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."

Views: 7117

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hampson (referenced above) also quotes Marchand citing Labouvie-Vief that “the term postformal may not imply a progression in formal complexity. Instead, it could mean that…formal thinking forms a base from which thought branches out [my emphasis] into more nonformal domains” (124).
More from Hampson:

Quoting Grof (144):

“The psyche has a multidimensional, holographic nature, and using a linear model to describe it will produce distortions and inaccuracies. … My own observations suggest that, as consciousness evolution proceeds [from Authentic to Transcendent consciousness] and beyond, it does not follow a linear trajectory, but in a sense enfolds into itself (Grof, 1985, p. 137, cited in Wade, 1996, pp. 201-202).”


“[If] Authentic and post-Authentic consciousness enfolds into itself [this] would specifically problematise Wilber’s theorizing of levels specifically for Green and beyond” (144).
The Marchand article from The Genetic Epistemologist (29:3) can be found at this link. Therein she says:

“Clearly, the recent conceptualization and methodology of evaluation proposed by Commons et al. (1998) constitutes a conceptual clarification and a rigorous methodological approach, so that what is of interest now is to develop studies which empirically validate this new vision of stages and which clarify the question of its sequency. For example, it still remains to be clarified whether the tasks pertaining to the systematic level which were successfully accomplished represent the first stage of post-formal thought, or whether they are no more than the expression of the consolidated formal operations level; and, also, whether the metasystematic, paradigmatic and transparadigmatic levels represent structural reorganizations of formal thought, or whether they do not simply expand this same type of thought….their results suggest expansion more than reorganization.

“As to the remaining conceptualizations which accent the contextual, self-referent, and pragmatic dimensions of post-formal thought, and in which a more integrative view of adult thought is proposed in which the " (...) subjective and objective, individual and community, self and other, reason and emotion, mind and body all partake in genuine interaction"(Labouvie-Vief, 1992, p.223), these do not seem to constitute stages beyond the formal, but rather developments parallel to formal thought.”
Commons, Ross & Miller responded to Marchand in “Why postformal stages of development are not formal, but postformal.” However they use their algebraic axioms and set theory as proof, mathematical notions admittedly coming from a formal operation (see above). All of which to me, being math deficient, seems more to support Marchand that HC is an extension of formal operations. More complex extensions, yes. But “post” formal in the sense of the other references above? Not so much.
Labouvie-Vief has a chapter in Intellectual Development (Cambridge UP, 1992) called “A neo-Piagetian perspective on adult cognitive development.” Therein she says:

“Piaget’s theory has retained many objectivist assumptions…. As a consequence adulthood requires an epistemological transformation that restores the dissociations resulting from objectivism. As the individual restores the subjective, the communal, and the symbolic to his or her world picture, early-life dualisms are healed: Now subjective and objective, individual and community, self and other, reason and emotion, mind and body all partake in genuine interaction” (223).
I referenced above Fischer’s chapter in the Handbook of Developmental Psychology. I found a full copy of the chapter at this link. As I mentioned he distinguishes between developmental models that use either a ladder or web metaphor. The diagrams of his own web-like model are highly reminiscent of a rhizome. He also of course recognizes hierarchical structure but weaved within this spider-web matrix, where development goes up and down and sideways in different domains depending on a variety of factors and circumstances. He also has some interesting looking math, though I cannot tell if it is of the kind I’m suggesting.

Of particular note relevant to this discussion is his question:

“Is there any evidence from these studies that might point to the development of levels and tiers beyond the level of principals (Ab4) – perhaps relating principles to each other or changing skill capacities in some other way? Sound and sufficient empirical evidence is required to answer this question, and we know of little that has been decisive beyond the level or principles for newly emerging optimal levels” (499).

Also of interest is what he calls crystallized intelligence. This happens as we age and accounts for wisdom. While the aged lose processing speed and retention they nonetheless use accumulated knowledge to integrate connections across multiple domains with synthetic thinking. This requires “special coordination of emotional and cognitive processes” (507). Thus wisdom it is not so much about one’s height in complexity, which declines in age, as it is about depth and breadth of coordination between multiple levels, domains and skills.
I’m also reminded of John Heron’s criticism “Notes on spiritual leadership and relational spirituality.” He says:

“A more convincing account of spirituality is that it is about multi-line integral development explored by persons in relation.”
In Adult Development and Aging (Cavanaugh & Blanchard-Fields, Cengage Learning, 2009) the author explores postformal operations according to Labouvie-Vief (LV) as not only the “ability to integrate emotion with logic” but also the following:

“She sees the main goal of adult life as effectiveness in handling everyday life, rather than the generation of all possible solutions. To her, adults make choices not so much on logical grounds but on pragmatic, emotional and social grounds. Mature thinkers realize that thinking is a social phenomenon that demands making compromises and tolerating ambiguity and contradiction” (291).

LV has a chapter in Wisdom (Sternberg, Cambridge UP, 1990) called “Wisdom as integrated thought.” She says:

“Rather than continuing to identify mental life primarily with objective thought, then, theories of thought need to be based on a duality of two modes of knowing that, although often in competition, ideally function in a dialogic relationship. In that dialogue, one mode provides experiential richness and fluidity, the other logical cohesion and stability. It is such a smooth and relatively balanced dialogue between two modes that I define as wisdom” (52-3).

She goes on to call these modes mythos and logos. Plato differentiated them with no means of integrating them, thus dissociating logos above mythos, the latter being a more primitive kind of knowledge. One consequence of this was that “the mature mind could be described without reference to an intersubjective, collective reality. Instead thinking was to be described exclusively by propositional forms, universal ideas and stable principles that transcended the dynamics of social order and interpersonal exchanges” (60).

Remember from above that the MHC is an ideal Platonic form, completely objective, universal and stripped of all normativity.

I'm going to break in here with a little something new that might broaden the picture. If one starts paying attention to a rather awkward and typically dull piece from Integral Review at page 44, "Thesis Six" of Daniel Gustav Anderson's great political-economic send-up of Spiral Dynamics, which in my mind long overdue. The same kind of analysis with a tilt toward a Foucaultian genealogy of Adult Development studies is, I believe, appropriate here. (I've written this before, but god knows where.)

One of the great, indeed super-great, pioneers of Adult Development Studies was Henry Ford and his lab was the infamous Rouge River Plant in Detroit, Michigan, USA. When his mechanical engineers came up with a new and improved phase or section for his assembly line he would pull his best workers off the line and train them for a day or two on the new phase. Then he would time how long it would take to complete that particular operation. And then he would pull each worker off the line, give them a little time to familiarize themselves with the new operation and then time them in that operation against his champions. Those who fell too far behind were fired.

Ford's efficiency innovation became known as a time/motion study. These things were big in the 50's, last century. And then time/motion segued into efficiency studies and then they were subsumed under the word adult development.

So I have looked into a little bit of this and read Common's PR. And he tells the public he's doing the same thing that Ford did with his task completion test. "If the candidate cannot complete (whatever) send him/her down the road.." And Whatshername Ross says she's in it all for the non-profits and by god we all have to bleed like Christ for the non-profits. However, it has been my experience that most non-profit admins will gladly bugger their peons into irremediable burn-out and would rather pay some consultant group for a new manipulative tactic from the latest developmental study, than give that peon an extra ten-cents an hour because that peon's pay-off should be their subservient dedication to the non-profit's cause. "And if any one of them can't find a vein and open it up and plead to the world, 'Here, oh come, come, let me bleed for you,' then what the fuck are they doing in my office."

I have no respect, none at all, for this developmental hoo-ha, despite the fact that in some starry-eyed projection it might lead to a peon's spiritual enlightenment, and that is because too much of it harkens back to the Rouge River plant where Henry Ford kept a picture of Hitler on his desk.
Agreed. Recall I said in the first page of this thread (4/8/10 @ 8:16 pm): "At root of this need to build formal, so-called objective models and metrics is control of nature and humanity; a power play in Nietzchean terms." And I then quoted Basseches who concluded: "It suggests those with an integral and developmental world view becoming an elite that would use social institutions to ideologically and socio-politically dominate the 'developmentally inferior.'" We are well aware that the majority of these assessors, as I call them, make money selling their wares to businesses. And that little to no effort it invested in inquiring into what said businesses will do with such assessments. As we know they will do exactly what you say: run workers into the ground, use them up and throw them away for new ones. That is, if they don't fire them for not being up to snuff. We went into these issues in the Gaia IPS "integral capitalism" thread stored at this link, particularly Harris' rather indicting accusations of just such behavior.
I saw Leonard Mlodinow speak tonight on Olbermann, co-author with Stephen Hawking in The Grand Design. It's been spun that Hawking disproves God in the book but all it says is that God is not necessary to create the universe, that it can arise merely from physical processes like gravity. Mlodinow then said something relevant to this thread, that math, unlike physics which is based on empirical evidence, has its own inherent "proofs" not connected to physics. All of which reminds me of the type of false reason discussed at length above.

All of which connected to Wilber's notion of math as one of the a priori involutionary givens. See for example footnote 26 to Excerpt A, wherein he says: "These mathematical matrices therefore must have been present at or before the Big Bang (i.e., as involutionary givens)." Recall above that Lakoff discusses where math comes from and the false assumptions of it being just such a "given." And how the MHC assumes that math is an objective, ideal, Platonic form. There is a metaphysical "god" at the heart of this stuff, even if it is disguised as math.
From an interview with Lakoff:

"What our results appear to disprove is what we call the Romance of Mathematics, the idea that mathematics exists independently of beings with bodies and brains and that mathematics structures the universe independently of any embodied beings to create the mathematics. This does not, of course, result in the idea that mathematics is an arbitrary product of culture as some postmodern theorists would have it. It simply says that it is a stable product of our brains, our bodies, our experience in the world, and aspects of culture. The explanation of why mathematics 'works so well' is simple: it is the result of tens of thousands of very smart people observing the world carefully and adapting or creating mathematics to fit their observations. It is also the result of a mathematical evolution: a lot of mathematics invented to
fit the world turned out not to. The forms of mathematics that work in the world are the result of such an evolutionary process."

Reply to Discussion


What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.

Notice to Visitors

At the moment, this site is at full membership capacity and we are not admitting new members.  We are still getting new membership applications, however, so I am considering upgrading to the next level, which will allow for more members to join.  In the meantime, all discussions are open for viewing and we hope you will read and enjoy the content here.

© 2024   Created by Balder.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service