Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
I decided to move this post over to its own thread to work on this. I'll also move other related past posts over from other threads to riff on later.
The last post reminded me of something I've been working on using Bergson via Bryant. It's not completely thought through yet, with gaps still, but I thought I'd get it down here and then work on it further.
Now where Bryant might be akin to something like the MHC is in his endo-relational organizational structure. Recall in TDOO his distinction between exo- and endo-relations, and its correlation with intensional and extensional relations in a set (212). Endo-relations reside in the structural organization of its elements, the elements themselves not being autonomous entities. Hence the elements of this set cannot be otherwise; they must be in a relatively fixed pattern to maintain an entity's autonomy (214).
Bryant uses Bergson's diagram on memory to show how endo-relations are maintained (232).
It is similar to hierarchical nests but not quite. ABCD shows the unfoldment of an entity over time. A'B'C'D' show the memory of the entity, which feeds back into its unfoldment and also allows for future anticipation. But what is unfolded and remembered-anticipated is how an entity selectively organizes its structural elements in relation to its environment. This can and does change in response to these relations, but even when it changes it maintains a relatively stable endo-relational structure to maintain autonomy.
Where Bryant didn't go with this, and I do, is in relating this to the Wilber-Combs lattice. As I've laid out in different posts and threads, we might loosely correlate A'B'C'D' with our early development using MHC's stages with Gebser's, from pre-operational/archaic (D') to primary/magic (C') to concrete/mythic (B') to abstract-rational (A'). Formal rationality begins at A, which can be then trained to retrieve through focus and memory to integrate the previous levels throuch meditative or contemplative methods.
But here is where it diverges with the MHC and uses a twist or fold in the W-C lattice. I've claimed that the MHC continues to get more complicated with it's postformal stages, not fully remembering and then integrating the previous stages by not taking into account how the meditative process works. When integrated via meditation there is a fold or twist in both the W-C lattice and in Bergson's diagram above. Hence we get something more akin to Levin's bodies as the integrative process unfolds in reverse order, the prior magic and mythic becoming the transpersonal and the prior archaic becoming the ontological.
This relates to the W-C lattice in that the higher stages are the meditative integration of earlier state-stages in reverse order: gross-abstract, subtle-magic/mythic, causal-archaic. These are the third tier in the lattice. But whereas the lattice continues to differentiate states from stages in postformal levels a la the MHC, the states and stages undergo a transformation in the fulcrum of formal operations with meditation. i.e., they are heretofore more fully integrated and that differentiation is now replaced a la Gebserian IA awaring and the prior analysis-synthesis (de-re) above.
Relating this back to Bryant's endo-relational structure, the endo-relational elements are structurally organized in a specific and nested way akin to transcend and include. Wilber senses that there is a difference between enduring and transitional structures akin to Bryant's endo- and exo-relations. Wilber even uses Luhmann in ways similar to Bryant but not in this way, since Wilber's enduring structures are cogntive like pre-formal to concrete to rational. These would be more akin to Luhmann's independent and autonomous exo-relations.
From this post:
I'd like to bring in David Marshall's modified WC lattice from IL. Not because I agree with it but because it raises the right questions. He quotes Wilber from a conversation with Cohen on 3rd tier:
"Another definition of third tier is that it’s the level at which you start to permanently realize the major states of consciousness, and it just so happens that the three major stages in third tier are ones that, of necessity, objectify the subtle, then causal, then nondual states. Second-tier stages are about the highest stage structures you can get to without necessarily having some sort of state realization. And you see this a lot—people who are at an integral stage of development but don’t have a state awakening. And so one of the things that becomes really important is that in order to move into third tier and true transpersonal structures, you have to have some sort of state training and state realization."
I have my own interpretation of a modified WC lattice in our states thread. Therein I posit that indeed a more integral level has to do with integrating our states, but I don't set up the states in the same way as the lattice. I indeed have them above the formop stage on the 'ladder.' Whereas the so-called 2nd-tier stages for me are really the horizontal complexification of formop that would go lateral on the lattice at this point. And the states are actually earlier stages, the causal being that originary base awareness, then subtle the subconcsious and finally the gross being conscious. At consciousness we start getting the stages of magic, mythic, rational. Only at the rational ego can be then begin a reverse process on more fully integrating the earlier state-stages through a contemplative discipline. Hence when so doing and stablizing and integrating these prior states do we get what Wilber is calling 3rd tier. But what I'm saying is that it is really an accomplishment of the height of so-called first tier in ego rationality.
What is just the beginning of so-called 2nd tier is then having the postformal capacity to then change the interpretation to a postmetaphysical view. And that is just the beginning of so-called 2nd tier, and wherein the legitimacy battle begins for defining 2nd tier. I agree with Wilber that one can go postmetaphysical in a cognitive stage while not having the state training to integrate the prior state-stages. And that one can integrate and stabilize the state-stages while still being stuck in a metaphysical worldview stage, one of my main criticisms of most Buddhism. But one that goes postmetaphysical and integrates the states is just the very beginning of 2nd tier, not some super-advanced 3rd tier human. The latter view is just so much inflated hubris from an incorrect notion of development in the current kennilingus WC lattice.
To clarify, actually the more integrated earlier states are not above formop in a ladder sequence but just more consciously developed through state training and hence add more depth instead of height. The height or altitude aspect comes from also then having a postmetaphysical view or interpretation. Visually that would have the integrated states spiraling back down on the graph, thus providing one with a view with more breath. As I said though, the height then comes from going postmetaphysical from there. The MHC's more complex stages to me are just lateral complexification of formop and have nothing to do with this process, since I see the MHC itself (and the kennilingus extension) as still just a metaphysical view as investigated in the real/false reason thread.
From this post:
It might've been in the status of states thread, and I'm sure in several others, that I've suggested that states and stages are not two different animals. It requires at least a formal operational cognition to even have these so-called subtle, causal and nondual state experiences via meditation, since they are, in fact, how formop integrates earlier cognitive levels/brain structures. So yes, we all sleep and dream but these states are not in themselves subtle and causal. They only become the latter through conscious(ness) practice. However, since formop is still representational it is "metaphysical" by definition and interprets a separation between states and stages, absolute and relative, and so on.
Graphically, instead of the WC lattice, put formop in the mid-point of a figure 8, with the "states" above and the "stages" below. This pictorially shows the inverse relationship.
Postmetaphysicality emerges at the postformal, but not sure specifically which particular stage, since there is no valid empirical research on this that I know of. Graphically this could be displayed as that midpoint expanded laterally into 4: systematic, metasystematic, paradigmatic and cross-paradigmatic. Get the picture?
PS: I did note previously though that one who moves into postformal cognition does not necessarily integrate the earlier stages because they might not enact that transformation via meditation practice. So we can have the case of an un-integrated postformal, postmetaphysicist as well as an integrated, formal metaphysicist. And of course an integrated, postformal postmetaphysicist.
But a pre-formal causal meditator? Unlikely. Recall that such traditions didn't start until the advent of formop in the Axial age. And that today it requires one be of a certain age to meditate, to have at least a rational ego, which I've said all along IS THE WITNESS! Ironically this witness in interpreted metaphysically, and how could it be otherwise since it arises in formop.
On 234 of TDOO Bryant notes the endo-relational structure is not in the elements but in the organization of the elements, and which puts constraints on the latter. But the organization "is not itself of the order of an actual occasion but is rather that which persists or endures across the existence of actual occasions." It is virtual according to his definition. Virtuality though is not some essence or cosmic potential but inherent to a suobject's contingent construction: "To be sure, these structures exist only in and through actual occasions, but this does not change the fact that these structures are irreducible to actual occasions."
As you might expect, there will probably be discussion of states, stages, and the W-C Lattice during the Third Tier Spirituality? panel discussion at ITC 2013. I've been talking with the facilitator, Mark Schmanko, about the upcoming panel for the past couple weeks, and just the other day was mentioning Levin's developmental model to him. He was quite interested in it, so I may be bringing that into the talk at some point. One of Mark's concerns is the transition from the Wilber IV to the Wilber V states models -- intuiting that something possibly significant was lost even as something was gained. So ... this may be one of the topics explored. I'll let you know.
Concerning the shift from Wilber IV to Wilber V, it occurs to me that in some ways the move to the W-C Lattice parallels one of the strategies of a former "transpersonal" rival of Wilber, Michael Washburn. Washburn complained that too many things were being "squeezed" into the developmental self or object-relational line, and argued for the designation of some psychic capacities as distinctly non-egoic, rather than pre- or trans-egoic: aspects of the Dynamic Ground which may help inform and contextualize egoic development, experience, and expression, and thus may "transect" it at any point, but which are not actually part of the egoic system itself. His spiritual developmental model also involves a kind of spiraling return to aspects and capacities of the Dynamic Ground (certain forms of psychic energy, the autosymbolic imagination, etc) which are repressed or driven into dormancy with the passage through the Oedipal phase, and which are then reclaimed as one enters and moves through existential crisis ("Regression in the Service of Transcendence"). When they re-emerge, they manifest or "express" first in a way that mirrors their pre-egoic organization, but then begin to express in a way that is at least partially informed by one's present stage of development, which leads to the present system's further transformation ("Regeneration in the Spirit").
I know we've discussed aspects of Washburn's work in the past (the pros and cons), but I thought it merited re-introduction here since it does seem to be a precursor to the Wilber-V move: the major mystical states, formerly conceived as strictly transpersonal or trans-egoic (i.e., as the higher reaches of the self line), have now been rendered as something similar to Washburn's non-egoic potentials of the psychic system or Dynamic Ground. With third tier, there is a kind of twist, in that the states get folded more and more into the emergent self as abiding capacities or "modes," but it's not very clear in Wilber's work how much this twist or infusion also involves a Washburnian regression or Levinian hermeneutic-phenomenological retrieval.
Yes, I used Washburn early on in this endeavor. For example from this post:
"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."
Also see this IPS thread from earlier this year. And from this thread in the old Gaia forum I brought in Washburn and Goddard, similar in this regard. I've been on this theme for a while but what's new is Bryant's work on endo-relations and the virtual organization that orders the elements in a specific pattern. I'm still trying to work in that additional information.
Yes, I know; we've talked about Washburn before. I started a thread on him on the very first version of this forum (Zaadz), and we've returned to him (and some of his compatriots) a number of times over the years. (You could say we've been following a Washburnian or Jungian spiral in that regard!). What was a sort of "aha" for me this afternoon was that Wilber has, in effect, absorbed Washburn's critique with his development of the W-C Lattice: the lateralized states are now similar to Washburn's "non-egoic potentials of the Dynamic Ground." I wouldn't say the W-C Lattice was directly inspired by Washburn, but this move (among several related ones) brings Wilber a bit closer to Washburn's basic orientation than he used to be.
About your importation of Bryant's endo-relations into this model: that's an interesting move and I would like to hear more about what you're thinking.
But what is unfolded and remembered-anticipated is how an entity selectively organizes its structural elements in relation to its environment. This can and does change in response to these relations, but even when it changes it maintains a relatively stable endo-relational structure to maintain autonomy.
This sounds promisingly resonant with Gendlin's discussion of "body constituting," which I mentioned in one of my papers when discussing generative (en)closures. I think your relation of this process to the states and stages is quite promising, so I'll read with interest, and may bring in some illuminating material from Gendlin when I have the time (and if my muse cooperates).
It just struck me that the quote you selected above is related to space/time, as in the discussion we've been having in the involution thread. Recall the 3 time loops of succession, presence and the virtual. Time as the virtual is seen as ordinal, where relations are never fully past, present or future; they are real but not actual. This is akin to our endo-relational structure, itself constructed of actual elements but not irreducible to them, retaining its virtual reserve.
Which of course circles (spirals) back to the object a or differance at the core (khor-a), perhaps akin to the dynamic ground? Hence that causal state is inherent to all endo-relations, human or otherwise. It is one of those givens for the corporeal, which is a given for the noncorporeal. But it is only via an embodied (corporeal) that something like the non-corporeal ego emerges. And it seems according to Washburn and Goddard we need an aspect of this, its self-reflection or witness, to transform the dynamic ground into the actual subtle and causal stages.
I'm also seeing a relation here with the endo-relations and the image schema, which I discussed here and here. It's still unclear how all the pieces of the puzzle fit. It's like a jigsaw, a few piece in place but many more holes. The pieces are here but I have to give them an endo-structural relation! In time, and space, this piece of virtual will become actual. My muse is working on it. I can feel the strange attractor pulling on her.
Coolness. I'm working on another piece, as I mentioned in an email, so I'll bring that forward as it emerges for me as well.
I recall somewhere saying that Wilber had the right idea originally by putting the subtle and causal on top of the vertical ladder above rationality. The WC lattice, as you say, was created in part to deal with the states that are inherently available to us by virtue of human embodiment. So he put them on the horizontal axis. Whereas I think the so-called more complex stages of systematic, meta-systematic, paradigmatic and cross-paradigmatic should be on the horizontal axis at the same level as rationality, being lateral or heterarchical developments from it.
On that point I recall the following from Wilber of long ago saying that to advance to the next level doesn’t require deep horizontal development in a level, just a necessary degree. For example one doesn’t have to be a great athlete or dancer in body awareness to advance to the emotional level, etc. The great athlete is extending his skill horizontally at the same level. And that’s what I think happens in the rational level, that the so-called postformal levels are the horizontal equivalent of the great athlete in the great mind.
Where they do come into play though is in going postmetaphysical. This requires both integrating the so-called states at the rational level and leaving behind the metaphysical interpretation inherent to that level. Note that the post-formal levels above also still retain the metaphysical interpretation as evidenced in the MHC and Wilber’s writings via a false reasoning. A real reasoning though, grounded in embodiment, leaves behind the metaphysical interpretation and transforms the horizontal postformal stages allowing the opening to go trans-rational. But it cannot do that in itself, also requiring methods to transform our so-called states.
The so-called states of subtle and causal are as Wilber intuitied related to dream and deep sleep, being very early human stages of body-mind. It is through self-reflective techniques like meditation that go back down to (involved) and focus on these early brain states that transforms them into subtle and causal levels, so-called tier 3 developments. And all via a functioning rational ego. Or at least when turned back on itself so it can then dive deeper. Hence such meditative practices emerged or co-arose in history at the same time as the rational ego.
While systematic logic or beyond is not required for this process, at least a real embodied reasoning is. And that kind of reasoning is the next actual post-formal level, and one just emerging perhaps in the last century or so. As I said, the MHC levels are really just horizontal extensions of the egoic-rational level with its metaphysical underpinnings. It is ‘false’ not because it is not actual but only in relation to a more embodied and developed ‘real’ reasoning. Recalling Levin, Goddard and Washburn the egoic-rational necessarily entails a temporary dissociation from our earlier development to establish itself. It comes back around though when it looks at itself and begins the return journey of involution to integrate its earlier base body-mind and that, combined with the recognition of a reason based in that embodiment, takes us forward into the next level of non-dual integral-aperspectival.
Now all the above still doesn’t get at the generative mechanisms (machines) of this process. And that’s where the endo-relational structure of image schema might add to this mix as causal agents. The metaphors that arise from them would add to describing that process for the subtle level. All of this has already been explored in various posts and threads, I just need to weave that together here. For example, recall that image schema are compared to the archetype as such by Knox. And that image schema are devoid of content like our very early base awareness (states thread). More to come as connections are made.
Here's the source I was thinking of above on horizontal rational development, a '99 email from Wilber to Bauwens discussing Thomas Jordan's post on vision-logic. Jordan brought up several of my ongoing concerns above in that '99 post and Wilber is addressing some of them. Wilber said:
"How much of any stage (moral, cognitive, affective, needs) do you have to satisfy before you can move on to the next higher stage in that line? Research tends to suggest that a general competence needs to be established at each major wave in order for its successor to emerge. [...] The question is, how much development in any given wave is required for the next higher wave to stably emerge? Using vision-logic as an example, I have drawn four subphases-a, b, c, and d. The subphases 'c' and 'd' are specialized, 'extreme' developments of vision-logic, such as the capacity to think about systems of systems, and systems of systems of systems (what Commons and Richards all 'paradigmatic' and 'cross- paradigmatic' thinking). Phases 'a' and 'b,' on the other hand, represent a basic competence in vision-logic (e.g., similar, in part, to what Commons and Richards call the capacity for some systematic and metasystematic thought, or panoramic vision and multiple perspectives), which is a necessary component (subholon) of higher development (transpersonal and spiritual) if the transpersonal is to become a stable adaptation and not merely a passing peak experience. The same conclusion would hold for each of the basic waves. The 'a' and 'b' subphases are the necessary ingredients of higher developments (i.e., since each basic wave is transcend and included, the 'a' and 'b' are the parts that are included, whereas their exclusivity is transcended). This holds for each of the basic waves as enduring structures. A certain competence ('a' and 'b') is required in sensorimotor development, but one does not have to become an Olympic athlete ('c' and 'd'), and so on."
Read both Jordan's post and the rest of Wilber's response, as they apply to this thread.
1. Regarding generative mechanisms, recall (from Bonnie's report on the IT/CR conference) that one of Bhaskar's critiques of IT was that it does not have a sufficient explanatory critique for aspects of its developmental model, i.e., it lacks an understanding of the generative mechanisms that drive certain forms of development. His argument was that the path of increasing cognitive complexification mapped by Wilber and others was driven by contingent social and political factors (outside of those being studied); the ego develops in these ways in order to survive in certain (he would argue, competitive and exploitative) geopolitical environments, rather than this representing any sort of kosmic absolute or necessity.
This, or something like it, might play into your endo-structure account via Gendlin's body-constituting, since body-constituting involves the development of implicit structuration via ongoing interaction with the body's environment.
2. From Wilber's letter, his convention of providing a nondual "line" of development would seem to more explicitly support one of my points in the states threads (or related ones*): I had noticed that Wilber never provided 'altitude' in IS when giving the kosmic address for nondual or Emptiness/Big Mind experiences or enactments, even though elsewhere he had indicated altitude is one of the minimal requirements in kosmic addressing, and I had wondered if this was an oversight or intentional. I had argued that it should be included, since I believed there was more than one kind (and stage-expression) of nondual insight and experience possible. His "line" conception (of states) supports that.
* Oh, it was this one: Kosmic Addressing of Mystical Experience. I had a parallel thread on Integral Life, with a lot of rich discussion and back-and-forth with David Marshall, Brandon, and a few others, but apparently all of that was lost when IL transitioned to its new site.
Thanks for your comments Balder. Yes, image schema and endo-relations via the likes of L&J and Bryant are exactly the type of generative mechanism arising from an organism-environment assemblage. That is my link to a non- or postmetaphysical grounding. More on that later.
In the Wilber quote above he thinks at least systematic and meta-systematic levels are necessary "if the transpersonal is to become a stable adaptation and not merely a passing peak experience." By this he means the subtle, causal and nondual ‘lines” or states. As I said I don’t think we need a systematic level for that, just a rational ego. And that the so-called higher postformal levels are really just lateral or horizontal extensions of the rational ego, which is the only necessary and sufficient level to go transrational. Which itself is necessary but not sufficient to go postformal, the latter requiring the kind of emboded ‘real’ reason of L&J.
As we can see, Wilber’s ’99 email predates the WC lattice but the latter’s basic ideas are already apparent. As for the non-dual line, I’d agree with him that “this nondual line is based on a natural given, namely, the natural mind or the primordial mind.” Which itself undergoes development. Recall above my correlation of this to our basic awareness without an object or content, and how image schema relate to that. Hence in reconnecting with this basic awareness via the reflective ego we downwardly cause it to not only be integrated more fully but to transform into the subtle and causal ‘bodies,’ something it was not before.
He also goes into basic and transitional structures in the email. And that’s another area I’m trying to improve, since the elements of endo-structural organization on indeed basic structures that are transcended and included, or intensive relations per Bryant. Whereas for Wilber basic structures are things like cognitive stages from sensorimotor to emotion to concrete, etc. Bryant through Luhmann finds such levels to be autonomous substances in themselves via extensive relations as parts, not elements. These notions would add more clarity and empirical accuracy to Wilber on basic and transitional structures.
In Jordan’s original post he differentiates the hierarchical approach to levels with Puhakka. The latter uses ‘seeing’ as a mode of awareness that doesn’t require more complex or postformal thinking. I’m finding that akin to our discussion of triple-loop awareness and the virtual, which again I claim only need an integrated transrational development combined with a ‘real’ reason postformal level. That might be what is considered a systematic or meta-systematic level but I’m doubting it at this point.