Here's a new piece of writing by Ken (though some of it looks like it is copied from an older text). 

Integral Semiotics

I have skimmed it, but I'm too swamped at the moment to give it careful attention.  I look forward to coming back to this in a few days.

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I'm going to try a metaphor here to see if it helps. Let's take the human body as a holon in the shape of the Cube. The body standing straight upright, feet together, arms at the side, no movement or twists or turns, is the Cube in its typical, static position and orientation of parts. But as we know the human body when it starts moving dynamically changes the orientation of parts. Yes, there are limits to these dynamic orientations but they are quite flexible and the permutations while not infinite are quite astounding.

Let's take yogic postures as but one example. The body is still a unit but the relationships of the parts can get quite twisted and contorted. My upper body can twist one direction while my lower body twists in another. One shoulder can be up while another down, and so on. Upon awakening each morning I do freestyle yoga movements and postures while lying. I get into a number of non-traditional positions to open and stretch different areas, twisting and turning and changing part orientations.

So let's image the Cube doing the same, since as a representation of a holon it too must move, twist and turn, change the orientation of it's parts (axes, faces, edges). Like the human body it too obviously cannot twist in any old way; our head cannot rotate 180 degrees, for example. But still, the Cube can rotate the top face one way a bit, the bottom face another, the axes can twist some. How would that change some of the relationships?

This is precisely what we see in the body of language. Letters of the alphabet combine in innumerable ways to form different words. The words form innumerable combinations to form sentences. Same for paragraphs and so on. Yes, there are limits to these twists and turns, but the permutations are quite astounding. The signifiers themselves change, new words are formed all the time, increasing a language's vocabulary. Some old words die, leave the lexicon. Signifiers have different signifieds depending on the relationship of that word in a sentence, etc. And referents themselves also bend and flex depending on different relationships in different contexts, using the human body again as example.

So how would this change the static Cube as a model if it's axes, faces and edges were to twist a bit, get into different yogic postures?

"Models of complex systems will have to be as complex as the systems themselves." Paul Cilliers, Complexity and Postmodernism (p. 58)

As a tarot example, the GD changed the Trump sequence to match the zodiacal signs, switching Strength and Justice. Crowley later went a step further and switched the Emperor and the Star. Crowley explains this in the Book of Thoth and DuQuette elaborates in Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot. The switches are depicted as a double twist at each end of the zodiac, a prime example of a change in 'posture' in the system.

For anyone who has read Wilber's essay on this topic, what do you think of his claim that the referent ("real object") exists in the LL?  (As opposed to the signifier and signified, which exist in the UR and UL, respectively.)

 

I posted the above question (previous post) on the FB site as well and received a response from Tim Winton.  I'll post his response and then my reply.

Tim:  I think an integral semiotic might work more like this: In the beautiful quote you posted from Calvino's "Invisible Cities" he relates how each signifier leads to a signified which is also another signifier (of some other signified) and so on. Footprints in the forest signal a creature (a lion is one of the examples, I think), but the lion signifies something else–"who knows what?" The lion is the empirical referent that shows up in the Lower Right, but this is where the lack of an explicit depth ontology limits AQAL Integral theory. The lion is not the 'real' referent, it signals something else, something more elusive, in the actual domain perhaps, which signals something in the domain of the Real. I'm exploring the idea that the Real is nondual (which cannot be conceptualised), but none the less needs to 'be' ontic and epistemic, and 'known' through ontological and epistemological means (or better perhaps pointed too). Thank you, Bruce, for pointing out these necessary distinctions. The question of whether Wilber's zone of subsistence and Bhaskar's intransitive domain have enough overlap to be related in this context and then further meaningfully associated with the nondual is another question, and may be the 'loose' thread in my argument that unravels the whole thing. Even if this is so, I have a feeling this is a useful direction to explore in the development of an integrative semiotic realism, and that that sort of realism has possibilities for forming the basis for generating collective meaning capable of unifying the diversity of current global world views under a 'planetary morality'

Balder:  Thank you for your response, Tim (glad to engage with you on this topic!). I agree that the lack of a well-developed depth ontology is likely limiting IT in this regard, and I welcome your efforts in your paper to further flesh out an integral semiotics by drawing more explicitly from Peirce, Bhaskar, and Morin. Wilber may not hold, as I suggested above, that the referent is primarily a LL-entity (he does say that at a few places in the essay, but then elsewhere says that the referent might be found at any location on the AQAL map). In any event, an interesting possible relation (in OOO thought) to Wilber's sometime-suggestion that the referent is in the LL, is Harman's idea that objects only ever meet and interact on the interiors of other objects. Here, though, what meets thusly are sensual objects, not real objects (which always withdraw). There is not an exact correlation to what Wilber is suggesting, but I think it's an interesting "kin" perspective that merits exploring -- especially since it acknowledges a quasi-pan-psychic (or pan-semiotic) enactment across objects and entities of all sorts, while insisting we must also acknowledge an ontic excess (or withdrawn depth) beyond the actual or empirical. I'm not really a Harmanian, preferring other models, but nevertheless I think this is worth exploring a bit. Regarding subsistence: subsistence, as Wilber is defining it, appears to be more of an epistemological than an ontological term: it posits multiple-appearances-for, here from a diachronic rather than a synchronic perspective (the over-lapping of retro-read higher perspectives and various lower or other perspectives). For instance, Wilber argues that atoms might be posited as subsistent elements of reality, but *only for the level of consciousness which enacts reality in atomic terms*, which then retro-reads that atomic reality back into the past and extro-reads it out into the world for all other beings. Higher beings will enact, and then posit the subsistence of, other elements. Thus, what is "subsistent" changes according to the level and mode of consciousness doing the enactment. To cite an example, on p. 251 of Integral Spirituality, Wilber notes that intrinsic features are not pregiven but are interpretive and constructed; they are "the *products* of the highest level of consciousness making the claim" (emphasis mine). In other words, in this passage, he still appears to be identifying the being of things with (or at least limiting his discussion of the being of things to) the (epistemological) mode in which they are accessed. Which is a move that Bhaskar, among others, criticizes. This is why I suggest it is a bit problematic to associate Wilber's zone of subsistence with Bhaskar's intransitive domain. What do you think?

Joseph: "This boils down to two issues:  What in the model do we fix, and what can we  mix? Alphabet is fixed, and we mix the letters: As an alphabet, the letters themselves do not change, but the combinations of letters that we can form (to make words, sentences, paragraphs, whole narratives, etc..) are almost infinite."

Any alphabet is relatively fixed, but only after a long history of development. And they are still developing, albeit now much more slowly. Meaning for one that they are constructed based on the sounds we can make given our embodiment, and the latter too can and does change, but again very slowly. And given so many languages alphabets are pretty much local, given the variations in embodied speech patterns to different climates, geological regions, etc. But they are not fixed in any Platonic or metaphysical sense, as they are for the Sephir Yetzirah, as magical foundations for physical embodiment. Which is not to say that we cannot formulate postmetaphysical models based on alphabets, but provisionally noting their contingent nature and their capacity for change, even of meaning. Which by the way applies to math as well, itself in the process of a very long history of development and change. Again, basic addition as is can still serve basic functions quite nicely. And the notion of both being open to change, albeit small and incremental, does not promote radical change that ends in gibberish or koans.*

As to the actual content of Crowley's changes I'm not much interested in the details. I was just using it as a broad example of how traditional tarot attributions can and do change based on new information. And that perhaps such twists and turns might also apply also to the Cube.

* Which reminds me of the human brain, another relatively stable thingamabob. But it too is still growing via neuroplasticity, given the neuroscientific research into meditation and learning as examples. We can again use iteration as a paradigm: retaining much what has been (but not all) and adding something novel to it, which can and often does transform to some degree at least what came before.

Sidebar: Aside from metaphysical meanings ascribed to the letters in the alphabet, I've been wondering what some of the first meanings were in caveman times. I'm guessing vowels were prime, so a few speculations. The short a sound might've been expressed as satisfaction, like after drinking a cold beer on a hot day, or after an orgasm: "Aaaaah, that was good." The long a sound when one was insulted, like "Aaa, WTF man." The o sound when one was perplexed: "Ooo, really?" The long e sound when one was startled and frightened: "Eeee, did you see that dinosaur?" The short e sound as in "eh, no big." And so on.

Hi, Joe,

Thanks for your response.  I am thinking that Wilber's "referent," which you are calling the faux-referent, is akin to Harman's "sensual object."  Wilber has made it clear in a number of places that what he means by "referent" is not just the "real object" but the "real phenomenon" (he uses the two phrases interchangeably), which would seem to place the "referent" in the empirical domain.  This is Harman's "sensual object," as opposed to the withdrawn "real object."  

Now the group's collective signified may be in the LL (the group's "we space"), but the location of the projection (what everyone calls the referent) is going to be located where group consensus says it is.   (this may answer your original question: "what do you think of his claim that the referent ("real object") exists in the LL?").

This makes sense.  But what do you make of Wilber's association of both "collective signifieds" and "the referent" with "semantics" and the LL?

Wilber: In short, individual signifiers are Upper Right (material marks); signifieds are Upper Left (interior apprehensions); syntax or grammar is Lower Right (collective systems and structural rules of language accessed in an objective fashion); semantics is Lower Left (the actual referents of linguistic signs, referents which exist only as disclosed in particular worldviews or worldspaces) (p. 8).

Wilber: And the sum total of collective signifieds — the overall actual meaning generated by cultural intersubjectivity (which, as a collective interior system of signifieds, is the Lower Left) — is simply semantics... (p. 9)

In the two posts below, I'll be copying some of my continuing conversation with Tim Winton.  In it, you'll see that I recommend (following Morrison's chart to which I referred you) that he see the central "dot" on his diagram as a vertical element, extending towards the depth of the withdrawn real; and that he could turn his diagram on edge, so that the figure-8 becomes like a propeller at the top of the vertical axis.  I mention this because I think there is definitely some affinity with your cube model as well...

Continuing discussion from the FB mirror site:

Tim:  I think an integral semiotic might work more like this: In the beautiful quote you posted from Calvino's "Invisible Cities" he relates how each signifier leads to a signified which is also another signifier (of some other signified) and so on. Footprints in the forest signal a creature (a lion is one of the examples, I think), but the lion signifies something else–"who knows what?" The lion is the empirical referent that shows up in the Lower Right, but this is where the lack of an explicit depth ontology limits AQAL Integral theory. The lion is not the 'real' referent, it signals something else, something more elusive, in the actual domain perhaps, which signals something in the domain of the Real. I'm exploring the idea that the Real is nondual (which cannot be conceptualised), but none the less needs to 'be' ontic and epistemic, and 'known' through ontological and epistemological means (or better perhaps pointed too). Thank you, Bruce, for pointing out these necessary distinctions. The question of whether Wilber's zone of subsistence and Bhaskar's intransitive domain have enough overlap to be related in this context and then further meaningfully associated with the nondual is another question, and may be the 'loose' thread in my argument that unravels the whole thing. Even if this is so, I have a feeling this is a useful direction to explore in the development of an integrative semiotic realism, and that that sort of realism has possibilities for forming the basis for generating collective meaning capable of unifying the diversity of current global world views under a 'planetary morality'.

Bruce:  Thank you for your response, Tim (glad to engage with you on this topic!). I agree that the lack of a well-developed depth ontology is likely limiting IT in this regard, and I welcome your efforts in your paper to further flesh out an integral semiotics by drawing more explicitly from Peirce, Bhaskar, and Morin. Wilber may not hold, as I suggested above, that the referent is primarily a LL-entity (he does say that at a few places in the essay, but then elsewhere says that the referent might be found at any location on the AQAL map). In any event, an interesting possible relation (in OOO thought) to Wilber's sometime-suggestion that the referent is in the LL, is Harman's idea that objects only ever meet and interact on the interiors of other objects. Here, though, what meets thusly are sensual objects, not real objects (which always withdraw). There is not an exact correlation to what Wilber is suggesting, but I think it's an interesting "kin" perspective that merits exploring -- especially since it acknowledges a quasi-pan-psychic (or pan-semiotic) enactment across objects and entities of all sorts, while insisting we must also acknowledge an ontic excess (or withdrawn depth) beyond the actual or empirical. I'm not really a Harmanian, preferring other models, but nevertheless I think this is worth exploring a bit. Regarding subsistence: subsistence, as Wilber is defining it, appears to be more of an epistemological than an ontological term: it posits multiple-appearances-for, here from a diachronic rather than a synchronic perspective (the over-lapping of retro-read higher perspectives and various lower or other perspectives). For instance, Wilber argues that atoms might be posited as subsistent elements of reality, but *only for the level of consciousness which enacts reality in atomic terms*, which then retro-reads that atomic reality back into the past and extro-reads it out into the world for all other beings. Higher beings will enact, and then posit the subsistence of, other elements. Thus, what is "subsistent" changes according to the level and mode of consciousness doing the enactment. To cite an example, on p. 251 of Integral Spirituality, Wilber notes that intrinsic features are not pregiven but are interpretive and constructed; they are "the *products* of the highest level of consciousness making the claim" (emphasis mine). In other words, in this passage, he still appears to be identifying the being of things with (or at least limiting his discussion of the being of things to) the (epistemological) mode in which they are accessed. Which is a move that Bhaskar, among others, criticizes. This is why I suggest it is a bit problematic to associate Wilber's zone of subsistence with Bhaskar's intransitive domain. What do you think?

Tim:  Harman's approach is interesting. Like Wilber he is working both sides of the ontic/ontological vs epistemic/epistemological fence, so to speak. Unlike Wilber, Harman (like Bhaskar) brings ontological depth into the picture–the 'withdrawn' aspect of the real object and the determination that an asymmetry must exist because a relation between objects can only take place where the sensual more epistemic surface as an object is the only way to encounter the real (withdrawn depth) as another. The reason I've rejoined the onto/episto distinctions you made earlier is that one of the things that happens when we make these finer categorisations is that it reifies their perceived primariness, and I have the feeling that in some cases this is somewhat misplaced, especially when one fully recognises what I think of as the core contribution of the post modern turn. Harman does a better job of this than Wilber in that the relational element is considered a third real thing that relates objects (in their asymmetrical encounter). Wilber does not have a 'third'–the quadrants represent different aspects of an indivisible wholeness of any occurrence. But, it is Peirce's idea of 'thirdness', that allows for the integration of the general notion of process philosophy as an interpretive/semiotic act with ontological and epistemological (or ontic/epistemic) arguments. I think this is the biggest contribution to philosophical discourse in the modern era, and that it has as yet unrealised and profound implications for humanity. I think the semiotic approach brings the three fundamental categories of reality–interiors (the episto), exteriors (the onto) and time (the dynamo)–into alignment as logic. Wilber is clearly deeply influenced by this and you could look at the development of his latest work to be an (epistemologically and diachronically orientated) interpretation on this move.

Therefore, the ontic/epistemic vs ontological/epistemological distinctions are really only helpful when we are focusing on them and more usually on which one has foundational primacy: Is the 'episto' to be seen within a foundationally ontic universe as a real thing, or is the 'onto' to be apprehended as a construct of a foundationally epistemological reality? For mine this is often a distraction from the main game, given the importance of post modern insights. From a Peircian, post modern perspective this posturing is misplaced. Any occurrence/object is both constructed and real. The bus is a 40 seater yellow school bus to me and a strange large yellow animal with four round black legs to someone who has lived their whole life in a different context (the Equidorian rainforest for instance), but if either one of us steps out in front of it we will be injured in exactly the same way. The withdrawn real 'onto' aspect and the constructed/constructing sensual 'episto' exterior cannot in fact be separated. As Harman relates, even rocks and rain can only encounter each other in ways that are limited in the extent as to what they can know of each other, but there is indeed a 'real' (withdrawn) fullness with real impacts. I consider the fact that Wilber does not fracture the onto and the episto to be a strength in his approach. The weakness, as I see it, in Wilber's scheme is that dynamic thirdness is only brought in diachronically (through evolution/involution) in a vertical fashion. The more horizontal synchronic aspect is missing, or relegated to a large basket of secondary 'types'. Also, the enactive addressing system is too epistemologically weighted (I agree with Bhaskar here), as you have pointed out, Bruce. While Peirce brings forth the importance of the process of interpretative thirdness necessary for any 'habit' or pattern of existence, as I would interpret it, I don't think he took or developed a full enough realist stance–or at least I have not encountered this in his work so far.

So, can Wilber's subsistence and Bhaskar's intransitive be shown to have and an efficacious association? If we conceive of the fact that all elements of reality have 'onto' and 'episto' aspects then what subsists a 'construction' and what is intransitively 'rea'l are not so far apart. In this respect they are different aspects of the same thing. At this point we can get pulled into a hall of mirrors type argument about which of these is primary and should define the other, or we can shift to a conception where all subject/objects encounter all other subject/objects and form some sort of real 'system' or 'habit' or 'pattern of form' through the ongoing (synchronic) more horizontal dynamics of a relational/interpretive act (thirdness) which also evolves (diachronically) in a vertical fashion. This is a pathway to a strong integrative (pan) semiotic realism, as opposed to Wilber's weaker version of (pan) psychic/semiotic post metaphysical philosophy. Another way of looking at this is that in the subsistent/intransitive, these categories collapse. Emptiness is form and form is not other than emptiness. In fact the integration of the post modern dynamic third with the onto and the episto into the Peircian notion of semiotic also collapses.

Does this approach work? So far it does for me, but a) I'm not sure I'm explaining my position well enough, and b) I could be making some errors in terms of how I understand the important distinctions here and how I'm purporting to relate them. What do you think, Bruce?

Further to the above, when we integrate the post modern conception of the dynamic interpretive/relational 'third' as a process enacting/creating real things (in the actual and manifesting in the empirical) then it becomes clear that getting stuck and reifying either the episto, the onto or the dyno is less effective than retaining an agility that allows us to shift our perspective to the aspect of a habit or pattern of form or real thing that is most prominent at any given moment in its iterative synchronic (horizontal) process of 'ex-isting'. At least the ability to 'shift' with a certain agility becomes a consideration as an inclusion in the methods we use to investigate the possibility of a viable integral semiotically informed realism. (This should include, of course, the more horizontal diachronic consideration we are more used to in Integral thought.) This proposal is based on the assertion that in the intransitive/subsistent depth of reality all three categories collapse into the one without a second. This collapse where the three are no longer distinct is the unifying factor that makes this 'shifting' possible. If there was not unity aspect at depth there could be no shifting on the surface. Bhaskar has a similar conception of the nondual aspect of the intransitive making any kind of empirical connection or relation possible at all. I'm proposing that a method of shifting on this basis has great pragmatic effects–at the very least mitigating the cultural warfare often spawned by the arguments about the primacy of the episto, the onto or the dyno. All three are 'unified' (not two is a better way to signify here) at depth, enactive in the actual and enacted in the empirical. In any given (synchronic/diachronic) moment in any given context it may be pragmatically useful to reify any of the three actualising distinctions, but in the next moment it may be useful to shift, even fairly radically to discussing the same thing/occurrence as if it had a completely different nature. For instance we might talk about the different buses enacted (episto aspect) by me and the Equidorian rainforest dweller as it travels toward us, but in the moment we must judge whether we should get out of its way, it is more useful to discuss the impact that its 'real' (onto) depth may have on our own 'real' depth. Rather than relying on an epistemologically orientated enactive paradigm, or an ontic (her the distinctions are most useful) realist paradigm (or a process philosophy bias in fact).

I'm proposing we move to an agile 'shifting' approach that allows us to investigate more of the complex aspects of any reality (thing/occurrence). It is probably the best we are going to do in the empirical domain where we are all interpretively enacting somewhat different aspects of the withdrawn reality of any situation. This is the great promise of the post (or what I refer to as 'late') modern turn. That we find a way to have conversations about our realities that avoids the violence of inhabiting entrenched positions. Whether Peirce saw this possibility or not in his philosophy (I suspect he did) is hard to know, but it is in my view a real possibility and the biggest lever I can see in the contemporary philosophical/theoretical landscape for making a real difference to the human condition. Morin, more than anyone, understands this and provides us with the method (which is exactly the 'shifting' I'm talking about) and living exemplar of how to do this. The diagram of integral Semiotic Realism (iSR) on Page 29 of my paper is a way that we might conceive of a heuristic for methodologicalizing this agile 'shifting' approach.

Bruce: Harman's approach seems to have an interesting resonance with yours, in my opinion, since the object inside of which a "meeting" of sensual objects takes place is not in one or another of the objects, but in the relational field which is established between two real objects. This relation is a new object. I see this as possibly akin to the outer "enactive" ring of your integral semiosis diagram.

Therefore, the ontic/epistemic vs ontological/epistemological distinctions are really only helpful when we are focusing on them and more usually on which one has foundational primacy: Is the 'episto' to be seen within a foundationally ontic universe as a real thing, or is the 'onto' to be apprehended as a construct of a foundationally epistemological reality? For mine this is often a distraction from the main game, given the importance of post modern insights. From a Peircian, post modern perspective this posturing is misplaced. Any occurrence/object is both constructed and real.

I want to focus on this quote a bit because I think the issues you've highlighted here are quite important for the whole IT / CR debate, both with regard to semiotics and with regard to the question of the so-called epistemic or ontic fallacies. My thinking is still in flux on this, so I'm sharing this in the spirit of our collective inquiry rather than trying to lay out a definitive position. But I'll tell you where I am with this for now. First, concerning the point you raised about arguing for which element has foundational primacy, such as whether the 'episto' is to be seen within a foundationally ontic universe as a real thing, or whether the 'onto' is to be apprehended as a construct of a foundationally epistemological reality, I think there is a subtle confusion here which the distinctions among ontic, epistemic, ontological, and epistemological could help us avoid. When you say, "foundationally epistemological reality," that is actually to mix and/or conflate categories, since "epistemology" is the study of how we know; it is *not* a type of metaphysics or ontology. When someone says, "a foundationally epistemological reality," I think what they are meaning to argue for is a particular type of metaphysics or ontology (say, Idealist or consciousness-centered or whatever). But neither the critique of the epistemic fallacy, nor the suggestion I made to distinguish among the ontic, epistemic, ontological, and epistemological, depend on (nor are directly concerned with) the adoption of a *particular* metaphysics, whether materialist, idealist, or other.

The critique of the epistemic fallacy, for instance, is not so much a critique of a type of metaphysics, as it is a critique of certain postmodern tendencies either to banish ontological speculation altogether, or (in neo-Kantian fashion) to always reduce ontological questions to epistemological ones. In weak form, this is to argue that we can only ever talk about what and how we know, and any speculation about the nature of reality apart from human beings is pointless; in stronger form (tending towards a closet metaphysics), this is to argue that *what* things are is subordinate (or identical) to *how* they are known.

At minimum, the critique of the epistemic fallacy (as I think you know) challenges the coherence (or necessity) of attempts to banish metaphysical speculation, but it does so *in light of* (rather than in contrast to or disagreement with) important postmodern critiques of traditional metaphysics. And in more robust form, it challenges the coherence of approaches which suggest that *what* beings are is entirely a product of, or dependent on, *how* they are known or accessed.

And this is where (I am suggesting) Morrison's four distinctions become quite relevant and useful. Even (or even especially) in an approach where we want not to fracture epistemology and ontology, I think the four terms allow us to make some important and necessary distinctions -- particularly if we want to argue for any kind of realist metaphysics. I'm not sure if you've read my "Sophia Speaks" paper, but in it I talk about a Bhaskarian / OOO-based definition of the "real," which is, essentially, the irreducibility of things to our knowledge of, or access to, them. This does not require or presuppose a particular kind of metaphysics (whether materialist or idealist, as it would apply to either); it simply suggests that whatever "is," exceeds or withdraws from or cannot simply be reduced without remainder to our knowledge of it. The reasoning behind such an argument is spelled out by Bhaskar. Without acknowledgement of such an ontic excess, or such an elusion of our present perspectives, we can hardly make sense of our experimental, inquiry-centered, exploratory, and injunctive knowledge disciplines; or, as Harman argues, we could not make sense of process or change. Thus, I am suggesting that the 'ontic' aspect of Morrison's 'ontic-epistemic' vertical axis be read, at minimum, as an acknowledgement of this withdrawn depth, this 'excess' which escapes reduction to any present act of knowing. This kind of distinction can still be made within a nondual, pan-semiotic worldview, so it is not an advocacy for any kind of 'fractured' or flatland metaphysics (which is one of Wilber's concerns). And the epistemic is the *real* domain of our modes of knowledge, both our models of "how we know" (epistemology) and our models of "what we know" or "what exists" (ontology). Here, epistemology and ontology are rightly seen as inseparable (aspects of the epistemic/semiotic); they co-arise, dance together, and mutually influence each other in semiotic interplay. This is compatible with an enactive orientation, which argues that "what ex-ists" for us (or any sentient being) is inseparable from the who and how of knowing. But the epistemic / ontic distinction which underlies or supports this (but which does *not* stake out any particular *kind* of ontology) allows us also to avoid reducing or conflating "what ex-ists" (a sensual appearance on the plane of the epistemic or empirical) with the real being of that with which we interact. About the latter, the most this model says is, "do not reduce what beings are entirely to how they are known and enacted (the epistemic/semiotic play of epistemology and ontology); there is a hidden ontic depth or excess which must be acknowledged as well."

Relating this to your chart, the black dot at the center lead down, 'inwardly,' towards this ontic excess. If we rotated your chart, to put your circle 'on edge,' there would be a vertical line running down and through the center black dot, and the ontological and epistemological halves of your figure-eight would be whirling like a propeller at the top.

I hope this clarifies where I am coming from in my use of these distinctions and allows us to make some headway.

Tim:  Yes, thanks Bruce. The clarification is useful and I think using these distinctions in the spirit of shifting among them in the agile fashion I'm advocating is where they come into their own, so to speak.  I love your idea of including a vertical semiotic to compliment the horizontal one I've drawn. Initially I identified a semiotic approach with this a more typologically based, horizontal, synchronic approach. Mostly as a reaction to the mono verticality and lack of explicit semiotic in Wilber's work. Now I see that semiosis has both diachronic vertical aspects (Peirce's chain of signifiers/signifieds) and synchronic (Peirce's idea of habit formation or enduring form), so a propeller diagram might be a better heuristic. The way I conceived of this graphically was to indicate another horizontal diagram superimposed, but moved slightly in one direction, in relation to the first. Yours is a much better solution, I think.

From p. 3 of Integral Semiotics: 

“The net result, at supermind, is that all of the basic rungs or basic structures—and all of the major states—are still in existence, and now  fully integrated [….] and is grounded in ever‑present pure Presence […] and all that remains is the freely arising, self-manifesting, self-liberating structures and states of consciousness, which plug the individual into all of the realms (worldviews, domains, states, conditions, and levels) of the entire Kosmos. The Awakened individual’s Kosmic Address includes the Kosmic Address of every phenomenon in the universe.” 

Metaphysics of presence? Also recall this post from the critical realism thread, at least consistent with this metaphysics: 

“But Integral Theory has already stated this as the 'IOU tenet'—'every system is either incomplete or uncertain,' and that definitely includes Integral Theory.  But Integral Theory further claims that 'Emptiness redeems all IOU’s.'  That is, the relative world is forever incomplete or uncertain; only ultimate knowledge—given by prajna or nondual awareness, and not vijnana or dualistic awareness—can disclose ultimate reality (Spirit or Emptiness).  That reality is real; it is ultimate; it is unqualifiable (including that claim); but it can be 'known' in a certain sense via Enlightenment or Awakening, i.e., satori, sahaja, metanoia, gnosis, wu, moksha—which Integral Theory puts at the center of its framework.”

 

Joe, yes, that reading would make sense.  I'm not convinced that that is what he was saying -- that, if we take semantics as an object of study and objectify collective signifieds, then the "real referents" for semantics exist in the LL -- but I think this is a perfectly reasonable view to hold, overall, within an Integral Semiotics.  I'm thinking he might mean something different, however, when we also take into account the following statements:

Thus, because referents exist only in particular worldspaces, if you have not developed to that worldspace -— if you do not possess the developmental signified -— then you cannot see the actual referent....

Peirce’s sign is Saussure’s signifier (both nestled in a system of social syntax); Peirce’s object is Saussure’s referent (both existing in a particular worldspace); and Peirce’s interpretant is Saussure’s signified (both resting in a system of cultural semantics).

Taking these into account, here's one possible reading of what he is saying:

Following Saussure, UL signifieds do not exist in a vacuum but are dependent on, interdependent with, and "nestled" in, the LL field of collective signifieds.  Referents ("real objects") are perspective- and worldspace-dependent phenomena.  Because referents cannot be perceived without the proper developmental signified, and because signifieds themselves derive their meaning from LL worldviews and shared systems of meaning, then "referents" can be seen at once as rooted in the LL and at some other 'location' of the AQAL matrix, depending on LL agreement or convention.

What do you think?

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