A Letter to Ken Wilber.
I heard your name in new age circles around 10 years ago, roughly after having my first consciously spiritual experience which I couldn’t quite describe at the time, but have since come to realize was an experiential understanding of that ancient wisdom:
“The whole remains whole, even when something is taken out of it; what is taken out of the whole is also whole. And when the whole is taken out of the whole, the whole still remains whole.”
I didn’t really even know about spirituality until that point (long story), and as you can imagine after such a peak experience it was impossible to keep living as I used to – after seeing a greater vision you simply cannot lie to yourself any longer without wounding yourself grotesquely.
However, after some time in the New Age movement I found myself disillusioned with its direction and stopped keeping track. I said I heard your name mentioned, but I never really looked into it for this very reason. I focused on becoming a filmmaker and storyteller, then received the opportunity to learn from a secret Tantric order –
Through these processes I often wondered why these very old truths about advaita weren’t being adopted into science. It seemed to me an obvious thing for at least one man in the world to at least be willing to test the premise of advaita to see if it holds true on an encompassing scale – to bridge science, society and spirituality.
I was often sad that, as much as I researched, I couldn’t find anything tangible with regards to a scientific premise that is ACTUALLY ENCOMPASSING! It was baffling, and I felt very alone in the thought.
Having studied postmodernism as part of the criteria for a Communications Media course, I had quickly developed a distaste for it, and yet felt imprisoned by it. Basically the postmodern premise (in an artistic sense) is that all the original ideas are now over, with the end of modernism came the end of originality, and what we are faced with is just a mix-and-match of old ideas to create a seemingly-new twist.
For someone who was passionate about an originality that I could feel pulsating in my core, and wanted to give expression – what postmodernism said was proving to be true… I had grown up in a society that had on subliminal levels embraced these constructs so much that I could not find originality in my work, or in anyone elses. Only clever twists to over-exhausted principles. The world of art, perhaps as part of commercialism, was formulaic to me.
Until I met a revolutionary screenwriting teacher (Billy Marshall-Stoneking) who spoke of ‘mediumistic’ storytelling, of ‘stepping out of the way’ whilst simultaneously engaging… and mostly – who gave me a key to the dilemma –
“The business of telling a story is working out the problems that are caused by wanting to tell it. You cannot solve all the problems and then proceed to tell it; the problems are the story you are trying to tell. The more you seek an intimate relationship with your story and its characters, the more you flee from it and them. You do not choose your story. It chooses you.” – Billy Marshall-Stoneking.
Or in other words;
“Origin means the Source of the essence of something. Essence means that the thing is just as it is. BECOMING an essence means that the thing is NOT YET just as it is. It is the thing promising to become invisible. Becoming is its INCIPIENT Being: its Being NOT YET; its hope of Being invisible and also its faith in negating its present and past visibility.”
He opened me up to a courageous way of writing – of writing that which I was most frightened to write – to go into the mouth of Kali – as, “Where the work’s origins intersect with the artist’s origins, it produces that extraordinary and timeless freshness we so clumsily refer to as ORIGIN-ALITY.”
And such works require courage of near heroic proportions. In any case, the purpose of me contacting you was not this (although I’d love to discuss this topic with you in greater detail, along with your personal insights, if you wish). For the moment, I brought this up to point out one way in which I was freed from the negatives of postmodernism.
Going back to a ‘theory of everything’ – or rather, as my concern really was, ‘the possibility of a Utopia’ – I was vastly disappointed with Huxley’s “Brave New World”, and captivated by Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land.”
Yet how was it that I wasn’t meeting many people who were taking these visions to their completion? I’d even considered, from my understanding of Spiritual Wisdom, that a better core scientific hypothesis to begin with, to test empirically, would be; “The Universe is infinite potential energy manifesting as finite kinetic energy, making the universe infinite and finite simultaneously. Objective and subjective simultaneously. In its kinetic reality of cause/effect and distances between points in space, it is bound by time. In the reality of its infinite potentiality, it is timeless.”
Yet where were the movements and institutes testing in this way? The only complete reflection of reality I had found in science was Holographic Universe theory (which most people I speak to refer to as psychobabble). And I certainly didn’t appreciate the New Ageists who applied it to anything that fit their fancy, which is perhaps what has earned them a flaky reputation.
Which lead to me putting together my core belief on integration into an essay on the possibility of a Utopia (before I heard anything about you, or even the Integral movement, or Spiral Dynamics):
As you can see, these ideas are the infancy of HOW FAR YOU HAVE TAKEN IT! I only discovered you a few days ago, have been intently perusing everything I can find, trying my best to get grounded on this, gone more than 24 hours without sleep just exploring how far you have come with the need for INTEGRATION!
And more than anything, after years and years of feeling very sad that no one seems to have the sense to do this (because it is so utterly necessary for the world – especially to have a rock-solid answer to postmodernism) – what I felt more than anything else, was relief. Like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders, as if I was sure now about the future of the world, now that your ideas are out there! That has changed everything, regardless of how long it takes. I suppose it was inevitable, and I suppose in a subconscious way I certainly suspected that someone like you existed, yet to discover you was enormous relief.
P.S. As for HOW I found you, I have Jed McKenna to thank; all his head-chopping and criticism of the New-Age lead me to see what the New Age was currently upto – and finally actually read what you had to say. Not that I am equating you to the New-Age movement, now that I have begun to understand you.