Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cohen and Wilber: States, Stages, and Ego?

In the new issue of What is Enlightenment (issue 35, Jan 07, pg 47), Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen continue the central theme of their guru/pandit dialogues on States and Stages.

Cohen says that the "birth of evelutionary enlightenment" began with a discussion with Ken in 2001, and that since that first significant emergence, "this potential has revealed itself through a series of eruptions of of collective enlightened or nondual awareness among different groups of my students."

Although I agree that these nondual states can be intoxicating, and that continually dipping into these profound shared states of experience (I've been there) through a community of consciousness can help sustain them, I continue to have a "guru allergy" around Cohen. That Cohen thinks that the significant emergence of evolutionary enlightenment began at that point seems self-serving and egoic to me.

Of course, I've always had guru allergies, and want to be careful that I'm not projecting onto him.....still......More disturbing stuff on AC at Integral Practice the Blog by ebuddha.

In the meantime, I resonate with the idea of morphic fields, and maybe what we're doing in our work around SeattleIntegral's Core Group, the Pacific Integral learning community, and Cohen's group experiences are all connected, each making it easier to get into this palpable Kosmic Morphogenetic Groove.

Over at Open Integral, Edward Berge has this to say:

"There is much validity to what they say in this dialog. But at the same time I can’t help the feeling that there are two elephants in the room, and because they have some of the same blind spots they don’t see their own elephantness. For example, the lead-in to the dialog says the following:"

The leading edge of evolution can be a pretty lonely place. How many are willing to step out where the crowds thin, reaching for potentials barely forming on the brink of the future? How many have the courage to ask the kind of questions that open doors to tomorrow? Pioneers of consciousness have always been few—that just seems to be the way it works. But if the past has anything to teach us, perhaps it is that those few have made all the difference.

Berge goes on to say:

"It is similar to the Earpy episode in that there’s this unacknowleged engagment with delusions of grandeur, that we are the leading edge, we know the way and if you don’t listen to us you are a MGM out to destroy us and our grand mission to save the world. Am I just projecting here? Or hallucinating pink elephants with purple polka dots? Excuse me, it’s time for my medication.
In any event, I’d agree it is time for a new moral compass. So what is this compass? How do we create new moral and ethical codes that are relevant to a postmodern context? What do you think of Wilber and Cohen’s solution? Ken again reiterates the absolute/relative dichotomy in discussing this. Is this valid?"

Could the Moral compass be, as Ray Harris says, the "Prime Directive - that we do whatever promotes development through the spectrum, that we develop human potential in the various streams?"

For the entire blog, go here.


Tom Mull said...

Hey Gary: I very much resonate with the gist of the current WIE Guru & Pandit dialog re the collective state experience and the "Egoic Self", Authentic Self", & Absolute Self" theme that has been a major thread in these dialogs for some time. As you know I have shared with you a group experience like (if not the same) as Cohen is describing with Pacific Integral's GTC2 group and with our various SI groups experiences. I am very interested in nurturing this collective "peak" state experience to "plateau/stable adaption". I share with you the "Guru' alergy having myself a history of experience with an authoritorian high control group (Amber Jehovah's Witnesses). I am thinking that for "plateau/stable adaption" that we will have to do so in a modernest+ Constitutional Liberal - Democratic institutiona structure--not in the old mythic membership patriarchial/authoritorian fashion (as appropriate as that is for people with magenta to amber structures of consciosness--they seem to need a father fiqure to guide them). =)

William Yenner said...

Readers may be interested to hear about my book about Andrew Cohen entitled American Guru -
The book is about my 13 years as Cohen's student, written with contributions of several other former students, and covers the story from the idealistic beginning through disillusionment and departure. The dangers of any authoritarian system are explored as well as the promises and pitfalls of postmodern discipleship.