Critiques of Wilber

Jeff Aitken ja at
Wed Feb 7 12:57:29 PST 2001

Mark wrote:
>The critique of Wilber's work is in a book called:
   "Ken Wilber in Dialogue --  Conversations with Leading Transpersonal
Thinkers" by Rothberg and Kelly; 1998; Quest Books; ISBN:  0-8356-0766-6
Wilber's latest works take into positive consideration the criticisms and
observations that were made in "Dialogue".>

Tho this may become extraneous to the work of the list, I want to respond.

I've been studying with Jurgen Kremer, one of the scholars from the
ReVision magazine series which became that book; he's the scholar whom
Rothberg and Kelly noted as having the most sustained unresolved
disagreements with Wilber.

Among the critiques is that Wilber's intention, a true intercultural
synthesis of human knowledge, is best produced through real dialogue among
people with different worldviews, rather than through one brilliant and
limited man's interpretation of those different worldviews. Before he
pronounces a theory and history of everything, he has to talk to more

Wilber seems too steeped in the 19th century evolutionary thinking which
influenced important spiritual-evolutionary scholars like Aurobindo. Tho he
once embraced Habermas as his favorite contemporary philosopher, I think
Habermas offers a critique of the usefulness of his developmental-stages
framework for the purposes of intercultural understanding. And, Wilber has
not engaged indigenous scientists sufficiently to grasp the implications
for his models - his models would have to change, in my opinion.

Because Wilber does not seem to honor his own ancestry or the lifeplace
where he lives, I fear he overlooks their importance. He seems to try to
fit real life into his models in a way that degrades the specificity of
cultures and lifeplaces. For example, to say that the holon Hawaii is
enriched through its participation in the larger holon United States is to
me a clumsy justification for empire. I'd like to hear Hawaiian sovereignty
leaders exchange with him about their situation.

When I read Vine Deloria's book God Is Red; Jared Diamond's book Guns,
Germs, and Steel; and James Clifford's book Routes: Travel and Translation
in the 20th Century - especially the final essay "Fort Ross Meditation" - I
find sharp critique of such (capital-H) History as Wilber writes.

I have not read his most recent works and would be happy to find him
responding to such critiques.

A project like the United Religions Initiative, which brings widespread
networks from different religions together into self-organizing dialogue,
seems to honor the difficulty of the work of actually generating
intercultural exchange. I want to bring Wilber and several indigenous
scholars and URI participants together in a long Open Space process to hear
what they say in the closing circle.

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