Integral Theory

There is a tremendous body of work available on the subject of Integral Theory.   It comes from the idea to ‘integrate.’   That is, to bring disparate parts together into a synergistic whole.  Its principle author is a philosopher by the name of Ken Wilber.   Wilber sought to provide maps for those interested in rising to higher levels of consciousness.

He approached the problems of humanoid existence from a completely different perspective than L. Ron Hubbard.  Hubbard’s approach could be characterized as more ‘subjective’ whereas Wilber’s was more ‘objective.’   Hubbard tackled the problem of what was eating him, figured out how to deal with it and developed a technology to share the route.  It was a masterful process of elimination – differentiating those datums that assisted his journey from those that did not, and then codifying the former while rejecting the latter.  His rejection of that which did not assist his route was done in the most emphatic terms, emphasis perhaps added in part, to clearly differentiate his route.  In this regard, he was unparalleled in his ability to detect and label what and who was ‘wrong.’  His emphasis became dissociation and exclusion from other thoughts and ideas.

Conversely, Wilber began with the proposition that ‘everyone is right on some level’.   All routes have a place somewhere on a bigger map.  His emphasis was on association or inclusion.  He looked for the common denominators of great religious, philosophic, contemplative, and psychotherapeutic practices over centuries and placed particular emphasis on objective indicia of workability. From that he developed scales outlining evolutionary phases, levels, and states that people went through from birth to the highest states of consciousness.  Whereas Hubbard was the founder of a mental/spiritual practice or lineage, Wilber was more a philosopher/academic who mapped common denominators of many practices and lineages.

Probably in part due to the vehemence with which Hubbard rejected and condemned other routes, and his established reputation for severely punishing critical analysis of his route, apparently even though Wilber approached the matter with the stable datum that ‘everybody is right on some level’, Scientology was never included in the analysis (at least it was never mentioned).

Ironically, at the end of the day, the work of Hubbard fits quite tidily into the broader maps drawn by Wilber outlining what objective analysis tells us are workable means toward higher states of consciousness.  In that respect a study of Integral Theory serves to enrich one’s understanding of how and why Scientology works.  It also serves as an objective, even scientific validation of the work of Hubbard.  Wilber projects and advocates integral psychotherapeutic and spiritual practice – subjects that all too often are treated as two disrelated practices .  And so it is somewhat ironic that Hubbard gets nary a mention in Wilber’s work when L. Ron Hubbard was a pioneer in the integration of spirit into psychotherapeutic practice.  That is likely due in large measure to the intensity of prohibition on integrating Scientology practice with any other learning or discipline. Sadly, virtually none of the rapidly expanding ranks of Integral practitioners and thinkers – whose work over time increasingly treads on ground tilled by Hubbard – recognize a single word of Hubbard.

Interestingly, Integral Theory also validates virtually all of the commonly agreed upon distinctions that integral-thinking Independent Scientologists seem to have agreed upon that make Scientology workable on the outside and potentially deleterious within corporate Scientology.  That, by no means, applies to many Indies who have shown a violent disdain for the ideas of integration, evolution and transcendence as outlined in What Is Wrong With Scientology? Healing Through Understanding.

There are four potential benefits for learning something about Integral Theory.

First, one can attain a much broader, far-reaching understanding of the technology of Scientology than one could possibly attain from denying himself from studying data of comparable magnitude to it.  Ironically, to those literalists unwilling to expand their horizons, such an approach to learning is recommended in Hubbard’s Data Series (Scientology logic) and Scientology Logic 8 itself: a datum can be evaluated only by a datum of comparable magnitude.

 Second, if one wants to begin thinking rationally with how the subject of Scientology might be communicated to the world, post corporate Scientology Armaggedon, one had better know the vast array of parallels that exist between it and other subjects. In the Age of Information a cloistered, my-way-or-the-hiway, damn the ignorant infidels presentation will likely wind future Scientologists up in remote caves clinging to AK 47s.

Third, for those who have ventured quite a ways up the Bridge it gives you  a number of informative standards by which to evaluate what Scientology has done for you and what perhaps you seek but have not found in Scientology.  In other words, you might find there are ways and means available on this big, wonderful planet that might serve you in moving on up a little higher.

Fourth, for prospective Scientologists and those applying it at all levels of the bridge, integral theory can help you to maintain your own intellectual integrity and sovereignty, integral to full expansion of consciousness and yet put at risk if approaching Scientology with tunnel vision.

For the curious, a good introductory overview of Integral Theory is covered in The Integral Vision by Ken Wilbur, which can be picked up used on the cheap on Amazon books.  A more in-depth, but very well articulated overview is covered in a ten-part interview series with Wilber conducted and published by Sounds True (available on Amazon, and sometimes EBay).

Word of advice.  I am not promoting or recommending Wilber’s own suggested introductory integral program at chapter 6 of the book.   It is a reflection of Wilber the guru or practice teacher, as opposed to Wilber the researcher and philosopher. The former grew out of popular demand by much good
work as the latter.  But, I think anyone who reads this blog is intelligent enough to differentiate when the two hats collapse – which in the broader field of the map making work does not happen often.  I do happen to agree with Wilber’s initially emphasizing the wisdom of an aerobic and weight-training regimen.  I read a Canadian medical study once that found that muscle stress training can greatly reduce the speed of body-aging deterioration (even claims, though I don’t grok the science of it well enough to vouch for it, that on a certain level it can reverse the aging process of the body).  In either event, I have found on a subjective level that a fit body frees all manner of attention units for work on the mind and spirit.

Note for the Kamikazee KSW crowd.   In Wilber’s more in-depth, purely research/map-making work he emphasizes that it is not wise to monkey with workable contemplative lineages. In other words, don’t change workable technology – instead, supplement it where it does not address or meet all of your needs or goals and purposes, and better utilize it by understanding it in greater depth against advances in science, the mind and spirit.

338 responses to “Integral Theory

  1. ” (…)how the subject of Scientology might be communicated to the world(…). In the Age of Information(…) ”
    It is or should be one of the most coherent and rational goals of Independent Scientology. KSW doesn’t make the cut in a world of relative cynism, relative freedom of thought and largely distributed data on everything and anything.

  2. PS: When I said I am not a “KSW” person I did not mean to say that the original auditing processes can or should be altered. I know from experience that when auditing is delivered by following the procedures as LRH developed them and by fully applying the Auditor’s Code, good results can be expected.
    Alex

  3. Thanks for continuing to look Marty and for posting your thoughts.

  4. Marty you write……“I think Wilber’s words about Adi Da pertain to Wilber himself, and to L. Ron Hubbard for that matter:
    “By all means look to him for utterly profound revelations, unequalled in many ways; yet step into his community at your own risk.”

    This is a really interesting way to frame things. Now… since you’ve read Wilber and many others… if a person was to look for not just maps, but for the “territories” that offer both the most utterly profound revelations AND the most enjoyable communities…What would she/he choose as a destination?

    In other words, what spiritual journeys, paths, or whatever one calls them, rate well both for depth of experience and for personal and community enjoyment?

    Does Wilber or others that you know of offer such assessment, like in a much more trivial domain, Tripadvisor.com offer for hotels?

    This may come through as trivial or funny, but it is not meant that way: much of humanity is looking for utterly profound revelations, while having a good time and not being bothered by politics, sectarianism, hierarchies and other unpleasant artifacts without live is more enjoyable. This is what people are looking for. Wherever such possibility exists should be widely made known!

    Last but not least…I’ve never quoted L. Ron Hubbard before, but I read last night in the “Piece of Blue Sky” book (page 394) my favorite LRH quote that far: “The hardest task is to continue to love one’s fellows despite all reasons he should not. And the true sign of sanity and greatness is to so continue”. Amen. If everyone did that on this planet, there would be peace on earth!

    Thank you for this forum.

    • martyrathbun09

      Paul,
      I think a foray into Integral Theory will improve your own ability to serve as your own trip advisor.

      • Marty… I think I might have to steal that one… “Your own trip advisor”… Brilliant… Apologies in advance for the plagerism…😉

  5. Thanks Marty

  6. “LDW writes: “If part of the program is to create a civilization of which we can all be proud, we’ve fucked up. As I’ve said before, the “civilization” of scientology is repulsive to me.”
    I don’t have first hand experience of that, but that’s clearly the impression that prevails in the media these days.

    Life is short, as much as deep revelations and an effective religious technology, people want a civilization to live in, that is conducive to experiencing happiness.

    The time of great sacrifice and renunciation of the 70s is over. People were then ready for any austerity to find truth, and once they had found it they were ready for any renunciation for their entire life.
    It was common practice in my generation—and I went through that like many– to hitch hike to India, go from ashram to ashram in search of the right master, and when one had found him dedicate oneself to a life of service spent in poverty chastity and obedience.

    As they grew successful these ashrams became controlling, and later totalitarian organizations, driven by money, social climbing and worse. The brilliance, lightness, inspiration, that had attracted people in the fist place turned into labor camps, bureaucratism, small mindedness. Spiritual sclerosis became pervasive. Without knowing it, many of these institutions fell behind the times. And they fell so far behind that all hope to catch up was lost.
    In 2013, the vas majority of people are not looking for a regimented life or even for rigid directives to follow. They are looking to find themselves and remain free. They will not tolerate intolerance, coercion, criticism, “holier than thou” attitudes. Those behaviors are from a bygone era.

    In terms of spiritual figures and movements, my sense is that the future belongs to those who establish tolerance, inclusion, kindness at their core, and who walk that talk. Those who include rather than exclude, who educate rather than criticize, those who encourage rather than judge. Gone are the days when it was possible to talk peace but wage war and keep an audience. When it was possible to talk about love but rule with the sword of judgment. My sense is that, outside Muslim fundamentalist circles, this pattern has been debunked, like Marxism was debunked with the fall of the Berlin wall. Humanity has turned that corner. What a relief! But now comes the real challenge: to not replicate the behaviors of the failed movements. It is a lot easier, a lot less demanding, to judge than to love. But for those who harbor a deep aspiration in their heart, there is no alternative…

  7. I think the hardest part of the ‘I’m with Ron crowd’ is that he, Ron, lost it a long time before it became observable and apparent.

    We need to reboot to before the lunatic church voodoo system.

    We don’t have any enemies. Unless one seeks out that outcome.

    Pope Moe (miscavige) demonstrably thinks and acts otherwise. To the death.

  8. About ten years ago I was introduced to Integral Theory. I directly felt that Scientology and IT where connected. Unfortunately I didnt go much deeper than that. However now it got clearified. Great article! Thanks, Marty!

  9. As an admirer of Ken Wilber, what an insult it is to associate him in any way with Hubbard. I despise both Scientology as it exists today as well as its founder, whom Miscavige is emulating. I was only in the Sea Org a year, but that was plenty of time to figure out the lies and deception at the heart of the cult. I commend you, Mr. Rathbun, for getting out. I find you likable based on the videos I’ve seen of you, in spite of some of the atrocities you committed in the name of the movement. I don’t understand your defense of what I consider an evil man and his incredibly blatant and obvious lies and charlanism. Regardless, I wish you well and acknowledge your value in fighting the spectre of corporate Scientology.

    • martyrathbun09

      Thanks. I think if you read more of Wilber, and read some of Hubbard on the philosophy and methodology of helping the mind and spirit, it will bring clarity to the paradox.

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  12. Dear Marty, my name is Matthew, and I’m from Western Australia. To be honest, I’m not a Scientologist, but I wouldn’t consider myself an SP, or anti-Scientologist. Why I’m here is because I found the Scientology idea of the Eight Dynamics (self, creative/family, group/culture, humanity, life, MEST, spirituality and infinity), very similar to Ken Wilber’s ideas of egocentric, ethnocentric, worldcentric and cosmocentric. It’s this idea of there being levels of existence that makes me believe personally that Scientology is at the “Integral” level of spiritual development, if not higher. I was once a Bahai, and before that a Christian and I still consider myself a spiritual person. I believe that Ken Wilber’s work with Spiral Dynamics not only charts different ‘memes’ (the word meme oddly enough originating from athiest Richard Dawkins), but that a religion could be prescribed to each of the Intergral levels. Pantheism in Beige (Wilber’s Infrared), Animism in Purple (Wilber’s Magenta), Polytheism or possibly Judaism in Red (also Red according to Ken Wilber), Christianity at Blue (Wilber’s Amber), Islam at Orange (also Ken Wilber’s Orange), Bahai Faith at Green, and Church of Scientology at Yellow (Ken Wilber’s Teal). I was thinking of writing a book that shows the development of spirituality and how each religion has its own place. What are your opinions on that?

    Yours sincerely

    Matthew

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