Indeed, Ken Wilber has always been my fav philosopher (psychological theorist and writer in the technical realm). His newest book (The Religion of Tomorrow: A Vision for the Future of the Great Traditions, a welcomed one by me is 800 pp and reminds me of when he let loose his intelligence and skills for synthesis in 1995 when he published his other 800 pp book (Sex, Ecology and Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution).
I want to say only a few introductory remarks of why I care about his work (note: I am also always critical of it too). First, of the 3 endorsements on the jacket cover of The Religion of Tomorrow, one of them is by the very progressive Father Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation, he wrote, "Ken Wilber is today's greatest philosopher and both critic and friend to authentic religion, a true postmodern Thomas Aquinas." Wow. That's quite the statement by Rohr. I'm sure a whole lot of philosophers will really not be at all happy about it.
Anyways, also want to say I have only scanned a few pages, and mostly I studied the Index for about 2 hrs today as the book just arrived in the mail. Because I also create book Indexes for people's work and my own work, I am very sensitive to reading how an Index reflects really important things about where a book and/or an author is coming from. It's a bit like reading tea leaves, you might say. Anyways, my thrill (and surprise) in looking at the Index of The Religion of Tomorrow is that the entry title word that gets by far the most sub-entries is the term dysfunctions. What does Wilber mean by that? I'll get to that shortly, but first, let's get the gist of his reason for writing this book (well, there are many). I am convinced he wrote it because he knows that this world is pretty much fucked, and it won't be long before it is near unlivable, unless "religions" get their act together and up-grade to the knowledge available in the 21st century (including what science has to offer). Simply, he is saying we don't need to toss all religion, it merely needs to grow up. He more or says, all the great traditions of religions (E and W) are about 1000 years over due for a re-write. And, he is writing it because religions, and the nature of religiousity in human lives is major in influence. With so many around the world involved in religion(s) and religiousity (and/or spirituality) they can have an enormous impact on helping people either stay immature or mature-- "Grow Up" as Wilber says it in a very unique and complex way (i.e., developmentally, evolutionarily). I won't say more in this blogpost about that part of his agenda.
I realized in the book Index, that what most attracts me to Wilber's work, which I have followed since 1982 long before he started to become famous globally, is his diagnosis of pathologies at all levels and all complexities--of which he does so well as a philosopher and psychology theorist. His work is unsurpassed here, and his simple term (he has not used much before this new book) is dysfunctions. Cool, it is a systems thinker's word. It also has a bit of a clinical touch to it. I like that too. I am, as you may see in an earlier blog I wrote on advanced psychopathology of fear, very interested and specializing for years in pathology recognition, diagnosis and treatment--to use those rather blunt terms. It is a complex thing, pathology and who gets to "define" it and make "meaning" of it and how it can so easily, unfortunately, be used to attack people from power-elite positions (e.g., psychiatry at its worst). I won't go into that long discussion here.
So, here's what I recognized cogently today. Wilber has two major projects in his tome of works. He has his evolutionary Enlightenment project of liberation of consciousness--something, familiar to the religious and spiritual types and discourses throughout human history. He wants people to "Grow Up" (keep learning and maturing) and finally to "Wake Up" (see through all illusions of what is Real). You can read Wilber to better understand the nuance of his version of the Enlightenment project (E. and W.).
Now, as cool and interesting as Wilber's Enlightenment project is, I have not always been so interested in all its anatomy of consciousness, and meditation practices in a traditional sense, etc. That's not so much been my path, though I can respect it too. What I really am specializing in, and always have been attracted to is his brilliant analysis of dysfunctions (pathologies, by any other name). His Integral approach to the pathological is essential to complement the more positive and "fun" stuff of looking at Enlightenment and liberation of consciousness. Though, of course they are intertwined. The pathological theorizing of Wilber is more on the "Shadow-side" of existence, and he has developed a very complex lexicon of terms that could be placed under "dysfunctions." Again, no term in the Index in his latest book is near close to the length and detail that is found under this term "dysfunctions." I love that emphasis and I will be writing more in later blogs about what this 1/2 of Wilber project is all about and how I have brought it in as a major (not only) contribution to how I approach the pathology of Fear ('fear'; the 'Fear' Project), etc.
So, I'm just giving you a heads up of some blogposts coming on linking Wilber's Integral theory (and philosophy) with my fear and fearlessness stuff... re: "dysfunctions" at all levels of Reality... not just simple "physical" or "psychological" as we normally understand thinking and imagining about "pathology" or "dysfunctions"-- this stuff is complex and really interesting, and if I do a good job, hopefully I can help you all understand Wilber's contribution to pathology (and immaturity that is prolonged) in the human and systems worlds...