Pre/Post

Wilber purports that many claims about non-rational states make a mistake he calls the pre/trans fallacy.

According to Wilber, the non-rational stages of consciousness (what Wilber calls "pre-rational" and "trans-rational" stages) can be easily confused with one another.

On Wilber's view, one can reduce trans-rational spiritual realization to pre-rational regression, or one can elevate pre-rational states to the trans-rational domain.

For example, Wilber claims that Freud and Jung commit this fallacy. Freud considered mystical realization to be a regression to infantile oceanic states. Wilber alleges that Freud thus commits a fallacy of reduction.

Wilber thinks that Jung commits the converse form of the same mistake by considering pre-rational myths to reflect divine realizations. Likewise, pre-rational states may be misidentified as post-rational states.Wilber characterizes himself as having fallen victim to the pre/trans fallacy in his early work.

Wikipedia
Ken Wilber


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The most fascinating item about such empirical studies is something that is often seen with 'pre' and 'post' situations - namely, both pre-X and post-X are non-X (for example, both preconventional and postconventional are nonconventional, or outside the conventional norms and rules), and thus they are often confused.

In such situations, 'pre' and 'post' will often use the same rhetoric and the same ideology, but in fact they are actually separated by an enormous gulf of growth and development. 

[Ken Wilber]
A Theory of Everything, p.23

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The prerational religions were dominant in the past, in premodern times, but the transrational religions are on their way, destined to descend on a collective humanity with a global consciousness at their core.

[Ken Wilber]
A Theory of Everything, p.134

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A careful reader will see that Wilber has considerable sympathy for many of the claims made by radical environmentalists and by people exploring nature-oriented religions. He understands that some people need to explore previously repressed areas in order to become better integrated.

Conceivably, he might even regard some of current interest in shamanism as a potentially promising development, provided that those practices are explored in the right spirit, i.e., with the goal of moving forward by first looping back, and in a way that does not require the sacrifice of critical forms of consciousness.

[Michael E. Zimmerman]
Ken Wilber's Critique of Ecological Spirituality

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