Monday, April 18, 2005

Thoughts on Jung & Wilber

Still slowly working my way through "Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality" by Wilber (of course), so as to feel truly learned on the subject.

Before he starts into part 2 of the book, at one point he goes over the ideas of Archetypes associated with people like Jung and Joseph Campbell. Before i discovered Wilber both of these individuals were very informative for me. I appreciate there idea of the deep layers of subconscious where archetypes arise, and the ways in which we are constituted by/interact with and how those are a gateway to the divine.

As per normal, i'm not incredibly educated on the subject, but no worries i fully intend to talk about it anyway, in the true american style. :)

Wilber says that our connection with the archetypal figures is something that occurs on the mythic stage of development, and while at that point it was the collective vision of the divine, is not actually connected to the transpersonal. I can see what Wilber is saying here, but this is one point i don't completely agree with. Of course, one tends to feel kinda foolish even debating a point of Wilbers, just because of his extreme erudition, so if anyone understands why i'm wrong please let me know.

It think perhaps the structure of the tibetan pantheon integrated into their tantric practices would serve as a good example of why i disagree. It seems to me that while Wilbur is correct in his assessment that those archetypes exist down on mythic level, they are a form, however deluded, of the transpersonal and thus can serve as a gateway into the transpersonal. Perhaps this is analogous to the way that dancing can induce ecstatic states.

In tantric practice one takes the ideal form of a diety and projects that into existence and then attempts to embody those ideals. Of course alot of those monks have the literal belief in the deities mythic existence as well. So via there belief in the ideal they are able to transcend themselves.

Wilber may very well account for that, and he's simply stating that connecting to these archetypes is not THE way to transpersonal, but after reading it over, i couldn't get past what seemed like a dismissal of this ideas importance.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Later in the chapter (Magic, Mythic and Beyond), Wilber mentions about "true archetypes", the transcendental and transpersonal structures, which cannot be explained by our past and they are stange attractors lying in our future. omega points that have not been collectively manifested anywhere in the past, but are nonetheless available to each and every individual as structural potentials. He gives the examples of great ancient mystics like Buddha, Christ, Lady Tsogyal etc.. who were ahead of their time.
But the above does'nt clearly explain the possibility of accessing the transpersonal realms using the symbols and figures of the tibetan pantheon (or symbols of other mystic traditions).
Another interesting thing is that in many traditions there are layers of meaning to a particular deity or symbol, catering to people of different developmental levels. Like for example if you take God Shiva of Hindu pantheon, who is rich in associated symbols, the meanings of the symbols range from 1.He is a fierce god married to goddess parvati with a spear as weapon and gets angry fast 3.He represents the destructive aspect of universe, parvati his power and the spear is symbolic of the destructive aspect. 3.He represents the static absolute and parvati represents the dynamic absolute, the three pronged spear represents the past, present and furture.
And many of these archetypes are infused power by those exceptional individuals who were ahead of time and naturally they are pointers to transcendental realms.

Bindu said...

I can see where i'm confused. i think :) So wilber does say that these archetypes can represent a personal truth, i thought i might have missed that. the thing that really makes me wonder though, is the actual underlying nature of the mythic archetypes. It seems to me that what people on the mythic level are accessing is the inward archetype of this diety as an "objective" entity, and thus when individuals on a higher level access these same archetypes they are connecting to the transpersonal aspect because instead of relating to it as an outward form they see themselves as containing this nature within. Gosh i guess in all honesty, this is a little over my head... or perhaps i do understand and i'm just not making it very clear for myself that i do :) I feel like there's some part of this theory that doesn't quite compute, oh well guess i should sit on it for a while

Thanks for your input by the way, that's greatly appriciated!

Magick1369 said...

I don't think you are too far off. I also believe that Wilber gives an incomplete treatment of and displays limited knowledge of the archetypes. Don't be afraid to question Wilber! I think the tendency is to unconsciously project an aspect of our own Higher Self onto Wilber and to see him as All Knowing. In reality, he is not. He is indeed one of the brightest among us and is also quite far along on the path of Self Realization. However, he is not infallible...he is human like the rest of us and subject to his own complexes and blocks in his perception. Wilber is a theorist and tends to paint with broad brush strokes. This would indicate that he is an intuitive personality type..I would guess and INTP. Intuitives love to develop systems and world views and such. Intuitives have as their major weakness, a tendency to miss important details. There are many others who have critiqued Wilber on this point. Nonetheless, KW is indeed a very phenomenal teacher. In my opinion Michael Washburn understand the archetypes better than Wilber. Check out.."The Ego and The Dynamic Ground." It is the best book on Enlightenment that I have ever read. The archetypes are simply the modes of conscious perception, ways of being, and the life patterns available to all people. Archetypes can also express stages of growth, processes, ego states, and all universal human experiences. Archetypes can be pre-personal, personal, and transpersonal. Unconscious energy that is frozen around an archetypal pattern or tendency such as rejection can develop into a complex. Complexes form part of the karmic makeup of each individual. Archetypes can also constellate as personae. A doctor at the ego level of growth does not say..I practice medicine or I do medicine...he identifies with the pattern "doctor" which is an archetype. Someone at the Soul level would say..I practice medicine. The outer identification having been analyzed and dis-identified at this stage. So many people believe they are there professions or jobs. This is false and the basis for poor Willy Lohman in Death of a Saleman. This is also a major reason why people with plenty of money keep working when they are 70, 80..etc. The outer identification becomes their identity because of this mistake and to stop working is a loss of self. This is one reason why Jung and Assiogoli cautioned against exclusive identification with any one role or archetype or sub personality. A CEO believes himself to be his profession. The job gives him a sense of self and self worth and power. So the poor CEO thinks he is king tut when in reality he is almost exclusively outer identified. Take away the role and the CEO's Being and Value go along with it. This is a key reason why American business culture is steeped in narcissism.

Magick1369 said...

I don't think you are too far off. I also believe that Wilber gives an incomplete treatment of and displays limited knowledge of the archetypes. Don't be afraid to question Wilber! I think the tendency is for many people to see KW as All Knowing. In reality, he is not. He is indeed one of the brightest among us and is also quite far along on the path of Self Realization. However, he is not infallible...he is human like the rest of us and subject to his own complexes and blocks in his perception. Wilber is a theorist and tends to paint with broad brush strokes. This would indicate that he is an intuitive personality type..I would guess and INTP. Intuitives love to develop systems and world views and such. Intuitives have as their major weakness, a tendency to miss important details. There are many others who have critiqued Wilber on this point. Nonetheless, KW is indeed a very phenomenal teacher. In my opinion Michael Washburn understand the archetypes better than Wilber. Check out.."The Ego and The Dynamic Ground." It is the best book on Enlightenment that I have ever read. The archetypes are simply the modes of conscious perception, ways of being, and the life patterns available to all people. Archetypes can also express stages of growth, processes, ego states, and all universal human experiences. Archetypes can be pre-personal, personal, and transpersonal. Unconscious energy that is frozen around an archetypal pattern or tendency such as rejection can develop into a complex. Complexes form part of the karmic makeup of each individual. Archetypes can also constellate as personae. A doctor at the ego level of growth does not say..I practice medicine or I do medicine...he identifies with the pattern "doctor" which is an archetype. Someone at the Soul level would say..I practice medicine. The outer identification having been analyzed and dis-identified at this stage. So many people believe they are there professions or jobs. This is false and the basis for poor Willy Lohman in Death of a Saleman. This is also a major reason why people with plenty of money keep working when they are 70, 80..etc. The outer identification becomes their identity because of this mistake and to stop working is a loss of self. This is one reason why Jung and Assiogoli cautioned against exclusive identification with any one role or archetype or sub personality. A CEO believes himself to be his profession. The job gives him a sense of self and self worth and power. So the poor CEO thinks he is king tut when in reality he is almost exclusively outer identified. Take away the role and the CEO's Being and Value go along with it. This is a key reason why American business culture is steeped in narcissism.