I recently joined this site and what I really want to do is continue an inquiry that I started on Integral Life back in Winter of 2014.

I am hoping that other members of IPS can contribute pointings that may help me untangle what seems to be a huge mess (in my own mind if nothing else.)
My posts are identified as LS. My partners in dialogue were Ambo Suno and Stefano. There was much more follow-on dialogue but it danced around and away from the main themes that the 3 of us touched.

As for themes, this could be regarded as simply a broadbrush journey through the wild thickets of ontology and epistemology. My sense at the time, after getting acquainted with the overall tones of the Integral movement, was that a broadbrush journey through wild thickets characterized it, so unpacking it would require the same. Engagements must happen where the parties have chosen to camp.

I am fascinated by what Integral is trying to do. I try to find the right analogy. In many ways, it reminds me of what happened in journalism when USA Today first appeared on the scene. Does anyone remember that? First of all, let's remember one thing, USA Today actually sold papers. It met a need. But, it also did a lot of other things. Cute color graphics, conflation of the sublime with the grotesque, and always a sense of the juvenile.

I even tend to think of Integral as the Janus figure, With Ken Wilber as the Rex Sacrorum, it simultaneously looks to the past, grossly simplifying and "integrating" ancestral works, and it looks to the future, packaging these works in evolutionary themes and adding a cast of cultural luminaries as a chorus, to seduce.

Where Integral goes goofy, in my opinion, is the way it mixes and matches disparate ideas, and then tries to reconcile the resulting chaos, all the while grossly over-simplifying.
In the end, I find the grossest "fast and loose" play in Wilber's underlying promise that "soul" or spiritual knowledge is scientific, that this "knowledge" is rigorously verifiable by the "Competent" (defined as those who have done the "work" to attain "competency").

Another underlying theme is the ascendancy given. The Integral community seems to be oriented on the Cross of Integral, with evolution taking us up the vertical post of Stage development, as we enjoy ourselves occasionally in various States on the horizontal arms.

There seems to be a lot of talk about "who is 2nd Tier," "if green would stop supporting amber then orange would be able to get to teal," and over and over I find assumptions that seem to be nonsensical.

It would probably take a madman to unpack what Integral has done. And yet, it has done something. Something that probably needed to be done.

If nothing else, it has dignified Being for all entities, no matter how seemingly bizarre they present. It has tried to find the Logic that produces manifestations that could easily be dismissed as irrelevant. And, it has tried to provide hope.

A final remark: as I look at the materials presented via the Integral community, it strikes me that there is something very very odd going on. My sense is something like this: the Integral Janus Movement attracts a type of person with a unique psychosomatic discomfort. This person is likely to simultaneously be burdened with a sense of brokenness (as I am) while also capable of some very glossy and arrogant generalizing solutions. How do I arrive at this? The discourse almost never takes the form it should take if people were truly motivated by discovering what is and isn't the case. Instead, the discourse takes the form of: "let's sip on conversational Soma until we feel a State Shift in our consciousness."

There is a guy named Jeff who writes the Integral Evolver. His tools are Stage Colors. He looks out into the world, based on probably a 10 minute perusal of a current event, and then proceeds to concoct a mini-theory based on Stages at War in the world. The audience that consumes this could care less about what is actually the case. It is the Daily Soma, the minor priest at the Temple of Janus dispensing the drug to give relief.

Which is fine. So what? Who cares? It's a free country.

My main interest is how we know things. Specifically, what organ or window is principally defining and evaluating what we encounter as Knowing.

As far as I can tell, the main Integral organ of knowing is multiple mini-State shifts characterized by oceanic relief and psychosomatic buzz. That's it. Kind of like the wasp nests under my eaves. Leave them alone and they will do what they do.

What slightly irritates me about all of this is the combination of Skillful Means meets USA Today meets Soma. If it were just a bunch of people tie-dying T-shirts, I am good with that. I tie-dye T-shirts. But, there is something slightly nefarious happening at the Commissar level I suspect, and for me, if I can unpack this, it helps me.

To put it another way, yes we landed on the Moon, eradicated smallpox, built the Internet, and made marijuana legal. But, spirit and mind are not necessarily on the same revolutionary time chart, ripe for "Evolutionary Enlightenment" and "3rd Tier Ascension."

In fact, another theme I find in the Integral community is a complete lack of respect and embrace for ancestral insights. Integral seems to provide the cover to allow people to imagine that they are doing something for the First Time Ever.

When the model is ascension, higher is higher and what came before was down there behind us and we can see it down there and we are now tasked with carrying on the journey above.
Which violates a lot of things I tend to believe. Anyhow, here is the dialogue, and I'd love to get some insightful dialogue going here to unclog some of my notions.

Lucy

Winter 2014
LS: Have just read Ken Wilber's Marriage of Sense and Soul.

Am hoping there are others on this site that would like chat about it.

Have briefly read some of Wilber's other works.

What interests me the most is how he tries to show that science involves a process that can be applied to nearly any domain. Pretty exciting, but also a lot needs to be examined closer.
It is intriguing to consider Wilber's invitation to extend our notions of science and knowledge to interior domains.

Wilber's point seems to be that you need to be competent before you can evaluate any claim of knowledge about an interior event.

Just as you need to be competent to perform math calculations to determine if an equation is correct, you need to have sufficient experience to evaluate whether interior claims are correct.
It is this word "correct" though that bothers me.

Math, physics, chemistry, and other hard sciences rest on falsifiability. Claims of knowledge are only meaningful if there is way they can be shown to be false.
But, interior events are not even subject to questions of true or false. There is no measurement or quantifying involved.

Wilber's argument is that the same injunction, observation, repetition process can be done with interior events. And that makes them subject to scientific knowledge.
But, what we don't know is how to even determine if the second person actually repeated the same process. Wilber says that if you want to experience X, do Y interior work for Z period of time. But, there is no way to remotely determine if the second person did Y or did it correctly or if the result of experience X is the same.

It seems pretty flaky to extend the terms science and knowledge and the scientific method to a process that is inherently unverifiable.

Pauli famously said about claims to knowledge that cannot be falsified, "It is not only not right, it is not even wrong."

This may be my takeaway from Wilber's book. He would have been better off simply saying, there are domains of experience that do not involve scientifically verifiable knowledge. There are injunctions that are more useful than others that seem to produce experiences that tend to be useful to some people. We are not talking about knowledge or science here. We are talking about extending our capacities to know in other ways.

Ambo Suno: Two points come up as I read your post. The first relates to,"Just as you need to be competent to perform math calculations to determine if an equation is correct, you need to have sufficient experience to evaluate whether interior claims[italics mine] are correct."
Do you think it makes a difference the nature of the claims? If a person claiming I had/have the mentioned experiences, as distinct from I had/have these experiences and I assert they mean this about the world, does it becomes more a purported objective claim than containing it as subjective? Maybe add to the second situation that his claims generalize to imply that his knowledge of vast areas of spirituality and interiority is great and even sometimes specific. [Interpretation and maybe extrapolation of claims.] You get the idea - does the nature of the claims and the personal motivations and uses to which the more narrow interior claims are extended raise the need for a higher standard of verifiability and potential falsifiability.

LS: Good question. I think the way you phrase it sort of helps us tease this out. If a person "claims" they have had an "experience," it seems unnecessary for them to use the word "claim." Probably better to "assert" they had an "experience." Using the word "claim" in and of itself suggests that there is, as you put it, a "purported objective claim."

When we claim things, we are suggesting that there is a stable system that will recognize the claim.
So, your question - do we need a higher standard of verifiability to validate interior claims? I am wondering if there can even be any standard? Exterior events that are subject to measurement ultimately can be validated by anyone that can count. If the measurement is a function of visual appearance or non-appearance (the solution turned blue and not pink), it can be validated by anyone that can recognize colors. A community can quickly determine if someone is competent to count or recognize colors.

But, it seems very tenuous to suggest that interior events are even subject to validation. And it seems very odd to make a claim about something that cannot be validated by a competent third party.

This is where I think Wilber's "chain of science" gets nebulous. To put it another way, Wilber's assertion that knowledge and science go all the way up and down the chain leads to a free for all where anyone can claim they are competent to validate anything and there is no meaningful way to challenge them.

Ambo Suno: The second point, comes from a memory of reading some of Krishnamurti's biographies. As the story goes, he was sort of adopted by Mr Leadbetter, Annie Bessant, and the theosophicl society in Madras India where he was 'discovered' on a beach. At some point he was brought into some 'psychic' experiences that were maybe seance-like, with others. In these realms, imaginal or otherwise, he met some long past spiritual masters, I think like Lord Maitreya. He came to wonder about the nature of this reality and he, maybe somewhat spontaneously, took it upon himself to do a small scientific experiment to verify or falsify the nature of the phenomenon [my characterizations]. If I remember correctly, what he did do is he stuck out his finger to touch the figure of a person and he discovered that his finger went right through. This apparently informed him something about the nature of reality. This struck me as quite lucid, prudent, and quai-scientific.

LS: In this instance, the existence of the Lord Maitreya was agreed by all members of the "community" to be non-physical to begin with, so it seems that any proof or disproof of the existence using matter (a finger) to identify if a location in space is already occupied by other matter completely misses the point.

The question seems to be - if one of the participants said, "no, that isn't Lord Maitreya, that is Lord XYZ," how could anyone contend that that is not a factual assertion?"

You asked if we need a higher standard of verification for claims of knowledge that involve non-material or inner events. I am wondering if there is even the possibility of any standard at all, other than simply someone pronouncing themselves as competent to perform verification about the same knowledge they themselves have already claimed.

Ambo Suno: It's a very particular and finely manufactured filter whose consequence is that very little might be said that extends beyond terse description. It seems that much of human culture and history becomes, in this lighting, silly. Etc.

LS: I'm not sure if anyone is contending that human interiors and subjective experience and culture and history are silly.

In my blog #2 I said: "This may be my takeaway from Wilber's book. He would have been better off simply saying, there are domains of experience that do not involve scientifically verifiable knowledge. There are injunctions that are more useful than others that seem to produce experiences that tend to be useful to some people. We are not talking about knowledge or science here. We are talking about extending our capacities to know in other ways."

Let's remember what Wilber's theme was in the book. He said that there are multiple ways of knowing. And that each of these ways or "eyes" has its own scientific process of producing knowledge. Competent persons perform injunctions, they identify the results, they share those results, and when the same injunction performed by multiple competent persons obtains the same result, you have scientific knowledge.

Please don't misunderstand me. I am not trying to defend the sanctity of the word "science." My concern is with what seems to be very loose liberties being taken with the scientific method, including within it something that:

a. is not susceptible to a determination that two injunctions were performed in even a similar way
b. does not permit falsification (another person on this blog is claiming that "Big Prana is responsible for uniting one sentient organism with the entire universe" - how would you disprove that? If you can't disprove it, what is the status of this statement? What do you do with it? Is it a form of propaganda disguised as knowledge?)
c. allows anyone to claim anything and to infect discourse with gross biases and there is no way to even begin to assess it.

Yes, there are many ways of knowing things. We all spent the first 2 years of our lives knowing things in ways that elude the scientific method. We don't deny or dismiss the experiences.
We all dream. We all love. We all have tastes. All of these things are at the heart of our experience of living.

But, Wilber is not content with saying "there are alternate ways of knowing." He goes on to claim that these ways of knowing also follow the scientific method. He caveats it by saying that only those who are competent (e.g. you must have meditated or performed certain prep work) are fit to verify the results.

I am very intrigued by the possibility that much more can be said about other ways of knowing. But, at the same time, my hunch is that these ways of knowing don't even remotely follow a scientific method. And the reason is that you can't reduce them to measurement or materially empirical observations that can be checked any time by anyone.

Does this make sense?

Stefano: I think you’re right. Trying to use ideas from the hard sciences as a way to prop up the soft stuff, is indeed flaky.

LS: The word "flaky" cuts to the heart of this. When we talk about knowledge we would hope that it involves something more than a thin, filmy mass or a chipped of layer of something.

Stefano: The CPU in my phone works because it has thousands of experts in math and science behind it, in many specialised fields which take a lifetime to master individually, and who have spent millions of hours and billions of dollars developing and testing processes.

Meanwhile new spirituality in the West, is still mostly, some run of the mill hippies with a favourite pet theory. At least that was the case in the 60s and 70s when Buddhism was introduced. The counter culture went and adopted some alternate cultures, alternate notions from the East. But it was very dilettante and as an effort, very very small, compared to our huge and developed infrastructures of science and industry.

LS: Good point. The people who gained competence in math and science in order to design and build a CPU entered a domain of knowledge where in most cases they started with what others had already established. They then advanced it. The rigor that has been demanded throughout the process is obvious.

Stefano: Anyhow, I guess Wilber has desperately been trying to rescue spirituality from New Age. And part of how he does that is by writing books which talk a lot about spirituality, but whilst doing so, also refer a lot to maps and models and logical arguments. By talking in a rational style about spirituality, he is demonstrating that the two topics are compatible, and his books are a way of training people to start to think rationally on the topic of spirituality. The stupidest idea of the last fifty years, he said, is that “thinking is bad.”

So the stuff about how scientists use exemplars, evidence, and falsifiability, is maybe not so much a way to convince scientists to take spirituality seriously, but a way to convince spiritual people to take science seriously.

He isn't saying that scientists can trust spirituality because spirituality uses exemplars, evidence, and falsifiability, he is saying that spiritual people maytrust spirituality if, where and when,it uses exemplars, evidence, and falsifiability.

LS: You may be right. Wilber's aim may be to inject some rigor into a community that is prone to a complete lack of structure. Do you think that exemplars and evidence even can begin to apply in a domain where the evidence is inherently non-observable using material tools?

What would be an injunction in the domain of spirituality that might tend to lead to anything we could predict? How can anything be falsified? It seems to me that the key is - verification has to be consistent no matter what the motives or biases are at the outset of the tester.

Stefano: Because if you look at how hard and careful and skilful are the efforts of scientists and engineers, how hard they have to work to make any real gains in knowledge, you’ll start to appreciate why Modernity took one look at religion and simply threw the whole thing out. And it'll remain in the dustbin until it raises its standards.

LS: I completely agree. What would you need to see in order to say "OK, those standards have been raised"?

Stefano: So if people want spirituality to survive, it is going to have to become much more careful and rigorous and dedicated to proving its claims.

LS: I don't know if it's a question of spirituality surviving. I think it has been proven that claims of knowledge lacking even a remotely reproducible method of verification will survive. Isn't the issue whether we will survive?

Stefano: I agree that he could simply say, spiritual people are knowing by other ways, but so often people already do this, they invoke their personal intuition, their own impression, their own experiences, all 1st person (UL quad) stuff, and there it stops. They don't try to check, as any rational method would try to do.

LS: Yes, he could say people are knowing in different ways. And I agree with you that people already do this. The question seems to be - is there a way for this knowing in other ways to take on a more scientific flavor? And I use "scientific" in the way Wilber asks as referring to any process involving an injunction and verification by competent persons. If it is completely hopeless to even try to establish a process of verification, then Wilber's argument probably does a lot more harm than good.
As you said, he may be trying to ask people who are prone to simply trusting things based on whether they feel good about them to consider the possibility of some standard, maybe a simple one, that could in at least one instance lead a person to say, "this makes me feel very good right now, but it doesn't really jive with a basic rule so I am going to hold off on embracing it for now."

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Putting the issue into focus, here is what Integral (or Ken Wilber) claims:

1. Humans are capable of "seeing" with a variety of "eyes." The objects of "seeing" can be initially summarized as material, mental, and spiritual.

2. Each of the modes of seeing (knowing) yields valid knowledge, provided that the results of the seeing can be re-acquired by a. performing an injunction b. observing and comparing the results with other reports from other injunction performances, and c. possessing competence suited to the realm at issue.

3. The word "science" can properly be used to define the method and body of knowledge corresponding to these different modes of seeing.

I suppose one must start with definitions. To make any sense of this claim, we need to know how far Integral is moving the boundaries on the following terms:

a. Seeing. This obviously does not refer to visual perception alone. But, it would have to refer to some kind of perception detected through some mode of knowing.
b. Eyes. This would clearly refer to a "capacity" to detect or discriminate among perceived informational events.
c. Material. How to define this?
d. Mental. Is this limited to our commonly understood "thinking"? That is, the use of concepts and language to rationality dissect what would otherwise come to us as a holistic gestalt of totality? (That is a goofy phrase, I know.)
e. Knowledge. This is a key term. Knowledge implies validity. It is something more than mere subjective whim. It would somehow stand up under scrutiny in a system of some kind. It would have an independent basis available to everyone.
f. Injunction. This would be a command or instruction to do something. For an injunction to be meaningful, it would have to have meaningful content. Or would it? If I instruct someone to "chill out" is this an injunction that could be performed, with results observed and compared to other performances?
g. Competence. This seems to be a key notion in the Integral Super-Science Theory. I am trying to not be flip about using the word Super. If Integral can refer to a Super-Mind, then certainly the application of the word science to the results of spiritual practice can justify the term Super Science.

As one wraps arms around this, it quickly becomes apparent that we are dealing with an "Ultimate Issue." Do we "know" anything? If so, who says so? What qualifies anyone to say they are competent to opine on this?

So, the question is - how do we want to proceed? Do we want to wipe all distinctions away by concluding "we ultimately just make it all up" and "if you want to create your own reality, go for it." Or, do we want to draw a line? If so, what is the basis for drawing the line?

An even more elusive question is - how do we go about even making sense of the issue in the first place? For example, if there an embodied basis to any of this? Note that in the list of "words needing definitions" above, only the word "material" would actually tip a scale. Even then, the word "material" is an abstract concept - dirt tips scales, but the "word" "material" doesn't.

So, this is about where my lazy mind typically checks out. We are meta to the meta already.

But, that leaves me with the original problem. We have this "movement" that is founded on such notions as "spiritual injunctions leading to valid knowledge as confirmed by competent knowers of spiritual knowledge."

I seem to recall that a common observation at this point goes something like this: "Well, there are Zen Masters who can know when a practitioner is in Satori."

OK. Is that true? Or, is truth even relevant?

If it is true, does this also apply to other Masters? How many religions have "Competency Masters" who can determine the validity of claims about results of injunctions within their religions?

Does the Pope claim to be able to assess purported "ecstacy reports"? The Vatican has a group of examiners who look at Beatification events, so I suppose this is an example.

Do Dzogchen masters regularly talk with Vedanta masters about reconciling the evidence they are getting? If not, why not? What does this suggest? Anything? Is talking beside the point?

What about taking it down one level to the "mental" realm? Is there a sturdy body of knowledge that is confirmed by communities of "Thinking Masters"?

We are not talking about physics and chemistry at this point, but rather, ideas qua ideas about ideas. Is there in fact an injunction I can perform that will yield valid mental observations that can be verified by Competent Mental masters?

Another, even more meta question is, is it even appropriate for me to use quotidian "thinking" to assess the issue? Is the real rub something like "the claim that different modes of seeing yield valid knowledge can only properly be validated by assessing the validity of the claim USING the very mode of knowing applicable to the domain at question"?

If this is the precondition, I haven't heard anyone in the Integral word say it.

What sticks out in my mind is the possibility that much of what Integral is doing really is a kind of "Daily Soma Dose." In this case, knowledge and validity and precisely defined injunctions and competence and who determines who has it - all of this is irrelevent, provided that the claim delivers the Soma drug.

To what extent is this true? And, is there any justification for asking "if this is what you are doing, could you please admit it"?

As I look at this issue of Soul Super Science, one possible mode of proceeding is by using the "falsification" demand. Is there, in fact, any way that any claim of knowledge about mental or spiritual matters could be shown to be false? If it can't in principle be shown to be false, then what does that leave us?

Will probably take that as the next point of departure. Not everyone appears to agree that "falsification" is a sound requirement of anything. 

As I grapple with Integral Theory and its claims, I feel that I am balancing what I understand as "making sense" with aspects of Integral Theory that seem to not "make sense."

Ken Wilber has referred to Integral Theory as a "Theory of Everything."

My questions revolve around such issues as "is it a good theory of everything?", "is it a theory that makes sense?", "what are the modes we must employ to validate the theory?", and "is it a theory or is it a hodge podge of ad hoc explanations of other theories?"

Integral Theory certainly seems to be pretty "meta." In reconciling the many "thought systems" in existence, Integral has to distill essences but viewing those essences from a "meta" level.

Fine. Now, I just read the following in a post by Balder regarding an upcoming Integral conference in July of 2015.

"Mark Edwards – a two-time ITC presenter and one of the Integral community’s most skilled voices on the topic of metatheory – challenged us to ask the following questions about metatheory:

How do we know that our metatheories are accurate, based on extant theory and internally consistent? How do we know that we have correctly represented the approaches included within the metatheory? Have we sampled an adequate range of perspectives in building our metatheory? To what extent is our metatheory inclusive of other perspectives? Are all the relevant explanatory lenses present within our metatheoretical system? How do we know if the relationships between those lenses are consistent and logical? How do we evaluate our metatheory according to rational standards of reliability and validity"?

This is amazing! Here I am trying to grasp what Integral is doing, and I find that a group of Integrally informed personnel are focusing on Meta-Theory!

If a Theory of Everything is a theory of everything, doesn't that mean that it includes meta-theories in its coverage?

I suppose Mr. Edwards regards a meta-theory as a theory that makes sense of theories.
Are we truly in the realm of mental gymastics?

How does this tie in to the original posts? In his first question, Mr. Edwards used an interesting term "accurate." He asked "How do we know our meta-theories are accurate?"

My initial reaction to this is: what does "accuracy" have to do with anything? It is certainly a laudable goal in most affairs, to be accurate, but let's recall that Integral Theory already has a theory about the "tests" for holonic perspectives. Truth (UR), Authenticity (UL), Justice/Goodness (LL), and Usefulness (LR).

How does accuracy fit into this? Accuracy suggests that A corresponds to B in some way.

If accuracy is a legitimate "test," I am not seeing how Integral AQAL Theory references accuracy as a proper "test" for any of the 4 ways of knowing a holon.

Mr. Edwards seems to possibly be referring to "accuracy" in terms of how other theories are represented, rather than the accuracy of the meta-theory itself vis a vis the Kosmos.

Either way, this reflects a concern for "close correspondence," and I haven't seen how Integral emphasizes this.

My original posts involved questions dealing with: to what extent does it even make any sense to say that Mental or Spiritual Knowledge is knowledge derivable via a Scientific Method employing an injunction, verification of results, and standards of competency for assesssors?

And, at the heart of my concern is the question: to what extent does Integral even care about accuracy? If we dismiss accuracy as a legitimate value, then anything goes? We can call anything Science, we can self-appoint ourselves as Experts, we can urge the use of Injunctions that have almost no cognizable attributes, and we can construct a grand edifice of Knowledge based on stuff that doesn't correspond to anything other than itself.

At a deeper level of the heart of my concern, there is the question of: what is the modality we are employing when we assess the accuracy of Integral or any other theory?

Do we think about it? If so, what are we doing exactly when we think about it? Integral Theory involves a veritable cornucopia of terms that are susceptible to Grand Nebulosities of meaning. Let me try to construct an Integral phrase:

"Third Tier Evolutionary impulses involve post-Indigo Stage and State consciousness integrated in quasi-Non-Dual Witnessing of multi-Line intelligence as perceived through the lens of unique typology."

How does one even begin to understand something like this? Do we use images of natural world metaphors?

Let me put this another way: Integral has taken on the whole enchilada. I will certainly allow a theory of language to remain disembodied. But, I can't allow a Theory of Everything to be disembodied.

That is, I can't accept a theory of everything whereby the very act of understanding involves grand privileging of the faculties of abstract thinking via words that do not even remotely admit of shared definition.

Mr. Edwards has asked about accuracy. I agree - accuracy is a foundational virtue whenever correspondences are being created. So, how do we attain accuracy when our very language is already dominated by the most Meta of the Meta concepts?

Balder has added additional key inquiries, which he suggests may be the most important of all:

"Why does metatheory matter? What is the power and purpose of well built Integral metatheories?"

I tend to agree. "Mattering" is a foundational issue.

I will start by saying - a metatheory matters because we all already have and employ a metatheory.

The issue of metatheory is not an issue of introducing an optional program. A neat diversion.

Every human has a metatheory of everything. And the question becomes, are there ways to identify elements of human metatheories that are more comprehensive, accurate, enduring, coherent, authentic, true, useful, just, good, etc.?

There are implications for embodied life as it is lived. Bad metatheories produce ugliness, strife, confusion, coercion, ill-health, etc.

And, my contention is that our metatheories are not exclusively "cognitively ordered mental constructs."

If they were, then Wilber's contention that there is valid scientific knowledge to be obtained through the Eye of Spirit would lead to the conclusion that anyone who is wrestling with conceptual metatheory is wasting his or her time, when there is science to be performed on matters of greater ultimate value and concern.

I am strongly inclined to embrace a rich embodied range of knowing capacities. I am strongly repulsed by the willingness of many to "spar" over ideas without identifying "how" those ideas are to be known. I am strongly convinced that there is no end to the number of ways ideas can be sliced, diced, re-organzied, re-presented, and re-sliced and re-diced. I strongly suspect that this activity is in fact not constructive. Or, to use Balder's terms, I strongly suspect that it really doesn't matter, it has very little power, and serves very little purpose.

The best way to understand what Integral Theory is saying, I suspect, is to understand that Integral Theory is based on the assumption that the "leading edge" of humanity has already made a "paradigm shift." The implication of this is that all of the concerns of Mr. Edwards and Balder (accuracy, broad sampling, inclusiveness, logic and consistency, etc.) are no longer relevant!

Seen in this light, anyone who even raises the questions I raised in my initial post are "missing the point!"

To the extent that language can be used to "fire up" the Soma kettle, the new paradigm will be upon one. Accuracy, consistency, definitions, logic, etc. are passe.

My contention is that accuracy, consistency, definitions, logic, etc. have always been passe, if those terms refer to disembodied discursive thought about thought when the object of the thought is something other than a thought. To put it another way, I fully support symbolic logic. Modus Ponens is a great tool. It does not purport to be a Theory of Everything.

My instincts are aroused when "thinking" runs rampant and all of our other modes of knowing are ignored. If there is a new paradigm, this is it. Reclaim the full embodied human and be honest about how we are knowing things and what the language of the realm is and who can participate and how relationships are ordered as we Co-Know.

The new paradigm involves chipping away firmly at the Edifice Building (meta-theories) that violate everything we all know about Life As It Is Lived.

In my estimation, much Meta-Theory is simply a parlor game played by those with a proclivity to do this. To the extent that Meta-Theory privileges "discursive thought" and neglects the many other core modalities of knowing, it is a form of arrogance to the extent that it purports to speak about what "matters." Symbolic logicians do not claim that their work matters, beyond providing a framework for high-level language manipulations.

The new paradigm asks that we question "how" we know, rather than "what" we know. When we invest greater awareness and respect for "how" we know, we will spontaneously find greater authenticity, justice, truth, and systemic usefulness emerge. As it stands, the oppression and coercion we intuit in the world is largely a by-product of "conceptual thinking gone mad."

Moreover, much of the current strife between nations is largely due to mutual ignorance about preferred modalities of knowing. This matters. It leads to "talking past" using different languages native to different modes of knowing. And, catastrophic interpretations.

Every life has a meta-theory, and every meta-theory needs a core theme that matters. This is mine.

Hi, Lucy, welcome to the IPS forum.  Thank you for this initial, very thoughtful and incisive offering here.  I haven't yet read your posts in full, but I've read your opening one prior to the dialogue, and this most recent one as well.  These are worthy questions (a number of which I share) and I hope we can get a good discussion going.  I'll write more once I've had time to read everything, but for now I wanted to check in to ask you if I had your permission to share a link to this post on the Facebook version of IPS.  While I do still want to encourage robust discussion on this (primary) Ning forum, these days the most activity is on the FB version, so linking this there may invite in some additional perspectives.

Hi LS - good that you are still around and I am impressed with my impression that you are on the trail of clarifying important issues around knowing, making claims, and inadvertent errors among apparently plenty sincere people, which compound confusion and a greater lostness than is necessary.

I resonate plenty with your comment that I paste below. I usually feel the reflexive, habitual, and blinders-and-momentary-one-track-minds-facilitated sparring to be dubious and tedious. When I get a whiff of the aggression of someone's momentum rolling down a track, I usually dismount the track, or some-such. I suppose if it is repetitive then I say something, perhaps loaded by some of my own aggression. I think we are often not aware of our emotional charges and the implications of such on our reasoning.

"I am strongly inclined to embrace a rich embodied range of knowing capacities. I am strongly repulsed by the willingness of many to "spar" over ideas without identifying "how" those ideas are to be known. I am strongly convinced that there is no end to the number of ways ideas can be sliced, diced, re-organzied, re-presented, and re-sliced and re-diced. I strongly suspect that this activity is in fact not constructive."

In your introduction to these questions you pasted a dialogue-like conversation from the past that seemed to offer some of the content and perhaps spirit of useful exchange. I need to say that as I read what I said (often a surprise to see how I was responding and what I was saying in the past), and then how you responded to me, that I forr a large part stepped off the track. If I were to have responded to what might be felt as dismissing of some of my comments by you at that time and then the momentum of your own thinking trajectory, it could have become sparring. We each may have become polarized and charged up (to the detriment of our endeavors towards clarity and intelligence), or at least the potential of distraction of the main drive and themes that were moving in you.

I want to remind of this very common sort of performative contradiction in ourselves, and I suppose align myself with your current theme, that so much of our assertions and exchanges contribute to the messiness that is commonly present. The almost incessant slicing and dicing, parsing and refolding into elaborate "logics" that is our mental legacy (that I think you are very well pointing out here) is so often on the cusp of occurring as our ego's and so much of the rest try to stay in some balance. I feel a potential cusp here, now.

That's my theorizing of the moment, LS - I have entered the soup of sliced and diced foodstuffs. Shall we dine? Or what is the nutritional value of this stew/broth I have brought to the stove? Trying for and momentarily finding a felt smile. ambo

Balder:

Certainly you may link it over.

As you can see, I am fumbling around to express myself. Once upon a time, our world was moderated by editors, whether it was a news editor, a publisher, a priest, or a person who has been there and is back to tell us how it is.

Now, however, every man is an editor. And, the rules of the game are rewritten. And, I am fascinated and a bit terrified by the implications of this "world of editing gone mad."

Ken Wilber has posited himself as Editor-at-Large of Reality. There seems to be no domain he is unwilling to wrap into his Theory of Everything.

In every case, however, he also seems to first require that the domain and its contents be processed through an Integral filter. And, in doing this, my sense is that he sifts out major attributes and embodied groundings on the domains, and we are left with mind stuff suffused with Integral Flavor.

Going "Meta" appears to invite a reconstruction of a New Theory of Everything while performing the same filter and sift process (via thought) that Wilber has already done.

My motivation is to invite concern and insight about the Embodied Ecology that constitutes the Way of Knowing. My hope is that we will discover unique rules and injunctions and "grammars" that necessarily serve as the foundation of sensical knowing in the various domains.

When this is honored, we will hear and observe reports of knowing that not only seem accurate to the mind of Thinking, but the very structure and "vibrational" feel of the reports will self-present in a way that self-proves the content.

Thank you for organizing the site, and it would mean a lot to me if someone could shine some light somewhere on the themes I am juggling.

Lucy 

Ambo: I definitely support less lostness!

One of the ways we get more lost, I feel, is by not recognizing the modes we are using to know things. Or, to put it another way, we misrepresent or mischaracterize what we know as being known in some other way, and then we present it, and others get a falsely packaged product.

I am deeply suspicious of a prior theory. I usually prefer to see discussions of meaning, logic, language, truth, justice, etc. grounded in empirical reporting. I also am deeply suspicious that most a prior theory is in fact grounded in empirical events but then is repackaged "as if" if were the product of rigorous a prior reasoning.

For example, as you alluded to, a LOT of discussion about ideas and meta-theories is in fact grounded in our time-honored ways of knowing how to conduct warfare. We think about opposing theories and ideas as hostile or as threats or as nation-states with boundaries and then we try to jostle for advantage.

If meta-theory discussion were truly rational, and not a substitute for "war" on another level, it would limit itself to clear statements of premises, offers of proof based on observation, and drawing logical conclusions. But, we go far beyond this. And, we often produce greater lostness rather than greater foundness.

Edwards raised an interesting possibility - is Integral Theory reaching out to embrace others who also have theories about the subject matter of the domain?

Why would one expect this to happen? If we were doing something other than engaging in high-level War, then we would instinctively invite anyone and everyone who may have something to contribute to getting us "unlost" to weigh in and help guide us. We would want outsiders to tell us - what is your sense of what I have said and done?

Back to Wilber's idea of Science at all levels using all Eyes. People who work in the fields of physics and chemistry absolutely insist on precision in defintions of terms. Without this, the work is meaningless.

I would expect that, if Science is used for mental and spiritual Knowledge, the concern for precision would be much stronger, since the threat of meaningless lurks just around the bend.

And, while we don't care what motivates a physicist as long as the results are sound, it would seem much more important that we understand what motivates a Mental Physicist or Spiritual Physicist, since the risk of trickery is greater and difficulty of exposing errors in multiplied.

My concern about How We Know is a concern about not using apples to judge oranges.

Lucy



Ambo Suno said:

Hi LS - good that you are still around and I am impressed with my impression that you are on the trail of clarifying important issues around knowing, making claims, and inadvertent errors among apparently plenty sincere people, which compound confusion and a greater lostness than is necessary.

I resonate plenty with your comment that I paste below. I usually feel the reflexive, habitual, and blinders-and-momentary-one-track-minds-facilitated sparring to be dubious and tedious. When I get a whiff of the aggression of someone's momentum rolling down a track, I usually dismount the track, or some-such. I suppose if it is repetitive then I say something, perhaps loaded by some of my own aggression. I think we are often not aware of our emotional charges and the implications of such on our reasoning.

"I am strongly inclined to embrace a rich embodied range of knowing capacities. I am strongly repulsed by the willingness of many to "spar" over ideas without identifying "how" those ideas are to be known. I am strongly convinced that there is no end to the number of ways ideas can be sliced, diced, re-organzied, re-presented, and re-sliced and re-diced. I strongly suspect that this activity is in fact not constructive."

In your introduction to these questions you pasted a dialogue-like conversation from the past that seemed to offer some of the content and perhaps spirit of useful exchange. I need to say that as I read what I said (often a surprise to see how I was responding and what I was saying in the past), and then how you responded to me, that I forr a large part stepped off the track. If I were to have responded to what might be felt as dismissing of some of my comments by you at that time and then the momentum of your own thinking trajectory, it could have become sparring. We each may have become polarized and charged up (to the detriment of our endeavors towards clarity and intelligence), or at least the potential of distraction of the main drive and themes that were moving in you.

I want to remind of this very common sort of performative contradiction in ourselves, and I suppose align myself with your current theme, that so much of our assertions and exchanges contribute to the messiness that is commonly present. The almost incessant slicing and dicing, parsing and refolding into elaborate "logics" that is our mental legacy (that I think you are very well pointing out here) is so often on the cusp of occurring as our ego's and so much of the rest try to stay in some balance. I feel a potential cusp here, now.

That's my theorizing of the moment, LS - I have entered the soup of sliced and diced foodstuffs. Shall we dine? Or what is the nutritional value of this stew/broth I have brought to the stove? Trying for and momentarily finding a felt smile. ambo
Yes, Lucy, I follow you and concur about conversational warfare, overt and occult, conscious and unconscious. The narcissistic and human nature sources of self-reinforcement seem sometimes to spring eternal.

Your logic about what would benefit conversation, partly conveyed in the below pasted quote, makes plenty of sense to me.

"Back to Wilber's idea of Science at all levels using all Eyes. People who work in the fields of physics and chemistry absolutely insist on precision in defintions of terms. Without this, the work is meaningless.

I would expect that, if Science is used for mental and spiritual Knowledge, the concern for precision would be much stronger, since the threat of meaningless lurks just around the bend."

I feel a little confused however about how to place a caveat around such common sense prerequisites for investigation, if "investigation" in a scientific manner is what we are really wanting and needing.

I wonder if my confusion may be of a reflexive post-modern sort that wants to leave openings for non-conventional and even sometimes counter-conventional word usage. I could speculate a bit about why I don't want to rule that out, but I'll try not to.

One reason that comes to mind is around the assertions, some probably based on research, that novelty is an important feature for discovery and growth, and moving towards novelty seems to be a human need/desire/tendency that is in dialectic with the seemingly more necessary grounding in reliable predictability - as with conventions of language.

Maybe, as you say, we base conversations for the most part on more steady and effective definitions and language, until, for one example, there comes a sense that something new, fresh, important, a breaking through, could occur by being more creative.

I think this has been one of Layman's fortes (and perhaps in terms of communication and communion, at times limiting.) It seems to me at the moment that his frequent emphasis on MOA (metaphysics of adjacency), as does an intent of the phrase "integral post-metaphysics", addresses the intrinsic fuzziness of all things, including signifiers.

By musing and confusing on this, I seem to become more ready for instances where creative language and conversational messiness seems to happen. This reminds me of how finely parsed are the distinctions as well as how emphatic some people need to be around differences to which many people would say, "Close enough, already!" I'm thinking of, say, dzogchen and say a school of tantra (I don't know the specifics) or, closer to home, the seemingly endless distinctions seen here on IPS by so many bright scholars about the nature of our world.

We are back to what you are saying, I think. You seem to be wondering if we can simplify all this slicing and dicing and talking at seemingly cross-purposes, partly because of language usages that don't align. At this moment, I am not sure we can clean this up fully. Partly because I am in over my head here, Lucy, I am tempted to repeat the trite sounding dictum I have heard - could it be that "The way out is the way through." The way to linguistic/mental simplicity may need to pass through linguistic/mental complexity.

Have I diverted too much? If so, bring it back on track. However please let me remind again of this element we call novelty - where and how would that fit into a tidier system?

Hanging my wings back in the closet.

Well, how about this: I have found that a way to achieve deep physical calm is to throw horseshows some people maybe.

To learn how to some people maybe, touch your head with are there things here.

To know if you have done it right, I will tell you after many chops.

That was certainly novel, you'd have to agree.

I invited you to inquire into how to achieve physical calm. And, you are probably wondering, "what does throw horseshows" have to do with it?

For my technique, you throw horseshoes. Why didn't I say that? Because, in my language you have to call horseshoes "horseshows" when you are using the term in an injunctive phrase.

Ah-so!!

I can go on and on about my novel use of language. But, if you boil it down, my injunction really means "don't eat a lot of sugar."

Well, why didn't I use those words? Because I wanted to be novel and start using words in new ways to free up poetic intuition. Can you see yourself throwing out the sugar sack like you throw a horseshoe?

Here, at least I have admitted I took a turn for the novel. Seems like a big difference.

I suggested that precision be a "good thing" for "Scientific Knowledge" emanating from "mental and spiritual scientific method." Precision allows us to trust what people say about what will and won't waste our time, harm us, play head games with us, manipulate masses, etc.

Sorry, Ambo, but I can't forgive gross manipulations of words like Science and Knowledge. I am going to ask they be justified.



Ambo Suno said:

Yes, Lucy, I follow you and concur about conversational warfare, overt and occult, conscious and unconscious. The narcissistic and human nature sources of self-reinforcement seem sometimes to spring eternal.

Your logic about what would benefit conversation, partly conveyed in the below pasted quote, makes plenty of sense to me.

"Back to Wilber's idea of Science at all levels using all Eyes. People who work in the fields of physics and chemistry absolutely insist on precision in defintions of terms. Without this, the work is meaningless.

I would expect that, if Science is used for mental and spiritual Knowledge, the concern for precision would be much stronger, since the threat of meaningless lurks just around the bend."

I feel a little confused however about how to place a caveat around such common sense prerequisites for investigation, if "investigation" in a scientific manner is what we are really wanting and needing.

I wonder if my confusion may be of a reflexive post-modern sort that wants to leave openings for non-conventional and even sometimes counter-conventional word usage. I could speculate a bit about why I don't want to rule that out, but I'll try not to.

One reason that comes to mind is around the assertions, some probably based on research, that novelty is an important feature for discovery and growth, and moving towards novelty seems to be a human need/desire/tendency that is in dialectic with the seemingly more necessary grounding in reliable predictability - as with conventions of language.

Maybe, as you say, we base conversations for the most part on more steady and effective definitions and language, until, for one example, there comes a sense that something new, fresh, important, a breaking through, could occur by being more creative.

I think this has been one of Layman's fortes (and perhaps in terms of communication and communion, at times limiting.) It seems to me at the moment that his frequent emphasis on MOA (metaphysics of adjacency), as does an intent of the phrase "integral post-metaphysics", addresses the intrinsic fuzziness of all things, including signifiers.

By musing and confusing on this, I seem to become more ready for instances where creative language and conversational messiness seems to happen. This reminds me of how finely parsed are the distinctions as well as how emphatic some people need to be around differences to which many people would say, "Close enough, already!" I'm thinking of, say, dzogchen and say a school of tantra (I don't know the specifics) or, closer to home, the seemingly endless distinctions seen here on IPS by so many bright scholars about the nature of our world.

We are back to what you are saying, I think. You seem to be wondering if we can simplify all this slicing and dicing and talking at seemingly cross-purposes, partly because of language usages that don't align. At this moment, I am not sure we can clean this up fully. Partly because I am in over my head here, Lucy, I am tempted to repeat the trite sounding dictum I have heard - could it be that "The way out is the way through." The way to linguistic/mental simplicity may need to pass through linguistic/mental complexity.

Have I diverted too much? If so, bring it back on track. However please let me remind again of this element we call novelty - where and how would that fit into a tidier system?

Hanging my wings back in the closet.
OK. I think I follow you.

For me it's not quite so clear. ambo



Lucy Summers said:

Well, how about this: I have found that a way to achieve deep physical calm is to throw horseshows some people maybe.

To learn how to some people maybe, touch your head with are there things here.

To know if you have done it right, I will tell you after many chops.

That was certainly novel, you'd have to agree.

I invited you to inquire into how to achieve physical calm. And, you are probably wondering, "what does throw horseshows" have to do with it?

For my technique, you throw horseshoes. Why didn't I say that? Because, in my language you have to call horseshoes "horseshows" when you are using the term in an injunctive phrase.

Ah-so!!

I can go on and on about my novel use of language. But, if you boil it down, my injunction really means "don't eat a lot of sugar."

Well, why didn't I use those words? Because I wanted to be novel and start using words in new ways to free up poetic intuition. Can you see yourself throwing out the sugar sack like you throw a horseshoe?

Here, at least I have admitted I took a turn for the novel. Seems like a big difference.

I suggested that precision be a "good thing" for "Scientific Knowledge" emanating from "mental and spiritual scientific method." Precision allows us to trust what people say about what will and won't waste our time, harm us, play head games with us, manipulate masses, etc.

Sorry, Ambo, but I can't forgive gross manipulations of words like Science and Knowledge. I am going to ask they be justified.



Ambo Suno said:

Yes, Lucy, I follow you and concur about conversational warfare, overt and occult, conscious and unconscious. The narcissistic and human nature sources of self-reinforcement seem sometimes to spring eternal.

Your logic about what would benefit conversation, partly conveyed in the below pasted quote, makes plenty of sense to me.

"Back to Wilber's idea of Science at all levels using all Eyes. People who work in the fields of physics and chemistry absolutely insist on precision in defintions of terms. Without this, the work is meaningless.

I would expect that, if Science is used for mental and spiritual Knowledge, the concern for precision would be much stronger, since the threat of meaningless lurks just around the bend."

I feel a little confused however about how to place a caveat around such common sense prerequisites for investigation, if "investigation" in a scientific manner is what we are really wanting and needing.

I wonder if my confusion may be of a reflexive post-modern sort that wants to leave openings for non-conventional and even sometimes counter-conventional word usage. I could speculate a bit about why I don't want to rule that out, but I'll try not to.

One reason that comes to mind is around the assertions, some probably based on research, that novelty is an important feature for discovery and growth, and moving towards novelty seems to be a human need/desire/tendency that is in dialectic with the seemingly more necessary grounding in reliable predictability - as with conventions of language.

Maybe, as you say, we base conversations for the most part on more steady and effective definitions and language, until, for one example, there comes a sense that something new, fresh, important, a breaking through, could occur by being more creative.

I think this has been one of Layman's fortes (and perhaps in terms of communication and communion, at times limiting.) It seems to me at the moment that his frequent emphasis on MOA (metaphysics of adjacency), as does an intent of the phrase "integral post-metaphysics", addresses the intrinsic fuzziness of all things, including signifiers.

By musing and confusing on this, I seem to become more ready for instances where creative language and conversational messiness seems to happen. This reminds me of how finely parsed are the distinctions as well as how emphatic some people need to be around differences to which many people would say, "Close enough, already!" I'm thinking of, say, dzogchen and say a school of tantra (I don't know the specifics) or, closer to home, the seemingly endless distinctions seen here on IPS by so many bright scholars about the nature of our world.

We are back to what you are saying, I think. You seem to be wondering if we can simplify all this slicing and dicing and talking at seemingly cross-purposes, partly because of language usages that don't align. At this moment, I am not sure we can clean this up fully. Partly because I am in over my head here, Lucy, I am tempted to repeat the trite sounding dictum I have heard - could it be that "The way out is the way through." The way to linguistic/mental simplicity may need to pass through linguistic/mental complexity.

Have I diverted too much? If so, bring it back on track. However please let me remind again of this element we call novelty - where and how would that fit into a tidier system?

Hanging my wings back in the closet.

I am with you on things not being so clear. Especially when we use language and the mode known as "thinking" to perceive them and sort them out and stack them into systems called Theories.

This claim that Mental and Spiritual (and I suppose even aesthetic and poetic and moral and emotional and relational and ....) Knowledge is subject to a Scientific Method whereby:

a. I am competent to judge what you are doing.

b. You perform an injunction.

c. Your performance follows the dictates of the injunction and does not violate the dictates of the injunction.

d. You get a result or observe a consequence. 

e. You report your result. 

f. I can make clear sense of your result and I (the competent one) can determine if you followed the injunction and made an accurate report by being able to compare your result with known results or by being able to perform your injunction to get the same result.

Many many people have worked soberly and patiently and with discipline and humility to build bodies of knowledge in various fields. The method known as the Scientific Method requires a degree of rigor beyond simply "hey, try this and see if you feel good."

It's one thing to concoct your own language among your friends as a joke. It's also one thing to lie to your friends as they lie to you.

It's another thing to proclaim to the world "hey, there is valid knowledge out yonder, and there are people who can tell if you got it. You know all those warm fuzzies you get when you hear about the Scientific Method? Well, this too follows the Scientific Method!"

What Wilber failed to do was to make it clear, "yes, there is Knowledge up yonder in those realms. But, it ain't knowledge like you understand it. And, yes, if follows a Scientific Method, but it ain't a Scientific Method as the term is commonly understood. It's a world of knowing in different ways."

I don't know if "we" need to pass through anything. I do know that bad things always happen when people are dishonest and when they misrepresent things.

As for novelty, every lie is novel. Every false claim is novel. And, every person who is lost without a guide is experience a novel form of misery.

As for the virtue of messiness, I am all for it, as long as it doesn't involve messing up my head with lies and false promises and grandiose visions lacking a foundation.

There may be another way to invite people to embrace the multiple ways of knowing, without asserting that these ways lead to stable capital K Knowledge verifiable by trained capital C Competent Persons.

Maybe we can just demonstrate our knowledge by our actions, and let people join us if they are inclined. No promises about it leading anywhere and no claims about who is in a position to make judgments of validity.



Ambo Suno said:

OK. I think I follow you.

For me it's not quite so clear. ambo



Lucy Summers said:

Well, how about this: I have found that a way to achieve deep physical calm is to throw horseshows some people maybe.

To learn how to some people maybe, touch your head with are there things here.

To know if you have done it right, I will tell you after many chops.

That was certainly novel, you'd have to agree.

I invited you to inquire into how to achieve physical calm. And, you are probably wondering, "what does throw horseshows" have to do with it?

For my technique, you throw horseshoes. Why didn't I say that? Because, in my language you have to call horseshoes "horseshows" when you are using the term in an injunctive phrase.

Ah-so!!

I can go on and on about my novel use of language. But, if you boil it down, my injunction really means "don't eat a lot of sugar."

Well, why didn't I use those words? Because I wanted to be novel and start using words in new ways to free up poetic intuition. Can you see yourself throwing out the sugar sack like you throw a horseshoe?

Here, at least I have admitted I took a turn for the novel. Seems like a big difference.

I suggested that precision be a "good thing" for "Scientific Knowledge" emanating from "mental and spiritual scientific method." Precision allows us to trust what people say about what will and won't waste our time, harm us, play head games with us, manipulate masses, etc.

Sorry, Ambo, but I can't forgive gross manipulations of words like Science and Knowledge. I am going to ask they be justified.



Ambo Suno said:

Yes, Lucy, I follow you and concur about conversational warfare, overt and occult, conscious and unconscious. The narcissistic and human nature sources of self-reinforcement seem sometimes to spring eternal.

Your logic about what would benefit conversation, partly conveyed in the below pasted quote, makes plenty of sense to me.

"Back to Wilber's idea of Science at all levels using all Eyes. People who work in the fields of physics and chemistry absolutely insist on precision in defintions of terms. Without this, the work is meaningless.

I would expect that, if Science is used for mental and spiritual Knowledge, the concern for precision would be much stronger, since the threat of meaningless lurks just around the bend."

I feel a little confused however about how to place a caveat around such common sense prerequisites for investigation, if "investigation" in a scientific manner is what we are really wanting and needing.

I wonder if my confusion may be of a reflexive post-modern sort that wants to leave openings for non-conventional and even sometimes counter-conventional word usage. I could speculate a bit about why I don't want to rule that out, but I'll try not to.

One reason that comes to mind is around the assertions, some probably based on research, that novelty is an important feature for discovery and growth, and moving towards novelty seems to be a human need/desire/tendency that is in dialectic with the seemingly more necessary grounding in reliable predictability - as with conventions of language.

Maybe, as you say, we base conversations for the most part on more steady and effective definitions and language, until, for one example, there comes a sense that something new, fresh, important, a breaking through, could occur by being more creative.

I think this has been one of Layman's fortes (and perhaps in terms of communication and communion, at times limiting.) It seems to me at the moment that his frequent emphasis on MOA (metaphysics of adjacency), as does an intent of the phrase "integral post-metaphysics", addresses the intrinsic fuzziness of all things, including signifiers.

By musing and confusing on this, I seem to become more ready for instances where creative language and conversational messiness seems to happen. This reminds me of how finely parsed are the distinctions as well as how emphatic some people need to be around differences to which many people would say, "Close enough, already!" I'm thinking of, say, dzogchen and say a school of tantra (I don't know the specifics) or, closer to home, the seemingly endless distinctions seen here on IPS by so many bright scholars about the nature of our world.

We are back to what you are saying, I think. You seem to be wondering if we can simplify all this slicing and dicing and talking at seemingly cross-purposes, partly because of language usages that don't align. At this moment, I am not sure we can clean this up fully. Partly because I am in over my head here, Lucy, I am tempted to repeat the trite sounding dictum I have heard - could it be that "The way out is the way through." The way to linguistic/mental simplicity may need to pass through linguistic/mental complexity.

Have I diverted too much? If so, bring it back on track. However please let me remind again of this element we call novelty - where and how would that fit into a tidier system?

Hanging my wings back in the closet.

Lucy, I'm not sure where to begin in responding, as you've said so much and I'm not sure what stands out to you as of greatest interest or concern.  One topic above that stood out for me was your surprise (and perhaps dismay) at Edwards discussing 'metatheory,' when we haven't even nailed down what Integral theory is (if this is, indeed, what you were saying).  In my view, I think Integral Theory is a bit of a misnomer -- especially if we are thinking of 'theory' in its (most rigorous) scientific sense.  IT is not 'theory' in that sense, and even 'Theory of Everything' is suspect (some prefer to say, 'theory for anything').  But, to me, metatheory -- not theory -- seems to be the best description of what Wilber/Integral is up to.  Integral seems to be primarily concerned with the analysis and correlation of theories (and, more broadly, systems of thought and practice), along with related activities such as analyzing assumptions (or making implicit assumptions explicit), deconstructing theories or systems of thought, tracing homeomorphic equivalencies or interrelationships across multiple theories or forms of knowledge, integrating multiple theories and systems of thought, creating conceptual 'scaffolding' for inclusion of, and promotion of interaction between, multiple epistemologies and methodologies (IMP), etc.  These are the activities of metatheory.

We have a thread on Edwards' work here. In this post of that thread he said:

"Whereas theory is developed from the exploration of empirical events, experiences and 'first-order' concepts, metatheory emerges from the direct investigation of other theory, models and 'second-order' concepts.

"Integral metatheory building is based on the analysis of extant theory and does not deal with empirical data. Consequently, it cannot validly make conclusions about empirical data based on its metatheorising. If it does so, it is stepping outside its realm of authority. To put this in another way, metatheory is primarily about other theory and not about the prediction or evaluation of first-order empirical data."

It simply is not its purview to take on the specifics of empirical situations to find solutions. Hence we see that it can only deal in broad generalities about other theories and methods, how they might or might not relate, how we might or might not integrate some aspects of each. Hence when metatheory applies itself to specific problems or tries to create new methods or structures it seems completely inept. And it doesn't recognize this limitation because per Edwards it doesn't have the self-critical tools to evaluate its own metatheory, which is the ultimate purpose of this article.

You can find the entire article in JITP 3:2 Summer 2008.

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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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