Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Now that the presentation has been given and the paper is available on the MetaIntegral website, I would like (per theurj's suggestion) to open a thread dedicated to this topic.
An excerpt from the intro:
"In an article advocating for a more verbal, process-oriented reading of Integral Theory, ... Bonnitta Roy (2006) has noted that the first-, second-, and third-person lenses at the center of the Integral model are insufficient, in themselves, to disclose the deeper metaphysical view in and through which first-, second-, or third-person research is pursued and articulated. In particular, these lenses alone cannot account for the different territories enacted by structural or process-oriented metaphysics. In contrasting her preferred 'pure process' view with the commonly nounal character of substance metaphysics and structuralist orientations, she emphasizes the need to shift to a more verb-centered language. We will return to her specific arguments about this later in the chapter, when we are reviewing various verb-oriented metaphysics; for now, I would like only to note that we already have, here, the suggestion of at least three possible grammatical-philosophical approaches: a pronoun-centered perspectival epistemology, a noun-centered metaphysics of things or structures, and a verb-centered metaphysics of processes or events. But, while Roy (2006) emphasizes that the structural and process views are deeper than the perspectival lenses that comprise the quadrants, and thus are not explicitly disclosed by them, I will argue that all are also related in that each employs and organizes itself around a particular grammatical category or metaphor.
In this chapter, then, I would like to review a number of the major philosophical approaches or metaphysical systems that have developed around each of six basic grammatical categories: pronouns, nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and prepositions. As I have already suggested above, these approaches range from various perspectival epistemologies, to substance, process, or relational metaphysics, among others. When considering these systems alongside one another, we may be led, in integral fashion, to perceive each as true but partial: as necessarily limited in scope, but still delivering important and irreducible truths. In this way, I hope to demonstrate the merit of expanding the Integral model beyond its pronoun focus, to enact a broader integrative approach employing multiple grammatical lenses. But as I will discuss below, each grammatical-philosophical system in itself can also be a site for integral theorizing: just as the pronouns can be used as a base to construct a broadly integrative model, so can nouns, verbs, or other grammatical elements. As we will see, both object-oriented (nounal) and process-oriented (verbal) philosophical systems, for instance, have already realized their own integral formulations. Thus, the six grammatical lenses or philosophemes I will introduce here can be understood from two perspectives at once: collectively, as true-but-partial elements of any comprehensive philosophical system; and individually, as unique, generative centers around which a number of philosophical models and emergent integrative meta-theories have been organized.
With these distinctions in mind, I will introduce two new terms to frame and guide our explorations: onto-choreography and heno-ontology. I will save fuller discussion of the former term until the end of the paper, when I will review the ground we have covered and will reflect on various integrative meta-theories that have been proposed, but in brief: by onto-choreography, I mean the integrative task of weighting and coordinating the grammatical elements or philosophemes into various metaphysical systems. How do these ontological elements dance together in the different philosophical models we will consider here? This question is related also to the second term I have coined, heno-ontology, by which I mean a meta-philosophical approach which allows for metaphysical pluralism, both across stages of development and even at the same level of development. As in henotheism, where multiple gods are recognized, but only one might be worshipped at a given time as supreme, depending on the circumstance or the proclivities of the devotee, I intend here to evoke an ambiguous field of multiple possible ontologies and integrative lenses, a chthonic matrix with a shifting absolute (which, in each ‘form’ that it manifests, may be seen to enfold in its own way certain of the qualities of the other ‘deities’). This is not an argument for the full equality of each choice of metaphysical or ontological center, however, or of the integrative models they may support. Each has its weaknesses as well as strengths, and I will review a number of them in the discussion to come. But rather than arguing for the ultimate superiority of one metaphysical or integrative model over all others, I prefer to adopt a meta-metaphysical, heno-ontological approach: a robust, speculative, experimental form of philosophical engagement which does not shy away from, but rather embraces and enacts, metaphysical pluralism."
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?
3) Beginning to define some heuristic principles for onto-choreography.
With the six parts of speech, you have the basis for the beginnings of pattern-language. I can lay out the pattern for you, if you'd like to see what this would look like. Let's see now....a cube has six faces .... :-) The only downside to taking this route is that your grammatical pattern-language (thus constructed) will directly link to the entire Western Esoteric Tradition, which (depending on your intended audience) is something you may or may not want. In going this route, you'll be rediscovering an ancient set of relationships, but you would also have the opportunity to recontextualize them for the postmodern and post-postmodern age.
The alternative would be to take the route Winton took, by combining/conflating your basic elements in a 6x6 (or 7x7) matrix to create new symbols and icons for a new system. I analyzed Winton's approach and don't recommend it (I'll share my reasons why in another posting), but it is an option if you want to remain apart from past traditions and create something which appears novel and thus more amenable to being owned and managed under copyright/trademark/patent intellectual property claims.
One of my main questions now is, where to go from here?
:-) All roads lead to the cube...
At this point, I would prefer for this to be compatible with a cube model rather than becoming a cube model itself. I'm definitely open to hearing what your suggestions are, but I think switching to a cube model would take me in a different direction than the (grammatical) one I was introducing and developing in my paper. A focus on parts of speech common to most languages allows, I believe, for a fairly broad means of interface with multiple philosophical and metaphysical traditions, which might be diminished a bit if I take the pill and go in a direction that is very closely tied to the Western esoteric tradition. With that said, of course, even a focus on the question of the relationship of language and being has a long history in the West, so I would hope that strong compatability with certain esoteric Western traditions could be demonstrated and further developed.
My motive for keeping this model somewhat distinct from the Cube of Space model isn't for copyrighting purposes or profit (ha! if only...), but rather to try to avoid becoming too beholden to a particular tradition so the model can better interface with (and be variously used by) many different approaches.
About the particular symbols I chose, I am not wedded to them. They were the best I could come up with in the time I had. When I was selecting them, I did review Winton's Pattern Language, but didn't find enough of a fit with the meanings I was trying to convey ... so I just used Wingdings! I think the symbols I selected do a pretty decent job of conveying the meanings I wanted them to convey (I have a footnote in the paper describing those meanings), but as this is further developed, I'm open to experimenting with different ones, including ones you might suggest...
Taking the middle-way is prudent - to explore the matter directly, creating neither an extension of tradition, nor some novel artifice. Ken Wilber's AQAL map is one exemplar of this. Compatibility with or enfoldment within other paradigms or traditions is something that can be demonstrated afterwards.
All roads lead to ONE. The Borg can always assimilate you later. :-)
Yes, I'll take this middle way for now, just to give this the space to develop on its own a little. But I'll remain interested to see how it may be compatible with, or may fit "within" as well as contextualize, various other philosophical, metaphysical, and/or meta-theoretical approaches.
The paper has begun to receive a little feedback and commentary.
Happily, Bonnitta agrees with my placement of her work primarily within the "verbal" lineage. From a Facebook discussion:
BR: Bruce Alderman has me pegged as a 'verb' philosopher... I see myself as a verb, with adverbial overtones. I think my ground state is verb, but when I begin to make distinctions, then it's adverbial. It's interesting, because in my own presentation, I said that onto-logics would be associated primarily with two philosophical streams -- process philosophy (verb) and buddhist process thought (adverb).
Joel Morrison has used the grammatical lenses to describe his Interface Philosophy:
JM: Almost finished with a first rough pass of your paper (having my phone read it to me), and I am finding it extremely useful for my own onto-choreography, as well as a lens on my prior and current work. So I'll definitely be incorporating it into SZII, of course with references to your own work which I think is a significant advance for Integral Philosophy beyond the limits of AQAL. I am seeing Interface Philosophy largely as a prepositional, or even meta-prepositional philosophy, with a nounal languaging, "the interface" being the "between" of positions, perspectives, and critically directions. But the interface mediates other key prepositions couched in nouns, such as Substance (within, below, or Immanence) and God (without, above, or Transcendence). The work I am doing also emphasizes an Aspect-Oriented Philosophy, (adjectival) the aspects being abstractions of and from infinity. Adjective or qualitative lenses reaching into and pulling out qualities from the absolute in univocal integration. But, as in Aspect-Oriented Programming, it does so in conjunction with objects (nouns) and methods, algorithms and procedures (verbs). I still need to grok the adverbial stuff, I think, to put your work to better use. So when I go through it again, I'll make sure to spend more time there. Thanks so much for sharing this with me!
JM: ...AQAL is one particular evolutionary foray into the field of onto-epistemic lenses (generated and generative maps), which does indeed represent a significant portion of the evolving Story of Philosophy, even if it has inherited shadows and blindspots from an Orthodox and Mythic collective reading of History (center of gravity). But given the AQAL map itself, and KW's own words, we should indeed expect to see a distorted image of the Rational in the social holons of a proto-Rational age.
In such an age, however, AQAL's power and freedom stems from its focus and limitation in the categorical simplicity of its form (mythemes). To the extent that it speaks at the dominant level(s), it gains traction. But AQAL is only *locally* simplex, in the interfacing here at the mythic-rational collective interface and transition. There are deeper and wider simplexes in its vicinity.
A key one that I just got excited about comes from the limits on what I'll call the "linguistic lens," in an "Aspect Oriented Philosophy". Bruce Alderman's recent article, "Sophia Speaks: An Integral Grammar of Philosophy" (ITC 2013) has really inspired me here. [[I got a sneak peak and highly recommend it. And I hope you don't mind my sharing of enthusiasm for it here prematurely, Bruce.]] So according to Bruce's Integral Grammar method/model, and as should be apparent, AQAL is essentially a Pronoun Philosophy, in emphasis not in exclusion or principle. It is simply an exemplar of the form. And such a philosophical focus represents only one type of onto-epistemic lens in the whole landscape of an implicit and embodied (and embryogenic) integral grammar, which Integral Philosophy (the *involutionary mode* of philosophy in this global transition) in general is exploring.
As a testament to the generative capacity of Bruce's work, I am seeing my own work in Interface Philosophy through a very helpful new onto-epistemic lens. I see it more clearly now as what Bruce calls "onto-choreography" and "heno-ontology" (iirc) with a (heretofore largely implicit) "aspect oriented" focus on the linguistic lens and grammar primitive in many of its forms. Most clearly, however, it appears largely as a Prepositional, or even Meta-Prepositional Philosophy, with a visual and nounal languaging: An "interface" being the dynamic "between" (cultivating third) of positions, perspectives, and critically directions and motions. But the prepositional interface also mediates other key prepositions couched in nouns, such as Substance (within, below, or Immanence) and God (without, above, or Transcendence), as well as critically, the absolute and relative scopes. And I also use it to interface the AQAL pronouns, in SpinbitZ.
Anyway, that's what I am seeing now, and I'm pretty excited about all the new bits and pieces coming together from all over.
And Michael Schwartz posted the following remarks on my Facebook page:
MS: Let me be naked in my gratitude and appreciation: as I see this work as a landmark in meta-philosophical engagement. A paper on the deep grammars of the various logoi of Sophia. For as the leading philosopher John Sallis has shown how from the inception of Western philosophy, one of the central themes has been the question of being and logos - logos as the gathering force of speech in the revealing and concealing of what is. This paper shows brilliantly that this gathering force of speech has various "grammars" -- enabling us to gain a meta stance on pretty much all the strains of Western and contemporary philosophy. Brilliant. Landmark. At least for me. In any case, this how it has helped me. I know others will benefit in their ways.
I received a response from John O'Neil on the Facebook site to one of my posts above. Here is my response:
1. I’d encourage you to keep Pirsig’s Metaphysics of Quality in there somehow. I’m not sure how it “qualifies” as atheory but it’s a brilliant example of ‘doing” Philosophy in a narrative novelistic popular form, which influenced many people, including myself.
Thank you for this encouragement! I will explore this a bit further, as there are some good summaries out there of the Metaphysics of Quality, in addition to Pirsig's book. And Panikkar's cosmotheandrism might possibly be associated with adjectival philosophy, at least in some of the ways he frames it. You may have noticed that, as quoted in The Rhythm of Being (p. 14), he describes God, Man, and World as "three artificially substantivized forms of the three primordial adjectives which describe Reality." I'll look into this further at some point to see how far, and how consistently, he philosophically develops and sustains this intuition.
I'm also interested to read more about Joel Morrison's work on aspect-oriented (i.e., adjectival) philosophy in SpinbitZ II, once it comes out...
2. Just reading your post today has got me thinking and playing with some initial ways in which I can use your approach in developing my own thinking around a meta integral philosophy of mysticism eg philosophy as, with , in , under and between mysticism(s), mystical philosophy, mystically oriented philosophy, philosophical mysticism, philosophy which does, enacts and co-creates mysticism, philosophising mystically, philosophy as a way of mysticism, and vice versa etc. This has already started to extend my thinking and my range in a very freeing and liberating way.
Excellent; I hope it is fruitful for you, and if it is, I'd love to read what results from it.
3. I think the work of William Desmond , which I’m just getting acquainted with through his introductory Reader , could be worth exploring as an addition to prepositional philosophy. He makes much of the Greek word “metaxu”, which means “between” to develop his metaxological philosophy as in his books, “Metaphysics and the Between”. “Ethics and the Between’, “God and the Between”.
Great, thank you; I am not familiar with his work, so I will look it up.
4. Panikkar’s use of the term “Rhythm” as in his book “ the Rhythm of Being” could add this dimension to your metaphor of the dance. I’m currently re-reading his early pages on rhythm as a universal constituent of reality in the book.
Yes, that's a good suggestion. As you can see from my reference above, I've been looking at The Rhythm of Being recently, too. (There's an adverbial cast, as well, to his focus on Being as manifesting distinct, characteristic rhythms.)
5. As I haven't yet read (all of) the paper, I don’t know whether you address the dimensions of altitude, height and depth in your discussion of the grammatical forms. If not, I’m sure this would be fruitful in future explorations.
I touch on this, especially towards the end of the paper, but this can definitely be further developed. In the paper, I argue that I have resisted assigning the grammatical lenses to specific altitudes (say, nounal approaches as intrinsically more primitive than verbal ones), since many of these grammatical lenses or philosophemes appear to have found philosophical expression across multiple altitudes. I still stand by this. However, one person who has read the paper has suggested a hierarchical ranking of the philosophemes, with adverbial and prepositional approaches as the most sophisticated. So, I will reflect on this further, and will likely offer a more sustained discussion of this topic in whatever comes next.
Concerning the grammatical approach to integrative theology that I posted in the other Sophia Speaks thread (and also, I assume, the related philosophical project in Sophia Speaks), Layman asked if I could provide a term for my project which I think would be popular/useful enough to be the "one" term.
And that's a problem for me! I don't have one term for this yet that I regularly use. So, I'm starting this post to brainstorm (and poll-take) a little.
Some terms I've used or considered:
Integral Grammatology. This term seems generally pretty good to me, but it echoes Derrida more than may really be warranted for this particular project.
Grammatico-theology and grammatico-philosophy. Grammatico-theology is sometimes used to refer to Abhinavagupta's integrative pronoun-based theology. I could possibly adopt it for this fuller (multiple parts of speech) approach, but the hyphenated term itself is a bit dry and clunky.
Grammar philosophy. I've used this phrase in the paper itself to describe the overall prject, but the term is also not very attractive to me.
The Six Views. I've used this term to summarize the six primary part-of-speech-based ontological views or philosophemes I explore in Sophia Speaks. It might be useful for a sub-department of the larger project, but it seems an even more general term is still warranted.
And then I have two terms I use to define what I am doing with the grammatical philosophemes:
What do you think of any of the terms above? Any keepers, or should I keep brainstorming?
All seriousness aside, how about Gram-Mart? Sort of like a K-Mart or Wal-Mart for grammar? Just kidding... I'll think about something real.
I thought of the existing term Instagram. Maybe Integram? It has the beginning letters of the words 'integral' or 'integrate' as well as 'grammar,' with 'gr' being the connecting letters in common. Other variations: choreogram, henogram, philosogram.
From the Wikki: (emphasis mine)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis, and description of the structure of a given language's morphemes and other linguistic units, such as root words, affixes, parts of speech, intonations and stresses, or implied context. In contrast, morphological typology is the classification of languages according to their use of morphemes, while lexicology is the study of those words forming a language's wordstock.