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Ken Wilber's Spectrum Model: Identifying Alternative Soteriological Perspectives

By Leon Schlamm


I identify two problematic strands of Wilber's transpersonal theory. First, I question Wilber's claim that his spectrum model is supported by the materials of all the world's major mystical traditions. I argue that his integral, hierarchical perspective privileges some traditions but distorts others. Drawing heavily upon Andrew Rawlinson's recent, taxonomic study of mystical traditions, which identifies four authentic routes to spiritual emancipation (Cool Structured, Cool Unstructured, Hot Structured and Hot Unstructured), I argue that while Wilber's model, itself Cool (the source of spiritual liberation lies within oneself) and Structured (developmental, hierarchical), provides a valuable cartography of transpersonal structures and states of consciousness, it cannot adequately handle the materials of the alternative, soteriological paths of Hot traditions (emphasizing the numinous, and as other than oneself) and Unstructured traditions (affirming that there can be no gradual, or progressive, spiritual development at all). Second, and more cursorily, I argue that it is Wilber's Cool Structured perspective that informs his categorisation of Jung as an elevationist. I try to demonstrate that Jung's psychic model of the conjunction of opposites is a Hot Structured one, which provides an alternative, soteriological path for persons whose spiritual needs are different from those addressed by Wilber

Topics: B
Publisher: Academic Press.
Year: 2001
OAI identifier:

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