Sometimes emails are more revealing than websites to which they point. Suffice to say that the following is from an email attributed to Ken Wilber. I am sure the attribution is correct because the email is a plea for me to sign up for the only source of Wilber-related material that has been vetted by him. In other words it is about an institution built around Ken Wilber.
From the email:
I’m truly excited by this organization and its development, because for the first time in history, although there are hundreds of projects and organizations and websites inspired by my work, this is the first one that has my personal seal of approval. The projects, partner organizations, academic journals and books, blogs and forums all have a quality checked by me to personally guarantee that my Integral model is being used accurately. That’s the problem with these hundreds of other applications of my work. As much as I truly appreciate the inspired use of my model by them, there are often misinterpretations of its leading ideas, resulting in less than truly Integral results. But no more.
I suppose that Freud or Jung might build such an institution in the age of branding and cyberspace. The unaffiliated sage, thinker or scholar needs a means of support. More and more the self-branding model will be appearing, a response to the gradual shattering of institutions.
But my problem with Ken is not that he needs to have an institution It is that its purpose seems to be related to maintaining the purity or authenticity of his body of work.
It seems to me that one’s body of work is what one publishes. That it stands or falls by its intrinsic value, tested over time. Shakespeare was not as revered at the start as he is now. Freud has receded, particularly if one seeks to validate the details of his “system” in terms of today’s pharma-psychology.
What one publishes can be distributed freely or for a price. Eventually it becomes public domain. I cannot see why the purity of a system requires more than words and pages. Integral cannot be subsumed in a single business built around a single person.
The notion of single system based on a specific mapping of the self having authenticity as “integral” strikes me as a stretch. And the notion of defending a theory (I assume it is a theory) by tying its authenticity to a specific aggregation of materials which has a CEO to market such materials is also a stretch.