Nikolai1

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That you think the truth is inaccessible is the idea of no idea.

Yes this sums it up.  With wisdom comes the ability to see that a truth is also a no-truth.  This gives us options...it opens things up - it lets in the light.

 

The psychotic person belives in a truth, but cannot also see its provisionality.  They are therefore bound to it tightly.  And because no-one else in the world can see this truth they are isolated, and they have a nagging suspicion that they are in fact insane.

 

The non-psychotic person is simply a person lucky enough to agree with all the people around them.  Life hasn't confused them, and they have had no reason to question things.  They do not see the provisionality of their truths but this is not harmful to them because their whole society sees things the same and their opinions are shared and endorsed.

 

The conspiracy theorist is somewhere in between these states. It isn't a particularly happy place, though they take a grim satisfaction in their realism and everybody else's gullibility.

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I'd given no attention to Wilber until this thread. Anyone here familiar enough with AQAL to describe the nuances of the 3rd tier distinctions? The distinctions between indigo, violet and ultraviolet?

I couldn't do any more than what you get on the internet, but i think at this level Wilber started relying on esoteric texts rather than his own experience.  

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Yes this sums it up.  With wisdom comes the ability to see that a truth is also a no-truth.  This gives us options...it opens things up - it lets in the light.

 

 

It certainly gives you the option of your whims, but that eventually collapses when it encounters existence. No matter how high you fly, there will always be gravity.

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It certainly gives you the option of your whims, but that eventually collapses when it encounters existence. No matter how high you fly, there will always be gravity.

Gravity comes as a massive relief when you've always thought it isn't there.

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Gravity comes as a massive relief when you've always thought it isn't there.

 

Although that depends just how high you have jumped, or how high you are intending to jump.

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Second-tier thinking seems to be a perspective that transcends all the usual dichotomies: inner and outer, individual vs collective.  So it takes something very real seeming like say, the body, and describes as nothing more than a version of reality.  Our physicality is just one of a number of lenses that we use to talk about reality.

 

For starters, do peope think that this a view that can be simpy taught.  It has seemed to me that the human mind will naturally revert to one of the lines of one of the quadrants and that when people imagine they are being integral, they are probably not at all.

 

Like for me, being integral requires a huge amount of intellectual, emotional and spiritual development.  Like I my case, I'm aware that I am integral cognitively, but not practically or emotionally.  

 

So I wonder whether Wilber's movement, and all the courses and all the disciplines are probably a bit of an illusion?

 

What do we think?

 

from where are you getting this understanding of 2nd tier thinking? i read your first paragraph a number of times, and i honestly just don't completely get it. the concept of 2nd tier thinking is derived from cognitive psych (which is why i mentioned those other thinkers with which i am familiar), but your explanation of it's meaning seems completely divorced from its intended context. in other words, i'm not sure that your pondering really has anything to do with 1st vs 2nd tier consciousness. 

 

it's possible that you're referencing some newer material of Wilber's that i know nothing about, but before i dive in, i need some clarity here. where does this definition come from, generally speaking? 

 

also, what do you mean by "one of the lines of one of the quadrants"? the lines don't at all belong to, nor are they bound by any particular quadrant. and a line is not a quality of thinking or a cognitive level, so they wouldn't be very relevant to your query at all, as far as i understand them. so if you don't mind, as best as you can, could you please clarify your meaning regarding these?

 

i'd love to share my thoughts, but i'm somewhat confused at the moment. 

 

I think if you look at Wilber himself he imagines himself to be integral, but I don't see much evidence for it, I see little evidence of much ego maturity and a lot of insecurity. I see someone who periodically recommends Guru's as being examples of modern advanced Integral devlopment, but almost without fail they eventually get revealed as abusers or immature.

 i'm not so sure that "maturity" is a fair measure of someone functioning at the integral level. and i'm not so sure the mere presence of insecurity equates to a LOT of insecurity. you may not like this argument, but much of what you see in Wilber's character might actually be a result of his genuine openness; he's not burning tons of energy trying to hide his shortcomings the way that most people automatically do.

 

his entire integral movement is all the evidence necessary for Ken Wilber to be considered integral. the core principle that everyone is right and, therefore, must be included. that no system is clever enough to produce 100% error, and so we include all that is good, beautiful, true, instead of rejecting entire areas because some of it was wrong. THAT, isn't just some cool idea he came up with; it's also a reflection of the space he's thinking from, how he's experiencing the world.  

 

He early on endorsed Ali Da Samaraj as a great master, but when the reports of abuse come out he retracts his support; then he says Zen teacher Gempo Merzel is turning a new wheel of the Dharma, who is later exposed as sleeping with his students; Wilber always heavily endorsed Andrew Cohen as a perfect example of Integral development, but recently Andrew wrote an open letter saying that he lacks the maturity to be a teacher any more and was using spirituality to hide from his issues. So clearly Wilber lacks practical judgement and examples of people in the real world who actually fit into his model. 

 

the way i see it, Adi Da IS a great master. or was, i should say. and while Wilber did write an essay distancing himself a bit from Da, he NEVER denounced him or came out against him. i own Da's major books and every DVD his community has produced. his lectures and satsangs are absolutely brilliant. as for the "reports of abuse," what are we talking about? some taboo & otherwise unconventional sexual practices that some of the members couldn't handle. serious tantric exercises that were only ever meant for a select few with the fortitude to benefit from them. Da's only real crime was the crime of hubris in thinking he could disseminate such highly restricted practices to such a large segment of the community. i don't doubt that some of the people who left were psychologically hurt by what took place, but even more people were healed and psychologically benefited from it. the advance stuff has some real dangers, but we can't let some television expose be the final word on something they knew nothing about. there were no children abused in Da's community. he wasn't just out there abusing his authority. he wasn't perfect, but there was a real method to his madness. but tabloids focused on the madness because that's what sells and that's all that conventional folks can understand.

 

as for Genpo, as far as Wilber's work is concerned, he DID turn a new wheel of the Dharma by fully integrating methods of western psych to peel apart the layers of the ego through the Big Mind process. his sexual indiscretions aren't relevant to the efficacy of the techniques he developed. Wilber once called Genpo "a deeply DECENT human being, which (incidentally) is much harder than being enlightened." well, Wilber got the decency thing wrong for sure, but let's not throw out what he got right. 

 

now, Andrew Cohen. i never dug that guy. very little redeeming about him as a Guru; but as a philosopher, he's contributed some brilliant insights to what they describe as evolutionary enlightenment. Andrew's greatest contribution IMO, is that he had a ruthlessly critical eye that could expose inconsistencies & absurdities in a way that doesn't come natural for Wilber. so as a colleague in a brain trust, i get it. but otherwise, not so much.

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 i'm not so sure that "maturity" is a fair measure of someone functioning at the integral level. and i'm not so sure the mere presence of insecurity equates to a LOT of insecurity. you may not like this argument, but much of what you see in Wilber's character might actually be a result of his genuine openness; he's not burning tons of energy trying to hide his shortcomings the way that most people automatically do.

 

My recollection is that emotional maturity was one of the most important lines of development in his system, which is why he prescribed psychological methods and shadow work alongside meditation. I never got the impression that he was far along that line himself, just my impression from hearing his interviews and reading his words, for example he would talk about hiring prostitutes to practice Tantra and would release pictures of himself shirtless to the internet. 

 

I don't want to derail this thread too much but there is a ton of stuff on the web about Ali Da anyone can look up, Wilber goes on to call Ali Da a "fuck up" after he hears about what goes on at his ashram. And I doubt you will find a single ordained Buddhist who recognises Big Mind as a new turning of the Dharma, that term is usually reserved for a few select exceptional masters throughout history, the method didn't seem to help Genpo Merzel himself that much 

 

But the main point about these guys I was trying to make is that they were all endorsed as modern Western Integral masters and all of them showed themselves up to be not particularly developed along some of Wilbers lines. So where are the examples of Integral development? 

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My recollection is that emotional maturity was one of the most important lines of development in his system, which is why he prescribed psychological methods and shadow work alongside meditation. I never got the impression that he was far along that line himself, just my impression from hearing his interviews and reading his words, for example he would talk about hiring prostitutes to practice Tantra and would release pictures of himself shirtless to the internet. 

actually, there really is no "most important line" in the Integral system. i'm not trying to just be argumentative here, and i'm not picking a fight. what i'm trying to get across is about understanding what integral really is. it's a map of human potential and an aid for human evolution. psych methods aren't so much prescribed as they are INCLUDED, his argument being that deep understanding of the psychological landscape is perhaps the greatest contribution of the western world to human development. it's included because there are things revealed through psych techniques that don't come up with mere introspection. so it's important, but NOT in the sense that without it integral doesn't work. it's important because we now have a map that puts the contributions of western psych on the table in a way that makes sense with everything else. just looking at its placement betters our understanding of the whole. for instance, Genpo's flaws is a good example. folks would argue that Genpo couldn't be evolved if he's still hung up on sex. the intergral framework would suggest that sexual maturity is one underdeveloped line, but that doesn't prevent a person from being highly evolved in a number of other lines. so it doesn't just explain Genpo, it explains any number of recognized masters who were sexist, racist, what have you. those flaws don't necessarily invalidate their enlightenment because the knowledge and techniques necessary to grow those traits effectively have never been part of the spiritual training. now that it can be, spiritual development should arguably be for accessible to more people and go more smoothly, if not also more quickly. 

 

i don't think you're wrong that some immaturity is present. in terms of personality types, INTPs are the weakest in the realm of emotional maturity, and i'm fairly certain Wilber is an INTP. incidentally, so am i, and yes, emotional maturity is easily my weakest trait. but being integrally informed doesn't mean i techniques to conquer that. it means i understand where my limitations are, and i can do some things to try and get stronger there, but more importantly it means i recognize my weakness and include that understanding in my decision making and recognize the need for compensation. like, i love psych theories, but i'd be an idiot to be a therapist. great teacher maybe, but not a therapist. weak example, but i'm just trying to make it simple and clear. 

 

I don't want to derail this thread too much but there is a ton of stuff on the web about Ali Da anyone can look up, Wilber goes on to call Ali Da a "fuck up" after he hears about what goes on at his ashram. And I doubt you will find a single ordained Buddhist who recognises Big Mind as a new turning of the Dharma, that term is usually reserved for a few select exceptional masters throughout history, the method didn't seem to help Genpo Merzel himself that much 

pretty sure i've read all the stuff on the web, about Adi Da, but i've also actually studied Adi Da. too many people have dismissed his work without ever even looking into it. it makes sense to go with the consensus on general matters, but not when it comes to esoteric ones. btw, is there a reason you keep calling him Ali? doesn't offend me or anything, just curious. but i feel like you're playing kind of loose with the details. my take on Wilber's feelings about Da come from Wilber himself, not to mention the fact that a number of his close integral friends were devotees, like Terry Patten. and others of his friends were disciples of Chogyam Trungpa. they are no strangers to flawed masters over there. so the fact that he used the words "fuck up" doesn't provide any clarity at all, unless you can establish that he was expressing outrage and was losing his temper, which i'm certain wasn't the case. more likely he was just being flippant & cheeky. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlLn77LLQ3M

 

Genpo's reputation is in the trash now, so i won't try to argue otherwise. but "from Wilber's perspective," Genpo's work to integrate western techniques of psychology into traditional zen was bold and meant to be a pivotal move for western dharma. but yes, it failed. not because what he created was a failure, but because he was behaving scandalously and the buddhist community can't afford to associate with that kind of moral failing. it's zero tolerance nowadays, and good on them for it!  

 

 

But the main point about these guys I was trying to make is that they were all endorsed as modern Western Integral masters and all of them showed themselves up to be not particularly developed along some of Wilbers lines. So where are the examples of Integral development? 

 

i get what you're saying, but i think you're fundamentally misunderstanding what integral is. no one stands as example of expertise in every or even most lines. that was never the point. the point was about inclusion of all knowledge and a deeper understanding of what we can do and how we can do it, which will ultimately give rise to new approaches. 

 

 

 

EDITED:

for clarification and grammar. i'm also re-posting the video i had originally embedded. was that erased deliberately by a moderator? 

Edited by Sahaj Nath
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Hi Sahaj

 

from where are you getting this understanding of 2nd tier thinking? i read your first paragraph a number of times, and i honestly just don't completely get it. the concept of 2nd tier thinking is derived from cognitive psych (which is why i mentioned those other thinkers with which i am familiar), but your explanation of it's meaning seems completely divorced from its intended context. in other words, i'm not sure that your pondering really has anything to do with 1st vs 2nd tier consciousness. 

When we enter 2nd tier, we start to understand AQAL and the equality of all the perspectives that AQAL contains.  Prior to this we are incapable of seeing the equality, we prioritise one of the quadrants and try to understand everything with reference to the one quadrant (Wilber calls this 'flatlanding' and it the hallmark of first tier thinking)

 

My basic point is that, firstly the equality of all perspectives comes as a revelation after an immense deal of hard work and confusion.

 

Secondly, it is however easy to take a blue or orange or green attitude to AQAL, and imagine it's 'the truth' for no other reason than you have accepted Wilber as being the source of truth and you just blindly stick to it.  You can simultaneously promote AQAL and second-tier thinking while having very little idea about the truly radical and life.changing fact of second-tier being.

 

Scond-tier thinking is not possible, I would say, unlesss there has been some sort of awakening to higher state of consciousness.  It is only from this exalted perspective does the equality of the usuall narratives we argue for become obvious.  Second-tier thinking is rare, and I'm talking 1% rare.  It is not something we can claim for ourselves just because we have adopted Wilber as our teacher.  And on this final point, I think Wilber shows signs of misunderstanding this as well.  He thinks his students understand him more than they probably do.

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Hi Sahaj

 

 

 

My basic point is that, firstly the equality of all perspectives comes as a revelation after an immense deal of hard work and confusion.

It is a revelation because all the words you have heard spoken or read have had to 'assume' one of the quadrants in order to be a coherant, sensible statement.  Then, out of nowhere, we suddenly see that all the words are provisional only and cannto capture the actual truth.

 

We must have apprehended some sort of higher truth if we are to realise that words cannot describe it. ¬†Until this point we work on the assumption that words can and do capture the truth and so therefore argue passionately for w¬īhatever position we believe in.

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You describe it a higher truth and then say you have no words to describe it ?

 

If you have no words to describe it, then it doesn't exist and you haven't found anything but a foggy patch where your own mind is allowed to float like an abandoned dingy without any sail or oars.

Edited by Karl

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You describe it a higher truth and then say you have no words to describe it ?

 

If you have no words to describe it, then it doesn't exist and you haven't found anything but a foggy patch where your own mind is allowed to float like an abandoned dingy without any sail or oars.

When you find the higher truth you become anchored - not intellectually - but anchored spiritually in something far more stable and more certain than any thought system.

 

It is because you are well-anchored that you are able to properly engage with the world, with your work, with your children.  You no longer try and bypass the world with airy sounding spiritual thought systems.

 

But yes. what you've found can't be talked about.

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When you find the higher truth you become anchored - not intellectually - but anchored spiritually in something far more stable and more certain than any thought system.

 

It is because you are well-anchored that you are able to properly engage with the world, with your work, with your children. You no longer try and bypass the world with airy sounding spiritual thought systems.

 

But yes. what you've found can't be talked about.

But then how do you know if you don't know ? If you have no thought system then how can you determine that there is any higher truth ? It's your thought system that must determine that you have a higher truth, that it hasn't got a clue what that higher truth is might be a bit of an issue.

 

You are committing the fallacy of the stolen concept. You are relying on the concept of the cognitive mind to describe a concept that you that you say cannot be held by the cognitive mind. The idea of no idea.

 

Can't you just get on with your work and children because you enjoy them because they bring you happiness. Why does it require a higher truth than the one that's right in front of your face ?

 

Considering you can't talk about it, you sure talk about it an awful lot. :-)

Edited by Karl

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Can't you just get on with your work and children because you enjoy them and they bring you happiness. Why does it require a higher truth than the one that's right in front of your face ?

Well it's a nice idea, but that is how we are as human beings. We aren't free to enjoy our work and our children and that is what gives us pain and makes us want a solution.

 

 If you have no thought system then how can you determine that there is any higher truth ?

There are many ways of determining truth and thought is just one of them.  If we are a happier, more at peace and if our personal reltionships are better we call it 'higher' because this is the territory we were alays aiming for and missing.  It just so happens that when we try and put this higher truth into words we find that no word or system can contain it.   This is what Wilber refers to with his movement to the second tier.

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What words would one use to describe sight to someone born blind?

Edited by Brian
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Well it's a nice idea, but that is how we are as human beings. We aren't free to enjoy our work and our children and that is what gives us pain and makes us want a solution.

 

 

There are many ways of determining truth and thought is just one of them.  If we are a happier, more at peace and if our personal reltionships are better we call it 'higher' because this is the territory we were alays aiming for and missing.  It just so happens that when we try and put this higher truth into words we find that no word or system can contain it.   This is what Wilber refers to with his movement to the second tier.

 

How bad is your life to believe that to be true Nikolai ? I was jousting with you earlier, but your comment has left me dumbfounded and a touch saddened.

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How bad is your life to believe that to be true Nikolai ? I was jousting with you earlier, but your comment has left me dumbfounded and a touch saddened.

The thing is with life is that we get these peak moments - of beauty, of happiness, of love and harmony.  But they are just peaks, isolated events.  But the memory of them makes us look at the times when we are with our children at the swings and all we can think of is our problems at work, or we are watching a movie with our wife and getting bugged by something she said or did earlier that day - and we look at these times and feel like we want to do better.

 

Human nature Karl!  Or are you saying that your wife is an unending source of pleasure and that your children always had your attention 100%?

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What words would one use to describe sight to someone born blind?

 

Its not analogous.

A blind person is aware of existence through his remaining senses. He can understand object, distance and time and is in the world of that integrated conceptual existence. He can feel a tree even if he cannot see it visually and so makes a similar connection. It's no different to explaining colours to a person who only sees in black and white, or words to someone who cannot read. These things are real, connected and experienced by everyone even if not in exactly the same way.

 

What Nikolai is describing, or failing to describe is something other people don't experience. I don't say that Nickolai doesn't experience this as being true, I just point out the logical fallacy in calling something 'the higher truth' and then saying that it is impossible to describe.

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 I don't say that Nickolai doesn't experience this as being true, I just point out the logical fallacy in calling something 'the higher truth' and then saying that it is impossible to describe.

Yes, 'higher' is a metaphor.  Another one I would use is 'deeper'.  Which just goes to show how muddled I am!

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Its not analogous. A blind person is aware of existence through his remaining senses. He can understand object, distance and time and is in the world of that integrated conceptual existence. He can feel a tree even if he cannot see it visually and so makes a similar connection. It's no different to explaining colours to a person who only sees in black and white, or words to someone who cannot read. These things are real, connected and experienced by everyone even if not in exactly the same way. What Nikolai is describing, or failing to describe is something other people don't experience. I don't say that Nickolai doesn't experience this as being true, I just point out the logical fallacy in calling something 'the higher truth' and then saying that it is impossible to describe.

It is actually a very good analogy, as is trying to explain color to someone born with monochromatic vision.

 

The issue is not that Nikolai is talking about "something other people don't experience" but that he is talking about something you don't experience.

 

So, what words would you use to explain the appearance of a rainbow to someone born with monochromatic vision?

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The thing is with life is that we get these peak moments - of beauty, of happiness, of love and harmony.  But they are just peaks, isolated events.  But the memory of them makes us look at the times when we are with our children at the swings and all we can think of is our problems at work, or we are watching a movie with our wife and getting bugged by something she said or did earlier that day - and we look at these times and feel like we want to do better.

 

Human nature Karl!  Or are you saying that your wife is an unending source of pleasure and that your children always had your attention 100%?

 

I don't expect unending pleasure. I do what I can do to bring me happiness in any particular situation. It doesn't mean I'm always succesful or that I don't make errors. Thats existence and life. It's not always kind, but it's not always cruel and you have it within your power to make a go of it even if you trip and fall along the way. Dust yourself down, learn the lesson if you can, then move on and try again. You are alive dude, that's all that counts and it's all you have. Just your body and a mind.

 

 

 

 

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It is actually a very good analogy, as is trying to explain color to someone born with monochromatic vision.

The issue is not that Nikolai is talking about "something other people don't experience" but that he is talking about something you don't experience.

So, what words would you use to explain the appearance of a rainbow to someone born with monochromatic vision?

 

Right, but it isn't an existent thing is it ? A rainbow most certainly is. I could describe a rainbow to a blind person. They understand distance, arch, definition even if they don't understand full vision. A monochromatic person will see the shades within the rainbow, that I see orange, yellow, blue and he sees lighter, darker is sufficient for us to understand. I can't see or hear microwaves, infra sound or sub sonics but I know they exist, it wouldn't matter if you described them as pink with blue dots, I wouldn't dispute it being so.

 

All, that's needed is to know how the 'higher truth' is present in existent reality. If it isn't, then it's a peculiar mental aberration and pertinent to no one or nothing outside of that persons thoughts. It's pointless describing it as beyond words, or a higher truth because, unless it has some effect, it isn't anything at all and a worthless thing to say. I don't doubt this is what Nickolai feels, but it's not a concrete reality for anyone beyond Nickolai.

 

I might begin 'one upon a time there was something no words could describe' the end.

 

 

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Yes, 'higher' is a metaphor.  Another one I would use is 'deeper'.  Which just goes to show how muddled I am!

 

You forgot about wider, denser, louder, brighter ... ;-)

 

You are muddled. It sounds distinctly unpleasant and you should go do something fun right away.

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So show us, Karl. Show us how you would explain the distinction between, for instance, pink and red to someone born blind.

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