Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Deconstruction inhabits Integral Post-metaphysics from within in order to show how the out workings of IPM are “always, already” inwardly disturbed by the “un-decidability” (aporia/paradox) upon which Integral theory depends logically for its own (relatively stable) constitution. In simple terms, the deconstruction of IPM gets underway when we put all of its conceptual formations into scare quotes (“All”, “Quadrants”, “Levels”, “States”, “Consciousness”, etc.) as we expose the contingency, revisability and reinventability of everything that it proposes, from it's clear-cut distinctions (pre/trans), to it's fixed and stable categories (interior/exterior), to it's centered structure (developmental holarchy), to it's privileging of pure presence (Nondual awareness), or to whatever is taken as simply “given” (indigenous perspectives, intrinsic features).
To give an example of how deconstruction makes the very foundations of Integral tremble, let’s look at the familiar developmental sequence: pre-conventional, the conventional, and the post-conventional. Firstly, things are never identical with themselves, including these three stages. Nobody is ever simply or purely at a pre-conventional (beige/red), conventional (amber/orange), or post-conventional (green/turquoise) stage of development. This is an Integral fiction or myth.
For example, pre-conventional fetal life is not simply pre-conventional – but deeply affected by conventions: not only by the mother’s bodily health - which is in turn affected by conventional political institutions, but also by her social and family environment - more conventions, including the linguistic cadences of her body, the music she listens to, her stresses, etc. Empirical studies show that babies who are relocated to another linguistic culture at around 6-10 months begin to speak later than they would have because they have already absorbed the sounds, intonations, etc. of another language and now have to start all over.
But the simply point is that the interweaving of pre-conventional and conventional is not a developmental hierarchy, but “hauntological”- each haunts the other, the specter of each hovers over and disturbs the other. In the same way, the pre-conventional and post-conventional logically depend upon and cannot so much as be discussed without reference to the conventions one has in mind in any case. Anomalies are anomalous relative to the nomos. Nothing happens without conventions, including spiritual breakthrough/enlightenment. Post-conventional creativity is inescapably the reinvention of the conventional, and if that is denied, let someone invent something that is supposed to be purely idiomatic and new, and afterwards we will show them their pedigree. (The owl of Minerva spreads her wings at dusk.) The “unprecedented” is unprecedented only compared to what precedes it. Again, nothing is ever identical with itself.
Long story short, IPMS is not a hierarchical-developmental growth towards higher consciousness but a roll of the dice, a kind of chancey circling, recycling and reinvention - whence Deleuze’s critique of evolution or world-history as having any kind of direction (which is a long story). Furthermore IMPS may not a gift but a disaster, where whatever it is we call Integral implicates itself in new complications and unforeseen consequences, and where nothing is ever guaranteed in advance. Integral takes strange turns, and it is by subsisting in this element of chance and contingency, of “what we cannot see coming,” that it keeps itself open to what breaks in upon us and takes us by surprise.
And this means that Integral itself proceeds by paradigm shifts, by anomalies that throw a horizon of expectation into confusion and thereby effect a reconfiguration of the horizon, whereas for the most part, in what we normally call “Integral” here on IPMS, we are just filling in the horizons. IPMS means preparing to be taken by surprise, to prepare to be unprepared for new horizons that create new problems. The very last thing Integral PMS ought to ever speak of is a developmental sequence leading us to some telos or destination. The purpose or destination of Integral is to vanquish the illusion of purpose or destination, in a recognition of the endless difficulty of life, where we produce what we repeat, where we produce something new by the repetition, like a composer picking at a piano, and where repetition keeps the future open, under-determined, a promise/risk, an open-ended venture into an unforeseeable future…
I see a ghost on the horizon
calling me to follow.
When I get there
loose rags on a tattered fence.
I look up and he's still there
on the horizon, beckoning.
From this Ning IPS post quoting Caputo, the entire hier(an)archical thread of which is relevant to this one:
"The core theoretical debate in this book goes back to Hegel, about which Milbank and Žižek share considerable agreement. For Hegel, the fundamental motor of time and becoming is dialectical reconciliation of the members of a binary oppositional pair in virtue of which each one tends to pass into the other on a higher level. But Žižek rejects Hegel's invocation of "reconciliation" of opposites in a happier harmony. For Žižek the next step, the negation of the negation, does not mean a step up (aufheben) to a higher plane of unity but instead a more radically negative negation in which we are led to see that this mutual antagonism is all there is and that we are going to have to work through it. The unreconciled is real and the real is unreconciled. The only reconciliation is to reconcile ourselves to the irreconcilable, to admit that there is no reconciliation, and to come to grips with it. The negation of the negation leaves us with a deeper negation, not with an affirmation. It is not that the spirit is first whole, then wounded, then healed; rather such healing as is available to it comes by getting rid of the idea of being whole to begin with. The antithesis is already the synthesis (72).
"Žižek provocatively suggests an odd kind of 'positive' unbelief in an undead God, like the 'undead' in the novels of Stephen King, a 'spectral' belief that is never simple disbelief along with a God who is never simply dead (101). God is dead but we continue to (un)believe in the ghost of god, in a living dead god. If atheism ("I don't believe in God") is the negation of belief ("I believe in God"), what is the negation of that negation? It is not a higher living spirit of faith that reconciles belief and unbelief but a negation deeper than a simple naturalistic and reactionary atheism (like Hitchins and Dawkins). Belief is not aufgehoben but rather not quite killed off, even though it is dead. It is muted, erased but surviving under erasure, like seeing Marley's ghost even though Scrooge knows he is dead these twenty years; like a crossed out letter we can still read, oddly living on in a kind of spectral condition. Things are neither black nor white but shifting, spectral, incomplete. We have bid farewell to God, adieu to the good old God (à Dieu), farewell to the Big Other, Who Makes Everything Turn Out Right, Who Writes Straight with Crooked Lines, who maketh me to lie down in green pastures. Still, that negation of negation does not spell the simple death of belief but its positive mode in which belief, while dead, lives on (sur/vivre). This unbelief would be the 'pure form' of belief, and if belief is the substance of the things that appear not, Žižek proposes a belief deprived of substance as well as of appearance. Žižek mocks Derrida mercilessly, but when spaceship Žižek finally lands, when this buzzing flutterbug named Žižek finally alights, one has to ask, exactly how far has he landed from Derrida's 'spectral messianic.'"
Yes, I like the Integral Theism view, though I haven't yet studied Hartshorne. I have an older friend who had studied with Hartshorne, and wrote his Master's thesis on H.N. Wieman. He favored Wieman a bit more than Hartshorne, for his focus more on practical human living than on a systematic theology. I wrote a bit about the Wieman, Meland, and Loomer tradition on this thread, as you may remember.
BTW, Hartshorne's "dipolar" God still feels a bit too convoluted to me (maybe I just don't understand it well enough)....though definitely not as convoluted as Žižek! Bonnitta Roy is a Hartshorne fan.
Which is why the idea of polydoxy, that Bruce and others have talked about a fair amount on this site, is so attractive.
Thanks, David ! I think God need not be incoherent nor impossible. But let's start first with Integral. Where is the integrity of privileging only one perspective of an argument? What we have on this planet is a multiplicity of ideas and concepts when it comes to spirituality . This is true within traditions and when comparing traditions; there is certainly no consensus on the spiritual nature of reality should there even be one ...
In a word,