I am researching a working paper tentatively called "The search for context-transcedent meaning." In this post-metaphysical age, is there any context - independent knowledge or context-transcendent meaning? If maybe so... what kinds of categories, notions, meaning-drivers, values do you suppose they would be?

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from conversations with you and rich carlson, i know that i do not know the "deeper" Derrida

theurj said:
"...require constantly being brought into new context, depending not only on the period or culture, but also, on an individual basis either i-thou, or i-awe...and that the 'dharma' is not something that is formulaic, but a process that continually re-news its form or structures.... Now I am thinking of a kind of Platonic Ideal."

I know from our past conversations that you think Derrida is not a candidate for what you seek but perhaps that has changed? Nevertheless I find a lot of him in what you describe. For example, as to your point about the singular event free from the formulaic context, here's Caputo in DIAN (cited above):

"Like the singularity of an event whose uniqueness makes each occurrence both an unprecedented first time and an unrepeatable last time.... The wholly other is any singularity...[that] we cannot lift up, cannot generalize, cannot universalize, cannot formalize" (51-2).

And as to a kind of Platonic ideal, recall D's take on Plato's khora:

"Derrida's concern is with 'something' which is neither the one nor the other, which is anterior to both, something which is not a thing, 'something like an indeconstructable khora,' not because it is invulnerable to deconstruction but because it is 'the very spacing of de-construction'" (53).
Correction: the quotes above were from The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida (IUP, 1997). However DIAN devotes the entirety of Chapter 3 to Derrida's take on Plato's khora. A sample:

“Khora is not a universal (abstract place in general), nor a particular (a contained place), but something radically singular: place itself—within which multiple places are inscribed” (95).
Bonnitta, you might find this previous discussion from our old Integral Postmetaphysical Spirituality forum interesting or useful for your inquiry: Paradoxes of Transcendence.
What dya think?


Hi Bonnitta,

I agree with what you say in the first paragraph. But I don’t see the light of the fire (awareness) as generative of the shadows or anything else. It just appears that way because form is opaque. All contexts (platonic ideals to evolution) are ashes of the fire. Some may be warmer than others (closer to the fire) but they are ash nonetheless. Now that does not leave us with much but isn’t that the point of gazing into a fire?
There is a new kind of science called "the naturalistic turn" in which scientists approach inquiry through understanding of the epistemic framework they are using, and the flexibilty with which they choose one framework over another. It is an attempt to rid inquiry of both the idolotries of science (subject-object, interior-exterior, singular-plural, whole-part dualistic thinking) and the mythologies of conventional culture, while still engaging the world in an empirically based, epistemic project.

In The Ontogeny of Information Susan Oyama (a psychologist and science philosopher) specifically addresses the epistemic challenges in evolutionary and developmental theory (she is the designer of a hybrid "evo-devo" synthesis called developmental systems theory) as certain dualistically framed "ghosts" that plague the fields -- and that "progress" in integrating them is merely making them more and more complex, therefore more and more subtle. For example, the nature-nurture debate is now the gene-epigenic debate, on a smaller scale, but still unresolvable. Similarly, what is aquired (evolution) is nature, what is learned (development) is nurture ... etc... Her theory extends the notions of development into large fields (of different scales) of developmental modalities, and proposed that evolution is the evolution of developmental modalities and development as it unfolds is the "product" of evolution. A developmental modality, for example, is changed not only by the heritability of the genetic information, but by the way all organisms alter and support themselves and their environment (and vice-versus) throughout their lifetime. (This would support the notion of evolutionary processes throughout the scale of a human lifetime - although she doesn't mention that).

With respect to this discussion "context-transcendent meaning" -- how would you regard where she is coming from? That is, not so much what she has to say about the science, but her over-arching view.

(see following individual comments for quotes)
begin quote

Our tendency to conceptualize our own mental activities in terms of subject-object relations and of the inner-outer dimension has been noted, as has the evident ease with which we project these notions inward and outward to explain all manner of creation and change, stability and intractability. We have an ancient heritage of thought about essence and appearance, form and matter, about the necessary as universal and the contingent as variable. These ideas are so interwoven and so deeply entrenched in our intellectual tradition that it is difficult to think in other terms. Attempts to find alternative ways end up being complicated and obscure, thus only contributing to the conceptual inertia they are challenging.

end quote
begin quote

The developing organism as object of thought will occassionally be conpared to the prcess of thought itself. Our conceptual structure and metaphors not only describe our discoveries, they guide and define them as well, and both object and knowledge of it emerge interactively. There may also be a nonarbitrary relation between the fact that we find it difficult to believe ontogeny is possible without a guiding mind or mind-surrogate to lend impetus, direction, and form to the process and the fact that we find it difficult to conduct our lives without recourse to a priori truths, particularly in the face of social and cultural variety and great uncertainty about the future. It is this relation that leads us to place God in the cell to make us, but to search ontogeny and phylogeny for clues to the enduring conundrums of the place of humanity in the world of fate, reality, and limits to human world.

end quote
this one, suggesting, that nothing is hidden, everything is revealed

begin quote

If we are truly concerned with dealing humanely and realistically with ourselves and the world, then we cannot afford prematurely foreclosed possibilities or naive, simplistic optimism, crossed or circular inferences, empty explanation, or facile analogy. We cannt let projections (of ourselves into our genes, of our past into our future) pass for understanding, or disciplinary ambition for theory. I am suggesting, that is, that some worldviews are bettter suited than others to our abilities, including our ability to do science, and to our requirements as denizens of the natural world.

end quote
I came across this recent updated article by Suasanne Cook-Greuter where she talks about the kind of situations confronting people at the latest stages of Construct-Aware that are bumping up against the linits of symbolic thought, tensions that resolve or are integrated at Unitive stage, and then also hyposthesizes a 4th tier into a phase of post-symbolic, intuitive, direct-apperception. I have attached the entire paper, but the relevant sections begin on page 10
Attachments:
One immediate problem I see with CG's scheme is that despite her protects to the contrary she maintains the increasingly complex hierarchical scale from postformal into ego transcendence, as if one has to be postformal first before going post-symbolic. In other words, as I criticized Commons et al in the real and false reason thread, it extends this formal operational, linear progression into post (and post post) formal operations. Whereas I don't think it even requires postformal operations to go post-symbolic. However one can, and often does, interpret post-symbolic experience metaphysically so it does require a postformal interpretation to go postmetaphysical.

Now CG does go into the state v. stage differentiation, which is import here. Here she agrees with Wilber that the transcendental experience is available at any stage but only as a fleeting “state” experience. We then interpret it from the level of our ego development or “stage.” When one can stabilize these states they can become higher stages. Here she agrees with Wilber before he went postmetaphysical with the WC lattice, but she hasn't kept up with this last development. Hence she continues to interpret the post-symbolic with eastern meditative descriptions of ego transcendence in very metaphysical terms. At least Wilber is moving away from this, although not completely.

Now CG does note that Commons et al with their higher postformal stages are still stuck in more complex symbolical thinking, a criticism I also had in the real/false reason thread. And I agree with CG that there is a different kind of processing that happens in post-symbolism attained through methods like meditation. But where we part ways is when she continues to frame it in those traditional eastern, metaphysical ways. And she has this “stage” after construct aware, which most traditional meditators never reach.

Hence she starts conflating the construct-aware stage with some of the traits of the meditative tradition, like noting at this stage is the first time the ego becomes aware of itself, transparent to itself. I do not disagree that this stage is valid, or that one characteristic is indeed this ego awareness and transparency. It is indeed a further development over how most meditators interpret their nonetheless ego “transcendent” experiences. The latter thought does not equate to this level of interpretation.

CG's reasoning though is that such “state” experiences per above are only temporary for such meditators until they stabilize them in such higher stages. No, they never ever have to reach a higher than formal stage to stabilize such transcendent experience. Without the WC lattice and postmetaphysics her model is still quite limited about this apparent dilemma.

Another romantic and metaphysical notion CG maintains is that these “state” experiences are themselves the goal of enlightenment, and that they are what they seem on the surface: direct, immediate and unmediated by symbol, aka our friend the myth of the given all over again. All gift-wrapped in traditional interpretation that the symbolic ego is the bad guy here, the one that prevents us from this permanent, pristine, pure and ever-present experience of God. We see this in her unitive stage, where one merely accepts, and directly perceives, reality “as is.”

Again, I have no disagreement with even the unitive stage, just her metaphysical interpretation of it and its placement in the scheme (see references below). Another thing I noted in the real/false reason thread is that one can be partially post (or post post) formal in some domains or contexts while still remaining formal or metaphysical in others. Or even within the same domains in different contexts. There isn't a a monolithic one-size-fits-all “stage.” That in itself is still a formal characteristic carried over into an otherwise post (or post post if you're really into being superior, as developmentalists tend to be) view. All of which of course would say I haven't yet reached the unitive stage because of what I just said. In that they still remain like Wilber tied to their monolithic and hegemonic kosmic addressing.

My opinion if further reinforced by CG's concluding propositions, that we take up a traditional meditative practice and surrender to the guru to be properly “verified” in our ego transcendent experiences, and to help stablize them. Recall the traditions themselves are still stuck in metaphysical interpretations, interpretations that CG retains in describing the unitive stage and beyond. Still mix-and-matching like Wilber in this, but as I said, Wilber, while still guilty of it, has gone beyond it in ways CG has yet to fathom.

As to my own interpretations of all this, which are well know to long-time readers of the forum, see for example the referenced real/false reason thread as well as more recent threads like “what 'is' the difference,” “integral postmetaphysical nonduality,” or “kosmic addressing of mystical experience.”
OK, so far so good. I appreciate this. Here is my (familiar) interest in the situation. We develop concrete operations, and from thence on objects comes to us as if they were always already (prior givens)... at some point we develop abstract operations, and logic and reason from thence on come to us as ifthey were alway already (in the kantian sense that space and time, etc..) ... then at some point we become prorgressively aware of language, and the postmodern says language and intersubjectivity has always already been there -- another type of prior given, then we get to construct aware and realize that reality is constructed symbolically and so... we posit a non-symbolic or postsymbolic, postrepresentational reality, as if it has always already been there. If I hear you correctly, these can be seen as variation on the same theme. I agree.

But what I want to point out, is that there isthis special kind of experience, with this as-if/ always-alreadyquality that is a part of human experience. We don't have to assign it any ontological status in the epistemological sense. But I think we can identify this category of experience as a speical sort, different than the kinds of experiences we have that seem to take place in subjective time.

My question is about this process itself. The process of how we experience the as-ifphenomenon, which you may remember I call the ontological dimensioning of reality-- this process is interesting to me. Postmetaphysically, it doesn't depend on its "content" -- and there are all kinds of exotic fringe contents that some people have -- so I want to look at this process, and see it as some kind of context-transcendent meaning.

Whatdyathink?


theurj said:
One immediate problem I see with CG's scheme is that despite her protects to the contrary she maintains the increasingly complex hierarchical scale from postformal into ego transcendence, as if one has to be postformal first before going post-symbolic. In other words, as I criticized Commons et al in the real and false reason thread, it extends this formal operational, linear progression into post (and post post) formal operations. Whereas I don't think it even requires postformal operations to go post-symbolic. However one can, and often does, interpret post-symbolic experience metaphysically so it does require a postformal interpretation to go postmetaphysical.

Now CG does go into the state v. stage differentiation, which is import here. Here she agrees with Wilber that the transcendental experience is available at any stage but only as a fleeting “state” experience. We then interpret it from the level of our ego development or “stage.” When one can stabilize these states they can become higher stages. Here she agrees with Wilber before he went postmetaphysical with the WC lattice, but she hasn't kept up with this last development. Hence she continues to interpret the post-symbolic with eastern meditative descriptions of ego transcendence in very metaphysical terms. At least Wilber is moving away from this, although not completely.

Now CG does note that Commons et al with their higher postformal stages are still stuck in more complex symbolical thinking, a criticism I also had in the real/false reason thread. And I agree with CG that there is a different kind of processing that happens in post-symbolism attained through methods like meditation. But where we part ways is when she continues to frame it in those traditional eastern, metaphysical ways. And she has this “stage” after construct aware, which most traditional meditators never reach.

Hence she starts conflating the construct-aware stage with some of the traits of the meditative tradition, like noting at this stage is the first time the ego becomes aware of itself, transparent to itself. I do not disagree that this stage is valid, or that one characteristic is indeed this ego awareness and transparency. It is indeed a further development over how most meditators interpret their nonetheless ego “transcendent” experiences. The latter thought does not equate to this level of interpretation.

CG's reasoning though is that such “state” experiences per above are only temporary for such meditators until they stabilize them in such higher stages. No, they never ever have to reach a higher than formal stage to stabilize such transcendent experience. Without the WC lattice and postmetaphysics her model is still quite limited about this apparent dilemma.

Another romantic and metaphysical notion CG maintains is that these “state” experiences are themselves the goal of enlightenment, and that they are what they seem on the surface: direct, immediate and unmediated by symbol, aka our friend the myth of the given all over again. All gift-wrapped in traditional interpretation that the symbolic ego is the bad guy here, the one that prevents us from this permanent, pristine, pure and ever-present experience of God. We see this in her unitive stage, where one merely accepts, and directly perceives, reality “as is.”

Again, I have no disagreement with even the unitive stage, just her metaphysical interpretation of it and its placement in the scheme (see references below). Another thing I noted in the real/false reason thread is that one can be partially post (or post post) formal in some domains or contexts while still remaining formal or metaphysical in others. Or even within the same domains in different contexts. There isn't a a monolithic one-size-fits-all “stage.” That in itself is still a formal characteristic carried over into an otherwise post (or post post if you're really into being superior, as developmentalists tend to be) view. All of which of course would say I haven't yet reached the unitive stage because of what I just said. In that they still remain like Wilber tied to their monolithic and hegemonic kosmic addressing.

My opinion if further reinforced by CG's concluding propositions, that we take up a traditional meditative practice and surrender to the guru to be properly “verified” in our ego transcendent experiences, and to help stablize them. Recall the traditions themselves are still stuck in metaphysical interpretations, interpretations that CG retains in describing the unitive stage and beyond. Still mix-and-matching like Wilber in this, but as I said, Wilber, while still guilty of it, has gone beyond it in ways CG has yet to fathom.

As to my own interpretations of all this, which are well know to long-time readers of the forum, see for example the referenced real/false reason thread as well as more recent threads like “what 'is' the difference,” “integral postmetaphysical nonduality,” or “kosmic addressing of mystical experience.”
I think this new IPS thread might shed some light?

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