A Transpersonal Psychology View of What The Hell is Happening
Ken Wilber is noted for his contributions to transpersonal psychology theory. He presents a map or topology of consciousness where both western psychology and eastern meditative traditions, when viewed together, present a spectrum of development. He basically outlines a developmental arc from birth to transcendence.
I discovered Wilber back in the early 1980’s while processing a series of “non-ordinary experiences.” I stumbled across Wilber’s conceptions in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology (no longer in print). His founding works are “The Atman Project” and “Spectrums of Consciousness.” Below are a couple of links that present a more clear and concise presentation. It’s highly recommended to do a quick read (maybe several times) to help gain some conceptual orientation for today’s post.
The first link is of Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D., the Executive Director of the American Institute for Learning and Human Development.
The Stages of Life According to Ken Wilber | Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. (institute4learning.com)
… 6. Formal-Reflexive: This stage most closely approximates Jean Piaget’s stage of formal operational thinking, which begins in late childhood/early adolescence. Here the teen is able to leave concrete objects behind and simply think about thinking (he now, for example, can solve equations in algebra). The teen is able to think reflexively (in other words, he can see himself thinking) and thus is able to entertain a pluralistic and critical way of dealing with life issues and topics.
… 7. Centaur (Vision-Logic): Here the soul or self begins to transcend the verbal ego-mind and integrate all aspects of previous stages including not only verbal, cognitive, and emotional ego states, but also the Jungian-derived “shadow” (or the complementary aspects of unconscious processes). This stage is characterized by autonomy, integration, authenticity, and/or self-actualization, and is the final stage belonging to the Personal category in Wilber’s theory. Now begins the Transpersonal realms.
… 8. Psychic: Here the individual begins to transcend the egoic states of the previous levels. This stage brings with it the possibility of psychic experiences such as clairvoyance, precognition, and other parapsychological phenomena, and also transcendent states of being related to gender identity (e.g. androgyny), ecological understanding (e.g. shamanism), identification with a World Soul (e.g. Gaia), and other holistic ways of thinking, seeing, and being…
Wilber’s model of development continues through the Subtle, Casual and Non-Dual levels.
The second link is of Joseph Dillard, a psychotherapist, author and educator. Dillard provides a view of the subjective experience of Wilber’s developmental levels.
“What is your next level of growth? Understanding Wilber’s Developmental Stages.” https://www.integraldeeplistening.com/understanding-wilbers-developmental-stages/
These two links are of note, because they provide a quick, concise and more accessible view of Wilber’s model. Of course, the model has changed over the past 40 years since my introduction to Ken Wilber. For folks unfamiliar, the links provide a foundation, background or orientation to this week’s post. The rabbit hole is deep and there is much more. Wilber’s model, for me, provided a framework and orientation in which to hang the many seemingly divergent pieces of information during my adventures in psychology, consciousness and career in public mental health.
So What? As mentioned in my posts in the past, during the past 10-14 years I have taken a deeper dive into the rabbit hole of “what the hell is going on, on this planet?” Wilber’s work has ventured far beyond individual development. His work has looked at the development of society, culture and general human expression on this planet.
First, the circle represents that ground or Atman.
The bottom half represents the stew.
The top half represents the emergence of consciousness.
Quadrant A, The Ego, Quadrant B,
Tribal, Ego and Unity and The Pre-Trans fallacy.
The reason I’ve referenced Wilber’s model and conceptions. Is that it’s relatively simple and provides a framework for understanding what we are going through currently on this planet.
Not to get too far off into the weeds. This model reflects not only an individual’s development but also the development of mindset or Zeitgeist levels/stages of humanity’s development or history on the planet.
And a range of time from the past 2000 years to the most recent 20 to 50 years. We have been in rational ego level but there are also the residuals of the social-tribal mindsets. We can see this as nationalism, geopolitical boundaries, colonialism that extend on to ideas of the family and the emergence of the individual ego self. In a sense, the ego is thought to be a product of a person’s family, community-tribal environment. Thus, the individual-ego with its language thoughts, emotions and behaviors are relative to their family or tribal-cultural embedding.
Yet with the development of an autonomous-ego, there is also rational, scientific empiricism and all other various forms of ego. A basic axiom of developmental theory is that after that stage is fully mature/developed, there comes a time that it’s function even at full capacity eventually experiences its limits and will either stagnate at its current level or transcend to the next level. (However, if there are stressors that overwhelm its capacity, the individual/system could also regress back to a former/lower level of functioning, e.g., “mad max world” tribalistic). And as we see the limits of ego we also face our shadow parts of the ego and then ultimately on to the facing the ego’s functioning limits. An individual/society then realizes and has a choice to stagnate, devolve-regress or transcend. The ego has run its course of usefulness. I wonder if we have reached this threshold and we are seeing some folks, holding on for dear life, some are fearful of regressing to a mad max world and others are relinquishing-surrendering the world of the ego and moving on to “unity” consciousness?
Have we exhausted the capacity of the ego? Or that our pursuit of the ego can no longer be sustained. And realizing that we need to move beyond the concept of the ego. Side note: it is often mistaken that when we make a developmental change; the current and lower/former levels development no longer exist. This is incorrect. These lower/former levels still exist, are available and its utility still works. But its utility/function has been maximized; no longer meeting the new/higher challenges of the next level. Thus, a new level of utility/capacity emerges at the next level of development. A person/society still has access to the former or lower rung on the developmental ladder but the lower rung of operation isn’t all that useful.
Let’s presume that we are currently at the apex of ego development with rational empirical scientific capacity. And in this developmental stage we have pursued and established the ego as the ultimate avatar or state of being. For the past two thousand years, more recently in the industrial, informational and now digital age, the ego and science are king. And now we are at the threshold and being challenged to realize there is more to life on this planet than the worship of the ego, rational thought and scientific empirics. If we continue the worship of rational, scientific empirics and of the individual ego we see that will not end well for the planet.
Of course, we also have some remnants of the social-tribalism. Looking at this social-tribalism-ego brew is enmeshed with the generational war models. What we are seeing now is some of the world is still working on the fifth generation of the war model and there is a movement toward the sixth generational war model.
So how do models of generations of warfare relate to today’s post? Simply, that if human development on this planet has included the notion of survival, the rise and decline of tribes, nations, states and now corporations. If we are now in the terrain and environment of modern corporations. Then the behaviors, thoughts and feelings make sense as to the actions of the thoughts, emotions and behaviors of corporations. Some folks note it is a battle of information, rhetoric/narrative/censorship, digital processing-control of centralized vs. de-centralized technology, etc. I wonder if we are seeing the survival behaviors (war) of the corporate ego? With corporations having individual rights, gives them the conceptual foundation that they can defend themselves against all that they perceive as a threat. Corporations, via contracts, whether in human resources, various forms of administrative codes, laws and litigation, etc. have been deemed as an entity with rights to defend itself. This is an elevation of status from the mere economics of a business that lives or dies on providing a relevant and useful service or product. Thus, currently we see have the drama of the corporation vs individual. Also, we are seeing the corporation vs communities. Some battles are the corporation vs individuals and other battlegrounds are the corporation vs a group of individuals who have formed a community or tribe.
Given this conceptualization, the corporates (the tribal leader/elites) are fighting as ego-leaders, with the tactics of power and control. Perhaps some realize that individuals forming communities are no longer tribal, but are/have evolved to forming a unity consciousness. This newer unity consciousness has transcended the traditional tribal identities and boundaries to a larger community that has matured to recognizing common values, such as rights to individual sovereignty, access to education, wellbeing, clean water, non-modified food, etc. The issue for the corporation state, is they have deterioration of support that has been noted as “quiet quitting,” no longer a single source of mainstream news and no longer has the resources (money) or avenues of administrative/law regulations to enforce control. I’d imagine that at some level, that this is recognized by corporate elites and therefore the push for centralized control mechanisms (tactics) of fifth and sixth generation warfare.
A fascinating battlefield is that of AI and trans-humanism. Which is merely a high-speed calculations and search-find functions in a database that is repeated with high efficiency as to time. But still has challenges of energy, space, infrastructure of the “cloud”and adoption. The other side of this battlefield is human development. Specifically, into the realms of “Centaur: Vision-logic” and onward to the “Psychic” levels of development. The emerging of the Centaur: Vision-logic has past the early stages of innovation/acceptance (see rate of adoption curve) and is on the rise and has reached critical mass. Both evidence the fractionalization of the national/tribal identity to the uprising of the individual with autonomy and sovereignty; which has been on the rise in the populace for at least the past 200 years. And now in since the 1950’s there is a rise of the “psychic” consciousness. In the past 20 years there has been an explosion of psychic like notions of the new age movement. These have been from early experiences of spiritualism in the late 1800’s and into the 1900’s, occult, divining, hypnosis, meditation, and now channeling, remote viewing, quantum hypnosis, brain wave entrainment, heart-health coherence and other esp/psychic phenomenon. The battle field issue for the ego corporate control, is that they require funding for expensive technology, exotic metals, digitalization and central control that requires massive resource mining for silver, lithium, cobalt and exotic minerals, huge computing facilities and extensive administrative personnel that requires an expensive education to maintain this machine. Perhaps the corporate elites can no longer afford or even control this extensive and expensive infrastructure of this generation of warfare? They have very little ability to control the awakening/growing populous who are claiming their divining sovereignty. In fact, the corporation only has the ability for crude tactics of diversion, distraction, mis-information, to shout rally cries against an unseen foreign and domestic terrorist, etc. Basically, it is a divide-and-conquer strategy. Whether it is a pandemic, global economic melt-down, nuclear threat, asteroid collision, climate change or alien invasion. The point is, more regular folks now understand the corporate battlefield strategy and tactic. And the growing number of sovereign folks are awakening to their ability and task to create an existence on this planet that has more integrity, compassion and gracefulness. And thus, unity consciousness has superior moral authority. While corporations can only muster “we are too big to fail.”
The awakening folks realize that merely withdrawing their attention from external drama storms and realizing/understanding that an internal sense of autonomy and sovereignty, one understands it is one’s individual moral authority and our responsibility to change. That in changing our understanding of our self (identity), our relationships with others and claim our responsibility to create our unity reality.
A side note about proof: At the ego stage, proof is the process of external validation. The standard is methodology, measurement and statistical confidence. If making widgets, testing, tolerance, theory and mathematical/statistical coherence are king. This is the power of the rational, measurable, testable that is ordained in the institutions of academia, peer review and adopted/funded by alignment with corporate doctrine. Verses the earlier tribal mentality, it was based on divinely ordained authority, ritual incantations and some resulting magical phenomenon or of seemingly magical events of a little-known solar eclipse.
Whereas, at the psychic level, proof also includes the internal standard of integrity, compassion and gracefulness in the moral relationship of the whole or unity. Thus, the questions of: Is this equitable, how does this acknowledge and respect both individuals and the community, how does this enhance or uplift the quality of life for the community/unity, etc.? This is a change from either/or dichotomy to a transcending premise of both/and. From the realm of the ego, which is a dichotomy of self/other… either/or, the ego has a very difficult time contemplating the death of itself. It is unable or cannot transcend without its symbolic death. The ego is able to face the death of its self, at some point, realizes that the only reasonable option is to surrender and sacrifice its self. Not because it wants to, but because it see there are former friends or beings that are having much more fun, joy, love and being-ness. And only in that act of surrender realizes that the world of the ego was a very limited existence and there is a greater benefit of unity… and thus accepts that one is gratefully dead.
Peace, love and light!
PS. This is the first post/test post on this new platform. Apolgoies for it being a tad late. Hope this works. Stay tuned and this get re-constructed. Thanks!