Friday, June 09, 2006

Reminder: More on Ken Wilber

Once upon a time, The Ken said this:
And once you taste One Taste, no matter how fleetingly at first, an entirely new motivation will arise from the depths of your very own being and become a constant atmosphere which your every impulse breathes, and that atmosphere is compassion. Once you taste One Taste, and see the fundamental problems of existence evaporate in the blazing sun of obviousness, you will never again be the same person, deep within your heart. And you will want--finally, profoundly, and most of all--that others, too, may be relieved of the burden of their sleep-walking dreams, relieved of the agony of the separate self, relieved of the inherent torture called time and the gruesome tragedy called space.

No matter that lesser motivations will dog your path, no matter that anger and envy, shame and pity, pride and prejudice will remind you daily how much more you can always grow: still, and still, under it all, around it all, above it all, the heartbeat of compassion will resound. A constant cloud of caring will rain on your every parade. And you will be driven, in the best sense of the word, by this ruthless taskmaster, but only because you, eons ago, made a secret promise to let this motivation rule you until all souls are set free in the ocean of infinity.

~ From One Taste

I don't have to like or agree with everything Ken Wilber says or does. About 80 percent of the time, I'm with him. Then there are days, like yesterday, when I am not on the same page. That's okay.

I also don't need Wilber to be perfect. He will make mistakes sometimes; he will exhibit a full range of emotions; he will be a human being. As it should be. He is a complex being with a full spectrum of options from which to act. When he is operating from his best self, he is brilliant and soulful. When he is angry, he is brilliant and angry. Whatever. It's an integral world allowing for all levels, all lines, all states, and all stages.

Ken is a boomer. He understands boomeritis for the same reason he got the pre/trans fallacy. Been there, done that. When he gets angry, we should expect a strong streak of narcissism and ego to infect the response. Anger wouldn't feel so good without it.

That doesn't negate the rest of his work, or the rest of his vision. I was dismissive of his rant, and I still would have rather seen a more rational (but still pointed) response. Who cares what I want?

Some readers are done with Wilber as a result of this outburst. That saddens me. Let's separate the man from the work, if we can, and look at the usefulness of what he offers. I, for one, am eager to see the new books. I am always given new food for thought and am forced to expand my narrow view of the world when I read a Wilber book, even when I don't always agree with him. That is why we were drawn to his work in the first place.


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