably without really knowing what he's doing. It is a classic abusive formula. A complete and tidy rationalization for using power over others.

It is a little scary and hard to believe that Wilber would take this route. We suppose that he MUST -- he simply MUST -- be above doing this sort of crap. But, indeed, clearly not.

What remains difficult is understanding how Wilber got totally offtrack as he has. THIS will require further exploration.

Just so I can get my marker in, I want to predict Wilber's next move. I believe he has in place 'outs' should his horsepucky start to not fly with close intimates.

In the primary shadow article he offers, the bedrock is Transactional Analysis, that old chestnut of cognitive behavior therapy. One of the primary popular books from TA is "I'm Ok; You're OK." Wyatt Earp's biggest claim to fame comes from the Shootout at the OK Corral. I would expect that Wilber is yet to spin around and make a claim to rejoin the memes in an embrace -- under his uber-wise/loving leadership. I would expect he will simply shift fields, yet again, and make a claim for having the deepest, best sense of oceanic love. He simply cannot sustain his current tactic of division with the devastating wisdom/correctness in the criticisms of him that have emerged.

We will see.

Anonymous said...

Part of this guy's critique centered around the idea that Ken's blog post was meant to put readers in a trance. Sounds like horse shit to me.

This is the kind of spiraling argument that would lead me, if I were in Ken's shoes, to completely ignore critics who had nothing substantial to say about his actual theories.

The same scenario has played out in smaller scale on the Integral Naked message boards when Ken chose to respond. It goes like this:

Critic makes weak argument.

Even though the critic's ideas are soundly disputed by mere members of the board, he keeps making the same comments.

Ken responds, giving the critic personal attention.

Critic (and friends) attacks the response and starts making arguments against Ken and the way Ken responded.

The guy can't win. If he ignores the critics, they complain. If he addresses them, they complain louder, using the initial response as new amunition.

People want Ken to act like their version of a guru. Because he's not acting like the guru they want does not mean that he's a 'Frist Tier Uber-Guru'. It means he's just a dude who wrote some great books about how things fit together. I happen to think he's an excellent dude with more great stuff to say. This does not mean that I'm going to sell my condo, move to Denver and give him all my money.

For me, this stuff has become tiresome. The real questions are these:

1. Can Integral Theory help to change the world for the better?

2. If the answer to the first question is 'yes' what actions can we take to affect that change (besides giving money I don't have to the Integral Institute)?

Anonymous said...

Integral attracts highly intelligent people who are proud of our minds.

When we are proud of our minds, we will feel put out that we could be seduced and beguiled by a few techniques of rhetoric and trance induction that anyone can master.

For further insights, get and read Len Oakes book Prophetic Charisma. Oakes interviewed 20 charismatic leaders. He understood their appeal. But he found that all of them had difficulty with ordinary peer relationships. Instead, they had compensated by becoming avid students of social manipulation.

One such technique was to have a lot of eloquent 'stock' replies and rebuttals on hand to cover all possible contingenices--like a stack of records in an old fashioned jukebox.

Since most of us are not capable of being eloquent and fluent in a crisis, this ability to give copious, tightly reasoned responses to crisis situations will be very, very impressive and even seem enlightened.

These charismatics could be very helpful and even inspirational for followers. But they had great difficulty coping with reality when the chips were down.

Essentially, these leaders were restless. They couldnt just be. They were constantly scanning the environment looking for resources or heading off potential trouble.

There was no chance to 'just settle' as they say in Soto Zen.

Anonymous said...

Finally, since its hard to locate
all of Tim Boucher's KW essays

here are the links in user-friendly order.


Ken Wilber’s New World Order?

The Last Word

william harryman said...

Sean (& Tom),

Yes, I agree, integral theory is useful, and mostly it seems correct. But that has NOTHING to do with how KW behaves.

I'm a bit dubious about the trance thing, and any time Tom starts to agree with me I fear I've gone too far into conspiracy ;) -- but the post is good food for thought. I hadn't seen some of what he identified (the not-so-hidden subtext) and I'm a pretty careful reader.

Is Ken trying to brain wash us all? I doubt it. Is his shadow seeping out all over the place? Yes, I think this is a very real possibility.

Will I stop reading his books? No. Will I leave I-I? No. Do I think Wilber needs to spend more time in shadow work? You bet -- we all do.


Unknown said...

By all means, read all of Wilber's future books, Bill.

My objection is the tight hold KDub has over Integral -- mostly as a result of everybody letting him have it. His relationship to Integral should be equivalent to Einstein's hold over physhics: basically, none. When Albert devoted his life to GUT, insisting that God doesn't play dice, he became an artifact, a curiosity, a pitiful, laughable old has-been geezer, left to ruminate over his career in a rocker on his porch in New Jerseay -- and this is pretty much what's to become of Wilber, SOON.

Wilber has made a contribution to our understanding of spirituality. He failed mightily with his fraudulent second tier so, now, we must release him, let him go. And find somebody else to quarterback the team.

This next person will be truly remarkable -- intimately familiar with the second tear, not some faker who can only talk some of the talk. So let us wave goodbye to Wilber & Gafni & Cohen & Aida Da & Annie & Stu Davis & C4 & the Cult of Personality & baldness as a fashion statement.

Get ready, World. Eli*'s comin'. We best hold on to our hats. Yowza! Get a new CD to burn, WH. [And, not to worry, Bill. Agreeing with my conspiracy theories is always the way to go.]

*[In Hebrew and many Yiddish Languages Eli means "the highest" or "to the Highest", per wiki.]

Unknown said...

Whao! Lots of typos in my post, above. Sorry 'bout that. I think it's still readable, though.

Anonymous said...

Bill, I completely agree with your last response. Well put.

Anonymous said...

My other objection to Wilber's supposed strategy of using his shock humor as a test for people...

If this is true, he is treating us like objects. And, that made me wary of his entire enterprise. It reminds me too much of the way some people get off on catching pretty butterflies then pinning them to cork board and labelling them.

I think Ken gets off collecting people. Even the spiritual teachers he persuades to come in for interviews--IMO, they are part of his collection--like rare butterflies.

The rest of us are ants, crickets, whatnot.

Toying with people, setting them tests, then watching us make funny noises--that's not kind.

I'd rather be a green meme insect than one of the rare turquoise items in Ken's curio cabinet.

All this is just a variation on the old argument that nasty behavior is more sophisticated and interesting than ordinary kindness and consideration.

And, it takes a lot more than profanity and foul language to be entertaining. Any drunk on skid row can blast off foul language.

Go listen to Tom Lehrer's old albums. ( The Old Dope Pedlar, New Math, etc) He did brilliant political humor and never needed to use profanity-- not once.

Unknown said...


Whao. The suddenly famous Colmar, author of Disingenious Duplicity, has put up a post, today, linking to this tread as an important Wilber discussion site.

It seems that Colman accepts comments in his blog, Colmar3000, but deletes them. I noticed, btw, he briefly had a comment from Vissar to his DD post. It came, and went.

Colmar also put up a new, fascinating [how can I say this?] contraWilber post, titled Which 2%, anyway?, which takes some interesting steps in the study of the KDub pathology, and that of his acolytes, etc.

I have been trying to figure out who Colmar is. Dallman didn't know. From a quick googling, I found out that "Colmar" is a city in France where the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty was born.

Is blogger Colmar holding up a torch, lighting our way out of oppression!?


Anonymous said...


Am I suddenly famous, or suddenly infamous? Depends on one’s perspective, or perhaps aperspective, I guess.

Anyway, thanks for the kind words. Even if you did panic me, by saying the comments were disappearing. I ran off to check, and they are still there, as far as I can tell. Perhaps II has set up a “cloaking device” to render them invisible? LOL !

To the best of my knowledge, Visser’s comment has been up steadily since he put it there. It reads: “Frank Visser said... your blog postings deserve a wider readership”. And I see he meant it, since he put a link to my blog on Integral World, under the “published criticism of Wilber” category.

You may have used a direct link to that specific post, created before the comment was posted. Next time you visit my site, please go to the home page, check the “DD” comments again, and if you still don’t see Visser’s comment, please email me so I can find out why not. There’s an email link under “complete profile”.

Blogger won’t let me edit a comment once I have posted it. So I did delete one comment, my own, then reposted it without the typos. Note to self, don’t post late at night without using spellcheck..

And yes, I could have named my blog “Bartholdi 1886”, but that would have been too obvious, wouldn’t it?

Who is “Colmar?”. Only “the Shadow” knows…..