Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Since we brought up this topic in the “conservative integralites” thread let’s dive a bit deeper here. First here’s the last few posts from that thread:
”This is a key issue: What is transcended and included and what is transcended and replaced? I discussed this in the "capitalism" thread. According to Wilber, and with which I agree, worldviews are replaced, not included. (See footnote 7 here for example). So to me an integral worldview would not include bit and pieces of different views in some kind of synthesis-integration-inclusion but replace them altogether into creative novelty. Hence my dissatisfaction with the promotion of integral or conscious capitalism. And things like the latter tend toward a more conservative worldview, just dressed up in new clothing-jingo.”
Mary W said:
“It's possible that I don't fully understand what is meant by ‘worldview.’ But it seems to me that one could find some value in elements of a worldview that one no longer holds. I see the integral perspective as including not just random bits and pieces of amber/orange/green in a kind of synthetic hodgepodge -- but recognizing what is of value in them and allowing that to fuel a transformative process.
“For example: in healthy development one is said to move from ‘egocentric’ to "ethnocentric" to ‘worldcentric’ to ‘cosmocentric’ -- the spheres of love/concern become more widely embracing. The limitations of each of these levels are transcended as one develops, but the element of love/concern is retained. While worldcentric could be said to be a replacement (and a rejection, even) of ethnocentric, it retains the bit of gold that existed at the previous level.”
“Wilber differentiates basic and transitional structures, the former being included while the latter are transcended. So it is a question of what is defined as each kind of strucutre. Here's an excert from “Ladder, climber, view” by Ingersoll and Cook-Greuter:
‘As the self develops (climbs the ladder and increases its altitude), each rung reveals a broader, deeper view or perspective that replaces previous views or perspectives…. In one sense, these views are permanent for the period that the self is on a given rung. In another sense, the views are transitional in that once the self moves from a given rung to the next rung on the ladder, the previous view is replaced by a new, expanded view.’
“Wilber references his own article ‘ladder, climber, view’ on p. 66 of Integral Spirituality but says he won't discuss it in the book. He says one can find it at his site (www.kenwilber.com) but when I searched for it I could not find it. Does anyone have its specific web address?
You said: "Yet if we look at the non-dual as an indiscernible or non-differential element then there is no chance of it differentiating into additional conditions."
This is one reason I'm preferring an onticology-flavored virtual non-duality these days, since there is no transcendent, non-immanent and non-differential element to it. In that sense I'd agree that we have to "jettison 'background context' as a basic non-dual metaphor and attribute that instead to the causal." But in my theurjeneutic recontextualization of onticology the 'causal' is again strictly immanent with no timeless, changeless element. Unless, as you say, we frame it in that this apparently changeless constant of the ontic-real as infinite openness to change.
I say “apparently” though because I don't see it as “so transparent that it ceases to partake of the quality of change.” This is due to its radical immanence, that this virtuality is never, ever separted from actual manifestions of any particular suobject; i.e. it doesn't exist is some transcendent, universal (virtual in that sense) realm apart from any specific suobject's existence. As we discussed in the OOO thread, yes, this is a universal transcendental condition but is itself specific and immanent to the acutal, historical manifestations of particular suobjects. In that thread Balder describes this as the singular-plural and the infinitely reducible irreducibility of suobjects.
It seems like the causal is more (sic) "changeless" than the non-dual since while the latter's transcendental condition (or virtually indiscernible difference) is equally an immanent identity with all changing subtle & gross realities -- but the former can be identified with the "dimensionless" logical differences/requirements which are needed by all manifestation in order to change to endless occur.
For me the non-dual is certain "apart" -- since I don't think we are capable of conceptualizing "additional reality" or "hyperspace" in which to locate such a thing -- but is transcendental in the sense of being (a) wonderful enough to deserve the highest and more gloried terminology (b) the common element of what exists (whether that is mass-bearing or massless, quantitative or qualitative, gross or subtle, etc. The causal, on the other hand, is the differential-structural elements without which interactions cannot occur.
I will glance over the thread you mention since this "singular-plural" sounds a lot like the "Attack of the One-Many" which I routinely claim is the plot of the Kevin Bacon film TREMORS.
What you're describing as the causal as "the differential-structural elements without which interactions cannot occur" is how I see Bryant's virtual proper being, and through my filters how I interpret Derrida's differance. But again, it is entirely immanent and constructed, not changeless and timeless. And that is what I'm calling nondual, in that this transcendental condition is inseparable from any singular actuality. Perhaps a bit of exploration in the OOO thread would clear up some meanings? For example, this post, and this, and this post and the 3 posts following into the next page.
Andy responded to my IPE post on the same topic (which is extended in this post). Here's our conversation so far.
Andy: As I have discussed in detail elsewhere, Wilber’s distinction between permanent and transitional structures is flawed. As you note, he views moral values as transitional, because earlier ones are replaced as we mature. But in fact they are not really replaced so much as overgrown. Every moral value or behavior is associated with certain permanent structures, so they never disappear.
For example, the self-centeredness of children gives way to a more empathic view in which we understand and take into account the perspectives of others. But this self-centered view is still present in all adults, and it comes to the fore in certain situations. Many if not most adults revert to a self-centered perspective when under significant stress, such as anger or fear. Almost all adults do so when the stress becomes so great as to constitute a life-and-death emergency. And in fact this is an evolutionary important strategy, as our ancestors would not have survived certain situations without behaving in a profoundly selfish manner. Compassion is an admirable quality when living with others. It doesn’t help much when confronted by a savage beast, or for that matter, a savage human who lacks reciprocal compassion.
Stressful situations simply deactivate the higher structures or centers that normally repress or inhibit this form of moral behavior. So this behavior is not transitional in the sense that it is no longer possible to occur. It remains latent, appearing only in certain contexts.
One might argue that a latent existence is still a kind of transitional form. The problem is that the forms of behavior that are considered permanent by comparison are every bit as transitional as moral values. Consider such basic forms of behavior we share with other animals such as sensation, movement and emotion. Wilber would presumably view these as examples of permanent structures or behavior, because the centers in the brain that elaborate them are permanent, and because we engage in these forms of behavior throughout our lives. But in fact these structures, too, are overgrown by later structures, and their behavior to a large degree repressed or constrained. Adults do not sense, feel or experience the world in the way children do, because their much more developed cerebral cortex prevents the uninhibited expression of these lower forms of behavior. And as with moral values, certain situations of high stress can deactivate this inhibition.
So the burden is very much on anyone who claims there are transitional structures or behaviors. It’s certainly the case that as we develop, new structures and behaviors appear, and older ones tend to be used less, or used in a different way. But this is true for all aspects of development. There is no way to contrast some developmental changes as permanent versus others that are transitional.
theurj: So Andy, would you agree with Wilber that an integral legal code should be from the highest cultural level available? His example that we might feel like murdering someone when a personal, lower level is activated, but in a rational society we cannot tolerate that lower-level feeling becoming an actual behavior? Granted this is overridden by societal wars, when we are given legal license to kill the enemy (however defined). But when soldiers come home they cannot commit murder outside of this environment. Unless of course you're in Florida, and white, under the Stand Your Ground law.
Andy: Not from the highest level available, no. It has to be from some average or mode level. We expect more from individuals at the highest level than we could reasonably expect from the great majority of people. An individual at a very high level might be expected to turn the other cheek in certain situations, that doesn't mean that the legal code should require that everyone behave in that manner. By definition, most people can't.
Outlawing murder can be rationalized on several grounds, but in terms of this discussion we can just say that most people are capable of controlling their murderous impulses, so society codifies this requirement. But that's an easy one. How about: should people be expected to sacrifice, if necessary, to ensure that everyone has a minimum amount of health care? Has the mean or mode of society reached the point where most people can understand this? It seems that it hasn't yet.
theurj: I'd agree that perhaps not the highest stage, which might require sainthood. But I have to disagree with your specific example on healthcare, for example. I don't know whether the average societal center of gravity has reached a point where they'd agree with some self-sacrifice in terms of the mandate to ensure coverage for the most needy. Regardless, we should require of them more than their average, a more humane behavior than perhaps they are capable. Which in turn will likely lift them up morally by enacting a level beyond their capacity. Kind of like Vygotsky's zone of proximal development, where when placed in a better environment people perform more than they would have otherwise.
Thanks for the links.
Yes, I think there is a rough identity between the causal and "Bryant's virtual proper being" and "Derrida's differance". However, I don't think we are at liberty to think it as entirely immanent and constructed. To me this sounds analogous to the performative contradiction implied by an assertion that there are only relative truths. It is in the "entirely", and in the timeless requirement of immanence's factuality, and in the preconditions for construction that we must think of perpetually reliable causal-structural elements. To me it seems that the most basic pattern potentials, which admittedly show up only in changing immanent circumstances, nonetheless have the "withdrawn" dignity that we might otherwise associated with objects -- provided we do not do what we cannot do which is to conceptualize a "extra space" for these items. Everything is on the inside. It is packed in here! The virtual excess of such packing, which penetrates everywhere, and somehow arouses the psyche in a "blurred out pleasure" or "ultra-focused quasi-indistinction" is what I would call the non-dual.
There is only a performative contradiction if viewed from a formal operational perspective, which cannot handle the excluded middle. Ironically such a perspective itself presupposes an idealistic, rational 'outside' from which to launch such a charge. And as you say, "everything is on the inside."
I'm reminded on the emptiness of emptiness doctrine, which states that no suobject has an inherent existence (emptiness) and that all suobjects are dependently originated (also emptiness). This is an ultimate claim as to the nature of existence, which is entirely relative and constructed. And yet the claim itself is empty of an absolute, inherent existence. See this prior post and the one following, as well as an entire thread I devoted to the topic in our old Gaia forum when Nagarjuna was faced with this same charge by the Nyaya.
Also see this section on the IEP entry for Madhyamaka, which I used in the Gaia thread.
As to your reference of me being a frater of the XI degree, I'm not sure if you're being facetious here. Regardless, there is some accuracy to that assignation. In the GD 0 = 0 is the Neophyte, with each successive degree indicating to which Sephira the degree is assigned. E.g., 1 = 10 is the first degree assigned to the 10th Sephira. The apparently highest degree is 10 = 1, assigned to Kether. And yet there is indeed an 11th degree, when one steps off the sephiroth into the 3 veils of negative existence from which the created world depend. It is like a rebirth in the 0 = 0 degree, but after one has traversed all the paths and sephiroth. Sort of like the 10 ox herding pictures, where after the path one again enters the common marketplace. And again, like the emptiness of emptiness (non)doctrine, or like our friend differance, the transcendental condition of all opposition. In whatever spirit the XI degree was offered I'll take it with honor in light of the foregoing.
Interestingly, the values assigned to the three veils are 0, with three of them being OOO. Hence my current fascination with finding a homeomorphic equivalence with object-oriented ontology.
As I wrote in the chorus of a song, years before I was a neophyte, called The Three Veils:
That's right, that's right, nothing
And not just nothing, but no nothing
And not no nothing neither.
More of my dialog with Andy from the above referenced IPE thread:
Andy: Oh, I don't disagree that we should require more. I was just observing that the majority in the U.S. do not seem to be at that point yet. I was surprised to learn that a poll found almost 70% against Obama Care. I understand that a lot of people who have coverage now through their employer are afraid they will lose it (which indeed they may), and that what replaces it will neither be as cheap or as comprehensive. Even so, I'm a little shocked that so many people are willing to consign a large minority to no guaranteed health care.
theurj: That's because they're being fed lies about it from the well-funded conservative spin machine, since money now equals speech. And they're spending HUGE amounts of money on this ad campaign. Interestingly, when people are polled on the individual aspects of the Bill, like not refusal for pre-existing conditions, they overwhelmingly support it.
But one of my broader points is that we must hold all people accountable to higher standards (moral, legal or otherwise) than their current center of gravity. Democracy itself is one of those higher standards, which of course has yet to enter into BUSINESS (for the most part; there are successful, competitive co-ops etc.).
I'd also agree that the distinct dividing line between transitional and enduring structures seems strained. And yet per the above examples when we require of ourselves a higher value system like democracy it is not consistent to say that this can also include aristocracy or slavery. Granted democracy as it stands indeed has various components of such in one form or another, but actually owning people as property is no longer acceptable. And as I said, democracy has yet to enter the business world, where people are functionally chattel owned by the company. In co-ops though they are not, and the latter is indeed a higher developmental form than corporate business.
X is too square a number for play. IX is too precise! XI is extravagant enough to appear as either praise, profundity or paradox.
So I am definitely being facetious -- but only if facetiousness is fastidiously understood as a form of love. I am trying to make creative pleasure into the basis of my communications using whatever elements strike my fancy and tickle my own nostalgias. Perhaps the three-finger air-quotes of tri-rony are more accurate than "facetious". The most appropriate word, from my point of view, is whichever term describes the simple-minded pleasure of singing-spelling Ipsissimus as if it were Mississippi.
Now, I personally find the idea that the "excluded middle" can be excluded or included in various philosophical positions to be extremely dubious. This spatial metaphor does not empower or limit reasoning.
There is a point in comprehension where possibilities become maximally constrained, epistemology turns into de facto ontology and concepts acquire autological (super-tautological?) intensity. Such limits are irresistible in the moment of their enactment (Descartes' claim) regardless of the fact that we can speculate about them from other perspectives. These conditions are, as far as I'm concerning, the quasi-Kantian presencing in thought of the pre-conditions of knowing. An optimal fidelity is reached that functions as absolute truth. And since "boundary" is only another spatial metaphor for this process it doesn't do me much good to wonder whether this boundary might be permeable or vague.
That which our alternatives cannot do without is functionally eternal. So I am quite content with the simple dichotomy (non-dualism appearing implicitly as the dual) implied in the idea that distinguishing the Relative from the Absolute requires something Absolute and detecting the Time-Bound as opposed to the Timeless requires something Timeless. This is all "on the inside".
(Though "on" is perhaps misleading... or maybe quaint.)
Given the above remarks it will come as no surprise that I do not accept that the "emptiness of emptiness" doctrine is an ultimate claim which is nonetheless entirely relative and constructed, remaining empty of an absolute, inherent existence". I have several points of complaint against such a claim (which is very interestingly picked through in the linked thread you provide).
First, in general, I think it is a complete misreading of Nagarjuna (Lord White Snake?) to do -- as generations of Buddhist and Western academics have done -- understand him as making claims about the nature of reality. I view him as a meditation-radical who pioneers the functional aesthetic of the Zen koan by attempting to pervert all speech to produce the critical "encounter" with the non-dual (what I call the indiscernible element within difference). Emptiness is a poor traditional translation. I suggest that something analogous to virtual indiscernibility is more accurate.
Second, and I am a cheerful simpleton here (perhaps an "imbecile" in the Zizekian sense), for me emptiness of emptiness is fullness. Nihilism at the level of intellectual cognition is the tendency to treat absences as presences. The side-effect is that many subtle and profound doctrines of "something" are treated ambivalently as if they might as well be doctrines of "not-something". For this is disingenuous in the same way that it is disingenuous to postulate the inherently empty nature of the All and then pretend to step aside as if oneself and the postulate were inherently empty -- rather than being "as real as real is". So I revert to the obvious complaint that one is either an absolutist honestly or dishonestly (a relativist).
Thus true causal structures, including the causal junctions which constitute our apparent access to the non-dual, have the real "otherness" of Platonic forms, of computational pattern possibilties -- which are, as in Stephen Wolfram's work, both eternally available and eternally emergent-unpredictable beyond the threshold that he terms Computational Equivalence.
Ah -- I have transgressed my own threshold for too-much-shit-in-one-message! Apologies.
I hear you. And I've heard these and many other arguments about emptiness and the nondual from the various Buddhist traditions. I explored them in the Batchelor thread, as well as its Gaia predecessor "letting daylight into magic" (linked in the former). I have nothing new to add at this point.