The Marriage of Sense and Soul

Just stumbled upon Goodsoul@StumbleUpon a new web site: Integral Naked

I’ve not yet explored the site… But, I’ll give it a thumbs up, site unseen :c) because I know about Wilber from reading the “Marriage of Sense and Soul” – published in 1998. I have read that book twice and tagged it profusely. He offers a remarkable, readable, historical and clear explanation for the dissociative pathology of I, Us and It, and the healthy differentiation of those same elements, promulgating the integration possible as a result of that differentiation, a differentiation which is the evolution of our consciousness.

To use his example, returning to the innocent past is both a whitewash of the maliciousness of that past, and it is also a dissociative and pathologic naivety to think that the acorn is somehow better then the oak. The oak transcends the acorn – it is all the acorn could be, and adds to it, its own vitality and growth.

Wilber (quite rightly I think) argues that both scientific and spiritual truth might be validated by injunction, apprehension, and falsifiability.

That premise goes something like this: one does not do integral calculus without the injunction of higher education, and then one may produce an equation which, others qualified in that field, may verify or invalidate based on their first-hand findings. Similarly, one does not do spiritual experience without a similar injunction of higher training, and that only those equally competent may verify or invalidate the truth of any claim based on first learning how to do, then by taking action, and then by submitting any findings to others with similar knowledge.

It does no good for the religious to deny evolution because it is contrary to the written Word of God, when the motive of preserving power by promoting ignorance is more then historically circumstantial (think Salem or the Spanish Inquest). Likewise, it does no good to deny interior illumination, or transcended states because it is contrary to verifiable evidence in a corporeal sense, when those evaluating the evidence have failed to study the mathematics of the spirit (so to speak).

For science, refusal to take the injunction – to look through Galileo’s telescope – and then deny what others claim to have observed is no different then to deny spiritual experience when one has refused to look through the lens of a contemplative eye. Indeed, logic is an intangible abstraction that we realize and apply, and so too are the intricate and complex locutions of spirit.

Provided we do not cling too tightly to religious myth, i.e. that the Red Sea parted; or, too tightly to mathematical myths i.e. that such constructs as math and logic, which serve as the super glue of science, are somehow more tangible then more esoteric constructs of the spirit, when all arise from interior perception, then there is already foundation for utilizing deep science to explore the realm of the spirit.

Wilber contains his arguments to substantial constructs and deftly refutes the promotion of Spirit or Science based on belief. He amazes with his command of the historical accounts of religion yielding to what he terms the flatland of science, while also illuminating the post-Kantian attempts to reconcile the pervasiveness of spirit in the archeology of our philosophic species long made extinct by weakly posited lemmas.

I must catch up with Wilber’s more recent work. But I have found in this one book only, the purest rationale for understanding the dichotomy of religion and science.

On a personal note, I would suggest that we would all do well to avoid the Creative Intelligence yammer, and focus instead, not on politicizing polemics; but yield to the observation of rich emergent patterns in what I would call spiritual cognition and their counterparts in all scientific fields.

Further reading:


Spectrum of Consciousness
No Boundary
The Atman Project
Spiritual Choices
Grace and Grit
Up From Eden
The Holographic Paradigm
Eye to Eye
A Sociable God
Quantum Questions
Transforming of Consciousness
Sex Ecology and Spirituality
A Brief History of Everything
The Eye of Spirit
The Essential Ken Wilber
The Marriage of Sense and Soul
One Taste
Integral Psychology
A Theory of Everything
The Simple Feeling of Being

Ken Wilber homepage