Guruphiliac: Tyrannosaurus Ken

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Tyrannosaurus Ken

File under: The Siddhi of PR

You might not be reading this blog were it not for Ken Wilber. Our exposure to his books The Spectrum of Consciousness, The Atman Project and No Boundary was the impetus to go back to school with the intent of becoming active in transpersonal psychology research. We actually ended up in graphic design, but that didn't put a damper on our higher aspirations. The blog you are presently reading is the result.

We can't admit to keeping up much with Ken. We recall him repudiating that pompous windbag Adi Da, and then repudiating his repudiation. Other than that, all we knew was he was teaching at some school in Colorado and that he'd occasionally be featured in another pompous windbag's magazine, Andrew Cohen's What is Enlightenment?

Well, according to this guy, Ken's been taking lessons from both those inflated narcissacharyas:
Being integral is increasingly being defined as: ‘agreeing with Ken Wilber’. This is the only critique being accepted within the movement. And basically it takes the form of: yes you are a genius, but wouldn’t you consider that xxx. Such a form of self-denegating critique is the only one acceptable, and it can only serve to strengthen the edifice and the influence of the master.
Ken seems to be in danger of becoming a chip off that very large block known as Adi Da. There's only the proclamation of his special divinity left to be announced and he's off to the big time guru races. It's an exceedingly sad thing to see such an intellectual and intuitive giant get waylaid by his own hype, rendering him little more than another of the self-aggrandizing nincompoops who compete for the adoration of the spiritually gullible.


At 7/14/2006 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken's got himself in other troubles by embracing Rabbi Marc Gaffni as part of his in-crowd who is now accused in Isreal by some women of sexual impropriety. There's no end to the dirt, and its everywhere.

At 3/09/2007 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My personal beef with Ken is that he wants power but has not demonstrated that he is using his power in a way that is kind or that is part of accountability to the larger human family.

He loves creating complicated schemes for classifying people in rank order of personal development/consciousness--kind of like someone who gets off on collecting and naming insects.

Ken likes to associate with and ponder the developmental levels of special people, so he's become quite a tastemaker for the guru circuit.

Its a cult of specialness in which being an ordinary, unevolved human is beneath condsideration. Its spirituality as celebrity circuit.

What is troubling is that Ken has not shown much awareness that its the 'little people' who have made him wealthy and influential.

Many people who take Ken's views seriously have made him a spiritual celebrity, by purchasing his books, products and tapes.

By general consensus it was Ken's early books, the ones listed by Jody, that have been his best. Ken could be considered an inspirational figure, much like Carlos Castaneda--he's been able to link people's hopes and dreams to his own sytem--and also his own public persona.

The trouble is, being inspirational does not guarantee that someone is capable of functioning competantly as a mentor. Ken is good at firing people's imaginations but he's also seen fit to associate with three teachers (Da, Gafni and Cohen) who have well documented and troubled track records.

What is troubling is that Ken has *not* reciprocated his devotee's loyalty by concerning himself with their welfare. He does not seem to worry that they could be harmed by getting involved with the troubled teachers who are his pals.

Very likely Ken and his devotees would say that this kind of concern for people's welfare is insulting and infantalizes them, and that serious seekers are willing to accept any and all risks on the spiritual path.

Ken got quite ill twice this past year. He published full accounts about it. At no time did his followers accuse him of wallowing in victim mentality, nor did they tell Ken his misery was illusion. They gave him love and support and respected his pain.

When people reported thier painful experiences at the hands of Ken's good buddy Andrew Cohen, reported this on the What Enlightenment blog, and did so with dignity and decorum, and often under their own names--they'd be accused of wallowing in victim mentality. (Cohen and his minions never at any time denied these reports)

**the unspoken message was that suffering gurus get compassion but anyone who suffers at the hands of an abusive guru doesnt deserve compassion. Its a double standard and a valuable tip off that you're in a part of the seeker's circuit that claims to be spiritual but actually worships special people and devalues ordinary humanity. In this scene, only celebrity and power are real. Its the worst of secular society tarted up with spiritual trappings. Watch out and get out as soon as you can.

The Wilberian scene has reframed kindness as weakness. It thrills to total power and zero accountability. In this and similar parts of the seeker's scene, powerholders are not accountable to the ethos of care that secular society mandates.

In this scene, power is only fun if there's no accountability. That is why this scene gets off on crazy wise gurus. You are only human if you have power, period. Otherwise you are just a meat puppet. Your only hope of becoming worthy is to either become a guru, a special person, or prove yourself worthy by defending the rights of gurus to do whatever they want.

Ken has a persistent pattern of endorsing authoritarian gurus but without ever having lived under the authority of the same gurus. It may be that he really gets off on their freedom to act as they please. But for them to live out that fantasy, others have to be there and treated as things.

Its like a restaurant reviewer who never actually eats in a restuarant where food preparation is so sloppy that many patrons report food poisoning.

And yet despite years of these food poisoning incidents, the reviewer keeps right on recommending this same restaurant because he is personal frieneds with the chef.

To read about the goings on in Andrew Cohen's restaurant,

go to

These articles are especially interesting:

Some comments about Wilber's association with Gafni

This blog has been publishing for nearly 3 years. All during that time, Ken gets exposure in Cohen's magazine, which amounts to his continued endorsement.

If Ken reciprocated the tender compassion of those who care about him, he'd give a damn about their well being and stop associating with such authoritarian teachers.

My guess is Ken may be into power-kink but doesnt have the nerve to put on a black leather jacket himself.

But he has consistently associated with three teachers who have documented track records of abusing power--Da Gafni and Cohen.

Sometimes Ken will invoke connections with nice teachers but this doesnt cancel out his close associations with the mean ones.

It is interesting that just a couple of weeks after news broke about Gafni's problems, and people's concerns regarding Ken's association with Gafni, Ken published his infamous 'Wyatt Earpy' rant--then claimed that this was enlightened teaching and a test to see who had achieved a high enough level of psychospiritual development to appreciate this.

A very good analysis of this trick called 'Three Cards' was published by here:

A very thorough overview of Wilber from a critical perspective can be found here.

Persons interested in Integral Theory and who wanted to pursue it in a non authoritarian atmosphere that thrives on peer review have a website and library here:

Finally, a selection of Wilber endorsed products:

current prices in USD for various Wilber/Integral associated products—such as the Integral Life Practice Starter Kit:

Integral Life Practice Starter Kit

The Simplest Practice You Can Do To Wake Up

By Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber / Philosophy

Box / Integral Books

ISBN 0-9772275-0-2 / December 2005

List Price: $249.00

Our Price: $199.20, you save $49.80 (20%)

Usually ships in 24–48 hours.

and a gadget to wear around your neck-The Q Link

If you want to join the Integral Naked forum, that costs $10 USD a month--more if you go for various levels of sponsorship.

Its OK to make money. But dont steer your supporters in the direction of bullies, OK?

IF people have made you a rich and powerful author and authority-be kind to them. Dont steer them in the direction of leaders who are bullies.

The people who have enriched you are your benefactors. They're people, not objects.


At 5/26/2009 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken W. has done nothing to advance consciousness except write books and do interviews that are doorways to the advanced sleep state.
He has a new "path" that he's introducing with Sally Kempton and a couple of other teachers, which promises to be an adventure in mental masturbation as well as a bigger doorway to the even more advanced sleep state.

At 12/15/2010 5:01 AM, Anonymous Al said...

Ken Wilber is one of the most on to it humans that has ever walked on this Earth. He is doing as much as anyone to do his part to save the human species from its own stupidity.

Any yes you can't be thick as 2 planks and get what he is really saying in his blog post

This post is Genius to those that have the caacity to see it. It really is, it speaks on so many levels.



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