Ken Wilber, Inner Epistemology, Brain Farts (Off-the-cuff correspondence)

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[ Re: (Wilber interview thingy)]

Thanks for the links, […].

I really enjoyed Wilber’s “The Marriage of Sense and Soul,” when I read it back in the day. He wrote it before he went post-metaphysical, so some of it rings naive and hollow, but there’s good ideas in there. I can’t quite tell whether Wilber has *fully* metabolized the implications of evolutionary psychology and neuroscience, but he was a pioneer thinker, and most of his insights can be preserved if recast in these terms. “Higher reality” <– sigh. “Transpersonal” <– sigh. He deeply gets adult development.

Incidentally, I personally don’t mind if Wilber keeps coming up. I am profoundly grateful to the guy; like, I owe at least 30% of my quality-of-life to his ideas. Huge. I still have a significant chunk of my inner operating system running on Wilber-IV and Wilber-V, even a little bit of Wilber-I. (For those who haven’t read Wilber, he’s gone through five-ish major phases of thinking in his decades of writing. He goes *mostly,* but sadly not completely, naturalist and post-metaphysical between Wilber-IV and Wilber-V.) I am *eagerly* waiting for his next book to come out. I’m hoping he goes fully post-metaphysical while preserving all the superb ontology and epistemology. Steel-manned Wilber is absolutely cutting edge, at least for me.

For example, I think there’s genius in here, though some of it still clunks:

(Keep in mind that that’s a bad cut-and-paste of an appendix which was preceded by an entire book, which I don’t actually recommend reading. He needs an update.)

I tried and failed to convey some of that, here:


A couple other thoughts. If you google around on my blog the stuff below comes up a few times.

So below are my favorite “inner epistemology” books. They’re not light reading:

The above was co-written by luminary Herbert Simon who coined the term “bounded rationality” among a million other things. I *think* the first couple chapters are a fascinating literature review of the successes and limits of asking people to report what’s going on inside of themselves. There’s really neat results in there like people can report, in real time, how they’re solving arithmetic problems, without slowdown, compared to silent calculators, and the times line up with claimed strategies between verbal and silent participants, or something like that. But, basic idea is that people can report on dynamic contents of consciousness pretty well, but of course can’t introspect the gears turning, per se. More detail and other neat nuances, if I recall correctly.

Another book is this one:

So this entire book is about people reporting on their inner experience and the epistemological considerations that the author has taken into account over his decades of peer-reviewed publications. It’s very dense but I really enjoyed it.

Anyway, I took all this really, really, really, really seriously before I felt comfortable seriously writing and blogging about what was going on inside me and other people.

On a different note, this book is light, fluffy, and sloppy, but it gets the job done:

As […] alluded to, the distinct sense of “At this very moment, I’m experiencing an important, true, deep insight” is just a switch that the brain can flip on and off. Usually the brain times that switch-flipping appropriately, and flips it for good reasons, but not always. This book gives examples of a bunch of these kinds of switches. I haven’t read it closely; I went right to the reference list, which has some excellent stuff.

A bit more, here:

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