Ken Wilber has been described as an integral philosopher as a result of his immense contribution to the field of psychology. In the contemporary psychology, a number of disciplines such as nondual psychology, transpersonal psychology and integral psychology have emerged. According to Caplan (2009, p. 231), these disciplines heavily borrow from Ken Wilber’s work dubbed ‘‘spectrum of consciousness’’.
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In his theory of psychology, Ken Wilber makes clear distinction between transformative and translative spirituality. In transformative spirituality, the notion or rather the perception of a separate self is undermined. This results in individuals undergoing disillusions, annihilations and physiological process which in their nature are painful. Translative spirituality facilitates the creation of meaning and the understanding of the notion or the perception of the separate self.
The components of translative spirituality such as belief systems, rituals and spiritual practices reorganize individual’s psyche to enhance the notion of a separate self. This essay paper seeks to examine the forces of psychology with reference to Ken Wilber’s “Spectrum of Consciousness”.
Where First Force (Behavioral) is situated on Ken Wilber’s Spectrum of Consciousness Model
According to Ken Wilber’s “Spectrum of Consciousness” model, psychology plays a significant role in ensuring that people live a wholesome and integrated life with regard to psycho spirituality. Behavioral force thus not only involve itself with fixing individuals to comply with social norms, but also enable people to understand what is possible for human beings as separate beings (Caplan, 2009, p. 231). First force (Behavioral) is situated in the upper right quadrant of his model which represents the “exterior individual”. Figure 1 below shows a representation of Ken Wilber’s spectrum of consciousness model.
The first force (behavioral) in Ken Wilber’s spectrum of consciousness model is a representation of contemporary evolutionary science. In represents the evolution from atoms, to molecules, to cell and eventually to organisms in an irreversible manner. The highest points in this hierarchy represent human brain functional structures. According to Vrinte (2002, p. 100), the most significant level of the spectrum represents the level of the human mind. This level is regarded as eternal, timeless and infinite in nature.
Primary Model of Pathology
The primary model of pathology seeks to examine the origin and the path of the spectrum of consciousness. It involves itself with the factors which trigger the shift of an individual’s mind into the context of the world or rather the reality of the world (Vrinte, 2002, p. 101). The model describes the actions of individuals as unconscious in observing the reality of the university. This is described as the forgotten mind.
Thus to be conscious at an initial level, individuals take a journey into the future. However, since the level of an individual’s mind is both space-less and also timeless it does not evolve and the initial shift of the human mind into the context or reality of the universe is influenced by the creation of illusions. These illusions are in the context of processes in an individual’s mind which are divisional and dualistic in nature.
The divisional and dualistic illusions are in essence unreal but are mistaken to be real by an individuals mind. As a result, duality generates fragmentation which enables the mind of an individual to shift to the notion of a separate self from that of “all”. Therefore, it is the primary dualism which triggers the spectrum of consciousness and influenced at different levels by the various levels of variation in the primary dualism. The next level of spectrum consciousness establishes transpersonal level which consists of paranormal events. This level does not represent absolute reality of the events in the universe. At the transpersonal level, the separate self begins to communicate with the mind (Vrinte, 2002, p. 102).
After the secondary dualism is the centaur level, also referred to as the existential level. At this level an individual is completely aware of the notion of separate self which is distinct from his or her external environment (Vrinte, 2002, p. 102). The major forms of dualism at this level include the separate self, the other, life and lastly, death. Despite the existence of this dualism at this level, an individual still feels like a psychosomatic unit.
The most important development at this level includes those of rational thought and personal will processes. The upper limit of the existential level known as the biosocial level follows in this model of pathology. It is an upper limit which enables an individual to translate the reality in the universe into social contexts. An individual is able to respond to the various aspects of the society such as social laws, family dynamics, beliefs and cultural perspectives among others.
Model of Transformation or Healing
The model of transformation or healing relies heavily on the ability of heuristic devices to enable psychologists predict the feelings, as well as thoughts of other individuals in given contexts. These heuristics determine the path to be taken by others psychological experiences with regard to the events and stimulating factors in their environment. Zanna (1990, p. 219) posits that the through the model of transformation, psychologists are able to predict in various ways how an individual is likely to react to a given stimuli or event with regard to his or her feelings and thoughts.
Zumbo (2002, p. 198) argues that individuals have both personal and collective needs and interests. Interpersonal needs are self-centered in nature on focus on individual sufficiency, identity and independence while collective once facilitate status, success, acceptance and respect from others. Once this knowledge is acquired, the various schools of psychology such as cognitive science or psychotherapy can be employed to heal the individual from emotional and depression among other psychological challenges.
Key Concepts and Major Practices from the Schools of Psychotherapeutic Practice
Individuals with distressing and emotional challenges are usually better treated through psychotherapy. Psychotherapeutic practice views consciousness from an individual’s adaptive abilities. The need for the creation of meaning and significance in individuals is a major reference point in most schools of psychotherapy since the theory of consciousness is of great significance in the practice of psychotherapy (Wilber, 1997). Any disruption to the creation of meaning and significance is what causes the painful mental challenges such as depression and emotional distress among others.
Another important school of thought according to Ken Wilber is that of Cognitive Science. This school of thought views an individual’s consciousness from the perspective of the schema’s of the human mind or brain. The proponents of this school of thought argue that consciousness results from the process which are influenced by the schemas in the human mind and are a product of integrated and hierarchical networks within the human mind. The connectionist model is one of the most significant models that seek to describe pertinent concepts and practices of cognitive science (Wilber, 1997).
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From the perspective of an integral practitioner, the First force (Behavioral) provides an important understanding of the notion of the separate self. Through this behavioral force, practitioners are able to better understand individuals with psychological challenges and apply the best thought of school to apply with the view of helping them regain their consciousness. However, this force is a complex one and involves numerous schools of thought which without proper understanding on the part of both the practitioner and an individual with psychological problem could lead to severe repercussions.
As an individual, I am conscious and in the biosocial level in the model of pathology. This force especially at the upper limit level enables me to effectively translate the reality in the universe into social contexts. Thus, as a conscious individual I am able to respond to the various aspects of the society such as social laws, family dynamics, beliefs and cultural perspectives among others. With regard to this force I regard my self as a separate self distinct from the world. I consider my rationality as a reality and also a distinct entity able to make informed choices and decisions in order to properly respond to stimuli or events from my external environment.
Ken Wilber’s spectrum of conscious relates the universe view to human consciousness. At the centre of the spectrum of consciousness model is an individual’s innermost consciousness which is an exact representation of an individual’s personality, as well as the reality of the universe. According to Wilber himself, the perceived reality is not perfectly ideal but the consciousness itself is real.
Caplan, M. (2009). Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path. Colorado: Sound True, Inc.
Vrinte, J. (2002). The Perennial Quest for a Psychology with a Soul: An Inquiry into the Relevance of Sri Aurobindo’s Metaphysical Yoga Psychology in the Context of Ken Wilber’s Integral Psychology. New Delhi: Narendra Prakash Jain.
Wilber, K. (1997). An Integral Theory of Consciousness. Journal of Conscious Studies, 4 (1), 72-92. Web.
Zanna, M. P. (1990). Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 23. San Diego: Academic Press, Inc.
Zumbo, B. D. (2002). Advances in Quality of Life Research, 2001. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.