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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Hi Lucy - I'm, obvious to me, not going to be able to achieve a mirroring understanding of all that you have been saying here. But let me pull out one aspect and see if I am understanding you quite a lot on this one aspect.

In addition to the validity and reliability of assertions of knowledge, you care a lot about fairness and justness of how declared chunks of "knowledge" are used. Keeping to this narrow point, is it correct to say that the morality and ethics of application of assertions of knowledge have a strong impact on you. If we are being mislead by incorrect or false information and false impressions created by language, for the various reasons and motives, and with various consequences, you feel that a lot, and you care a lot that this not go on or that it be revealed for what it is. Did I get this small of piece of your whole consideration of a larger territory more or less correct? ambo

Another point Edwards makes in that thread, one relevant to other FB IPS discussions on the imposition of UL structural levels on other zones, is the following from this post:

"AQAL metatheory has focused almost exclusively on the stage-based approach where development is seen as the holarchical emergence of qualitatively new forms of complexity and capacities. This is, what I call, the developmental holarchy lens. However, this is only one among many other explanatory lenses that might be used to describe and understand transformation.... We need to combine it with and differentiate it from many other lenses if we are to see how stage-based development aligns with other aspects of transformation."

Along the line of other lenses missing from AQAL, another point in that linked post is that these other lenses

"tap into some basic relationships that exist in the human experience of reality. Consequently, they show up within every attempt to understand, explain, or get some handle on the complexity that exists within and around us and between us and through us. I see them as coming out of some kind of morphological fault line in the Kosmos, windows that we create and which we are drawn to look through, proclivities that we innately possess as sentient beings who act and imagine."

I noted in that post that indeed, the image schema (per Lakoff's work) provide that morphological fault line. I said:

"There are different kinds of preconceptual image schemas, which ground the basic categories: container, part-whole, link, center-periphery, source-path-goal, up-down, front-back and linear order are some examples. Concepts then build on these schemas: categories in general build on container schemas, hierarichal structures in terms of part-whole and up-down, relations in terms of links, radial structure in terms of center-periphery etc. I find an interesting correlation here with Mark Edwards' pluralistic lenses. [...] holarchical, bipolar, cyclical, standpoint, relational" etc.

I also noted in other Ning IPS threads how these image schema show up as the different ways we formulate philosophical worldviews. From the above referenced link I relate how Lakoff sees the objectivitst paradigm as being solely reliant on a hierarchical category lens, and as a result we get a very dualistic, metaphysical conception of the world. While I don't see that Edwards criticizes this particular aspect in AQAL you can see I've repeated made that same connection with kennilingus metaphysical dualism.

Hi Balder:

It's Sunday, which means long post time! I will try to be coherent.

You said:

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.

If I understand you, you are saying that Integral Theory should properly be regarded as a Metatheory. And, I am assuming that you are concerned about Integral delving into and opining on empirical domains for which it is not suited.

I agree with you that Integral devotes much attention to correlating other theories, looking for equivalencies and interrelationships among theories, and creating a framework or scaffolding to hold a variety of epistemologies and methods.

If Integral is properly a Metatheory, then according to Edwards, Integral would not in a position to validly opine about the empirical data of other theories.

My sense is that Edwards is trying to instill some overdue discipline to Integral Theory.

As theurj pointed out, Metatheory is best competent to deal with how theories and methods relate and how they might be integrated. But, Wilber goes far beyond simply marrying up theories.

What Wilber seems to have done is:

* start by declaring that his motivation is to "integrate" all theories and methods grounded in both empirical and metaphysical work;


* distill the essence of those theories and methods;


* create a slightly integrated model whereby individual theories are seen to fit into a scaffolding that is slightly larger than themselves.

I like the revised phrase "A Theory for Anything." The beauty of this phrase is that it properly recognizes that Integral Theory has no domain. It's domain is anything and everything that can be said or done or felt.

Integral Theory is a theoretical tool chest that invites you to use a hammer or a screwdriver or a pipe wrench, as you see fit, to get that nail in the board.

But, Integral Theory itself seems to be the ultimate triangulation device. It takes two theories or perspectives, and immediately finds a context whereby the two can be reconciled under a 3rd theory involving a slightly different order of abstraction or epistemological lens.

There is the development data on morality, and values, and self. All of these were standing alone, not talking to the others. Integral came along and said, "Hey look, you are all talking about holonic development. Greater wholes, greater complexity, transcending and including."

So, Integral creates the upward and onward scaffolding of growth. Vertical evolution. It becomes the prime impulse.

Integral says that the empirical events which give rise to the Stage Address are themselves not an experiencing of the Stage Address. These Stage Addresses reflect the level of intelligence via a variety of epistemologies (lines). The level of evolution (via a particular epistemology) is only recognized by an outsider. And, for the outsider to "recognize" the level, there would need to be an"overseeing" capacity to recognize the event at issue.

So, what we end up with is a variety of theories about development of emotions, and self sense, and artistic sensibility, and spiritual knowing, etc. all married together in a meta-model of a variety of epistemologies going upward along a track, with various stages of the journey being identified as embodying a new holonic order or complexity.

Anyone who understands this meta-model is by definition standing at a 2nd Tier level.

But, the whole discussion to this point has involved what? It has involved an outsider's evaluation of the complexity of your lived experience.

Stage theory has nothing to do with consciousness as lived. That gets Integral Theory into a new land involving the Wilber Combs Lattice.

The Lattice apparently tries to reconcile the degrees of subtlety of consciousness (gross, subtle, causal, etc.) with vertical stages of holonic complexity.

But, wait a minute. In discussing Stage Theory earlier, we have a variety of epistemologies running through the Stages. The race, as it were, involved a variety of ways of knowing things (self, emotion, aesthetic, spiritual, relational) and outsiders would be able to identify how complex these various ways were constituted and peg them onto the vertical Tiers.

Now, the Vertical Stage Tier has been stripped of its epistemologies, and consciousness subtlety has been inserted as a replacement for the "juice" that flows along the chart.

What has happened here? Why were the epistemologies deleted when we turned to State-Stages?

Next, we find Integral trying to reconcile Types. Take one of the objects for reconciliation: Myers-Briggs typology. The MB type system is designed to identify our preferences in seeing the world.

Integral's Theory for Anything efforts quickly realized that it would be a super daunting task to try and reconcile even a portion of variety of type theories. If you think about it, what is more instinctive than to take 5 points of empirical data and try to build a theory of types. We all do it. Are you an A or a B blood type? What is your horoscope? May I read your palms please?

So, Integral simply says, "hey, while you are digging in the tool chest to find a perspective you want to use, don't forget to try out that hodge podge of type stuff in that burlap bag."

But, how does a Type relate to a theory about Stages of Holonic Complexity, and about Evolution, and about Consciousness?

Are we to regard Types like the front and back sides of the same coin? While I am actively engaged in subtle awareness (State) grounded by a mythical stage (State-Stage) and I am knowing this via my sense of self (Line) which is at the Ethnocentric level (Stage), flip me over and put my head where my feet are and you get 4 different possible preferences for my way of knowing (Types) and for each of the 4 possible preferences there are a virtually infinite number of Quadrant perspectives (I am aware of my consciousness as it makes sense of your assertion that quantum physics analogies for economic models leads to systemically useless conclusions that are just plain Ugly!)

My sense is that Integral is best regarded as an ongoing Hybrid Modeling enterprise. As Edwards properly asks, "to what extent does Theory A reach out and invite correspondence from proponents of Theories B through Z?"

If Integral were a legitimate Theory, it would certainly require a vast brain trust of full time researchers to reach out, communicate, clarify, adjust, and generally make sense of all the valid theory work that is already done in each of the domains it involves itself with.

In fact, it seems like Integral reaches out to very few outsiders. And, this leads us to a new proposal: Integral may be best regarded as a Hybrid Modeling Movement.

Movements are going somewhere. And, they make their own definitions of who and what will aid them in their journey.

The original motivation for my post was a book by Wilber "Marriage of Sense and Soul" in which he makes the claim that the Scientific Method applies to a variety of epistemologies.

Wilber's claim starts with the premise: knowledge of physical matter is not the only form of knowledge available to us. I think that anyone who has ever been in love, or had a dream, or shared in a group mood would agree with this.

He then goes on to say: other forms of knowledge can be regarded as being "seen" with different eyes.

What he then tries to do is to rescue the "knowledge" acquired through these different eyes by saying that it is every bit as real and valid and enduring and identifiable and testable and attainable as knowledge of the physical world, provided that you are competent to function in the domain at issue.

This thesis certainly seems to be at the core of much that Integral does. As far as I can tell, Integral is proclaiming, among other things:

* the world is evolving and there is a moral imperative to help ensure this evolution is healthy
* different levels of development shape our different views of the world
* the different states of consciousness are all available at all times to everyone
* we know in different ways and our level of development in knowing in these different ways can be balanced or imbalanced
* different types govern the logic we use to frame experience and communicate
* holons are found everywhere and we can use a variety of perspectives to see them

Etc.

Edwards said that when Integral Metatheory makes conclusions about empirical data it is operating outside its authority.

But, it seems that Integral Theory is in fact engaged in robust activities that are grounded in empirical events. Integral seems to be a movement using a hybrid modeling function.

Seen in this light, it becomes apparent that Integral only has to satisfy people who already have joined the movement. Integral is not inclined to reconcile itself with "theories" that are not inclined to join the movement.

To unpack what this movement is doing and how effective it can be (or how dangerous it can be), I feel strongly that we need to unpack the question of "how is anything known" in this movement? That is, what are the tools of epistemology that lead to validation of anything within this movement?

Is Integral a consciousness militia? Is it engaged in establishing its own rules of engagement? Does it have an internal chain of command obeying internal rules of validation?

Just once I would like to hear Integral Theory say, "Sorry, but we are not competent to evaluate that." Or, even better, the "way" that you go about "knowing" this "knowledge" is not susceptible to any form of categorization or language-based injunction.

As Edwards mentioned, "self-critical tools" used to recognize limitations are important. Integral seems to have an answer for everything without concern for pointing out the limitations of the answers.

I have a strong sense that by grappling with what Integral is and how it does what it does, we have a microcosmic resolution of the great themes of our times.

Ambo:

Yes to goodness and justice on the lower left.

My main concern is that Integral has created a map of Evolution, and in so doing, it has violently distilled a lot of things, thereby characterizing them in a way that strips them of the essence of how they are known.

Doing this leads to a storehouse of skeletons.



Ambo Suno said:

Hi Lucy - I'm, obvious to me, not going to be able to achieve a mirroring understanding of all that you have been saying here. But let me pull out one aspect and see if I am understanding you quite a lot on this one aspect.

In addition to the validity and reliability of assertions of knowledge, you care a lot about fairness and justness of how declared chunks of "knowledge" are used. Keeping to this narrow point, is it correct to say that the morality and ethics of application of assertions of knowledge have a strong impact on you. If we are being mislead by incorrect or false information and false impressions created by language, for the various reasons and motives, and with various consequences, you feel that a lot, and you care a lot that this not go on or that it be revealed for what it is. Did I get this small of piece of your whole consideration of a larger territory more or less correct? ambo

Theurj:

Indeed. When I ask "how are we knowing AQAL?" my concern is just that - what lens are we using? What faculty or organ or modality or eye are we using?

Lakoff's phrase "preconceptual image schema" hits the mark.

As I think of AQAL stage theory, I envision a person on a journey up a ladder. Through grace and hard knock's, the person advances to higher levels, and may even reach a new tier.

But, according to AQAL stage theory, the person in toto does not advance up the ladder. Instead, different lines (capacities) of the person advance up the ladder.

So, I have to rework my image schema. There is a person with the form of an octopus, and various line capacities of the person are more or less advanced up the ladder. The emotion leg may be orange while the cognitive leg is green and the self leg is amber, etc. The head is holding them all together.

It's like a game of Chutes and Ladders with multiple chutes and ladders side by side using different colored tokens.

The golden token is the Cognitive Line token. As Wilber says, it leads the rest.

But, then we learn that no one actually experiences Stages! Stages are level assignments made by others through assessment of a person's proclivities on a particular line.

So, we take the person off the ladder. What image schema do we use now?

In fact, my suspicion is that most Integral movement adherents don't take the experiencing person off the ladder. They leave them on and call them green or orange or whatever without making a distinction between the different chutes and ladders (capacities).

And then, we move onto the Lattice. Here, it is not lines of capacity moving up the ladder, it is gradations in the subtlety of consciousness.

Does this mean that for subtle mind, any of the various line capacities can be functioning and the focus is now on the quality of the awareness (subtlety) rather than the kind of awareness (self vs. emotion vs. aesthetic)?

We have our image schema of chutes and ladders for State and the same for States, and now we turn to quadrants.

How do we form image schema for this? We have an outsider evaluating John Doe's level of self development on the Stage Ladder and his quality of consciousness via self capacity on the Lattice. This observation is now subject to four possible perspectives? I am not sure how we go about building an image schema for this.

And, next, that John Doe self that we had pegged on the Stage ladder, John Doe happens to be an XYZ on the Myers-Briggs chart. Do we make his amber color louder or fainter based on this?

I completely agree with Lakoff. Everything we know, we know in some way. And, those ways can be described through some explicable concepts. My sense is that Integral has not been truly concerned about being transparent about the implications of its schemas. And, this unwillingness became an organizational given when the potential for Integral to become a "movement" arose.

They say that there are only 7 people who truly understand the world economy. I am wondering if there is 1 person who has a coherent image schema for Integral Theory.



theurj said:

Along the line of other lenses missing from AQAL, another point in that linked post is that these other lenses

"tap into some basic relationships that exist in the human experience of reality. Consequently, they show up within every attempt to understand, explain, or get some handle on the complexity that exists within and around us and between us and through us. I see them as coming out of some kind of morphological fault line in the Kosmos, windows that we create and which we are drawn to look through, proclivities that we innately possess as sentient beings who act and imagine."

I noted in that post that indeed, the image schema (per Lakoff's work) provide that morphological fault line. I said:

"There are different kinds of preconceptual image schemas, which ground the basic categories: container, part-whole, link, center-periphery, source-path-goal, up-down, front-back and linear order are some examples. Concepts then build on these schemas: categories in general build on container schemas, hierarichal structures in terms of part-whole and up-down, relations in terms of links, radial structure in terms of center-periphery etc. I find an interesting correlation here with Mark Edwards' pluralistic lenses. [...] holarchical, bipolar, cyclical, standpoint, relational" etc.

I also noted in other Ning IPS threads how these image schema show up as the different ways we formulate philosophical worldviews. From the above referenced link I relate how Lakoff sees the objectivitst paradigm as being solely reliant on a hierarchical category lens, and as a result we get a very dualistic, metaphysical conception of the world. While I don't see that Edwards criticizes this particular aspect in AQAL you can see I've repeated made that same connection with kennilingus metaphysical dualism.

Here is an example of something that strikes me as taking us all astray.

Mr. Benjamin on Integral World discussing Wilber's "failure to be scientific" about spirit.

http://www.integralworld.net/benjamin68.html

He says:

Now I want to be clear that it is not the idea of “spirit in action” per se that I have a problem with. For all I know, perhaps this is legitimate and reflects the reality of our universe. But in our current state of scientific knowledge I think this is a matter of faith, not science, and what I was left with from Wilber's talk, which perhaps was partly due to my own confusion about which part of his talk was “poetic license” and which was meant to be “scientific,” was that “all the data shows...” that there is “scientifically” some kind of “spirit” that has always been there; and that evolution is spirit's way of manifesting itself in the universe (no confusion about Wilber's intention for this last part).

Wilber presents the idea of "spirit in action" and Mr. Benjamin defends our scientific knowledge about the "reality of the universe" by chapping Wilber for being poetic.

Wilber, of course, has claimed that the "eye of spirit" follows the scientific method and there are spirit eye injunctions that lead to verifiable spirit eye knowledge.

Mr. Benjamin seems to demand radar gun readings for the speed of spiritual transmission. Goofy goofy.

What Wilber seems to be doing is an old-fashioned Two-Step. He starts by pointing to the Land of Knowing By Higher Eyes, and then he talks and talks some more, and slowly he slips into Lakoff's land of false reason, making reference to abstract facts of spiritual knowledge (throw in some conjencture about the evolution of Buddhism - who can argue with that?), and we end up with people like Mr. Benjamin shouting "This is all Bull! You're just making poetry."

The question is - what is the faculty or organ that would allow us to verify the knowledge of this realm, Mr. Wilber? And, if that faculty does not involve formal operational reason, shouldn't you be making this point over and over? Shouldn't you explain to people like Mr. Benjamin what they need to acquire and how they need to be looking to make sense of what you are saying?

Otherwise, we have the blind fighting the blind. I would figure that a 3rd Tier mind would be taking care of this laundry in an elegant and satisfactory way.

But, Mr. Benjamin's point is valid - isn't all of this formal-op talk about the world of spirit just grease to turn the wheels of the Soma Pot outside the temple? Isn't it just an invitation to spend 15 minutes feeling high about feeling high?

What am I missing here?

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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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