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Friday, October 19, 2007

I find much value in Kazlev's serious attention to the Aurobindian tradition

Unfortunately, Kazlev falls into the same trap as many contemporary pop-atheist writers: he does not define religion, but writes as if everyone knows what he is talking about, and then attacks it as "dysfunctional" and a "cult" without actually making any useful distinctions between the different varieties of religion. Moreover, his rhetoric goes over the top of civility by painting unnamed persons as members of a "cult" without substantiating these allegations with any serious attention to any of their words or actions.
At this point, Kazlev's essay continues to a total of 24 sections. However, when so many of the foundational theses of his argument have such shaky basis, the value of continuing to study Kazlev's essay becomes highly dubious. On the other hand, if you don't need evidence to believe Kazlev's points because you are already convinced of their truth, then you can take his essay as an exercise in storytelling narrative grounded in faith.
I will, however, make one additional point. The thrust of Kazlev's argument may be characterized as saying that Ken Wilber does not recognize the higher "Post-Integral" stages of consciousness such as Divinisation recognized by Sri Aurobindo. However, this is prima facie false. In Integral Spirituality, Wilber identifies the Integral level of consciousness with the turquoise label, and then identifies indigo, violet, ultraviolet, and clear light labels for subsequent stages of consciousness (stages which are actually defined using the labels of Sri Aurobindo's philosophy). Those Post-Integral levels of consciousness are not the focus of his book because he is writing for a specific audience. However, any claim that Wilber ignores Sri Aurobindo should at least examine Wilber's relevant writings
  • (how is Divinisation really different from the stage of consciousness identified as ultraviolet or clear light in Wilber's Integral Spirituality?
  • Does not Wilber incorporate Aurobindo's gnosis, but simply not make the transmission of this gnosis the focus of his book?)

and identify their insufficiency. Without offering a close reading of Wilber's relevant texts, Kazlev's screed sheds less light than he thinks it does. And given the bombast of his anti-Wilber rhetoric, it will probably do little to encourage the mainstream Integral movement to take up the study of Aurobindo.
I find much value in Kazlev's serious attention to the Aurobindian tradition. It would be a terrible shame if serious students of Integral were put off study of this wise and valuable tradition because they encountered a presentation which regarded others in the IM with such a demeaning and derogatory framework.
Joe Perez is a Seattle-based writer. Everyone's got their own definition of Integral. His own definition of Integral (2006)--called STEAM--is found in his book Rising Up: Reflections on Gay Culture, Politics, Spirit. This definition is available in a free preview of the ebook version of the book. Posted by joe perez on October 18, 2007 03:00 PM

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