I started this inquiry at FB IPS. Is integral all about meta-theory? And does one have to be involved in meta-theory to be integral? Even more broadly, do we have to meta everything? So I'm curious about how one can be integral and not necessarily participate in meta-theory. It seems most discussion that claim integrality usually go through delineating AQAL, as if that is what defines it in toto.

I'm reminded of Gidley's work. She talks about the difference between research that identifies postformal operations (PFO) from examples of those that enact PFO. And that much of the research identifying PFO has itself “been framed and presented from a formal, mental-rational mode” (109). Plus those enacting PFO don’t “necessarilty conceptualize it as such” (104). And of course this now infamous Gidley quote:

"For Gebser, integral-aperspectival consciousness is not experienced through expanded consciousness, more systematic conceptualizations, or greater quantities of perspectives. In
his view, such approaches largely represent over-extended, rational characteristics. Rather, it involves an actual re-experiencing, re-embodying, and conscious re-integration of the living vitality of magic-interweaving, the imagination at the heart of mythic-feeling and the purposefulness of mental conceptual thinking, their presence raised to a higher resonance, in order for the integral transparency to shine through" (111).


So how do we DO that? And is a meta-theory necessary to do that?

I'm also reminded of this Ferrer essay on integral transformative practice, abstract below:

"Most psychospiritual practices in the modern West suffer from favoring growth of mind and heart over physical and instinctive aspects of human experience with many negative consequences. Michael Murphy and Ken Wilber have each made excellent contributions in offering prescriptions for “Integral Transformative Practice” (ITP) which includes various physical and psychospiritual disciplines. Their prescriptions, however, can easily perpetuate the mind-centered direction of growth characteristic of the modern West in that they inherently ask one's mind to pick and commit to already constructed practices. Needed is an approach that will permit all human dimensions to co-creatively participate in the unfolding of integral growth. As one possible solution, the author presents a program of ITP developed by Albareda and Romero in Spain. Their Holistic Integration is based in group retreats to practice “interactive embodied meditations,” which involve contemplative physical contact between practitioners that allows access to the creative potential of all human dimensions."

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More from the Stein study a few posts up (July 1, 2017 at 9:12am), which unequivocally answers my inquiry in the initial post. Recall this study was with JFKU graduate students in the integral studies program, not your run of the mill online troll.

Note the chart on p. 5 of the levels, then the chart on p. 10 on the range of interpretations of the AQAL model in stages 10 through 13 (aka formal, systematic, meta-systematic, paradigmatic; or orange, green, teal, turquoise). The notion of a 'center of gravity' for levels is, irony of all ironies, GREEN relativism! And typical sophomoric interpretations of quadrants and levels are ORANGE! Just knowing the AQAL model does not in any way jump one to postformal (or so-called integral) cognition, as one's prejudices are carried into the study of AQAL.

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