Ken Wilber II: The Pre-Trans Cycle of Being (1980–1982)

In the second phase of his thought, Ken Wilber is inspired by Tibetan Buddhism and Sri Aurobindo, abandons the essential positions of his first two books, and in his works The Atman Project (1980), Up From Eden (1981), A Sociable God (1983) and Eye To Eye (1983), articulates a new model of development that begins in the pre-personal, develops into the personal, and culminates in the transpersonal. The emergence of the unconscious from its repression in his first stage is replaced with his understanding of an evolutionary pantheism in which there is a development of a Great Chain of Being which, in Hegelian fashion, abandons its previous weaknesses while carrying over the strengths associated with each preceding stage into its subsequent stage. In this stage, as in his first stage, he adopts an essentially Advaita-based ontology and theology.

In this stage, Wilber rejects Jung’s reduction of the transpersonal Absolute to nothing but a primitive stage of natal consciousness (regressive experience of the womb) rather than an authentic spiritual reality. Instead of seeing the experience of merging with the transpersonal Absolute as a fundamentally regressive mode of experience, he sees it as an authentic experience of transcendence, beginning in the prepersonal state, developing into the personal state of the individual ego, and culminating in an authentic experience of transcendence in the transpersonal realm. He terms Jung’s conflation of these two states as the pre/trans fallacy and sees it as a typical error of Western thought that we see in Freud as well. He summarizes the nature of this fallacy as “the confusing of pre-rational states and trans-rational states simply because both are non-rational.” The involution from the undifferentiated state of egolessness to the ego state is described as the outward arc, and the evolution of the ego to its transpersonal goal is described as the evolution of the inward arc.

Or, to look at a more sophisticated account of the pre/trans outward/inward arc cycles:

At this stage in his thought, Ken Wilber articulates human development in terms of the following stages:

Wilber’s cyclic sequence is described in the following stages:

  1. the Pleromatic stage — “cognitive style — absolute adualism; objectless, spaceless, protoplasmic affective atmosphere — total oceanic, unconditional (illusory) omnipotence, pleromatic paradise
    conative or motivational almost entirely absent, desireless, factors — choiceless
    temporal mode — timeless, pre-temporal
    mode of self — oceanic, protoplasmic, materia prima”

Experienced psychology writer and practitioner of psi abilities. Looking forward to contributing to a worldwide awakening to the reality of psi phenomena.

Experienced psychology writer and practitioner of psi abilities. Looking forward to contributing to a worldwide awakening to the reality of psi phenomena.