Six grammatical categories that underpin philosophical approaches: pronouns, nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and prepositions – are understood individually and then woven into a quasi-holographic, integrally philosphemetic formulation of metaphysical pluralism, enacting the principle of non-exclusion. 

Some questions and comments that come up for me both for personal clarification from you Bruce and potentially useful for the discussion forum:

While the role of Integral calculus in dispelling the ‘myth of the given’ is commendable, does IT manage to avoid the epistemic fallacy which occurs wherever 'being' is reduced to our 'access to being.'? Students of Bhaskar may throw some light please. This was a stated objective of ITC 2013, was n't it? I wonder if any other paper covers this.

Is OOO, by virtue of its centrality of the object, positing that even heaps and artefacts have all four quadrant dimensions of being (proto-consciousness etc)? 

Adjectival philosophy treating quality as primary – here does a distinction need to be made between inanimate objects such as the 'warm, yellow sun', and a sentient person (3p) with essence (A.H. Almaas) that is both unqualifiable and a verb-noun? I think that distinction is made later with reference to Cittamatra and bundle theories?

Also the attributed nature of quality is necessarily linked to state (or the temporary mediating endo-structure) of the ‘attributor’ at the time of attribution? 

The differences in the emphasis on the person vis-à-vis the situation between the English and the Japanese could be a good indicator of the individualist/ collectivist tenor of the culture? (Hofstede’s IDV dimension, and perhaps even MAS and PDI)

If we subscribe to the ‘illusion of free will’ theory, then in some sense, all processes are ultimately non-owned processes in an individual level, but perhaps co-owned at an supra-individual level (dominant monad of a socio-cultural holon, which essentially self-organizes without an agentic central controller)? This also seems consistent with Being singular pluralism and centrality of the ‘with’ in co-essentiality. 

Big question: can the embodied and enactive role of grammar in being ontologically resonant and potentially revelatory, move the needle a bit on what is mystically referred to as the ‘ineffability problem’? Matters that need deeper study – perhaps while dwelling on other papers, include Whiteheadian concrescence, Bonnitta Roy’s processual model, Latour, and the effectiveness of Rescher’s process semantics and Bohm’s Rheomode in helping us create a new language to shift our narrative?

I have to say that personally for me, just dwelling on the adjective-noun-verb inter-linkage in silence offered a fabulous meditation experience in which all three parts of speech blended into a phenomenological experience enormously rich, multi-dimensional and ineffable beyond the grammatical categories themselves. Perhaps with some more state-and-stage training, the simultaneous contemplation of all six will take 'the bottom out from under the bucket'!

Thank you Bruce for this gift. 

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Theurj, I just found this substantial piece of feedback from you (which you had sent to me in Word document form):


"In general, a hearty yea from me. No significant flaws that I can see. You set it up as a heno-ontology  (henOOOntology?) while noting that while different philosophies may emphasize 1 or 2 grammatical elements, still there was evidence of at least some of the other elements therein. And that there were integrative agendas within many of the paradigms, providing specific examples from several. A job well done overall and of which you should be proud.


Some specifics. I said before I appreciate setting up in a cognitive linguistic frame, which adds weight to its postmetaphyscial emphasis. And the recognition that when so viewed language itself can quit being a mere obstruction to the Real and instead serve as one of its enactments. I don't see that the kennilinguists have yet embraced this seminal work or that implication, so that's a huge bonus right up front.


In the pronoun section when discussing Buber you note you'll elaborate a bit on Rosenzweig's expansions of that work. In that context it might be productive to at least briefly address how Wilber's conflation of the 'you' perspective might work here, since you've provided ample criticism of it elsewhere? Granted Wilber doesn't make that connection but it might provide some balance and earn brownie points with the bald bastard. Granted you do address the connection with 'personalism,' but not with combination I-thou etc. perspective languaging.


Also concerning Edwards' critique on Wilber's 2nd person perspective, you note his system is cumbersome with 42 perspectives. To be fair Edward does break it down to just 6 major perspective-holons, a much more manageable shorthand.


In the noun section I'm particularly pleased with the OOO work. Bryant's work is accurate and well described, and it appears as is Harman's, but I'm less familiar with the latter so cannot state with authority. And I appreciate bringing in Desilet in response to Wilber's Causal One. And how you bring in for Bryant that despite the withdrawn, when an object manifests it does so via translative perspectives, tying it to Wilber's perspectivism. I like how you brought in Feldman's notion of perspectives being equiprimordial with embodiment, recalling our previous discussion on how nouns seem to be the first thing learned in language with object constancy.


You bring in Bryant's Borromean ring and mention the sinthome but then do not explain what it is, as you did with the 3 rings. And what of the object a at the heart, relating it back to the withdrawn? I'm still curious about both of those elements as evidenced by my recent forum meanderings. Granted you cannot go into any detail in that paragraph but at least an honorable mention?


The opening of the adjective section evoked an LSD flashback where I lost all sense of object constancy (OC) and everything was just a flowing and every-changing kaleidoscope of color and sound. Which of course was very likely how we perceived things very early in our lives before we distinguished individual objects and boundaries prior to OC and language. It seems OC is required to even begin language? So in that context I understood Cittamatra a bit better, this never ceasing flow of impermanent qualities. And how perhaps meditation takes us 'back' prior to the narrative and linguistic self. And which is tied to verbs, the next section.


As in the prior section verb-based languages do not require a subject-noun, since they are based I'm guessing on their ancient meditative practices and those states prior to object constancy? Recall I mentioned before how many eastern traditions are a mix-and-match of magic, myth and rationality? And the latter is still stuck in metaphysical underpinnings? I'm guessing this is reflective in their language as well as their philosophies, more flux oriented.


I'm also reminded of our recent forum discussions on how OOO doesn't address well the coming into being of objects, how even their withdrawn cores are dependent on the elements of their larger environments, and could not exist without them. Thus bringing in Whitehead as a sort of mix between OOO and the flux-flow crowd was nice, as he accounts form the continual change in actual occasions of concrete objects. While OOO might argue as you do in your paper that this prevents change because the object relies on its relations, I disagree because Whitehead indeed accounts for it since the novel is continually created in this iterative process. While Bryant indeed adds something with the endo-relational structure into the mix, he seems to forget that endo-relational structure itself is dependent on its exo-relational matrix. And I'm also seeing that Whitehead includes this endo-strutural core but it is just less well articulated than Bryant's notions.


You also bring in how Wilber and Bryant criticize Whitehead about those structures not accessible to prehensive 'awareness.' Bryant might say that is limiting metaphysics to an object's translation of its environment, whereas the latter always exceeds any translation. I'm not familiar enough with Whitehead to know if this accurate about prehensive unification, since it might indeed not have much to do with 'awareness' at all but with an object's entire structural being-in-the-word, withdrawn and unconscious processes included.


The adverb section expands on Whitehead from the above in that eternal objects are what provides the impetus or information for actual occasions. Shaviro argues that they are not eternal archetypes but require concrete actual occasions, much akin to differance and to Bryant's withdrawn core. Hence the adverbial modification of his process metaphysics.


With prepositions I'm again reminded of the image schemas, which are often spacio-temporally (ST) inflected. And which, of course, are embodied long before language, the actual linguistic preposition itself an abstract extension of the embodied ST schemata. Which of course you immediately bring in, noting their linking function between the other elements of language. And how these links are themselves expressive of plurimodal aspects of being/becoming, modifying a noun or verb such that each modification is not an add-on but another being/becoming entirely. I recall us discussing this in the forum. In Bryantese, an object is a different object within each exo-relational actual occasion.


And how the preposition acts like khora, in that it is that withdrawn core that prepares the space-time for such actual occasions and is coterminous with them, a la Whitehead. I've made that connection with image schemata before. Nancy is representative of this, and as I've noted, he extends Derrida's ideas in this regard. This quote exemplifies the notion: “As Steven Connor (2008) notes, prepositions, in inhabiting a non-place or a pre-position, traffic in between the potential and the actual.” Sounds a lot like my stuff on khora. Hence I'm wondering if prepositions, while parts of language, aren't themselves something prelinguistic and which tie language back to that basic categorical embodiment via image schemata? This also ties with my recent ruminations on objet a.


I found it interesting in your last section how Serre's prepositional model might be the integrative glue for an onto-choreography. The immediately preceding paragraph lends support to that idea. I'm again reminded of Bryant's Borromean knot, which might represent the various modes and parts of speech, while the 'speechless' khora at the center is what holds them all together. And is based on the cognitive embodiment of speech that ties together your thesis itself. Perhaps for the next paper?


Earlier in my comments I suggested you didn't explore Buber's I-thou in relation to Wilber's conflation of we-you. In your last section you did so by applying the prepositions to his pronouns, thereby providing one example of how to cross-check the paradigms with each other. I'm reminded again of Edwards' suggestion to do the same with each of his lenses, and by so doing it opens up vastly more possibilities for integration. Still, if I'm right about prepositions being more akin to objet a than being an actualization or local manifestation of a particular paradigm, then it might be more of an meta-paradigmatic function.


I realize I didn't provide a lot of editorial comment but rather much more substantive comments to the content. I think that's a good thing though, since the paper is designed to open the dialogue on the topic. In that you have succeeded quite nicely. The paper as published book chapter will do so  on a much broader platform and you'll then have your hands full of interesting dialogue. Please steer it to our forum, for I'd like to see it open to that sort of engaged discussion again instead of just being a place where we two work out our ideas. In that regard, please also consider indicating somewhere in the paper that a some of the ideas for the paper were initiated through discussions in the forum. It needs some press to overcome the academic hegemony of marginalizing such P2P knowledge generation."

This comment echoes your earlier comments on this thread, as well as comments by Layman Pascal in his feedback to me, so of the points I listed in my "what next" post, it seems this should be a priority:

theurj: I found it interesting in your last section how Serres' prepositional model might be the integrative glue for an onto-choreography. The immediately preceding paragraph lends support to that idea. I'm again reminded of Bryant's Borromean knot, which might represent the various modes and parts of speech, while the 'speechless' khora at the center is what holds them all together. And is based on the cognitive embodiment of speech that ties together your thesis itself. Perhaps for the next paper?

Sean Esbjorn-Hargens has recently posted the slides for his ITC keynote speech (where he talks about interfacing IT, CR, and CT).  I am thinking it might be worth using the prepositions to explore the relations he suggests there, as an experiment in onto-choreography. 

Hi Bruce,

to your question of 'what's next', the question-contemplation that comes up for me is:

'How can the 6 parts of speech be used, both individually and in an orchestrated sequence, to create 'injunctions' that induce certain phenomenological 'movements' and consequent state experiences that spur growth?'

Said differently, I think there is a case for moving the excellent theoretical formulation you have made into a post-metaphysical spiritual experience in a suitably managed sangha container of like-attuned individuals.

What say?

Balder said:

I posted this elsewhere a few weeks ago, but I will share it here as well.  (We're touching on points 4 and 5 right now):

One of my main questions now is, where to go from here?  I expect (or, at least, I hope) I will get some feedback from the larger integral community on this once the paper appears in Dancing with Sophia, and that may help set the direction for what follows.

For now, I have several things I would like to work on:

1) Identifying more exemplars for each of the Six Views.  (For instance, I had considered including Pirsig's Metaphysics of Quality as a modern example of an adjectival integrative theory or meta-theory -- and I did mention it in my presentation -- but I need to learn more about it before I can do so [and before I decide if it really qualifies as such].)

2) Playing with, and developing, the graphic examples I provided at the end of the chapter -- interfacing the quadrants with different grammatical philosophemes, for instance.  What would a more developed and detailed AQAL prepositional analysis look like?  How useful is it?

3) Beginning to define some heuristic principles for onto-choreography. 

4) Reflecting more on the special role that prepositions play.  In a previous paper, I had already noted the prepositional orientation of AQAL (tetra-enaction as embodying Nancy's "with" and "being singular plural").  Layman suggested early on in his feedback to me on "Sophia Speaks" that a prepositional view seems essential to any integrative orientation.  Joel Morrison, after reading "Sophia Speaks, "said he would identify his own integrative model (Interface Philosophy) as prepositional in deep spirit and nounal in "frontal" languaging.  Theurj has found affinity, too, between a prepositional view and his own post-Derridean reflections on khora and differance...

5) Further exploring the relationship between my grammatical-philosophical "elements" and "elements" as they appear in Sallis' work.  (Michael Schwartz has pointed me in this direction.)

6) Simply trying to "test run" the model as developed thus far and then make adjustments as needed... 

There are other things I'd like to do as well (as I've been thinking about a book on this topic), but this is a good start...

For those who have read this paper, do you have any suggestions for further exploration or development ... for "what's next"?  Are there any ways that you might want to use the ideas introduced here?

See this post and following from another thread. I linked to a discussion of how tai chi practice engages the pre-linguistic  sensori-motor and spatial-temporal image schema metaphorically extended in prepositions. This is relevant to our discussion above on how prepositions are the connective-separative 'glue' to an embodied grammar.

Hi, Neelesh,

Yes, I like this idea quite a lot.  As I mentioned, I had already taken a step towards this, in my planning for a workshop on this topic with my friend Mark Schmanko, but that step was tentative (an exercise just to give people an initial taste of the Six Views) and there's quite a lot left to explore and develop.  I like your suggestion that the parts of speech could be used both individually and in coordinated sequences to induce certain phenomenological movements: an experiential form of onto-choreography, perhaps. 

In the paper, I mentioned briefly that I had worked, many years ago, on developing a verb-centered, process- and perspective-oriented grammar.  In setting that task for myself, I tried to train myself to think (and to perceive) without relying on nouns.  While I later abandoned the idea of eliminating nouns altogether, I found the exercise was very instructive -- and led to some surprising state changes and momentary phenomenological shifts.

In a less intense way (in terms of an abrupt shift to an altered state), I found working on this paper and exploring each of the grammatical lenses in depth did work subtly on me to open and reorient my understanding and perception.

If you are interested, I would like to hear how you experimented with these philosophemes and what unfolded for you.  And theurj has just shared some of the fruits of his own experimentation as well.  It seems that would be a good way to start on this: experimentally.  Just seeing what we can discover through open inquiry, to lay some initial groundwork, and then forming generative (en)closures for exploring these things collectively and in more depth.

Best wishes,


Also see this post. It seems different methods enact different paradigms. Meditative and/or contemplative methods generally enact pre-linguistic image schema which seem to be a direct connection with or apprehension of a metaphysical and nondual thing-in-itself. But per the link this is the mediated 'gap between.' Hence I'm wondering if more embodied meditative modes, while connected, are still different from more linguistic modes with different methodologies.

Which of course reminds me of Edwards' mediating "space between," which can be words but also other communication like gestures and touch. Hence my image-schematic practice of partner dance inducing altered and nondual states.

And no wonder sexual tantra is a nondual practice. Which reminds me of Lady Gaga's trance-induced Hermetic states.

Speaking of practice I'm reminded of Aleister Crowley's injunction: “Inflame thyself in prayer.” This video discusses his ritual for invoking one's holy guardian angel, the mystical marriage heretofore mentioned. Sage and most practical advise. Of import to this thread is the use of language to invoke this state employing polarity of the elements and their 'nondual' integration. Or in nonmetaphysical terms, our friends the image schema.

The speaker quotes Crowley at length and the latter's poetic and sublime rhetoric rivals that of the Lingam at his finest. But another point is that the ritual must go beyond inflaming an ecstatic state and be reintegrated with rational translation. I.e., in our case, a postmetaphysical or popo view. Hence the language or grammar switchs back from invocational language more conducive to image schema states to that more conducive with view-building. Per previous note, different language for different 'modes.'

Further to the above, I envision something like David Michael Levin's hermeneutic-phenomenological approach (which he enacts by meditating deeply on and with each of the senses), or TSK's deep philosophical and experiential inquiry into the elements of time, space, and knowledge, or even the ILP meditations on the primary person-perspectives or "3 Faces."  (Actually, the latter would be one way of exploring the pronounal lenses as part of a broader exploration of the Six Views).  Just based on my initial explorations of this, I think it could be quite powerful to deep-dive into and through each of the six elements or views, philosophically and experientially -- opening up new depths, heights, and relations from within the plane of the language and vision of our current stage of development (without intending for such an inquiry to remain merely linguistic or conceptual; only to start from there...).  The final footnote of my paper suggests something like this:

"23. Following a familiar convention in Integral Theory, we could conceive of an alternative form of 3-2-1 practice: the 3-2-1 of integral onto-choreography.   This would entail the coordinated practice of several of the possibilities discussed above:  1) using the distinctions and concepts introduced in this chapter to engage in third-person classification, comparison, analysis, and/or construction of various metaphysical and integrative systems; 2) using the Six Views model and language to facilitate second-person dialogue and debate with and among existing philosophical systems, whether classical, modern, or postmodern/integral; and 3) engaging in first-person experiential or contemplative exploration of the enactive potential of each of the models and worldviews with which we interact."

Wow, already one semester's worth of reading for this discussion, tee heee!

Yes, congratulations, Bruce, that is awesome!!! Big smiles for you!!!!!

"The Kid" here, wandering into the hall of sages and uttering naivetes.....

To me, matter, energy, and consciousness are simply three labels or angles of view for the same whatever; to me, that is what "co-arising" means, or "mutual enactment" or whatever. But co-arising is NOT something that can be mentally/conceptually/in language understood, it has to be "grokked" (or maybe more precisely, apprehended?) and IMO Bhaskar is simply unable (developmentally)  to do that. End of the matter, for me.

Of course, that is all combined with KW's sometimes IMO sloppy languaging which DOES reveal a perhaps personal "privileging of consciousness over matter" but the concept of co-arising, fully grasped, IMO demolishes any such prioritizing. So it seems to me one can pay attention to the basic concept, or to his languaging, and get different impressions.

It is fascinating to contemplate parts of speech AND such a co-arising /3-as-1 notion. Will delve further, but I still do get lost in the professional philosophy talk here....

Balder mentioned Levin. Recall this post and following with Levin using Levinas' mytho-poetic language to attune to our pre-linguistic heritage.

Ah, yes -- good connection, theurj.  Thanks.

And O.M., thank you for the congrats!  (There's a preposition lurking there in your 3-as-1 co-arising...)

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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?

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