Marko Says: May 2nd, 2007 at 2:29 am
I would propose the distinction between Integral philosophies and Integral teachings. I see that in the Integral community the two are not enough delineated while I think it helps to do so.
I found this little explanation of the difference between teachings and philosophies by a professor of the university of Virginia in an article on concsiousness: http://www.faculty.virginia.edu/consciousness/
“A metaphysical philosophy is a purely conceptual structure that is presumed to be a logically self-consistent description of some aspect of reality. It does not necessarily include techniques for experiencing this reality. A philosophy is different from what we shall call a teaching. The purpose of a teaching is to help a student to know a reality, no matter whether it is phenomenal or noumenal. Since the emphasis is on knowledge rather than on logic, a teaching may use whatever concepts and techniques work in bringing the student to the desired knowledge. A teaching often will have a philosophical basis, but there is no particular requirement to adhere rigidly to it.”
I see Wilber etc. create an integral philosophy, meaning their purpose is to describe in a logical self-consistent way as many aspects of reality as possible.
Aurobindo, Almaas etc. have integral teachings, meaning their purpose is to help their students know (by experience) as many aspects of reality as possible.
Now I am not saying that one is better then the other, I find both of them interesting although I am more interested in the second. But I do see a confusion in the Integral community between the two that would help the discussions if there was more clarity.
And also I see Integral philosophers use concepts from teachings (like for instance Advaita) that are not meant to be used in the philosophical way, but in the teaching way, that is only as pointers for students to find the knowledge themselves through jnana or gnosis. I think you can use these concepts for a philosophical system, but if you then afterwards refer back to the teaching you should not treat it like a philosophy but as a teaching.
alan kazlev Says: May 2nd, 2007 at 5:54 pm
What you say rings very true
I especially resonate with these words
Integral philosophers use concepts from teachings (like for instance Advaita) that are not meant to be used in the philosophical way, but in the teaching way, that is only as pointers for students to find the knowledge themselves through jnana or gnosis.
This is where I myself differ from the whole Wilberian and Post Wilberian movement. All these discussions and abstracted mental ideason these various forums are just taking these teachings out of their original very pragmatic spiritual milieu, making them into something that to me at least is arid and dry and very mentally abstract.
Interesting to see how little response there has been to my Aurobindo post (only Tusar and yourself as yet). Perhaps this is because Sri Aurobindo can really only be appreciated as a teaching, he can’t be understood as an intellectual philosophy. Those who approach him as an intellectual philosophy - without the practical spiritual connection that sadhana provides - get it completely wrong. This was pointed out by Satprem somewhere in the Agenda, and also I mentioned this in my first essay on Integral Wiorld, regarding Wilber’s misunderstanding of Sri Aurobindo.
Obviously, for me what is interesting and useful is the Teaching, not the Philosophy!
alan kazlev Says: May 2nd, 2007 at 6:02 pm
I should say nevertheless that I totally support the discussions and so on on this and otehr such forums, and for that matter intellectual and philosophical discussionb in general. Just that for the most part it isn’t my thing!