Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Making notes for a summary set of principles for my little pamphlet on the Metaphysics of Adjacency -- containing numerous points relative to certain recent threads on this site.
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF ADJACENCY
Reality is a variable situation of same-difference. To think of sameness and difference as a single adjustable phenomenon takes us to the very edge of our capacity to think about things. Because we cannot think beyond this threshold it must stand as the ultimate principle upon which we call to organize our philosophy. Worldviews which invoke perspective-based reality AND classic traditions of non-dual mysticism require that reality behave as an active, self-modifying same-difference. Whenever we detect the “space” of existential proximity – or adjacency – between any two or more types of things we are relating to a connective-separation of some kind.
There is no pragmatic or ontological conflict between approximation and certainty. When it is understood that “=” (formal absolute equivalence) has always meant simply the maximal degree of performable approximation (i.e. the highest achievable degree of proximal adjacency to truth) then we also must understood that approximateness can be relied upon to secure and provide all the desirable effects we associate with absoluteness.
Dualism, monism, non-dualism, etc. are not philosophical alternatives. In the degree to which any of these kinds of positions are fully explicated they increasingly reveal the same basic arrangements of the same basic classes of ontological necessity – differing in style, mood and emphasis. The divergence between these adjacent styles of reality-theory is also a convergence. As we develop an intuition for this kind of functional simultaneity we find that it can be described usefully as an unfolding of phases or layers which en-fold, but do not replace, each other.
The METAPHYSICS OF ADJACENCY describes all the general modes of conceptualization which operate between the regime of conventional paradigms and the threshold at which meta-theory merges into the silence of fully trans-conceptual experience. Such modes have been called “vision-logic” or “meta-theoretical” or “second tier”. There is a practical convenience to subdividing this zone into three layers of holarchical complexification.
The first, most popular and most superficial form of the Metaphyics of Adjency (hereafter called an MOA-1) describes all theory and ethics proceeding from the asserted or queried & potential incommensurabilty between individual reality-tunnels and also group reality-tunnels. Herein, general reality is conceived as being indefinitely adjacent to its own alternatives. Therefore MOAs of this sort are frequently characterized by notion like: multiplicity, alterity, suspicious of unifying narratives, relativity, pluralism. The notable ethical expression of this approach is the affirmation of the apparently excluded background class – women, racial minorites, the poor, the ecosystem, the unconscious mind, uninspected assumptions, etc..
An MOA-2 is also sometimes called an integralism, a post-post-modernism, a constructive or reconstructive post-modernity, or terms which indicate the inclusion and transcendence of deep pluralism. Such approaches are often felt to be the site of bridging attempts to connect material and spiritual philosophies. This form of thinking does exhibit itself in worldspace and a set of feeling-tones which are highly amenable to the sharing of structure between the analytics of physical reality and various subtle (and/or immeasurable) intimations of reality. Here we find any theory and ethics proceeding from the declared or suspected commensurability of incommensurable, paralax-ical reality-tunnels. A human appreciation for the “coincidentia oppositorum” and a generalized friendliness toward the heart of all paradoxes swells into an anticipatory feeling for the pragmatic harmonizablity of adjacent realities. One beings to move, in this sense, ambidextrously.
An MOA-3 pushes all of this to the very edge. It takes the implicit logic of the description “indescribable” as the generative boundary and source of integrated pluralimsm, non-integrate pluralisms and practical contemplative spirituality. Thus, the limit-condition of description itself is made to function as the most reliable basis for all descriptions of reality – flexible intra-reality. The shared theoretical, ethical and yogic significance of all types of MOAs is temperamentally, philosophically and politically presumed. Importantly, this includes fidelity to the comprehensive potential “attractor” of all meta-theories. Such an attractor is available because eternal approximation is – when viewed as adjacency -- no obstacle to the ongoing perfectly-realized enactment of completeness. And the shared human experience of MOAs and MOA-resonant feelings becomes the basic political class in which our benevolent universal humanist and even trans-human allegiances are hopefully concentrated.
The security, empowerment, intelligence & healthy righteous freedoms of human civilization depend upon an arrangement of inner and outer life according to combined and flexible (i.e. vague or self-approximating) unity-as-difference. This is the unit of deepening complexity – the quantum of the will-to-power an atom of “boddhicitta” or a drop of growth.
Vague, approximate and even “quotational” social trends are a positive sign of emerging adjacency-fidelity. They must be affirmed, integrated, explained in depth and made to behave in the interpretive service of precision and, like, advanced empowerment or whatever.
Yogic, mystical, esoteric-religious & neuro-pshychological self-development programs must be assisted in sensing the usefulness of “functionally near” to replace the extremist spiritual goal of being “one with”. The operative principle of functional spiritual and developmental blending has always been adjacency rather than fusion.
Conventional paradigms span a range between the worldviews of archaic and childish humanimals up to the flowering of the Metaphysics of Adjacency. Such paradigms can be said to operate largely upon the ontological power of nouns, verbs & adjectives. For example: conservatives are bad, Todd is a clever plumber, Sheila hunts well in the summer, God is great, God is unreal, etc. The shift introduced by MOAs subordinates nouns, verbs and adjectives through the explicit revelation of prepositions and adverbs. One common example is the assertion that this, that or all nouns are actually also verbs. Or the intuition that identity depends upon (or “is also”) a behavioral mode. MOAs employ the organizational power of conceptual operators akin to grammatical tools such as both/and/or/near/at/of/from/toward, inbetween, etc. Each of these invokes a multi-directional proximity which is at once a unifying and discriminating adjacency.
Conventional paradigms are incommensurable because they conceptually and emotionally “double down” on their metaphysics -- apart from a broader, more flexible context. This is called the Myth of the Given. Conversely, post-metaphysical “meta-paradigms” (even if they exist only as the implication of the context of the one who is comparing paradigms) ARE fundamentally commensurable because of their shared patterning upon the principle of in/commensurability. To re-contextualize any metaphysics relative to the space of possible alternative explanations is to invoke ontological adjacency. Such a holding, conceived either as intelligent affirmation or as limitation, of metaphysics operates in an MOA mode which provides “quotational” framing or some other form of flexible perspectivism relative to all given entities. Thus it is not invalid to assert that MOA is general the explanation for post-metaphysics, plularism, non-dualism, integralisms, meta-theory, etc. It establishes that “What is” replaces What IS with no loss – only gain.