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.