Has Ken Wilber jumped the shark?

Yeah, I know, that’s a pretty lame Wilber/Fonzie photoshop job, but I couldn’t resist. And I want to make clear right from the start that Ken Wilber has authored several of my all-time favorite nonfiction books. I dig a lot of his work and use his “four quadrants” to frame my own understanding of Integral Health. I remember reading Wilber’s Sex, Ecology, Spirituality and thinking to myself, “This guy is the shit!” Yesterday, however, after reading Wilber’s latest blog post (A Narrative on Guruji), I couldn’t help but think, “This guy has lost his shit!”

The first thing that struck me as odd about Wilber’s post was the style of presentation, which was riddled with rambling redundancies, poor reasoning, and flat-out bad writing. This from a man capable of exquisitely lucid prose. Now, maybe he meant it as an off-the-cuff type of thing and I’m being a bit unfair, but this is a guy who rarely posts on his own blog, so I was surprised he’d go on record with this scattered post. Then there’s the content of the post, which is a strong public endorsement of a spiritual teacher named Mahendra Kumar Trivedi. From Wilber:

What I am claiming—and supporting—is that Guruji’s capacity to conduct and transmit universal spiritual energy (or “shakti”) is utterly remarkable, as proven by scientific experiments themselves. It is these direct, specific, scientific experiments and their results that I am reporting, and on which I am basing my endorsement. This is a scientific conclusion, not a spiritual one (although, of course, you are free to make those as well—but I am reporting the direct science, which is indeed astonishing).

[…] To put it briefly, Mr. Trivedi has an empirically demonstrated capacity to alter the atomic and molecular structure of phenomena simply through his conscious intentionality. The number of experiments done on this capacity (known in Sanskrit as shaktipat) that have been done in coordination with Mr. Trivedi is quite extraordinary—so far, over 5,000 empirical studies by universities and scientific research organizations all over the world (including the world renowned materials scientist Dr. Rustum Roy at the University of Pennsylvania).

Wilber takes great pains to stress that he’s basing his endorsement of “Guruji” (as he is affectionately known) on SCIENCE: “the reason is based entirely on direct, specific, scientific evidence. This evidence is so astonishing that I myself have never seen anything quite like it.” In fact, Wilber drives this point home at least a dozen times in his fairly short post. When I went to Trivedi’s website to check out the evidence, I found plenty of information and claims, but not a mention of peer-reviewed evaluation of results or independent research corroborating the findings. I would expect a scientifically-based endorsement to have higher standards, although as a non-scientist myself, I confess I am not qualified to pass authoritative judgment on such matters. Wilber seems to have a lot of confidence in the conclusions of one researcher in particular, the “world renowned” Dr. Rustum Roy. It should be noted, however, that Roy, like his associate Deepak Chopra, is not exactly lauded by mainstream scientists, as I’ve seen his name (perhaps unfairly) paired with words like “woo” and “pseudoscience” on more than one occasion (for instance here and here). Of course, there are plenty of science-based crusaders out there who would tear me apart, along with many of my intellectual heroes, so that kind of criticism in-and-of-itself doesn’t put Wilber’s endorsement on shaky ground. Rather, it’s Wilber’s credulity and weak justifications that have me scratching my head, and even cringing in embarrassment at times.

For example, Wilber offers this: “Especially if you see photos of these results, you can’t help but be struck by the rather intense capacity for this transmission demonstrated by Guruji.” Really? Photos on the internet? Wilber seems to be all-too-willing to validate anything and everything that supports his own view of the universe. We all do this, of course, but we’re not all hailed as “the Einstein of consciousness research.” And Wilber seems also to be all-to-willing to indulge in highly speculative conclusions based solely on the alleged abilities of a single man:

Several of us have been predicting for some time that a significant new transformation is beginning on Earth at this time. Various psychological tests and sociological indications tend to show that there is the beginning emergence of a new type of consciousness. […] It might be that the Energy that Guruji is working with is the energetic support or correlate of this new Integral transformation. And that’s really pretty extraordinary. It’s pretty amazing that that might be happening.

And:

The point is that various psychological and sociological tests have verified the emergence of a new level of consciousness-again, one generally referred to as ” integrative” or ” integral.” In other words, this is not just some hair-brained academic theory, but a reality disclosed by specific testing. What hasn’t been disclosed is the new Life Energy that would be expected to underlie this new level of consciousness (what Integral Theory calls the Upper-Right quadrant aspect that would correlate with the newly emergent Upper-Left quadrant reality). But it is this new Integral energy that seems to be what Guruji is transmitting.

Notice Wilber’s highly dubious claim that “various psychological and sociological tests” have verified his theory of integral consciousness to the point of disclosing it as reality. It’s no wonder, based on that kind of flimsy reasoning, that Wilber would so readily endorse Trivedi as the real deal. The fact that a real scientist (Rustum Roy) affiliated with real universities supports Wilber’s thinking seems to be all the scientific confirmation Wilber needs to (tentatively) verify as real and true another brick in his Great Wall of Integral Theory. Throw in a little circular logic, and there’s nothing likely to keep Wilber from moving from tentative acceptance to total acceptance in the near future:

Guruji says that individuals have to be open for this, and I think that’s exactly right. You can’t force people to be free. It’s a choice they have to make, if they have evolved enough. Not even God can force a human to be free. That would just defeat the whole purpose. So whatever percentage of people are actually open to this-ten percent, twenty percent, fifty percent, whatever-we’ll find out. But if there is a really strong doubt and negativity, then it doesn’t surprise me that this transmission doesn’t have a chance. So right now we’re waiting to see the percentage of people that can become open to this type of transmission.

This is becoming an all-too-familiar gambit in Integral circles, that you have to be “evolved enough” to really grasp the truth of what Wilber claims. Furthermore, if Trivedi’s super spiritual transmission can’t transmit through doubt and negativity, then why even bother putting it through the rigors of scientific confirmation and peer review? Too bad we can’t all be like the open-minded plants that Trivedi has blessed into realignment with the new Earth Energy!

It’s not as if Trivedi is the first person on the block with supposed mystical super powers. What about John of God and Sathya Sai Baba? Many claims have been made, yet James Randi’s One Million Dollar Prize
for “anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event” has yet to be claimed.

Ken Wilber has contributed much to the advancement of integral, integrative, holistic approaches to life’s most intractable challenges. I don’t want to diminish that fact with this rant. But I’m frustrated. I’ve been trying to make the case to mainstream mental health professionals and health educators that Wilber’s work should be taken seriously. This is already an uphill battle, given the New Age label that is often associated with Wilber’s writing and his institute. But add to that the whole Wyatt Earpy episode, Wilber’s endorsements of ethically suspect individuals like Andrew Cohen and Marc Gafni, and now this latest Guruji head-scratcher, and I’m not sure I should be taking him seriously anymore.

Earth (Energy) to Ken: Please start making sense again!

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52 Responses to Has Ken Wilber jumped the shark?

  1. Hey Bob,

    I agree with everything you said here – to see that rather lame endorsement was disheartening, especially after I went looking for peer-reviewed proof and found nothing.

    I wonder if there is a cognitive decline as a result of the seizures and especially the anti-seizure medications. His health has been pretty bad over the past 2-3 years.

    I hate to be an apologist, but I suspect there is some mental decline that no one wants to deal with publicly.

    Peace,
    Bill

  2. the more i sit with this too the more something important pops out at me:

    ken has not just endorsed this guru with magical powers – he is pointing to his magic as evidence of the arrival of his (wilber’s) personal intuition of the integral age.

    so it goes like this – the magical guru has finally arrived who “proves” the basic assumptions of … See Morevedantic metaphysics – and validates not only wilber’s body of work in some way, but (and this is i think ken’s achilles heel) allows wilber to hitch his wagon to the most important event/person ever in the history of human knowledge/existence.

    he did the same thing with adi da. according to wilber da was the true god-man, the most spiritually realized being in all of history, truly enlightened, an arrival that no-one could afford to ignore and everyone with spiritual aspirations should hasten to devote themselves to.. etc etc

    the key here is the reflected glory that comes from discovering/introducing/endorsing the super important holy evidence of (in this case panpsychism: consciousness as the essential element of reality that goes all the way down to subatomic levels..) in adi da’s case the guru principle, possibility of perfect enlightenment etc – and in both cases the Reality of Spirit Itself in tangible form.

    at the end of the day it may be that wilber’s faith and need to believe in dualistic supernaturalism has turned out to be stronger than his entire lifetime of thought that has sought to carefully integrate disparate areas of human knowledge. a cautionary tale and sobering observation on the nature of the human mind, indeed.

    this has been evident in several key areas for me that i have pointed out in my online writings for several years:

    1) his already mentioned highly questionable endorsements of gurus who appear to be either psychotic/sociopathic (in the case of adi da) or narcissistic/abusive (in the case of andrew cohen) and in all likelihood charalatan in the case of this current trivedi dude.

    2) this is related to what i think of as a boomer generation wishful thinking around the naive acceptance of the concept of “enlightenment.” ie: the special human being who has come to the special knowledge that turns them into a divine presence/perfect teacher/all good parent/representative of the transcendent absolute meaning and intelligence behind all things (as well as the wishful thinking and naive acceptance that the later exists!)

    3) this is connected to the assertion of consciousness as primary to the universe; when all of biology suggests that consciousness in any meaningful sense only comes into being at the level of organisms – it is not and cannot be possible at the level of either hydrogen molecules or supernovas, as consciousness requires biological substrate and anything we would call consciousness in a strong sense requires the beginnings of a neural net/primitive brain. self-reflexive awareness only really seems to come into being at the level of mammals – and what we think of as truly complex, self-aware consciousness is a feature only of adult human beings.

    4) this relates also to what i have called a kind of “intelligent design in drag” that is part of the metaphysics of integral theory – an insistence that there must be some transcendent spirit at play in the evolutionary process – just ’cause we like that idea and some ancient big kahunas said so.

    5) wilber has also opened the door to a lot of new agey crap with some of his more recent work trying to integrate postmodern ideas that can easily be interpreted as negating the objective world that exists independent of subjective consciousness.

    6) even though the 4 quadrant model is an amazing guide to valuing interior, exterior, collective and individual ways of gathering knowledge, i have long pointed out that the bias in the community (that is supported by ken) overly values the upper left quadrant – or subjective, individual, interior experience – and tends to critique most forms of empirical inquiry as “reductive” – this has resulted in things like neuroscience being undervalued in the attempt to hold onto a mystical (and mystified) picture of consciousness as some absolute, dualistic “spirit.” now it is resulting in completely overlooking the definition and method of science and rushing to assert something unproven, highly unlikely and frankly as fishy as the alleyway dumpster behind a bad sushi restaurant.

    all of this adds up for me to a set of unquestioned quasi religious (hindu) beliefs that have always been assumed to be true by wilber underneath all of the other wonderfully inquisitive and brilliant work he has done.

    i have been predicting that this kind of confusion and nonsensical detour might happen in the integral institute and community in general as these problematic aspects of the worldview unfolded further mistakes in reasoning – BUT never would have guessed it would come from ken himself in this glaringly delusional way….. wow.

    • Jack Weber says:

      Wow is right…

      This is wonderful:

      this is connected to the assertion of consciousness as primary to the universe; when all of biology suggests that consciousness in any meaningful sense only comes into being at the level of organisms – it is not and cannot be possible at the level of either hydrogen molecules or supernovas, as consciousness requires biological substrate and anything we would call consciousness in a strong sense requires the beginnings of a neural net/primitive brain. self-reflexive awareness only really seems to come into being at the level of mammals – and what we think of as truly complex, self-aware consciousness is a feature only of adult human beings.

  3. Jean says:

    This only goes to prove that the very non-scientific gut feeling I’ve had for years that Wilber has wandered off the track straight into his inflated ego is correct. This despite the fact that I initially found his ideas to be interesting and challenging. Mental decline — maybe. But I know I’m not the only one who detected “issues” early on.

  4. Joseph says:

    Good stuff. The days of useful writing from Wilber are long gone, and probably never to be recovered. Unfortunately, the world rewards nonsense: for everyone person who walks away there are five others to take their place.

  5. clearly seizures, illness and meds have an effect on the brain. sad, sending love..

  6. Bob says:

    Bill: Yeah, I also wonder about Wilber’s health and whether or not it is affecting his judgment. If that’s the case, then all I can do is wish him and his loved ones the best. But I don’t want to assume that—because I don’t like the direction his work seems to be heading—he MUST be losing his wits. That CAN be a rather condescending way to dismiss a point of view that challenges my own fundamental assumptions and values. I’ve fallen into that way of thinking many times, for instance assuming that people who revere Sarah Palin MUST be crazy, or that religious people are brainwashed, unreasonable wishful thinkers. There’s always the possibility that Wilber is right-on about Trivedi, and that time will bear this out. If Trivedi does, in fact, have these extraordinary abilities, it is to be expected that most of us will be extremely skeptical. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, or at least really solid evidence. Until I see some, I’m just not buying it.

    Julian: Thanks for your astute analysis and reflections. Your response reminds me that it’s folks like yourself who will be pushing forward a mature vision of spirituality and personal transformation in the coming years. Wilber has already done his part, wherever his work goes in the future. I’m reminded of Wilhelm Reich, who authored some truly brilliant and trailblazing books. By most accounts, he seemed to become increasingly paranoid in his later years, and he certainly entertained some wild theories and made some extraordinary claims toward the end of his life. (Interestingly, as is the case with Wilber/Trivedi, these claims had to do with scientific proof of “life energy”—proof that has yet to be independently confirmed to anyone’s satisfaction.) It is truly sad and disheartening to feel that Wilber may be experiencing a decline in mental functioning. In any event, YOUR brain seems to be firing on all cylinders. Thanks again for the great comments!

    Jean: Yes, I too have felt uneasy for a long time about Wilber’s whole vibe, despite the fascinating work he’s done. I’ve been both criticizing him and appreciating him for the last 15 years. It’s quite possible that his brain is functioning just fine, but that he’s going more and more off the rails because his “divinely big” ego is allowed to run wild within the friendly walls of his very insular community.

    Joseph: Yeah, I’m not holding my breath that he’ll write another great book, although I read in a recent interview that he is “95 percent done” with finishing the five books that he’s been simultaneously writing for the last several years. We shall see…

  7. Joseph says:

    My feeling is there is a direct link between when the money started rolling, and the decline in Wilber’s work. I have an academic article forthcoming called, “LOHAS AND THE INDIGO DOLLAR: GROWING THE SPIRITUAL ECONOMY” in which I speculate:

    “The indigo dollar started rolling in 1998, with the founding of Wilber’s Integral Institute (I-I), intended to promote his vision of an integral worldview. I-I’s history claims that Internet entrepreneur Joe Firmage “announced that ‘there is nothing anywhere in the world that is doing what Integral Institute is doing,’ and then promptly donated a million dollars in cash”. No doubt Wilber genuinely considered the funding of the institute as a wonderful opportunity to share his integral vision, but in a few shorts years Wilber’s dry, pseudo-academic writings had been repackaged for a consumer market.”

  8. Blake says:

    There is a crap-load of this pseudo-science going around thanks to Wilber and Chopra (as well as others). For something to be “proven scientifically” it has to be studied, published and reviewed. The results of the experiment must be capable of replication. All these self-proclaimed gurus have are nothing more than stories.

    Now I am not for or against the study of integral anything. Maybe our thoughts alter the fabric of the universe and maybe they don’t. I don’t know! But for the love of all that is holy don’t lie to people and tell them that this has been proven scientifically! IT HAS NOT!

  9. acutia says:

    It’s good to know others have noted Señor Wilber’s ever increasing involvement with New Age Schisterism(Chopra, Hemi-sync). I have respect for some of his ideas, but as mentioned above his milieu is too sycophantic and riven with confirmation bias thinking.

  10. Thanks for your thoughtful review and for all the interesting comments with additional insights. I just found your site for the first time via a Tweet of someone I follow.

    I am a long time supporter and follower of Ken Wilber (about 15 yrs now, too), and have used the theories extensively in my work in mental health. I also have held out hope to have Integral taken seriously both in my writing and my work. But I too am growingly concerned about his health and his endorsements over the past few years and all of it saddens me. I see some of his other friends & followers feeling the same – we love him, his work, but we have independent minds and wonder what is going on. I find myself reading more other blogs about Integral (rather than the source) as time goes by.

    I hope that Ken is doing well and I wish him nothing but good more good days. I hope to one day see his books that I have been waiting for (for about 10 yrs) and hope to be surprised by the quality, but I am beginning to wonder. I have an endorsement of Ken Wilber on my site, but I am now worried that new followers to my site will click on the links and see this last endorsement and dismiss me immediately as someone who supports New Age Woowoo nonsense, when I have worked hard to be the opposite.

    thanks again, glad I found this.

  11. A Little Bird says:

    Some things to ponder related to this issue…

    It is a well-known fact that Ken Wilber is experiencing system failure at many levels. Perhaps in the pursuit of addressing his own health challenges, Ken has had his own direct experience of Trivedi’s energy transmissions (i.e. “blessings”) — in the form of healing, or at the very least, pain relief — but knows that such a subjective personal account would draw more fire than pointing at yet-to-be-fully-qualified “scientific evidence.” Is there a subtext here that has not been fully illuminated?

    The scientific research at this point is still in the pre-qualification stage and Trivedi knows this. He has been strategically pursuing studies in his home country and others for many years, knowing that the BIG game is here in the US. You might just be hearing about him, but he is not “new.” He has only just this last year or so come to the US with results of the studies he’s already had conducted in order to gain the attention of more mainstream researchers.

    Apparently, something IS happening, but none of the leaders in the fringe-science community (e.g. Chopra, Roy, et al) really seem to know what it is. It would be nice to wait for mainstream, peer-reviewed scientific research to produced indisputable results to make definitive statements as to validity of Trivedi’s claims, but I think it a mistake to claim him to be a charlatan or the like quite yet. Some people who’ve experience Trivedi in the “green room” might refer to him in other ways — “jerk,” “rude,” “elitist,” “heartless” — but none of them that I’ve experienced have said he’s “wrong” in his claims. In fact many of them just deal with their personal opinions of him and continue to support him because they deeply believe that the energy that flows through him is one of the great miracle phenomenons of our time. And then there are others that are maintaining personal/professional distance from him because his demeanor leaves much to be desired, but are not incredibly vocal about it because the jury is still out in the New Thought/Science High Court.

    My one-second point from all this: Trivedi has not been undisputedly debunked. This does not make him right …but it does not make him wrong either.

    The eagerness on the part of the other commenters on this thread to write Trivedi/Wilber off should be advised to take every case on the merit of the facts as they exist …there are a lot of facts here that have not been disclosed. Don’t be swayed to take either men at face value, but also don’t so easily get your tickets to the witch-burning. They are just two sides of the same coin.

  12. Kenan Branam says:

    First of all, I am not defending Wilber as an individual but accepting him as an imperfect human. As Wilber says, no one is “100% right or wrong”. Maybe, like all of us, he is vunerable to this human condition: At our present level of mass consciousness, we are still self-centered and egotistical. Therefore, as you mentioned, as we “glory in the light of” an ideal of a super human, God/Man, Man/God, God in Man’s Image, we glorify ourselves as a glorified species–a First Tier trap!

    Even Wilber suggests, we need to accept our “achilles heals” as part of the benefit of our evolutionary strengths: diversity and adaptability, freedom and creativity.

    Our Judgment, our concept of perfect vs imperfect, defines the Boundary of Our Separateness from Wholeness.

    Ken Wilber masterfully contributes a Map of Everything. He is a great intellectual and, even as I envy him, I am grateful that the world is not dependant on me to do that great work. Yes, I look for imperfections in him. For example, I suspect he is obsessed with his body (my shadow for sure) and that he might even suppresses his emotions (my shadow, too). So, he is a role model for me. If he can do great work that contributes to our global consciousness, then it might be possible for me, too. So, I go forward searching for my reason for Being Here Now.

  13. gergorylent says:

    one cannot spend much time around saints without coming to the conclusion that there is some unexplained “energy” stuff that is real. in any way of using that term.

    and all humans are wack in some part or another.

    so?

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  15. David says:

    Bob: “There’s always the possibility that Wilber is right-on about Trivedi, and that time will bear this out.”

    That’s an important point. A lot of scientism on this thread.

    Also, I’m not really sure, but I think it might be difficult for someone like Trivedi to find the most accepted scientists to take an interest in his work. Many might fear a loss of reputation for even putting these claims to the test, when they have not been disproven.

    I don’t think Randi is one of those accomplished scientists, so I do think we should drop him and his prize as the gold standard for such things. I know of one test of homeopathy that he observed during which he did magic tricks throughout the experiment and his fellow skeptic wouldn’t keep quiet even when the people performing the experiment asked him to. I know of another test of homeopathy that Randi dropped out of, apparently out of fear of losing the bet. So much for the Amazing Randi. Let’s have some real, accredited scientists do the work.

    Some people object to this not just because of the healing claims or the claims about improving crops and so forth but because they object even to the idea of subtle energies and that they can be transmitted from one person to another. These people simply have not enacted that worldspace and experienced those energies for themselves. There is immense phenomenological data from many cultures supporting the claim that these energies are something more than epiphenomena of the body.

    I also happened to see Mr. Trivedi and can tell you that at least in the realm of person-to-person shakti he is for real, though I cannot comment on the other claims.

  16. David says:

    Julian, many people do misinterpret Wilber’s integration of postmodern ideas in such a way that negates or denies the objective world, but that is not Wilber’s fault but theirs. He is quite clear that objective perspectives remain valid; in fact he has belaboured that point countless times in many different books and essays.

    Also, with regard to the “transcendent spirit,” I don’t think you do the argument justice when you dismiss it with “’cause we like that idea and some ancient big kahunas said so.”

    The ancient, big kahunas were mythic or magic; Wilber is not. It is your fault not his that you can’t tell the difference. You need to take the injunction much more fully if you want to weigh in on some of these things.

    The kind of Spirit Wilber refers to only comes up in more recent work like that of Aurobindo, Almaas, Shunryu Suzuki. Perhaps it emerged before that at some point, but Wilber is not referring to the Upanishads when he speaks of some evolutionary intelligence; he is referring to people like Aurobindo.

    It’s not just a Hindu idea; if you would like to read a Buddhist take on the same idea you can check out this link:

    http://suzukiroshi.sfzc.org/dharma-talks/?p=225#more-225

  17. Melitta says:

    I am concerned with how Kem Wilber could have worked and endorsed a charlatan and pseudo”spiritual leader” like Andrew Cohen?
    A.C is a shame to the name Cohen.
    I have met A.C personally attending a workshop and could feel his narcissistic egocentric energy right away, how come a man with the intelligence of Ken Wilber endorsed him? It puzzels me. It is possible that Ken Wilber has some physical sickness that is affecting his mind.

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  19. Gary Stamper says:

    After reading Ken’s rave endorsement, several members of the SeattleIntegral salon went and saw Guruji and, judging from posts on their Yahoo! list, were apparently less than impressed. Personally, I am “guru-phobic,” taking the best and leaving the rest, except when it comes to my semi-enlightened altered-ego, Sri Goji, who is so enlightened, he no longer has an aura…but he’ll have a couple of coronas….

    I don’t know know who to read anymore without at least some skepticism…

  20. little bird and david:

    don’t buy into the confused misuse of the old “scientism” accusation or the burden of proof fallacy.

    this is REALLY simple. trivedi claims scientific proof of something so extraordinary that it would forever change the history of human knowledge. it would be the biggest news in the history of news.

    we should not take this lightly! i for one would be thrilled, delighted, enthralled, if what followed was actual scientific evidence of the claims. but such is not at hand…. it is simply misleading to say so and then not provide it. no one who has taken more than 5 minutes to explore the website and seek out the touted “evidence” has reached any other conclusion.

    NO-ONE has to disprove trivedi’s claims, anymore than you would have to disprove my claim of being able to levitate in a dark room by myself, right? (even if i got deepak chopra to say he had seen photos that made it indisputable..)

    anyone can claim anything, anytime. when these claims are explicitly of an empirical nature then the reasonable course of action is to ask for empirical evidence. this is not “scientism,” it is sanity.

    david – yes many people misinterpret wilber – and that is their fault. he is at fault too, in not clarifying what he is saying while knowing full well the level of new age magical thinking present in the zeitgeist and unfortunately all through the so-called integral community.

    as to your assertion that wilber is not a magical thinker or mythic literalist – well, i would have agreed until i saw this endorsement, it’s tone, it’s fervor and narcissistic underpinnings. this of course made me think about adi da – and i wondered if perhaps the red flags have been here all along. of course he has worked hard to make the pre/trans distinction throughout his work – but the fact that even he is prone to this confusion is a cautionary tale on the nature of the spiritual psyche.

    ZERO harshness on ken, i love the man and the vast majority of his work – in fact that is why i think these distinctions need to be made so clearly and his decline needs to be underlined so as to separate this unfortunate moment of silliness from his general body of work! and so as to not let his legacy fall into the hands of the majority of new agey paranoid socially awkward wishful thinkers that have taken over the community – most of whom will follow the trivedi endorsement without a blink.

    as for the transcendent spirit discussion – thanks, yea i am familiar with the various sources and was ( as a long term meditator and yogi) quite impressed with the idea for some time – it no longer holds water for me and seems only slightly less inspired by wishful thinking and an overextending of subjective experience into objective reality than say, belief in the book of genesis.

    wilber fell time and again into a kind of intelligent design in indian drag trap – and most of his readers take this as a great argument for some kind of disembodied transcendent spirit/god/ghosty/sky-daddy by any other name.

    i think this is a mistake that is central to later stage integral dogma and it renders integral discussions vulnerable to incessant infiltration by everything from conspiracy theories to pseudoscience to psychics, astrologers, faux non-dual bragging non-meditators, snake oil salesmen and non-local charlatans in the name of being integral and holding an open space for the ultimate reality of the supernatural.

    wilber would have done the world a greater service to be more direct in his calling bullshit by its true name and carving out a space for grounded, intelligent, embodied, grown-up, practice-based spirituality. i miss his polemical voice form the 90’s, before the whole integral institute fiasco and the watering down of his brilliant ideas.

    as it is my predictons of the last 5 years are coming to pass. unfortunately, integral theory will most likely become a footnote on the wikipedia page about the cornball crap called the new age movement.

  21. David says:

    Julian, great to hear from you. Glad to see you still have the old spark. :)

    I see basically four possible responses to the Trivedi endorsement:

    1. “This is new age fluff! Such things could never be true! How absurd that Wilber would endorse something that so obviously has no basis in fact.” (This is the scientism view because Trivedi’s claims have not been proven wrong. This is not to put the burden of proof onto the skeptics but is simply to say there is no basis in fact at this time for calling Trivedi’s claims false.)

    2. “I am extremely skeptical about this. It sounds like new age fluff, it looks like new age fluff, it walks like new age fluff, it talks like new age fluff—I am tempted to say it is new age fluff, but that would be the scientism view since it hasn’t been proven wrong. So I have no choice but to stay open minded about it until there has been further testing, but I highly doubt anything will come of it.”

    3. “Wow! How cool! I had always intuited that something like this could be possible, especially after my experiences in chi gong and my Zen retreats. But of course we need to await further testing to see whether these claims hold up.”

    4. “It is a miracle! Trivedi is the second coming! He has healed cashews, mangoes, people. It has all been proven without a doubt; there have been tests. It is simply a fact: Trivedi is holy man, a miracle worker!”

    Now, in my view, the middle two positions, 2 and 3, are acceptable in an integral, postmetaphysical worldspace. In both cases it is said that further testing is necessary. The 2 response is highly skeptical; the 3 response is positive and enthusiastic, but both are withholding conclusions until further testing has been done.

    The 1 and 4 responses are both metaphysical in the sense that they have skipped the “three strands of deep science” and have come to hasty, dogmatic conclusions. Here is a great video that explains the idea of the three strands of deep science and why the 1 and 4 responses can be considered metaphysical:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wX_W1BB_0M

    If you read closely, you will see that Wilber’s endorsement is a 3. He is enthusiastic, positive, but at the end he says, “Much awaits further testing.” So it is simply a straw-man argument to suggest his was the 4 response.

    I think part of your skepticism, Julian, arises from a misunderstanding of Wilber’s interpretation of these energies. You have written that this type of energy relates only to biochemistry, the nervous system, the endocrine system, implying that Wilber’s position is that these energies are not ontologically dependent on the body. Have you read “Excerpt G: Toward a Comprehensive Theory of Subtle Energies”?

    In it Wilber offers an evolutionary view of subtle energies that does not follow the metaphysical interpretation of the wisdom traditions, which claims that these energies are not ontologically dependent on the body. In the evolutionary view he offers in Excerpt G the subtle energies are ontologically dependent on the body. He wants to show that metaphysics aren’t necessary, that these energies can be accounted for without them. He writes in the introduction,

    “In my opinion, we want to keep as much as possible of the great traditional systems while jettisoning their unnecessary metaphysical interpretations, interpretations that not only are not necessary to explain the same set of data, but interpretations that guarantee that spirituality will not get a fair hearing in the court of modern and postmodern thought.”

    He does offer, in case future evidence proves the evolutionary view wrong and the interpretation of the wisdom traditions right, “Hypothesis 4,” in which the subtle energies are not dependent on the body ontologically but dependent on the body for their expression. But that is the secondary view, only if future evidence demands it.

    It is clear in the Trivedi endorsement he is interpreting this energy in the evolutionary framework. If you want to have a look at Excerpt G I will paste the link below:

    http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptG/part1.cfm/

  22. Bluto says:

    I don’t relate to any of the “four possible responses” to Wilber’s endorsement of Trivedi that David lists. My response is to ask if a specific statement that Wilber has made in the context of his endorsement of Trivedi is warranted.

    This quote is from Wilber’s blog post about Trivedi:

    “What I am claiming—and supporting—is that Guruji’s capacity to conduct and transmit universal spiritual energy (or ‘shakti’) is utterly remarkable, as proven by scientific experiments themselves. It is these direct, specific, scientific experiments and their results that I am reporting, and on which I am basing my endorsement. This is a scientific conclusion, not a spiritual one (although, of course, you are free to make those as well—but I am reporting the direct science, which is indeed astonishing).”
    “To put it briefly, Mr. Trivedi has an empirically demonstrated capacity to alter the atomic and molecular structure of phenomena simply through his conscious intentionality.”

    We can rephrase this statement as follows:

    1. Trivedi has the capacity to alter the atomic and molecular structure of phenomena simply through his conscious intentionality.

    2. This has been empirically demonstrated and “proven” by “direct, specific, scientific experiments.”

    My response is not to the 1 but to 2, and my questioning this claim (no. 2) has nothing whatsoever to do with my developmental level or whether or not my question is “acceptable in an integral, postmetaphysical worldspace.” (If someone owes David a thousand dollars and they give him four hundred and claim that they’ve paid their debt in full, and David rightly says, no, you still owe me six hundred dollars, would David take the borrower seriously if the borrower said something to the effect that, “I only owe you six hundred dollars from within a first-tier, metaphysical worldspace, and maybe even from within an integral, post-metaphysical worldspace, but from my post-integral, post-post-metaphysical worldspace, I don’t owe you nothing!”? I hope David would not take such a hypothetical borrower seriously, and I hope David understands me when I say that my question regarding Wilber’s claim no. 2 above has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone’s “worldspace.”)

    Is Wilber’s unambiguous claim that Trivedi’s capacity to alter phenomena at molecular and atomic levels through intentionality is empirically demonstrated and “proven by scientific experiments” warranted?

    I’m not asking if Trivedi can do what Wilber claims he can do. I’m not focusing on that at all. I’m asking if Wilber is making a claim that is true beyond a reasonable doubt when he says that Trivedi’s alleged ability has been “proven by scientific experiments.” The burden of proof on this is on Wilber.

    Obviously, someone could play semantic games ad nauseum around the meaning of the phrase “proven by scientific experiments.” Or, someone could say that the experiments that Wilber refers to in his blog post on Trivedi do indeed “proove” what Wilber claims they prove, and that the only reason the majority of members of the scientific community has yet to accept this is because “they aren’t at our level” or something along those lines. (Keep in mind that this is the type of argument used by members of the Heaven’s Gate cult in defense of their claim that they had “scientific” knowledge of a space ship hidden behind the Comet Hale Bopp and that this space was a portal to the “Level Above Human.”)

    Also note that Wilber’s claim that Trivedi’s supposed powers have been “proven by scientific experiments” is an empirical claim. It is not a claim that requires anyone to “take up the injunction” to do some kind of spiritual practice and have the requisite mystical apprehensions which are then verified by a “community of the adequate.” Wilber’s claim is an appeal to the “community of the adequate” whose members belong to the scientific community. This includes all scientists: scientists who investigate and are open to the possibility of paranormal phenomena, scientists who are hardcore atheists, scientists who are into some form of Eastern spirituality, scientists who are skeptics, scientists who tend to be more credulous than skeptical, mainstream scientists, non-mainstream scientists, etc.

    If Wilber’s claim (no. 2) is unwarranted, and I think it is unwarranted, then what is it? I think it’s yet more of Wilber’s hyperbolic bullshit.

  23. David says:

    Hi, Bluto. The paragraph you have quoted was taken out of context. I don’t think it was meant to be the absolute claim you are claiming it is. If you take the endorsement as a whole, I think you will see that a more reasonable interpretation is that he thinks that, based on the tests that have been done so far, or at least some of them, Trivedi’s claims warrant further study.

    If you are interested in challenging the claim that those tests are even good enough to warrant more study, the next step for you would be to have a look at the tests and find some grievous fault with their methodology. I think we can assume that Wilber has and that he thinks that they are, while not absolute proof, good enough to warrant further study. We can also assume that Wilber does think that the tests have some problems or else he would just present them as conclusive proof rather than saying things like, “Much awaits further testing.”

    Also, when you say, “I think it’s yet more of Wilber’s hyperbolic bullshit,” do you think that will leave the impression that you are giving this a fair, objective shake? Wouldn’t you think that this sort of statement would leave the impression that you are not inclined to be scientific about this but rather make a judgment based on preconceived notions about Wilber or his other work?

  24. Bluto says:

    David, you say that my quote of Wilber “was taken out of context.” We disagree on that.

    You say that you don’t think it was meant to be the “absolute claim” that I am “claiming it is.” I did not claim that what Wilber said was an “absolute claim,” and I tried to make that clear by asking “if Wilber is making a claim that is true beyond a reasonable doubt when he says that Trivedi’s alleged ability has been ‘proven by scientific experiments.'”

    A claim that is true beyond a reasonable doubt or probably true is not to say that a claim is “absolute,” absolutely true, or certainly true.

    Your paragraph about “challenging the claim that those tests are even good enough to warrant more study” is not relevant to my comment. My comment, as I took pains to make clear, was only about whether Wilber’s claim that it is probably the case or is true beyond reasonable doubt that Trivedi’s ability to alter phenomena on molecular and atomic levels through intentionality is scientifically proven is warranted.

    Regarding my comment about yet more of Wilber’s hyperbolic bullshit and the impression that comment may give some readers, the fact is that my question about whether Wilber’s claim is warranted or unwarranted stands on its own, even if after posing the question I should swear, fart, belch, spit, say something “rude” and/or insulting about Wilber, etc. As to whether “this sort of statement would leave the impression that” I am “not inclined to be scientific about this but rather make a judgment based on preconceived notions about Wilber or his other work,” the reader’s impression of ME is irrelevant to the question I posed. It has no bearing whatsoever on the question I posed.

  25. David says:

    Of course I didn’t mean to use “absolute” in a literal way. Taking that one paragraph out of context you say that he is declaring that these claims have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but that is clearly not what he is saying. For example, he writes, “Clearly, this is all in the initial stages of testing and development.”

    And later he says, “Of course more testing needs to be done, but the initial results are very promising.” And then, “And if we can prove the structural power of this new energy using science then that’s going to help erase a lot of doubt and negativity about it.” (I would underline “initial” and especially “if” if we could here.)

    And at the end he writes, “Again, much awaits more testing.” So he has made it quite abundantly clear that he isn’t declaring that these initial tests have proven Trivedi’s claims beyond a reasonable doubt.

  26. Bluto says:

    David, I don’t say that Wilber “is declaring that these claims have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” Wilber is saying that when he says, as I quoted him above, ““What I am claiming—and supporting—is that Guruji’s capacity to conduct and transmit universal spiritual energy (or ‘shakti’) is utterly remarkable, as proven by scientific experiments themselves. It is these direct, specific, scientific experiments and their results that I am reporting, and on which I am basing my endorsement. This is a scientific conclusion, not a spiritual one (although, of course, you are free to make those as well—but I am reporting the direct science, which is indeed astonishing).”
    “To put it briefly, Mr. Trivedi has an empirically demonstrated capacity to alter the atomic and molecular structure of phenomena simply through his conscious intentionality.”

    Let’s put together the statements I singled out (or took out of context, as uyou see it), and one of the statements you quote from the same blog post and see what we have.

    We have Wilber saying that his Trivedi’s supposed “capacity” to alter molecular and atomic phenomena through intentionality is “a scientific conclusion,” “proven by scientific experiments themselves,” “empirically demonstrated,” and “Of course more testing needs to be done, but the initial results are very promising.”

    Why would Wilber say that something that is merely “very promising” has been “proven by scientific experiments”?

    IMO the reason is that Ken Wilber chronically resorts to hyperbole when hyperbole isn’t called for. If Wilber truly believes that Trivedi’s supposed “capacity” looks promising but that we cannot say more than that until more testing is done, why in the world would he say that Trivedi’s “capacity” has been “proven” by scientific experiments”?

    For effect. To evoke strong feelings in his readers. The technical word for this is hyperbole. Not all hyperbole is bullshit and not all of Wilber’s hyperbole is bullshit, but IMO a lot of Wilber’s hyperbole is bullshit and IMO his blog post about Trivedi is full of bullshit.

    We can agree to disagree.

  27. Anna R says:

    Oh honey, Wilber jumped the shark a long time ago. All that has declined over the years is his remarkable ability to verbally mesmerize. The caliber of his work remains the same.

  28. Luis Lagarde says:

    Trivedi can change the size of an ATOM using his brain, but he is unable to pronounce the word “brain” correctly? Yeah, right.
    And Wilber not only recycles things that Jung discovered and said decades ago: he recycles himself, writing (and selling) the same book time after time. Anything to keep the Integral Money-maker going on.

  29. Pingback: On the tragedy of debate club Integralism | Beyond Boundaries

  30. Steve says:

    Thanks to all for your perspectives. Not long ago for (serious) fun I asked a psychic what the (Unobstructed Universe) “other side” had to say about Ken Wilber. “Wet behind the ears,” came the response. I feel gratitude toward Ken, and now to all of his critics for bringing him into perspective. So we are all in the trenches and no one is out front. I feel immense relief in owning that. Enjoy!

  31. Dennis Lang says:

    I’m a freelance journalist exploring a possible feature story on the Trivedi Foundation–its inner workings, followers, supporters, validity of his works or lack thereeof– and find the comments above fascinating. Extremely early in the discovery stage, I sense only a considerable controversy surrounding Mr. Trivedi, even among his advocates, and that the initial attraction for a number of these devotees was the unequivecal endorsement of Mr. Wilber (whose work I’m not acqainted with). I invite any of you to contact me directly at dennislang07@comcast.net if you can provide illumination.
    Thank you

  32. Daisy Esmerelda says:

    Never read Wilbur, never heard of him until Deepak’s 2010 Sages & Scientists.

    Then, I started to know more about Wilbur than I ever wanted to. His preface to Cohen’s work tat included a narrative on “Rude Boys and Nasty Girls” being the best teachers became Trivedi’s excuse for sexual, physical, mental and emotional abuse of women. Anyone who supports Trivedi MUST be questioned in their ability to be a human being that operates with honor, truth and integrity. Therefore, I would conclude, Wilbur must be mentally incompetent because he is unable to realize who/what he is supporting. I hope he has established a Conservator to watch over his interests before the State steps in.

    Has Wilbur lost his mind? Very likely. Rustum Roy died after receiving multiple blessings from Trivedi and being in sound health. Hmmm, Trivedi gets to use Dr. Roy’s name and no one is around to challenge the findings, or is there?! Wilbur receives regular blessing and is losing his mind…hmmmm. A connection? Maybe.

    Trivedi preys on young women. 19-25 is his preference. If anyone can shed light on the Wilbur Trivedi connection, please do contact Dennis Lang above.

    I was there. I lived it. I survived it. Trivedi is evil incarnate and is being supported by Wilbur, Deepak and Claude Swanson. I have initiated IRS, ICE, DOL and next step is FBI to try and stop this person. He is violating US Labor law, may be here on a questionable visa and there are over 30 reported incidents of sexual abuse where victims have been threatened with harm to themselves or their families if they reported what happened.

    He has communal living houses where one woman was put out on the street in the Bay area, two in LA. One left her husband to follow Trivedi and was treated as garbage. They went from being “chosen” to “garbage” in 24 hours. Wow, how great can Trivedi be if he can’t make decent hiring decisions? Oh, that’s right he’s so darn gifted, we have to make excuses for him. Anyone who supports Trivedi (currently including Wilbur, Deepak and Swanson) supports domestic violence and violation of US law.

    Great article. I hope more people will speak up and bring this guy down before more innocents are hurt. We need to stop worrying about bin Ladin and his cronies and look what’s right in front of us, a parasitic infestation the the USA brought by Mahendra Kumar Trivedi and supported by Wilbur, Chopra, Swanson and various other influential Americans hoping to “make bank” on blessed products.

    Wake up everyone. The solution lies within each of us as individuals. Higher consciousness does exist but sexually aberrant gurus from India aren’t going to get you to Heaven any sooner than you might get there by doing your own work.

    My advice, stop giving your personal power away to charlatan guru’s from India. Geesh!

    • Dennis Lang says:

      First of all a word of gratitude to Daisy Esmerelda for taking the time to comment She is one of a number of former Trivedi insiders who have consented to a series of lengthy interviews. As astonishing as these reports are they are irrefutable. At one point I jokingly referred to Trivedi as the Hugh Hefner of self-proclaimed gurus. Until I discovered no one was laughing. His Godaddy.com women hunts are notorious within his Foundation but it’s the allegations of sexual abuse and other criminal improprieties that are now gathering momentum and warranting investigation.

      My research, now approaching two months began with the Materials Research Lab at Penn State, then under the direction of the late Rustum Roy. After three days of extensive testing they found nothing to validate any of Trivedi’s claims, including the supposedly “thousands” of studies performed in other countries: “flawed or biased”. And it was Trivedi who sought out Dr. Roy. Mr. Trivedi with the guidance of the Poneman’s–self-described “empire builders of affiliate networks” in the field, and a digital marketing wiz millionaire named Chris Clarke (google him if you never heard of him) are set on just that–empire building.

      Not a single person, scientist or otherwise has come forth to provide any view other than Mr. Trivedi is a fraud and he’s damaging lives in his path–except for those perhaps reaping a significant financial reward.

      This is a growing business folks, targeting the wealthy and celebrities, estimated over $7 million in 2011. I’ve seen the marketing plan and the “products” in the pipeline. If anyone reads this blog, the time to speak up is now. I can be emailed at dennislang07@comcast.net.

  33. Daisy Esmerelda says:

    Update: Dennis Lang has advised that he received a note from Deepak Chopra’s Executive Office on May 26th that includes in part; “Dennis, This is to reconfirm that Deepak Chopra does not endorse Trivedi.”

    Dennis, is currently seeking a response from Wilbur and Swanson in light of Dr. Chopra’s statement to see if they have any desire to reconsider their support.

    There is hope that honor, integrity and common sense will prevail in the end.

  34. Daisy Esmerelda says:

    Update 2:

    Dennis Lang has just shared that on May 28th, Claude Swanson responded; “Dear Mr. Lang, I DO NOT “ENDORSE” Mr. Trivedi and have asked that reference s to me on the Trivedi Foundation website be removed.”

  35. samuel joern says:

    I have studied Ken Wilber for quite some time now and all of his efforts have been centered around integrating all aspects of reality. The two major fields are science and religion. All of his books are presented with a scientific exploration of spirituality and if anything doesn’t have sufficient evidence then he says so. In terms of pseudoscience he is well aware of such people and he is not one of them. In integral spirituality he rips apart many well respected people because they are not integrating and providing sufficient explanations, because they are not integral they harm instead heal. All of them partial truths without the framework to bridge the gaps. I see in my own life that ken wilber has demonstrated a near unparalleled body of work and anyone who doubts him should take a more open minded approach and enter the perspective that he is coming from. I for one believe him and if his mental capacity is hindered then i am terribly sorry, but if anyone knows the ordeals he has gone through with his sickness then they would understand why this would happen to him. I send my most positive intent of healing towards him and so should you. He is a beacon of truth and i sincerely hope that he lives at his fullest potential for the rest of his life

  36. Don Carlson says:

    The assumption is that ‘Jumpin’ Sharky poo’ is the inside (Hollywood) joke that TV script writers have run out of creative steam. Possibly. Or is it just another ‘Shadow’ on the wall of the cave story (ie, creative crew of the Fonz ‘Rock Around the Clock’ show just got tired of it all an wanted to move on – can’t literally pull the plug so we’ll put up the absurd and let them force us).

    Mr. Wilber has gotten a lot us out of philosophical ‘caves’ and has shed enormous clarifying light on highly difficult metaphysical topics. Also has showed us the genuine ‘caves’ and the bogus ‘caves’. But, as this blog knows, we keep our humor for just as we get ‘kicked’ out of one cave, but find ourselves in another. Always the seeker, eh? (when asking “did it begin with the Big Bang or some simply at some incipient moment in time?” a psychic friend answered, ‘No! Everything within this life or on the Other Side (Heaven) makes circles. Everything is infinite. Without end or without any sharp edges to it. The magnitude of Creation is far beyond most finite minds’ wildest dreams or concepts’).

    I side with the folks who show great respect for Ken. I’m currently reading ‘Quantum Questions’ and in my quest to harmonize science & religion (spirituality) he’s earned my money (and I watch my ‘indigo’ pesos).

    Of course it’s not all Ken as all you hip gnostic (aka, truth seekers), ‘buddic’, metaphical skeptics know. For me the next book (jounery) is ‘The Christ Blueprint –
    13 Qualities of the Masters’. Running down the list of the Thirteen, Mr. Wilber’s writing and his current physical condition (which is really another KW book talking to us) has championed quite a few of them: Oneness, Polarity, Holy Love, Power, Black Light, Humility, Regenerator, Divine Will, Loving Wisdom, Alchemy, Sun, Compassion, Holy Law.

    I don’t know if Mr. Wilber has said this, but I have always look at this Earth as our schoolhouse – we’re all here learning for ourselves and for God. If one is so mystical and knowing then you wouldn’t need to be here (save for the Dark, they just recycle, the pinheads, but hey, I know, without them fu**kers we wouldn’t learn that we are LIGHT; wouldn’t perfect). For all I know Mr. Wilber’s ‘Theme’ is spirituality (definitely not ‘Loner’) and so Big Kudos to the Man and his great accomplishments.

    With that said, Mr. Wilber cannot be excused from some critical review (such a ‘cat kickin’ world we live in ;-). As Mr. Robert Sanburg points out(www.integralworld.net, APR08):
    “Wilber started off in the 1970s as a popularizer of the then still relatively little known tradions of eastern thought and philosophy, a la Alan Watts. Like Watts he popularized much important, good stuff. But unlike Watts, in the years subsequent to his early work, Wilber often tries to take credit where not is due. Ken Wilber has been referred to as the Einstein of consciousness…his studends, admirers and those who have yet to discover his writing might be better off if they would think of Ken Wilber as the Asimov of consciousness, not its Einstein.
    An interesting, not often noted fact about Wilber is that he was raised a fundamentalist Christain. A comparison between Wilber’s style of communicating with hostile or unsympathetic readers, listeners, and critics, and the contrasting style and approach of another contemporary writer about science – Edward O Wilson, might be instructive here. Wilson, like Wilber, was raised a fundamentalist Christain. And, also like Wilber, Wilson often writes with the intension of inspiring and exhorting his readers to behave more responsibly on this small, shared, and very fragile planet.
    …Both Wilson and Wilber have move beyond the fundamentalist beliefs of their youth. Both have spent many years thinking and writing about evolution, and both have devoted years of time and effor to spreading the gospel of evolution. But Wilson is the more effective in his reliance on and devotion to the scientific method and the norms of communicating scientific discoveries to not only his colleagues and peers but the public in general.
    Wilber’s story isn’t finished yet. Being compared to Asimov is just a small episode in a much larger story that includes us all.”

    A blessing to Mr. Wilber: “May and the white light of the holy spirit comfort and protect Ken and may our eternal parents, Mother & Father God, continually hold him in grace”.

    Don Carlson
    Colorado Springs, CO

  37. Jen says:

    I’ll always love Wilber for contributing a vocabulary that made “spirit” valid in the postmodern landscape, and I think of him as an Emersonian heir. With compassion, I’d consider that his illness must affect both mood and cognitivite ability. I wish I could introduce him to the research of Stephanie Seneff, PhD, researcher at MIT, who writes fascinatingly about sulfur deficiency and the connection to glucose metabolism, metabolic syndromes & muscle wasting. (She would recommend eating meat, or at least eggs, for sulphur, which I doubt the rather “ascending” Wilber would ever consent to.) Another excellent source, linking psychological health with the state one’s bacterial health is Natasha Campbell-McBride; gut dysbiosis, or unhealthy balance of intestinal flora, directly affects brain functioning. It’s also interesting to consider a link between bacteria, epilepsy & hallucination; the brilliant Emily Dickinson suffered from epilepsy; we now know that gut dysbiosis is a factor in epilepsy; Dickinson’s epilepsy contributed to her poetic visions. I have wondered to what degree Wilber’s “nondual” experienes might have been hallucinatory and the result of physical factors such as bacterial and viral infection.

  38. Penney says:

    I have read many of Ken Wilber’s books, starting with Grace and Grit. I was impressed with his apparent extreme intellectual ability, decided that everything he has to say just must be correct and made the mistake of not reading his works critically. Perhaps having a lesser intellect, it is not possible for me to read his works critically…
    However, I now see that his understanding of evolution is one of intelligent design/creationism, which has been scientifically disproved. I should have realised that as I have a science degree. So here comes the shame that none of us are quick to admit, “I am gullible/unintelligent enough to have been duped.”
    That doesn’t invalidate all of Ken Wilber’s works, BUT it should make me more cautious. It has, and, for example, I find that his endorsement of various scary “gurus” (as mentioned above) very dangerous for those who do not (or are not able to) read critically.
    If I may comment on the healing/or not issue.
    In the 1960s my mother discovered a lump in her breast. She was sent by her GP into hospital for a biopsy, perhaps mastectomy. While waiting to go in, she wrote to Harry Edwards, the Spiritual Healer (this is in the UK – Burrows Lea Healing Sanctuary – still in operation after the death of Harry Edwards in the 1970s.) She asked for distant healing – that is, healing “sent” but not face to face contact. Harry Edwards replied asking my mother to tell him what time her surgery was scheduled for. She did. The surgeon came to see her, and noted the lump was placed at the “11-o-clock” position on her breast. For some reason, and this is unusual, he returned and examined her for a second time. The lump had gone and she was sent home (even though she had had a pre-med which upset her and she was vomiting.)
    I might add that Harry Edwards charged nothing for his healings. His Sanctuary was maintained by donations from grateful patients.
    Now what does this mean?
    The nurse said, “Coincidence.”
    My mother said, “Harry Edwards did this.”
    Was there a placebo effect – is this possible for this type of complaint?
    Did she just have a simple fluid filled cyst that ruptured? We can’t know.
    My mother has never had cancer, or any other lumps… (She is now 92.)
    Harry Edward himself wrote that he begged the medical fraternity to examine his work and his cures. They refused. He cured many people of all sorts of conditions (including me, another story).
    Harry Edwards first started healing during WWII when he felt compassion towards a wounded compatriot and the urge to place his hands on the man. He did not train to be a healer, it just happened.
    Now, Harry Edwards could attract criticism for being a Spiritualist and regularly attending seances. “New Age” nonsense. However, he never became a “guru,” demanded a following of “fawners,” or showed narcissism.
    What do we make of all that? Do we allow some leeway as long as the healer is not abusive and has results, even if not scientifically proven (a la Randi for example)? Results, hype (as in the AOG “church”), wishful thinking, or placebo, that is the question.

  39. Don Carlson says:

    “Everything is a miracle or Nothing is a Miracle”. Albert Einstein

    Mr. Wilber would probably take, as I do, umbrage in Penney’s comment:
    “…his understanding of evolution is one of intelligent design/creationism, which has been scientifically disproved”.

    This is saying ‘Intelligent Design’ or ‘The Special Creative Force’ cannot be falsified and consequently is not science

    In Quantum Questions, Mr. Wilber has tried to point out that if the criticism about science and religion boils down to “science is genuine” and “religion is nonsensical”, the battle can never be resolved. The only real battle is between genuine science and bogus science and between genuine religion and bogus religion. Where “genuine” means experientially verifiable (or refutable) and “bogus” means dogmatic, non-experiential. Where the “subjectively experienced” is falsifiable. Religious experience (as direct apprehension) passes the scientific test if it is experiential, repeatable and public. For example, the transmission of Buddha’s enlightenment over the centuries disproves the claim religious experience is private and non-communicable.

    If science is defined as “knowledge” (not instrumentally validated knowledge) then contemplative religion becomes a form of science (eg, science of yoga, science of mediation, science of creative intelligence, Science of Mind). Physics becomes a branch of the Tree of Science: The Medium, The Mystic and The Physicist.

  40. Dennis Lang says:

    Just noted this blog is still alive. I discovered it in the spring of 2011 when beginning research on the practice of Mahendra Trivedi for a feature magazine story. For anyone interested much of the ongoing discovery of Mr. Trivedi can be found at Purqi.com. A website created in June 2011 by former Trivedi employees.

  41. chris johnson says:

    Wilber is pulling your leg.

  42. Michael Maday says:

    I checked this blog to see if there anything on Ken’s current state of health. This piece is about it, and it leaves much to be desired. Has Ken lost it? Somehow I doubt it, but I don’t know. As for this piece on Guruji, I am embarrassed by all the hardened opinions from those whom I somehow doubt have ever experienced “Shaktipat.” Having an opinion based on no evidence, is itself not very scientific. I am inclined to give Wilber the benefit of the doubt.

    • in service of truth says:

      Even before my Eastern and later Western tradition studies and practises, then later a glimpse into the Quantum realm, I believed in such potentials and experienced many things including energies.
      Even so, I thought I’d checked the science behind this and like many other intelligent spiritually orientated people had thought it to be accurate.
      That was 2 years ago and I had been receiving and until recently experiencing some kind of energy that at first seemed positive. I found it difficult to see him in a good light and despite that I had warmed to other gurus in the past I puzzled why not so with him.
      Now with clearer perspectives I can understand it is because he has no warmth.
      I was there for my health and how that effects my finances, as it was marketed using such common hooks. Luckily I was not interested in him as a guru.
      So 2 years later and instead of improvements in these and other areas such as harmony in relationships they are all worse the finances in particular as more obvious for measuring.
      Shakti _ is that not a feminine energy . There seems to be considerable witnessing of his utter disrespect of females. That I believe will contain the seeds of his downfall.
      Basically many of those that would have believed, even without the science, are either now turning away or joining in with the truth seeking, with intention that the vulnerable be protected from him.
      I wholeheartedly thank them for their bravery in publicly standing up to such corruption and tyranny on behalf of the victims.
      That many of those victims will become stronger and play a part in either helping others and or his fall from power is my prediction. They as the earthly instruments of the Divine Purpose , which he has not only taken for his own aggrandisement but used to harm others with. So it may well seal him off and throw away the key, where he can no longer do harm.
      That we will see Divine energy achieve the miraculous in near future days I have no doubt. We are blessed to live in such times. namaste

  43. Pingback: The Rise And Fall of Ken Wilber

  44. Jack Weber says:

    Would Wilber really endorse this guy and allude to this scientific evidence if it did not exist. Bob, you say that the science was only carried out by Rustum Roy? Didn’t someone mention that there are 1,000s of experiments done (I am trying to scroll up to see where it was stated but cannot find)…maybe they will show up and we can deal with the facts, or not…

  45. DavidL says:

    With respect to the late Prof Rustum Roy’s endorsement of M K Trivedi mentioned in some of the posts, I note that his colleague Dr Tania Slawecki has stated …he asked that his name be removed from the Trivedi Foundation website. After many nagging e-mails sent on his behalf, they complied for awhile, but then re-posted his early endorsement again once he passed away. Rustum passed away on August 26, 2010.”
    See http://www.personal.psu.edu/~tms9/trivedi.html

  46. My personal take is that outliers, like Itzhak Bentov once said(there’s a youtube video), can be found easily found in mental institutions. A life of extreme intensity and focus on non-ordinary things is not easily handled by anyone, and it wouldn’t be different with outliers like him.

    If i were him i’d just live an ordinary life and get some non-integral vacation to chill out. After all, integral theory is just another interpretation of the objects and its relations in the relative realm. In the absolute, there’s only I.

  47. Michelle says:

    It seems that the results of studies conducted on Mahendra Kumar Trivedi are on the website. I’m not sure what you mean by a lack of proof. Anyway, when it comes down to having something that is incurable like cancer, aids, population pollution, poverty, a snake oil doctor might be your best bet.

  48. mike says:

    one thing is for sure, believing is not knowing.
    criticizing from a distance, which seems to be the best many of the respondents in this “another blog” , can do is just the usual grey matter, chased by the grey matter eaters. How about commenting after a bit of actual experience. doing otherwise is cowardly.
    ken wilbur bases his endorsements on his experience with people.
    what do the critics on this blog base their comments on ? any actual experience with
    Trivedi ? Adi Da ? most of you are little better that gossips .
    get a life .
    mike

  49. Matthew Ahern says:

    I’ve not even been following Wilber through the years nor the changes that have occurred with him. But I do see a set of stereotypical humans so seemingly presiding over a sense of entitlement that they may judge another in any way and its really somewhat revolting. Take what you will from his work and judge not. It’s neither yours or anyone else’s to do so. Reading ‘comments’ is what makes humans look so silly in their narrow attempt to assign their own assessment of someone’s work and or their individual person. I’m not sticking up for Wilber, I don’t know enough about him nor his work I am simply sticking up for the obvious. Why give so much energy to anyone or anything? Listen, learn, experiment and adjust. Simply let your own ego go out of the equation. Accept or not accept but don’t linger and judge for the sake of one’s own inner conflict with an idea. What a waste of time.

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