I posted the following in the Yahoo Adult Development forum and am cross-posting here. I'll keep you apprised of some key responses, provided I get any: 

Building on the post below* regarding Lakoff's embodied reason, he seems to call into question the type of abstract reasoning usually found at the formal operational level. This appears to be false reasoning based on the idea that reason is abstract, literal, conscious, can fit the world directly and works by logic (also see for example this article ). If formal reasoning is false wouldn't this call into question some of the assumptions of the MHC? That perhaps this "stage" is a dysfunction instead of a step toward post-formal reasoning? 

Now Lakoff has his own hierarchy of how embodied reason develops: image-schematic, propositional, metaphoric, metonymic, symbolic. (See for example "Metaphor, cognitive models and language" by Steve Howell.) So I'm wondering how the MHC takes into account Lakoff's work here and how it answers his charge of false reason? Terri Robinett noted in his Ph.D. dissertation (at the Dare Association site) that "work has already begun by Commons and Robinett (2006) on a hierarchically designed instrument to measure Lakoff’s (2002) theory of political worldview." So perhaps you can shed some light on this? 

* This is the referenced post: 

Since Michael brought up Lakoff as perhaps being "at right angles to the stage dimension" I read this by Lakoff this evening: "Why 'rational reason' doesn't work in contemporary politics." He distinguishes between real and false reason, the former being bodily based and the latter existing in some sort of objective, abstract realm. Very interesting indeed. Here are a few excerpts: 

"Real reason is embodied in two ways. It is physical, in our brain circuitry. And it is based on our bodies as the function in the everyday world, using thought that arises from embodied metaphors. And it is mostly unconscious. False reason sees reason as fully conscious, as  literal, disembodied, yet somehow fitting the world directly, and working not via frame-based, metaphorical, narrative and emotional logic, but via the logic of logicians alone."
"Real reason is inexplicably tied up with emotion; you cannot be rational without being emotional. False reason thinks that emotion is the enemy of reason, that it is unscrupulous to call on emotion. Yet people with brain damage who cannot feel emotion cannot make rational  decisions because they do not know what to want, since like and not like mean nothing. 'Rational' decisions are based on a long history of emotional responses by oneself and others. Real reason requires emotion."

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:-) I'm reading all of your posts, Ed! I've been quiet here mostly because this is a particularly busy week for me. But I've appreciated following your line of thought. One of your recent posts reminded me of something by Skolimowski I was eventually planning on posting. Once I catch up with my real world, extra-forum work!

I'm still here also. It's just that I had the hardest work week EVER and I'm totally out of time with forum-reading or even contributing.

But things are getting better. Yesterday I received my latest Amazon Books delivery, and among them was Raj Patel's newest book "The Value of Nothing". I was surprised to see that the book was printed on recycled paper, with a very unsual paper cut, which makes it very interesting to touch and flap pages. So already its URQ appearence is extraordinary, I am impatient to find out if the content is anything like it.

more later
Something to consider for future practice: Most books are now available for purchase as e-books so that you don't have to contribute to the destruction of trees in order to read them. Reading them on the new I-Pad is quite fun I hear. (Have yet to get one.)
Tying together some of the prior posts in this thread, Murray mentioned that the higher human ideals like compassion might not involve hierarchical complexity but instead more of a going in the other direction. It might be more like a paring down of complexity, or returning to simplicity. Ross doesn't go along with this and is convinced that compassion, or anything for that matter, can be explained by MHC. I’m beginning to agree with Murray on this one and here’s why.

Wilber talks about the fulcrums of each level of development: fusion, differentiation and integration. And that dysfunction can happen at each fulcrum. With formal operations differentiation goes into dissociation with the kind of “false” reasoning we’ve been exploring above. Hence the prior levels are not adequately integrated and we get this sense of a separate and transcendent rational ego. Development can go on into postformal operations from here but it is tainted by this dissociation and infects all postformal operations with this same dissociation. This is what seems apparent in my discussions with Commons et al.

Another version of this is what we previously explored with Levin and Goddard. Goddard noted that the rise to egoic-rationality required a temporary dissociation from prior bodily and emotional levels into symbolic logic. In this case it wasn’t so much a dysfunction but rather a healthy but temporary and necessary dissociation. Levin seemed to agree. And both seemed to think that to continue development we had to take the next step in going back, regressing in service of ego (Washburn) in order to fully integrate body and emotions. As I surmised from their work (and others) this is where meditation practices come in as a methodology for this purpose. And in so doing we get back in touch with our humanity and our compassion etc. So like Murray this is a sort of unwinding of complexity back into simplicity.

And as I’ve said before, the rational ego is the pivot point between pre/post in hierarchical complexity “stage” and between pre/trans.in heterarchical “state” integration. One can advance into postformal stages without integrating transrational states, just as one can integrate transrational states without going into postformal stages. In general terms I’m thinking the MHC folks are the former and the traditional meditation folks are the latter, with exceptions.
Hi Theurj, I am reading this thread, but don't really have anything intelligent to add. Blessed are they who have nothing to say and cannot be persuaded to say it?
Commons (cited below) distinguishes between two kinds of hierarchical complexity, linear and nonlinear. The former is typical of formal operations while the latter is postformal. However, “whereas the Model’s unidimensional measure is linear, the tasks it measures are nonlinear performances” and its “purely quantitative principles makes it universally applicable in any context” (306). You might recall from the Gaia IPS thread on the MHC (see resources forum) I asked how formal set theory, i.e., a linear mathematics, can measure so-called nonlinear systems? I wondered if perhaps it requires another kind of math and I’ve reiterated that in this thread. As suggested above Roca discusses the nonlinear math of uncertainty.

What I find most revealing is Common’s discussion of Plato, Aristotle and Thales. The MHC “follows in the tradition,” being “a mathematical theory of the ideal. It is a perfect form as Plato would have described it” (315). I’m not only questioning whether a linear, unidimensional math can represent the nonlinear workings of postformal performance; I also question whether the MHC itself, assuming such formal characteristics as the above--even being a literal Platonic ideal--isn’t itself just an extension of formal operations. This follows from my previous post, thinking that perhaps dissociation in formal operations leads only to more complex dissociation with the same basic premises of this level.

Commons, M. (2008). “Introduction to the Model of Hierarchical Complexity and its relat... World Futures 64: 304-20,
Note in the Commons article above he goes into the transitional steps between stages. It is more extended that Wilber’s fusion-differentiation-integration scheme but follows the same trajectory. It is classical Hegelian dialectics, from thesis to antithesis to a newer, higher, more coordinated and integrated thesis (313). But is this notion itself postformal or just an extension of formal operations?

Because the MHC assumes that it is only an objective and quantitative model that purports to eliminate qualitative content and distinction, you find very different descriptions of the postformal levels than one might in the more domain-specific models like cognitive or ego development. For example Torbert’s (cited below) action-logics defines formal operations as being logic oriented whereas the first postformal stage a Strategist seeks “to construct an explicit and distinctive integrative theory of self and world that recognized development (e.g., theories such as Hegel)” (185). So far this sound more like an extension of formal logic I’ve been criticizing. However he also notes that the Strategist is “aware of paradox” and “relativistic” (186) so this is not quite in line with Hegalian dialectics.

The next stage though, Magician/Clown, has some interesting characteristics. For example: “ego identity disintegrates, creates mythical events that reframe situations, blends opposites, treats time and events as kairatic, symbolic, alalogical, metaphorical” (186-7). Here we get into the kind of postformal dialectics discussed at length in an Integral Review forum on Gary Hampson’s article (cited below), excerpts of which reside at Open Integral (see links below). The whole notion of a Hegelian dialectic is replaced by understanding that core dualities cannot be “resolved” into a higher integration but rather a Magician “blends opposites” dynamically according to context through analogical, metaphorical narrative. This is further reinterated in his last stage, Ironist, who “cultivates a quality of awareness and action that highlights dynamic tensions of the whole enterprise” (189).

Nothing of this sort is seen in the MHC. As Hampson’s article suggests, “the way out [of postmodernism] is through it.” I suggest Hegelian models like MHC have yet to sufficiently go through this “stage” and hence, much like Wilber, continue to conflate, exaggerate and project formal operations into postformal stages.

Works Cited

Hampson, G. “Integral reviews postmodernism: The way out is through.” Integral Review, 4: June 2007.

Torbert, W. "Cultivating postformal adult development" at this link.

Open Integral links to Postformal Dialectics:
Part one
Part two
Part three
Here is an excerpt from Torbert’s 2008 “Developmental Action Inquiry”:

“Unlike people at conventional action-logics, who tend to…avoid ambiguity, all…postconventional samples saw creative potential in ambiguity…. The Individualist endured it; the Strategists tolerated it; the Alchemists surrendered to it; and the Ironists generated it. ….in a figure/ground shift, the Alchemists and Ironists experienced ambiguity as the creative, ongoing element of all experience. This finding is consistent with the change from a primarily cognitive/structural approach to…a primarily attentional/spiritual approach in the shift from Strategist to Alchemist.”

You can see the above and a host of his published articles at this link.
I’m reminded of Jean Gebser’s integral-aperspectival level here. Recall our prior thread on this (stored here). From that thread I quoted (6/4/09, 12:52 pm) Gidley as saying the following:

“For Gebser, IA consciousness is not experienced through expanded consciousness, more systematic conceptualization 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 reintegration of the living vitality of magic-interweaving, the imagination at the heart of the mythic-feeling and the purposefulness of mental conception thinking, their presence raised to a higher resonance, in order for the integral transparency to shine through” (111).

I also explored the relation of Gebser’s IA to Levin’s “bodies.” See post of 6/4/09, 12:11 pm.
Thanks for that excerpt Dave. Gebser notes we need "awaring" in this new level, which seems akin to Torbert's alchemist with his "attentional" approach. And like Torbert's shift from a cognitive/structural approach Gebser emphasizes a shift away from deficient rationality (aka false reason). And no amount of even healthy rationality (real reason) is going to effect this shift by itself, unless it uses the power of its focus via unattached "mindfulness" to integrate our bodies, energetics and emotions within it, as well as integrating this awaring with others and the world at large. Or as the marketing slogan goes: Integrating body, mind and spirit in self, culture and nature.
I referenced Levin in the Gebser thread but he has his own thread from our prior Gaia discussions at this link. I noted that Levin’s evolution of bodies is a linear progression in stages 1 -3 but then the progression turns “inward” into depth integration of prior stages. Stages 4 & 5 seems to be nonlinear and analogical, replete with access to the collective unconscious through ceremony, ritual and myth. My intuition is that stages 4 & 5 cannot be adequately represented by a linear, hierarchical math and that if it is possible at all (?) it would be through some form of nonlinear, rhizome-like math of ambiguity and uncertainty.

See Levin’s The Opening of Vision pp, 47-9.
Ed Manhood Jr, in an overview of Gebser’s work, says the following about the deficient mental structure (false reason):

“Perspective is the life blood of reasoning and the Rational structure of consciousness, which Gebser considers to be only a deficient form of the Mental structure. What we have is the full development of the ego and its related centeredness. We conceive things, events and phenomena in terms of our own perspectives, often at the expense of others. The eye, it will be seen (and the last of the openings in the head), becomes the spiritual organ representative of this structure. Our language, our entire imagery and dominant metaphor takes on visual, spatial character. Space is finally overcome, in the true sense of the word. With the supercession of space, man finally accomplishes his egoistic, individual separation from nature. In this concretization of the "I," we become very aware of our existence, of our beingness, of our individuality. And so it should be. But in a deficient mode, the outcomes, of course, are loneliness, isolation, and alienation, which are so characteristic of our own American culture. In fact, our current materialistic approach to understanding reality is perhaps the final stage of this structure.”

And here’s an excerpt from the Jean Gebser Society in “About Jean Gebser”:

“In characterizing the emergent consciousness as arational (as opposed to irrational) and aperspectival, Gebser sought to indicate that it transcended the dualistic, black-or-white categories of the rational orientation to life. Rationalism, for him, was by no means the pinnacle of human existence, but, on the contrary, an evolutionary digression with fatal consequences. He regarded it as a deficient of the inherently balanced mental structure of consciousness. In other words, Gebser did not reject reason, merely its inflation into the sole arbiter of our lives. As he recognized, the human being is a composite of several evolutionary structures of consciousness, and we must live all of them according to their intrinsic value. The individual who is dominated by the rational structure represses all other structures, which are viewed as irrational and hence dispensable. Thus the ‘reasonable’ person is inclined to reject magic, myth, religion, feeling, empathy, and not least ego-transcendence.”

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