I want to re-open some previous discussions we've had with and about Greg in the previous forum, as well as this one. Here are the links to the prior Gaia threads on Derrida and synergist spirituality. In this post from the OOO thread I introduced his new book, Radical Atheism and New Spirituality. Therein I linked to an Integral World article that highlights a few excerpts of the book. I will include the referenced passage from that post below in some more lengthy excerpts:

"The nature of being may be such that it can only reveal itself partially...there are alternative economies of order, economies that see partiality and limited perspective as a consequence of the nature of being itself.

"Derrida...calls such an alternative economy of order a general economy. A general economy features the necessity of interrelation and dissemination of information or meaning as exceeding all measures of control and recuperation. It forms a law of irrecuperable loss.... Arkady Plotnitsky explores Derrida's use of general economy in great detail alongside parallel developments in theoretical physics.

"A restricted economy imposes a structuring principle that establishes a strong polarity of opposites and clear lines of choice. The structural tension between opposites such as true and false or fact and interpretation operates with a clarity that facilitates either/or alternatives and simplified decision-making. In a general economy, however, every oppositional structure submits to a reversal and a displacement. This displacement involves an extraordinary reconfiguration of the structure or dynamic play between opposites.

"General economy displaces discrete and essential difference between opposites with a new structure that sees the opposition as presenting a tension between elements both different yet connected, both penetrated to the core each by the other yet irreducible one to the other. Plotnitsky calls this structure complementary—after Niels Bohr and the quantum theory of wave/particle duality.

"Applying the principle of complementarity to any oppositional pair yields a structure in which the two sides of the opposition penetrate each other in every instance such that there is no pure instance of either. As will be discussed in the next section, this complementary structure of oppositional relations has profound consequences for the concept of transcendence.

"In a general economy there is no crossing over from one pure instance to another pure instance since no clear boundary separates one instance from the other. This circumstance of structure supports the notion of a universal law of contamination. This universal contamination cannot be explained in simple degrees of mixture, gradation, or shades of difference. Instead, this law of contamination presents the circumstance of superposition—superposition of continuity (irreducible dependence) and discontinuity (irreducible separation).

"The possibility for unique and irretrievable loss inherent in a general economy is theorized at the philosophical level by Derrida in his notion of the trace—a term he uses to describe the nature and quality of being. The trace is an absenting presencing, disappearing as it appears.

"From the language Wilber uses in characterizing his view of Spirit and his view of enlightenment it becomes clear that his spirituality remains within what Derrida calls a restricted economy. There are two primary indicators for assessing Wilber's approach to spirituality as consistent with a restricted economy: 1) the implicit assumptions about the deep structure of basic oppositions such as Emptiness and Form, timeless and temporal and 2) the dominant role of notions such as unity and union.

"Wilber speaks of the overcoming of this dualism in the union of Emptiness and Form and time and timelessness as if each side in the pair were in some sense separate, as if the Emptiness and Form aspects of Spirit could be approached separately in paths that then lead to partial enlightenment. The mere notion of the possibility of partial enlightenment in the sense Wilber suggests is symptomatic of an organization or structuring of oppositional relation in a manner consistent with a restricted economy."

In the “essence and identity” thread I introduced Gregory Desilet's essay “Physics and Language.” From that essay he said:

"As both the one and the many, the continuum does not require, and in fact precludes, a thorough merging of opposites. Where there is a tendency to see unity as fundamental the continuum asserts that difference is equiprimordial with unity. Oddly enough...[this is] consistent with descriptions Derrida gives for the term differance" (349).

In this post quoting the same article he says:

“Contexts are not absolute, [they] are in motion and continually changing within an infinite, changing net…. The reality that emerges though particular contexts is not objective reality in any traditional sense of the word. Reality as a superposition does not conform to the idea of objectness or thingness. This way of thinking places it in a conceptual category for which adequate metaphors are difficult to find—thereby necessitating terms such as ‘continuum’ or ‘differance,’ ‘superposition’ etc.

“Yet the contextualization that limits interpretation does not function with the closure of totalization; its boundary remains open. This lack of closure entrails, paradoxically, that reality both is and is not what it is interpreted to be. It is, at one level, what is interpreted to be but also always exceeds, at another level, what it is interpreted to be. This ‘exceeding’ means that at every point of capture reality escapes calculation and thereby admits construction” (352).

Also recall the following, originally posted in the “what 'is' the differance?” thread:

Let's now look at his article "Misunderstanding Derrida and Postmodernism." He says:

"But by embracing any form of absolute transcendence in his philosophical outlook, Wilber necessarily retains traditional metaphysical distinctions between emptiness and form, the real and the manifest, and Being and time."

Desilet gives Wilber credit for his exposition in IS (Appendix II) on the relative side of the coin and agrees with much of it. But W still maintains an absolute in clear distinction with the relative and his nonduality is a higher synthesis and reconciliation between the two. Whereas for Desilet (and Derrida):

"Time (as difference or change) and Being (as sameness or permanence) interpenetrate each other all the way through and at every point....At certain places in his discussion Wilber seems to grasp the postmodern approach to oppositional tensions as interpenetrations simultaneously essentially different and essentially related."

And in other places W maintains the divide with his absolute Spirit apprehended via nirodha meditation as the other side of the equation. W's version of the myth of the given only applies to the relative side.

Desilet then goes into this "witness" business, which relates to the other thread on Shinzin Young. It is distinguished form the ego in that the latter is again only relative whereas the witness is pure, absolute consciousness. Particularly relevant to this discussion is that Derrida's "undeconstructable" (like khora) should not be confused with the likes of this transcendental absolute:

"Every instance of consciousness...is necessarily already divided. Consciousness and Being are split by difference all the way to the core.... The 'other' functions as an 'absolute' for Derrida only in the sense of presenting an absolute 'opening' as the 'yet to come' (what Wilber might regard as the 'unmanifest'). The 'yet to come,' as that which can potentially come into awareness and experience, cannot be absolutely alien to the self yet neither can it be absolutely known or comprehended at any moment in time. As such, the 'yet to come' retains a quality of essential difference from and essential relation to 'what is.'”

And Desilet's concluding remarks make a point I've made several times before, that retaining the absolute (as metaphysically defined) maintains notions of superiority and hegemony, something we've certainly witnessed in the kennilinguist integral community.

"Traditional metaphysics and its construction of notions of absolute transcendence that easily slide, however unintentionally, toward authorization of modes of certainty that do little more than contribute to predispositions of non-negotiation and systems of exclusionary discrimination."

Granted Wilber does move away from traditional metaphysics, per both my and Desilet's comments above, at least on the relative side of the street. But he still retains it for his absolute.

 

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The elites are accellerationists whether they know it or not.  If you told them they were, they would vigorously disagree.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerationism

In political philosophy influenced by the thought of Karl Marx, accelerationism is the belief that in order to generate radical change, the prevailing system of capitalism should be expanded and its growth accelerated so that its self-destructive tendencies can be brought to their conclusion.

The New Centre had a series of seminars on accellerationism.  If you join as a member you get all of the archived videos for all the seminars.

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In this course Levi Bryant goes over his book "The Democracy of Objects"  I'm viewing this one now myself.


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Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey all you young whipper snappers out there in the Integral provinces! 

This morning I'd like to address some of the issues Joe Perez is bringing up on his last blog on the Visser altitude debate. So, firstly, if the Integral stage is anything like the rational/scientific stage we can probably expect the initial developments to proceed over centuries; so I don't see that Integral is dead at all, it may be just a long slow arc. We know the initial rumblings of this stage started about 100 years ago, and it may take 100 more years for it to become more deeply ingrained provided that the base conditions that would allow it to flourish could  continue to be met.  In the early stages of that transition most of the new practitioners of science still held residual beliefs from the previous stages, so I don't see that they waged war on the previous stage per se. To me, I think it was more about an integration of new knowledge and a slow letting go of some of their previously held beliefs. The conversion from literal mythic believers to rational deists promoting reason and the scientific method might be one example. 

Secondly, when we look at an individuals human life from birth to death do we really dis the development of one stage to the next? Isn't there an organic necessity to this development which is a priori , and doesn't it seem kind of strange to get all bent out of shape because one doesn't necessarily like a certain stage of that growth? Does a grandparent hold it's grandchild in its arms and think , 'oh, you poor lowly evolved little Dicken's?' To my thinking, a better way to access growth would be to look for where development goes awry, gets arrested, becomes unhealthy, pathological. This to me seems a more nuanced assessment avenue rather than asserting the supremacy of one stage over any other. Do we really look, at say, Aboriginal tribes in the Amazon, and declare our supremacy to them? Really? From this lens I don't see that Visser is being unhealthy or pathological at all in his assessments. I do wonder , though, when anyone feels the NEED to declare supremacy . To my thinking that shows more signs of unhealthy adjustment in one of the lines of development.

An element of this may be influenced by culture. America tends to have this aggressive Tony Robbin's go for the gold competitive meme within it's gene pool now. I can't say I'm personally all that enamoured with that particular gene; especially given that it was that meme that washed through Wall St. and led to massive delusion, pain and suffering ( Not specifically T.R's teaching, but similar ideas were at play).  Yes, I think it's possible to pursue excellence but we need to not delude ourselves and be keenly aware of how susceptible humans are to fallacy. 

That was the point of my providing the actual developmental research. Stating that one is at a level overall is not supported by the research and per Stein more a dysfunctional, ideological interpretation. And you're right, this dysfunction is ironically more a leftover from our capitalistic, competitive, self-involved 'orange' level, so the accusation of Frank being orange is more a shadow projection from this unconscious malady. Which is not to say Perez or the kennilinguists are at orange overall, just in this context when defending their ideology through this particular pathology.

Recall this from Cook-Greuter's ITC '13 paper:

"I suggest that a more complex view must include notions of fundamental 'uncertainty', existential paradox, and the nature of interdependent polar opposites as a basis for making its claims. In terms of its understanding of humans, integral evolutionary assertions sound more as coming from a formal operational, self-authoring, analytical, and future-focused mindset than a truly second-tier one despite 'postconventional' content and worldcentric values" (17-18).

Plus the metaphysical basis of egoic-rationality, the mind-body (and every other dichotomy) split, is still insidiously and unconsciously with us despite our meta-models. The latter in fact are still tainted by it, as I made in the lengthy case about the model of hierarchical complexity in the real/false reason thread. Also recall this from Cook-Greuter in "Mature ego development,posted in that thread.

"Commons and Richards’ (1984) General Model of Hierarchical Complexity, for instance, includes stages of metasystematic and cross-paradigmatic reasoning in its scheme. However, the higher stages in this latter model remain wedded to symbolic codification. Complex cognitive behavior is represented as mathematical formulas (operations upon operations upon operations - almost ad infinitum). Purely cognitive models (Commons and Truedeau, 1994; Stein, in progress), for instance, do not realize and/or acknowledge the incommensurability between symbol and that which is symbolized. Their creators do not recognize the limits of rational analysis and of symbolic representation, and thus, they cannot discover the hidden assumptions and paradoxes that they enact in their models" (10).

Nice to see Cook-Greuter and others providing corroboration of the need for skepticism toward hierarchical developmental schemes. I especially like this: "Purely cognitive models (Commons and Truedeau, 1994; Stein, in progress), for instance, do not realize and/or acknowledge the incommensurability between symbol and that which is symbolized." The symbol/symbolized relation not being a cause/effect relation creates a formidable set of problems rarely sufficiently acknowledged in social and psychological research. 

Also, both andrew and theurj get to the heart of the problem with the pseudo rank pulling problem of appealing to altitude in the context of argument. Feeling the need to "declare supremacy" in such contexts is "dysfunctional, ideological interpretation." The whole point of argumentation done well is to let the arguments speak louder than WHO is speaking. Referencing altitude is just another way of falling into the argument by authority fallacy. Perez's attempts to claim otherwise for his strategy by suggesting this approach is the proper way to engage and make use of integral developmental levels is a lame attempt at justification reflecting a poor grasp of the potential usefulness of such hierarchical categories. No one in the academic world would ever seriously express the notion that argument and evidence should NOT be the sole criteria for judgment in any formal inquiry or debate concerning the viability of particular knowledge claims. The flexibility of what may count as argument and evidence allows for plenty of choices for approach without having to resort to irrelevant altitude measurements or other extraneous nonsense. Furthermore, those who think that "orange idolizes argument" are isolating themselves from any community in which significant communication can take place about controversial spiritual questions. Ironically,creating such community was precisely one of the primary aims of Wilber's integral approach.



theurj said:

Plus the metaphysical basis of egoic-rationality, the mind-body (and every other dichotomy) split, is still insidiously and unconsciously with us despite our meta-models. The latter in fact are still tainted by it, as I made in the lengthy case about the model of hierarchical complexity in the real/false reason thread. Also recall this from Cook-Greuter in "Mature ego development,posted in that thread.

"Commons and Richards’ (1984) General Model of Hierarchical Complexity, for instance, includes stages of metasystematic and cross-paradigmatic reasoning in its scheme. However, the higher stages in this latter model remain wedded to symbolic codification. Complex cognitive behavior is represented as mathematical formulas (operations upon operations upon operations - almost ad infinitum). Purely cognitive models (Commons and Truedeau, 1994; Stein, in progress), for instance, do not realize and/or acknowledge the incommensurability between symbol and that which is symbolized. Their creators do not recognize the limits of rational analysis and of symbolic representation, and thus, they cannot discover the hidden assumptions and paradoxes that they enact in their models" (10).

I'd like to briefly revisit an old topic from this thread dating back to Dec 2011 where the topic was OOO and where in response to the work of Bryant theurj says, "I grant the sign's (withdrawn) autonomy from any specific relation but don't accept that therefore it can exist without any relation. My sense is that the sign (or any object) always remains partly withdrawn (not present) in any particular relation due to the trace, but only partly so."

I agree with theurj's position here and would add something further. The notion that in semiotics there is a "remainder" (to use Derrida's term) of the signifier/signified that transcends context has caused some confusion at the level of metaphysical theory. In one sense it is indisputably true that something bridges contexts because without that bridge there would be no possibility for language at all. But this something need NOT suggest there is a transcendent core somehow immune to changing context. Derrida's point about the remainder includes the provision that the remainder is also contingent. Over time and changing contexts NO PART, according to Derrida, remains immune to change. This is why deconstruction is not a version of essentialism; there is no longer anything like a classical notion of essence operating in deconstruction. The "remainder" is a set of traits that between varied uses contains NO traits that must necessarily be associated with a given signifier/signified complex. This is a close parallel to Wittgenstein's notion of "family resemblance"--each member of a family has a set of traits that overlap with one or several other members but all members do NOT share one or more traits. Thus, the family has no core essence of common traits. Metaphysically speaking, this circumstance means that nothing is immune to time, change, and difference and also that there can be no such thing as an "object" in the sense of OOO theorizing. The best theorist I've found concerning clarity on this issue is Martin Hagglund. I recommend taking a look at his essay: Radical Atheist Materialism: A Critique of Meillassoux available on his web site under "publications" (http://www.martinhagglund.se/index.php?option=com_content&view=...). 

The mind/matter, spirit/matter dichotomy relates to this issue. Hagglund makes the case for the logical necessity that nothing transcends or could possibly transcend time (defined as "succession"). Succession is necessary in order for anything to happen. So the possibility of any world whatever is contingent on succession. Without succession there is nothing but absolute stasis. So for Hagglund, mind and spirit, along with analogous categories, are also subject to radical transformation (destruction) through time. Immortality is a logical abstraction but not a genuine opposite to mortality. Timelessness is also an abstraction and not an opposite to time. If we believe in something like spirit, it is not, for Derrida/Hagglund) something essentially different from matter with regard to its subjection to time (as well as motion). This creates an interesting materialism in that matter is not ONE substance but is instead always divided by time (succession). Its identity is always split by succession and the being of the trace as presence/absence (absence in the sense that presence is always emerging and receding simultaneously). Obviously, this deconstructive metaphysics has implications regarding how we view spirit and spirituality and what is possible for spirit. And I don't believe those implications need be the least bit nihilistic due to the lack of the category of timelessness.

Gregory: Did you read this post referencing Bryant's paper "Time of the Object"? He too, as do all OOOers, acknowledge that the withdrawn or "the remainder is also contingent." They are also strongly opposed to any "version of essentialism." As to time, please read the linked post and the linked article therein. I think you'll find much akin to what you said in your last post. If you find differences, please elucidate.

Actually this is a better copy of Bryant's paper.

Having now read Bryant's full paper, I would have to read more of his thinking in order to be convinced he belongs in the category of OOO. I don't see anything in the paper that convinces me of that.

Concerning OOO and what I've read of Graham Harman and others such as Meillassoux, I don't see any reason to suppose that OOO and Derrida's metaphysics are in any significant way consistent. Any view that would posit an absolute autonomy of the object would be inconsistent with deconstruction. And any so-called OOO view that does not posit some inaccessible autonomy of the object would not, in my opinion, qualify as OOO. Positions of the latter type would, I think, easily reduce to deconstructive metaphysics whereby the "object" is actually of the structure of the trace (which must not be confused with the "object" in philosophical senses of the term), composed of a contingent emerging/receding non-identical with itself. Nevertheless, I'm very open to being refuted on these points!

theurj said:

Gregory: Did you read this post referencing Bryant's paper "Time of the Object"? He too, as do all OOOers, acknowledge that the withdrawn or "the remainder is also contingent." They are also strongly opposed to any "version of essentialism." As to time, please read the linked post and the linked article therein. I think you'll find much akin to what you said in your last post. If you find differences, please elucidate.

Actually this is a better copy of Bryant's paper.

Bryant has come to refute his earlier position that an object has "absolute autonomy." OOO has a lot of diversity and difference of opinion. And Bryant certainly defines an object differently than the usual philosophical sense, to wit this paper. He's even come to admit a certain form of correlationism. Let's just say that Morton, Harman and other OOOers consider Bryant in their camp.

We also have an OOO thread that's been going on the past 3+ years. It's a long, winding road with almost 1500 posts over 117 pages. I don't know if you'd want to read that whole thing, but it's there to search for specifics within if you're so inclined.

The Introduction to Bryant's latest book, Onto-Cartography, is here, written by Harman. Harman said therein:

"He quickly became a key figure in the movement known as 'Object-Oriented Ontology (or 'OOO'), a term that Bryant coined himself in 2009. His involvement with the object-oriented paradigm and the work of Bruno Latour led to his second book, The Democracy of Objects (2011)."

The latter book is available here. Although per the Introduction and Bryant's blog, Bryant now considers his work "machine-oriented ontology."

It seems Bryant has removed himself from the category of full-blown OOO. And rightly so. IMO it's a philosophically indefensible position. Any attempt to hang on to vestiges of it will also be fraught with difficulty. There are good reasons for this I will outline. If what I say covers ground already addressed in the OOO thread, please feel free to just say: "been there, done that" and we can shift back to other themes. But I would be interested in what you all think of this line of critique of OOO and associated views.

One of the claims of object oriented views concerns the notion that versions of relationism do not and cannot account for objects because objects consist of relations between other objects and relations are not objects. Plus, this results in an infinite regress of relations. Furthermore, object oriented views tend to believe they at least posit something positive about objects by saying "they withdraw."

The problem with this whole approach is twofold. First, relationality does not stand by itself as the chief feature of metaphysical views such as deconstruction. Context, as the network of relations, is important but it is not the primary thing. Second, objects withdraw not because withdrawing is a defining aspect of their being but because time is an essential aspect of their being.

Relationality PLUS time yields a more accurate picture of deconstructive metaphysics. The withdrawn nature of objects is not an aspect of their existing IN time but rather a result of time as an essential feature of the structure of any object as such. A so-called "object" is nothing more than the spatialization of time. Time and space are mutually co-implicated. Time cannot exist without space and space cannot exist without time. Motion is a further consequence of time and space. And here it is necessary to understand that "space" corresponds to what we normally think of as "object." There is no such thing as nothingness or pure emptiness. As soon as there is space there are objects, because space is itself THE object. More accurately, in this view, there is no such thing as the "object," as classically understood. The possibility for an object in the classic sense only arises at absolute zero--where all motion, time, and space are frozen to absolute stasis.

As such, "objects" are not IN space as if space were an empty container. The emergence of space and time is the emergence of object(s) and objects are thereby more rightly conceived as of the nature of the trace. And the identity of the trace consists not only of its being arising through a network of relations with other traces but also of its being as constituted by time as succession, as emerging/receding. This means that the identity of a trace, such as it is, consists of "external" relations to what it is not but also consists of "internal" contradiction in not being identical to itself. The trace constantly negates and destroys itself as it emerges. There are no "cores" or "objects" persisting through time and altered by time but only emerging and receding traces as a function of space and time. As Martin Hagglund explains in his paper on Meillassoux, this view is not derived by empirical investigations, even though it may (and does IMO) appear consistent with such investigations. As Hagglund says:

It is important to underline, however, that Derrida does not generalize the trace structure by way of an assertion about the nature of being as such. The trace is not an ontological stipulation but a logical structure that makes explicit what is implicit in the concept of succession. To insist on the logical status of the trace is not to oppose it to ontology, epistemology, or phenomenology, but to insist that the trace is a metatheoretical notion that elucidates what is entailed by a commitment to succession in either of these registers. The logical structure of the trace is expressive of any  concept of succession—regardless of whether succession is understood in terms of an ontological, epistemological, or phenomenological account of time.

The only way to oppose this line of reasoning is to offer an alternative logic of time. And that is something I have not seen offered in any of the versions of OOO with which I am acquainted. And from within the logic of succession object oriented ontologies do not make much sense. It is as if these views attempt to re-invent the wheel when a good wheel stands before them.

theurj said:

Bryant has come to refute his earlier position that an object has "absolute autonomy." OOO has a lot of diversity and difference of opinion. And Bryant certainly defines an object differently than the usual philosophical sense, to wit this paper. He's even come to admit a certain form of correlationism. Let's just say that Morton, Harman and other OOOers consider Bryant in their camp.

We also have an OOO thread that's been going on the past 3+ years. It's a long, winding road with almost 1500 posts over 117 pages. I don't know if you'd want to read that whole thing, but it's there to search for specifics within if you're so inclined.

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

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