An interesting email from a student (A.C.) of spiritual subjects, viz. Ken Wilber…with my replies
over the email series…
I am 39 years old, and don’t interact with many groups or people from the Consciousness Revolution era. The New Age people I know of are mostly those that talk about Astrology, the Law of Attraction, and similar pseudo-spirituality. Though there are neo-pagan fascists and reactionaries on the right talking a lot about Kali Yuga and Spengler’s theory of the cycle of civilizations. Gurdjieff is pretty much unknown by young people today, but the enneagram symbol is kept alive by the personality typology.
It seems the problem with spirituality is it is tied with religious traditionalism, so even open-minded seekers tend to get ensnared by the “wisdom” of the past and forgetting there may already be a wisdom in the present.
So do you believe, similar to Ken Wilber and the Spiral Dynamics model, that we are heading for higher and higher “stages” of spiritual and social evolution and that our current problem with imperial capitalist-corporate globalism, emerging nationalism/fascism and climate change will resolve themselves as “modernity” continues? How do you define modernity?
Nemonemini (john landon)
I am a veteran of new age movement but somewhat beyond it.
I have had however exceptional difficulties with shady new age characters,
fascists, reactionary gurus, so I consider the need to revamp spiritual legacies.
Zen Wilber (that’s what I call him) has been on my book list since when
and I have read a number of his books…
His later stuff I am not familiar with so much but
I do consider that man is poised to advance or oblivion.
I am like you entangled in new age thinking but also a radical
socialist in a field where such are not welcome.
My views of history can be found in my seminal text, quite difficult,
World History and the Eonic Effect. I can also provide simpler versions
There I show how world history moves through a series of transitions,
of which modernity is one. There is a de facto resemblance to Wilber.
The issue of Ken Wilber is hard to answer:
It could be that the ‘eonic effect’ is slowly bootstrapping humanity to
higher and higher forms of civilization, consciousness. But human interaction appears at all points
and we can’t predict the future and human social/psychological evolution shows advance
and regression: note that after the explosive advances Archaic/classical Greece,
Israel, and India, Occidental civilization went into decline and never recovered until modern times.
My model of history can help here: its model shows the interplay a system and free agency.
The problem is the difficulty of arriving at a coherent psychology, spiritual or otherwise.
But I share most of the jargon of the new agers, i.e. enlightenment, self-awareness, etc…
where that is absent in conventional psychology. A further problem is the ‘free agency’ needed
to realize spiritual goals, even assuming we knew what exactly those are.
We can posit a higher spiritual level, but we have to do that to get there,
mother nature only takes us just so far and the rest is up to us.
So the possibility of deviation and failure is there.
Sorry for identiy ambiguity: I am John Landon, i.e. nemonemini.
The issue of Bennett is difficult. I am both an enthusiast and a critic and I would
also caution that he can be a man-trap for gurdjieff spirits searching a meal of
unwary new agers, paranoia, sorry? I am wondering if I should write a critique: the book would be
all the more useful if some parts were challenged/revised. His idea of history following
the cycles of the great year just won’t work. this guy knew Einstein cold
but then introduces astrological cycles. Fortunately, that part is easy to fix.
In fact, my eonic model could repair Bennett, but his followers would be a problem.
As for your spiral staircase (?), you could apply your ascent motif to the future of the eonic effect. It is open-ended.
Revised link for The Gurdjieff Con
As against that always be wary of the terrain you are traversing. Gurdjieff wasn’t kidding when he called himself an occultist.
First, I was never a member or follower of Naranjo but entered the new age movement in the seventies and do know of him, wasn’t he a part of Arica?
I will check out his books and legacy as soon as possible
I briefly interacted ca. 1974 with many groups and briefly with various sufis including the bizarre E.J. Gold, which was not good. The world of such rogue sufis is
a disaster, always be wary, and best stay anonymous. The question of sufism is very difficult: some forms of ‘it’ have a legacy of soul spirituality that should be common knowledge but is concealed, even from most of their followers.
I have read The Dramatic Universe five to ten times and was enthusiastic about it despite many difficulties. I am not confident of his political views but indirectly infer that he was a tight-lipped ‘progressive’ of sorts. The fourth volume indicates this indirectly where he proclaims that modernity is a new epoch in world starting around 1848, an important statement, contradicint his own other confusions. You might consider my views on epochs and the endless nonsense on that subject from reactionary antimodernists in the New Age field and its sources.
the New Age movement is filled with reactionaries who Kali Yuga style think the modern world the real Kali Yuga and totally evil.
More generally the Gurdjieff world is not progressive and Ouspensky actually endorsed the code of Manu.
A progressive new age movement with and for socialists would be a breakthrough, but life is not so simple
and reactionaries often use occult attacks on ‘liberals’, so one must be wary here.
Your idea for a radically modern ‘new New Age’ movement is excellent, and if I can help I will.
I have an essay on Bennett and the ideas of samkhya, dialectic, Hegel, Boehme…I will send the link
I ten to be critical of the enneagram proliferation and have suggested
that Bennett in DU does something far more profound. He wrote way
before the later ‘enneagram personality type’ racket (?) but still because
of loyalty to gurdjieff wrote on the subject. That makes his later books
confusing. The real issues are the ideas of triad and 7 term systems.
In any case you might not like my zany take on Bennett. I am critical
but have often seen his work as a possible contribution where the Gurdjieff
corpus as a whole ia form of dangerous sufism with pitfalls.
I can and should be more supportive on Bennett because as you yourself
make clear there is something there people can use.
I can help maybe with some of the tougher stuff in DU.
I don’t bother much with Bennett’s other books, more or less,
and stick to DU. Ironically DU is so far beyond most Gurdjieff idiots
that it has never been reduced to cult jargon. But there are students
of the subject with an email list (from which i am barred) and various other things
But the cult worship of that book is another problem. DU needs a critique so
that its amazing core can stand out.
I include an attempt to assess the amazing thing that happened with Bennett: the ancient
Samkhya resurfaced and without realizing Bennett wrote a great book on the subject.
I will get back to you soon
I enjoyed our interaction, and hope I haven’t driven you off. I looked over the spiral dynamics material:
It is a vast subject so I must defer for the moment. I got Wilber mixed up with Da Free John’s Knee
\of Listening. I am very wary and critical of Da Free John. I lived through his reign as Asshole Guru King
and his vampire tactics. You were spared I would think. If I am a bit reserved it is because allthe gurus
I encountered since 1974 were fakes or occult menaces, plus the ghosts of dead gurus.
Da Free John is an definite enemy of mine and I fear even his ghost.
Do you consider the ghosts of dead gurus? Best watch your step. Best
brush up on the tibetan book of the dead. The ghosts drink blood, yipes…
so I am not aware of any exemplars from the last generation. so what’s the point?
The EJ Gold world is especially malevolent…
The legacy of Aleister Crowley lurks in the background
and his criminal promotion of human sacrifice as a magical option is
truly grotesque. But a whole generation is secretly committing occult murder,
or, more likely, trying trying but ending up the sacrifice themselves.
I was an onlooker to the Rajneesh movement but read hundreds of Rajneesh’s books, tho I wasnt really welcome there
never realized until several years ago
he wasn’t even enlightened. There is a recent Netflix documentary on his movement.
The old gurdjieff con went into a lot of this and I have turned the whole thing into an archive
now on Kindle.If you look to the early blog (which moved from the old Gurdjeiff Con.
So Wilber went through the whole Da Free John hyperfarce and never blinked.
I will always be wary of all that. Wilber is another one of those brainy nerds
kidnapped by a guru to do his bidding. Bennett was another, and Ouspensky especially
the new age left a crisis: if the ‘master of masters’ Rajneesh wasnt’ even
enlightened, what are we talking about.
We need something basic: a genuine yogi who can restore confidence in
the classic spiritual traditions. No more gangster gurus like Gurjieff,
Gold, Da Free joke, Rajneesh.
How can anyone feel confident in any of all that any more.
But a new generation doesn’t realize that the last generation went
I will browse through Naranjo and Spiral Dynamics.
I recommend my work on world history: if you want
some spiral evolution in actual history best look
at my ‘model’ of world history.
The only thinker I take seriously any more is Bennett, (and Kant)
but he is compromised by the Gurdjieff legacy You can’t do the
former without getting vampire bites from the latter.
I have often thought to do a critical work of Bennett,
but the job is awesome. I studied Einstein’s
General Relativity so I could consider his six dimensional universe model.
Bennett’s time/eternity/hyparxis. I am a little skeptical of his work here,
but it works even when it doesn’t work. It is actually hard to understand
his hyparxis: I found an analogy to explain it, but who knows.
But Bennett is very demanding. as I am sure you know.
I think Bennett thought the enneagram was crap but played the game.
That’s a liability for his credibility.
We can reduce the issue to three term and seven term systems and
forget the enneagram. Bennett without realizing it brought a new version
of Samkhya to the modern world.
Enough for the moment. I would like to put this on my blog, without names,
plus quote from your email on your social projet, plus Naranjo, if you don’t mind.
The issue of modernity is badly treated by many new age types/gurus. So I am glad
you consider its importance. We have entered a new era and the spiritualities of the past
are under revision or attack. But I fear that a kind of trivialization risks making
the old traditions of meditation into pop therapies. But the ‘modern’ isn’t finished yet.
It is good to steer clear of gurus, save the majority who are nullities.
I would caution to be wary of Bennett in the sense that he is a Gurdjieff disciple
and you will reckon in the end there on that. But
Bennett pointed to an invaluable resource brought to the modern world
and I think we may be able to correct some of his mistakes and limits.
My essay on Samkhya (did you see it?) shows the way via Gurdjeff then Bennett
a series of ancient traditions got reborn for the future, for better or for worse.
The virtual future idea is exciting if speculative and it seems to show how
christianity developed and much else with a mysterious nudging from a ‘virtual’
Bennett if he had stuck to his original thinking would have found modernity
didn’t fit into his cyclical scheme, but he seems to have changed his mind
and the year 1848 is a seminal year of revolutionary modernity and the left.
My eonic model might clarity the two aspects of modernity, the early modern transition
and the new era after that, indeed, ca. 1848….
It has been said by a notable yogi that Gurdjieff’s system was pure Samkhya,
if so, ditto for Bennett. But the subject in Bennett has turned into something new.
I guess you read or tried to read the cascade of laws/triads three, six…twenty four, fortyeight..
It is tour de force, but is it really sound as a system?
If you understand triadic logic let me know, ?!!. You get an extra cracker jack surprise.
I am impressed you are at volume four. The fourth volume is in some ways the best, after
The Hidden directorate must be another version of the secret chiefs (Crowley).
So much disinformation lurks there it is hard to be coherent on the subject
I am fairly sure there are mad sufis in Afghanistan, haha. It is worth seeing the film
the Man Who Would Be King, from Rudyard Kipling. He was very confused and invented an hidden
group of spiritual types in Afghanistan. But he had a sense of something hidden there, strange.
Gurdjieff was a black magician, that means Bennett is related to that, tho perhaps oblivious,
maybe a clueless idiot. The mad sufis of the hills of afghan probably can’t be
a directorate of anything. But the world of sufism is a bit arcane and obscure,
one should be wary not to join anything, or call oneself a sufi:
if you do someone can pull rank and chose you as their victim, the ‘work’, etc…
Be careful. Steering clear of gurus is thus a bon idee…
There are certainly some strange beings hidden away there, plus the Caucasus plus Tibet.
The idea is not as such crackpot.
My essay isn’t really finished, but the connection to Trinitarian theology is the oddest thing.
The whole text of WHEE is fairly tough going, or so I am told.
Gurdjieff who I am critical of did bring some weird stuff to the west.
Perhaps when I finish Decoding History, that will help.
But the core idea is astounding…