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:


Theurj said:


”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.”


Theurj said:


“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 ( but when I searched for it I could not find it. Does anyone have its specific web address?

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Also see Integral Psychology (Shambhala, 2000), p. 221, footnote 7:

“Enduring structures are ones that, once they emerge, remain in existence, fully functioning, but subsumed in higher structures (cognitive structures are mostly of this type.) Transitional structures, on the other hand, tend to be replaced by their subsequent stages (e.g., ego stages and moral stages). The basic structures are mostly enduring structures; and the developmental lines consist mostly of transitional structures.”

The emphasis was in the text, so perhaps he is leaving wiggle room as to what exactly constitutes mostly. Although worldviews were not included above they were in footnote 7 to the Collected Works reference. And worldviews are the “view” in “ladder, climber, view” that are replaced at each stage, often referred to as magic, mythic, rational etc.

It also becomes a question of what is an integral worldview (IW). It seems that one way of describing it is that it no longer replaces prior worldviews because it is “second-tier” and the earlier transcend and replace was so first-tier. Hence we get some confusion because the IW is capable for the first time in human history of being aware of all previous worldviews and is not exclusionary like they were. It can take a so-called aperspectival non-view on all of them, itself not being a worldview?
Given that Wilber’s earlier work makes ample use of Gebser perhaps a closer look at the latter might shed some light on this inquiry. Ed Manhood Jr. says about G’s structures of consciousness:

“These four mutations reflect five separate eras of development that are not distinct and isolated from one another but are, instead, interconnected such that all previous stages are found in subsequent ones.”

First I wonder if what G means by stage of consciousness is more akin to W’s cognitive stages, which for the latter are indeed included with transcendence. If so G is in accord with W. But it also seems that to W G’s stages are worldviews, not cognitive structures. This will need further research. Bracketing that issue for the moment, Manhood elaborates on G’s structures:

“The manifestation of these structures occurs in a quantum-like, discontinuous leap, not in a slowly developing and changing framework as is postulated for Darwinian evolutionary theory, for example.”

So while previous structures are included in subsequent ones they are not continuous as in evolutionary theory, i.e., as W lays it out in fusion-differentiation-integration terms? This seems to be a hybrid in that there are both basic (BS) and transitional structures (TS) (in W’s terms) as work here in G’s “structures.” I could not clarify this from the rest of Manhood’s article. Anyone else?

Which of course brings up the fusion-differentiation-integration cycle for worldviews. It seems that even the TS like worldviews also go through this developmental cycle, not just BS. If so, and if the TS replace their predecessor, in what way is that “integrating” a previous structure?
I just viewed Integral Life's presentation of "The markers of 2nd tier" by Jeff Salzman. While the write-up cautions that 2nd tier is in its infancy and not yet well defined, that we should be open to its ongoing development, Salzman nonethess gives us the definitive markers to date. At least from I-I's perspective, i.e., Wilber's. Salzman's presentation, for me, pretty much vomits Wilber's words and in exactly the same style. My experience with I-I, while I lived in CO and participated in many of its initial presentations, lead me to assert that this is in fact a key marker of I-I's branding of 2nd tier.

But to get back on topic. We can see that Salzman does not differentiate the basic from the transitional structures here, that they are conflated with cognitive structures of consciousness on the one hand and transitionial worldview structures on the other. And the inclusions of earlier structures seems apparent for both, since 2nd tier reactives all earlier structures in a wider embrance, an integration that was heretofore impossible in 1st tier. It's almost as I wondered above if in 2nd tier the transcend and replace nature of worldviews no longer applies, that it's only a 1st tier limitation, and hence basic and transitional strucutres become once again "unified."

Salzman brings up the theme of unification at 2nd tier, as if in our inclusion-integration of all previous structures-worldviews we go back to the original unification of "beige" or the archaic. (Also a theme of Gebser's, btw.) But of course what was un- or subconscious at beige, was undifferentiated, now at 2nd tier is conscious and integrated, as with all the other 1st tier levels. And yes, Salzman says it, the evolutionary process or God impuse become conscious. We are the aware participants in the teleos of the universe, are active participants with God as God via evolution. And it is this that is the key marker of 2nd tier. 1st tier rules no longer apply to Gods and his emissaries.
Gidley (cited below) contradicts Manhood in that the changes between stages are gradual and continuous, yet agrees that the integral-aperspectival (IA) level integrates former structures:

“Gebser used the term integral-aperspectival to refer to the gradual transformation through awareness, concretion and integration of all previous structures” (106).

She also explores key features of integral, aka 2nd tier:

“Reintegration of the whole person—originary spiritual presence, magic vitality, mythopoetic
imagination, mental directedness—embodied/enacted through integral

“Integration of dualisms, such as spirituality and science, imagination and logic, heart and
mind, female and male;

“Transcending of egotism;

“Transcending linear, mechanical, clock-time through concretion of time-awareness (See
Appendix A);

“Planetization of culture and consciousness (See Appendix B);

“Linguistic self-reflection and the re-enlivening of the word” (110).

Concerning the first item:

“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).

Again this doesn’t appear to discern basic from transitional structures; it seems an assumption that there is only one kind of structure. And perhaps so, just noting. But the idea is that IA is not a new “level” in the sense that other levels operated, i.e., through a greater or expanded consciousness that transcends and includes. IA’s key feature seems to be the nature of the word, integration; not expansion or transcendence. This seems to agree with the Wilber-Salzman notion that all previous structures are included, re-vitalized and re-integrated but apparently not in the way that Wilber describes.

This also seems to lend credence to the notion, at least via Gebser, that there is a shift at IA that is unique in that it no longer follows a trajectory of exclusion or replacement or prior views but rather now this “leap to 2nd tier” allows heretofore unattainable conscious integration.

To be continued, time and existence of the pod permitting.

Gidley, J. “The evolution of consciousness as a planetary imperative: an integ... Integral Review 5, December 2007, 4 – 226.
Interesting inquiry, Edward. I will return with some thoughts on this as soon as I have a little more time. In general, I share two of your perspectives, I believe: worldviews and structure-stages often appear to be conflated or at least unclearly distinguished; and two, using theological language to describe essential features of postformal development is problematic. I also feel, a la Levin or Gebser, that postformal stages, particularly, will involve reintegration of previous stages or modes of being and relating that had been "replaced" or at least compartmentalized.
Now let’s bring in Georg Feuerstein, who is an established authority on both eastern gradations of consciousness as well as Gebser’s work. We can see in the following excerpt how indeed F “spiritualizes” or “theologizes” G’s IA. Such “awaring” is beyond and transcends the exclusivity of all structures. It is like Hinduism’s atman: “unqualified, transpersonal, absolute.” F notes that G himself never made such claims or comparisons with atman, yet F is convinced they are identical.

The following excerpt is from his book Structures of Consciousness, Chapter 1, On the Nature of Consciousness and Reality, which can be found at the following link:

This matter, which must appear recondite to the rational consciousness, is obvious from within that structure of consciousness which Gebser toiled hardest to document: the aperspectival or arational-integral consciousness which is emerging today. This nascent structure of consciousness, for the first time in human history, permits the conscious integration of all previous (but co-present) structures, and through this act of integration the human personality becomes, as it were, transparent to itself so that the originary presence, “the spiritual” (das Geistige), is directly “awared.”

This “awaring” or unmediated perceiving is possible because the spiritual origin is not mere temporal beginning, the first member of the historical chain of consciousness mutations. Rather it is, as the title of Gebser’s magnum opus indicates, ever-present and not space or time-bound. We might say it is sheer presence. In the integral structure of consciousness this fact becomes self-evident: the originary presence is “presentiated” (vergegenwrtigt). And this presentation of the spiritual origin enables the human being to transcend the potential exclusivity of all structures of consciousness.

Clearly, the integral event of “awaring” the spiritual reality must not be equated with a relapse into unconsciousness or, barring the use of this term, into the dimness of lesser-dimensioned types of consciousness. And this is exactly what has for centuries been claimed by the great spiritual figures of the world, who have always spoken of a “super-consciousness.” For the enlightened beings of Hinduism the atman, which can correctly be rendered as “itself,” is flawless consciousness (cit) or the “witness” (sksin) of all contents of what could be called the conditional consciousness (citta). According to their testimony this witness-consciousness is utterly unqualified, transpersonal, absolute.

Gebser makes no such claims for his “itself.” He admits to using this term, rather than the more common “self,” in order to prevent the confusion of his concept with “the notions of India, the merely psychological definition by C. G. Jung, or its mental-rational misinterpretation by Buber.”[19] And yet, in a little known talk published in India, Gebser uses the term atman in a way that is suggestive of the “itself,”[20] but we must presume that he does so as a concession to what was presumably a predominantly Hindu audience. Looking at the totality of his work, I venture to propose that his concept of the “itself” and the Indian notion of atman are possibly far more compatible than he cares to concede.

The main reason for his reluctance to speak of the spiritual or originary presence as consciousness, which is the constant reiteration of the Hindu authorities, is that he wishes to dissociate himself from the reference to “being” (Sein) contained in the German word Bewusstseinor consciousness and possible Hegelian implications.[21]

Gebser also cautions us not to hastily repeat Hegel’s mistake of reading the history of consciousness as a self-actualization of world reason (Weltvernunft).[22] But, as is so often the case, he does not want to pin things (and himself) down by furnishing a precise alternative. For the same reason he tends to avoid definitions, which are perspectival fixations in the domain of language. In his writings he takes on the formidable task of trying to communicate intelligibly while not allowing himself to be hampered by the rational conventions of our language. At times this is like riding a train off its rails–an audacious, possibly foolhardy adventure, yet one that is potentially rewarding, because it radically opens up new vistas.
And this from Han Heimer, in Integrative Explorations Journal, talking about G’s final views before death in 1973. In the appendix to this article is G’s foreward to his last book, Decline and Participation. Therein G decries the “cages” of structures and that the simple, ever-present origin is available “containing all transparency, the transparent world, the most irradiated and most sober happiness. A so completely encompassing whole which cannot even be imagined.”

This does lend itself to a spiritualized notion of a final Whole that can be directly awared, very much like Wilber’s super AQAL holon of everything. All of which doesn’t seem to deal with the pomo revolution and criticism of this type of notion, since the so-called postformal pomo “level” didn’t take foot until after, or right around, his death. At least Wilber addresses pomo.
It also might be of interest what the non-integral Spiral Dynamics folks (i.e., not Beck and SDI) say about 2nd tier. See for example this FAQ. I like the term “tier-ants.” Here is an excerpt:

Because of differences appearing in his data, Graves observed what he called an "incredibly different kind of human being" beginning to appear in the post-counter culture milieu of the late 1960's and early 1970's. These things suggested to him that a great change was underway, one suggested by other theorists who had proposed a great transformation in human nature from a baser form to one of more compassion and virtue.

Dr. Graves was not totally convinced of the validity of his hypothesis, and it appears only in his later papers and manuscript as an idea worth watching.

Whether the “tier” hypothesis is solid or not is yet to be established since a great transformation in human nature was a familiar idea in Graves's day, as it was long before and since. Thus, too much attention to first tier/second tier differences often injects more confusion than clarity into analysis. It's become something of a monster and red herring.

From this it is clear that neither the Spiral model nor Graves aims for a state of "self-actualization" or completeness of consciousness; no pointy top for the pyramid. Some people have been suggesting a "goal" for the emergent process and a finish to the process of awakening.

We suggest that readers be cautious of 'tier-ants' because what is sometimes presented as Spiral theory may well be projections and dreams that have little to do with the model. In our view, that is not a very constructive use of this theory and turns it from a scientific/epistemological framework into an exclusionary quasi-religion for self-anointed elites.

Being 'second tier' has become a core identity for many devout members of the virtual Church of the Spiral who take this stuff (and themselves) terribly seriously. Heresy is as unwelcome there as in the inquisitors' Rome.

A suggestion is now floating around that the second tier consists of only A'-N' (Yellow) and B'-O' (Turquoise), and that C'-P' (Coral) is where the ego begins to dissolve toward grand unification with the godhead. A whole new color scheme has appeared to explain this. It's not Graves or Spiral Dynamics, though it shows creativity and, perhaps, some wishful thinking. Heaven help us, there's talk of awakening this "third tier" as the route to nirvana, blissful fulfillment, and meshing with the all that is all, even suggestions of dropping in on it—rather than merely an ecstatic state—through drugs, like the 1960s psychedelic dabblers hoped, or meditative practices.

In fact, philosopher/writer Ken Wilber has assimilated some aspects of the Spiral model and the Graves point of view into his realm. While he has insisted on carrying forward the term, tier, he has decided to shift from the Gravesian notion of 6-on-6 to a 6-on-2-on-1 with the 3rd tier of his foreshortened totem pole being a "unitive self" with indigo, violet, ultraviolet, and 'clear light' as the pinnacle. We wish he had been creative enough to come up with some fresh terminology. Wilber appears to believe he sees an ultimate state much more clearly than Dr. Graves did and, perhaps, to reflect one of Dr. Graves's warnings about the delusion of pretending to establish what the mature human being truly is.
A couple of other things are also of importance in the above SD FAQ. One is how life conditions are paired with the neurobiology of brain-consciousness structures. This seems similar to transitional and basic structures respectively, with the life conditions or context perhaps the societal worldviews that emerged with the concurrent brain-consciousness levels? Hence they note that “Each builds on what comes before, then adds a new set of priorities and a shift in viewpoint.” The view changes while the basic structures are included.

Also of interest is after the first 6 levels concluding with green the next “tier” repeats or
reiterates the previous cycle of levels but at a higher octave, so to speak. (Hence the 6-on-6 reference above). 2nd tier begins with yellow annotated A’-N’ to show its relationship with beige (A-N). Hence 2nd tier is in one sense a return to the “origin” of beige but with a shift from the subsistence issues in the 1st tier to the “being” issues in 2nd tier. The image used for this relation is the double helix, which recalls the same image used by Goddard in his similar notion of a return-integration of previous levels. (See photo of Goddard's helix on file).
Also consider how this re-cycling at 2nd tier is “spiritualized” by Wilber, Fueurstein, Gebser and Goddard. Even Graves at first was all agog over it, thinking it was akin to the second coming, a momentous leap to a better humanity. But Graves apparently calmed down and got a bit more empirical and pragmatic. As did I in numerous, previous threads exploring the same state-stages, structure stages and views, but interpreted or contextualized within a postformal, pragmatic, pomo (and yes, legitimate contender for a 2nd tier) worldview. One much more akin to Cowan it would appear, and one that still “replaces” former worldviews, even those with new integral clothes. One that no longer has a need to include or conflate prior worldviews about the nature of this state-stage of consciousness. One that no longer has a need to dichotomize the spiritual or spirituality from the mundane, one that is more non-dual, as it were.
Even though Wilber doesn’t discuss the transitional nature of worldviews in IS he does spend a lot of time explaining his postmetaphysical worldview, which replaces the metaphysical. For example, his entire critique of the myth of the given is about this replacement. See for example Chapter 8, “Monological Imperialism and the myth of the given.” Postmetaphysics doesn’t include or integrate metaphysics; it is diametrically opposed to and replaces it. Some might argue that setting up such an irreconcilable opposition is an expression of the deficient rational level, an either/or logic that must be transcended in postformal operations. But you see this exact argument proves my point, since this so-called postformal view replaces a formal view.

This also returns us to hierarchical complexity, since the MHC, for example, presumes that either/or formal operations are a necessary prerequisite ingredient included but transcended in postformal operations. Which might be the case if we’re dealing with basic cognitive structures or empirically measured “performances.” But we’re dealing with the worldviews associated with these structures and once again there might be some conflation between the different types of structures involved.

I found an article by Commons and Ross called “the HC view of evolution and history” where they discuss societal worldviews. They maintain that “at each stage of social development, society progresses not by discarding what came before, but by integrating it within a more hierarchically complex level of organization” (104). Nonetheless they also note in the same paragraph that

“As primitive societies evolve, the causes and explanations of behavior shift from a spirit or spirits within the self to processes occurring both within and beyond the self. This shift ultimately results in the abandonment of mentalistic explanations of reality in favor of materialistic explanations, of which modern behavior analysis constitutes an example. Primitive societies embrace the animistic worldview, seeing themselves and objects constituting the external environment as inhabited by souls, each endowed with different forms of will. Such explanations aim to account for the phenomenological experience of the self, me or I, or spirits, humors, demons, devils, bloods (e.g., bad blood, evil blood), and other entities in the world. More advanced societies move away from the self as god, embracing instead polytheistic or monotheistic religions that represent man as distinct from the divine, rather than being coextensive with the divine. Man becomes God’s child, moving away from just the self. But the earth becomes God’s world, the center of the universe. As the process of decentering progresses, the earth is displaced from the center and is now perceived to revolve around the sun. As the physical laws that order the universe are discovered, God retreats from the universe, becoming at the most a creator whose intervention in the world of his creation is hardly missed.... At the highest stages, the concept of a divine being, spirit, or god can be recognized as psychological projections of humans’ own construction, used to explain aspects of the world that were not understandable without the concept at earlier stages.”

Each level might have a basic structure, in this case measured by the decentering of the self, that is included hierarchically but the social explanations themselves “shift” and are “abandoned.” I don’t see that the MHC addresses this difference either, instead subsuming worldviews under hierarchy because associated aspects (basic structures) of them follow this trajectory.
The following excerpt is about Eric Weiss, “Jean Gebser: the mutation of structures of consciousness” presented at Esalen’s CTR first annual invitational conference on evolutionary metaphysics, December 2006. To be fair, this doesn't take into account Wilber's differentiation of cogntive structures with worldviews. It does highlight though the discontinuous nature of said views.

"To read Gebser in a Hegelian manner, as Ken Wilber does with his popular slogan 'transcend and include,' is, in a sense, to grasp the letter of Gebser while missing the living spirit of his work. Gebser himself discussed the limits of the famous Hegelian dialectic. He said that because mental thought tends to be dichotomizing, it necessitates the generation of a third term to move toward reconciliation. But even this third term (the Hegelian 'synthesis') is in turn split again as the overall process marches onward. Gebser saw this dialectic as an unsatisfying expression of the deficient phase of the mental structure of consciousness (which will be described below). Overall, Weiss wanted to be clear that Gebser's thought should not be mistaken for a new version of Hegelianism, nor should it be reduced to it, and in his own life Gebser tried to distance himself from Hegel's work.

"Weiss said that Gebser was clear that his work did not describe a linear evolution, development, or progress of consciousness. Instead, he claimed that the process described in book The Ever-Present Origin was more complex and nuanced. Gebser used the term 'mutation'to describe the process of moving from one consciousness structure to another, but this was not intended to reduce the development of consciousness to a biological metaphor. Rather, he used this term to emphasize the discontinuous nature of the various structures of consciousness. The word 'mutation' connotes the sense of a leap that is more sudden in comparison to the gradualism of Darwin's biological evolution. Gebser viewed each structure of consciousness as a latent possibility or inherent disposition within Origin – i.e., within the ultimate origin of all that is. He saw humanity as naturally predisposed to the discontinuous transformations that have taken place during the course of history and pre-history. But crucially for Gebser, the later mutations do not 'transcend and include,' as in Wilber's model of evolution. Instead, they are discontinuous and autonomous modes of awareness, each of which has its own intrinsic validity, and for which the perception and appearance of time and space are radically different."

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