Thursday, 13 May 2010

Richard Rhor (2) - "The Naked Now" - Dualism. Ken Wilber insufficient

I have further thoughts also about the dualist/non-dualist dualism! I think Richard R is being very fair and wise in the way he chooses his words. He recognises duality thinking to be something that has been very beneficial to our culture: P32 - "Binary thinking is not wrong or bad in itself. In fact it is necessary in many if not most situations..". Also he is willing to own his own tendencies towards such ways of thinking (p40).
The values of non-dualistic thinking are evident in his experience. It is also evident in some of the teaching of Jesus in the gospels that He is non-dualistic. The one that stands out for me is the fact that when he was challenged with questions (perhaps at the attempt to control) Jesus simply answered with another question perhaps switching the balance of power or simply refusing to be forced in the 'either/or' way of thinking. I love it!

However on page 32 RR goes on to say that dualistic thinking is "completely inadequate for the major questions and dilemmas of life" but in my mind this is precisely where Jesus comes down strongest on the dualistic side. To deny this would be to do the gospels a great injustice. The idea of conflict is central to the life of Jesus. Again this is not to devalue non-binary thought but if we reduce the life and teaching of Jesus to it exclusively it would be  too simplistic and convenient. Reading the gospels is an untidy business and in them non dualism and dualism rest side by side.

Integral Life and the likes seem to say anything that purports to be anything less than unitive (non-dualistic) is of a lower order
I quote from a post on Integral Life:
The Wilber Integral Vision is generally good at seeing different traditions in their own terms and integrating them through a pluralistic/aperspectival vision or seeing how they fit via "orienting generalization", to the larger model.  However this model is biased towards non-dual traditions which are radically apophatic, causing blind spots in looking at traditions which are not.  The outcome is, that Wilber's Vision seeks out the spiritual representatives in each tradition which confirm his model, and writes off the ones that don't as simply being "lower" on the color scale (e.g. they may be authentic representatives of a tradition, but at a lower level, then this enlightened fellow whose model we are endorsing).  This means that the Wilber model sets up a perspective which is not questioned, but used to evaluate all other traditions. This can lead to a type of Integral Facism! (we the elite understand you, you must grow according to our model).

I put forward the idea that non-dual consciousness is not an end but a means to something higher to which Jesus, His teaching and life call us. He calls us to a new type of dualism - an absolute dualism. A relative dualism is one that consists of equal and opposites but an absolute dualism is one where one side of the dual is superior. Through Jesus light conquers darkness, Life conquers death, Love conquers hatred. How? Through the Cross where Love non-dualistically absorbs the hatred and in so doing overcomes it dualistically! In the Cross the dichotomy between the two ways of thinking is transcended through this Absolute dualism.

Just a thought but in my mind Centering prayer is not to lead us ultimately to a passive state of acceptance most perfectly symbolised by the inward looking of the Buddha important as this is. The symbol of Christianity is the Cross – The symbol of the agonising Saviour-God reaching out to embrace a suffering world in love. Whilst we accept the injustices of the world as the ‘way of it’ we are to be those who do not leave it there but in the spirit of love go out and make a difference pro-actively which I am sure many of you are doing so much more than I. The negative side of dualistic thinking, for the purposes of his argument, has been adequately documented by RR.  However, so much has been and is being accomplished by the Church and that not necessarily by those who hold exclusively to the non-dualistic mindset.

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