Subsequent to the last post, the topic of Almaas’ work came up and as a consequence I’ve picked up A.H. Almaas’ Facets of Unity, which is written from a spiritual perspective.
To summarize very concisely, I didn’t like it. I myself come very much from a “psychological” perspective – seeing the types as just having distinct psychological patterns. Within that framework, different aspects of essence or “holy ideas” are just psychological aspects, rather than being anything truly mystical.
Compared to that, Almaas’ work in Facets follows on very closely from Ichazo’s original work (indeed, he wrote the foreword to the book), elaborated and put somewhat in the context of Almaas’ spiritual system, the Diamond Approach – discussing things like “holes”, “Living Daylight”, and so on and so forth.
From a materialistic perspective, I find myself generally unable to accept large chunks of Almaas’ perspective about the types – accepting his definitions regarding several of the types “holy ideas” means accepting a number of ideas as being true, that I would generally see as being, more or less, insanity. Almaas’ for example accepts delusional states as being evidence of connection to higher reality, views the universe as being somehow conscious, or believes that any negative emotions in any context implies a falling from grace (being unhappy that people were crushed in an earthquake is an example of falling from a sense that the universe is perfect, for instance). In many cases, that a definition of an ‘idea’ is unsound is evident in that he would see it as something lacking and so generating the ‘specific difficulty’ of a type, whereas as defined they seem like a majority of them are fairly weird to most people of other types also.
While clearly well-read, then, his conclusions are largely suspect – occasionally finding something, more often not.
Some specific commentary on particular points:
*“Basic Trust” (earlier section) – compare Six: he suggests that a lack of basic trust is what generates e-types generally (difficulties with holding environment) . As he actually notes there, the concept of “Basic Trust” is extremely close to what “Six” theoretically has an idea, which conflicts then with lack of this being a universal basic factor.
His equating Six later to be “Strength” aspect is however interesting – seeming like perhaps a more useful conception of the basic problem in Six.
One: Perfection: Almaas discussion of Perfection is over-the-top, to the point of making it evil…:
If there is an earthquake somewhere, for instance, that is the action of Holy Will. It’s difficult for many of us to see perfection in it if hundreds of people die. But perfection does not exist on that level of discourse; it does not exist on the level of someone being killed by a falling rock during the earthquake. Holy Perfection recognizes that there is no separate rock and no person being hit by it. What we are calling “rock” and “person” are nothing but manifestations of the essence of God. So, from the perspective of Holy Perfection, an inseparable piece of the essence of God falls on another inseparable piece of the essence of God, and it is very graceful, because it is all the movement of the essence of God.
From the point of view where we see the holy ideas as things lacking in particular types, we could see this as an obviously bad example, since people who aren’t Ones, may be upset by disasters.
If anything, perhaps the distinction, I think, is that One can be said to have a view of “resentment” – that is to say, the One can be blocked with respect to sadness (which would be natural in such a case), with it instead coming through as anger. Almaas describes the types’ tendency to be frustrated with self is seen as an outgrowth of the basic judgment process, rather than seeing that conversely, a One may generate anger from that and then act to funnel that into other causes that look righteous.
*Two: his (or Ichazo’s) discussion of Two and “Holy Will” is fairly weird. In his opinion, Twos have lost “will”, except that he believes real ‘will’ means a lack of personal will, and instead a submission to ‘cosmic will’ and accepting how things will be.
Problems this generates:
1) Definitionally, ‘will’ as defined here is very different to anything that we would ever in common language call ‘will’ (whether or not you’re a Two).
2) This has serious overlap problems with Seven. Seven traditionally has a fixation of “Planning”, wanting the universe to turn out a certain way. Which equally implies a lack of ‘surrender to cosmic will’. That also implies a not being in the present that Two doesn’t necessarily share, but its suspiciously similar.
3) His description of the Two psychological structure doesn’t, IMHO, at all explain why Twos are dependent on the approval or love of others.
His view there is interesting inasmuch as Twos do seem to often see others as frustrating or blocking their wishes. In my view, however, I would see ‘freedom’ more exactly as just freedom from needing the approval of others; a requirement to be loved and appreciated just makes others’ needs or desires seem overly important, bringing them more directly into conflict with those of the Two. (Twos could also overcompensate as a result, being rebellious).
The key difference then being whether its necessary to really give up your own ‘will’ to be free.
The Facets view makes Twos intensely “willful”, when it may be more accurate to say Twos are lacking a sort of ‘inner freedom’, feeling controlled. Parts of the description do however help explain how things look from a Two perspective – enough that I was glancing through a couple of the Two authors (e.g. the Indigo series, case studied) to check if I had this right.
*Three: “Hope” as described here is very close to Ichazo’s definition, and again probably built on a wrong foundation. ‘Holy Hope’ here is yet another form of surrender to the universal will – letting go of being responsible for everything (the sole provider) and letting the universe fend for itself. Note that, say, Gurdjieff’s definition of Hope is very different as it emphasizes consciously solving problems, rather than just expecting things to unfold. This ‘idea’ is again something I can’t particularly see as evolved; a redefinition of it, however, means moving ‘Hope’ to a different point. As with Two, the description written around the purported holy idea doesn’t mesh particularly with the main focus or ‘passion’ of the type, or explain the need for status.
*Five: Almaas is probably right in his view that the underlying theme in Five is one of separation from others. The holy idea as described there, however, is a sort of ‘seeing the pattern of everything’ that 5s actually aren’t particularly bad at, IMHO; I think it would be more accurate to say that 5s have more of a sense of underlying emotional alienation. I would contend that Stinginess/Omniscience as defined by Ichazo isn’t a dichotomy, so Ichazo’s original allocation of concepts is wholly off, probably as a result of allocating the key theological virtues to the inner triangle. Almaas’ elaboration then builds on a flawed foundation.
*Seven: aside from what’s mentioned earlier, Seven is weird since he talks about Castaneda’s “assemblage points” a lot here (…the one book I ever picked up on this involved a lot of spirit travel to other dimensions).
*Eight – Truth: this is another one of the points where I’m less certain Ichazo has anything like the correct idea. Disregarding that, note that Almaas emphasizes that Eights see things in a dualistic, black-and-white view; he takes the idea that “Truth” represents a “Oneness” to everything, as opposed to going beyond yes/no and dealing with complexities and nuances.