The term “integral theory” is a recent phenomenon which stems largely from the works of Ken Wilber and those who have taken up the spirit of his writing as an academic discipline.”
I fully agree with this assessment. However I do still consider myself both an Aurobindonian and a (non-Wilberian) Integral Theorist, so I don’t find the two incompatible. For me Integral Theory (a la Wilber, Anderson, and for that matter also my ideas on ontology etc) is the outer, mental “exoteric” form and framework, that has to be transcended in the “esoteric” (inverted commas because these are my own eccentric adaptations of these terms) practice of Integral Spirituality which incorporates the Presence of authentically enlightened beings in a harmonious manner (e.g. Sri Ramana and Sri Aurobindo), and culminates of course in the practice of Integral Yoga (i.e. Purna - full or complete - yoga) and the supramental transformation. At least that’s my take on all this, but everyone has to find their own path. Edward for example points to Derrida and Nagarjuna, and his comments are just as valid and authentic as mine. Marko (in previous posts on this forum) has mentioned A. H. Almaas. Again, same. An Integral Theory and an Integral Spirituality has to embrace, reconcile, and integrate all perspectives, otherwise it degenerates into literalism and limited ideologies. Referring to an experience she had, the Mother says (in The Agenda) “This morning while I was on the balcony, I had an interesting experience: the experience of man’s effort, in all its forms and through all the ages, to approach the Divine. And I seemed to be growing wider and wider so that all the forms and all the ways of approaching the Divine attempted by man would be contained in the present Work.
It was represented by a kind of image in which I was as vast as the Universe, and each way of approaching the Divine was like a tiny image containing the characteristic form of this approach. And my impression was this: Why do people always limit, limit themselves? Narrow, narrow, narrow! They understand only when it is narrow.
Take all! Take all within you. And then you will begin to understand - you will begin. ”
– From Mother’s Agenda - June 6, 1958 Take all…Take all within you. And then you will begin to understand. To me, this is the inner, “esoteric”, essence of what the Integral movement is about.
The outer, “exoteric” essence is the reconciling of all these different, limited, narrow, explanations, not just of the Divine, but also any explanations or worldviews or theories. Whilst the inner, “esoteric” aspect is represented, for example, by my own experience (which is only one small case study) of the non-contradiction of the teaching and message and revelation of Sri Ramana and Sri Aurobindo. Not as theory or a mental formulation, but as experience and spiritual practice. And this is the exergesis I give to The Mother’s words and experience here. Whether or not I am misinterpreting or reinterpreting them, whether her experience was actually about something totally different to what I’m saying (perhaps it was!) is for others to decide.
Edward said: ARINA and Integral Review are opening up a new dialog section dealing with its articles so please suggest to them that this article be included as well as Carlson’s rebuttal. (You out there and listening Sara?) I for one would love to participate in that one.
Sounds great! Could someone forward Rich’s review/critique on to ARINA? I agree it would really get the debate going! alan kazlev Says: December 12th, 2006 at 12:39 am Edward Berge Says: Perhaps submit an article for the next Review?
Hi Edward, hmm, I suppose I could; just a matter of finding the time and focus to write something. The problem is that I don’t really come at things from an academic manner. But sure, something to think about!