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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Excellent response, Joe.  Yes, this framing does indeed raise the spectre of Baudrillard's simulacra.  I'm curious if you think my interpretation of Wilber's use of these terms is at least consistent with his overall line of argument (whether or not it is a viable or desirable position).

Reading through the opening section of Wilber's essay again this morning, the sense I got was of a fractal nesting of quadrants, spiraling through the LL. 

In defining the referent as a worldspace-dependent phenomenon or appearance, perceivable only when one has attained the correct developmental signified, which itself is embedded in -- and draws its meaning from, and is meaningless apart from, the intersubjective field of the LL -- the image that comes to mind is of a quadrant diagram, with another quadrant diagram embedded in the LL (and so on), spiraling down or up like so many turtles.  From within an LL collective worldspace or meaningspace, we uniquely enact quadratic perspectives and objects (which our cultures assign to different AQAL locales).  So, we could say that the referent "ex-ists" in only one quadrant (although that's debatable, as you point out), but the whole constellation of perspective-spaces with their various referents or enacted "real pheomena" is dependent on the LL meaning-space of the entity doing the enacting.

If we follow this out, we would seem to end up in a position that Wilber had earlier criticized (say, in The Marriage of Sense and Soul): the social construction of reality as opposed to the construction of social reality.

A couple of comments on Joe's last posts. The defining instruments of current financial catastrophe are indeed so virtual as to be disconnected from any real material anchoring. They in effect suck value out of the economy without adding any. This simulacra has replaced the real economy and feeds on it like a vampire. The evil sorcery of capitalism indeed.

The other is that Derrida didn't seek to destroy language* but to liberate it via the exact type of alchemical melting and reforging referenced. I call it de/reconstruction (de/re for short) and he is much more like Gandalf in that regard.

* Semiosis, actually, when he applied de/re to structuralism.

Hi, Joe, I am out of time at the moment, so my response now will be very brief and then I will return to this in a subsequent post.

To be clear:  I am not trying in these last few posts to put forward a model I endorse, but only to try to make sense of the relationships of these elements as Wilber is presenting them at the beginning of this essay.

I totally agree that a simple linear nesting like I showed in my image would not make much sense, by itself: if we accept anything like this at all, the situation would be much more fluid and overlapping, as you suggest.  I was just trying to suggest that Wilber appears to be saying, in his beginning remarks in this essay, that a larger or guiding LL context "situates" the (developmental) signified and its corresponding referents, which tend to be "perceived" in whatever AQAL address the larger, situating LL dictates.  That's what I was trying to illustrate: Wilber's discussion of a larger LL context which appears to situate, inform, and influence a 4Q arising of signifieds and enacted referents ("real phenomena").  I was not trying to illustrate the nested repetition of the same context.

Personally, I find this problematic, by itself.  If this is indeed what Wilber is suggesting, I would agree that it is leaving important things out (a "half cube").

More on this in the next post.

Bruce, yes, that was how it was looking to me as well, that if referents were put in the LL it would be the cultural constructivist position. But it may be a mistake or some kind of simplification.

David, it would be odd, wouldn't it, if he moved to a stronger social constructivist position -- which is the picture his description in this recent article paints to me.  Perhaps it is a mistake, or an element of his model that is still in flux (being worked out).

Yes, that would be odd. I would be quite surprised. I need to read it again. What else gives you the impression he has moved to a stronger social constructivist position? I imagine it's probably a mistake. If not, it would seem to be quite a shift. Maybe it's a new editing strategy -- publish your early drafts online and see what people say. I imagine he might end up with a better book that way.

But it always seemed like there was something here that needed straightening out. The way he threw in "referent" after the quadratic semiotics didn't look entirely worked out. I was never sure what to make of that and frequently wondered about it. I imagined this might be one reason the book was slow in progressing. The semiotics excerpt (excerpt e, was it?) was the one excerpt that wasn't published until now.

The way he says that a referent "exists in a particular and specific worldspace" makes it sound as if something like "withdrawal" is needed, as you've said. But he may simply be saying that the referent is, in part, enacted.

I imagine he must mean just in part enacted because in the response to CR he says, "There are ontological realities that are not dependent upon humans or human theories."

But when he gives the long form kosmic address -- subject x object -- it makes sense to me. But it seems like he uses "object" and "referent" to mean the same thing, which makes it a bit confusing.

David, yes, I think we touched on this before in a prior conversation -- Wilber does say things like, "constructed, in part" and "co-constructed."  But I don't think he's elaborated on this much, and in this new essay on semiotics, with his locating the referent either in the LL or in an enacted/phenomenal AQAL worldspace, this lack (of elaboration, formerly; and of mention, here) does appear to weight the argument (perhaps unintentionally) in the direction of a strong social constructionism. For me, this recommends more explicit discussion of something like the withdrawn, which Tim introduces in his paper on semiotics, and as others of us have been exploring in various ways for awhile now (after exposure to OOO, Bhaskar, etc)...

Bruce, I would enjoy a more explicit elaboration on these issues as well. One thing that might be happening is that IS seemed to be written with the intention of getting spirituality and perhaps integral into academia. I imagine this might be the reason for some of those stray lines that, taken out of context, seem to indicate social constructivism. Maybe this book is intended to do the same, make way for integral and/or spirituality in academia, so he is trying to appeal to the social constructivists. Still, placing the referent in the LL would be quite an about-face from his previous statements, wouldn't it. He has spent a lot of time deconstructing that position.

I was just searching for something else in Wilber's response to CR, and I found this:

"Thus, for example, take molecules during the magic era. “Molecules” did not “ex-ist” (meaning, “stand out”) anywhere in the magic world—there was nothing in the consciousness of individuals at magic that corresponded with “molecules.” But we moderns—we at turquoise—assume that the molecules existed nonetheless—if they didn’t ex-ist, they did what we might call subsist (I agree). This is similar to CR’s transitive (ex-ist) and intransitive (subsist)—with one major exception: as noted -IT is panpsychic—epistemology and ontology—consciousness and being—cannot be torn asunder."

Do you think Wilber's ideas of existing and subsisting are analogous to Bhaskar's levels of ontology? What is missing there in comparison? Also, I believe I have heard people say things like, "CR is panpsychic, too." Is that true?

This is the passage I was looking for:

"Further, when we actually get down to explaining what this subsistence reality is—the “real”—it changes with each new structure (red, amber, orange, green, etc.). What we glibly call “atoms” ex-ist at orange; those become sub-subatomic particles at green (mesons, bosons, gluons, etc.); those become 8-fold-way quarks at teal; those become 11-dimensional strings at turquoise. We can’t say what the atomic level is except from some structure of being-consciousness, and each structure discloses a new ontology, a new world. (That ontology is there, is real, but is co-created by the prehensive holons at that level.) Again, this is not to reduce ontology to epistemology, but rather claim they are complementary aspects of the same Whole occasion. (In short, I disagree with both Kant and Bhaskar—or I agree with them both, depending on how you look at it.)"

So it seems like there is some implicit sense of withdrawal in the way that atoms, for instance, are not taken to be the whole of that particular phenomenon. But I think it would be good to make it more explicit and elaborate a bit. Maybe yet-to-be-enacted would be a phrase better suited to AQAL semiotics than withdrawal. I recall also the no-single-tree argument. It seems to be implicit there as well.

Or is Bhaskar's withdrawal referring to some God's eye view of that phenomenon, beyond what anyone will ever enact?

"...however, she makes an understandable mistake."

Only if what she says has to fit into a magical-mythical formulation like the Sepher Yetzirah and Cube, as if they were laid down by the immutable law of God. Oh yeah, that is how they both started...

On a more mundane level, I think Semetsky's notion of 0 being Peirce's Firstness makes sense, as I noted about it earlier in the thread (here and following). That is, if it is more akin to the withdrawn c(h)ore(a) of all aspects of semiotics, from signifier to signified to referent which should be the 'center' of a model as in Bryant's Borromean diagram. True, it doesn't 'fit' into the Cube that way. But it wouldn't fit into Peirce's Firstness either if it was taken not as the withdrawn but correlated with one of the 3 aspects of signs. Same goes for Wilber trying to fit the referent into the LL quadrant. We get too attached to our models so that everything must fit nice and tidy whether they do or not. If not, then the model should change to fit the facts on the ground,* not the other way around.

* Aka postmetaphysical enacted worldspace, if we must speak kennilingus. Allelujia for (earlier) Bhaskar and Morin (and Derrida and DeLanda and Deleuze and Bryant etc.) entering into the debate.


Yes, perhaps "mistake" was too strong a term, for she also is likely coming from a different context and model.  On the other hand, we each must state our own case as well, and without apology.  So if something "fits" or does not fit, that's going to be revealed as a result of the process of examination, research and dialogue.  In this regard, showing me how something doesn't fit is gong to be more helpful than just telling me or parading another paradigm.

You write:

Only if what she says has to fit into a magical-mythical formulation like the Sepher Yetzirah and Cube, as if they were laid down by the immutable law of God. Oh yeah, that is how they both started...

In all of my writings on topic of the Cube model, I've made no metaphysical appeals to authority that I'm aware of, and so I'm not sure where this is coming from.   Do you see the cube's origin in past spiritual traditions as disqualifying?

Regarding the withdrawn core of all aspects of semiotics or of any occurrence for that matter,  I think it is a good topic of discussion whether emptiness or nonduality would make the better "fit" and how different models might illustrate this.


theurj said:

"...however, she makes an understandable mistake."

Only if what she says has to fit into a magical-mythical formulation like the Sepher Yetzirah and Cube, as if they were laid down by the immutable law of God. Oh yeah, that is how they both started...

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